Sure, they were selling partners, they shared a toast together at Tibby's once, and they were best friends, but that didn't mean that Kid Blink liked Mush. That was just weird. Guys were supposed to like girls, not their best friend. So why did seeing Mush around make his stomach feel weird? At first, Blink thought it was just something he ate, or didn't eat, rather. Or that he'd been out too long in the cold weather selling papers and he was just getting sick. He managed to convince himself that he was just imagining things whenever it happened.
He was leaning against the Horace Greeley statue, his hat tucked under his arm as he scanned the crowd for a familiar face. A harsh breeze nipped at his nose and Blink shuddered. He cupped his hands and blew on them in a feeble attempt to keep them warm. What he wouldn't give for a decent pair of gloves right now. "I hate the cold..." He sighed and pulled his hat back onto his head and made his way back to the Lodging House.
He silently paid Kloppman the rent before ambling off to the bunk room where he found most of his fellow newsies turning in for the night. Some of them muttered a quiet 'heya, Kid' and Blink nodded in response to them. He flopped down on his bunk and sighed audibly. He hadn't seen Mush since that morning. Wonder where he's at?
Blink barely settled in before loud, hurried footsteps were heard coming up the stairs and muffled shouts rang throughout the air. He sat bolt upright as the door swung open, catching a glimpse of Boots dashing across the room, gasping for air and hunched over his knees.
Jack had been keeping an eye on things from the corner of the room when he saw Boots. He immediately left his post to kneel in front of his visibly shaken friend. "Whas'a matter, Boots?" Jack had his hands resting on Boots' shoulders, a worried expression consuming his once peaceful one.
The younger newsboy was panting and could hardly get a word in. "Mush, he...he's..." he managed.
Blink wasted no time in jumping down from his bunk, pushing Jack aside and looking Boots in the eye, gripping his shoulders with more force than he intended. "What about Mush? What happened to him?"
The pained look on the smaller boy's face didn't register with Blink until Racetrack stepped in. "Careful there, Kid. You'se hurtin' him." Race carefully pried Blink's hands off of Boot's shoulders and cast a knowing glance towards Jack.
Jack nodded, pushing Kid aside to retake his place in front of the shaken newsboy. "Tell us what happened, Boots."
Boots frantically pointed somewhere behind Jack, panic and fear flashing in his eyes. "They got him! They got Mush!"
All at once, the other newsies dropped whatever it was they were doing and sprung to their feet, shouting and demanding to know what was going on. Questions were being thrown left and right and the scene quickly fell into something synonymous with chaos.
Jack left Race to calm everyone down while he focused solely on the boy in front of him. "Who did, Boots?"
Blink had to admit that he admired the way Cowboy was able to remain so calm, but it also infuriated him. He made it seem as if he didn't care about Mush at all. But Kid knew better. He knew that Jack cared about every one of them, whether he showed it or not.
The commotion died down to a dull murmur as everyone drew their attention to Boots. They were all looming over him as he finally managed to catch his breath and say, "Brooklyn!"
Jack frowned, Racetrack blanched and Blink's heart dropped to his feet.
We Gotta Stick Together by Prodigy