Oliver Warbucks could name off only two things he was certain about in life. One, he knew that he was a very fortunate man, that he had many accomplishments that people only wished about. And the second, he was falling for the little girl that had showed up in his life less than a week ago. Annie, the little red head, with the sweetest smile and the most amiable personality has cut through all the walls he had put up, and got right to his heart. He knew that he wanted to adopt her, not only because he cared for her but because he couldn't imagine sending her back to the orphanage. He wanted nothing more than to adopt her very quickly and if she wasn't so set on finding her parents than he would have done it in a heartbeat. But on the positive side, she was ready to be his daughter so long as her parents don't show up. And even though he would never admit it out loud, he knew that deep down inside him he didn't want her real parents to show up. He knew that he was better for her, that he loved her more than they did, who would leave their child at the orphanage for 11 years and not keep in touch. And the more he thought about someone else taking Annie from him the more agitated he got. He was knocked out of his thoughts when the door to his study slightly opened,
"Sir?" Grace came in slowly, she watched as he adjusted his clothing just a tad before he motioned for her to enter.
"What is it Grace?" She came over to him and eyed his emotions, he kept a straight face knowing that if he showed any signs of emotions she would be able to tell and he would completely fall apart.
"How are you doing sir?" She came to his side and sat ladylike on his desk. He felt the closeness of her and he felt his heart flutter making him forget just briefly everything that was happening around him.
"I am doing well, as to be expected considering the circumstances. I just worry."
"Me too. Is it wrong to not want to have Annie find her parents, I mean does it sound selfish?
"If I am being completely honest, I feel the same way." He looked at her and she averted her eyes, he could see tears forming in them. "I wish to ask you something Grace."
"I wanted you to know that your opinion and feelings are important to me." he paused trying to gauge her reaction, "And that considering the turn of events, I have been doing a lot of thinking and I have come to the conclusion on two things. One is that I am going to do everything I can to make sure that little girl is happy, whether that is with me or….."he didn't want to say it outloud but he knew he had to, "or with someone else. And two that I have come to love more than I ever have in a long time."
"I don't doubt that you would do anything for Annie, sir. I have come to love her too."
"Annie isn't the only one I was speaking of." This caught her attention. He rose in his seat and came closer to her, "I have found myself loving you as well Grace. I didn't realize until Annie came into our lives and made me open my heart. I love you Grace. Just as much as I love Annie. I have been too guarded to realize I have loved you for a long time."
"Whether you feel the same way or not I just needed to let you know that. Especially since you have become a strong anchor in my life. If I do indeed find Annie's parents, I will need you more than anything."
"Sir…..I have feel the same way. I love you as well. I-" but before she could finish her sentence Oliver had his lips pressed to hers. It was an innocent kiss but to both of them it was enough. He pulled away from her but just enough to place his forehead against hers. They allowed the comforting silence to happen between them before Grace felt him move against her. Then she noticed that a few tears had fallen from his eyes, "Sir what's wrong?"
"I am so torn. Half of me is beyond ecstatic at our new found relationship but the other half of me is in fear and agony over what is to become of Annie." He looked up at her, the intensity almost too much for her, "I love her Grace. I want to be her father, I need to be her father. I have never wanted anything this bad in my life. I would give up all my wealth in order for her to be able to be my daughter." Grace's heart broke at his confession. She knew that he was not one to show his emotions so seeing him like this only with her made her feel so honored and proud yet she couldn't help but fall for him even more.
"Oliver, listen to me." He looked up at her, she brushed his tears away and gave him an equally intense look, "This will all work out, I know it. And I have a feeling, Annie will be yours."
"Ours, she will be ours." Oliver assured, and with that they both broke into a slight smile and fell into one another's embrace.
Grace looked over at Oliver and she knew that he was not liking the Mudges one bit. But he knew that they had all the evidence he needed. These people were indeed Annie's parents, and like it or not he had to let her go. It was the best for Annie. As they pulled Annie along with them he couldn't believe that he had something so precious being taken away from him so quickly. He couldn't have it happen so soon,
"You can come get her tomorrow morning, I would love it if Annie could spend Christmas, here, with us." He looked at Annie and gave a small smile, "If that's alright with you?" Annie's eyes lit up, she moved to Oliver's outstretched hand,
"Oh yes please." without thinking Miss Hannigan reached out and stopped Annie midway. Oliver held on to Annie, feeling slightly possessive. He didn't know what had come over him, all he knew was that he didn't trust these people, Annie's parents or not.
