Author's Note:

This story was written for MelanieCat45. This is my first time writing fiction, so go easy on me. Please help me out by reviewing!


It was a hot Monday. August always made Jack long for the fall to come. He had been dealing with the heat (and the smells that came with it) for the last three months and he was sick of it. Papers weren't selling, and with Les back in school and Dave being...well Dave, there was no hope of profits increasing. Mondays were always made things worse; people didn't want to buy papers because they were late for their jobs and only rushed by.

Nearly a month had past since the strike, and all the boys were still trying to make up for the jack-up. Everyone thought that, once they won the strike, things would go back to normal. Jack sighed, remembering this. Of course, Pulitzer would not give in like that. At least they don't have to eat what they didn't sell anymore; that surprised everyone. Jack knew that it wasn't what they wanted, but it certainly helped save the boy's asses on days like these.

Jack glanced over at David. The other boy was sitting on a shoe-shining stand, fanning himself with his stack of unsold papers. David yawned large, his arms stretching up over his head. Jack smiled to himself as he went back to scouring the streets for someone to buy his papes. David still had a long way to go to become a good newsie. Goodthinghehassuchagreatpartnertokeephimgoing, Jack thought to himself.

As Jack sold a paper to a young woman, flashing his smile to her friend and making a second sale, he remembered the time when he first met David. He only took Dave under his wing for his brother's puss. Les had really upped sales; it was a good deal. But then there was David. At first, David had just been the way for Jack to exploit Les, but it had grown into much more. Ever since Mouth showed his true colors during the strike, Jack had taken a liking to Davey. The two were inseparable. Some of the newsboys had even started to call the pair "Javid," causing both the boys to blush.

Ever since Dutchy and Specs started dating and named themselves "Sputchy," the boys have made it a tradition to give people combined names. Another popular joint name was "Blush," between Blink and Mush, or even "Sprace" between Spot and Race. Of course, no body actually thought Spot and Race were together, but they liked the names. Although everyone said the same about Blink and Mush, many newsboys had noticed the more-than-just-friendly glances they shared.

Jack shook these memories from his mind. He needed to focus on selling, not on some romances fabricated by bored newsies. Lackluster as this work was, he needed the money. Having to split it with Davey didn't help any either.

It was not that David didn't want to help at selling papers; he was just bad at it. As he sat upon his perch searching for a perspective buyer, he counted through his papers. He had sold 10 papers. 10! David grunted as he jumped off the chair and approached a pleasant-enough looking woman. "Pirelli's miracle elixir scam revealed. Hundreds have been swindled from there money!" he shouted. Jack rolled his eyes as he watched Dave standing, not two feet from a woman, shouting these headlines directly at her. God, heisbad.

The woman curtly turned on her heels and scurried off.

Mush's luck was running only slightly better than Jack's was. He had headed out to the docks to sell, and the cool breeze off the ocean was seemed to put people in a more amiable mood. Well, amiable for a New Yorker. Mush smiled as big as he could, trying to attract the tourists as they walked by him. Tourists were always Mush's best buyers, for they seemed to be the only ones who cared if you were smiling.

He had sold nearly 90 papes as the sun was setting. Nothalfbad, he thought to himself. MightevenbeabletotreatBlinktoadinneratTibby'stomorrow. Going to dinner with Blink was by far Mush's favorite activity. He had become best friends ever since they first met when they were nine. Mush had been at the Lodging House a year before that, when his mom got the Red Death passed away. His dad left before he was born, so he had no one and came to the house.

As Mush started his stroll back to the Lodging House, he tried to remember when he first laid eyes on that crazy boy with golden hair. All he remembered was the mayhem that occurred.

Mush was sitting on the bed, counting out his earnings for the day, He worked with Bumlets, so he only got half of the day's earnings, but it was still a descent amount. Suddenly a huge ruckus broke out as six or seven boys ran through the bunks to the sinks. One of the boys was unknown to Mush, the one getting all the attention. He held a bloody rag over his face. Mush leaned over to Race to ask him what happened.

Race told him that during the night a big conflagration broke on 44th and 2nd; 20 or 30 people were burnt to death in the fire including this kid's parents. This kid escaped, but a large falling timber fell next to him and splintered. One of the pieces of wood shot right into his eye

Mush stared, horrified, at Race's nonchalant description of events. Mush knew the pain of loosing one's family, but to loose an eye at the same time seemed unbearable.

