Disclaimer: The character of Spot Conlon in this story is the property of Disney and his likeness is only used for fan related purposes. Any original characters featured are the intellectual property of their creators.


The Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, 1897.

Scotch O'Reilly was quite a sight.

Picture this: a tall, lanky, scarecrow sort of fella, his legs moving all herky-jerky-like as he wandered around aimlessly in the dark of another Brooklyn night. The fingers on his right hand pushed back the thick locks of dark hair that fell into his coal-colored eyes before rubbing at the knot that was now taking up a good chunk of his forehead. His left hand was held out in front of him to prevent any other unfortunate accidents. Scowling to himself—a deep, dark scowl that made him appear as dangerous as anything else in the shadows—he couldn't help but wish he hadn't gone on this fool's errand in the first place. That, instead of continuing to wander around lost, running into things he couldn't see, he was back home.

And he didn't mean the lodging house, either.

Because while Scotch lodged at the Working Boys' Home located at 61 Poplar Street, that wasn't where he lived. On any given moment, when he wasn't trying to work some of the younger scamps into a rigged game of dice, or he wasn't needed to do some sort of nothing task for Butchy, the self-proclaimed leader of the Brooklyn newsies, Scotch could be found right outside of the Girls' Home, pacing back and forth between the lampposts that marked the corners, waiting for the chance to talk to any of the young ladies who stayed there.

Just... just not that moment. His head throbbing, his scowl deepening, he was a far cry from the easy-go-lucky newsboy he usually presented himself as being.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard. Hell, he didn't really know what he was doing there, except he had the strong suspicion that he would've been hurting even more than the pain in his head if he dared to skip out on this arranged meeting. But that didn't mean he had to like it. He didn't. Scotch wasn't a sailor; he didn't even know how to swim, which certainly made hot, humid summer afternoons down at the docks both frustrating and a little awkward. Even stepping two feet past the boundaries of the yard put him in the mind of bloated bodies, drowned, dead, slimy things just waiting to pull you under, all the time while his breath caught in Scotch's throat and he struggled to keep from losing it entirely.

Brooklyn newsies weren't a scared bunch. He always told the other fellas he didn't jump into the East River because he didn't want to mess up his dark hair in case one of his lady callers caught sight of him like that. Too busy teasing him about such imaginary callers, none of the others ever noticed the way Scotch flinched when the tiniest of splashes hit his skin. And yet... there he was. Willingly walking into the Brooklyn Navy Yard where, even the youngest of newsies told the tale, if you got caught, the next thing you knew you were drifting out to sea, a sailor whether you wanted to be or not.

Shanghaied, they called it. Scotch took a deep breath and shuddered. There weren't ever any girls on those ships, either.

And that wasn't all. He was dying for a smoke. If he'd managed to nick even the stubbiest of hand-rolled cigarettes off of Wednesday, he'd be lighting it up by now. It would've been worth it too, risking getting caught by the nighttime officers—but not the seamen, he added fervently, crossing himself at the thought—for just one calming puff. Scotch knew the cherry red tip of a lit cigarette would be a beacon as he crept through the darkness of the Navy Yard at night. He didn't care.

No such luck. Except for a bit of string, a marble, a penny or two and some lint, Scotch's pockets were empty. Jittery fingers found solace, pulling at the string, rolling the marble back and forth between the tips of his fingers and the fleshy part of his palm, something, anything to keep his mind off of what he was doing. And where he was because, damn it, he had no idea.

Scotch squinted. Now this, he thought, was dark. Real dark, too, not just the black of night you got when the sun had set for the evening. If he'd been thinking—and considering he'd spent the afternoon trying to convince a new, young laundress to show him her clean petticoats, it was safe to say he hadn't been thinking... at least, not with his brain—Scotch would've brought a candle or some matches with him. He didn't. The darkness settled on his shoulders, leaving him barely able to see the shadows of the objects littering and blocking his path.

He huffed. Would it have killed them to put a lamp or two out here? Lordy.

Too late, he almost walked into some mangled steel siding propped up in front of him; his head still throbbing from the pole he cracked his forehead against earlier, Scotch didn't think he would've made it through another hit. After that near-miss, he tried to pay closer attention where he was going, his mind forever wandering as it did, while he struggled to remember the directions he'd been given only that morning. It wasn't supposed to be far but it already felt like ages since he slipped away from the other fellas.

Needless to say, Scotch O'Reilly was not in a good mood. No, not one bit.

