Mindbends and Mayhem
By Aris Merquoni

Newsies belong to Disney, everything else is mine... 
maybe I should say, the sane stuff is Disney's, and 
everything screwy belongs to me.

There will be a sequel to this... as if it's not screwy 
enough already! This is in the same universe as News On 
the Fly, so I'd read that to get some of the references 
in this story.

Oh, yeah... general mature content warning... make that 
Large Mature Content warning. Please, please, please, 
if you're not mature enough to take Sex Ed, don't read 
this. It's not graphic, but there's some innuendo.

Anyhoo, now that I've scared off all the little 


Racetrack relaxed against the lamp post on the corner 
for a second, scanning for Kid Blink across the street. 
This friendly wager wasn't turning out well for Race- 
he had only sold half of his fifty papers, and Blink 
was down to fifteen. Blink shot him a grin from across 
the road, then went back to yelling.

Race stood up, wiped sweat from his brow, and followed 
his friend's example. It was a sticky summer this year, 
1898, and he was beginning to regret making this bet in 
the first place. He would rather be in Central Park, 
where he could at least get some shade. Sighing, he 
raised his voice. "Extry, Extry! Maniac leaves nude 
corpse on Broadway! Extry!" That was only partially 
true- yes, there had been a corpse on Broadway, but it 
was a dead cat that some angry guy had kicked into a 
gutter. One of seven, actually. Race figured that seven 
dead cats could add up to one nude corpse. "Extry!"

He collected a handful more pennies. Down to ten papers 
now. He glanced over at Blink, who was down to seven, 
and continued hawking the headline. Five more pennies 
were shoved into his hand, and he was relieved of five 
more papers. The day continued on, and he finally sold 
his last paper. Glancing over with a triumphant grin, 
he saw Blink finishing up as well. He walked over to 
settle the bet with his friend- after all, he had 
finished first, if only by a second.

"Teach me to do that," said a voice behind him.

Startled, Race turned quickly to see a girl, about his 
age, with really light blonde hair that seemed white in 
the sunlight and eyes that were lighter than baby blue. 
She was wearing pants and a shirt that was belted 
tight... tight enough that he looked away before he 
could say anything stupid. She didn't say anything 

He blinked at her. "You want to loin t' sell papes?" He 
asked her.

She nodded, silent.

He shrugged. There were one or two girl newsies, most 
notably Newspaper Annie, but they usually didn't hang 
out around Cowboy's crowd. There's a first time for 
everything, he told himself, and replied to her silence 
with, "follow me, den, and come meet me friend. We got 
a bet t' settle."

She shrugged and followed him to the opposite corner 
where Blink was waiting. "We tied, Race," the one-eyed 
newsie said when they were in talking range.

Racetrack shook his head. "Naah, I get rid o' me last 
pape right before you sold yours. I won, fair 'n 

"No, we tied, Race, and you'll hafta soak me to get me 
money, 'cuz it's mine." Blink was grinning.

Race shrugged. "You want me to soak ya, bum?" He asked, 
grinning as well. Exchanging a few feinted jabs with 
his friend, he suddenly remembered the girl. Turning, 
he asked her, "What's your name, kid?"

She shrugged. Blink snorted. "She's quiet."

Racetrack nodded. "Yeah, she is."

The girl suddenly sang, under her breath, "I've been 
through the desert on a horse with no name, it was good 
to get out of the rain, in the desert, you can't 
remember your name, cause there ain't no one for to 
give you no pain." She gave the startled boys a quick 
grin and then went back to impassivity.

Kid Blink and Race exchanged glances. "What was dat?" 
Blink asked. The girl shrugged.

They stood in silence for a few seconds before she 
spoke up again. "If you get the afternoon edition now, 
you can make it to the 42nd street theater by three."

The two newsies exchanged another glance. "O... kay," 
Race said. "Okay, you said ya wanted to sell, so you 
c'n buy some papes and we can sell down dere."

Blink shrugged and the trio walked back to the World 
building and the printing square. There was a group of 
newsies there already to snatch the afternoon run, so 
they had a bit of a wait in line. Finally, Mr. Wiesel 
called, "Next!" and it was Racetrack's turn.

"Heya, Weasel! fifty more."

Wiesel glared at Race. "Fifty," he ordered.

Blink got fifty more as well. The girl leaned on the 
desk, placed a dollar down, and said clearly, "Two 

The other newsies' jaws dropped. Wiesel looked up in 
surprise. "Two hundred?" He asked. She nodded. "That's 
a little much for-"

"For a girl?" She asked quietly, but there was steel in 
her voice. Wiesel looked startled, then shrugged and 
ordered the thick stack of papers. Morris looked at her 
funny, but she didn't pay any attention as she pushed 
by the startled Racetrack and Blink, heading toward the 

"Woah, where ya goin?" Race struggled to catch up with 
her, and she slowed. Blink and Race fell into step 
beside her. "Where you headin'?"

"The theater." She shrugged. "Sell these there."

Kid Blink glanced over at Racetrack. "This goil's 
crazy, you know?"

Race nodded. "I figured. Up outa nowhere she comes 
askin' me to teach 'er to sell, and den she grabs two 
hundred papes, which is more'n even Cowboy sells on a 
good day, and now she drags us off ta dis theater fer 
no reason odder den she feels she can sell alla her 
papes dere. If dat ain't loony, I don't know what is."

"Telling you," the girl said.


"I was telling you to teach me to sell, not asking 

"Yeah, okay," Race said, a little confused. "What's 
your name, anyway?"

