When a war breaks out between Harlem and Brooklyn, Spot goes to everyone for help. But Staten Island's too weak, Manhattan's staying out of it and the Bronx has enough problems without a war. The only other option is Queens- home to the beautiful and most dangerous leader of them all…

Queen of Hearts

"Watt da youse mean, dey declared war?" Spot roared, making the bird who had given the information to him cringe. From around the corner several other newsies cautiously peered out, watching their leader warily. They were the brave souls; the rest of the Brooklynites were still in the living room, frozen with fear and anxiously listening to the King's ranting and raving in the hall. Spot had gotten angry before, sometimes even furious, but never, ever had anyone seen him get this mad!

"Exactly d- dat, Spot," the bird named Hatter stuttered, barely able to look his King in the eyes. "Dey say dat since youse soaked their second, an' dat dis was da final straw." Spot cried out in frustration and hit the wall, causing half the room to shake. "All we did was teach da guy a lesson! Doesn't dey know ya don't go sellin' in my borough ever? Huh?" Hater shivered, not because he was cold but because Spot's rage was reaching new heights. "Isa- Isa guess not b-boss."

Spot was getting ready to start off gain at that, but before he could his own second Ink stepped out of his hiding place behind the corner and placed a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder. "Spot, it ain't ya fault, calm down already." "But it is!" Spot retorted, pushing Ink away and hitting at the wall again. "We shoulda just let im' off with a warning, we shoulda-"Ink slacked Spot across the face, effectively pulling the King out of his rave. "No, it ain't!" he yelled back. "Now get ya head outta da gutter Spot, getting mad about it ain't gonna change a thing."

The King of Brooklyn grudgingly nodded and turned back to Hatter, who flinched. "Get outta here Hatter, ya free ta go," he ordered the bird. The small 7 year old didn't need telling twice. He was gone I two seconds flat. Spot then turned back to Ink, who was waving the eavesdroppers off. "Send out da messengers again. We'll need everyone we got ta beat Harlem." Ink shook his head, frowning. "Already did, right aft' Hatter went back ta Harlem. Isa figured dey would declare war, youse know? Dey all came back sayin' similar stuff, so dat means dat either-"

"Ink gets ta da point!"

The second sighed and lit up a cigarette. "Dey all says dey ain't helpin' on dis one, Spot. Staten Island just finished a spat with Coney, dey can' take anymore fighting for a while. Cowboy says Manhattan's staying outta dis one, an' da Bronx told dem dey already has enough problems with da gangs ta worry about others." Spot groaned and ran his hand through his sandy blonde hair. "Da only other option's Queens den," he said resentfully. Ink's eyes got real wide and his jaw dropped. "Queens? Spot, ya ain't serious are ya? Dey hate us, everyone knows dat! We won't even get beyond da border before we get soaked!"

Spot nodded, understanding his second's concern. Grabbing his cane, he slid it into his belt loop and prepared to leave. "Dere da only other borough we got, Ink. Dere's a rumor running around dat Queens got a new leader aft' da strike. Isa can't confirm it, since Queens is practically closed off ta everyone but Manhattan an' Jack's silent on da matter. Maybe he'll be more willing ta listen ta us." Ink sighed but pulled his cap clean over his head, however reluctant he was to do it. "Well, youse might as well have someone ta back youse up. Ya want me ta leave Bowler in charge while we're gone?"

"Yeah sure, whatever. C'mon, if we wanna get on Queens's good side we wanna make sure ta get dere before dark. Dere a dangerous bunch, dem Queens's newsies. Dey'll soak anyone da comes into dere territory aft' sundown."

Spot stopped right at the border to Queens, debating on whether this was as good of an idea as he had first thought. No doubt the new leader was going to great lengths to make sure no one crossed into his territory, judging by several boys no older than 16 year old Spot himself hiding away in the shadows. But he had to do this. This was their last chance. Hoping that at least one of them would hear him out, Conlon took a deep breath and stepped over into Queens.