Once the Mudges left Oliver felt himself finally able to breathe, after he watched Annie run up the stairs with Grace following behind him he felt at a loss. No amount of money could be done with this situation, and that made him even more angry. He couldn't do anything about it, Annie didn't seem happy and he for sure wasn't happy.
An hour passed by and a knock came at his study, he looked up from the fireplace and smiled briefly at Grace who had poked her head in. He motioned for her to come in and he rose to meet her halfway in the room.
"How is she?" He watched as Grace simply shook her head,
"She cried herself to sleep in my arms. I felt so helpless, I know she is conflicted. And this a lot for a girl her age to go through."
"But did she say anything?"
"No sir. Just tears."
"Grace I don't feel right about these people claiming to be Annie's parents."
"Neither do I sir but you saw it for yourself they had the locket and Annie's correct birthdate."
"Yes I know, but their story seems fictitious. Grace who would leave their child to an orphanage and then work on a farm with no contact with their child at all?"
"I have no idea sir. I would not. But we can't disregard the evidence shown. They are Annie's parents whether we like it or not."
"Yes Grace, you are indeed correct. But it still doesn't settle my concerns, I am going to have the authorities look into them, hopefully something comes up." he looked over at her in time to see her nod and then yawn, "Grace, you should really get some rest."
"Will you follow your own advice sir?"
"I will not rest until this all settled." Oliver stated without hesitation.
"Than neither shall I." Oliver looked at the determination on Grace's face and he couldn't help but lean in a deliver a kiss to her. As she kissed back, Oliver found himself losing all his worries for the moment and he was content with it.
The next morning passed like a blur, and as the Mudges arrived and began to take Annie with them, he could feel Grace gripping his arm. They both knew that something seemed off, yet they couldn't do anything about it. And within seconds Annie was out of there lives.
"What would you like us to do?" Drake asked but all Oliver could do was leave to his study. Grace looked at Drake and they shared a knowing look, they knew he would be going back to his original closed off self. Grace knew she had to be there for him, she followed right behind him quietly. Without a word she entered his study, his back was turned to her, and she didn't know quite what to say to ease the pain. So she settled with placing her hand on his shoulder, and before she knew it he turned around and fell into her arms. The dams broke and they both grieved at the loss of Annie.
"Sir. I am sorry to interrupt but there is something that you need to know." Drake came in, the sight before him tugged at his heart. Oliver looked up and he straightened himself up,
"Yes what is it Drake?"
"We have a blonde woman here saying that she has information concerning the Mudges." Oliver and Grace looked at one another in concern,
"Bring her in." Oliver demanded. Drake nodded and motioned for the lady to come in. Oliver and Grace eyed the woman cautiously,
"I am here concerning the so called Mudges." She started giving them an exasperated look,
"So called?" Grace asked, she didn't like where this was going.
"Yes, they unfortunately lied to you to get Annie and the money." The woman smiled, satisfied almost of telling them the information.
"How?" Oliver asked incredulously. Grace placed a worried hand in Olivers, hoping that some contact will help her feet remain steady.
"It is actually Agatha Hannigan and her brother Rooster. Miss Hannigan was the only one to know about the locket and the note."
"So you mean Annie's been-" Grace's hands went to her mouth, she couldn't even finish the sentence. And Oliver was grateful, he didn't want to hear her say it, his heart started beating out of control and a shiver when down his spine.
"We must find her! Drake alert everyone, we have to find her before they get too far." Oliver watched as Drake ran into the next room, he could hear commotions going throughout the rooms. He looked over at Grace and he pulled her to his side, he could tell that she was frightened. "Thank you Ma'am for the information. I didn't catch your name?"
"Lily St. Regis." She smiled at him and then the phone started ringing off the hook. Oliver looked at Grace once more and then went into business mode.
"This is Oliver Warbucks." he listened intently, "yes she was with a Miss Hannigan and a Rooster Hannigan. Yes they are in disguise. Yes she's about 11 with strawberry red hair. Yes please find her immediately. Yes. Thank you." He turned to Grace and Drake who looked at him in concern,
"What did they say?"
"That was the sheriff, he says he has men looking all over town for them. He says they shouldn't have been able to get too far. And he will let us know when he has any updates."
"So what are we supposed to do now?" Grace wondered impatiently.
"Wait, I suppose. But I can't do that knowing that Annie is out there with those monsters." Oliver seethed.
"Oliver what if-" Grace couldn't even say her worst fears, her eyes brimming with emotions.
