Disclaimer: I do not own Newsies. Neither do I own Spot, David, Racetrack, Blink, Les, Snipeshooter, Jack, Boots, Blanket, or any of the other newsies from the movie. Or Diamond, because she's based off DiAmOnDsrBlU, who asked me to put her into the story.
Claimer: Falcon, Nickel, Havoc, Alleypup, Dock, Jade, Scamp, and Clover are mine.
If you want me to put you into the story,
Kiss my feet and say pretty please.
Just kidding, but it was funny to write that. But if you want me to put you in the story you gotta ask, and I can't put that many, only one or two more.
Spot and the others were just beginning to formulate a battle plan.
Some girl or other had taken Alleypup away, to show her where she'd sleep, and where to stow her things. Havoc was playing with some older kids, about ten or eleven, who were trying to explain colors to her. Two of them had synesthesia, and were arguing about the personalities of different colors. The other one was trying to describe the sky to Havoc, and the color blue.
I smiled. My daughter was having fun, her sightless eyes staring at the sky as the girl explained about clouds and their whiteness.
"Jack!" another girl's voice cut through the air.
Jack whirled, to look at the girl. She looked to be about thirteen, or maybe fourteen.
"Diamond?" He said, incredulous.
"But she's never even been to Brooklyn," David muttered.
"You wanna bet?" Spot challenged. There was something he wasn't saying, but no one was keen to ask.
But Diamond didn't even look at Spot as she ran, straight for the Manhattan leader.
"Diamond, what's wrong?" Jack demanded, gripping the girl's shoulders.
"She's never so hyped up," David muttered. Again with the muttering.
"Another note came from Blank!" Diamond panted in horror. "They took Clover!"
"Oh shit!" David muttered, and took off running. Jack followed quickly.
"Who's Clover?" I demanded, picking up Havoc and making apologies and explanations to her playmates.
"Blink's girl," Spot said, and took off, chasing down David and Jack.
"Aw, crap," I agreed.
"Dock!" Nickel yelled, and a stocky boy's head snapped in her direction. "Man the fort, we'll send word later!" The boy nodded, and Nickel was off.
I followed. I wasn't eager to be left by myself in Brooklyn.
At 'Hattan, we found utter mayhem.
There were several smashed bottles all around the room, evidence that Blink had been there, and the newsie in question had evidently been out cold a while earlier, because Racetrack nursed a sore fist. Several older newsies held him down as he yelled and screamed. Les, Snipeshooter, Scamp, Boots, and Blanket were in one corner, watching it all. The older newsies were drinking, or smoking, or examining the ransom note, or yelling, or sometimes lots of them all at once.
As soon as we entered, Jack ran to try and calm Blink and the others. David ran to the little kids, and Spot grabbed the ransom note from Bumlets. Havoc clambered out of my arms, and tugged at Spot's sleeve, hearing the rustle of paper.
"Mistah Spot, Mistah Spot, what's it say?" She demanded.
"Nuttin', kid." Spot said absentmindedly, and I took Havoc by the hand and began to lead her to the other little kids.
"How did you know it was Spot?" I asked.
"The slingshot in his belt," Havoc told me. "And he's short." I snorted, and prayed Spot hadn't heard that.
Nickel was interrogating the newsie girls.
I joined her.
There were eight or nine of them, but one, who seemed to be the leader, was doing most of the talking. Diamond, who seemed to be second in command of the girls, did most of the rest.
"Who was the last one to see Clover?" Nickel demanded.
"Jade did," Diamond answered, and nodded at the girls' leader.
Jade nodded. "I saw her selling on the street corner, and I waved, and she waved back, and then I turned the corner and left."
"Well, what does Clover look like?" I asked.
"Shamrock eyes," An Irish girl answered immediately. "Never seen any like 'em. And straight off the boat, she was."
"She had red hair," Diamond said. "Not like, red red, but like, Irish red." And the Irish girl nodded in confirmation.
"So she's Irish?" I clarified.
The girls shook their head.
"Her grandparents were, but only on 'er mother's side. Her father was pure Italian." Jade told me. "But she don't speak Italian or Irish."
I nodded. "Anything else, something that might help us identify her?"