Later that night Mush heard the boy weeping quietly in his bed, which happened to be right next to his. It seemed everyone was asleep, so Mush did the only thing that he could: he got up and gave the boy a hug. The boy clung onto Mush harshly, and they stayed in this embrace until Blink could gather his thoughts. Once he felt fit to do so, Blink pulled away and wiped the tears from the one cheek where they could still fall. He attempted to flash a thank-you smile to Mush, but it could only last less than a second.

Mush could smell Kloppman's coffee, so he knew he only had about a half hour until the sun was up. "I'm Mush. Come on, let's get you cleaned up. I'm sure you want to make a good first impression on the boys" Blinked shot him a confused glance. "Well, other than seeing you last night with blood pouring out of your eye," Mush said with a smile. Blink managed half a smile in return as they made their way to the sinks.

Mush smiled at these fond memories. It took Blink a long time to recover from both his physical and emotional losses. The boys did the best they could to fill the gaps from his parents, but parenting is a difficult job for a teen working full time. Though Blink was nearly a year older than Mush, even Mush got in on the whole "parenting thing," and adopted Blink as a quasi-little brother. Bumlets agreed, and the three of them sold together until Blink and Mush could take the ropes for themselves

As Mush neared the halfway point back to the Lodge, his smile broadened a bit as he remembered when he first came out.

Mush knew he liked boys at around 11 years old. It took him nearly three years to build up the courage to tell anyone, though, and it wasn't until Specs and Dutchy started dating that he realized his friends should accept him. Of course, he decided to tell his closest companion, Blink, first. As he brought Blink up onto the roof for "the talk," he was fidgety as a two year old. Blink could tell something was up.

"Hey, Blink, um…I just wanted to…uh…you know…yeah."

"Not really, no," Blink said, eyebrows furrowed.

Mush tried to spit it out as fast as he could, "."


"I am…I'm gay, Blink."

Blink stared for a moment, but quickly shook his head. To Mush's horror, Blink started laughing a little to himself, and then moved to a full chuckle at his friend.

Mush was furious. Blink must have thought he was just kidding. "I'm serious, Kid!"

"I know, Mush, that's what's so damn funny! Of course, you're gay, we've all known for a while. It's no big deal. As long as you aren't trying to hit on me all day long then we are still cool" With this, Blink gave his friend a embracing hug, and with that Mush became instantly more calm. He knew how lucky he was to have made a best friend like Blink.

Mush could now see the door of the Lodging house. As he approached the entryway, he could tell something was off. Everything looked the same; the paint was chipping, the sign was hanging, faded across the door as always. There was something missing, though. He tried using his ears to discover what was wrong, but he couldn't hear anything. Silence, Mush realized was what was wrong. Where were the yelling boys? The pounding footsteps on the steps? He quickened his pace and trotted into the doorway.

As Mush peeked his head around the door, he spotted Kloppman, standing behind his desk, wringing his hat in his hands. The other boys were gathered in front of the desk, into the living room, and up the stairs. Mush joined the crowd and listened as Kloppman started to speak.

"Boys, I don't want to be the one to tell you this, but I got some bad news. Let me see, I, well let me just start at the beginning. You all know of Teddy Roosevelt, right?"

"Yeah, we heard of 'em" Race said with a snicker to Jack.

Kloppman waved a hand at Race, and the boy fell silent. "Well, he was so ashamed at the conditions you boys were livin; he decided to pass a new ordinance." A few boys exchanged puzzled glances. "It's like a new law. Anyhow, he, well, he sent inspectors to all the lodging houses around the city to make sure everyone was living good, ya see? Well they came around here today, and the inspector said we ain't up to code. He said all the beds are falling apart and there is mold on some blankets. He said I got to get new ones."

"Well that's great news, ain't it Klop? What's the matter?" Jack asked.

"Do you know how much new beds cost, sonny? New beds cost near thirty-five cents, and being that there are twelve bunks with two beds each, that's…well that's.."

"Eight dollars and sixteen cents" Specs chimed in with a grin. Dutchy shushed him, squeezing his hand.

"Plus we needs to replace the bad blankets, which I figure be another two big ones," Snaps added in.

"That's ten dollars, we can't make that much in a year," Skittery shot back to him.

Race rolled his eyes. "Glum and dumb," he mumbled under his breath. Skitts sneered at him.

"Common fella's, we can do this! When do we need to have the money mister Kloppman?" Crutchy asked with a fake smile.

"That's the problem, boys. We need the new beds by Friday morning when the inspector returns. If we don't have all the new beds in place by the time he gets here, we're shut down. That means I need the money from you guys Thursday morning so I can go out, buy all the beds, and get them brought here."

"You need us to get ten bucks in two days? I am barely scraping by as it is!" Skittery shouted.