"Spot? Ach, I can't believe I'm doin' this," he mumbled, his adopted Irish accent a slur as he ducked underneath a pile of steel beams and wooden planks that were blocking his path. They weren't laying there slapdash, it was as if they were positioned there purposely, and Scotch had a pretty good idea by who. He raised his voice. "Damn it, Conlon! Are ya here or ain't ye?"

His voice, quiet and clear, seemed to come from out of nowhere: "Scotch, ya came."

"'Course, I came." Now he was grumbling. He still couldn't, well, spot Spot—though Scotch had to give himself some credit. He really hadn't expected Spot to be anywhere near enough to answer. "Now, what's so damn important that I had to cut out on sellin' this evenin' so's I could meet ya? And where the hell are ya?"

"Over here."

Scotch followed the sound of Spot's steady, cocky voice and nearly started when he caught sight of a pair of piercing cyan eyes staring at him from within the gloom.

"Light a bloody match, will ya? We don't all got rat's eyes like you."

There was a snap, a quick cracking sound, and then a sort of sizzle as Spot struck a match and lit the candle he was holding in his right hand. Scotch nodded, impressed. That was Spot Conlon for you. Always got what you needed—usually before you even knew it yourself.

Spot kept the candle at his chin, the flame illuminating his gaunt features like a carved Hallowe'en turnip lantern with a wax stub for a mouth. The effect was both eerie and impressive and, Scotch admitted to himself, just a little intimidating. Spot was a tiny, thin thing, more than a head shorter than Scotch, but that didn't mean anything and they both knew it.

"Follow me," ordered Spot, the single flame reflected in his brilliant cyan eyes.

Scotch hesitated. Maybe it was those fiery eyes, maybe it was his coward's legs... whatever it was, he suddenly had the urge to turn back the way he came. He wasn't sure which was the better idea: taking his chances with the Navy Yard again or stumbling blindly after Spot.

Thinking of the sailors, certain they were hiding everywhere just ready to snatch him, Scotch made his choice.

"Right behind ya, Spot."

Spot turned his back on Scotch and led him forward. Scotch couldn't tell if he was more nervous or relieved when it became clear that Spot had blown out the candle almost as quickly as he had lit it. The dark seemed more crowded now, fuller somehow, and he wasn't sure if his nerves were making him jittery or if he was glad that the dark made it impossible to see any sailors that could be out there. The last thing he wanted was to find himself lost in the Brooklyn Navy Yard so, picking up his knees and hurrying his step, Scotch made sure to stay right on Spot's tail.

In fact, he was so close behind him that when Spot stopped short in front of one of many damp, derelict and abandoned wooden sheds that seemed to appear out of nowhere, only a quick stumble on Scotch's part kept him from barreling right into the back of Spot. Cursing under his breath, Scotch had to work to untangle the tip of his shoe from the coil of ropes he'd gotten wrapped up in. By the time he had finished, Spot had moved an oversized plank of rotted wood away from the front of one particular shed revealing an open door.

In the shadows, Scotch couldn't make out the expression on Spot's face. But that didn't mean he didn't hear the annoyance in his voice as Spot drawled, "Well, are ya comin' in? Or do ya want to get caught by the admiral?"

Scotch was on his feet and hurrying inside the door before Spot had half-finished his threat. Between Spot Conlon and his secrets and his protocol and old Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, Scotch thought he'd be better off with Spot. Hey, there were on good terms, right? And, well, if they got caught... Spot knew how to swim all right. Every newsie for himself.

Spot followed Scotch in and in one quick pull, one quick click, the door was closed tightly shut behind him. Before Scotch could think of some excuse to get out of this meeting, he heard the same sizzle sound from earlier and Spot had another lit match in his hand. It was barely enough light for Scotch to be reassured that Spot was on the other side of the room, even if Spot had managed to keep his wiry body positioned between Scotch and the only exit available—and then, suddenly, the single match turned into three waving fires dancing on top of the wick of three stubby candles set up along the edge of the far wall.

Scotch could see. Not, of course, that there was much to see. The room inside the shed was small and, apart from the three candles, Spot and Scotch himself, it was empty. It was a shed with only one purpose and Scotch didn't need to have any sort of fancy education to know what that it was. Or why Spot had asked—asked, he laughed wryly to himself, didn't he mean told—Scotch to meet him there.

Still, that didn't mean he wasn't going to ask—

"Alright," Scotch said, false bravado making his accent slip in and out. It hadn't escaped his notice that Spot had once again taken up the place right in front of the closed door. "Ya wanna tell me what this is all about?"

