This is my first story ever...hopefully, I'll have my next chapter up by next Saturday. I hope you like.
Also, I do not own any of the Newsies or characters pertaining to the movie. I only own Aces and Kate.
The young girl couldn't wrap her threadbare shawl around her arms tight enough to keep her warm. Even on a hot summer night, there was always a slight breeze moving through the streets of New York City. She looked up at the sky and saw clouds rolling in. There was bound to be storm anytime soon. She wrapped the shawl around her shoulders even tighter than before as a chill ran through her body. It was barely enough to cover her threadbare bodice. Her face was dirty and her strawberry red hair fell in dirty limp waves around her thin pale face. Her chest hurt from wheezing and her coughs made her head pound. Her feet were bare, no socks and no shoes. The girl stumbled along the dusty New York street, wishing for something to end her misery, something that would change her situation from what it was. She didn't realize that the something was going to knock her over.
"Oof!" a boy grunted as he fell into the girl. The girl didn't have time to catch herself with her hands, causing her to moan in pain as the cobblestones tore her dress' right sleeve and grazed her shoulder. "Get up! Get up!" He wasn't going to leave her to the boy grabbed the girl and pulled her along the streets. The girl whimpered in pain as her bare feet pounded the cobblestones. She could hear whistled behind them and running feet. The bulls were after them. "Dis way!" The boy held on to his hat as he pulled her down an alley and then dragged to the right, pushing her into a little niche in the alley. He stepped closer, covering her with his body, his black vest, pants and hat camouflaging them against the shadows of the niche.
The girl whimpered as her shoulder accidentally touched his arm. The boy pulled her closer so her face was in his chest. "Shh! It's gonna be okay." He whispered as they heard the officers running down the alley. "Come on," he pulled from the niche and the two teenagers ran off in the opposite direction of the officers. The girl whimpered as they continued running through the streets. Her arm ached and her feet hurt like hell. She dropped her pace and slowly dropped her hand from the boy's grip. "I'se can't go no farder." she muttered and she fell to the ground, knocking her head on the cobblestones.
"Damnit!" the boy muttered. He knelt by the girl's limp body and gently turned her over. The girl was pretty. He couldn't leave her here in the road. It's a good thing it was a hot summer or she would have been even more sickly than she already was. Gathering her up in his arms, the boy trudged down the street. Damn, she was lighter than he thought. He had to get her back to the lodging house. "Com'on, Race, youse can carrys da tiny goil across Manhattan, no trouble at all." Thunder rolled over head. The boy looked up, his brown eyes flashing with annoyance. "Stupid damn summer stoirms!"
He ran down the street, cradling the small girl's body to his chest. The young boy was only 16 and not very big for his age, but he managed to carry the petite girl and shelter from the drops of rain that began to fall from the sky. Soon the rain began to fall in sheets. The boy ran under a cover and pulled off his soaked vest, wrapping it around the poor girl's body. He picked her up again and ran full speed down the street, cutting corners and through alleyways to get to the lodging house. His white shirt was soaked by the time he reached the Newsboy Lodging House's stoop. He banged on the door with his foot, wincing as his toe began to complain of misuse.
An elderly man opened the door. "Racetrack, what 'ave we got 'ere? Why you'se soaked ta the bone, boy?"
"Oh, I don't know, Kloppman," Racetrack retorted, pushing his way past the older man, "Maybe because it's rainin' cats and doigs out dere."
"Dere's no reason to get all wise-guy wid me, Racetrack Higgins," Kloppman said firmly. "Whatcha got dere?"
"A goil," Racetrack replied. Water drops fell from his soaked shirt, hair and pants as he walked over and placed the girl on the worn couch. "I'se was gettin' chased by da bulls an' Ise accidentally knocked 'er ova." He took his vest off of her and began to wring the water out. "We's hid in da alley next to foirty foirth and t'ird till da bulls passed us by. We'se started walkin' da udder way when she collapsed."
"So you brought 'er 'ere?" Kloppman finished Racetrack's story for him.
"Yeah, well, I'se couldn't jus' leave 'er dere," Racetrack responded. "I'se a Man'attan newsie. I'se one ov Coxboy's fellas. I'se can't leave a poor goil in da middle of da street in da rain."
