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A Storm Rolls in Brooklyn

Title: A Storm Rolls in Brooklyn
Fandom: Newsies
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Brooklyn never fumbled.
Pairing: Jack/Spot (slash)
Author's Notes: For cymbalism, for the Back to School Slash challenge. I read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" some years ago, and a phrase stuck in my head, adapted here.  Posted first at the Refuge.
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Brooklyn never fumbled.

New York fumbled all the time. Manhattan, Queens, and all those damned amateur Bowery boys did, sure. A great, teeming, lopsided city that was spilling over its bounds; filled with neighborhoods rolling and crashing into each other in an unstoppable background roar- it was bound to. The fighting never stopped, and neither did the change, and true New Yorkers thrived on the constant upheaval. And neither the fighting nor the change stopped at the water's edge- they both came into Brooklyn just fine- but Brooklyn dealt with them in its own way. A stubborn way.

The neighborhoods of New York were riotous, ambitious, and regularly anarchist- it was easy to characterize them as young men. Manhattan and Brooklyn have always been separated by their river, and they will never touch; but their young men meet often enough. These two men met on a soft evening in late summer, as a thunderstorm rolled in from the west.

The shorter man, barely within his territory, was leaning against the wall of a shop. He was carefully outside the pool of light dropped from the nearby lamp post, and the detritus of a sleeping city fluttered on the sidewalk beneath his feet in the heavy, gentle breeze from the river only a few blocks away. He was smoking a cigarette, the dot of light a beacon of his presence, and though it was far from cold he was curled into himself, tensely coiled and arms tucked into his sides. He waited.

Some minutes after he arrived, a taller figured shambled in from a nearby alley in the direction of the bridge. Chin up, chest out, his arms swung in an easy fashion as he headed straight for the other. His hat had fallen back to hang by it's strings from his neck, unnoticed, hidden from view in the front by square shoulders that rarely slumped these days. There was no one near him at the moment, but he was the type that people moved aside for, even in the bustling jostle of the city. His movements were loose and unrestrained. As he approached, the shorter man looked up.

"Jack."

"Spot."

Jack stopped for a moment in the pool of light, rocking on his feet with his hands in his pockets. They hadn't seen each other for almost three weeks. He grinned, and reached for the cigarette. "How they rollin'?"

Spot smirked back at the display of what, in anyone else, he would have called insolence, and he didn't fumble as he stood and handed over the smoke. "Just fine," he said, eyes sweeping down Jack's body, "like always."

They turned together and walked slowly back towards the river, towards the storm, each of them slowing their pace to match the other's, neither wanting to seem too eager. They stole sidelong glances at each other as they walked, making idle comments about old friends and new bosses, tired muscles and ragged politics. Their voices they kept casual and indifferent, but their bodies showed anticipation- Jack had a bounce to his step, Spot's hands clenched and unclenched at the base of his suspenders.

Finally, they reached the equipment shed and Spot unlocked the door. It smelled of engine grease and fish, and there were only a few square feet of floor space not littered with machinery- but it locked, and there were no windows. Once inside, Jack lit the hanging lamp as Spot took two of the blankets draped over the machines. He hung one over the door, to block the light from escaping, and laid the other over the dirt on the floor. The blanket wasn't clean- but it was cleaner. And they were used to the smell.

The two had begun meeting the year before, a year after the strike and just after Mayer Jacobs, arm still crippled, had taken a bookkeeping job upstate and taken his family with him. Both men had changed significantly since then- Spot's hat fit now, and Jack had several new scars. Newsies no longer, they were both well on their way to what they'd call success- three square meals a day and a roof, reliable. Jack stirred up trouble where the unions wanted it, and Spot and his boys quelled it where they didn't. They had found some security. But still, they did not trust easily, and both hungered for family, though now neither of them would admit it.

Being a newsie gave you dozens of brothers. That wasn't the kind of family they were looking for.

Spot was shaking out the blanket onto the floor and wondering if he shouldn't have chosen a larger one when the light finally stopped sputtering, and large hands gripped his shoulders. He dropped the blanket and when he leaned back, Jack let go and wrapped his long arms around Spot's chest, his head dipping into the crook where Spot's neck met his shoulder. They stood in silence for a moment, each breathing the other in, getting used to the touch again.

But Brooklyn never fumbled.

Spot grabbed Jack's elbow with one hand and spun him around his body, knocking him off balance with a foot but steadying his fall with his other arm. Jack landed sitting on the blanket with a grunt and he swore, quietly, as Spot dropped to one knee at his side and gripped the back of Jack's neck. Spot smirked and had just enough time to remark, "Yeah, rollin' just fine" until Jack pulled him in hard and it was kiss or choke.

The next several minutes flew by in the rustle of clothing pushed back and heavy breathing as they wrestled. Soon, the sound of rain and thunder overshadowed their own efforts and they fought to hear the other over the pounding rain on the metal roof.

Afterwards, they lay side by side, both still mostly clothed and sweat shining in the glow of the lamplight. They barely fit on the blanket and the mugginess of the day held true inside the shed with the door closed- but they didn't complain about the heat. After a bit, Jack levered himself up on to one arm and looked down at Spot. The rain still pounded on the roof, so there was little point in talking, but his slow, warm grin said what he meant.

Spot didn't grin in return, but the heat in his eyes was undeniable, and his touch was gentle as he hooked his thumb around the edge of Jack's shirt and pulled it off one shoulder. He rasped the pad of his thumb over Jack's skin, mapping the scars on his shoulder, his chest; eyes following the planes of Jack's body, nearly bronze in the flickering light. Jack closed his eyes at the touch and his breathing slowed, until finally he grabbed Spot's wrist and Spot let himself be pinned to the ground as Jack kissed him, deep and slow and thorough.

This time, they weren't wrestling.

Finally, Jack having lost his shirt entirely as the storm rolled out to sea, they again lay together on the blanket, breathing slow and regular and easy to hear in the newly-silent night. And because Jack knew that Brooklyn never fumbled, it was he who snaked an arm out and snagged Spot around the shoulders to pull him into an embrace.

And now that they could hear each other again, there was nothing left to be said.

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