Hey fellow Newsie fans! So I know I ought to be working on Go Get 'Em, Cowboy, but the Plot Bunnies DEMANDED this story. And when the Plot Bunnies demand, they usually receive. So here's a little two-shot that I felt needed to be written, and actually turned out to be one of my favorites I've written thus far:) Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Rosey may own this story, but she don't own Newsies!
So That's What They Call a Family
The rain was bad.
It was cold and coming down in hard, fast slants. Jack Kelly and David Jacobs, and Dave's little brother Les made their way through the downpour, shivering in the cold wetness. They had sold all their papes and had been feeling pretty good about themselves, until the sky split open and the icy rain began to fall. Les and David had their good winter coats and mittens that their mother gave them, of course. But Jack had had to sell his coat a few months ago just to have enough money for some food, and now he was shivering hard, trying to stop his teeth from chattering. Oh, he knew it was stupid of him to sell his coat, especially when it was almost winter and he could get a warm meal at the Jacobs' any day, but he was stubborn, and didn't think ahead well.
"Jack, why don't you have your coat?" David just seemed to notice, raising an eyebrow. "You knew it was gonna rain."
"Shoot, Dave, you know me," Jack chuckled, trying to keep his jaw steady. "I don't do da tinkin' ahead ting. I left it back at the Lodging House."
"You're gonna get a cold, Cowboy!" Les worried, looking up at his hero anxiously.
"I'm fine, Les," Jack ruffled the kid's soaking wet hair. "Look, we're at your apartment already."
The trio stepped inside, shaking the water droplets from their hair and clothes. Still shivering slightly, they ascended the stairs to the Jacobs' apartment door. "We're home, Mama," Davey called as they walked inside.
Mrs. Jacobs appeared suddenly, her face full of motherly concern. "Oh you poor dears, you must be freezing. Come on inside." She dealt a kiss to Les and David's heads and gave Jack a swift hug as she led them inside the room and closed the door behind them. "Jack, why aren't you wearing your coat?" she asked in shock when she noticed the seventeen-year-old wasn't wearing a jacket. "You'll catch your death!"
"I left it back at the Lodging House," Jack lied again, suppressing another shiver.
"Why, you ought to have known better!" she scolded gently. "It was going to rain all-"
"Yes ma'am, I know," Jack laughed weakly. "Your son already gave me this speech."
Mrs. Jacobs laughed and nodded. "Of course he did. Well, Mr. Jacobs and Sarah are out of town-"
"Yes ma'am. Dave told me."
"Well then!" Mrs. Jacobs laughed, handing Jack a blanket to wrap around his shoulders. "Looks like David has you all up to date on everything!"
"Like mother, like son," Davey chimed in with a smile.
Jack suddenly coughed into his sleeve, wincing after.
"Jack? Are you alright?" Mrs. Jacobs asked worriedly.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Jack nodded emphatically, sniffing and shrugging it off. "Just got somethin' in my throat."
Mrs. Jacobs smiled and nodded, gesturing to the table. "Stay for dinner tonight, Jack. As a matter of fact, I'm not sending you back out there into the rain tonight. Go ahead and stay the night here."
Jack shook his head, sniffed again, and began to say he didn't want to impose, but a hard sneeze stopped him in the middle of his sentence.
Mrs. Jacobs bit her lip and went over to Jack, putting a hand on his forehead. "Hmm...You feel a little warm, Jack. Are you sure you feel alright?"
"Yes, ma'am," Jack forced a smile and nodded. "I'm sure."
"Well you're staying the night here anyway," she insisted, gently pulling Jack to the table where Les and Davey were already sitting. Jack just nodded, afraid talking would cause him to cough again.
When Jack woke up, the first thing he was aware of was the brightness in the room. Why hadn't Kloppmann woken him up yet? And then he was aware of the pain in his throat and head and he groaned, remembering last night and sitting up too quickly, causing his aching head to spin so badly that black spots coated his vision. When his eyes focused again, he found himself on the couch in the Jacobs' apartment house, and nobody else was around. He got to his feet, his head spinning wildly, shakily making his way into the kitchen.
