Warning: Mentions of drug abuse.

Hey guys! This was a request that I got a while ago from FuriedNight. I had no idea this would happen. But I hope you guys like it anyways! ;)

Jack watched his brothers. It was Friday night. Life was good that day. Last day of school for the week and a night hanging out at Jacobi's before they went home. All his boys were laughing, messing with each other. They took up a large corner booth and two other big tables. Jacobi was okay with it. Though, he would kick them all out sometimes, knowing they could be bad for business, he loved all of them. They would make him laugh and he would give them some water and some bread rolls when he could.

Katherine was sitting on his lap, laughing with him and sipping at a glass of water. He was a happy seventeen year old, sitting with his girl and his brothers, forgetting school work and watching his boys do things to make him laugh.

Crutchie was over with JoJo and Specs. They were having some debate over some book. Specs looked to be really getting into it with Crutchie and JoJo looked to be trying to find a way out of the conversation. Henry, Buttons, Finch and Elmer were playing some sort of card game, not daring to invite Race to play with them. But the boy would occasionally go and help each of them out. Albert, Romeo and Race were actually playing with Les. Albert and Romeo were in a heated game of Go Fish. Race and Les were both behind Romeo, cheering him on, making suggestions that they hoped would lead him to a win because they'd both run out of cards and had clearly lost the hopeless game.

"Jack, Race 'n Les are both 'gainst me!" Albert whined as Romeo took another two of his cards with a smile. And Jack laughed. The sixteen year old could sound like such a child sometimes, even when he was joking.

Jack's heart fluttered as Katherine laughed at Albert's frustration. "Hey maybe Dave'll be on your side," Jack chuckled, elbowing his friend who looked up from his book and lightly scoffed.

The taller boy shook his head. "I'm not takin' sides." He'd learned his lesson from many times before when all the boys would fight for him to cheer for them and nothing good ever came from it. And he just shook his head with a smile as Albert grumbled.

Katherine smiled and reached her hand out to brush Albert's arm. "Well I don't know about them, but I'll root for you, Albert." Jack smiled at his girlfriend and held her closer, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek.

Race scoffed when his red headed friend blushed. He rolled his eyes. "Sure, you'll root fer Al ta win Go Fish but your 'gainst me in a game a' poka'..." he muttered, lightly, only slightly joking.

"Cmon Race, I needed some moral support," Jack argued, hitting his friend in the arm, lightly, earning a laugh from him.

It was a good night. Just like any other night for the boys. Little did they know, it wouldn't stay that way for long.

It was like the pure joy they had when they were in each other's company shattered when the door opened and three unwanted guests made their way into the room. They were soaked from the rain outside but they didn't even seem to care. Two teens lead the way for the older man behind them and they stepped up to the counter. "Gimme a beer." And the man turned a blind eye when the two kids walked over to the tables of the brothers and their Ace. The Delancey brothers.

Crutchie saw the two hated boys making their way over to Jack's table. Too many ideas swam in his head about what might happen next. First of all, the Delanceys had a bit of a beef with almost every kid at that table. Mostly, Jack and Race. And neither of them could control their mouths. Jack might be getting better, but Race had never even tried to filter his comments. And it made Crutchie nervous. And then he thought about something else. Katherine was at that table. And Crutchie knew, whatever Jack had, the Delanceys wanted. This wouldn't be the first time they'd try to get at her. So the boy limped over to his friends at that table, sitting down next to Race as they all watched the scene unfold in front of them.

"Ooh, why hello there Katherine. How's about ya ditch this loser and let me show ya how a real man can treat ya..." Jack rolled his eyes at Morris, holding tighter to his girl. Her arm was wrapped around his shoulders. She held onto him just as tightly.

"Oh..." Katherine smirked as if she found that intriguing. "A real man?" Morris smiled flirtatiously as he thought she might actually be turned on. "Can you tell me when he gets here?"

A chorus of approval from the boys rang out through the deli. "Oh keep movin' Morris, ya just stuck out bad!" Race reached out his hand as he laughed, allowing his brother's girlfriend to give him a high-five as Jack rolled his eyes. He hated these encounters. They always ended in someone threatening something. And he wasn't ready for it.

Oscar rounded the table, slamming his fist down on the table, right in front of Race, making the boy jump at the sudden loud noise and it took Jack holding Katherine tight to stop her from doing something they'd all regret. "No one asked fer your opinion, ya lousy drunk!"

