AN: Time to get rid of that nasty cliffhanger! Read on and review for the end!
Mush was dead.
My mind just couldn't seem to accept the words. It wasn't possible. I would never be seeing his smile, listening to his lame jokes, or watching him hawk the headlines again. All of it was gone. And for what? A lousy argument. If I hadn't said that, he would've been selling with me and not in Little Italy, the hardest hit. He would've survived.
It was my fault that he died. If it weren't for my stupid temper, he would still be alive.
Of course, the Delancey brothers could've been lying. But who would lie about something like this? I mean, even for them, that would be too low to stoop. I was just trying to come up with excuses when there never would be any.
And so I stood there on the Brooklyn bridge, then center of it having collapsed into the river. No reason for me to not accidentally 'fall' in. There wasn't a railing to hold me back. And it was a long fall. Only fitting, with what I'd done to him.
A sob broke the silence, and it took me a moment to realize that I was the one crying. There wasn't anyone else on the bridge. I didn't feel like I should- Mush never had the chance to cry before he died. And even if he had the chance, I don't think he would've. He was like that. He seemed sensitive, but he was tough as nails when it came right down to it.
But no one would ever know that. And it was because of me. Hell, we'd even agreed on being each other's 'best man' come our wedding days. But that wouldn't happen either, would it?
I lifted my face to look at the heavens, hoping that God could see my tears. Hoping that the so-called 'Holy Spirit' could feel my pain. Because the whole world would've shattered if it could. The sun was setting, but I felt like darkness had already taken over and shot down all hope.
"You jest had ta take Mush, didn't you? Why couldn't ya take me instead, damn it? Why couldn't ya jest finish me off when ya had the chance?" I screamed, halfway expecting God to send some angel to kick me off the precipice and get it over with.
But he didn't send an angel. He sent an aftershock.
The ground suddenly started shaking again, and I jerked off balance, starting to fall forward over the edge. I never did fall, though. Someone grabbed onto the back of my shirt, yanking me back from the edge. I landed on my back on the cement, looking up at my savior, who happened to be…MUSH?!
"I'm dead, ain't I? You's an angel, right?"
He snickered, a sound that I realized I'd missed more than life itself. "I ain't an angel. But you was jest about dead right there, ya bum."
I tackled him in a flying hug, knocking him over backwards and crying- now with joy. I don't think we even noticed when the ground stopped trembling.
"I's sorry, Mush! I nevah shoulda said dat ta you! I's sorry!" I sobbed, and he just shook his head.
"Dat was da least of my worries, Kid. I thought I lost you there for a second. And if dat happened…you wouldn't have been da only one fallin' off dat bridge tonight."
Narrative, back at the Lodging House
After that kind of a day, all the boys walked back into the lodging house exhausted. The lodging house had taken the quake better than expected, and was actually one of the few buildings still structurally secure. Kloppman compared it to the resilience of the boys that lived in it.
And soon, they were all gathered downstairs, all of them sharing their exciting 'earthquake stories', though some parts were omitted. Jack, Snitch, Mush, and Blink never did tell anyone what happened that night, they only said that they'd had 'quite an adventure' finding Mush. Dutchy didn't tell anyone that night about him saving the bookstore owner, though the man did eventually find him and tell him any book he ever wanted at the store was his for free, and he gave back the dime that Specs's present had cost him.
And Specs did get his birthday party. Among his presents was Kloppman announcing that 'Angel', as she had come to be called, was the new lodging house mascot. It goes without saying that she was Dutchy's and Specs's selling partner from then on- but she slept on Skittery's bunk. No one ever found out how she got up there every night, but they assumed she was making sure that he didn't have any more 'mishaps'.
And the next day, the presses rolled as usual, and the newsies had the best headlines of their lives.
* The End *
AN: Well, what did you think? Speak up, everyone! I'm really proud of this fic…I hope you guys like it…Please review!