Hey Howdy Hey! Welcome to my fanfic fellow fans!

First of all, I commend you brave adventurers because this archive is not easy to find! This is a fact that erks me very much! i've just gotten into Bone and am in desperate need of more fanfics! (Preferably Bone/Thorn that doesn't include killer mutant kids. Not that that Fanfic wasn't incredibly well-written, because it was!) :)

Anyway, I've written this in hopes i will rouse other authors to their computers! Also, I felt that the Bone cousins needed some sort of prequel. If Rose gets one, they should too! Now I tried to write as closely to the characters personalities as I could, but some part might seem a bit OOC. Of course in this fic the Bones are children so I think I can use a little license with some of the more emotional parts. Also I ran with a lot of the more vague references to the Bone cousins' family!

In this, I tried to really capture the strong relationship between Fone, Phoney, and Smiley. I think it's so cool how they play off each other in the comic. The specific inspiration from this fic came from the scene in Ch. 4 of Old Man's Cave when Smiley and Bone tell Thorn how they're orphan's, and the scene in Ch. 6 of Ghost Circles, when Smiley and Phoney talk about stealing food to survive when they were young. Also, I hope to shine a light on Phoney's small, but important list of positive qualities.

Well, that's enough talking for me! Just please be honest in your reviews and please don't flame! I've yet to order a fireproof heart with which to take it! ;)

~Promissa Fidel

Disclaimer: I will never, ever, EVER, own Bone. *Sob* :(

That night, even in the pouring rain, the town of Boneville was as bustling as ever. The streets were alive and noisy in the midst of lamplight from overhead.

Shopkeepers shouted out off their stoops, selling their wares and trying to be heard over the traffic. Cars zoomed in and out of the intersections, kicking up puddles in their wake.

Undeterred by the rain, bones flooded the streets in a hustle and bustle of movement. Some braved the soggy mess with umbrellas, others moved from canopy to canopy with the vain hope of staying dry. Many merely hailed down taxis, eager to get out of the cold wet air.

Suddenly, a harsh, booming voice seared through the noise of the crowd like hot coals. "STEAL MY FOOD WILL YA! YOU LITTLE BRATS!"

Passersby swerved around just in time to see a large, mustachioed bone chasing after three small bone children, no older than eight. In his hand he was brandishing a broom. His face was bright red as he huffed and puffed after the much leaner children.

"NO ONE STEALS FROM HAMMINGTON T. BONE AND GETS AWAY WITH IT! YOUR GONNA PAY, YOU STREET VERMIN! GET BACK HERE!"

Frightened and quick, the cousins darted in and out of the crowd, sopping wet and panting as they urged their small legs to go faster. "C'mon Fone!" called the first child as he saw the smallest of them lagging behind. Grabbing his smaller cousin, Fone, roughly by the arm, the child tugged him forward.

"I'm- *Pant* -tryin' Phoney!" cried Fone as he ran after his cousins, soaked and muddy from running through puddles.

Hammington was relentless as he shoved his way through the crowd in hot pursuit of the bones, the broom still ready in his hand. "OUTTA MY WAY!"

"What're we- *Pant* - gonna do Phoney!" gasped the tallest child, terror clearly evident on his face, the raindrops sliding down his face were mixed with tears. "He's gonna- *Pant* -get us, an' lock us- *Pant* -up, an'-"

"Shut up Smiley! Ol' Hammy's- *Pant* -not gonna get us, not today!" cried Phoney as he tugged little Fone in his wake.

"Ya gotta plan?"

"I'm- *Pant* -workin' on it, so shut yer- *Pant* -trap!"

Gears turned inside the small bone's mind as he tried to block out Hammington's cries. Looking around blindly in the pouring rain for anything they could use, Phoney's eyes lit up as he managed to see a large broken windowpane on a small, depilated building. Bingo! There was their escape!

"C'mon guys!" He cried, grabbing Smiley and keeping a hold on Fone as he sped around the corner and out of sight. Using the last on his strength, Phoney pulled both his cousins into the small hole the broken windowpane provided.