Jack watched his friend's normally confident, amused, face fall for a moment. Yeah, Race had some problems in the past. But that was none of their business. He'd been clean for a while now. Jack made sure of it. But Race quickly recovered, glaring up at the other boy ready to say something before he was cut off. "Hey back off!" And then there was Crutchie. The boy never could stand to see the Delanceys hovering over his friends. "No one asked ya to come ova' here either!"

Jack tensed as the Delancey's gaze locked in on the gimp boy. "Oh the gimp has ta fight the battles now, does he?" Oscar stepped closer to Race who did not move in his seat. And he leaned closer to the boy with the crutch. "Well we'd love ta see ya really fight, crip." The bully raise up his fist, ready to strike the kid, an evil smile on his face.

Race had had enough. He stood up fast and pushed the boy back by his shoulders. Oscar was barely caught by Morris and the older of the two pushed his brother behind him and stalked back up to Race, roughly punching him in the neck, sending him to the ground and kicking him while he was down, earning a pained cry and wracking coughs from him, before raising his hand up, preparing to smack the daylights out of the innocent gimp who just wanted the fighting to stop.

Jack saw all of his boys getting to their feet, already stomping up to the two brothers, ready to swing at them. But he brought his fist down on the table, hard. And everyone froze. "Thats enough!" he snapped.

Race grabbed Specs's arm and allowed himself to be helped to his feet as he clutched onto his side in pain. He almost fell back onto his knees, as he had not quite recovered from the blow to the ribs, but Specs held him up.

Jack let Katherine move off of his lap and he stood to his feet, simply walking over to the two boys who had made their lives hell for years. "Let's get one thing straight here," he growled, getting right in Morris's face and keeping Oscar within his sights as the younger boy stood behind his older brother. "You wanna pick a fight, get in a little trouble? Fine. But you leave my girl and my brothas out of it!" he demanded. "You wanna fight, you find me. You don't go afta' no one but me, ya understand?"

"Jack-" Jack cut off Crutchie with a raise of his hand, not even glancing back at the boy who was trying to get him to knock it off.

Morris smirked. He gave Jack a shove in the shoulder before walking past him, over to where Katherine was standing. Jack watched him angrily, far too furious to catch the way his hand hovered over the glass in front of Katherine, suspiciously. "See ya 'round, beautiful." The boy winked and the girl's mouth fell open in disgust before he walked away.

Race lunged for him, ripping himself out of Specs's grip only for Jack to catch him around the waist. "Sit down, kid," the older boy instructed, watching the Delanceys grab their uncle from the counter and walk out. Race resisted, wanting nothing more than to go out and challenge the boys who thought they could take advantage of the closest thing he'd ever had to a sister. But eventually, Jack forced him back down into his chair.

Everyone stared at Jack. He knew they all were. And he just sat back down in his seat in the midst of the silence. Katherine stared at him. "Jack Kelly, so help me God, if they hurt you..." she trailed off. She didn't want to think about it. Her boyfriend was reckless sometimes. Way too reckless, especially when it came to protecting the people he loved.

"I'll be fine, Ace. As long as they ain't touchin' you or my boys, it'll be okay." He pulled her back to him.

Crutchie watched his brothers try to get back into the fun they were having before. All seemed to be pushing what just happened to the back of their minds. But Race was still hunched over, holding his side in pain. He rubbed the older boy's back, trying to comfort him, but the gambler lifted up his shirt and was met with a large red mark on his rib cage.

Jack caught the movement just before his friend tried to hide it and a fire burned hot inside of him. "I'm gonna kill 'em," he growled, hating it when any of his boys were in any kind of pain.

Crutchie saw the look in his big brother's eyes. Jack was gonna do something stupid real soon if no one stopped him.

Katherine gasped at the bruise that Race would surely have on his torso for, at least, the next few weeks. She hadn't realized how hard he'd been hit. None of them did. She jumped into action.

"Race, drink some water," she said, sliding her glass over to the boy who was still trying to take a full breath after the kick that had knocked the air out of him. "I'll go get you some ice." And off she ran to the counter, calling out for someone to help her.

Jack watched Race. He didn't move. He was trying to get his breath under control and Jack leaned over the table towards him, pushing the water glass in front of his face. "Drink, Race. It'll help."

