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Harvard Boy

Chapter Text

It is scientifically impossible, in Jo’s eyes, to yearn or search for something that is unknown to oneself.

Teddy would say that is just a fancier way to state one of the universal truths- ignorance is bliss.

Afterwards, Jo would scowl and demand he leave the attic at once till he would pepper promises of being a better man, to which Jo would scoff and correct him to say “boy”, but allow him to stay because he would not be Her Teddy and she would not be His Jo if she had not.

Teddy and Jo.

They were the inseparable duo since their fateful encounter that, in the opinion of Meg, benefitted the eldest March the most.

She received a lovely new friend that attained Jo’s tireless quality to keep her sister endless company, and a means of transport due to her clumsiness and swollen ankle back to their cozy house that seemed richer in all necessary sense in comparison to the manor she had been at all night.

Unbeknownst to the others, Meg saw the peculiar boy leave that night with a fond smile. Almost as though he knew how much this family would mean to him, and was so softly touched by the moment he knew would be important to him in the future.

She was saddened for a moment as she thought of how lonely it must be in that large house with just his grandfather in comparison to the lively matriarchal March household.

That was the night Meg saw Laurie for who he truly was before Jo could claim she did- a lonely, wealthy boy looking for companionship and, due to the stubborn blush that Meg swore to have seen, perhaps love too. It would be fate to give the least romantically inclined sister the most endearing suitor.

Meg brushed off her observations and focused on the pain at her ankle. It was impractical to assume so early, yet something about the chirp in his step down the snowy path back to his house told her that the truth has yet to be proven.

Many witnesses and March family members would be unable to attest to the exact moment they believed the Laurence boy was smitten for the tomboy and, as Aunt March would strongly state, lost hope of the group of sisters.

Some, such as Mr. Laurence and Marmee, would hint that it had happened the moment Laurie had seen Jo step into his library and was unable to keep his eyes off of her while she was unable to keep her eyes off of his invaluable first editions of Dickens classics.

Meg sees it happened as softly and quietly as Laurie was when he slept soundly after his tireless work to help in Jo’s upcoming play.

Beth refused to acknowledge that her brother would admire any of them, but she would be a fool to not admit she assumed the fellow had a soft spot for her sister.

Once, when Jo was angry and inadvisable, she refused to see Laurie after a prank she deemed “cruel”, thus causing the poor boy to spend two consecutive afternoons waiting outside the attic door with fresh wild flowers for the chance she may at least acknowledge his existence and have the opportunity to apologize for pulling her hair and causing her to yelp loudly in front of Aunt March.

But, again, she would never relay this story to anyone, less so Jo.

Unable to stomach that her sister would be lovered before she, who had dutifully read and doted towards all romantic literary concoctions, Amy turned her nose towards any news insinuating Laurie’s favor toward his Jo. It was not like she had made dreamy Laurie a mold of her feet, as Jo’s were far too unkempt and haphazardly used to make one as beautiful and small as Amy’s had turned out. And, when she had told her neighbor such observations upon delivery, he laughed and agreed and Amy decided it was unformidable to listen to any gossip about her sister and Laurie because it had to be untrue.

Poor John Brooke, as Laurie’s faithful and tired tutor, witnessed, as he sees, Laurie’s inevitable likeness to Josephine March at the same time he did with the eldest March.

He found it rather peculiar that both sisters were related, as Meg was so beautiful in her gentle and careful ways, while Jo was quite the opposite. Even in her brash ways, the Laurence boy was smitten, naively and genuinely! But, to each their own. He could not speak to Laurie’s weakness to that March girl after first meeting because he himself had an affinity for one too, shortly after she had merely glanced his way.

Laurie, for all his smooth talk and charisma that charmed his grandfather’s clients over time, was unable to pinpoint when he grew to yearn for that girl, his Jo.

Tragedy was a part of his history. Without a mother or father and left with too much money from his grandfather, Laurie was not living the life many others lived. He had the looks and charm that enamored people to please him. He had a substantial amount of money that allowed him to live comfortably. He could be haughty and unpleasant, stupidly charming to any girl to pass the time.

Yet, on Josephine March, it did not matter.

He would rather be pricked by wild berry thorns than recall the terrible second meeting they had, in which he stuttered and was obnoxiously quiet as she was constantly smiling and talking. He had never felt so dull- like those businessmen who had nothing other to do than business- till he met Jo, rightfully and thankfully so.

She was unbothered by his reputation and, whether it was a gift or curse, could not care for him more than she cared about a random other fellow at the market.

