The Nightmare Before Christmas Fan Fiction ❯ Rekindling Warmth ❯ Creepy and Crawly ( Chapter 1 )
"I'm sorry, Jack," Dr. Finkelstein said solemnly. "I didn't think to make more of the potion. I have enough for one of you, but not the other. If you'll wait twelve hours, I'll have more of it for you."
"Certainly, doctor. Just let Sally have what you've got. She's tired and needs some sleep. Mind if she uses her old room?"
"Both of you are welcome here, Jack, and you should know that."
Sally took the potion and shuddered as she changed from a human back into her normal ragdoll self. Jack put her to bed then came back in. He sat down and stared at his hands. Used to, Oogie was the only way he could turn back into a bone man. The process hadn't grown any less painful as time passed, and the doctor had finally perfected a potion that made Oogie obsolete. That had been the last straw in their dwindling friendship.
Jack felt tears sting his eyes. How he missed Oogie. He wanted to have his friend back. But Oogie wanted nothing to do with him. How could he…? Jack hummed, flexing his fingers.
"Jack?" the doctor asked softly. "Are you alright?"
"You need to make the potion, but I won't be using it."
Dr. Finkelstein stared at Jack. "Are you insane?"
"No. I need to talk to him anyway."
The doctor watched him for a few moments then nodded. "I won't tell Sally. Go. But it's your own head."
"Many thanks, doctor."
After a brief stop at his own house, Jack was soon at the Treehouse. He knew how to get in, so he went right down into Oogie's lair. Unfortunately, Lock, Shock, and Barrel were there and they stared at the human Jack.
"Let's see if we can make him bleed," Lock said with a mean grin.
Five minutes later, Jack was staring down at three very dazed kids. They just never learned. There was a noise and Jack turned to see Oogie glaring at him.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"Why do you think I'm here?" Jack asked calmly, though his heart fluttered nervously.
"You can't be here for the obvious reason."
"Because you've got the doctor's precious potion," Oogie spat bitterly.
"I don't want to take the doctor's potion. I want you to do it."
Oogie's eyeholes narrowed. Lock, Shock, and Barrel were staring between them. They were confused, but they didn't dare ask; two of the most powerful creatures in Halloween Town stood before them, and to make both of them mad, especially at the same time, was a dangerous idea. Oogie came out of the shadows and poked Jack in the chest.
"You can't be serious."
Oogie frowned then looked at the three kids. "Get out. Now."
"But don't you want us to—" Shock started.
They yelled and scrambled away. In less than twenty seconds, Oogie and Jack were alone. Oogie capped the chute to stop the kids from listening in then pulled curtains over the windows. That done, he came to face Jack again.
"I should have realized long ago that you matter to me more than any stupid potion. Yes, it hurts, but I can handle the pain. I just want you back, Oogie. I miss our talks, our games. I miss you."
Oogie Boogie stared at him hard, distrustful. Finally he huffed.
"Tell your bugs to make sure they get my hands and feet good," Jack said as he obliged, folding the clothes neatly and placing them beside the satchel he'd brought. "They always miss some ligaments and tendons. It's rather uncomfortable to have them pulling on my bones when I move."
Oogie leaned over and observed the naked human when Jack was finished. "You know, I never did get used to the way you looked with flesh on," he stated absently. "Ready?"
Jack swallowed and nodded, forcing himself to relax. It hurt less if he was relaxed. Oogie's seams split and suddenly a million tiny feet were crawling over him, while tiny mouths ate at his flesh. He didn't scream. He'd never screamed, but he moaned low in his throat. He never made noises when others were around, but Oogie had always been different. Even with a two thousand year rift, Jack just felt so safe with his oldest friend.
Jack must have briefly fallen unconscious because when he woke, Oogie was whole again, staring down at him.
"Happy?" Oogie demanded.
Jack's mouth moved, but he was in too much pain to really speak. Oogie's face softened slightly then he walked out of the room. He came back in with a bucket full of water and a rag. The old habit came back easily as the burlap man began cleaning the bloodstains off of the bones. The light feeling of the wet rag made Jack sigh as the pain began to diminish. He closed his eyeholes and relaxed as Oogie calmly cleaned every bit of blood away. Jack was half asleep by the time he was done.
