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A Moment Between Old Friends

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Oliver was walking down the street. The day was a good one and many people were out and about getting their daily business done. He stopped outside a bookshop, browsing the window display when he happened to glance at the gentleman standing beside him. There was a hand in the man's pocket that did not belong there. Before Oliver had time to utter a word, the hand, and the wallet the hand was grasping, was gone. He quickly saw who the thieving hand belonged to and the word of warning died in his throat. It had been years since Oliver had last seen him, but there was no mistaking him, the Artful Dodger.

The gentleman left and still had no knowledge of the fact that his wallet was no longer safely in his pocket. Oliver knew he should cry out and alert the man, but he couldn't make himself do it. Had the thief been anyone else he would have, but this was Dodger. Oliver shuddered to think what might have happened to him had it not been for Dodger. Where would he had ended up then? When he had arrived in London; cold, hungry, alone, and utterly naive of the cruel place the streets of London were, Dodger had taken care of him. He had offered him food and lodgings when he had no where else to go. Had it not been for Dodger, Oliver would probably be dead now. He realised now that he would not have lasted long on his own in the cold streets of London. Maybe he wouldn't even have met Mr. Brownlow if it hadn't been for Dodger!

Dodger had made his way through the square while Oliver had been lost in thought. He was picking pockets faster than he had ever seen anyone pick pockets before. It looked like old Dodger had only gotten better as the years had passed. And now he was making his way towards Oliver; his eyes were on Oliver's pocket and not on his face. When he happened to glance up he froze in obvious recognition.

Oliver looked him straight in the eye, then nodded and touched his hat in greeting. After a moment, Dodger did the same.

Then after sizing each other up for a minute, Dodger smirked, saluted him, and spun on his heels and left. Weaving his way through the crowd of people, his top-hat making him easy to follow, Oliver looked after him until he was gone.

Oliver never saw him again after that. Just as well.