Author: truemizzie PM
What about when Sarah dies? OneShot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Tragedy/Drama - Les J. & Jack K. - Words: 2,006 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-19-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3403268
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Les sat beside Jack as he watched the boys in the Lodging House play Poker, trying to pick up the rules of the game as quickly as he could. He had always been interested in learning how to play, so he could join the others, but could never seem to figure out which hands were bigger than the other…or even why they called a group of cards a hand. Jack would rub Les' hair every time he switched cards, claiming it would bring him good luck. Eventually, after Jack won a few games, Racetrack picked up the habit. Les would brush his hair down again with his fingers every time, becoming annoyed with the gesture. Finally, David walked through the door. Les smiled. The rest of the room tensed up.
The game ended abruptly, none of them seeming to care who won. Les began to approach David, but stopped as soon as he looked back at him. He didn't understand the look on his brother's face…it was straight, not sad or happy. Or was it both? Les didn't know. He glanced at Racetrack, remembering: David was using his poker face.
"David?" Jack stood up. Les watched as he and David stared at each other. After a few moments, Jack sat back down, facing away from David.
"Would you guys mind…keeping him for another night?" David asked the group. Racetrack put a hand on Les' shoulder.
"Les, do you want to go upstairs?" Racetrack asked the young boy. It wasn't a question. "Snipes, Boots…just all of the young guys, go upstairs," he added. All of the kids slowly congregated towards the stairs. Les stopped before he reached them.
"David, what happened?"
David shuffled, putting his weight on one leg and closing the door to lean his arm against it.
"Go upstairs, Les." He did as he was told. The five boys quickly reached the Lodging House bunk room. Les instantly walked towards the back of the room, to the bed he had been sleeping in for the past week. It was out of instinct, not tiredness. He was surprised when he turned around, and saw that the other four boys had followed him. Instead of getting into the bottom bunk, he let himself fall to the floor and then leaned against the bunk. The boys formed a circle around him. Tumbler spoke:
"What's going on down there?"
"I don't know," Les answered. The boys suddenly began to stare at him. "Why are you all looking at me?"
"Well…you must know what David's talking about, don't you?" Boots asked, leaning forward over his crossed legs towards Les.
"No. I haven't even seen him."
"But doesn't he give you stuff?" Slider scratched his foot.
"Just food," Les answered. "He didn't ever say anything."
"He must have said something,"Tumbler insisted, his hat now off. Snipeshooter playfully pulled it from his hands. There was a quick game of tug of war, ending with Tumbler as the victor.
"Nothing at all," Les answered over the battle. Pulling himself up over his knees, he tucked his toes under his feet. He used them as a slingshot and jumped across the circle onto Tumbler, now smiling. The two fought, and the two boys each ended up with the other's hat. Eventually, all five of them were fighting over hats, and were picking teams for a sword fight. Slider was the odd boy out.
"No, we want him on our team," Boots yelled at Tumbler, who was standing next to Les.
"But you and Snipeshooter are older than we are, it's only fair," Tumbler yelled back. This fight continued until all five of the boys had decided not to play with their swords after all, and instead fell back into their original circle.
"What do you think's happening now?" Tumbler lay on his side.
"Probably the same thing that was happening before," Les answered. There was silence, followed by a yawn from Slider.
"Les, why did you have to come here?" Boots asked, stopping the quiet.
"I'm not really sure," Les told him, shrugging. "David just said that Sarah wasn't feeling well, and that I should leave her alone for a while."
"What did she have?" Snipeshooter asked him.
"He didn't say. She didn't look too good, though. She was sleeping a lot, but was still tired all the time."
"Do you think she still has it?"
"Oh, no. I think Dad's been wanting to do some stuff with the house lately, and probably just wanted me out of the way. Sarah wouldn't stay sick for this long."
"Maybe she's still sick. Lots of people get sick for a long time," Tumbler offered. "Once, Skittery was just a little sick, and then he got really sick. Then he was better again, but he had still been sick for a really long time."
"But Sarah's never been sick for so long. Sarah just doesn't get sick for a long time," Les defended.
"He might be right, though." Slider yawned again, now on his stomach. "David did ask if you could stay another night. Maybe she's just almost better, but not completely better. You know?"
"I guess so," Les shrugged. "I wonder what they're talking about downstairs."
"Jack was really mad looking," Boots stated. "Do you think something bad is happening?"
