"SKITTERY!" Specs yelled, fighting wildly as he watched the building behind them disappear with each pounding footstep of Skittery's.  "Put me down, ya crazy idiot!  Put me down!"

Skittery ignored his younger brother and continued to run down the street.  He winced when Specs pounded viciously on his back.  Skittery ducked into an alley, yanked Specs off his shoulder, and held him against the wall.

"Listen to me.  We don't stand a chance, running back in there.  I promise we'll go back for that blonde-Alec or Dutchy or whatever his name was-but first we have to get Bumblits and Pie Eater and high-tail it out of this town." Skittery told him seriously.  "We'll go back home…Mom misses us, you know."

"…Alright." Specs replied after a prolonged silence.  He allowed himself to be led away and towards their first stop, Bumblits'.  Specs however, continued to glance over his shoulder every few feet.


Once the duo had changed into a quartet, they quickly bought tickets on the train that they just made by a minute.  All four took seats hidden from view and towards the back.  No one breathed easy until they were halfway home.


"Here we are." Skittery sighed, getting out of the taxi cab.  Specs got of the other side after paying the driver and walked around the car to stand next to Skittery.  He put an arm around Specs and pulled him up the front walk of the white, two story Victorian house.  Skittery rapped softly on the door and it was answered by a middle-aged woman.

"Hey, Ma." Skittery grinned.  "We're home."

Their mother covered her mouth and wept, hugging them both tightly.  She pulled them inside and sat them down in the living room.  Mrs. Edwards listened to their very, very edited story of what they had been doing in the city.  She told them of what had been going on at home and that their brother and father were out at the moment.

"Perhaps you should talk to Owen." Their mother told them in hushed voices, although no one else was in the room.  "The poor dear thinks he's gay.  And the boy he chose!  Tsk, tsk…he's in college."

"Is he a hit man?" Skittery asked casually, smirking.  Specs elbowed him and glared.

"Heavens, I hope not!"

"I'm home!" Came a voice from the hall that was strange-sounding to Skittery's and Specs' ears.  A moment later, their "little" brother walked into the room and looked surprised to see them sitting on the couch.

"Owen!  Your brothers are home!" Mrs. Edwards exclaimed, jumping up and steering her youngest son into the overstuffed chair she had been sitting in.  "I'm sure you'll want to catch up…I'll just leave you two alone."

She bustled out of the room.

"You're back." Owen said simply.

"You're gay." Skittery replied.  Owen chuckled and shook his head.  "Will ya look at that?  Mush's complexion has finally cleared up."

"And Skittery isn't so skittish anymore." Mush teased right back.  "What's different about ol' Specs?"

"Specs fell in love." Skittery filled in.  "But don't tell Mom.  She'll flip."

"Really?  What's her name?"

"His name is Dutchy." Specs answered, glaring at Skittery again.

"He's a hit man." Skittery piped up again.

"Geez, and Mom's getting on my case about me dating a college boy." Mush shook his head again.  "Speaking of which, I've got some stuff to do and he'll be over soon.  Send him up when he comes." He hopped off the couch and raced up the stairs.

"I think I'll go do a bit of skirt-chasing." Skittery winked, also getting up and heading out.  Specs sighed and lay back on the couch.  His eyelids drooped into a exhausted slumber.

He awoke at the doorbell and rolled off the couch.  Specs staggered to the door and pulled it open.  He raised an eyebrow at the boy in front of him.  He looked back through one eye, the other had a patch strapped over it.  Shaggy blonde hair hung into his eyes and he brushed at it nervously.

"Yeah, kid?"

"Is Owen around…?" He asked a bit uncertainly.

"Oh, sure.  MUSH!  YOUR FRIEND'S HERE!" Specs stepped back and motioned for him to come in.  "You're the college boy?  Aren't you a bit young?"

"Erm, no.  I'm just a little undersized." 'Kid' replied.  "Who're you?"

"I'm the middle brother.  The name's Sam, but Specs'll do."

"Oh.  I'm Mathew Blink."

"Alright, Kid." Specs answered, covering a yawn.  "Go on up.  I'm not sure what door it is."


"Sam, why so quiet?" Mr. Edwards asked Specs at dinner.  Skittery, Mrs. Edwards, Kid, and Mush all looked over at the brunette who was pushing his food around his plate in an idle manner.

"Hm?  Oh, its nothing."

"There's something wrong, Sam." Mrs. Edwards said, sternly.  "I bet I know!  You're in love, aren't you?" When Specs actually looked up at the question and blushed, his mother squealed.  "Oh, you must invite her over!"

"Yeah, right." Specs snorted.

"Well, why not?  I'm sure she's a lovely girl."

"Ma, I don't think-" Skittery began, trying to stop his mother from putting his brother in an uncomfortable position.

"Oh, hush up, Jeffrey.  We'll talk about your day soon enough.  It isn't everyday when your brother finds a nice girl he likes."

"I wonder why." Mush muttered, rolling his eyes.  Kid looked over at him and raised his eyebrows.

"But Ma-" Skittery tried again.  Mrs. Edwards ignored him.

"I don't really feel like it." Specs said dully.

"I insist!" Mrs. Edwards replied.

"Fine." He replied, annoyed.  "One, she is a he and his name is Dutchy.  Two, he's a hit man who was assigned to kill me.  Three, Dutchy basically sold his soul so that me, Skittery, Bumblits, and Pie could get out of there alive.  He'll be dead in less than a year if no one goes back to help him.  Happy?"

Specs dropped his fork onto his plate with a clatter and pushed his chair back.  He stood up, turned around, and stormed from the dining room.  Specs went up the stairs and slammed his door.

"Oh, I ran into Pie today." Skittery picked up as though his brother had not just ranted about his situation and stormed from the room.  "And well, I'm gay too."

He shoveled a forkful of food into his mouth and chewed.  Mush snickered into his glass and Kid pretended to cough behind his napkin.  Their mother tsk-ed.

"I knew that city was a bad idea." She glanced over at her husband.  "Close your mouth, dear."


Upstairs, Specs was staring out the window with his arms folded.  He sighed softly and a cloud of his breath condensed on the pane, fogging it up.  Specs blinked rapidly, trying to prevent the tears.  One escaped and trailed down his cheek and he flicked it away.

Dutchy… Specs made a silent promise.  I'll come back for you, I swear.


Miles away, Dutchy also stared out his window.  His arms were wrapped tightly around himself, still shaking and shivering from Vinnie's visit over an hour ago.  Dutchy's eyes were already red and swollen.  He turned and climbed back into the cold bed, more tears splattering across the sheets.  Dutchy buried his face in his pillow, muffling his sobs as he cried for himself.

Specs, come back.  I'm scared…you told me I wasn't going to end up like Snoddy…



(Y'all hate me, don't you?)

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