She just shrugged again. Racetrack sighed, exasperated. 
They continued their walk to the theater, Blink and 
Race talking with the girl adding in a non sequitor 
comment every so often.

When they got to the theater, the crowd was just 
leaving from a performance. The girl lost her silence 
right away, and was hawking news right along with the 
boys. By the end of the rush the boys were fifty cents 
richer, and the girl was down to half of her papers.

"Excuse me, miss?" Asked a voice behind her. Turning, 
she saw a well-dressed man with a heavy accent. He 
raised his eyebrows and said, "I have a... large amount 
of friends who need to know the news of today. How much 
would it be for the rest of your newspapers?"

The boys stared at her in shock. She answered, "I have 
a hundred here- that's a dollar's worth."

He nodded and passed her a bill, and she handed over 
the rest of her papers before shoving the bill in a 
pocket. She glanced at the two awestruck guys and 
asked, "Do you know a place to sleep?"

"Y- yeah," Race stuttered. "The lodging house."

She nodded decisively. "Can we go there?"

Blink tilted his head to the side to study her, like a 
bird. "Sure, but... it's just one room, I mean, there 
ain't any goils dere, and-"

She shrugged. "Fine."

The boys exchanged glances again, then shrugged as one. 
"Okay, but it's a bit early. You wanna come grab a bite 
t' eat at Tibby's?" Racetrack asked.

She paused, blinked, then nodded. "Certainly."


Jack was in his normal booth in the corner when 
Racetrack and Kid Blink led the girl in. He glanced up 
and tilted his ever-present cowboy hat back on his 
head. "Heya, Race, Blink," he called. "Who's da goil?"

Race grinned and went to sit next to the Cowboy, taking 
his ever-present cigar out of his pocket and lighting 
it. "Heya, Jack," he said as Kid Blink and the girl sat 
down next to him. "Da goil's quiet. She ain't tellin' 
us 'er name... but she's a newsie."

Jack raised an eyebrow. "Is? Or wants to be?"

"Is," Blink said. "She sold two hundred papes dis 

Jack's eyebrows did a good job of trying to hide under 
his hat. "Two hundred. This afternoon."

The other two newsies nodded. The girl looked up. 
"Circumstances," she said.

Jack blinked a few times. "Huh?"

Race shrugged. "She does that."

"A lot," Blink added.

"But what does she mean, 'coicumstances?'" Jack asked, 

"Ask me."

The three boys turned to the girl. "Huh?" They asked in 

"About circumstances. I know what I meant, you don't." 
They blinked at her.

Finally Jack swallowed and asked, "Whaddya mean by 

She shrugged. "They were good."

Jack exchanged another glance. "All right, I don't 
wanna know. But hey, if she c'n sell two hundred in one 
afternoon, she's a newsie." He glanced at her again. 
"But we need a name fer 'er. If she ain't given us 
'ers, we need to giver 'er one."

"Scry," the girl said suddenly.


"How I knew."

"All right," Blink said, throwing up his hands. "I 
didn't know what you meant by coicumstances, I don't 
know what you mean by scry."

"It's how I knew. About the circumstances," she 

"Clear as mud," said Racetrack.

She shrugged. "Call me Scryer."

The newsies traded glances again. "Oh... kay." Jack 
shrugged. "Okay, you're Scryer."

She flashed a grin, startling the, and sang, "So 
goodbye, yellow brick road, where the dogs of society 
howl, you can't plant me in your penthouse, I'm goin' 
back to my plough." Then she went back to studying her 
fingernails as if nothing strange had occurred.

More newsies were drifting in and taking up other 
tables. They bought dinner and ate it, keeping up a 
lively conversation like before, with Scryer 
interjecting various words and comments with minimal 
explanation. For some reason, it wasn't annoying... 
just damned confusing.

Finally they packed up and went back to the lodging 
house to introduce Scryer to the newsies that she 
hadn't met. She was met with wide eyes and inquisitive 
looks as Jack guided her to a bed on the far end.

"Okee, Scrye, this is Dutchy, he sleeps top o' dis bunk 
dat you're on. That's Snoddy, across from ya, and dese 
are Pie Eater, Specs, Skittery, Bumlets, Crutchy..." He 
went on to introduce the rest, Scryer nodding to each 
in turn.

When Jack was done, he asked her, "Any questions?"

She shook her head, then lay down, pulled out a book, 
and flipped it open to start reading, totally oblivious 
to everyone else's shocked stares.

The boys exchanged glances, shrugged, and went back to 
passing the time.


The next morning, Scryer was up early washing her face. 
Racetrack glared at her as she blinked water out of her 
eyes. "You're up early," he said. She shrugged.

"You're not much for conversation, are you?"


"Are you gonna say something?"


Race sighed. "Guess not."

"Don't guess."

He glanced up. The other newsies were waking up now, 
and the noise level was rising. "What was that?"

"Don't guess," she said again, then went back to 
cleaning up. Race shrugged, more confused than ever.

At the square, Scryer was third in line. She tossed a 
nickel on the counter. Mr. Wiesel looked at it in 
disgust. "Ten?" He asked.

"Bad day."

He glared at her. Morris stuck his head through the 
bars. "Guess she learned that girls can't brag and try 
to sell lots of papers," he said.

The newsies behind her growled, but Scryer didn't pay 
attention. "Papers," she said, holding out her hand. 
Wiesel shrugged and handed the thin stack over.

Racetrack and Jack stared at her funny as she sat down 
beside them. So did Blink, when he joined them. "What 
happened to your two hundred pape record o' yesterday?" 
Race asked.

She shrugged. Race snorted, exasperated. The others 
exchanged glances and shrugged.

