In the end, Spot was almost twelve, as near as he could figure, when his chance came. It started, he supposed, around his twelfth birthday, the day Flair found him before the bell even rang and told him Frankie had left in the night, leaving Peter in charge. Spot didn't plan on challenging the boy for at least a little while more, until he was sure the older newsies wouldn't object to him being leader, but only a few weeks after Peter took over, Flair found him before lunch and told him to not go to Whitey's, because Pyro had taken over and Pyro wouldn't like Spot eating with them unless he agreed to become under his command. Spot spent the rest of the day watching from a distance, selling what papers he could. He knew Pyro, it was hard to live at the docks and not, and he knew that Pyro was one of the cruelest, most manipulative boys on the streets. He was a thug in the dock gang, but Spot suspected he had more influence than the other boys in the gang. Maybe he wasn't exactly smart, but he was good a poking people where it hurt the worst, prodding at the things they were most ashamed of to make them do something he wanted them to do or using what they were proud of to get on their good side. It was clear, however, that he really didn't care how much the newsies liked him as long as they listened, and he used intimidation to ensure their obeying. Spot didn't like what he was seeing, random beatings and thievery. Peter and his group seemed to have disappeared, and nobody was standing up for the younger boys receiving the majority of the cruelty. Pyro seemed to enjoy causing boys smaller than him pain, and striking fear into the newsies. Spot got angrier and angrier watching, seeing how the older boys did their best to help the younger up, to take care of their bruises and teach them how to avoid Pyro's unwanted attention, but the thug enjoyed picking on them and hurting them. He watched for weeks, keeping mental notes, and surviving on begged coins and bread pulled from dumpsters. Until he snapped.

He had found a rooftop that gave him a good view of the circulation desk, and spent most morning watching the newsies from up there. Every once in awhile, one would look up and see him, and he could read the silent plea for help in the eyes of the young ones even from the distance he was from them. The older ones didn't see him as often. One day, he was watching and he saw the start of something he couldn't ignore, and even the beginning was enough to send him running off the roof and towards the yard. He saw Pyro start on Nib, the smallest of the newsies, and Flair try to stop it. Pyro turned towards Flair, who looked at Spot quickly before standing up straight. Pyro stepped forward, and Spot knew even without being able to hear that Flair was being threatened. When Pyro took his first swing, Spot was already at the fire ladder, and he got to the yard as Pyro got Flair on the ground, the smaller boy curling into a ball. The newsies noticed Spot at the gate and parted, a few whispers rippling through the crowd.

"Hey! Pick on someone your own size, why doncha?" Pyro turned at the voice coming from the gate and laughed at the small boy standing as if he owned the city.

"And who is you, kiddo? A friend of that punk?"

"I am. An' I'm through lettin' you hurt him an' all my other boys." Spot sauntered through the path the newsies had made for him.

"An' you is gonna do something 'bout it?" Pyro pouted at him mockingly. "Oh, the widdle boy is standin' up for the big kids!" Spot stared at him coolly, a look the newsies knew pretty well. Spot had avoided the dock gang, knowing that not getting to know them at all would improve his chances of staying in his shelter there. Pyro had not met him, and did not know who he was, or how well he could fight.

"That's right." He said it as a statement, almost no inflection. He'd learned fast that no reaction often made people more nervous than anger.

"Whatcha gonna do 'bout it? Glare at me?"

"I'm gonna give ya one minute to step down, an' then I'm gonna fight you." Pyro laughed.

"Like a squirt like you could fight me!" Spot stopped right in front of Pyro.

"I ain't lettin' you beat up these boys for fun no more. You got thirty seconds to yield."

"I ain't yieldin' to a boy I could beat in my sleep." Spot heard the newsies shuffling behind him, whispering amongst themselves. He counted in his head to thirty. Pyro was still laughing a bit when he stepped forward and connected his fist to the older boy's side. Pyro bent over, wheezing from the perfectly placed punch, allowing Spot to get him in the face with his knee. Pyro roared and straightened up, beginning to fight back. Spot let himself drift into the fighting zone, losing all thought outside of when to duck and dodge, where to strike. Fighting Pyro was different from any other fight he'd been in. It was hard. It was one of the first fights since the Refuge that he'd had to try, that he was nervous about what the outcome would be. Pyro knew how to fight and his size was an advantage. For a while, they went back and forth between Spot having an advantage and Pyro, but as the fight went on, Spot noticed Pyro tiring, moving slower. The gang boy hadn't had many fights where his opponent fought back, and wasn't used to having to keep fighting for long periods of time. Pyro moved slower and slower, blocking fewer and fewer of Spot's punches. Spot hit him, and one at a time they didn't phase him, but as Spot spun and hit his sides over and over, he noticed Pyro gasping more raggedly. Spot saw a weakness in Pyro's already limited defense and swung his foot up hard connecting with Pyro's stomach as his fist stayed steady underneath Pyro's nose, so that as the older boy hunched over to catch his breath, he connected with the fist. Spot swept his leg underneath Pyro, grunting at the impact. Spot was strong, but Pyro was massive, and he took a lot of effort to topple. But fall he did, and Spot stepped on him to keep him down. Pyro made a halfhearted attempt to sit up, but gave up when Spot raised his foot as if to threaten a stomp on the face.

"I yield." He muttered, so that only Spot and the newsies gathered close could hear.

"What was that, Pyro? Say it nice an' loud, so all of them can hear you." Spot spat.

"I yield." Pyro said louder.

"You ever gonna mess with my boys again?"


"You gonna mess with me again?"

"No." Spot smirked at the boy, his eyes cold and hard.

"You mess with me or my boys again, I'll kick ya halfway to Queens, you hear?"


"Get outta here. Get outta Brooklyn. I'm the king now, an' my word is law. I see you on my territory again, an' I'll do worse than soak you, got it?"


"Good." Spot stepped off of the larger boy. "Nat, Lightning, make sure he leaves Brooklyn." The two boys stepped forward as Pyro got to his feet. "An' if they come back an' tell me you ain't leaving, I'll get you out myself." Pyro nodded and walked out of the yard, glaring at the ground. Nat and Lightning followed behind, glancing at Spot to make sure that was what he wanted them to do. At his nod, they left as well, and the other newsies watched them go. They were quiet. Spot kept his face blank, watching them for their reaction. He was younger than most of them, and there was always a chance they weren't ready to accept him as leader yet. But he saw them smile slightly, and look at each other from the corner of their eyes. Flair stepped forward and broke the silence, his smile larger and more sincere than the others'.

"Spot Conlon, king of Brooklyn. Long live the king!" The other newsies glanced at their new leader before repeating the phrase.

"Long live the king!" Spot allowed something closer to a smile than a smirk to slip through his mask, and he watched the newsies of Brooklyn, his newsies, celebrate the fact that they had a chance of living under a decent ruler.

And FIN. Unless you have prompts for what you want to see, this seems like a good place to end it. Thank you to all the wonderful reviewers, followers and favoriters, and to Musicalphan, who has been working hard to make sure I didn't give up.