|Run For Your Life
Author: kweenofalldreams13 PM
So much can change in the course of twenty-four hours. Michelle Fitzpatrick, little sister of the leader of the Brooklyn newsies, is about to learn just how much.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Snitch & Spot C. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 11,989 - Reviews: 3 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 07-04-11 - Published: 04-16-10 - id: 5902123
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note/Disclaimer: I don't own diddly-squat. Except for the stuff you don't recognize. Everything else is fair game. This chapter will include a certain familiar face.
A Hard Day's Night
Michelle and Rob spent the night in the darkest, most out-of-the-way alley they could find. It was ugly and rainy still. Michelle thought of everything that had just happened...it seemed to be too much to be only twenty-four hours. It seemed to be just too mad to happen to her and Rob...it wasn't fair, wasn't right. She huddled up closer to her big brother and wrapped her arms around his waist. She tried to pattern her breathing with his and fall asleep...but it didn't work. The next best idea she had? Wandering, of course.
She pulled her jacket up over her head and ducked into another, less-frightening-looking alleyway. At the end, there was a set of windows with bright yellow lights peeking out. It looked hospitable to Michelle, homey, even. She walked slowly toward the yellow lights, and out front, there were a few steps. She ducked behind a corner of the nearest building when she noticed the presence of another boy sitting on those front steps. It was a taller boy, wearing his classic gray newsboy hat and smoking a cigarette. He looked tired. Michelle kept her distance.
"'Chelle," hissed a voice from behind her, and she jumped about a mile into the air. Rob whipped his little sister around to face him. "The hell are you'se doin'? You'se gonna getcherself in trouble again!" Michelle flinched–Rob had never sworn at her. He put his hands on her shoulders, and his angry expression faded away. "I'm sorry, Michelle, but you'se gotta be careful. I thought you knew dat bad things happen when you'se wander around all da time..." She looked down at her dirtied shoes and muttered an apology.
"But it looks so warm over dere, Rob!" she exclaimed quietly, pointing toward the lights. From one of the opened windows wafted the scent of baking bread. Michelle's stomach grumbled loudly. "And I'm so hungry! Dat bread smells too good!" Rob smelled the bread too, and for a moment he recalled the memories, the times that Ma cooked him good soup stuck in the most delicious bread bowl he had ever tasted in his sixteen short years, and the smell of–
"We can't, 'Chelle," he told her softly, pressing a hand against his own stomach, as if that would stop it grumbling. "It ain't nowhere for kids like us. 'Sides, the bulls is gonna find out about...him...soon and I...I could be gettin' into real bad trouble soon." He looked down, abashed. "I'se already got you into dis mess. I ain't gonna bring nobody else." Michelle nodded, looking down at the ground, her cheeks turning an ashy pink through the dirt, dust, and grime that covered them. "Look, we'se can find some kinda place ta stay. And we gotta figure out new names an' stuff. Ain't it gonna be great? You getta pick any name you want!" Michelle bit her lip.
"I don't wanna be anybody else. I just wanna be Michelle. Michelle Fitzpatrick, 'cause that's who I'se am!" Rob nodded, in understanding. He didn't want to change either, but he'd killed a boy. They'd be coming after him soon...he needed to become somebody else. And they'd probably assume that he'd kidnapped Michelle, too. Or something of the sort. His face sagged for a moment and he nodded again.
"What name you want, 'Chelle?" She closed her eyes and sighed.
"Adeline. Adeline Lynch." Rob nodded, and contemplated a name that would fit with Adeline Lynch. The closest he could come up with was...was...
"Connor Lynch." He kneeled down next to her. "That sound alright to you?" Michelle bit her lip and shook her head. He nodded. It wasn't okay. But it was...necessary?
"Okay," whispered Michelle, and put her hand in his. "I loves you...Connor." He kissed the top of her head tenderly, like a good older brother would.
"I loves you, too, 'Ch–Addie. C'mere, I gotta do somethin' real fast," he said quietly, and beckoned her closer. He flicked out his knife, and the shining silver caused Michelle–Adeline, rather, to falter. She froze in her tracks, eyeing the knife nervously. "I ain't gonna hurt you'se, don't worry. Just bring you'se hair over here. We gots to look somethin' different." She breathed out shakily and stood a few inches closer. "Okay...you'se let me know if I'se hurtin' you." She nodded. He curled a few of her locks around his and tried to saw them off as gracefully as he could. After a few minutes, a small pile of dark hair had gathered at their feet. Though the cut was rough, Michelle looked less like herself, and yet in a still presentable way. Rob pulled off his newsboy cap and placed it on her head. "My toin." Like he'd done with Michelle, he chopped off the dark hair that had previously fallen into his eyes and now sported a much shorter, much colder hairdo. A wind chilled through the alley and Adeline shivered. Connor wrapped an arm around her. "Let's go to sleep." She nodded, and sat down against the outside wall of the nearest building. Connor followed, holding his little sister tight in his arms.