Landing on the dusty warehouse floor with an unceremonious THUMP, the bones laid sprawled out, panting with exertion and dripping with rainwater. Phoney stiffened though, as he heard the angry cries of Hammington just around the corner.

"Quiet" he hissed, pulling Fone and Smiley to the ground. Getting the message, the three cousins laid in anticipation, as the voice got closer. The only sounds between them were their own breaths and the constant pitter-patter of rain on the roof.

"GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE RATS!" The large bone yelled as he raced around the corner, but stopped in his tracks when he realized the bones were no longer in his sight.

"ERRR…" He growled, nearly snapping the broom in half before turning back in the direction of his shop. "I'll get those brats some day," He muttered to himself as he walked away, soaking wet and angrier than ever. "An' we I do I'll be sure to wring their little ringleader's neck!"

Phoney winched at the words, rubbing his neck nervously.

The cousins kept quiet for a few more minutes as they listened to the sounds of Hammington's feet disappearing in the distance.

"Well, that was a close one!" said Smiley, breaking the silence as he wrung out his vest, rainwater dripping on the ground.

"I'll say," Fone muttered as he sat up, wiping the mud off his face and arms. "I think we should leave Mr. Hammington alone for a while guys, or we're gonna get caught!"

Phoney rolled his eyes at Fone as he started to wring out the hem of his shirt. "Oh c'mon Fone! We got away didn't we?" He then gave his small cousin an angry scowl, "an' I wasn't the one who gave us away by knocking over that stack of books!"

Blushing with embarrassment, Fone became quiet as he began to explore the warehouse for something to dry off with.

"So did anyone actually grab anything before Ol' Hammy caught us?"

"Ooh! Ooh!" cried Smiley, his hand in the air. "I did!" reaching inside his vest pocket, the grinning bone pulled out a package of hotdogs and a small, soggy box of Saltine crackers, displaying them proudly.

Phoney grinned, patting Smiley on the back as he admired the hot dogs. "Nice one Smiley, we're eatin' good tonight." Smiley's grin widened under Phoney's praise.

"How bout you Fone?" asked Phoney in the direction of his cousin who was pulling a few fabric scraps out of a nearby crate.

"What? Oh yeah, I did." He said, pulling out a small bag of apples and oranges and tossing them to Phoney.

Catching them, Phoney gave Fone a skeptical look as he held the fruit a good foot away from himself. "Fruit! We risk our necks trying to get food at Ol' Hammy's grocery store and all you can think ta grab is fruit! At least Smiley grabbed some protein!"

"Hey!" cried Fone, whipping around to face his cousin. "Fruit's important too! Ya need it ta get vitamins! If ya don't have enough ya get scurvy!"

Phoney grinned mockingly at Fone, "An' where did ya learn that? I bet it was yer stupid book about the whale!"

"Moby Dick is NOT stupid!" cried Fone, his arms crossed in indignation. "An' if ya don't believe me, fine! I don't care if all your teeth rot out of your head!"

"Rot out of my head!" cried Smiley in horror, suddenly engaged in his cousins' argument. "Gimme that!" he cried, snatching the bag of fruit from Phoney and reaching for an apple.

Phoney promptly swatted Smiley's hand and grabbed the bag back, slinging it over his shoulder and glaring at Fone who had a smile of satisfaction on his face. "C'mon!" He said, the storms not lettin' up anytime soon and we've got to get home."

"Don't worry Smiley," reassured Fone seeing Smiley's eye following the food. "We'll eat when we get there."

Moving again to the windowpane, Phoney checked on tiptoe to see if the coast was clear. "Smiley, gimme a boost, will ya!" He muttered.

Obliging his shorter cousin, Smiley hoisted Phoney up and lowered him down to the wet street below. He then did the same for Fone and climbed out himself.

Silently, the three cousins slipped into the crowds of people on the street, being as inconspicuous as possible. Without hesitation they walked along sidewalks, jumped gates, and slipped in and out of gutters as they trekked home, rain pouring down their bodies.

Finally, the cousins reached the docks on the outskirts of Boneville. It was where all the fishermen brought in their catches and the factory the fish were canned in wasn't far away either. It stunk of fish and briny water, everything was coated in salt, and nothing ever seemed dry, but it was home.

