Here it is! The final chapter! The last installment in this epic saga of fanfiction! I'll shut up now so you can read! Enjoy!
Jack lay on his side, partially slumped against the wall of the lodging house. He didn't know how long he had been lying there. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours. All he knew was that Crutchie was dead. Without him, time stopped.
Katherine hurried out of the lodging house, following Jack as fast as she could while wearing a long skirt and boots. Bounding outside, she saw the footprints in the mud by the side of the lodging house that she assumed were Jack's and followed them. Rounding the corner, she stopped short. Jack was slumped against the side of the lodging house, a puddle of vomit a few feet from him. When he heard her footsteps he looked up, his expression heartbreaking. Katherine quickly put two and two together. Slowly approaching him, she tentatively sat next to him and took his hand in hers. "C-Crutchie?" Jack asked, sounding small and very, very alone. Katherine smiled what she hoped was a reassuring smile. "He's not dead, Jack. His fever's gone down, he's awake. That's what I was waking you up for." Jack blinked, suprised. Whatever he was expecting, it wasn't this. And then he was in Katherine's arms again, sobbing just as hard as he had that first night, only this time he was sobbing with relief. His best friend, his brother, not dead. Alive. Alive and getting better. Katherine held him and let him cry, days of tension and stress slowly evaporating. Finally she pulled away from him. "Do you want to see him?" she asked, wiping the last of Jack's tears away with her hands. Sniffing, Jack nodded, and Katherine slowly helped him up. She straightened his vest and brushed off the dirt clinging to him, making him look at least slightly presentable. Jack grinned at her and took her hand in his again, leaning up against her. Katherine grinned back, and together they made their way back to the lodging house.
"Hey Jack, c'mon! You'se makin' us late again!" Jack grinned and leaned over the side of the railing as he rolled up his latest drawing. "Aw, hold your horses Crutch! I'll be down in a minute!" Crutchie laughed at that, a bright, musical sound. Jack laughed too, relishing in how good it felt. After weeks of being bedridden as his fever abated and he regained his strength, today was Crutchie's first day back selling. He was the picture of health, almost as if he had never had Typhoid. And for that, Jack was grateful. As he stuck his latest drawing into the container that housed all his other drawings, Jack caught a glimpse of it. Two boys, one leaning heavily on a crutch, walking down a crowded Manhattan street. Beside them was a young woman, elegant even in a simple dress. Jack smiled to himself. His siblings. "Jack!" Jack grinned again at Crutchie's annoyed shout. "Comin'!" he yelled down the ladder, taking one last look around him. Satisfied that everything was in it's place, he ran over to the ladder, stopping just before he began to descend. "Slán, daor deirfiúr," he murmured under his breath. With that, he descended the ladder to the street. Another day was beginning.
A/N: There it is! The end! I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have. Please review, just because this story is finished doesn't mean I don't want to read reviews! As always, if you have any requests I will write them to the best of my ability as soon as possible. See ya!
Translation: Slán daor deirfiúr means goodbye dear sister in Irish.