warnings: none it’s stupid and they’re all idiots especially jackie
ship: sprace lol kinda they’re fuckin but no one knows
editing: absolutely not
Jack burst through the door of the Lodging House, causing Race to drop his apple.
“Racer,” Jack panted, eyes darting around frantically, “If, uh, if Conlon comes through, tell him I ain’t here.”
“Uh, sure thing, Jackie,” Race said cautiously as he picked up his apple and dusted it off on his vest, “But why’re ya-“
“I called him a walkin’ garden gnome, ‘cause ya know, he’s short and kinda grumpy and he chased me all the way from Brooklyn.”
Race blinked at Jack in disbelief, “You’s an idiot, Jack. Even I ain’t stupid enough ta jab the King a’ Brooklyn about his height and I’s screwin’ the idiot.”
Jack’s head whipped up, “What?”
“You’re whattin’ him?”
“I’m whattin’ who?”
“Spot, you’re whattin’ Spot?”
“Who’s Spot?” Race asked, smirking.
Jack stared at him for a moment before shaking his head, “You’s crazy, Racer.”
“Jesus, you’s annoyin’. I shoulda left you on the streets,” Jack said, before looking towards the open door,” Oh, shit,” his eyes widened and Race looked too. Spot’s silhouette was approaching the Lodging House and Jack hurried to duck behind the ratty couch.
“Heya, Racer,” Spot said, casually, although his eyes were glinting with fury, “Ya seen Jackie-boy anywhere?”
“You know what?” Race said, thoughtfully as Jack jumped out from behind the couch and launched himself through the window that led to the side alley, “He jus’ left.”
“Did Jack jus’…” Spot trailed off, gesturing confusedly towards the window.
Race bit into his apple innocently, “I have no idea what you’re talkin’ about.”
“Ow, fuck me!” Jack’s voice sounded from outside the window and Spot looked at Race pointedly.
Summary:Family: NounLife’s greatest blessing. A group that dreams, laughs, plays, and loves together. Those whom you can count on. -or- Antonio Shea Higgins has always been alone.
Ship: Kinda Ralberty but not the main focus
Genre: Angst, fluff,
Fandom: Newsies and Tuck Everlasting
TW: guns, death, sickness
Editing: I tried
Word Count: 3363 (YEET)
Antonio Shea Higgins has always been alone.
In 1890 his family boarded a ship to America in hopes in living a better life; leaving their Italy, their home, behind them. When the boat docked Maria Romano took her son by the hand and led him down to New York City. Six year old Antonio watched the people pass with curiosity. This place was very different from Italy. While waiting for the rest of their family the two stayed by a booth selling fruit. A boy, who had to have been his age, was holding newspapers and yelling in the odd language of this new land.
“Mother,” Antonio asked, pulling on his mothers skirt. “What is he doing? Why is he yelling?”
Maria looked at the boy with the Newspapers and smiled a bit. Her son was always asking questions.
“That, baby, is what the Americans call a Newsboy. He sells the Newspapers to the people walking on the street to get money. It’s his job.”
The young boy looked from his mother to the Newsboy and back again.
“But he’s as old as I am. Why is he working? I thought little boys went to school.”
Maria shook her head and shushed her son.
“Why must you question everything, young one?”
Antonio stopped asking questions after that. He didn’t want to annoy his mother after all. But he couldn’t keep his attention away from the Newsboy. The way he wove through the streets and talked to the adults; it was mesmerizing.
While his mother’s attention was on the ship Antonio slipped towards the Newsboy. He watched in aw how the young boy could get everyone to buy a paper.
Tony turned back to tell his mother about the Newsboy, but she wasn’t there.
“Madre?” He asked to the crowd. “Madre?”
He wandered around the platform looking for his mother’s familiar blonde hair and blue skirt. But it was nowhere in sight.
Tony sat down, defeated, tears streaming down his face. What was he supposed to do now?
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?”
Tony looked up to see a man in a horrific yellow suit.
“I lost my mother and non so come trovarla! Per favore puoi aiutarmi?”
“Woah, woah, woah, little one. Slow down. I can’t understand you. Where are you from?”
“Oh you poor thing. What’s your name son?”
“Well, Antonio, why don’t you come with me?”
