Author's Note: Oh, Jack, you are such a bad boy. You and Cupid. Though, I don't really own Jack. He belongs to The Nightmare Before Christmas, which in turn belongs to Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Henry Selick, Disney, Touchstone Pictures, and a little to Capcom. He's pretty fun to use and abuse though, am I right? (Re-edit comment: Once again, I'm sorry for the abruptness of it all. Downfall of writing without planning, I guess.)
"Eighty-eight bottles of beer on the wall, eighty-eight bottles of beer," Jack sang.
"Take one down, pass it around," Cupid sang.
"Eighty-seven bottles of beer on the wall!" they sang together at the top of their lungs.
"Be quiet, you're punished," Santa Claus said to the cornered ones as Jacob collected his winnings from their second round of poker without Cupid and Jack.
"What else are we to do in this corner?" Cupid asked.
"Don't make me separate you two," Santa Claus said as he dealt another round of cards to the remaining players.
"I guess singing's out," Jack sighed.
"Too bad, I was having fun too," Cupid said.
"Can we sing Christmas carols at least?" Jack asked Santa Claus.
"No," he replied.
"Spoilsport," Cupid said as the kitchen door swung open.
"They were everywhere Billy, swarming all over the place," Vanessa said as she walked over to the fridge.
"I know, I had the same dream," Billysaid to Vanessa while glaring and Jack in the corner.
"Dream? It was more of a nightmare," she said as she took out a bottle of water.
"Not funny," Billy said to Jack, who broke out into a grin at the word 'nightmare'.
"Definitely not funny," Vanessa said.
"Huh?" Billy asked before slightly shaking his head. "Listen, maybe we should call it a night."
"Yeah... about that," Vanessa started. "Billy, you wouldn't mind if I stayed here tonight would you?"
"Me? Mind? Why would I mind?" Billy asked.
"See, fear led to a love connection. Perfect," Cupid said to Jack.
"I don't know. I'm still pretty freaked out by those mutant roaches. I don't want to go out to my car in the dark like that," Vanessa said to Billy.
"Are you sure? Don't you have meeting or something to go to tomorrow morning?" Billy asked Vanessa, ignoring Jack and Cupid for the moment.
"I can always go to my place early and get ready. Please? I'm really freaked out," Vanessa said as she grabbed Billy's right hand.
"Alright. Go on upstairs, I'll be with you in a second," Billy said.
"Don't take too long," she said to Billy before walking out of the kitchen.
"Ok, guys, get out," Billy said to the Council.
"Oh come on! We're half done," Saint Patrick said to the mortal.
"Why are you kicking us out?" Jacob asked.
"I know why," Cupid said from the corner.
"Quiet, Cupid," Santa Claus said before turning back to Billy. "Billy, we know we've intruded, some of us more than others, but we're already in the second half of the game."
"I never asked for all of you to barge in on me tonight."
"Sorry about that then," Rabbi Tevel said while the Easter Bunny nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, well sorry isn't getting all of you out of my house any faster."
"We'll be quick about the game. Only an hour or so more," Santa Claus told Billy.
"Fine. You do realize you are seriously messing me up, right?"
"Go and busy yourselves with something else."
"Yes, Santa," Billy said in a near mumble as he left the kitchen.
"Jack, Cupid, get back here and finish the game like mature adults."
"Can we have our stuff back?" Jack asked.
"Stuff? I was already down to betting my own days," Cupid said as both sat at their poker seats.
"Well, here are your marbles, Jack. Cupid, you bet the twenty-ninth, right?"
"Correct, Mr. Claus."
"Good. Now enough chatter. We have a schedule to follow."
Fourteen rounds in one hour was no joke. Any protests of unfair hands were ignored, as marbles passed from winner to winner. Cupid eventually got the twenty-ninth back from the Easter Bunny by winning it in the twentieth round. Jacob nearly lost November second, had Saint Patrick not bet it immediately after he had won it and subsequently lost it in the twenty-fifth round. The last winner was Jack, who had picked up six marbles from the rest of the Council.
"Alright, everyone, count your marbles," Santa Claus said.
"Well, I only have the six I won just now," Jack said.
"I have five," Cupid said.
"Twenty left," Santa Claus said.
"I have four, and Easter Bunny has none," Jacob said, earning a glare from the rabbit. "Hey, not my fault you don't know how to gamble."
"You shouldn't know how to gamble," Tevel said to Jacob, who blushed in response. "I have only one marble to my name, Nicholas."
"Luck of the Irish! I have seven marbles," Saint Patrick proclaimed.
"And I have... eight," Santa Claus said as he counted the last of his marbles.
"That makes you the owner of this year's August," Rabbi Tevel said. "So that means we're going to recruit some more holidays?"
"Starting with the revolutionaries," Santa Claus said as he collected all of the cards and marbles. "I think we're done here for the night."
"Wait a minute," Tevel said. "Where are we playing next time?"