"I'm going to back sleeping on the streets," Boots said with a shrug.

"Guys! We can do this," Jack interjected, hoping to get the group focused on getting the money instead of wallowing over not having it. "Let's see, Dave and I can push around a thou a week, so in two days that's two thousand divided by seven so about two…carry the one…eight…divided by seven…about two hundred eighty seven papes. So that gets us two dollars, minus food is, about a dollar."

The other boys stared at Jack, shocked. "What happened to not being smart, huh Jack?" Race prodded. "Davey's been teaching me some airymatics when we ain't selling, what's it to ya?" Jack shot back.

Specs raised an eyebrow, "do you mean arithmetic?" Dutchy elbowed him gently in the ribs, "That's how we got started, remember hun? You teaching me all that stuff yous were learning in school. I even can even spell some now" They nuzzled noses. Skittery groaned loudly.

"Back on theintendedtopic," Skittery said with an eye roll, "even if we gave you all the money we could, with the amount of us in debt, and the fact that none of us can sell like Javid, we still can only get about five bucks in this amount of time"

Race had enough. "Why are you such a damn pessimist all the time?" "I ain't no pessimist, I am a realist" "You fucking ass-

"SKITTERY! RACE! ENOUGH! Now boys, we have a problem here. If you just want to just bicker here then be my guest, but you are going to be the ones sleeping out in the streets come Friday night." Kloppman's finger slowly pointed across the entire crowd. Race and Skitts had fallen into an embarrassed silence. "Thesekids, theybickertheirlifeaway," the old man added under his breath.

"He's right you guys. We need some help" Jack never knew why he always felt the need to step up and take charge of the boys. Maybe it was because he had been there the longest. Maybe it was because he was one of the oldest. Maybe it was just a dreamer's nature. Whatever the reason, something inside Jack urged him to make sure the other boys made it through whatever tribulations they faced. Jack searched his mind for somewhere else to get money. He wished Spot were here; that little man always seemed to use his leprechaun magic to conjure up anything he wanted. Spot: that'sit! "Guys I got it. Spot Conlon can get us the money! He seems to always have superfluis money. I will head down there tomorrow, and get him to help us out."

"Hey Jack," Race interrupted, "You're the best seller we got, and we really need that extra dough. Why don't we have someone who can't sell quite as good go. How about your pal David?"

"You're right, Race. I'll ask Davey to head down there tomorrow while I cover our paper selling. Can somebody show him the way?"

"How about Blink?" Race suggested.

"Why me?"

"Let's face it Blink, you can't sell worth a rat's ass during the summer. You tend to yell at your customers more than get money from them"

Blink opened his mouth to reply, but Mush squeezed his arm. "Dude, he's right. Plus it might be good for you to go on a stroll, ya know?"

"It's settled then," Jack announced. "Blink, you go pick up David tomorrow morning at his place and take him over to Spot. You two see if you can get the extra five bucks from Spot. Everyone else, sell as many papes as you can, and we will get the other half of the money."

The boys nodded their heads in agreement as they headed up the stairs into their bunks. Swifty caught up with Blink. "Hey, you mind if I tag along to the Jacob's house? I didn't get to see Sarah at all this weekend." "Sure, man. No problem." Blink thought the idea of Swifty and Sarah dating was a little odd, but at least it was better than her being with Jack. Nobodyliked that.

Blink left the lodging house just as the sun came up. All the other boys were asleep in their beds except for Race, who usually got up early to make sure he got to Sheepshead before the races started. Blink didn't want to have to deal with the other boys that morning; he already had enough stress on him. Swifty was trailing behind him. Somehow, Blink managed to get the other boy out of bed before the first rooster's crow. That was not an easy task, but luckily, Mush was up as well to help him. Mush seemed to be helping Blink a lot out lately, but Blink didn't think anything of it. There were too many things on his mind as it was.

Visits to Spot Conlon's territory always made him a little nervous, and it didn't help that he needed Spot to give him money. Then there was the little issue where if he could not get this money then all of the newsies would be kicked out onto the street.

How was he supposed to get the money from Spot anyways? HeySpot, rememberthatstrikeyouhelpeduswith? Wellyeah, becauseofthat, Rooseveltisgoingtokickusoutofourhouse. Canyouforkoverfivebuckstohelpout? Blink scowled to himself, and Swifty winked at him in a manner that could be interpreted in many different ways. Blink rolled his eyes. The walk seemed longer than it should have, but walking with Swifty was usually tiresome. The boy seemed to always have something in which he wanted to say, but he never said it. He just flashed some misguided expression, confusing Blink to no end.