Careful to avoid any nearby dockworkers, Phoney, Smiley and Fone kept to the shadows as they slipped into an old, ramshackle shed and closed the door. Inside the shed were three small hammocks made of fishing net, an old storage cupboard, and a kerosene lamp hanging from the ceiling. It wasn't much, but it was theirs.

Eager to get out of the wind and rain, the three cousins pulled the door closed and began to dry themselves off.

"Can we eat now Phoney?" asked Smiley in anticipation. The tall bone sat down on his hammock and rocked back and forth with excitement. "I'm hungry!"

"Yer always hungry." Said Phoney, trying to sound exasperated, but hiding a smile all the same. His cousin annoyed him to no end, but he was fun to have around at the end of the day.

Smiley's grin never left his face. "Yeah, but now I'm starving!" he said melodramatically. "We haven't eaten since this morning when we pinched that pie from Ol' Lady Johnson!"

"Fine, fine!" muttered Phoney as he brought out the food. "Hotdog ala saltine coming up!"

"Ahem!" came Fone's voice from across the room. He was currently organizing his small collection of thumbed, secondhand novels. He stared pointedly at Phoney.

"Oh alright!" Phoney muttered, "and the fruit."

Smiling with satisfaction Fone turned back to his collection. So far he'd amassed five novels. Some were from second hand stores, others from dumpsters, but Fone took great pride in the fact that none of them were stolen.

Running his had affectionately over the covers, Fone traced their lettering with his eyes: Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gulliver's Travels, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and, his personal favorite, Moby Dick. All these titles had taken him so far way when he was tired or on nights they couldn't find food. They weren't brand new or glossy, but they were his all the same.

"C'mon Fone!" said Phoney, dividing each of the food into equal portions (making his slightly bigger), "Ya better eat quick or Smiley will finish off your portion.

Getting to his feet, Fone took the portion Phoney dished out for him on a chipped plate and sat by his cousins. Picking up a piece of orange, the small bone chewed it slowly, savoring the juice as it gushed in his mouth.

He stopped however, as he glanced at Smiley who was staring at his half eaten hotdog with a very peculiar expression. Normally Smiley would have finished off his portion by now and would be asking Phoney for seconds. "What's wrong Smiley?" he asked, sending his cousin a concerned look.

"I thought you were 'starving,'" added Phoney, chewing on some of the crackers.

The taller bone tugged on his vest uncomfortably and chewed his lip. There was a look of unusually intense thought on his face. "Well… I was just thinkin' how it ain't right that… that we stole this food an' all. I mean, it wasn't ours an' we took it anyway."

Phoney glared at Smiley, his mouth a thin frown. "So what!" he muttered indignantly. "We're hungry an' it's not like anyone else is gonna feed us! We gotta take care of ourselves! Besides, no one's gonna miss a couple a' hotdogs, fruit, and crackers." He finished reassuringly, biting into his hotdog.

Placing a small hand on Smiley's shoulder, Fone smiled understandingly, also trying to reassure his cousin. Sometimes he had his moral doubts as well, but Phoney had a good point: survival was survival.

But Smiley still looked awkwardly at his meal. "It still doesn't feel right," He insisted, moving the food around on his plate.

Little Phoney's eyes narrowed as his frown deepened. "Right, schmight," he said harshly. "Was it right that our parents died? Was it right that the Orphanage tried to separate us?" His voice escalated further and further as he continued.

Angry, he banged his fist on the floor, causing Smiley's eyes to widen in surprise and fear.

"Do ya want to go back there Smiley?" He demanded angrily, so close that he was almost touching Smiley's nose. "Where all the other kids called ya dumb an' funny lookin', and the ol' hags called us problem kids! Well, do ya?"

Smiley shook his head hard, tears streaming down his eyes. "N-n-no," he whimpered. His eyes were far off, as if revisiting a nightmare.

"PHONEY!" cried Fone as he rushed to Smiley's side. Glaring as hard as he could at his steaming cousin. "You went too far and you know it! Apologize now!"