"He's got you felllas a good education, dat Cowboy." Kloppman said, walking towards the supply closet. "Race, go get changed inta some dry clothes. I'll get 'er dried up an' warm. Also bring some of Snipeshooter's ol' clothes down. Dey should fit 'er well enough." Race nodded and climbed the stairs to the second floor that housed the bunkroom for all the newsies. He banged open the door and strode across the room, still dripping.
"Whoa, Race! Whatcha all wet for?" Jack Kelly asked from his perch on his bunk.
"It's stormin' out dere, Cowboy," Race replied walking to his bunk. "'Ey, Snipes, where's yer ol' clothes?"
"Why you'se wanna know?" Snipeshooter asked.
"Dere's a goil downstairs an' she soaked." Race replied, pulling his wet shirt over his head, his wet brown hair sticking to his forehead. "She needs some new clothes, stupid. You'se da closest ta her size."
"Dere's a goil downstairs?" Mush and Blink said at the same time.
"Yeah, did you'se guys 'ear me?" Race said angrily, pulling a dry white shirt over his head. He shook his head and the water droplets splattered over everything within 2 feet of him.
"'Ey!" Snipeshooter protested. "Watch it!"
"You'se watch it, twerp," Race retorted, slipping off his pants and pulling on a dry pair. "Can I'se have da clothes, Snipes or what?" Snipe rolled out of his bed and pulled a shirt, pants, long underwear and suspenders out from the back of his drawer. "T'anks, Snipes."
"What does she look like, Race?" Mush asked. He was always sweet on the girls.
"'Alf drowned," Race replied, running out the door and down the stairs. Mush and Jack looked at one another and followed Race down the stairs. The two boys walked over to the worn couch. Race was gently slipping the dry shirt over the girl's limp head and pulling the threadbare dress down.
"What are ya doin', Race?" Jack exclaimed.
"Someone's gotta change 'er," Race said. "Kloppman's warmin' up some wahtta to keep 'er warm."
"How's you'se gonna get 'er pants on, Race?" Mush asked.
I'se try not ta look, dumbie," Race smirked. "It can't be dat hard. She's just a goil."
"So!" Cowboy said sternly.
"So! She's gots underwear on, like pantaloonies or somefin' or whateva." Race said irritated. "Look, would you'se just let me do my job? T'ank you!" He finished dressing the girl, pulling the threadbare dress out from under her body. "Mush, can you'se t'row dat away? I'se don't fink she's gonna be wantin' dat back."
"Oh, I'se don't know, Race." Jack said sarcastically. "I fink she might've gotten attached t'it some'ow."
"Dumb-ass!" Race stood up and shoved Jack in the shoulder. He ran up the stairs into the bunk room. He pulled his blanket and his pillow from his bunk and ran out the door again. The other newsies stared at him. Blink and Skittery shrugged their shoulders and went back to their game of cards.
Downstairs, Jack and Mush silently watched as Race tucked his blanket around the girl's tiny frame. Jack was absolutely flabbergasted. This was Ractrack Higgins, the short-tempered, high-strung Italian newsie, who didn't care about anyone or anything except Sheepshead races and horses...and his cigar. But here was an entire new person. Mush watched his best friend as Race raised the girl's head and placed his pillow underneath. Kloppman came back with hot water in a bucket.
"'Ere ya go, Racetrack." Kloppman said. "Are ya soire you wanna stay up an' take care of 'er?"
"Yeah, I'se soire, Kloppman," Race responded wringing out a small towel and placing it on the girl's forehead.
"All right, Cowboy, Mush, ta bed wid ya," Kloppman directed his attention at the other teenaged boys.
"Look, Kloppman, Mush and I'll stay up wid Race," Cowboy responded, trying to reason with the old man. "Just in case, he's needs wadda fetched or anyfin'."
"All right, all right," Kloppman muttered. He walked up the stairs, probably to issue the lights out command.
"Seriously, fellas," Race said. "You'se don't have ta stay up."
"You'se gonna need fellas to get you'se wadda an' mo' blankets 'cause she's freezin'." Mush said, pointing at the girl's shivering figure underneath the blanket. Cowboy ran up the stairs and came back down with in two minutes with his blanket and Mush's blanket.
"'Ere ya go, Race," Cowboy said.
"T'anks, Cowboy," Race said. "You'se fellas didn't 'ave ta do dat." Cowboy put his hand on Race's shoulder and made him look in his face.
