Author's Note: Hi, sorry I'm really late on posting this. I had a lot on my mind, and when I came back to Fanfiction, I realized I was primarily going to be a reader of it instead of a writer. I do, however, want to continue on this story, and make it my sole Fanfiction project. From now on, it's going to be mainly flashbacks of July's, with little real-life intros.

(But I must warn you, it's going to go REALLY slowly. Months in-between chapters, probably. So I don't blame you if you abandon it.)

And thank you, thank you, thank you for the reviews, all of you! Oh, and as a side note, I based this off of my school's recent production of Annie Junior.

I think this story needs a disclaimer-refreshing: I do not own Annie at all.

Memories in the Cards (July, 1933...1930)

A smirk spread across Duffy's face as she carefully drew out a card from her hand and slapped it down. "There. A King's higher than your queen."

"No it isn't, you idiot! Your King's a heart, mine was a diamond. Play somethin' else."

"A minute ago you yourself said that a King's and King and a Queen's a Queen, and there ain't nothin' regarding the suits that can change it," I protested.

Pepper snorted, and her eyes flickered toward me for a brief second. "You stay outta this, July."

I backed off. When Pepper growled, nothin' good ever comes out of one who defies that growl. Especially when it comes to her cards.

It was a few years ago when Rooster Hannigan had visited the orphanage. He had a sleazy, sly manner and a waxed, crooked smile which frightened most of us. Charlotte, however, saw no harm in siftin' through his pockets to see if he had anything worth keeping. That's when she had discovered the cards.

"Look what I got from Hannigan's brother!" She ran into the dormitory with a triumphant smile, waving the deck of small rectangular pictures around and spilling some of them on the floor.

Annie slid off the cot she was sitting on and picked a few of them up. "What are they, Char?"

Charlotte shrugged. "Some kinda pocket pictures, I think. They're very pretty. Here's one of two red hearts. Wonder why he keeps them around."

"Those aren't pictures, you idiot," Pepper said, rolling her eyes and snatching the card out of her hand. "They're playing cards."

"Playing cards?" she returned, interested.

"For gamblin', and things like that. If you win, you get to keep money or whatever the other person bet. You lose, you lose money or whatever you bet. It's pretty easy."

"You know how to play?" Maddie asked.

"Sure, a little." She carried the deck over to her cot and spread them out. "Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King. Suits—that's the picture on the top, like the red heart—go in the order Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades. You put down a card and the next person tries to get a card higher than it down. When a person plays the highest card and the other person can't go higher with their hand or the next draw, they lose. It's easy, if you know how." She gathered all of the cards into a neat little stack and put it under her pillow.

"Those were mine," Charlotte protested. "I took 'em, fair and square, so I get to keep 'em."

"Well, tough luck. I claim 'em, since I taught you all how to play," Pepper declared, leaning back with a haughty look.

"What right have you got to it?" I demanded.

"Give one good reason, or they're Char's," Annie added. "Since she's the one who got 'em for the first place."

"I said, I taught you all how to play. Someday, maybe you can win 'em from me, Char, but not today," Pepper retorted, glaring with her icy eyes. "Stop being annoying."

We returned to our cots to stare into space some more. I glanced at Pepper, who had taken out the deck again and was starin' at this one card with a sad smile.

"Pepper?" I asked. "Who taught you how to play?"

"Shut up, July!" she returned with a groan. "Don't you ever know just when to shut up?"

"You cheated!" Pepper was screaming at top volume.

"Did not!" Duffy argued. "You're just a sore loser!" I sighed. Arguments with Pepper never went well, didn't Duffy know that?

Pepper gave her one of her famous glares. "You wanna fight over it?" she growled.

"Yeah, I'll fight'cha for it!" Duffy truly believed that, because she was older, she could control Pepper. Bad move, Duffy, I thought.

"Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!" we all started.

A "SHUT UP!" came from the office. I almost laughed at the irony.