Title: Fading Memories
Author: Sweets O'Rielly
Disclaimers: Newsies and all associated names and characters
belong to Disney and any one else with a valid claim.  Too bad.
Pairing: Spot / Jack
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: Well... my first attempt at real plot with
these two.  They can't spend their entire time messing around.  Too bad,
Summary: Spot tells Jack about his past.

Jack pulled Spot to him and pulled back the collar of Spot’s shirt.
They were sitting on the roof, their backs to the ledge.  Spot sat in
between Jack’s outstretched legs, his hands on Jack’s knees.  Jack’s
arms were wrapped around Spot’s body, and his mouth was pressed against
his lover’s neck as he kissed, licked, and nipped with his teeth.  It
took a few minutes for Jack to realize that his partner was strangely
silent, and that he wasn’t even leaning back.  Spot’s body was rigid.
With a sigh, Jack pushed Spot away.

“Yer not into this,” Jack said.

“Huh?” Spot asked, looking back at his lover, confused.  He had been
lost in thought, and hadn’t been paying attention to the outside world.
He moved to sit beside Jack, with his back against the ledge.

“What’s bothering ya, Spot?”

“Nothin’,” Spot replied, staring across the roof so he wouldn’t have to
make eye contact with Jack.  Spot was a good liar, but so was Jack.  The
older boy knew just what facial quirks to look for when trying to
determine whether or not someone was telling the truth.

“Yeah, right.” Jack laughed, but the sound was bitter.  “You were in a
bad mood when ya came here, and snapped at everyone who tried to cheer
ya up.  Then ya wanted to come up here an’ mess around, but when I do
something that I know ya like, ya ignore me.  Nope, nothin’ wrong
there.”  The sarcasm in Jack’s voice made Spot annoyed enough to turn
and look at him.

“It’s nothin’,” Spot repeated.

“Who ya tryin’ to convince?” Jack asked.  “Me or you?”

“It’s none of your business, Jack.  Leave it at that.”  Spot turned away
again and focused his attention on the ledge across the room.  It was
dark, but he was able to make out the outline.  If he stared hard
enough, he could see the individual bricks.

“What’s so fascinatin’ ‘bout that side of the roof?” Jack asked.
“There’s nothin’ over there, and somethin’ over here.”  He reached out
to put a hand on Spot’s back, but hesitated.  The other boy was angry,
and if Jack wasn’t mistaken, he was also confused and hurt.  Jack had to
admit that he wasn’t an expert when it came to Spot’s emotions.  He
rarely showed any.  But Jack knew that there was something else besides
the annoyance at his persistence.

“Just leave it alone, Cowboy.” Whenever Spot was angry, he never used
Jack’s name.  For a moment, Jack wondered if he should keep pushing his
friend.  An angry Spot Conlon wasn’t a good thing.  Jack had seen first
hand what could happen.  He had even been on the receiving end once.
Jack didn’t look forward to having Spot’s anger focussed on him again,
but he knew that if he were in Spot’s place, he would want someone to
bring him out of the mood he was in.  And besides, maybe giving Spot an
outlet for his anger would help him to get everything out of his
system.  Jack knew that pushing things down and letting them fester made
them harder to deal with later on.

“No.”  The simple word stunned Spot.  He wasn’t used to hearing it.

“What?” he asked, turning his whole body around to face his lover.
Spot’s eyes were cold and angry.  Whenever Jack needed space, he gave
it, but now that he was the one who needed it, Jack wouldn’t leave well
enough alone.  Once again, he wondered why he bothered with Jack.  He
wasn’t sure, and he had spent a lot of time contemplating it.  The only
answer he could come up with was that he was certifiably insane. 

“Ya heard me,” Jack said.  “Somethin’s buggin’ ya.  I’m not gonna turn
away and pretend I don’t see it.  Let me help.”

“There’s nothing you can do,” Spot said.  “’Cause there ain’t nothin’
wrong!”  Spot turned back around and resumed staring at the other side
of the roof.  Jack waited for a few moments, hoping that his friend
would reconsider his stubbornness, but it didn’t happen.  With a sigh of
annoyance, he used the ledge behind him to pull himself to his feet.
Spot turned and looked at Jack as he stepped around him.

“I don’t like bein’ lied to.  Never have,” Jack said as he took a few
steps away from Spot.  “When you want to stop lyin’, you know where to
find me.”  Spot didn’t have to wonder where he had heard those words
before.  He was surprised that Jack actually remembered them, since it
had been over a year since he had said them.  The only difference was
that Spot had said them in anger, and Jack was only tired, frustrated,
and slightly annoyed.  Spot watched his friend walk away, not saying a
word until Jack reached the door, his hand on the handle, his arm about
to pull the door open.

“Today is my mother’s birthday.”  The words were out before Spot could
stop them.  The words sounded strange when he said them out loud,
different somehow than they had sounded in his head.  All day, he had
said them to himself.  All day he had wondered why he even cared.  The
more confused he was, the angrier he got.  The angrier he got, the more
he took it out on his friends.  Finally, they had pushed him out of the
lodging house, telling him to go to Manhattan and blow off some steam.