Blink was the first boy to introduce himself to David near a month ago. Well, more of Mush introduced Blink for him. Blink never liked introductions, for they always went along the lines of High, I'mBlink. WellI'mSuch-and-Such, nicetomeetyou. Whathappenedtoyoureye? It got old. Luckily, David was too shell-shocked from Mush's overly enthusiastic introduction of himself and Blink to even notice Blink's patch.

The walk to the Jacob's apartment went fast enough. Swifty asked if he could go up first to surprise Sarah, and although Blink could see nothing romantic about startling a girl by standing outside her third story window, he agreed. Moreover, he just didn't care what Swifty did. He sat a level below, and listened to the happenings between Swifty and Sarah. She ordered him up to the roof, and he cheerfully agreed. She brought up a breakfast and followed him up there. Fortunately, they only took about five minutes for them to clear out so Blink could go get David.

Blink climbed the fire escape up one flight to the window. David saw him and opened up the window. Ushering him outside, Blink quickly explained the situation. After quietly swearing over having to visit Spot again, David jumped back in the house to kiss his parents goodbye. He came back outside and the two set off.

The walk to Brooklyn only took a couple hours, and the pair was crossing the bridge by eight in the morning. Soon after they arrived on the docks, the boys spotted Spot sitting atop his perch at the end of the dock, discussing something closely with someone. As Blink and David got closer they noticed the cigar smoke and faint Italian accent coming from the boy, who was almost of the same stature as Spot.

"Is that who I think it is? What the hell is he doing here?" Blink whispered to David.

It was, in fact, Racetrack Higgins. "Yeah, I got 'em for ya, babe. They should be here anytime." Race's eyes grew wide for a second as he turned and saw the two boys watching, more of staring at, him conversing with Spot. "You two saw nothing, hear?" he shot to the two boys as he briskly walked away.

Spot broke the two's dazzled expression by sucking on his teeth and loudly announcing, "My, my, look what the cat dragged in. Just the pair I was looking for. Now, I have had a lot of little birdies chirping in my ears, and it seems to me that you two are having some, how do I put this, personal issues.

"What? We don't have any issues," David explained. "Actually we came here for something else. We need some cash."

"Yeah, yeah, I know all about your new bed dough issues." Wordsuredoestravelfast, David thought. IguessthiswaseasierthanIthought, Blink said to himself. "But first, let me take you two somewhere. If you want this money, you got to something for me." What? "So, I have been hearing a lot of things from a lot of people. This means I know a lot of things."

"What the hell is this boy talking about?" Blink whispered harshly to David. "I can see why everyone is afraid of him," David whispered back. "Yes, I can hear you, and yes, I will let it slip this time," Spot said, not even bothering to look back over his shoulder as he led them beneath the dock. The boys exchanged a nervous glance.

As they arrived on the sand beneath docks, they saw the strange scene set before them. Sitting alone on the sand was a table, upon it, two glasses. Each were filled some sort of purple liquid. Spot instructed the two to stand on either side of the table with two harsh taps of his cane. "Now close your eyes." "OW!" the boys shouted in unison as the rubbed their scalps, where some hairs had been yanked out and where now being held captive by Spot. He took the hairs and through them into the cups in front of the two teens, respectively. He then swapped the position of the cups. "Drink."

"Why?" Blink shouted?

"If you want those five dollars, you will do as I say"

"I don't even know what that shit is!'


"We aren't drinking it until you tell us what the fuck it is."

"You won't know what it is"

"Try us"


"I have no idea what the hell that is"

"Told you."

David chimed in, "if we drink this, you will give us the five dollars?"

"Cross my heart"

"We'll do it."

"Bu-" "Blink, we need the cash. Drink" With this the pair downed the liquid (which tasted eve more disgusting than it looked) as fast as they could.

"That should take effect by morning. Now come back tomorrow night and I'll give you twos the dough."

Blink was furious. Wednesday night? "Now wait a minute, you said-"

"-That I would give you the money if you drank the pol…the drink. Now you two know the way out." The two grumblingly trudged back to David's house. There really wasn't anything they could do. After they left, Spot felt for his wand in his pocket and went back to his search for someone to take his place as leader while he went back for his fourth year as a Slytherin.

Near halfway home the Blink's stomach growled. It was near noon and Blink hadn't gotten breakfast yet. "Hey, you want to stop here at Little Italy for lunch?"

"Why not," David replied. After the boys shared a pizza and were out of there by 1:30. As they started home, David felt a little queasy. "That pizza did not go well with me."

"You too? I feel like I am going to hurl." In seeming agreement, his stomach growled loudly. "Hey, we are only about fifteen minutes from the lodge. Let's hang out there until this passes."

