I have decided, upon seeing Neverland broadcasted on television in my country for the first time ever, to finish Fingers considering I deleted it last time (which I am sincerely sorry for).
Disclaimer: I do not own Neverland, nor any of it's affiliations with the exception of Fingers (Finn)
"Run! They'll catch us!" I screamed, pushing my legs to run faster so the two boys behind me wouldn't catch us. "Faster!"
"Let me at 'em! Come on you little rat!" The taller of the two cursed and I chanced a look behind, yelping as they seemed to get closer.
"I'll kill her!" The other one shouted, waving his fist. I tripped but managed to right myself, racing after my partner.
"Ahh!" He shouted, not even pausing to wait for me. "Help! Help!" I caught up to him and pumped my arms more to gain speed.
"C'mon you mutt! You ain't gonna get away from us!" The boys yelled and I screamed, lunging forward, and knocking into my partner and my hands fell onto a gentleman's stomach.
"Help us, please." I whimpered, getting pushed from man to man, my hands knocking into the others. The larger boys had caught up and one grabbed me by the hair.
"Let me at 'em, I got her!" He crowed before snarling as I tore out of his grip and fell to my knees. Two other boys joined the tussle and the smaller one helped me up, pushing me away before crawling through their legs after me. I glanced back at the still struggling group before ducking around the corner and falling into a fit of giggles. Twins joined me, followed by Tootles and Curly.
"Alright, giggle gerty, calm down or you'll give us away." Curly said, ruffling my short hair. "Reckon it was pretty good you wore that dress today huh?" I nodded and we started walking, digging our hands into our pockets to pool our good fortune.
"Aw nice one Toots." I said, clapping him on the back as he produced a bronze pocketwatch.
"Blimey Tootles, you're an artist right enough." Nibs muttered. "All I got was a bruised shoulder and some coins." I laughed and waved a bulging wallet in their faces.
"So I'll bet youse are real jealous huh Nibs?" I said tauntingly before tilting my head as Peter's pipes floated down.
"Aw what now?" Curly asked, breaking into a jog and pulling me along with him. "Bloody Peter. I bet Fingers got herself knicked again."
"Oi, I'm right here!" I said indignantly. "Youse pulling me along yourself." He glanced back and blinked before allowing a smirk to cross his face.
"Right enough then." He agreed as we spotted Twins up ahead.
"What happened?" I asked, crouching down next to Twins.
"Slightly went and got himself knicked." He replied, pointing to where Slights was getting cuffed by two coppers.
"Instructions from Peter?" Curly asked and Twins shook his head.
"Nope, he's gone quiet." He said before we all went still as the pipes tune floated through. I frowned.
"That's Beer Barrel O'Berty tune." I said. "What's…"
"We don't have to plaster with Beer Barrel O'Berty right?" Nibs asked and I shrugged.
"Oi, over there." Twins said. True to Peter, there was a cart full of beer barrels and I'd bet my right shoe that they were headed for O'Berty's.
"So what's…Oh." Curly looked down at me and flicked the back of my head.
"Oh what?" He asked impatiently. I hid a grin as I pointed to where the cops were escorting Slightly away.
"Fox." Twins face scrunched up in disgust and Curly sighed, hitting his head with the palm of his hand. Sure enough, the tall lanky form of Fox, clad in a blue coat was approaching the two police and held out a baton and whistle. He pointed to something lying in the gutter before lunging for Slightly as the police bent down. He unlocked the cuffs and pulled Slights away, flying down the street and veering around the beer barrel cart, just in time as the cart horse reared up, depositing the barrels and sent them rolling down, straight into the two coppers. I jumped up and tugged on Curly's hand.
"Come on then! We'll meet them down there." He nodded and we disappeared down the street.
"That was bloody brilliant Fox." I said as we neared the Fencing Academy. He laughed and ruffled my hair, sending the already short mess into an even messier state. "Aw bugger off ya bully." He laughed and dropped his arm around my shoulder, reaching out to hit Curly on the head as he made a crude remark.
"C'mon, you stick close now." Fox muttered as Slightly pushed open the door to the Academy. I flushed at the reminder of one time I'd been late and Jimmy had stepped out of the room for a second. One of the men had apparently recognised me from before and wanted another go, so Fox stepped in.
"You know that ain't gonna happen again." I said, ducking my head as we headed through the practice area. "Jimmy kicked him out and stuff." I felt Fox shrug and we moved through the door and down the stairs to our rooms, where the older boy promptly dumped me in a chair. I emptied my pockets of my goods and Fox whistled lowly as the window opened and he clapped Peter on the shoulder.
"Good one Peter." He said before draping his arm over the back of my chair. Peter grinned and nodded before heading over to help Twins with the sausages. "Didn't have to save you this time eh?" He murmured, dropping his head down to my level. I hid a shiver surprisingly well and shrugged, leaning back on my chair.
"I ain't that bad." I defended. "It's not my fault I'm so fast." He chuckled before looking up as Jimmy walked down the stairs.
"I've got a nice job for you boys." It had taken him a while to be comfortable saying just boys, but I'd persevered.
"How nice?" Curly asked, looking up from the pile of watches and coins on the table in front of him and Nibs.
"Harbottles Antiques." Jimmy replied. I coughed and my chair fell back onto all four legs with a muted thud as Curly leapt to his feet.