"Bad day," she said suddenly. They looked over at her. 
"Nobody buying," she continued.

"Right," Race said hesitantly. "Blink and I were going 
down t' de track. You wanna come sell wit' us?" Shrug. 
"Do you ever say anyting but weird stuff?" Shrug.

Scryer was right, there wasn't anyone interested in the 
news that day. Scryer was lucky to sell her ten. Race 
and Blink sold around twenty each. Race made enough on 
betting to cover his losses, but Blink was, to be kind, 
pissed off.

"How the hell'd you know dat, Scrye? Dat nobody'd buy 
t'day?" He asked her.

She shrugged. "Scry."

"Dat's your name, you said-"

"No, I scry."

"Yeah, you Scrye, me Racetrack," Race said 

"No. I *scry*, as in, scrying. Verb. Present tense." 
She shrugged. "I scry."

Blink and Race exchanged another glance. "Okay, Scrye, 
whatever you say," Race said.

She shrugged again.

The days went on, as days do, and so did the weeks and 
eventually the months. The newsies came to trust her 
advice as to what days were good for selling and what 
days weren't- even Cowboy relinquished his spot as 
first in line to see the percentage that she would nab 
before he bought any. Racetrack and Blink hung out 
around her, trying to crack her impenetrable shell of 
self-control. She still had the confusing habit of 
singing short pieces of songs that they'd never heard 
of, and using single words without explanation, but she 
finally started to smile and react to things that 
people were saying. They finally got to the point where 
the three of them could carry on a decent conversation.

One day in September, when it was raining, she turned 
to the two. "Thanks," she said to them both. "I have to 
leave. Go, as in, leave New York."

They blinked at her. Race spoke up. "Huh? Dat's ... 
that's a little sudden, Scrye..."

"You're just leavin'? Like dat?" Asked Blink, shocked.

She nodded. "I'll be back, sure... don't worry about 
that! But I have to go somewhere."

Blink touched her shoulder, brushing away her light 
hair. "For how long?"

She shrugged. "You'll know when I get back, won't you?"

Racetrack sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets. 
"You're just as confusing as you was when you showed 
up," he said. "What's your real name, anyway?"

She grinned. "I'll tell you when I get back- and you'll 
have your hands full 'till then, I warrant." She 
straightened from where she was leaning on the 
doorframe of the front door- she had nothing to pack. 
"Good luck, by the way."

"Good luck on what?" Blink cried, but she was sprinting 
off already, leaving the two friends staring after her.


January 1st, 1900

"And so we start the new year," Racetrack said 
sardonically as he waited in line. "The new century has 
begun, but life is still the same." The eighteen-year-
old stuck his cigar back in his mouth and waited for 
his papers.

He looked up as Flyer, Davey's *goyle*, ran helter-
skelter into the square, skidded to a stop, grimaced at 
the line, then stood docilely in the back. 
Melinda/Flyer had changed in a month, Race thought as 
he watched his breath mingle with the cigar smoke. She 
had adjusted to being a streetwise newsie pretty well, 
and relaxed to the point where she was joking around 
with all of the newsies, even the new ones. Even after 
dark, when she wasn't... human.

His turn came in line, and he tossed a quarter and a 
nickel on the desk. "Sixty," he said to the old, kind 
gentleman who had taken over when Weasel had been 
fired. The man grinned and pushed over the stack, and 
Race sat down beside Blink to read the day's news.

"Two hundred," said a familiar voice behind him. He had 
to shake his head at the kid's ignorance. You couldn't 
sell two hundred papes a day like this, it was freezing 
cold. All the sane people would be inside.

But where had he heard that voice before?

Someone walked over and stood in front of him. He 
didn't look up from the story he was reading- some loon 
had set fire to a bunch of trash under the Brooklyn 
bridge. That could be improved...

"It's gonna to take some time, this time, to get myself 
in shape... I really fell out of line this time, I 
really missed the gate..."

Racetrack slowly folded the paper that he had been 
holding in front of his face, peripherally seeing Kid 
Blink do the same. They stared in shock at the girl 
standing in front of them, the girl with strangely 
white-blonde hair and light blue eyes. Who was smiling 
and singing a clip of a song that they had never heard 
of. The girl holding two hundred papes and grinning.

"Scryer?" They asked at the same time.

She laughed. "Yeah, it's me. I'm back, and I know where 
we can unload these." The other newsies were getting 
ready to leave, so she turned and headed for the gate, 
Blink and Race grabbing their papers and running after 
her like stray puppies.

"Lemme guess, the 42nd street theater?" Race asked, and 
got a shake of the head in the negative as an answer.

They caught up with Flyer and David at the gate. The 
pair looked at Scryer askance. "This is..." David 

"Davey, meet Scryer. Scryer, this is Davey, and dat's 
Mel, or Flyer," Race grinned. "In more ways den one. 
Davey, dis goil here was around before de strike, but 
left and jes came back."

David nodded. "Oh... kay."

Scrye smirked. "You're not supposed to say that until 
I've... what was it you said? Said somethin' weird."

"No, until you've said somethin'-" Blink started.

Race finished for him, "Something clear as mud."

She grinned. "Broadway and 72nd."

David and Mel blinked. "Huh?"

Shrug. "Where I'm gonna sell."

Flyer and Dave blinked in synchronization. "Oh... kay," 
they said together.

"See?" She flashed them another grin. By then the gates 
were opening, and she was wandering in the direction of 
the Broadway and 72nd street crossing, Blink and Race 

When they got there, a huge fistfight was developing 
between a group of seven or eight people. The trio was 
able to sell most of their papers to the bystanders 
without any trouble, and the rest they hawked on the 
streets like normal. By lunch, they were fresh out- and 

"Whew!" Blink exclaimed. "Let's get some lunch."

