Author's Note: This new piece I'm beginning will be a first for me in many ways. One: This will be my first piece that should feature no Newsies character – it is my intent to write this using only original characters. Of course that means that I'll take any characters readers are willing to offer. I'm good like that. Though, I'm sure, one or two characters might pop up; I say that now to cover my ass later in case I decide to bring in someone. TWO: This will be my first story that will have an M rating. You may not understand right away, but, trust me, you will. THREE: If you have read any of my previous work, then you might be aware that I have a 4 part series revolving around Jack Kelly and my OC, Stress. And, if you know about that, then you know that the character Rip is a major player. Well, this is his story. So, in a way, this is the first story in that set – but, in another way, it's not. This is his view on what he did, and why. Why he became a rapist, why he was a murderer, why he had no emotion. And that is why this story will have an M rating.

Since this will work out to be an OC piece, if you have a character that would like a role: I need hookers and loose women, strong men, and characters that are willing to die. I highly doubt anyone would like a role like that, so I'm prepared to create them all. But, I love a good open casting call – and I'm always one to offer them.

As for the rating, I would like to invite readers who can handle adult material to read. I have many other stories that are much more appropriate for a young age; as I, myself, am 22, I feel it is time to, or at least try to, write something reflective of my age. I do this not only to please any readers but to please myself. Rip is a character that I've decided should finally have his side of the story told. You do not, of course, had to have read Obsession: Cuts like a Knife (the story in which his issues are discovered, though he does get worse in later sequels, such as Secrets Behind the Lies and Can't Keep Running) or any other in my series to understand this. At its most basic, A Virgin's Touch, is a story about a disturbed young man, why he is that way, and what he does.

Disclaimer: These are always mandatory when dabbling in fan fiction. If there is anything at all that is reminiscent of the 1992 musical Newsies, then it probably belongs to Disney. The characters of Luke/Rip & his family, Caitlin/Spindle, and Jessa, specifically, are mine, as well as others that may work their way into this story. Any others belong to their respective authors and will be noted in individual disclaimers.

Well, it you actually made it through all that, kudos! I hope to see some reviews, eh?

And, now, the moment you've been waiting for: A Virgin's Touch…

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A Virgin's Touch

05.17.06

They say that what men desire is a virgin who is a whore.
Maybe that's what I was looking for. It's what I made her, after all.

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PART I

Blood.

There was blood everywhere.

For the first time in his fourteen years, Luke Divenize was afraid. He was terrified. The shimmering crimson liquid was smeared all over the Arch, handprints visible almost as if the young girl had struggled before succumbing to her injuries.

He could not walk under the Washington State Park Arch at that moment and not just for fear of what he would see. From the uproar in the community that had led half of his Italian neighborhood from their homes off Bleecker Street down to the decade-old statue just out of the Park, he knew exactly what would be found.

Maria.

He found it hard to breathe just then. His mother, already inches shorter than him, was clinging tight to him. He had no words of comfort to offer. Even if he did, he would not be able to murmur them over her wails of grief.

It had been his youngest brother, Paolo, who first heard that Maria had been found. At only seven years old, Paolo came to Luke with the horrific rumors first. He was too afraid, Luke knew, to tell his parents first and Gabriel was still at work. That left Luke.

The young boy found the second-born Divenize son playing a friendly game of dice with the Marano brothers a few streets over from his family's apartment. Luke knew that his sister's confirmation was to take place later that afternoon at St. Patrick's but, before he had to wash his dark hair and change into clean clothes, he thought he would hang out with his pals for a bit. That all changed when Paolo came running in on the game.

"Luke," he called out and, at once, Luke knew something was wrong. Or, at the very least, that Paolo thought that something was wrong. The young boy was nearly tripping over himself in his hurry to get to his brother. "Luke, come quick. Maria's hurt!"

Luke got to his feet immediately and went to Paolo's side. His brother was shaking considerably. Luke took a deep breath. Maria Divenize, his thirteen year old sister, was – besides his Mama, of course – his most beloved person. If someone had hurt his sister, they would pay. "What do you mean, Maria's hurt?" he asked, harshly, surprised at the sound of his own voice. He normally didn't show his emotions so vocally.

Paolo looked surprised at his brother's tone and withdrew a little. When he spoke, his voice was no higher than a whisper. "Vinnie and the boys told me that that some other kids saw Maria down in Washington Park and that she was bleeding all over. They said she's hurt, Luke."

Luke almost breathed a sigh of relief at his brother's explanation. Just a rumor, he thought. Nothing more than something the neighborhood hooligans said to get Paolo riled up. He was used to this by now. Many of the boys were annoyed that Paolo liked to tag along with the older boys; coupled with the fact that his beautiful young sister preferred to stay with her family rather than be around the boys, made them all very bitter towards the Divenize family.

Luke knew better than to head straight to the Arch on the word of his brother's rumor. Paolo was an excitable boy and could have easily created such a situation out of boredom. Shrugging his apologies to Sal and Marco, Luke took his little brother by the hand and headed down the street to his family's apartment. His father and mother would be at home, fussing over Maria. As their only daughter, it was much more significant an occasion for the Divenize's to see her confirmed than it was with Luke and Gabriel. Gabriel, the eldest child at sixteen, was at work down, Luke knew. He was a dishwasher at a nearby restaurant, but had the second half of the day off to go with the family to the Church. Antonio, two years behind Maria, should have been keeping an eye on Paolo.

