Guess who's back! I hope you guys will like this story!

Oh yeah, you'll probably want a disclaimer. I own no one but Elsie and her family. Viola. That's going to have to be enough for you people for the rest of this because I'm not making one of the every chapter.


"Ready to go?" Uncle Bryan asked me picking up my bags and hoisting them into the coach that stood ready to leave.

"Whenever you are." I said quietly. I knew getting out of the city could save my life, so why was I so reluctant to go?

"Goodbye, love." My mother said before embracing me. Tears filled her eyes as she told my uncle to take good care of me.

My father who was kneading his forehead. He looked at the dirt to avoid the bright sunlight. Pulling me into his arms he said, "You're going to get better and the moment you do, I'll come and get you. We're going to miss you."

"I'll miss you, too, Papa." I said. "I'll miss all of you so much!" I cried. I promised myself not to cry but when I looked at my older brothers' faces I couldn't help it. Thomas, the oldest, hugged me too. After that Bryan (named for my uncle) followed suit.

Uncle Bryan helped me up into the carriage as I took one last breath of the Pittsburgh air; the same air that was sending me far away to New York City. My dog, Brutus, promptly hopped in behind me and rested his head on my knee. He let out a soft whine until I pet him.

My uncle sat down across from me. "I know it's hard to leave your family and friends Elsie, but you'll see them again." He said trying to spark my hopes. It was useless though, the fire once burning inside me had gone out. I didn't think I would make it now. Each day my breathing was heavier, the coughing fits more frequent, and more blood issued from my throat. In theory leaving Pittsburgh was supposed to help, but the doctors had admitted, I had to regain my desire to live. It was hard though. Living hurt and leaving my family was ripping my heart out of my chest. "I know you are strong enough to overcome this. I know you are." He continued more softly.

He didn't understand. He couldn't possibly understand. I didn't resent his for it though. Last time he had seen me I was still healthy and my lungs were clean. I still played and skipped and acted like any other little girl did. Not long after that visit though, I had gotten a job in a steel mill. All the smoke and smog in there combined with what was already outside built up and I couldn't breathe properly anymore.

When all the medications failed, the doctors said that I had to leave the filthy Steel City that had been my home for my entire life. My family couldn't afford to relocate, especially after spending so much money on me in search of a cure. The only family I had living outside of Pittsburgh was my Uncle Bryan who lived in the slightly cleaner city of Manhattan and had offered to let me stay with him without hesitation.

All the hesitation of whether or not leave was mine alone.


"Shit. Boys, I'll be right back!" I thought I heard someone yell. I heard someone running out of the building. I'd just run past. I dared looking back, hoping the consequence wouldn't be whiplash and saw a restaurant filled will teenage boys. The boys looked around, confused and shrugged their shoulders, returning to their previous conversations. I prayed whoever had left in such a hurry way coming to help me. I couldn't keep running much longer.

"Brutus! Stop!" I cried out. I was being dragged through the streets of Manhattan behind my gigantic, Great Dane who was in pursuit of a tabby cat. "Sorry." I called over my shoulder to anyone I happened to run into it. Refusing to let go of the leather leash holding onto the black and white spotted dog, I desperately yelled at him to stop. I had been running as fast as my short legs could take me and pulling on the leash as hard as I could. "How long can he keep this up?" I wondered.

Whoever was behind me (I could not see them but I could hear them shoving past people) was a fast runner. He had almost caught up with me when Brutus turned violently into a dank alleyway and kept chasing the cat down it. The sudden turn hurt my arm. I hoped the person following me had seen where we'd gone.

"Brutus!" My uncle, who had been the one following us apparently, called out. I could tell he was expecting this to be useless. However, the dog turned around to see who the new voice had come from. As much as he disliked the dog, Brutus had taken quite a liking to Denton and came trotting up to him, still dragging me behind him. When the dog stopped, the I hunched over and wrapped an arm around my torso trying to catch my breath. "Jesus Elsie, how long has he been running?" He said wrapping one arm over my shoulder and the other over the my own arm to prevent me from keeling over.

"Well, since he saw a cat in Central Park." I laughed a little still short of breath. My uncle looked down with dislike at my dog who kept a goofy smile on his face. "Oh don't look at him like that Uncle Bryan! He doesn't know any better. He's still a puppy."

"Biggest puppy I've ever seen." He grumbled.

"What?" I said accusingly.

"Nothing." He said quickly and continued, "How long have you been trying to stop him?" He was still concerned because I hadn't been breathing right since he'd stopped Brutus.

"Long enough. I saw you outside of the restaurant where some of the newsies are having a welcome-home party. Are you sure you don't want a smaller dog?" My glare told him the answer to that.

Changing the subject, I asked skeptically, "You had a party and didn't bother to tell me about it?"

"I thought you needed to rest. It was a long trip here." He didn't want me to exhaust myself. He was paranoid about me since I'd arrived. I had a severe lung problem and New York was slightly cleaner with less factories to create smog than Pittsburgh.

I entered a coughing fit when a few of the newsboys came around the corner to find Denton. I couldn't get her breath back after all the running. I was trying desperately to stop coughing. Too much longer and I'd start hacking up blood and the last thing I wanted was for these boys to feel sorry for me.

"Denton? Is she okay?" Asked a boy with a brown patch in front of his left eye.

"Yes, I am fine." I struggled to get out and tried not to get an attitude with the boy. I hated having other people speak for me and I didn't appreciate the boy expecting my uncle to know if I was okay or not. Even more than that, I hated the pity I was getting. Leaving my hunched over position, I stood up straight and fixed my dark brown hair.

"Glad to hear it, miss." The boy said sincerely.

"Boys, this is Elsie, my niece. She's staying with me for awhile." I sent him a look as a plea for him not to tell the newsies about my sickness.

"Da name's Kid Blink." The boy with the eye patch said shaking my hand. "Dis heah's Racetrack, Jack, Mush, Spot Conlon …" The list was going on forever and I knew I'd never remember their bizarre names. "Eh, wheahs Skits?" Blink said looking around.

"Ova here!" The small Italian boy named Racetrack said ,shoving a tall, sullen boy forward. He would have been handsome, if he would have smiled.

"Heya. I'm Skittery." He said shyly. "Are youse shoah yer alright?" He asked, his voice full of concern.

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine. It happens all the time." I said petting Brutus. There was an awkward silence before I broke it by saying, "I really should get home. It was nice meeting you."

"Do you want someone ta walk ya home?" Jack asked.

"Really, I can make it two blocks by myself." I said impatiently.

"A' course ya can," He said, "But ya don't have to. Skits here'll take ya."

"You really don't need to." I continued to assure him.

"I am afraid I have to insist. We can't have your dog here takin' off witcho again." Skittery teased. Was that a smile playing on his lips?

"You boys really know how to make a girl feel like a damsel in distress. Seeing as you are insisting, I fear I have no choice but to let you walk me these grueling two blocks."

"A'ight da rest of youse bummers, back to Tibby's." Directed a short Irish boy with a stick. Oh wait no, it's a cane. Either way I thought it was pretty ridiculous.


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