HAPPY 122nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE NEWSBOY STRIKE OF 1899!
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For a while after David opened his eyes, he didn't dare move. He could feel Jack's hot breath tickling his neck, making him warm all over.
They were wrapped around each other under the quilt, which, thanks to being kicked around all night, now only covered their legs. Despite falling asleep on opposite sides of the bed, somehow they’d drifted together during the night, driving off the chill lingering in the air. Jack’s arm rested over David’s stomach, face right next to his, so close that David could hear and feel every little movement he made. If he wanted, David could turn and kiss him awake like partners did. His only worry was that he wouldn’t be able to pull it off as smoothly as Jack would if it were his idea, and he’d end up embarrassing himself and spoiling the moment.
There wasn’t enough light in the sky just yet to show through the curtains, complimenting the near silence around them. He guessed they still had a while to sleep, so David tried closing his eyes again, savoring the feeling of the weight and the warmth surrounding him, trying not to look into it too much.
After a few minutes, David gave up on falling back asleep. It was too difficult to focus on doing much of anything with Jack so close to him.
It was the weekend anyway, David didn’t have to worry as much about waking up and going to bed at a reasonable hour. What he did have to worry about was his proximity to Jack, and Jack’s proximity to him.
Partly, David would have been enthralled to stay like that forever. The longer he lay there in the dark, focusing intently only on what he could feel around him, the less his eyelids drooped, and the less likely it became that he would be able to get back to sleep anytime soon. His nerves were tingling, all the way down to his fingertips, like pinpricks. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling when it came to spending time with Jack. He wondered if he would ever get used to Jack touching him, or even just looking at him. The advantage Jack had over him from merely a glance must have been against the rules.
David’s gaze followed Jack’s arm to his face, obscured by tousled hair. His sides rose and fell after every drawn out breath, sleeping more contentedly than David could ever remember seeing. It was disarming enough to share a bed with him as it was, and he knew Jack sometimes had trouble falling and staying asleep, so… This must mean that Jack trusted him, or liked him enough to overlook everything else that might keep them sleeping on opposite sides of the bed. It was a good feeling to have somebody like him that much.
An immeasurable amount of time later, Jack’s fingers twitched, then he shifted, grunting and moving his other arm out from under him. Jack pressed his face into the pillow instead of against David’s chest, tightening his grip around David’s middle.
David paused, rolling onto his side to look at him. Chewing on his lower lip, David reached out a hand and brushed Jack’s hair away from his eyes.
Jack cracked open one hazel eye that wasn’t smushed against the pillow, dark and half-lidded in the dim light. His lips curved into that smile, pulling what was left of the misleiden quilt over his shoulders.
“Goodmorning,” David whispered to him, terribly smitten.
“Mornin’,” Jack mumbled back, barely audible. His voice was low and groggy, not an unwelcome tone at all.
David chewed the inside of his cheek and urged himself to refrain from saying or doing anything embarrassing, at least nothing that would warrant lamenting over it for the rest of the day, despite acknowledging the glaringly obvious fact that Jack probably either didn’t notice or didn’t care for pointing out his hypothetical blunders. David stared over at him, in a way Jack definitely would have noticed with amusement if he were more awake.
“What time’s it?”
"Don’t know,” said David, swallowing hard to try and keep his head on straight. Straight enough, anyway. “Pretty early. The sun isn’t even out yet.”
“Great.” Jack closed his eyes and reached for David, tugging him closer by a fistfull of his nightshirt.
David obliged the gesture, sliding his arm around Jack’s waist, unconsciously feeling the jutting outline of his ribs against his skin. Deliberately touching Jack was yet another stark reminder that this was still really happening, and wasn’t a wicked extension of an incoherent dream David wouldn’t remember by lunchtime.
Jack grinned, nuzzling his face closer to David’s before falling still again.
Not that David was complaining about that. He half expected Jack to pop out of bed like a daisy, complaining about the temperature or the extra distance he’d have to walk to the distribution center. The time they spent together was fast-paced, it happened and then it was over, leaving David with only the memories of feelings. It was nice to slow down and savor something for once.
David knew Jack wasn’t asleep by the way he thumbed the line of exposed skin between David’s pants and where his shirt had ridden up during the night. The contact was starting to make his brain go fuzzy.
“Where do you get off doing that?” David mumbled, leaning his forehead against Jack’s.
“Making me feel like this. You don’t even have to try anymore, you just…”
“My bad, Dave. I tend to have that effect on women.”
David bit back an astonished laugh. “You’re ridiculous.”
“Honestly ridiculous,” David reiterated. “You can’t just start talking fancy and expect all your problems to disappear.”
Jack shrugged, clearly pleased with himself. David huffed, pressing a kiss to his cheek. The second kiss he ducked in for, Jack caught his lips.
Kissing Jack was nice. David didn’t have anything to compare it to, but he was sure that if he did he’d still prefer kissing Jack to anyone else.
Before pulling back, Jack kissed the corner of David’s lips, eyes half-lidded and on the cusp of falling asleep again. “Ya know what you are, Dave?”
One hand woven into the hair at the nape of Jack’s neck, David could feel Jack’s voice reverberate at the back of his throat.
“What am I?”
Jack didn’t respond right away. David just rubbed the back of Jack’s head in a manner he hoped was soothing, waiting.
“Are you asleep?”
No response. David settled back down, hoping to get in another few minutes of rest before the birds starting singing outside and David’s mother came in to wake them.
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(Writing recs) could you do something relating to Javid and their difference in hand sizes-? It's just so cute and I know you liked the idea
I've been editing this for some time and I finally kinda like the product❗️ here ya go my friend I hope it's up to par !
The lamps had all been turned out, and the fire dwindling in the wood stove was the only light left in the front room.
After supper, a while ago now, David had ushered Jack to his bedroom, far from private but the most secluded place they could get until the warmer months when the rooftop wouldn’t be covered in ice and snow, and the temperature would rise to something good and reasonable, rather than so cold that you could see your breath billowing in front of you every time you stepped outside.
Snow had been falling all day, turning to something more of a blizzard once the sun went down. The glass was frosty and Les had drawn pictures in it until Mayer told him to stop.
David closed the curtains while Jack was there, as if somehow that would make it less cold. They bundled together under the covers, and Esther delivered them hot chocolate to try and drive the lingering chill away.
David had indiscreetly checked his watch periodically, watching the hours tick away where Jack wouldn’t see and be reminded of how late it was getting. David selfishly hoped that by the time Jack realized, it would be too late, and he would have to spend the night at David’s place instead.
Around nine-thirty, Jack finally stretched and pushed off the quilt, saying he had to get going or old Kloppman would lock him out.
David rolled his eyes and got up to open the curtains. The fire escape was layered thick with snow, pretty in the dark, but nothing he could imagine wanting to trek through so late.
“Why don’t you just stay over tonight? It doesn’t make any sense to go through all that trouble when there’s already a place for you here.”
For a moment Jack paused and seemed to consider what David said. He continued slipping on his tattered gloves that had seen better days. “I’ve overstayed my welcome long enough.”
David narrowed his eyes at him, angrily, hoping Jack would notice. He didn’t, therefore David made no move to unlock the window just yet. “It would be a lot easier, though, if you stayed. Your socks will get wet if you go out there.”
Jack made a face at him, and wrapped his black and grey scarf around his neck.
“I’m just saying,” David reiterated, shrugging and leaning his palms on the windowsill. “What’s that thing you always say? ‘Work smarter, not harder’?”
“Mouth,” huffed Jack, part affection and part irritation.
Applying the same sentiment, David could just as easily have let it go after Jack had already made up his mind. But it was dangerous out there, and Jack could catch a cold, or pneumonia, or something could happen and he’d be out there all alone with nobody to help him somewhere safe. Too much could go wrong when it could all be easily avoided if Jack just listened for once in his life. David guessed that sensibility had never been his strong suit.
David cracked a smile, leaning on the bed frame for a second so he could kick Jack’s boots under his bed. “I could even make us breakfast in the morning.”
“You got school.”
“Tomorrow’s Saturday, Jack.”
“Even if it wasn’t, that wouldn’t matter.”
“Where's my boots?” Jack scanned the floor. David lurched forward as Jack made the motion to kneel down to check under the bed.
“In this weather,” David remarked, pushing his hand to Jack’s shoulder to stop him, “You could catch cold. Maybe worse. Hypothermia, it isn’t pretty. Or pneumonia, or…”
Jack met David’s unwavering gaze. “Or?”
David stared back, taking the hat out of Jack’s hands and putting it on the mattress behind him. “I really think you should stay.”
“You think so?”
“I want you to stay.”
Jack gauged David’s expression, the stiffness in his shoulders and the tight corners of his lips. The kind of look that Jack used to dread.
Jack’s fingers twitched and he looked away. David knew he had won.
Slowly, Jack began taking off his coat. David caught his hand and plucked off one of his gloves, leaving the other at Jack’s side. David stepped closer, their fingers entwined, palms flat against each other.
Holding hands was never something Jack ever envisioned romanticizing or dwelling on once the moment was over. David made him crazy sometimes. His hands were unlike any others he’d held before, which weren’t many. They were soft and cold and unworked, just like the rest of him, and it was irking. Every time their fingers laced Jack was reminded of how far apart they really were. There was a nagging voice at the back of Jack’s mind, always, antagonizing a twinge from his heart, telling him to let go, as if the contact was poison, and if they did it for too long he would infect David.
They stood a breath away from each other. David could practically hear the gears turning in Jack’s head, and the pinch of his expression up close made him want to reach out and touch his cheek. Instead he leaned his head against Jack’s shoulder, rubbing his thumb over the back of his palm.
“Your hands are so much bigger than mine,” David swayed.
“The better to hold yours with I guess.”
David chuckled, gingerly reaching his other arm around Jack’s waist. “You can never overstay your welcome here, by the way. There won’t come a day where we won’t be happy to have you.”
Jack nodded brusquely. Somehow he doubted that. Something could always happen. David could grow out of their friendship. Jack could do something truly horrible. He wouldn’t even have to try. It would be so easy. The Jacobses were so kind…
Jack cleared his throat, leaning out of David’s touch. “Thanks, Dave.”
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your pronouns are they/them, but i want you to be/mine // javid
A/N: HEY GUYS !!! okay so this was requested by the LOVELY @tarantulas4davey as a drabble request, and it....... kinda turned into something WAY longer than it was intended to be! but !! nonetheless, here it is !!
**disclaimer: this fic is brought to you by me, jac, who uses they/them and she/her pronouns !! a lot of this is based on my own experiences with gender identity, so i'm sorry if it isn't. universal? but i hope you all enjoy !!
Read On AO3!
‘Hey, when you get out of class can we talk?
Nothing bad, I promise. I just have something I want to tell you.’
Needless to say, Jack’s mind is racing by the time he arrives at their dorm room; the one he shares with none other than David Jacobs.
David is… David. Jack hasn’t known him for long; they met in an online roommate search thingy for the university, and they’d only been roommates for about three months, but Jack likes to think that they get along well enough.
It’s not common for David to text him like this. David never really asks to talk- at least, he hasn’t done that since they became roommates- and Jack can’t help but wonder just what is going on. Maybe David decided to go home for good over holiday break. That would suck, because Jack really likes him as a roommate, but it wouldn’t be… horrible. Or, maybe David is transferring dorm buildings. Maybe he just doesn’t like Jack. He wouldn’t really blame him; they don’t really have much in common, but they’re friendly with each other, and--
“Oh, hey! I didn’t realize you were back already,” David says from the bathroom entryway. He looks like he’s just gotten out of the shower; his hair is damp and in his face, and the oversized hoodie he’s wearing has a few wet spots near his neck. It’s unfair, how David can look nice so effortlessly.
Jack shrugs as he nods, and rubs the back of his neck. “I, uh, left class early. We were just reviewin’ stuff from the online lecture,'' Jack explains, then takes a seat on the couch. Their dorm room is nice; a bit more expensive, but they have a small kitchen and two bedrooms and their own bathroom, and the shared living area is a huge plus. “Anyway, uh… you wanted to talk?”
David hesitates, and Jack can see it. He sees how he tenses, how his eyes widen just slightly, and there’s a split second in which Jack regrets even bringing it up- until David gives a decisive nod and takes a seat on one of the beanbag chairs a few feet away from the couch. “Yeah. I just… There’s just something I want you to know.” David rubs his arm.
Jack watches with a curious expression, head tilting just slightly. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah! Yeah, everything is fine, I just-- I don’t really know how to… say it,” David admits, which is surprising, considering the fact that- in the three months they’ve been roommates- Jack has never seen him at a loss for words. “I, uh… I just- I recently figured something out, and I want you to know, since we’re… living together. And- and if you’re uncomfortable with it or anything, I can find a new dorm, or--”
“Woah, woah, I think you’re skippin’ somethin’ there,” Jack cuts in, making eye contact with David from across the room. “I’m sure that whatever it is, is fine. I’m not gonna kick you out or anything. Okay? I promise,” Jack says, softer than usual, before he gestures for David to continue speaking. “Spill the beans, Dave.”
David looks up at Jack, gulping as they make eye contact, and after a moment of hesitation, he says, “I don’t think I’m a guy.”
Jack stares at him for a few moments, a blank expression on his face, before his eyes widen and he tilts his head. “Oh! Really?” He asks, then backtracks. “I mean- Fuck, I didn’t mean to, uh, sound bad or anything, I just… Thank you for tellin’ me,” Jack says with a reassuring grin.
David blinks, then raises a brow. “You-- You aren’t weirded out or anything?”
“Why would I be weirded out?” Jack asks, confused. He isn’t upset or anything, but… surely David wouldn’t have pegged him as an asshole, right?
But, then Jack sees David’s face, and sees the expression of confusion and shock and, oddly enough, guilt. “I don’t know,” David admits, gulping. “I just… I don’t know. I didn’t expect you to be chill about it. You’re kind of…” David trails off, and gestures to Jack’s appearance. “I mean, what did you expect?”
Jack glances down at himself, and frowns. He sees what David is getting at; his appearance does scream ‘cishet male’. A Yankees hoodie, Nikes, and black joggers… “Okay, yeah, I see what you mean,” Jack admits with a laugh. “Davey, I’m literally an art major. You were nervous to come out to me?”
“A little,” David admits with a small, barely there grin. “Sorry, I know it’s stupid, I just-- I don’t know, I expected you to… be weird about it.”
“Nah. My little brother, Charlie- he experimented with pronouns ‘nd stuff in high school. You do you, man,” Jack says without a second thought, though he cringes just a moment later. “I-- Sorry, I didn’t--”
“Hey, no, it’s fine,” David cuts in. “It’s gonna be an adjustment for, uh, both of us, so… No hard feelings.”
Jack nods, and smiles at David. “So… you’re trans?”
David’s nose crinkles. “I… Technically? I’m not transitioning, I’m not a girl, but…”
“But you don’t feel like a dude,” Jack adds on, as a statement rather than a judgement. “Genderfluid?”
“I thought so, at first,” David admits, “but… I think, um. I think nonbinary fits… best. At least for right now. Might not stick, but… yeah."
“Got it. Pronouns?”
“Of course. Lunch?”
“Food court at the mall?”
“Davey, you’re a genius.”
‘hey i need to talk to you for a sec’
‘I’m literally in the room next door, come here’
‘no you come to me
i don’t wanna move rn davey’
‘Can’t you just yell it through the wall??’
‘noooo this is important
just come here please
Before Jack can send the next ‘please,’ he hears a loud, overdramatic groan from the bedroom next to his own. He grins wide, and moves to sit on the edge of his bed.
The door opens just a moment later. Davey stands in the doorway with an expectant look, raising their brow. “What is it?”
“You look nice today,” Jack notes with a teasing grin, gesturing to Davey’s outfit: black jeans and a blue button down tucked in at the waist. “Are those new Docs?”
“Sarah got them for me,” Davey says with a smile, glancing down at the shoes as they stick a foot out. “I’m surprised you noticed. They aren’t as beat up as the other ones, and-- Fuck you, you did not make me pause my movie just to talk about my boots,” They shoot Jack a playful glare, then leans against the door. “What’s this really about?”
Jack grins, and lets out a giddy little laugh. “It’s not bad,” Jack puts his hands in the air, shrugging. “Just wanna tell you that I figured out my sexuality.”