"Come on Jack. You need to get dressed," Oogie said softly.
"Help me up?" Jack asked weakly.
The Bogeyman obliged then reached into the satchel and pulled out Jack's…
"You planned on sleeping here?" Oogie asked in shock, holding the nightgown out.
"If you'll let me."
Oogie looked hesitant. "Fine. But only because you're too tired to get back to your own house," he said.
Oogie helped Jack slip on his nightgown then led him over to his bed. Oogie climbed onto it and Jack happily nuzzled into the bug infested cloth. He rested his head just under his friend's chin. They were quiet for a while, Jack listening to the bugs that composed Oogie's insides.
"Jack, why would you still want to be my friend?" Oogie finally asked quietly.
"Why wouldn't I?" Jack replied.
"I almost ate Sandy Claws. I tried to take over all the Holidays. I've been such a…a jerk to you. And despite all of that, you came here tonight, to give me back my first job. You obviously still care, but after all I've done, why would you—?"
"Oogie, you're my friend. You were the first friend I ever had. True, I've gotten mad at you more than a few times over the years, but I love you. You were there for me when nobody else was, and I didn't repay the favor. I ignored you in the hustle and bustle of creating Halloween Town. For that, I beg that you accept my apology. I wasn't a very good friend. Forgive me."
Oogie couldn't help but notice how Jack's voice trembled slightly at the end. He tilted the bone man's chin up and was touched to see that Jack was crying. He held Jack tighter.
"I forgive you," he whispered finally. "If you'll forgive me."
Jack let out a sob. "Th-thank you. And I do. I forgive you."
They fell asleep, snuggled together like they did when they had been new to this world. Jack felt a wonderful peace as he woke up to hear the quiet movement of bugs inside of his pillow-like friend. He smiled and stayed still for a while, listening to Oogie breathe in and out. He finally started bunching up the fabric underneath his hands in a sort of massage. Oogie's breathing became shallower and he finally stretched and yawned.
"Morning, Creepy," he muttered as he looked down at Jack.
Jack snickered as he replied, "Morning, Crawly."
Oogie smiled, unable to help himself. He had missed those words. Jack stood and stripped his nightgown off then pulled on his pants and shirt. He'd left his jacket and bat-tie back at the house. He suddenly flinched.
"Something wrong?" Oogie asked, sounding worried.
"Those damned bugs missed them again!" Jack exclaimed.
"Let me see," the burlap man said.
Jack sat back down on the bed and held out his hands. Oogie split the seams on the end of his arm, and several bugs dashed forward to chomp down on the stretches of pink. Their feet tickled his bones and he laughed softly. They cleared the pieces of flesh from his hands and feet then scurried back into Oogie. Jack flexed his hands and feet, sighing in relief.
"Thank you, Oogie," Jack said appreciatively. "That's a great help."
"So…you're going to eat and leave, or just leave, or…what?" Oogie asked, twiddling the points of his arms together nervously.
"I could stand to eat," Jack said. "But I have to get back to Sally. I left her with the doctor. Maybe we could come over for brunch? I haven't had your famous snake and spider stew in a while, and I know Sally hasn't ever had it."
Oogie blinked. "Really? You want me to see your wife?"
"Certainly. You're my friend, aren't you?"
Oogie shrugged and suddenly smirked. "I'm surprised you finally got some. I mean, you're the poster child for the unmarried bachelor."
Jack blinked at him then laughed. "Yes, well, I finally fell in love. Sally's a wonderful girl. Though I'm afraid she'll be nervous around you."
"Considering I tried to kill her, it's not surprising."
"Now, you must be on your best behavior, alright? And I mean best behavior. I would greatly appreciate you not coming on to my wife, too. Understand?"
"Eh, she's yours. Nothing much could have happened between us anyway."
"You could take that potion and something could," Jack said. "But let's not get into that. Just respect Sally enough that you not try anything."
Oogie nodded. "I'll try. What time should I expect you?"
"Um…ten. I'll see you then, friend of mine."
Oogie and Jack both paused when they were alone and had the same thought. 'This is weird…'