Spot had wondered if his boys knew about his… thing… with Jack.  But at
the moment, that was the least of his problems, so it was quickly pushed
to the back of his mind, to be mulled over another day.

“I never heard ya talk about her,” Jack said as he slowly turned around
and leaned against the door, giving Spot the physical space he wasn’t
sure he wanted now, instead of the emotional space he knew he needed.
He was Spot Conlon, leader of Brooklyn.  He wasn’t supposed to dwell on
his confusing emotions.  He wasn’t supposed to have them.  He was
supposed to be on top of everything, to know how to handle anything that
came his way.

Right now, he was the exact opposite of everything that everyone wanted
him to be.

“I never think about her,” Spot said softly, picking up a stone and
throwing it across the roof.  “Not really.  Sometimes… sometimes there’s
something that’ll remind me of her.”

“What kinds of things?” Jack asked as he slowly made his way toward
Spot.  His hands were stuck in his pockets.

“Smells, sometimes.  People’s voices an’ the things that they say.
Certain days of the year….” Spot’s voice trailed off.

“Days like today,” Jack said as he sat down beside his friend.  Spot

“Days like today,” he echoed.  There was a heavy silence between them.
Jack didn’t expect Spot to say anything else unless he pushed him, so he
sat there trying to think up a way to get his friend to talk.  Spot
surprised Jack, and himself, when he continued.  “I was six when I last
seen her.”

“What was she like?” Jack asked as he turned to face Spot, who was still
staring across the roof.

“She loved me,” he answered simply, as if that were the only description
that was needed.  Jack supposed that it was.  How often did the kids who
ended up on the street have parents who had loved them?  How many of
them had parents who missed them?  How many of them even lived long
enough to forget about their home lives?  If Spot had had a mother who
loved him, then he was one of the lucky ones.  Jack was envious, but
said nothing.

“What happened?  Why….” Jack didn’t finish his sentence.  His voice just
trailed away as he realized that asking that question wasn’t a smart
thing to do.  He had always been advised not to ask questions to which
he wouldn’t want to know the answers.  His mind filled with the stories
of the kids he had met over the years.  Everything from physical and
sexual abuse to neglect and starvation had caused those kids to leave
home and never look back.  Some of them had been successful… others
hadn’t been that lucky.  Jack wondered if he would be able to handle
exactly what Spot might tell him.

Jack’s lover looked over at him, their eyes locking for a long moment.
“Why did I end up here?” he asked.  Jack nodded, and Spot turned away
again.  He picked up another rock, but instead of throwing this one, he
ran the pad of his thumb over it.  He took a deep breath and prepared to
say the words that he had never said out loud before, to tell a story
that no one had ever wanted to know

“My father was a drunk,” Spot began.  “He was real mean to my mother.”
Surprisingly, the words weren’t that hard to get out.  They just sort of
tumbled out whenever his mouth opened.  “One night, he broke her nose.
Fuck, there was so much blood….” Spot’s eyes widened as he saw the
events through the eyes of the five-year-old child that he had been at
the time.  “He was a bastard.  I hated him from the minute I knew how.
I don’t even know why my mother married him.  I think… I think….” Spot’s
voice trailed off as he remembered words his father had shouted at his
mother in one of his drunken rages.  “It was because of me.”

“He never liked me.  Usually, he ignored me, but sometimes… when he got
worked up and beating on my mother didn’t make him feel better, he’d
come after me.”  Spot flinched, as if he could still feel the stinging
burn of his father’s belt.  “I was a scrawny kid.  It didn’t take much
to knock me down.”

“What did your mom do?” Jack asked when Spot paused to take a breath.
He studied his lover’s facial expression, noting the subtle changes that
showed Spot’s agitation.  Whether it was at the memories or at Jack for
making him tell the story, Jack wasn’t sure. 

Spot laughed, and the sound was bitter.  He shook his head at Jack.
“What could she do?” he asked.  “She was young an’ scared.  By the time
the old man got to me, she was all ready on the ground.”  Spot turned to
his friend and gave him a hard look.  “You know what that’s like?  Bein’
five and seeing your mother lying there, not able to move, an’ wondering
if she’s dead?”  Jack shook his head no, even though he knew the
question did not need an answer.

“She left in the middle of the night.  The old man went to bed after
knocking her into a wall, and as soon as she was able to stand up
straight, she was gone.  I remember that she came to my room, and she
kissed my forehead.”  Unconsciously, the back of Spot’s hand rubbed
across his forehead.  “She said she’d come back for me.  She promised.
She said she loved me.  I believed her.  I still do.”

Spot stood up and began to pace the length of the roof.  The rock he had
been playing with earlier was still grasped firmly in his hand, its
rough edges cutting into his palm.  He tried to resurrect some
long-forgotten memory of when his mother had been happy.  He knew that
there had to be one.  He wanted to see her smile.  He wanted to hear her
laugh.  He couldn’t even remember what her face looked like.  The
memories had faded a long time ago.