“Your--” Davey pauses, raising an eyebrow. “You were questioning?”
“For, like, a few weeks, yeah,” Jack nods, and smiles as he stands up. “I think I’m bi.”
There’s a flash of something in Davey’s eyes, something like shock, or… hope, and Jack fights hard to keep himself from thinking about it. Then, Davey grins and crosses their arms. “Welcome to the queer club,” They say with a smile. “Still don’t know why you couldn’t have just told me you like dick by yelling through the wall.”
“I can’t stand you, Davey. Get out of my sight.”
“Love you too, Jackie,” Davey says with a nonchalant smile, as if they didn’t just give Jack a heart attack with those four words. “You wanna watch the movie with me?"
Jack nods, but until he's already following Davey into their bedroom, he doesn’t really register the question. Not while he's too busy taming his own heart from jumping out of his chest.
“--And, I mean, their eyes--”
“They’re so pretty, Ace, it ain't fair--”
Jack frowns and takes a drink of his iced coffee. He’s in the coffee shop about a block away from the dorm building; Katherine is sitting across from him, staring at him with an amused expression. “Don’t look at me like that,” Jack grumbles.
Katherine shrugs, nudging Jack’s leg with her foot. “I'm not the one in who’s in love with their roommate, babes. Why aren’t you asking them out yet?”
“I don’t wanna, like, make things awkward, y’know?” Jack sighs. “If they don’t like me back, then it’s just… gonna ruin the whole arrangement. And if they do, then I… I don’t know. I’m not good at the relationship stuff, Kath, you of all people should know that,” He mumbles, then shakes his head. “And if we got together, then what if it don’t work out? We live together, dude. We can’t just avoid each other.”
“I doubt that Davey would say no. They, like, obviously love you back. It’s disgusting,” Katherine says nonchalantly with a wave of her hand. “Besides, isn’t the whole ‘being roommates’ thing a plus? I mean, it’ll be easier to sleep together, and--”
“Okay, wow, you did not need to bring that up,” Jack says quickly, his face flushing. “I don’t want-- I don’t like them just for that, Katie. I’m a gentleman!”
“You’re kind of a slut, though.”
“Okay, fair, but they don’t need to know that! That's just- counterproductive!"
Katherine giggles softly, and fondly rolls her eyes. “Just promise me you’ll make a move? I know you want to.”
And, yeah, Jack really does want to.
He wants it more than anything.
It’s been three months since Davey came out, and the two of them have only gotten closer. They’ve become inseparable; Davey is always with Jack, and vice versa, whether it’s waiting on each other outside of classes or going to the mall together or having yet another movie night in the cozy confines of their dorm room, and… well, Jack has grown accustomed to being near them. Davey is one of the most important people in Jack’s life, which is certainly a feat, because everyone else that Jack cares so strongly for has been around since the beginning of everything. Since before Jack was adopted, through all of the court trials and the outbursts and therapists and personal growth. Since Jack was still a broken little boy with no footing in life.
So far, Davey has surpassed everyone in terms of how quickly their friendship has developed.
But that same thought is the one preventing him from taking the first step.
If Jack fucks this up, there’s no coming back from it. He’s already planning on asking Davey if they want to move in with him for sophomore year, too; they work well as roommates, and since they won’t have to live on campus after freshman year, it would just… make sense to share an apartment with each other, wouldn’t it? They can get an apartment together, and live together, and holy shit, they’ll be jumping the gun at that point. Living together and being together and--
“Kelly, you’re zoning out again! Quit it!”
“Fuck off,” Jack rolls his eyes. “I need to talk to my Ma.”
“She’s gonna tell you the same thing I’m telling you right now!”
“I don’t wanna listen to you.”
“I hate you, Jack.”
“Love you too, Kay.”
When Jack arrives back to the suite that night, Davey is nowhere to be seen.
That’s… odd. Typically, Davey takes up residency on the couch during the evenings; they like having background noise when they work on assignments, and being in the living room helps a lot with that. But, tonight, they aren’t in the living area. Or in the small kitchen. Or, hell, in the bathroom.
Jack is about to call them when he hears something in their bedroom.
Jack hadn’t thought to look in their room; their light is off, there’s no sounds from the TV, no music, nothing. But, still, Jack can hear muffled… noises?
No. Muffled cries.
Slowly, Jack approaches the door, and knocks as softly as he can. “Davey?” He calls, biting his lip. “Can I come in?”
Jack hears them clear their throat, but otherwise doesn’t receive an answer; not until the door unlocks and swings open, and Jack can instantly tell what’s going on. He takes in their appearance: an old, oversized hoodie, sweatpants that are almost too big, messy hair, and a red face. There are tear marks on their face as well, and Jack feels his heart crack in two. “Davey… Do you wanna talk about it?” He asks, gulping.
Davey hesitates. There’s a flash of something in their eyes; something fearful, something pained, but they swallow it down and nod. “...Y-Yeah, you can--” They clear their throat, cringing at the awkward way their voice cracks, “--come in. I…” They trail off, then shake their head as they walk back to their bed.
Jack follows, closing the door just enough to leave a little light to shine into the room. He sits on the edge of Davey’s bed, watching as they climb back under the covers. “You can lay down,” They say softly, and Jack blinks, but he follows orders. Only for Davey.
He shifts himself back to lie next to them, looking up at the ceiling and trying to ignore the pounding of his heart as Davey moves closer, resting their head on Jack’s chest. Jack’s arm instinctively wraps around their torso, keeping them close. “You wanna tell me what’s goin’ on?”
Davey shrugs, letting their eyes close. “I just-... I don’t know. I’ve felt off all day.”
“Sick?” Jack asks, rubbing Davey’s back.
Davey sucks in a deep, shaky breath. “No, no, it’s… it’s more of a mental thing. And a gender thing, I guess, but you don’t--”
“Davey,” Jack cuts them off. “I know I don’t personally know what you’re goin’ through, but I’m here to listen, okay? Always. You don't have to hold it in. It's okay.”
Davey considers this, then slowly nods and lets out a sigh. “I just… feel like I’m not allowed to not be cis? I- I know, that sounds weird, but…” They frown. “I’m still masculine. I’m still male-presenting. I’m not feminine, I’m not androgynous, I’m just… basically still a guy. But I don’t feel that way. I don’t feel like a guy, Jack. I don’t feel… connected with it.”
They sit up, and Jack follows the movement, resting his hand on their forearm. Davey looks away and wipes their eyes with the back of their hand. “I feel like, at this point, it would just be easier to say I’m a dude and be done with it.”
Jack frowns, furrowing his brow. “Presentation doesn’t matter,” He murmurs.
“I know that, I do,” Davey urges, and runs a hand through their hair. “It just doesn’t feel like I’m included in the statement.”
Jack gulps, trying to find the words, but they don’t come. Instead, he simply takes Davey’s hand, rubbing their palm. “I’m sorry,” He whispers.
“Me too,” Davey murmurs, then sags against Jack’s chest. “I don’t really want to talk about it anymore. I… It’ll pass soon, it always does, I just… Stay with me?”
Jack’s eyes widen, just slightly, but he nods and lies back, dragging Davey with him. Neither of them bring up the way that Davey curls into Jack’s hold.
Neither of them bring up the fact that, the next morning, they both wake in a mess of tangled limbs.
“Will you help me dye my hair?”
The question comes about a week later. Jack is sitting on the couch, scrolling through Twitter, when he hears the words from behind him. When he turns, Davey is standing in the doorway of their bedroom, eyebrows raised with a nervous grin on their face as they hold out a box of bleach in one hand and teal dye in another.
There are about ten seconds of unwavering silence before Jack answers with two simple words:
Jack all but jumps off of the couch, and tugs Davey to the bathroom. They sit on the edge of the sink as Jack plucks the boxes out of their hands, turning the box over to read the instructions on the back. “You ever done this before?”
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Davey admits, sounding just this side of terrified, but excited nonetheless. “Have you?”
“I’ve watched Racer do it,” Jack grins. “He’s, y’know, a natural blond, but he used to dye his hair all sorts of colors. I watched him bleach it from black to blond, so…”
“Okay, then, can we- can we call Racer? Have him help?”
“You don’t trust me?”
“Not at all.”
“Ow, Davey, I’m hurt,” Jack whines, clutching his chest. “How dare you say that. I can’t believe you.”
“Just shut up and call Tony, Jack.”
Jack groans and pulls out his phone, searching through his contacts. After a few moments, he FaceTimes Race, who answers on the third ring. “What do you want, Kells?”
“I want your help. I’m helpin’ Davey dye their hair, and--”
“Keep me on the phone. I wanna see this.”
“You sure you don’t mind helping?” Davey asks, looking at the phone from over Jack’s shoulder. “I don’t want to cut into any of your time with Albert.”
“Making sure Jack doesn't fuck up your hair is more important than a dick appointment, hun. It’s all good.”
“Tell that to Albert,” Jack pops off, then smirks as he props the phone up against the mirror. “Okay, Higgins. What’s the first step?”
“Anyway, the whole ordeal was fuckin’ three hours long, and I didn’t even do anything! I kept tellin’ my lab partner that he was doing it wrong, but no! He had to wait, and--”
Jack’s head snaps to the side at the sound of Davey’s voice. He gulps hard and grins, then looks at his phone screen. “I’ll talk to ya in a bit, Tones, okay? Davey’s callin’ for me.”
“Go help your babe, Jackie. Send me pics when y’all are done makin’ out.”
“We aren’t gonna--” Jack cuts himself off as the call abruptly ends, and he can only imagine the laugh that Race is doing right now. He groans and stands up, rubbing his face, before he bites his lip and walks to the bathroom. “Are you good?” He asks Davey, tilting his head. “Can I come in yet?”
“Door’s unlocked,” Davey calls back, and Jack smiles.
Slowly, Jack opens the door, though when he catches sight of Davey, his stops breathing for a moment.
Davey looks… gorgeous.
They haven’t turned around, but Jack can see from the back, and it’s beautiful. They had decided to just go for a split dye, right down the middle and the teal beautifully compliments Davey’s black hair. Jack stops in the doorway, taking in a few deep breaths, and he can’t help himself. His gaze travels from Davey’s hair down their bare back, but right as he starts checking them out, Davey turns and Jack’s eyes dart back to their face. They look almost… apprehensive, and more nervous than Jack has seen them in a long time. “Do you-... What do you think?” They ask, doing an awkward little gesture with their hands.
Slowly, Jack takes a step forward, his eyes trailing from Davey’s hair, to their eyes, across the planes of their cheeks, and finally to their lips. His gaze lingers there for a moment, unmistakable, and he slowly looks back up into Davey’s eyes. “You look… perfect,” He murmurs, gulping hard. “I love the color. It looks great.”
Davey’s cheeks flush dark, and Jack’s heart pounds in his chest when that nervous look is replaced by a wide smile. They laugh, breathless, and Jack feels himself growing weaker and weaker; it’s taking everything he has not to lean up and kiss them. “Thank you for helping me, Jackie.”
“It’s really not a problem,” Jack answers, feeling his body taking a slow step forward before he really registers that he’s doing it. “I was glad to help.”
Davey shakes their head. “No, no. Thank you, Jack,” They say more deliberately, their voice dropping just slightly; it sends shivers down Jack’s spine. “I really can’t thank you enough. You could have said no, but… you helped me feel better about myself.”
“I helped you feel the way you deserve to feel,” Jack whispers, staring into Davey’s beautiful blue eyes. “You… You’re beautiful, Davey. You deserve to feel that way.”
For a few long moments, there’s no other words said; they simply stand in front of each other, drinking in the moment. Then, Davey’s gaze drops to Jack’s lips.
Then, Davey takes another step forward, one of their hands cupping Jack’s cheek.
Then, Jack’s hands rest on their waist.
Between one moment and the next, they both lean in and meet in the middle, and their kiss is soft. Gentle. It’s barely a ‘kiss’, really; they’re pressed against each other, but that’s it- at least, until Davey tilts their head just slightly and allows their other hand to move up and tangle in Jack’s curls. Jack presses forward ever so slightly until he has Davey pinned to the sink, and their kiss grows in intensity, in passion, until they’re both breathless and pulling back, just to hold each other.
Davey is the first to make a move. They gulp hard, then smile, a bright, megawatt grin that has Jack’s heart racing. “Took you long enough,” Davey whispers, biting back a smirk.
Jack’s hands clench around Davey’s waist, but he smiles and laughs alongside him. “You coulda sped the process up, y’know,” Jack murmurs, cocking his head to the side. “Woulda spared a lot of time.”
“I wanted to see how long it took you to notice,” Davey defends nonchalantly.
Jack stares up at them, furrowing their brow. He’s confused; Davey certainly hasn’t said anything, but, then again, Jack tends to not be the most observant person. “...Notice what?” He asks slowly, critically, but he’s unable to stop the laugh that bubbles up from his chest.
And then Davey is laughing too, and they look so happy, so… beautiful. Jack is almost too distracted to register what they’re saying, but he hears it clear as day:
“Notice how completely, totally in love with you I’ve been for the last, like, three months.”
Jack freezes, but he’s smiling so fucking wide, and he can’t resist the urge to lean up again. He kisses them, pouring everything he has into the kiss, until he slowly pulls away, eyes closed. Once he opens them, he finds Davey’s gaze, cupping their jaw. “I love you too, Davey,” He murmurs, breathless, and Davey lets out a soft sigh of relief.
They both stand there for a few more moments, until Davey loosely loops their arms over Jack’s neck. “So, what does this mean for us?”
“Well,” Jack starts, biting his lip. “I… Would you… be my partner?” He asks, tentative, and his grip on Davey loosens; he doesn’t want to pressure them, doesn’t want them to feel obligated.
But, as soon as Jack lets go, Davey steps even closer and gives a decisive nod. “I thought you’d never ask,” They whisper, leaning down for yet another kiss.
They stay like that, connected, for hours on end. The sun sets and rises, day in and day out, ever changing with the time, but Jack and Davey are a constant. It only took them long enough to make it real.
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^ looking forward to the next chappy in this fic and drawing the boys while I wait
Bryan moving back home to be the guardian for his younger brothers Jack & Spot is such an endearing and refreshing idea. Please read, kudo, and comment so the author knows we want more!!
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word count: 2,671
trigger warnings: internalized homophobia, description of depression
Author's note: hi! this fic is based on dark times by Ben Platt and i would suggest listening to it before/while reading this. I wrote it in about two days so if you see any mistakes just close ur eyes
Read on AO3!
Thirteen is hard enough
So busy growing up
David shifts in bed, worrying about the first day of eighth grade. After every summer comes the fall, where people come back to school with whole new personalities and appearances. In his case, he’s got a new best friend and is worried about what people will say. Jack Kelly and David might as well be opposites in everything they do, and their paths have never crossed before this summer. He couldn’t be more glad they met, because Jack is the greatest friend David could have asked for – they’re inseparable. He’s got a best friend for the first time in his life.
But it’s more than that.
Now you’re sitting on a secret no one knows
It all started when David was eleven. He’d seen his classmates start to show interest in girls, watched as they all got “girlfriends” for a week or so (in sixth grade, this meant nothing). And at that point, he realized he didn’t understand how his friends felt. David had wondered at first if he was just too young and immature to understand what he was supposed to feel, but this apathy persisted. He’d felt this way ever since.
This summer, David spent the first two weeks of his vacation at a sleepaway camp on the lake a few hours from the city. It was at this camp that he got to know Jack Kelly, a boy from his class with whom David had never spoken. The two grew closer and closer, staying friends after camp was over and hanging out almost every day for two months. One night, Jack’s mother had set up a bonfire in the backyard for the two boys, and they’d stayed out there until just the embers glowed between bits of charcoal. After a while, Jack had yawned and rubbed his eyes, settling back in his lawn chair sleepily.
It was then that David realized he wanted to sit closer to his friend, let him lean his head on David’s shoulder. He sat still in his own lawn chair, taking in Jack’s brown skin in the light of the dying fire. The dark curls of his hair brushed across his forehead, and his freckles had become more pronounced after a day in the sun, scattering across his nose like the stars above them. Jack’s brown eyes stayed fixed on the embers, the red-gold reflection visible in his pupils.
