A/N Heyo! Here's a new one shot for y'all. tw: depression, anxiety, suicide attempt. It can be Sprace if you want it to be haha.
Spot always met Race halfway across the suspension bridge that connected Manhattan to Brooklyn. Everyday. No one really questioned it, most newsies just thought that the mighty Brooklyn leader was keeping Manhattan 'in check' while on his turf. Those who thought that had clearly never seen the relief flicker in Spot's eyes when he saw the boy safely making his way over. The reason of this is unknown, until now.
Brooklyn, New York - 1897
It was half past eleven when Spot found him. Having finished his nightly rounds, the future king of Brooklyn was heading back to the lodge house but stopped when he saw a shaking silhouette on the edge of the Brooklyn bridge.
Taking a sharp left, Spot cautiously approached the person only to realize it was none other than Racetrack Higgins sitting on the edge, dangerously swinging his legs. "What're you doin' here, Racer?" the soon-to-be leader asked softly. The blond only sniffled in response. "C'mon kid, let's get you down." Spot said as he grabbed Race around the waist, causing the two to tumble backwards onto the sidewalk, away from the side of the bridge.
"Lemme go!" Race cried, desperately trying to get out of Spot's arms. "I - I can't do this anymore, let me go!" Racetrack grabbed at the wires to pull himself out, but Spot was stronger. After a few minutes, he gave up and curled into the Brooklyn newsies hold. The poor boy couldn't have been older than thirteen.
"Can't do what anymore?" Spot whispered into the brisk air, though he already knew the answer. The kid hiccuped into the older boys chest, his cries calmed slightly. Spot's head shot up at the sound of footsteps, a boy about eleven years old was walking down the bridge in an apparent hurry. "Psst, Pyro!" The brunette cringed as Race stirred in his arms. The redhead looked around, his eyes eventually finding the older newsie on the ground holding a trembling boy. "What're ya doin' out this late? Y'know what, it doesn't matter. I need ya to do something for me."
"What d'you need?" Pyro asked slowly, his voice uncertain.
"Go to 'Hattan and get Kelly now."
"But - but Spot Sir-"
"It ain't a question, kid. Go quickly and I'll forget about you bein' out past curfew." Spot gave a satisfied nod as the kid took off toward Manhattan. Sighing, the prince of Brooklyn buried his face in Race's blond curls, breathing in his faint smell of smoke and alcohol.
As the young newsie suspected, the door to the Manhattan lodge house was locked. And ironically (unironically?) enough, Pyro hated climbing fire escapes. He slid open the first window he saw, eager to get off the metal structure. Not even two legs in, a tired voice hissed into his ear.
"Move any further and I'll shoot ya into next week." Pyro could barely see the slingshot aimed straight at his face. The eleven year old put his hands up. "I just need ta see Kelly. It's an emergency."
The boy gave him a hard look before lowering his weapon and reluctantly letting the stranger in. "C'mon." He lead Pyro across the hall into a different room and they soon stood in front of a sleeping form. "You're lucky Jack ain't in his penthouse," he said before shaking the new leader awake.
Jack squinted at the boy before him in disbelief. "You're tellin' me that Spot Conlon needs my help at twelve o'clock in the morning." The eleven year old nodded vigorously and the older boysighed and shoved his boots on. Earning a cry of alarm from the slingshot bearer.
"You'se actually going with him, Jack? What if it's a trick!"
"Don't worry, Finch. I doubt anyone would make up anything about Spot and live as long as this kid has. You can come if you'd like." The boy did. "So what exactly happened?" Jack asked as the trio stepped outside.
"Well I was comin' back to the house after visiting me sista when part way 'cross the bridge, Spot catches my attention and tells me to get you. He's holding this scared kid, and I'm talking real scared. So I go cause I didn't wanna get soaked or anythin'." Jack nodded at the boy's explanation and quickened his pace, wondering who this 'scared kid' was.
Once Pyro left, Spot started rocking the boy as he murmured incoherently, making the mistake of loosening his grip slightly. Race pushed himself free from the older boy and immediately started climbing over the railing, no hesitation whatsoever. "I can't do this anymore, I want to go home…" Spot blinked back tears and reached for the blond, only managing to grab his too skinny wrist.