"Fine by me." Blink and David set off for the lodge as fast as they could, and upon arrival rushed upstairs without bothering to stop as Kloppman questioned about the money. They each went upstairs and took a stall. Blink started yelling as if some crazy murderer had poisoned his drink in a homicidal rampage. David tried to be quite, but his moans managed to still reach a decibel most thought he could never muster.

Kloppman looked up from his desk, but just shook his head, thinking Sputchy had thought them a new trick.

Suddenly, the noise went silent; only heavy breathing remaining. David emerged from his stall first, and looked in the mirror. It looked as if he came out alright. He brought his hand up to his face, but his reflection remained stone-still and wide eyed. Thatisnotamirror: thatisBlink! Both boys let out a ear-splitting yell as Race walked in the door. "Ah, I see Spot worked his magic."

"Race! I am...and David," Blink sputtered, "and you...WHATDIDTHATBASTARDDO?"

"Calm down! You two better switch clothes. No one will believe you if you go on a rant about how you two 'switched bodies'. Oh, and just so you know, you two are still yourselves, you just look different. Shut your damn mouths, it ain't that complicated! Now hurry and switch clothes before someone sees one of you two goons."

The boys did as they were told and clumsily exchanged clothes. "So, what are we going to do?" David asked as he unbuttoned his shirt and took it off with the vest.

Blink took the shirt and handed David his own. "I guess we just do like Race said. Let's go on as this never happened; pretended to, you know, be each other." He stripped off his pants and handed them to David.

"That means you're going to have loose the accent. And the temper. Plus you're going to live with my family tonight. God, this I cannot see this going well." David finished buttoning up his pants just as Kloppman walked into the room. "Glad you two are done. Just wanted to see if you got the money." The two stared at him, unsure of the correct answer. "Obviously you two weren't done. Kidsthesedays, nomoralbounderies" He muttered down the stairs. Blink and David smirked at each other, stifling their laughter.

Blink set off for the Jacob's house. IamDavidJacob, mybrotherisLes, mysisterisSarah. –trip– Shit, howdoesDavidwalkinthesethings? TheselegsarelongerthanLadyLiberty's. Right, nocursing. WhatelsedoIknowaboutDavid? Uhhe'sJewish, Ithink. DoJewishpeopledoweirdthings? Idon'tremember. IthinktheypreytoKosher, isn'tit? Yeah, Kosher. Thatsoundsright.

Meanwhile, David wasn't doing any better. WhatdoIsaywhentheboysgetback? DoIgreetthem? HowmuchshouldIcurse? Blinkcursesalot. Let'stryit. "Shit," David whispered. He never cursed at home. "Shit." This wasn't half bad! He could get used to this bad-boy life style. "SHITSHITSHITDAMNHELLSHITFUCK!"

"KEEP IT DOWN UP THERE, WILL YA?"Kloppman shouted from his office. OK, maybethisisharderthanIthought.

It was now four o'clock and Blink was just arriving at the apartment. Myapartment, he said to himself. Immediately he was struck with a dilemma. Ihavenoideahowtogettothefrontdoor. Blink had always used the fire escape. David used the front door, though, right? Blink decided his only option was to use the fire escape.

As he jumped on to the bar, he realized how weak David was. It took all the strength he could muster just to lift himself onto the first story of the fire escape. Fortunately, he made it up after a couple of tries, and climbed the stairs of the fire escape. As he reached the window, he was already out of breath. Shit, whyamIsofuckingtired? Imean, uh, ahem...jeeze, Isureamtirednow. How do people say anything without swearing?

"David, you are home early. Is something a matter?" Esther said, worried.

"David!" Les jumped up and clung to his waist. WhatthehelldoIdowiththis?

"I just…felt like seeing you all again!" DoJewsdoacrazygreeting? C'mon man, you got this. Think on your toes."I love Kosher!"

"That's…nice…son. Good thing your mother made us soup for dinner tonight. No bad ingredients in there. Well, not much ingredients in there at all."

"Mayer," Esther tisked with a chuckle.

What does he mean? Are do we eat holy crackers or something for dinner? How the hell can we eat Kosher? I should have got a lesson from David before I got here.

David was still trying to get used to his new body. He felt this strange sensation throughout every muscle, as if he wanted to run, to jump, and to do anything. He couldn't hold it in any longer and started doing crunches on one of the bunks. After doing near ten sets he started to feel sweat drip over his temple, but he didn't care. He finally started feeling a little less ancy.