Race eyed the glass, but, after a minute, he complied, gulping down the cool liquid in an attempt to calm himself down. Sure enough, he did feel better after and he looked up to see Katherine running back to him with a towel wrapped around some ice. He was prepared to take it from her, but she pulled up a chair and held it to his ribs herself, one hand pressing the freezing cold substance the other, rubbing his back, knowing that he was still furious at the damn Delanceys for ruining their night. And she shushed him when he hissed at the coolness of it.

"You don't have to, Kate..." he tried, but Katherine shook her head.

"Relax, Race," she shushed. "How bad does it hurt?"

Jack smiled as he watched the two interact. Katherine had always had a soft spot for Race. The boy had many problems in the past. Before Jack had brought Race to live in the same home as him, the boy had been to too many other group homes and his only escape was through alcohol and cigars, not to mention what he'd been through before the foster system. He'd had it rough for most of his life and Katherine hadn't known him too well before the night she was driving home and found him past out on the sidewalk with no else around. She'd taken him back to Jack and made sure he was okay the next morning too. Since that night, they'd only grown closer.

Crutchie let Race lean into him. The older boy had not been prepared for the blows he'd gotten from a pissed off Delancey. His big brother's breaths slowly evened out. Little did they know, it wasn't such a good sign after all. But Crutchie just rubbed his friend's back, trying to push his worry for the older kid to the back of his mind. "Ya know, you should stop tryin' ta stick up fer me like that, Race. It always gets ya inta trouble."

Race only let out a light chuckle. "Neva'."

After a little while, Katherine took Race's hand in her own and guided the fading boy's hand to the ice that he needed to hold to his torso. The boy was exhausted. None of them really understood why. He was basically falling asleep on Crutchie's shoulder. "Keep holding that there, okay?" He nodded to her and she stood, grabbing Jack's hand.

"Will you walk me out? My father will kill me if I'm late." Jack smiled and got to his feet, running a comforting hand through his brother's hair, paying no attention to how tired the kid suddenly was. He held his girl's hand tightly as they stepped out of the deli and into the midnight air.

"Thanks fer that, Ace..." Jack smiled as he turned to her, just outside her car. "Race don't like it too much when I try ta help him. Says I 'baby him' too much."

Katherine laughed at that. "Well at least he has someone who cares enough to baby him... even if you are just looking out for him. And tell Crutchie to not worry too much. Race should be fine." Jack nodded. But then something occurred to him.

Why the hell was Race so tired all of the sudden? He hadn't been tired all day. In fact, he'd actually been getting decent amounts of sleep for the past few nights. He hadn't done anything out of the ordinary and a few blows to the torso never tired him out before.

Katherine watched her boyfriend tilt his head to the side in thought. It was something she'd seen many of the boys do several times. It was something they did when they were trying to figure out something that confused them. "Jack, what is it?"

He shook his head. "It's probably nothing..." He shrugged away his worry for the boy and smiled up at his beautiful girlfriend. "Get home safe, please. Call me when ya get there, okay?" He brought the girl closer, hugging her tight and lightly pressing his forehead to her's.

"Anything for you, Mr. Kelly," she responded with a smile before pressing her lips to his. "I love you."

His heart melted. It didn't matter how many times she had said those three words to him, every time she said it, it was like the first time all over again. "I love you too, Ace." And then he let her climb into her car and he waved as she did, before she pulled away. But Jack had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt like they were being watched.

Crutchie wrapped an arm around Race's shoulder. The older boy was dozing off while they listened to Albert try to teach Les how to play poker and Davey strongly objecting against it. Crutchie wondered why their brother wasn't jumping in, catching Al's mistakes and teaching Les how to play "the proper way", as he would put it.

Race struggled to sit up right. He felt overwhelmingly dizzy. His eyes couldn't focus and he felt himself growing heavier by the minute, though a few minutes ago he hadn't been the least big tired. And he wasn't sure what he was feeling could even qualify as exhaustion. He heard Albert giving Les instructions on how to play the game he grew up playing. He wanted to say something, but his brain didn't want to work right and his lips were hard to move.

When the ice fell from Race's hand, Crutchie turned to him. The older boy's eyes were open but his body wasn't moving at all. His arms fell down to his sides and all his weight was being transferred onto the gimp boy. "Race?"

