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Fic: Nowhere Plans, For Nobody

Title: Nowhere Plans, For Nobody
Chapters: 1/?
Author: stillgoldie1899
Genre: Drama
Ratings: PG13 - Suggested domestic violence
Pairings/Characters: Unnamed main character, unnamed newsies
Summary: A young girl leaves an unhappy home for the uncertainty of life on the streets, and finds herself out of her league. With no prince charming likely to save her, survival at all becomes the challenge, one she may not be up to. A short introduction. 1 of ?
Comments: Sleep is elusive. I miss it, but I like writing again. Woe. The title is a bit of a joke- because I may eventually name the main character "Nobody", but in the meantime, she's completely unnamed, and therefore, is nobody. We'll see what I do, if I end up finishing this.

It wasn't that she wasn't grateful.

She knew that having a family that wanted to take her in at all after her mother died was impressive, and her mother's sister, having no children of her own, had actually jumped at the idea. She loved her aunt Abigail, and if the apartment she shared with Aunt Abby and Uncle Dylan was small, well, most apartments in the neighborhood were. And when she was little, all she saw was a second mother and father who loved her, and took care of her, and tried to do the best they could by her. It was only when she was older that reality began to take a harder edge.

Aunt Abby had shielded her from so much, had hid so much from her that the first time she even saw Uncle Dylan strike her, it came as an absolute shock. She attempted to intervene, only to get knocked aside herself. And then the floodgates opened. It wasn't long after that Uncle Dylan got laid off from his job at the factory for being drunk at work. It had only been a matter of time until something like that was bound to happen, the way he was always drunk at home those days. Aunt Abby had to get a few side jobs herself, just to pay the rent and keep food on the table, and Uncle Dylan started resenting her for it, more and more with each passing day, taking his frustrations out on everyone in sight.

It wasn't a choice she wanted to make, leaving, in the dead of night, she didn't want to leave Aunt Abby behind, but Aunt Abby wouldn't leave, and wouldn't throw her husband out, and one of these days, she knew, she just knew, that the man was going to kill Aunt Abby, and if she was there, she knew, she just knew, that a moment later, she would try to kill him, in her hurt and fury. Aunt Abby refused to leave, but she couldn't stay with her anymore.

So she left, in the dead of night, with a small bag slung over her shoulder.

And it wasn't that she wasn't grateful, for a family, for a home. She knew kids who had run away from homes like hers, from orphanages, and ended up on the street. She knew kids who were on the street because they had no choices, there was nowhere else for them to go. She knew there were armies of children of all ages, all on their own, hungry and cold, and that she was joining them, that she was likely going to be hungry, and cold, and the older she got, the harder it was going to be to make a living doing honest work. If she made it to be much older, that was. She'd had the hope beat out of her, and all she could see ahead of her was a grim street, lined with dirt and trash, wondering how long it would take before she started seeing the world in an even grimmer light.

That first night, after hours of walking, she found a bench and sat on it, sideways, knees drawn up, arms wrapped around, staring up at rooftops, and the sky behind, slowly starting to go from inky, to dusky, to lighter, to sunrise. She was tired, and she was scared, and half ready to run back, to go back to Aunt Abby and cry. She was too old to cry, and she knew it, but it didn't stop her from feeling it.

As it got lighter, she studied the statue she was sitting near, a stern looking old man, on a chair, with a paper in his hands. She wasn't quite sure where she was, she'd been walking in the dark, but she sort of thought she'd been walking south.

And then, out of nowhere, like a flock of slightly dull exotic birds, all loud and squawking, running and jumping and preening, a pack of boys burst from a side street, running excitedly for a gate she could see off the square where she was sitting. All at once, she twisted, feet firmly finding the floor, head ducking, bag pulled onto her lap, ignoring them fully as they flooded around her, and gathered on the far side of the square, near the gates. She heard a whisper or two, saw a few elbows nudging, but no one approached her, and she said nothing to any of them.

