A/N: Finally had time to edit this chapter! I'm sorry if this story seems slow lately but i promise the next couple of chapters are going to be packed with a lot haha!
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Earlier that Day
"Racetrack, Skittery, Mush, Tumblr." Scotts yelled out as the rest of newsies poured into the lodging house. After today's fight, Scott's and Blink wanted to make sure they didn't lose anyone in the fight today, they got too close to getting caught by the bull.
"David, Les, Pie Eater." A choral of 'here's' broke through the crowd. Scotts marked them in one of the sign in books Kloppman had lying around. "Uh..Crutchy." Scotts called, looking around the room. "Crutchy?" She raised her voice, calling out again, the newsies in the room began to fall silent as they looked around, seeing if Crutchy was just hiding amongst the crowd. "Crutchy!" She screamed, standing on her toes to look around the room. "Anyone seen Crutchy?" She asked the crowd, who all shook their heads no.
"Blink?" Scotts asked, looking over at her second in command. He shook his head. "Race, Mush?" Both shook their heads.
Oh no… Scotts thought as the book fell through her arms, causing a loud thud as it fell to the ground. They got him. The bull got Crutchy!
A ringing noise was loud in her head and almost everything was silent. Before she could even think, she ran for the door, trying to push past anyone who tried to stop her. Fortunately, Racetrack grabbed her before she could get any farther, trying to keep her from running.
"Scotts!" Racetrack shouted wrapping his arms around her waist, stopping her from getting any further from them.
"Let me go, I have to get him outta there! He can't be in there alone." She shouted fighting against Race's hold on her. Scotts wasn't about to let Crutchy go to the refuge, he won't survive in there, she knew what it was like in there and she knew he wouldn't do well in there.
Scotts continued to fight against Race until finally giving in, going limp against him like a rag doll. Slowly, Racetrack let go of Scotts, still keeping her at arm's length in case she decided to make another break. When she didn't move, Racetrack took a step back giving her some space. Everyone's eyes were on her, waiting to see what Scotts would do.
Without saying another world, Scotts turned on her heels and stomped up the stairs, ignoring everyone's stares. Below, she could hear Blink telling everyone to dispesear. Scotts climbed the stairs and went into one of the bunk rooms, slamming the door behind her. Keeping her back on the door, she slid down to the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. All alone, Scotts finally let a couple of tears fall down her cheeks.
She couldn't believe she landed Crutchy in the refuge. For two years all she has cared about was the safety and well-being of her newsies, doing everything in her power to keep the boys fed, housed and out of the refuge and in one moment that all went down the drain. Crutchy was in the refuge and there was nothing she could do. This was not like last time, she couldn't take his place, she couldn't pretend to be the guilty party and go to the refuge instead of Crutchy. She was here, in the lodging house while Crutchy was in the refuge.
Scotts felt guilty, the responsibility of Crutchy's arrest weighing heavy on her shoulders. She always felt some responsibility towards Crutchy, not just because of his limp but because he was a sweet, innocent kid, alone on the streets of Manhattan with nothing but some pennies and newspapers. He reminded her a lot of her brother Angus. Sometimes when she looked at him, she saw Angus, before they became newsies, before their life was shattered. With Crutchy, she always felt protective of him, if she couldn't protect her brother, she was sure as hell going to protect him.
After a couple of moments, Scotts calmed herself, slowing her breath down and wiping the tear stains from her cheeks. Crying won't solve anything, she thought, wiping the last of her tears with the back of her hand. Getting up from the floor, Scotts took a deep breath, composing herself and opened the bunk door. Some of the boys were out in the hallways, trying not to stare at her as she made her way down the stairs. She noticed Racetrack, David, Mush and Blink sitting at a table playing a round of cards.
"Hey, you okay?" Blink asked when Scotts made her way to the table. The three other boys looked up at her.
"Get some rope." Scotts told Blink. "We're getting Crutchy."
David, Blink and Scotts crouched behind a couple of crates across the street from the refuge. David peered over the crates and looked at a dark, cheerless building that loomed over the dark street. A couple of lights were on and the large gate that separates the building from the streets was closed.
"How can you be sure they sent Crutchy here?" David asked, slightly too loud and the rest of the newsies shushed him.
"How can I be sure the Delanceys stink?" Scotts said sarcastically. "Cause that's how things work. Whenever some street kid gets arrested, Snyder makes sure he gets sent straight here so they can be….rehabilitated."
"Who's Snyder?" David asked.
"He's the warden, Davey. Remember that guy that chased us the first day we met? That was him." David nodded and then pointed to the rope Blink was holding.
"What's the rope for?" He asked.
Scotts gave him a mischievous smirk. "What? Did you think we were gonna walk through the front door?" She asked. David rolled his eyes.