"TANSTAAFL," Scryer said.

The boys blinked at her. "Huh?" They asked in synch.

She chuckled. "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free 
Lunch. You guys sounded like the couple back there with 
that 'huh' thing. Let's go ta Tibby's." With that, she 
turned on her heel and left the two boys to blink 
before running to catch up with her.

When they had their booth and their food, Race glanced 
over at her and said, "You still haven't told us yer 
real name," he said.

She shrugged. "I hate it, that's no secret. Arlia 

They blinked at her some more, which was getting to be 
a habit. "Okay, what kind of a name is 'Arlia 
Plazerwhatever?'" Blink asked.

"Parents. They have... had," she caught herself, "odd 

Blink reached over and rested a hand on her arm. "What 
happened?" He asked.

Scryer glanced up, grimaced. "*Pol*itics," she said 
scornfully, making the boys blink at her tone of voice. 
"That's why I went home, for a while..." her face 
hardened. "I like here better, thank you. A lot 
better." She clammed up and wouldn't say any more.


It was about the day that Scryer came back when Blink 
started hearing the buzzing.

The first day, it was just at the back of his mind- a 
little buzzing noise that increased as the day went on, 
then quieted and finally quit when everyone was asleep. 
Shrugging it off, he slept as well.

The next day it was a little more persistent, a little 
more annoying, but he could stand it. The next day it 
was getting really annoying, the next, damned 
irritating. He didn't say anything, but he was starting 
to wonder.

The next week, he started making out words in the 
continual buzzing. He shook it off, telling himself 
that his imagination was running away with him, but it 
was distracting. The week following, he was *sure* that 
he was hearing words. The following week, he was 
recognizing voices- but they were hollow, echoing, and 
he couldn't understand what he was hearing. By this 
time he was back down to selling fifty papers a day, 
and Racetrack and Scryer were starting to worry.

By February tenth, he could identify the voices- and 
could make out some of the words. Funny, how it was the 
person that he was looking at that he heard...

The next weeks were agony. He heard everyone's voice, 
but echoing in his skull- everything mixed in with 
everything else. He barely made it to the printer's 
square, and he was selling at an all time low- twenty 
papers a day. Everyone was starting to worry, now- 
Blink had always been the pinnacle of good humor and 
friendship, and now he was suffering from anxiety 

On March first, he couldn't bear to drag himself out of 
bed. He couldn't tell the difference between what was 
sounding in his head and what he was hearing with his 
ears, and he didn't want to move. He put his head under 
his pillow and whimpered, quietly, "Stop talkin', 
please... I can't stand it, stop talkin' at me..."

"Blink! C'mon boy, up! Sell the papers! Carry the 
banner!" ::Poor boy, he must be sick, something bad- 
worse than a cold, he's been like this for a while...:: 
Blink whimpered as the voices washed over him, each one 
distinct, each one intruding.

::Wonder if I'll ever get to Santa Fe, way things are 
goin' now looks like I'll hafta wait 'till I'm twenty-

::Odds at the track look good, seein' as I made a few 
bucks dere yesterday, guess I can help Blink out, poor 
guy looks sick...::

::God, last night was sweet...::

::Ow, dammit, wish my leg would work right, oh well, 
guess it gets me sympathy...::

::... Wish people would stop treating me like a puppy, 
I'm eighteen now and I still melt over girls...::

::... Yeah, I'm just a kid, but I can sell pretty 

::... Cryin' shame 'bout Spot's goil...::

::... Another day, another quarter, another few cents 
to spend...::

::... Wonder where I can sell today, maybe I outghta 
ask Scryer, she always seems to know how to make the 
most of the day...::

::... Wonder how my parents are doin', but I know that 
I did the right thing when I left, I mean, they have to 
feed enough kids without me...::

::... Wonder if I can get lucky...::

::... Wonder if I'll get past the day...::

::... Wonder if I'll be able to eat today, hope so...::

Blink hid his head and whimpered again.


Jack glanced over at Kid Blink's bunk as he finished 
counting his stash. The one-eyed(supposedly) Kid hadn't 
moved, and he had his pillow over his head. He looked 
again, and saw that the once-cheerful newsie was curled 
up in a fetal position and whimpering. Looping his 
bandanna around his neck, he walked over to his friend. 
"Blink, are you okay?" ::He looks sick. Something 
bad... he's been like this for a while. Wonder what 
he's got... and I hope it's not contagious.::

Blink looked up and swallowed. "Can't... I don't know 
what's real anymore, and what's just in my head..." he 
squeezed his eyes tight shut again. "Stop... stop 
talking at me, I can hear too much, and I don't know if 
it's real... driving me crazy..."

Jack rested a hand on Blink's shoulder. "You gonna sell 
today?" ::He hasn't been sellin' well anyway, but I 
could lend him some to get by... poor guy...::

Blink turned away. "Don't... need money, got some 
stashed... not gonna sell, can't go out there, too 

The Cowboy nodded again, and turned to go. "You just 
stay here, then, and rest up... see if you get better."

He was halfway to the square when he realized that he 
hadn't said anything about loaning Blink money.


Blink sighed in relief as the rest of the newsies left, 
taking the noise with them. The only buzzing in his 
head that he got now was from Kloppmann, and he was 
downstairs, turning the 'voice' into a mumble. Rubbing 
his head, he sat up, slowly.

