Hello, any readers who might be interested and read this! I was looking for ROTG/Nightmare Before Christmas crossovers, and I discovered this is a genre terribly ignored! The ones that are there are great, but there's not that many...so I decided to add to it! I'm not sure how many-if any-people will choose to read this, but if you do, I hope you enjoy. :)
To those readers of my other fic, A Visit From Afar, I promise I'm not going to ignore that one-this has been chasing itself around in my head for a while and really had to write it! ^-^
I do not own either The Nightmare Before Christmas or Rise of the Guardians, though I believe in the latter, and possibly the former! XD
"What goes together better than cold…and dark?"
Pitch Black's words, spoken before the final battle with the Guardians, echoed around in Jack Frost's head incessantly as he flew over the desolate mountain ranges that marked the top of the world, trailing a howling maelstrom behind and around him. Eyes closed, he hurtled through the air as fast as he could, mind in anguish.
Why had it all gone so very wrongly? If only he hadn't followed that voice after dropping Sophie off at home, gone after his memories…He squeezed his eyes shut even tighter, refusing to put his desire into words, especially now that it had become so clear it was never to be. He'd gone back to the Guardians, helped to defeat Pitch—but only for Jaime, his first believer.
Jaime. That was his one true regret at leaving—never seeing the boy again. Jaime was so full of wonder, of hope, and fun that it was pleasure merely to be around him, to hear his bright chatter, to see his gap-toothed smile—but the Guardians had made it clear on Easter that he was no longer wanted, and Jack hadn't given them time to change their minds after Pitch's defeat. He had only taken a moment to rest his hand on the top of Jaime's head, then flown off in the midst of a summoned storm so fierce none of the others were able to follow him.
He hadn't wanted their censure, their pity—he wasn't one of them, and they would never accept him. All he wanted was to get away, to fly as fast and far as he could, to never see any of them ever again. Because if he did, if he saw them together as a front, as a smiling, happy family—it might truly destroy him to know he would never have that.
So that is what he did—going so far and so fast that he lost track of time, of location, of anything but the agony within him, until he crashed exhausted at the foot of a gnarled tree.
Hours later, that is h where Jack Skeleton, resident Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, found the Winter Spirit.
He had awoken to feel a biting chill in the air, and upon looking out the window had discovered—much to his shock—that everything seemed to be covered in a thick layer of some fluffy, white substance which was falling from the sky. Some white clumps flew in through the open window and landed on his skull, making him flinch. They were wet, and cold. He brightened. How inconceivable! Something new! This was exactly what he needed, a distraction from the usual Halloween routine! Practically jumping up and down with excitement, the Pumpkin King left his tower in a quick fashion, stopping only to whistle for Zero at the graveyard.
Looking around, he saw the denizens of Halloween Town out and about in the white…stuff. Several hags were cackling in glee, and skeletons hid in piles of the stuff, jumping out in the attempt to frighten ghouls and witches.
The mayor slowly climbed the stairs to his speaking platform (falling several times in the process—apparently the white substance made everything slippery). Upon finally reaching the top, he opened his mouth to speak, only to have a particularly large clump of white fall from the sky into his mouth. Everyone looked delighted (in their own manner), but nobody seemed quite sure of what to do with the strange new stuff.
The skeleton debated joining them, but something seemed to draw him inexplicably on, out of Halloween Town. His mind whirled furiously, trying to figure out what could be done with this strange new phenomenon. He was sure it was something big, something marvelous—but what? If only he could get thos to happen much more often. The thought made him giddy, and so the Pumpkin King resolved then and there to cammandeer whatever it was that had made this wonderful white…stuff.
He was so caught up in his thought s that he didn't notice the obstacle in his path until it was too late…
Groaning, he looked up out of the mound of fluffy coldness. What had he fallen over? True, it had felt as cold as the stuff falling from the sky, but it had been…solid. He had thought that the…stuff…goodness, he really needed a better name for it…was soft, not tangible. Peering upwards in confusion, the skeleton froze when he saw what had caused him to fall.
Froze, he thought. Perhaps that described the falling substance. Then he went back to staring in interest at the obstacle in his path.
Lying half-covered by huge drifts of the fluffy white frozen stuff lay a boy. At least, the Pumpkin King assumed it was a boy—while he could have been a ghoul or some such, from this distance it seemed unlikely. The sprawled figure was white-haired, yet there seemed to be no clear air of "old age" around him. He seemed to be garbed in a blue hooded garment from what little Skeleton Jack though he could see, but the mound of…real, what should he call it?—covered the figure too much for him to be sure of anything else. The boy's skin was paler than death, and lay so still that his observer wondered if he was indeed deceased, and, if that were to be the case, if he would resurrect in some way to join Halloween Town—then noted the faint, barely perceptible rise and fall of the lad's chest. So. Alive, then. Well, that always worked too. Skeleton n Jack stared some more. What an interesting boy.
