Wow. I promised to update this about a month ago. Uh... oops?
Sorry for the long wait, I started school and then my family went on vacation and then my teachers piled me with homework and then my older sibling went to college... so yeah. It's been an interesting few weeks.
Anyway, enough about me. Here is the long awaited chapter! I'm not sure if I like it or not, but I hope you guys enjoy it.
Lights flashed all around Charlie, pulling him from his restless sleep.
"Where'm I?" he slurred, still half asleep.
"Shhh… don't worry about that now," a voice whispered to him. "Just rest. Everything's going to be fine."
The voice was soothing, and Charlie could feel himself being pulled back into darkness. He decided to let it consume him because at least there he wasn't so tired. At least there it didn't hurt.
Jack sprinted into the hospital, his heart hammering with excitement. He had managed to convince Kloppman to give him the name of the hospital Charlie had been taken to, and as soon as he had finished selling he had hurried through the streets of New York to get there before visiting hours ended.
"Can I help you, young man?" a woman dressed in a nurse's uniform asked, looking Jack up and down with a disapproving expression.
Jack stood up straighter, fixing the woman with a smile that employed the same easy charm he used to sell newspapers. "Uh, yeah. I'm lookin' for someone. He was brought here last night."
"Name?" the nurse asked after a brief pause, making her way over to the desk at the front of the waiting room and beginning to sift through the stacks of papers on it.
"Charlie. Charlie Morris," Jack answered, following the nurse closely. Then, as it occurred to him that they might let only family members see Charlie he quickly added, "I'm his brother."
The nurse looked at him skeptically. "You're his brother?"
Jack nodded, forcing himself to look sheepish. "Well, half-brother technically. Same dad, different mothers."
The nurse stared at Jack for a moment longer, then nodded and returned to looking through the stacks of papers. Finally, she pulled out a wrinkled sheet with words written on it in messy handwriting. She scanned the list of names, then set the sheet down and regarded Jack with a sympathetic smile. "I'm sorry, but he's not allowed to have visitors at the moment."
Jack's stomach dropped, and his charming grin faded. "What? Why?"
"His fever hasn't broken yet. He's still extremely contagious, and we don't want you getting sick too," the nurse patiently explained, even as she guided Jack towards the exit.
"But I need ta see him!" Jack exclaimed frantically, drawing the disapproving glances of a few people in the waiting area.
"And you can, just as soon as he's well enough," the nurse soothed.
Jack finally gave up on fighting the woman, and he hung his head in defeat. "When will he be well enough?" he mumbled, refusing to meet the nurse's gaze.
The nurse sighed. "I don't know, young man. But I'll tell you what, if you give me your address I'll send you a telegram when you can see him. How's that sound?"
Jack looked up in surprise, suddenly flooded with hope. "Thank you, ma'am!" he exclaimed happily, quickly rattling the address of the lodging house and ignoring her surprised expression upon hearing it. He then (still somewhat reluctantly) left the hospital, content despite not having been able to achieve his goal.
Charlie was woken by early morning sunlight flooding in through the small window beside his bed. He groaned, his muscles ached and felt tight and all he wanted to do was go back to sleep. Just as he was drifting back off, however, the door to his room opened and a woman in a nurse's uniform entered. She was carrying a glass of water, and when she saw that Charlie was awake she smiled kindly at him. "Good morning Charlie. Would you like a drink of water?"
Suddenly becoming aware of how incredibly thirsty he was, Charlie nodded. The nurse sat down next to him on the edge of his bed, then helped him sit up and take small sips of the refreshing liquid. "Small sips. Don't make yourself sick," she murmured.
The small glass was soon empty and Charlie gratefully lay back down, exhausted from even that small amount of activity. The nurse made her way over to the door, clearly leaving for the time being. "Miss?" Charlie called weakly, suddenly remembering something important.
The nurse looked over at him. "Yes?"
"Do ya know where Jack is? Has he come to see me?" Charlie asked, his tired brain not registering that this woman probably had no idea who he was talking about.
Thankfully the nurse smiled. "I don't know if his name was Jack, but there was a boy here yesterday looking for you. You can see him soon, I promise."
Charlie visibly relaxed, smiling sleepily at the nurse as he once again began to drift off. "Thanks, miss," he mumbled.
"Of course," the nurse responded, but Charlie didn't hear her. He was already asleep.
A/N: I wish I could give you guys a definitive date for when I'll publish the next chapter, but my schedule is so hectic that unfortunately I have no idea when I'll next be able to update this. Hopefully relatively soon, though! Please review, and let me know what feedback you have for me!