Turning away from the fire and towards David, Jack regarded him with a soft look. It was then that David noticed he’d been staring for quite some time, and his pale cheeks must have been red and flushed. His friend took a deep breath in, as if to say something, but stopped before any sound came out. Instead of speaking, all he did was stand up and grab his blanket.
Was he going to run away?
Jack didn’t run away. Instead, he wordlessly pushed David over, making room for himself on David’s lawn chair. Their hips and shoulders were pressed together, both blankets thrown overtop of them, Jack’s head on David’s shoulder. They sat this way in comfortable silence until the dark sky became tinged with dawn.
Now, as David lies in his bed on the eve of his first day of school, he wonders if that meant anything. That night a few weeks ago meant everything to him, but whether or not Jack feels the same way, David doesn’t know. He hasn’t seen his friend since then.
You see him after school
He barely looks at you
‘Cause you’re both afraid that people might suppose
As the bell rings to release the students of Grey County Middle School at the end of their first day, David descends the concrete steps outside the main door. Kids stand in groups waiting for parents and school buses, excited chatter and shrieks ringing out across the courtyard. Out of the corner of his eye, David sees a head of brown curly hair walking towards him.
Jack wears a dark denim jacket, and his black backpack is slung over his shoulder. His sepia brown eyes are trained on David, and for a moment David smiles at him, glad to see his friend. Then David notices the way Jack’s eyes are pained and sad. He can’t say anything to him before Jack brushes past him, eyes averted and shoulder clipping David’s with brisk force.
On the walk home, David contemplates the afternoon’s events. It hurts him more than words can say to remember the way Jack barely looked at him in the courtyard. But what hurts more is thinking of the way the other boys talk in the locker room, at lunchtime, in the hallways – as much as it aches, David understands why Jack avoided him today. People talk, and when it comes to someone like David or Jack, talking is the worst thing they can do.
I’ll see you in the mirror when you’re older
That night, David leans over his bathroom sink, tears dripping softly onto the porcelain. He does his best to keep his crying quiet; if his mother hears, she’ll have questions, probably ones David doesn’t know how to answer.
As he stifles another sob, David raises his head just enough that his own blue eyes look back in the mirror. He wonders if they will drip with as many tears when he’s older.
For now just keep your head up on your shoulders
After a while, David dries his tears and washes his face. A big part of him wants to keep crying, to break on the bathroom floor with no intention of being glued back together. But he reminds himself that he has not cracked; every part of him is still intact, and he’s determined to keep it that way.
Life goes too fast
Halloween comes, and Jack and David are speaking again. They don’t go out trick or treating, even though they both want to. The two stay inside watching a scary movie, and Jack grips David’s hand the entire time.
Heart breaks in two
There are times when Jack falls away from David. He won’t meet his eyes, won’t talk to him. As they go through eighth grade, this happens quite a few times. It’s during these times that David almost breaks, and he spends many nights wondering why Jack doesn’t think he’s good enough.
Tough times don’t last
Tough people do
Finally, in ninth grade, David decides he’s going to sit down and talk to Jack about everything. And he does, and it’s difficult, but in the end, they both decide they’re okay. Neither of them feel okay, and neither of them knows how to go through the world being who they are, but Jack tells him he’s willing to try. David is too, and he feels better about it all now. Everything seems almost normal – the way Jack looks at him now is so much better than the way he does during the off-periods.
David makes him promise that there won’t be any off-periods anymore. They’ll just live their lives and be careful.
They don’t need to be careful when they’re alone, though. Like now, in Jack’s bedroom, the quiet of an otherwise empty house ringing around them. The two sit across from each other, talking about nothing after talking about everything. Jack smiles and laughs at something David says, and when his face falls back into a neutral position, David sees how his lips part.
It’s then that he kisses his best friend.
So wipe those tears from your crying eyes
The kiss is soft, it’s gentle, and David’s right hand is tangled in Jack’s curls, his left holding his hand. As he pulls away, he sees a few tears glistening on Jack’s cheeks and takes his hand away from Jack’s hair to wipe them away. Neither of them needs to speak. Jack’s eyes crinkle as he smiles gently and kisses David again.
‘Cause you only see the light shine in dark times
He and Jack are against the world, David decides one day. They’re going to be together no matter what, even if they have to keep it a secret for longer than they have. He doesn’t love Jack Kelly – not yet. There are too many possibilities, and every day he worries Jack will pull away again like he did at first.
Eighteen, you fall in love
You think you found the one
Three years ago, David thought he’d found someone. Now, just as he’s starting college, he knows he was wrong. His boyfriend is the best person he’s ever met, and David knows, knows with all his heart, that he’s in love. Forget Jack Kelly, forget high school, college is where David has found himself – and the boy he loves the most. College is so easy compared to the rest of his life. He can be out, he can be proud, and he’s more confident than he’s ever been.
But there’s always a tiny part of him that misses Jack.
They broke up almost a year ago now after a fight with words that stung and expressions that hurt. David remembers every word he said and every word Jack didn’t– wouldn’t say. That was why the fight even happened. David had been ready to say those three words, and Jack wasn’t.
Now, David’s new boyfriend uses those words every day, like they’re nothing, and it’s so freeing. David loves it, but part of him worries it doesn’t mean as much as it should. Needless to say, he doesn’t say it as often as his boyfriend does.
He sits alone one night in his dorm, typing away at some essay for a class he’s doing his best to pass when his phone rings and his boyfriend’s name flashes across the screen. Eagerly, he picks up.
And he calls you up to say there’s someone else
Angrily, David hangs up the phone and immediately blocks the number that wretched, wretched call came from. Hot, furious tears roll down his face as he realizes it was because of him his boyfriend couldn’t stick around. He’s too cagey, too wary, too new to being who he is, and now it’s all blown up in his face.
Feels like the world’s in flames
You give yourself the blame
David tears photographs, deletes Instagram posts, does his best to burn the evidence of what he did wrong. Thank God he’s going home for the holidays soon, because he needs to get away from… whatever just happened in the last hour of his life.
‘Cause the landing wasn’t worth how hard you fell
I’ll see you in the mirror when you’re older
He remembers the cracking feeling he had when he was thirteen, how badly he wanted to shatter back then. Shattering sounds pretty good right now, and it’s not like he has many other options. What he thought was the best time of his life had been short-lived and meaningless to the one person it hinged on– his boyfriend. But David slowly comes to realize it shouldn’t be about his ex-boyfriend; it’s about who he wants to be. Right now who he is is a little bit broken, and David’s willing to live with that. It still hurts more than he can say.
For now just keep your head up on your shoulders
David’s glad to go home and see his family, to feel like things are going to be okay. He’ll see old friends, laugh with his siblings, try to patch himself up a little.
Life goes too fast
Heart breaks in two
A boy and a broken heart drive down a lonely highway. There’s no one else on the road, so David feels comfortable letting himself drive a little more freely. The trees and occasional houses along the highway are familiar, clear signs that he’s on the home stretch. He isn’t running away from his problems; there are plenty of problems at home. David figures it’s more like killing two birds with one stone, getting away from college for the holidays and fixing things at home.
Tough times don’t last
Tough people do
Coming home feels like icing a bad bruise. It’s all so familiar, so comforting to David, who’s had his world ripped away a few times over the last couple of years. He remembers when this town was his entire world, and it’s nice to see that it’s still the same.
So wipe those tears from your crying eyes
‘Cause you only see the light shine in dark times
David’s parents have kept the house the same since he went away to college. Even his room is the same shade of pale blue, all his posters and books are still where he left them. The room feels so much brighter now that he’s been in a different kind of darkness, and David knows thirteen-year-old him would be proud. Not of who David has become but of who he still wants to be.
We’re twenty-seven now
Don’t have it figured out
Jack still pulls away sometimes.
It’s easier now that both of them have been out for longer, that they’re working through most of their personal problems. David thinks that a part of Jack – the part of him that never grew up – still worries about what people will say. But they’re together now, in their little apartment in the city. They laugh, they talk, they cook, they kiss. Not everything has been healed, though.
But at least no one can say we haven’t grown
There is more laughter in Jack and David’s home than there are tears.
Scars turn to memories
They keep us company
But it’s nice to know we’re not in this alone
The tears still come. Just not as often, and for each of them, there’s someone to hold and talk to until the bad thoughts pass. They both know they can count on each other, but neither of them always needs to. It’s just nice, in David’s opinion, to have someone to love.
Life goes too fast
Before they know it, Jack and David have been together for years. There haven’t been as many hitches and bumps in the road as David once thought there would be. If thirteen and eighteen year old him could see where he was now, David guesses they would be proud. It seems like such a short time ago, all of the fear and quiet worry he held inside for so long. At twenty-seven, David doesn’t know where he’s going, but he likes where he is.
Heart breaks in two
David won’t lie and say he doesn’t have cracks and chips from the weight of life. When he was younger, that was his greatest fear – letting life break him enough for it to show. He’s seen people with worse signs of breakage, and his boyfriend is one of them. It’s not like either of them pretends the other doesn’t have his flaws, but the two of them have been through enough together that it doesn’t matter as much anymore.
Tough times don’t last
Tough people do
David wakes up one morning, the sunlight filtering into their apartment. He rolls over in bed to see a mess of dark curls next to him and sighs. Jack snores softly for a minute or two before turning to face David with a sleepy smile.
So wipe those tears from your crying eyes
It’s easy to remember the times Jack and David fought, the times they cried, the times that were so hard neither of them wanted to go on. There have been too many of those times to count, at least for David, but he steeled himself and went on. He’s grateful that Jack did too, especially now.
Jack puts his hand on David’s cheek and kisses him softly for a moment.
‘Cause you only see the light shine
You only see the light shine in dark times
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
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Learning to Love
pairing: spot x race
warnings: anger issues
story: angst to fluff
time period: modern au
word count: 1,088
Spot wasn’t used to affection. Or, well, love. Sure he had his “friends”, they didn’t always feel like friends. There was no affection in the group just mutual understandings.
He couldn’t believe Race kept coming back.
Spot jumped when Race touched his shoulder.
“Hey, are you ok?”
Spot eyed him suspiciously, “what are you doing here?”
Race looked around as if he should be somewhere else, a smile sliding across his lips.
“Where should I be?”
Spot didn’t know how to take that.
The smile dropped off of Race’s face.
“You’re not scared?”
Spot stood up, frustrated.
“Of me! I yelled at you yesterday! I’m not a nice person Race!”
Race stared at him for a few seconds, considering his words.
“It was just an argument, I don’t think it was that big of a deal. You didn’t break up with me or anything.”
Spot was breathing hard, there was a lot going on in his mind and he didn’t know how to vocalize it.
“Spot, I still want to be with you, one argument, or even a few isn’t going to change how I feel about you, y’know?”
But Spot didn’t know. Everyone in his life had left him. His parents had been terrible. And as for friends or significant others, they left after he became angry around them. When he got mad he had no restraint. He spoke horrible things. One look at him and you knew he was going to hit you. (He would never, it’s just how he looked￼). It was scary.
Race shrugged and sat down, “let’s have lunch yeah?”
Spot sat back down slowly but didn’t eat anything. How could Race still want to be with him? He’d seen him be his terrifying self and still chose to hang around him. What was this?
Race kept munching on his sandwich as if nothing was wrong. Spot watched him until he couldn’t stand it anymore.
“How can you sit there?” He snapped.
Race frowned, “Spot what’s going on? I want to spend time with you.”
“But I’m terrible, I said some mean things to you yesterday! And I haven’t even apologized. An—and, just—you shouldn’t be here.”
“Are you going to apologize?”
Spot’s mouth snapped shut in surprise. No one ever stayed long enough to give him a chance to apologize. He’d never faced this situation before. He lowered his eyes to his lap.
“Right, yeah,” he said quietly, “I’m sorry I got mad and said those things. I didn’t mean them.” He glanced up to see Race smiling.
“Thank you, I forgive you, are we good now?”
Spot was still confused and didn’t really believe this, but he nodded.
Slowly Spot’s vision cleared and he was able to register the stunned look on Race’s face.
Spot swore and hurried out of the room hardly hearing Race call after him. He only made it to the hallway before he sat down against the wall, shaking.
Race followed him and sat down at his side about a foot away.
“I’m sorry,” Spot mumbled, “I wish I could— I need t-,” he dropped his head to his hands.
“We can figure this out Spotty.”
“But— how— aren’t you afraid of me?” Spot tripped over his words but the end of the sentence came out in a rush.
“Why would I be?”
Spot huffed out a breath.
“No, seriously,” Race shifted closer, “you’ve never hurt me physically, you apologize after you say some... not so nice things, they’re really not that bad though, your mind is twisting them, I brush it off and don’t care anymore. And the rest of the time everything’s fine. Why would I be afraid?” He reached out to put a hand on Spot’s arm but the dark haired boy flinched away so he removed his hand.
Spot hesitated for a moment, then moved closer to lean his head on Race’s shoulder. Race tensed for a split second but relaxed and reached to push his fingers through Spot’s hair.
“I’m sorry,” Spot whispered, dangerously close to crying, “you’re perfect.”
As he realized what he’d just said he jerked away, uncomfortable with the emotion he’d just accidentally shown, but Race held him tight.
Race let out a short laugh in surprise, “why thank you.”
It definitely took some getting used to. He had a hard time changing his thinking. Race was always there, ready to offer love and support and Spot just couldn’t quite wrap his mind around that.
But they learned together. Race talked when Spot couldn’t and things got better. Spot learned how loving works and how to stop hurting others. That it was possible to change if you work at it and have a good support system. He learned how to be vulnerable. How to communicate.
One day Spot wanted to just, sit with Race. They so often were doing something, hanging out with other people, going on a date, busy with work and school, etc. He wanted to simply exist with Race. So he took him up to the roof of the school and they sat there to watch the sunset. It was late summer, meaning cooler evenings. Spot supplied a blanket for each of them. Spot grasped Race’s hand tightly once they were settled. He couldn’t stop thinking. But for once it was about how good Race was. It wasn’t about him being scared of getting abandoned, no worry that something would come between them. Only gratefulness for the blond boy beside him.
Race used his free hand to lightly trace Spot’s jaw with his finger. “You’re thinking about something.”
“Yeah? You can tell?” he smirked trying to keep up the tough guy persona. But with Race he could no longer keep his guard up.
“Yeah. Wanna tell me about it?”
“I just— ahem,” Spot cleared his throat, suddenly emotional but refusing to give in to it, “I didn’t think I would ever find a love like this.” He rubbed his thumb over the back of Race’s hand. “Hope is for suckers. I didn’t expect this.”
“I love you Spot.”
Spot looked up, to see Race staring at him with a half-smile on his lips. He was so beautiful, how did he ever get so lucky? The look in Race’s eyes was so pure, so true.
“I love you Race.”
Race smiled a whole smile now and leaned his head against Spot’s. They were so content. Spot kept rubbing Race’s hand as they gazed at the sunset.
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unless you take your army back
Hello and welcome to the sequel to my work i will make the sky collapse! You honestly do not have to read the first one to understand this one--the first was a Crutchie-centric whump-focused refuge story, and this one is about his recovery and Jack coming to terms with what happened (and maybe some,,, sprace).
So yeah! This is chapter one! Content warnings will be posted at the beginning of each chapter :) This is a queued post, so as soon as I have time to post it on AO3 I’ll update this with the link.
cw: blood, brief description of injury
On the same day they won the strike, there were a good dozen kids clamoring to be a newsie, appearing out of nowhere with the sole purpose of bothering Jack. He didn’t really want to care--they could be a newsie all they wanted--but the problem was they all needed a start-up fund. They all wanted Jack to foot the cost of their first papes and first week of room and board, and though he had just gotten a job offer and an improved living overall, he just didn’t have the time or money to train so many penniless kids. So he sent them to Spot Conlon, of course.
It was pretty clear that these kids all came from the Refuge, which had just been shut down by the governor. Jack had never been happier than he was when he saw the cop drag Snyder away in chains. The nagging question that was slowly coming to the front of his mind, though, was where was Crutchie?
Katherine had been here for the short celebration, but had seemed distracted and had left almost immediately, without giving Jack a chance to ask after his brother. He wanted to go look for the kid, comb through the Refuge and the streets surrounding it, but Davey had regretfully told him he couldn’t leave. He was the union leader, and a nice official union it was at that. He actually couldn’t even sell right now, he had to return to Pulitzer’s office and continue working on a bunch of paperwork registering the union or something. Pulitzer had told him that they would be working together occasionally due to his new position as leader of the Newsboys Union, which apparently meant that whenever there was a problem on either of their ends they had to include the other in their solving of the problem. It made sense to Jack, what he didn’t get was why he had to read a billion papers telling him it made sense.
