I always liked the idea of Sally and Dr. Finkelstein getting along after the events of the film, and have a bit of a father-daughter relationship. And maybe just because I'm a sap. Sue me.
This takes place between the epilogue of my collaboration with Azure129 known as "Pumpkin Petals", and the sequel we're currently writing. Or you can see it as it's own stand-alone story. Up to you.
Azure129 posted "Pumpkin Petals" on her account, so definitely go read it there!
I hope you enjoy this. :)
All characters belong to Tim Burton
It was a very tough decision to make. That much she knew. Sally wasn't even sure if she would go through with it. But a part of her told her that she had to. To just get the closure she desired...whatever it may be. She'd been thinking of it at the back of her mind ever since she moved in with Jack only a few weeks ago, but it was never truly prominent until now. At this point, when reality was settling more and more, the reality of her and the man (or rather, skeleton) she loved being together as a couple and living together. She really did, truly, have a new life now.
Sally was free as a bird. She could do anything she liked, go in and out whenever she pleased, and on top of that, quite a life of luxury. At least, compared to her previous accommodations. Jack loved spoiling her, despite that she never asked for very much, unless she needed something. None the less, she could never discourage his attempts at making her smile. It was all so sweeet.
Ever since she moved in here, she had barely seen, nor spoke to Dr. Finkelstein or his new creation, now known to her as Jewel, according to Jack and the Mayor. She wondered just what would happen if they ever encountered again. Would it end badly?
She was scared to face him now. He must not have wanted her to return, given that he had not tried to take her back to the laboratory.
It was a quiet January evening as Sally stared out in the window of Jack's study, where she sometimes liked to sit and overlook the entire town. Jack didn't mind, he loved it when she hung around here. That, and he told her right out that she could go anywhere in the house she liked.
"It's not just my house anymore, dear Sally. It's your home now too, so you can go anywhere you like!" He had said, with that big, happy skeleton grin of his.
She was thinking hard about what to do. Go and seek closure from him somehow, or just let this be? Move on with her life, just as she had been doing, and never speak to him again?
It was a tough, tough decision to make, for sure.
"Sally? There you are!" Jack's happy voice sounded from behind her. He approached her, his hands coming to her shoulders. "I thought I'd find you here."
Snapped out of her thoughts, Sally allowed herself to relax as she smiled, melting against her beloved. "Hello Jack. I was just...thinking."
"Of what? You sound troubled..." Jack gently turned her around to face him, eyeing her with concern. "Tell me what's troubling you, darling."
Exhaling, Sally looked up at him before responding. "It's...about Dr. Finkelstein. I...I just think...maybe I should talk to him and try to get some closure. But I don't know. ...I'm scared to go, Jack..."
Jack's eye sockets widened, and he was silent for a moment as he processed what she was telling him. He then smiled in assurance and embraced her. "Sally...that's very sweet of you! Why would that scare you? Surely the doctor won't bite."
"No, but...I just... I don't know what he thinks of me now... He must think I just dumped him aside for a better life." Sally sighed and brought her arms around him, laying her head against his bony chest. "I didn't want it to happen like that...and you know...I...I would never...do such a thing."
"Oh, Sally..." Jack gently ran his bony fingers through her rusty red hair before laying his skull against the soft yarn. "Of course you wouldn't! You're far too kind, sweet, and selfless to do such a thing. And surely he should realize that, too. He created you, after all. I'm sure he's seen enough of how sweet and kind you really are."
Comforted by her beloved's embrace, Sally snuggled more into him. "I wish I could believe that...but I don't know. I really don't know what he thinks of me sometimes, Jack. I didn't let it bother me very often...But I..." She just couldn't finish her sentence.
Jack understood though. He understood that she felt undervalued and unloved when it came to her previous life. For that, he honestly wanted to knock some sense into the doctor. How could he not see what a wonderful creature Sally really was? The sweetest, most innocent and loving person in all of Halloween Town. His most wonderful creation ever made! If not for creating Sally, Jack would probably have never come to the life that he had right now. He couldn't even imagine a life without Sally now. She was far more precious to him than anything in the entire world.
Why couldn't Dr. Finkelstein realize that?
"My dearest Sally...I'm sure deep down he does care about you." He said softly, still stroking her hair. "He probably just can't quite express himself. Perhaps he's just misguided, he's never had someone like you around before...I suppose it was far too new to him." A few moments of silence passed before he continued. "However, that doesn't excuse the way he treated you, darling...you deserved far better than that."
On one hand, Sally couldn't help but agree with Jack's reasonings. It made sense, after all. She went through the same kind of thing after meeting Jack. The strange, new feelings that she just couldn't ignore. On the other hand, she wasn't sure if that was entirely the case. But what if it was? She knew Dr. Finkelstein wasn't evil nor cruel by any means, but what if he truly didn't care? Or what if he did?
