Prof. Yuki: Hey Everyone! Sorry for the long wait. I really don't have an excuse for not updating except for forgetting that this story even existed. Yeah, I'm an idiot.
Chapter 3: What the Fuck Is This?!
The next day was a depressingly dreary day, just like the citizens of Halloween Town liked it. Perfect for children to play football in the cemetery (using an actual foot), the witches to do some gardening, and all other inhabitants to spend the day outside and enjoy the weather. Why even Minister Fudge was out and about, already busying himself with plans for next Halloween. Currently he was driving towards Tom's home to get his input on whether or not it would be a good idea to incorporate the Whomping Willow.
Pulling up to Tom's house, Fudge took a moment to admire the wonderfully frightening gothic exterior of the home. It was a three story building that reminded Fudge vaguely of both the mansions and slim looking apartment homes from the human world. As he walked up to the door, taking note that Tom's poison ivy vines were growing wonderfully and may surely win this year's gardening contest, he failed to notice that none of the lights were on. So needless to say he was surprised when he rang the door bell and didn't receive an answer.
"Tom! Are you home?" he called ringing the door bell once again and still not receiving an answer. His face then spun like a top revealing another face, this on slightly pale and frightened looking. "Tom, please answer me. I'm just an elected official; you can't let me make decisions on my own!"
"He's just figuring this out?" Muttered Sirius as he looked at Fudge from the road, but Fudge to deep in his worry of possibly having to come up with his own ideas, for once, didn't hear him. A crowd of people continued to gather as Fudge continued to shout/beg for Tom, who obviously wasn't home to come out and help him. Eventually he slipped on a scroll of plans he had dropped to the ground during his frantic calling, and tumbled ungraciously down the steps that led up to the door all the way down to the dead grass covering the front yard.
"Are you convinced now that he's not here?" asked Tonks
"Then where is he?" asked Fudge
"Hasn't been back all night." Said the zombie hobo before taking a large swig of a mysterious black substance from a glass bottle. It was at this point that Fudge proceeded to enter into an episode of a Whoa-Is-Me moment. The crowd dispersed slowly as their entertainment became dull, till eventually only Hagrid was left.
"Just can't fix stupid." He muttered as he left, heading towards the shops to find some feed for his pets.
-Skip to Tom-
". . . then for the cake we can have the entire thing made of cherry swirl cheesecake! Lastly we'll need to get a dress for Harry, him being the bride and all. Oh, he would look adorable in a Victorian style! I wonder if he likes cheesecake. Tom, you need ask him next time we see him."
For the last few hours Tom and Nagini have been wandering through the Forbidden Forest, no destination in mind. The entire time Nagini had been making wedding plans between Tom and Harry, even though they've only met once technically twice due to the graveyard incident earlier. Somehow Harry went from the shy, not very well known, never seen, and quiet boy to Tom's soon to be fiancé all in space of five seconds. Also within this span of five seconds Harry had somehow become Nagini's hatchling even though she's never spoken a word to the boy.
Sure he was absolutely adorable in that cute shy way. Sure Tom may have gotten the urge on the couple times he's seen him to just grab and start squeezing him as if Harry would disappear if he didn't. And maybe he had had a thought once about locking the cute ragdoll away in his home for only his eyes to see. But that didn't mean he was in love or that there was even a possibility of them even becoming romantically involved period. Whoa, whoa, hold on Tom back up you're allowing Nagini's crazy talk get to you.
"And your hatchlings! They'll be so adorable; they will call me Grandma Nagini of course."
And things just got out of hand.
"Hey Nagini look what I got." Tom said digging in his jacket pocket, Nagini giving him a curious look. Finding what he was looking for, Tom brought a large ghost rat. Nagini's eyes locked on to her soon to be tasty treat. The hand holding rat moved in different directions, her eyes following each movement the mouse made. After assuring himself she was only paying attention to the mouse, Tom pulled his arm back and threw the small rodent as hard as he could. Seeing that her snack was getting away, she raced off in the direction it was thrown.
When Nagini disappeared through the trees and the brush, Tom quickly took off in the opposite direction. After running a long distance, Tom stopped knowing that by now Nagini would have just found the mouse and would probably start to play with it. He had another ten minutes or so before she would realize what he did and start searching him out. It was then that Tom took in his surroundings.