When he arrived there, he found Mrs. Jacobs stirring a large pot of soup. When he couldn't suppress a cough any longer, Mrs. Jacobs turned around and faced him with a gentle smile. "Good morning, Jack. How are you feeling?" she went over to him and touched his forehead, biting her lip. "You're much warmer..."
"Mrs. Jacobs, I gotta get to woik," he sniffed and rasped, surprised at how hoarse and dry his voice was.
"Jack, dear, you're sick. Being out in the rain last night gave you a bad cold. I'm not letting you go on your job when you're like this. I wouldn't let my children do it, and you're no exception," she said with gentle firmness.
Jack would have said something about not being her real son and about him not being able to miss work, but the way she said it... It was like he truly was her child. He hadn't felt motherly kindness in so long... It stunned him into silence long enough for Mrs. Jacobs to go over to him and lead him back to the couch. "Now Jack stay in bed. Rest is the best medicine."
"I can't stay in bed all day!" Jack protested, his scratchy throat causing his voice to crack.
"You'll just have to," she said with an air of finality. She pushed him softly back into the couch, covering him with the blanket. Jack flinched when she did so. This simple act of motherly love made him unsure of what to do or say, and he just remained still as Mrs. Jacobs left the room to get some soup and then returned with a steaming bowl. She held it out to him kindly. "Here. Eat all this good soup."
Jack took a spoonful and swallowed, wincing hard as it went down. "Hoits me throat," he mumbled.
"I'm sorry, dear," she said sympathetically. "But you have to eat something."
Jack took another painful spoonful before he handed it back out to her. "Sorry, it hoits too much." He wasn't sure why he was admitting this to her, but her motherly concern somehow made him feel able to admit the pain.
Mrs. Jacobs bit her lip and nodded, sitting the bowl aside. "Alright, dear. I'll save some for you for later."
Jack coughed hard before looking over at her. "Look, I really can't miss a day of woik."
"Yes you can," Mrs. Jacobs said firmly. "You're not invincible, dear. You're sick, and therefore you need rest and a day off."
Jack began to protest again, but a hoarse cough stopped him and he winced, reluctantly giving in. He did feel awful, though he would never admit it, and a day off actually sounded like absolute heaven.
Mrs. Jacobs held out a glass of water for him, smiling kindly, before getting to her feet. "Jack, I have to clean up a little around the house if you don't mind."
"Hey, go ahead," he shrugged, sniffing again. "I don't mind."
Mrs. Jacobs smiled sweetly, patting Jack's knee kindly before getting to her feet and going over to a basket in the corner. Jack leaned back into the pillows, closing his eyes against his pounding headache. He was exhausted, despite having slept in unusually late that morning, and he felt himself already falling back asleep.
It was then Mrs. Jacobs started humming. Jack cracked his eyes open and looked over at her silently. She was dusting a shelf in the corner, humming an old tune quietly to herself. He knew the song. It was an old Irish lullaby his mother used to sing to him every night. Toor-a-loor-a-loor-a… Jack listened for a few more moments before whispering quietly "My muddah used ta sing dat all da time."
Mrs. Jacobs stopped and turned around to face him with a small smile. "It's a beautiful song. We're not Irish, but I sing it all the time just the same." She paused for a moment before smiling again. "Shall I sing it? Instead of just humming it?"
"If you wanna," Jack mumbled, sniffing and coughing again.
Mrs. Jacobs nodded, giving Jack a knowing grin, before she began to sing the song in a gentle voice. "Toor-a-loor-a-loor-a…Toor-a-loor-a-lie…It's an Irish lullaby."
Jack closed his eyes, letting the song play in his head. As he started to drift into sleep, Mrs. Jacobs' voice started to sound more and more like his mothers. Behind his closed eyelids, he saw his mother's loving Irish face, freckled and healthy, looking at him and singing the song gently to her son. He smiled slightly, and fell asleep.
D'aww. I love Jacky Boy. I really really do.
What do you think? Please tell me in a REVIEW!
Off to part two!
(Yes, all that DID rhyme!)