"Bad like what?" Snipeshooter asked him.
"Bad like a war or something."
"You're just paranoid," Snipeshooter slapped Boots in the arm. "That was all a rumour, you know that."
"I know," Boots complained, "but maybe it isn't a rumour now."
The boys fell silent.
"What if he's right?" Tumbler asked.
"Not you too!" Snipeshooter whined. He then thought about it. "Do you think we should check?"
"Like, go ask them?" Slider, the eldest, asked.
"Why not?" Slider pushed himself over his knees.
"Because they'll just send us back up here."
"What if they don't know?" Boots asked.
"We could listen in!" Les whispered, excited. A plan was made. Slider, the smartest, would sit at the top of the stairway, and tell them when the older boys were talking about something important. If it was something big, they would quietly open the door wider, so that they could all hear. They put the plan into action.
Slider snuck out with ease, and looked through the bars of the hand rails on the staircase. Les peeked out through a crack in the open door, waiting for him motion for the door to be opened wider. They couldn't hear much, only the dull tones of people whispering to one another. Les tried listen for anybody to talk a little louder than the rest, but they were all on the same low level. Suddenly, there was a loud crash. It had scared Tumbler, who shrieked as he pushed Les further into the door. The door fell wide open as Les landed onto the top of the stairs with Slider, who put a finger to his mouth, quieting Les. All five boys watched as Jack pulled David away from the walls of the Lodging House, none of the older boys noticing that the kids were there.
"Isn't that your brother?" Boots whispered. Les was too baffled to answer. They watched and listened as David was pushed up against a wall by Jack.
"Stop it - it's not going to bring her back!" Jack yelled at David, who attempted to hit him. "It's not going to help anything-"
"Let me go, Jack!"
"It's not going to change anything - it doesn't fix it! It doesn't help!"
David suddenly became limp. Jack let him go.
"If destroying the House would do anything, don't you think I would've done it a long time ago?" Jack backed up towards a nearby chair and sat in it. Skittery ran up to David, expecting him to become violent again. Instead, David's posture softened.
"What are we going to do?"
Jack didn't answer.
"Kloppman's going to be here soon," Snitch stated, looking out the window. He turned to Itey, who everybody noticed was staring at David.
"We'll keep Les as long as you need us to."
"What are you going to tell him?" David asked, wiping his tears with his sleeve. The boys looked around at each other. Jack stared at David, who nodded and approached him.
"I don't want to see him right now. You have to understand that."
"Yeah, I do," Jack told him.
"Thank you, Jack." David left the house quickly, not looking back before he closed the door. Les' eyes watered. What had he done to make David upset with him?
Kid Blink walked over to Jack, resting a hand on his shoulder. Mush followed suit, and the rest of the boys also crowded around Jack. They were amazed at what he said next.
"Les, do you want to come down here?" he called out. All of the boys could tell that he was crying.
Les wiped his own tears and slowly made his way down the stairs. When he was face to face with Jack, the tears started again, and this time he could not hold them in.
"We thought there was going to be a borough war or something," Les told Jack, hanging his head.
"If only that were true."
"What did I do, Jack?" he asked pitifully. He saw Jack twitch at this, but paid no attention to this. He was too caught up in his own emotions to notice. He barely cared when Jack softly touched his chin, lifting his head so that their eyes could meet.
"You didn't do anything, Les," he told him honestly.
"Then what happened?"
Jack looked around at the boys who surrounded them. They instantly understood. They quickly lined up the stairs and into the bunkroom, pulling the confused children in with them. Jack and Les were left alone. Jack slid off of his chair and onto his knees, so that he was the same height at Les.
"Les, you're going to have to stay here for a little while longer-"
"Not just one night?"
"I don't think so."
Jack took a deep breath. Les prepared himself.
"Sarah was very sick, Les. I'm afraid that she got too sick. Sicker than a lot of us thought she would get."
Even Jack couldn't contain his tears.
"Your sister is dead, Les. I'm so sorry."
When Kloppman came home that night, he did his usual check into the bunkroom, to make sure all of the boys were accounted for. His heart jumped when he found an empty bed where Jack usually was, but fell silent once again when he found the leader on a bottom bunk near the back of the room. Jack held Les to his chest, the younger boy's cheeks still wet from tears.
He decided to let the Newsies sleep in that morning.