Author Note (3/30/03): I didn't know this fanfic would end up being so long, heh... ^^; So I'll update this...
Author: K. Haggerty / Tigrin
Contact: / AIM: OPotterYouRotter
Start Date: 12/21/02
End Date: 4/21/03
Rated: PG (For language and some thematic elements)
Genre: General/Drama
Summary: Set around the time Jim is 7 years old, the Christmas before Leland leaves. The story begins a few weeks before Christmas. Jim is still a relatively happy boy, but he's aware his family is starting to fall apart. Leland is rather short-sighted when it comes to his family. But when Leland falls ill and is put off work for two weeks before Christmas, things become especially strained for the Hawkins family, and Jim will try anything to help his father - which could be his last chance. Mostly a family drama that explores how Jim changes towards how he is in the movie as well as Leland's personality and why he takes off.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters, places, names, etc. are (C) Disney, and based on the movie as well as associated books (The Art of, Jim's Journal, etc.). Some events are based on research done of 18th century Industrial Revolution England. Only the original characters (The Rileys, Samson, Thomas, Bleacher) are of my own creation, but are based heavily on Disney's property all the same. I am making no sort of profit off of this fanfic; it is merely out of personal interest.
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This Christmas Together

The sun was just starting to disappear below the chiseled horizon of plateau tops, casting an ashen blue shade to the shadows as the red glow sank with the sun, to be replaced with creeping darkness and an endless blanket of stars. The night's first breath was stirring along the ground; the chill breath of approaching winter, frosty and damp. The cold gray-blue washed over the metallic thatched roof of the quaint Benbow Inn, flooding the front steps with a sea of shadow. On the steps a boy sat shivering, watching the sun set over the docks beyond, waiting. The warm firelight filtering out of the inn's windows onto the cold ground was inviting, beckoning him back inside; yet he sat there, a little boy no older than seven years, huddled in his jacket. His round, innocent blue eyes were a mimicry of the old, dusty landscape. The boy's wild brown hair was indistinguishably black in the dusk, fluttering about in the breeze. He was a lonely sentinel, perched on the front step watching the docks, ears strained for the sound of solar-powered engines winding down, eyes searching for sails against the horizon.
Behind him the front door creaked open, and a slit of firelight fell upon the front steps, coupled with a breath of warm air. The boy twisted around to look up above him at the figure standing in the doorway: a young woman with long brown hair wearing a splotched apron, looking down at him in concern. "Jim, dear, it's time to come inside... it's getting late, and you'll catch your death of cold out here," she said to him softly.
Jim's round face sank into a heart-rending pout. "But Mom... Daddy's not home yet. I'm waiting for him."
Sarah Hawkins looked out at the horizon just as the last of the sun disappeared. The night breeze tousled her hair, sweeping away the warmth radiating from the inn door. She looked back down at her son's face, and her heart wrenched to see the longing there. Quietly she closed the door behind her and sank down behind her son, taking him up into her lap and setting her chin on top of his head with a sigh. "Daddy should be home soon... we'll wait for him together, okay?"
Jim smiled. "'Kay," he chirped, and settled down into his mother's arms.
As the stars twinkled out in the sky and night descended, the two watched the docks, mother and son, waiting.