This is something I started working on such a long time ago, but I didn't think it was ready to publish until now. I started it when I thought about Jack going through his drawings, and what each one would mean to him. I was going to have it be somebody going through the drawings, but I didn't like how that ended up, so now it's just the drawings.
A bench beneath a tree bowed under the weight of snow.
The place where Jack slept on his first night on the streets. It was a few weeks before his first stint at the Refuge. He could still remember how cold and wet he was, and how long it took the newsies to warm him up, running up and down the stairs with pitchers of hot water they convinced Kloppmann to get for them.
A bed filled with boys, sagging under the weight of so many bodies.
His first memory of the Refuge. Along with the groans coming from the sick room and the smell of sick and mold, the first impression of the place that would haunt his memories forever was one of overwhelming suffering and pain, the impression that resulted in his later recapture after his first escape.
An alley, dirty and strewn with boxes and garbage.
The place he camped out, a few blocks from the lodging house, after his first escape from the Refuge. The newsies visited regularly with food, but it was lonely and hard for a young boy to be alone so much.
An unclear picture, dark, only clearly showing a barred window and a short bench.
The inside of an isolation cell, where Jack was kept for almost six months during his second stay in the refuge. The room had been filthy, tiny and cramped. Jack had been living in his own waste and sick, fed rarely and inconsistently. There was no protection from the cold that leaked in from the thin walls, and coughing became as familiar to Jack as breathing.
A moon, big, risen over tall buildings and a bridge.
The moon rising on the first night he was out of the Refuge for good. It had been big and low, the brightest he'd ever seen. It seemed to hover over the city, and maybe it was the fact that he hadn't seen the entire night sky in almost a year, but the moon that night stuck with him forever as the most beautiful thing he'd ever see in the sky above New York.
A sleeping boy stretched out beneath blankets on a small cot.
The first night Crutchie was at the lodging house, as the small, hurt, sickly boy who had no name. He had been found in an alley, soaked so bad he was barely conscious, and Jack had been told to watch him. He had been struck by the angelic innocence hidden beneath the dried blood, the cuts and bruises. The young boy had been asking to be drawn, and Jack couldn't resist.
A group of boys, smiling at each other, friendly gazes aimed all around.
The newsies as they appeared on Jack's first official day as leader. They had known their old leader was leaving, and had been prepared. Jack had been accepted almost immediately as the boss, and they had all been happy with the immediate changes he had made, like the seniority bunking rule.
A bridge at night, the reflection strung across the water.
A sleepless night, the first of several after his first weeks of leader. A younger boy had been stolen by a gang and found later brutally beaten, so badly they couldn't save him. Jack had felt more helpless than he had in a long time. That was the first night that he realized leading wasn't just about being in charge. He had taken all night to get every detail right on that drawing, trying his hardest to forget what the beat-up face of the young boy had looked like.
A quickly done sketch, a rooftop with two mattresses with a boy sitting on one.
The night Crutchie had first slept up there with him. The boy had tried to sneak up, but it was rather hard to do so with a crutch and metal fire escape. Jack had woken up and managed to drag a mattress up without waking up too many boys. Crutchie had tried to explain himself, but Jack had just smiled and calmed him down and helped him to settle in. That night was the first of many full of apologies before Crutchie finally understood that Jack didn't care, and in fact enjoyed the company.
An open field, rolling hills in the background and fields of crops off to the side.
The first drawing he ever did of Santa Fe. He had ducked into an alley to escape the Delancey's, and there was a crate with picture just like the one he drew. The only words he could make out were Santa Fe, and he decided on the spot that it looked like a nice place, and that he was going to escape there one day, no matter what.
A cityscape, lights on in the buildings and snow falling.
Christmas, 1897. It had been cold and windy all day, and snow had finally begun to fall in the night. Crutchie had pulled Jack up to the roof, disregarding his protests about Crutchie's cold getting worse, and had smiled contentedly when he'd seen Jack's reaction. The snow had made the city seem clean and fresh, and the air felt cleaner than normal with the cold sting.
Two boys, nearly identical, grinning with their arms around each other.
The night the twins showed up. The two boys came and introduced themselves as Mush and Sniper and asked for a place to stay. They were an oddity, a pair of twins who'd made it through life on the streets together. They were so close to each other in appearance and act that Jack had to draw them as he saw them, almost a reflection.
A girl with wild, curly hair sitting in a theater.
Katherine Plummer, the girl that made him fall in love at first sight. They met on the street and again at Medda's, and Jack was sure they were meant to be. The only problem was Katherine's apparent hatred for him. It wasn't until much later that she came to love him just as much as he loved her.
A group of boys standing with each other, side by side with their fists raised high.
The start of the strike, a moment that Jack couldn't help but be happy with. They had all been so sure that it would work, that they would win and things would go back to normal. The hope that had been so cruelly dashed.
A crumpled piece of rough fabric, lying on a mattress.
The night after the bulls broke up the strike. It was a sleepless night, full of near tears and wishing that he could just leave for Santa Fe. The only thing that kept him from leaving that night had been that bit of crumpled burlap, that reminder that he needed to stick it out for the sake of his brother.
A beat up boy, bruises and cuts all over his body.
Crutchie in the Refuge. He'd avoided his pencils and paper ever since the boy had been taken, but when the letter had been given to him he couldn't help it. Crutchie needed to be drawn, the world needed the opportunity to know what they had done to the poor, innocent boy with a gimp leg.
The same boy, less noticeable bruises and a huge smile on his face, sitting on a mattress.
The night after Crutchie had been released, after the strike. He had sat with Jack for a long time, just talking about things. They talked about the past and the future, but avoided the strike and the Refuge. Crutchie had assured Jack that he was fine, that he'd be able to sleep fine, but he'd woken up, sobbing. Jack had pulled his brother to him, calmed him down, and they'd fallen asleep together, on the same mattress. That was the first of many times they ended up sleeping on the same mattress because of nightmares, both Crutchie's and Jack's.
A group of boys, sprawled out on the floor and in mismatched chairs, a few on top of an old table.
The newsies a few months after the strike, when they'd finally lost all traces of their injuries and everything was back to normal. They'd had a party, with all the newsies of Manhattan and a few from around the city, including Spot Conlon and Smalls. It hadn't been much other than a huge, aggressive poker game and a few of the older boys getting drunk and ridiculous, but it was the first night Crutchie didn't wake up with nightmares and the first night that everybody seemed just like they were before Pulitzer had raised the price. It was the first night that everything felt right again.
So yeah, Jack's sketches. Posted in honor of something I've been waiting for for a whole year...I'M SEEING THE TOURSIES TOMORROW! *excited screaming and various other fangirl noises*