Disclaimer: If I owned newsies, I wouldn't be sitting here writing fanfiction, would I?

AN: Added a couple new characters, Terrence and Annie. They're a filthy rich middle aged couple, but don't judge their status too quickly- they're pretty cool people.

Summary: When Skittery is beaten and practically dead on the street, he is taken in by a couple who doesn't understand him at all. Will he be able to show them the real New York life, or will he even let them help him at all?                       

Terrence

            He was there every morning. Rain or shine, hail or wind, he was standing on the corner, ready to hand me my morning paper. I'd never seen a smile on his face, but then, a lot of the newsies didn't smile anymore. On top of that, his light brown hair always seemed to be messy and caked with filth. Every morning it was the same conversation, one I could play over in my head word for word at will.

            "Good morning, Mr. Thurston."

            "Good morning. One paper, please."

            "Of course, sir. That'll be a penny."

            I fish through my wallet, then pull out a nickel and press it into his ink stained hand, taking the paper and smiling. "Keep the change, kid. You'll need it."

            "Thanks."

            It wasn't anything special, nothing out of the ordinary. I had taken a liking to this particular newsboy, and no matter how grim, sick, or depressed he seemed, I enjoyed seeing the familiar face every morning. Maybe letting him keep the change every morning made me feel as if my high status were more justified. Or maybe I just enjoyed seeing his hazel eyes, which looked so much like my son's, light up at the thought of actually being able to eat lunch that day.

            The other newsboys call him 'Skittery'. I have a bad habit of looking at him and, at least inside my head, calling him Blake, the name of my son who had died one year ago to pneumonia.

            The morning of December 3rd started out as nothing special, just another day that I was headed to Central Park for my walk. It wasn't as chilly as it had been recently, but still a light snow had fallen, coating everything in the gentle white powder. I huddled down further into my long coat, hoping to prevent myself from catching cold. You have to find a Christmas present for Annie today, I reminded myself. But Christmas just hadn't been the same without Blake around, even though he was a teenager and never satisfied with what we got for him.

            I rounded the corner and was stunned to notice that Skittery wasn't standing there, a stack of papers in his hand, yelling out fake headlines to entice ignorant buyers. In fact, I didn't see him anywhere in the general area. My first thought was that he could be sick, but then I remembered the last time he had been ill- he had one of his friends right at his side, the one called Kid Blink, ready to hold him up or steady him if he fell. I could tell he wasn't faking it that day, so I gave him a quarter for one paper.

            I got to his selling spot, and immediately noticed something strange; three newspapers lying on the ground, one of them torn to pieces. I knew something was seriously wrong then- no newsboy in his right mind would leave two perfectly good papers laying on the ground. I pushed the first paper aside and looked at the second one, immediately gasping in horror: it was covered in blood. I looked around on the ground and noticed a trail of blood leading into a nearby alley, and after only a moments hesitation, I rushed into the darkened path.

            I could make out the shadowy figure lying on the ground, just barely. I rushed to the still form, rolling him over and my insides beginning to churn as I felt how cold his skin was. It was Skittery, with cuts and bruises all over him and a gash on the side of his face. I didn't need to check his pulse to know that he was alive- he was shivering violently, though unconscious and as pale as the snow that was falling around us.

            I had a choice to make. I could leave him here and let the other newsboys find him or let him succumb to the elements, or I could rush him back to my house, call a doctor, and try to save him. Annie wouldn't be pleased, not with me bringing home a dirty street orphan who was probably a carrier of every disease or bug in the city. But a surge of anger came over me as I considered the most pertinent question: who did this? I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth in anger as I thought of the possibilities. Nobody messes with my newsie and gets away with it.

            I gently reached under him and picked him up, cringing as he moaned in pain. He could've come to at any time, but I was hoping that he wouldn't do anything rash, like panic or lash out, if he did. I was shocked at how light he was; he was a tall boy, but couldn't weigh any more than a girl of around his age. I could easily carry him.

            I laughed quietly aloud as I thought about one thing that could cost me my neck; how was I going to explain this to Annie?