Fox grinned out at the Brooklynites and his gang as he said, "We've come to an agreement. Spot Conlon will accompany us to our headquarters, and in return, we give you back Sparks of Brooklyn, and Brooklyn will remain untouched."

This of course started yelling, screaming, shouting, muttering, gossiping, whispering, talking, and general not-helpful-in-the-least stuff.

"Oi!" I yelled, and everyone snapped to attention, because I ebt I'd never looked more murderous than I did then. "Shame on all o' you!"

Fox looked at me for a second, before leaving, him at the front, Spot on the middle, and the rest of the group around him.

Of course, everyone turned to me.

I slapped away every hand that tried to comfort me, every sympathetic word.

I didn't want pity, or sympathy.

I wanted revenge. And that meant war. And that meant bloodshed, and maybe some deaths.

No, I was going to have to content myself with the fact that the day before, I'd been a complete and utter idiot, and joined a gang. Now, a day later, I was out of the gang, with Spot unwillingly hostage.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!

Then I realized, someone was watching me as I sat on the roof, banging my head against the palms of my hands.

It was Wolf.

Like any of my girls would, he sat me down, and let me cry, and like any good friend, didn't ask me a thing until I'd cried myself out.

It's so hard to find a guy like that as just a friend. Most of the guys I know are either jerks, murderous, or both. Namely our former great and fearless leader.

When I was all cried out, Wolf sat across from me and asked,

"What now?"

That was the question that plagued every person in existence. It doesn't matter when or why or what had prompted the question.

What now?

What now?

And when that's done, what after?

I clenched my fists. "Will you take Spot's place?"

Wolf half smiled and shook his head. "I'm a second in command, and you know it. You're the one with a head for command, Gypsy."

I nodded mutely. I would take command. I'd calm everyone, and think. Think of a plan, think of what to do, find some loophole, something I could use. . .

I worked numbly, shouting my headlines for a few days. I made plenty of money, because people felt sorry for the nutso girl who looked half dead from sorrow.

I'm feeling sorry for myself aren't I? Wow, I gotta stop that.

I ate sparsely, and slept lightly. I couldn't stop thinking about Spot. I know I was over reacting. But it was more than just that he was boy, I had to get him back to Brooklyn. I couldn't run Brooklyn! Brooklyn need Spot, everyone knows it.

I just had to figure out how to do it.

My wish came true the day after exactly three weeks had passed since Spot had gone. I couldn't bring myself to say he left, because he didn't really, but I couldn't say he was taken, either, because he hadn't been.

Anyhow, that day, Flick came running to the LH, where I was sitting on the stairs, mindlessly playing with my slingshot.

I stood rapidly as she caught her breath.

"Flick, what is it?" I demanded.

She panted. "It's . . . York Lords . . . At the border . . . they wanna see you'se." she took a deep breath.

I ran, and Flick followed.

The border was far in this case, it was all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. But to any natural Brooklynite, this was about as far as it was to a giant, namely, five steps.

It seemed to take forever to get to the Brooklyn Bridge.

But when we finally got there, I saw the dilemma. My sister, and Sam, were there, with all their things, including three varieties of knives.

I pulled out my slingshot, as if I could shoot my sister.

"Anna, what da hell're ya doin' heah?" I demanded.

She crossed her arms. "Ya nevah bother'd ta learn my newsie name?" she smiled. "Guess what Staten Island named me when dey kicked me out? Traitah."

I crossed my arm and my friends looked back and forth between Anna and me. Sling was there, and Dicey and Poker. Oh, and Alleycat.

"And what was yer name afore dat?" I asked.

Anna shrugged, "Anna."

I had to smile a little bit. Then I leaned to the side to look at Sam.

He was practically hiding behind Anna.

So I marched over to him and spoke at his face, "So, Sam, havin' fun toyin' wit' us poor Brooklynites? 'Cause we poor Brooklynites have a few punches ta repay."

Sam held up his hands.

"We left Fox and the others. They're being tyrannical, and some of the others would have deserted but they feared Fox."

Sling rolled her eyes. "Can't he speak like real person?"

Sam frowned at her. "I was perfectly clear."

Sling shot back, "Not da point. Tyrannical, deserted, and feared ain't woids used in everyday language."

Anna smiled at me. "Aren't dey poifect for each uddah?"

Sling and Sam both glared at her and protested, "HEY!"

I crossed my arms, though I was grinning. When I managed to wipe the smile off my face, I said, "So ya came ovah ta our side?"

Anna smirked at me. "Figured ya needed someone who knew where Spot's kept."

Heart in throat, then it falls too far, and then it returns to normal. Never understood why it did that.

I took them back to the LH, where they were both slapped. Multiple times. Increasingly.

It's not like I could blame my newsies for it. After all, Sam and Anna's gang just took away Brooklyn's leader.