Phoney glared right back at Fone, his arms crossed. "Why? For telling him the truth? He can't think the world's peaches an' cream forever Fone! It might as well be us that tell him life's not fair! Still glowering, Phoney walked out the door and slammed in behind him.

"Err…" Fone growled in frustration, wishing he could ring Phoney's neck. But instead he turned to Smiley, rubbing his cousin's back as he whimpered and hiccupped.

"Shh… It's alright Smiley. It's alright," he whispered, "Phoney didn't mean it. He was just mad, that's all." Grabbing the nearest cloth, Phoney's blanket (much to Fone's pleasure), he handed it to Smiley who used it to wipe his eyes and blow his nose.

Sniffling loudly, Smiley leaned into Fone's embrace. "Is Phoney gonna send me back there?" he asked frightfully, clutching Fone like a lifeline.

"What? No!" Fone cried adamantly as he realized what Smiley meant. "Phoney would never do that Smiley!" The small bone threw his arms around his cousin's neck, hugging him tightly. "Those kids at the Orphanage can't hurt you anymore. Phoney just didn't know what he was saying."

Fone's heart lightened as he saw a small grin come back to Smiley's face. "really Fone?" he mumbled, his eyes brighter.

"I promise." Fone said earnestly, giving his cousin a reassuring pat.

Sighing deeply, the smaller bone got to his feet. He would have to go after Phoney sooner or later that much was certain. And the sooner he found Phoney, the less likely he was to get into trouble. "I'm gonna go look for Phoney," he told Smiley. "Do ya mind staying here by yourself?"

Smiley shook his head, grinning reassuringly, but Fone could tell he was still slightly hurt. "I'll be fine Fone. I have to finish eating anyway," he said, nodding towards his untouched plate. "Just find Phoney, okay." He glanced earnestly at his shorter cousin.

Fone smiled before walking out the door. "Okay."

Soon Fone found himself in the pouring rain as he searched the docks for any sign of Phoney. He hoped his cousin hadn't gone too far.

"PHONEY!" he cried out into the night. "PHONEY! It was hard to make out anything in the sheets of rain all around him. It was all he could do not to walk right into the sea.

Deep fear pierced his heart as he called and called over the storm.

As much as he wanted to kill Phoney right now, he needed to know his cousin was safe.

Suddenly, small sniffling sounds bled through the rain. Squinting through the curtains of water, Fone caught sight of a small, shaking figure under the shelter of a partially downturned boat. Fone would recognize that profile anywhere.

Marching up to Phoney's hunched figure, Fone had every intention of lambasting Phoney to kingdom come. This is, until he heard the sobs. Quiet at first, but consistent, the indisputable sounds of crying grew louder and louder the closer Fone got.

Phoney was crying. It took a long time for that message to hit home with Fone. Phoney never cried. He was Phoney after all, it just couldn't happen.

Could it?

Creeping up to Phoney softly, Fone stared at his cousin with bewilderment. Phoney was shaking with cold and exhaustion as his small form dripped with rain. Tears were spilling from his eyes and trailing down his pink cheeks. Sniffling, he wiped his dripping nose with his sleeve.

Never had Fone bone seen his cousin in such a state. He almost felt embarrassed to be interrupting.

"Ah… Phoney?"

Phoney jumped at the sound of Fone's voice as if it'd been a gunshot. Whirling around he looked at Fone with horror, violently wiping the tears out of his eyes.

"Are… Are you okay?"

"'Course I am!" Phoney muttered gruffly. "Why wouldn't I be!"

Stepping under the shelter of the overturned boat, Fone sat down next to Phoney, staring down at his hands nervously. He'd expected himself to be yelling at Phoney, not this. "Well, it was just that you were crying and-"

"I wasn't crying!" Phoney insisted in vain, still wiping his eyes.

Fone's eyes narrowed as he fixed Phoney with a stern expression. "Phoncible P. Bone! I've known you for as long as I can remember so don't you dare lie to me!"

Phoney glared right back, but he resolve seemed to fade as he met Fone's eyes. "Fine!" he cried, crossing his arms angrily. "I was crying! Happy?"

His response was awkward silence as Fone resumed examination of his hands and Phoney stared out at the rain. Neither of them knew what to say.

