Author's Note: This story was written in 2002; I recommend the rewrite because I'm aiming to make it better than this original.
Disclaimer:
I do not own Newsies or any of the wonderful characters from the movie - they belong to Disney. Other chracters, such as Alex Clayborne and his family, are of my own creation. And still other original characters belong to their respective owners, who were kind enough to help me with the casting.

Chapter Two

"You really can't remember anythin'?" Race questioned, looking up momentarily from his game of cards against Emu and Spat.

"Nothin'," Spikes confirmed.

"Ha! Beat you both again!" Emu celebrated, as she lay down her cards. "Oh… sorry. We're talking 'bout somethin' aren't we?"

Spikes grinned.

"So dat means you can't tell us where you learned how ta shoot like dat, huh?" Jack asked as he strode into the room.

"Guess not."

"Dat was amazin'. I mean it was right on target," Mush commented.

"Right on target…" Spikes repeated. Sounds familiar.

"Upstairs kids. You can't stay up all night," Kloppman announced.

Everyone slowly stopped their activities for the night and lethargically headed up the stairs to the bunkrooms.

"I am going to swoon with jealousy if he has a girl somewhere," Peg said as soon as the girls entered their room.

"No kidding," True agreed emphatically.

"I told ya!" Cutie Pie exclaimed. "But I'm wit Mush, so…" She had a faraway look on her face.

"She's gone to Mush-land again," Emu said, laughing.

"No, goilie, Spot is the greatest," Stripes declared with a wide smile. "I'm seein' him tomorrow too."

They all washed and got ready for bed.

Athena was writing in her journal, like she did, every night. Tonight she was recounting the feelings that she had when something was wrong and of Spikes' impressive accuracy that saved Spat.

"Night girls," Kloppman said from the doorway as usual, hinting for them to get to sleep.

"Night!"

The girls tucked themselves into bed.

"I am going to dream of Skitts tonight," Martini said softly with a smile. Everyone laughed softly then began to slowly go into slumberland.

"He's got me trust," Spat whispered before she fell asleep.

"Draw your gun, Big Shot. Lesse if all them stories 'bout you are true," the shadowy stranger challenged.

"You sure?" he asked.

The stranger grinned, revealing a mess of crooked teeth. "Draw… your… gun. Unless you be afraid."

He chuckled. "You're right, I am afraid. I'm afraid you're makin' a mistake, pal."

"Draw your gun," the other man repeated. The stranger was so busy trying to scare the young man down that he didn't notice that his gun was already drawn. Before he knew it, his own gun was shot right out of his hand.

"You still sure?" he asked again. The bystanders began to laugh.

The stranger bent down to pick up his gun. "You wait, Big Shot. You'll pay fer what you did to Scar."

Spikes woke up suddenly. He looked over at the dresser and reached for the glass of water. After refreshing himself, he began to think back on the dream. He tried to remember who he was, where he was from, how he was on a train bruised up. But nothing came to mind. The farthest he could remember was opening his eyes to Pegasus Montgomery. He smiled a bit thinking back on that day. He came to the realization that he looked forward to her pressing questions, asking him if he remembered anything. Because she was near.

He shook his head to rid his thoughts. He was supposed to be focusing on trying to remember. But his mind was only filled with the image of Peg, his first memory. In frustration, he didn't sleep a wink until he gave up in the early morning.

An entire week passed by, and Spikes hadn't left the Lodging House. He was taking the time to heal completely.

"You think he's all right?" Martini asked. The newsies were all gathered in Tibby's for their midday break.

"Of course he's awright. He's a guy," Skittery answered as if that alone explained everything.

Martini rolled her eyes and nudged Skitts in the stomach.

"There seems to be something bothering him," Peg said.

Cutie Pie leaned in towards Peg from across the table.

"You like him," she said, smiling.

"What? No, I don't think so," Peg denied, shaking her head to emphasize what she was saying.

"Eh, we all know ya do," Emu said. "You're in Africa, dat's what."

Everyone turned their heads towards her with a questioning look.