Davey stood up when he saw Crutchie's worried glance and heard his small voice. "Race?" the older boy asked, rounding the table. The kid tried to sit up and Davey barely made it to him before his body fell from the chair. He caught the blond before he hit the floor. "Race, wake up." He shook the boy in his arms. But Race's head just lulled onto his shoulder and his body was heavy in Davey's arms.

"I can't... I can't move..." Race's voice was full of panic. Every few seconds, David could feel the boy shake like he was trying to lift his head or his arms and he just... couldn't.

"Race?" All the boys were forming a circle around the kid. And Davey could see as well as anyone that he was starting to panic. But he didn't know what to do. And thank God that Jack decide to walk back in right then.

"Hey, what's goin'-" Jack froze when he saw Race's limp body in Davey's arms. He gasped and dropped down next to his friend. "What the hell happened?" He took Race from Davey and held him close, letting Race's head fall onto his shoulder.

"D-didn't drink nothin'... Jack... 'm sorry... didn't mean to..." Race was terrified. Jack held him tight. He wasn't sure if the kid was actually completely aware he was speaking at that point. "'Mmm sssorry..." his words were slurring and his voice was weaker than it should be.

"Calm down, kid... ya didn't drink nothin'. You're okay..." he tried to soothe but his own panic was starting to take over. He looked over to his friend who seemed to always have the answers. "Davey what the hell is happening?" His voice was urgent and much louder than it needed to be.

Some of the boys moved closer, especially Crutchie, who was running his hands through Race's hair and trying to get him to calm down but the boy was panicking. The feeling must have been too familiar for him.

Davey wracked his brain, trying to figure out what would cause this kind of reaction. Then his eyes widened in realization. "Did he eat anything?"

In his worried state Jack tried to recall if his friend had gotten any food. He began to shake his head but then he remembered something...

"Race, drink some water..."

"Katherine..." Jack muttered. He looked up at Davey again. "He drank Katherine's wata'."

Davey nodded. "Okay, everyone calm down!" he announced. "Race is gonna be just fine!" Then he lowered his voice and started addressing Jack again. "Ya need ta get him home. He might be like this for a while but it should wear off some by the mornin'. He'll still feel pretty out of it fer a few days, though."

Jack still looked panicked and confused. His mouth tried desperately to form words that wouldn't leave his lips. "What's happenin' ta him?" Thank God Crutchie always knew what he was trying to say.

Davey looked around. He didn't want to frighten anyone more. But he knew Jack wouldn't leave until he knew what was happening. So he leaned forward, over Race's still form, whispering to Jack and Crutchie. "He was drugged, Jackie."

Jack shook his head. This had to be a joke. Race was known to pull pranks before. But then Jack's eyes found Race's. The poor kid was terrified. He must have had old memories resurfacing in his head. Contrary to popular belief, Race was a good kid. He regretted most of the things he'd been caught up in before. Jack couldn't count the number of times he'd found Race passed out on the ground when he'd first been moved in. All the nights he would hear the kid sneaking out and then find him the next morning, high as a kite. But he had changed. He didn't run from the cops anymore or sneak into clubs and bars. He had gone straight, thanks to his brothers and his sister. And he didn't like the feeling that whatever drug he'd accidentally consumed was giving him. An old familiar feeling from a drug that wasn't meant for him. A drug meant for...

Crutchie saw his big brother's face flash from worry to pure rage and back again. Then he fumbled in his pocket for his phone.

"Jack! I was just about to call you." Jack sighed in relief as he heard her voice. "I'm on my way back to you right now." That made the boy a little bit concerned. He glanced down at Race who looked to be trying to understand where he was.

"Is everything alright?" he asked. And he heard his girlfriend having an internal conflict with herself about what to say next. Finally, she sighed.

"I'm being followed."

Jack's eyes widened. "Ace, go to the house. Lock yourself in your car, don't move until I get there."

"Jack-"

"I'm on my way." He left no room for questions before he hung up the phone and pushed it back in his pocket, scooping Race up in his arms and making his way to the door. "Dave, take some of 'em home please?"

"Jack, what's happenin'?" he asked, all the boys following Jack outside the restaurant.

"The Delanceys." It was all Jack growled out before boys were out, piling into his truck.

"Jack..." he heard Race whine when someone opened the back door for him. Jack was too panicked to figure out who. He saw Crutchie slid in from the other door.

