Chapter Seven

A/N: I do not own anything other than my OC. Everything else belongs to Disney!

*ducks incoming projectiles* I am so sorry about how long it's taken to update this story! In all fairness...writer's block is horrible! Plus I had a chapter written and then it just vanished! Like thin air, no idea where it went!

So hopefully you all enjoy this story and fingers crossed it doesn't take me another *checks calendar* nine years? *chuckles awkwardly as I slide away...*

Jesse sighed softly as he watched Mr. Arrow work on his paperwork. It wasn't the most exciting of things to watch but unfortunately with the bruise on his arm, as well as his age, the captain and first mate didn't want him to potentially get even more injured.

As well, due to his altercation with Scroop, Dilbert had immediately agreed to have the seven year old stay around either him or Mr. Arrow during the day.

It was a surprise to no one that Jesse had picked Mr. Arrow. It wasn't that Dilbert was bad to be around, it was just that he was so boring.

That being said, it wasn't like Mr. Arrow was a bucket of laughs. It seemed like he mainly handled paperwork or observed the crew. Meaning that's usually what Jesse did too.

The young boy knew it was a little ridiculous to expect to be entertained, especially seeing as he had snuck on board the ship in the first place. He had been lucky that the captain hadn't thrown him in the brig for being a stowaway. Or even worse, kicked him off the ship and sent him back to the port on a lifeboat.

I guess I'm also lucky that I'm not Jim, Jesse thought as he watched in amusement as Jim was on barnacle duty, cleaning off the bottom of the ship. Granted, Jesse also knew that the only reason he hadn't been put on barnacle duty was because of his age. A ship was not the best place for a seven year old and slowly but surely he was starting to realize that.

It wasn't that it was a dangerous place but it was certainly a boring one. Especially with Jim being worked to the bone every day. Though, considering Jesse was still trying to avoid his brother, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

However, no matter what he tried, Jim still tried to stick to him like glue. He didn't try to talk to him about their dad though. Most of the time it was just about their day or complaining about how Silver was running him ragged. Most of the time Jesse just ignored his older brother but there were a few times when Jim managed to eke out an eye roll or even a small smile.

Maybe you should stop being a brat, he told himself one day as he watched Jim clean the pots and pans from dinner.

I'm not being a brat! Jim made me believe dad was coming back. He could have told me the truth!

So could Mom. Why was telling you Jim's responsibility?

Because Mom always keeps secrets from us! Jim's supposed to be the one we can count on to tell us the stuff the adults want to hide from us!

Jesse sighed and bit his lip softly as he continued to watch from the shadows. Jim certainly was working hard but then again he often did when he helped out at the Inn or when he worked on his solar surfer. Jim was never really one to take the lazy way out if he could help it. Oh sure, he tried to get out of homework and some household chores but that was just regular teen stuff.

When it was something he wanted to do though, Jim usually put his all into it.

Gee, how many dishes do we go through? Jesse thought as Silver came through and plopped another pile of dishes in front of Jim who was almost done with the dishes he had by him. And that's kinda cruel, to just make Jim keep washing and washing and washing. He's got to sleep at some point right?

Biting his lip slightly, Jesse steeled himself and sat down next to Jim. He didn't say a word but started washing one of the dishes that Silver had delivered. He wasn't just going to stand there while Jim slaved away, even if it increased the likelihood that Jim would try and talk to him. He didn't see Jim's shocked expression morph into a small smile. Nor did he notice Jim slowly start to slow down his cleaning, as if to allow himself as much time as possible with his little brother.

What Jesse did notice though, after a few hours of doing nothing but cleaning dishes, was that his eyes were starting to get heavier and heavier. The last thing he wanted was for Jim to think him too young or to send him to his bunk but the siren song of sleep was too much. He was only seven after all. The next time Jim looked over in his direction, he saw his little brother draped over a pot fast asleep.

"Honestly," Jim whispered as he gently pried the pot from Jesse's hands. "What am I going to do with you Jess? How hard would it have been to tell me you were getting tired? I would have gone and put you to bed before coming back to finish up."

Still…he was good company plus it was a way that Jim could make sure Scroop didn't do anything to his little brother. Picking Jesse up, Jim found a section of the kitchen counters that didn't have dirty dishes piled high and laid Jesse down. Shrugging off his jacket, Jim used it as a makeshift blanket before folding up a nearby towel to act as Jesse's pillow.

His jacket had been their father's at one point…Jim had found it when he was about fourteen or fifteen, buried in the back of their mom's closet. A couple of years after their father had left them though, and if Jim tried, he could still fairly make out the scent of his father's old body wash. Unfortunately though time and repeated wearings by Jim had made that scent almost impossible to detect now.

But that didn't matter to Jesse. Jim's scent was more of a comfort now than their dad's scent ever was. Jim had always been the one who was a constant in Jesse's life. Jim didn't see how Jesse curled into to the jacket, breathing in the familiar scent. The scent that reminded him of when things were normal in their family.

It was that scene that Silver saw as he walked into the kitchen a few hours later. The younger Hawkins boy curled up under Jim's jacket while the older boy was fast asleep over a pot he had scoured clean. Silver stared in amazement at all the clean dishes and smiled guilty at the teen.

"Sleep well boyo," he whispered as he draped his own jacket over Jim's body, never seeing the older Hawkins boy lift his head up slightly and smile at the cyborg's retreating form.