Disclaimer: The characters belong to Guy Ritchie and the setting is an imitation of the one in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"

This is not an actual self-insertion.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to recreate the atmosphere of the movie. Or the way they talk. This is an example of what I think a fanfic should be: what a person would like to see in a favourite movie.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Tom came in from the rain to find his friends waiting for him. He was always glad to see them, but he expected JD's to be deserted at this hour.

"We were givin up on you!" Soap addressed him.

"Why? What happened?"

"What happened?" it was Bacon's turn to pick on him. "You were s'pposed to meet us here an hour ago!"

It started to come back to him. They said something about a soccer game about a week ago. He was too preoccupied with the latest "shipment" of stereos and it slipped his mind.

"You did get the tickets?" Ed asked, a little worried of Tom's oblivious air.

Luckily he got them a couple of days ago. He reached in his pocket.

"Yes. I have them right…Shit! My wallet's gone. That mangy kid!"

He ran out the door in the pouring rain. His friends turned around in their seats and went back to their drinks. Fifteen minutes later, Tom came back in. He was soaking wet and out of breath from running. They didn't have to ask him anything.

"That's one way to lose weight" Ed remarked. "More people should give up carrying wallets"

Bacon grinned, but he wasn't happy. The footer was gone.

"This filthy kid stumbled when I got out of the car" Tom proceeded to explain catching his breath. "He must have lifted my wallet then. There was no sign of him anywhere"

"So, what now?" Bacon asked, bored.

They ordered another round.

~~~~~ A month later ~~~~~~

The four friends were in the back of Tom's shop. After the frightfully close call, which was the half a million pound affair, they laid low. They still had no perspectives for regular lives, no drive to start working steady, unrewarding, average jobs, no more energy for bold, new schemes.

Tom was busy shouting at them to keep their hands off the casings of the different items when he noticed someone roaming about the place. The silhouette of a young boy walking up and down the isle, sizing up the place made him aware that something wasn't cosher. He tiptoed and grabbed the kid just when he was smuggling a walkman in his coat.

"Gotcha you little bugger!"

The boy tried to pull himself out of Tom's grasp, but he was ready for that reaction.

"Where do you think you're going?"

Tom dragged him in the back to deal properly with the little thief. Soap was the first to react.

"What do ya think ya're doing? Give the kid a break! What is this? Oliver Twist?"

"He was shop lifting! You think I should pat him on the back and wish him Happy fucking Birthday?"

"You don't have to hold him like that" Soap didn't give up.

As soon as Tom eased the grip, the boy headed for the door. Bacon closed the door with his foot making the kid to bang his head on the it.

"See?"

"He's a wild one all right" Ed remarked. "Let's see what he got"

He shoved his hand in the kid's chest pocket to get the walkman, but he pulled it back as if it burnt him.

"I don't think he's a boy"

"What?" the others exclaimed in one voice.

Tom lifted her chin and pushed aside the hair covering her forehead. Bacon and Soap came closer as well. The girl struggled, but eventually she had to accept their scrutiny.

The four guys were stumped. Bacon started talking, shocking himself as well as the others by adopting a paternal tone.

"Do your parents know you're going around shops nicking other people's goods?"

"No, they don't"

Her accent was terrible. An abominable mix of Irish and cockney.

"Why aren't you in school?"

"'cause it's the Easter 'oliday, you infidel!"

The accent sickened them again.

"So you're gonna turn me in to the police now?"

"You're the kid that nicked my wallet" Tom recognised her.

"No I'm not" she lied.

"Did you like the match?" Bacon asked her, spiteful. "Do you want a cup of tea or something?" he regretted it immediately.

The girl looked rather pathetic. She was skinny, her clothes were old, but clean, her hair was properly combed and her eyes had an air of broken innocence that touched a cord inside Bacon. A fatherly instinct took over him, making him want to protect her.

Looking at the others, he guessed they were going through about the same feelings. She saw their change of heart and the tension inside decreased a little. The adrenaline was still pouring heavily through her blood, but she received an "out of danger" signal.

"What's your name?" Soap asked.

"Addie" she whispered.

"Well, Addie, let's get you to lunch" he offered his arm.

Tom tried to voice a different opinion, but the other's cold looks made him swallow his words. He was actually moved by the girl's attitude just as much as them. But he didn't believe in showing emotions. Affection was a sign of weakness. They shouldn't get attached to a little thieving girl. No matter how sweet and sad she looked. Tom's thoughts dissolved in a warm feeling of responsibility when the girl stumbled and he had to grab her arm to keep her from falling.

~~~~~

Two hours later they managed to extract her life story. Her name was Adelaide, but people were calling her Addie. She was living with her grandmother in a small flat in the area. Her parents lived in Northern Ireland and they had sent her to London after her brother died in an explosion. She was fifteen, she was living mostly on the streets, she hated school and she wanted to make money fast, the means being less important.

They saw so much of themselves in her that they decided in one unspoken thought to adopt her. Maybe this was the first step to maturity. Because they found themselves in the unfamiliar position to take responsibility for their actions, since these actions had an effect on another human being.

~~~~~ Four years past since that day ~~~~~

For the next four years, Addie became a part of their life. Her influence on each of them amazed J.D. When the trouble with Harry happened, J.D. gave up all hope that his son would one day become a responsible adult. A week after Addie entered his life, when he found out she needed money for books and clothes, he accepted the offer of a casino. He was, undeniably, a genius with cards, so he made an effort to put it to good use. He bet on his best asset and became a consultant.

Ed was making a lot of money doing what he did best.

Tom gave up most of the unlawful pies he had his dirty fingers in.

Bacon used his persuasion techniques to develop a small firm that had as main activity putting people in touch with the right people. The "Aladin" was doing rather well and he was successful in avoiding all illegal temptations.

Soap went on being a chef, supporting his friends' initiatives of cleaning up their act.

Ed was unquestionably the star of this little group. He was a handsome young man and his job required him to dress well in all occasions. Addie knew from day one that she was in live with him. His kindness, the patience he had to correct her accent and her savage behaviour made her keep silent. He was just nice to her, he treated her like a younger sister if not like a daughter, so to confess her crush could only bring an awkwardness that she did not want.

She confined herself to a silent adoration. She suffered all through Ed's affairs, the only consolation being that Soap was there with her. Their weekly cooking classes turned into long conversations about Ed and life and Ed and cooking and Ed. For as long as she knew him, Soap never had a girlfriend, so she assumed he was gay and just as much in love with Ed as she was. And just as hopelessly.

~~~~~~~~

It will obviously have a second part. It shall be a romance! This I vow! J