In this story I am trying to show the complex relationship that has developed between Phineas and Jeffrey. Jeff is young, vulnerable and inexperienced in many things, but he is also wise beyond his years and possesses many other great strengths. Phineas also has many wonderful attributes, but he is not perfect. He wants to help Jeff grow into the great voyager he is supposed to become, but also wants to protect him.
These events take place after Convergence and Teaching Jeff, two other stories of mine. I've brought back a few of the characters from those stories. I hope it isn't too long and drawn out, the ideas just kept flowing. I pruned out as many as I thought I could. Since Bogg mentions a Reunion in "The Trial of Phineas Bogg" episode, I thought it might make a good backdrop for this story. Also, I wanted to write about Jeff being just a bit older, so he'll have his 13th birthday during the story, too.
Chap 1 The Crash
Phineas Bogg awoke slowly, aware of a severe pain in his right shoulder. He opened his eyes, but the light was so poor he couldn't see much.
"Jeff?" the word came to his parched lips before conscious thought. He could barely hear it himself as he spoke. He swallowed and tried again, "Jeff", but again, his voice was hardly above a whisper.
There was no answer. He tried to move his head, but any movement made him feel dizzy and nauseated. Memory came back to him slowly. They had omnied into New York City, November 1st, 1929, just a few days after the Stock Market Crash. They barely had time to get their bearings when they witnessed a man jump to his death from the top floor of the Savoy-Plaza Hotel. The fall seemed to happen in slow motion, and Phineas quickly moved in front of Jeffrey to block his view of the man's body as it landed in the street. They had hurried away from the area and Bogg remembered glancing around and realizing that the streets looked dangerous. They were empty of women and children, but many men were lounging on steps and sitting in doorways, and their expressions were hostile and without hope.
Then, 3 young men, presumably trying to steal money had jumped him from behind. When they realized he had none, they sliced up his shoulder and ran away. He remembered the blood pouring down his arm like an oil gusher he had seen once in Texas. He and Jeffrey had struggled to wrap a tablecloth from an outdoor restaurant around it to try to control the bleeding. Phineas remembered feeling dizzy and stumbling into a building. He had been so lightheaded that he had lost track of Jeffrey, then there was nothing and now he had awakened. Terror shook his insides, where was Jeff?
"I'll take another cup of coffee," he heard a man's voice, very faint, as though he was under water.
"Get over there," another said, and this was followed by a crash, and yelling. He closed his eyes, how could he find Jeff if he couldn't even keep his eyes open.
Sometime later, he felt someone squeeze his hand and heard a voice, Jeff's voice. He forced his eyes open, but he still couldn't see very much.
"Jeff?" he whispered, hoping it was loud enough.
"Bogg? Can you hear me?" Jeff's hopeful voice found its way into his fuzzy brain.
"Yeah," Bogg replied. He could barely make out Jeff's outline.
"Listen, you've lost a lot of blood, you need to drink," Jeff whispered into his ear. "Turn your head, I've got a straw."
He turned his head, felt the straw in his mouth and started to drink.
"Are you okay?" he asked weakly when he finished the cup.
"I'm okay, don't talk, just listen," Jeff began. He hoped Bogg could understand what he was going to say. "I'm alright, but we're in a bad place. It's important that they think you're still unconscious, so don't talk." He paused, "do you understand?"
"Yes, but where are we?" Bogg whispered. He was beginning to feel better already.
"We're in an emergency shelter that was set up by the city, we're in New York and the Stock Market crashed a couple of days ago. A doctor from the hospital down the street came and stitched up your shoulder. There are a lot of desperate people here. We just need to lay low and not draw attention to ourselves while you get better and I try to figure out what's causing the red light. Just lay here, I'll bring you food and water, okay?"
"Can you get more water?" Bogg hated to ask, but his thirst was suddenly overwhelming.
"Be right back," and Jeff was gone.
It seemed a long time before Jeff returned and Phineas could hear several loud noises, but when Jeff returned he had water and a slice of bread. Phineas drank the water quickly and Jeff tore the bread into small pieces and put them in his mouth. After he had eaten, he turned his head to see their surroundings.
"Why is it so dark?" he asked.
"We're in a back room, we need to leave the light off," Jeff explained.
"How did I even get in here?"
"You managed to walk in and then collapsed close to the door. Some guys helped me pull you in here, out of the way."
"Out of the way of what?"
Jeff paused uncomfortably. He knew if he told Bogg what was going on, he'd try to get up and Jeff was sure the thugs who had taken over the outer room would think nothing of killing him. And Bogg was in no condition to fight anybody.
"Nothing, it's over now," he paused, "just rest and get your strength back, okay?"
Phineas stared at Jeffrey and nodded, he realized he wasn't up to very much. Jeff was safe and apparently, so was he, for the time being anyway. So the smartest thing to do would be to follow Jeff's advice, rest and get his strength back.
"I'll bring back food and water as often as I can," Jeff continued and then he was gone.
Phineas watched the shadows lengthen and tried to listen to the sounds from the other room. What little snippets of conversation he could get were disjointed and didn't make any sense to him. It was hard to concentrate. He jumped when Jeff returned and realized he must've been asleep.
"Here's some more water and I've got meat and potatoes too," Jeff told him. He held the cup and straw again and when Phineas was done drinking, he filled the spoon and put it in Bogg's left hand while he held the bowl.
"When do you eat?" Bogg asked as he finished the meal.
"Here and there, whenever I get a chance," Jeff answered, "are you feeling any better?"
"Yeah, thanks," Bogg whispered.
"Boy!" the loud shout startled Phineas. Jeff jumped up, "I'll be back as soon as I can with more," he whispered and hurried away. Bogg lay still, straining to hear what was being said, but once Jeff was gone the voice wasn't as loud. He didn't like Jeffrey being out there alone. There were times and places in history where children were in more danger than usual. Phineas was fairly sure this would be one of those times and places. He tried to sit up and suddenly felt very hot before everything went black. He awoke a short time later, soaked in sweat and realized he must have fainted. Apparently he had lost quite a lot of blood. He wouldn't be getting up soon. He closed his eyes and didn't open them until Jeff was back beside him.