Praying for those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. God Bless You!

Irving Hall, Manhattan, 1899

Spot quickly found a seat at Jack's table with David, Cloud and his sister Sarah and pivoted his chair towards the stage. Looking back at David he whispered. "So we go on aft' Mafia gets done with da openin' act or before?" David rolled his eyes but answered anyways. "You should've paid attention to Medda, Spot, but yeah, we go on after Mafia finished dancing. But remember, she isn't Mafia Powell onstage- she's Mia Antoine."

The King of Brooklyn nodded absentmindedly and gazed out over the crowd. She ignored Jack's conversation with Sarah and David's boring discussion of literature with Cloud, instead deeming it necessary to keep watch for anything suspicious and out of the ordinary. He knew Crypt was dead set on trying to upset the rally, but hopefully with the security measures in place they could prevent such a catastrophe.

Suddenly Jack's voice rang out over the crowd, bouncing off the walls and quieting the newsboys around the hall. Spot hadn't even noticed him get up on the stage. "Alright everybody!" the Manhattaner shouted, grinning from ear to ear. "We're all glad youse could make it out tonight, really we are. But before we get started we gotta openin' act. It is me great pleasure ta announce da long-awaited return 'o' da New York Vaudeville's finest dancer, Miss Mia Antoine!"

The boys from Manhattan and a many of the Brooklyn boys whooped and hollered along with the rest of the newsie union as they all turned their heads towards the stage. Spot watched as the red curtain drew open to reveal a beautiful girl dressed in a long-sleeved black leotard, black tights and matching tap shoes, Mafia to be exact. Her pixie cut blonde hair and stormy gray eyes seemed to fit in just right with the clean cut costume, which stood out amidst the ragged army that was the newsboy's dalliers.

Mafia stood in the middle of the stage for a split second, surveying the enormous crowd, and for the first time Spot saw that she was nervous. Not the scared kind, just the normal butterflies in stomach kind when one does something for the first time. Every soul in the audience stared up at her in silence, Mafia took a deep breath that Spot was sure only he heard….

…..And she began to dance.

Irving Hall Stage, Manhattan, 1899

(AN:) I found a video on YouTube I think went well with the dance I had in mind for Mia to do. If you want to see it the link's on my profile page)

Mafia felt like her heart was about to burst as she spun around the dance floor. It had been AGES since she'd felt this happy! The almost forgotten steps swirled inside her head, coming back as clear as day-

Hop 1 2- spin 3 4- dive 5 6- continue 7- down, clasp hands 8.

Step 1- glide 2 3- twirl 4 5 6- tumble 7 8.

Spin on right foo 8- breath, step down, foot back up 1 2 3- spi 8.

Leap while spinning 4 eight counts-

Repeat sequence. Repeat sequence again. Repeat sequence four times over-

The sequence went on for what seemed like forever, but Mia didn't notice. She was too lost in the music, the sound of Medda's voice singing her dancing song, the waves of achievement thrilling her into greater performance. It was the greatest feeling in the world!

Irving Hall Audience, Manhattan, 1899

Spot Conlon was in awe. He couldn't take his eyes off of the wondrous creature that had taken over Mafia Powell. Mafia the cold hardened streeter, Mafia the dineros, Mafia the cruel leader of the Brooklyn rats; she was everything Mia Antoine was, but Mia Antoine brought out the best of it. They were one in the same; beautiful, strong, intelligent, powerful and completely in control; yet they were two completely separate people. Spot couldn't imagine how Mafia had kept this side of her to herself for so long-

But she hadn't, had she? She'd shown Jack, the Manhattan boys, her gang of girls, everyone that entered Medda Larkson's theatre on Friday nights- but not him. It was the first time that Spot didn't care what secrets Mafia held. It just didn't matter.

Irving Hall Stage, Manhattan, 1899

Spin on right foo 8- breath, step down, foot back up 1 2 3- spi 8.

Hop 1 2- spin 3 4- dive 5 6- continue 7- down, clasp hands 8.

Step 1- glide 2 3- twirl 4 5 6- tumble 7 8.

Leap while spinning 4 eight counts-

Spin on right foo 8- breath, step down, foot back up 1 2 3- spi 8.

And then it was over.