So, Anna put up with it. The newsies that slapped Sam had hell to pay, and got slapped back, but still.

Anyhow, when I finally got them all sat down, we talked about a plan of action.

Wolf and Sling sat down with us. I'd included Witchy and Cloudy in the conversation, because they were our prophets, weird as it sounds.

So, all seven of us, sitting in a circle, on the roof.

Some things don't change, do they? At the end of the day, I always end up on the roof.

"So?" I prompted Sam and Anna. "Talk. What happened? Where's Spot? What are they doing ta him?"

Anna looked down. "When dey got 'im ta headquartahs, dey locked 'im in dat closet, you stayed in, and kept it shut. Dey starved 'im for a few days, an' wouldn't let me o' any of us give him food, just a little watah.

Aftah three days, Fox told me ta take 'im ta dat room ay saw, with all da gang membahs in it. Dey interrogated 'im. Seems dey was plannin' ta raid Brooklyn anyhow. But Spot wouldn't tell 'em anythin'.

I wasn't dere. Fox told me ta go out wit' a few uddah gang membahs, ta Queens, ta do what we did in Brooklyn. Dey wouldn't join us eidah, and neidah would Manhattan, so Fox told us ta take Duchess an' Cowboy.

Only, Cowboy wouldn't go. Dat Davey, and his sistah wouldn't let 'im. No one would, not any o' his friends. So we had ta take Davey's sistah, too, an' Jack.

Sam was at Spot's interrogation, an' he told me everythin'." Anna looked at me now, right in the eyes. "He's gotta tell ya, 'cause I ain't gonna."

"Did anyone die?" Dollface said from the doorway. We all jumped, and we all had our slingshots and knives out by the time we faced Dollface. She held up her hands, and, after a long lecture, we let her sit down and join us.

"No. Nobody died." Anna answered when we were all calmed down. "But Davey got a bad bonk on da head, an' Jailbird, from Queens, 'e bruised a few bones when one o' da gang membahs got angry wit' 'im."

So now we turned to Sam, only half ready for the horrific details of Spot's interrogation.

He took a deep breath and began, looking everywhere but at any of us. "Fox was playing with Spot, like he knew something the rest of us didn't.

He kept threatening you, Sparks, and Wolf and Kitty, whoever that is, and someone people called Witchy and Cloudy, and Sling and some others.

But Spot wouldn't say anything, so Fox started shooting marbles at Spot with his own slingshot.

A few people left then, but I stayed, to be able to tell Anna.

Spot was bruised all over, and . . . he was screaming curses at Fox, and at somebody named Huntson. But not at anybody in particular, just . . .somebody named Huntson.

He said Huntson would pay, and Fox, too.

But at the end of the interrogation, all they could get out of him was when he accidentally let slip something. He said, 'Gypsy'll kill ya.'"

Of course, everyone looked at me, and I laughed like a madwoman, because Spot knew me so well.

I hated him and I loved him, and I would die for him, and he traded himself for me (and Brooklyn, but that's beside the point) and he knows that Fox has hell to pay.

Everyone looked at me like I was finally coming unhinged. It was probably about time, too, but unhingedness would have to wait a while, until I could get Brooklyn back under Spot.

When I could settled down, I asked Sam, "How bad is he? Can he walk?"

Sam shrugged. "He can walk, but he's covered in bruises and scratches, and Fox hit him hard, and even when we give him food, he barely eats any of it."

I banged my forehead with my hand, muttering, "Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid Spot Conlon."

Then, Wolf asked, "Where are they? How can we get in?"

That was where Anna smiled, and dug out a few pieces of paper.

Like any true newsie, she had snuck a few pieced of blank newspaper from the printing presses, and that was the paper she had drawn maps on.

"The York Lords' place is sort of a warehouse, like they have in Queens." Sam said. "There's this hallway that's full of closets, and they're all locked and bolted."

I was perfectly calm when I said, "And?"

Anna knew what I was talking about. She switched to another map and pointed. Sam said. "It's not a big warehouse, so there's few entrances, but we think this warehouse was for smuggling or something, because there's this back door, that opens into a maze of alleys."

Ann went on, "If we can get inside, den we got pretty good chance o' getting' Spot an' de uddahs out."

Wolf counted them out. "East Side, West Side, Coney Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Harlem, Queens, Bowery-"

"They haven't got the leaders of Staten Island or Harlem." Sam said. "And that leaves Brooklyn and the Bronx, still."

I whistled. "Nine leadahs ta get out, if ya include da Walkin' Mouth's sistah. Dey bettah not make a fuss."

I stood. I was not going to go furthere with this meeting without back up.

"Wolf, bring Rivah an' Jailbird from Queens," I ordered. "Sling, Race an' Davey from Manhattan."

We dispersed.