"What do ya think?"

There was only one thing to think, the same thing Scotch had been thinking since Spot searched him out at the distribution center that morning and arranged this meeting. At well past sixteen now, Scotch had been around the Brooklyn newsboys long enough to know when it started to go bad. He'd been there more than five years ago when Butchy turned on Rooster and ran him out of town. Scotch knew which way the wind was blowing. He could feel it in the air.

So he answered Spot with one word: "Butchy?"

"Butchy," Spot agreed with a nod.

That's what he figured. Just once, thought Scotch, he wouldn't mind it if he actually turned out to be wrong.

"I don't know," he said, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously with his hand, "you've got your supporters and Butchy's got his. I hear Dodge has been gearin' up to take over Brooklyn when Butchy can't cut it no more."

Dodge McLain was Butchy's right-hand man, his second. No one knew anything about him: where he came from, who his people were, what he was doing in Brooklyn. He just appeared one night a couple of winters ago, with a face like an angel and the devil's propensity to lie, cheat and steal. Dodge was fifteen, maybe sixteen—he would never tell—and the only boy who was listed in Mrs. Kirby's ledger under his nickname because, as he argued, how did she know that his mama hadn't named him Dodge?

"Dodge ain't worth half of Brooklyn." Spot sniffed and spat onto the ground. "Didja hear what he did to that kid who tried takin' his sellin' spot just outside of Plymouth Church?"

"Yeah," Scotch said, and even he sounded a little queasy at the memory, "I heard."

"Don't tell me ya want to pledge your loyalty to a no-good scabber like that?"

"Now, I didn't say that, Spot..."

"If Dodge didn't have Butchy's protection... hell, if Butchy wasn't still considered leader 'round here... I would've soaked 'im myself. I'd like to think you'd be at my back, Scotch. I'd like to think you woulda helped."

"I woulda," Scotch told him. "Ya know I woulda."

And the kicker was that he meant it, too. A boy who was as charming as a weasel but charismatic despite himself, and pretty damn likeable when he was wasn't out skirt-chasing, Scotch was a big name around the Brooklyn newsboys. He would never be a leader—he wouldn't want to be—but he could be counted on to tell the truth when it mattered and to stick up for those who couldn't stick up for themselves.

Spot swallowed his smirk, just managing to keep his expression blank. He knew he had made the right choice in seeking Scotch O'Reilly out. "Yeah. I know."

Scotch brightened up a little. "Maybe Dodge didn't work him over too bad anyway. I heard Tosser can finally walk without his crutch these days."

"Ya know somethin', Scotch? You sure hear a lot," Spot observed casually. "But, see, I ain't here to ask 'bout your ears. We both know that. What about your head? What's it tellin' ya? Who's side ya gonna be on? Who's side are you on?"

Quick to the point as ever, Spot hoped to remind Scotch what they were doing there. But Scotch wasn't about to let Spot catch him off guard like that.

He scoffed. "Oh, righto. I tell ye I'm with you and suddenly I got Butchy at my throat. I say I'm with Butchy and Dodge and hell if I'm leavin' this room."

"It ain't like that. You got my word. I trust ya—" Scotch's eyebrows rose in disbelief. "Alright, I trust ya as much as I can trust anyone about this."

Scotch stuck his hands in his pockets, his dark eyes flitting over Spot's head, towards the closed door. Quickly, he tried to work out the odds of getting past Spot and out of the shed without getting entangled in a fight he wasn't too sure he had a chance of winning. Then he wondered if those damn dirty sailors were still skulking around in the yard, ready with their rope and a bottle of gin for the next unlucky sap to stray in their path.

Whichever way he looked at it, he was trapped. There was nothing else for it.

He exhaled and slumped his shoulders. Because, when it counted, it mattered to him to tell the truth. "So maybe I have been doin' a little thinkin' meself lately."


"Well, I can't say I like the way Butchy's been runnin' things lately."

"I'm listenin'."

"I mean... it's the spirits, ain't it?" Spot didn't say anything in answer to that so Scotch, feeling the pressure of speech that had gotten him and his big mouth into more trouble than he could ever want, simply kept on talking. "It's like this, right? Butchy's been leader for what? Five years now? Brooklyn's a tough city, aye, and she can bring any man to his knees. We know that. With Butchy it's the pub what saves him, Rooster before him had his opium dens. Butchy would do anything for a drop of good, strong whiskey and Brooklyn's been sufferin' for it. But he's got his reputation, he has, as tough as they come, so maybe it's a good fit... I don't know. Still, I've been listenin' and hearin' and thinkin'—" He paused but Spot remained silent, and Scotch continued, "—Spot Conlon, he's tough, too. And, well, maybe it's time for a little fresh blood at the top." He took a deep breath and then exhaled. "So, yeah. That's what I've been thinkin'."