Katherine did not ride with him and Mr. Pulitzer in the carriage back to his office, and she didn’t come and see him when he left late in the afternoon, but maybe she was just at work. There was a lot to report, after all. Jack wished it didn’t hurt. There was no way it was intentional, they all had a lot going on right now. It wasn't like he'd gone looking for her, after all. He'd see her tomorrow, cross paths on the way to work.
What with all the stressful arrangements and intense discussions, Jack was more tired than he usually was by the time he entered the lodging house. In later days, he wished that he had spoken to Mush, waiting anxiously outside. He wished that he had not gone with Pulitzer to his office, and instead sought out Katherine straightaway. Most of all, he wished that he had gone personally to the Refuge, made sure to set those kids free himself.
He didn’t do any of those things, though. Instead, he walked home from Pulitzer’s office, nodded to Mush, and went straight inside.
Katherine was there, which was odd, but certainly not unwelcome. According to Race, she had spent time with them without him, just celebrating with them and getting to know them all. That was fine, but most girls didn’t seek out a bunch of street rat teenage boys as preferred company.
Not only was Katherine there, but half of the newsies were seemingly just waiting by the door, dropping what they’d been doing and standing to stare at him. Sure, Jack was something of a celebrity now--and he had betrayed them more than once, which could be the reason also--but they looked almost guilty.
“Jack,” Katherine started, and Jack saw that sorry look on her face and his heart dropped. What could this be about? He’d been with Pulitzer all day, so it wasn’t like the old man had turned on them. Where was Crutchie? Was he--he couldn’t be. Right? No.
“Jack,” she said again, and now she was crying. Jack wanted to kiss the tears off her face, tell her she never needed to cry again, but he couldn’t. He had to know--his stomach was roiling, threatening to toss up whatever bite he’d eaten earlier. Something had happened, and it--it couldn’t be--
“It’s Crutchie,” Katherine said, and Jack had a brief moment of huh, so that’s how swoonin’ feels before he was on his knees. He can’t have died. Crutchie was--well, Crutchie. He was just as capable as any newsie, could sell papes twice as well as half of them, and was stronger than anyone Jack knew--certainly far stronger than himself. But if Snyder--if the Refuge--if--
“He’s alive,” Katherine hurried to say, kneeling on the floor beside him, and Jack let out a choked laugh, only just realizing he was crying.
“Ya couldn’ta said that sooner?” he asked weakly, and Katherine sniffled, trying to regain composure.
“He’s alive,” she repeated, “but he isn’t doing well at all. He wanted to see you, but I think he’s still asleep.”
In seconds, Jack was back on his feet, pulling her up with him. “Let’s go,” he said, pulling her towards the bunkroom. “I gotta see ‘im.”
He ignored her cries of “Jack, wait, you have to know--” and took the stairs two at a time, yanking open the door as soon as it was in front of him. The room was dead silent for once, and only one bed was occupied (despite the fact that he’d told Romeo to rest up today after the strike). Over by the open window on the far wall, a figure was laying in the only bed without a top bunk (the one that belonged to Jack, seeing as he was in charge).
Jack could barely hold back a retch as he came closer, seeing the matted hair crusted in blood, but sticking straight up, same as always. Crutchie was sleeping almost peacefully on the bed, the blankets tucked around him messily, as if one of the boys had tried his very best to arrange it like a mother would. His face was swollen and cut up, almost unrecognizable as his brother, though his neck was what caught Jack’s attention. A brownish-purple bruise in the vague shape of a gripped hand was found there, where the fingers had dug in marked by little round black bruises, a sick imitation of a constellation crossing his brother’s throat.
Jack’s fists curled into tight balls as he stared down at Crutchie, seeing red. The rest of his body was hidden by the covers, excepting a stiff arm that was tightly wrapped in gauze. The collar of his undershirt was the only part of his clothes visible, and it was stained brown and torn.
There were two sides of Jack warring for dominance. One screamed at him to storm down to the county jail right this moment and give Snyder everything he deserved. The other side tried to pull him to the floor, weeping at Crutchie’s bedside. Jack fought both, not wanting to seem weak in front of Katherine, who was watching him with that soft-concerned look on her face that he had already come to know too well. He needed to get alone, needed space, needed a moment to cope with what he’d just been confronted with so that he could best help Crutchie later.
Jack calmly left the room, replying something along the lines of fine, just need a minute when Katherine asked tentatively if he was okay. Then he walked slowly down the steps and through the main room, where all of the newsies watched him silently. He nodded vaguely in their direction. Luckily, none of them asked any questions. If they had, Jack wasn’t sure that he would’ve been able to hold back the sobs.
Finally he was outside, and here he could run. Run he did, all the way around the side of the building and up the fire escape, running and running until all that existed was the clang! of his feet against the metal and the wind rushing past his ears. Then he was climbing the ladder to the very top, where only a week ago he and Crutchie had woken, excited to start striking for real.
Jack had woken early that morning, and had taken the time to sketch out the New York skyline against the starry night sky. It was a frequent subject of his, but that morning he had filled in himself and Crutchie, sitting on the roof closest to the perspective, curled up and reaching toward the stars.
When Crutchie had gotten up, they had made mundane small talk, both trying to hide nervousness that showed too plainly. They eventually stopped talking around it, laughing and joking about it directly, before deciding--no, vowing--to not let the other come to serious harm or danger. Then they had gone downstairs, ready to wake the other boys and get on with the revolution.
The last promise--maybe the last one ever--that Jack had made to Crutchie, and he’d broken it not even hours later. On the rooftop now, Jack kicked the low wall angrily, then again and again. What was wrong with him? How could he focus so intently on these--these mundanities, paperwork and politeness and whatall, while Crutchie was suffering so? How had he not been here for him, when he arguably needed Jack more than anyone else at the moment?
He kicked the wall one more time, then threw himself to the floor. What kind of leader was he? He’d betrayed everyone, almost left Crutchie; then when he’d gotten his head on the right way, he hadn’t done anything to make sure the kid was all right!
Katherine. She would come up here, tell him it was okay, that it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t want that. It was his fault, and he couldn’t have anyone denying it or he might just explode.
“Leave me alone,” he called back, barely keeping his voice from breaking. Silence, then a sigh and the sound of soft footsteps going down the fire escape. Good.
Jack drew his hands across his face, taking in a shuddering breath. He had to pull himself together. He couldn’t dream about leaving anymore, that would just make things worse. He had to be here for Crutchie, and the other boys. Prove that he wasn’t a scab.
He hadn’t eaten any supper, but he didn’t really care. It was dark enough that he shouldn’t have a problem resting. Add it to the tired ache in his bones and he’d be out in no time. He’d get up when everyone else went to bed, then he’d stay up the rest of the night with Crutchie, be there in case he had nightmares or woke up. He had to be there for him. He had to.
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“'Cause I Like You Too”
Requested by @alyygx“ A canon era (newsies live) Davey x reader "being his girlfriend would include" headcanon.” (Fluff)
“Hey, Davey!” The newsies call out from behind you, “Leave her alone, we gotta go!”
Davey rolls his eyes and smiles at you.
“Wait for me here at noon. We’ll have lunch.”
“Ok, I’ll be here,” you laugh. “Go on then, they’re waiting.”
He peers behind you at the waiting newsies, hesitates and then pulls you behind the corner, out of sight of the boys. He pecks you on the cheek and then races back to the boys, leaving you blushing. You peek around the corner to see him wink and wave as he runs off with the gang of newsies.
You notice a particular small newsie was missing from the gang. Les.
“Les?” you call out into the empty street.
You hear a little “Mhm? coming from behind building stairs.
You walk to the voice and see the little boy hunched over an anthill with a broken piece of glass in one hand and his newspaper bag in the other.
“Whatcha doing, Les?”
“Looking at bugs” he answers matter-of-factly, holding up the glass.
“Give me it.” you say, sticking out your hand.
Les sighs and hands you the glass.
“You could have hurt yourself with this. We don’t want a hurt Les, do we?”
“What we do have, is a distracted Les who needs to find the boys because he got left behind again.” you say as he takes your hand.
The two of you walk out of the alley into the New York streets in search of the newsboys making their rounds.
“I guess I could leave you with Jack or Race.” you say, “Whoever we find first.”
“Don’t you have to go to work?” Les asks.
“Yessir. I just need to leave you safe and sound with the boys.”
As if on cue, Specs walks up beside you and Les.
“Hey, (Y/N)! What’s Les doin’ with you?” he asks.
“He got left behind again, lookin’ at ants too.”
Specs laughs and pats Les on the back.
“Those fellas real interesting, huh?” he chuckles.
Before Les can answer with a long tangent about how fascinating insects are to him, you interject.
“I need to get going. Martha’ll be waiting.”
You give Specs a brown paper bag, but not before taking out a cookie and handing it to Les.
“Give some to the boys too, alright?” you tell Specs and run back in the direction of the alley.
Specs takes Les by the shoulder as he chomps happily on the remaining bits of the cookie.
It’s a little bit before noon but Martha lets you have a break early. Seems to be in a good mood today. Maybe you’ll go find Davey before he meets you in the bakery alley. You walk out onto the streets, whistling and taking in the loud sounds and smells of the city.
He’ll probably be at the spot near the theater, you think.
“Hey, Race! Hey, Bert!” you wave and call out to two familiar newsies a few yards away.
“Don’t call me that, (Y/N)!” Albert yells back as Race howls with laughter.
“Bye Race! Bye, Bert!” you yell back, running away faster.
“Bert says ‘bye’!” you hear Race guffaw and Albert grumble in response.
“Excuse me, sir. I’d like to buy a pape!”
Davey’s face lights up when he sees you.
“(Y/N)! We were supposed to meet at the bakery.”
“Martha let me out early. Got to buy a pape too. No other reason I’m here.” you joke, handing him a couple coins and taking a newspaper from the bag on his shoulder.
“Hiya, (Y/N). Buyin’ from your favorite newsie again, huh?”
You turn around to find a smug Jack, counting his newspapers and leaning on a pole.
“Shut up, Jack” Katherine emerges from behind Davey, laughing, “You’re just jealous that I buy papers from Crutchie and not you anymore.”
Jack gasps exaggeratedly.
“I’m crushed!” he cries and Katherine rolls her eyes.
“Davey’s not my favorite newsie!” you say, “Les is! Speaking of Les, you forgot him again this morning and I had to give him to Specs before going to work.”
Davey’s eyes widen at the news.
“Ma would’ve killed me if she found out that we’ve been leaving him behind by accident.”
Jack snickers. “Seems that Les isn’t the only one distracted these days.”
“As Katherine once said, “Shut up, Jack” Davey retorts, a blush rising on his face.
You look at Katherine and the two of you giggle.
“(Y/N), come on in, David’s in the room.” Mrs.Jacobs smiles warmly.
“Thank you, ma’am.” you reply stepping into the apartment, “Where’s Les?”
“Oh, he’s playing outside, getting dirty, no doubt.” she shakes her head.
She shoots you a knowing look and laughs.
You leave a wrapped plate on the table and walk into the room where David is, hunched over the desk, reading.
He jumps, startled.
“That always works and you should be expecting it, Dave.” you say.
“I really should,” he answers, pushing his hair back, “I just got absorbed.”
“Reading about tarantulas, sandstorms, and the like?” you reply, taking a seat on the bed.
“Hey, kids!” Mr.Jacobs is in the doorway, “How are you, (Y/N)? David bothering again?”
“Oh no, sir. If anything, I’m bothering him!” you respond.
“I don’t believe that for a second,” he grins and steps back out of the room
“I left some pastries and cakes on the kitchen table, sir!” you call out.
“You’re a Godsend, (Y/N), Godsend!”
Davey smiles at you.
“They really like you, huh?” he says.
“Better than you probably.” you tease.
“Maybe,” he replies, “that’s okay though.”
“‘Cause I like you too.”
Hope you enjoyed! Should I make this a series? A 2-3 part fic? Let me know in the notes. Reblogs appreciated! My Masterlist
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I'm taking requests!
send any request you have to me through the comments on this post or my inbox
I write mainly fluff but I can also do angst (it's not the best) however I cannot do smut. (I tried and it ended up as a shit show)
first come first serve
I write all types of relationships including x reader, wlw, wlm, mlm, and ships
I write for:
Connor, Zoe, Evan, Jared - Dear Evan Hansen
Michael, Jeremy, Christine, Rich - Be More Chill
Davey, Crutchie, Race, Spot - Newsies
Sonny De La Vega - In The Heights
Bucky, Steve, Tony, Wanda, Peter (P), Loki, Yelena, Agatha - Marvel
Cedric, Neville, Sirius, Remus - Harry Potter
Roger Taylor, John Deacon - Queen
Finnick Odair - Hunger Games
Casey Gardner, Izzie Taylor - Atypical
Paul Atredies - Dune
Mike Faist, Laura Dreyfuss, George Salazar, Ben Fankhauser, Ben Cook, Sebastain Stan, Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Joe Mazzello, Ben Hardy, Shawn Mendes, Woodland Demars
Ships: tree bros, zoevan, galaxy girls, Boyf Riends, expensive headphones, jere-drive, more than hang, pins n patches, pinkberry, stage dorks, royal and pain, upstage, sprace, jathrine, jackcrutchie, javid, stucky, steggy, stony, sambucky, danbeua, wandavision, wolfstar, cazzie, hardzello (hardzello will only be platonic)
I might do some other characters/people if you ask me. these are just the ones I've written before
If you don’t know what to request, I got some prompts you can choose from below. Just make sure in your request to specify which prompt from which list!
It’s really not that complicated
Close the door
It’s three in the morning
I should have told you a long time ago
Why are you helping me?
You have to leave right now
Just trust me
I’ve been waiting a long time
We could get arrested for this
What were you thinking about?
I thought you were dead
You’re never going to let that go, are you?
Was that supposed to hurt?
I can explain
I don’t believe you
He/She/They was/were never mine, but losing him/her/them broke my heart
How do you destroy a monster without becoming one?
I’m afraid you’ll end up seeing me the way I see myself
He/she/they lived to be the greatest
Don’t ever forget me. Please.
The world stopped breathing that night
Everything here can kill you, but I can do it most efficiently
Don’t tell me to give up like everything is meaningless
I buy a personality
I screwed up
And maybe in the end, I was meant to be alone...
You’ll never see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresh air
I just want to go somewhere where nobody knows my name
All the memories come back, but they never do
If your treated like a monster for long enough you become one
Nightmares keeping you awake too?
There, there, it's okay, don't cry
Shh It's okay now, I'm here
I will always be here for you. Never forget that
Don't you ever forget that I am always here
If you ever feel alone, don't because I'm right here
I Literally Scraped My Knee Falling For You
I can't believe you would do this to me. After everything I've done for you
Give it back
I can't even look at you
You could have just told me
You're just a kid
Stop talking to me
Stop coming back
I don't care
Please just let me go
Do you love him/her/them?
I can't love you
I used to think love was real
But in the end I was not the boy/girl/person he/she/they fell in love with
I always knew I would end up being the one who got hurt
If only I had spoken up to him/her/them the first day I saw him/her/them. Maybe we would have been friends and maybe we would have fallen in love. But I didn't talk to him/her/them and we weren't friends and we didn't fall in love. He/she/they found someone else. I can only blame myself
I tried not to fall in love with him/her/them
Can you please stop?
Why did you come back?
What you said really hurt
I can't do this anymore
I'm not fine. I know I said I was but I'm not
I can't love you. I don't know how
I have no choice
I had no choice
And with those words, he/she/they left
You're hurting me
You have to choose
Here. You can have it back
Kissing me won't make this go away
To think I trusted you...
I miss your smile
Don't you remember?
I never want to look at you again
You weren't there when I needed you most
How can one person be the source of so much pain?