Antonio Shea Higgins was living his best life. The nine year old Italian immigrant was part of a traveling fair, run by the man in the hideous yellow suit.
He would dance, sing, and juggle as soon as the sun was down. Then as it rose he would help the others pack up their stalls and they would move on to the next town.
Antonio loved it. Getting to see a new city every day, constantly making people smile and laugh; he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The Man in the Yellow suit went out to the woods to find his magic water; and never came back.
Antonio didn’t know what to do. One of the woman cried and held onto another. Some men were surprised, others disappointed.
“What are we going to do now?” Antonio asked his favorite dancer, Julian.
Julian gave Antonio a sad smile and ruffled his hair. “I donno bout the others kid, but I’m goin back home. Best see my family before they all die out on me. I suggest you do the same.”
“Why not, kid?” Julian asked kneeling down to be on Antonio’s level.
“I donno knows where they are. When we got off the ship I got lost. Couldn’t see them no more.The Man in the Yellow found me. He said he’d take good care of me.”
Julian’s eyes were wide.
“Oh, Antonio, I’m so sorry.”
Tony shrugged. “Is okay! I’ll find them one day! I just know it. I’ll find my family I promise you.”
Julian lowered his head, trying not to look at the young child.
“How about, just until you find your family that is, you come with me?”
Tony started up at Julian with aw. “You mean it?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t want my favorite racer to be left alone would I?”
Tony laughed happily. “You’re my favorite person in the world Julian!”
“I need you to do one thing for me first,” Julian said putting his hands on Antonio’s shoulders.
“I’ll do anything!”
“I need you to let me win a race.”
Antonio laughed, “not a chance old man!”
He takes of sprinting around the fairgrounds, Julian close behind.
Traveling with Julian was almost as fun as being with the fair. They would dance and race and sing and find constellations in the sky. It was everything Tony wished for.
One day, while Julian and Antonio were walking down the road tossing a ball back and forth when a woman and her daughter crossed their path.
“Hello!” The daughter said to Tony. “My name is Mary! It’s nice to meet you, would you like to be my friend?”
Tony looked to Julian for help.
“You can say yes.” He whispered.
“I would like that.” Tony said to the girl.
“Your son is very sweet.” The woman said to Julian.
Instead of correcting her, Julian just looked down at Antonio and smiled. “He is.”
Tony had never smiled harder in his life.
The woman, Teresa, stayed around much longer than they had anticipated.
Two years later, and 11 year old Antonio had found his family. Teresa and Julian were happily married, and Mary was his best friend. They had a small house on the border of New York and Vermont. Julian worked at the Corner Store, and Teresa made clothes for the local families.
“Momma,” Mary started one day while everyone was sitting in the family room. “What do you want for your birthday?”
Teresa smiled and get down the shirt she was working on.
“I don’t want anything. I have everything I need in life. A wonderful husband. A beautiful daughter. And the best son a woman could ask for.”
That night was perfect. Tony was had found his place.
But, good things never seem to last, do they?
It was a cloudless night, some time the next summer. Mary and Antonio were out catching fireflies. Teresa called Mary into the house.
“I’ll be right back.” Mary had said wither her classic lopsided grin.
“Hurry! I want to fill this jar!” Tony watched his little sister go, then turned back to the trees, looking for more glowing bugs.
He saw a light back near the tree line and started that way. He followed the firefly until he couldn’t see his house. But, he was determined to catch the bug, to show Mary. And Julian and Teresa.
Once it was in his jar he ran back to the house in hopes of impressing his family.
Right when he got to the tree line he stopped.
A pair of men were walking towards the ground door. He could see his family through the kitchen window laughing at something Julian had said.
Tony tried to go towards the house but his feet were frozen. One of the men at the door pulled out a gun while the other kicked the door in.
Antonio watched in horror as the men ran into the house and started yelling at the family. Julian pushes Mary and Teresa begins him as the first man aims his gun at them.
Teresa looks in his direction and freezes. He couldn’t come in the house. Teresa would not let these men kill her son.
The men, too busy threatening Julian and sacking the house, didn’t see Teresa mouth the one word that saved Tony’s life.
