A/N: Sorry this was posted so late, but better a fic get posted than nothing at all. Hope you like. The castle was positively humming with activity as bats flittered here and there with the boom of another thunderclap announcing another arrival at the Count's family doomicile. The numerian vampirian was positively ecstatic after receiving each guest—or in some cases "ghost". Knowing that his was one of the birthdays being celebrated with such a grand Halloween bash, they handed over a small ribboned white box before leaving the castle grounds en route to seeking what shrieks and screams this town had promised. The boxes all contained white marble numbers, ranging from simple single to delightful double or doubles to even tremendous triple digits. In turn, their host handed each a duly-sized black bat badge, big enough to display the number gifted. These would serve the purpose of identifying the guests from the normal costumed citizens out on the haunted streets. Seeing they were the only ones left within his castle's hall, the Count took Countess Dahling's hand, twirling her as both danced the beginning of a loving waltz. ------------------ The Newsman sighed resignedly. Why had he agreed to meet Gina here at this dreaded den of furry—and some not-so—freaks? He really didn't care for monsters. But his gypsy girl revelled in both this type of holiday and its Mexican counterpart. And she really wanted to go down to the club that had opened six months ago, despite his protests and procrastinations in actually becoming a patron of the pub. But here he sat, at the Bat, Bolt & Skull, in his Jim Steele superspy tuxedo costume. "At least I can wear my glasses," he thought, sighing a second time. Another good point, he mused, was he had ditched his productions supervisor. "Or did she ditch me?" he wondered internally, spying the she-rat moshing with a clique of girl bats and monsters near the stage. There were certainly a lot of them as the club had been done up in style. Besides the cute girl bat waitresses—what would a monster see in them?—each table had skullish drinking mugs. Newsie was stirring his mug of pumpkin-spiced coffee with a long bone toothpick. A couple of clouds shot lightning at intervals, accenting the performing acts' lighting. The house band came to a stop as a lanky skeleton wearing nothing but a bowler hat and necktie ended his jazz session. What creeped the Newsman even more was that this fellow only had one emerald eyeball in his skull…and it kept switching from socket to socket! "And now ladies and monsters, please welcome the song stylings of our jubilicious lady of luck!" announced the spook. "Great," Newsie thought, "another obnoxiously loud banshee." But his grousing was cut short when he realized exactly who was setting foot on the stage. He recognized her auburn hair, as red as vivid as the flames of Heck or fallen fall leaves. Her eyes as gray as the misty as the fog shrouding the edges of a forgotten dream. And that ever-present copper necklace now complimented by a silver batlike charm, its wings folded inwardly at an angle, resembling an Ace of Spades. Once she started, he knew he was another unfortunate soul, lost to the rest of the world. "I've got you," she began. "She's got me," Newsie softly echoed as she swayed. " under my skin," she continued. "Under your skin," he mumbled, keeping in time. "I've got you deep in the heart of me," she smiled at the thought, knowing who she was singing the song for. "That's true," he said, more to himself than anyone else. "So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me." "I so want to be a part of you," he replied, following her movements. "I've got you under my skin." The golden pumpkin coins attached to her dress chink-chinked as she turned this way and that, certain to keep one particular yellow Muppet in view as she belted the tune, smirking at his commentary. "I'd tried so, not to give in." She remembered those first flustery run-ins at the Muppet Theater. "I said to myself, this affair never will go so well. But why should you try to resist when, Darling, you know so well. I've got you under my skin." She gave that Muppet of hers a look from afar…the kind of look that says: "I know what you're thinking. And I like it." "You'd sacrifice anything come what might. For the sake of having me near." That had proved quite true. Just last year they had faced a hideous ordeal in the underground of the city where their love for each other had been pushed to its limits. "In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night. And repeats, repeats in your ear." Here she paused at the memory of a sour old wraith, hoping she wouldn't show up ruining things all over again. Shaking herself, she continued to play the cryptly coquette, approaching the booth her newsman was seated at. "Don't you know, little fool, you never can win? Use your mentality. Wake up to reality," she sang, just for him, running