You’re my regret
Don't cry, everything will work out
Please don't cry, I'm so sorry
You deserve someone who values you
I've known you sense, forever. I can't imagine my life without you
We can't be friends anymore. I will always see you as something else
I don't like him/her/them. I like you
You're a wonderful person, never forget that
He/she/they has/have no idea what they're missing
Sure there are people out there who lobe you. I do
The lucky guy/girl/person who wins your heart will be so lucky
If it wasn't for you, I would be lost. I'm so glad you came into my life
I'd do anything for you
If I was your boy/girl friend, I'd pepper you with kisses and gifts and spoil you so badly
I've been thinking about you a lot lately
Are you jealous of (character/person)
Can you picture it? You and I together?
'Us' I like the sound of that
You always know what to say
My family thinks we're dating...
You’re in love with her/him/them
Love is overrated
I’ve missed this
Didn’t you guys used to be best friends?
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Wish You Were Sober || Ralbert One Shot
a/n: this one shot is based off the song ‘Wish You Were Sober’ by Conan Gray! anything italicized and bold is lyrics of the song! its from Alberts perspective but its 3rd person if that makes sense idk. includes both 92sies and livesies characters. albert and race are based off of the livesies characters
tw: mentions of alcohol, drunk race, swearing, mentions of weed, mentions of possible drink spiking
modern college newsies au!
word count: 2,401
this party's shit
All Albert wants to do is leave, but he couldn’t do that. Race was drunk, even though he would deny it, it was obvious. Now usually that wouldn’t stop Albert from leaving but, Racetrack had driven himself. He couldn’t let his drunk friend drive himself home.
All Albert wants to do is leave, but he couldn’t do that. Race was drunk, even though he would deny it, it was obvious. Now usually that wouldn’t stop Albert from leaving but, Racetrack had driven himself. He couldn’t let his drunk friend drive himself home.
“Racer,” Albert yelled into Race’s ear over the loud music.
He grinned widely at him and threw his arms around Albert, “Albie!! Have ya had a drink yet? C’monn, juss take a sip!”
Albert winced at the smell of alcohol on the blonde boys breath and shook his head, “You’re drunk, Race. Let’s go. You’re gonna have a horrible hangover tomorrow!”
“Aw, I’m not drunk, Albie!!” He slurred, “C’mon, have some fun! Don’t be soo tense!”
go anywhere but here
“Racetrack, I really don’t want to be here,” Albert begged, “Can’t we go to McDonalds or something? Get you coffee and get you sober?” Race shook his head.
“Noo, they have good drinks! Just try the beer, you’ll see!” Race raised his can but Albert pushed the cup away from him. Race shrugged and walked away into the crowd.
Albert stood on his toes in attempt to follow his friend through the crowd. Race walked towards Jack Kelly, the football captain, who had his arm wrapped around David Jacobs shoulder. As Racetrack sat down, he was offered a blunt from Skittery.
don’t take a hit
Racetrack pulled it to his lips and inhaled. Albert frowned as he watched his friend blow out the smoke and smile. He repeated this action a couple more times.
Albert shook his head again and made his way back to a couch. He sat down, trying to get away from the loudness. The music still boomed, even in the farthest corners of the house. People bumped into his leg and shouted over each other. He closed his eyes and covered his ears in an attempt to escape his reality.
A few seconds passed before he felt someone sit next to him. He opened his eyes to see Racetrack, still holding the joint. Albert was met with a tired looking smile, but he knew his friend was anything but tired. Race started to lean into his face, but Albert pushed his face away lightly.
don’t kiss my lips
Race frowned for a second but shrugged and went back to smoking. Eventually, he got up and handed the blunt back to Skittery. Albert watched as he danced to the music, carefree. Acting as though there was no one else in the world.
Albert was memorized and watched him with a grin. The song ended, Race made his way to the kitchen. Albert jumped up and followed him, pushing through the crowd.
“Race!” He called, finally pushing into the kitchen.
and please don’t drink more beer
Racetrack brought the can of beer up to his lips and chugged it down. Albert winced once more and attempted to pull the drink away. However, he was ignored and pushed away as his friend continued to drink.
“Race, you’re cross-faded,” Albert groaned, “I really think you should go home. I’ll drive you, or walk you.”
“I’m fine, Albie! Honestly. It’s a partyyy, this is supposed to happen!” Race stated confidently, his words slurring every so often. Albert shook his head and looked at Race desperately. His friend ignored him and instead grabbed onto his hand and pulled him through the house.
“Albert! Racetrack!” Spot called out to them, “Hey guys!”
“Spott!” Race slurred and giggled. He pulled Albert towards to Spot.
Spot had a beer in hand but placed a hand on Race’s chest to hold him up, “Jesus, Race. You’re drunk as hell. Having a good time?” Racetrack nodded excitedly at him. Spot smiled and looked at Albert. “Haven’t had a drink yet, man?”
“He wants to goo, can you believe him?” Race scoffed.
“Albert! C’mon, man! You gotta just let loose some times!” Spot quirked his eyebrow and held out his drink to Albert.
Albert shook his head, “No thanks, Spot. This really isn’t my kinda place. Thanks though, it was pretty cool. I had fun.” That was a lie. There was nothing fun about this to him, but you wouldn’t catch him dissing the football captains party.
i’ma crawl out the window now
Albert pulled away from Race’s hand and pushed his way to the front door. Sarah Jacobs was using the door to support her back as she giggled her way through kisses with Elmer. Elmer too was laughing as he kissed her and ran his hands through her hair.
Albert sighed and swerved towards an open window. He climbed through it and fell onto the grass. The grass was cold and wet, possibly from dew or possibly from spilled alcohol. He groaned and walked out.
cause i don’t like anyone around
He was grateful to finally be away from everyone. The music was a lot quieter and he could only faintly hear people talking. Although he had no beer, his head was pounding. He rubbed his forehead and sighed.
kinda hope you’re followin’ me out
He heard someone fall through the window and turned around to see who it was. Instead of being met with Race, as he hoped, he saw Henry on the floor laughing. Henry jumped out and shouted at the boys as he pulled himself back in through the window.
but this is definitely not my crowd
Romeo was passed out on the stairs, his head hanging off the step. His arm was hanging off too but his hand was wrapped firmly around a can of beer. Mush and Kid Blink were making out against the door too, except on the front side. They weren’t giggling either, just kissing each other.
A baseball flew threw one of the windows and nearly hit Albert, who ducked just in time. The whole window was shattered. Albert shook his head and continued to walk throw the lawn until he got to the sidewalk.
19 but you act 25 now
Albert was stopped as he felt a hand on his shoulder, weakly attempting to hold him back. He turned to see Race who was panting and smiling at him. Albert smiled a little back at him and helped him stand up straight.
“They had so much alcohol! It was all amazing- They had- They had the best brands too! The wine made me feel so fancy!” Race rambled.
Albert chuckled a little, “You’re 19, Race. How do you know so much about alcohol? You can’t even legally drink it yet.”
His friend grinned and shrugged as he kept talking about the party.
knees weak, but you talk pretty proud, wow
Race was all but wobbling, leaning against Albert for support. Nonetheless, he continued to talk about his adventures clearly.
“I downed like 5 cans,” He stated proudly, “Hey, did you know Crutchie is like amazing at chugging! He downed like 8 beer cans! Oh, today. Spot taught me that space doesn’t stop expanding, isn’t that crazy?”
Albert nodded, pretending as if they didn’t learn that in 8th grade. Race looked at the cup in his hand, noticing it still had liquid in it. He grinned and brought it to his lips, drinking the practically full cup in just one gulp. Albert sighed.
ripped jeans and a cup that you just downed
Race shivered as cold air hit his knees through the rips in his jeans. His flannel blew behind him and presented the white tank top underneath it. He held the empty cup in his hand.
Albert couldn’t help but watch Race. His friend was very attractive, he wouldn’t deny it to himself, only to other. Racetrack crumpled the cup and tossed it into some yard.
“That’s not good for the environment,” Albert sighed, but Race just shrugged at him. Albert continued, “What was in the cup?”
trade drinks, but you don’t even know her
“Dunno! Me and this reallyyyy pretty girl traded drinks!” He grinned.
“Who was it?”Albert asked.
“No idea,” Race chuckled, “Never seen her before! Didn’t ask for her name, music was too loud.”
“Race!” Albert groaned, “The drink coulda been spiked!”
“Nah,” He laughed, “Saw her drink out of it before we traded. Plus, I feel fine. I left anyways, so it’ll be okay.”
save me ‘til the party is over
“Anyways, I noticed you were gone. Thought you were kidding. Decided I’ll keep you company ‘til the party ended. Consider it me saving you,” Race grinned, his words slurring even more than at the party.
Albert forced a smile and shook his head.
“Give me your keys,” Albert stated. Race tilted his head in confusion but gave him the keys anyway. They walked together to Race’s Rover. Albert held the door open for Race and helped him inside. He then closed the door and climbed into the drivers side.
kiss me in the seat of your rover
As soon as he got into the driver seat, Race grabbed his face and pulled him into a kiss. For a second, Albert forgot his friend was drunk. He slid his hand into Race’s hair and kissed him back, until he opened his mouth and Albert could taste the alcohol Race had drank. Albert pulled away and pushed away Race’s hands away as his friend attempted to pull him into a kiss again.
real sweet but i wish you were sober
Albert looked up and held his eyes open, attempting to hold back tears. He closed his eyes and banged his head gently against the steering wheel.
“Why did you pull away,” Race whispered.
“You’re drunk,” Albert choked out, “You’ll forget tomorrow, anyways. I can’t kiss you. Just drunken feelings, Race, that’s what you’re feeling. I don’t feel that. I got real feeling, sober feelings. Let’s get you home, yeah?”
trip down the road
Albert turned the keys and started the car. Driving off towards Race’s house. Nearly halfway there, the car started sputtering. He pulled off to the side, only to see the gas tank was empty.
He groaned and got out of the car, pulling Race out too. Albert called Tripple-A.
“We can take you boys home,” The tow-truck driver offered. Albert shook his head.
“We’ll walk, it’s only a bit from here,” Albert stated and pulled Race along the sidewalk.
walking you home
Race couldn’t walk straight. Albert was holding his hand and pulling him, but he kept tripping. Albert sighed and ducked under Race’s armpit and supported him. He wrapped his arm around his blonde friend’s waist and held him up.
Albert continued to walk himself and Race towards the rental house his friend lived at. After a bit, they finally arrive at the house. Albert walked him up the porch.
you kiss me at your door
Racetrack grabbed Albert’s face and pulled him into a kiss again. Albert sighed and pulled away, resting his forehead against Race’s. Race sighed too, the alcohol on his breath filled Albert’s nose. He groaned and grabbed his friends keys.
He pulled Race into his own house and sat him down on the couch, moving to the kitchen. Albert quickly made coffee, black coffee, and sat down next to Race. He brought the cup up to Racetrack’s lips and made him drink it.
Race’s nose wrinkled at the bitter taste, but he drank it anyways. Albert brought the cup down and place it on the table.
“Finish drinking the coffee. Take this,” Albert placed an ibuprofen on the table, “Then go to sleep, okay? I’ll come check up on you tomorrow.” He started to get up.
pulling me close, beg me stay over
Race pulled Albert close to him, and looked at him with sad eyes.
“Stay, Albert. Please,” He begged, “You can stay on the couch. Don’t leave me here alone.”
but i’m over the roller coaster
Albert sighed and kissed Race on the forehead, “Not this time, Race. You’ve kissed me twice today, and you’ll forget that in like 5 minutes. I’m tired, man. It’s been a crazy day. Tomorrow, I’ll be back. I promise. I gotta go.”
i’ma crawl out the window now
He placed the house keys on the table and moved towards the door. Albert figured that Race wouldn’t get up, meaning he wouldn’t lock the door behind Albert. So, he locked the door for him then crawled out of Race’s window. He closed the window behind him and watched Race’s hand lazily lock the window.
getting good at saying, “gotta bounce”
Albert didn’t expect to drag himself home. Usually, he would just go along with what Race said. “Stay,” was all it usually took to get him to stay.
He’s just getting better at saying goodbye, he figures.
honestly you always let me down
Race was always dragging him to things, promising to not drink. It never happened. He would always drag him home and make sure he didn’t die. But, no matter how many times Race let him down, Albert would still go along with him.
Albert grumpily walked into his house, angrily slamming the door behind him. He kissed Race twice today. His friend wouldn’t even remember. He shook back tears before climbing into bed and falling asleep.
He woke up early the next morning due to a consistent ringing of his door bell. A hand banged on the door repeatedly while the door bell rang. Albert climbed out of bed and opened the door.
and i know we’re not just hanging out
Albert didn’t even get a minute to register who was at the door before he was pulled into a kiss.
“I didn’t forget,” Race whispered into his ear before pulling him back into another kiss. Albert grinned and finally kissed him back.
No trace of alcohol was in Race’s system.
He was sober.
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this is very poorly edited but i couldn’t wait any longer to make this
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Jack asks David to homecoming (set in the 1990s)
Jack was leaned up against a tree when David got there, arms crossed, hair mussed by the autumn wind. David approached with a courteous smile.
Jack’s note requesting to meet up was ominously punctuated. Jack never used punctuation - or capitals, or any proper grammar for that matter - unless he was extremely serious about something.
Jack pushed off the tree to meet him halfway, impossibly calm and unreadable in the disarming way that only he could be. “Hey.”
“Hey.” David’s fingers curled around the strap of his bag. “I got your note. I mean, obviously, or I wouldn’t be here.” What a stupid thing to say, David chastised, burning with embarrassment.
Everything about this was off. From Jack’s rigid shoulders, to the note rather than Jack just tracking him down after school or something, to the location, tucked away in the little woodsy area behind the old overgrown tennis court, where the creek browned and glided over perfect stones at the edge of the clearing.
“What is it you wanted to talk to me about?” David managed, biting down hard on his tongue.
Jack shrugged, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jacket. “Just a question.”
“You could’ve written it down,” said David, only because he was running out of things to say that wouldn’t make himself mad.
Jack started walking away, nodding once towards the bridge over the creek down along the path, dry and covered in browning leaves. David followed, hurrying a little to catch up. It was abominably cold for early fall, his hands were gloved because it put his mothers’ mind at ease to know he wouldn’t lose any fingers when he went out.
“Relax.” Jack clapped him on the shoulder and David stiffened.
Take your own advice, he swiftly bit back, because he could tell that something was bothering Jack just as much as David was bothered by the uncomfortable atmosphere.
The wondering ached in David’s chest. He’d been thinking too much lately. He wanted to know what was going on in Jack’s head, tried to read his face of steel, the smile that played on his lips that never reached his dark and piercing eyes. Jack stared at the bridge ahead of them, bobbing closer with every frigid step. Strolling like it was nothing, like David’s skull wasn’t clamoring with the onset of a headache.
“I know that look.”
David started. “What?”
“Put on your glasses.”
“I don’t need them.” David didn’t know why he said that, because it was a lie, and Jack knew it was a lie, and even worse, David knew Jack knew he knew it was a lie.
Without another word, eyes throbbing and defeated, Jack paused to let David fish around in his bag for his little square glasses that made his eyes look like weathered diamonds.
They continued their walk quietly, the discomfort settling between them like bricks. It was worse that David could see Jack’s face now.
Suddenly Jack’s voice was beside him, so close David could feel his hot breath in the cold breeze. “My question.”
“I don’t know how much you’ll like it.”
All the more dreadful a thought, David believed everything depended on Jack’s reaction rather than his own, sneaking a finger to hook around the strap of his bag once again, holding on like a mast at sea. “Yeah?”
“Fact is, you might even hate me.”
Again and again David stopped himself. He chewed his lower lip. “No.”
“You don’t know yet, huh?”
“I couldn’t hate you,” David explained. They crossed over the bridge, approaching the treeline to the four blocks of houses obscured by the light woods, the orange and black and purple of Halloween decorations already visible between the brush. “I couldn’t.”
Jack reached up and scratched the back of his neck. “You swear?”
“Well.” Jack gave him an indescribable look of hazel and knives. David withered in his boots. “Here it goes.”
“You’re teasing me.” David elbowed him, a lot lighter than Jack would have done if they switched places. “Do you want me to help you hide a body or something?”
“Tease?” Jack huffed. “I’ve never teased you.”
“Whatever. Tell me already. You’re dragging this out.”
“Could be that it’d be a shame for you to go home so soon.”
“It can’t possibly be that bad,” David attempted to rationalize. “Why did you even…”
“Do you have any plans for homecoming?”