"I volunteer," Saint Patrick said. "I'll probably be luckier in my own land anyway."
"When do we play?" Jacob asked, surprised he even posed the question.
"Sometime next month. How about the twenty-third? It's a week right before our regular meeting," Tevel pointed out.
"Any objections?" Santa Claus asked.
"No," the rest of an ably speaking Council added, with the Easter Bunny shaking his head in agreement.
"In that case, Poker Night is over. Let us all go to our respective homes," Santa Claus said.
As the other Council Members packed up to go, Jack still had some unfinished business with Billy and that 'Afraid' can. Jack picked it up from under the table and found Billy sitting on the couch, impatiently twiddling his thumbs. Jack couldn't help but sneak up on him, though Billy almost had a heart attack when he did.
"Could you knock off the scaring for one night?" Billy asked before quieting himself.
"It's my job, I can't do that," Jack said. "Where's Vanessa?"
"Disinfecting all of upstairs. She's making absolute sure there are no roaches there, real or imaginary, before we go to bed."
"You asked for it Billy. You didn't think I was scary anymore, so I had to terrify you all over again."
"I open my house to you people-"
"Reluctantly," Jack interrupted.
"Whatever. The point is, that was the thanks I get for letting you guys play poker in my house when it was inconvenient for me?"
"Hey, I'm the Pumpkin King. I am to be respected by all of the souls under my care or about to be under my care. I don't deserve to have pesticide sprayed in my face."
"Don't be such a drama queen," Billy said before Jack pointed the can right at his face. "Jack, what are you doing?"
"This can is what gave you the nightmare. A few more spritzes and you'll see the roaches in waking life, feel them gnawing at you. People will think you're crazy again, and you might even have to wear a straightjacket."
"You don't have the guts. Literally, because you're a skeleton and all."
"Careful, Billy, I can press the top accidentally at any time."
"Ok, ok," Billy said, already starting to show some fear. "You're scary, really scary. I respect the Pumpkin King Canned Roach Master just get that thing away from me!"
"Billy? I disinfected everything!" Vanessa's voice called from the upstairs.
"Huh?" Billy asked as he blinked.
"Come on up. I don't want to be all alone up here."
"I'll be up in a minute," Billy said before going into the kitchen.
Everything was left as if no one had ever been in the house. Jack and all of his Council cohorts were gone, along with that can of mutant roaches. That skeleton. He had gone and made Billy look like a fool again, if only to himself. Billy couldn't help but laugh a little. Jack was completely crazy to him, and scary, yet there was something rather warm about the dead man. Whatever it was, Billy didn't think about it at the moment. He had better things to put his mind to.
As for Jack, he walked into Skellington Manor feeling quite proud of himself. So he didn't win. So what? It was a good time and he was going to see some new places soon. He just had to tell Sally all of this. Though, he got a less than warm reception when he finally got upstairs.
"Jack, if you ever leave me alone with the Mayor discussing wedding plans again, I'm not going to be too happy with you," Sally said as she sat up in bed.
"How long ago did he leave?" Jack asked.
"Oh, maybe ten minutes ago," Sally said with a slight huff. "I have no idea what he's talking about sometimes. I had such the urge to feed him some Deadly Nightshade, but that would be wrong."
"I'm sorry I was gone for so long. You should have fed it to him anyway," Jack said as he changed into pajamas.
"So how was the game with the Council?"
"Pretty interesting. Sandy Claws won. He's going to take us to meet other Holidays, maybe make the Council bigger," Jack said before he felt something drop from his jacket.
The can of 'Afraid' he had stored inside his jacket had fallen out. It landed on the floor the completely wrong way. The can spritzed out all that was left of the fear mist inside, covering Jack and Sally. This was not good, not good at all.
"Jack, what was that?" Sally asked.
"Sally, dear, would you be too mad at me if I told you that mist causes hallucinations of flesh eating insects?" Jack asked sheepishly.
"It was supposed to be only for Billy. I knew I should have left it at his house."
"I don't see anything yet," Sally said.
"It happens when you go to sleep," Jack said.
"I can't go to sleep now. Neither can you."
"I know! Let's play poker until the mist wears off."
"Didn't you just play poker the whole rest of the night?"
"Come on, the night's still young. Besides, I'm not going to let any hallucinations take you over. Not on my watch."
"That's sweet Jack, even if it is your fault," Sally said as she got out of bed and hugged Jack. "How do you play poker?"
"Oh, I'll show you. It's really fun," Jack said.
"Jack?" Sally asked as she broke the hug, allowing Jack to look for a pack of cards.
"Yes?" Jack asked in return, triumphantly holding a pack of cards.
"How long does this mist last?"
"I'm not sure. Let's stay up as much as we can."
Sally sighed; this was going to be a long night.
P.S.- Hope I didn't disappoint with the abrupt ending, but it just popped into my head and seemed too cute to prolong through more chapters.