Forever 'N' Ever Amen II
Proud winner of the Angie-Lynn Fanfic Contest for Best Sequel
By Spacey Cliffton

Disclaimer: Sequels are never as good as the originals, so don't blame me if it's awful. Blame… um… somebody else. :) "Newsies" and all its characters belong to Disney. Lucky (aka Cassandra Jasper and/or Cassie) belongs to Sharkbait. Slippery Nelson belongs to Ink Montaghue. Anybody not previously mentioned belong to me, Spacey Cliffton.
Thanks to: all the fanfic writers out there, for providing endless inspiration; Ink, for her support; Grace, for her "interesting" suggestions and compliments about this story and tons and tons of support and basically threatening to kill me if I didn't finish this (hey, I needed some inspiration!); Rae, for getting me hooked on this movie in the first place; Emmy, Bre, Christie, & everybody else for sharing my obsession; everybody who reads this, for reading it! :)

"'Ey Gabe! Help me put dis necklace on, wouldja?" Ruby called across the small apartment as she rubbed her hair with a towel.

With a smile, Gabriel Dryden came over and quickly fastened his sister's gold chain around her neck. "Geemaneez, a skoit, an' a goyls' shoit? I t'ink Ma's gonna keel ovah when she sees ya!"

"She ain't gonna see me, nimrod! She won't be back fer annudah two hours, an' she'll prob'ly be asleep by da time I gets home," said Ruby. The crimson-haired newsie sat down on the edge of one of the beds, and Jessie quickly brushed and braided her hair into a long braid down her back. Jessie coiled it up and pinned it in place.

"There! You look lovely," said Jessie. Jessie was a pretty girl of twelve, with long brownish-red curls, blue eyes, and a pretty face. She worked as a seamstress, sewing dresses for other women in the small apartment building. Between that and the income of the three newsies in the family, the Drydens had enough money to keep their apartment. Ruby still prefered to stay the lodging house most of the time, but spent her free time at the apartment. Gabriel's time was split nearly in half between the lodging house and home. Rose only stayed at the lodging house occasionally, and neither Jessie nor Mrs. Dryden ever went there, except to occasionally fetch one of the other children home.

"Ya really t'ink?" asked Ruby, spinning around. She wore a pretty sky blue skirt and cream colored blouse, both trimmed in lace. Around her waist was one of Jessie's many sashes, and her gold necklace was, as always, around her neck. Cutting her hair had its advantages; when it started to grow out, it became curly and thick, and longer than ever.

"Yep, Snipeshooter is gonna flip when he sees you!" reassured Jessie. "You better get your shoes on. He's going to be here any minute now."

Meanwhile, at the lodging house, Snipeshooter was just rushing into the lodging house. He was eighteen, but was still a newsie. He and Ruby sold together nearly every day, and they were still very much a couple. They were both doing well, and Snipeshooter couldn't wait to see her. That day, Snipeshooter had gone off with Cartwheel, the newest newsie.

"'Ey Boots!" yelled Snipeshooter. "Wheah's Ruby?"

"She's at her mudda's."


"Cause she said she didn't wanna take a bath an' get dressed heah, wit all da little guys runnin' 'round an' tryin' ta see 'er gettin' dressed an' all dat junk."

"What? Dey nevah do dat!" said Snipeshooter.

Just then, Speedy came running out of the washroom, doubled over and holding his stomach.

"Dat's what ya get fer tryin' ta walk in on me while I'se in dere, ya scab!" shouted Rose, planting her hands on her hips and giving Speedy a glare that could kill.

"Why didn't ya tell me she got a strongah punch an' kick dan da Delancey bruddas put togethah?" moaned Speedy, stumbling over to his bunk.

Boots and Snipeshooter exchanged a knowing glance. Rose was a powerful, strong little girl for ten years old. She had a wild temper and had no problem living in a boarding house with a bunch of boys. Most of the younger newsies learned the hard way that you didn't mess with Rose Dryden. But once Rose soaked him, she usually became great friends with the boy.

"'Eya Rose, how ya doin'?" asked Snipeshooter, putting an arm around the little girl and walking into the washroom. Rose was like a little sister to all the older newsies, especially Snipeshooter.

