Racetrack hunched his shoulders and turned up the collar of his borrowed coat. Things were doing slightly better these days. It had been two weeks since he joined the newsies. He had become enough of a fixture that folks no longer asked nosy questions. He liked it that way. He didn't appreciate people poking around where they didn't belong. His business was his business. And if the Manhattan leader didn't like him heading off to Brooklyn at nine o' clock at night, then he could just shut it and leave him alone. Anthony Higgins was done with people telling him what to do. So he kept his head down, turned up his collar against the warm summer rain, and trudged across the Brooklyn bridge.
He was well into Brooklyn, not paying much attention to his surroundings, when an unknown voice claimed his attention. "Hey!"
Race's head jerked up, his brown eyes scanning the darkness for the speaker. He knew Brooklyn like the back of his hand, and it was only a matter of time before he spotted the kid in the alleyway.
"Watcha doin' on Brooklyn turf?" the kid asked, trying to make his voice sound deeper than it was.
Race laughed at his pathetic attempt.
The kid has ta be new at this. Probably one of the younger Brooklyn boys, a background newsie trying to rise to the top by soaking a lost 'Hattan kid. Well, his plan had a few flaws. Race was far from lost, and his plans for the night did not include getting soaked.
"What's it to ya?" Race demanded, shoving his hands in his pockets.
The kid stepped into the light, crossing his arms over his chest. He was a scrawny little thing, about Race's age, with blond hair shoved under a cap and strange, silver-blue eyes. He wore a patched, faded grey shirt and brown trousers. A slingshot was tucked in at his hip, and he wore a scowl on his face. "I could soak ya right now," he threatened.
Race leaned easily against the brick storefront at his back, sizing the kid up. "I could soak you, too," he pointed out. He was confident he could, too, unless the Brooklyn kid had backup somewhere.
The kid's scowl deepened. "What's a 'Hattaner doin' in Brooklyn this time a' night?" he demanded.
Race's cocky grin disappeared, ready to set this kid straight. "First, I ain't from 'Hattan," he said. "I'se Brooklyn born an' raised, same as you. And second, I'm tryin' ta meet me sistahs. I left home 'bout two weeks ago, but they'se still stuck there."
The kid looked him up and down. "What's ya name?" he questioned, his voice losing some of its hostility.
Good. Now maybe I can get outta here without gettin' in a fight. The girls'd worry if I showed up at the winda with a black eye.
"Anthony Higgins. The newsies calls me Race. You?"
The kid shrugged, jumping down from his perch. "The name's Spot. Spot Conlon."
Race grinned. "What makes ya Brooklyn's border patrol, Spot?" he asked.
Spot glared at him. Brooklyn's bordah patrol? Who does he think he is? "
I'se gonna be the leadah one day," he said. "I wanna know every inch a' my borough when that happens."
That oughta set him straight. Maybe now he'll keep that smart mouth undah control.
Future leader. He must be the kid they'se trainin' up. Race was familiar enough with Brooklyn policies to know that the current leader started training up a kid to take his place years before he actually stepped down. Spot must be that kid.
"Fair enough," Race said, sticking a cigar in his mouth. "Ya want one?" he offered.
Spot shook his head. Time ta find out more about this kid. See what makes 'im tick. Young as he was, he was an expert at reading people. Consider it the product of being on the streets for four years.
"Ya said ya had sistahs at home?" he questioned.
"Yeah," Race said, lighting his cigar. "One older, one youngah. You?"
Spot ignored the question, asking one of his own instead. "How old are ya?"
"Same as me," Spot remarked, turning this new information over in his head. He had a quick, cunning mind, and he put it to action now.
The kid's a newsie at nine years old, but he's still got family in Brooklyn. He wants ta keep in touch with 'em, too- or at least the sistahs. Must be his folks he's runnin' away from, then. He ain't been a newsie for long, 'cause he's still usin' his old name.
Spot had been a newsie for four years now and he barely recognized his given name anymore, much less answered to it. He disliked the cockiness of this kid.
Who does he think he is, swaggerin' into Brooklyn like he owns the place? Still, it would be nice to have an ally in 'Hattan...
"Awright, Race, I'll cut ya a deal," Spot said. "I gives ya passage inta Brooklyn, but every time ya comes through, you'se gotta give me the news from 'Hattan. I'se gonna be the leadah one day, and I likes knowin' what's goin' on in other boroughs. Do we gotta deal?"
Racetrack thought this over. "Deal," he said, spitting into his palm.
It'll be worth it in the long run. Sure, it'll be a pain ta track this kid down every time I visit home, but now I can go anywhere I want. 'Sides, it'll be nice ta have an ally in Brooklyn.
Spot spat in his, and they shook on it.
(A/N): Hey everybody! This story is going to be a series of oneshots about the friendship between Spot and Race. Some of you may have read my first Spot Conlon story, Rules of Brooklyn (and if you haven't you should go check it out!). I got a request on that story that I write more stories with my characterization of Spot, and since I've been a major Spot Conlon girl from the moment I saw Newsies. Special shoutout to my newsie friends Flash and Trip for encouraging me to write this story, and to SomedayonBroadway for being an amazing friend and an equally amazing writer. You should go check out her stories, they're truly amazing.
Please tell me what you thought of this story in a review! I want to hear your thoughts, comments, constructive criticism, and requests! They all help me grow as a writer.
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