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Prologue: Part One
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Savoir faire. The ability to say or do the right or graceful thing, combined with the knowledge of when to say or do it at just the right time.
The French can certainly sum up a whole lot in a single, smooth-flowing phrase.
And there never was a phrase more befitting of Jack Dawkins. Better known among his more . . . intimate acquaintances as The Artful Dodger.
He always knew just what to do, the Dodger. No matter what the situation. Whether with a well-placed clever quip, a nearly instantaneous move, or a seamless string of instructions– like on the night that Nancy went off on a fainting spell and Fagin, Charley, and even Sikes had to be ordered into action*– the Artful One never missed a beat, and was yet to be seen being made a fool of. It had seemed that he had simply been born that way: Unable to make mistakes.
But remember, he's only human, mate. And the most famous of all human characteristics is the capacity to make and learn from mistakes.
People are not born knowing what to do; they are born with the invaluable facility to learn. Which, in time, leads to that equally invaluable talent we all strive for, admire, and envy in others: Savoir faire.
It took Jack Dawkins a damn lot of hard work to obtain that ultimate level of savvy, and when he did, he was no longer just John Peter Dawkins: Named for his father, the man he loathed with every fiber of his being, every ounce of his essence, every strand of his life force– and yet, whom he unconsciously idolized. He became whom he believed he really was. The Artful Dodger.
Dodger had gotten what he had always wanted, craved, needed the most: To be looked up to, to be respected, to be "the" with a capital "T". The one with the flash reputation. Theone and only.
The, The, The.
He worked twice, thrice, TEN times as hard as he had before just to keep up with being The Artful Dodger. He didn't even realize it, either. He was The Dodger and The Dodger was him, and they blended and balanced each other perfectly. But it was never truly easy.
"With great power"– in this case, knowledge– "comes great responsibility."
A single tiny slip-up could send Dodger's world collapsing around him.
So the question is: Was that sudden moment of compassion towards a lost little orphan boy the biggest mistake The Artful Dodger had ever made?
He could never be sure.
The boy had been so lonely. So innocent. So purely shining amongst the filth of the London streets.
Jack Dawkins had noticed that pureness straight off.
The Artful Dodger had seen how it could benefit himself by bringing the little boy back, but Jack had seen the deservingness of something in the child's face.
Well, Oliver had certainly gotten that something that he had always deserved: A proper home with his true family.
And Jack, even The Dodger, supposed he was glad for that.
But all good things come with a price . . . and a lesson.
The price for Dodger was his freedom; and possibly, once stranded in an alien place, his treasured savoir faire.
The lesson, he's not so sure about. It could be to never show compassion to strangers, but even Dodger knows that can't be much of a moral. So maybe it's to never carry around a snuffbox.
Either way, The Artful Dodger was gone. And so were the rest of them. All the old familiar faces were gone.
And she, although she had escaped– for the time being– with her life, freedom, and sanity, she probably had the worst lot of them all.
She was the only one left. And she was the only one who knew the whole story.
*"like on the night that Nancy went off on a fainting spell and Fagin, Charley, and even Sikes had to be ordered into action"~ This refers to the scene in chapter 39 of the book where Nancy faints from the stress and exhaustion of taking care of Sikes in his sickness after the burglary. Dodger shows up and begins instructing Fagin, Charley, and Sikes (though slightly indirectly to the latter) what to do about it.
There you have it. The beginnings of what will (hopefully) be a long, twisting, and touching tale.
Please note that this is based on both the book and the 1968 movie musical, with my own original morphing. :3
I'd like to maybe try recruiting a beta for this one. . .so if you would like to give it a shot, please PM or email me.
Review, review, review. You'll make me very happy. =^-^=
*tips hat and exits*