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Sewing Basket


© NintendoGal55

In the scene from the movie, Sally gives Jack a basket of goodies and then is gone when he leans out to thank her. But what would happen if he didn't take that lying down, and instead went after her to thank her instead? Let's just say he gets A LOT more than he bargained for...and all just because of a sewing basket. Collaboration.

Characters belong to Tim Burton ©

Chapter: 1 2 3 4


As the summary describes, this is what COULD have happened following the scene where Jack receives a little gift from Sally in a sewing basket.

It contains MAJOR upon MAJOR fluff and romance and love and kissing!

You have been warned.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


"There must be a logical way to explain this Christmas thing..." Jack mumbled to himself yet again on this evening as he continued to try and puzzling his way into an explanation of the warmth and brightness and happiness of Christmas. And yet no matter how hard he tried...the essence of what he was searching for always seemed to elude him. It was so frustrating. He had found what he was looking for...but it was like he just coudn't grasp it. After all...Christmas HAD to be what he was looking for in his life...right? 'Of course...' he assured himself with a nod. And yet...a melancholy thought couldn't help popping into his head at this point in his evening of fruitless thinking. 'Maybe...Maybe I never will understand the joy of Christmas...and all of the love it brings...' He sighed to himself.

Tap Tap

Jack blinked at the sound meeting his would-be ears and then looked over at the window where it had appeared to come from. Something was....out there? He approached the window curiously and opened it up. 'A...basket?' He blinked several times and glanced down... 'Sally?' He smiled, unable to help it. He hadn't seen her much in a little while... And what oh what had his little friend brought him?

Sally stood down below, holding the rope that had lifted the little basket of goods up to his window. Earlier on, she had decided to give him a little something to show she cared, and to take his mind off things, since she could sense he was quite troubled, since he hadn't been out since he introduced Christmas to everyone when he returned to town. So, she prepared a few things, as well as a drink with a cute little trick she hoped he would like, and placed it all into her sewing basket.

She had broken out through her window this time, having snuck the key to the window in order to open it. With no other way out, she had to jump out the window after gently lowering the basket with thread and her sewing machine. All but one of her arms had gotten severed on the impact, but it was an easy feat to sew herself back together and make her way to Jack's home. She'd raised up the basket and managed to tap on his window, hoping he would see it.

When she saw him looking out and down at her, that confirmed it. When he waved at her, Sally felt as if her stuffing would burst at the seams!

When he disappeared from view, and assured that the basket was in his hands, she let go of the rope and then quickly hurried off through the gate.

Jack held the lovely basket full of so many strange things in his hands now. Of course he hadn't meant to take something like this without thanking her first, but he had felt a small pang of guilt at seeing her having to hoist this heavy little load all the way up here and so his first thought had been to relieve her of that burden immediately. He touched a few of the items in the basket, though the first thing his eye sockets really fell on was a large blue corked bottle. 'Hmm...' He picked it up and opened it and almost gasped. A delicate apparition of a butterfly in iridescent smoke appeared before him, gently fluttered its wings and then disappeared into the cold air of the winter's night. It was beautiful...and almost in the way Christmas was beautiful, no less! Delicate and sweet and graceful and nice... 'But then again, of anyone in this town...who else to expect something like that from than Sally, I suppose...'

The happy thought passed through his mind as a delighted Jack corked the bottle and went for the window again, fully prepared to give Sally the most gracious thank you he could and then to invite her up out of the cold. 'Poor thing--it's chilly enough to freeze the dead tonight...' Jack leaned out of the window and looked down, his mouth half opened in speech...but then he paused.

She was...gone. Only the rope she had used to hoist up the basket remained.

Jack felt puzzled...and also disappointed. Why wouldn't she want to stay to at least let him say thank you? He blinked, a thought occurring to him. 'Perhaps I offended her by not saying thank you in the first place...' He almost gasped at the idea and felt so rude all of a sudden for taking those few seconds to move away from the window and explore her gift just now. Instantly Jack placed Sally's gift to the side and headed over the stairs to descend.

"Zero," he let his dog know over his shoulder, "I'm stepping out for a moment. Don't worry, I'll be right back..."

And with that Jack headed down to do his best to find Sally... 'After all, she couldn't have gotten far...' he assured himself as he opened his front door and stepped out into the brisk night.

Even though Sally couldn't exactly feel pain or much of anything, the brisk, cool night was a bit tough on her. She hugged herself a bit, leaning against the wall not far from the gate leading to his home. While she wanted to stick around to say hello...she chickened out. Even a part of her wanted to use this gesture to tell him she loved him... But again, chickened out. Any attempt she'd made and it always ended the same way.

After all, she also didn't want to bother him more than she did. Offer the goodies, and then leave, so that she wouldn't burden his studies with her presence.

She sighed then, still walking on a bit, hugging herself as she looked up at the starry sky. She then began to sing, softly, along with the harmonious music of the band playing nearby.

"Why can't I just be brave?
Anytime I try, I just run
Scared as I may be
What we would have could be so fun

At times I wonder why
But in all it gives me strength
Helps ease my days and nights a great length

Does he notice my feelings for him?
And will he see
How much he means to me?
I think it's not to be....

Although I'd like to show him I care
Try as I may
It never works
If only it were not so hard to say

And will we ever
End up together?
No, I think not
It's never to become

For am I not...the one..."

Singing? Jack could hear...singing? But it sounded like it was coming from a different direction than the one in which he had headed in search of Sally. He couldn't make out the words but the tone of the voice definitely sounded female...Perhaps...Sally? He had never heard her sing before...He didn't even know she could? If it was her though, even from this far away...her voice was...beautiful. Jack couldn't let go of this thought as he raced in the direction of the haunting music, seeing the town band not too far off. Perhaps they had seen her, or at least whoever had been singing? Jack paused before them upon reaching them and gave a smile and a small bow. "Good evening, gentlemen. Erm...have any of you seen Sally or whoever was singing just now?" he asked, hoping the question didn't sound too silly.

The saxophone player just looked at him and then shifted his head to gesture down and behind the wall against which the bandplayers were resting. "One and the same is right behind there, bone daddy..." he replied, looking back to Jack. "And I think she's looking for you too..." He said no more, putting his mouth to the reed of his sax and starting to play a quiet tune.

Jack blinked and hesitated for a moment. Looking for him too? But...that didn't make any sense. She had just run away from him... Still though perhaps it was just a joke or something from the spooky saxophonist, or he had misunderstood. Either way, Jack now knew where Sally was...and also that she could sing. He smiled and nodded at the band. "Thank you. Have a good night, fellas." He gave them a wave and then slowly crept behind and walked up the length of the wall, not wanting to surprise or startle her as he came upon her.

Sally hugged herself again and shivered a bit, feeling quite a bit cold. Maybe I should have made something warm to wear... Caught up in her thoughts and still trying to keep warm, she didn't quite notice that she was being pursued...