So many possibilities.
"If you want to talk to him," Jack continued, looking down at her with a smile. "You should. Do whatever you think is right, Sally. I will support you either way you choose!"
"I...well I..." Sally murmured, quite at loss for words. "...Thank you, Jack. I...I think you're right. I'll go talk to him."
Smiling more, Jack leaned down and kissed her sweetly, bringing her closer to him. He could see that she was feeling a little distraught over making such a tough decision, and he couldn't blame her. It wasn't always easy to approach matters like these, and given that Sally was the furthest from a confrontational person, it certainly wasn't easy for her at all. But he was glad that she was going to take the step to try to seek closure with her creature. Even if she hadn't, he would have understood and not thought of her less for it.
Sally melted and felt her insides seem to flutter with happiness. She kissed back, bringing her arms around him tighter, savouring the wonderful feeling of his sweet kisses.
Parting from her, much to his reluctance, Jack chuckled and gently stroked some strands of her hair from her face. "I'll walk you there, Sally. I can wait outside for you, if you want."
Nodding, Sally smiled. "I'd like that, Jack...thank you so much."
"Anything for you, my precious Sally." Jack said softly and kissed her on the forehead. "You'll do fine. I have every confidence in you."
Sally sighed blissfully as she snuggled her head into his chest again, feeling utterly relieved and elated. If there was one thing Jack was good at, it was making her feel better and more confident.
She just hoped it would carry on even when she encountered her creator.
Later on, Sally was on the doorstep of Dr. Finkelstein's abode. Her old home. She could even see her old bedroom window. It felt so nerve-wracking to be back after so long, and yet, it felt as if she never left.
She glanced behind her toward the entrance gate, seeing Jack standing there waiting. He smiled and waved at her, and she did the same.
Sally took a deep breath and reached for the doorbell with a nervous, shaking hand. Then she lowered it, unable to do it.
It took her about two minutes before she had the nerve to ring the bell.
Oh goodness...I can't believe I did this. Oh, maybe he's not home. Maybe he-
"The door is open!" Came a yell from inside.
Yep, he was home all right.
There was no turning back now. She had to go through with it.
Sally cautiously and slowly opened the door, coming in to the old familiar dark and dank downstairs of the laboratory. She looked around a bit, taking in the sight of the old kitchenette area she used to cook in...and all the Deadly Nightshade. It brought back memories of her slaving over this stove, knowing where everything was at any time.
"H-Hello?" She called up the ramp, looking for the doctor.
"Sally!" Dr. Finkelstein exclaimed from the top, looking down at her from above. "...You've come back."
Gulping, Sally took a step back as she attempted to compose herself. "I...I...I...yes, I did." She was never this shy in talking to him at all, not even in his worst moments. But now, it was a whole new bag of fish. "D-Doctor Finkelstein...I'm very...sorry to bother you this evening, but I...I wanted to-"
"Come up here, Sally. Come to the lab." Dr. Finkelstein cut her off gruffly.
"Y-Yes, sir..." Sally nodded meekly.
She went up the ramp, getting higher and higher, closer to where her creator was. What did he want? Why was he asking her to come up to the lab? For that matter, why was she obeying him just as she did before? She certainly could have said she didn't have to listen to him. She didn't live here any longer, and wasn't under his control.
Old habits die hard... She thought bitterly.
Soon enough, Sally was standing before her creator, and fear and nervousness were clearly evident in her expression. Dr. Finkelstein was just staring at her with an unreadable expression before he turned his wheelchair around back toward the lab, beckoning her to follow him. Sally mutely followed him, rubbing her arm nervously.
Coming to his work table, Dr. Finkelstein wheeled himself over to it, and then gestured to a chair located at the other end.
"Sit down, Sally."
Sally nodded, and sat herself down on the chair slowly.
"You're probably wondering why I asked you to come up here, Sally. And I'm sure you're probably wondering why I haven't asked you as to why you came back here." He said matter-of-factly.
"...Yes." Sally admitted, not quite looking at him.
"As I thought." Dr. Finkelstein adjusted his dark glasses. "Sally...you've been living with Jack Skellington all of this time, of course."
She nearly asked him how he knew that, but realized that word travelled fast. Everyone in town knew by now that she and Jack were living together.
"Yes. I am living with him." She said honestly.
"I see." Said the old scientist, facing her again. "I'm sure he takes very good care of you."
Sally looked at her lap, nodding. "Yes..."
Dr. Finkelstein studied her for a moment, and then spoke again. "Sally. We need to talk."
She looked up at him in surprise. "I'm sorry?"
"We need to talk." He repeated. "That's why you're here, isn't it?"
"Oh! Oh...yes...yes, that is why I'm here."
"Of course. Sally, there is one thing you need to know, and you need to know it now."
