So That's What They Call a Family.       

Well, here it is. Anther story, another plot line. Sorry about keeping changing it, but I come up with all these different scenarios and I just have to write them.

                This one is a little different and I hope the idea works, though it is a lot like keeping secrets can kill. I tried to make them different but I dunno if it  worked. And yes, I am working on another one as we speak. But right now, I am very tired and am going to go crash.

                I don't own Jack or Race or Davy, you all know that. I know that, I don't care. I'm tired, goodnight.

            " You stop right dere!" A sharp crack and then a thump as something heavy hit the floor.   Screams, coming from the next room, their parents bedroom. 

Outside the thunder roars, and the rain pounds against the window pain. But the two boys are much more frightened of the storm taking place in the very next room. They long for the added warmth and comfort of their older brother vanished for a week now.  This is what the latest fighting is about. 

"How can you expect me to live like this? How can you ask the boys to do this?"  More screaming, they try to block the sounds, but they only get louder and louder until…

SLAM! Jack Kelly sat up, breathing hard.  It took him a long moment to realize where he was, but the sleepy groan from the bunk next to his face told him. He was in the Lodging House, his home for so long.  He was safe and sound, no screams or pain.  Well, his side did hurt a little, understandable since he'd just fallen from the top bunk.

Racetrack Higgins, eyes blurry from sleep, peered at him from the lower bunk. Several other boys grumbled at the disturbance.  Jack shook his head, trying desperately to clear it.

"Whatcha doin' down dere, Jackie?"  Race asked, his voice rough from sleep.  Jack blinked.

"I dunno, I was dreamin', I guess.  Sorry."  There was a scattering of mumbled replies before the others drifted off to sleep, but Race gave him a hard look.

"Audder nightmare?" he asked quietly.  Jack nodded. "Him, again?"  Jack did not reply, but Race saw, even in the dark, his leader's face get stone hard as he lifted himself back up into his bunk without another word.  He sighed. He understood Jack's hesitation; he understood it all to well. He'd known Jack far too long not to know. But, in spite of all he wanted to say, Race turned over and forced himself to try and sleep again.

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Across town, at Grand Central Station, a tall man with graying brown hair and a pale shallow face and small beady blue eyes got out of the last carriage of the last train that night. The conductor might not have remembered him later, but for the strange cold eyes the man had. They were ice cold and penetrating, making him feel very uncomfortable as he took his ticket and he didn't feel half relieved when the man got off.  He owned nothing in the world, but the clothes on his back, a small suitcase and an old yellowed newspaper, dated one year ago, and bearing the headline: The Children's Crusade; Newsies Stop the World.

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" Extry! Extry! Get yer papes!"  Jack shouted.  A man with a tall black hat offered him a penny and Jack handed him his paper with a " tank ya mista."  Then he grinned.  That was his last one. Now time for a nice supper with the boys.

He had calmed down considerably since that horrible dream the previous night.  He frowned, shaking his head.  He used to have those dreams all the time after- No! He stopped himself just in time.

You're Jack Kelly now, Jack Kelly, no one else.  He forced himself to stop thinking and concentrate on the nice pile of shiny coins in his pocket.  Maybe he would stop in and see Sarah before he went for dinner.  But then, dinner at the Jacobs's was always a cause for stopping. He smiled in spite of himself.

Life after the strike had been interesting.  Newsies and street kids and even rich folk had found their way to Jack Kelly, amazed and intrigued by the boy who'd started the newsie strike.  At first it'd been   a little flattering, but soon people began to ask questions, questions he didn't want to answer.  He feared his fame might spread beyond the borders of the city, to a certain small state prison up north.

He closed his eyes and shivered in the darkening street. The light was fading quickly, as it was apt to do in late fall, and the street was slowly emptying with workers going home to their families, and Jack decided it was time to head home to his.

"Jack!"  He waited as Racetrack hurried to catch up with him, before giving him the grin that made him so popular.

"Hey Race. How's da track?"   Race shrugged, pausing to lit his cigarette.

"Same old."  They smiled, sharing more in an exchange of looks than in words.

"Wanna smoke?" he offered Jack the cigarette, which he accepted and took a long calming breath.

"Come on, let's get somthin' ta eat."

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David Jacobs was one street over and far less hungry than his orphan counterparts.  But at the moment he was far less happy.  It had something to do with his younger brother Les, a flock of pigeons and his last newspapers.  At the moment, he was scolding   Les, brandishing his wooden sword, when a voice broke through.

"Excuse me, boy."  He turned to see a rather thin man, greasy light hair and pale skin. His eyes made David feel odd and he didn't like the stare the man gave little Les.  The eyes were the coldest ice blue he'd ever seen.

"Yes?"

"Perhaps you could help me.  I'm trying to find my son." The man spoke in   harsh voice; David could feel the cold in the man's breath.

"What makes you think I know your son?"  He asked. The man frowned, making him seem downright dangerous.

"He was a newsboy, several years ago.  Perhaps he still is. Do you know Francis Sullivan?"  The name caused David to pause.    Francis Sullivan, Jack's real name and the name he'd promised never to call him.  He studied the man.  This was Jack's father? Well, as good as the man's intentions might be, David knew he couldn't possibly let his friend's secret go. He was one of the few who knew Jack's real name, or his family history, what little Jack had been willing to let go.  It didn't seem right to tell him.    He glanced at the clock above the square.  Close to dinnertime, Jack should be at the restaurant by now. 

 His thoughts were interrupted by a cough and he realized the man was still waiting for an answer.

"Well, the name sounds familiar. But I've only been a newsie about a year or two. But I know someone who might know."   Just as he was about to give the man a few more details, the very topic of their conversation rounded the corner, his arm around Racetrack as they laughed, Jack holding a cigarette out of the younger, shorter newsie's reach. 

"Hey! Jack!"  He called, when his friend had reached half a block away. Jack looked up and grinned, waving, Race too.  Then both their eyes rested on the man beside  David.

 He saw a strange expression he'd never seen on Race's face, as if he was  confused and was trying desperately to remember something just out of his reach.  But it was Jack's face that startled him. It was full of fear, naked unclosed fear.  He looked as if his worst nightmare had just come true.

David approached his friend, noticing Race's  face  get twisted up even more and glance at his friend.  Suddenly, Jack seemed to get over his shock, grabbed the front of Race's shirt in one hand and David's arm in the other and  turned away,  taking off at a full run.  He heard shouting behind him and  turned to see the man chasing them.

  He followed Jack as he  turned corner after corner and wondered if Jack even knew where he was going. Les trailed behind, until  David took pity on him and scooped him into his arms.

 Three blocks later, David realized  they had turned onto his street and   motioned to  Jack and Race to follow him up to his apartment house.  The four of them dashed up the hall and burst into the small  apartment, Mr. and Mrs.  Jacobs  looking quite startled as four boys tumbled into their  apartment, and slammed the door shut behind them. 

"Boys, what happened?" Mr. Jacobs asked,  noticing the panting of  his two sons.  Jack shook his head,  and    his eyes widened as a fist pounded on the door.  In an instant, he had grabbed Race, hissed to the Jacobs's, " We ain't heah!"  and dove under the bed.

 Les grabbed a blanket and hung it over the edge of the bed, allowing it to  cover the  two friends beneath it.  It was only after David made sure  his friends were hidden  that he allowed the door to open.