"It's okay, Racer. You're okay." And Race didn't say another word as he was slid into the back, over JoJo and Crutchie.

Crutchie held Race's torso as the boy tried to move. He was tearing up and fighting against nothing and the younger boy couldn't do anything but whisper to him, "This ain't you, Race. It's okay..."

Katherine saw Jack pull up. The rain had let up for a moment and she was grateful for that. She eyed the car that parked a block away from her when she got to the house. But when she saw Jack step out of the car, she was out in a second, running up to the truck full of kids just as Davey pulled up in his minivan.

She saw Jack and he ran up to her, holding her tightly in his arms. "Are you alright?" he asked quickly, pulling away and looking her over.

"Jack, I'm fine," she assured, glancing over when the car door was opened. She saw Jack move and lift someone out of the car, off of some other boy's laps. "Race?"

At this point, Race could squirm around just enough to make himself believe he wasn't completely stuck. But he couldn't fight against Jack's hold. He didn't like being carried much. He felt like a child. But it didn't stop Jack from cradling him to his chest. And Race didn't know what else to do than to relax into his hold.

"What happened?" Katherine put her hand on Race's chest. The boy wouldn't look up at her. He looked to be dazed and too out of it to answer her, so she looked up at Jack instead.

"Your wata'..." Jack saw the way his girl looked around, trying to understand what he meant. "It was drugged."

Katherine froze. Someone... someone tried to drug her. Her. And they followed her, waiting for it to take affect so they could make their move. Suddenly she felt sick to her stomach. Jack noticed.

"Cmon, inside. Everyone," he instructed to all of his brothers.

Crutchie entered the room full of bunks and watched Jack place Race down on his bed. "I ain't drunk... I swear..." Race mumbled as Jack let him go. "Don't be mad... it ain't my fault..."

Katherine's heart broke. Race was becoming delirious. He could hardly tell where he was, much less who he was talking to or what he was saying. She watched her boyfriend lean down and brush his blond curls away from his face. He pressed his lips to the boy's forehead. "It ain't your fault, kid. It's okay," he whispered. Then Jack looked up at Crutchie who was sitting in a chair on the opposite side of Race. "Make sure he don't do nothin' stupid."

Crutchie nodded, grabbing Race's limp hand in his own. "Close your eyes, Race. I got you." But all of them knew Race wasn't gonna try to sleep in his state. And all Jack could do was trust that his little brother would keep their friend calm, at least for a little bit.

Jack escorted his girl out of the bedroom. She didn't say a word. And all Jack could do was bring her into his arms. She sobbed onto him. "Oh my God... Jack... that was meant for me." Jack held her tighter. Yeah. He knew it was. And he couldn't help the way his heart hurt to think about what the alternative was to what had really happened.

"I know."

"Race is... terrified..." she added, in a small voice.

"I know."

"That should have been me, Jack." Katherine was sobbing. God, she was absolutely heartbroken that someone would even do such a thing and the fact that it had accidentally been passed off to one of her little brothers absolutely killed her inside. And Jack knew that Katherine would have rather it been her than him, even though the consequences might have been much greater if it was her.

"Shshshsh..." Jack pressed a kiss to her head. "This ain't your fault, Ace. I don't blame you. Race sure as hell won't blame you. Ya know how much he looks up ta you." He pulled away just enough for her to bring her hands up to her face and wipe at her face and he just help her, his hands on both of her soft cheeks.

"They were following me, Jack. They were gonna..." She couldn't think about it anymore.

Jack brushed away her tears with his thumbs. "Hey, you're okay. Everything's okay." But it wasn't. They knew it wasn't okay.

Then something occurred to Jack. They had been following her. They followed her...

Jack grabbed Katherine's hand. He pulled her down the stairs into the main room of their group home. "Stay here," he instructed dangerously. And Katherine was sniffling and allowing the boys to try to comfort her by hugging her or anything else to cheer her up. But nothing could calm her when she saw her boyfriend grab a bat off the entrance wall and walk out the front door.

Jack stomped over to it. The car he'd seen many times before. He didn't care that the rain had picked up again and was soaking him to the core. He was more furious than he'd ever been in his entire life. When he got there, he pounded on the window, making the two teens in the car jump in surprise. "Outta the car, Delancey! Now!" he screamed over the pouring rain.