He was working out so hard that he never heard when another boy entered the room. As he wiped his forehead, he looked up and saw Mush staring at him. Mush quickly diverted his eyes and forced out a small laughed. "You know you will never compete with my abs." How would Blink great him? " How the shit are you?" Nice! I even got a swear word in there.

"Um, I'm pretty good. You okay there?"

"Uh, now that you are here I am." Mush's eyes widened slightly, "Really?" Oh dear, that's not what I meant! Now Mush is going to think Blink is in love with him. Blink is going to kill me tomorrow.

The dinner at the Jacobs had gone fairly well. Blink gave up trying to do the things he thought Jewish people did after realizing that Kosher had to do with food. He cringed inwardly when he thought of how he must have looked to the family. I guess it doesn't matter. I will be back in my own body tomorrow...I hope. Just got to make it through the night.

Blink was standing out on the fire escape. Sarah kept trying to tell him about her date with Swifty that morning, and Blink didn't want to hear it. He just wanted the day to be done and the Jacobs to go to sleep. Les fell asleep right after dinner, but the rest of the family was still working on their tasks. Esther was sowing, Sarah on her needlework, and Mayor reading the paper. Blink had tried to contemplate what David's nighttime activity would be, but he couldn't come up with anything. And it wasn't like he could just ask David's family what David does every night; they would think he was round the bend.

Before he had much time to fret over the matter, he heard a noise coming from the steps below him. He glanced down and spotted the telltale red bandana of Jack Kelley. Shit. "Hey ya', Davey! How'd it go with Spot today? Sorry for sending you off with Blink; I hope his temper didn't flare at you. He gets a little touchy sometime."

"What? I mean...uh, no, he was pretty good. He's a nice guy." Blink realized he could use this situation to his advantage. What gossip could he get out of Jack about himself? "So, um, what else do you think about me, I mean him...Blink?"

Jack laughed at him as he leaned on the rail, "Don't tell me that you have grown bored with me," What. "Wasn't last night good enough for you?" Oh god, the stories are true. Javid is real! Blink smiled momentarily because that meant he won his bet against Skittery, but quickly that expression dropped and his eyes widened. He now had to pretend to be in love with Jack Kelley.

Jack saw David's expression and tried to cover himself, "I'm just joking with ya, Dave. Don't look like I'm comin at you with some brass knuckles." David sighed, inwardly, at David's fear. Of course David would be afraid of Jack joking around with a relationship. Unlike the rest of the newsies, David had been in school. Apparently, in schools they were teaching some thing where boys were only supposed to date girls, and vice-versa. As ridicules as that was, David still seemed to believe it. There was no chance of him wanting to date Jack. Not that Jack was complaining, because the first Jacob he courted was difficult enough to handle.

Blink let out his breath in relief at not having to get all mushy with Jack. Nothing against Jack, he just wasn't his type. "Oh, yeah. Right." He muttered. Blink leaned on the rail, slightly dejected about loosing two bits to Skitts. Blink raised up his head, a gleam in his eye. He didn't have to lose that bet; he could change things! Blink dramatically sighed, "It's too bad."


"Oh, it's just that I thought you weren't kiddin."

"Davey, you sayin what I think you are?"

"You'll never know until you ask," Blink said with a smirk. He liked teasing Jack, knocking Cowboy off his high horse.

Jack, on the other hand, was not enjoying this at all. Was David really asking him to court? What should Jack say? Should he respond? Should he just laugh it off? Jack decided to go with his gut. He quickly stumbled out the words, "You askin to court me, Dave," though not precisely in that order.

Blink smiled in return. "I just might be." As Jack gave him a hearty pat on the back, smiling insationably, Blink realized what he had just done. He had just set up Jack and David, and even committed David to the relationship without David even knowing. What the fuck have I done?

David wasn't feeling to much better about the choices he had made either. For the past ten minutes, Mush had been sitting next to David on the bed, clinging to his hand and pouring out how hard it was to keep his feelings towards Blink inside for all these years. Well, youhaven'tdonetowellwithit. Weallknew. David stared ahead as he tried to block out Mush's very mushy love-speech. What was Blink going to say when he got back? How could David keep this act up until Blink returned?

As he glanced back at Mush, David locked onto the younger boys' puppy-like expression, as if waiting for an answer. What did he just say? David had no idea, so he simply smiled and nodded. He realized from a life with Sarah that ignoring, smiling, and nodding tends to work out generally for the best. Mush's eyes suddenly grew to such a large extent that David was worried they might fall out. Suddenly Mushy burst up from his spot on the bed, tackling Blink with a large bear hug.

