Yeah, reviews! I love em'! Do you know what I like more? Beta requests! If you know anyone or you yourself need a Beta I need a story, so review or PM and that just might happen! Anyways, here we go again-
To say the least, Mafia thought the first raid went extremely well minus the imprisonment of Crutchy. As she sat on the lodging house couch in Manhattan watching the numerous scenes unfold around her she couldn't help but congratulate herself on being the one to suggest joining them. Jack had been Mafia's friend for years, and since he had been the first to take them in after they fled Brooklyn it was only fair she should repay him. But hadn't Spot been her friend before she'd run away? Didn't he save her life when she'd been left for dead by a drunken Crypt? She hadn't repaid him…
The girl quickly shook the thought from her mind and refocused on the present. It had been a crush; it was nothing serious and he would never know. He was out of the picture as far as she was concerned. Turning towards the right, Mafia's eyes quickly fell on Les and Daisy, who were busy playing marbles on the floor with Boots and Snipeshooter. Les had just rolled and Daisy was laughing at some funny joke he had just told. Mafia smiled. This is the way kids should live, she thought. Happy, healthy and without as much as a care in the world. Not abandoned and forgotten on the streets. A lot like her…
Mafia was swept out of her reverie by Jack and David's return, which signaled a storm of newsboys all hustling towards them, each with a question of his own.
"Where's Crutchy Jack?"
"Did ya see Snider?"
"Is he OK?"
Finally Phantom, who was sitting off to the side with Racetrack and Specs, got up on the table above everyone and screamed "All 'o' youse SHUT UP! Let em' talk for once!" Then, as the room went dead silent she hopped back down, grinning. Jack nodded thanks. "Thanks Phantom." The pale girl shrugged as if it didn't matter, but a pat on the back from Race changed her mind. "Yeah, youse was great!" the Italian told her. Phantom blushed and glanced at Mafia, who rolled her eyes and faced Jack. "Well Jack, how is he?"
The Manhattan leader slumped down in a chair and let out a sigh as everyone perked up to hear what he had to say. "Crutchy's gonna be stuck in da Refuge for a while everybody," he announced solemnly. "Da Delancy's beat his good leg pretty bad today, an' he don't want nobody carryin' im' outta dat place. We'll wait maybe a few weeks an' try again- but no sooner." The crowd's hearts sank and Mafia resisted the urge to groan. Crutchy had been the girl's first friend other than Jack when they'd stayed in Manhattan after fleeing Brooklyn. He was always the optimist, and without him the LH wouldn't quite be the same.
"But enough 'bout dis already!" A voice piped up, belonging to Witch. She and Lucky were over with Blink and Mush, and before had been swapping stories. "We needs a plan. Da strike ain't gonna carry on without us, an' if we're down like dis it's gonna fall apart, ya got me?" A few nodded their heads in agreement and all turned towards her to listen up. "Alright, so now dat we know Crutchy ain't gonna be 'round for a while we need ta make sure our number one priority is da strike. We did good today-"
"-but we gotta show em' we're serious-"Lucky added.
"-or else dey'll think we're just kids blowin' hot air," Witch finished. "We can raid da Center again tomorrow, if Jack allows it, an' we'll show em' dat dey don't own us!" The newsies all cheered and Jack nodded in agreement. "It's a good plan Witch, I approve. Davey?"
David shrugged but let his excitement gleam through his dark eyes. "I like it," he said. "It'll show the others we're serious, right?" The others went silent, some frowning deeply. They all remembered Conlon's dictum when Jack had gone to see him in Brooklyn. Mafia stood up. "He's right," she told the group, gaining their attention. "Conlon'll be hard ta convince, an' ya might as well do it now when word's still hot."
Everyone agreed, and immediately Jack started to make plans for the greatest raid yet, but Cloud spoke up. "Can't da girls raid it too?" she asked hopefully. "We're as much a part 'o' this as youse are ya know!"
"No!" Mafia objected, whirling around to face Cloud. "Youse know our part Cloud; play it, no questions asked."
