So this idea came to me, and now I'm writing it. It's going to be multiple chapters, and it's going to be angsty and dramatic. Also, a lot of the plot won't make sense unless you read the oneshot I posted last week, Origins. Please read and review that, and once you've done that homework you can read this and it'll all make sense. Enjoy!
Jack woke to the sound of the morning bell ringing, signifying that it was time to get up. That was strange. Crutchie usually woke him up just before the bell rang, he liked to get an early start. Looking across the roof, Jack saw that Crutchie was still sleeping, muttering something under his breath. Frowning slightly, Jack walked across the roof and gently shook Crutchie awake. "Hey Crutch, come on. Time to get up." Crutchie groaned and slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes to try and wake himself up. As Jack dressed, he watched Crutchie out of the corner of his eye. Something was definitely wrong with him. Normally, he was bright and cheerful, teasing Jack about how slow he was. This morning, he was sluggish and slow, moving as if every breath pained him. "Ey, Crutchie, you feelin' all right?" Jack asked, watching him intently. "I'm fine Jack, just got a bit of a headache is all," Crutchie answered, fixing his hat on his head. "You sure?" Jack asked, watching as Crutchie positioned his crutch under his arm and began to move across the roof. "I'm sure, Jack. Now quit worryin' about me. There's papes to be sold!" Crutchie managed a smile, and Jack grinned in spite of himself. "All right, Crutch. Here, let me help you down the ladder," he answered, most of his worry disappearing. Crutchie smiled back at him, and they slowly made their way to the street.
"Extra, extra! Hundreds of Typhoid cases across the city!" Jack smiled to himself as he hawked the day's headline. Finally, a decent story he didn't have to improve too much. Glancing across the street, he saw Crutchie in his usual spot, drawing in passerby with his usual routine. Whatever worry had been present for him that morning had almost completely disappeared as he watched his brother across the street, looking perfectly fine. But as he continued to watch, he saw Crutchie become more and more lethargic, frequently rubbing his eyes and yawning when he thought no one was looking. By the time he had sold all his papers, Crutchie looked to be dead on his feet. Hurrying across the street, Jack forced himself to smile as he slowly approached Crutchie. "Hey, Crutchie! You sell all your papes yet?" Crutchie gave him a small smile. "Yeah, Jack. Listen, I'm gonna head back to the lodging house. I'm kinda tired and not really hungry." With that, Crutchie gave Jack a small wave and began to walk back to the lodging house, painfully slowly. Jack stood there for a second, watching Crutchie go, startled at the abrupt end to their conversation. Something had been bothering him all day, and as he watched his brother slowly make his way back to the lodging house, it hit him. Suddenly, he was 10 years old again.
It had been a long day of selling papers, as Jack still wasn't the best at drawing in passerby and the headline that day had been lousy. He had said goodbye to Race and walked home, and now he was waiting for his older sister, Mary, to come home from her job at a factory. When she finally walked into their small apartment, Jack immediately knew something was wrong. Mary looked more tired than usual, and her face was pale and tight. She had given him a small smile, declined the watery stew he offered her, and had gone straight to bed. The next morning, she had a high fever and was too tired to get out of bed. Two weeks later, she was dead.
Jack shook his head to clear these thoughts. Sure, there were a lot of cases of Typhoid Fever at the moment, but there was always an outbreak of something sweeping across New York City. Crutchie probably just had a bit of a cold. He would be fine. He always was.A/N: Suspense! So, in case you hadn't noticed by my wonderful foreshadowing skills, Crutchie is going to get Typhoid Fever. I did a lot of reasearch, and it was actually a pretty common and lethal disease in the 19th century. (In fact, Joseph Pulitzer's daughter Lucille died from Typhoid in 1897.) I also researched the symptoms, and let me tell you right now, they are gross. I am going to try to eliminate anything super graphic, but just a warning, there will be some slightly graphic descriptions of illness later on in this story. Anyway, please review and let me know if you have any suggestions or requests for future chapters!