“The memories are gone,” Spot said.  “The good ones, I mean.”  He
continued to pace, his eyes glued to the ground.  “I feel like such an
idiot.  I can go years without actin’ like this… then all of a sudden,
when I look at the calendar, I get all stupid.  I’m not a kid anymore!
Why the hell am I actin’ like I did when I first got here?”

“It’s not stupid,” Jack said as he pulled himself to his feet.  Spot
moved to the other side of the roof, and Jack got the hint.  He kept his
distance.  “You got a new kid at the lodging house.  You told the others
downstairs that you were helpin’ him out.  That’s why you’re feelin’
like this.”

Spot raised an eyebrow at Jack.  “When did ya become a shrink?”

“Well, it only takes me an hour to sell a hundred papes.  What else was
I supposed ta do with my time?”  Jack grinned at Spot, who rolled his

“You’re such a liar,” he said as he sat down on the ledge of the roof.
“You couldn’t even sell ten in an hour!”

“Are you insulting me?  You’re a brave man, Spot Conlon.  ‘Specially
when I could just reach out and give you a hard shove.”  Jack sat down
on the ledge and pretended to shove Spot backwards.

“You wouldn’t do me in, no matter how bad I insulted ya,” Spot said
confidently.  Jack raised an eyebrow and asked why not.  “’Cause I’m
very good at what I do.”  Spot’s voice had dropped to a low, throaty
whisper, causing a shiver to run through Jack’s body
  Spot grinned when he noticed Jack’s reaction.  He turned so Jack
wouldn’t see, and stared down at the street below.  There was a little
boy, no more than five years old, running along behind his mother,
talking excitedly about something.  The woman slowed her pace and held
her hand out.  The child took it, and they continued down the street.
Jack watched Spot’s face, and saw the way his lover’s jaw was clenched
as he followed the mother and son with his eyes.

“It wasn’t long after she left that my father threw me out.  A year or
so.”  Jack was surprised, but he did a good job of concealing it, mostly
because he wasn’t facing Spot.  “I went to the orphanage for a little
while, since I didn’t have nowhere else to go.  That didn’t last,
though.  An older kid found me wanderin’ the streets one night.  He took
me in, and taught me what I needed to know.  He’s the reason I’m the
leader of Brooklyn today.  He let me prove myself.  He never treated me
like some dumb kid, even when I was one.”

“What was his name?” Jack asked.

“Tommy Conlon,” Spot replied.  “He took care of me when I was too little
to do it myself.  He took care of everyone.”

“He gave you your name?”

“Yeah.  He was more of a parent to me than my real ones.”

“What happened to him?”  Jack knew this was another question to which he
wasn’t sure he wanted the answer, but he asked anyway.  Curiosity had
gotten the better of him.

“He got sick a couple years ago,” Spot said with a shrug of his
shoulders.  “He died.”  Spot stood up and walked to the other side of
the roof.  Jack followed, but stayed a fair distance behind his friend.
Spot leaned against the ledge, looking down at the street below.
Neither boy said anything for a very long time.  The silence was

“So now you know,” Spot said.  “You’re the only one I ever told.” 
Though he knew it wasn’t appropriate, Jack’s ego shot up a notch,
knowing that Spot felt comfortable enough with him to open up and tell
him something so personal.  Jack was thinking about what to say when
Spot began to speak again.

“I wish I could see her again.  Just for a minute.”

“A lot of people feel that way,” Jack said, wondering at how long it had
been since he had even given his family a thought.  It was easier to
just push them out of his mind.  That was a lesson that he had learned
very early on.  “What would you say to her?”

“I’d  tell her she was a horrible mother,” Spot continued as if Jack had
never spoken.

“What?  You just said that she loved you!” Jack exclaimed, not

“So?”  Spot sat down on the ledge and turned to give Jack a long, hard
look.  “Loving someone don’t mean you do the right thing.”  Jack
wondered if the look he was getting had any specific meaning behind it.
“She coulda taken me with her.  What kinda mother does that to a kid?
She was a bad mother, and I wish I could tell her.”

The silence between them stretched for several long minutes until Jack
couldn’t take it any longer.

“I don’t know what you want me to say.” Jack sat down beside Spot.

“I don’t want you to say anything,” Spot said as he grabbed the front of
Jack’s shirt and pulled him across the short distance that separated the
two boys.  His mouth sought out Jack’s and his tongue explored every
crevice it could find.  Spot’s eyes closed as he focused his attention
on the kiss.  In his mind’s eye, he pictured Jack with kiss-swollen
lips, his eyes half closed.  Spot wanted to see him like that again.  He
moved in for another kiss, but was greeted with the memories that he had
drudged up over the last hour that he had been talking with Jack.  They
played against his closed eyelids as though there were a film
projector.  They wouldn’t go away.

With a shudder, Spot pulled away, expecting Jack to be annoyed.  He

“It’s OK, you know,” Jack said as he slid down to the roof and stretched
his legs out in front of him.  He pulled Spot down beside him.  “If you
want to talk again… anytime… I’m here.”  Spot nodded but said nothing.
Jack got the impression that the subject was closed, and would stay
closed for a very long time.