The girls looked at each other.
"She allus wore a cross 'round 'er neck." The Irish girl remarked. "Same one, I t'ink 'er muddah gave it to 'er."
"And she had a birthmark on her neck," Diamond put in. "Looked like a heart a bit if you tilt your head to look at it."
"And freckles," Jade said. "Lots of 'em. And her hair was real long, but she kept it tied back. And she's short."
"Not very short," Diamond argued. "Taller'n me, wasn't she?"
"Yeah, but you're twelve," Another girl retorted.
I was mildly stunned. Diamond? Twelve? I'd thought the girl was at least thirteen. She didn't look twelve, regardless of height.
"About my height," the Irish girl said. "But a bit shorter."
"And what was she wearing?" Nickel asked.
"Cream shirt, I think," Jade answered thoughtfully. "And brown suspenders. And a brown cap."
"Lotsa brown," Diamond agreed. "Her undershirt was white, though."
Nickel nodded. "And her age?"
"Seventeen," Jade answered promptly.
"Eighteen in a few weeks," Diamond put in, not to be outdone.
"Thanks, girls," she said, and the girls nodded and dispersed.
I looked around. The boys were crowded around Blink, who gripped the ransom note.
"Gimme dat," I said, and grabbed it.
"Hey!" Blink yelled, and as he leaped for the note, I brought a hand up and slammed it in his chest, hard.
The boys grinned, despite the circumstances.
I got your girl, Kid.
Don't wanna lose her like you lost your eye, do you?
Bring me Havoc and Falcon, same time as I told Cowboy.
Or she gets it.
Blink was staring at me, and I knew he wanted to turn me in.
But Jack knocked into him halfway, and they went sprawling.
In no time at all, it was a full out fight, the boys' eyes glazed with fire and hate, and everyone in the room looked up. Bottles crashed to the floor, cigars were abruptly stamped out. Conversation stopped, and Havoc ran to me, because she always knew where her mother was.
"Momma, what's happening?" She demanded, her small face twisted with worry.
"Nothing, Havoc," I said, clutching her to my chest.
No one dared break it up, because with the newsies, a fight was a fight, and a fight defined who a leader was. You couldn't just charge in and break it up. Even Kloppman wouldn't dare, and it was his lodging house.
Of course, David wasn't a complete newsie. He was half middle class, and had morals to boot.
So he ran for them, and I started.
"David, no!" I yelled, and everyone turned to look.
Havoc wisely untangled herself from me, and I gripped David in a headlock as he tried to charge past me.
"Falcon, let me go!" He yelled, and fought me.
"Let them play it out," I hissed. "Or it'll never end."
"We haven't got time for this!" He told me angrily. "Sarah's gone, and now Clover, and if they kill themselves, then what'll we do?"
I let him go, and as he lunged out of my grip, I grabbed his wrist and twisted it up behind him the way an arm is not supposed to bend.
"Ya want 'em to hate you?" I demanded. "If Blink hates you, you're screwed, and how do you think Sarah'll feel when she finds out you hate each other." I let him go.
"Jesus Christ, how do you do that?" He demanded, wringing his arm.
I stared at him.
There was something very wrong with this guy.
He was, I don't know, too clean. And I don't just mean that literally. He was middle class, which had to count for something, and he hardly knew anything about the way newsie life works. And newsie clothes were streaked with mud and grime from the city, even those of the kids who had mothers and sisters to wash them. His were clean and ironed. He wasn't like most newsies, however hard his life might be. His life was clean, too, clean of everything that made a newsie a street kid.
He'd been to school. Changes the way you look at things.
"Rape teaches you things," I told him quietly. "Blank teaches you things, though mayhap not on purpose."
David shot a glance at Havoc, who sat on the floor, listening intently to the fight.
"Blank's?" He asked.
I glared at him. "Every day I look at my daughter, and she's beautiful, but she's blind, and one o' dese day she'll grow old enough to think that mayhap it's 'er punishment for who 'er father was."
David looked ashamed.
"C'mon," I said. "Let's find Spot."
He wasn't hard to find, when all was said and done. He was watching the fight intently, as newsies cheered. Jack lunged for Blink, who punched him square across the jaw, and Jack kicked him, and lunged for his throat.