"No! Lemme go, I need to do this!" The brooklyn boy tightened his grip. Spot barely recognized him as the boy who he sometimes played cards with, or the bright eyed kid that Jack had excitedly introduced him to only six years ago. Hell, Spot didn't even think Race recognized him. The gambler was sobbing as he held the rail with one hand and twisted away from his friend with the other.
Spot was too afraid of letting go of Race's wrist to wipe away the tears that managed to make their way down his face. He couldn't let Race slip away like that. It was a near three hundred feet drop into the East River. The thirteen year old would be dead in an instant. Spot looked at the boy with pleading eyes, something no one else had ever seen. "Please Tony - Race, you can't do this. Too many a' those 'Hattan boys care about you."
Race let his guard down. Still wrenching his arm away but with a far away look in his eye. Tugging gently was enough for the boy to lose his balance. Even while wavering between life and death, Racetrack looked longingly at the murky waters below.
The prince of Brooklyn let out a sigh of relief when the thirteen year old finally fell into his arms. Race cried out when they both hit the concrete, barely keeping his head from hitting the ground.
Spot hissed as his arm took most of the impact from their fall. For a few minutes, the only sound was Race's heavy breathing. The brooklyn newsie could only pray that Jack would come soon, preferably before the suicidal kid could lash out again.
"Spot!" A voice yelled further down the bridge. The fourteen year old cursed as Race started shaking again. Jack was making his way over, two shorter figures at his side.
"Calm down, Race. Jack's here, you're okay." Race froze at those words.
"J - Jack?" His voice was hoarse from yelling and crying, it broke even Spot's guarded heart hearing it. "N - no! No no not Jack…" The thirteen year old was crying as he struggled, wanting desperately to get away.
After what felt like forever, Jack finally saw Spot with his arms wrapped around a smaller boy. The street lamp above them was like spotlight. The fifteen year old broke into a sprint, not caring if the other two got left behind. He slid to a stop in front of them and gasped.
Spot was propped up on one elbow, he was holding a sobbing boy tight and whispering to him. The boy was drenched in sweat and tears, his blond hair falling into his deep blue eyes. A cigar that lay abandoned a few feet away confirmed Jack's suspicions of who the kid was. And it hurt him more than anything.
"Oh my god Racer… what-?" Jack managed to meet Spot's gaze. The future leader looked just as terrible as the younger boy. There were bags under his eyes, accompanied by faint tear stains. His right arm was bleeding as well as his bottom lip. The brunette dropped to his knees and attempted to relieve Spot of the extra weight, but Race was not having it. Race hugged himself, and shook his head as the fifteen year old gently pulled him over into an embrace.
The younger boy had been reduced to sniffles in Jack's arms, trying to tune out the noise around him. Finch had arrived by now (Pyro got sent back to the Brooklyn lodge house by Spot), and was watching with watery brown eyes as the boy he called his brother suffered from a full blown panic attack on a bridge. His grip tightened on his slingshot, suddenly wanting to have a go at some target practice.
Spot was now leaning against a street lamp, rubbing his temples and explaining what had happened. Race was studying the ground in shame while Jack tried, and failed, to hide his shock.
"I should have been here for him," the older boy said, running a hand through Race's curls. The clock tower marked a quarter till one, and the four still sat on the bridge. Racetrack had fallen asleep curled into Jack's chest. Finch slept too, holding onto the thirteen year old as if to keep him from disappearing.
"No one's blaming you, Kelly. We just need ta make sure he ain't acting stupid anymore an' don't let him come to Brooklyn if he is," Spot said, nursing his elbow. "He'll be okay."
Brooklyn, New York - Present Day 1899
Spot Conlon smiled to himself as Race Higgins came to meet him halfway down the bridge with a spring in his step. The fifteen year old had been absent the day before, effectively worrying the Brooklyn leader sick, but he now seemed to be back to his normal self.
"Thanks, Spottie," Race said.
Spot hit the blond's cap over his eyes. "Would ya quit sayin' that?"