"Mama, its cold" Lotte Grimm shivered. She lay in her mothers arms, wrapped in blankets, burning with fever. Wilhelm Grimm watched, grim faced, as his mother used a moist cloth to try and cool his sister's face.
"It's very, very cold. Will. Put another log on the fire, lad." His mother requested. Will shook his head.
"There isn't any more firewood, mama." Will murmured, before casting his eyes around. His eyes fell upon the old rocking horse his father had built. When it had been first introduced to the family, Will had been the only one old enough to use it. Now, Will was much too old to use it, and it was chiefly now used by Will's youngest two siblings, Jacob and Daniella. Narrowing his eyes, he knocked the toy over and wrenched a piece of wood off it, placing it carefully into the fire. His chore completed, Will sat beside his mother and rested Lotte's head on his lap.
"When will Jake come back with the doctor, Mama?" he quietly asked. His mother shook her head.
"He'll come soon, Will, Jake will come soon." She told him. A small creak made them both look up, but it was only Daniella, Will's two and a half year old sister, coming from the other room of the house, where she had been quietly playing by herself.
"Will, can you look after her" Will's mother had asked him. Will had gotten up, and had crossed the room, picking up his baby sister with ease. Will knew his mother was worried that Daniella wasn't getting enough food, but none of them were.
"Will, can you come and play with me?" Daniela asked, her wide, blue, eyes innocent.
"I can't, I have to help mama"
"No, he's getting the doctor for Lotte"
"It's cold, Will"
"I know, Dani" Will sighed, running his fingers through her dark hair. Putting her back down, Will turned towards his mother, but at that moment, Jake burst through the door.
"I sold the cow" he proudly announced to his family, his nose pink from the cold. Will hurried towards him.
"How much money did you get? Did you get the doctor?"
"I didn't get money, Will, I got these" Jake showed the small handful of beans in his hand.
"What, Beans!" Will yelled.
"Magic Beans" Jake corrected, "The man I got them from said they'd make Lotte all better"
"Jacob, you fool, there's no such thing as magic. Magic beans won't make Lotte better" Will yelled, knocking the beans out of Jake's hand, and tackling his little brother to the ground, hitting him. Jake struggled to escape from Will as their mother called for them to stop.
"Will, Jacob, stop it, this isn't helping!" she snapped at them. Frowning, Daniella stepped forward.
"Will, Jake, stop it. Mama wants you to stop" She told them, her quiet voice not heard over the sound of Will's yells of fury, and Jake's protests. Gritting her little teeth, and putting her most strict facial impression, Daniella stepped forward once more, physically placing herself her brothers.
"Mama said you have to stop" she told Will, standing on Jake's chest so her eyes were level with Wills. Will dropped his fist as he looked at his little baby sister, glaring at him, her lips clenched together.
"Fine" he spat, getting up from where he had been kneeling on the floor. Turning his back on the pair, he looked at his mother.
"Will, Will, I'm sorry" Jake had whispered. Something in Will's mind snapped. Whirling around, he kicked Jake in the side, harder than he had ever kicked anyone before. He smirked in satisfaction as he heard the unmistakable crack of bones breaking. Jake gasped in pain, rolling over, grabbing at his side. Daniella, still standing on Jake, squealed wildly as the movement upset her balance, and she fell.
Realising what was going to happen before it did, Will lunged forward, too late, as Daniella hit the dirty ground with a solid thud, followed by a second thud as her head smacked into the ground.
"Jake, Dani!" their mother had gasped, gently lying Lotte down on the floor by the fireplace. She hurried to her other children. Will was kneeling by Daniela's side, whispering apologies to her, tears rolling down his face, while Jake lay, whimpering in pain, clutching at his side. Daniella lay motionless between them, a patch of blood marking the pale skin on her forehead. Bending down, she rolled her daughter over, feeling for a pulse, praying. She let out a sigh of relief when she found a strong pulse in Daniella's neck, the even rise and fall of Daniella's chest letting her know the small girl was alright.
"Will, take your baby sister and put her to bed. Make sure you keep her warm. When you're done, come back in here" she told Will, turning her attention to Jacob. Will knew he was in a lot of trouble, so he went without protest. Jake whimpered as his mother touched his side, sending flames of pain through his tiny, six and a half year old body.
"I'm sorry, Mama. Tell Lotte I'm sorry. It's my fault if she dies now, isn't it, Mama?" he cried. His mother soothed him.
"No, Jacob. It's not your fault. No-one will blame you. Lotte will get better. Now, hold still." Jacob stilled as his mother checked his wounds. He whimpered a little as her fingers brushed his sore side, but was otherwise silent, except for occasional sniffle.
"Okay, Jacob, you can get up now." His mother eventually sighed, helping her youngest son to his feet.
"I'm sorry that Dani fell" he whimpered quietly, 'I didn't mean for that to happen"
"It's okay, Jake, I know. You would never deliberately hurt Dani. It was an accident."
"I promised Daddy that I'd look after her, and I let her get hurt"
"Jake, it's okay, she's fine. Just a bit of a bump on her head, that's all."
Jacob Grimm sighed when his mother picked him up, rocking him gently, like she had when he was small. She carried him into the other room, where the four children usually slept on two mattresses on the floor. Will had placed Daniela on one, and had covered her in blankets. Carefully, she lowered Jake onto the other mattress, and draped a few blankets over him. Jake didn't protest being put down for a nap in the middle of the afternoon, he sighed and snuggled a bit further under the blankets. His mother passed him his favourite possession, the little black journal, and Jake slipped it under his pillow.
"Have a good sleep, my little prince charming" his mother smiled, kissing his forehead gently, before standing up and crossing the room to Daniela's mattress, checking her daughter once more. Satisfied that she was only sleeping, she got up and, grabbing Will by the ear, stepped into the other room.
"Will, I can't believe you. You just attacked your little brother. All he did was apologize! What do you have to say?"
"I was so angry Mama. What if Lotte dies, it'll be Jacobs fault, because he didn't get the doctor. I'm sorry that Daniella got hurt though."
"Will, You can't just go and hurt your brother like that. Now he has one or two broken ribs, and you'd better be grateful that it wasn't more, the way you were hitting him."
"No, Wilhelm. I'm disappointed in you. It will not be Jacob's fault that he didn't get the doctor. You know him; he's too young and naïve. If something does happen, I do not want to hear one word out of your mouth about it being Jake's fault, alright, because it is not. Do you understand me?"
"Yeas Mama" Will sighed, scuffing his shoes on the floor.
"Good, now, I want you to do Jacob's chores as well as your own until he is all better, and I need you to help me look after Lotte."
"Yes Mama" Will nodded; knowing it was best not to argue. He watched as his mother went back to Lotte's side and, cradling her daughter, sat by the fire. Will walked over the knocked over rocking horse and, wrenching off another piece of wood, tossed it into the fire.
A.N. Well, I hope you like this. Please review and tell me what you think.