Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Disney and are only used for fan related purposes.

or see spot run

The note that had been pinned to the back of the green and white gingham dress was short and to the point.

You want them? We got them.

Racetrack Higgins didn't know what was queerer about the note he plucked off of Spot's back: the penmanship or the address scrawled neatly underneath. Despite the way it read, almost like one of them—one of the newsies—was doing the writing, the simple lines were written in such a fancy, frilly hand that the culprit, in his opinion, just had to be a girl. And an educated girl to boot… even if the written language did speak like a taunting guttersnipe.

Then there was the address. Not too far away from the street corner where Race found Spot, hung over and in a dress, he couldn't figure what anyone would be doing over in that part of Brooklyn. An area full of factories and warehouses, it wasn't the sort of place that he would pick for a rumble.

Which, of course, brought him back to his first concern. What sort of girl—if it was a girl—would challenge Spot Conlon like that? Well, he thought to himself, at least he thought he understood the reasoning behind the dress then…

Spot, entirely convinced that some guy—because he pointblank refused to listen to Race that it could be a girl—was out to get him, hadn't stopped to change out of the too-tight, too-short girlish attire. After ripping the note out of Race's pudgy hand, reading the dare and the address for himself, nothing short of a pair of handcuffs on his wrists and a stint in the refuge could have stopped him from setting off.

With a steely glint in his still bloodshot eyes and a determined scowl splitting his dusty face, Spot was already off and running. He took back ways, of course, but that was to be expected. He was Spot Conlon, after all—Spot Conlon even if he was in a dress!—and he refused to let anyone make a monkey—or a girl—out of him.

Racetrack was torn between just wanting to head back into Manhattan to sleep off his night and not wanting to miss this confrontation. In the end, he decided it would be worth it to follow Spot but, wary of his old pal's legendary temper and not quite wanting to be seen with a dress-wearing pansy either, he followed a good couple of steps behind.

Surprisingly, the pair of them—even if one of the two was pretending he'd never seen the other boy before in his life—made it to their given destination without too many whistles or catcalls slowing them down. Though just one would've been enough to set Spot off initially, he was so intent on finding out who did this to him that he barely paid attention to anything but the street names.

When they finally arrived, Race wasn't too surprised to find that the address led them to an abandoned warehouse on the corner. No light shone from any of the man darkened windows. It was entirely empty. There wasn't a single person in sight. The building was old and neglected, its façade faded and forgotten. A long flagpole hung over a boarded up entryway, a story up; a tattered flag hung limply on it, fluttering in the wind.

But the flag wasn't the only thing hanging from the pole. A small rucksack, neatly darned, cleaned and filled with something Race couldn't make out from his place on the ground, was slipped over the knobbed edge of the pole and hung mockingly up above.

It didn't take seeing what was inside of the bag for Race to have a sinking suspicion that he knew what was stashed just out of their reach.

"Um, Spot, ain't that your…"

Spot followed the point of Racetrack's finger until his searching eyes landed on the sack hanging off the edge of the flagpole. He wasn't quite sure what it was he was looking at… until he recognized one faded red suspender draped curiously over the side. And then he knew.

"My clothes! Damn it!" Stamping his feet, waving his hands wildly in the air, Spot seemed to just lose it at last. "Who did this? Come out and face me like a man! I'll soak ya!"

Race wondered if he should try to run his theory by Spot again before deciding against it. Then again, who knows? It might just be funnier if he was right all along and Spot had no idea that a girl had done this to him. It did seem like a wily, girly trick. Race almost wished he'd thought of it himself.

When no one arrived in answer to his summons, Spot got angrier and Racetrack realized that he was the only one around for Spot to take his anger out on. And Spot hadn't yet gotten him back for Race getting Spot back earlier. Sometimes, he decided, it was a curse to have such a smart mouth.

But at least he had a smart brain to go along with it. His brain hard at work, Race knew that he had to get Spot fixated on something else besides revenge. Getting him out of the dress and into a pair of real trousers seemed like a good idea, too. A real win-win—

—until Race noticed just how high up the clothes were stashed.

He grimaced, though there was a really good chance he was fighting back an amused grin. It wasn't bad enough that someone had managed to strip him out of his clothes and put him into this dress. Whoever did this to Spot then had to go and show off how short he was next.

Obviously not in the mood to have his height knocked, he glanced up at the bag, over at Race and the back at the bag. He had a brain too, and not just half of one. Squatting down slightly to secure his stance, he folded his fingers until he had created a foothold.

"Here," he said to Race. "Step in my hands. I'll hoist ya up and you can get the bag."

It was one thing to know that Spot was a strong guy. It was another to see how twig-thin his arms were and to wonder just how in the world something so small could lift him up that high. Now, maybe if it was Mush offering to hold him up in the air… but Spot?

Race shook his head. "Nuh-uh, Spot, no way. Why don't ya let me lift you up and then you can get your own clothes."

"Can't do that. It's gotta be you."

"Why me?"