Antonio dropped the glass jar and set into a dead sprint towards town. I can make it he thought to himself. If I get the police I can save them.
Tony knew it was too late when a loud bang rang through the still night air. He froze in the middle of the forest.
Two more bangs followed.
3. One for Julian. One for Teresa. And one for Mary.
Once again, Antonio Shea Higgins was alone.
The next year, 1896, 12 year old Antonio roamed the New York countryside. Until finally he caught a train going South West, to New York City.
The city was just the same as it was six years ago, loud, bustling, and fast.
Antonio kept his head down and followed the flow of the crowd. He walked and walked till nightfall. Not knowing what else to do the young boy curls up behind a wash house, hoping that he’ll live to see the morning light.
Two weeks later Antonio has found a routine. He would wake up, find some food for breakfast, walk until sunset, find some more food, and then settle down for the night. Until, that is, he came across Sheepshead Races in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was amazed by the speed of the horses ad the cheering of the crowd. This is where I belong he thought. After that a new schedule was formed. He would sleep by the stables, and sneak in to watch the races. Nick food off of the high class observers, and make bets with the low class workers.
Things were going great until one day a security guard grabs his arm.
“What are you doing in here kid? Where are your parents?”
Not knowing what else to do Antonio ripped his arm from the man’s grasp and ran. He ran and ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore. Even when the sun set he kept going, there was no way he could stay in Brooklyn after that.
6 hours later he was walking in the streets of Manhattan. He could see the Newsboys selling along the streets; conning people into buying their papers. There were Newsboys is Brooklyn too, but Tony never payed them any mind. The Manhattan boys were different. As he passed they would give him glances. At his torn clothes and dirty face.
Until, a little after lunch, a boy a few years older than him, walks up to him.
“Hey, Is was walkin’ and I noticed that you looks a little lost. Need help?”
Not knowing this boy, or what he wanted Antonio stood tall, throwing on his bravado from his years working at the fair.
“I’s fine. Know exactly where I’m goin’.”
The boy didn’t look convinced. Tony noticed that he was wearing a hat like the Newsboys. He must be one! Tony thought to himself.
“Look, my name is Jack, I’m a Newsie. You’re wandering the streets of ‘Hattan with this, this far off look on ya face. Ya sure your okay? I can give ya some food and a place to sleep if you need it?”
Stubborn as always Tony stood his ground.
“Grazie, but is fine. I don’t need nobody’s help.”
Antonio walked around Jack, resuming the path he was on.
“Hey!” Jack called to him. Tony turned around. “Be careful, alright? It’s supposed to snow tonight. Don’t want ya gettin sick or nothin.”
Antonio nodded and kept walking.
Around 10 PM that night Tony was regretting not taking Jack’s offer. He might be able to get food and run from trouble, but he had no defense against the harshness of the New York snow. He was standing in an alleyway shaking from the cold. Cars and carriages passed by on the street, but no one paid any mind to the young Italian boy freezing to death.
He was about sit down and give up when he remembered something.
It was Julian when he was teaching Tony how to juggle.
“It’s okay Racer, just take it slow and don’t give up. There’s no reward to sitting on your ass and watching other people do what you should be doing.”
Antonio took a deep breath and stood up shakily. If he could just make it to some place warm-
“Hey! Are you okay?”
Antonio turned around to see Jack and another boy, with rich red hair at the other end of the alley.
“Jack-“ Tony said, taking a step in their direction.
Before he could get any farther a cold gust of wind pushes its way into the alley. A violent chill wracks Tony’s body and he goes crumbling to the ground.
“Oh meu Deus!” The redhead yells, rushing to get Tony.
“We need to get him to the lodging house! Pressa!”
Between the two boys it was relatively easy to carry Tony to the Lodging House. Getting him to wake up, was a different story.
Jack and another Newsboy, Mush, piled Tony with blankets and put him near the fireplace.
“What’s going on? One of the littuns told me someone’s dead.”
Said a figure walking down the stairs.
“Ah, Blue, hows it goin?” Jack asked the Manhattan leader.
“Jack, what did you do?” Blue asked narrowing her eyes.
“Remember that kid I told you about?”
“The Italian one? Yeah.”
Jack motioned to the unconscious boy.
“Oh my god! Is he okay?”
