Author's Note: the prologue is written from Maggie's POV, but the rest of the story is 3rd person. I don't own "the Black Donnellys" or anything else but a love for the show and too many pairs of shoes.

All through history, people have accused the Black Irish of every crime that came along. They were supposed to have gypsy blood, or Spanish, or something. But my grandmother told me that before the Celts even showed up in Ireland, there was a race of dark-haired people, who the Celts then proceeded to wipe out. But they could never get them all...

All the trouble started with Louie Downtown. But first things first. There were five of us Donnellys - Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin, Sean, and me.

Jimmy was the oldest, and to understand him, you had to know two things. The first thing happened one summer when we were kids. Jimmy and Joey Ice Cream had just stolen a five-gallon tub of ice cream, and then had it stolen from them. Joey was sitting in the middle of road, yelling at the other kids. "Hey! That's mine! I stole that!" Jimmy was sitting on the curb, laughing at him. No one even saw the car coming. It was headed straight for Joey, but they swerved at the last minute and drove right up to the curb. One of Jimmy's legs just shattered, and it never grew much after that. It never seemed to slow him down though; it was like he barely noticed. The second thing you had to know to really understand my brother happened the day our father was killed. Dad worked for the steel workers' union, which was run by the Irish, but the Italians were looking to change that. One day Jimmy was in the car outside a coffee shop, and two men came looking for Dad. It wasn't Jimmy's fault, he didn't know that while he was outside listening to music, they were inside beating our father to death. He never saw their faces, before or after, but he did know one thing - that they were Italian - and Jimmy hated the Italians from that day on.

Tommy was the second oldest, and there were only two things in the world he loved more than his family - drawing and Jenny Reilly. Ever since we were kids, Jenny had been driving Tommy crazy. And even though Jimmy was the oldest, Tommy was the one who kept all of us out of trouble. He was never the same after Jimmy's accident, like he thought it was his fault. Tommy kept to the straight and narrow after that. He graduated high school, and got into art school, the first member of the family to go to college. But he couldn't ever truly escape the neighborhood, because he kept having to get one of us out of trouble.

Kevin and I were twins. He was born three minutes before me, and never let me forget it. And Kevin, well, he thought of himself as a gambler. He always believed he was lucky, and the fact that he had never won a bet in his life somehow never dissuaded him of this notion.

I was the only girl, named Margaret after my grandmother. I took after my mother, with red hair and a temper to match.

Sean was the youngest, the baby of the family. Everyone loved him, especially women. That was why none of my brothers ever let their girlfriends anywhere near him, and I had to listen to every friend I brought home swoon about him. Between the charm and the baby face, almost every girl he met was hooked within fifteen minutes.

Now, growing up with four brothers gave new meaning to the phrase "raised by wolves." My parents didn't seem to know what to do with a girl, so they just raised me as one of the boys. Whenever anyone in the neighborhood mentioned "the Donnelly boys," everyone knew that they meant the five of us - Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin, Maggie, and Sean. The boys didn't dare leave me behind, knowing I would raise hell if they tried, which always earned one of them a smack on the head from Ma. "Why shouldn't you take Maggie along? Now get outta here. Go play outside. And look after Seannie!" She would yell down the hall before shutting the apartment door on us.