"You'se a Manhattan newsie, Race." Cowboy said. "You'se did da righ' t'ing ta help dis goil. We'se would be dunces not ta 'elp ya and 'er, Racetrack Higgins. Do ya ge' me?"
"Yeah, I'se gets ya, Cowboy." Race smiled at his leader. "You'se all righ', Cowboy, you'se all righ'."
The night dragged on and the clock in the lobby began to chime midnight. The shuffling up stairs soon stopped. Cowboy's head began to nod and he was soon snoring. Race shook his head chuckling. Though a born leader, Cowboy could never stay up past midnight. It was his only flaw in life. Well, maybe there were a few more, but Race didn't want to count those at the moment.
"Race?" Mush's voice was quiet so as not to wake Cowboy. "Do ya fink da strike will woirk?"
"I don' know, Mush," Race replied, yawning slightly. He never took his eyes off of the girl, who was still shivering. She began to cough violently. Race reached over and washing her forehead with a warm cloth. Slowly the coughs died down. "Da poor kid. She musta been sick foir some time. Mush, she couldn' walk afta I pulled 'er alon' away from da bulls."
"You'se saved 'er from da possiblility o' goin' to da refuge." Mush comforted his friend. "Dat's the best t'ing ya did foir 'er. Da secon' best t'ing ya did was take care o' 'er like dis. Race, you'se da nicest fella I'se know."
"I'se highly doub' it." Race smirked, looking at his friend. "I'se spends 'alf me toime down at da races. I'se 'ardly spends any time wid you'se."
"I'se jus' knows, Race, dat at de end o' da day, you'se still me best friend." Mush said. He patted Race on the shoulder. "So what are we'se gonna do wid 'er when she wakes up?"
"I 'ave no idea, Mush," Race sighed. "I'se say we'se let 'er decides wha' she wants ta do. It migh' make 'er a liddle less scared."
"Ah, shucks, Race," Mush playfully pushed his friend. "When did you'se become all smar'?" Race shoved Mush in the shoulder.
"Shuddup, Mush," Race smirked. "Get some sleep while you'se still can."
"Don' you'se fall asleep eida, she need ya ta be dere fo' 'er," Mush said softly, leaning against the couch and letting his head roll to one side. Soft snores filled the room. Race smirked. The snores were out of sync, making it quite loud.
"Come on, goil," Race took one of the girl's hands and rubbed the back of it. "Pull t'rough. You'se a tough one, I'se jus' know it."
The girl began to cough, her head shaking from the violent gasps. Race gently stroked her forehead, calming her down. She was going to be all right. Race just knew it. She was tough enough to last as long as she did out there in the storm. The clock chimed two o'clock and Race's head slowly began to nod until he fell asleep, his head resting on the couch next to the girl. His hand was still holding the girl's tiny hand. The clock in the lobby stood as a sentry watching over the four teenagers through the night.
Racetrack awoke to the chimes of the clock. He counted them, trying to get a bearing on his surroundings. It was six o'clock. So far, he realized that he was on the floor of the lobby with his head on the couch next to the girl and he was still holding her hand. Reaching up, Racetrack felt her forehead. It wasn't sweaty or clammy...her fever had broken. Racetrack watched the girl as she slept. She was rather pretty after he had washed the dirt off her face last night. He knew she was going to wake up this morning.
Kloppman appeared and smiled at the scene before him: Racetrack kneeling next to the couch with Mush softly snoring on one side of him and Cowboy on the other. Racetrack smiled at the old man as Kloppman softly nudged Mush and Cowboy.
"Come on, boys, wake up. Da presses are rollin'!" Kloppman said.
Cowboy yawned and opened his eyes. He shook his head and rubbed his face with his hands. Slowly he scrambled to his feet and stumbled up the stairs. Mush curled up into himself and turned to face Racetrack. Racetrack nudged his friend hard enough that Mush fell over on his side with a thump.
"Imup! Imup!" Mush said groggily. He got to his feet and looked at Racetrack who smiled. "T'anks a lot. I'se t'ought you'se was me friend."
'I'se yer friend," Race responded. "An' you'se me friend needs ta ge' ready for woirk." Mush glared sleepily at Racetrack and headed up the stairs to get ready.
Race watched the girl's face without blinking. He stayed by her side. He was going to be there for her when she woke up. Her fever had broken 20 minutes ago. Now he just had to wait for her to wake up. The other newsies began to traipse down the stairs.