"No we won't even talk about that, for now let's just focus on finding her. Drake get the car together I will be following along with the search. And please bring Miss St. Regis to a guest room." Drake nodded ushering Lily out of the room leaving Grace and Oliver alone. Grace watched as Oliver gathered his belongings and was about to leave when she grabbed her coat as well. Oliver looked at her in confusion,
"I am going with you whether you like it or not."
"No Grace it's too dangerous. I don't want to worry about you as well."
"I am sorry Oliver but I am going. I love Annie just as much as you and I won't have any sort of peace until I know that she is safe." Oliver knew the look on her face meant that she had already made up her mind. Without saying anything he gave her an arm and led her out to the waiting car.
"Miss Hannigan?" Annie looked in surprise at the women she thought was her new mother. Miss Hannigan smiled and laughed,
"Think you got rid of me huh brat?"
"Listen sis, we better ditch the squirt soon, I don't want to actually care for the thing."
"We'll just after we get out of town. What about your little dumb hotel, think she will squeal?"
"Na if I know her, she's probably still waiting for me to return with the dough. She will come looking for me, they always do."
"Yeah but I am also rich now." they both laughed out loud and gave one another a high five. Miss Hannigan kissed the check in her hand.
"Miss Hannigan, why would you do this?" Annie looked at her with hurt in her eyes
"Because Annie, when you're an adult you will do anything you can for what you want. And you Annie aren't my kid, but I'll pretend you are so I can get what I want."
"Miss Hannigan you tricked Miss Grace and Mr. Warbucks."
"Yeah and it was a piece of cake." Rooster smiled and slapped the steering wheel in excitement.
"This is not right. I am going to tell a policeman."
"Sis, we really need to get rid of her…."
"Can it, I'll deal with it. Look Annie, where we are going you will live a nice life. We might even share in some of the wealth with you. You will work for us for free."
"I don't want wealth I want to go home."
"Home? Where the hell is home for you? You are nothing but a little orphan."
"I want to go back to Mr. Warbucks, I want to be home with him."
"Too late squirt. He's is long gone. You can just forget about him."
"You don't get everything you little brat."
"Hey what's going on-" Rooster looked up ahead and he noticed that the flow of traffic had come to a stop. He stuck his head out the window to get a better view and to his dismay he saw officers everywhere. "Sis, there are tons of officers. We need to find another exit or else we will be busted for good."
"Busted for what, as far as everyone is concerned Annie is ours."
"I don't know I feel like we should lay low. Something doesn't seem right."
"Will you quit overreacting. Just act normal."
Annie watched the two of them bickering, and she knew that this would be her only chance to get out. And without a second thought, she unlocked door and ran out. She could hear them yell in surprise and then footsteps. She didn't know quite where to run but she ran as fast as she could. She saw a ladder leading up a building and she began to climb it.
"Hey squirt get back here!" She looked down and saw Rooster following close behind her. She screamed as loud as she could which caught the attention of pedestrians.
"Sir, we just got word of a young girl being chased by a man up a building."
"Annie." Oliver felt fear fill his whole body. Grace remained close to him as the car drove faster. Grace looked over at Oliver and she sent a silent prayer that Annie would be safe, for both her sake and Oliver's. As they arrived closer to the scene they could make out a crowd forming. Jumping out of the car before it even came to a full stop Oliver looked to where the onlookers had their attention. And his heart sank even more for the sight before him made him want to let out his rage and anguish. Grace let out a gasp once she saw what had caught his attention, there was Annie at the top of the building, on her hands and knees on the ledge barely away from Rooster who was doing all he could to try and reach her.
"ANNIE!" Grace yelled his voice breaking, Annie looked down at the crowd below them and she was surprised to see both Warbucks and Grace.
"Do something!" Oliver yelled at one of the officers, utter disbelief that no one was doing a thing about the situation.
"That building is too unstable, it's supposed to be torn down. If I send men up there it would be like walking on eggshells, I am in awe that they made it that far."
"So what are we supposed to do, just stand here and watch my daughter hold on for dear life while that monster is after her?!" Oliver yelled, Grace did her best to keep him placid.
"Sir-" The officer was cut off when a woman's scream pierced through the crowd. Oliver looked up at Annie and the horror of her now hanging by her little hands over the edge. He could see Rooster right next to her, and the sight made him sick.