Sally gulped and cringed a bit, expecting the worst.
Dr. Finkelstein then sighed, looking away from her a moment. "I haven't been a good creator to you."
The lab was so silent then, so silent that you could hear a spider sneeze or a pin drop. Neither of them moved, nor said anything at all, as his words sunk in. Sally was of course in absolute disbelief and surprise. Had he really said that? Had he really just admitted to his fault in how he treated her? This was almost too much. She thought she might've imagined it, or was just dreaming of it now.
Sally opened her mouth to try to break the silence, but the scientist beat her to it.
"You've made mistakes, and maybe you were clumsy sometimes, then you even slipped Deadly Nightshade into my food and tea, then run off..." He trailed off a moment and sighed again, shaking his head. "But you've always been a faithful and reliable companion to me. I suppose I...took it for granted. What I'm TRYING to say is...I'm...I'm..."
She would've prompted him, but she just didn't have the strength to do so. Aside from that, she was still in so much disbelief over this turn of events that she didn't know what to say.
"I'm...sorry." Dr. Finkelstein finally said, looking away again. "There! I've said it."
A few more moments of silence passed them as Sally let this all sink in again. She could see that this was hard for him to admit, and it amazed her all the more. There was nothing deceitful about his words, even if he was having a tough time truly saying them.
None the less, he was actually genuinely apologizing to her. It amazed her beyond belief, so much so, that she was speechless.
"You'd think I would've realized it sooner." Dr. Finkelstein went on. "But it took giving half my brain to my precious Jewel..." He looked over to where his recent creation and lover stood in the corner, putting things away.
Jewel looked over at them with a soft smile before going back to her work.
"Who helped open my eyes. You went with Jack Skellington...and now you have a far better life than I could have ever given you. Who would've thought...I'd end up one day creating the very Pumpkin Princess...someone who he would fall in love with."
Sally's eyes went wide and she looked down at her lap bashfully.
"I realized more, you weren't just a piece of property." The old scientist admitted a bit gruffly. "Whenever you were gone...since you had been gone, I didn't let myself get worried."
"...You...you mean it? All of that?" The rag doll asked in a small voice, looking at her creator.
Dr. Finkelstein sighed, nodding.
"...Dr. Finkelstein...thank you." Sally murmured, smiling a bit. "I'm very glad you said that..."
The two of them looked at one another for a few moments, before glancing away in different directions. Jewel took the moment to approach them both in order to break the ice between them.
"Would you two like some tea?" She asked softly.
Snapping out of it, Dr. Finkelstein nodded to her. "Yes...please, bring us some tea."
Sally nodded mutely in confirmation. Jewel smiled at them before leaving the lab to go downstairs.
A few moments passed, before Sally finally had the nerve to break the silence.
"Listen...I'm sorry, for the trouble I caused you, Dr, Finkelstein. I was...yes, I was restless and intrigued by the outside world, it was what led me to slip the Deadly Nightshade into your food and tea." Sally wanted to say more, but didn't. She just couldn't.
"Keep going, Sally. You may as well get it out."
Surprised, she nodded, and tried to gather the right words. Jack had always told her that it was okay to be honest with her feelings, especially when it came to something she needed out of the people in her life.
"If I ever do, or say anything to bother you Sally, please tell me!" Jack had said. "When you do that, I'll know never to say or do that again."
This was pretty much was what Jack was talking about, wasn't it? Being honest with someone in her life, telling them how she desired to be treated. Would that really work? She didn't want to sound demanding!
But, she had to say it. It was all she could do. There was no turning back now. She made it this far, there was no way she could stop.
"I was...isolated, and I didn't like it. I only acted out because I didn't like being sheltered. I wanted to see the town, meet the people, and join in on the Halloween festivities. ...You wouldn't let me. I did not appreciate that...I also didn't like how you spoke to me..." Sally confessed, playing with her hair.
Dr. Finkelstein was quiet for a moment, before he gave a solemn nod. "I see. I realize it now."
Sally exhaled, feeling a bit better. She felt a weight lift off her shoulders. Who would've thought, letting something like that off your chest was such a relaxing feeling?
"Dr. Finkelstein...I love Jack, I really love him. I'm living with him now, and that's where I would like to stay. It's not about the luxury, or the fact I'm the Pumpkin Princess, it was never about that. I really love him. It's not about having a more free life...what matters to me, is being with him. That's all I wanted." She said softly, looking at him then. "I just...wanted you to know that."
The old scientist looked at her again, and nodded once more. "I suspected as such, Sally. I've seen the two of you around town together. ...You seem so happy."
"I...I am happy, Doctor." Sally said softly, holding her hands to her heart. "I'm happier than I've ever been since my conception. He makes me happy."
