A crossover between A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. This is set both before Scrooge's visitations and Oliver coming to London. If anyone knows the name of the youngest Cratchit daughter I would be very grateful if you could tell me, but in this she's called Carrie. Cheers.
Tiny Tim stood outside the toy shop a few metres down the road from where his father worked. He was alone, waiting in the snow for Bob to come out of the office, blowing on his hands, and jog over to him. Tim's eyes were on the rocking horse in the window – a marvellous thing – painted in red and yellow with a soft leather saddle. His breath misted up the glass, and he looked to the tin soldiers closest to him. They were fine quality, and he knew that his parents would never be able to afford it. If his sister Carrie were with him she would no doubt be gazing in wonder at the dolls – there was one in pink with a bonnet and golden hair, and one in green whose little kid gloves and soft boots were alone probably more expensive than anything the Cratchit's owned.
Tim looked back up the street – his father still had not come out and a group of children were heading down the snowy cobbles, laughing and shouting. Tim leant on his crutch and surveyed them mournfully. One of them – a red head wearing a patched jacket – spotted him.
"'Ey! What you lookin' so sad about? It's Christmas ain' it?"
"You blind Jamie? The kid's got a crutch. We're goin' slidin' kid, you wanna come with?"
Tim did want to go with the group of rowdy children – who ranged in age from about eight to fourteen.
"I'm waiting for my father," he said.
"We'll get you back in an hour or so kid. Don' you wanna 'ave some fun?" the older boy asked. "Come on!"
So Tim put his crutch resolutely under his arm and hobbled after the group. His father never need know he'd gone, and Tim rarely got to play with children his age. But they walked faster than him, and Tim was always limping a few paces behind them. They turned a corner down into a darker alley, and Tim hesitated. Thieves lived in this area. But he was far in now anyway, and surely a group as large as the one Tim was with wouldn't be attacked. He turned the corner – only to find that the others had gone.
"Hello?" Tim called, his voice sounding very small in the darkness of the alley. "Wait up!"
He hobbled down the alley – hoping to catch up with them – before his crutch caught in one of the cobbles and he fell over. He couldn't get back up again, and he was far from home now, with no idea where he was, and his leg had begun to hurt beneath him when he heard voices coming from outside the alley.
"Please! Someone! Anyone!" Tim called.
Two shadows fell across him, and Tim looked up – to see a boy wearing a top hat and a slightly amused expression and a woman who looked concerned.
"Dearie me, what happened to you?"
"I fell miss," Tim said. "And I couldn't get up." Nancy put out her hand and Tim took it gratefully, letting her pull him to his feet.
"Oh – that must be yours then. Go get it Dodge," Nancy said. Dodger picked up the crutch that was lying a few feet away where Tim had tripped and handed it to the boy with a grin.
"Thank you," Tim said.
"I'm Nancy, and this is Dodger. Are you lost dear?" Tim nodded, mutely, thinking that the woman was the most beautiful he had ever seen. Her dark hair was long and a stark contrast against the crimson of her dress. Her green eyes laughed and her smile was like that of an angel.
"Can we get you back 'ome?" Nancy asked.
"My father'll be waiting for me by the toy shop. He always is," Tim said, shyly. "But I don't know where I am."
"Well you couldn' 'ave met better people. We know ev'ry alley, ev'ry street of London. Don' we Nance?"
"We do," Nancy laughed, tugging Dodger's hat down over his eyes.
Dodger pushed it back up glaring.
"Come on then sir," Nancy said, smiling at Tim.
"I'm Tim," Tim blushed.
"An' a lovely name it is too. Ain' it Dodger?"
"Yeah. Real nice."
"Why are you called Dodger?" Tim asked, curiously, as Nancy gave him her arm to lean on and they made their way slowly out of the alley.
"Cos I dodge the traps." Dodger said, and then grinned at the confused look on Tiny Tim's face. "Some gentleman named me."
"Gentleman!" Nancy scoffed.
They were both the funniest, most interesting people Tim had met in a long time (and that wasn't counting his family of course) but something about them was different from the people in the market and the church. It wasn't obvious, but maybe it was the never-been-washed look of the boy or the cut of the girl's dress, that Tim finally realised they weren't just the son and daughter of some street vendor, but the son and daughter of the gutter. Tim had never realised fully about poverty even though he lived in it. But there were still people even lower than him on the social ladder. Street children, thieves, prostitutes...
"Tell me Tim," Nancy said, suddenly. "Will you be able to get better?"
"There's medicine," Tim said softly, because he was used to the concern he got. "But I can't afford it."
"And no one will give it to you?" Nancy asked.
"Course they won' Nance. It's all money, money, money to 'em ain' it?" Dodger said, kicking a drift of snow loose from where it had been compacted into the wall.
"Well p'raps someone'll do somethin' for Christmas," Nancy said, smiling gently at Tiny Tim.
"I go to church with my dad every Sunday, and I sit at the front. I hope people see me, because it'd do them good to remember how well of they are." Tim said.
"Good for you." Dodger said approvingly. "And 'ere's your street, an' there's your dad."
Bob Cratchit was stood outside the toy shop, looking anxiously up and down the street, hands deep in his pockets.
"Thank you!" Tim called over his shoulder as he hobbled over to his father. Bob lifted him up in a tight hug and when Tim looked back at the entrance to the street – the two thieves had gone.
Nancy was silent as they walked home, until they reached the old warehouses Fagin used as his den.
"'Ere Dodge," she said. Dodger paused on the first step up to the den.
"You think that kid'll be alright?"
"'Oo knows," Dodger shrugged. "'E's got as nice a life as anyone goin' for 'im at the minute though Nance. You saw 'is ol' man!"
"Yeah," Nancy smiled. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Merry Christmas Dodge."
"Merry Christmas Nance."
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