"How's she doin'?"
"Has she woken up yet?"
"She's not shakin' an'more!"
"Didja stay up all nigh'?"
"All right," Cowboy bellowed. "We'se gonna meet Davy at da squahre an' preparah fo' da stroike. Racetrack's stayin' herah ta look aftah da goil." The other newsies nodded and made their way out of the lodging house.
"'Ey, Mush," Race called. "Keep me updated."
"Yeah, shoah," Mush nodded and followed the crowd of newsies exiting the lodging house.
Race turned back to the girl. "Come on, goil." he whispered. "You'se can do it. Pull t'rough."
The warm morning sun filtered through the windows landing on Racetrack. Exhaustion plus the warmth of the sun set Racetrack in a lazy doze, which soon succumbed the boy into a heavy nap with soft snore emitting from the young boy's mouth.
The hours flew bu. The clock chimed 11 and Racetrack jolted awake. He immediately checked on the girl, who was still sleeping.
"'Ey, Kloppman," Racetrack called from his spot on the floor. "Can you'se make some tea or soup foir da goil?"
"Get up and do it yourself, Anthony Nicholas Higgins-Bertoli," a girl's voice said from the door.
Racetrack looked up and saw a petite girl with long dakr hair pulled back in a braid.
"Amelia!" Race jumped up and ran to the girl. "How you'se doin'?"
"I told you, Tony, call me Amyor Aces. Not Amela. You remind me of Grandma." the girl ranted.
"Sorry, Amy," Tony said. "Do you'se know did goil?"
"Seriously, you need to talk better." Amy smiled. "You're not one of these newsies."
"Sh," Tony's accent disappeared completely. "How's mother?"
"Wondering when her son is coming to dinner again." Amy smiled up at her twin brother. They were alike in every aspect besides gender. "Other than that, she's good."
"Tomorrow night?" Tony asked. "There's a race tomorrow at Sheepshead so no one would know the difference."
"I wouldn't put it past Kelly," Amy said, smirking. "That boy has ears in every keyhole."
"I know he knows we're twins, but I don't know about the we're twins from the wealthy Bertoli-Higgins family." Tony said. "Maybe Kloppman knows, but I think that's it." The twins only called each other by their real names when they were by themselves.
"What about Spot Conlon?" Amy asked. "Do you think he's noticed your frequent comings and goings?"
"I go to the races. On the way back, I swing by our place." Tony said. "2 bucks, Spot knows."
"Yeah, probably." The dark haired girl nodded.
"And I swear he's been watching you go from the shop to the girls' place." Tony said.
"So?" Amy looked at her brother. "I can handle myself."
"I know, just be careful around Spot. He's not called the King of Brooklyn for nothing." Tony said, his brotherly protective side emerging.
A moan from the couch drew the twins' attention. Tony hurried to the girl's side.
"Come on, girl," Tony whispered. "You can do it."
"I'll go make some tea." Amy ran to the kitchen. "Hey, Kloppman."
"Hiya, Aces," Kloppman smiled at the girl who had become something like his niece.
Tony ignored them and watched as the girl's brown eyes blinked open.
"Hey," Tony said gently. The girl's eyes widened and she pulled the blanket over head in a rush.
"'Ey, 'ey, 'ey," Tony pleaded. "I'm not gonna hurt you'se." His New York accent slipped back into place. "You'se safe wid me."
The blanket stirred and a pale hand snuck out, pulling the blanket down. Tony looked into the big brown eyes and smiled.
"It's all right," Tony said. "I'se take care of you'se."
The girl nodded and sta up. "Where am I?" her voice was soft and quiet.
"You'se in da Man'attan Newsboy Lodgin' House." the girl saw Amy in the doorway. "Herah's some tea."
"Thank you." The girl said, taking the cup of tea.
"Racetrack," Amy touched her twin's shoulders. "I'se gonna run 'ome an' bring her some goil clothes. Soe's she doesn't haves to wear Snipe's stuff."
"T'anks, Aces," Tony smiled. Amy left, leaving Tony and the girl alone. "She's me twin sista. What's yer name?" Tony asked. "I'm Racetrack Higgins."
"I'm Kate Conlon, but people tend ta cawl me Shy." the girl replied.
"How come you'se were wanderin' da streets last night?" Tony asked. "You'se looked pretty beat up last night."