"I knew it, I always knew!" Mush shouted, ecstatic that Blink had finally agreed to start courting him. David, forever-blind David, did not understand this gesture for its true meaning, so he asked, "What...does this mean Mush?"

"It means that you like me back! It's so crazy that we both knew, but both held back our feelings for so long. I was so scared you would hate me! But you don't Blink, and this is just too perfect!" David shifted his glance hurriedly to an extremely important piece of paint hanging off the wall in front of him. Luckily, Mush was to hopelessly in love to notice anything, and simply gave the other boy yet another choking bear hug as Skittery walked into the room.

"You two at it again? In my bed! Figures, not like I would be sleeping much tonight anyways with your incessant muttering about Blink all night." Mush reddened slightly in response, but quickly scurried off to tell Skits all about how he and Blink are together. As other newsboys entered the room from their evening sale, David breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that Mush would be occupied for a little longer.

Blink woke up in David's room to Jack's snoring coming from the bed next to him. Blink rolled his eyes, but was happy that Jack at least had the decency to not try to pull anything their first night together. He was a ceaseless snuggler, but dealing with Mush during his times of nightmares had got Blink used to that. Blink crawled over his sleeping, friend. Jack was still (luckily) only his friend; it was just David who would have to deal with the oaf.

As Blink rolled off the bed, he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, abruptly worrying about his missing eye-patch. He remembered, though, that he had two eyes again and did not need the patch. With the balance he inherited from David's body, not even having full vision back could stop him from stumbling as he tried to walk to the sink. Thinking back to the night with Jack, Blink cringed inwardly. It wasn't that Jack was a bad person, its just he was…well Jack. Cocky, arrogant, and always with that annoying little side smile that one could never quite read. Blink found himself actually missing staying with Mush, a though that surprised him more than it should have.

David was having the same issues with eyesight. He had managed alright with just one eye yesterday, when the sun was up, but this morning was trouble. The plethora of newsboys clamoring about the tiny washroom made movement impossible. David found himself constantly running into people, but most just blamed it on Mush. The two boys had shared a bunk last night, and, although nothing happened, Mush's moan-filled sleep gave the impression things got a little steamed.

All David wished was to be back in his home, in his body. He didn't get to have his nighttime conversation with Jack on the balcony, his most cherished daily activity. David always tried to get Jack to stay longer, a couple of times even proposing a sleep-over, but Jack always cut things short. David just assumed that the boy easily grew tired of the humdrum conversation.

Jack blinked awaked, finding himself in the Jacob's house. He smiled fondly at the memories of last night, Dave close in his arms. He wanted more than anything to hold onto those feelings, but David was nowhere to be seen. As Jack searched around the house, he came to the realization that the other boy must have left early. He glanced back towards the bed, smiling, and spotted a note on the dresser. Picking it up, Jack squinted, attempting to read it. Davey must'a been pretty tired to write chicken scratch like this.

From what he could make out from the note, it said something along the lines of "Gone out…be back...don't worry…see tonight…Bl David". Very tired, indeed.

Blink set off with a jog back to the lodging house. Well, as much as a jog as he could manage with David's rather scrawny body. He didn't worry about what Jack would think, waking up alone. He had left Mush alone to wake up plenty of times with only a little note saying he wasn't dead. Alone with all the other newsboys, that was. And he wasn't pretending to be courting Mush. Shit, I guess that would come off as an ass-like move. At least Blink remembered to sign it with David's name; that was a close one.

Rounding the corner to the lodging house panting and out of breath, a sensation Blink was not used to, the boy pondered what to do. Luckily, he didn't have to think for long, for the newsboys had started pouring out of the Lodge. Blink stood watching, entranced by watching what looked like himself bounding out the door with the others. God, is that really what I look like when I walk? As Blink watched his body march toward him on the street, he saw Mush bear hug it. He held on for a little longer than normal, too. He watched David in his body flail, trying to handle the situation while keeping a tiny bit of dignity. Laughing, Blink saw David gently prod Mush off, but Mush couldn't take the hint. Blink decided to finally break it up, shouting "Do you two ever stop?" as he sundered towards the pair.

David's smile creped across Blink's face, and he let out a very un-Blink chuckle. "Just the boy I have been waiting to see."

Mush's eyes suddenly grew in terror, as they seemed to do with every other emotion, and he softly said to his blond-haired cohort, "What are you saying? Are you leaving me? For David? Kid, stop it!" David's lip lifted off his front teeth as he started laughing loudly at Mush. Blink, on the other hand, was not as amused.

"Dave…ahem Blink, will you get over here?"

"Uh, sure," David replied. He shot a quick, "Don't worry, I'm still with you" to Mush to calm him.

