The Nightmare Before Christmas Fan Fiction ❯ Switch ❯ Chapter 1
Jack walked purposefully toward the Treehouse, anger lengthening his strides. He wasn't looking forward to what he was going to do, but it had to be done. He didn't bother knocking at all, heading down to Oogie's room. The Bogeyman was pleasantly surprised.
"Jack! How lovely to see you! What brings you down here?"
"I'm going to beat the life back into those children!" Jack growled.
Oogie blinked. "Oh really?"
"Yes, I need to borrow your switch."
Oogie retrieved it. "I hate to tell you this Jack, but they're not home."
"I know. They just blew up half the pumpkin patch. Behemoth's got terrible burns and he's more upset than I've ever seen him! But they'll come home because they won't know I'm here."
"Jack, before you switch them, you need to calm down. How about a game of Ratscrew?"
Jack reluctantly agreed. He was more relaxed when Lock, Shock, and Barrel came walking in. They froze when they saw the Pumpkin King.
"H-hey Jack…" Shock said with a gulp.
Jack stood, switch in hand. They looked terrified, backing up.
"Running will get you nowhere," Oogie said firmly. "Now come here. That's an order."
"B-but we didn't mean for it to go off!"
"That's no excuse! What did I tell you? No hurting people, and that means accidentally or on purpose!" Jack snarled. "Now who's first?"
They shook their heads, cowering against the wall.
"Shock, you're the oldest. Come here. You two, go into the other room," Jack said, pointing.
Lock and Barrel scrambled to obey, happy to put off their punishment. They shot Shock a pitying glance before they went around the corner. Shock stood frozen against the wall.
"Come. Here. Shock. I will not ask again."
She approached slowly, already tearing up. Jack was amazed. Switching had never worked so well on him. Then again, pain never really fazed him when he was human. He silently knelt down and pulled her to face to the right. He'd never done this before so he wasn't sure how many licks were appropriate. He looked to Oogie.
"I'd say fifteen," Oogie replied. "I mean, they did hurt somebody. But you can give them more if you'd like."
Jack steeled himself and raised his hand. The first contact with the switch had Shock arching away from the blow, but Jack didn't give her the chance to recover. He hit her fifteen times in quick succession, and she let out cry after cry of pain. Jack finished and spun her around.
"Now go and sit in that corner, facing the wall." She obeyed, lowering herself down hesitantly. She was distinctly uncomfortable and Jack knew it. "Lock, get in here!" he called.
Lock came to stand in front of him, trying to look brave. Jack turned him and delivered the same burning punishment. Lock was crying just as hard as Shock had been and Jack sent him into a different corner. Barrel was called out and received the same. Jack sent him into another corner then stood. He handed Oogie the switch.
"Want to stay for dinner?"
"That would be lovely."
"Good. I'll go get it ready."
Oogie left, and Jack was left with three sniffling children. He sat down in a chair and his mind was drawn back to his own punishments as a child. Though he wasn't affected by physical pain in the same way that others were, emotional pain still made him cry something fierce. He had been insulted and cursed at while he was being switched, and he acutely remembered wishing that somebody would hold him and comfort him afterwards. He let them sit there for five more minutes then cleared his throat.
"Come here, kids."
They obeyed immediately.
Jack knelt down and drew them close. They seemed shocked, but slowly relaxed and just cried. Jack smiled, glad they weren't angry with him. He pulled back to look at their tear-stained faces.
"Now, listen here," Jack said firmly. "You cannot hurt people, alright? It's not right."
"But Jack, we really didn't mean for it to go off!" Barrel said earnestly.
"What was it?"
"It looked like a ball, so we were playing with it," Lock said. "But when it started beeping, we realized it was a bomb."
"Where'd you get it?" Jack asked.
Shock blushed. "The doctor. We stole it from his bag."
"See, that's not smart. The doctor does some very grown up experiments. What something looks like belies its function with a lot of his inventions. I suppose that switching was for stealing from the doctor and playing with something that you didn't know the function of. You cannot do that." He paused. "Next time I'll clear up what happened before I switch you, that way you know what you're being punished for. Sound good?"
"Not the getting switched part, but the clearing up part does," Shock said with a nod.
"The rats are done," Oogie said, standing in the doorway and watching with interest.
"Excellent. Let's go eat," Jack said happily. "And yes, you will have to sit."
They cringed, but obeyed. Dinner was pleasant and everybody enjoyed themselves, even though the kids were constantly shifting as they tried to alleviate the ache in their posteriors. Jack gambled with them a bit then bid them goodnight and left. He walked home feeling pleased. That had gone as well as it could have, and he was sure they would think twice before doing something stupid again. Jack couldn't help but smile. Those kids were alright.