"They'll kill each other," David hissed in my ear.
"Then one of 'em's dead and 'Hattan's got a new leadah," I told him. "Now shaddup. Cowboy can take care of 'imself."
Said aforementioned Cowboy pinned Kid Blink to the ground. Case in point.
I checked the clock after a while. The fight had gone on for a long while, and I was already starting to see blood. I was, for once, glad Havoc couldn't see it all.
Enough already. "Time to stop," I muttered, and began to start for the fight.
David grabbed my arm. "Didn't you say that we should let them fight?" He growled.
"I'm not saying they won't," I explained. "But now's not the time to kill each other. I'm just postponing the inevitable."
Spot nodded. "I agree." He looked to Nickel, who stood behind him. "Nick, you 'nd da Mouth stay back, an' keep the others back. Fal an' I'll take care o' dis."
Nickel nodded. "Right, Spot."
David looked at her incredulously. "You obey him?" He demanded. "He's only your brother."
Nickel shrugged. "He's the King."
I took action. I may not be the King of Brooklyn, or a Queen of anything else, but if anything, I can kick some ass.
Considering the following events, I'd say I can kick some jackass.
Grabbing Jack's arm in my signature move, I twisted it up behind his back as Spot beaned Blink with a marble, then tackled him.
"Cool it, Cowboy," I scolded him as he cursed. "You can fight to the death later, but right now we gotta plan a way to get your girl back."
Conlon had Blink pinned to the floor in record time.
"Now, boys," I said in a very motherly tone. "Say you're sorry."
Havoc and the other kids cackled evilly.
Cowboy glared at us. "Not cool, Falcon," He said.
"I don't give a damn," I said. "You want your girlfriends back or not, boys?" I demanded.
That stopped them.
I glared at the crowd. "Something for you all?" I demanded. "Or were ya just enjoyin' da show?" The boys made themselves scarce. The kids were still cackling. The girls, smart as they were, were occupying themselves. One took Havoc on her lap, and the younger ids around her, and began to occupy them with some story or other. A few others began to clean up the broken glass that littered the room. Jade fetched some of the boys new drinks—they all looked like they needed them.
Diamond was the smartest. The girl's light brown eyes and pearly teeth glinted against her toffee brown skin. For a twelve year old, even one who didn't seem twelve at all, she could carry an awful lot of bottles, bandages, and medical supplies.
I dragged Jack over to a bunk, and sat him down. Diamond gave me her medicines, and ran back to a cupboard to fetch some more for Blink.
"Now hold still, you jackass," I said as I looked Jack over. He looked beat up. Bloody and bruised hands, a cut on his head, a black eye, and his clothes ripped and streaked with blood, and several cuts and bruises all over him. "You look messed up."
"You're messed up." Jack said crossly.
I grabbed a bandage and said, "Hold still," and I began to wrap it around his head wound.
Jade tended to Blink, who growled at her. In the meantime, Spot ranted and raved, which seemed to make him feel better.
But when he finally settled down, right around when we were halfway through tending the boys, he sat down, and took Havoc in his lap.
Nickel sat down, and Racetrack, and David, and everyone began to formulate a game plan.
Basically, there were five options.
One, let things play out. This was strongly opposed against, naturally, since Sarah and Clover could get killed or end up like me, which would please no one.
Two, storm the fort. Like I said earlier, this would likely get everyone killed. Sarah and Clover included.
Three, hand me over. When Snitch suggested this, I fumed. But before I could do it, Nickel slapped him across the face.
Four, we could go to the authorities. It was unlikely they would care, but some said it was worth a shot, since we had evidence.
Five, we could plant a spy.
"Why don't we vote?" I proposed.
""Cause dis ain't a democracy, Falcon," Spot told me. "The goils that've been taken are 'Hattan, so it's a Jackocracy." Blink, of course, protested, but nobody cared, and Jade tightened a bandage, making him yelp and shut up his yelling.
Jack considered it.
"I say we vote." He said, and I grinned. "Because Blank might take more girls if we let him get away with it."
Nods went round.
But, just as someone was about to take charge and organize a vote, someone came running.