She did watch, out of the corner of her eye, however, as the gates opened, and the boys streamed inside, up a ramp, to a window she could just barely see, and they all walked back out again with newspapers in their arms. She realized they were newsies, and an instant later, their loudness and boisterousness made perfect sense. Of course, they were newsies.

Once they had newspapers in their hands, suddenly she wasn't just an oddity, she was a potential sale, and it didn't take long for the first one to walk over, cigar hanging from the side of his mouth, hat cocked slightly to the side, a cheeky grin on his face.

"Buy a pape, miss?"

She shook her head, wordlessly, quickly, head ducking lower, her arms gripping her bag tighter.

"Ya loss, dollface." The boy winked at her, and sauntered away, leaving her blushing slightly. 'Dollface'? Why would anyone call her that? She hadn't figured it out before another boy, who had evidently not seen the first approach her, tried his luck. He got the same reply as the first, and he moved on with no confusing comment. In all, five boys tried to sell her a newspaper before the last one wandered away, and she turned them all down. It wasn't as though she could afford to waste any of the precious few dollars she had with her.

She sat on the bench while the shops around the square began to open, and when it was finally clear business was started for the day, she shouldered her bag, and began to wander around from store to store, asking for work. The later in the day it got, the worse she felt for having turned down that first newsie, as she was starting to understand better the sting of rejection. Her Aunt Abby had seen to it that she'd never had to really work in her life, so that now when she was looking for proper work, grown up work, she found she had no experience, and therefore no one wanted her. She did, eventually, find a seamstress who grudgingly agreed to allow her to sit in the back and work on some unimportant project, with the understanding that it was just the once, and she was only going to pay her 25 cents for her efforts. But 25 cents was 25 cents, and she sat down and did the work, neatly and quickly, because thankfully, she'd always been a steady hand with a needle. When she was done, the shopkeeper grudgingly agreed that the work was fine, but she had nothing more regular to hire her for. She was given her quarter, and told that perhaps in the future, if she came by, there might, or more likely might not, be work she could do.

The afternoon had been spent in her sewing, and the sun was starting to dip behind the skyline when she finally left the dress shop. She's spent an entire day hunting for work, and no one had wanted her, and now night was coming, and she had nowhere to go. Again, she felt a horrible, gut-wrenching stab of fear, and her legs almost carried her, running, back home. But she swallowed it, and found that the bakery on the square was about to close, bartering the price down on a few of the morning's leftover rolls. Bread in hand, she found the same bench she'd sat on that morning, and plunked down again, devouring the bread, and finding that it did little for her hunger.

Soon the streetlamps were lit, as the sun had set completely, and the grand building to one side of the square seemed to twinkle slightly with lights behind it's glass windows. It didn't seem as if it ever intended to go completely dark, and she could hear voices, and machinery working, even as it got darker.

A tiny pack of young boys joined her around the statue, several of them climbing up into the statue's lap to sleep. When one settled at the stone base of the statue nearest to her bench, she hesitantly asked him if this was a safe place to sleep. His only reply was a look that clearly said he found no place to be truly safe, and closed his eyes. Her heart broke a little for him. He could only have been 7 at most. When she was that age, the world was indeed a safe place for her. When she was that age, she had known true rest, safe in the knowledge that she was loved and cared for. Where had this poor boy gone wrong, that he was so bitter, so young? Where had she gone wrong, that she'd lost her own innocent faith?

Soon, the boys in the small square were all dozing, and night was full on. Exhausted from a long, frightening, frustrating day, and still scared, she wound the strap of her bag tightly around her arm before tucking it under her head, grateful that the only thing in it was a spare dress, wrapped around a faded picture of her parents, and a small box with a few keepsakes, and the bright blue ribbon her Aunt Abby had given her for her birthday the year before. She was almost old enough to wear her hair up, but she still loved braiding the ribbon into her hair, scared of the changes that would come from really, truly growing up.

She settled down, her bag a makeshift pillow, her skirts tucked tightly around her legs, and closed her eyes, partly, and managed to sleep as fitfully as the boys sprawled around and on the statue did, finding no rest there at all.



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