"You all right, now?" Inquired a voice from the 
doorway. He looked up to see Scryer leaning on the 

"Y-yeah," he replied shakily. "I think so..."

She shook her head. "No," she said decisivley, "you're 
not okay, but you're better than you were."

He nodded. Scryer walked over and hoisted herself onto 
the bunk across from his. "Telepathy," she said 
clearly, "is a living hell unless you can control it."

Blink stared at her for a few seconds. "What's... 
what's dat?"

"It's where you pick up unshielded thoughts, or 
broadcast them."

He shook his head. "I don't..."

"You've been hearing stuff that people haven't said, 

Blink nodded. So did Scryer. "That's telepathy."

He shuddered. "So, how do I get rid of dis tele-

She shook her head. "You don't. You *can't.* You're a 
sensitive, and you're stuck with it for life."

Blink stared at her in shock, then collapsed backwards 
on the bed. "Oh, no..." he moaned. "What am I gonna 

::You're going to try to shield- and I'll sell for you 
until you can shield effectively enough to stand it.::

He sat up again, looking at Scryer strangely. "You're 
one of dese telewhoosits too, aintcha?"

She chuckled and shook her head. "No, I'm precog."

He blinked a few times. Scryer continued, "Don't worry. 
Just try and concentrate on *not* listening to 
thoughts. Until then, I'll help you out."

"Wait..." he said as she let herself down from the 
bunk. She turned and looked back up. "Why can't I hear 

She smiled. "I'm shielded."


"No problem." She smiled and left.

Blink lay back on his bunk and massaged his head. The 
background noise was intruding now, and he knew what it 
was, now- it was the minds of the city of New York 
assailing him. He closed his eyes and tried to block it 


Scryer managed to get to the square in time to sneak in 
the back of the line next to Flyer. "How is he?" the 
half-gargoyle asked.

Scryer shrugged. "He'll get better."

Flyer sighed, and they waited. Mel picked up fifty 
papers, Scryer a hundred and ten. Hooking up with 
Racetrack, Scryer suggested they head for Central Park.

Her instinct was right, like usual, and they met the 
rest at Tibby's free of their papers and with pockets 
full of change. Race and Scryer ate quickly, then went 
to check on Kid Blink.

Blink propped his head up as they came in. "Hey," he 
said weakly.

"Heya, Blink. Feelin' any bettah?" Race asked, leaning 
on one of the nearby bunks.

Kid shook his head. "No, I'm not... and I'm not sick, 
you're not gonna catch it, and yeah, Scrye knows what's 
going on, ask her." He flopped back down and watched 
Racetrack's jaw hit the floor.

"But... how did you... I didn't say... what the..."

"Yeah, I know," said Blink, "but you thought loud 
enough so dat I could hear." He then buried his head 
under his pillow as Race blinked at him some more. "I'm 

"Telepathic," said Scryer.

"Yeah, whatsic."

Scryer sighed and shook her head. "Blink's sensitive. 
He can hear people's thoughts when they're not 

Race glanced between them. "So what..."

"It means dat I hear stuff dat people don't say, but I 
can't tell de difference anymore." He looked at his 
friend who was standing there in shock. "You didn't say 
dat, didja. No, you didn't." He sighed. "I don't *try* 
to... I couldn't, before a few weeks ago, and it 
started when Scrye came back, about. Maybe before, I 
don't know."

Racetrack swallowed and opened his mouth, but Blink cut 
him off with, "No, you're not gonna get t' ask 
anythin', cuz I hear everything... *everything*, Race, 
and it's all getting into my head at once, you don't 
know what it's like, it's like everyone talkin' at you 
and all mixed in together..." Kid shuddered, curling 
back up into a fetal position like he was earlier. 
Scryer hoisted herself up on the bed beside him and 
rested a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"The only person dat I can't hear is Scrye, and dat's 
cuz she's... what didja say?"


"Yeah, shielded. So I can't hear her, but I can hear 

Racetrack blinked again. Scryer smiled humorlessly. 
"Conversations with telepaths tend to take shortcuts."

Race nodded. "Y-yeah, I see dat."

Scryer was frowning. "Blink... you're freezing."

Kid Blink looked up, shuddered, and curled up some 
more. "Yeah, well, it's still cold, winter's not really 
over yet, and..." He trailed off as his teeth started 

Scryer swore under her breath. "Race, get up here."


"He's got hypothermia. He's freezing, get up here, he 
needs heat." She swore again. "Hypothermia and 
telepathy in one day. You must be feeling like hell."

Blink nodded as Scryer pulled him to a sitting position 
and wrapped the blanket around him. "Y-yeah, I do..." 
Race climbed up on the bed next to his friend and threw 
an arm around Blink's shoulders. Scryer was right- the 
poor guy was shivering and trying to warm up.

Scryer pressed her body against Blink's, trying to feed 
him heat. Finally, after a few minutes of this group-
hug-like situation, Kid Blink stopped shaking and 
started to recover.

After a few more minutes, he elbowed Racetrack in the 
ribs. "Ow!" Race said, wincing. "What was that for?"

"You're thinking too loud," Blink replied. "I'd think 
Scrye could hear you, even if she'a a pre-whatsic 
instead of a telewhatsic- and then where would you be?" 
Race blinked, gulped, and flushed crimson before going 

Scryer glanced over and grinned. "Half of my mind wants 
to know... the other half is cowering in fear."

Blink glared at Racetrack. ::Yeah, a threesome would be 
kinky- but not fun.::

Race gaped. "H... h-how did you... how..."

::I'm trying somethin'- somethin' that Scrye said about 
bein' a telewhatsis. Now stop stutterin' and think.::

::Think? With *you* in my head?::

Blink rubbed his forehead. "Dat's harder than talkin'."