Emu sighed then began to laugh. "Africa? Denial? The Nile, denial, get it?" she explained, laughing even more.

"Oh, that's good," Blink said with a grin.

"Ah-ha!" Davey laughed.

"Very clever, Emu," Race credited, with his arm around Spat. Ever since the incident the week before, he had been extra careful for her, showing his affection for her.

"Wait, you like Spikes?" Mush questioned.

"Mush, where has your mind been? Of course she does!" Cutie Pie told him.

"My mind's only been on you, Cutie," Mush teased.

"Hey now- how does everyone know-? Can't believe you guys think this nonsense," Peg said laughing and leaning back in her seat.

They all ordered their lunch and were in the middle of eating when the bell on the front door jingled.

All the girls' mouths dropped open when they saw the person walk in. He was tall, had the most intense dark eyes and dark hair that stuck up unusually. When he saw them, he grinned and began to walk towards them. It was Spikes. Cutie Pie had been right. Underneath the bruises and swells was a very good looking guy.

"Nevermind. You're right. I do like him," Peg whispered at that moment.

"Don't blame ya dere," True responded.

"Holy-," Emu began to say.

"So is this where you guys and gals are every afternoon?" Spikes asked, pulling up a chair.

"Heya Spikes, nice ta see ya up and out again," Blink said, as he patted him on the back.

"You're looking good," Peg remarked.

"You too, sweetheart," Spikes said with a devilish grin.

"I didn't mean-."

"I know what you meant," he told her with a wink.

Peg had to laugh from his antics.

It was true though. The swelling and bruises were completely gone. He looked healthy and alive for the first time.

Stripes walked into Tibby's with Spot Conlon, leader of the Brooklyn newsies.

"Heya guys, how's it-?" she had started to say when she saw Spikes. "Spikes?!"

"Hey Stripes," he greeted.

"Oh, uh, heya," Stripes said, getting over her initial shock and regaining her composure.

"I don't like da way youse starin' at dat guy," Spot told her with a stern look.

"I'm not starin'!" she retorted. "If I was going to stare at something it would be you, now be quiet."

Spot shook his head and muttered something under his breath.

"Spikes," he introduced himself to Spot.

"Conlon," Spot said, with a nod. "Been hearin' some things about you. Sharpshooter, eh?"

"Sharpshooter… yeah, guess I am."

"You any good wit a slingshot?"

"A slingshot?" Spikes questioned with a raised eyebrow.

Spot had a smirk on his face now. "Da weapon of choice."

"So dis is Brooklyn," Jack publicized.

The four guys, Jack, David, Spikes, led by Spot, were walking towards the Brooklyn Docks later that afternoon.

Spikes looked around him and nodded. "All right. So what's special 'bout it?"

Spot gave him a fierce glance.

Jack shook his head at Spot and explained to Spikes. "Brooklyn's da toughest place in all of New York, and probably everywhere else."

"Doesn't look that tough to me," Spikes said as he looked around.

"Ya got guts ta say dat in me territory, I'll give ya dat," Spot said without turning around.

"You don't want to get on his bad side," Dave told Spikes.

"Gotcha," Spikes acknowledged. There was something about the way this Spot Conlon held himself that made all the newsies instantly respect him.

They reached the docks and Spot suddenly faced him.

"All right, Spikes. Ya see dem bottles ova dere?" Spot asked him, pointing towards the bottles that stood high up on the railings of the dock.

"Yeah, I see them."

Spot handed him a slingshot and a handful of marbles. "Shoot 'em."

"Shoot the bottles?"

"Dat's what I said. See how many you use before you hit one."

Spikes studied the slingshot and pocketed all but one of the marbles. He positioned the marble and pulled back on the sling. He naturally focused on the first bottle and let go. The sound of a glass shattering echoed through the air. That was then immediately followed by another and another, until all the bottles lay in pieces.

"Excellent. Nice," Spikes commented regarding the slingshot.

"Told ya he was good, Spot," Jack said.

Spot nodded his head slowly in approval. "Impressive."