A/N: Oneshot; Dutchy centered. Nonslash. Oh—and how Dutchy crawls out of bed? He actually does that, right before "Carrying the Banner." Look for it; it's hilarious. Enjoy, mis amigas!
It was just one of those days.
New York was, simply, drained. The clouds hung low and heavy, as if the heavens were too weary to hold them up, and they trudged across the sky colorless and bland. The people below mirrored this perfectly; shuffling along without energy or purpose, everyone in need of more coffee.
No one was awake enough to buy a pape, and Dutchy was miserable. He'd woken up on the wrong side of the bed, literally; Specs had overtaken all of his space during the night. He'd had to craftily extract himself by crawling out of the end of the bed, hanging on to the top bunk for dear life, and had managed to fall painfully in the process.
The day had gotten worse from there. After dressing and shaving, he just felt wrong. His glasses kept dirtying and he needed to wipe them on his shirt every five seconds just to see two feet in from of his face, and even that didn't help all that much. He'd gotten into an argument with Skittery about God knows what on the walk to the Distribution Center and had walked away with a sore shoulder, wounded pride, and nothing short of twenty new insults.
The weather added to his gloom; everyone with half a brain was inside and cozy by the fire, not picking their way through the cold haze and puddles of the streets.
Dutchy had only sold eleven papes by lunchtime and was too desperate for a larger sum to break for lunch at Tibby's, so he had to watch regretfully as Race and Boots laughed their way to the restaurant, sitting by the window and exchanging wild stories as they gobbled down their hot food and steaming coffee.
On top of all this, he had a wicked headache. He was barely able to process thoughts, let alone hawk headlines with energy and zest.
By midafternoon he'd sold only four more, and when a matronly woman paused to inquire the headline he'd snapped at her in his native German, not even realizing his error until his potential customer had huffed away, purchasing from a still-smug (and English-speaking) Skittery instead. Skittery had then reminded him of his lost argument by hollering profanities at him until Dutchy made some extremely detailed and intentionally painful threats.
On the long haul back to the Lodging House, Dutchy grumbled to himself and massaged his aching temples, irked by the whole goddamn city. What was everyone's problem, anyway? Some shitty weather, and then what? No profit, no supper. He'd sold a grand total of twenty-three papes, his worst in years.
And his head still hurt! He just didn't feel right. All his senses were off-kilter; he had to keep a steady hold on both walls just to make it up the stairs to the bunks.
He shuffled over and threw himself down on his bunk, only to find it already occupied.
Specs growled before pushing Dutchy off of his torso and onto the floor.
"Scheisse, saukerl!" Dutchy yelped as he hit the floor.
"Dutchy, English, please!" snapped Specs. "Today is not the day to play German-English dictionary. My head hurts, and I really don't want to deal with anyone right now."
Dutchy rose, rubbing his forehead irritably. "You think you had a shitty day?" he demanded, in English. "I barely moved twenty papes all day! I can't see five feet in front of my face and my head is killing me! So just shut up about your fucking dictionaries!"
Every newsie that had been milling around the room shut up and stared at the outburst, anticipating what Spec's witty reply would be.
Above the deafening silence Bumlets audibly grumbled, "Díos, not another one. They're both little pisspots today." No one argued.
Instead of yelling back like Dutchy (and the rest of the room) expected, Specs tapped his chin in thought, then removed his glasses, put them back on and took them off once more.
"Specs, what're you-"
Dutchy was cut off by his own glasses being removed and a new pair being slammed in their place.
And then, suddenly, the world was clear.
"Oh," was the only phrase he could muster.
Specs nodded triumphantly.
Dutchy, slightly dazed, motioned back and forth with his hands. "So, we switched..."
Specs nodded. "We musta' picked up each other's specs this morning."
Dutchy shrugged. "Well, sorry for yelling at you just now."
Specs grinned and cuffed his shoulder playfully. "Sure thing, pal. But I think I'm gonna find a new bunk to crash tonight. We don't need a repeat of the Worst Day Ever, eh?"