"'Cause I'm sure as hell not gonna let ya get a peek up this damn dress."

"Oh." Race nodded thoughtfully. "Ya got a point there."

Spot formed a foothold with his hand again. "Up you get." There was the first sign Race had seen all morning of the old Spot Conlon smirk dancing across his face as he raised his eyebrows. "Don't worry. I'll try not to drop ya."

Though Spot's words were less than assuring, Race wasn't sure if he really had a choice. So, sighing a bit, he braced his weight on Spot's shoulders before hesitantly putting his boot in Spot's hands. With a huff and a bit of a push from Spot, he swung up his other foot until he was stepping lightly on Spot's shoulder. At this height, he was only a few inches underneath the swaying bag of pilfered clothes.

It was just as the tips of Racetrack's stubby fingers grabbed hold of the bag and he had just managed to slip it off the flagpole when it happened. Two girls—a blonde with her hair done up in prim curls and a dark-haired scoundrel who looked as tough as the streets—suddenly appeared in one of the darkened windows… right at the level of the flagpole.

"Say cheese, boys!"

It was a perfect vantage point to see Spot in his dress, holding up a wobbly Race in his cupped hands. The flash was so sudden and unexpected—not to mention bright—that it took the two boys by surprise. Race was blinded by the flashbulb and he tottered; Spot was spooked and he let go of Race's foot, remembering himself just in time to catch Race before he hit the dirt.

Caught in a basket catch, Race landed bridal style—he'd forgotten how to breathe in the split second that he tumbled and he had one thought: Spot really is strong—before Spot realized what a compromising position they were in. Without so much as a word or a warning, he promptly let Race drop the rest of the way to the ground.

Racetrack landed with a muffled "oof" as he landed on his back but he didn't mind the short fall as much as if Spot hadn't caught him at all. And, since he managed to bring that darn bag of clothes with him, at least he would never, ever have to do that again.

And, of course, Spot owned him a really big one now…

Spot, on the other hand, had other worries on his mind apart from Race—like the two girls who had just snapped a photograph of him in a dress.

"Dames," he growled, before raising both his voice and his fist angrily. "Goddamn dames!"

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Jack Kelly lifted up one ink-stained hand in order to silence his friend David Jacobs, the Walking Mouth. Cocking his head to the side, screwing his eyes up in concentration, David fell silent as he watched the urban cowboy curiously.

When Jack shook his head once before slouching back up against the brick building he was leaning on, David glanced over his shoulder. Nothing was there and he frowned. "What?"

"Nothing," Jack replied, shrugging his shoulders. "Just thought I heard Spot hollerin' for a second there."

Because, when they said that you could hear Spot's yell all the way across the bridge the night before, they were wrong. But that morning…

Despite being bad tempered and one-upped by a pair of girls he once two-timed, Spot Conlon regrettably lived by one rule: you could never lay a hand on a dame. Ever. No matter how much she deserved it. And, oh boy, did he feel like Cinder Harrow and Amelia Wilkins deserved it.

But what could he do? He'd gotten himself into this mess thanks to too many shots of Irish whiskey and—with Racetrack Higgins' begrudging help—he'd gotten himself out of it, too. He had his clothes back now. So what if he couldn't get his revenge?

With their peals of laughter ringing in his ears, Spot held his hand out. Race gave him the bundle of clothes wordlessly; he was already working hard no to let a single snicker pass through his lips. Then, tucking the hard won bundle under his arm, Spot held his hand out again and offered it to Race. Smartly, Race still kept silent as he allowed Spot to return the favor by helping him to his feet this time.

Even if it was because of Spot that Race had found himself on his rear in the first place…

Then, proudly stalking off as if the whole event hadn't ruffled him in the least, Spot Conlon went off in search of an empty side street where he could finally get out of that horrible dress.

Racetrack waited for him outside of the secluded alley Spot had found. His back to the semi-dark opening, he only turned around when Spot called his name. Holding the edge of the dress out with only his thumb and his forefinger, keeping it away from him like it carried the plague, Spot nodded at it curtly.

"You got a match?" he asked pointedly.

The material caught fire immediately. The two boys stood around it in silence, basking in the subtle flames and watching the gingham dress burn. And then Spot cleared his throat.


"Yeah, Spot?"

"I shouldn't have to…"

"I know, Spot, I know. What happens in Brooklyn, stays in Brooklyn."

"You're a good man, Race."

"And that was a nice dress."

"Don't push it, Race."

"Gotcha, Spot."

End Note: Well, that's that. A very strange morning in the life of Spot Conlon and Racetrack Higgins. Don't ask me where this came from because, yeah, I got nothing. Except a very warped sense of humor, of course ;) I've been meaning to just finish this and because of both NaNoWriMo creeping up on me and a small internet break this weekend for my upcoming birthday (on Saturday, woot!), I thought I would get this out of the way before going back to the Pigeon and O:CLAK. Hope you liked it (and to the Spot fangirls: hey, he had it coming.)

- stress, 09.30.09