Laughing Jack x Reader Oneshot
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The "reader" in this case is somehow Gender Neutral, so both boys and girls can enjoy this. END OF NOTE
You’re a small happy child, no older than the age of four. While playing outside one day, you come across a colorful wooden box with a metal crank. You couldn’t read too well yet, so the small letters looked like gibberish to you. But you knew by looking at it that it was some kind of jack-in-the-box. Having never owned one before, you sat down and happily turned the crank, humming along with the cheerful tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”. Once the music reached the climax, the box sprung open, but nothing came out. Confused, you looked inside only to find it was empty. Determined for something to come out, you turn the box upside-down and shake it like mad. When nothing comes out, you grow upset and toss it into the air, only for someone to catch it.
A male voice spoke, “Why so upset there, kiddo?”
You spin around to find a very tall and thin clown man with rainbow-colored clothes and cone nose and red hair. Out of all of the colors his blue eyes somehow catch your attention, aside from his rather intimidating height. A bit scared at first, you squeal and hide behind a nearby tree. You peek around the tree to find this clown man missing.
Unaware, he’s actually right behind you as he too peeks around the tree before asking, “What are we hiding from?”
This time you scream and spin around to find him again. Him being so tall just frightened you, but he caught onto this fear. To try and win your affection, he creates a small giraffe-shaped balloon animal. You quickly fall in love with the balloon animal as you happily take it from him and hug it…though you hug it too tightly and it pops, snapping at your face. Trying to keep himself from laughing at your shocked expression, he creates another one out of thin air. Watching this, you’re captured by this odd magic. He hands you the new giraffe-balloon telling you not to hug it so tightly.
You gain the courage to finally ask, “Who are you?”
“I’m the one and only Laughing Jack, kiddo.” he happily replies. “Since you opened my box, I’m your friend for life!”
“A…friend for life?” you ask tilting your head confused.
“That’s right.” he answers. “So, do you have a name?”
“Y-yeah, it’s (f/n).”
“In that case (f/n), what kind of game would you like to play?”
“You want to play a game?”
“Of course! Oh, I know. Since you seem to like hiding, how about we play Hide and Seek? But this time, you try finding me. Okay?”
“Sounds like fun!”
Ever since that day, you and Laughing Jack became the best of friends. Your parents could never see the colorful clown, and shrugged it off as you having developed an imaginary friend. Curious about him, they often asked questions to which you happily replied. He would always wait for you to return home from preschool, usually presenting you with a small trinket he worked on while waiting for you. Although giving you candy was always a huge error on his part; once you devoured the sweet treat, the sugar would make you bounce off the walls. This he stopped after the first time he gave you a treat.
You also had real friends that you met in preschool before you met Jack, and he seemed fine with this. Although he would be a little jealous when they came over to play, he’d still loyally wait for you in your room, always working on something to give you to keep him busy.
However, one day he made himself known to your friends. Jack couldn’t stand to wait for you this time as the kids stayed longer than usual. Though he was smart about his approach; he appeared all of a sudden from a pink cloud that exploded with confetti and streamers, introducing himself quickly. Your friends were quickly entranced by the clown, and together you all played in harmony. But when the kids told their parents about your not-so-imaginary friend, they had grown wary. The next few visits resulted in more stories of Laughing Jack. The parents had decided that their kids should no longer play with you outside of school, and your friends stopped coming over altogether. At your age, and given the distance, sneaking out of the house was impossible.
Not being able to visit your friends or have them visit you, Jack noticed you became sad and lonely. He never did like seeing you hurt, and always managed to cheer you up by making you laugh, almost passing on a belief that laughter is medicine. Although when your parents would continue to talk to you about Laughing Jack as if he were real, you started to withdraw from the subject, stating things are fine between the two of you. Once you returned to your room, Laughing Jack would be there, a big smile always on his face to greet you no matter how upset you were. He always made you feel better about something negative.
But after a year had passed, a situation came up that he could not stop. Your parents had been fighting badly for the past year, and out of the blue, your father leaves without a word. The divorce that results from this shocks you; you loved your father. But there was nothing you or Jack could do to stop this from happening. At a trial, your father is awarded the house, which meant you and your mother had to move out. There was no way around this.
One day when you return home from visiting your grandparents, everything in your room is packed up in boxes, including Laughing Jack’s box. You look around frantically for it, calling out his name, but to no avail. Jack would not appear. Or rather, he was unable to appear. In a panic, you hurry to your dad and ask him what box Laughing Jack’s box is in. He doesn’t say a word, angrily replying that Jack is not real, that you need to forget about him. Shocked by this, you drop to the floor and cry hysterically, wanting Jack’s box in your hands. Your mother walks into the living room where she sees your father slapping you harshly across the face. That being the last straw, she makes sure that your dad never gets the chance to see you again, hitting him where it hurts. Once your things are packed in a Uhaul truck, you and your mother leave for another town, far away from this one. You aren’t sure what to think anymore. You’ll never see your friends again, or your dad…and for all you know, Laughing Jack too.
