In less than 24 hours, Elwood Blues had lost everything that mattered to him. It'd hurt enough when they moved Jake elsewhere after a year because they were causing too much trouble. It had hurt when Curtis had written about the orphanage closing – that was only 4 years into his sentence. He'd ended up in the slammer for over 4 times as long as he'd saved the orphanage for. It'd really hurt when first Jake, after a year of separation, and then Curtis, 10 years later, both stopped writing. Jake had said it once best; his bandmates weren't the kind of guys to write letters. Elwood was alone for the last 4 years of his imprisonment.
He waited all night for his brother to show up, trying not to get too excited. Jake was supposed to get out 10 years earlier – it was Elwood who'd picked up most of the charges, not Jake. Make that one more thing that hurt; his brother got out that much earlier, and never visited, after all those times Elwood had visited him. But all he had to do now was wait – to find his brother again, to see Curtis, to reunite with the only family he'd ever had. By the time the sun started to set, he was quickly becoming worried. Jake had never been punctual, but he'd never been this late, not to something important. The worry nagged at him all night, as he stood motionless; when the sun started to rise again, he knew something was wrong. And when he heard the door creak open behind him, he knew he was about to find out.
When the news came, he was almost expecting it. But that didn't dull the blow. 16 years? His brother had been dead for 14 years when the thought of seeing him again had been the only thing keeping Elwood going. 16 long years – and nobody had ever even bothered to tell him. He wondered how long everyone else had known.
But Elwood Blues was stoic. A quiet, "What?" and a lowering of his gaze to the ground were the only indications he gave of his feelings; and the turmoil and despair stayed locked up inside, where he'd always known such things belonged.
His head was still swimming, drowning, when someone finally came for him. She tried for a bit to make conversation, but Elwood couldn't focus, and eventually they fell into a silence. He never thought to ask who she was or why she'd picked him up until she volunteered the information herself. She worked with Willie, she finally said. She was a dancer. And Willie was willing to give him, Elwood, a job. Singing.
Singing without Jake. Singing without the one man he'd been singing with since he was young. His partner in music.
Elwood wasn't sure he would ever be able to sing the blues again. And he'd never gotten to say goodbye – to either his best friend, or his music.
He braced himself before he even asked the question, prepared his response just in case. Elwood Blues was stoic; and if he got the answer he was expecting, there was no one around who would care anyway.
"So... where's Curtis?" The look on the Penguin's – Mother Mary Stigmata, he corrected himself mentally; the Penguin was what Jake called her, and Jake wasn't here anymore – face said it all. His response was as cool as he could make it. His brother, his father, and the only home he'd ever known, all gone, and he couldn't help but wish he was with them.
His breakdown finally came only minutes later. He wasn't sure why she told him about Cabel Chamberlain, but it pushed him over – the idea that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't alone. That hope, that small bit of possibly false hope, was what pushed him to tears. Maybe he did still have a chance at a family. It may not be the family he wanted, but it was still a family. It was something, whereas at the moment he had nothing. Maybe there was a reason his jump off the bridge failed; after all, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
A/n: ...yeah, sorry about this. I finally saw Blues Brothers and its sequel within the last week. Love the first one, mixed feelings on the second one. But the most definite opinion I have towards Blues Brothers 2000 is that that was possibly one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. The first 15-20 minutes were so heartbreaking that I literally could not enjoy the rest of the movie because I was still thinking about the beginning.
Anyway, Re: the ficlet, I've basically been analyzing the beginning of BB2K nonstop since I saw it, and I decided to try and put it into words, and this happened. Unfortunately, I've also come to the conclusion that everything in the Blues Brothers movies (both of them) is pretty depressing if you stop for a couple seconds to think about them. So... there may or may not be more of these coming, for both the movies. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think. And I apologize for any inconsistencies. I've only seen 2000 twice... and a certain amount of guesswork went into it, as tends to happen in fanfiction. Let me know and I'll fix it.