Summary: Follows Jo and the March girls through an evening after meeting Laurie. Complaining, Ice Skating, Flirting and Fun ensue. Sweet Jo/Laurie fluff. : )
Author's Note: I've seen Little Women, the 1994 version with Winona Ryder and the glorious Christian Bale, and loved it (especially Jo and Laurie), and now I'm about half way through the book, which I love too. : ) So, I felt inspired by Laurie and the Marches to bring this to the table. It's based equally on the book and the 1994 version of the movie.This may be a one-shot, but may be more, depending on my motivation and time to work on it. Summary and Title maybe subject to change as well. Reveiws, feedback and suggestions are welcomed! Thanks for reading!
The snow lay thick on the ground that winter; the ice hung heavy in the trees as heavy and thick as the March sisters longed for their father to come home from war. Christmas was over and so seemed all the good cheer and happiness from the earth as the sisters pined and mourned up in the garret, their young friend not with them this night. Jo lie miserable on the rug, her ink marked hands produced no words of adventure or comfort as the wind howled mercilessly beyond the window. Meg sat equally glum in the corner, her fingers moving ever so slowly around her yarn and needles. Amy sat perched wistfully at the window, a frown placed neatly on her little mouth. And Beth stay tucked away under blankets, a little sigh hanging around her as even her kittens were of no comfort tonight.
"Such a positively dreadful evening." cried Amy as her eyes flitted from the trees to the Laurence's window. She could see old Mr. Laurence pacing in his study no doubt and could feel that nothing comforted him as well.
"Come away from that frigid window Amy, you'll catch your death as cold as it is." Meg murmured bitterly as she missed a stitch and started over once more.
"You can't catch a cold from a window mother Meg." Jo grumbled as she rose, bringing her legs up to her chin in despair.
"But it might be a good idea to move anyway, Amy. It's making you hopelessly gloomy." Beth conceded as her fingers lazily rubbed her kitten's small ears.
"Right you are sweet Beth." Amy smiled lightly, glimpsing her last at the mansion across the way. "How lovely it must be to have riches as the Laurence's do. Never going without anything desired."
Meg's eyes alighted at the thought but Jo's speech cut into her pensive nature quickly, "Oh do stop Amy. The Laurence's have right to everything they own and your silly notions are just making everyone else more sour."
At this, Amy's mouth curled and she forcefully sat back in a vacant chair and snatched up her drawing of a bird which she had not yet completed. Silence fell upon the girls once more. Meg fell back into her knitting, her thoughts turning toward the finer things. Beth hummed quietly and tried to push past frightening thoughts of her father at war. And Jo rubbed at her ever ink speckled hands.
The sound of a closing door lifted everyone's hopes as it signaled Marmee's arrival from the hospital at which she was desperately devoted. Jo was the first to reach her mother, followed closely by her sisters in a frantic rush downstairs. "Oh Marmee you're home!" She cried as she buried her face into her mother's waist.
"Yes my darlings." Mrs. March cried kissing each daughter upon her dismal head. "And how have we fared today my young pilgrims?" inquired she as she removed her bonnet and cloak.
"Oh school was utterly appalling! Mr. Davis was unbearably discouragous!" Amy wailed, the tied curls upon her head shaking from side to side.
"I believe you mean discourteous, dear." Her mother provided with a smile turning to Jo. "And how was Aunt March?"
"The old prune was utterly discouragous." Jo mimicked crinkling up her nose at Amy to which she stuck out her pink tongue.
"The King's were unruly." Meg cut in; her tired eyes twinkled away from Jo. "Precious little Nathanial dipped his sisters braids in ink this morning and I scrubbed her head for hours and the ends of her hair are still black."
"Oh my poor Meg. Those children will learn proper manners someday." Mrs. March said with a reassuring pat on her eldest's rosy cheek. "And Beth, how was the house today?"
"Well Marmee, but I'm afraid poor Joanna's sick. I dropped her in the snow this afternoon on our walk and she got awfully damp. Good Hannah has been nursing her back to health though." Beth told her mother, with a bright smile to Hannah who just walked in from the kitchen.
"Well, if Hannah has an eye on old Joanna, I have the fullest confidence of her speedy recovery." Mrs. March replied with a good natured smile to her great helper and friend.
"Certainly Missus March. Dinner's on the table and coffee's in the kettle for later." Hannah told the family.
"How wonderful! Thank you dear Hannah!" said Meg who planned to enjoy her coffee in the wedding china tonight.
Wrapping each arm around Amy and Beth, Mrs. March led the way into the dining room followed by Jo and Meg. There the family settled in the well worn chairs and enjoyed a carefully prepared meal, talking and laughing about their "dreadful" days and sharing wishes of a father come home. Once the meal was finished Hannah, with the help of Mrs. March, cleared the table as Meg carefully poured coffee for the girls who had settled in the parlor for the evening. Mrs. March allowed the girls to use the wedding china, as long as they cleaned it, and they all felt as if a small luxury was upon their lives once more. A small tap on the window interrupted their little party behind Jo's head to which she turned and was delighted. "Laurie! Oh mother it's Laurie, may I go?"
Titling her head slightly Mrs. March agreed "only for a little while if she bundled up". To this Jo jumped up and shooed Laurie away from the window and to the front door. Placing her unfinished coffee beside Meg, she quickly tied her unkempt hair back and rushed to the front hall where she could hear Amy's not so quiet complaints.