Another Newsie, this one with blonde hair and an eye patch, comes tumbling down the stairs with some water.
“If we put it over the fire for a few minutes it should warm up enough.” He says slightly out of breath.
“Do we know if he’s a Newsie?” Blue asks, taking in the scene in front of her.
“I don’t think so. I said somethin bout bein a Newsie and he looked confused. So’s I’m guessin he’s a new immigrant.”
“I’m guessin Italy, ele parece. He looks it.” Said the redhead, who had his hand on Tony’s forehead.
“Alright. So’s we can’t leave ‘im alone so we’s gonna do shifts so watch ‘im.” Blue explains her plan to the others, then goes to check on the little Newsies.
At about 3AM Antonio woke up shivering. He looked around to see a dark room, lit only by a fire in a fireplace. He wasn’t sure where he was or who he was with but he was covered in mounds of blankets and cloth.
“Bem-vindo à terra dos vivos. Welcome to land of the living.”
Tony looked to his right to see the redheaded boy tending to the fire.
“Dove sono?” Tony mumbled.
“English, please? Or at least a language I can understand?”
“And what languages do you understand?” Tony asked in a quiet voice.”
The redhead chuckled and poked at an ember. “I can speak English I guess. And Portuguese and Irish.”
“Impressionante. Say something in Irish?”
“Tá tú an-gleoite buachaill mystery.”
“What does it mean?”
The redhead blushed a bit and looked back at the fire. “Nothing.”
Tony decided to not question something for once in his life.
After a few minutes he spoke again. “I’m Albert, by the way.”
“That’s a cool name.” Tony whispered.
“It’s not my real name. It’s a nickname. All of us here have them. You don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to.”
“È bizzarro. Why?”
“It’s always been that way. Newsies get nicknames. Blue, our leader, says it’s cause we don’t get to control anything in our lives. Says that it gives us something to have power over.”
Tony didn’t know what to say to that.
“Wow. That’s somethin.”
Albert huffed out a laugh. “It sure is. So, what should I call you?”
Tony thought for a moment. “Race.”
Albert tilted his head to the side. “Race?”
Tony, now Race, smiled slightly, thinking back to Julian.
“An old nickname given by someone important.”
“Ah, I see. Well, Race. We should get you cleaned up. I didn’t think one person could have so much dirt on their face.”
“Stai zitto, rosso.”
Albert pulled Race out of his blanket cocoon and up to the washroom. He explained that the water will be cold, so they’ll have to move quickly. Race nodded and did his best to not squirm in the bitter water and wake the others.
Once they were back down at the fire, with Race wrapped up in blankets, properly this time, Albert looked Race and couldn’t stop.
Without the dirt and grime he was beautiful. Hid cheeks and nose were slightly red and his eyes impossibly blue.
Race caught his eyes and smiled a bit.
Instead of being embarrassed because he was caught Albert teased Race instead.
“I didn’t know you were blonde.”
Race’s hand flies to his freshly washed hair.
“I guess all of the dirt made it impossible to tell.”
Albert let out another chuckle before his smile fell.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Race, but, where did you come from.”
Race looked at Albert. Should he tell him? He had only just met the Irish boy a few hours ago. But, if he was going to be here a while might as well make a friend he could trust.
“My family is originally from Italy. But, when we came here I got separated. I spent the next three years with a travelling fair. After that fell apart this dancer took me in and we lived in Vermont until-” He stopped suddenly. He couldn’t even say it. He was still plagued with nightmares from that night.
“Let’s just say something bad happened and now I’m here.”
“Freezing to death in New York because you’re too stubborn to accept help?”
Race stared up at Albert. “How did you-”
“Jack told us about earlier today while you are out. I gotta say, I’s stupid and reckless, but i knows not to stay out in this weather. What were you thinking Race?”
Race stared at the fire. He couldn’t this boy, who he barely knows, is worried about him.
“I wasn’t.” He said finally.
Albert snorted and pushed his hair out of his face. “Got that right. Now get some sleep, you got a long day ahead of you.”
“How are you so good at this?” Albert yells in frustration. Race just smirks at him, enjoying the older boys in-credulousness.
“When I first started selling it took me months to sell half of my papes!”