Jack paused the instant he caught sight of her. She was sitting down on the damp ground against the old wall, holding herself...shivering! A very deep frown instantly came to his face. No, no, no, this wouldn't do at all--even if she was upset with him or something he was going to insist on her coming back to his home to warm up by the fire and with some tea, and he simply would not take no for an answer. Letting out a breath he cleared his throat and prepared to make his presence know. "Sally...?" he whispered quielty, doing his best to turn his frown into a welcoming smile down at her.

Sally gasped and looked up with shock, and then stood up. "Jack!! ...W-What...what are you doing out here...?"

Jack did his best not to chuckle at her slight fluster, not wanting to upset her. "I...was looking for you, actually. You never let me thank you at the window before..." He frowned a tiny bit. "I'm sorry I didn't say it right away but I thought I should take in the basket first so you wouldn't have to hold it up, and then I got distracted by its contents a little...but I really am sorry for my delayed response, Sally." He smiled again. "It really was a lovely gesture for you to give me all of that. Thank you." He gave her a small, graceful bow.

"Oh...." Sally was touched at his sentiment, and found herself smiling a bit too dreamily at him. She stepped a little closer. "Jack...I...I'm not upset about that...not at all...I...I just...d-didn't want to bother you..."

Jack looked at her curiously. "Bother me?" He smiled again. "Sally, you're my friend...you could never bother me. And on top of that you brought me a lovely gift tonight...What could be bothersome about that? Although, actually..." a bit of his former frown returned. "I suppose there is one thing that bothers me a little..." He looked at her with a touch of sadness in his eye sockets.

Her heart, if she had once, wrenched. Shyness pushed aside, she approached him a bit closer. "...What is it, Jack?" Sally looked very concerned, and a bit sad herself. It was strange, at times when he was sad and bothered, she felt the same, especially seeing him this way.

Seeing that little frown suddenly come to her face at his words made Jack feel even guiltier and sadder than he had felt before. Here she was, sad, alone, wet, cold, possibly hungry...and all to make him happy? All for his obsession with Christmas... Nothing about this whole Christmas thing had seemed wrong to him in even the slightest possible way until right now. He let out a small sigh and responded to her with everything that he was thinking. "You're out here all alone in the damp and the cold, and all on my account. I feel so awful about that, Sally. Please come back to my house for a little while to have some tea with me and warm yourself up." He smiled, hoping very much she would accept, and added, "I'll even walk you home when we're done, if you'd like." He bowed his head a little.

Sally would have blushed if she could, and was about to politely refuse, but could just see how much this bothered him. And likely...he wouldn't take no for an answer. Part of her feared being out so long, long enough for Dr. Finkelstein to find out....but the majority of her felt heartbroken at making him so sad and bothered. All because of what she was doing now. She wanted to hug him, assure that she was all right, and just spend forever with him...

"I...I...I appreciate your concern, Jack...I'm sorry I worried you." She said softly, looking down at the ground. "I...I....All right, I'll come back with you..." She'd made it this far, and wanted at least a little more time of happiness before going back to her prison.

Jack beamed inside. "Splendid! Let's go..." He took her hand and began to lead her along with him. "My house is this way from here...Oh, but...I guess you already know that since you ran this way from there." He chuckled a little. "Sorry, Sally, part of me can't help but still think of you as new to this place...I forget how familiar you must have already become with it after all of these months." He smiled more at her.

"That's all right, Jack...I understand..." Sally murmured, and felt herself melt in bliss as he held her hand. She fought the urge to snuggle up against him, like she had done one time she snuck out and they went for a nightly walk... Although, he didn't seem to mind at all. In fact, he welcomed it. ...But would he welcome it again?

Jack was still glancing at her and he noticed her smiling a lot more all of a sudden...like she was thinking about something very happy. It was nice seeing her like that. She was so sweet--who wouldn't love to see her smile? "Sally?" he asked quietly, a thought occurring to him as he continued to observe her in her nice little patchwork dress.

Snapping from her thoughts, Sally looked over at him with a sweet but nervously sheepish smile, as if waiting for a scolding. "Yes...?"

A small sigh escaped Jack. "It's the middle of winter. You really ought to have a coat out here...Even the walking dead can catch colds..." And then he stopped their progress forward for a moment and released her hand...only to bring both of his to the few low buttons on his jacket and undo them. "Here..." He slipped the coat from his arms, leaving him wearing just his dapper long sleeve white dress shirt and cute little bat bowtie, and then gently placed the garment around Sally's shoulders. "It's a little too thin for you to slip on until we get to my house, but it can at least cover you a little. After all, I would never forgive myself if you caught cold." He smiled down at her and took her hand again and proceed to once more slowly lead them on back to his house.

Sally let out a tiny gasp of surprise at his chivalrous gesture. Then again, that was something to expect since he was such a gentleman, but she loved that about him. She would have blushed if she could. He had just given her his pinstripe jacket...to keep her warm...and.... It smelled like him.... She let out a dreamy sigh, unable to help leaning a bit closer to him. She did feel a bit warmer, and especially so entranced with his scent, that she forgot all about being cold. "Oh Jack...thank you..." She murmured lovingly.

She was leaning against him and they way she had just spoken to him...Jack's eye sockets went wide and he...actually gulped. He had no idea why, he just...it...He did his best to take a breath. "Y-You're...You're welcome, S-Sally..." His voice cracked just the tiniest bit at her name and it made his eye sockets fly open wide once more. What had THAT been about? He shook his head trying to clear it as they came in sight of the walk up to his house. "I-It's the least I could do of course..." he added shyly with a humble smile. She really could be just so sweet sometimes...Sweet Sally. He liked calling her that. The idea of it made him smile a little more. And then he asked, barely realizing the words had left his mouth, "Do you sing, my sweet Sally?"

Sally's eyes shot open. Had he called her 'my sweet Sally'? His sweet Sally? A short breath escaped her, but she remained against him a little, unable to move away. "Um....I...um....s-sometimes..." Oh no, he didn't hear me sing just a couple minutes ago, did he?

Jack smiled more, finding himself resting against her just a little bit now as well. "I thought that might have been you...I was too far away to make out the words but I heard such beautiful tones...What a lovely voice you have, Sally. I like to sing too but...I never knew of anyone else around here who liked singing as well. I'm very happy I found out your secret...." He did his best not to chuckle and at the word secret he couldn't help but give her hand a little squeeze.

His actions of leaning against her as well, which surprised her, and squeezing her hand made her all but swoon softly. Sally managed to regain herself to answer him, despite that she was just about in a state of wonderful euphoria. "Oh... Thank you, Jack... I appreciate it." She had heard him sing too before, and could never get that angelic voice out of her head. Especially since that moment she overheard him meant so much to her, as it strengthened their connection and just made her fall more in love with him...if that was possible. "I guess...now it's our little secret..."

