What's in a Name
Dedication: Forever meant for my Leslie, for our first anniversary on Febuary 27th, 2006. A whole year of wonderfulness, wacky IM convos of hyperactivity and rampid dirties, only to be followed by many, many more. Perhaps even a few real life meetings would be nice too, and who knows what else! Years filled by 'Little Girls', ne? I love you, Leserlie!
Notes: I know you love this couple. J/V 4EVAH! I luff you Leslie:3
Jack smiled to himself and walked through the busy streets of the Land of the Dead. They always got into the spirit of Halloween and that made Jack appreciate them; though he was a tad disappointed that they didn't get the same thrill as him from scaring people out of their minds. Jack chuckled to himself. He hadn't entirely given up his hobby of scaring people - just now it wasn't as top priority. He wasn't quite sure what was anymore, but it didn't bother him. Without the pressure of being scary each year as well as Sally's support had loosened him up and opened up more ways to spend his time.
Like going to the Land of the Dead. Despite that it wasn't horror-oriented, he enjoyed the people's company, and gotten along well with several of the people. Bonejangles was a joy to sing with - they shared their passion for singing. Though they both preferred their different genres, together they meshed their styles into something that both of them could appreciate - and they weren't the only ones, either. Jack could remember stumbling upon Bonejangles' joint well.
His slight surprise at Paul who had always had a blast scaring the life out of people when he still had his body, Jack had always wondered what happened when they found Paul's body but not his head. Now he knew the answer. His slight shock at seeing his old friend Napolean who had already given his shot in Halloweenland. He hadn't been too successful and had vanished into thin air one day. Though Jack had tried to find him (fruitlessly), in the end he hadn't found him after a few days. He would've never guess that he had finally found himself to the Land of the Dead.
Jack sighed and wondered for a moment why he never showed Sally this place; she would probably love it to death. It was amazingly colorful even though it was the 'Land of the Dead'. It certainly seemed more lively than when he had last been alive. Jack remembered that time well - the time when he was still alive. But he couldn't remember for the life of him (no pun intended) how he had died. Maybe he had gotten a wonderful concussion or something, something that made him forget all about everything.
Another thing that Jack enjoyed about the Land of the Dead was that Zero had finally found a friend to play with. Few animals had gotten any or much thrill in scaring people - sometimes Jack thought that Zero didn't either, and had just followed him from somewhere. True, Zero was not his dog but over the years they had bonded to a strange degree. Zero always followed him into the Land of Dead and immediately scurried to find his friend, who Jack had found to be a little hyper dog named Scraps. He was slightly surprised that Scraps didn't have an owner. Perhaps they had not died yet.
Jack sat comfortably on a bench and watched Zero look around anxiously for Scraps, who had finally understood to come to this bench every Thursday at the very least, for that was the day that Jack always came to the Land of the Dead - and Zero followed. As the minutes passed Zero became a tad nervous that his companion had not yet come to play with him, and in the back of his mind Jack became curious over it. Zero circled anxiously around his legs, while he stared around. As a bark reached his ears, Zero flew up with boundless energy.
But the barking was muffled, and Jack watched curiously as a young woman placed a box next to a bench, then quickly went running off again. Curiousity piqued, Jack rose and quickly went after her, her lightly clapping heels one of his only hints to her whereabouts. But soon he noticed that the woman was also chasing someone, and realizing this, Jack lost interest in her. His interest traveled to her mouse, and thinking ahead of her he ran into back alleys, hoping to find her victim and hoping on cutting him or her off. Jack couldn't explain why he had this urge, but he did. Something was gonna come out of this, and it would be for him.
As he ran, he found him. The 'victim', so to speak. It was a tall young man, lean, looking as if he was ready to have a panic attack. He jumped at the slightest sound, and as Jack watched him, his curiousity peaked. Just about ready to go out and confront the young man on why he would be running away from what looked his bride the man jumped higher than before and began to leave. Just as he was about to come out, the man suddenly jolted away from the area as if a swarm of man eating purple pandas had decided to come after him. Man, Jack thought. You've been spending way too much time in a little girl's room.
He grinned at the challenge and ran after the man, his longer legs able to catch up the young man quickly. Cutting him off, he pretended to not have purposely run into him to get a closer look. The man looked fearfully into his eyes, looking as if he were long gone ready to scream and die. Jack felt something inside him change at seeing the young man's dark eyes drowning in fear, a strange sort of sensation, stranger than when he had found Christmastown. It was similar, and yet so totally different. It was sort of like protectiveness, yet not.