But David, thinking himself a knight in shining armor took Cloud's side. "She's got a decent point Maf," he told her. "You could help if you want, and from what I hear you're the best fighter in Brooklyn-"
"Davey, Isa think youse need ta shut it for once," Jack cut in nervously, watching for my reaction. "Maf may be good, but she's got her reasons for wantin' ta stay outta da way on dis one. Tell em Mafia."
The leader of the street girls drew in a deep breath. This was going to be difficult. "Ya see David, something similar ta dis happened in Brooklyn a few years ago, back when Crypt was King an' he was beta den he is now. In Brooklyn newsies buy in bundles instead 'o' singular ya know, so when Hearst tried cutting down da amount 'o' papes dat were in da stacks we all refused ta sell. Not go on strike per se, but close ta it. Den Spot, who was second at da time, had dis great idea ta go in an' disrupt da presses, an' we all ran in dere an' did just dat. We called it 'Da Brooklyn March'.
Problem is, we had a snitch, an' dey was ready for us. By da time we got dere Hearst had several hired hands ready ta slaughter us. Killed at least seven newsies total, including two 'o' me giorls. Names were Juniper an' Grit. Dis strike's gonna end up just like Da March if we ain't careful, an' I ain't too keen on bringing any more 'o' me giorls into dis. Now Isa can't control dem any more den Isa control youse, but as for me Isa stayin' outta dat Center. It's too much 'o' a risk."
By this time everyone was quiet, each too stunned to say anything. "So dat's why Spot won't join us?" Boots finally asked. "Because he don't wanna see a repeat?"
Rapier sighed but remained standing. "Mafia, ya right. It's a risk, but it's one we gotta take. Ya don't gotta protect us no more. It's our fight too ya know."
Her friend nodded solemnly. "Alright, youse can go. But I'm stayin' with me original post, an' Daisy ain't goin' anywhere near dat fight." Before Rapier could say anything else Phantom piped up "Done deal. She can't be dat close ta da chaos anyways. She's too little-"
"Am not!" The ash blonde little girl retorted indignantly. "I can fight too!" Mafia chuckled and picked the tiny one up in her arms, grinning gently. "Isa know ya can sweetie," she replied gently. "But if you're in dere den whose gonna help me protect da people out here? It's a big responsibility, keepin' da crowds safe. Watt if one 'o' em' gets hurt an' I'm too far away ta help, huh?"
Daisy grumbled but agreed to keep out of trouble. "And Les can stay with you," David added. "Ma and Pa would never forgive me if I let him in on a riot." Les grinned at Daisy an promised his older brother to stay with her and Mafia at all times.
"Well den, looks like it's settled," Jack concluded. "Now let's get some shut eye. We're gonna need it."
Manhattan Distribution Center, 1899
Middle of the raid….
"They closed the gates!" Les screamed, racing towards where Mafia and Daisy were standing at top speed. "Pulitzer hired thugs; they're gonna kill David and Cowboy!"
Mafia felt the blood run out of her face as she swung round to face the trouble. She could see through the iron bars well enough, enough to make out Racetrack and Snitch banging on it for someone to let them out and Jack being encircled by about 10 large men with clubs. She swore under her breath, cursing herself for letting her team inside the Center with the rest of the boys, and turned back to the smaller children.
"C'mon kids, we're leavin'," she told them, taking their wrists and pulling them with her away from the building. "We've gotta get outta here."
Les and Daisy cried out in protest and struggled to break free of the slender girl's strong grip. "What are you doing, my brother's in there!" Les protested, kicking and fighting. Daisy too was furious. "Mafia, don't youse care 'bout Phantom an' da rest?' she screamed. Mafia whirled and, shot them both a dangerous look. "I'm not abandoning em' if dat's watt ya thinking!" she nearly yelled. "I'm goin' ta get help, an' ya kids are comin' with me. I can't let ya outta me sight, David an' Jack would nova forgive me!" She then let go and presumed to run towards the direction of Brooklyn, two kids tailing behind her rubbing their wrists.