Almost immediately five Queens newsies leapt out of the alleyways and charged at Spot and Ink, who was about to faint from shock. But before they could touch anyone Spot put up his hands, effectively stopping them. "Wait!" he called out. "We ain't here ta fight! We wanna audience with ya leader." One of the newsies, a burly kind of guy with a burn mark running down his neck, ordered the others to stop immediately. Then he took a few steps forward, glaring at Spot. "Watt does da King 'o' Brooklyn want with Fury?" he leered. "Our two respective boroughs ain't on da best terms Conlon, if youse remember."

The King crossed his arm over his chest defiantly and tapped his cane on the ground impatiently. "Yeah, Isa do remember. But dat was when River was leader, if youse remember. We wanna meet da new one; we gotta offer ta propose." The Queens newsie raised an eyebrow suspiciously but called his comrades off, smirking. "Offer, ya say? Well, we can't say no ta dat, now can we fellas? Sure Conlon, we'll take ya ta Fury, but we want ya ta promise youse ain't gonna do nothing if we do." Before Spot could bargain Ink stepped forward, feeling braver than he felt and replied "Youse gotta deal."

The newsie nodded and beckoned them to follow. As they group walked back to the lodging house Spot elbowed his second in the ribs. "Ow!" Ink complained, rubbing his chest. "Watt was dat for?" Spot glared at him icily. "Ya let me do da taking, a 'right? We can't go making promise we can't keep!"

"We're keeping dis one though; we can't go making a ruckus on foreign soil, youse know dat!"

Spot growled but agreed and stepped into the lodging house premises. The place was more worn down than his own, but it was definitely homely. It was well lit and the atmosphere was slightly more relaxed, but all the warmness that it offered was gone the moment everyone saw who had arrived. The newsie guard led Spot and Ink past the thirty- something newsies in the living room (more than Manhattan but less than Brooklyn) all staring/sneering at them and into another hallway. The newsboy who had brought the two Brooklynites there stopped and leaned over to speak to a passing Queens kid, a little girl no older than 10.

"Hey Chip, youse know where Fury is?' he asked kindly, not at all like the stuck up jerk he had brought himself out to be when they'd first met him. The little girl stared up at him with startling green eyes and pointed down the hall, towards the farthest door on the left. "In da office." She then looked at Spot and made a disgusted face. "An' watts dey doin' here?" she spat. The newsboy just chuckled and patted her on the head gently. "Dere here ta see Fury, Chip. Nothing ta worry about yet." The newsgirl frowned and cast them one last look of the before disappearing into the living room. "Yet."

The newsie waved the security detail behind Ink and Spot off and pointed down at the room like Chip had done moment before. "Dere ya go," he told them harshly, bringing back up the tough-guy act. "Ya see da room? In dere." Spot shrugged and led the way down the dark hallway. "Thanks." He dragged Ink to the door and knocked. "It's open!" came an unnaturally high voice from inside." Spot, nervous and a bit startled by such a pitched kind of voice for a leader coming at him, took a deep breath and pushed the heavy oak-laden door open, expecting the worst. Instead he found a nice office-like place, shelves of books covering the walls and a decent looking desk in the center, complete with a leather chair, it's back facing Spot. Ink came in behind him and shut the door cautiously, one hand already on his slingshot. "Hello?" he called out, looking around.

Suddenly the chair swung around and faced Spot, who jumped back in surprise. Sitting in it wasn't the femalish boy the King had expected to see, but a beautiful young woman around 16 years smiling politely up at them. She was dressed in black leather pants and a white peasant style shirt, something Spot had never seen a newsie wearing before, especially a leader. On her waist dangled a slender silver dagger, shining in the midst of the otherwise dimly lit room. The girl had sleek black hair, which was thrown up in a ponytail and braided down, and timeless eyes, a sort of brownish black that reminded Spot of a bonfire, clam and warm at first then hot and ferocious the next. In short, she was nothing short of beautiful.

"Hello Mr. Conlon," Fury greeted them, a spark of ruthlessness glinting in her eye. "Welcome to Queens."

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