Jack actually chuckled a little at that playful response from her. "Exactly..." He winked at her and then gently pushed open the gate to his house, which they had just reached, and swung it open. He bent low, still holding her hand, and gestured forward. "Ladies first, of course..." He smiled up at her.

A pang of disappointment coursed through her, but it was impossible not to smile at his gentlemanly mannerisms. "Thank you, Jack..." She went through the gate, keeping a gentle but still firm hold of his hand, as if afraid to let go.

Feeling her hold on his hand tighten and with no inclination on his own part for letting hers go, Jack pushed the gate shut behind them with his free hand and resumed walking close beside her as they made their way up the drive. "So, if you don't mind my asking, Sally...what were you singing so sweetly about before?" He looked at her with a touch of curiosity in his smile.

Uh-oh. She was not expecting that question. Especially since her little song was all about how much she wanted to tell him she loved him...but was afraid to. What was she going to do now? She would never lie to him, and could never bring herself to do so. And hiding information was just about the same as lying. She felt her heart shatter, if she had one.

But then again...this was almost perfect, wasn't it? Maybe now was a great time to just be honest and let it all out on the table. Whatever he felt toward her, she would accept, even if he didn't reciprocate. She loved him far too much to force anything on him he wasn't ready for, or didn't want.

Sally turned to him, and exhaled as she then held his hand in both of hers, shaking a bit, but not from the cold. She looked up at him, and gathered up her courage.

"Jack, I....I was singing about...how much I lo-"

"Arf! Arf!" Zero came out the front door, or rather, through the front door as he barked happily in greeting. Especially at seeing Sally again, who he really liked.

"Zero!" Jack couldn't help but smile in welcome at the little dog. He reached out his free hand and scratched behind his ghostly ears a little. "See boy, I told you I'd be back soon...And look, I brought our special friend Sally..." Saying her name reminded him that Sally had just been in the middle of speaking and he looked to her again with a smile. "I'm sorry, Sally, what were you saying again? You were singing about....?" He let the sentence hang, not able to remember the rest of the words she had started with in explanation.

"Um...I...I was singing about...." Sally felt all of her courage go down the drain, and just...lied. She hated herself for it now. Why couldn't she be honest? "...How much I missed you." Okay, that wasn't too far from the truth, but still vague.

Jack blinked and turned his head to the side in curiosity. "Missed me? But...why would you miss me? I'm right here." He chuckled, bringing up his free hand to gently brush aside a stray piece of her yarn hair. And then a much bigger fact hit him and his eye sockets went a little wide. "You were singing about...me...?" He had never...known anyone to sing about him before. At least outside of the 'Praise the Pumpkin King for, lo, it is Halloween again!' way. He had never even sung about anyone else before.

"...Yes...." Sally confessed, and felt her breath catch in her throat at his sweet action. "I mean...I know you are...but I missed seeing you...spending time with you...it's been a while...that's all. And I...yes...I was. D-Does that bother you....?"

Jack just swallowed and shook his head, his eye sockets still a little wide. "N-No...not at all..." he replied quietly and sincerely. "I...I've missed you too, my Sally..." This might have seemed...like the strangest thing in the world but...for some reason he...couldn't stop looking at her and he...couldn't let her hand go and he couldn't...move away. He just spoke more as he tried to figure out what was going on with him. "I like you..." popped out of him then.

Now Sally felt as if something within her was skipping a beat. All that he said just now, calling her 'his' Sally, and that he liked her. Yes, she knew he did like her, she was his friend and he'd made it clear, but like this? She actually took another step closer to him. "I...I like you too..." This was probably the closest to a confession of her love for him as she was going to get.

She liked him too! Jack knew she liked him of course--she was his friend. But...hearing her say that...in her sweet voice...right to him, and right after he had said it first. It made something absolutely euphoric go off inside of him. It was almost better than Christmas. 'Christmas...?' Well, that was strange...He had been obsessed with Christmas ever since his return from Christmas town and yet...for this entire walk he hadn't had a single thought about it...and yet he had still been happy! 'Odd...' was all he could think to himself. "W-We should, um...go get some of that tea now, I suppose." He did his best to smile and pull himself a bit out of this strange state with her he was stuck in though it wasn't easy.

The euphoria was gone and her hopes were shattered yet again. But, she composed herself and smiled, nodding. "Yes, of course..."

Something about the moment broke a little and Jack felt like he could breathe again. He nodded. "Very well. Let's head inside then and warm you up a little. I've got some blankets you can use as well. We'll sit together on the couch by the fireplace and have our tea and talk more. Would you like that?" He smiled hopefully at her.

Would she ever!! It made her want to dance! The idea of sitting with him on the couch, with a fire going, wrapped in a blanket, drinking tea, and even...hopefully...getting closer and closer and snuggling...was all but heavenly to her. "S-Sure...I would like that...." She said shyly.

Jack saw something of that sweet little smile come back to her face and it made him smile more too. He led her inside and gently closed the door behind him. "Well you deserve that and so much more for your kind gift and efforts." He led them upstairs with Zero following behind.

"Arf!" Zero barked in agreement.

Sally would've blushed if she could and seemed to find the stairs below them very interesting. "Aww...well I....it was nothing, really...I just wanted to give you something nice...that's all..."

Jack glanced down at her shyly turned away face, smiling more. "Well, it really was very nice...just like the lovely person who sent it to me...Oh!" As a consequence of not looking forward as they ascended, Jack tripped a little upon the last step, and on instinct was forced to cling to Sally with both arms in an effort not to fall. He blinked several times, catching his breath from the small intense moment. "O-Oh...sorry, Sally," he quickly apologized with a slightly embarrassed smile.

"It's all right, Jack...." Sally was in a bit of a euphoric state to care. Of course she was glad he didn't fall or get hurt (if he was able to feel pain) all the same, but the fact he was now holding her this close was heavenly. It was when she also took full notice of the fact he had taken off his jacket. She'd never seen him like this, and she liked it...

Jack looked at Sally curiously, raising part of his brow. She was smiling...very much. And her eyes sort of looked...Huh, well, come to think of it he had never looked into her eyes really. They were...rather large, angled a little...with eyelashes...long eyelashes. 'Dr. Finkelstein...really did do a beautiful job on her...' he couldn' help but think to himself then. "A-Alright then..." he replied quietly, and then asked with curiosity, "Sally...are you okay?" He still hadn't let her go, in fact having almost forgotten that he was clinging to her a little.

"Mm? Oh...yes, I'm fine." Sally responded in a bit of a lovesick way, a dreamy sigh escaping her. Please don't let me go, Jack...I would stay here in in your arms for all time if I could.... Despite it was more of a cling of safety, she just couldn't help but get lost in their closeness, and feel as if all her troubles melted away...