Once it was obvious that Scotch had said all he could say—all there was to say—only then did Spot speak up again. "So," he asked, and there was little emotion in his drawl, "you're with me?"

Scotch held his hands up in front of him. Somehow he got the idea that, for all he said, Spot Conlon hadn't heard a single word of it. "Look, I ain't about to start fightin' Butchy or nothin', Spot, that ain't what I said."

"And I ain't askin' ya to. That's my fight. But, tell me, Scotch... will ya be standin' beside me when I'm done? If he knocks me down, will ya offer me your hand? Will ya stand up to Dodge if I ask ya to? Tell me, Scotch... will ya be my second?"

There was a heavy moment, a heartbeat that seemed to last an eternity as the past, present and future of the Brooklyn newsies hung on Spot's question and the one word answer he waited to hear from Scotch. Scotch bit back a sigh, knowing that even a night in front of the Girls' Home could never get him in as much hot water as this one secret meeting with Spot Conlon.

Nevertheless, he nodded. "Yeah, Spot. You can count on me."

For the first time that night, Spot finally allowed himself one fleeting smirk. With Scotch O'Reilly on his side, he finally tipped the scales.

It was a start.

To seal the deal, the two of them spit in their hands and shook. Once it was done, Spot stepped aside to let Scotch out of the shed first and, by luck or by providence, the two of them proceeded to make it back to the Working Boys' Home without being spotted by anyone else.

The tide had turned at last.

No one ever came out and said that there was going to be a fight. Spot didn't go up to Butchy and throw down the gauntlet; Butchy didn't accept the dare or, itching for a scrap, demand that Spot come in front of him so that he could put the younger boy into his place. There was no need for either of them to. Not in Brooklyn.

In Brooklyn, even the weather knows when a fight is coming. Like a storm that's been brewing for awhile, the fight for the leadership—for the ownership—of the city happened one afternoon when no one expected it—but, caught up in the rush of it, found themselves a part of all the same. The sky was cloudy, overcast, with only the weakest of sunbeams trickling down as witness. Purple clouds were slipping by, pushed by a wind that was desperate not to miss anything. A metallic tang to the air promised of redemption and glory and, more importantly, blood.

It happened during the early evening, about the time the newsboys would've been gearing up to head down to the distribution center. It was hard to tell from the sky, the darkening clouds making it seem later than it really was, and only the working boys' internal clocks told them where they should be—but they weren't. As if they knew, from either the impending storm or from the way the wind blew, they all gathered on Poplar Street and together they waited.

If you would've asked any of them why they waited not a single boy would've been able to give you a reason—

—until, almost as if they planned it (and they hadn't), four more boys joined the crowd and then everyone's stifled waiting turned into the hush of fevered anticipation.

It was time.

Butchy Rogers strode up to the mouth of the alley off Poplar Street—Buckbees Alley it was called—like he owned the very ground he walked on. A big, dull-eyed creature with bristles for hair and a perpetual leer, every step of Butchy's was purposeful. Heavy. Flanked by Dodge McLain, who made Butchy look more like an oafish ogre in comparison, Butchy tilted his head back and sniffed the air.

When he was done, when his plump lips spread out in something that could've generously been allowed as a satisfied, predatory smile, Butchy cast those dull, dull eyes of his around expectantly. "Where's Conlon?" he asked.

Spot wasn't hiding from him. Half Butchy's size but more than doubled in determination, he stepped forward the moment he heard his name spat out by the Brooklyn leader. Scotch was standing right behind Spot, following him towards Poplar and the Working Boys' Home; Spot stepped forward and Scotch patted him reassuringly on the shoulder before disappearing into the crowd.

He flicked the brim of his grey cap up, brushing a stray strand of dirty blond hair out of his face. He didn't mimic Butchy's smile, choosing to eye the much bigger boy daringly.

"I'm right here."

Thunder rolled all around them. Because, in Brooklyn, even the weather had an excellent sense of timing.

Butchy waited until the thunder was done before retorting. "Didn't see ya there." He raised his voice until the rumble could rival the thunder; with a crowd like this one, he wanted every single boy to hear what he had to say. "Don't know how I missed ya."