Jewel returned with a few cups of tea, gently handing them out. Despite her appearance, she was indeed a very careful and kind soul. She seemed more motherly than Sally would've expected, but found that to be quite interesting.
"Thank you, my dear." Dr. Finkelstein said sweetly to her.
"Yes, thank you..." Sally sipped the tea. It was delicious. She guessed that she too was quite a good cook.
"You're quite welcome." Jewel smiled before walking off to the other end of the lab.
"Now then..." The old scientist cleared his throat after drinking some of his tea. "Sally... Can't say I deserve it...but can you forgive an old man like me?"
Blinking, Sally gently set her cup down upon its saucer, speechless yet again. He was asking her for her forgiveness! She was naturally a very forgiving person, she saw no reason to hold such a grudge. After all, as much as she disliked and even resented him for his actions in the past...she could never truly bring herself to hate him. Not at all. She wasn't the kind of person to hate anyone (except Oogie Boogie, of course), and this was no different. Hate was a strong word, a strong feeling.
Moreover, she felt it wasn't necessary to bear a grudge against him. It wouldn't solve anything. After all, it wasn't as if he had demanded she come back shortly after she moved in with Jack, either. There were no ill feelings by the time she left for the last time.
She didn't hate him, nor resent him that strongly. She was, however, thankful that he had created her and had given her life. If not for that, she would have never met Jack, nor fell in love...and made someone so happy.
"Dr. Finkelstein...yes, of course I can." She finally said, looking at him. "I...I suppose we can...start over. Since we've lived our own lives and apart, it's worked quite a lot better."
Dr. Finkelstein ponderd about that for a few moments.
"I mean...it will take time...but I am willing to try if you would." Sally added in anxiously. "O-Or not...?"
He held up a hand to silence her. "You talk too much sometimes, Sally. ...But I suppose that can be endearing. ...All right, I suppose we can try."
Sally smiled then. "That would be great. ...Thank you very much for this...I'm glad...we were able to talk about this, Doctor."
Surprisingly, he smiled. "I suppose I am too, Sally."
She smiled more at him, and drank some more tea.
For the next hour or so, she wasn't sure how long...the two had talked quite a bit. Sharing things in their lives, and even discussing some trivial matters that Sally would have never thought possibly to discuss with her creator of all people. As time went by, she felt a lot more comfortable in talking with him, and even laughing at things he said that were funny.
Overall, they did have a nice chat.
Sally felt a lot better. She was actually happy to have what looked like a bit of a better relationship with her creator. It wasn't perfect, and may not be, but in time, they could definitely make up for the past and create better times.
So when she left, even Dr. Finkelstein felt pretty good, too. He and Jewel observed out the window of the lab as the rag doll he had created a couple of years ago walked away from the house, and met up with Jack at the gate. They exchanged a few words, she gave him a hug, and they shared a quick kiss before venturing off back into town, holding hands.
Jewel giggled, placing her hand on his shoulder. "He sure does make her happy, dear."
Dr. Finkelstein nodded, actually smiling. "I couldn't agree more. To think I actually created her...the Pumpkin Princess. I think he'll take good care of her, my dear."
Outside, Sally met up with Jack, surprised to find him still waiting there for her. Had he really been there the whole time? Or did he simply leave for a while, and came back in time for when she left?
"Jack! Jack...were you waiting here the whole time?" She asked in surprise.
"Of course, Sally! Why wouldn't I? You know I would always wait for you." He said with a smile, taking hold of her hands. "What did he say? How did it go? You were in there for quite a while."
"It...it went really well, Jack. We seem to have a better understanding now." Sally said, looking up at him with a fond, loving smile. "I have to thank you for helping to encourage me, Jack...it was...really what I needed."
"Sally...you did all of the work! I didn't even do anything!" Jack said modestly, but grinned. "I'm just happy it went well between you both, my dearest Sally... You deserve to have a good relationship with him."
"But you did, Jack...you really helped me when I needed a push." Sally insisted and hugged him.
Jack chuckled and happily hugged her back. "It was all up to you, you did it all on your own."
She just giggled, snuggling into his chest. "Jack... Don't be modest. ...Who else is clever enough to tell me what I need to hear?"
His eye sockets widened, and he gave a hearty laugh. "All right, Sally, point taken." He kissed her sweetly, then pulled back from her, and took her hand. "Let's go home. I'm sure you have a lot to think about, don't you?"
"I certainly do...going home sounds good right now." She said, squeezing his bony hand.
Indeed, she felt a lot better now. She had faced her anxiety, and let herself seek the closure she desired. It was a lot better than not trying at all. Otherwise, they might not have gotten to this point, and she was very glad for that.
Looking back at the laboratory home, Sally smiled as she walked alongside her beloved Jack toward their home. Tomorrow, was going to be a whole new beginning for all of them. And she looked forward to it very much.