Um… mumbled Fone, breaking the silence. "Why were you-"

"How's Smiley."

"What?"

"Smiley!" Phoney insisted, facing Fone again. "How is he?" Behind his impartial stare Fone could tell Phoney regretted what he'd said. This was by far the strangest conversation he'd ever had with his cousin.

"He was okay after I calmed him down," Fone said honestly, "but he's still hurting pretty bad. You said some really nasty things to him." Try as he may, Fone couldn't keep the accusatory tone out of his voice.

Phoney just sat there. He hadn't acknowledged his guilt, but he hadn't denied it either.

Fone pressed on relentlessly. "I think he needs to hear an apology from you more than he needs me right now."

Still no reaction from Phoney.

Now annoyed, Fone glared at the back of Phoney head. "He thought you were gonna send him back."

"What?" asked Phoney, forgetting his pride for a moment.

With grim satisfaction, Fone continued. "He thought you were gonna send him back to the orphanage!" He allowed the power of these words to soak in.

"But… But…" For the first time Phoney looked truly lost, "Why would he-"

"Because you practically told him so!" cried Fone, losing his patience. "Jeez Phoney! You knew how much he hated that place! We all hated that place! Why did ya have ta go an' bring it up again!"

Silence took over once more as Fone glared angrily at the floor, frustration swelling inside him.

Phoney sighed quietly, for once not angry or indignant, just sad. "He had to know," the bone muttered softly, staring at his shirtsleeve.

"Had to know what!" fumed Fone, angry at Phony's sudden meekness. "What was so important that you had to go and hurt him like that!"

Phoney turned to glare at his cousin, his anger coming back. "He had to know that the world's not as nice as he thinks it is!"

"SO WHAT IF HE DOES!" yelled Fone, his frustration reaching its peak. "What is so wrong about thinking the world's a nice place?"

Fuming with newfound anger, Fone sat up, staring down at his stubborn cousin. "So what if we're orphans! So what if we have to steal food! So what if our parents are dead! They couldn't help it and I don't plan to go moping about it for the rest of my life!" Chest heaving with exertion, Fone stared down at Phoney with an unwavering determination, one that made his cousin turn away.

The silence became unbearable as it grew. The only noise was the constant plunk of the rain as it hit the hull of the boat above them.

But what Phoney said then really threw Fone for a loop.

"I wish my parents were dead."

Those six simple words sent Fone's mind reeling. The fire in his gut was extinguished as confusion wracked his whole body. He looked at Phoney as if he were mad.

"What're you talking-"

"Surprise!" Cried Phony bitterly, getting up and wheeling around to face Fone "My folks aren't dead, but they might as well be! They ran out on me."

"Fone blinked dumbly, stupefied at what he was hearing. "W-what?" he tried weakly.

Crossing his arms, Phoney began to pace the length of their shelter like a caged animal.

"I was born by accident an' my parents didn't want to keep me, so I got sent off to my aunt, Smiley's mom. He was too young ta remember anything at the time," He sighed deeply rubbing the back of his neck as he continued. "Then Smiley's and your parents went and got killed in that accident an' we all ended up in the same place" Sighing, Phoney sat back down, exhausted by his confession

Fone had to sit down as well. His head was still spinning and his legs felt like jelly. To think that Phoney had been keeping this from them for so long was almost unreal.

"Why didn't you ever tell us?" he managed to ask, shifting closer to his cousin.

Turning to face Fone, Phoney sighed deeply as he drew his knees up to his chest. All at once, Fone could see that all his cousin's walls were down. This wasn't the same bone that ordered him and Smiley around and made sure they had enough food. This was the deepest, most hidden side of Phoney that he never let anyone else see.

"I didn't want to talk about it, I guess," He started nervously. "It was so much easier just to pretend that they were actually dead instead of…" he trailed off as a small sob escaped him and a tear ran down his cheek.

"Your lucky, you and Smiley" He muttered, wiping away the tear. "Your parents didn't want to leave. Mine thought I was just extra baggage." Try as he may, Phoney couldn't stop the flood of tears and soon his body was shaking as it was wracked with sobs.

Soon, Fone found himself crying as he knelt down and hugged his cousin's sobbing form.