Jack blinked, his smile wavering for a moment in growing curiosity. It was just...the way she was speaking to him now...the tone in her voice...and that little sigh. He tried to place how she seemed right now, a name for the emotion or disposition, but none came right away. And then something small flashed into his mind and if his bones hadn't already been ivory white they would have blanched at the notion. Right now she almost reminded him a little of...one of his fangirls...A much, much, MUCH less clingy and intense and starstruck version of one of his fangirls...but there was something fangirlish in there nonetheless. Jack tried to find a way to make sense of that assessment of things and then had to blink as a new thought came to his mind. 'Perhaps...Perhaps she has become a fan...but of somebody else…’ That would explain why she was acting as strangely as she was right now, and yet in an almost reserved way. Still though, really…His sweet, innocent, humble Sally who spent all of her time tending to Dr. Finkelstein so diligently…finding someone else to dedicate her time to as well? He almost couldn’t…maybe even didn’t want to…imagine it…At the very least, if he was right, Jack just hoped whoever this person might be, they were a decent sort of citizen.

“Sally…” he finally spoke up again now, gently shifting from her and leading her up the last step or two to the main floor of his observatory house. “Is something on your mind? If you have anything you’d ever like to talk about…you must know I’m always here to listen, both as the Pumpkin King and as your friend Jack.” He smiled at her, hoping she would take him up on the offer. He…really was getting quite curious about her now.

Yet another pang of disappointment flew through her at the loss of contact, and was also quite taken aback at his question. "Um...! Well I...n-no, nothing's on my mind, Jack... It's just..." Sally felt as if she would be blushing if she was able to, and looked away shyly. "I just...really...like hugging a friend, that's all. I don't hug anyone at all, really...but it's a very nice feeling. I suppose I was a little taken aback." Once again, it was close to the truth, but vague.

Jack blinked and then smiled. And then his eye sockets went a little half lidded. "Oh Sally...That's perfectly understandable." And then he closed his eye sockets and embraced her fully and warmly, wrapping his long arms around her and pulling her in close with a smile. "I enjoy hugging too..." he whispered quietly into her ear.

A soft gasp escaped Sally at his embrace, but she immediately melted and embraced right back. Oh! His whispering into her ear, it sent shivers up her spine... She sighed dreamily, and snuggled a bit into him, Halloween Heaven descending upon them! The rest of the world ceased to exist all around them.

Jack's eye sockets flew open and he stiffened a little for a moment. He had wanted to hug her just to show her that there was nothing to feel funny about with wanting to embrace a friend...but he hadn't expected her to hug him back like this! Her soft cloth arms wrapped around his bony chest, his dress shirt his only article of upper clothing at the moment. He let out a breath, a little...tremor going up his spine...which her fingers were softly pressing against, by the way. And his own bony fingers were resting against her hair, he realized.... 'I-If Sally does...care for someone...he'll...certainly be getting a good hugger.'

Jack gulped: on top of everything else he had never embraced someone and had them embrace back at the same time. It made him feel...good. "Sally..." he started to stroke her hair a tiny bit as he spoke quietly into her ear, "I'm...very happy you enjoy hugging too... No one else really does in town...except for me. That's why I want to bring Christmas to them, actually. Everyone in Christmas Town likes hugging...smiling...kissing..." He was smiling more and more as he spoke. "I just want us to be happy...together...." He let his eyes close a little again...And part of his mind meant that he wanted them 'all' to be happy together--the whole town. Thought another part of his mind had worded things without the 'all' for a reason, whether he was aware of it or not.

Sally felt her nonexistent heart skip a beat, and felt as if his words struck a chord. Had he really said that? Happiness soared through her as she gently tightened her grip on him. While she was a little apprehensive about this new Holiday, especially since it made him a little...caught up in it, but she could see what he was saying. Christmas was, even so, filled with joy. "I understand, Jack.... I want the same thing..." She murmured.

Jack let out such a happy, content sigh...She wanted the same thing...She always seemed to want and like a lot of things he wanted and liked...It was nice to have a kindred spirit. And she was holding him so very snugly. Just like people held each other in Christmas Town. He smiled brightly! And he held her extra snugly too! "You always understand me, Sally. When I first saw Christmas Town...the first person I thought of sharing it with was you. The feeling I get there...reminds me of the feeling I get when I'm with you..." He nestled his skull against her soft yarn hair.

Sally beamed!!! He felt she understood him! She really liked to think she did, since they did talk like two regular people having a chat, and when she heard his lament last Halloween, she felt she really understood him then...and could understand how he felt. Then to hear that he wanted to share the wondrous joy of Christmas Town with her? Did he really? And the feeling he felt...reminded him of being with her?

Sally felt so much happier then...she wanted to melt, she wanted to just scream to the sky about her love!! And now the feel of his skull nestling against her hair... She was in euphoria all over again.

She snuggled more into him, deeply touched. "Really, Jack? ....I...I... That's...the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. ...I wish I could have seen it with you."

Jack sighed blissfully. "I'll take you there one day, my Sally. I promise." And then he gave her a final tight hug, gave a small kiss to the top of her head and finally released her, looking about as warm and happy as he had ever been. "Come...let's sit by the fire now..." And then he gently lead her over to the couch and they sat down together.

Dazed and completely lovesick, especially at his sweet little gesture, Sally just followed along without a word. The sweet, lovesick smile was plastered on her face and showed no signs of fading, while her eyes grew half-lidded.

The warmth of the fire soothed her, and then she realized she still had his jacket!!
Embarrassed, she took it, trying not to linger too much, and held it to him. "Here you go..."

Jack blinked, almost having entirely forgotten about his jacket. Actually though...even in just his dress shirt he was...rather warm at the moment, which was strange for him and especially on a winter night. He took the little garment but only laid it against the back of the couch. "Thank you, Sally..." he nodded at her with a smile, then added, "Oh and, let me get you a blanket. And I'll put on the tea as well." He stood up, gave her a small bow, and then walked over to the fire and put the full teapot on a plate over it to warm it up, and then moved across the room to his bedroom door, which he entered entirely, leaving Sally's sight for a moment.

Unable to help herself, Sally took his jacket again and snuggled it for a moment, taking in his scent and sighing dreamily. Jack...you're the most wonderful person I know... She then placed it back where it was, and sat up in a "quick innocent" position just as Jack came back into view again.

Jack returned from his room with a large, black blanket covered with images of spiders and jack-o-lanterns. He sat back down on the couch beside her, gently laying the blanket over her before doing so. "I'm sorry but the only warm blanket I had clean was the one from my bed. I hope that's alright?" he asked with a smile, sitting back on the couch and observing his handiwork: Sally all wrapped up and warm and safe on his couch. He liked her like that.

