AN: Last chapter! WAHOO!
David eventually broke down into tears and left the room. I could understand- he'd already watched his parents die, so he probably didn't have the strength to stay by Itey's side through this. But I made myself have strength.
I sat down on the opposite side of the table from Blink, taking Itey's other hand in mine and ignoring the look of pity on Jessica's face.
"Itey…come on, Itey, please…" I begged quietly, trying to ignore the rhythmic drip of the blood hitting the floor. Itey had gone still a few minutes ago, and it was quite hard to tell if he was breathing or not. But his hand was still warm, and from what I knew, that was a good sign.
Then again, I've never been known for being a fountain of knowledge.
And after a few more moments, I was sure that Itey was gone.
"Alright, lemme see him."
Blink, Jessica and I all jumped in surprise as Spot Conlon himself walked in the door, and he quickly made his way to the table.
"Spot…I thought you were with the other guys…" Blink stuttered.
"I turned back. They can handle themselves just fine."
Spot stood for a moment and shook his head, and then he did something that none of us expected- he gently pulled Itey up to a sitting position, gathering the limp boy up into his arms as best he could.
"Itey, wake up. Dat's a direct order from a Conlon." He said, his voice steady.
"I don't think he's up ta takin' orders, Spot." I said.
"Shut up, ya pansy. He ain't gonna wake up by sweet talk."
Yeah, I could handle that. Cause when Spot tells you to shut up, you shut up, whether he calls you a pansy or not.
"Itey, I know you can hear me, ya bum. I said wake up. You aren't dyin' in my arms. Not now."
"Sir, I really don't think-" Jessica started, but Spot sent her a glare that could freeze hellfire, and then he turned back to Itey.
"Alright, boy, time for bribes. You wake up, ya get my cane. You's always up for a good sellin' pawn."
This was getting downright ridiculous. Spot began to whisper to Itey, his voice still firm, but soft enough that we couldn't quite understand him. I was ready to break down and cry, when something caught my eye.
I almost thought it was my overactive imagination when I thought I saw his hand move. But when I glanced at Blink and saw the same shocked look on his face, I knew it couldn't just be my imagination. A tremor seemed to go through Itey's body, and Spot's voice got a little louder.
"That's it. Come all the way back. Wake up."
A small groan escaped Itey's lips, and suddenly his eyes fluttered open, glazed over and unfocused but finally focusing on Spot. His breathing began to get a bit more evident, his chest rising and falling, not quite as harshly as before he…well, died.
"I knew that a bribe would get any newsie back into his right mind." Spot said with a smile, finally looking up at us. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief, and then I was almost knocked to the floor as Blink hugged me tightly, somewhere between laughing and crying with pure relief.
I watched with wonder as Spot hushed Itey, who had been trying in vain to speak, and then he gently laid him down on the table, taking off his own overshirt and folding it up for Itey to use as a pillow. Spot looked up at us and smirked.
"Newsies don't listen ta beggin' and pleadin'. Dey listen ta bribes and threats. Thought you guys knew that by now."
Well…guess I'd have to remember that the next time one of my best friends was on his death bed…I think…
Spot headed for the door, but when he reached it, he turned around and pulled his cane out of his belt, tossing it to me in one swift movement. I thought that touching Conlon's cane would be kinda like touching the ark of the covenant- death by lightening bolt.
Spot smirked and shrugged. "Give that to Itey when he wakes up. He earned it."
Spot hesitated, and then he walked back to the table as I held my breath nervously. And then he reached up and pulled his necklace over his head, the one with the key.
"The key ta Brooklyn, right here, Itey. No one other than the Brooklyn leaders have evah had it." He said, and then he placed the necklace in Itey's hand and closed his hand around the key. "And if ya live through this one, it's yours."
With that, Spot left, leaving Blink and I absolutely speechless.
Because essentially, Spot had just named Itey the "heir to the Brooklyn throne" if he survived.
It was absolute chaos. But this time, that was to our advantage.
But only half of us made it to the warehouse.
I suddenly caught sight of Les in the madness, and I quickly grabbed Race's arm, and he nodded. We split from the group, and Bumlets soon followed after showing Gunter, Specs, Snitch and Skittery what we were doing.
I guess it was inevitable, but we soon lost sight of Les in the mass of people running in all directions. But when I caught sight of him again, I made a point of not losing sight of him again. He was being herded by a few German officers with a big group of recaptured prisoners.
Suddenly, Race got a look on his face…and I knew he had an outrageous idea. He grabbed Bumlets and whispered something in his ear, and Bumlets's grin grew as he listened.
"Race…Race, what is it?" I asked, and he just smiled.
"Just be ready to grab Les and run like hell."
Bumlets and Race ran over to the group, and Bumlets stopped right behind a horse and turned around- not a good idea in the first place- and then he formed a cradle with his hands. Race ran at him, jumped up and used one foot to catapult off of and over Bumlets and onto the horse, grabbing the German guy around the waist. The horse went crazy as the German guy panicked, and the horse reared up, and in half a second prisoners and soldiers alike scattered in all directions.