"Ya see me now, don't ya? Come on, Butchy, I knew you was gettin' old and slow, but I figured you still had your eyes."

The crowd murmured, many of the boys surprised at Spot's nerve, a few insistent that Butchy had it coming. Dodge, with his sweet smile and hell written in his eyes, quieted them all without saying a thing himself. Just one look, a warning, a hint, and the crowd fell quiet.

It was Butchy's turn to speak again.

He appeared less than bothered by Spot's comments. On the other hand, he actually grinned, his teeth like fangs overhanging his bottom lip. This would be the third fight he'd have over Brooklyn and so far he was two for two. Older boys, larger boys than Spot Conlon had tried to run Butchy out of the city before and failed.

Just like Spot would fail.

"Come on," he said, and his voice held a hint of mockery, of mimicry to those same two words, "you don't think I'm just gonna up and hand Brooklyn over to you?"

"No," Spot said simply, shrugging his shoulders so that his faded suspenders moved up and down with the motion. "I'm going to take it from you."

Butchy had a laugh like a dying animal, part howl, part roar, part wheeze and, because he had nothing to lose, mostly ruthless and definitely cruel. "Are you now?" he laughed, and his amused grin turned into a predator's sneer again. "Go on. I'd like to see you try."

"I'm ready whenever you are."

"Winner keeps Brooklyn?"

Spot nodded. He should've pointed out that it was winner gets Brooklyn but he let Butchy have his fantasy. "Loser has to take the walk."

The walk... everyone knew about the walk. The walk was one way, right out of Brooklyn. Once you took it, you never came back. Sometimes Manhattan swallowed you up, the Bronx or the Bowery maybe, but Brooklyn was never yours again. That's why Spot had to choose his battle carefully—that's why he had to make sure the scales were tipped in his favor. By the time this evening was done, he'd either own Brooklyn or never see it again.

It was a risk he was willing to take. Mainly because Spot felt there was hardly any risk at all.

"Alright." Butchy pushed his sleeves up to his elbows revealing folded fists like ham hocks. He waved off Dodge with a touch of impatience and eagerness. This was his fight—his and Conlon's. "Let's go."

And so the fight for the leadership of Brooklyn began.

Now, Spot Conlon was a calculating fighter. He preferred to get some height on his opponent, a better angle to his slingshot. He could scurry like a rat, climbing ropes, hopping from roof to roof, ledge to ledge with legs that were much longer than his short figure should allow. If it were up to him, this fight would take place in an even tighter alleyway with a fire escape off to the side or on a rooftop with as many ledges as he could get, maybe even the docks since there was the chance of pushing Butchy into the East River to cool him off... if it were up to him. But it wasn't.

This was up to Brooklyn. And in Brooklyn, you fought where you stood. This time the two boys—the old and the young, twenty versus near fifteen, wasted against renewed—met each other in Buckbees Alley and that was where the fight started.

Without a word from anyone there, Wednesday, a one-eyed drifter who swore he lost the other in a fight back when he was a young boy, went just inside the back entrance of the Working Boys' Home to watch and make sure that Mrs. Kirby, the matron, or any of her staff happened to peek out through the door at the wrong moment.

Once this fight started not even the might of Mrs. Kirby could stop it until there was a winner.

There weren't any weapons, not for this fight. Spot's slingshot, almost always stowed in his back pocket, was tucked securely in his locker; Butchy tossed his gold-tipped cane over to Dodge for safe keeping. Hands and fists and thrown punches, even kicks if they could manage, that was how this was fight would be fought.

Butchy landed the first hit. A punch that glazed along Spot's jaw, there was brute strength behind it, enough to make Spot wince though he was too proud to do anything but spit and wait for his turn to retaliate. Butchy blocked each of Spot's attempts, sneering as the undersized Spot tried to break through and make contact. Even when Spot finally caught him, a punch straight to the side of Butchy's left eye, the Brooklyn leader didn't lose his humor—his humor, or his certainty that this was just another dumb kid's sorry attempt at uprooting him.

"You're scrawny," he goaded, his voice thick with sinful pride, his every word heavy and heated, "a toothpick. Ya look like one good gust of wind'll knock you over!" As if in answer to his taunts, the wind picked up, blowing all around, blowing around the whiff of stale drink that always seemed to cling to Butchy those days.

That was it. The rank odor of old whiskey that came off of Butchy, it hit Spot harder than one of Butchy's punches right to the chest. For years he grew up with a drunkard father who smelled better than Butchy did; for years he was forced to bunk below Butchy Rogers in the lodging house, forced to abide by the older boy's rules. No more. It was done. Ducking and weaving, bobbing as Butchy grunted and tried to keep up, Spot wasn't pulling his punches any longer. He wanted to win.