"Are you mad?" Jimmy dropped the last step.
"You're ready." He argued.
"That place is tighter than the Tower." Nibs said.
"We'd get knicked for sure." Curly said. "Sorry Jimmy, it's too dangerous." He sat back down and Jimmy glanced around, from Twins and Curly to Nibs to Peter to Tootles, Fox and me curled up behind them.
"I think it's a brilliant idea." Peter said, abandoning the sausages. "Harbottles is two doors I remember, one at the front and one at the back leading to the alley. There is a nightguard of course and the windows are sealed shut but there are other ways in, 'specially if you're small and cunning." He turned around to the others, holding his arms out.
"If we get knicked it won't be the orphanage they throw us into," Curly said. "It'll be the clink. You wanna put Fingers through that?" I shrunk back and Fox squeezed my arm calmly. "We wouldn't last a week." Peter nodded, like he expected this, and walked slowly towards Curly before crouching down to his height.
"Weren't you at the bottom of Hatley Canal when Jimmy found you?" He asked suddenly. "Tied in a sack, with stones around your wrists and ankles. Jimmy's rescued each and every one of us. He's pulled you from the workhouses, asylums and brothels. He's given you a home, with food in your belly and shoes on your feet. Isn't it time we paid him back?" He looked around and raised his right arm. "Harbottles Antiques. All who's with me, raise your right hand." I glanced at Fox, who lifted his hand, then Tootles, before holding my hands out to figure which had was right. Fox rolled his eyes and lifted my arm for me as Tootles chuckled.
"Shut it." I mumbled as my cheeks darkened. Twins and Slightly raised their arms as well, before Curly reluctantly shoved his in the air, followed by Nibs. I jerked my arm out of Fox's grip and stuck my tongue out at him as Jimmy and Peter disappeared upstairs.
"You couldn't tell your right from left?" Fox asked. I scowled at him and crossed my arms over my chest as a weak attempt to block him out. Then Twins joined in the ribbing and I lashed out, smacking Fox across the face.
"You'd do well to remember that they only teach you to lie on your back in a brothel yeah?" I said furiously. Fox lifted his hand to touch his cheek, where there was now a clear red imprint of my hand, and I stood up, covering my mouth in horror, as I realised what I'd just said and done. "Fox, I-I'm so sorry, I didn't-I mean…Oh God." I spun around and darted around the staircase, disappearing into my room. I sat on my bed and covered my face in my hands. I felt awful. Fox and the boys usually tease about something and I give as good as I get, but I've never actually hit any of them before, much less Fox. I lifted up my hand and winced, comparing it to my other hand which was pale and dirty in stark contrast to the biting redness that matched the print on Fox's cheek.
"Oh God, I feel like a right blighter now." I moaned, standing up to open my window. I cautiously slid my legs out until I was sitting, my skirt and legs waving in the cool evening air. One of the birds that sat in the gutter flew past my head and drop down a few feet away and I laughed quietly.
"Would you ever hit someone you love? Your brother, sister, father?" I asked it, feeling rather stupid. "I did. And my dad did as well. Used to hit me, he did, until he dropped me at the brothel. You reckon it's hered-herdita-that thing that's passed down through families? Violence could be passed down in my family." The bird tilted it's head and I sighed, holding out a finger. It hopped a few feet closer and took a nip at my fingertip before taking flight.
"Lucky buggers." I squealed at the new voice and grabbed onto the windowsill for support before bringing my legs back inside so I was straddling the wooden frame. Fox leant against the frame of my door, with his arms folded, and the print still fresh on his face. I bit my lip and climbed back inside.
"Fox, I'm real sorry about that." I started. "I didn't mean to-I don't even know why I done it." Fox grinned and held out his arms, laughing as I practically dove into them, sighing in relief as he tightened his grip around my back.
"It's fine, I kind of expected it really." He admitted. "Look at it this way, Tootles has got thirty cents richer from Nibs." I gasped and pulled back but he didn't move and I gave up, huffing as I rested my head on his chest. "Alright? I'm gonna let go and you don't go near Toots unless as a friend." I nodded and he smirked, letting me go. He tipped his cap at me and smirked, pausing before he left.
"That word? It's hereditary." He winked and ducked out, disappearing upstairs to no doubt look for Peter.
"Fingers, we're going." Tootles and Fox pushed my door open. "Come on." I closed my book and clambered off my bed, tripping as I got to the wooden floor.
"Going where? Why, what? I'm so confused." The boys sighed and made to grab my arms.
"Harbottles Antiques, tonight." I faltered in pulling my shoe on and sat down heavily.
"I ain't so sure about this boys." I said softly. "I'll probably just be a liability again, like all the other times Fox and Pete have had to save me." Tootles looked up at Fox uncertainly and the older boy pushed him towards the stairs.
"Go, tell Pete to wait a few minutes." He said, his accent coming through thicker now he was excited. Tootles disappeared and Fox took a few long steps in to sit beside me.
"What's brought this on then?" He asked, pushing the tip of his cap back. I shrugged and pulled my blanket around my shoulders.
"Honest? I don't feel well. 'Sides, I can cook youse a hot meal when you get back." He nodded and kidded the top of my head before leaving.
"I call the sausages." He shouted before the door slammed.