her hand coolly across his felted cheek. "But each time you do. Just the thought of you. Makes me stop before I begin. Cause I've got you," she crooned. "You've got me," he said helplessly. "Under my skin." She drew out the last note of the song, holding it, breathing a small kiss his direction. He'd barely noticed her sitting down across from him after that skeletal fellow had retrieved the mic, claiming the stage would be bereft of vocals for a short while. The house band began a Halloween riff, but none of that mattered as Newsie was finally enjoying the night's treats. ------------------ Singing of another kind echoed through the town's streets. Carrollers approached the central square forming a phenomenal parade of frightful faces. Their voices rejoiced throughout the traditional pumpkin song, watching their vaunted leader cackling as he set foot on the pavement. Years of performing the finale meant he was skilled in making such an entrance amidst the creepy crowds. And though it wasn't as flashy—or fiery—as his usual Pumpkin King variant, he still had it as the thestral he and his ragdoll rode descended onto the stage in time for the night's awards. The Mayor walked up to the podium to announce the first prize of the night. "Thank you, thank you all for another horrible Halloween. And now for the night's first prize, we award this medal to the vampire who drained the most blood—" he droned on. At that time, two others were casually window shopping. Or at least that's what it would seem to the casual observer. A pretty teen vampiress leaned closer into the store's bay window as she inspected the dresses on display. Not that she needed them, her fashion sense was already fangtastic. The boy next to her however just stared off into space ahead. He knew a commotion was taking place near him, but he wasn't completely aware of the particulars. Which was why he hung on his companion's description, snatching glimpses out of the corner of her bespectacled eyes. "—Sibella Dracula!" boomed the Mayor's voice, everyone bursting into applause immediately. "What?" she gasped in surprise. "Come on darling," she whispered to her date, going to collect her reward. The rest of the residents tromped up and down when they were called forth, receiving equal smattering claps. "So, is he fully blind?" asked the ragdoll. "Sort of," answered Sibella. "There's a reason why he's named "X". If he concentrates well enough, he's able to emit an x-ray beam once he opens his eyes and lifts those dark specs of his. But yes, other than that he's blind most of the time." "Oh," said Sally. Finally, the awards had all been handed out and the creatures of the night dispersed, returning to the bash hosted at the master's castle . "Did you enjoy yourself tonight?" Sibella asked her blind beau. "Yes... But I thought we'd at least get a chance to dance together." "Well, everyone's left, there's more than enough room right here if you'd like to," she spoke. Scanning the square with a quick burst of ghost gray light he nodded agreement. Waltzing to unheard music, he smiled suddenly. "What," Sibella wanted to know the source of his myrth. "Nothing, it's just this reminds me of a song I know. And I think you'd like it too." "Oh? What song would that be?" "Well..." "In old Numbervania," X began, the smile on his face spreading. "When I was a lad. Our home was cold. Yet we never were sad. We learned to be happy! We’d dance ‘round the hall. And learning to count. Was the key to it all. By counting each count. I knew just where to start. And one special step. Has stayed close to my heart." The young blind boy gave out a little laugh, endearing him to his batty babe. "1 2 3, spread out the cape. 1 2 3, twirl ‘round the floor. 1 2 3, left foot you swing. 1 2 3, then start to sing. 1 2 3, loud as you please! 1 2 3, counting with ease! 1 2 3, doing the Batty Bat!" Suiting action to word, both separated for a second, opening their arms in a wide arc before going into the short spin. He swung his left foot out, bringing it back for the next step. She mimicked his move, with an unmatched daintier femenine grace of her own. Winking at her, she lit up when it came time for her part of the song. "Batty batty batty, batty batty batty, batty batty bat!" she chirped. "1 2 3, count!" he remarked keeping in time. "Eek!" she let out, giggling now, caught in the moment. "Curse Phantasma and her giggles," Sibella thought, her grumble molding into a gasp of surprise when she found herself being dipped following two of the same squeaking refrains. "Won't you dance with me, doing the Batty Bat?" sang X, leading the dance into a second verse. "So now, in my own home, I can enjoy. This wonderful dance that I learned as a boy. I see just how wise was my whole family. They taught me to count, and so now look at me! I'm counting and dancing, and I swear that it's true. If you do the same, you will be happy too!" "Come! We try again!" he