He had traveled every inch of the forest but he's never seen this place before. He was standing in the center of a clearing. In it stood for large, multi-colored trees with a strangely shaped door carved into them. Each tree was occupying a different corner of the clearing. The one closest to him was silver with green leaves, and carved into it was a pumpkin shaped door with a large snake slithering from the pumpkins mouth. Next to it was a yellow tree with black leaves, the door was an egg with odd patterns decorating it and from the egg a badger was hatching. Across from that tree was a blue tree with bronze leaves, this door was in the shape of a heart with wings. The center of the heart being occupied by a smartly raven with a bundle of arrows nestled on its back. Although the tree that made him take notice the most was the one directly across from him.
The tree was gold and it's leaves a glittering red. The door was of a large decorated pine tree, and lying in front of it was a golden lion that had the same colored eyes as the leaves. It felt as if the lion's eyes were boring into his very soul. Seeing his inner most wants and desires that even he may not know of. With a twist of the wrist he opened the door, a flurry of cold white flakes greeting him. Peering inside all Tom saw was darkness, with the exception of the occasional white flake. As he was writing it off as a moment of stupidity to think something would be in a tree, he was crashed into by an exited familiar.
"Master!" cried out Nagini as Tom fell into the tree and descended into the darkness.
It had felt like he had been falling for hours before he suddenly landed on something soft and cold. Sitting up slowly, he found himself surrounded by snow. Everywhere he looked there was snow, and large snow covered pine trees that toward proudly over him. Tom also, found that for some reason everything seemed brighter. Cheerier. He screwed his face in confusion and thought at the idea.
Peering at one of the snow covered pine trees, Tom saw something glinting from beneath the white frozen blanket. Walking over, he dusted the snow of and upon clearing the snow his eyebrows ascended into his hairline at what he saw. There nestled into the green needles of the tree was a glass golden ball actually growing out of the tree. After assuring himself he wasn't crazy, he proceeded to dust of other trees and revealing more glass balls growing among their branches. All of them in varying colors.
"Such a strange place." He said to himself. Coming to a decision Tom, carefully plucked of two of the glass balls, one in shimmering silver and the other an emerald green, and placed the balls delicately with in his suit pocket. With the intent of exploring his new surroundings, and to find a way back to Halloween Town, he proceeded on in a random direction.
It wasn't for another half an hour that the forest finally ended and downhill appeared to be a tiny village. Now normally Tom would not find a random village strange, however what he did find strange were the many lights that illuminated it. For a moment he pondered the possibility of the village being seen from the stars. With a sudden flare of curiosity, Tom quickly made his way down the hill so as to inspect the, to him, newly unexplored realm. It was in his hurry to reach the settlement that he lost his footing ad tumbled all the way down, sopping only when his body hit a large red and white pole. Needless to say Tom would be keeping this part of his journey strictly to himself.
Quickly standing and dusting the snow off, Tom looked up at the pole that he rolled into. It was covered in blinking red and green lights. Making a decision, Tom quickly looked around to make sure he was alone and quickly snatched a string of the blinking lights. Stuffing them in another pocket he continued on into the town quietly so as not be seen, lest the inhabitants decide he's a threat and attack.
The village itself was even grander in color and beauty than forest. Mounds of snow everywhere, blinking lights strung all around, and the smell of sweets in the air. It was all very overwhelming, including the people. The people were all young in face and body, and no one was dead or grotesque in some way. The only this he could really see that set them apart from normal human children was the fact that they all had pointed ears.
Suddenly the ringing of bells sounded throughout the entirety of the town and all the child like creatures ran off to different buildings. There were two specific ones that gained his notice. A bushy haired female and a red headed male. The female was dragging the male to one of the buildings, and from the looks of it he was quit unwilling.
"Seriously Ronald! We have almost two months left till Christmas and there is work that needs to be done!"
"If you don't hurry into that factory right now, I guarantee your mother will ear of this!"
With a slam the door they walked through closed leaving Tom alone in the middle of the Town.