Scryer glared at the both of them. "Are you guys..."

The boys sent innocent glances her way. Scryer chuckled 
and hugged Blink a little closer.

::Err... Race? I kind of think she wants to.::

::... ... ... And where do you get that from?::

::Uhh, her.::

Race blinked, slowly. Scryer suddenly spoke up, "Hey, 
Blink, you're an empath."

Blink turned to stare at her. "And... what does dat 

She shrugged. "Same thing as a telepath, except with 

He blinked at her a few times. "Oh, so..."

"So you pick up emotions, yes." Scryer shrugged.

Blink looked at her for a few seconds, then brushed 
away her white-blonde hair, leaned down, and kissed 

Racetrack sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets, 
looking for his cigar. He started when he felt Scryer's 
hand on his jawline, pulling his head around so that he 
was staring directly into her clear blue eyes.

"Seriously," she said, "I find both of you *very* 
attractive." Then *she* kissed *him.*

Scryer chuckled at the look on his face as she pulled 
away and lay down on the bed. "What do you think, 
boys?" She asked as she kicked off her shoes and sent 
them flying to the floor.

Racetrack exchanged a glance with Kid Blink. "I think 
dat we're in over our heads."

** Fer Firefoot's sake, your minds are prolly sicker 
than mine is. _You_ decide what happens here- I want no 
part in it. :P ;) **

Some time later, Kid Blink was stroking the back of 
Scryer's neck. "How are you, Scrye?" He asked softly.

"Mmm," she said, "nice." Actually, it was more than 
nice, but that word seemed to suffice for the time.

"Yeah," said Race after a pause, "nice."

Blink raised himself up on his elbow, eyes unfocused a 
little. "Uh... guys? The others are comin' back."

The three exchanged a quick set of glances, then 
proceeded to set a world record in getting dressed 
reallydamnquick. Race ended up back on his bed studying 
his cigar, Blink on the top bunk wrapped in the blanket 
and staring into space, and Scryer on Race's bed, 
reading her book. At his questioning glance, she 

Jack was the first newsie up the stairs and through the 
door, followed closely by Melinda in gargoyleform and 
David. The others drifted through in groups of twos and 
threes, generally relaxed and happy.

Cowboy glanced over at the bunk. "You feelin' any 
better, Blink?"

Blink looked up and nodded. "A little, thanks."

Jack nodded and was about to turn when he noticed 
something. "Hey, Blink? Where's your eyepatch?"

Blink... blinked. "Oh, I ... I took it off." Puzzled, 
now, he looked around for the patch. "Where'd I put 

Scryer, suddenly dissatisfied with her position(reading 
on her stomach,) rolled over onto her back noisily. 
Then she squeaked in surprise and reached behind her 
back, her hand reemerging with a thin piece of brown 
cloth. "Oh, here it is," she said, climbing up to the 
top bunk and handing it to Blink. "Your eyepatch." At 
his glance, she shrugged. "It got tangled up in my bra 

There was a moment of silence as everyone turned to 
stare at Blink, then the room erupted in various 
whistles and catcalls. Grinning, Jack called, "In a 
little hurry, eh Scrye?"

Scryer turned to look down at him and shrugged. "Well, 
I had to get through both of 'em before you came back."

This time, there were about four seconds of silence 
before the whistling started. Melinda raised an 
eyebrow. "Gal, you are gonna teach me some of that, 
aren't you?"

Scryer hopped down to the floor. "Trade secrets?" She 
offered. Flyer grinned at her before sending a glance 
that could only be called feral at David, who gulped.

Sitting down on the bed beside Racetrack, David 
muttered, "What have I gotten myself into?"

Race was staring at Scryer in semi-shock. "A whole lot 
of trouble."

** A few months later **

"So, what have we got here?"

Kid Blink had a second or two of warning, and a second 
or two to realize that running was futile. Oscar and 
Morris Delancey, the two biggest bullies on the island, 
had him surrounded.

And it didn't look like he'd get out of it easily- 
Morris had on his brass knuckles, and Oscar had gotten 
ahold of a two-by-four. The alley didn't have any other 
exits besides the one that the two bullies were 

Morris swung the club, and Blink stepped back quickly. 
Damn, this was not looking good... He tried 'listening' 
for his friends, but couldn't find anyone within range- 
there was too much interference...

Wait- there! Gritting his teeth and hoping that Cowboy 
would hear him and believe him, Blink sent off a quick 
mental cry for help before ducking from the club again.

The next swing connected.


::Jack, I don't know if you can hear me...::

Jack Kelly jerked his head around at the familiar 
voice. David looked at him sideways. "What?"

Jack hushed him. ::... but I'm in really deep 
trouble... shit! Delanceys, Oscar has a club... damn! 
Near 46th and Lexington-:: The disembodied voice 
suddenly cut off.

Cowboy stood there blinking for a minute, then made up 
his mind and strode off towards the street crossing. 
David followed him after a moment. "What happened?"

Jack shrugged. "I dunno, but I think..." he trailed 
off. "I think there's something weird going on." He 
wouldn't say anything else until they came to the 
crossing and heard the distinct sounds of a fight. 
Running toward it, the two boys found what Jack had 
been told... Oscar holding Kid Blink and Morris looking 
ready to punch him.

Without hesitation, the boys joined the fight, turning 
the tables on the Delanceys. After five minutes of 
exchanging blows, Morris was limping and Oscar nursing 
a wrenched shoulder. Jack skidded over to Blink and 
helped him into a sitting position from where he had 
landed on the ground.