But despuite the fear that shown in the man's eyes, he did not run away, He just stared, and stared at him with dark eyes widening in fear again. Jack looked down at him just as curiously, watching his every movement and how his chest rose and fell so close to his own. Not many people still do that, he thought sadly. But in some way it was sort of inspiring to have someone finally breathe. It had been so long since he had felt warm skin under his nimble fingers, so long since there had been someone to fit comfortably into his embrace who he could run his fingers through their hair.
Unknowingly, Jack's hand had rose to caress the warm skin of the young man's cheek. It was just as it looked, soft and supple. Something else changed in that moment, something big inside both of them. Victor's warm eyes turned away and he started to move away from the taller man, edging slowly. But not out of fear; no, Jack could see that much. The young man had leaned in so close to him, and that could not have meant all of nothing. Jack almost bothered to keep the boy against him, but there was fear in his eyes so he let him go.
Just as he was about to run away, flee, Jack grabbed him and shoved him rather roughly down the alley, towards the back, covering the young man's mouth with a bony hand. The young man let out a small sound of indignation but was otherwise silent. Jack still felt the young man squirming so close to him. But as the young bride passed by the alleyway with the two of them still completely unnoticed, the young man let out a heavy breath that he was probably unaware he had ever been holding. With a hand clutching his stomach, the man let out a quiet sigh and slid down the alley wall.
Jack saw him wince and leaned down towards the younger man, who whispered a barely audible 'Thank you' followed by a short of breath 'I'm sorry.' Jack frowned thoughtfully at the younger man, "What are you running from? What are you afraid of?" The young man's eyes opened to look at Jack's empty ones, and then he smiled softly. Looking away for a short moment, the man sighed quietly and shook his head, running a trembling hand through his hair and then letting out a shaky breath. Jack felt his heart (or what was left of it), wrench at the sight before him.
"Everything," the young man said miserably. "I'm scared of everything."
Jack cocked his head to the side at the comment. "You can't be afraid of everything," Jack said softly. "You can't be, and you know it." The young man did not look at him, but rather at the wall to his side. "Are you afraid of me?" It was the one question he could ask knowing that the result would be favorable - in his favor, and he watched the young man look to him and smile, shaking his head, mood lightened. "See? You're not afraid of everything. But... What's got you like this?" The young man's considerably brighter mood dropped off of his face, and Jack winced. Still, he knew that if the young man spoke about it he would feel better.
"Marriage," the young man spoke. "Commitment." He looked at Jack with a sad, sad face, eyes darker than ever before. Jack knew that even though he would probably never see the young man ever again, he would always have that face engraved in his mind and he would always hate that face, so filled with lost hopelessness. "I'm nineteen. I'm not ready to commit to someone for the rest of my life, I don't want to. But no one is willing to listening to me when I say I don't want to. It's always, 'Oh shush your whining Victor,' from my mother, a 'You're just nervous' from my father. I don't want to get married!"
Victor was a very nice name. It suited the lithe yet lanky young man well. It fit how he jumped at the slightest of sounds and shivered when he breathed into his ear and how he trembled as Jack's long arms draped themselves over his shoulders. They just fit.
Jack assumed from that point on that the young man's name was Victor. Shaking his head in disbelief, he frowned. He never understood how someone could force someone else to marry them, or vice versa. It seemed almost cruel in a way to do that to someone. To make them marry, and Jack shook his head sadly again. "I don't know how I could get you out of marriage, Victor. If I could you should know I would, 'cause obviously you don't want to. But I can't do anything to help you, but..." Jack wrapped an arm around Victor, ignoring almost completely how he tensed.
Despite Victor's discomfort, Jack began humming an unknown tune to him. He had never heard the tune before - neither of them had. But still Jack hummed quietly to himself and to Victor, eventually moving to massasge the tension out of Victor's shoulders and back. As the minutes went on, Jack noticed Victor lean into him, slowly but surely until his head rested against Jack's chest. Nineteen, Jack thought. He's so tall for nineteen. It's a wonder he isn't pointed at, he's nearly as tall as I am! Jack sighed and smiled to himself as Victor let out a breath of air.
But as the minutes passed, Jack knew that the time he could spend with Victor was shortening. Soon Victor would have to play runaway groom all over again, and this time not have the comfort that maybe Jack would come along and shelter him from his dislikes. Sighing, Jack caressed Victor's cheek once again, closing his eyes and eventually burrowing his face into Victor's hair that smelled faintly of a flower of some sort. Victor creeked open a weary eye towards the taller man, then smiled and ran his hands along Jack's spine, ignoring how Jack was, literally, so bony.
