Author's Note: Woah, thepopcornpup is publishing something that's not Newsies? Whaaaaaat?! (Don't worry, you can count on about 100 more Newsies stories from me.)
So, I might be the only member of the Tuck Everlasting fandom. If I'm not and people are actually reading this, hey there! Thanks for reading!
This story is based on both the book and the musical. It's largely based on the song "Time" from the show, which is where I got the title, clearly! If you've never heard of the musical, I highly recommend giving it a listen! It's wonderful!
Anyway, this is unedited and quickly written, so I hope it's not too awful! Again, thank you for reading! If you like it, reviews are highly appreciated! I hope you enjoy this!
Ever since he'd discovered that he had the gift of eternal life, Jesse Tuck was determined to go on adventure he could. After all, the only thing he had was time, so why not use it well? Plus, there was no risk in these adventures, since he knew that no matter what happened to him on his escapades, he would emerge unscathed. So, while his brother took this time to create a family and settle down, Jesse was going to do anything but settle down.
After yet another day of discovering all the world had to offer (today, he visited the Rio Grande, and even swam in it, since drowning was no worry of his. He swam until lightening struck outside, and he realized that swimming in that weather would look quite odd.), he stayed in a humble inn, his only company the ticking of the clock on the wall of his room. Tick. Tick. Tick.
That was, until, there was a knock on his door.
Jesse, curiousity piqued, walked over to the door. "Who's there?" He called.
"Jesse, let me in," Came an annoyed yet familiar voice.
Jesse swung open the door. "Miles?"
"You know, it'd do you well to stay in one place," Miles shivered, his dark hair flattened by the rain. "I searched all of Treegap for you and I couldn't find you."
"How did you find me?" Jesse asked. Before Miles could answer, he added, "Not that I'm not glad to see you! It feels like it's been forever!"
"Ma said I might find you here," Miles answered. "So, I hopped a train here and I've been checking every inn."
"Is something wrong?" Jesse asked, concern written across his features.
Miles opted not to answer, and instead asked, "May I come in?"
Jesse motioned for Miles to come inside. "Make yourself at home!" He said cheerily. He then sat on the bed and patted the are next to him, inviting his older brother to sit beside him. "How do, Miles? It's been so long! How's the family? Golly, Thomas must be seven by now, at least!"
Miles took his brother's invitation, but did not answer any of his question. He stared up at the clock on the wall in a thoughtful silence.
Jesse could never read Miles' silences. He'd done this ever since they were children. It usually meant that his mood was foul, but Jesse had never been able to tell which silences meant he was mad, which ones meant he was sad, or which ones meant he was scared. All he knew was that these silences were never a good sign.
After a long time, the elder boy looked down and muttered, "Can you shut that clock off? The ticking is driving me nuts."
"I've tried," Jesse chuckled. "But, it doesn't seem to want to quiet down! Just keeps ticking!"
"Just keeps ticking..." Miles echoed, almost inaudibly.
Another silence floated in the air between them before Jesse realized that Miles wasn't going to answer any of his questions any time soon. Deciding not to come right out and ask what was wrong, Jesse said, "You should see the Rio Grande some day. I visited it today, and it was just beautiful. Perhaps we could go tomorrow?"
Miles sighed. "I've been traveling for days. I'd like to rest tomorrow."
Jesse nodded and grinned, "Well, we've got time."
Miles put his head in his hands. "You say that like it's a good thing."
"But, it is!" Jesse exclaimed in joyful whisper. "Miles, there has to be a reason it was us. It can't just be a coincidence that we found the spring. Maybe the Tucks were meant to do something great in their time! We're lucky. We really are."
"Oh, shut up!" Miles snapped. "I don't need to hear about time!"
Jesse blinked, taken aback. "I'm sorry." He paused before softly saying, "Is there a reason you came here?" There was another pause. "If something's wrong, you can let me know."
Miles stared at the clock again, getting stuck in another silence.
Just when Jesse had decided that Miles wasn't going to answer, the older brother spoke. "They left."
Jesse's head snapped up. "What? Who left?"
Miles took in a shuddering breath. "My family. All of them. She...she took Thomas and Anna. Said I was cursed. That I...I sold my soul to Devil or something. Didn't even say goodbye." He could feel Jesse looking at him in awe. "I don't know where they are." His voice broke slightly. "Never will."
Jesse's mouth opened and closed, fish-like, unsure what to say. Finally, he settled upon, "I'm sure you will. Of course you will. I'll help you find them! We can-"
"Don't be stupid," Miles cut him off, grimacing. His voice shook as he said, "We may have forever, but they don't. Who knows where they could be? By the time we find them, even if we did, they could be..."
Jesse gave his brother an understanding look.
Miles coughed, trying to hide what sounded to Jesse like a sob. "Besides, she wouldn't let me near them."
Jesse looked at his feet, realizing that he couldn't fix this. "I'm... I'm sorry."
Miles coughed again and gave Jesse a wavering thank you.
"You've still got me, though, " Jesse offered. "And Ma and Pa. We'll always be here."
Miles sighed. "Of course. You'll always be here. So will I." His eyes trailed back to the loud clock on the wall. "That's one thing Thomas could never get the hang of. Time. He could never remember which hand was which, and could never tell how long an hour was. He never liked time."
Jesse looked at his brother and saw the despair etched across his face. For the second time that night, a realization hit him: maybe time wasn't just a gift. Before drinking from the spring, Jesse had felt that time moved too quickly. He always wanted more. But, now, he saw what time could do. He saw that time could sting.
The clock on the wall was the only sound that filled the air. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Suddenly, Jesse got up and removed the clock from the wall, stopping the ticking in one swift movement. Miles' eyes shifted towards his younger brother.
Jesse gave Miles a sad sort-of smile. "We don't need to worry about time tonight."