"It's perfectly fine, Jack...no problem at all." Sally could not believe her luck. She was actually wrapped up in a blanket right from his bed!!!! His scent was strong on this one too, along with the scent of..mint. She liked it. "Thank you..." She felt so warm, so cozy... If only they could do this every night...

Jack chuckled a tiny bit to himself at the sight of her snuggling into his blanket. "You certainly are affectionate, aren't you, Sally?" he couldn't help but observe with an amused little grin, resting his skull on one of his hands, his elbow propped up against the back of the couch.

Sally's eyes widened and she looked away shyly. Was she really that affectionate? She knew she was kind and didn't exactly have an easy time scaring anybody... But to hear that right from someone she trusted so much and cared about made her feel...so modest and shy, but touched. "...You think so, Jack....?" She murmured softly.

Jack nodded, his smile picking up a little on one side. "Of course...You like hugs, you always smile, you seem to adore warm and nice and cozy things, you're sentimental and sweet...You're the most affectionate girl I've ever met..." he admitted...almost a touch shyly at the end there.

Snuggling more into the blanket, she looked down at her lap shyly, giggling a bit. "....Thank you, Jack...you're very sweet. ....You're the sweetest man I've ever met."

Jack's eye sockets went fully wide and his breath hitched in his throat. 'S-Sweetest...m-man...she's ever...' He blinked several times, unsure of what to say. Nobody had ever complimented him in that way before. Usually people just went on and on about his scariness, which was nice but...sometimes felt a little superficial. But she had just called him sweet. A-And also...though he wasn't sure why this one was getting to him so much...she had called him a man as well. He gulped. "Th-Th-Thank you, S-Sally..." he said back in a touch of a fluster, straightening his bat bowtie a little in his nervousness. "N-No one's ever said that about me before..." he tacked on shyly.

"...No?" Sally was genuinely surprised by that. Why hadn't anyone said that? Did none of his fangirls notice how gentlemanly, kind and so sweet he was? "...Well...maybe it's about time someone did..." This time she managed to look over at him, shyly.

Jack smiled even more, still looking downward a little bashfully. "S-Sally..." he felt so funny inside... So very very funny...like a young, nervous child really. Once again he was reminded of Christmas Town, all those little children laughing and happy. Children sounded nice--he wished there could be more of them in Halloween Town...

Scooting a little closer, keeping the blanket wrapped snugly around herself, Sally looked at him fully with a smile. "Yes, Jack...?" She fluttered her eyelashes at him unintentionally.

Jack just barely caught movement and his eye sockets traveled up in time to see Sally's eyelashes actually...fluttering at him. It brought his attention to her eyes again. They really were just... 'Wow...' And especially when she smiled. "I-I...I don't know, I just...You flatter me, Sally...i-in ways I'm not used to being flattered. It's a lot for a guy to take in..." He shrugged a little, looking shyly downward again.

Once again, Sally was very puzzled. For all the fangirls he had...no one said things like that? She didn't understand it at all. Granted, she had a million nice things to say about him, but being so shy...she didn't spill them all out at once. She didn't want overwhelm the poor guy! Nor did she want to come off as a shallow fangirl. "I'm sorry, Jack...is it making you uncomfortable?" She asked softly.

Jack had to chuckle a little at that silly question. He shook his skull, allowing his eye sockets to meet her eyes again. "N-No...I...quite like it, actually...I suppose that seems a little self-centered though--enjoying compliments from a pretty lady that much. And here I am always telling you that all that fuss everyone makes about me being the Pumpkin King overwhelms me half the time." He chuckled a little. "I must seem so silly to you sometimes, my Sally."

"No...not at all." Sally said honestly, and scooted closer again. "I can understand you would appreciate...flattery in regards to other aspects of yourself as well."

Jack's smile picked up even more if that was possible. "Thank you, Sally...I'm...happy you understand..." He looked at her warmly. "Sally...I have a favor to ask you, if you wouldn't mind obliging me?" He looked at her a little sheepishly.

Sally beamed, nodding her head. Jack had a favour to ask of her!! She felt so happy, so humbled that he would want her to oblige in a request... "Of course, Jack. Anything." She said sweetly. She would do anything he asked...

Jack chuckled warmly at her enthusiasm. Then he asked tenderly, "Well..you've...gotten the chance to flatter me so much this evening...and I know you're usually shy but...I was wondering if you'd let me flatter you a little...just to make us even of course?" He looked at her with hope glittering in his eye sockets.

Sally's eager look melted into a look of surprise and confusion. Had she heard him right? He wanted to flatter her now? To make it even? Well, he DID have a habit of complimenting and flattering her just about every time they saw each other... What would make this any different? Still, she could already feel the bashful metaphoric blushes coming. But she just couldn't say no. Especially not to his expressive eye sockets looking at her hopefully.

"Um....well I...I don't see the harm in letting you...." She said softly.

Jack's grin grew to its utmost. "Well then...not to go beyond my place but...I have to say, Miss Sally, that when Dr. Finkelstein made you...he certainly did a...beautiful job on your eyes...They're so expressive, distinct, large, colorful...with those eyelashes to set them off even more. And they're angled so...exotically. And they're...hard to look away from once you start looking into them..." This entire time he had not taken his eye sockets off of her eyes, not for a moment.

This made Sally very touched and taken aback. She always felt her eyes were huge and took up too much of her face, and felt they could've been a little smaller. But then again, at the same time, they did suit her in how she wanted to express herself. She could live with them. But now to hear how...nice they were from a different perspective, especially from someone she trusted, and who was so genuine about it...really just touched her heart. "Well I....thank you..." She looked at him very fondly.

Jack let out a happy sigh, relieved that she hadn't scurried off in shyness or something at his words. "You're very welcome," he replied with a nod, eyes still locked onto hers. "And I really do like them...very much...." Something in his smile went a tiny bit goofy and his eye sockets started to go half lidded, and he didn't even realize it.

Sally looked down a bit shyly, playing with some of her hair. "That's nice you like them..." She wanted to throw in that she loved his eye sockets, how deep and expressive and vivid they were, even though he didn't have actual eyes, but decided to save that for later...

Jack chuckle a little and added, unable to help himself. "Your hair is quite attractive too, Sally. Yarn...It's so soft. And the color...I like the color. I've never seen anyone with hair of such a rich red before." He sighed. "I don't know how everyone doesn't flatter you all the time about things like this...but I guess it's because sometimes they can get a little too distracted with scariness to notice...a softer sort of beauty too much."

Sally wanted to say that it was because she was isolated and unless she snuck out after slipping Deadly Nightshade to the doctor, she couldn't go out. It was no wonder no one noticed her. "I don't go out very much...so I guess no one really notices...."

