Title: Most Wonderful Time
Fandom: Nightmare Before Christmas
Rating: G for gen (you can call it pre-slash if you're inclined)
Summary: A bit of Halloween in Christmas.
They formed a friendship afterward, which most of the inhabitants of Christmas Town thought odd in the extreme, while the denizens of Halloween Town didn't know what to think at all. Friendship was something the majority of Halloween Town didn't do all that well--much like Christmas.
Nevertheless there were a fair number of afternoons when Jack could be found in Santa's parlor, the two of them enjoying gingermint tea, or Santa on the portico of Jack's tower dwelling, sampling spiderweb stew (which was close enough to cotton candy, if one closed one's eyes).
Novembers were Jack's favorite. Christmas Town was nearly up to full speed for the season, and the snowflakes fluffy and the tinsel at its brightest, but it was not quite so busy for Santa that he couldn't extend a figurative hand to a friend, particularly one who was in his own post-holiday let-down mood and still hungry for a taste of the marvelous gift-giving celebration that he'd just not been able to master.
"Heard you had quite a hit this year with the Bodiless Horseman," Santa soothed, pushing Jack's cup of tea closer to him; Jack's attention was on the light display outside the window. "Clever twist on an old classic, that."
"Hm? Oh, yes!" Jack's bony finger threaded through the cup handle. "Yes, Sally thought it would be clever to have the hat match the saddle. That," he gestured at the window, "is magnificent! How those lights move along like that!"
Santa chuckled. "They're called chasing lights."
"Chasing lights!" Jack set his cup down into its saucer again. "Oh! I could do that, you know--half the scare of the Horseman effect is how it chases the victim to his doom, I'm very good at--"
"Oh, dear." Deflated, Jack set his hands in his lap. "I was--doing it again, wasn't I? Coveting Christmas. Getting carried away."
Santa chuckled again, because, after all, that was what Santa did. "If it's any consolation, Jack, you're not going to be forgotten by those who celebrate Christmas."
Jack did not look happier. "Oh, I know. But that's because I ruined it the single time I tried it. That's not what--"
"No, that's not what I meant. I want you to hear something." He cocked his head as if to better catch the thread of music that constantly filled Christmas Town. "Yes, coming up right now. I asked them to make sure this one was played during your visit today."
Jack's eye sockets perked wider with surprise, then drew down as he concentrated on listening. It was a delightful song. Such happy sentiments! Be of good cheer. Happiest season of all. Was that what Santa wanted him to remember? Well, he would do it. He--
And then he heard it:
"...And caroling out in the snow,
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories..."
"Scary ghost stories?" Jack turned to Santa open-mouthed. "What are those doing in Christmas?"
Santa sipped his tea and shrugged, the picture of nonchalance. "Haven't the faintest." He sipped again, for effect. "But that song's a recent addition to Christmas."
Jack's mouth was a perfect "o" now. "You--do you think...?" If he'd had a lower lip it might have trembled.
It wouldn't have been kind for Santa to tease Jack any longer. He broke into a broad grin. "I don't have to think. I know, Jack. I'm Santa Claus, after all." He clapped Jack on the back, having forgotten that doing so was like catching one's hand on a skate blade. But he suppressed the wince. "There's a bit of Halloween in Christmas because of you, and no one questions it." He lifted his cup in salute. "Merry Christmas, friend Jack."
"I--Merry Christmas, Santa!" Jack laughed, almost spilling his cup in his haste to lift it and clink it against the other's man's.
Santa winked. "Call me Sandy."