They stood there like that for what felt like ages. It was as if a damn had broken in Phoney's heart. All there was to do now was let it drain. Strangely enough, as more tears fell, fewer raindrops plunked down on the boat. Sure enough, the storm was slowly but surely letting up and more stars became visible through the clouds.

"Hey Phoney," murmured Fone, breaking the silence between them.

"Yeah Fone?" muttered Phoney, his voice a bit raw from crying, but he looked much more calm.

Fone took a deep breath before continuing. "I've been thinkin'… So what if your parents left ya. Smiley and me sure love to have ya around. And, if it's okay with you, I'd like to keep it like that! I don't know what we'd do without ya Phoney!'

He grinned earnestly as his cousin, and slowly but surely, Phony grinned back.

"Are you kidding?" He said jovially, still sniffing. "I'll have to stay! You and Smiley would be nothing without me!"

"Got that right Phoney." Fone said half jokingly as he stood up and looked outside. The rain had slowed to a small sprinkle as stars littered the sky above Boneville.

"Now C'mon! The rain's nearly gone and Smiley's gonna be awfully worried about us being gone so long."

At Smiley's name, Phoney stood up and dusted himself off. "Alright, Alright! I'm coming," he said, beginning to walk towards the direction of their small shed.

Their walk home was spent in silence, but it was a comfortable one, one shared among friends, or in our case, cousins. They reached the old ramshackle shed within minutes, but just as Fone was about to open the door, Phoney stopped him.

"Hey Fone," he started uncertainly, a tone Fone still wasn't used to hearing come from his cousin. "Thank you… For everything." And without another word, Phoney slipped passed the door and into the warm inviting light of the kerosene lamp. Smiling quietly to himself, Fone quickly followed suit.

The kerosene lamp was on, but Smiley himself was out like a light. The tall bone was snoring away in his hammock.

"Idiot," Phony muttered affectionately as he turned off the Kerosene lamp. "Would've burned the shed down leaving the light on for us like that!"

Fone smiled and nodded as he made his way to his own hammock, careful not to trip on any of his books. "Night Phoney!" he called softly, tucking himself in for the night,

"Night Fone," murmured Phoney quietly, but he didn't crawl into his own hammock. Oddly enough, Phoney moved towards Smiley's bed and began to shake him slightly. "Hey Smiley! Wake up fer a minute!"

"Huh, what!" came Smiley's voice as he started to wake up, but is eyes lit up when he saw Phoney. "Oh Phoney, Fone found you!" he cried happily, hugging Phoney round the middle. "I'm really sorry I made ya so mad."

Phoney sighed deeply as Smiley set him down. "Actually Smiley, it was my fault," said Phoney, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "I shouldn't have yelled at you like that and… and I'm sorry."

The room was silent for a few minutes as Smiley gazed wide-eyed at Phoney. Never before had Phoney apologized to him!

"Anyway…" continued Phoney, "I've been thinkin' about what you said about us stealing and I want to make you a deal. I promise that when I become rich and powerful like I always say I will, I'll pay back everybody we stole from."

Smiley was speechless for a moment as an enormous grin spread over his face. "Really Phoney? You would do that?" he cried as he hugged his cousin once more.

"So long as you keep track of 'em all!" said Phoney as he feet touched the ground once more.

"You can count on me Phoney!" said Smiley enthusiastically as he raised his arm in mock salute.

"Now get back to bed," muttered Phoney as he made towards his own hammock. "And next time don't leave the lamp on. You coulda burned down the shed and then where would we be?" The chastisement was sincere, but there was no anger in Phoney's voice

Smiley continued to grin as he got back into his own hammock. "Yes Phoney!" He called softly, basking in the familiarity of it all. "Night!"

"Good night Smiley," Phoney murmured as he pulled his sheets around him and fell asleep.

In his own bed, Fone Bone was grinning as he recalled the conversation between his cousins. Maybe Phoney could learn every now and again after all. One thing was for certain; he would do anything for his family.

Well, that's all I've got! Hope y'all liked it as much as I loved writing it!

Now remember, Reviews make the world go 'round! ;D

TTFN!