Disclaimer: The Sandman and related characters belong to DC Vertigo and Neil Gaiman. I'm only using them for my own illicit pleasures, and not making a penny off of them. Unless I find one in the next gutter I see..
AN: This is my first Sandman fic and it's untitled at the moment.

~

It was a very good penny. It was Canadian and had inexplicably been painted blue. There was a small
scratch just below the maple leaf...it was the sort of thing she noticed. She hunkered down to get a better
look, not caring that the gutter water was swirling in greasy spirals around her bare feet. Picking it up, she
was delighted to discover that the other side was painted yellow-the same color as the smily face on her
oversized t-shirt.
She squinted-scrutinizing it with her blue eye first, then her green one.

The boy, who had been watching from the alleyway behind her, craned his neck to see what had interested
her so. The movement caught her attention and she gave him a bewildered smile. An observer would have
placed her at about thirteen. The boy could not have been more than five, and was picking his nose with the
complete lack of shame that only very small children possess.

"Does your mum know you're not wearing your shoes?" He asked-very boldly considering he himself was
barefoot.

She looked down at her feet as if seeing them for the first time, "Um, I forgot about them. Shoes, I mean."

"Oh...what've you got?" He eyed her closed hand with unrestrained nosiness.

"A blue and yellow penny, a small silk flower, and a green thingy." She held them out to be inspected.

He leaned in to look at them. "Cool."

"I think leaves should be pink, don't you?" She asked suddenly, causing a look of deep consideration to
settle on the boys dirty face.

"They'd be good blue too. What's your name?"

The girl frowned at a nearby streetlight, "I think names ought to be clever. Like Rikitikistikinose."

The boy perked up at this, "Really? I wanted to change my name to Rumplestiltskin once, but my
mum wouldn't let me. She said I had to stay Michael 'cause it's on my birth thing."

The girl suddenly thrust her hand out towards the boy, startling him, "You should take the penny... Um, it
should be yours, I think."

"Cool." the boy said again and took it.

"Michael? It's time to go." The boy hadn't seen the other girl, though she must have been watching for some
time.
She was dressed entirely in black and her skin was very pale, but she had the nicest smile and he
immediately returned it in full measure.

The first girl was rambling about names and things, but trailed off as the second held out her hands to the
boy.

"Take my hand Michael." The boy did so without hesitating, and after a moment he faded from view.

The first girl rubbed her foot against the back of her leg, "Rumplestiltskin is a good name..but, um, it's very
old."

"Yes, it is." her sister agreed, smiling.

Delirium studied her silk flower, "He was one of mine you know. Did he have to go?"

"I knew. I'm sorry Del." Death's smile was a little sad now.

The body in the alley wasn't a child. He must have been at least fifty and there was still a
bottle of whiskey in his gnarled hand. If you looked closely you might have recognized the child's features
in his lined face. Delirium had been with him over the last few days and it was hardly any wonder that his
last words had been of singing fish.
There was a blue and yellow Canadian penny in the hand that wasn't holding the bottle.

"I think Allison is a nice name." Delirium said, but she was alone now. So she picked up a piece of paper
and turned it into a tiny monkey, then set off down the street, splashing in the puddles that had gathered in
the low spots.

~fin~