David’s breath hitched. His answer came several seconds later, slow and deliberate. “No.”
They walked through a patch of sunlight where the branches above parted. David squinted, catching Jack’s fleeting eyes.
“Neither do I.”
David thought he knew where this was going. He couldn’t be sure, not really, until Jack said it for himself. It would be way too good to be true, too far removed from reality to assume that David was really there walking home with Jack instead of face down in a coma being buried in a ditch somewhere.
It was so cold. David crossed his arms over his stomach and rubbed his hands.
“So neither of us has plans.” Jack said, sounding it out as he went. “If a guy wanted to ask you to homecoming, what would you say?”
A guy. Jack’s wording was specific. David was burning, and freezing, the sliver of his socks exposed beneath the cuffs of his jeans was turning to ice.
There was an easy answer perched on the tip of his tongue. It would be pathetic to blurt it immediately. David considered it, tugged on the collar of his coat to straighten it, pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.
He cleared his throat. “Okay.”
Jack absorbed that. “Do you wanna go to homecoming with me?”
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Jack had come over to see David. One, because David practically begged him to, and two, because he really wanted to. Since school started back up again, they didn’t get to see each other as much. David was always busy with something, and yet when Jack stopped coming over, assuming space was what David wanted, David tracked him down and chastised him for “avoiding” him.
It was especially confusing considering even now David was scribbling away on a sheet of math problems at his desk. He was plenty apologetic about it, but Jack was still disappointed. He wanted to talk to David, not sit in silence and listen to him mumble complex equations under his breath, and the arduous scratch of his pen on paper.
Jack got the sinking feeling that if he messed up tonight, David wouldn’t be all too upset about the next time he didn’t show up. Sitting still was a challenge for Jack, and David ought to have known that. This visit wasn’t going at all as planned.
After a while of fidgeting restlessly, certain that he was really starting to get on David’s nerves, Jack got up, announcing that he was going to go and talk to Sarah. David looked at him for a moment, almost angry, waving him off with the shake of his head.
Jack firmly bit back a scathing remark about how stupid of him it was to expect Jack to sit still and quiet until he finished. It would be an easy way out of an uncomfortable situation, but then again, it might also be the last time he saw the inside of David’s room.
Despite the nagging inside to stay and do what David wanted him to do, Jack left anyway, sliding the curtain shut on his way out.
In the front room, Mrs. Jacobs was busy sewing the button back onto one of Les’ shirts, unfazed at the sight of Les enthusiastically explaining the advantages of getting a dog, the display not complete without a miscellany of frenzied hand gestures.
Sarah had her nose in a book and out of the conversation, smiling despite herself, offering Jack a brusque glance as he entered.
Jack hesitated before starting over to her. It could very well be all in his head, but lately it seemed that she was acting cold towards him. He couldn’t think of anything he’d done to wrong her - and it was all he could think about. All the ways in which he was slowly making his friends turn on him. Maybe Sarah was just smart enough to get away before it started getting bad.
Jack’s eyes were fixed to her as he approached. Missing the leg of a little wood table beside the sofa, he stumbled, heart lurching as he caught himself on the edge of the tabletop. The flimsy thing stood on a peg thin enough to be carved from a plank. It trembled under his sudden weight, sending the vase sitting on top crashing to the floor.
All eyes turned to him. David sped out of his room in a hurry, apparently not as hypnotized by his work as he seemed just a minute ago.
Jack froze. The noise had startled him, and, surveying the mess of glass and water and dying tulips lying miserably on the rug, his throat began to close up on him.
For what felt like hours, nobody said anything. Jack couldn’t move, or breathe for that matter.
David glanced from the vase to Jack, alarmed by the foreign, wide-eyed look of panic all over his face. Half the time, Jack was entirely unreadable, and all David’s years of experience in sitting quietly and watching the people around him interact with the world were of no use to him.
Jack had almost never looked so pale, besides in that courtroom not so long ago.
“We’ll get a new vase,” David said quickly.
Jack backed away, like he just killed someone and had been perching over the body. He hadn’t realized how hard his heart was beating until he ran out of breath.
“It’s alright,” Sarah piped up from her rocker. “It’s just a vase.”
That was the truth of it, Jack tried to rationalize, but the words didn’t land at all. It wasn’t just a vase, it was their vase. The Jacobses were not only kind enough to let him into their home, but to offer him food and drink and a warm place by the stove to sit when he could barely feel his fingers. They’d done so much for him, time and time again, and this is how he chose to repay them.
“I’m sorry.” Jack tried swallowing around the lump in his throat, balling his fists to keep from clutching at his chest. “I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said David, an echo of something he’d heard at the lodging house one time. “Accidents happen. I’ll get the broom.”
Esther rose from the sofa to rescue the flowers, Les wordlessly toddling after David to help, slowed by the curiosity of Jack’s reaction to something that seemed to him like a simple enough mistake.
Every bone in Jack’s body willed for him to run away as far and as fast as he could. He was good at running, not to mention that it solved all his problems quickly. Some of the time, anyway. Probably he would have done exactly that, if it weren’t for the fact he couldn’t bring himself to breathe, let alone move. His chest hurt, like somebody had taken a hammer to it.
Jack figured he should actually do something. Everybody else was busy cleaning up his mess for him, and he was standing around watching, like the selfish bastard he was, trying to make sense of the pounding in his skull.
Fighting between feeling sick and being sick, Jack blinked hard and looked down at a tugging on his sleeve.
Les gazed up at him, smiling apologetically. “I never like that lousy old vase anyway.”
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Javey with one showing up drunk and in tears at the other's apartment after he'd gotten into some fight. Maybe with a black eye or busted lip or something? (Sorry if something like this has been asked before)
fight for you // javid
A/N: okay, so i kind of changed this but !! here we go !!!
Read On AO3!
Jack has been asleep for ten wonderful, blissful minutes when he hears a loud knock on the front door.
He rolls over to eye the alarm clock; 12:23 a.m. God damn it. This is what he gets for staying up late to work on a commission, he figures- procrastination got the best of him again, like always, and now he’s paying the price.
Jack groans. He rubs his eyes and sits up in bed, staring at the wall for a few moments, before heaving himself up out of bed. It’s a short walk to the front door, just down the hall away from his room- his apartment is small, but that’s alright. It’s good enough for him, and big enough for when he has company, and the rent isn’t outrageous and it’s relatively close to his job and his favorite coffee shop and he’s thinking of all of this to avoid absolutely murdering whoever decided to knock on his door in the middle of the night.
There’s another, more frantic knock as he approaches the door. Jack groans, then calls out, “I’m comin’! Give me a sec.” He takes his final three steps and rubs his face as the door swings open. “What’s goin’-- Davey?”
David gestures to Jack’s frame. “You’re shirtless.”
Jack gapes at him, eyes wide, before he reaches out to take David’s hand. “And you’re bleeding! What the fuck, Dave?” He asks loudly, then hurries to drag David inside.
He looks like shit. His nose is bleeding, there’s a cut on his lip, he has a black eye, and his knuckles are bruised and rugged; he looks like Jack, not like… Davey. This isn’t a side of Davey that Jack has ever seen before, even after dating for five months. Even after being friends since high school.
“‘M fine,” David shrugs, but there are tears streaming down his cheeks. He isn’t… crying, but he's crying, and that's almost more concerning than anything else. Jack also notices that his words are just barely slurred, which is strange, since David cares about pronunciation like it's a law. “Went to the bar with Sarah 'nd Kath, and--"
“Just a little,” David shrugs, though he won't meet Jack's eyes. “It's not a big deal, I--”
“You're hurt,'' Jack says quickly, guiding David down to sit on the couch. He turns around, but quickly glances back at David over his shoulder. "Stay there,” He warns, then hurries to the bathroom.
As Jack grabs the first aid kit under the sink, he sighs, mind racing with the possibilities of what happened. David has never been violent; even in high school, he was always the one to break up Jack’s fights, not start any of his own. In college, David had gotten into one fight, but he didn't even fight back…
Jack almost doesn't want to know what pushed him to his limit.
He gulps as he walks back to the living room, taking a seat on the coffee table right in front of David. He opens the kit and rummages through it for a moment. “Care to explain what happened?” He asks, and opens a pack of alcohol cleansing wipes.
David shrugs again, but Jack sees now that he doesn't look as nonchalant as he did when he arrived; no, now he looks… worried. Upset. “I'm sorry,” David starts, which Jack decides isn't a good sign. “I jus' got into it with someone at the bar. It's really not a big deal, Jackie.”
“Okay, but, you never get into fights. This might sting, I'm sorry,” Jack murmurs as he gently cups David's jaw, wiping off the dried blood beneath his nose. “Did someone- Did someone jump you? Are the girls okay?”
“No, it wasn't-- They're fine,” David assures him, and winces as Jack's fingers brush against the cut on his lip. “They didn't get involved. It was me and Os- me and some guy,” He cuts himself off.
Jack pauses, then leans back as realization hits him like a freight train. “...Oscar Delancey.”
“He was talkin' shit,” David gives in, looking up at Jack. “I just-- I couldn't help it. No one should say that about you.”
This makes Jack look back up at David, and his eyes widen just slightly. “He was talking shit about me?" Jack asks, and rubs his forehead. Of course. Oscar and Morris never liked Jack, but taking that out on David… "Baby, you should have just let it go,” Jack frowns. “You shouldn't've--”
David shakes his head. “No, no- you don't get to say that, Jack. You- you've gotten into plenty of trouble standing up for me, so I just--”
“No, that's different,” Jack cuts in, raising a brow. “You don't deserve--”
“Oh, and you do?" David asks, defensive. "You deserve to get hurt standing up for me? He was talking shit about your parents, Jack. About Medda, and Daniel and Maria, and he was insulting your job, and I- I couldn't just let it happen, okay?” David glances away, rubbing his forehead. “I told him to shut the hell up, he told me to make him, I punched him in the face, Morris jumped me, and I kicked his ass. I'm fine, Jackie, I just… I don't know. I lost control for a second.”
Jack frowns as he listens, then gently cups David's cheek, running the pad of his thumb over the bruise. “You're so stupid,” He whispers, looking into his eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” David murmurs, leaning in to press a gentle kiss to Jack's lips, but he pulls back nearly immediately, wincing. "Forgot about the lip," He says with a huff, looking at Jack with a sheepish smile.
Jack runs his hand through David’s hair and grins, then stands and pulls him up. "C'mon, babe. Let's get you to bed. How much did you drink?”
"Well, a lot, but the whole 'getting punched in the face' thing kinda sobered me up,” David admits with a chuckle, and Jack shakes his head. David then wraps an arm around Jack's waist, following him into the bedroom. "I'm sorry for scaring you.”
"It's alright,” Jack shakes his head. "Just… just don't do it again," He squeezes David’s hand, and falls back on the bed. "Will cuddles make you feel better?"
David nods, and Jack watches as he rids himself of his clothes until he's in his boxers. David then climbs onto the bed, lying behind Jack and wrapping his arms around his waist. "Love you."
"Love you, too. Now, get some sleep."
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Shoot Your Shot: Part 1
This is my first published work in over a decade, and I'm so excited to share it with everyone! Dash is my oldest and most treasured oc, and I'm so happy that I finally have the confidence to allow everyone else a peek into her life. This was originally supposed to be a short one shot, but is now going to be a 2(?) part series. I will hopefully be posting more work in the future that explores more of her background, as well as introducing some of my other oc's.
It was June, and the air was warm and sticky, which wasn’t ideal; the humidity made Dash’s hair all frizzy, and it always seemed to happen on a day when she wanted to make meringue.
This morning in particular, her eyes snapped open, bolting upright in her bed with a gasp. She had been having the most amazing dream, in which she was about to take a bite of the biggest, most beautiful lemon meringue pie she had ever seen. However, just as the fork reached her mouth, she woke up, returning to the sad reality where she did not have a mouth watering dessert in front of her. She smacked her lips, trying to recall what the pie had tasted like, but it was already gone. Tragic.
It was then that it dawned on her that she had the ingredients to bring that beautiful pie to life in the kitchen. In an instant, she rushed to her bedroom window. Maybe, if she was lucky, the weather would be on her side today. She pried open the window, a warm, thick breeze blowing against her skin. She groaned. No good; meringue wouldn’t peak in the humidity. No matter how good at baking someone is, they’re no match for mother nature. Pursing her lips, she pulled the latch shut, deciding to settle for banana bread muffins instead.
A couple of hours later, the muffins were nestled in her bag as she hopped off the trolley that crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Thanks!” Dash chirped to the driver, exchanging waves with the man before she bounced away, not noticing the large, gray clouds looming on the horizon.
She clicked her tongue rhythmically as she walked, matching the beat to her steps and scanning the docks for her friend, Twitchy. The purpose of her trip had been to return a book he lent her, but he was nowhere to be seen.
A group of four other teenagers had gathered nearby at the edge of the docks, crouching in a large circle on the ground. Curious, she inched forward, craning her neck to see what was going on.
As she approached, she could see they were surrounding a long piece of brown string that was tied in a circle, surrounding a cluster of marbles.
Her heart skipped a beat. She was fantastic at marbles! She always kept her own pouch on her in case of a marble emergency, which happened more often than one might think.
Now that she was closer, Dash knew the kids to be Newsies like herself from her other visits to the borough. Among the group was a short, round faced girl with glasses and hundreds of freckles who Dash remembered was named Abigail. Her curly, brown hair was pulled back into two braids, her eyebrows knit with frustration as she gazed down at the ring. There was also a pale, skinny boy with sandy, blond hair and brown eyes that Dash didn’t recognize, and a tall boy with broad shoulders and dark hair standing just behind Abigail and watching the game intently. The way he hovered over her, he seemed almost like a bodyguard. What was his name again? Something with a chuh sound…. Chuck? No. Chatter! That was it! She remembered now, she found it funny the first time she learned it because Chatter really didn’t say very much at all. He was a friendly enough guy, but he seemed to like observing and listening more than he liked talking. He and Abigail seemed to always be around one another when Dash saw them, their significant height difference almost comical.
Finally, Dash’s eyes rested on the figure closest to her with their back turned. Their brown cap was pulled down low on their face as they knelt on the ground, but she could recognize those bright red suspenders anywhere. He was at an angle where she could just see that was holding a red shooter in his hand, weaving it through his fingertips thoughtfully.
Dash’s feelings toward Spot were… mixed; she could never stop herself from riling him up, and the two would often butt heads due to their wildly different personalities. Spot took himself so seriously, and for the life of her, she couldn’t understand why. It frustrated her that he tried to make himself seem so high and mighty, and she knew the kids in Brooklyn respected him, but as far as she could tell, he was just… some guy. The way he constantly tried to have the attention of those around him was so silly, and just made him come off as a bit of a show off.
She hadn’t seen him do anything particularly intimidating, but the Newsies back in Manhattan would often go on and on about how nervous he made them. She just failed to see any real reason for their apprehension. Then again, she really hadn’t been living in New York all that long; his reputation had been around for a good while. Maybe they all knew something she didn’t.
In any case, as far as she was concerned, he was just a kid who wanted attention. That was fine, of course, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to tease him. It was fun to challenge him, and she found herself getting extremely competitive in his presence. Of course he wasn’t going to back down from a challenge.
Dash would come to Brooklyn every once in a while to exchange books with Twitchy, who she knew was pretty close with Spot. He never seemed to show any signs of being intimidated either, and was an even bigger culprit than she was when it came to pushing Spot’s buttons. He would go to great lengths to make him look silly, like the time he filled Spot’s pockets with bread crumbs and got the neighborhood pigeons to follow him around all day. There was also a time when he dressed up in the same clothes as Spot, and had bribed the other Brooklyn kids with candy to pretend that he was the real Spot for an entire day.
Dash watched as the boy she hadn’t recognized leaned forward, closing one eye and taking a deep breath. He flicked his thumb, his yellow shooter zipping forward and smacking into another large, purple marble. Both marbles rolled over the string, coming to a rest on the other side. The boy whooped with delight, and Abigail let out a cry of astonishment.
“That was a cheap shot, Sonny!” Abigail crossed her arms in front of her chest, staring daggers at the boy. “You know I just got that marble yesterday!”
“It ain’t my fault I got good aim!” Sonny grinned, shrugging and walking over to claim the purple shooter for himself. “Sorry, toots.”