Victor leaned his head up to face Jack, head feeling awkward at the strange angle. But he did so to look into Jack's empty eyes, feeling a slight flush come on as Jack leaned closer to him. Jack smiled faintly before justing throwing all caution to the wind and decided to follow the choice that took him all of three seconds to make. Smiling, he placed his lips on Victor's for the briefest of seconds, just experimenting for both the first - and last, time. There was something that blossomed inside of Jack and this time, instead of pushing away it's strangeness, he embraced it's new feeling of bliss that came low in his stomach.
They pulled away. Victor rose and continued running like nothing had happened. Jack smiled sadly after him.
A day or so later Victor looked into Victoria's eyes as he married her. They were now bound indefinately together, until one or the other got killed. Victor thought that maybe it wouldn't be so bad if he could see that man of before. Victor had realized only moments too late that he had never quite caught the stranger's name, and as the days passed, hours passed, he found himself needing to know more and more. The tall man, no, that tall man, that had held him and quelled his insecurities, made everything okay.
Victor sighed and rested his eyes against the soft blankets of the bed. Though his father was only a fishmonger and Victoria's parents solely dependant on his family, they had still managed to get a lot of their things in rather decent condition. Though he was sure Victoria's father, Finis, would hate him forever (for he had not yet stopped calling him a ninny and even called him a nelly), as well as Maudeline, that he could live with. Not knowing that stranger's name was a different story entirely. He had to know that man's name.
Sighing, the image of the man sprung unbidden into his mind, taking it over as it had so many times before. He had practically been in the man's lap, breathing him in little by little, enjoy the nature-like pine scent that clung to him. Victor had tried for hours on end to put a name to that face, but had always ended up with the wrong result. There was no name to fit him, or at least, that was what Victor had discovered. Victor frowned at that. His frown deepened at the subject of his thought all together, and he sighed again.
He was happily married, his thoughts should not have been drifting to a stranger he had never met before. But still they did, and Victor knew that he could not control them. Perhaps Finis was right, perhaps he was a nelly. Maybe he did think of boys more than he thought of girls, men more than women. Then why hadn't he objected moreso to his betrothal with Victoria, or his marriage with Emily? Why had it so right with that stranger, so perfect? Why did it feel as if he belonged in that man's embrace, to be held and to mold perfectly into his form?
Victor sighed even louder as he felt to lithe arms wrap around his small form, thinking of how they were nothing but dust compared to the stranger's arms, but still he returned the embrace, if only half heartedly. He heard Victoria murmur quietly into his ear, questioning what was wrong, if something had happened, stating that he was different from before. Victor suppressed a shudder at that, of course he was different. You would be too if you have met him, heard his voice and known he was singing for you and you alone, he thought dismally.
His voice. He had forgotten entirely about his voice. How could he? There was no describing it, no describing what ancient tales or what sorts of lullibies it would grace the world with, no guessing what next soothing words would come out. A voice of mystery, a voice that said, 'Come a try to understand me. You won't be disappointed.' Victor flushed at his thoughts, partially from embarrassment and partially from anger towards himself. You're married you ninny. Stop your thinking these things, before something comes out of that big mouth of yours.
He cast her a soft smile that whisked all her troubles away, but his own troubles could not be taken away that easily. They could not be whisked away by a smile, and if they could it would have to be his smile. But it was too late for that - the Land of the Dead was long in the past and Victor had no idea how he could possibly get there. But oh how that man would plague him, would, as in the near future. Perhaps even later on in his life, later, later when it would no longer matter whether or not he wanted to be married to Victoria.
The name came to mind so suddenly that Victor almost completely disregarded it. But there it was, a name that fit that tall stranger. Victor could truly match his name to his body, his name to his voice. It sounded like the right guy. We have ourselves a winner, Victor thought to himself. And though he knew he would moreso no than likely ever hold that man ever again, it was all okay and it would always be okay. That name was now with his heart forever and it would stay that way, engraved into his heart.
Though Victor now knew that whenever Victoria hugged him, held him, he would be imagining a Jack Skellington, everytime they kissed he would think Jack Skellington, and Jack Skellington alone. It would be Jack holding him close, no Victoria about it at all. And it would always be okay because Jack Skellington would always be with him in his heart, holding him close.