Blink coughed, sending a few drops of blood to stain 
the front of his shirt. "Hey, Cowboy, see you got the 
message..." he coughed again, then his eyes rolled back 
into his head and he stopped moving.

Jack swore and checked his pulse- still going strong- 
before picking up his unconscious friend. "C'mon," he 
said to David, "We need to get him back to the lodging 


Blink groaned and opened his eyes to find that he was 
back in his own bed. Someone put a hand on his forehead 
as he tried to sit up. "Slowly, Blink... you've bruised 
a few ribs."

The voice belonged to Cowboy. So did the hand. Blinking 
the fuzz out of his vision, Blink tried to talk, only 
to start coughing. "You were getting beat pretty badly, 
there," Jack continued. "But what I wanna know is, how 
the heck did you... I mean, I thought I heard..." He 
trailed off, not sure exactly what he wanted to 
express, let alone how to express it.

Blink tried to talk again, but his throat was too raw. 
Sighing mentally, he sent, ::You really wanna know?::

"There!" Jack turned to someone out of Blink's field of 
vision. "He did it again, that... that..."

::Ask Scrye.::

"Gah! Blink how are you *doing* that?"

Instead of answering, Blink raised a hand to rub at his 
eyes, then tried to talk again. This time he actually 
managed to say, "Can I get some water?"

"Yeah, sure." He heard/sensed Jack moving off, and once 
again tried to sit up. This time he was helped by 
someone else- David- and managed to get into a sitting 
position. His ribs felt like he had been run over by a 
carriage, but he could see what was going on, at least.

David glanced at him sideways. "What is Jack talking 

Blink sighed. ::He's talking about how I told him I was 
in a fight.::

David yelped and nearly fell off the bed. "How... 

"Ask Scrye," Blink replied weakly. "She says I'm a 

"Telepath," said a female voice from the door. 
"Telepath, empath, or sensitive, not a 
whateveritisits." Scryer grinned as the boys glanced 
her way. "You're too good to simply be a 

The boys blinked at her. So did Jack, who was coming 
back with the requested glass of water. She sighed. 
"That can be taken one of two ways..."

Jack exchanged a glance with David and started 
chuckling, not stopping until he handed Blink the 
water. Then his brow furrowed again and he asked, "So, 
what about this talking-in-head-thingy?"



"Yeah, what about this tele-pa-thy," Jack asked, 
stumbling over the phrase.

Blink took a sip of water to moisten his throat. "Ask 
Scrye, she knows more than I do."

Jack shrugged and looked expectantly at Scryer. She 
sighed and hoisted herself up on the bunk next to 
Blink's, while David and Jack leaned wherever was 
convenient. "Telepathy," she said as if she was quoting 
something, "supposed communication between two minds by 
some means other than the normal senses." She made a 
face. "Supposed. Blech. Anyhoo, that's what Blink has." 
She glared at them for a sec. "He's not sick, and you 
can't catch it."

They blinked at her. She grinned. "Anyway, it's nothing 
too weird. I've been teaching him how to shield, so 
he's not going catatonic like he was in February and 

Jack nodded in understanding. "So that's what you were 
talking about, when..."

Blink nodded. Jack whistled. "So, now the question 
becomes are you well enough to go to the party tomorrow 
night," said Scryer.

Blink glanced over at her. "Tomorrow night? I've been 
out for a day already?"

She nodded. He winced and rubbed his head. "I... I 

"Let's see how you feel tomorrow, 'k?" offered Jack. 
The bedridden telepath nodded and lay back down, 
rubbing at his temples.


The next day dawned murky and annoying. Blink stayed in 
bed through most of it, but when the others were coming 
back to get ready for the party he decided that he felt 
good enough to go and washed up as well.

A few minutes before they left, Scryer and Sarah showed 
up, Sarah in a dress that was cute but 'sensible,' and 
Scryer in something that left little to the 
imagination. The boys' jaws all hit the floor. She 
grinned. "I borrowed it from Melinda," she admitted.

The guys shook themselves out of their stupor and they 
left for Medda's establishment(I'm guessing that this 
is Irving Hall, but that's just a guess.) They were met 
inside by Medda and Flyer, who had come over early.

The party was great. The band played, Medda sang, the 
newsies tipped everyone who would accept tips, 
including Medda, the band, and Racetrack, who was 
conned into singing by Flyer. Then they danced and 
drank, and gave the band a break, then danced some 

A quarter past midnight found Blink, Race and Scryer 
sitting on the side of the 'dance floor' that had been 
cleared and sipping at their cider- no alcohol, to the 
distress of the older newsies, though it was probably a 
wise decision on Medda's part. Scryer took a sip, then 
frowned into the glass.

"What?" Asked Kid Blink.

Not responding immediately, Scryer stirred her drink 
with a finger and then tasted the residue. "This... has 
alcohol in it," she said slowly.

Race frowned at her, then took a sip of his own drink. 
"Mine doesn't."

She shrugged and took another sip, then grinned. "It's 
over half full of really cheap whiskey," she announced 
quietly before draining the rest off. "Come on," she 
said to Blink, "let's dance." Then she pulled him onto 
the floor after her, Race watching the both of them and 
not noticing someone quietly refilling Scryer's drink 
with straight whiskey.

After a few minutes, the pair returned, and Scryer 
glanced over at her drink. "Oh, I must have refilled it 
before we left," she said, then drained the whole 
thing. This time she tugged Racetrack onto the floor 
with her. "Straight whiskey, and a really cheap brand 
at that," she remarked casually.

