Hey, this is a new story of mine. Don't worry, I will get back to Scout Me Out soon. This is only a prologue, and it's quite short. But for now, buon divertimento! ;)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize.

Note: The italics are memories, of the same conversation. I planned it so she wasn't thinking it at the time of the paragraphs. However, read them however you like :)

~Bandit

Warning: There is a lot of swearing and pain (abusive, kind of) sorry if this offends you.


Musketeer

Prologue

"No. There is no way in hell I'm going back to Brooklyn. You remember what happened last time, right, Jacky-boy?"

Birdy curled up in a ball, goosebumps snaking up her arms as she sat shivering in the dark corner. Oh God, please don't let this be happening, she thought to herself as she pressed her fists into her eyes, willing her puzzled mind not to allow herself to cry. Please let this be a dream.

"Of course I remember, I was the one who had to save your ass from getting soaked."

Thunder rumbled from outside her shelter, shaking the ground. It seemed as though every muscle in her body ached; every bone broken. Perhaps she'd just die here. That sounded marvelous.

"He didn't mean to, Jack, give him a break. It was an accident, and you know that. Queens pushed him to it."

The three musketeers. That's what they called themselves, but it wasn't as fun as it had seemed ten years ago, when they were mere children. Loving, caring about someone so deeply had it's consequences. She moaned pitifully, her eyes shut so tightly they hurt, her hands clawing blindly at her own arms, drawing blood with her fingernails, but she didn't stop. Pain. It gave her something to focus on. Something to focus on other than them.

"Bullshit he didn't mean to. That look in his eyes, I know it well—we both do, Birds. He was determined. And since when has Queens been more important then you?"

She let out a dry sob, but stopped herself before tears flooded from her eyes. Is this what he would've wanted? He'd trained her better than that. There was no crying tolerated in Brooklyn. That much was clear. But she wasn't in Brooklyn anymore, was she?

"Since Hops. Damn it, Jack, don't turn him into something he's not. He ain't no bastard, and he ain't no monster. He has a heart."

As she rocked back and forth, tears racking her body, she heard the familiar creaking of her door. They were coming into her bedroom, illuminating the heart-breaking scene with the light from the hallways, but she didn't open her eyes. Nothing mattered.

"That's news. He has a heart? Never knew. We both know it was him who betrayed us, not you. We both know it was him who turned Brooklyn into a place of torture and misery. Not you!"

She didn't know if it was the bulls, newsies, or even Kloppman for that matter. But she wasn't really bother about it either. Hell, let them soak her. Even if it was Robin, sweet, sweet Robin, at this point, she couldn't have cared less. A pair of strong, calloused hands grasped her upper arms. Bulls.

"How could you say that? You're his best friend. I lived there for a year. It wasn't torture, and it wasn't misery!"

They heaved her to her feet, and for the first time in what seemed like hours, she opened her eyes to reveal two chiseled, square faces with evil intentions. The light from the doorway seeping into her skull, feeding her migraine, but that was the least of her problems. She tried standing, but instead collapsed, the pain unbearable. The bulls glanced at her for a split second, as though regarding a speck of dirt, making no attempt to help the sorrow-filled girl.

"You're my best friend too, remember? And besides, how can you stick up for him after the way he treated you? Just last week you were ranting about how horrible he was!"

When Birdy came to, she was being dragged by her hair down the stairs of the lodging house, her body banging painfully against each step with a sickening 'thud'. Tears pooled in her eyes, the inconsiderate actions of the officers opening up old scars on her back, but she welcomed the agonizing sensation. It soothed her injured heart. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut once more.

"Because I care about him! Because I grew up with him! Because I know what the real him is like! And you do too. I was foolish last week, Cowboy. My demons were getting to me; tormenting me."

She felt slightly relieved when they finally stepped onto ground level, yet she still had that yearning for wounds. She wanted to go back, and be thrown onto the steps once again. The torture felt nice, compared to what she'd been going through in the last month. Instead, the coppers dragged her into the lobby, her limp body sweeping up the layers of dust that rested on the nail-covered hardwood floor, earning a stern look from Kloppman, who could obviously think of better ways of transporting a criminal who'd just been through a great deal of trauma.

"So, what changed? Did your demons just up and leave? Explain, Birdy, 'cause I'm not buyin' it."

The old man's judging gaze shifted from the coppers, to her. As she looked down at a book, obviously straining his eyes to read the font, Birdy snapped into realization. He'd expected her to fight for them; her friends, her brothers. Her musketeers. But she hadn't, she'd given up. What else was there to do? All was lost. There was no point.

"No, my demons did not just leave; they simply took a little vacation. And my explanation is this, Jack, and only this: I talked to Barny."

The journey continued, as they tugged her hair harder to get her the rest of the way. Once again, tears welled up in her eyes at the sharp stings. As she slid past Kloppman's desk, she sent him a sorrow-filled look, and his harsh gaze quickly turned soft, pity filling his dull eyes.

"What has Barny got to do with it? Why is she important?"

She tore her gaze away from her old friend, and focused it on other things in the lodging house. She spotted little things, like that rock laying on the floorboards they were about to run over. Ouch. The copper's steps grew shorter as they neared the doorway, causing her body to bounce off the floor again. It hurt so bad, but she didn't protest. She couldn't; wouldn't.

"You know Barny. She knows every single thing about that kid, more than we do. I talked to her about something. I guess you could say I had a change of heart."

They pulled her through the doorway, giving her head another gash, bruising her fevered skin even more, but she allowed herself to be bumped around. Broken. What was another tinge to pain to her growing collection? It didn't really matter now anyways. She'd failed her brothers. She'd failed her musketeers.

"What'd she say? What could she have possibly said that could have possibly made you forgive him? He's a bastard."

It was raining when they yanked her outside, and her body was overcome with shivers at the cold wind. She managed a small groan, but allowed her small frame to be thrown over the officer's shoulder. He carried her towards a dark carriage that sat in the shadowy gloom, before throwing her into the open door.

"What she said doesn't matter. What matters, is the fucking thought. I trust him, Jacky. And besides, if you hate him so much, why do you want to go to Brooklyn? And why do you want to drag me along with you?"

She flew over the leather seat, and collided with the side, her head banging painfully against the metal. She sat there, slumped against the edge, not possessing the energy, nor motivation to move her head away from the jagged wall. And she was looking out the large window anyways, the wind drying her lips, and stinging her eyes. The cart started off, throwing her back and forth between blunt surfaces like a rag doll, nausea filling her, cold sweat sweeping over her, but whenever she tried to stop herself, a burning sensation rushed through her like a wave. But, Birdy mused as she once again smacked into the wall, it didn't really matter. From her view from the carriage, she spotted something huge, heartwarming, familiar. The bridge. She was going to end up in Brooklyn anyways.

"To take the third musketeer down."


A/N: So yeah, suspenseful ending. Review it, please! The next chapter should be up soon. Thanks, and have a great day :)