"I'se runnin' away." Kate replied. "I'se live wid me uncle an me aunt, the O'Malleys. They've got a goil an' dey like 'er bettah. Dey t'ink I'se a good fer nothin' cuz me mudda an' fadda didn't brin' me up roight."
"What da hell?" Tony fumed. Kate's eyes widened. "Sorry, I'se shouldn't 'ave done dat."
"No, it's all righ'." Kate smiled shyly. "Me uncle an' me aunt jus' don't like de ideah of me comin' in all grown an' stuff. Me fadda made 'is sistah promise ta look aftah me an' not toirn me out on da streets. So I'se stuck wid dem until I'se run away."
"Did dey hit you'se?" Tony asked, taking her small hand, moving Snipe's shirt sleeve up so he could look at her forearm. Sure enough, there were bruises covering her arm.
"Yeah, when dere was not'ing ta eat," Kate said quietly. "Dey blame me foir bein' an extra mout' ta feed."
"If you'se stay 'ere, we'se make soire you'se get a meal every day." Tony said, trying to convince her to stay at the Lodging House.
"Is everyone here as noice as you'se?" Kate asked.
"Nicah even," Tony smiled. "Me sistah can probably get you a place in da goils' lodging house down da street. Dat way you'se don't have ta be aroun' da boys all da toime."
"T'anks, Racetrack," Kate smiled. "I'se can't tell you'se how much I appreciate it."
"I'se told ya, I'se take care of you'se and so will Aces an' every udda newsies dis part of Man'attan." Tony promised. "When Aces gets back, let's go ta Tibby's an' get you'se all fed and stuff."
Amy arrived 10 minutes later with a pink dress and some girl undergarments. Tony and Amy led Kate up the stairs and showed her where the washroom was. Tony prayed to God that there was no dirty clothes anywhere.
"EW!" Kate's voice came from behind the closed door. "Boys!"
Tony smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand while Amy almost fell over laughing.
"What's 'er name, Race?" Amy asked.
Tony smiled when he thought of Kate's name. It suited her so well. "Kate Conlon, but people call her Shy."
Amy smiled at her brother. "You'se got a crush!" Tony shoved his sister playfully.
"Do you'se t'ink you'se could ge' 'er a place at da goils' place?" Tony asked.
Amy nodded. "Dere's a free bunk undah me bunk righ' now. She can 'ave dat one."
The washroom opened and Kate emerged from the bathroom fully dressed in a pink dress, carrying all the dirty clothes. "Wherah do I'se put dese?" Tony's mouth dropped open. Barely out of bed and Kate was already doing chores. Amy just laughed at Tony's expression and lead Kate to the laundry chute.
"So, Kate? Wha' do you'se loike ta do?" Tony asked.
"Well, I'se like ta sing an' dance an' I'se pretty good at any choires." Kate smiled shyly.
Amy shook her head astounded. "I'se know da poirfect job foir you'se an' yoir nickname is so good for you'se."
Kate blushed and smiled. Tony smiled back. Kate blushed redder and Amy just giggled to herself.
"Race, let's take her ta Medda's an' see if she needs a new goil." Amy suggested. "It's a good steady job wid good pay. An' it's only a shoirt way from da goils' place."
Tony nodded silently, keeping his eyes on Kate. Amy rolled her eyes and walked down the stairs. Tony held out his hand to Kate and led her back down the stairs to the lobby. Amy smirked at her twin, who was grinning like a madman. He liked Kate. Amy could just tell.
Suddenly the three teenagers heard loud voices coming their way. Kate jumped nervously and held Tony's hand tightly. Tony looked down and saw her eyes widen in fear.
"Kate, it's all righ'. It's jus' de uddah newsies." Tony smiled down at her. Kate looked up at him and blushed scarlet. Amy rolled her eyes again. Just then the door burst open and the newsies poured into the lobby.
"Hiya, Race!" Mush smiled. "Oh, she's awake!" All the newsies stopped their noise and stared at Kate. Kate blushed. Tony smiled.
"Fellas, dis is Kate Conlon." Tony smiled. "She likes ta be cawlled Shy." The newsies nodded. Cowboy came forward a little.
"Wait, Conlon as in Conlon?"
"Dat's what I said, Cowboy," Tony said. "I'se t'inkin' she's related ta our very own, Spot Conlon."
"Wha'?" Everyone looked dumbfounded at Tony, Kate, and Cowboy.