"Oh Marmee can't I go too? Teddy and Jo are always going off without us and it's not fair!"
"Not this time dear. Why don't you and Beth start us up a song on the piano?" Mrs. March's eyes alighted at Beth's excitement as she watched her daughter rush to the piano.
"Come Amy!" Beth cried, ushering her little sister beside her.
In the hall, Jo finished the pesky buttons on her coat and grabbed her ice skates, to which she was thankful they were by the door. Hearing the last of Amy's "It's not fairs'!" Jo opened the door to greet he dear friend, ready for any adventure he had prepared.
Wasting no time, Laurie seized Jo's hands and pulled her out into the cold night air wearing a sly look on his face. Tugging her along at a quickened pace, Laurie was able to silence all questions until they reached the appointed destination, the lake.
"Where – " Jo questioned, out of breath. "have you been?" She had not seen Laurie in days.
"Old John Brooke's kept me under his thumb saying I've had too much fun since I've came across you girls. Though I suspect he keep's an eye out for your Meg everyday." Laurie said with a laugh that was mixed with spite and humor.
Jo made an unpleasant face at the thought of Mr. Brooke eyeing anyone, especially her sister, but this quickly washed away for her joy at seeing Laurie was too great. "Oh Laurie! How good it is to see you." After which she hugged him quickly, landing a feverish kiss on the side of his hat.
"It's good to see you too Jo." He replied, slightly embarrassed over the pressure of her hug and innocent kiss. "I tried to sneak out everyday for a week, but Grandfather agreed with Brooke and caught me near every time. Not tonight though." He finished with a mischievous twinkle in his dark eyes.
"So you've snuck out now, have you? Oh Laurie, I'm glad to see you but your Grandfather will only be cross at you now and not let you out for another week!" Jo said rather matter-of-factly, her fingers nipped the end of his nose lightly.
Catching her hand deftly, he gave it a small squeeze and let it go. "Then I'll endure another week and sneak out later on too." His eyes were laughing. "Now Jo March are we here to skate or are we not? No worries."
"But – " Jo began before he dropped to the frozen ground, pulled her along with him and began to undo his shoes.
Jo watched him warily out of the corner of her eye as she laced her skates and pushed herself off of the ground. After turning the knob upwards on the lantern he brought, Laurie followed Jo out onto the ice, on which after he checked thoroughly, they both skated freely on. After a simple but fun time of racing, shouting things at one another and talking about their weeks, Jo and Laurie sat once more on the icy ground and re-laced their shoes nudging one another all the way.
Upon pulling her up off the ground and pulling out her hair ribbon, Laurie raced away from Jo just far enough ahead that she could see the lantern to run by. "Theodore Laurence!" cried Jo in anguish as she ran after him, only hearing his hearty laughter ahead.
When he finally stopped at the gate, he rested coolly against it until she bolted from the woods. Holding his hands up in defense Laurie chuckled quietly as Jo flew at him, bopping him one or two times before retrieving her ribbon. Smiling smartly at her as she pulled her hair out of her face once more, Laurie said not a word but to her frustration hugged her and cleverly pulled the ribbon out again.
Skipping out of her reach, Laurie waved the ribbon at her and whispered delightedly, "Goodnight Josephine March."
Infuriated, Jo shook her head and turned toward the Orchard House, her skates on her shoulder. Whirling around once more, her eyes settled on her dear friend's retreating form and she smiled in spite of herself marveling at how he'd managed to forget the desperately foul mood in which she'd been previously.
Once back inside, the air warming her cheeks and Amy stampeding her with angry questions, Jo laid her skates by the door and sighed for she could not stay angry at Laurie. She soon accompanied Meg, Marmee, sweet Beth and bitter Amy by the piano. Her eyes trailed out the window and up toward the boy's extinguished light, where he was no-doubted sent after coming in.
Across the yard and through the gate, Laurie - despite the gruff voice of his Grandfather - smiled to himself in the dark of his room. His fingers, laced through Jo's ribbon, the worn silk smooth and warm in his hand. With the piece of fabric still in his grasp, he lie upon his bed, tenderly thinking of the Marches and hoping it would not be a week before he saw them again. Jo, dark hair and eyes, had a special place in the boy's heart and though not fully realized he especially longed to see her, for their friendship he cherished most of all.
Closing his eyes, Laurie's thought's drifted across the yard where he imagined the Marches preparing for bed, Mrs. March kissing the one by one and sending them on their way. And that they were. Amy was the first to go, exceptionally cross that Jo wouldn't answer any of her prying questions, then Meg who rushed to assuage her little charge, then Jo who smiled in spite of the loss of her ribbon, and then Beth who reluctantly left the keys and kissed her mother sweetly on the cheek.
After finishing up a trying scene in her latest works to the tune of Beth's humming, Jo felt content to sleep and blew out her candle. As she snuggled under the sheets and after whispering goodnight to Beth, who had stopped humming long ago, Jo's thoughts turned to the war and her father. The sour feelings of before began to rise once more, but found they couldn't stay as she was too content to be bitter. Being with her dear family and skating with Laurie seemed to have swept the sullenness out of her heart. A fact of which she was grateful as she closed her eyes, Laurie's jovial face forming in her mind; the sweet image which carried her to softly to sleep.