"I'se good, how're you? Ya goin' out wit Ruby tanight?"

"Yep," Snipeshooter replied. "I got some great news, an' I can't wait ta see 'er."

"What? What's da big news?" asked Rose, hopping up and down.

"I can't tell ya."

"Why not?"

"Cause I can't!"

"Sni-iiiiiiiiiipes," whined Rose.

"Ya know Ruby'll tell ya da second she gets home!"

"But I wanna know now!"

"Ya can't know now!" Snipeshooter finished shaving and quickly washed his face. "Look, if I could tell ya, I would, but-"

"But what?"

"But ya got a big mouth, an' ya'll tell everyone, an' I can't tell anyone b'fore I tell Ruby! 'Specially not you, a all da people I could tell."

Rose pouted. "Fine den. Be dat way." She hurried out of the washroom to find Shorty.

"Fine den, I will!" shouted Snipeshooter, knowing that Rose never stayed mad for more than a minute. He went over to his bunk and changed into a clean shirt, vest, jacket, and pair of pants. He had borrowed a pocketwatch from Specs for that specific occasion. Specs lived a few blocks away and worked at his own store. He pulled on his cap and left, calling goodbye to all the newsies.

A knock sounded throughout the apartment. Gabriel bounded over to the door and threw it open. "Heya Snipes!" he called. "How many papes ya sell taday? I sold, uh, eighty-t'ree!"

"Wow, dat's a awful lot fer a liddle guy like you!" said Snipeshooter, playfully punching at his "liddle brudda."

"I ain't liddle! I'se thoiteen!" shouted Gabriel, returning the punches. "So, how many'd ya sell?"

"Uh, neah a hundred, I t'ink. Hey Jess, hey Ruby," he said. Ruby looks beautiful, he thought. She was sitting on Jessie's bed, tying her shoes, and her red hair shone in the setting sun. Her blue eyes sparkled with excitement, as they did most of the time. But for the first time in the five years they'd known each other, Ruby was wearing a skirt, and looked very much like a girl.

"Hey, Snipes!" both the girls said.

"Well, I guess I'll see yous two latah," said Ruby. "Gabriel, don't ferget ta go get Rose if she's not home by seven, an' Jess, don't let dat pie in da oven boin, ya heah me?"

"I won't!" said Jessie. "Bye! Have a good time!"

"Yeah, an' make shoah yer home by eleven a clock dis time," warned Gabriel.

Ruby stuck her tongue out at him with a giggle. Snipeshooter offered his arm, and picking up her skirt, Ruby swept out the door.

"So wheah we goin'?" asked Ruby.

"I dunno, wheahevah ya wanna go."

"How 'bout we jist walk 'round till we decide?"

"Awright," agreed Snipeshooter.

The pair walked the streets of New York for nearly half an hour before deciding to stop and get some ice cream. They walked into the ice cream parlor and saw two people that they knew very well sitting at a table just inside the door.

"Hey Jack! Hey Lucky!" said Ruby cheerfully.

Lucky turned. "Hey Ruby! Hey Snipes! Siddown wit us!"

Snipeshooter pulled out a chair for Ruby and one for himself, and they both sat down at the table with their friends.

"So how're yous?" asked Ruby. "How many kids ya got now?"

"Two," replied Lucky with a sigh.

"An' numbah t'ree's on da way," said Jack with a smile, squeezing Lucky's hand.

"Do I really gotta go t'rough dat again?" moaned Lucky.

"Heck yeah! An' dis one bettah be a son, er else I'se gonna be real mad," warned Jack, shaking a fist in her face jokingly.

"Yeah, yeah, don't get yer shorts inna knot," muttered Lucky. The waitress set down a dish of ice cream in front of Jack and another in front of Lucky.

"Can I have, uh, a dish a strawberry ice cream," said Ruby.

"An' I'll have a dish a peppahmint," added Snipeshooter.

"So how're Manhattan's most famous loveboids doin'?" asked Jack.

"Ain't dat da two a yous?" joked Snipeshooter. "We's good."

"Any new newsies?"

"Jist dis one named Cahtwheel. He's real cute. He's maybe eight er nine, always doin' backflips- ya know, da kind dat Mush always used ta do! An' he's a wondaful newsie," said Ruby.