Tom's mind was racing and spinning trying to find the logic in all of this cheer and brightness. If it weren't for the fact he prided himself a gentleman Tom was sure his head would combust from the overload of new information. So he began to do what he was best at and think.
"What's this? What's this? There's color everywhere." he pondered while taking a cursory glance at his surroundings, not realizing he was vocalizing his thoughts. Looking up to the softly falling snow he caught some in his hand and wondered over the fact it didn't melt. Was it really snow then? "There's white things the air."
He looked to his right and noticed round balls of the possible snow stacked on top of each other. A bit of coal seemed to have formed a face and was that carrot supposed to be a nose? Tom didn't know why but being in this place made a warm feeling start to bubble in his stomach. A feeling of joy and adventure. A feeling he hasn't felt in a long time.
"What's this? I can't believe my eyes. I must be dreaming, wake up Tom this isn't fair. What's this?" He said quickly turning the direction where what sounded like music was coming from. There was a wooden platform on wheels rolling around that had five or six of the human like creatures on it, singing a song about decorating with poisonous berries. Quickly he hid behind the snow structure as they passed by.
"What's this? There's something very wrong. What's this? There's people singing songs." Tom watched the cart pass by, and as it disappeared around the corner he thought back to what all the other creatures were doing when he arrived. "What's this? The streets are filled with little creatures laughing everybody seems so happy have I possibly gone daffy? What's this?"
Yes, Tom thought to himself, he must be losing it if he has started to resort to words like daffy in order to describe these feelings that have begun to grow with each passing second. He suddenly heard laughter of in the distance and began walking in the direction it came from. Upon arrival he found more creatures there but these were even smaller. He rationalized that these must be their children. And said children seemed to be enjoying a game that reminded Tom greatly of a game the children of Halloween Town play. "What's this? There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads."
Becoming curious of what the adults do, raced to the building the two from earlier entered and peered into the window. Inside lights were flashing, machines whirring, conveyer belts running, and toys stacked everywhere. Mounds upon mounds of toys littered the entirety of the factory. These creatures, these living beings, were making toys. "Their busy building toys and absolutely no one's dead."
Tom slid down the side of the building in wonder. His mind going haywire, he blindly reached up and tugged down a nearby strand of lights and gazed intensely at them as if they held all the answers. "There's frost in every window. Oh I can't believe my eyes. And in my bones I feel the warmth that's coming from inside."
Standing once again he started walking through the town gazing in all the windows to see if there was someone inside. It seemed as if all the people were in the factory. Tom was just about to give up and continue looking else were when suddenly he heard a crash come from a nearby home. Walking silently, he peered in to take a look.
"Arthur are you okay?!" asked a woman with red hair to an equally red headed man with a bald spot on the ground. The man stood looking at the woman and smiled.
"I'm fine Molly." Said the man trying to calm the woman down. A sprig of something green in his hand.
"Oh, look. What's this?" Said Tom focusing his gaze completely on the plant in the man's hand. He recognized it as mistletoe; the witches enjoy using the plant in some of their more romantically inclined potions. The man reached a point in the hallway visible to Tom and climbed on a step ladder and began to hang the plant from the ceiling. "They're hanging mistletoe?"
"It looks perfect right there dear."
"If you say so Mollywobble." Stepping down the man then pulled the woman under the mistletoe and gave her a chaste kiss. Smiling at the woman the man said, "You're right dear. It's perfect."
While the two soaked in the moment, Tom continued watching, beyond confused at this point, but at the same time he could see the potential enjoyment of such a tradition. "They kiss? That looks so unique, inspired."
"Grandpa! Grandpa!" Out of nowhere several young children shoot out into the hall, one of them carrying a large book in their small hands. "Grandpa! You promised to read the story to us."
Giving out a laugh the man picked the smallest child up and started to tickle her. "Well then I guess we better get started. Everyone gather around the fire place."
"Give me one second dear. I'll get the chestnuts so we can start roasting them."
"Good idea Molly."
As everyone went their separate ways Tom pondered over his latest discovery. "Their gathering around to hear a story and roasting chestnuts on a fire. What's this?"