Dash thought Sonny didn’t look all that sorry.
Abigail huffed, sitting back and crossing her legs.
“Fine, whatever. Your turn, Spot.”
Spot, who had been silent the entire time, was already leaning down to shoot his own red marble. He extended his arm, appearing as still as a statue as he aimed the little glass ball toward the center.
At that moment, an idea popped into Dash’s brain. Slowly, without making a sound, she crept up behind him, biting her lip to keep herself from giggling and giving herself away.
Finally, just as Spot started to release the shooter, Dash exclaimed “HI, SPOT!”
The boy let out a rather undignified yelp and his hand jerked, the marble rolling into the ring and bouncing gently on one of the mibs. It hardly budged, and Spot’s shooter halted beside it. The other three Brooklyn newsies broke out into laughter, and Spot’s shoulders tensed, turning his head slowly to glare up at Dash.
Dash just smiled, waving down at him.
“Didn’t you hear me? I said hi.”
Spot grunted and rose to his feet, his hazel eyes narrowing at Dash. Despite his intense stare, her expression remained unchanged.
“I heard ya, I heard ya.” He grumbled, glancing her up and down. “You messed me up, y’know.”
“Golly, did I do that?” she feigned surprise, her eyebrows raising. “Whoopsie daisies. Can I play?”
“We’re in the middle of a game.”
“Actually, it’s just endin’!” Sonny chimed in from behind him with a smile. Spot glanced back and shot Sonny a look, who quickly clammed up.
“Aw, that’s okay.” Dash shrugged, adjusting her bag on her shoulder. “It’s no big deal, Spot’s just afraid that I’ll beat him at his own game.” she looked back to Spot, and she swore she saw his eye twitch.
“No. I am not.” He replied firmly.
“NO, I am-” Spot’s voice had grown higher pitched in the heat of the moment, but he quickly paused, giving a sideways glance at his Newsies who were all staring at them. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat, his voice now sounding much lower than it had a moment ago.
“Fine.” He said cooly. “Fine, you wanna play? We’ll play. Clear the ring, Sonny.”
In a matter of moments, the ring was reset, thirteen mibs resting in the center in a cross. Dash fished her sack of marbles out from her bag, a little blue pouch that her father had fashioned for her out of some spare fabric. She had about a dozen shooters she had collected over the years, but there was a very special one she wanted to use for this occasion.
She rummaged around in the pouch for a moment before pulling up a shooter that was minty green and blue with little white swirls. Sonny whistled, leaning in to look at it.
“That’s real pretty.” He mused. Dash beamed, tossing it up in the air once and catching it.
“Thanks! It’s the first marble I ever won back when I was younger.”
Abigail raised an eyebrow. “You sure ya wanna use that thing, then? Seems pretty special to be usin’ in a game. Don’t wanna end up like me and have it taken from ya.” She glared pointedly at Sonny, who only grinned back at her innocently with large, doe like eyes.
Dash nodded. “Oh, yeah! This guy is my go-to shooter, he’s real lucky!” She held it up proudly, admiring the way the colorful swirls glistened in the light. “I’ve never lost a match with him!”
Spot was also staring at the marble, a ghost of a smirk tugging at his lips.
“Huh. Oh, well, it’s your funeral, girlie.” He stretched his arms over his head, shifting his gaze back to her. “You better say your goodbyes now, ‘cause that thing’s gonna be in my pocket real soon.”
Dash stuck out her tongue at him. She wasn’t nervous; her lucky shooter had never failed her before, and this game would be no different.
The two knelt on opposite ends of the circle, and the others sat off to the side as spectators. Spot motioned his hand toward her.
Dash positioned herself in front of the ring with her shooter. Without any delay, she flung her marble forward, grinning at the satisfying clack it made as it smacked into one of the mibs, sending two of them rolling out of the ring. Dash whooped loudly, and Spot continued to watched in silence with a serious expression.
“Nice!” Abigail grinned.
Her shooter was still within the circle, which meant she was able to shoot her marble again from the inside the ring. She hummed, hopping to the other side and returning to her knees to the left of Spot. As she reached for her shooter, her shoulder briefly brushed against his. Spot jumped as if he had been shocked, scowling and moving a few inches to his right. Dash barely even noticed him, focused on finding the right angle to shoot her marble. She flicked it once more and the marble struck another mib, but it didn’t have as much force as the first hit. It rolled a few inches and stopped just before reaching the edge.
Dash shrugged, flopping backward onto her behind. “Oh well. Your turn.”
Spot nodded, adjusting his cap. Dash saw him glance over at the other kids for a fleeting second, then returned his gaze to the marbles. He cracked his knuckles loudly, which Dash found rather unnecessary, and flexed his hands at his sides. He scooped up his red shooter, assuming the position. His eyebrows knit together and he bit his lip.
This was ridiculous; the longer she waited for him to make his move, the more restless she felt. She drummed her hands on her lap as she waited. After what felt like centuries, she couldn’t take it anymore.
“Can’t you go any faster?” She huffed.
“Focus faster!” she urged.
Spot’s jaw clenched, still not looking at Dash. He exhaled, finally releasing his marble. It hit two mibs at once, sending them flying out of the circle in opposite directions. Sonny cheered loudly and Abigail nodded with approval while Chatter clapped politely beside her. The marble stopped right where it hit its mark, meaning it was still in play.
Spot grinned, clearly pleased with himself as he turned his attention back to Dash. She clapped, nodding slowly.
“That was great, yeah! Hey, at this rate, maybe we’ll have a winner by Thanksgiving!” she teased. Abigail let out a cough that Dash could have sworn was a laugh.
Spot’s grin snapped back to a scowl, squinting hard at her. Dash smiled back. Sometimes it was just too easy.
Spot closed his eyes briefly, regaining his composure. When he opened his eyes again, the look in his eyes had changed.
“Oh, I ain’t movin’ fast enough for ya?” he asked, stretching out his arms and making a big show of moving into shooting position once more. Slowly, he leaned forward, maintaining eye contact with her the entire time. “That’s no problem. I can go faster.”
He set his eyes on Dash’s lucky shooter, and before she could even process what was happening, he shot his red marble straight for it.
Dash’s eyes widened in horror, and she gasped as the shooter crashed into her minty blue sphere, causing it to roll right out of the ring.
Her heart sank, realizing what he had just done. She looked up at him in dismay and was met with a smug smile.
“Oh, would ya look at that? Seems like ya lucky marble ain’t so lucky no more.” He snickered. “Oopsie daisies.”
The other Brooklyn kids appeared stunned at what their leader had done, exchanging nervous glances with one another. Sure, he had joked about taking the marble, but it didn’t seem like they thought he would actually take it.
“Spot…” Abigail started, but Spot ignored her, plucking the shooter from the ground and rolling it across his palm as he stood.
“You were right, Abby. She shoulda listened to your advice, don’t’cha think?”
For a minute, Dash was speechless. Did that really just happen? Was he being serious right now?
Her shock quickly turned to rage. She rose and stormed up to him, lunging toward the marble.
“No! That’s not fair, you can’t-”
“What exactly ain’t fair here?” Spot interrupted, snatching it away and holding her prized shooter high in the air. “I ain’t no cheater, ask anyone here! I won this here marble fair and square!” He looked over at the others for confirmation, daring any of them to argue. “You all saw it, right? No rules broken, yeah?”
Reluctantly, the three nodded in agreement, which only fueled Dash’s anger. She grunted and jumped toward his raised hand in an attempt to grab it, but he stepped back, barking out a laugh.
“Better luck next time, short stuff!”
Dash grunted, jumping up and down as she tried snatch her marble. “Oh, that’s rich, coming from you! You’re barely three inches taller than me at most!”
“Still, it’s three inches you ain’t got!” he snickered. “I’m playin’ the game the way it’s s’posed to be played! When ya shoot your opponent’s marble outta the ring, you claim it! That’s the rule!”
They danced around one another, Dash hopping up toward his hand and Spot pulling away at the very last second. Dash could feel her cheeks burning. She grit her teeth and let out a loud groan.
“Why are you being such a jerk?!” She exclaimed, taking another swing just as he jumped out of the way. “You only shot at my marble to be mean!”
“I’m the jerk?” He scoffed, side stepping when she tried to snatch it again. “You’ve been pickin’ on me this whole time! ”
“Hey, now,” Chatter spoke up for the first time, stepping forward. His voice was deep and soft. “Maybe we should all calm down…”
But Dash didn’t want to calm down. She was fuming, her hands clenching and unclenching at her sides. Logically, she knew she shouldn’t be getting so worked up over a silly, little marble, but she couldn’t control it; she was livid! How dare he take something from her that he knew was special to her! How dare he hold it over her head and taunt her with it! The way he smirked down at her made her stomach bubble with anger. She wasn’t going to let him get away with this.
She lunged once more, but this time, she wasn’t aiming at his hand.
She reached for his head, plucking off the brown cap from his head in one quick swipe and scurrying backward with a triumphant “HA!”
Spot blinked in surprise, his free hand instinctively moving toward his head. His caramel hair was now in disarray, falling in wisps across his face.
“Ha ha. Very funny, girlie, give it back.”
“Seriously? Dash, c’mon.”
Dash was already scooping up her bag of belongings and throwing it over her shoulder, a wild grin on her face. It was juvenile, sure, but it was the only thing she could think to do in the heat of the moment. She offered him a quick salute, then bolted from the scene of the crime, leaving a flabbergasted Spot behind her.
She was already halfway down the block before she heard an enraged bellow behind her:
End of Part 1
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asdfgsd yeah i feel ya with that getting back into writing thing lol! but for prompts "we're in the middle of a thunderstorm and you wanna stop and feel the rain?" (thats the only thing i can think of jsdkns)
Dude that’s an awesome prompt!! I’ll try, forgive me if I’m a little rusty! I’m going to make this funny if it kills me /hj
“We have to do it.”
“Do you have any idea how difficult this will be? Dangerous, even?”
Jack visibly steeled himself, mouth in a grim line, strong jaw set. “I’m ready. This may be the most risky thing I’ve ever done.”
Davey Jacobs and Jack Kelly were ready to walk out the door and into a thunderstorm. Pounding thunder and flashing lights were all that waited for them outside, and the street was invisible under sheets of running water. A few more inches, and Jonson Drive, Davey’s street, could be called Jonson River.
Davey grabbed Jack’s hand, and with the other, he put up his hood. “Ready?”
After jumping and barely making it over puddles, Jack and Davey finally stood under a tree, where the rain was still present, but was softer as it dripped from the leaves.
Jack panted. “Why’d we stop running? My house is only--” he paused, still out of breath “--a block away!”
“I wanna stand and feel the rain, Jackie.”
“You what?” Jack laughed, a full, genuine laugh, hands on his knees, head bowed and face split into an enormous grin. “We are in the middle of a thunderstorm, and you just want to stand here.”
“Yeah. It doesn’t rain here that much.”
“You want to stand here... under a tall tree?”
“Why would that matter?”
Instead of giving him a straight answer, Jack simply began to count after a clap of thunder shook the ground. “One Mississippi--”
A loud CRACK stopped him from counting any further; the lamppost next to the tree they’d been standing under had just been struck by lightning. The tree, thankfully, was not on fire, but Davey had grabbed Jack’s hand again and was running like his pants were.
Perhaps he’d realized he was holding Jack’s hand long after they’d made it inside. Perhaps he hadn’t. Either way, Jack wasn’t complaining.
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A Night to Remember
pairing: race x albert
story: fluff, so sweet really :)
time period: modern au
word count: 746
Race took the last sip of his drink. That’s all he’d had. Just one. He was nearly completely sober. Just feeling the hum of the alcohol. He relaxed back into the chair feeling a hand slip in his. He immediately, as if on reflex, lifted the joined hands to his lips, kissing the back of his lover’s hand. He looked up to see Albert smiling at him.
“How’s your night?”
Race smiled easily back, “you’ve been here the whole time wouldn’t you know?”
“I want to hear it from you.”
“This has been amazing Albie.”
“That’s good,” he leaned in to kiss the blond when Race suddenly jerked away. His eyes flicked upwards to see Specs with his hands on Race’s shoulder, having lightly shaken him.
“Happy birthday man!” He was saying.
Albert’s lips curled into a small smile, he was glad they had such incredible friends.
Race thanked him then immediately turned back to Albert, grabbing his collar and kissing him quickly.
“Sorry that got interrupted,” Race said breathlessly as he pulled back.
Albert laughed and tightened his grip on his boyfriend’s hand.
They were lost for a moment, staring in each other’s eyes.
The peace was broken by their group beginning the singing.
“Happy birthday to you!”
Race looked around at all his friends.
“Happy birthday dear Racer!”
He was smiling so wide he thought his face might split. The happiness inside of him made him want to burst. It was a night to remember. Nothing was wrong. Nothing had gone wrong. Nothing was going to go wrong.
They all cheered at the end of the song and he felt several hands clapping him on his shoulders, in a congratulatory manner. He
closed his eyes and blew out the candles.
“Didja make a wish?” Mike called out.
“Not one I’m going to share,” Race responded.
A couple of people laughed and a server stepped forward to cut the cake and dish out the pieces.
They ate their cake amidst small talk, soft chatter in stark contrast to the excited volume that had occupied the air during the meal.
After the meal ended people began leaving, not leaving the dinner, just leaving the table so they could go to the dance floor.
Race was one of the last people there to finish eating. He wanted to soak in every second of this perfect night.
Albert stayed at his side no matter what. Race had told him he could go, but his boyfriend wanted nothing more than to stay with him.
Once everyone else had departed from the table, only then did Race stand up. Albert stood with him, their hands had remained joined nearly the entire evening. They made their way over to the dance floor.
Hours went by, it was late into the night. Everyone was laughing, probably somewhat tipsy, and enjoying themselves. Albert tugged lightly on Race’s hand as the song ended. Race took a moment to really look at the redhead. His face was serious and Race’s heart jumped.
“Something wrong?” He asked.
Albert broke into a smile, sending a flood of relief through Race’s veins.
“No, nothing at all. Just wondered if you wanted to get out of here for a bit.”
“I shouldn’t leave my own party.”
“Just for a breather.”
The two of them wandered outside, the fresh, cool, night air refreshing their spirits. The music sounded faint now, far away. They stood on some sort of deck, and could see the New York City skyline, along with the mirror image in the water. They let go of each other briefly. A moment of solitude to take everything in. Race swayed slightly to the soft music, or possibly the music in his head, humming under his breath. Albert turned to watch him, his eyes shining with love. Abruptly Race turned to face Albert.
“Marry me? Please?” Race’s eyes were so bright.
Everything was slightly blurry from the sheer rush of midnight feelings. Albert smiled softly at him, he’d never felt so content. Race twirled in his happiness and Albert’s breath stopped at the sight. The light was reflecting off the water. He was alone with the love of his life.
Race crashed softly into him still smiling so big. Albert hugged him tight, “were ya serious?”
“About?” The blond asked in a whisper.
Race grabbed Albert’s hands, spinning him around, “yes.”
Albert laughed now, “what has gotten into you?”
“Oh Albie I’ve just never been so happy!”
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unless you take your army back, ch. 7
First - Previous - Read on AO3!
I’m so sorry cowpokes I had a concussion and was trying to do midterms + theatre while having no memory retention, so life was a struggle for a while. anyways not terribly happy with this chapter (or its length) but it gets there! might edit it later :)
cw: food, eating disorders, arguing :(
Crutchie wasn’t quite sure how Specs had managed to drag Jack away from his side, but he was immensely grateful. Not only had it gotten Jack back out selling, but after nothing happened while he was gone, Jack was a little less suffocating. Despite pushing himself too far and panicking that first day, Jack let him go back out the next day, and the next and the next and the next. Crutchie was seeing all of his regulars again (including Mr. Myers, who had given him a sticky bun for free the first day he’d seen him), and though selling far fewer papes than he was accustomed to, he was still bringing in a fair amount of money. His very first day back, he’d made off nine papers the same he would’ve made off thirty or forty on any other day. When he’d woken up that afternoon, he’d shaken off the nightmares almost immediately once he noticed the heavy weight of coins in his pocket, and even became excited after counting them.