Irving Hall Audience, Manhattan, 1899

Spot gave Mia her much due applause before getting up on the stage with Jack and David, ready to present the main point of the rally- the whole reason they were united as they were- the strike. Spot remembered that he wasn't supposed to say anything, just pledge his allegiance to the matter, but he could barely keep his mind on Jack's speech. His inner thoughts kept wandering off towards Mafia, but somehow the King was able to cap a lid on them while Cowboy was speaking.

"-so we gotta listen ta me friend David here when he says 'stop soakin' da scabs!" Jack was saying. Spot immediately snapped his neck over to glare at Jack. There was already some discontentment amongst the crowd at this; Racetrack down on the floor with Phantom was about ready to die laughing. "So watts are we supposed ta do ta da bums, kiss em'?" he asked sarcastically, earning him many shout-outs of approval and a snicker from his girlfriend.

Jack meanwhile rolled his eyes, to which Spot wholeheartedly thought was necessary. He didn't care for the idea himself. A load 'o' crap if youse ask me, he thought to himself. "Hey, any scab Isa see, Isa soak em'. Period," Spot added, which caused many of the newsies in the hall and his Brooklyn subjects to cheer on. "They're gonna be playing with my hands, alright. Cuz it ain't what they say, it's what we say. And nobody ain't gonna listen to us unless we make `em."

But Jack and David stood firm, as well as some of the more docile newsboys in Manhattan and smaller territories that disliked the idea of war.

"Hey, if we don't act together den we're nothing-" he started to say, but almost immediately he was cut off by the loud hisses and jeers from the tougher side of New York and their newsies, mainly the Bronx, Harlem, Queens and Brooklyn. But as soon as they started they were stopped by a thundering and strong voice coming from stage right.

"All 'o' youse listen ta me!" Mafia shouted, stomping up onto the stage and pushing her way in front of Jack of everyone in the theatre could see her. She'd changed her clothing, back into overalls (cleaner mind you) and boots but leaving her black leotard suit on underneath to give her more room to move around. She stood firm, addressing the crowd with all the force she could muster- which by the looks on the crowd's faces was quite a lot.

"Look at youseselves!" she demanded, pointing at the crowd. "Seriously, look! Da ya think dis is how a union thrives? Da ya think dat we're gonna win dis thing if we're fightin' amongst even each other! It shows we're weak, dat we got no respect for no one, not even ourselves! Dat's watt da bosses upstairs wanna hear, dat we're nothin! An' we ain't nothin' are we?"

"No!" the newsies cried out. All thoughts of rebellion and doubt forgotten, they anxiously awaited Mafia's next words. There were even some who were hanging onto her every word, each with the same expression on their faces.

"Is dat Mafia Powell?" one asked his buddy.

"Can't be, she'd dead!"

"It is her, Isa told youse she'd be back!"

"Naw, just one 'o' err' friends Isa reckon."

"But it can't be, can it!"

"Mafia Powel's alive!"

Now Spot had known that Mafia hadn't made her presence known in New York after her and her gang's reappearance, but he hadn't expected such an excited reaction upon her return. In fact, no one besides Manhattan and Brooklyn really knew of her existence before Crypt's dethrone. But one thing was for certain; Mafia now commanded and held each and every person's respect and loyalty in that moment. But instead of wielding the power and carrying on with her speech Mafia stepped back and leaned in towards Jack's ear. "It's all yours Cowboy," she whispered, loud enough for all three boys onstage to hear but not the audience themselves. Jack nodded once and stepped up in front of the crowd as first planned.

"Alright, so like Maf said, why we starting to fight each other? It's just what the big shot's wanna see. That we're street rats! Street rats with no brains. No respect for nothing, including ourselves! So, here's how it's gonna be. If we don't act together, then we're nothing. If we don't stick together, then we're nothing. And if we can't even trust each other, then we're nothing."

Tell em' Jack!" Kid Blink yelled out from the balcony. Everyone turned to see the newsie and Witch hanging off of it, all smiles. Someone voiced concern, but Dutchy from Manhattan just laughed it off. "Don't worry 'bout it," he told the boy. "Blink's an expert at it. He ain't gonna fall."

