A/N: Ok, so here it is- my entry for Mush Week, and also my first Newsies story! I wrote this because I always wondered what Mush was smiling about before getting up during Carrying the Banner. Hope you enjoy and please review and let me know how I did! Thanks.

Disclaimer: I do not own Newsies in any way

Mush was happy. It wasn't often that he truly felt the contentedness he had at that moment, but there it was. It wasn't that he was an unhappy person by any means, but the life of a street kid was a tough one. The daily battle to make ends meet was a struggle that would discourage the mightiest of good moods. For Mush, right then, it was as though all his troubles had never existed. He knew they weren't gone, but they did not matter.

Perhaps it was the weather that caused his sudden optimistic view on life. It was the perfect day, warm and comfortable, despite it being the middle of the usually sweltering month of July. A subtle breeze cooled his face as it blew through the trees of Central Park. Maybe it was the feeling of the soft grass beneath his hands and squishing between his bare feet as he gazed into the sky.

Then again, it may have been the lack of newspapers by his side. He couldn't recall buying any that day, or even being at the distribution center that morning, let alone selling any. He wouldn't have been able to tell anyone what the day's news was, because he couldn't recall a single headline. He knew he must have sold them though, because he could feel the weight of a day worth of pennies and a few nickels in his right pocket.

Maybe it was the weather, his lack of papers, the coins jingling in his pocket or any number of other things. Mush knew they certainly contributed. However, he knew all those reasons couldn't compare to the key reason for his happiness. Mush knew it was the company that he kept.

Mush turned his attention from the sky to the girl sitting in the grass beside him. He wasn't sure how he had become lucky enough to even know her, let alone be proud enough to call her his. His girl. He smiled at the thought.

She was the main cause of his joy. It was the way she made him feel. When Mush was with her he was more than just a street rat newsie with no family. Mush was just as much hers as she was his. They belonged together.

She was talking to him, though what about he couldn't tell. He was too captivated by the sound of her voice. Mush felt a bit guilty about not paying attention to her story, though he couldn't seem to wrap his head around the words. It was as though he couldn't hear them, just the sweet tone of her voice.

Mush snaked his arm around the young woman's waist, pulling her body to his own. Startled by the sudden interruption of her story, the girl tilted her head upwards giving Mush the most disapproving glare she could muster. Her hard look softened when her eyes met his, staring intently into her own. The storytelling was replaced with silence and matching smiles. Mush loved the blush that crept into her cheeks under his gaze, and he found himself unable to resist reaching out to brush his hand against her new rosy coloring.

"You know you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen," he stated.

Mush's girl grinned and looked away, embarrassed. He chuckled a bit at her discomfort.

"Well it's true, ya know."

Mush lay back in the grass, one knee bent, and one arm behind his head. She followed suit, taking a similar position, facing him. He drew her closer with his free hand and kissed her softly.

" I wish we could stay like this forever. Maybe this day won't ever end," Mush said with a small sigh.

The girl nodded slightly in agreement before taking his ink stained hands in her own, kissing his fingertips. Their fingers intertwined as they came to rest between them. She looked up and gave him a small smile. There was a sudden hint of sadness in her demeanor.

"Boots," she said.

Mush raised a questioning eyebrow at his girl's odd statement.

"Huh? Yeah, well I guess I could use some new ones, but-"

"Skittery!" she replied.

A confused look overtook Mush's features. He glanced behind him, hoping that Skittery would be standing there, maybe Boots with him. Neither newsboy could be seen. She was calling out the names of his friends and wasn't quite sure how to respond to it.

"Skittery? What 'bout him? He's got nothin' to do with what we were talkin' about."

He could see by the look on her face that she was getting frustrated. She let out an aggravated sigh before announcing the name of Mush's glum friend once again.


Mush was taken aback. She had practically yelled at him, which was only slightly less startling than the fact that her voice had changed. It was suddenly deeper, like a man's. It was definitely not her own.

"What's goin' on here?" Mush asked, hoping his own voice didn't betray the nervousness he felt at the moment.

"Skittery!" she yelled in her borrowed voice.

The boy started to notice the scenery around him beginning to fade away. The park around them was melting into darkness, swallowing up the world around him. Mush just sat there helpless as he watched the girl in front of him grow dimmer and dimmer until she finally faded into the newfound blackness. There wasn't enough time to even cry out to her as she disappeared before him. Total darkness was now all he could see.

There was a faint murmuring of voices surrounding him, though he wasn't able to make out one word over another. He lay still, straining his ear, hoping to hear something, anything.

"What? I didn't do it!" Skittery's voice came floating over the darkness.

"Whaddya mean you didn't do it! Get up get up, you have to get up!" Kloppman's voice rang out loudly.

"Snitch! Get up, get up! Everybody's sleepin' in here. They sleep their lives away, these kids…Get up!"

Mush groaned inwardly at both the growing noise and the now obvious situation he found himself in. Still, he lay there in his bunk, frozen in the same position he had been in moments before his happiness had slid into darkness. He smiled as the images of his girl played behind his closed lids. He was afraid that if he opened them the images might disappear forever.

Finally the noise of the rest of the newsboys readying themselves for another long day became too loud to ignore. He rolled out of his bunk and joined the other boys in their morning routines.

Mush was in a terrific mood despite the unusual way he had woken up. He wanted to tell someone about what had happened to him, but wasn't sure who to tell. He went about his business hoping a chance to talk about the girl would appear. Mush was afraid if he didn't mention her to someone he would forget about her, though he didn't want to seem to anxious to tell and let his friends have a bit of fun at his expense.

He tried Jack first. Jack was standing by the door to the washroom. Mush asked the other boy how he slept, hoping he might reciprocate with the same question. Jack managed a sleepy and slightly annoyed response in the form of a joke. Mush couldn't help but laugh at Jack's answer, despite it not being everything he had hoped for.

Mush made his way toward the sinks to wash. He took his usual place beside Racetrack and started cleaning himself up. Crutchy seemed to be looking for a new selling spot for himself. He figured if he couldn't get his own story out, he could at least be helpful to his bum-legged friend. He suggested a couple places and the other boys close by joined in the conversation. He couldn't help but perk up as Race mentioned Central Park. Perhaps this was his chance to mention the girl. Instead he found himself washing his face for a second time after being attacked by Jack, armed with shaving cream.

"Jeez, I gotta tell someone," he muttered to himself as he wiped his hands on a towel by one of the stalls. He wasn't sure why he had the overwhelming need to talk about the girl with anyone. He just knew he had to. Mush was a man on a mission.

Mush's opportunity finally presented itself in the form of his best friend. Kid Blink came bursting out of the stall Mush had been standing in front of, his usual smile plastered across his face. Mush hurried to finish drying off and catch up with him. Not a moment too soon it seemed. His feisty friend was about to soak Crutchy for making some offhanded comment about Blink's hygiene. Mush jumped in front of his one-eyed companion, spinning a startled Blink around as he spoke.

"Met this girl last night!" Mush was thrilled to finally able to relay the story of his perfect day with his perfect girl.

"No kiddin', huh?" Blink exclaimed, clapping his hand on the other boy's shoulder proudly.

"I didn't know ya even went out last night. Tell me all about her!"

Mush couldn't contain his grin as he replied.

"Ah, Blink, I tell ya…. She was the girl of my dreams…"