The Nightmare Before Christmas Fan Fiction ❯ Rekindling Warmth ❯ Sandy's Mistake ( Chapter 3 )
Sandy and the other Holiday leaders were horrified to see Jack sitting on a tombstone calmly talking to the burlap man who had kidnapped most of them and tried to kill the other, not once, but twice. He laughed at something Oogie said and playfully poked him. Oogie just looked amused. Patrick suddenly leaned down.
"Santa, is this jack-i'-the-box yours?"
They all stared at it. Suddenly a demonized looking ghost leaped from it and lunged for them. They screamed and stumbled backward. There was a burst of children's laughter as they tripped over a well placed log and fell into a heap.
"Got 'em!" Lock crowed. "Thanks, Edward."
"No problem. I love a good scare," the ghost replied, looking quite white now. "Call me if you want to do this again."
"Most definitely," Barrel laughed.
The ghost departed and the three children burst into laughter again as they caught the looks on the Holiday leader's faces.
Sandy stood. "Naughty children never get any presents," he said sternly.
"We have never gotten any presents, alive or dead."
"Because your naughty," Sandy said firmly.
"Pulling a few pranks isn't naughty. It's all in good fun," Shock said with her nose in the air. "And the reason we didn't get anything when we were alive is because the bigger kids didn't think we deserved presents."
"'You don't get anything, Lock, because your too stupid,'" Lock said, deepening his voice.
"'It's a good thing you always dress like a witch, Shock,'" the girl said in a high voice, "'because you sure are ugly. Ugly girls don't get presents.'"
Barrel stayed silent. Lock and Shock each wrapped an arm around him.
"Did they not say anything bad about you?" Sally asked as she, Jack, and Oogie stopped in front of them.
"I'm not allowed to say the words they called me."
"How bad could it be?" Oogie asked.
"Trusdar. Dickheed. Other grown up things that I didn't understand when I was alive."
Jack snarled. "I was called the same and worse. It's horrible. I would kindly ask you to not call anybody those things, but you're not in trouble for saying it now."
"What does that even mean?" Patrick asked. "It sounds like Gaelic, but not any that I've eva heard."
"That's because yours is Irish. That's Scottish."
There was a pause. "Yer Scottish?"
"Did I not tell you where Halloween originated?" Jack asked dryly.
They blinked. "Aye," Patrick said. "But we didn't make the connection."
"Chan neo-ar-thaing. Thu chan glic."
The kids suddenly burst out laughing, and Oogie snickered.
"Tha mi a' dol leat, Jack," Barrel giggled.
Jack flashed him a mean grin. "Iomadh taing."
"What are ya sayin'?" Patrick demanded.
"Oh…nothing," Jack said innocently.
"Shouldn't you know, if it's the same language?" Sally asked.
"Oh Sally," Jack laughed. "Though it is called the same, Scottish and Irish aren't the same thing. They're just different enough that he has no idea what I'm saying."
"What are you saying?"
The kids tittered. "Oh…I'll explain later," Jack said sweetly.
"Ya insulted me!" Patrick growled.
"No. I insulted all of you," the bone man said matter-of-factly.
There was a burst of yelling from the leaders, and Jack sniggered into his hand.
"Tha iad èibhinn, Jack," Shock said when the Holiday leaders had descended into grumbling.
"Tha mi a' dol leat," Jack replied. "But it can't be helped. They are from different times and worlds."
"I have a question," Squanto asked.
"I don't think he's going to tell you what he, or we, said," Lock said pointedly.
"No. Not that. How do you speak English? I was taught by the white men. Patrick grew up in a mixed tongue community. Santa originated in Turkey, and Cupid in Rome, but they travelled the world as young men and learned English. Bunny came to in England. Sam is purely American. But you lived in a small village in Scotland over two thousand years ago. I would bet that not one little bit of English was spoken to you or around you while you were there."
"True. I just woke up here and English is what I spoke. I knew Gaelic still, so I knew that English wasn't my native tongue. Some sort of magic happened. Maybe it was the fire? I don't know. It's just the way it was."
"One more question, Jack," Sandy said, his voice painfully neutral.
"What is he doing here?"
Jack stiffened and glanced over at Oogie. "Well…he has something he wants to say to all of you."
"Oh really?" Sandy asked, narrowing his eyes and crossing his arms.
Oogie was so nervous, yet he felt strangely calm. He knew what to expect. These men weren't Sally. They wouldn't take him in so easily. So he prepared himself for the rejection he knew was to come and calmly spoke.