Race was sitting on the steps of the lodging house watching Albert pace and bitch about how well Race had adjusted to being a Newsie.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Albert suddenly asks.
“I was staring?”
“Yeah. Do I have something on my face?”
Race looks down at his hands. “No, nothing.”
“Okay,” Albert said, albeit skeptical.
Race was adjusting well to Newsie life. He made bets with the older boys, played nice with the younger kids, taught Italian to the the kids who wanted to learn. At night he shared a bunk with Albert, and in the day they shared a selling spot.
It was a night in January when Race realized something. He was sitting near the fireplace with Albert stretched out across his lap. Race was running his fingers through Albert’s slightly too long hair, and adding little braids every once and a while. He looked up to see Blue and Jack going over a map of the city, Specs, Mush, and Blink playing jacks, and Finch, Buttons, and Henry were playing a card game.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Albert asked in a sleepy voice.
“I was thinkin about how much my life has changed. Everyone here has made me so happy.”
“Well, i hope so!” Albert said with a snort. “We are your família after all.”
Race’s hand stopped mid motion. Albert opened his eyes to see Race staring at him with wide eyes.
He sat up quickly to see glassy tears in his eyes.
“Race? Oh meu Deus did i say something wrong?”
“No, no no no.” Race speaks quickly. He grabs Albert’s hands. “I’ve been looking for my place, for a family for so long. And I’m così fottutamente felice that you found me in that alley. I don’t know what I’d do if you hadn’t.”
“Ar ndóigh, Racer. We’ll always be here for you. That’s what family’s for.”
Antonio Shea Higgins was 13 when he wasn’t alone anymore.
my school’s putting on a production of the wizard of oz (i’m in the lollipop gang & the witch’s guards oof!) and it’s both extremely chaotic and incredible iconic. oh and I haven’t slept more than 3 hours in days!
jack: if one more person say’s line, i’m going to jump into a busy street.
the rest of the newsies, in overlapping voices: line line line line line
davey: hey, there’s a real chance he’s serious!
weisel: ensemble, you better be being quiet & orderly in the wings!
race, leaning out of the wings as him and albert sword fight with markers: us? disruptive and off task? never!
finch: yeet me that oil can, will you?
smalls: davEY HE’S DOING IT AGAIN!
katherine: at this point, the only thing holding this show together is crutchie’s rousing speeches and our combined crippling anxiety
race, raising his capris sun: hear hear!
davey: okay now I need all of you to be dead for the next 10 counts.
romeo, barrel rolling into a laying position: easy dubs!
spot, without looking up from his geometry homework: I wish you all were dead.
mike: I wish I was a vampire
ike, popping out from the stage left wing: what we do in the shadows, 2014, directed by taika waititi and jemaine clement!
albert: hey do you guys want to hear me play my saxophone?
ike, appearing in the doorway of the props closet: dead poets society, 1989, directed by peter weir!
jack: uhm— obviously a fox can beat a rabbit in a fight, haven’t you ever heard of a food chain?
ike, appearing from behind a back drop: zootopia, 2016, directed by—
jack: I will kill you with my bare hands!
katherine: so while I’m on these meds they have to give me pregnancy tests.
race: you’re pregnant??
katherine: what? no!
race: who’s the dad?
katherine: i’m not pregnant, race!
race: I bet it’s romeo!
katherine: you seriously think romeo is my baby daddy?
romeo, looking up: ????
katherine, sighing: you’re going to be a father.
davey: where’s the basket! did dorothy seriously lose the basket again?
albert, laughing to himself: haha like my sanity
davey: oh my god, okay, please go home. you’re all delirious and useless at this point. and no one let albert drive home alone!
henry: this feels off beat.
spot: don’t question the metronome henry! when machines come to life you’ll be the first to die!
I swear all of these sound fake, but they are 100% real. as I type this we’re on a 10 minutes snack break, and the tin man and glinda are having a cartwheel competition to try and stay awake. please pray for us.
Hi! I really liked what you wrote for Jack, and could you do number 10 on the caretaker prompts, I thought I'd never see you again, with any of the Newsies? Again, I'm sorry if it bothers you and you absolutely don't have to if you don't want to, I don't want to bother you or anything!