Several years had passed since then. You now live in (town/city name). When you had moved here, you never did find Laughing Jack’s box. Going on without him wasn’t easy. The new school you went to was hard to fit into, and other kids picked on you. Speaking a word of your best friend for life earned you some kind of teasing. Although you did make a few friends that you got to see all the time, nothing felt the same. You never got to see Jack’s smiling face as you entered your room, you never got any more trinkets that he had worked hard on, or received any candy; although comically enough you ate these treats whenever you were upset, and they always reminded you of the first time you had sugar.
One day, you’re getting help from your mother moving things around in your room, placing things in boxes you lost interest in as well as going through old ones. She wanted to clean out some of the items lying around, thinking about bringing them to a Good Will or a charity. You open a box that looked like it had been through some hell over the years, finding rodent-sized teeth marks in one of the corners. Taking a scissor, you slice through the tape and open the box. Your eyes widen when you come to one particular item: Laughing Jack’s box. After all these years, you found it, hidden away somewhere in the attic. You gently took hold of it, your eyes tearing up, remembering all the good times you had with him.
Your mother sees this and asks, “(f/n), don’t you think you’re a bit old for that silly toy?”
You turn to her and say, “I can’t give this up. It…it holds way too much value to me. Can I hold onto it a little bit longer?”
“Oh wait a minute, wasn’t that your little friend’s home?” she asks remembering the box resting on a nightstand.
Surprised she remembers it at all you answer, “Y-yeah, it was.”
“Well, I suppose you can have it longer.” she sees the teeth marks on the box, “Oh great. How’d the hell did that happen? Ugh, good thing I bought some Rubbermaid containers so those little bastards can’t break in.”
Later that night, your mother asleep in her room, you close your bedroom door to buffer any loud noise. You grab hold of the wooden box, which you realize is in decent shape, and begin to turn the crank. The tune to the familiar song is horribly off-key, making your ears twitch when it got very high-pitched. Regardless, your determination to see your friend again allows you to keep turning the crank. The off-key music reaches its climax, and like before the box swings open, revealing nothing. Smirking at this, you repeat what you did as a child, looking inside the box curiously before shaking it upside-down. Like before, you toss the box into the air, expecting Jack to be behind you to catch it, when a thud echoes in your ears. You become confused and concerned; Jack didn’t catch it this time?
You turn around to see the box having landed right side-up and closed. As you turn back around, you come face-to-face with a menacing glare from a pair of silvery eyes. You scream and back away, unable to hide this time. Gaining a little distance earns you a glance at not a colorful clown…but a monochrome one with a nasty look on his face. His sleeves black-and-white, hair black, eyes silver…this was not the same clown you met when you were four. He stood there on all fours like a lion about to pounce on his prey.
“J-Jack?” you try to ask a bit afraid. “W-what the hell happened to you? Where’s your rainbow clothes? Your red hair? And your blue eyes?!”
Jack stands up at his full height replying, “I’ve waited for a long time packed away. Those sweltering days and freezing cold nights in that box…” he pounces on you, “WHY DIDN’T YOU FIND ME?!”
“I tried, Jack, I did!” you respond, tears blurring your vision. “I pestered my dad about you, but all he did was slap me! And when Mom and I got here, I never found the box you were packed in!”
“LIAR!” he shouts, raising his clawed hand into the air.
He watches as you flinch, covering your head. With all his might he swings at you, but stops just in the nick of time before coming in contact with your arm. Tears stream down your face, fear and dread scattered across it. Jack can’t seem to figure out why he stopped attempting to strike you, when he remembers something.
Several years ago, you were about to enter your room having finished with your bath. You open the door gaining the colorful clown’s attention when your dad confronts you. Jack watches closely from the slightly ajar door as your father questions you about a broken lamp. The clown could see your face as you reply that you accidentally bumped into the end table knocking over the lamp; you tried catching it but you didn’t make it in time. You are about to say that you cleaned up the mess and tried putting it back together as your mother discovered it still worked somehow, but out of nowhere your father backhands you across the face, knocking you onto the floor. You look up at him, fear and dread written all over your face as tears stream down your cheeks. Jack wanted so much to jump out and attack your father for striking you, but since you were there, it was the last thing he wanted to do, making you scared of him. Regardless, when you finally entered your room, he managed to cheer you up in no time by trying to tell you a related story while gently rubbing your red cheek.
And now, here the two of you are. The monochrome clown hovering over you like some vicious animal, and you the terrified prey. He comes to his senses, unable to strike you at all. Laughing Jack backs off, sitting up with his head lowered. You notice this and summon your bravery to open an eye, seeing him sitting there looking at his claws.