"Here kid take my hand." Rooster ordered Annie shook her head. "Kid if you don't take my hand you will be like broken glass. I ain't goin' down fo murder." Annie looked up at the hand he offered and then at the ground below her. Tears began to stream down her face, she was terrified. Without a second thought she grabbed his hand and he pulled her up. But before she could relax, he threw her over his shoulder. And against her protests he began walking down to the crowd, "Sorry kid, if I go down you are going down with me. Maybe Daddy will be able to give me some more dough huh." Once he reached the entrance he was surrounded by officers, he could see Warbucks glaring at him, with his hot babe next to him.
"Rooster let her go!" Oliver yelled, keeping fear out of his voice. Rooster smiled and then pulled out a small gun from his jacket,
"I'll give you her, once I get some more dough. You know I saved her life." Rooster smiled as the officers came in closer, "Take another step and she gets it."
"Stop!" Oliver ordered, he then moved in closer to Rooster. "I'll give you anything you want just let her go."
"I want $100,000 cash."
"Let her go and I will give it to you."
"I ain't stupid. Cash first then the girl."
"I don't have the cash on me. But I can give it to you, if you give me Annie. I promise." Oliver held out his arms for her and Rooster eyed it closely he looked around, he had no way out. He sighed and put Annie down, who in an instant was grabbed by Oliver and he placed her behind him, Grace came running up to Annie and quickly took her in her arms and pulled her away from the men. Rooster waited and then brought his gun to Warbucks face,
"You got yer girl now I want me money." And then it happened so fast and Rooster was on the ground with his arms behind his back.
"Oliver!" Grace yelled, causing Oliver to turn and look at her concern. Then he realized that they were both safe. And with three long strides he had Annie in his arms again. He kissed the side of her face over and over afraid to let go. He hugged her close letting the tears flow down his cheeks. She hugged him back as tight and let herself cry, Grace stayed to the side allowing for the two to have their moment. But Oliver pulled away from Annie and looked to Grace, he then pulled her close as well. And he breathed a sigh of relief that both women he loved so much were safe and in his arms.
"Annie are you alright? Did he hurt you?" Oliver looked the girl up and down inspecting every inch of her, in fear that she might have gotten hurt. She just shook her head and went back to keeping her arms around his him and keeping her face against his neck. He shifted her slightly to keep her in his arms while having a free arm to wrap around Grace. They were allowed a few more seconds of silence before a crowd of reporters made their way over to the trio. Soon cameras were flashing, and Oliver tugged the girls closer to him, hiding Annie as much as he could from the photos.
"Please let us through, no pictures we have had an enough for today." Grace commanded, as officers made a path through the reporters.
"Mr. Warbucks is this your daughter?"
"Who was that man that had her?"
"What is her name?"
"Will you be adopting her?"
"Mr. Warbucks, a statement please." All the reporters were closing in, causing Grace to separate a little from Oliver. Oliver looked over his shoulder and he could see the annoyance in her eyes as the men moved in on her, he also was annoyed when he felt Annie being jostled in his arms. The reporters were making it impossible to even take a step, for he knew if he did Annie would have been shoved out of his arms.
"If I give a statement will please allow me and my family to get through?" Everyone stopped and got their pens ready, "The circumstances today were indescribable. They were every parent's worst fear. Almost losing a child. Annie is going to be my daughter and the man that took her will pay for the consequences of his actions. Now if you will all excuse me, I have to get my daughter home for Christmas." He then turned around and shoved his way through the crowd and to Grace. Grace made her way to his side and they slowly made their way through the crowd into the car.
"Sleep well my dear." Grace gave Annie a kiss on the forehead and then moved giving Oliver her spot so he could do the same. They both watched Annie's sleeping form with Sandy right at her feet before they turned off the light and closed the door. They walked along the hallway in silence both not knowing what to say. Oliver turned to Grace and felt all the emotions he had felt today catch up to him.
"I must admit I do feel very much relieved that Rooster and that awful Miss Hannigan were taken into custody. Those children at the orphanage will have the happy ending they deserve." Grace smiled. Oliver nodded in agreement, there was so much he wanted to say to her, he turned to her and grabbed her gently by the arm to stop her,
"Grace, I do hope that this will be the start of a new life for all of us." Oliver watched as Grace smiled and then moved in close to him. Without any exchanges he had her in his arms and he couldn't help but get down on his knee and present the ring he had been holding for months in his hand. Grace registered what was happening and without a word she nodded and they both shared a loving embrace. Oliver Warbucks knew he was a lucky man, but that was because of the women in his life.
A/N: This is my first Annie fanfiction so please bare with me, I hope you enjoyed it!