"Guys." Blink said, pointing across the street where a loud whistle blew as two cops walked out the gate. The three newsies ran across, keeping low to the ground and ran through the gate before it closed. When they made it through the gates, they posted themselves against the wall, keeping in the shadows of the building.
"Okay, you're gonna lower me over the edge of the building while Blink keeps watch, okay?" David's eyes went wide but didn't argue, following Scotts to a small ladder that led up to the roof. The two climbed to the top and quickly tied the rope around each other's waist. Scotts climbed over the edge and lowered herself down, keeping a slow and steady pace and she made her way to the window. "That's good Davey!" She whispered up to him and felt him hault.
Scotts knocked on the window, seeing several small kids on the lower bunk bed, all in the required night garments required by Snyder and the rest of the staff at the refuge. Scotts watch a small boy make his way to the window and open it. "Heya Scott, what happened? Ya missed the joint?" The small boy, Tenpin, asked.
Scott's smile grew wide as she stifled a giggle. "Oh ya, miss the smell of cold slop and Snyder's voice in the morning." Tenpin grinned. "Hey, did you get a new guy, Crutchy?" Scotts asked.
Tenpin nodded. "Ya, the gimp? I'll get him." Scotts rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath. She didn't like when Crutchy was called a 'gimp'
Scotts smiled as she saw Crutchy hobbling towards the window. Her smile faltered when she noticed him hoping and relying on his crutch and the small newsie that was supporting his other side as he made his way towards the window. Scotts tried to keep her smile as he made his way to the window, grinning widely as he leaned against the window ledge.
"Hey, what you hangin' around here for?" Crutchy asked, noticing Scotts hanging from the rope.
"What do ya mean 'hanging around here' for?" Scotts chuckled. "Hey, guess who's on the roof."
"Who?" Crutchy asked.
Crutchy leaned slightly out the window to glance at David, who was watching the two of them below. "Really? Is that Dave? Hey, Davey? How ya doin?" David shushed Crutchy, nervous of getting caught.
"Listen, Crutchy go get your stuff. We're gonna get you outta here." Scotts noticed Crutchy falter and looked away. "What's wrong?" She asked
"Um..well Scotts...truth is, I ain't walkin' so good. Oscar and Morris...kinda worked me over a little.."
"They hurt you?" Scotts asked and Crutchy nodded. "Those bastards, picking on someone for no good reason.." Scotts muttered but cut herself off when she noticed Crutchy's face.
Scotts sighed. "Listen, okay, don't worry. We'll carry you outta here, I'll get David-"
"No one is carrying me!" Crutchy said vehemently. "Ya hear?"
Scotts shook her head. "Crutchy you can't stay here." Scotts said. "It's not good for you here."
Crutchy shrugged his shoulders and looked away from Scotts. "It ain't so bad here, Scotts. Get three squares….kinda and Tenpin and them have been real nice."
Scotts shook her head. "Crutchy, listen to me. You can't stay here. Trust me, I know what it's like in there-"
"It's changed." Crutchy stated and Scotts scoffed. "Besides, maybe it's safer for me here."
"Come on, Crutchy. Don't be stupid." She said, pleading with him.
"I'm serious." Crutchy said, making eye contact with Scotts. He could see she was hurt but new deep down that being here was much better than out there. He knew he couldn't fight like the rest of them. He was much better used here, where he could rally kids on the inside than be outside.
Scotts took a deep breath but didn't say anything more. She knew no matter what she said to Crutchy, he wasn't coming. He would rather die than be carried out of the refuge.
"You know." Crutchy started. "They still talk about you here? About you saving that kid?"
Scotts smiled. "Ya?"
Crutchy nodded. "Some of the older boys say it was the bravest thing they've seen someone do in here. They can't believe a girl would do that."
The sound of footsteps caused Crutchy to turn towards the doorway. Many of the boys inside were alerting everyone that Snyder was coming. "Cheese it!" He whispered as Crutchy hobbled over towards the bed. Scott swung herself out of view of the window. Inside, Snyder made his way around the room, inspecting everyone inside. Scotts started climbing back up the side of the building, reaching a hand out for David.
"What happened?" He asked as Scotts swung herself over.
"We're not getting him tonight." She said curtly. "Come on, we gotta meet Blink."
Scotts and David met up with Blink across the street, the rope abandoned next to the crates where they first were. As they made the walk back, they caught Blink up on what happened.
"So we're just gonna leave him there?" Blink asked.
"He said he didn't wanna be carried outta there and I wasn't about to argue with him." Scotts explained. David was in the middle of the two newsies and was beginning to feel a fight coming on.
"So, he can't just stay in there." Blink pointed out.
"You don't think I know that?" Scotts stopped in her tracks and looked at the two boys. "He didn't wanna be carried, what was I supposed to do, Blink? Drag him outta there?" She spat at him.