For nearly an hour, the two couples sat talking and eating ice cream. Considering they hadn't seen each other for nearly six months, they were very happy to see each other. As the clock was nearing eight, Lucky said, "Well, we'd bettah get home. I promised da goyls we'd be back by eight."

"Well maybe we'll be able ta see yous guys some udda time dis month," suggested Ruby. "I can't wait ta see yer goyls again!"

"Whenevah we gotta free second, den we'll come an' see ya," promised Lucky. "I haven't seen Rose fer da longest time! Tell 'er ta come visit me some time, huh? Yous guys is welcome ta drop by any time ya like."

"I'll tell 'er! Bye, Lucky!" said Ruby, hugging the older girl.

Snipeshooter and Ruby were walking the relatively quiet streets of New York City, admiring the sunset, when someone spotted the pair and called their names.

"Hey! Blink, wheah ya been? Haven't seen ya fer da longest time," said Snipeshooter.

"Hey Ruby, Snipes, how ya doin'? C'mon, Bumlets an' Specs 're havin' a party! C'mon," said Blink, pulling the pair down a flight of stairs into a large, open room with some musicians sitting on barrels in one corner. A game of poker was in progress in another corner. Mugs of cheap beer were passed from hand to hand, and a few couples danced near the back of the room.

"'Ey Specs! Bumlets, look who I found!" shouted Blink, laughing.

"Hey yous guys," said Specs, setting down his mug of beer and coming over to greet the couple. "Well well well, what have we heah? Dis can't be ahr Ruby! Ruby'd nevah wear goyls' clothes! C'mon, Snipes, who's da new goyl, an' wheah's Ruby?"

"Aww, shaddup," said Ruby, pushing him playfully. "Can I have a glass a dat stuff?"

"Shoah! 'Ey Thomas, a mug a beer fer da lovely lady ovah heah!"

Ruby grabbed his arm. "Ya bettah stop dat, er else I'se gonna get Spit an' Spades aftah ya," she threatened, naming two of the toughtest newsies in Manhattan.

"Awright, awright. Geez, don't ger yer shorts inna knot."

Ruby stuck her tongue out at him. "Ya bum. Oh, t'anks, Tom. So how ya doin', huh?" she asked. Thomas was a young, parentless British employee who worked in Specs' store. Thomas was about fifteen and lived with Specs. He thought Ruby was interesting, being one of two female newsies in Manhattan, and she liked his tales of England, too.

"I'm doing well, how are you? I haven't seen your sisters for quite a while, nor your brother. Are they all right?"

"Yeah, dey's fine. Jist busy, is awl. I'se shoah dey'll be back soon," Ruby assured, taking a sip of beer. "So wheah's Specs' goyl a da minute?"

Thomas scanned the room. "Right there. White blouse, pink skirt, blonde hair, short…"

Ruby looked and spotted the girl. "She don't look stuck up, like da last one. Wheah's she from?"

"Boston, I believe. Who's that young man over there? The tall skinny one, with the reddish-brown hair. He's drinking beer and talking to the girl with the blonde braids. One of your newsies, no doubt."

Ruby glanced over. "Nah, he ain't a newsie. I dunno who he is. Hey, ya wanna go play poker?"

"I'm no good at it. Go ahead, though. I really shouldn't stay down here too long. There's much to do upstairs in the store."

"Awright! I'll tawk ta ya latah, an' I'll tell da kids ta come ovah heah real soon. Bye!" Ruby said. She picked her way through the crowd, being careful not to spill the beer.

"'Ey Ruby!" Bumlets said cheerfully. "I'se jist gettin' ready ta deal. Ya in?"

"Yep," said Ruby. "Wheah da heck 'm I asposedta sit?"

"Sit heah," said Snipeshooter, moving over to give Ruby some room on the rather small barrel.

"Don't look at me cahds," Ruby warned.

"When've I evah looked at yer cahds?" he cried.

"Well, dere was dat time in Brooklyn fer da big wintah game, an' da time in Queens wit Cap, an' when Crutchy took us ta da Bronx, an' when we went ta da East Side ta visit Snoddy, an' last week, an'-"

"Awright, awright! Geez!" he said.

