Title: Sleep to Dream
Author: Slash! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sites: http://kiss.to/okp and http://lumosetnox.envy.nu
Why: Cross-dressing, minor language.
Disclaimer: Don't own the boys (that's Disney), do own Slash.
Archive: My site; STN (if, again, 'Cracks will have me); anywhere else, please ask.
Notes: Whew, this took a while to get out. ^_^ Anyway, the way things are shaping up, those who replied to the CC should be in the next part. Thanks for sticking with me!
Sleep to Dream
Part the Third
"I got five twos," Racetrack announced, setting five cards face-down in the middle of the table.
"B.S.," Jack replied, scoffing. "There ain't no way you can have five twos."
Race smirked and flipped over the cards, revealing five twos. "Anything's possible when you're playin' with two decks."
Jack opened his mouth, shut it, opened it again, then decided to take his losses with grace. Ignoring the snickers from around the table, he gathered the cards and added them to his hand. "Mush, your go."
"Oh! Um . . . " The curly-haired newsie looked at his cards, then pulled one out. "One three." He set the card down and smiled at everyone.
"B.S.!" the five boys chorused. Mush frowned as he took his card back.
"How do you always know?" he asked no one in particular.
Chuckling, Blink ruffled the other boy's curly hair. "You just try too hard."
Suddenly, the quarantine door flew open. Dutchy ran out and dashed upstairs. A few minutes later, he reappeared with an armful of clothes and ducked back in.
"Well, that was random," Swifty remarked.
"Think maybe we should see what's going on?" Jake asked.
"Yeah, maybe," Jack agreed.
"Alexander, I can't!" Aidan hissed, shoving away the clothes that Dutchy had proffered. "I'd be too obvious!"
"Too obvious?" Dutchy scoffed. "Please! You'd be in with a crowd of newsboys that all look alike. If anything, you'd probably blend in too well."
"The guy who's following me is dangerous, though," Aidan retorted. "If he ever saw me--"
"How dangerous can he be? You ain't dead yet."
"I'll show you." With hurried movements, Aidan unbuttoned his shirt halfway. Dutchy blushed instinctively, then gasped at the long white scar that ran horizontally across the upper half of his chest.
"Oh, my God . . ."
"He did that to me."
"If he did that to ya, then why didn't he kill ya when he had the chance?"
Shyly, Dutchy asked, "Do you mind if I . . .?" and gestured towards the scar. Aidan shrugged, and Dutchy reached out and touched it with a feather-light touch.
It was then that Jack opened the door.
If it wasn't what it looked like, then Jack was hard-pressed to say what it was. To him, it looked an awful lot like a girl with a halfway-unbuttoned shirt and Dutchy with his hand on her chest.
"What the hell are you doing?" he yelped. Dutchy yelped and jerked back, spinning. The girl gasped and pulled her shirt closed.
"Jack!" Dutchy exclaimed. "It ain't what it looks like!"
"Well, if it ain't what it looks like, than what is it?"
"Alexander was looking at my scar," Aidan said quietly. "He was not attempting to rape me."
"Oh. Um." Jack started. "That's an awful deep voice you got there, miss."
"That's because I'm not a miss."
It took a good fifteen minutes for Aidan to explain his story to Jack, because the Manhattan leader kept interrupting to get details clarified.
"So, let me get this straight," Jack said when Aidan was finished. "You're being chased by a guy who's killed your family, and, although he gave you that scar, did not kill you. As a result, you posed as a mute girl to throw him off your trail. You found your brother's body earlier this evening, and that's where Specs and Dutch found you. Am I right?"
"Okay, then, I got just one question for you. Why are you telling me all this? I could be in cahoots with this guy."
"Alexander trusts you," Aidan replied simply.
Jack glanced over at Dutchy. "'Alexander?'" he repeated.
Jack turned back to Aidan. "It ain't the most creative story I've heard, but it'll do. You can stay in here for tonight, but you're gettin' up tomorrow mornin' with the rest of us and sellin', then we'll make room for you upstairs." He smiled, then reached out and ran a finger across Aidan's scar. "Welcome to the Manhattan newsies . . . Slash."