After several moments, he became aware finally registered that Zero was barking and pulling anxiously at his clothes. Reluctantly, he stood , brushing off his black garments. It was regrettable he had to leave his interesting find and return to the normal routine, but if nothing else was to be done…
Then it hit him, and the thought was so simple he could have struck himself. He didn't have to leave the stranger behind—he could be brought back to town! That way, he could have a mystery, something new, and a break from his normal routine! Chuckling to himself, Skeleton Jack stooped over, grabbed the boy gently, and strode back to town whistling, his precious burden clasped in his arms, grabbing a stick the lad seemed to have a death-grasp on.
Jack Frost woke slowly, clenching his staff, feeling stiff. Apparently, spending so much energy on a snowstorm and losing control was a bad idea. He wondered where he had ended up; the last memory he had was flight, a state he was very obviously no longer in. He could only hope he hadn't landed anywhere near the Guardians—wouldn't that be just his luck!, he thought bitterly, to expend so much energy getting away that he was driven right back to square one.
He moved a bit, and was alarmed to hear the rustling of cloth around him. Now that he thought about it, Jack noticed that the surface he was lying on was soft, very soft indeed—but not the softness he had come to associate with snow or wind, his two constant companions. He was in a bed, then—somewhere he hadn't had the luxury of lying in since he was changed into a Spirit. That meant somebody had taken him in, had found him, and he meant to find out who. Please not the Guardians, please not the Guardians—bracing himself, he opened his eyes. And stared in shock.
He was indeed lying in a bed—but it was unlike any others he could ever remember having seen before. The sheets were a cool, shadowy grey color which seemed to shimmer different hues of blue whenever Jack moved. Rubbing his fingers experimentally across it, he noticed it felt so smooth, so insubstantial that he almost expected it to float away. Perfect for a Winter Spirit, he thought in awe. There were many pillows behind him, from the feel of it, also coated in the same mysterious fabric. Looking up, Jack realized he was in a canopied bed, but the way it was arranged was anything but normal. The "roof" of the canopy wasn't made of cloth at all, but appeared to be the massive bones of some gigantic creature; it spanned from far above his head to the sides. Huge, pinnacle-like teeth dangled down and pointed upwards, like strange stalagmites and stalactites. The bed itself was nestled in the gargantuan maw, creating strange patterns and dim light to come through. Frost had spread out from where Jack lay in fern-like tendrils, creating another layer of color on the blanket.
All in all, it was singularly the oddest room Jack had ever seen, and he hadn't even seen the rest yet!
He felt something stirring within his chest; to his astonishment, he realized it was Wonder, the first he had felt since Pitch had broken his staff. Bewildered, he ''prodded" it dubiously, sure it would remind him of the Guardians and the hurt he still associated with them, but it showed no signs of doing so. Reassured—if still baffled—Jack prepared to look around the rest of the room.
Before he could do so, however, the sound of a door opening reverberated through the air, and when Jack could see the person who had entered, he could only stare.
If he had thought the room was odd, the man—for man it clearly was, no matter what else it may be—was odder yet. He was tall, almost abnormally so, and garbed in stark black with a small accentuation of white lines on it. His outfit was a suit, with a spiky, pointed collar. This in itself might not appear the most unusual of clothing choices at all, but it was the man himself who put the finishing touch on the ensemble. He was, without a trace of doubt, a skeleton. There was no part clothed in flesh, only bare bone—but while others might have reached for weapons or flinched back in alarm, Jack leaned forward, fascinated. This man was unique, individual, and dark—and Jack liked him, even before he had said a thing.
The first words the man uttered were an exuberant exclamation, "So, I see you've awoken! I understand you may be worried about where you are, but let me reassure you! You are safe in Halloween Town, though I do find it odd I have never seen you before. I found you in the woods and said to myself, "Jack, this lad looks like he could use a place to stay, why not take him back with you?"
He beamed, and Jack felt his lips curving into an answering grin at the man's sheer energy and excitement. The skeleton was talking to him, and it was grinning. How could this get any better?
"Jack?" he asked, puzzled. Had he introduced himself to the man and simply didn't remember it?