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Tom continued walking through the village. It seems he's grown a complex when it comes the phrase 'what's this'. He guessed he just better be happy that none of the citizens of Halloween heard or saw him doing this. They may all think it's a good idea and start following suit, he shudders at the thought. While lost in his thoughts he stumbled upon another home that had lights on. Thinking that it hasn't failed him yet, he looked in. Inside were an older woman and a younger man decorating a tree? Well more the young man decorating the tree and the older woman barking out orders to the young man, who Tom found out was named Neville.
"What's this in here? They've got a little tree how queer. And who would ever think and why?" Tom gazed at the tree taking note of all the baubles and other decorations littering it. "They're covering it in tiny little things they've got electric lights on strings."
Tom stepped forward to get a better look, and was met with a loud yowl of anger. Looking down he saw that he had stepped on a large cat with a squashed in face. Ugly looking thing it was, and he as from Halloween Town. The inhabitants of the home apparently heard the sound and the boy left to investigate. Thinking quickly Tom reached up and propelled himself on to the roof of the house out of sight of where the boy would have seen him. The boy after looking around went back inside. Releasing a breath he didn't know he was holding Tom reclined on to the roof.
Everything as just so different here. Nothing held even a remote resemblance to that of Halloween. Everything was bright, where Halloween was dark. They made toys that were fun, Halloween made everything scary. Halloween Town was also chaotic; here everything was just so peaceful.
"And there's a smile on everyone. Now correct me if I'm wrong. This looks like fun." He paused and went over that thought again. He thought it looked fun. It looked like fun. It looked FUN! How long has it been since he had fun doing anything. A large grin spread over his face, this could be the answer to all his problems. "It looks like fun! Could it be I've got my wish?"
Suddenly the upstairs lights to the home containing all the red heads went out. "What's this?"
Using the roofs and his long legs to his advantage he proceeded to leap from rooftop to rooftop, until h eventually made it the home. Smoothly he swung down through an open window and found himself in a room full of sleeping children. "Oh my, what now? The children are a sleep but look there's nothing underneath!"
Now that was a big shock to the system. Even in the human world here always seemed to be something scary hiding under the beds. "No ghouls. No witches, here to scream and scare them. Oh ensnare them, only little cozy things secure inside their dreamland. What's this?"
He gazed at the sleeping children in wonder and amazement. How could one place be filled with so much brightness and cheer and…. Innocence? A creak on the stairs broke Tom from his musings and he quickly dashed out the window and into a nearby alley way.
"The monsters are all missing and the nightmares can't be found. And in their place there seems to be good feeling all around." He said the warmth he felt when he first arrived had reached the point of boiling over. For a moment he thought he would honestly melt into a pool of Pumpkin King goo. "Instead of screams, I swear I can hear music in the air. The smell of cakes and pies are absolutely everywhere."
A whistle let out and all the doors to what Tom had deemed the factories burst open and more creatures spilled out of the factories and into the night, racing the warmth of their homes. The streets were soon once again bare the only difference were that the lights had become brighter and the buildings were filled with sounds of life. Tom made his way to where the main road first entered the city. When he arrived he turned and merely began to gaze at this land of wonder in awe.
"The sights, the sounds. They're everywhere and all around. I've never felt so good before. This empty place inside of me is filling up. I simply cannot get enough!" he cried out in pure unadulterd joy. If he didn't know better he would think himself a kid again, and taking part in his first Halloween. Oh how he wished he could keep this feeling. "I want it, oh, I want it. Oh, I want it for my own. I've got to know. I've got to know what is this place that I have found. What is this?"
He had to find out the name of this magnificent place immediately. He needed to find out its name, its traditions, what its people called themselves. He wanted to know everything! A sign flashing to life caught his notice. Upon it were large strings of green leaves and lights and it proudly read: Christmas Town.
"Christmas Town? Hmm..."
A door to large house burst open and a man how was significantly taller than the other inhabitants, but shorter than Tom stepped out. He was dressed all in red, and he seemed to be the physical embodiment of all that was jolly. As the man walked by not noticing Tom in the slightest, he passed the large cart that the singing creatures from earlier had been riding. It was then that a thought truck him, and a scheming grin spread across his face.
Who ever said he couldn't collect some things around to study? Purely for educational purposes of course.