Slowly, the door was opened. Jack was livid. "I said you could come afta' me! You could torture me!" He swung dangerously at the two brothers who had their hands up in defense. "You tried ta hurt her! Ya drugged Race!" Jack was ready was fight them. "He was clean! Do you have any idea what you coulda done?!"

When the bat swung, Morris dodged out of the way, catching Jack off guard and swiftly punching him in the chest and knocking him off his feet. After that, Jack was putting up a good fight, but he was on the ground and he was outnumbered. He couldn't barely see. The rain practically blinded him, taking away his ability to block another blow. He felt himself getting kicked in the head, the gut, the legs, and he had lost the bat sometime in there too. He could feel the thing come down onto his knees.

Oscar was about to bring down the bat again when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see a beautiful smirk before a fist made contact with his cheek. His head snapped to the side before he wiped away the blood that was leaking from his lips because of a bite of the tongue. Then he smiled, as if it were some type of joke that a girl had just punched him. And, without warning, he grabbed her wrist.

Katherine tried to struggle out of the grip, but found that she couldn't do it. But she wasn't the least bit scared. It was hard to be scared with over ten teenage boys there to protect her. And when Oscar was hit over the head, Katherine nodded her thanks to Albert and grabbed the bat from the dazed boy's hand. Then she watched some of her boys getting ahold of Morris and she dropped down next to her beaten boyfriend.

"Jack Kelly, what were you thinking?" She didn't really have to ask. She knew damn well what he was thinking. He was thinking that his girlfriend was sobbing in his arms because she could've been sexually assaulted that night. He was thinking one of his best friends, his brother, was unable to move or think properly because he'd been given some kind of drug that reminded them all too much of times that were long gone. Times they promised him they would never mention again. And he was thinking that these boys almost beat up on his brothers and his girl. And he wasn't okay with that.

Morris tried so hard to fight against the band of brothers. But, he was no match for the strength that love could bring. And the boys forced him against the car. He got a punch from everyone of them and they were screaming at him and his brother for hurting Race and attempting to bring harm to Katherine and for even raising a hand to Crutchie. And Morris suddenly wasn't looking too tough.

Katherine helped Jack to his feet. He had a swollen eye and blood was dripping from his nose but he didn't seem to care. With a slight wave of the hand, his brothers stopped. Then, with a few groans and gasps, he stepped out of his girl's embrace and up to the two people he hated more than anything in the world. "You eva' come afta' my girl, or my brothas again and a little soakin' will be the least a' your problems. Undastand?" He wasn't given a response before Morris yelled at his brother to get in the car and they sped off, leaving the boys outside in the rain.

Katherine helped her boy sling an arm over her shoulder and lean on her for balance and started to walk back to the house. "Cmon, boys. Let's go home."

Jack awoke the next morning to find himself in his bed with someone on top of him. His whole body ached, bad. When he opened his eyes and found Katherine asleep on top of him, he panicked. "Ace..." he whispered, earning a quiet whine from her. Clearly, she was not one who liked to be woken up in the morning. "Ace, you didn't go home last night," he informed in a louder voice. And her eyes shot open.

"Oh my God..." And she would have sprinted out of the house in that moment if they hadn't heard a panicked gasp from the bed next them.

Race opened his eyes fast. He sat up and found that his body felt like jelly. None of his limbs wanted to move properly. His head was pounding and he found he couldn't remember a single thing that had happened the night before. But before he could launch himself into a definite conclusion, he felt a hand on his shoulder as he looked up to see Jack sitting in front of him, Katherine standing to the side with a kind smile on her face.

"Hey, Racer... how ya feelin'?" This was the kindness before the pounce. Race knew it. He knew he must've done something insanely stupid last night. And his eyes finally focused in on Jack. He saw the black eye and he felt a sinking feeling in his chest.

Jack watched as Race's fingers brushed up against his face. The poor kid. "J-Jack... whateva' I did... I didn't mean it-" The older of the two smiled and grabbed both his wrists with one hand. He tried his best to hold the kid still.

"Shhh... you didn't do this, pal. It ain't your fault," Jack assured, trying to calm the boy's fears. But it wasn't working. Race looked around at his brothers' sleeping faces. He saw the marks they had on them. What the hell did he do? And Jack brought him into his embrace. "You didn't do this, Racer. I swear it wasn't you."