When Daisy saw where they were headed she stopped and tugged at Mafia's shorts. "Why we headed ta Brooklyn?" she demanded. "Da King's dere; youse hate im', remember?"
"And David said Spot won't want to see you anymore," Les added, not fully understanding what his brother had meant. Mafia sighed, biting her lip. The boy was right; Spot might not want to listen to her after what had happened a day either. But she had to try. Brooklyn was their last hope of saving any of the newsies in Manhattan. "I know buddy," she nodded, starting the run again. "But if you wanna save Cowboy youse gonna have ta take da chance."
Brooklyn south docks, 1899
(AN:) I'm extending the second raid scene to a few hours instead of 5 minutes. The Brooklyn Bridge is 3 mi. long, after all)
After the group reached the newsie docks Mafia led Les and Daisy behind a crate off to the side, away from any prying eyes. "Stay outta sight until Isa come an' get ya, ya hear?" she instructed them. "Don't let no one see youse, don't even talk ta anyone if dey do- even if dey was a friend," she added, looking at Daisy meaningfully. The little girl had made several friends in the short time she was a Brooklyn newsgirl and could be tempted to reach out to any of them if she noticed one. Daisy nodded solemnly and pulled Les behind the crate with her, disappearing from sight.
Satisfied that they would keep out of trouble Mafia approached the beginning of the pier, where a lanky Brooklynite was standing guard. His cap covered up his face. "Heya newsie!" Maf called out, stepping in front of him. "Isa wanna talk ta ya leader!" She toughened up her voice considerably, wavering the gentle and firm tone she'd used to speak to the youngers towards her usual brutal one she'd picked up as a kid on the streets. She'd lost it when she'd become one of Brooklyn's finest, but a year back on the brought it back, combined with her leader's voice she was practically dangerous.
The newsboy looked up at her, showing his face for the first time. "An' watt makes youse think ya entitled ta see im'?" Ink questioned cockily, but then seeing who it was. "Mafia Powell, is dat youse?"
The girl shrugged but grinned back at him nevertheless. "Long time no see Ink. How's bein' second suitin' youse? Not dull is it?"
Ink waved it off. "Getting' beta now dat youse back," he replied. "But youse can fill me in late. Why ya wanna see Spot? Youse two don't get along too well if Isa recall Witch not sayin'. Ya didn't even stay da night when youse came either."
Mafia nodded, a little guilty, but decided not to show it. "Dat ain't da point, nor is it da reason why Isa here. Cowboy an' da gang raided da Center twice in da past two days. First time only Crutchy got sent ta da Refuge, but everyone else is gonna be joinin' im' if Brooklyn don't help us right now. Da giorls are with em'."
The second's face paled when she heard Mafia's last comment, but he still shook his head. "Maf, we all wanna help youse, really we do. Spot's da only thing dat's keepin' us from doin' so, an' even den half 'o' im' wants ta take up arms as well. But youse know what he's gonna say when youse arrive-"
"Yeah, get out, Isa nova wanna see youse again," Mafia finished for him, somewhat sadly. "He says dat ta everyone who comes back aft' abandonin' im' lookin' for help, Isa know it from Sprite. But Isa need ta try, or people are gonna die. Ink, please. If nothin' else, as a friend."
The boy bit his lip, hesitant, but eventually let her through. "Isa can't guarantee anything," he told her as he escorted the visitor across the docks. "Youse remember how Spot is."
"Isa remember," Mafia replied, gray eyes staring straight ahead towards Spot, who'd already seen them coming and hopped off his own crate to meet them. "Isa used ta love im' youse know."
"What 'bout now?" Ink muttered, treading on thin ice now. His friend just shook her head. "My responsibility is my family now Ink," she said simply. "He's not in the picture anymore. An' aft' all dis is ova, aft' Crypt's finally 6 feet under, he'll nova see me again."