Blink grabbed David and tried to push him up against the wall of an alley, but only succeeded in cracking his knuckles. He glanced down at his weak hand, but quickly re-focused to the problem at hand. "What the fuck was that David? Are you courting Mush? Does he know? If you do anything to hurt him I swear-"

"It's fine! Mush still thinks I'm you. He does...uh...still think you two are courting though. I...I mean…sorry" David mumbled.

Blink sucked on his teeth, ready to spit back some retort, but knew he had no right to say anything. "Forget about it."

David raised a blond eyebrow. "What got into you? Is there something you aren't telling me?"

"No, nothin' happened. Why you think that? You…just forget it"

"Blink, what did you do?" David spat out, amazed at the ferocity that Blink's vocal chords gave him.

Blink was apparently just as amazed, because he mumbled, "I might of…uh…you and Jack"

Upon catching Jack's name, David grew intensively defensive? "Tell me what you did?"


"Spit it out"

"I asked Jack to court you"


"It wasn't a big thing! I just had this bet with Race-"

"You asked Jack to court me BECAUSE OF A BET?" David was furious. He had been trying to build up to asking Jack for weeks, slowly dropping hints. Jack wasn't ready though! If he were, he wouldn't have been leaving so early each night, never wanting to stay over with David. And now Blink had ruined everything, asking Jack too soon. "Great. That is just great. I have been trying to break it to him gently that I liked him for weeks, and now he will probably never speak to me. I can't believe-"

"David, he said…wait you have liked Jack for weeks? I knew it!"


"Sorry. I just wanted to tell you that Jack said yes. I had to put up sleeping with him last night"

"…He said yes?"

"Of course he did! He likes you way more than he every lets on."

David slouched into the wall. He couldn't believe that what he had been yearning for ever since he laid eyes on that beautiful boy was coming true. His eyes gradually came to refocus on his body, standing before him. "…you slept with my boyfriend?"

Blink scoffed, shifting his eyes to the ground. "Yeah sorry 'bout that. So, am I really courting Mushy now?"

"Mushy?" David laughed. "Yeah, yeah you are. Actually, I thought you two were dating before, but apparently Mush never knew you had feelings for him. We all did though."

Smiling, Blink replied, "That boy can be blind as a bat sometimes. But, you know, I am excited to court the kid. This could be fun"

The two boys turned as the heard footsteps coming down the alley; two shadowed figures were walking towards them holding hands. The pair would have been nervous to discover who the mysterious two were, but the stature of the two along with the cigar smell and can gave them away. As Race and Spot stepped into the light, Spot chuckled. "Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in"

"Babe!" Race shot at his partner with a smile, elbowing him lightly, "Play nice, they been through a hell of a night."

"You two know I'm just playin'. So from the looks of it, you two got all your relationships worked out right?"

David furrowed Blink's eyebrows, "You mean you two planned this?"

"Yeah," Spot replied, "of course we did. Race and I have made it our mission to help other

couples. It took us near eight years of knowin' each other to hook up, eight years wasted. And since I have to go off to Pigfarts every year, that's even less time. We don't want anyone else to go through that. And since RumbleRoar brought me some polyjuice-"

"What the hell are you talkin' about? Is this what they do to you in Brooklyn?" Blink shot at the smaller boy.

"Don't ask," Race replied, straight-faced. "It's hard for us muggles to get. Hell, I'm still trying to understand."

"The point is, we are here to help you blokes. And if I've timed this right," Spot glanced at his watch, "You should be changing back right….now." Spot looked back up at the boys, who seemed to have traded spaces. He smiled as he turned to Race, "What I tell ya? Professor Crepe would be proud."

Blink and David looked at each other, and turned giddy upon seeing the other in their correct body. It worked; they were back! They looked down at their clothes, though, which were still switched, their smiles faded slightly. Spot motioned to a small stack of hey bails, and the two boys got the message headed behind them. As their emerged, each with their correct regalia now, the two boys heard Jack and Mush calling them over, waving. Without any hesitation, both ran to their respective boyfriend glomping them with a huge hug. Spot looked over at Race, and with a kiss said, "Looks like we're done here."

"Hold on a minute, babe," Race said, still smirking from the kiss, "you still promised them five bucks."

"Ah, Right. Hey fella's you still want your dough?" Spot held out the money in front of him, but as the boys shot a glance at him from their tight embraces, he dropped it on the ground. "They got more important things to worry about. They'll get it later." Race smirked at the boyhis arm was around, shook his head, and the pair headed off into the sunrise, hand-in-hand, back to Brooklyn.