He frowned at her as they danced. "If that was really 
whiskey, someone's trying t' get you drunk," he said.

She only chuckled, then whispered into his ear, "Try is 
the operative word, there. I've probably got double the 
alcohol tolerance level of anyone in this room." She 
grinned as his jaw dropped. "I can drink like a fish."

"So... who would do somethin' like dat?"

"Who'd be your first guess?"

"Delanceys, o' course."

"Hmm... they're probably trying to get at Blink through 
me." She frowned. "That'd make sense..." she trailed 
off as the music ended.


"Never mind that." She glanced back to where Blink was 
sitting, watching them. "Let's rest for a while."

The band was taking another break, so the room filled 
with conversation. Blink was rubbing at his forehead as 
the pair returned to the table. Scryer frowned at him. 
"Anything wrong?"

He shrugged, but he was grimacing in pain enough that 
the nonchalant gesture turned into a wince. "I think 
that fight hurt my head more'n I thought- I'm starting 
to get buzzin' again."

"Which means that either your shields are weakening, or 
you're just getting a headache from the party," Scryer 
said matter-of-factly. Blink rolled his eyes.

She stretched. "I think I'm going to go get some fresh 
air," she announced. The boys stared at her as if she 
had gone completely loony. She grinned. "I can take 
perfect care of myself, don't worry."

"But... if the Delanceys are tryin' to getcha drunk..." 
Blink started to say.

She grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "I know how 
to defend myself, believe me."

Race pushed himself to his feet. "I'm goin' wit' you, 

She shrugged. "I can't really stop you, can I?" She 
asked, then turned for the exit. Racetrack exchanged a 
glance with Blink before following her.

Unfortunately, they hadn't taken eight steps from the 
door when his worst suspicions were confirmed. ::Holy 
shit...:: was his first thought as he and Scryer were 
grabbed roughly from behind and dragged into an alley.

Scryer sighed. "Is it always an alley?" She asked in a 
tired voice that made Race look at her in surprise.

"Shut up," said a voice that was recognizably Oscar 

"I mean, really," continued Scryer. "It's so... so... 
so *cliche`!*"

Oscar growled and pulled out a knife. Racetrack tried 
to grab for it, but Morris grabbed him and locked him 
in a full nelson, putting pressure on his neck. He 
heard something snap, and cried out softly in pain.

Scryer growled now, sounding like Melinda after dark, 
but Race could only watch as Oscar used his knife to 
slit open the back of her dress. She glanced between 
the alley opening, him, the opening, and back to him 
again, and then sighed. "Okay, I think that we've gone 
far enough to call this attempted rape," she said 

Race started at her in surprise. So did Oscar. "Whaddya 
mean, 'attempted?'" he asked, laughing.

"I mean..."

The next sequence of events happened so fast that later 
Racetrack had to take a few seconds to puzzle out what 
had happened. One moment Oscar was holding a knife to 
Scryer's back, the next he was howling in pain, 
dropping the knife, and clutching his foot. Race didn't 
see anything for a few seconds after that because 
Morris put more pressure on his neck and he blacked 
out- but the next thing he knew, he was face down on 
the ground. Picking himself up, he massaged his neck 
and glanced around.

Morris had a footprint on his face, and Oscar was still 
crying over his foot. Scryer had Oscar's knife and was 
studying it nonchalantly. Race blinked at the scene 
until Scryer looked up again and asked, "Could you re-
tie the back of my dress?"


She frowned at him. "You need some rest. I'd be 
surprised if there isn't *some* damage to your neck." 
Scryer wrapped an arm around his waist and started 
pulling him along toward the lodging house.

"Where ya goin'?"

"I'm taking you back to a bunk, then I'm gonna come 
back here to get the rest." She glanced at the alley. 
"The Delancey's aren't going anywhere- I think I broke 
Oscar's instep."

"Serves him right," Race growled under his breath. "He 
was gonna-"

"He wouldn't have gotten very far, believe you me. I'm 
*good* at self-defense, and they were drunk off their 

He sighed. "Still... dat was... scary, ya know?"

She nodded. "Yes, it was. However, we're out of it, and 
relatively undamaged- a cricked neck for you, and a 
torn dress for me."

They paused as they heard the sound of running feet 
behind them, and turned to see Kid Blink hastening 
after them at a trot, slowing down as they stopped.

"Glad I caught up with you," he said, panting slightly. 
"I just got some really bad flashes..." he trailed off, 
then ran a finger down Scryer's back. It came away with 
blood. "What happened?" He asked.

Race growled. "Oscar tried-"

"'Tried' being the operative word-"

"Tried ta rape her."

Blink was stunned for a few seconds, then wrapped his 
arms around Scrye. "Are you all right?" He whispered in 
her ear.

She nodded. "I'm fine, Blink, really. They didn't *do* 
anything... well," she grimaced, "Morris wrenched 
Race's neck," Blink glanced over at his friend, but 
Scrye kept on talking, "and I broke Oscar's instep- and 
probably Morris' nose, now that I think about it."

At the boys' looks of concern, she grinned. "I'm in 
better shape than both of you at the moment. You're 
going to have to lean on *me* to get back, so don't try 
to go all macho on me."

Blink sighed. "Okay, Scrye, you're right about dat, 

"But nothing- let's go home."

** The End- for now. What, you didn' think I'd just 
leave it at this? Are you kidding me? Fer crying out 
loud, I still have to explain where the hell Arlia 
Plazerrin/Scryer came from, and why she's a precog- you 
don't think that was just a big plot contrivance, do 
you? So tune in next time, when I start writing the 
*really* loopy stuff... **