#3: “I thought I’d never get to see you again.”
You had spend months in the Refuge; eating nothing but the one meal a day they provided you and whatever scaps Jack could smuggle in, sleeping on the rock hard mattress, packed in between two other kids, freezing through the winter, barley ever getting to wash yourself, being surrounded by mice and vermin so often that you and some of the younger children had named them. It was a hell-like experience of never ending suffering, living without a single comfort to dull the pain you lived through.
You missed Jack, more than you thought you would. You had figured much of your focus would be spent on taking care of the other kids there or doing whatever menial tasks the guards gave you. But no, much of your day was spent just sitting, wallowing in misery and missing your boyfriend.
It was bittersweet when they brought Crutchie in. He was one of your best friends and, after all the shit he’d been through in his life, did not deserve to be tossed in the Refuge like gutter trash. But, you couldn’t help but feel some comfort with him there. You were housed in separate rooms, him being bedridden as you soon learned, and it seemed like the guards were purposefully trying to keep you two apart. You rarely saw each other aside from the few times you managed to sneak into his room to see him, but the moments you spent together were absolute bliss compared to the damned life you were leading outside of them.
He was bruised and bloodied and it was clear that they’d done nothing to help him with his injuries because he wore the same torn, blood-soaked shirt every day and no one had bothered to bandage his wounds or wash the dried blood from his face. Still, despite the pain, his same old smile still spead across his face every time he saw you, albeit a bit grimaced in pain.
He told you about the strike. About Davey, the cautious but brilliant new kid who was helping Jack lead it. About Les, Davey’s lively little brother who had more fire within him than anyone Crutchie’d ever met before. About Katherine, the gal reporter who was helping the Newsies by writing a story on them.
Jack came to see you one day. You had to tell him that Crutchie couldn’t walk to the window to see him. There, in the privacy of the night and the sanctity of your judgement, Jack wept. For Crutchie, for you, for the lives of his brothers he was changing forever, for his uncertainty that what he was doing was right and worth the casualties.
He didn’t return for days. You worried for him. Worried that another strike attempt had led to far more disastrous outcomes than Crutchie’s bludgeoning and imprisonment. But, only 11 days after he had last visited, a group of large, stoic men invaded the Refuge, claiming it was to be shut down. You and Crutchie were escorted back to Newsies Square by order of Governor Roosevelt himself, along with Snyder the Spider, the head of that infernal prison.
Your friends were gathered in the square, along with dozens of other working children who had also striked, watching in awe as Governor Roosevelt spoke. He gestured to you and Crutchie when he introduced the closing of the refuge. Jack’s eyes sparkled as you were engulfed in hugs and the boys cheered on Crutchie. Snyder was pulled away, and Jack was making his way down on ground level with you.
As soon he could, his arm shot out and pulled you into him. He held you for a long time, not moving, not speaking, just relishing in the moment of finally being in your arms again.
“I thought I’d never get to see you again,” he whispered after a long time. He let you go, only long enough to swoop down and capture your lips in a desperate kiss. You pulled away first and he chased your lips as he often did.
“That hurts, Jack,” you chided lightly, smile never leaving. His thumb traced your split lip gently.
“‘m sorry,” he whispered. “For everything.”
You stepped back, just enough so that you could look at him properly.
“Don’t be, Jackie.” You reached out, taking his hands in yours. “I can’t believe everything you’ve done. You met Theodore Roosevelt!”
Jack nodded at you, chuckling.
“Shook his hand and everything.”
“God, I love you!” You laughed, throwing your arms around him and pulling him into another bone-crushing hug. Jacks arms tightened around you.
“Jeez, doll, you’re so small,” he commented, pulling back, leaving his hands on your now much smaller waist. He looked at you with concern. “How much were they feeding you?”
“Barely anything,” You answered honestly.
“That won’t do,” Jack says, shaking his head and dropping his arms back down to his sides. He gestured behind him with his thumb. “We need to get some food into you.”
“Jacobi’s?” You ask, eyes lighting up. It had been almost a year since you’d been the small restaurant.
“‘a course! You can meet Davey and Les. They’ll love you!”
He took your hand in his, leading you into the group of boys again. It looked like it was the beginning of a bright new era.