Racetrack nodded in agreement at Blink's statement. "Yeah, we're with youse Jack," he added, wrapping an affectionately arm around Phantom. Jack grinned but grew more solemn once he turned towards Spot. The King, in turn, frowned. He knew what Jack was going to have him agree to, and he didn't like it. But once he glanced back at Mafia staring hard at him he changing his mind. If Mafia thought David's plan could work, then it most likely would. But still-

"So watt da ya say Spot?" Jack asked, spitting into his hand and holding it out for him to shake. Spot ignored the hand and stepped towards Jack, getting up in his face. Cowboy tensed but held out on his own while Mafia bit her lip, glaring at him. She seemed to be saying if youse don't agree with dis den Isa gonna soak youse to Heaven an' back. That was good enough reason for Spot. He slowly smiled and leaned back, impressed. "I say, dat what youse say, is watt I say." Then he spit into his own palm and shook Jack's hand. The crowd roared.

Spot glanced back at Mafia to see her relax and nod towards him, then hop off the stage to join the party down below. The Brooklynite's heart sank but he remained on the platform until Medda suddenly marched up, ready for her own number. He then quickly exited the scene, not particularly eager to join in on the Swedish Meadowlark's antics.

(AN:) I'm extending the rally beyond just Medda's song 'Hard Times', just so I can fit everything I want into this chapter. Sorry if it's an inconvenience, but hey, this is FanFiction, not a whole book or the movie

As he was walking around he spotted Ink, Injun and Bowler all standing off to the side and looking particularly nervous. "Heya fellas, why so glum?" he asked, raising a single eyebrow. Bowler pointed towards the back. "Someone's here dat wasn't invited," the burly Brooklynite muttered. Spot followed his gaze to see Warden Snyder sneaking alongside the back wall, smirking evilly and scanning the crowd for Jack. "An' youse didn't jump im' why?" Spot questioned, glaring at the three boys.

Injun bit his lip. "If we do something now den we're gonna draw attention ta da battalion 'o' bulls outside," the newsie doctor replied, still staring at the warden. "It'll cause more panic den we can handle an' get a couple people killed." "Why didn't youse say something earlier, I'd' a gone ova dere an' bashed his head in with me cane, bulls or not!" Spot snapped, looking out over the crowd again. He knew that Snyder had more of a vendetta against Cowboy than Mafia, as she'd only been in the Refuge a week and didn't have any papers to prove she'd even been put in yet, but Spot wouldn't put it past the Warden to try and kill two birds with one stone.

"Isa already sneaked outside an' saw da coppers," Ink said to Spot. "Pulitzer sent all em corrupt bulls plus his own personal hit team he brought in during da raid a few days ago. Da Delancy Brothers, Weasel, half da 21st Precinct-" Brooklyn's second leaned in closer to Spot and nodded towards the door. "Isa think even Crypt made an appearance."

The King's blood ran cold. He clutched his pimp cane tighter and soon spotted Mafia sitting down with Sarah Jacobs, having a pleasant conversation. The two were obviously unaware of the trouble brewing outside. "Go an' round up all da younger kids from all da boroughs dat attended, don't care who dey are," Spot ordered his men. "Take em' back ta da Manhattan Lodging house an' stay dere until dere leaders or siblings come for em'. Dey doesn't need ta be here for dis."

Bowler and Injun took off, but Ink stayed behind. "Spot," he addressed his leader. "Watt 'bout alertin' Jack an' da other leaders? Dey should know-"

"I go it covered already," Spot interrupted, somewhat rudely. He tapped Denton, the Sun reporter covering the strike, on the shoulder as he brushed past. The middle-aged man turned to face the boy and grinned. "Hello Spot," Denton greeted the King, tipping his hat. "What can I do for you?"

"Ya see dat old man in black slippin' in from da back?" Spot asked, pointing the Warden out. "Isa need youse ta stall im' until we get Mafia an' Jack outta here. Can youse do dat?" Denton nodded and narrowed his eyes at the man. "So that's the man who runs the Refuge is it? Don't worry son, I'll handle him." And like that the newspaper man was gone.

Spot pivoted around to proudly smirk at Ink, who just shrugged and raced off to get his little brother and their friends out of harm's way. Spot in turn found Mafia again and started towards her.

