He never let on about the things he knew. He never let Race know that sometimes he wasn't the last one downstairs, that sometimes Crutchie was in the small room he shared with Jack in bad weather, and that he could sometimes hear the quiet music and the even softer sniffles. He never told Mush that he heard the turning of old pages or Finch that he saw the light flickering off the brass watch on the nights he slipped inside from the cold or rain. He made a point of being noisy and slow while entering to give them a chance to put the objects away. He never told Romeo how he noticed when the boy clutched the thing hidden inside his shirt, or Specs that he noticed how he touched his glasses when he was stressed or scared. He didn't even tell Jack that he noticed those nights when Jack sat by the corner of the rooftop and stared at the old piece of paper while clutching something tightly in his hand, or that he noticed Jack start to throw both down but always stop himself. Crutchie pretended that he didn't see those things, that he didn't know exactly what was happening in their minds. And Crutchie did know, maybe as well as they did themselves. They all had their special things, the objects that kept them functioning in the hard times they faced, and so did he. His crutch kept him grounded through the hardest times of his life, including the hardest of them all, his time in the Refuge. And he also knew how embarrassed he'd feel if everybody, if anybody, knew how much he depended on his crutch. He didn't even tell Jack how much of a comfort object it was, and so he respected the other boys' want, and even need, to keep their special things private. But Crutchie saw them, he knew they were there, and he watched. He watched them pull through everything life threw at them, and he still kept the secrets they didn't realize they had entrusted him with. Crutchie was the watcher, the seer, the knower. He was the trusted, the loved, and the protected. But more than anything, Crutchie Morris was the boy who understood.

Well, that wraps up this story. Thanks to everyone who gave me prompts and who reviewed! Reviews make me happy and keep me inspired, especially when they come from people with positive messages!