The figure before him whacked himself in the head. "Forgive me—where are my manners?" Straightening up, he bowed courteously. "I am Skeleton Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town."
"Jack?" he asked excitedly, "But that's my name too! Jack, Jack Frost!"
Then what the skeleton-man had said registered in his mind and he leapt up, excited, to perch on his staff, noticing with pleasure as he did so that he came nowhere near close to hitting the top part of the mouth his bed resided in. The skeleton—Jack—gave an inarticulate cackle of delight at seeing his movement.
"Halloween Town? You mean here? What's it like? I've never heard of it before! That means…" His eyes widened. "It's snowing, right?"
Skeleton Jack, who had appeared amused and pleased at his sudden barrage of questions, now looked puzzled. "Snow? What is it that you mean, snow?"
In response, Jack threw himself forward, flying to the window. Pointing at the icy spectacle below, he said laughingly, "That's snow!"
Skeleton Jack looked thrilled. "Is that what it's called?! What else do you know about it? Where does it live? What does it do?!"
"You-you've never had snow before, have you?" asked Jack, wonderingly. At his companion's headshake, he beamed. "Well, it looks like it's up to me to teach you! It doesn't really live anywhere, but as for what you can do with it…" His features curled into a wickedly mischievous smile, and before Skeleton Jack knew what was happening, a large ball of the 'snow' whacked him straight on in the face.
He stood still for a moment, then began to screech with hysterical laughter. Reaching out the window, he, too, grabbed a handful of snow and lobbed it at Jack Frost, who promptly deflected it, but not the next snowball. Lips curling into a smile of pleasure, Jack Frost let out a whoop—and the all-out Snow War began.
Hours later, the two flopped unceremoniously on the bed, grinning and a bit out of breath. As neither of them could feel cold or tire easily, the battle had gone on for far longer than Jack was used to, a fact he enjoyed immensely.
"So," queried Skeleton Jack, "How is it you know so much about this wonderful stuff?"
"I make it," retorted Jack, eyes shining with glee. The response he received was far different than what he had expected.
Skeleton Jack's eye sockets widened. (Idly, Jack wondered how they could—wasn't bone solid? Then he shrugged it off. If the skeleton could move around, talk, and smile, who was he to say bone couldn't have expressions?) If before he had looked ecstatic, now he appeared positively thrilled. "You make it?" he breathed in wonder. If only he could get the other jack to stay here, in Halloween Town!
Jack laughed merrily; the sounds seeming to fill the room and dance about. "Yeah, I've been doing it as long as I can remember," he confided. Then he frowned. "Of course, nobody ever saw me, and those that did…" Trailing off, he felt as though a heavy weight had once more descended upon his shoulders and chest. What was he thinking? Sure, he had had fun with the skeleton, but the other would want him to leave. Nobody ever wanted him to stay. Not even those commanded to by the Moon, he thought bitterly.
Next to him, Skeleton Jack was thinking the opposite. Surely a being of such great power would never want to stay in a little town like this one! After all, with snow at your fingertips, what could it really offer? Then he saw Jack's troubled expression, and the only thing he could think of was to get the boy to smile again. He knew what it was like to be outcast—nobody should have to deal with that.
"Stay here with us!" he exclaimed. "We of Halloween Town would love to have you here—and, of course, would relish in any snow you might choose to bestow upon us."
When the other's only reply was silence, Skeleton Jack began to fear he had misjudged the boy—he probably had many other places to go, people to see…Then Jack Frost's face split into the biggest smile the Pumpkin King had ever seen.
"I'd love to!" he replied Jack, exuberantly. "That-that is, if it's not too much of a bother for you…"
"How could you be a bother?" asked Skeleton Jack warmly, silently swearing to scare whoever had given the lad such a crack-brained notion through to next year. Beyond, if I can manage it, he thought grimly. Whoever it was had clearly underappreciated the Winter fellow. They'd not get a chance to make it better or worse—Skeleton Jack intended to keep Jack Frost in great happiness here for the rest of eternity. He and the residents of town appreciated Jack, and were going to do their very best to show it.
"Let's go tell the town this great news!" crowed Skeleton Jack, grabbing Jack Frost's hand and practically pulling him out of the room.
Running alongside him, Jack Frost began to laugh again. Oh, this, now this would be fun.
After all, what went together better than cold and dark?
So? What did you all think?
I'm unsure as to whether or not this will be a one-shot or not-it all depends on: a.) My own personal motivation, (though if I do continue, I know where I want it to end up), and b.) if anyone wants more and reviews telling me so/ likes it.
Here's to hoping!