Irving Hall, Table #3, Manhattan, 1899

Mafia (or as she was now, unfortunately known by, Mia Antoine) sighed as she sat herself down in one of Table #3's seat's, rubbing her temples wearily. It'd already been a busy night, not to mention her last-minute decision to save Jack's butt up on-stage. She was already regretting it, as so many people were shooting her nervous looks. It wasn't that she didn't deserve it- after all, to them she'd just risen from the dead- but it still made her uncomfortable. Unfortunately, things were about to become even more so.

Sitting off to Mia's right was none other than Sarah Jacobs, Cowboy's date. The two girls made eye contact and stared each other down coolly, sizing the other girl up, comparing notes and sneering- then bursting forth with laughter. Sarah was soon doubled over and Mafia the same, tears streaming out of both girl's eyes and clutching their stomachs for support. Once they were calmed down Sarah offered Mia her hand to shake. "I'm sorry, that was completely out of line-"she heaved, wiping her eyes and chuckling. "I never really thought that anyone would return that looks, I'm just so overwhelmed-"

"Naw, ya good," Mafia replied, smiling as she took the hand. "I'm Mafia Powell, but Isa guess youse saw Mia Antoine up dere tonight. I know ya guy Jack-"

Sarah nodded, grin fading slightly. "Yes, he mentioned you earlier, something about breaking out of the Refuge and you being his first ally from Brooklyn if I recall." Mafia snorted with laughter. "Did he now? It ain't nothing really, Isa known im' for ages. He embellishes da whole escape from Snyder's prison, all we did was sneak a ride on da back 'o' some guy's carriage…" she let her voice trail off once she glanced back at Sarah again, who squirmed in her seat a bit.

"Yes, about that," the eldest Jacobs sibling started, tapping her finger on the table nervously. "Uh, this might come out as awkward, but…. Did you and Jack ever, umm, you know… date?" Mafia blinked, startled. She hadn't really thought about the prospect of someone assuming her and the Manhattaner had once been an item; she had just assumed that since they were only friends it would be obvious to all that they hadn't been in a relationship. Now that someone had brought it up it sounded all the more so ridiculous…

"Watt? 'O' 'course not!" Mafia laughed, brushing a piece of blonde hair out of her face. "We're just friends, nothing more. Actually, we both agreed it was a good thing we aren't attracted ta each other. It might cause one 'o' us ta kill the other, we're both so alike. Isa think youse'll be good for im'. Opposites attract, ya know?"

Sarah let out a HUGE sigh of relief upon hearing that. "Ok," she breathed, smiling again. "I just thought that since you and he were so, you know, close that maybe-"

"An' youse were tryin' ta make sure youse knew watt ya were gonna step into before ya did," Mafia finished knowingly. "Isa get it, it's exactly watt Isa would do." She looked away and saw Spot standing off to the side, talking with Ink while Daisy, Les, Snipeshooter, Boots, Hotshot, Dusty, Hatter and Shark (younger Brooklyn newsies) ran past, evidentially having made friends with one another through Daisy. "Besides, Isa think I already got someone else…"

The other girl followed her gaze and nodded when she spotted whom she was referring to. "So that's Spot Conlon. Davey mention him to me a couple days ago, him and your whole situation. What's he like?"

Mafia shrugged and turned back to Sarah. The two girls seemed to get along fine, and both had a mutual feeling that they would be good friends in the future. "Isa really can't say. Some people say he's big bad royalty as far as bein' a newsie goes, filled with coldness and ta be respected or feared, an' in truth he is. If youse know im' as an acquaintance or even friend youse get ta see another side, a somewhat lighter one who protects others any way he can but can still be just as harsh as he wants. His newsies see him as a respected leader, one not to be tangled with if you will. An' den dere's me- an', well, youse can clearly see dat Isa dunno im' as well as Isa thought Isa did…"

The girls sat in revered silence for a moment, and then Sarah took her hand reassuringly. "I think you two have some of the best chemistry I've ever seen, and this is coming from a girl who has numerous friends in sticking relationships. Anyone can see how he looks at you, and you obviously have feeling for him, so why not make it official already? You're in love!"

Mafia sighed and bit down on her lip, glancing over at Spot again. "It ain't dat simple Sarah… Isa got way too many problems ta deal with my own emotions at dis rate. For cryin' out loud Isa gotta maniac tryin' ta kill me an' he ain't above usin' others Isa care 'bout ta do it! It's simpler if Isa keep my distance, at least until dis is all ova."