By now, he was back to business as usual. Almost. The others still wouldn’t let him go near Wiesel's place, and he wasn’t allowed to work alone--usually he sold with Romeo, like he had Before, but there was always one of the oldest boys down the street to keep an eye on him. It was annoying, but ever since he’d freaked out that first day, Crutchie let it happen.
He’d had other bad moments since then, moments where he lost track of where he was, moments where instead of his brothers’ faces jeering guards surrounded him, moments where he woke up alone and became instantly convinced that he was in that dreadful closet still, hallucinating the room around him. It was exhausting, and not helped by the amount of food he was eating.
It was more food than before, though (if only slightly), something Crutchie had counted as a win. Stupid Albert with his know-it-all eyes had brought it up last week, talking about how some of the younger boys had been finding food in their bunks, how Race had seen a couple of pieces of fruit in various stages of decay right outside the window. Crutchie had turned red and adamantly denied any knowledge of the sort, but Albert had said, staring him down: "Well, if ya happen ta find out who ain't eating proper, you can always tell 'em that they cans talk ta me--'specially if a certain union leader is gettin' on their nerves." Crutchie had actually been a little bit touched (and a lot annoyed--he could handle himself), but he didn't get any time to maybe come to appreciate Albert seeing as he seemed to have told Katherine. She threatened to take him off duty (could she do that?) If he didn't start gaining some weight. Stupid Albert.
Albert wasn’t the only one who noticed too much. Crutchie wasn’t an idiot, he could see the way they all kept tabs on him. The way Smalls trailed him to his selling spot, the way Romeo watched him nervously when he thought he wouldn’t notice, the way Tommy Boy scoped out the streets before letting him and Jack out every morning. He knew they were only concerned. Smalls just wanted to make sure that Romeo would have help if Crutchie collapsed, Romeo was just being wary of flashbacks, Tommy was just keeping an eye out for the Delanceys. It was annoying, though--not enough for Crutchie to get justifiably mad about it, but enough to make him want to distance himself from them. They were smothering him.
Crutchie tried to force things to go back to normal. He moved back into his own bunk, cracked a few jokes here and there, surreptitiously avoided mirrors, paid his own rent. He was certain he was acting as close to normal as possible, excepting not making the trip to Wiesel’s every morning (Specs and Mush always brought his, Jack’s, and Tommy’s papes to them). But it seemed that nobody around him was willing to forget everything that happened.
He mentioned it to Jack once, in passing, while watching him shave, and Jack had frowned heavily. “Yeah, I get that. Usually avoided everyone when it was me, but it always took a few weeks afore folks stopped treatin’ me like somethin’ that might fall apart at any second o’ the day.”
Crutchie hoped Jack realized the irony of what he’d said.
In all honesty, Crutchie often spent evenings laying in bed, staring at Romeo’s bunk above his, wondering why on earth he was so upset over this. The boys were just concerned--he knew he would be the same way, if he was in their place. They just wanted to help him.
Crutchie was pretty much healed now, though--his arm was still too uncomfortable to move, and his leg had been worse than normal since the strike, but all his bruises were gone or almost gone. Some cuts had closed up, others scarring over (as far as he could tell, alone in the washroom when he dared to pull up Jack’s spare shirt that had been lent to him, the marks on his back weren’t going to fade any time soon, nor the nasty-looking one on his chest). So there was no real reason to be so protective, Crutchie thought, carefully pushing away how he had become too weak to stand yesterday while returning to the lodging house, forcing Albert to drop his bag to catch him. He was fine.
Was he fine, though? He wanted to be. He wanted everything to go back to normal, back to playful teasing and cheerful days. Back to actually feeling good, and not sick in the head all the time. He wanted to move on, live the way he used to, but nobody else seemed to want to help. For the first time in a long time, Crutchie was letting himself get angry.
He’d always suppressed anger, except for in times of need, like unavoidable fights or strikes. These days, though, he felt it rise at the slightest provocation. From Jack watching him so intently that he woke up to him staring, to a different newsie every day offering to buy him food.
Somehow, everything the other newsies were doing just happened to rub him the wrong way. Maybe it was the exhaustion, the abrupt claps on his back that immediately pulled back when he cowered, the doubtful looks Specs gave him when he asked for forty papes. Maybe it was some combination of such and similar factors. Crutchie had been biting his tongue to keep himself from lashing out for the past two weeks, and he was losing more and more of his composure with every worried glance and careful step-around and unasked-for question.
So when Jack cornered him to talk after a long day at work, Crutchie flew off the handle.
In Jack’s defense, he was also tired. He’d spent nights up, staying inside despite the heat of the summer, just laying on his side with his eyes on Crutchie’s bunk. Jack could always tell when he had a nightmare--his body would draw into itself, his bunk would begin to tremble as he shook. At those times, Jack would sneak over there and gently run a hand through his hair (the only touch that would calm him rather than aggravate) until he woke with a gasp and a choked-off noise. With Jack kneeling beside the bed, shushing him and carding his fingers through his hair, Crutchie was usually able to fall asleep soon after waking. Then Jack would return to his own bed and once again lay there, watching for the signs of another nightmare, until his eyelids became too heavy and sleep overtook him. Sure, it wasn't the healthiest way to do it, but Jack was pretty used to it. Crutchie was by no means the first newsie to have trouble sleeping. The system had always worked perfectly with no more bad effects than Jack's exhaustion.
Except it didn't work perfectly here. Because every morning after, Crutchie would sit up and glare at Jack with such vitriol that Jack almost stumbled. He wouldn't talk to him while getting ready, would barely say more than a muttered "thanks" when Jack brought him a bite to eat around midday. He wouldn't even say good night.
When Jack mentioned it to Davey, the other boy chewed on his lip before suggesting, cautiously, that maybe he should try leaving Crutchie alone for a little while. Jack had scoffed at him and moved along. He forgot sometimes that Davey was new here. Jack knew Crutchie, better than anyone else. He'd practically raised the kid at times, had been his closest friend at others. He didn't need help to take care of his own brother.
After spending days trying to figure out why Crutchie was so hostile to him and finding no answers, Jack finally let himself think about the worst case scenario: one of the boys had told Crutchie about how Jack betrayed the union and everything they stood for, and almost ran away without telling anyone. There was no other reason for Crutchie to be angry, to never smile at him, to even ignore him completely. With each hour that passed after Jack came to this conclusion, the shame built and festered in his stomach, rising to his chest.
He knew he had to try to explain himself. Sit Crutchie down and talk him through what happened--though he had no excuses. He’d scabbed, through and through. He could only apologize and hope for forgiveness.
It had been a long day today, too hot to really be more than averagely productive, and now most of the boys were looking for somewhere to catch a bite of supper or were meeting up for some games. Crutchie, however, was in the washroom. These days, he always washed up in the evening when nobody else was around, something Jack assumed had to do with the scars on his body he’d let no one but Katherine see (and her unwillingly). It also gave him a convenient excuse to skip dinner, Jack realized as he let himself into the lodging house. That was worrisome. Crutchie hadn’t had the same appetite since before the strike, but that was expected of kids from the Refuge. Still, if Crutchie was trying to hide it that was bad, especially since he understood the danger of it. Jack--or someone, since Crutchie hated him--would have to help him through it, whether he liked it or not.
Jack knocked a rhythm on the washroom door. “Crutchie, you in here?” he called softly.
“Uh, uh, one minute!” Crutchie’s voice came from inside. Jack stepped back, waiting patiently. His heart was pounding; he wanted nothing more than to forget about it and leave right now. But he owed Crutchie an explanation. He owed Crutchie everything.
A few long moments passed before Crutchie pulled the door open, hopping back with it. His hair was sticking up wildly, his face wet. The old shirt of Jack’s he’d been wearing was thrown haphazardly across one of the sinks, leaving Crutchie in his long-sleeved undershirt and pants. His boots lay by the one window, one turned on its side, socks curled up beside them.
Crutchie watched Jack apprehensively, which was better than anger, Jack figured. At least this wouldn’t become another shouted argument.
“Heya, Jack,” Crutchie said, biting his lip. Jack tried to greet him, but choked on the words. He was going to tell him everything, then leave immediately. That’s all he had to do.
“I need ta--”
“I’s sorry for--”
They both paused. Crutchie looked away, adjusting his crutch under his arm with a grimace. Jack adjusted his hat, then his vest, then unbuttoned and buttoned his shirt. He had to say this. Maybe he should let Crutchie apologize for whatever he was sorry for? Then he could get right into it. No, he wasn’t stalling.
Jack nodded, waved a hand in his direction. “Go ahead,” he managed. “Don’t wanna make you feel unheard or whatever.”
Crutchie blinked slowly, and Jack knew he’d said something wrong. He’d just sort of been talking, his mouth running away from him! What had he said? How had he screwed this up in five seconds?
“Thanks, Jack,” Crutchie said acerbically. “Forgot that I need permission for things now. My bad.”
“Crutch, no, I--”
“No, really, on account of you bein’ so kind an’ all, you can say what ya need.”
This was exactly what Jack had been trying to avoid, for goodness’ sake. He didn’t want another fight. He groaned and rubbed his eyes. Maybe he could catch a nap after this. “Look,” Jack started. “I dunno who--”
“No, Jack, I’m real sick o’ this,” Crutchie interrupted. “You’s always botherin’ me about things, like my eatin’--”
“I weren’t even gonna bring that up!” Jack interjected, almost offended. The fact that Crutchie had mentioned it, though . . . were his suspicions correct? Was he not eating normally? “Speakin’ of it, though--”
“Cryin’ out loud, Jack, I don’ wanna hear it! Whatever you’s gotta say--”
“Look, I jus’ wanted to apologize--”
“And that too!” Crutchie fumed. “Every day, ‘pologizing for somethin’ new, like I ain’t known that you--”
“You already know what I’s tryin’ ta say, I know, but you gotta hear it from me--”
“Seems like it’s always you I’s hearin’ from, all the time, watchin’ me in my sleep for fu--”
“I’s sorry, okay!” Jack yelled over him. Crutchie limped away to the sink, his face red. Jack took a deep breath. He couldn’t push him away even more. “I’s sorry,” he repeated, quieter. “I wanted ta tell you myself, but never seemed right, ya know?”
Crutchie snorted, splashing some water on his face. “Makes total sense, o’ course,” he muttered. Jack gritted his teeth. Why did he have to make this so difficult?
“So I wish you hadn’t heard it from anyone else, but I left it too late. And that’s my fault, I shouldn’ta put you through that--”
“Oh, if we’s talkin’ about things you shouldn’ta put me through, I’s got a list--”
“No, no, go right ahead--”
“Look, I know scabbin’ was wrong--”
“An’ if you change your mind--”
“An’ whatever they’s told ya is probably the truth, because yes, I did run off--”
“An’ yeah, I did take that money from Pulitzer, but I promise the a’ternative was so much worse and Katherine knows, you can ask her--”
“But what they’s don’ know is that I did it for you, I thought you weren’t gonna make it, I thought--”
“--an’ I betrayed everyone, I know, an’ that’s inexcusable, but I needed ta tell you myself--”
“--that I’s sorry,” Jack finished, letting out a huge breath. “An’-an’ I can go. If you wants that. I can go right now, leave you alone.”
Crutchie had stepped away from the sink, his face dripping with water. He stared at Jack, mouth gaping. Jack shifted from foot to foot, worrying his hat between his hands. Crutchie took a step forward, and Jack turned away slightly, as if shielding himself from Crutchie’s disappointment.
What came from Crutchie, however, was not scorn, nor anger, nor anything that Jack had predicted. Instead, Jack heard a shrill, incredulous laugh. He forced his eyes up to see Crutchie running a hand through his own hair, the laugh more ominous without a smile (because he hadn’t smiled, not once since he’d been back). The laugh died shortly, leaving them staring at each other again.
“Right,” Crutchie said eventually, straightening his long-sleeved undershirt. “I didn’t know any o’ that.”
“Wh-what?” Jack stammered, uncomprehending. Of course he knew about it, everyone did.
“Yeah, no,” said Crutchie. “Never heard a word. Don’t know if you’s noticed, but the fellas ain’t really been talkin’ ta me. Not about anythin’ but me, at least.” He took another step toward Jack. “Wanna explain ya’self?”
“Is you gonna let me?” Jack found himself shooting back, then regretted it. “Sorry, I didn’t mean--”
A short bark of laughter cut him off. “No, you did mean it.” Crutchie sat gingerly on a stool, laying his crutch on the floor beside him. “I isn’t gonna interrupt, happy? Jus’-jus’ talk. And don’t apologize.”
So Jack did. He told him everything, starting at freezing when Snyder beat Crutchie, breaking down when he spoke of Pulitzer’s threats, ending at coming home to find Crutchie nearly dead. True to his word, Crutchie listened quietly, excepting little scoffs and groans throughout the tale. When Jack was finished, still standing awkwardly by the door, Crutchie heaved a great sigh and stood, staring Jack down.
“Glad you told me,” said Crutchie, and Jack cringed, because there was barely-restrained anger in those four words. He didn’t feel like the strong, bold, Jack Kelly union leader of seventeen. He felt like he had when he first ended up here, scared, skinny, ten years old and alone. “Now I can know that while I was dyin’--literally dyin’--in the Refuge, an’ happy ta do it, you was out here runnin’ from your job and breakin’ promises left an’ right.”
Jack didn’t have a response for that. It was everything he’d been saying to himself for weeks. The pain of it had dulled the more he thought it, but Crutchie saying it out loud made it fresh again. Good. He deserved it. “I know. I--I’s sorry. An’ that doesn’t make it right, but--”
“No, it doesn’t,” Crutchie interrupted sharply. “You know why I was happy ta die?”
Jack didn’t answer.
“Because I knew you was out here, fighting. Fighting for me. An’ I was okay with bein’ gone, s’long as I could live on in the strike. I knew you was never gonna betray me, Jack. I knew it so certain that even when S-Snyder showed me the paper you signed, even when he was beating--beating me and screamin’ at me that you--that you’d given up, even when he locked me in a closet for days with no food or water or anythin’ that kept me from goin’ completely insane as I ‘lucinated, I knew you was still out here fighting. I knew it. And . . . you wasn’t.”
Jack’s heart shattered as Crutchie rubbed a hand across his face, wiping away a tear. The words had cut right through Jack’s soul, and he floundered to breathe as he registered everything Crutchie had said. Snyder had done what?
Something hit Jack in the face, and he jumped back as it fell to the floor. The shirt he’d lent Crutchie.
“Bought my own this mornin’,” Crutchie said, voice cold and muffled. “Stay away from me, please.”
Crutchie elbowed past him, not even looking at him, and was gone. Jack couldn’t even turn to watch him go, just stood frozen, listening to the uneven steps as he got further away. His first instinct was to go after him, apologize, say anything to make Crutchie smile again. But Crutchie didn’t want to be near him. He could respect that. He had to.
Jack collapsed onto the stool that Crutchie had just vacated, ducking his head into his arms as a sob tore from his throat. He knew that was going to happen. He knew it was--so why was he so broken from it? He wanted to reach inside himself and pull, rip out the guilt and anguish and any other sort of feeling except anger, and use that anger to make Snyder regret everything he had ever done in his entire life. The things Crutchie had said. . . .
A door slammed from below, and if Jack listened closely, he could hear a couple of voices. Folks were starting to get home, line up to pay Kloppman their rent, dive into bed after a long day at work. Jack needed to be there to make sure that everything went the way it was supposed to without any fights breaking out, yet still he sat. He could take a moment longer, a moment to mourn.
It was always him and Crutchie, brothers against the world. That’s what they’d always promised each other. Now, because Jack messed up big time, he was alone. Crutchie was alone. And they couldn’t reach for each other, the way they always had. Jack wanted so so badly to lean on him, and give him his own shoulder in exchange, but he couldn’t do that to Crutchie. He couldn’t hurt him any more than he already had.
Jack took in a shuddering breath, then forced himself to stand. He had to do his job. If he ever wanted Crutchie to even consider caring about him again, he needed to prove that he could do his job. He splashed his face off with a bit of water from the sink--in the dust coating his face after a day of work, the tear tracks had to be stark.
Jack pulled a painful grin onto his face (in the past, in moments like these, he would wonder how Crutchie was always able to smile. Not that it was applicable now), then straightened his cap. He could do this.
He exited the washroom, leaving his old shirt on the floor where it had fallen.
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GUYS ITS DONE ITS OVER I FINISHED IT!!!!!
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