Jack frowned a tiny bit...seemed to think for a moment...but then smiled again...and reached out a hand to touch one of her own. "I see...Well, I know you're shy and busy quite often, Sally, but...I do wish you could get out a little more. So...how about you and I make plans to go out together sometimes? That way you would always have a friend beside you no matter where you went, and I would have the always pleasant company of a lady. Would you like that?" A touch of that hope glittered in his eye sockets again.

This made Sally's eyes widen and a small gasp escape her. She felt really warm all of a sudden...and not just from the blanket and fire. And the feel of his hand touching hers only added to it... "I...I would love that, Jack..." She almost blurted that the doctor never let her out, but decided not to burden him with that. "Please...." Was about as close as she could get. Her eyes clearly saying "Get me out of there", though she didn't realize it.

Jack unconsciously moved a bit closer to her, still looking deeply into those eyes of hers and seeing how the expressions changed and flitted across them. "Alright then, Sally...it's a date." He smiled but then had to ask, squeezing her hand a little. "Are you certain you're alright, Sally? Do you need something else? Perhaps something to eat to go along with the tea?"

A date? What was a date? Wasn't it a type of dead fruit? She'd heard "date" before and in books, but always figured they were talking about the fruit. "Um no...I'm not hungry..." Sally murmured. "I'm fine, Jack..."

Jack still searched her eyes for a moment, but finding some of the emotion in them hiding down deep inside of her once more he just sighed and nodded. "Alright. But speaking of the tea..." He removed his hand from hers and stood up from the couch. He stepped toward the fireplace and grabbed the hot tea kettle and two cups on a little shelf nearby, then placed all three items on the coffee table before them and poured both cups. "There we are..." He smiled at her, placing down the kettle.

"And now my Sally can be perfectly nice and safe and dry and warm...just like I like her..." He leaned in a little closer, barely realizing he was doing so.

Sally giggled and looked away shyly, before carefully taking one of the cups. "Thank you, Jack..." She sipped the tea, and savoured the delicious warmth and flavour. "You're so good to me....I appreciate it...so much."

Jack nodded. "You're too kind...But really I...I like taking care of you, Sally...I suppose that sounds strange but I just...enjoy seeing you happy very very much. When you smile it sort of...w-well it..." He blinked a few times and cleared his throat, glancing down in a touch of embarrassment.

He liked taking care of her, and making her smile... Once more Sally was touched, and she looked at him again before taking another sip. She placed it back down on the table, and scooted a little closer to him. "...You can tell me, Jack..." She placed her hand over his.

Her hand upon his made his breath catch in his throat and made the words slip out of him instantly. "Your smile sort of...warms my bones." He looked down in utter shyness and with a gulp, almost disbelieving he had just admitted that to her.

Sally's eyes widened, and could not believe that her being happy and smiling could really make someone feel so good inside. She felt so bashful, so modest, so shy...she wanted to crawl away and hide! But she couldn't scurry away in shyness...that would hurt his feelings, and she could never do that. "Oh, Jack...." She squeezed his hand, and scooted closer to him. "It's nice that I...well...can make you feel that way. ...You...your smile also..warms my..." She didn't have any bones or flesh, or anything inside of her but leaves. "...stuffing...?"

Jack blinked and his jaw fell a little. He just looked at her for a moment...and then smiled and broke into chuckles, unable to help himself. "Oh Sally..." he went forward and wrapped his arms around her in a hug. "You're so clever and funny and you always make me smile and laugh. I love our time together, Sally..."

The euphoria returned full force!! Sally wanted to melt into a puddle! Not only did she make Jack laugh, without even intending to, but he hugged her as well! Sally sighed dreamily before hugging him back. Her stuffing seemed to flutter, as if reacting to her happiness. She felt so much warmer, with the blanket and then his combined hug...heavenly. "I love....our time together too, Jack... I like to make you smile and laugh...it makes me...happy, too."

Jack beamed, squeezing her all the more tightly. "I'm so very happy to hear that, Sally...And...your stuffing flutters. That's just...That's just adorable, Sally. Do you really enjoy our time together that much?" He had to ask, just to hear her confirm it again.

He found her little save to be cute? Oh, she was just about ready to pounce and kiss the undead daylights out of him!

...Wait. Where did that come from? When did she think of such a bold thought? No way...she was just being silly. She pushed that thought aside quickly, focusing.

"I do, Jack... I enjoy our time together so much. They've...been the happiest moments in my existence. ....Nothing makes me happier, than to spend time with you." She hoped that wasn't too much, or too forward...but it was too perfect to pass up telling him how much he meant to her, how much their time together was something of an escape she loved.

Jack just took a few breaths, still savoring their hug. But then his eye sockets popped open again. He brought them to her eyes. "You...are that happy with me...Sally?" he asked slowly and cautiously, almost with disbelief, all the while still holding her close.

Sally shivered a bit, and gently nestled her head onto his shoulder, savouring the wonderful embrace. She gathered herself enough to answer his question. "...Yes. I'm very happy with you, Jack...Ever since I met you. I love...love...." She just couldn't say it. "...being with you."

Jack didn't breathe, didn't move, didn't blink. "N-No one's ever...felt that way about me before, Sally..." He blinked and gulped and then added, quite sincerely, "I think I love being with you too, Sally..." He smiled, "In fact, I...can't remember being as happy as I've been ever since I met you."

Sally. Felt. As. If. She. Would. BURST.

Now she looked up at him, bringing her arms a little tighter around him as she got a little closer. She felt so happy. Happier than ever. And to think he felt the same way! They really were such kindred spirits, weren't they? Finding each other made each other happy? And he felt just as happy since they met? She couldn't believe it.

"Really? Well...I....I meant it, Jack..." She said softly.

Her words made that warm...almost trembling feeling go through his bones again. And he had to tell her something... "Sally...may I let you know something...but if it makes you uncomfortable please tell me and I won't mention it again..." He took a breath, feeling...nervous. Nervous? He had never felt this way before...not the scariest or most dangerous feat had ever made him feel like he was feeling right now.

Trembling a little, Sally nodded. Maybe, just maybe....?

No. No.

She was NOT going to get her hopes up like that. No. She was going to listen to what he had to say, whatever it was, and then make her response. "Of course, Jack. You can tell me...." She wondered why he seemed so nervous all of a sudden, but kept attentive and encouraging.

Jack let out a breath. And then he told her. "W-Well, um...you know how I've told you that most of the, um...females in this town sort of...have a tenancy to be...my fangirls? And how you're the only one I've met who really...hasn't been like that? I mean, since you like me for other things than just being the Pumpkin King and scary? Well I...for that, I...I think I like you the best of all the girls in town, Sally." He sincerely thought a bone or two of his might snap from the quick intense heat that had just gone through all of them at admitting that to her.

It was so quiet in the house now. So quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Even Zero was very quiet as he observed the scene from the doorway!

