Hello all! KHwhitelion here, presenting my very first Corpse Bride/Nightmare Before Christmas fic!

I've had this idea for awhile, but never bothered to write it down until now. However, I really like the end result, even if the style is slightly more formal than my other works: I can assure you I did that on purpose!

I really really hope you enjoy this one-shot!

He refused to attend the service that day. The stiflingly dismal atmosphere was enough to make him gag. And the gray, slate-faced drones mindlessly paying their respects sickened him to his stomach. Not only did Victor find it to be a half-assed—for lack of a better phrase—cover for absent remorse….he simply did not feel it did him justice. Not him personally, of course—he had been amongst the dead before and had quite made up his mind not to rejoin them for a good many years to come. No, the one whom he was referring to had yet to be lowered into the ground; slender body no doubt cramped in that horrid mahogany box that his father had imposed upon he and his wife. An unfitting resting place, he thought, for an undeserving man.

A choked breath wormed its way from his throat, and his dulled, sleep-deprived eyes trailed towards his large bedroom window. Victor shook his head, running a hand through his hair; knobby fingers disrupting the disheveled locks of brown and white. This is all so wrong, he told himself, sinking into a seated position on the patchwork quilt draped across the edge of his bed, he deserves better than this. Immediately, he mentally kicked himself. What a simply dreadful way to address a funeral!

It's true though, his thoughts protested, causing a weary, audible sigh to escape his lips. He wouldn't like this at all. "Oh shut up." He murmured, resting his chin in his hand. "What's there to like about this kind of thing?"

Surprisingly, he had not an argument for himself with that statement, for he already knew the answer. He may have viewed death as a dark, heart-wrenching topic—despite past experiences—but there were others….one young man in particular….who's eyes and ideals were not limited by programmed human responses drilled into their heads by society. When it came to this sort of thing, this young man approached it very differently.

'Why grieve over the dead?' he had said, a twinkle in his lively, dark eyes and a grin carved into his face, 'I believe they should either be feared, or remembered fondly, depending on who they were. For the dead,' he concluded, tapping his chest with his fist before pumping it into the air, 'never truly die. They simply move on.'

How he had gained such notions remained, to many, a mystery. Even to those who had witnessed that one, special night oh so many years ago—before this particular man had even been born—where the deceased had in fact, risen; reuniting temporarily with those they held dear. Sitting on his bed, eyes staring blankly through the glass, he found it difficult to believe those same individuals would find this outlook on death absurd; did they not remember that day? It had only been thirty years, not even half a century. Yet so much had changed. To the point where Victor found himself wondering if these individuals secretly harbored jealousy for their departed family members: Even if the Underworld treated them well, he speculated those still alive may have grown bitter at the thought that they themselves would have to wait until their own deaths to be forever reunited. Which, in turn, may have been why these now three-decade-older people frowned upon the young man who had viewed the afterlife as a curious object of fascination.

And why they repeatedly rejected any and all Halloween festivities he managed to conjure up. 'Foolish boy,' they had scolded, 'you know not of which you meddle in.' He of course, had disregarded their nagging with a wave of his hand, thinking them nothing more than a nuisance. A—as he put it oh so many times before—couple of party poopers. 'Just because their shirts were buttoned a little too tightly was no reason to force their beliefs down someone else's throat' he reasoned.

Out of place though it may have been, a small half-smile inched its way across Victor's face. Oh how he missed that young man. He could always count on him to make a situation interesting, even in the most tedious of times. Despite his age, the man never lost the inner child so many adults only wished they still had.

Which made it all the more horrifying when the police found him early one morning—so early, in fact, the sun had yet to peak its way over the jagged buildings lining the town—dead. Cold, pale….lifeless. Victor shivered then, suppressing the image of his wife's face when they learned the dreadful news. 'That's impossible!' she had wailed, gripping his arm so tightly he was quite sure she had drawn blood, 'He was so young! So full of….of life!' That was true enough, and the officer-turned messenger boy was just as shocked as they had been.

It did not help his cause of death went undiagnosed; there had been several cuts and one very large gash indicating a possible murder—which is what Victor himself believed—but many townsfolk believed an unfortunate accident had been the reason; the man was lanky, tall—and more importantly, a dreamer. It was not hard to imagine him walking into, falling through, or being hit by something. Happened during his lifetime on several occasions—usually when he got particularly excited about something….

….Yet, something told Victor an accident had not resulted in the younger man's death. And that something was his death date: October 31st. Halloween. His favorite, cherished holiday….and the one time of year most everyone else living in town tolerated him least of all. How out of place did it really seem for some twisted, bitter person to finally snap and do the younger man in? Not very, given the other suggestions. Victoria, too, seemed inclined to this idea, even if she would not admit it aloud. They both knew the town. Knew him. There was no way in hell his death had been an accident.

A bit absentmindedly, Victor's hands had curled around the bedspread; eyes brimming with tears. "Dammit," he murmured, raising an arm to catch the tears in his sleeve before they fell. He told himself he would not cry. He had no reason to. Having been to the Afterlife before, he knew perfectly well that poor, young man was in a better place….and in good hands. They may have seemed rather eccentric, but the dead really had been a very caring batch of people—more so than those he knew topside. Besides….She would be there, ready to meet him with open arms. He was sure of it….and even if she did not, after some time she was sure to warm up to him; he bore a striking resemblance to his father.

The half grin morphed into a rather sad smile, and a lone tear trickled down Victor's face as he stood from his previous position, walking silently towards his bedroom window. Though he could not directly see them, he imagined a very long amoeba of people circling around the undersized coffin slowly lowering into its earthy resting place, and for a moment, he was glad the younger man was finally free of such a colorless, boring world. "Oh Emily…." He cried, tilting his gaze towards the darkening sky, "….wherever you are….please look after my son."

Perhaps he would never learn why his son had been taken from him so early in life; twenty-five or not, no parent is ever ready to part with their child. But, as the chilly autumn air ruffled his hair and brushed against his cheek, he realized there really was no other choice but to accept it. To move on. To….to let someone else take care of the boy he had spent so many years raising, teaching, and loving.

A few more tears rolled down his cheeks. Parting truly was such sweet sorrow.

Wiping away the salty liquid, Victor turned once again, but this time, headed for his bedroom door. With any luck, he would be able to catch the end of the service before Victoria bit his head off for it. Smiling once again, the middle-aged man threw one last glance at the large pained glass from over his shoulder. "Goodbye, Jack." He whispered, before slipping quietly out the door.

XD Yes. I think Jack is Victor and Victoria's son. Why? Well, he seems like he could have been from that era—he's got very large eye-sockets (like Victor's eyes) and all three of them seem somewhat tall….

Yeah. My crazy mind.

But what do you guys think? Let me know!