"I would like to apologize for kidnapping the five of you, and for trying to kill you, Sandy."
"Twice," Sandy said flatly.
"Yes, twice. Please forgive me."
They all stared at him.
"No," Sandy said simply.
"Come now, Sandy!" Jack exclaimed.
"He tried to kill me. Twice!" Sandy exclaimed.
"Oh, he's over that," Jack said dismissively. "He just wants to be friends now, right Oogie?"
"I was thinking more like friendly acquaintances," the Bogeyman said guardedly.
"That works, too," Jack replied. "So what do you say?"
The Holiday leaders looked at each other then faced Jack and replied in unison. "No."
Jack frowned. Honestly, he knew it had been a long shot. They were reacting just like he knew they would. Still, it was a little disappointing.
"I'm going to go take the kids swimming," Oogie muttered to Jack, then turned and gestured at the three children.
Jack watched him go, bracing himself for what he knew was coming.
"How could you Jack?!" Sandy spat once they were gone.
"How could I what?" Jack demanded hotly. "How could I get my friend back? How could I start to understand his pain and what he's been through for the past two thousand years? How could I finally start to get to know the kids that have been with me for three hundred twenty-six years, and who have avoided me because they thought I didn't like them? Is that what you're asking Sandy?!"
Fire had literally appeared in his eyeholes as he glared at them. They were taken aback. Jack was speaking good about those troublemaking brats and their kidnapper of a boss?
"Jack, do you really think he's different? Just last year, he attacked you."
"Oh yeah…I should ask him about that…" Jack murmured, calming quickly. "He had to have a reason."
They started discussing their Holidays to get Jack off of the topic of Oogie Boogie. He readily accepted the topic change, but they all knew it wasn't over. It was proved when Barrel came running up to Jack. His costume was on backwards and he was soaked.
"J-Jack! W-water! Oogie! L-lake! P-people laughing!" he gasped.
"Oh, by the great pumpkin, he didn't fall in did he?!"
Barrel shook his head and grabbed Jack's hand. Jack didn't give Barrel three steps before he picked him up and the bone man sprinted toward the lake. Jack got there to find nearly the entire town there, giddy laughter filling the air. Lock and Shock were standing boldly in front of Oogie. They were still in their swimwear.
Jack set Barrel down. "Mayor! What in the hell is going on here?!" he demanded.
"Jack," Mayor said, turning to smile happily at him; how did he not know that that was the wrong face? "We're just having a little fun."
"Fun for who?" Jack asked coldly.
The mayor's face switched rapidly to the other one then back to happy. "Us of course."
"What about Oogie?"
"Who cares?" Bertha asked dismissively.
"I care," Jack said through clenched teeth. "Now leave Oogie and the kids alone."
The town mumbled together but didn't disperse. Sally, Sandy, and the other Holiday leaders showed up and there was confusion. Jack heard a sharp gasp as Oogie was forced back toward the water. He nearly fell in, but Sandy grabbed him, much to Jack's relief. His relief lasted three seconds. Sandy glared at him then dropped him. Jack yelled and dove into the water. He heaved his friend out, and Oogie took off at a dead run for home. Jack looked at the kids and gestured for them to follow. He grabbed Sally.
"Go with them. They know what to do. Pop his seems, slice him open, I'll sew him back together again. Just go! Quickly!"
Sally sprinted after the kids, who had taken off as soon as they had registered what had happened. Jack turned slowly to face the crowd, who were all laughing. The laughter stopped abruptly as flames started crackling around Jack.
"Come now Jack, 'twas funny!" Patrick said, though he was wary.
"Funny?" Jack asked coldly as the flames burned hotter. "That was cruel. You all think you're so high and mighty, but you're all just as bad as Oogie used to be. Now you six get out of my Holiday, the rest of you get back home and stay there."
"Jack that's a little extreme," Sandy started.
"I will not ask again."
"Jack," Cupid began.
Fire exploded upward and outward so violently that the heat seared the lake away wherever the flames licked at the water. Everybody scrambled away. The Holiday leaders ran as fast as they could to get away from everybody. They ended up hiding behind a cluster of trees. They heard a noise and turned to see Lock pacing in front of a great Treehouse. Jack sprinted up and knelt down to talk to him.
"Is he alright?"
Lock paused and played with his hands. "The bugs are okay. The wet string didn't want to burst, and Sally said you'd sew him back together, so we took scissors to his burlap. I think a couple didn't make it, but most of 'em did."
Jack nodded solemnly. "Let's go sew him back together."