"Cowboy!" A young boy yelled. "Cowboy!"
Jack stood, abruptly hitting his head on the top bunk.
He cursed, and stood.
I pushed him back down, and said, "Whoever it is can see you sitting down." I looked to Snipeshooter, who was closest to the door. "Let him in."
He nodded, and opened the door just in time for a boy to come running.
He looked about nine or ten, and his cap had a patch on it.
"Patch?" Racetrack was amazed. "What're you doin' heah?"
The kid ran to Cowboy. "Cowboy, Cowboy!" He panted, and braced his hands on his knees.
"Take it easy, kid," I said, and handed him a bottle of water. He took a long gulp, and stammered out,
"The others'll be here soon." He gasped. "They sent one from each borough, to report."
"Who?" I demanded. "What others?"
"The other boroughs." The kid, Patch, explained to ignorant little me. "Midtown, da Bronx, da Bowery, all o' dem. Dey're sending messengers to 'Hattan. Even Staten Island."
"Who is sending you?" Spot demanded.
Patch took another gulp of water. The kid looked like he needed it. "The Bowery sent me. Hammer said I'm to report to Cowboy, and give 'im somefin."
"What?" Jack demanded. I tied the bandage around his arm tighter, before it began to bleed again.
Patch took a deep breath before saying, "Blank. He took Hammer's girl, Bonnet. And another girl, his second in command, Spyglass." He pulled something out of his pocket. "And Hammer said to give you this." He shoved a note under Cowboy's nose.
The leader of Manhattan took it, skimmed it quickly, then passed it to Spot, who read it aloud.
"Hammer, pass this on to Cowboy in 'Hattan.
Tell him to give me Falcon and Havoc
Same time as I told him.
Friday, at midnight,
Or Bonnet and Spyglass get it.
Watch the skies."
"What the hell does that mean?" Spot demanded angrily.
"Lemme see," Nickel demanded.
I finished with Cowboy, and I turned to Patch.
"Kid, I'm gonna need something more. What did they look like? When did anyone last see them?"
Patch nodded. "Spyglass is real tall, and skinny like. And she's got coppery hair, real short. And freckles, but sorta faded, and 'er skin's sorta tan fer a readhead. And she's got a spyglass wit' 'er, always."
I nodded. "And the other one?"
"Bonnet's wearing a bonnet, duh, but dat won't help much. She's got dis long coily hair, and dark eyes. She's no newsie, she's a factory goil, middle class, and she's real pretty. Hammer says she was wearin' a blue dress when she was taken."
"Did they say anything else?" Jack demanded.
Patch nodded eagerly. "They said tomorrow, to meet in Central Park."
"That's 'Hattan terr'tory," Blink protested.
Patch kept nodding. "Hammer said the council's comin'. 'E said you'd know what that means."
The newsies looked at each other.
"What?" I demanded. "What's the council?" God, the newsie and street kid government was too much like the grown up one. I wouldn't have to learn much about government when all this was done. I would already know it.
"The council of all da newsie leadahs," Patch filled me in. "Dey meet on'y foah da real impo'tant stuff."
At the moment, two more messengers arrived, bearing newsies.
"Cowboy, Cowboy!" The yelled.
As messengers began to pour into the lodging house, it got harder and harder to keep control of everyone.
But we managed to get out of the messengers the following, that every borough had lost at least one girl.
Nickel went back to Brooklyn to deal with things there, and I sent Tumbler to tell the girls at the factory that I had something to deal with, and that I wouldn't be there for a while.
None of us slept that night.
Not a single one.
The spare bunk, the one that Clover always slept in, the 'Hattan newsies let me use for the night. With everyone disappearing, I didn't want to sleep at home. Neither was I eager to sleep in the bunk of a girl who might be dead already, or soon, but it was that or the floor, and that was occupied by dozens of messengers. Jack didn't want them roaming the streets at night, because some of them were girls.
But I couldn't sleep.
If it was so easy for Blank to kidnap girls, and if he just wanted me, why not kidnap me outright? And Havoc, she'd be even easier to kidnap, being just a kid and blind and all.
I wondered, all night, why he didn't attack me personally, and come morning, I was as tired and grouchy as can be.