cried with a flourish, the dancers repeating their moves a second time. "Batty batty batty, batty batty batty, batty batty bat! 1 2 3, count! Eek! Batty batty batty, batty batty batty, batty batty bat! 1 2 3, count! Eek! Batty batty batty, batty batty batty, batty batty bat! 1 2 3, count! Eek! Dance with me, doing the Batty Bat! The skeleton man and his ragdoll queen smiled fondly at the young couple, remembering the way it felt to be like that. They lingered a little while longer, humming the familiar holiday tune before heading homewards. ------------------ Furred and felted frights cavorted at the family home belonging to the Count von Count. There was a righteous—or should that be riotous—shindig going on in the main Death Dance Ballroom. From behind the counter aisle Chef Machiavelli ladled out spoonfuls of pumpkin guts soup or handed out some of the horrors d'euvers specially cooked for the occasion. One of the tables saw the older creeps hard in concentration in a heated game of Southern Sorceror style poker. The punchbowl overflowed with black bat cherry soda, a favorite to the sweetfangs of most trick-or-treaters. "Hey Count!" called out Telly, dressed up in his Triangle Man costume, "let's do that favorite Halloween song of yours!" Never one to disappoint, the vampire quickly got into the party groove. "I was counting in my castle, late one night. When my eyes beheld an eerie sight." "What was it?" asked Telly. "For my monster friend began to arise. And suddenly, to my surprise." "He did the mash," sang the bat-eared ballerina known as Coppelia (Zoe Monster). "He did the Monster Mash," The Count replied, alternating with Zoe and Telly on the rest of the lines from the popular song's chorus, as more monsters joined in, laughing and dancing their unlives away. "The Monster Mash." "It was an instant smash." "He did the mash." "Let's throw a monster bash." "And do the mash." "And do the Monster Mash!" The Count retook lead as the song continued, greeting the monsters filing past as the celebration grew exponentially. "The mummies walked through the dungeon door. And did the mash right across the floor." Bandages flapped in time to the beat, the youngest mummy child named Tannis became slightly embarrassed as the end of her wrap almost came apart. Thankfully, her skirt was salvaged avoiding a horrible outcome. "The spiders hopped from their dusty shelves. To boogie down with their creepy selves." Ginger kicked with arachnid abandon, her six arms flailing to the rhythm. "They did the mash." "They did the Monster Mash." "The Monster Mash." "It was an instant smash." "They did the mash." "Let's throw a monster bash." "And do the mash." "And do the Monster Mash!" "1 2 3 zombies were having fun," The Count belted, as the corpse Family parents surveyed their son Ethan showing off a few moves. "4 5 6 goblins were on the run," the Count continued, the goblin heralds spreading their maniacal music round the edges of another cluster. "In came Mary and Jackman Wolf. The party had just begun." Mary pulled off a perfect floating version of the Moonwalk, in no small part thanks to her Martian hoverskirt; whereas the mentioned lupine disc jockey let out a howl while manning the records blaring from his booth. "The joint was jamming, all were digging the sound. Telly on chains with his howling hounds." The purplish monster flashed a thumbs-up upon being mentioned by name. "Then 1 2 3 o'clock, who should drop by? That rocking trio, Two Ghouls and a Guy." The famed musicians materialized at that moment, loaning their distinctive wailing to the final round of the song's chorus. "Waoooo." "The Monster Mash." "Waoooo." "It was an instant smash." "Waoooo." "Let's throw a monster bash." "Waoooo." "And do the Monster Mash!" "I love the Monster Mash!" shouted Coppelia as the song ended. Chef Machiavelli used the time that the spooks were cavorting to clear the table for the big birthday cake. It had to have at least four candles so the various celebrateurs got a chance to make a wish. Rather than place a different amount of the lit waxsticks, only four were positioned at each cardinal point of the frosted confection. Ushering the crowd to quiet down, the birthday boys found themselves ready to pucker, blowing out the flickering flames. Everyone pretty much had ensured that the Count already got what he would wish for... And Cookie Monster was no big secret; just get him a batch of baked goodies. Grover was a bit more difficult, what do you get for the monster who's held pretty much every job ever? And since Uncle Deadly was dead, his wishes were respected though noone really knew what he ever wished for. Cake and ice cream made the rounds satisfying the clamor raised by the monster masses. There'd be a mess all fright for Renfield to clean up in the morning. But for now the festival carried on with the perfect batmosphere contained within the castle walls past the tolling of midnight.