Before long, he was winning. Spot was quick and Butchy, with all his bulk, he was slow-footed, his reflexes dulled by the past few years on the bottle. For every hit Butchy managed, Spot got in another two and soon it was obvious which way this fight was going.

Spot was keeping a close eye on Butchy. He'd watched Butchy fight countless fights, for Brooklyn or in Brooklyn's name, and he was pretty confident he knew all there was to know about Butchy's style. When he feinted one way, Spot immediately leaned to the other side, always one step ahead. But he was getting cocky, already imagining that gold-tipped cane in his hand, when Butchy rushed forward and swung again.

Stars exploded before his eyes but Spot shook it off. It was a sucker punch, a lucky strike right where it hurt with barely anything behind it; if Spot had been paying closer attention, he would've dodged it. Butchy was tiring.


Some time during the fight, maybe with that last hit, maybe with the first hit, Spot didn't know when, but some time during the fight his teeth had bitten down hard, slicing right along the edge of his tongue. The metallic tang to the air was nothing to the metallic, rusty taste of spilt blood in his mouth; when he spit, he saw red. Swishing the blood around, he grinned, and when he looked over at Butchy, the blood-stained teeth made the older boy stumble back in obvious surprise.

"Is that all ya got?" Spot asked quietly, still grinning. And then he spit again, the ruby red drops staining the dirt at Butchy's feet.

After that the fight was all but over. Butchy's aim was wild, swinging for the sake of swinging, and though he managed to land a couple more hits, they only served to reinvigorate the younger boy. Spot, on the other hand, continued to study his opponent closely and could always tell when it was the opportune moment to strike. He never gave Butchy another chance to do any damage to him while doing the most damage as he could.

"Look at ya!" Butchy howled through a fat lip and a rapidly swelling eye that made it difficult for him to see anything. He was panting, his words a distraction more than anything, a way to get Spot to swing just as wildly back at him. "What kind of leader will you be? What kind of man? For God's sake, your damn suspenders are pink, Conlon!"

Just like Butchy wanted, Spot reared his arm back one final time. "They're not pink," he snapped, his arm letting loose with a strike that hit Butchy right under his already injured eye with as much force as he could muster, and more than he should've been able to use. A split second later its twin followed, catching Butchy right on the underside of his chin.

Butchy was stunned, Spot's fists making contact with a loud pair of cracks like thunder, one, two; they reverberated through his head, starting at his jaw and traveling north. His teeth rattled, dark splashes danced in front of his eyes, and he had the sudden, horrible sensation that the ground was moving underneath him. Scrambling for control, his arms wheeling backward as if he could find some sort of perch, the ground kept moving, his feet couldn't support him and, with all of Brooklyn watching—the boys, the trees, the purple clouds up above—Butchy Rogers fell to the dirt.

He landed with a thud and there were plenty of newsies who would've sworn they felt the earth shake the instant Butchy hit. Lying on his back like a felled tree, the big, butch newsboy tried to push himself up into a sitting position, he tried to get back to his feet, when suddenly there was a boot on his chest and he knew that it was over.

A gasp rippled through the assembled crowd but not one of them said a word.

The moment belonged to Spot Conlon.

He looked down coldly on the former leader of Brooklyn with cyan eyes like diamonds and ice. Butchy was right—he was slim and slender and the weight of his boot shouldn't have been enough to keep Butchy down. But the weight of Brooklyn on his shoulders made him heavier than anything else and he kept Butchy right were he wanted him with ease just as the first, thick, chilled drops of rain began to fall.

Then, with bruised knuckles and a stinging wrist, Spot plucked at his suspender strap. "They're not pink," he said again with a blossoming smirk that didn't quite meet his brilliant eyes, "they're red."

End Note: Well, that begins the sequel to Red. Just like with that story, I wanted the first chapter to serve as a prologue to what the story will be about. There's plenty of hints about the forthcoming plot here - and, of course, I just wanted to feature Scotch again ;) There were slight mentions of Spot running Butchy out of Brooklyn and Scotch being a help in the first story so I thought I could tie them in together a little with this opener.

For Red/Spot fans, though, don't worry - we'll see the couple together in the next chapter... as well as some other old characters... and a new face or two ;) And I know it took me forever to get this up but I hope it was worth the wait. This story promises to be quite interesting!

- stress, 09.16.11