"'Ey, Marshall, what you'se lookin' at?" squeaked a small boy of eleven in his leader's ear. The older boy, Marshall, nearly burned himself as he fumbled to keep a hold on his cigarette. He glared at the young boy, whose head had poked so innocently out the front window that he looked comical.
"Nuffin' you'se need to know about, Jacky-boy," he retorted, stubbing out his ashes. "'Sides, whatchu doin' out this late? Me an' ol' Kloppman is the only ones allowed ta stay up dis late. Ain't everybody else already asleep?" Jack nodded eagerly, searching in his mentor's eyes for some sort of approval. He was Marshall's someday successor, and needed to learn all he could from him before he took his spot as the leader of the Manhattan newsies. Marshall noticed the look in Jack's eyes and sighed in resignation. "A'right, fine, kiddo, what do you'se want from me?" Jack half-bounced up and down.
"I want you'se to teach me how to talk to goils, Marshall." He snorted.
"Why d'you'se need to be talkin' to goils already, Jacky-boy? You'se already got enough charm, wit dat ridiculous cowboy hatta yours, dat makes all the goils I know at Medda's place just go crazy." To punctuate his statement, he tipped the young boy's hat up with his pointer finger. Jack's face burned but he was glad that Marshall was able to see the good in him. What use it'd be to make Jack leader someday. He scratched his neck in embarrassment and looked up sheepishly at his superior.
"Well, you'se sees dat goil ovah dere? I t'ink she's kinda cute. I mean, even when that guy chopped off some'a her hair," he said quietly, pointing over to the wall where slept Adeline and Connor. Baffled, Marshall stood up and craned his neck to see the sleeping figures. He marched down the steps, intending fully to order the pair to get off their property or they'd get the landlord. But before he could even completely clear the stairs, Jack was on his heels, tugging on his arm. "Wait, Marshall! We'se can ask 'em to stay at da lodging house wit' us? They don't looks like scabbas, and they gots a newsies hat!" he announced, waving his arm excitedly at the hat dangling precariously off Adeline's head. "C'mon, Marshall, let's ask 'em!" Marshall looked down critically at the small, exuberant child, and sighed.
"Fine. But you'se gotta ask 'em, kid." Jack nodded, and bounded over to Adeline and Connor, and began shaking Connor's shoulder. Marshall followed, watching and rocking back and forth on his heels.
"Oi! Wake up, you'se two! Wake up, I gots somethin' ta ask ya!" he yelled, and Connor's eyes snapped open. Adeline rubbed her eyes and stared at the little boy in front of her. "'Ey, I was wonderin' if you'se two wanted to come stay wit' us at our lodgin' house. Me an' Marshall is newsies! An' if you'se wanna stay longer, you'se can just sell papes wit' us. I could teacha!" Marshall had to put his hand on the boy's shoulder to keep him from bouncing any more. Adeline glanced up at Connor.
"Plleeeeeeease, R–Connor, pretty pretty pretty pretty please? It's probably really really really warm in there and they probably has food and–" Connor sighed again and placed his hand over Adeline's mouth. He looked up at the other boys.
"Sellin' papes, that's all we'se gotta do? Sell papes and give the money we get to da person who owns you'se lodgin' house? Dat's it?" His eyes narrowed at the older-lookin' one. Connor was a newsie by blood, and he knew that there was tricks the Manhattans could play that were almost as tricky as he and his Brooklyn boys could. The older-lookin' one returned the skeptical look with just the same ferocity.
"You'se are gonna be da new guys. You'se gotta loin the tricks of our trade. You'se gotta listen to everything I tells ya. 'Cause I'se the leader of the Manhattan newsies. And if I find out anythin' I don't like is goin' on, I gots the authority to kick you both out faster than you can say 'headlines.'" His look was serious and Connor nodded somewhat defiantly. Internally, his pride was crashing against his rationality; he was the King of Brooklyn!–of course, that was over...so now, if he wanted to survive, he had to live by the rule of others. "What's you'se names, driftas?"
"I'se Connor Lynch. And dis is me sister, Adeline. And we'se wants in." He spit on his hand and offered it to Marshall, who eyed the duo carefully before he spit into his own hand and shook with Connor.
"C'mon, you'se two, it's gettin' cold out here," he muttered, and led the unlikely foursome into Kloppman's Newsboys Lodging House.