Disclaimer: I don't own Newsies, sadly, they belong to Disney. Mac, however, is my own creation. I also own Smiler and Snaps, and Romeo is 'borrowed' (to me, he is the kid who is last to receive bread from the nuns in the movie). Kilts, Sandwiches, Hats, Patches and Nibs are also mine. Please read and review!

I stand in the doorway of the bunkroom, smiling fondly at the sleeping forms of my young charges. I notice that 8-year-old Nibs is sleeping in a very tight ball, like a little hedgehog, and 10-year-old Patches has snuck into Mac's bed sometime during the night and is now smiling contentedly in his sleep. Snitch has his foot in Itey's face, as usual, Boots is clutching his precious boots like a teddy, and Romeo is murmuring sweet nothings, no doubt dreaming of pretty girls.

But one day, these children will leave me, one by one, to find a new life of their own, and I will be able to give them but one thing.

A fond farewell.

Some of my older Newsies have already planned out the paths they wish to take when they leave. Jack, who leaves us very soon, has discovered that he actually has a real talent for drawing and painting people and landscapes, and is taking up a career in illustrating, selling his drawings as a sideline. He has decided to stay in Manhattan with his girlfriend, Sarah, rather than go to Sante Fe (although he still wants to visit one day).

Racetrack, who has just turned 17, has successfully managed to land himself a job as a stable boy and general help at his beloved Sheepshead, with hopes to maybe work his way up to a higher position. Of course, he still plans to reside in Manhattan to be near his much-loved Mac.

Mac, now 16, intends to train to become a fully licenced doctor (of medicine), and she has already managed to persuade the local doctor to take her on as an apprentice.

And when the time comes for them to leave, I will give them the one thing I can.

A fond farewell.

Of course, each time a boy leaves, another arrives to take his place. When Smiler left 9 months ago, his place was swiftly taken by Hats and Sandwiches, the 11-year-old twins. Snaps used to reside in the bed that Nibs now occupies. And when Jack arrived, about 5 years ago, he took over from Kilts, the leader and the only Scottish boy to have graced the building during the many years I have been here.

But even the new boys won't be here forever, and I will one day be saying goodbye to them too.

A fond farewell.

(There is only one Newsie who won't be leaving the Lodging House, and that is Crutchy. I have chosen him to take over the running of the place when I finally retire in a few years, because he is cheerful, optimistic and popular, and rather good at making sure things go smoothly. He will be surrounded by the children he loves, he won't have to worry about heavy lifting, and his friends have promised to pop in regularly to make sure he's okay.)

As I stand there, in the doorway, I feel a moment of sadness cross my elderly heart and I almost want to weep, because these children will, one day, leave me behind as they venture into adulthood on their own. In their place will come other boys, other children who need a friendly face and a helping hand, and I will provide them. But I will still have tears in my eyes every time one of my Newsies goes out through the front door for the last time.

And with a heavy heart, I, Mr Terrence Kloppman, will wish them all a fond farewell.