A/N: This fic was born of my great love of Newsies, and also out of my great conviction that Jack doesn't show the least bit of interest in Sarah until he all of a sudden kisses her at the end, which the movie people clearly only threw in there because it was a family film and they couldn't have him end up with Davey. I still want to write a big long epic Jack/David, but I am lazy and busy, so this will have to do for now.
Sarah doesn't notice at first, but gradually she comes to realize that Jack Kelly never really stayed for her.
When he kisses her, she's so happy. He hasn't gone to Santa Fe after all. And his first act upon returning is to kiss her. The first thing he does. Kiss her.
She wasn't sure, before that. Sarah doesn't like to fool herself. She knows that she's no good at all at hiding how she feels. Her glances are too lingering. Her hugs are too tight. Her smiles are too shy.
So she knows he knows she is a bit fonder of him than maybe she should be. But she doesn't know he feels the same way. Until he kisses her.
Sarah doesn't like to fool herself. But she does it all the time now, for Jack Kelly.
He walks arm in arm with her that day, down the broad streets filled with people, Davey and Les following behind all the way home.
Maybe he kisses her out of euphoria, because he's so happy the strike is over, that they've won. Maybe he kisses her because he can't kiss the person he really wants to kiss, and she's the next best thing.
She never asks. But she thinks she knows now.
Her parents see his arm looped around her shoulders, hers clasped tightly around his waist, and notice her shining eyes as she looks up at him. Of course they do.
And of course they say Jack can spend the night, that he can stay. Though when they offer to let him share Davey's bed, he opts instead to curl up with blankets on the floor.
"I'm used to a hard bed, me," he says, smiling that charmingly roguish smile, and who wouldn't melt at that? Who wouldn't give him whatever it was he wanted?
Sarah does wonder then, a little, why he chooses not to sleep with Davey. She doesn't really wonder now. Because of course things would have happened, and even Jack isn't so dishonorable as all that, to kiss a girl then touch her brother all in the same day. Especially not when there's a chance he'll get caught.
And of course, not the next morning, or the next, but after several weeks of watching his daughter smile moonily at Jack Kelly over the breakfast table, and probably not noticing, just as Sarah pointedly does not notice, his smile growing infinitesimally less genuine, more strained each day, Mr. Jacobs takes Jack aside and asks him about his intentions.
And of course he says, "I aim to marry her, sir."
Because Jack Kelly has always wanted a family, so of course he'd jump at the chance to have one, ready-made.
A few weeks before the wedding, they walk along the Brooklyn Bridge, going to hand deliver invitations to Spot Conlon and his crew, at Jack's insistence. And they fight.
She doesn't mean for it to start off that way. She jokes, "When he reads our vows, shall the minister call you Francis or would you prefer Cowboy?"
He looks at her, and she cannot read his face.
"I think Francis is a nice name. A fine name." He still says nothing. Sarah doesn't look at him again, but continues talking. Anything to fill the silence that was as warm as the golden sunset stretching out over the river but has turned stony cold between them suddenly.
"I've a mind to name our son that. Francis."
At that, Jack does speak. He takes her by the arm, jerking her forward and around until she is pressed with her back to the guardrail, and he leans in close to her face.
She is afraid, suddenly. She has seen Jack be violent, but never with her, or even close to her if he can help it.
"My name's Jack Kelly," he grinds out. "It may not really be the name my mother gave me, but it's my name." He leans away. "And it ain't time to be thinking about kids yet, neither."
Sarah tries not to let her shock well up as tears in her eyes.
Jack walks away from her, as scowl set on his face. After a moment, he turns back and, seeing her still pressed back against the rail, returns and roughly takes hold of her hand, pulling her forward.
And she thinks, he doesn't know how to let me know he's sorry. She thinks, this is his way.
At the wedding, all of her friends are there, the girl she sat with in school a tiny bit scandalized, but secretly jealous of her. To be married, and to the infamous Cowboy Kelly too.
The wedding is perfect. Everyone looks lovely or dashing, the flowers smell wonderful, the church is full, and the ceremony goes off without a hitch. Jack says "I do" charmingly and kisses her lightly but full on the mouth. It is not as passionate as their first kiss, but, Sarah thinks, they are in a church, and that must account for it.
Sarah wouldn't be able to contain her happiness, were it not for the fact that it is almost time for their first dance, and Jack is nowhere to be found.
Sarah paces around and around the tiny lawn of the church (In New York, it is a rare thing to find a patch of grass big enough for a wedding party, especially on their budget), peering into every face for the one which belongs to her new husband. Finally, she enters the church.
She looks down the long aisle she walked down not an hour ago. Though it's dim, she thinks she sees someone down at the other end, leaning against the wall behind the pulpit, or perhaps two people leaning, as if they were holding each other, as close as a mother holds her child.
Or as two lovers hold one another.
"Jack?" she calls, and sees that there are two people at the other end of the church. Hurrying closer, holding up her train, she can pick out individual features.
As she nears them, Davey quickly drops his hand from its position wrapped securely around Jack's neck, but Jack does not remove his hand from where it is resting gently against Davey's chest, fingers curling up over his white, starched collar to rest lightly on his collarbone.
And then, of course, it all makes sense.
Davey's anguished eyes and Jack's cursory kisses, and the way they are sometimes late coming home from a day of selling papers. Or the way they closet themselves outside on the stairs together for hours sometimes after dinner and the way they grow silent when she climbs out the window to join them and puts her hand against Jack's cheek.
Sarah doesn't know what she will do, but she makes a promise to herself that she won't pretend not to see any longer that of course Jack is in love with Davey.