Race sniffled. "Why... why can't I rememba'?"

Jack's heart hurt. He pressed a kiss to the back of the boy's head. He didn't want to let the kid go. Why did the Delanceys have to be such jealous assholes?

Katherine slowly and carefully sat down next to her friend. She started rubbing his back as he shook in his brother's arms. "You were drugged, Race..." She couldn't bring herself to do anything more than whisper. She saw Race peek up at her from Jack's chest and she felt more awful than she ever had in her entire life. "It was meant for me... it shouldn't've been you."

Race pulled away from his brother. His eyes were wide and he looked over at Katherine, as if he was trying to make sure she was okay. "S-someone tried ta... drug you?" Katherine barely nodded before Race threw his arms around her. She felt herself tearing up when she held her friend. Her little brother. "Betta' me than you, Ace. Ya don't deserve that."

"Race, you didn't deserve it either." The boy stayed silent at the girl's words.

Jack rubbed his brother's back and looked up to see Crutchie sitting up on his bed. The kid was looking at Race with a heartbroken expression. Jack put a finger up to his lips, signaling his brother to stay quiet for the time being. So he did.

"Wh-who did it?" Race day up, pulling away from his sister.

"Race, I-"

"Who did it?" He needed to know. He needed to know who had tried to take advantage of Katherine and who slipped him a drug after he finally thought he was done with that life.

"Oscar and Morris." Race growled at the names that came out of her mouth. Before Jack could grab him, he was on his feet, ready to stomp over to them and tear them limb from limb, but his legs weren't strong enough to hold him. His knees buckled and his whole world spun.

Crutchie barely stood up quick enough to catch the older boy. Somehow, he managed to hold both himself and his friend up on one leg. "Okay, lay down, Race. Davey says you'll be out of it fer a while." Race tried to fight against him.

"'Mm fine..." But he wasn't. He felt hungover. His head was pounding and his stomach was so upset. And he didn't like the feeling.

"Kathy," Crutchie sighed, struggling to hold up his big brother. "He'll listen ta you."

Katherine knew he was right. As Jack rose to help steady both of his brothers, his girlfriend stood up too and rounded the bed to try and calm her friend. "Race, you're alright. You haven't had a drink in months." Jack was able to get him to sit back down. "Do you remember that? You taught me how to play poker. We would stay up for hours so you could forget about going out at night. This wasn't your fault, Racetrack."

Jack watched his brother embrace his girl. He watched Crutchie wrap his arms around them both. He hated seeing them all so broken. And Katherine glanced over the boys in her arms. She looked up at him with a heartbroken expression, completely forgetting that her father would be furious with her and the boys because she hadn't gone home the night before. Completely ignoring the fact that the other boys were still asleep. Nothing else mattered but protecting her little brothers.

He promised himself one more time that it would never happen again. Never again. The Delanceys wouldn't ever touch any of them ever again. They wouldn't mess with anyone but him.

Wow. So either that was a mess or I'm a mess or... both? I don't know.

Thank you so much FuriedNight for this request! I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope it was something along the lines of what you were hoping for. The request was for a modern AU where Jack gets into a fight over something to do with the newsies and then they all go and save his ass, basically. So I figured, Katherine is as much a newsie as the rest of them. Thank you so much!

I think I'm gonna write a companion to this. The story of Race and Katherine becoming so close. I always just figured they'd get along pretty well and have a brother/sister relationship. Tell me if you guys are excited for that one! And I also really hope to update Sacrifies next, so keep your fingers crossed for that one.

Okay so if you guys want to see me write more of another character, let me know. I don't always mean to write about Race in every story. The fact is, I just happen to know his character the best because I relate to him the most, I guess. So my mind will just naturally gravitate to a story about him. But if you guys want to see any different characters coming into the light, I'm definitely open to it. Just let me know! ;)

I hear all requests and suggestions! Don't be shy, I don't bite. And Fanz4life, if you're reading this, I swear I have seen all of your requests and they will come into play at some point. ;)

Thank you so much bexlynne for allowing me to send you little snippets of stories and letting me have a second opinion! I don't know what I'd do without you! Thank you so much friend!

Go read bexlynne's stories! They're amazing!

Anyways...

As always, thanks for reading! Make sure to tell me what you liked, what you didn't, what you'd change or what you'd improve by leaving me a review! Love ya, fansies!