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Family Lights

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“What’s got you thinking so hard?” David asked, looking up from his evening edition of The New York World. 


Jack started a little, and shook his head as if to clear his thoughts. “Thinking? Aw, Davey, you know I try to avoid that whenever I can,” he tried for a disarming grin. 


David raised his eyebrows, and Jack knew that David hadn’t been fooled for a second. 


He gave in, sighing a little. “I was just looking at the candles.” Jack nodded towards the window where David’s menorah sat, all four of the candles more than halfway melted. 


“If I’d known all it would take to get some quiet while I read the pape was a candle I’d’ve been lighting more of them for ages,” David said, laughing a little. 


Jack rolled his eyes. “No you wouldn’t, you like telling me to shut my trap too much. Though if you wanted to get creative,” he paused to smirk, “I’m pretty sure you could come up with a better way to make me be quiet.” 


It was David’s turn to roll his eyes, “And how exactly would that help me read the news, huh? You’re just trying to distract me again. But seriously, Jack, it’s not like I don’t light candles every week for Shabbos. Are these ones really that much more exciting?” 


“I mean, I dunno Dave,” Jack shrugged, looking a little uncomfortable. “It’s not that they’re exciting really, just pretty, but I was thinking about how I’d never’ve guessed in a hundred years that I was gonna end up here before the strike happened.” He gestured around at the little apartment, which they’d moved into just a few months before, after David had spent weeks preparing arguments for his parents about how it made sense for him to move out (arguments which very carefully hadn’t mentioned the fact that he knew the general expectation had been that he wouldn’t do so until he got married to some unidentified nice Jewish girl, since Jack was decidedly not that, and everyone had so far been carefully Not Talking About It, which he was pretty sure was the best case scenario). 


His argument had centered on how much closer the new place was to David’s job, and Jack’s too of course, plus how Jack needed to leave the lodging house, and David didn’t want him to end up living with some stranger who for all anyone knew might be a knife murderer. Much better for him and David to share a place. Besides, now that Mayer had been back at work for more than a year the family didn’t really need David’s income the same way they had when he’d been selling papes, and with David gone they’d have one less mouth to feed anyway. For all David’s careful planning and the many conversations he’d had with Jack talking himself into fits of worry, Esther and Mayer had been quite agreeable. David was, retrospectively, pretty sure that they’d seen the apartment, or at least the concept of it, coming for longer than David himself had, even if he was equally sure that it wasn’t what his mother had been planning for him. 


“Where did you think you’d end up?” David couldn’t help but ask. 


Jack shrugged, and if he’d looked a little uncomfortable before, now he looked a bit alarmed, “Dunno. I don’t know if I ever even really thought about it much, half the time it was all I could do to try thinking ahead to the next week, and whether all the guys was gonna have enough to sleep inside when it got cold in the winter. No point to worrying about some kind of a far off someday when like as not you’re gonna be dead of influenza or consumption or from pissing off the wrong guy and getting soaked before you ever have to worry about it.” 


For as close as the two had gotten over the past couple of years David thought that was maybe the most Jack had ever said to him about anything this serious, or at least, he allowed mentally, about anything serious that he didn’t think he had to talk about to get into David’s pants. 


David was still trying to figure out how to respond when Jack continued. “It’s good though! If I ever thought about it, I definitely didn’t ever imagine anything like this, y’know? That’s what I was thinking about with the candles and all. I mean, I’m not bringing a lot of traditions with me to the household, but I like that we’ve got routines, and that it’s actually a household, and a home and such, not just a place that we live, you know what I mean?” 


David felt like something in his stomach was melting, warm and soft, and for a moment he felt almost breathless with how much he loved the man in front of him. “Yeah, yeah Jack, I know. It’s-” he paused, trying to figure out how to say it, “It’s not really exactly what I’d have expected, but it’s already starting to feel like home, isn’t it. It’s got bits of us all over,” he gestured to their small bookshelf, and to the other end of the kitchen table where Jack had left his drawing supplies and a half-finished cartoon that David expected he’d get to see in its final form later that week when it got printed in the paper. “And I like that even though I’m not back my folks and Les and Sarah, I’ve got my own candles here, and my own,” he paused, suddenly nervous. “My own family.” 


David couldn’t quite bring himself to look at Jack, and found himself staring at the candles, which were getting very low. It felt safer. They mostly didn’t actually talk about their relationship, and David wasn’t sure if he was actually supposed to be acknowledging that this felt like his forever. 


And then, rather suddenly, he found himself with Jack leaning over him and pulling him to his feet to kiss him, which he supposed meant that he was allowed to say it. He took a moment to be glad that Jack was finally listening to David’s concerns about the sturdiness of their chairs, before directing his attention to the matter at hand. 


After a long moment Jack pulled back and said in a whisper, “Yeah, yeah Davey, I know exactly what you mean.” 


As if they’d heard Jack’s words, or noticed that Jack and David were rather in the mood to head to bed the first candle chose that moment to sputter out, and David couldn’t help a slight giggle. 


At Jack’s confused look David leaned his head towards it, and said, “Seems to me that with the candles going out it might be time for this little family to head to bed.” 


Jack agreed wholeheartedly.