Hey to all! I'm new here, but im over at under the same username. Anyway, this is my first fic, and the first chapter is kind of short, so R n' R soI know ifI should continue it! Constructive criticism please, but no flames! Enjoy!!

-'Ponine


The bright lanterns in the windows of the homes, their light reflecting off the snow newly fallen in the cobblestone streets. It was quiet as I stole along the street, hiding in the shadows, my gray wool cloak clutched in my hand. I did my best to stay out of the view of the neighbor's windows, for what would they say if they saw me, Mattie Coleman, sneaking about in alleys in the dark of night. I would be ruined by their heartless gossip, not that I cared about what they had to say. It was not yet seven o'clock in the evening, but already it was hard to see far down the street with the snow swirling in the air and the lights casting shapes upon the ground. I took the time to glance into the window of 234 Logan Street. People moved about, laughing and talking in the brightly litlivingroom and someone played the spinet. As if all is right in the world and that the war isn't coming closer every moment of everyday,I thought as I watched the liveliness in the room. I myself hada brother off fighting for the Continental Army, and I was therefore very sensitive about the war, and if someone rubbed my sensitivity the wrong way,I hada horrible temper.I recognized Mrs. Bostwick, my mother's friend and closest confidante laughing and speaking with someone I didn't recognize, but whoever it was was dressed in the latest fashions straight from London. Just then, someone looked toward the window, and I immediately pressed myself against the stone wall next to the window, so as not to be seen. Suddenly, someone grabbed my arm and pulled me into the space between the houses. I yelled in panic, thinking that it was a drunken man wanting his way with me. "Get off me you bastard!" I shouted, yanking my arm out of the grasp of the man and turning to run into the street or one of the houses nearby and shout for help.

"Good God, Mattie!" muttered the youth, catching hold of my other arm. "I'm not about to kill you. Or harm you at all, for that matter." Then I saw a glimpse of copper hair under a tri-cornered hat and stopped yelling. I rolled my eyes. Will, I thought. I should have known. Will had been my closest friend since I was four years old and he was five, and in the eleven years since then I had come to much preferthe red-head'scompany to the companionship of many of the girls of the town, most of whom were empty-headed and thought that the arrival of the newest shipment of muslin at the milliners was the most important topic of the day. Fortunately, my father was understanding and did not force me to endure their company. This was pleasing to me, as I would rather spend time reading or with Will or my other close friend, Sarah, than sitting in a room stitching for hours and listening to shallow girls prattling on about the scandal between Lord Dunphrey and Lady Hamilton or what their new spring frock was to look like.

"William Flynn!" I hissed, pulling him into the alley, casting shadows on the stone walls. "Why in all of God's heaven must you do that? Making me think that I'm being set upon by a drunk or a gang with the intent of dishonoring me?"

"I didn't intend to frighten you!" he said indignantly. After a moment's thought, looked at me and asked "What made you think I was a gang? And why are you out here anyway?"

I could tell he was concerned, and it warmed my heart. "I'm out here because I needed to get out of the house. I do nothing these days except sit and knit socks and sweaters for the soldiers, which becomes rather tedious. And in answer to your first question, anyone could be lurking about. And what do you wish to speak to me about anyway that you found it necessary to drag me around dark alleys?"

"I just wanted to ask you if you'd heard any news of the war lately. I've heard some rather disturbing things of late," he said, fiddling with his coat, looking nervous.

My curiosity was aroused. Was it the story I had read in the paper about the Tory family, four-month old infant and all, over in Riverside who had been run out of town by an angry mob? Or the tale of the man who had attempted to make peace with the Indians and ended up scalped? "What disturbing things? And why are you so nervous?" I asked, pulling my cloak tighter around my shoulders, all the while wishing I had worn a shawl. The air was bitingly cold, the kind of cold that cuts right to the bone. I shivered violently and mentally wished that we could move some place warmer.

Will glanced around, as if worried that someone would hear him. He lowered his voice. "Well, I heard tell that the Tories-" He was cut off by his mother's yell from the other end of the alley. "William Patrick Flynn! Where are you?"

"Damn!" he muttered, then shouted, "coming Ma!" He looked down at me, for he was considerably taller than I was, and his green eyes locked with my brown ones. "I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Meet me behind your parent's inn at noon. I'll be waiting." And with that he ducked off down the alley through the snow, leaving me to look after him and wonder what was so important.


So what'd you think?!?! Reviews! Reviews! Reviews! Merci beaucoup!