"Fratello piccolo," Luke said, using Italian to calm Paolo down; as a rule, Luke tried not to speak the language as much. After moving to the New World from Italy at the age of nine, Luke chose to be as much of an American as he could. His accent faded considerably and he only spoke in Italian when inside his home. But, in this instance, when he could see that Paolo was severely rattled at the rumor he had heard, he referred to his am 'little brother' in Italian to fill him with a sense of familiarity. "Fratello piccolo," he repeated before Paolo looked up at him. "Where was Tonio?"

Paolo's crystal blue eyes, the same shade as the rest of his family, looked guilty; his timid face matched the expression. "I told him not to, Fratello più anziano, but Tonio said he was going out to see la ragazza down the street. Maria went after him later when Mama was upset that he wasn't there to help her. I waited for them to come back to play but, when they didn't, I went out myself. That's when I heard Vinnie and them say that they some other boys found Maria. Do you think that Tonio did it?" His eyes welled up in tears and his nose began to drip. Luke let him have his hand back; he wiped his nose on the sleeve of his best shirt.

Luke hesitantly took Paolo's hand back just as they arrived at the small tenement that housed his family's apartment. But he didn't go inside; there was already a crowd of people swarmed around discussing the slain child that had been found. That was when Luke decided to go to the Arch. With a quick squeeze of the shoulder, Luke handed Paolo off to the old woman who lived next door to his family. She nodded once and, hand in hand with the young boy, walked him away from the crowd. Luke was grateful at her and smiled a rare smile before heading off. He wasn't alone, either. Much of his neighbors were making their way to the Park to see if the rumors were true.

They were.

As soon as he arrived at the Park, just on the edge of Little Italy, he saw the large crowd of people crying over whatever was inside. Even if it wasn't his sister, Luke knew that someone was hurt inside. Many of the older Italian women were sobbing while crying out prayers, hanging to each either in the grief that comes when one has lost a child.

It was Signora Rossi who caught sight of Luke first. The woman lived with her large family on the floor below the Divenize's; Maria had watched her children on nights that Signora Rossi was busy working on the laundry that her family took in. The middle-aged woman was one of the ones that were sobbing and her cries only increased when she saw Luke. She held onto his back before he could get away from her and called out that the boy must be let through. She shoved onto his back and the crowd swallowed him up, forcing him on through its swell until he was facing the Arch. It was there that his mother grabbed hold of him.

It was there that he saw the blood.

"Il mio prezioso, il mio bambino," his mother yelled, and she held him back. He wasn't sure if she was preventing him from looking in on the scene or if she was using him to keep herself away from it. He heard her anguished yells and knew, without a doubt, that Paolo had been right.

The realization was enough to quell the rising sense of terror that threatened to overtake him. While still holding tight to his mother, he pushed the emotion down, fighting it until all he felt was nothing. It was a wretched emptiness in the pit of his stomach. He wiped his face of any emotion and untangled himself from his mother. His father was not beside her, nor was any of her children. He was sure that Gabriel would still be at work and he knew that Paolo was with Signora Amberg. Though she still wept, and he felt the sting of her fingernails as she scratched at him to keep him in her embrace, he coldly tipped her into the arms of Signora Marano. Without even realizing he was thinking about such frivolities, Luke thought that Sal and Marco had told their mother what Paolo said and that she had been one of the first to come to the scene. Signora Marano was a dear friend of his mother's – as well as a very nosy woman.

Luke stepped forward and he was mildly aware that, once his mother had been restrained by Signora Marano's embrace, none of the other's stopped him from approaching the scene beyond the Arch.

His first thought was the same as before: Blood. There is blood everywhere. If he thought that the sight of red before was intense, the small crumpled form was nearly swimming in a sea of scarlet.

Luke couldn't see the girl's face from the way that she was positioned but he knew, without any other hint, that it was Maria.

Maria.

She was dressed in the white gown that her mother had spent three months making just for the confirmation sacrament. The dress, once pristine, appeared as it had been bathed in blood though, from her back, he did not see any wound.

Her long dark curls flowed down her back, hiding her face even further. The simple silver cross she had worn since her communion could be seen resting on the raven locks. She may have been murdered but she hadn't been robbed, he noted before taking another step forward. Besides the fallen form of Maria, he was not alone in the Park.

He awkwardly patted his father on the back. The great bulky shape of Giovanni Divenize was crouched over the form of his daughter, tears streaming down his bearded face. There was a pair of cops standing behind him. They seemed as if they wanted to investigate the scene but the size of the victim's father kept them at bay; the sound of the upset crowd kept them from leaving. They wanted justice.

It was true then, was the only thought Luke had at that moment and, deep down, he knew he should feel some sort of sadness at this. She had not only been his sister; Maria had been his best friend. But he knew he wouldn't. It was as if, in that one moment that he pushed the fear out of his mind, he pushed all feeling aside.

With the loss of his sister ultimately came the loss of his self.

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Translations:

Fratello piccolo – Little brother
Fratello più anziano
– Older brother
la ragazza
– the girl
Il mio prezioso, il mio bambino – My precious, my child