“What am I doing?” he asks. “I…I nearly attacked you like your father did…”
You look at him, wipe away your tears and say, “But you didn’t.”
He looks at you a tad confused. You go on, “You still remember all that, don’t you? How I always turned to you when I was having a bad day, and you’d cheer me up.”
“…” he remained speechless.
You pull out a familiar trinket from your pocket and say handing it to him as you uncurl your fist, “I think it’s about time I returned the favor.”
Jack is stunned when he sees the trinket; a small glossy ceramic raccoon he had created the day your friends stopped visiting. He holds up his cupped hands as you place the item in them. How could he think of killing you? You never forgot about him at all, and through this he could sense that well. He then feels something familiar that he had forgotten; you hugging him. He remembers the first time you hugged him, which was the day after you befriended each other when he had given you a smiley face charm. He is about to return the hug, when a loud noise catches both your ears.
“(Your mother’s name), WHERE ARE YOU, YOU DAMN BITCH?!” a male voice shouts.
You gasp and tremble whispering, “D-Dad?! W-what’s he doing here? He isn’t supposed to be anywhere near us! Mom got a restraining order years ago!”
Jack gets a bad feeling. “(f/n), you stay here. This time, I plan on protecting you.”
“But Ja—” you go to say, but in a puff of black smoke, he disappears.
You hear heavy footsteps stomping around getting closer to your room. Within seconds, your door is bashed open, your father standing before you carrying a bat in one hand and a half-empty bottle of booze in the other. He smirks as he takes a sip, and slowly steps in. As he slowly raises his bat in the air, something is thrown at his head. He spins around to find your mother, armed with her own bat. You look on the ground finding she had thrown a vase at him.
“Ah, so there you are (your mother’s name).” your father speaks.
Before your mother could utter a word, your father goes on the attack. Her instincts tell her to run. You do the same, following them and at the same time asking yourself where Jack went. You follow your parents to the kitchen where you keep yourself hidden around the corner. Your mother’s bat had been knocked from her grip and she goes to grab a knife. However, your father’s drunken state allows him to strike without warning, bashing your mother’s skull in. She falls to the floor, blood now staining it as it floods out of her head. That’s when your father catches you hiding around the corner.
You run for your life to the living room and grab a vase filled with fake flowers and colored beads. Your dad rushes in, bat in the air, but you quickly counter with the vase, chucking it at his head. You score a brutal hit, causing several cuts to appear on his face as blood slowly oozes out. But before you could anticipate the next move, you find yourself on the floor with a broken arm. Your father had bashed you in the blink of an eye in your arm with his bat.
In a more defenseless position, he goes to strike you, but something stops him. You look up to find the monochrome clown grabbing the bat mid-swing. The look on your father’s face says it all; he was terrified at what was glaring at him with an intent to kill.
He demands dropping the bottle of booze, “W-what ARE you?”
Jack evilly grins, his jagged teeth showing as he answers with a chuckle, “Why, I’m the friend you told your child to forget about years ago. I’m the not-so-imaginary friend you so carelessly packed away in a box, forcing me to endure extreme temperatures. I’m the one who will protect (f/n)!”
As your father looks over to you, you say standing up holding your broken arm, “Dad, I’d like you to meet my best friend for life…Laughing Jack.”
In a flash, Jack rips the bat from your father’s hand and swings at his head. He ducks out of the way, grabs the booze, and smashes it onto Jack’s head. However, the clown doesn’t fall. No blood falls from his hair. Jack glares at him with a twisted look, striking fear into him before swinging the bat again, breaking his arm. Your father drops to his knees screaming and grabbing his arm, only for Jack to seize the opportunity to bash his skull in like he did your mother, but you stop him, getting in the way.
“Ngh, (f/n), what do you think you’re doing?! You did just watch him kill your mother! Why not return the favor?” Jack protests.
You respond, “As much as I’d like to see him dead, I can’t let you do that. At least…not like this.”
Jack sees a rather twisted smirk grow on your face. He can sense the gears turning in your head and instead knocks your father out with the bat.
Once he is sent to prison some time later, and you inherit the current house, the time is right. Your father sits alone in his cell reading the newspaper when he notices a few shadows appear outside the bars. Some of the other inmates surround his cell with twisted looks on their faces, their eyes a familiar silver color. He realizes that they are somehow possessed by Laughing Jack and panics, calling for a guard, but no one shows up. One possessed inmate picks the lock to his cell door, and they enter, making sure to form a human barrier so he can’t run. Each one pulls out a weapon of choice: a knife, a pen, a lead pipe, a lighter, and some rope.
One inmate speaks with Jack’s voice, “So, we meet again, (your father’s name). This time, (f/n) isn’t here to save you. Oh, and I’ll tell you a secret before you’re found dead the next morning…” the inmate leans down to your father’s ears and whispers, “This was all (f/n)’s idea~!”