Author's Note: This is a continuation of the "early relationship" idea I started with "In The Beginning: One". This story starts right after that story ends, still well before Episode 2: Created Equal. Jeffrey and Phineas worked through many things in my first story, but still don't know each other very well. Phineas continues to be confused about the path his life has taken (he's violating the Code on a daily basis by voyaging with Jeff), and Jeffrey continues to grieve, even as he grows closer to Bogg.
I'm trying to practice using more dialog in this story. I'm also continuing to practice writing their different "Points of View". And of course, I'll be focusing on deepening the relationship between Phineas and Jeffrey. I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1 An Argument
The meal had been delicious, especially after missing lunch, though Jeffrey wasn't so sure he liked venison. He lay back on the blanket that Mrs. Boone had spread on the floor beside the fire, his hands behind his head, propping it up so he could stare into the flames. Bogg sat a few feet away, also staring quietly into the flames. All their days had been exciting, but today had been an especially interesting day, and not because they were in Daniel Boone's cabin either. Today, he and Bogg had had their first big argument, they had argued about what was wrong with history. Not about how to fix it, but about what needed to be fixed. And Jeffrey had been right. He hoped Bogg didn't mind too much, but, what was he supposed to do, go along with a plan that was destined to fail?
As he thought about Bogg, he could hear his words as clear as day, 'I want you to stay with me, it just feels right'. He had said those words last evening, in Henry Ford's barn. They had made Jeff happy then, but now he couldn't help but wonder just how long Bogg would think having Jeff with him felt right.
All of a sudden the thought struck him that he was alone in the whole universe. It was true that he'd felt alone when he was living with Aunt Elizabeth, but now, not only did he not have a family, he didn't have a time either. He did have Bogg, but he wasn't sure what Bogg was to him exactly. Really, he was just a person that Jeff was helping out, and that wasn't much. As sadness engulfed him, he rolled over and closed his eyes, trying to shut out the world, hoping against hope that he could continue doing whatever it was he had done to make Bogg feel that having him around 'just felt right'.
Phineas sat quietly staring at the fire too, and thinking about their day. Before they'd landed here in Tennessee, they had traveled to 1943, landing in a naval shipyard in Philadelphia. Only a kid would've been able to figure out what the engineer Richard James needed to discover. Any voyager, including Bogg, would have thought it had something to do with the war. After all, they were in the middle of World War II, yet as soon as Jeff had seen the engineer's work area, he had kept insisting, more forcefully each time, that they were there to ensure that a toy was created.
This had been their first real disagreement. Bogg had been certain that the problem involved the war, and had even forbidden Jeffrey from continuing to touch the odd assortment of springs lined up on a shelf above the workbench. But Jeff had argued that the man needed to invent a child's toy.
And then Bogg had done it. After a protracted argument, during which Bogg felt they had wasted enough time, he'd dared Jeff to prove his theory. Without a hesitation, Jeff had confidently moved a pile of books over to where James was working on a series of springs, then he'd picked up the engineer's samples and handled them, incurring his wrath. But the kid didn't mind getting yelled at. Instead, he took one of the springs and pushed it off the shelf. It stepped onto the books, then the tabletop, then a stool, another pile of books, and then the floor, where it recoiled itself and stood upright. Phineas stood watching as James stared at it, intrigued and Jeff tugged his arm until he open the omni. It had turned green, and he and Jeffrey headed for the door as James picked the spring up off the floor.
"It'll be called a Slinky, ... the toy I mean," Jeff had said excitedly, and suddenly his expression changed to one of uncertainty and he looked down at the gravel driveway. Bogg could seem to see the wheels turning in his mind. He'd been so excited that he was right about solving the problem that he suddenly seemed to realize how harshly he had spoken to Bogg during their disagreement.
"We can have a difference of opinion you know," Bogg had told him, "but that's all it should be, okay?"
Jeff rewarded him with a relieved smile and Bogg's heart had turned over as he realized that his words and actions created this kid's world. He could either build him up or destroy him. His words could cause happiness or misery. It was a huge responsibility and the realization had been a shock. He hoped he had the wisdom and self control to handle this choice he'd made, he knew he probably didn't have the patience. One of the first things he'd ever said to Jeff had been, 'I'm not a man known for being patient', and it was true.
Then Phineas had continued, "by the way, you did good. I never would've been able to figure it out alone." He almost ended the sentence with 'without my guidebook' but he couldn't bring himself to mention that loss again.
"Thanks," Jeff had said and his eyes shone more brightly than they had since they'd met.
The fire crackled loudly, pulling Bogg into the present. He glanced over at Jeff, he looked asleep on top of the blanket. Bogg added some wood to the fire and settled on his own blanket to get some sleep.
The cry was quiet, and only lasted a few seconds, but Bogg was awake immediately. At first he thought that some nocturnal animal had been hunting nearby, but when Jeffrey rolled over restlessly and cried out again, he knew the kid had been dreaming. He sat up and thought for a few seconds before moving to lie beside him. He rested his hand lightly on Jeff's shoulder and gently rubbed back and forth, just as he'd done in the mountaintop cabin a few days before. It had the same effect, the boy became still and seemed to fall into a deeper sleep. Bogg closed his eyes again too, but the image he saw was of Jeff arguing with him about the toy. He'd been so confident, and eager to test out his theory. He'd acted like a real voyager and Bogg had been impressed. That self-confident, enthusiastic kid was still there somewhere, asleep under his hand. But it was the same child whose dreams were tortured by terrible memories of his parent's deaths.
He wondered again why he had been the voyager to be put into Jeff's room. Had it been an accident, or by design? As this thought occurred to him, he felt a bit hopeful. If he'd been chosen for this, maybe he wouldn't be in so much trouble when headquarters finally caught up to them. Then again, why would anyone choose him for this? There was absolutely no reason he could think of that he should be chosen. He was unprepared for and scared by the responsibility if he dwelled on it too long. He'd recently taken to putting it out of his mind and had convinced himself that this coping strategy was working well.
Jeffrey was a wounded, helpless child. No, he stopped himself, definitely not helpless. But wounded, yes, no one could deny that. But why was Bogg's life on this odd path? Why wasn't someone else letting Jeff solve red lights by day and comforting him by night? He sighed and moved his hand to keep it in contact with Jeffrey's arm as he drifted off to sleep.
Jeff awoke and immediately felt something warm against his face. He snuggled closer to it, his thoughts turning toward home. After a minute, or maybe an hour, he couldn't tell, he opened his eyes and realized he had his arms around Bogg's forearm, which was against the side of his face. He glanced up at the pirate, and saw that he was laying on his side and still asleep. He'd apparently moved next to Jeff during the night for some reason. He smiled and pulled Bogg's arm close again.