It was both humbling and invigorating.

He had someone who wanted to spend time with him and rejected all shiny materials he could bestow on her. All incentives to ensure she would like him did not work.

Instead, she would rather trade a book and listen to him play his music or romp in the gardens while planning a future adventure in London. With his plans, he knew the London adventure would not be a mere dream, but rather a reality. If, she would allow it.

He admits he has done some searching, as any young lad his age would according to his grandfather’s associates, that have allowed him to see many faces over the ancient world and there, at Concord. He yearned for company, someone to be there.

It seemed no matter how fine the hair was, or how colorful the girl’s eyes could be, they were not Jo. They were not animated or spirited or unmasked. They did not romp around bashfully in semi-burnt frocks or want to know why he played certain sonnets and other pieces not. They did not care for his love for fashion or dared to tease him the slightest.

There was nothing wrong with other girls other than one fact- they were not his Jo.

And, when he realized this, it would not be his exact fault for wanting to crumble to the bottom of the pond because the person of his affections could not seem more oblivious than she has been for years towards his advances.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His solace and death penalty.

It was known that Laurence men attended prestigious schools in order to achieve prestigious education to further their prestigious business endeavors. However, it was unknown how Laurie would deal with the separation from Jo due to this nuisance of a school.

They had been inseparable for years.

Weekends spent at the woods, nights at the theater, and lazy mornings romping around till it teetered along the lines of impropriety. Tea with Marmee and Jo, plays with the girls, and games around his house.

Even the rare debutante ball became an opportunity to dance and joke, making his night and his heart soar. Maybe one day, they would see them together debuting in front of all. Maybe they would see them dancing in front of all, showing that maybe Teddy could have someone like her. Maybe he could deserve someone better than him, her.

Of course, if Jo ever heard him state that she would punch him square on his shoulders and leave hurriedly.

All aspects of his social and personal life were wrapped around the ink smeared hand of Jo.

All to end suddenly and because of him.

Jo never did like change. She never wanted anything to change. Although, if anything must, she wished the stares and long hugs of her Teddy would be more controlled because they left her unreasonably breathless and had her heart pattering more than she deemed healthy.

With Meg scuffling about with Mr. Brooke, Amy spending most of her time in class being reprimanded or with Aunt March to get further reprimanded, Marmee busy with helping the army in hopes of helping her husband, and Beth settling into a peaceful routine of playing a tune or two at the Laurence place, Jo clung to Laurie.

He was her only constant in this whole mess and he would stay as such.

Thus the news of his departure for further education outside the roads of Concord was unaccepted and thrashed by Jo. When he told Jo he would miss her terribly and wished not to go, she told him it made her uncomfortable for him to be quite so sentimental over her of all people.

He wishes the fates would not tease him so.

She sharply tells him his privilege to go to college at all as some could not should suffice for him to deal with their separation. She huffs and looks across the grove and at the view of the small cottages scattered plainly.

He tried to look at her, truly, and he found no semblance of care. Her eyes were masked, lips pursed and she refused to look at him.

He was hurt.

She would not care that he left. She would not care to allow him to remain her best friend and would find better friends to romp around with. She did not care for him in the way he undoubtedly did for her.

He was devastated.

Laurie blundered past her to his home before she could so much as comprehend what she said.

She felt so rotten and useless. Her dear Teddy was leaving her, adding to the pain she felt of having to move forward from her blissful childhood because Meg wanted to marry a darn man and not stay!

Marmee was gone for hours, trusting her children to take care of themselves because they were old enough to. Amy was becoming more and more the refined lady she dreamed to be under Aunt March’s command. Beth was her same Beth, but if any of the others were a lesson learned harshly, Beth would leave and change too.

Beth would be the ultimate the straw to complete the abandonment of her childhood in order to make her become, what her father calls them, a little woman.

She hated it.

Still, she found it unbearable to have caused such anguish on his face. She may be going through her own trials but she had no right to trample his feelings because she was unable to deal with her own.

At once, she stomped to his house to resolve this problem before it enlarged.

Past the domestic workers that knew her all to well and pointed her to the library that she heard thunderous piano chords, she walked with her head held high to Teddy.

“Please, give me leave and do not disrupt me.” Even through the door and the echo after her three loud knocks, she could hear the hurt that she had done to her Teddy.

“I cannot,” she shakes her head and huffs at the tendrils of curls that fall in reaction, “It is too urgent of a matter to let you punish your piano for my lack of kindness.”

She hears quick steps till it reaches the door that is swiftly opened.