Sally was...just...shocked. He liked her...out of ALL the girls in town. He liked her best. There was nothing deceitful or insincere in his words or expression. He meant that. Jack would never lie about that kind of thing, or say anything for the sake of making someone feel better. He did truly mean it. Sally didn't know what to think. She did obviously like him the best out of ANYONE in town, but to hear the same thing?

Her insides fluttered, she shivered with happiness...and her hands came his shoulders as she snuggled more into him.

"Oh Jack...!!!" She uttered in pure lovesick euphoric happiness before she then did a daring thing.

She kissed him on the cheek.

"Ah!" An audible gasp instantly escaped Jack! Wh-What had just...just happened? His breaths went shallow and he couldn't feel anything anymore, his bones numb with heat. N-No one had ever... Jack slowly, hesitantly reached up and touched the side of his cheek. He quickly pulled his bony fingetips away from the area, which almost sparked at his touch. Certainly Jack had seen people give kisses in Christmas Town but he had never imagined...Never ever...how it would... And on top of that, the way she had said his name just now. And now he just plain didn't know what to do. What to do with a young lady wrapped in his arms who had just shouted his name and kissed him and who he liked so very very much... He gulped rather distinctly.

Unfortunately, his reaction only made Sally worry. Had he not liked that? Was she too forward? Too forceful? Shame and guilt overrode her previous euphoric state, and her expression was downcast as she scooted back a little.

"...I...I'm sorry, Jack...I didn't mean to do that..." She waited, waited to be told to get out of his face and never to come near him again.

Jack blinked and snapped out of it, instantly bringing her closer, doing his best to catch her eyes with his eye sockets. "S-Sorry? But why? Didn't mean to..." He blinked...and then felt such a deep emptiness come over himself...Deeper than his lament over Halloween even... "You...didn't mean to..." he said quietly, dejectedly...and then he sighed and released her, scooching away just a tiny bit on the couch. He did his best to console himself. 'She didn't...Of course. How silly of me, really...' He tried to smile but it wasn't exactly working out. 'All my fault really I suppose...I shouldn't have told her all of those things...And...what have I ever done to be worthy of a kiss from anyone anyway?' He let out a small sigh, a deep melancholy coming over him.

Sally was then concerned, and confused. Why was he sad all of a sudden? Was it something she said? After having felt sad and guilty...though now she suddenly could see no reason for it. So what was wrong? Why was he-

Realization struck like a bolt of lightning.

She had said she didn't mean to kiss him, out of fear that he didn't want her to do that. And he had repeated that, and moments after...was sad. Could he really be sad that I...didn't mean to kiss him?

More guilt overrode her, though for a different reason.

She had to show him she did mean it.

Braving herself, she scooted closer, and then took one of his hands in both of hers in comfort. "Jack I...I lied, I did...mean that." She looked away for a moment, and then kissed him on the cheek again, squeezing his hand with her smaller ones all the while, to show she did mean it...and was sorry for making him think otherwise. She didn't understand why he was sad about that, but decided not to question it.

Not now, anyway.

"Ah!" Another one of those quick, audible gasps escaped Jack! She... He felt all hope and happiness return to his bones. She had meant it! Really and truly! 'She...meant it...' The words were like warm balm to him and made him smile and his eye sockets go half lidded. "I-I...Th-Thank you, Sally...I...feel so special...I barely know what to say...And I'm sorry I got upset...it's just...I saw kissing in Christmas Town, and also...n-no...no girl ever...kissed me before..." he finished quietly and shyly, and then he squeezed her hand back.

A soft giggle escaped her. Who would've thought? Even she felt elated and so much better now that he was happy again. "I'm sorry I had said that, though. I suppose I misunderstood your reaction..."

Jack blinked, looking to her now, though for a moment the sight of her made such a deep fluster come over him that he almost had to glance away a little. "No, Sally, don't be sorry...I...I was so surprised, it makes sense that you maybe thought I was upset or something...But I assure you, I'm...not in the least..." He squeezed her hand. He sighed. "But Sally, did you really think I wouldn't...like...your kiss?" He glanced down in total shyness with a small smile upon his face. "Actually you're so affectionate...I'm surprised it's never come up before." He chuckled a tiny bit.

The moment was now quite awkward...especially considering her feelings. How was she supposed to explain herself? Thankfully he didn't exactly ask why, otherwise she'd be backed into a corner she couldn't get away from.

"I...I suppose maybe you would've thought it was too much." She admitted, looking away shyly.

Jack gulped and shrugged, still smiling a little to himself. "A kiss on the cheek from a young lady who's company I enjoy and who enjoys my own company as well...That could never be too much, Sally..." He turned to her, squeezed her hand. "Nothing's ever too much from my Sally...or for my Sally...." And then suddenly, before he could make himself stop, he let out a sheepish breath and then leaned over and gave Sally a brief kiss on the cheek as well. He pulled back several seconds later, feeling...very nice. Very nice. "Th-There...n-now we're even, I suppose..." He did his best to chuckle a little at the joke.

Sally's eyes went wide, and her hand came to her cheek where he had kissed it, and just felt the material of her skin practically spark. She couldn't hold back a soft, dreamy sigh that escaped her lips. And on top of that, he called her "his" Sally... It almost made her feel as if they were together, happy and in love...something she only ever dreamed of. Would it ever come to be? Or would he truly find another woman he liked more than her?

The feeling of euphoria washed over her again as she came a bit closer and snuggled against him, wrapping the blanket around her tighter with her free hand.

She was smiling and happy again and even cuddling into him like the trusting dear she was. He sighed in contentment, thoroughly enjoying this moment with her. It was so nice and he felt so...not lonely. Like in the way Christmas made him feel not lonely but...more real, if that made any sense. Sally in her entirety was actually sort of Christmas-like. Smiling, affectionate, caring...and she even gave kisses! Although...Jack had to let out a sigh with a small flustered smile at the thought that had just occurred to him. "Sally?" he asked, wondering if she, considering her young age, knew about a certain sight he had seen in Christmas Town and that he had often wondered about here even before his fateful visit to that place.

"Mm-hmm...?" A relaxing sensation had washed over her, so much so that she didn't feel a jump startle within her stuffing whenever he spoke to her in breaking the soft silence. She felt more comfortable and at ease, and especially happy that he seemed to welcome being snuggled. For a skeleton, he was sure cuddly...she didn't want to let go! "Yes?" Sally looked up at him to give her attention.

Jack smile more, brimming with warm joy at her closeness and sweetness. "Did you know that in Christmas Town...of course they give kisses on cheeks but...I even saw the strange sight of people giving other people kisses on their...mouths. What do you think of that, Sally?" he asked, averagely, levelly, maybe a touch curiously, but otherwise in a way pretty straightforward.

