Note: I do not own Treasure Island or any of its characters. Also, this is a sequel to my other fic, A Well Respected Man.
Leaning against the side of the Benbow, sheltered by the darkness of the alley, Silver mulled over the events of the day. He had watched from his seat looking for evidence as to what exactly was amiss in the relationship between the harpy and Jim.
"Hello, Jimbo!" Silver said, stepping into the light.
"Silver!" The boy's face lit up with a grin. "What are you doing here?"
"Well," Silver let his smile fall a bit, "I been thinkin' 'bout you, boy an' worryin' sos I decided to come and sees for meself just how's you been!"
"I'm fine-" Jim started to reply, but Silver cut him off.
"Now, none of that!" Silver scolded. "I been watchin' you, boy an' I don' like the look o' thins'! Wheres' this hellcat get off treatin' you like that?"
"Really, I'm fine!" Jim reassured him. "It's nothing! She's just had a bad day."
"That don' 'scuse it!" Silver persisted. "You's jus' a boy! Shouldn' be takin' 'er problems out 'n you!" Jim looked like he wanted to protest but Silver didn't let him. "She's no business orderin' you 'bout like you's 'er slave!"
"Well, she does take care of me and it's not like she has to!" Jim defended. "It was either here or the streets after my father died and most people wouldn't want a seven year old hanging around but she said she'd keep me so…" He trailed off uncertain.
Silver winced. The kid still didn't know that up until a few weeks ago his father had been alive and well. Best not to tell him that, though. "It don' matta', Jim!" The man stepped forward, resting a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You's jus a boy!"
"I'm 15 now." The boy mumbled in half-hearted protest.
" 'f coure ya' need to be taken care' f; You don' owe 'er anythin'!"
"I…" Jim shrugged. "It doesn't matter anyway; it's not like I can leave."
"Won't Cap'n Smollet or yer other friends take y' in r' help ya'?" Silver asked.
Jim looked at the ground. "Smollet's on his honeymoon with Benjamina, Livesey doesn't know, and Trelawney's...well, Trelawney." He gave a small chuckle which Silver returned with a grim smile as he remembered the schizophrenic bear. "Rizzo and Gonzo are in it just as badly as I am, 'cept they're getting paid. Think they'd quit and take their chances in finding a new job if not for they don't want to leave me."
" 'nd all that gold ya' found? I didn' take it all. You couldn' of spent it all already!" The boy glanced up at him and Silver was sorrowed to see suspicion in his eyes. No doubt at the mention of treasure. Well, perhaps that was to be expected.
Jim must have seen the genuine concern in the opposites eyes because he just shook his head. "Smollet put my share away in his safe for when I turn 18. He gives me an allotment of six guineas each month but Mrs. Bluberidge takes most of it. She gives me a shilling for two but claims the rest are to cover the cost of raising me."
"Raisin' ya'..." Silver cursed, causing Jim to jump, " t' don't cost that much extra, what with ya' workin fer' er! I run an' Inn, I sh'ld know!" He leaned in towards Jim and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. " Now ya' listen ta' me." Silver said conspirationally. " Me wife an' I got ourselves an little tavern'n Bermudy! Spyglass Tavern we's call it, after the old Inn! What say you t' hoppin' on the boat with me an' sailin' back wit' me?"
"With you?" Jim's eyes widened in shock.
"The work would be 'bout the same" Silver continued, "but I swear on me own mother's grave that you'd be treated better. Why, my wife n' I would treat ya' like our own son! What do you say, Jim?"
"I-I... what about Rizzo and Gonzo?" The boy asked.
"Well, Jim," Silver smiled, "I suppose they'd have to come along, now wouldn't they?" He could see the boy wanted to go, but a trace of reluctance remained.
"None of us have much money."
" Like I says, Jim. You'd be like a son t' me. It'sa' father's duty t'pay fer his son!"
"A father..." Jim breathed and John was sure he hadn't meant to speak aloud, so the pirate kept quiet. "But what about Mrs. Bluberidge?" Jim looked up at the man. "She won't want to lose help."
"Which is why we won't be tellin' er, now would we? Ye' go an' tell yer friends, an' pack. Tomorra' night, when youse close, y' wait 'til that ol' hag goes t'bed. Then, youse tiptoes nice n' quietly outside, where I be waitin' wit' a horsn'cart, jus' down th'street."
"And my other friends? What would they think?"
"Well , now, Jim. " Silver encouraged. " You cn' come wit' me and' if yer conscience weighs on ye', ye can write a letter t'them splainin thins. Not givin way' my loca'tin, min' ya, but tellin' em not t' worry."
"Okay." Jim stated. "I'll go."
"That's a boy!" Silver beamed, clapping Jim on the back.
"But I need to get inside, or Bluberidge'll call me in." Jim said, glancing back at the inn.
"We wouldn't be wantin' tha'. Now go inside an' I be back tomorra' ."
"Tomorrow?" Jim asked, an anxious look on his face.
"Tomorra'." Silver repeated
The boy smiled. "Thank you."
"Don' mention it, Jim." Silver answered. Casting a smile over his shoulder, the boy went inside.