By the end of two games, Ruby had three dollars, Snipeshooter had three dollars and seventy-five cents, and they didn't want to lose the money in the next game.

"Ya wanna dance? I t'ink if I don't move me ahm soon, it's gonna fall off. Can't feel a t'ing," he said, shifting his arm awkwardly on Ruby's shoulder.

"Shoah. An' wouldja stop dat? Yer makin' me necklace fall off!"

"Sorry," he said, getting up and extending a hand to her. "C'mon, ya gonna get up er do I have ta carry ya wit da one ahm dat actually woiks at da moment?"

"Ya can carry me if ya want ta dat badly," Ruby said innocently with a grin.

"Get up," he said, pulling her to her feet.

"Fine, if yer gonna be dat way," she said, sticking her tongue out and heading towards the dancing area.

"Now I know wheah Rose gets dat," Snipeshooter said. Ruby punched at him, wearing her typical sly smile.

"Ooh, yer goyl's beatin' ya up, Snipes. Dat can't be good," Blink taunted. He and Snipes started playfully fighting with each other.

"Ya wanna dance er not?" asked Ruby, pretending to be mad. She dragged Snipeshooter onto the floor. The band ended one song and began another. Soon the pair was dancing all over the floor, laughing and having more fun than they'd had for a long time. As Snipeshooter downed a mug of beer, Ruby decided to see if she still remembered the Irish jigs Mary O'Canalon had taught her years earlier. Soon all the eyes in the room were glued to her- rather, her feet.

"When'd ya loin how ta do dat?" asked Snipeshooter incredulously.

Ruby giggled. "When Mary O'Canalon lived 'cross da hall from us," she said, not missing a step. As the song ended, the entire party erupted in cheers and applause. "Whew!" the sixteen-year-old panted, snatching Snipeshooter's mug of beer from his hand and finishing it off. "What time is it?" she asked.

Snipeshooter glanced at the borrowed watch. "Gettin' close ta 'leven. I t'ink if we leave now, we'll get home b'fore yer mom calls da bulls."

Ruby nodded. "Awright. G'bye, Blink! G'bye, Specs! See ya latah, Bumlets!"

The pair headed out onto the barren, quiet streets of New York, his arm around her waist.

"Well, dat was da most fun I'se had since… don't remembah when!"

"Yeah, dat was pretty fun, wasn't it?" said Snipeshooter absently. "Hey, uh, guess what?"


"I gotta bettah job, at da drugstoah ovah by Central Pahk!"

"Really?" asked Ruby. "Dat's wondaful!"

"I know, ain't it? Pretty soon I'll have enough money ta buy me own place!"

Ruby paused. "So… yer movin' out?" she asked quietly, fighting her temper and trying not to cry at the same time.

Snipeshooter stopped right in the middle of the street and kissed her passionately. When he finally pulled away, a minute later, he said, "Of course not! Not yet! An' I ain't movin' out 'less yer comin' wit me."

"Aww, don't be stupid. Ya know me mudda'd nevah let me do dat 'less I was married."

"'Xactly," said Snipeshooter with a grin, watching Ruby's reaction.

"What? Are you serious?" she screeched.

"Aww, shaddup!" someone across the street yelled. "Some a us 's tryin' ta sleep, y'know!"

Ruby giggled, then turned serious. "William Cliffton," she said, using his full name to show her solemnity. "Are ya askin' me ta marry ya, er is dis anudda one a yer jokes?"

"I'se serious as… as… I'se serious as sumpin' really serious," he said. After fumbling in his pockets for a few minutes, he pulled something out. "I know dat it ain't nuttin' fancy… but it's all I could afford fer right now," he said, failing to mention that he hadn't bought any cigars for three months, used his life savings, and still borrowed a bit of money from Specs. "Whenevah I get more money, I'll getcha a bettah one, I sweah."

Ruby twisted her hand under the light of a lamppost in order to see the ring Snipeshooter had just put on her finger. The ring was a braid of silver, and appeared to be seamless. "Aww, Snipes, it's beautiful! I don't want anudda one! 'Sides, ya know I love anyt'ing ya get fer me! Yer da sweetest guy in da woild. Now c'mere."

Forever 'N' Ever Amen II
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