"Maybe, I don't know." He shouted.
"Guys...maybe we shouldn't-"
"Shut up, Davey!" The two of them shouted and David jumped slightly.
"I can't force him to do anything he didn't wanna do. He didn't wanna go and I wasn't about to fight with him. He wants to stay there, let him stay there!" She shouted. Blink didn't say anything but let out a loud puff of air.
"I'm sorry." he said to the two of them. "I just thought you would've fought harder." He pointed out.
"Well I tried that with my brother and look how that worked out."
For a moment, it was awkward, nobody spoke. Both Blink and Scotts were both avoiding each other's eyes and David wasn't sure what to do at this point. He wasn't sure if he should say anything or leave. Both options seemed like a bad idea.
Finally, after a couple of moments of uncomfortable silence, Blink looked at both of them. "Well, if Crutchy wants to stay there, then I guess we should respect that." He stated. "No use arguing over his decision."
Scotts still avoided Blink's gaze but nodded, crossing her arms over her chest. Blink went to say something but thought better of it and instead turned around and began walking towards the lodging house. He knew Scotts was still angry and he knew better than to try and speak to her immediately after a fight. Scotts always needed a couple of moments to cool down and so did Blink. Even though he knew Scotts had tried to get Crutchy to come with them, it still hurt to see her give up as quickly as she did.
Once Blink was out of sight, David and Scotts were left alone. David moved closer to Scotts and gently put his hand on her shoulder. David wasn't sure what to do at this moment but tried his best to be a comforting figure and kept his hand on her shoulder. He could feel her breathing through her shoulder, it was controlled and calm which was shocking to David. He figured she would be angry with Blink but from the look of Scotts, she looked more uncomfortable than upset.
After a couple of seconds, Scotts looked up at David and smiled at him. "I'm sorry David, I shouldn't have-" David shook his head.
"It's okay." He said, giving her a warm smile back. She returned the smile and started walking towards the lodging house.
"For what it's worth." David said, breaking the silence. "I think you were right to let Crutchy stay there. I think he knew he would be safer there than out here."
"Thanks David." Scotts smiled.
"You've been in the refuge before?" David asked. He had heard many people mention Scotts time in the refuge but only that she had actually been there.
Scotts nodded. "Ya, I was there for three months. I was supposed to be there for three years but I escaped."
"Why were you in there?" David asked.
"I actually wasn't supposed to go." She admitted. "My younger brother was. He got caught stealing a wallet and I lied to the cops and said that it was me."
"Why did you say it was you?" David asked.
Scotts sighed. "He was ten years old, David. I had heard stories about the refuge and wasn't about to let my little brother go there." She stated. "I made him give me the wallet and I let the bulls catch me so he could get away. I'd rather go to jail than him."
David nodded. He knew that if it was him and Les, he would have done the same thing.
"Crutchy mentioned something about saving some kid?" David asked. Seeing Scotts opening up, David was hoping to learn more about her.
"Ya." She said. "When I was in the refuge, I took a beating for a little kid." She explained.
"A beating?" David asked.
"Ya. When I was in the refuge, it wasn't all for one and one for all like out here. There, it was eat or be eaten. With Snyder pocketing all of the money and the staff practically making everyone slaves, nobody really would do anything for anyone. One day, this kid was delivering some food to the kitchen to be washed and he tripped and spilled all the leftover food on one of the staff member's shoes. He was ten, David and no bigger than Les, and the staff went to hit him with a cane and before I could even think, I stepped in between them. The guy told me to move or he was gonna hit me and I told him to hit me, not the kid. I wasn't about to let someone hit a kid for no reason. So he hit me with a cane...multiple times. After that, I decided to escape."
"Is that where you got…" David asked, gesturing towards the scar on Scotts face. Scotts touched it and turned away from David.
"No." She said. "That's from...somewhere else."
David and Scotts continued the rest of their walk in silence. David was still reeling from the information he just heard. David would like to say he was shocked at her story but David, deep down, knew that that story explained everything he needed to know about Scotts. Even when Scotts is a stubborn, pain in the ass, David knew that Scotts would do anything for anyone and hearing her story made David respect Scotts a little more.
When they got closer to the lodging house, David and Scotts noticed Racetrack and Blink standing outside, pacing. When they got close enough for the two newsies to see them, they became rigid.
"Hey, what's going on?" Scotts asked, noticing both newsies looked nervous. "Hello?"
"Okay, before you go inside, you have to promise to be calm." Blink said cautiously. He was still nervous that Scotts was mad at him and he wasn't sure if what was inside was going to make it better or worse.
"Why, whose inside?" Scotts asked and when neither boy said anything, she made her way inside. Scotts barely made it five steps into the lodging house before being greeted by the one person she didn't expect.
Angus Thomas. Her brother.