I darted in and grabbed Les, picking him up and darting out of the way of the frantic horses. I watched as Bumlets grabbed the German guy and pulled him off the horse, and then Race jumped off and they both ran to us.
Safe, for now. Now we could only hope that the others had the same luck.
We entered the warehouse unnoticed, and I was stunned at how much weapons and ammunition they had in that place. It was crammed everywhere, crates of it piled to the ceiling, with only paths so small that we'd had to leave our horses outside.
"Where are we going?" Snitch whispered.
"To the very middle. We'll blow it up from the center." Gunter said.
Skittery looked uneasy, with good reason. "And just how long will we have to get out?"
"About sixty seconds."
"Please tell me that German seconds are shorter than American seconds." I added, earning an uneasy laugh from our little group of soldiers.
"Here it is." Gunter said, stopping and pulled out a long cord. He stuck one end of the cord under a stack of crate and unrolled the rest of the cord in the aisle, and then pulled out a box of matches.
"Hold it right there!"
We spun around, and there stood a German officer, but that wouldn't have scared me half as much…if he didn't have a gun to Dutchy's head.
I leaped forward and would've killed that guy with my bare hands if Skittery and Snitch hadn't both grabbed me, holding me back. For a moment we were at a standstill, and tension hung in the air thick as morning fog.
"Give me the matches…or I blow his head off." The officer said, his eyes locking on Skittery for an extra moment. Obviously those two had an already established rivalry, from the way they looked at each other.
I turned to Gunter, who stood in indecision, glancing from him to Dutchy. Dutchy wasn't speaking, which was probably a smart move, but he looked more angry than scared.
"Just do it." I pleaded with Gunter.
Gunter shook his head. "He'll shoot him anyway. Giving up wouldn't save him."
"Then he's gonna have ta shoot both of us." I growled, and Skittery's eyes widened.
"Don't do it, Specs…"
"Can you just get this straightened out and give me the damn matches?!" the German officer said frantically, and that's when I leaped at him. But at the same time, Gunter struck a match and dropped it on the fuse.
The clock had started.
The gun went off just as I tackled Dutchy, knocking all three of us to the ground. The bullet whizzed by my head, and then the gun went off again, and this time, I felt a blinding pain in my arm.
"Go! RUN!" Skittery yelled at Snitch and Gunter, and Gunter grabbed Snitch's arm and pulled him into a sprint for the door. The fuse was moving quickly, much faster than I expected. And now that blood was soaking the sleeve of my shirt, I wasn't sure it mattered.
Dutchy kicked the gun away from the officer, and Skittery grabbed it, lifting it and firing two shots right past my legs. That fast, the officer was helpless, both legs with a hole blown in them. He was screaming in pain as I pushed myself off him with my good arm.
"Let's GO!" Dutchy yelled, and I tried to stand up, but I slid down to the floor. I was a bit dizzy, and even though the bullet had only grazed my arm, I was still losing a lot of blood. Skittery and Dutchy hadn't noticed until now.
"Skittery, go!" Dutchy ordered, but Skittery didn't listen. He grabbed my good arm and threw it over his shoulders, and Dutchy slid his arm around my waist and they began to help me to the door, ignoring the screaming and pleading of the crippled officer behind us.
But we weren't going to make it. There was no way. I was holding them back, making them too slow, and this place was going to blow sky high any second.
"Guys, just leave me. You're not gonna make it." I insisted, and that's when I got the shock of my life.
Dutchy grabbed my chin and turned my head, pressing his mouth to mine with an intensity I didn't know he had. Then he grabbed my torso, Skittery grabbed my feet, and they lifted me off the floor and carried me to the door.
We exited the building and Snitch waved to us from around a corner, and they carried me quickly around to the other side. Now at least we had a few brick walls between us and the imminent blast.
And then Snitch grabbed Skittery by the shirt, shaking him.
"You're an idiot! What were you thinking?! I hate you!"
And with that, Snitch yanked him forward and kissed him, just as the fireworks started.
That night, the real cavalry arrived.
After the invasions, it took a while for the military to get back on their feet, but once they did, the Germans wished they'd never stepped foot on American soil.
It didn't take long for Itey to recover. And once he did, we just had to say goodbye once again. He was off to Brooklyn, now Spot's right-hand man.
The President himself came to New York City, and gave Me, Jack, Dutchy, Spot, Itey, Specs, Skittery, and Snitch the highest civilian honor he could. Some kinda fancy medal. I was tempted to sell it…but I decided against that.
He also made a generous donation to the Manhattan and Brooklyn lodging houses. VERY generous. Let's just say 'lots of zeros'.
And we're all a whole lot closer. Some of us VERY close. As in, we have three new couples in the lodging house. Snitch and Skittery- that one was pretty much a shock to all of us- Mush and Blink- saw that one coming a mile away- and Specs and Dutchy. It was just somehow…a comfort to see them both happy. More happy than we ever thought they could be.
And let me tell you about it…for weeks afterward, you didn't hear a single newsie complaining about bad headlines.
AN: It's done! Review, people!