Sarah nodded. "Smart move-"she started to say, and then stopped once she spotted someone moving towards them. She grinned and got up to leave. "I'd better go find Les," she told Mafia, who looked up at her quizzically. "Looks like three's gonna be a crowd." She nodded towards Spot, who had come up and was standing next to Mafia expectantly. The blonde street girl nodded farewell to her new friend and turned around in her seat to face the King, barely noticing that Medda had finished her performance and the band had struck a slow but catchy tune.

"Why da youse gotta go chasin' off people like dat Conlon?" Mafia growled, glaring up at him. "Isa was actually tryin' ta have a civilized conversation!" Spot rolled his eyes and pulled her to her feet before dragging her out onto the dance floor amongst the other newsies and their girls. He twirled her in and out before speaking.

"Isa figured dis was da only place we could really talk without bein' interrupted," he said. Mafia rolled her gray eyes. "Sure it was," she replied sarcastically. She tensed up as Spot dipped her down and brought her back up. "When did youse learn how ta dance?" she asked the King, smiling devilishly. Spot shrugged. "Every guy in Brooklyn learns how at some point. But dat ain't why Isa got youse here; Warden Snyder's decided ta make an appearance."

Mafia figured that Spot expected her to freak out, but she did the exact opposite. She saw Snyder scanning and crowd and gestured towards him absentmindedly. "Youse really think he's aft' me?" she snorted. "Spot, ya off youse rocker. Snyder doesn't have anything ta bear witness dat Isa was even in his Refuge; paperwork nova got started. It only gets done if youse been in dere ova a month, an' Isa was only dere a week. Supposed ta be a year, but hey, opportunity knocked-"

"Crypt's here too," Spot cut her off, looking her straight in the eyes. "He's with Pulitzer's hit team like he was da other day durin' da raid."

The street girl felt her chest tighten and she tried to pull away from Spot, but the newsie gripped her arms as a sign for her to stay put. "Don't leave just yet," he whispered in her ear. "It'll look strange an' attract attention." "It already has, da youse see dem looks everyone's givin' us?"

"Nope." Spot's tone was calm, and if Mia hadn't looked at his facial expression she might've believed him. "Alright, as soon as dis slow song ends an' Medda gets back up onstage with da other newsies I'll lead youse off da floor an' go tell Mouth 'bout Snyder an' Crypt. He'll pass it along ta Jackie boy, an' den we all run for it, out da back door. Got it?"

Mafia glared at him. "Watt 'bout da front entrance? Crypt's probably got people in the alleys waiting for us, but dey won't expect us ta get outta da entrance hall. We'll beat em' at dere own game." Spot sighed. "Da bulls are blockin' da front gates. We have ta take our chances with street fightin'. Good plan otherwise though."

"Thanks."

The song ended followed by a reprise of Medda's 'Hard Times', during which Spot and Mafia split in order to alert their friends. Mia got the word out to Sarah and the Youngers (who were being hustled out the door by Injun as they spoke) as well as Witch, Cloud and Lucky, whom also followed suit with Daisy at their heels. Only Phantom and Racetrack were unreachable, standing up on the stage with Medda and Jack.

Mafia reached the couple right as David reached Jack and Spot reached Mafia, all three yelling to each other "It's Snyder!" Racetrack and Phantom froze in place and Jack snapped his head up just in time to see his old enemy smirking, putting a shiny metal object to his mouth.

That was when the whistle blew and the whole theatre was thrown into chaos.

How was that? Good, bad, ok, terrible? Review people, I need ta know these things! Again, we're almost to 40 reviews, so help a gal out and push tat little blue button at the bottom, numerous time if we must!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RELLIMMES- HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! (Dec. 23 really, but I'm on vacation that day and might not have access to a computer, so I'm publishing early. On another note, I'm also publishing this chapter on the day the day the world's supposed to end, so you know, whatever. I don't believe that stuff, the Mayans had to stop their calendar SOMETIME!)

Also, as stated up topside, pray for those affected by the shooting in Colorado. I'm pretty sure they need it.

Deuteronomy 31: 6

Rellimmes