Author's Note/Disclaimer: Happy Halloween, everybody! Here's a Nightmare Before Christmas fluff-isode to celebrate. I'd like to thank Misa1 and Ghost-Peacock for reading beforehand; Misa1 especially for giving me some advice on certain bits and pieces. Thanks again to everyone that worked on "Nightmare," as it is a brilliant movie that has inspired and delighted me for so many years. Lastly, thanks to my readers who have generously reviewed my last two "Nightmare" fan fictions. You guys keep me motivated!
I do not own The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack, Sally, or anything else about it. And now, enjoy!
The eternal harvest moon was shining brightly over the land of Halloween. It was the deadest of dead of the night, when only a few haunts were still awake for their nightly tricks and treats. One such creature, a tall skeleton man, was walking through the pumpkin patch that evening. He glanced back at Halloween Town beyond the field of squash. The town appeared completely dark from that distance. Only the outlines of macabre buildings were visible.
The skeleton chuckled. It might have seemed an eerie night to a more timid being, but certainly not to him–the king of frights. He stepped over the many twisting vines in the pumpkin patch with ease, for he knew the squash-riddled grounds like the back of his boney hand. Many, many years before, the vine-covered fields had been his home. He could remember walking down the same path he was taking now, only with a wagon full of pumpkins he had grown for the townspeople trailing behind him. After nearly a hundred years as king and the leisure that came with that title, those days seemed rather strange.
The skeleton might have kept going, reminiscing long lost days, had he not been reminded of why he was out in the pumpkin patch so late in the first place.
"Jack, wait! Please?" a woman's voice pleaded from behind.
The skeleton turned around to a sad sight. The owner of the voice, a living rag doll covered in ghastly stitches, was stuck fast to a large pumpkin's thorny stalk. The sutures that ran up her right leg were coming undone from her efforts to free herself.
"Sally!" he exclaimed. Jack ran over to help the poor doll and tried to free her without causing any damage to her fabric skin. "You should have told me to slow down. You could have been hurt," he said while his skeleton fingers worked away at the many tangled threads.
"Oh no, I can always put myself back together again," Sally answered then sighed. "I tried to keep up, really. I didn't want to seem helpless."
"Nonsense," Jack reassured her, concentrating on one particularly tricky thorn that wouldn't let her go free. Finally it snapped off and he continued, "You're anything but helpless."
Sally did not reply, but pulled a thread that was dangling from her knee and quickly drew the lower half of her leg together with the upper half. She stood and tried to walk, faltering a little. Of course, Jack was right at her side.
"I'm feeling a little nervous about this idea, Jack. You know how clumsy I am," she admitted softly, all the while desperately trying to make it through the labyrinth of pumpkin plants without catching on one of them. "Why couldn't we just dance at home again?"
Jack stopped walking. "Where better to dance? It's a horrific place. Besides," He leaned a little closer to her. "–it's one of the only places in town I know that no one will disturb us."
Sally and Jack both smiled at that. Too often the pair would find a host of monsters interrupting their moments alone. Jack's duties as the Pumpkin King always kept him busy; often he would regretfully have to leave the rag doll's side to prepare for what he and every other monster hoped would be the greatest Halloween yet. As for Sally, some monsters (mostly the women in town) still weren't sure yet if she was worthy of Jack's affections. It was nice for her to escape the gossip and disapproving looks.
With that in mind, Sally took a confident step, only to trip on a vine and fall. Even though he was next to her, Jack couldn't catch her.
"I'm so sorry, Sally!" Jack choked as he knelt beside her. He felt awful for letting the rag doll fall, and offered a hand to help her back on her feet.
Sally gripped Jack's skeleton hand tightly and righted herself. She frowned, self-conscious about her poor balance and outright clumsiness. She said nothing as she turned to look into Jack's eye sockets, but her eyes betrayed her fears of slipping again.
"Don't worry," Jack reassured her, taking her hand in his own as she stood up straight. "If anything happens again, I'll catch you."
Sally looked to her unforgiving feet briefly, but managed to give her love a smile. "Okay."
Jack guided the rag doll a little further into the pumpkin patch before stopping in a small clearing of vines. He said not a word as he held out his right hand, letting Sally take it before resting his other hand on her waist. He stood still until she shyly nodded at him, then he took the first step in their moonlight waltz.
The two ghouls danced quite slowly at first. Sally occasionally stopped to make sure that her feet weren't caught on anything. Jack's promise that he wouldn't let her fall was at least little comforting to the rag doll. Steadily their dancing became faster, more sweeping, and Sally found that she was keeping up with Jack just fine. For a moment she forgot about her clumsiness and looked around.
The ebony sky above seemed to carry on endlessly, the bright yellow moon illuminated all of Halloween, and a few jack-o-lantern candles still flickered from the surrounding pumpkins. Sally's heart filled with happiness at the wonder of the lights.
"Oh Jack, you were right," she near-whispered as they continued to dance. "It's perfect."
Jack chuckled and spun her around gently. "I was hoping you'd think so."
Sally giggled and swiveled her foot towards her next step, but just before her foot met ground, she stumbled and fell forward. She closed her eyes and prepared to hit the solid earth, but instead found herself leaning on something else entirely. Opening her eyes, she realized that she had fallen against Jack's ribcage, their faces just inches apart.
"Oh, I told you I was clumsy," she muttered and turned her face away from Jack in embarrassment.
"That wasn't clumsy at all," Jack said with a boney grin on his face. "You've made my plan so much easier."
Sally looked up, wondering whatever Jack could have in mind, before he pressed his boney lips to hers. She was surprised at first, but soon enough the euphoria of being kissed by him made her forget any negative feelings she had. There were no embarrassments or fears left to think about when their lips met, only bliss. For most of her existence, Sally was stuck in a laboratory and could only dream of this sort of affection. She almost couldn't believe that she–not only a commoner but also a former servant–was the creature Jack loved.
"Do you still think you're clumsy?" Jack asked after the kiss, holding the rag doll close and swaying her from side to side tenderly.
Sally laughed and took another step forward, which in turn caused Jack to take a step back and placed her nose to skull with him. "I guess even clumsiness has its advantages every now and then," she replied. Almost immediately, she kissed him back longer and more urgently than he had kissed her. Jack might have been proud his encouragement had helped his sweetheart feel a little less insecure, but he was too preoccupied with the sensation of her soft doll lips to think about it.
Sally at last let go with a stitched up smile on her face. With no more than a short pause the pair began to dance once more. This time the rag doll didn't care if her feet slipped her up once or twice. Clumsiness couldn't be so bad, after all, if it led to a few more kisses from the Pumpkin King that night.