Ink wanted to ask her what she meant, but before he could they arrived at Spot. "Good luck," he whispered in her ear, kissing her lightly on the cheek in a brotherly sort of way before retreating back to his post. Spot stepped forwards after tht, waiting until Ink was gona before speaking.
"Youse gotta lot 'o' gut Mafia," he growled, staring her straight in the eyes. "Youse 'o' all people know watt happens ta dose dat come 'round here in youse position."
"Yeah, well Isa ain't dem people Conlon," was all Mafia said, smiling slightly and almost taunting- like. "Isa ain't here for me."
"An' yet here ya are," Spot replied, moving so that he and his visitor were only two feet apart. "Must be important, for da proud leader 'o' da street rats ta come scrambling down so low as ta ask a newsie for help. Watt, things getting' too rough up at da top sweetheart?" The King had meant it as an insult, as street rats were below even newsies in the higher class society, but as much as Mafia wanted to wipe that smirk off his face with her fist she didn't. That would only hurt matters.
"Youse know 'bout da strike in 'Hattan," she stated simply. "Youse know dat Isa know youse told Jack he had ta prove himself ta youse. He did just dat Spot. He raided da Center yesterday, an' again today. Dere trapped inside, no way out, like pigs in a slaughterhouse. Me giorls are in dere, all 'o' da 'Hattan boys are in dere an' dere gonna get hurt. I'm here ta convince youse ta help em' out. Dey need ya, plain an' simple."
Spot just shrugged indifferently. "Sorry. Can't help youse."
"But why not?" Mafia demanded, stamping her foot in frustration. "You're das King 'o' Brooklyn for Pete's sake- youse can do whatever youse want!"
Spot glared at her. "Ya can't make me Powell, an' youse know dat. Isa don't care watt kind 'o' case ya make; da answer's still no." Mafia groaned and rolled her eyes. "You're pretty pathetic, youse know dat right?"
"An' a real pain in da neck."
"Did Isa mention arrogant? Full of youseself?"
"Believe watt ya want Maf."
"Watt 'bout a scaredy-cat?" Mafia finally added, an idea forming in her head. "Ya ain't no leader Conlon; ya nothin' nut a coward."
At that comment Spot, who had started to walk away, froze. He spun around to face mafia again, all red in the face and anger coursing through his veins. His fists were clenched tightly, knuckles turning white. "Take dat back!" he demanded, voice harsh and loud. "Now!" Mafia just smirked and shrugged, picking at the dirt underneath one of her fingernails absentmindedly. She had him. "Nope, don't think I will."
The King talked towards her, cane swinging at his side. "Youse gonna do it or I'll throw youse in da water!" he yelled, pointing towards the river threateningly. The girl before him snickered. "Do it, Isa don't care," she told him. "Isa can swim just fine, plus everyone else has already heard ya."
Spot glanced towards the rest of his borough; each and every newsboy under his command had stopped whatever they had been doin', some even treading water in place, to watch the two duke it out. He turned a deep shade of scarlet, darker than his previous one, in embarrassment. Turning back to face Mafia, who was grinning victoriously, he beckoned her forward. "Fine, I'll be dere," he finally conceded, not meeting her gaze. "But after youse tell me everything ya know on Crypt an' Brooklyn."
Mafia allowed herself to let Spot have at least that particular condition. "Sure, whatever," she replied, waving it off. But Spot wasn't done yet. "Everything," he emphasized. The blonde sighed but reluctantly nodded, lying through her teeth when she agreed.
"Fine Conlon. Aft' dis day is ova I'll tell youse everything ya need ta know."
Was that good, or was it good? Don't worry, things are going to heat up for Spot and Mafia pretty soon, but first the next chapter needs to focus on David, Racetrack, Blink, Mush and their girls. I need ideas for their own subplots! David's should definitely be mainly about his family, no changes there, but with the other three I'm clueless. Anyone can suggest anything, even if it's ridiculous; I won't judge.
TTFN (ta-ta for now!)
Miss Mad Hatter