A kiss on the mouth? Oh, she knew that all too well. Pictures, and story descriptions told about how a true kiss between two people in love happened on the mouth. Ever since Sally knew what a kiss was, she was curious. But ever since finding out about kissing on the lips...her fantasies skyrocketed. Kisses on the cheek, which actually came to happen, was one thing she thought so much about doing. But when she knew about kisses on the mouth...that was a whole different story. It seemed so intimate. So close. So personal. ...So wonderful. Ever since then, not one day passed where a fantasy about sharing a kiss on the mouth together didn't enter her mind.

Sally looked down shyly. "Well I...I've read about it...and I've seen pictures of...kissing on the mouth... I-I suppose a place as...bright and happy as Christmas Town...like you had said...would partake in something so...sweet..."

Jack nodded bashfully and spoke sweetly. "Yes, it was one of my favorite parts of the whole place...Watching people so happy together in that special way....I don't believe I've ever seen anyone in Halloween Town kiss like that...or if they have, they've done it privately. Sally..." He gulped, feeling a little funny for asking this but banking on their relationship being deep enough to make the question alright. "Do you ever think about what doing that must be like, Sally...?" He asked the question in the most humble and shy voice imaginable!

Uh-oh.

This wasn't good. He had just asked her if she ever wondered what it felt like! Did he realize what he was even asking, or WHO he was asking? Probably not...

Did she ever, though. All the time. But she couldn't tell him that!! How could she explain it without lying or being TOO honest?

"I...I...I...um....a little. I mean...well...when I'm curious about something I surely do want to know more about it..." Sally managed very nervously.

Jack did his best not to chuckle at her adorable response. "It's alright, Sally," he started, making an assumption about why she seemed nervous, "I know it's not a very 'scary' thing to be concerned with but...I still think it's fine for Halloween Town and it's people to branch out a little into new things like Christmas...and like kissing, even mouth kissing. And...it's sweet that you're curious, Sally..." he added with a touch of shyness. "I'm very curious about kissing like that myself....N-No one's ever kissed me like that just like with the cheek kissing actually, heh..." He smiled shyly to himself.

"I haven't, either...." Sally admitted shyly, and hoped against all hope that the subject would be changed SOMEHOW. "I'm sure...anyone would be curious if they want to...find out more about something like that...and even try new things...like this Christmas thing." Even though apprehensive, Christmas did still intrigue her very much. With its bright colours and interesting decorations...why not? There was nothing wrong with trying something new. She just hoped it wouldn't escalate out of hand.

"No I suppose you wouldn't have..." Jack sighed out, just gazing at her a little. So kind, so considerate, so pure hearted...If all of her little extra affection today really was because she was smitten with someone...Jack couldn't deny that he envied the man just a little. He hoped that person who fully appreciate what he was getting with Sally and that he would take care of her and bring happiness to her life. "I wonder if anyone here will want to try it though as our Christmas celebration nears?" He chuckeld and raised part of his brow.

"Um...w-well...perhaps they would...." Sally murmured very shyly, looking down to avoid his gaze. Any minute now she almost expected him to say, "Hey! I have an idea! Let's try it out, Sally! We're friends, so why not?"

Okay, that was absolutely silly. She pushed that idea from her mind immediately.

"I hope I get to try it myself one day myself..." Jack merely replied with a quiet shrug, letting out a sigh as he rested back against Sally to resume their cuddling...

Yes, that would be nice. Kissing someone like that...He truly hoped he would be allowed to on one day.

"....W-Well...you probably will...." Sally murmured shyly, and looked away again. "You'll...meet someone and fall in love....and be able to....show them how you feel with a kiss..." She now looked at him as she said that.

Jack's eye sockets went wide. He looked to her curiously. "I..." he swallowed and glanced down with a little shrug. "I-I don't know about that, Sally...I...think I may be sort of a... 'hard fit'...heh...I'm a little strange at times, after all..." He smiled a tiny bit to himself.

"...You're still a wonderful person with so much to offer to the world, and to anyone you choose to be with. ...Any woman would be so lucky to have you, Jack..." A melancholic look came to her. "I should know....You're a dear friend to me, and I can see how much you would make someone happy...and who could make you happy too."

Jack felt so...touched. "Oh...Oh Sally, I...thank you for that...so very much." He looked into her eyes, smiling with so much gratefulness and appreciation. "If...If you believe so then all of that must be true...even if it's a bit hard for me to see sometimes...." His eye sockets had gone a bit half lidded now. "Thank you for the hope, my Sally..."

A bashful giggle escaped her. "Well...I certainly don't see why it couldn't happen. But you're welcome..." She met his eyes again, her own going half-lidded as well. "You deserve it, Jack...you deserve to be happy...with whatever you do, whoever you choose to be with. Whatever happens...I just hope you'll be happy." She placed her hands over his.

Jack let out a slightly shuddery breath and nodded. "Thank you, my Sally...And you know...you deserve to be happy too...I hope...I hope that whoever comes to possess your sweet affections is worthy of you, Sally. You deserve as much kindness and sweetness as you give to others, my dearest friend...I'm almost surprised no one has caught your eye yet...And I'd be utterly stunned if you haven't caught someone else's eye yet...Sally..." He found himself leaning closer, enjoying this conversation with her so immensely...enjoying her presence, her perfection...His sweet Sally...

Sally felt her insides flutter, and she leaned closer as well, scooting closer to him on the couch again. She felt so shy and bashful...but so...alive, brave. She couldn't turn away if she wanted to. "That's very sweet of you to say...thank you. Well...maybe I have...and they don't know it yet...or even I don't know it..." She whispered.

Jack gulped, a rather intrigued look coming to his face. "Really? Hmm..." he chuckled a little, "Well, I have to confess, Sally...part of me...has been wondering lately...when you smile or talk in a certain way...if you have someone in your heart whom you care for..." He swallowed. "If you do, he really would be rather lucky. You're a rarer find than Christmas, after all, Sally..." he added with a small chuckle.

A rarer find that Christmas? Oh, this was just too much! And yet, she was so intoxicated with the beautiful moment between them, it was hard to let it go. A loving, adoring, admiring smile came to her face, and it was all directed at the very one she was looking at. All of her love for him seemed to come through. She didn't care though, she was a little too far gone.

"I could say the same about you, Jack..." She cooed, she leaned closer toward him, her slightly long, angled nose nearly touching his nose sockets. "I don't think I've met anyone...as charming, caring, sweet, lovable...interesting, and talented as you.." She reached up with one hand to flirtatiously toy with one of the wings of his bat bowtie.

"I-I...Th-The...A-And...W-Well..." Jack couldn't pick a word--he couldn't pick any words. She was so close! And it occurred to him all of a sudden that he had never gotten this close to a girl before ever. A-And she was playing with his tie??? Huh? S-Sally had never done anything like that...What should he do back??? He gulped. "Th-Thank...y-you..." was all he could manage, his voice cracking horrible at the second word. "I-I t-try...heh..." He smiled a

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