For the rest of the afternoon, Ruby wandered the streets, selling her papes and meeting up with the other newsies occasionally. The afternoon was crisp and cold, but sunny, by the time Ruby was heading to Tibby's. She was walking down the nearly-empty roads, humming to herself and thinking about Snipeshooter. Maybe I'll tell 'em when I git back ta da lodgin' 'owse... I'se gonna git 'im some food... ol' Kloppy's food 's awful, I heah.
Just then, someone ran by. Ruby turned to see who it was, when she saw Skittery jogging by. "C'mon, there's a fight in front a Tibby's!" he called.
Ruby took off running and reached Tibby's a second after Skittery. There was a big crowd, and Ruby jumped up and down in an attempt to see over the heads of the taller newsies. Skittery noticed and picked her up easily.
"Aww, t'anks, Skittery!" she said. "What's goin' on?"
"Cowboy's fightin' some guy," Bumlets announced.
"Aww, no kiddin'! Why's 'e fightin' 'im?"
"Da guy called 'im a-"
"Shh!" hissed Crutchy, cutting off Racetrack completely.
A round of cheering broke out as one of the boys fell to the ground. Jack comically bowed. "T'ank you, t'ank you!" he called.
Lucky rolled her eyes. "Whatta ham..." she sighed. "C'mon, Ruby. Let's go git us some dinnah, huh?"
Ruby nodded. "I'se stahvin'! I didn't git no lunch taday. I was too busy sellin' me papes ta stop!"
Lucky nodded. "Geemaneez, Jack! Jist 'bout killed da guy, didn'tcha?"
Ruby casually glanced to Jack's opponent, lying half-consiously on the ground. Her eyes widened involuntarily in shock, and she was suddenly incapable of moving. Blood dripped from her brother's nose and he coughed as he began to wake up...
"Jack, dat's Chaun... Jack... Jack..." hissed Lucky.
"What?" asked Jack absently. "Dat ain't Chaun."
"Yes it 's," said Lucky, her eyes glazed over.
"No it ain't!" Jack returned to joking around with his fellow newsies.
Jack's opponent coughed again, stood up, and brushed off his clothes, muttering comments.
Lucky screamed and lunged at the tall, lanky figure. "I tot I told ya nevah ta come neah me er da Manhattan newsies evah again! I told ya I'd kill ya, an' I will! Don't try ta stop me, ya scabbah! I'se gonna kill ya!" Lucky kicked and punched the boy over and over.
"Lucky!" cried Blink. He and Jack dashed into the fight and dragged Lucky back, each of them holding one of her arms.
"But dat's Chaun! I gotta kill 'im, Jack! Jack, 'e almost killed me! 'E dasoives ta die!" cried Lucky as Jack sat down on the curb and pulled Lucky down beside him.
"Dat ain't Chaun. I dunno who Chaun 's, but dat ain't him," said Ruby.
"Den who da he..ck 's dat?" asked Race, covering what he had been about to say.
Ruby motioned for the newsies to lean in closer. "Dat's me brudda," she whispered.
"What?" asked Jack as the newsies began chattering.
Ruby shrugged. "'E 's. Whaddo you want me ta do 'bout it? I ain't talkin' ta 'im, and I don't want 'im ta know who I am er dat I'se heah. Let's jist go get some dinnah, huh?"
Glancing back at the lanky boy who was lying on the ground again, the newsies headed into Tibby's and ordered dinner.
"You think he saw you, Ruby?" asked Specs.
"Naw. Even if 'e did, 'e wouldn't recognize me. 'E ain't dat smaht. 'E's jist like me faddah. Stupider dan... dan... stupider dan da stupidest poisson in da woild!" said Ruby, taking a bite of her roast beef.
"Well, what if 'e stahts hangin' 'round ahr territory?" asked Lucky. "Den how's Ruby s'posedta hide?"
"I told ya. 'E won't recognize me! 'E's real dumb." Ruby nodded for no apparent reason. "An' I jist won't sell 'im no papes. I won't go neah 'im. I wouldn't want ta sell 'im a pape. 'E's a scabbah."
"Well if 'e tries ta hoit ya, ya jist tell me, awright Ruby?" said Jack.
"Er me!" added Blink, Skittery, Snoddy, Swifty, Snitch, and Race.
"Aww, t'anks! Yous guys 's da best!" announced Ruby. She finished off her meal and ordered a hot dog to take back to Snipeshooter. She pulled her last pape out of her coat and wrapped the hot dog up. Then she stuck it in the enormous pocket of her coat, called goodbye to the newsies, and ran the whole way to The Lodging House.
"Hi Kloppy!" called Ruby as she raced in and up the stairs without stopping. "Snipes! Snipes, ya awake?"
There was a great deal of barking as Ruby ran up the stairs, and a tiny curly mess of black fur ran around her feet.
"Aww, hiya, Knight!" said Ruby, pausing for a moment to pat her precious dog. "Snipes? Snipes, ya up heah?"
Snipeshooter sat up and rubbed his eyes. "Ruby?"
Ruby bounded over. "Hiya, Snipes! How ya doin'? Feel any bettah?"
"Yeah, a lil bit." Snipeshooter rubbed the back of his neck and yawned. "What time 's it?"
"Aww, I dunno. I ain't gotta pocket watch er nuttin'. I'se guessin' 'round six er so. Whatcha been doin' all day?"
"Jist sleepin'. Sell all yer papes?"
"All but one," said Ruby cheerfully, pulling out the hot dog. "Gotcha sumpin' ta eat!"
"Aww, golly, t'anks Ruby! Yer da nicest poisson I'se evah met!" cried Snipeshooter, hugging her tightly and not letting go for a few long moments.
"'Ey Snipes... uhh... I was t'inking... uhh... well... we's friends, right?"
Snipeshooter nodded and took a bite of his hot dog, watching Ruby cautiously and never taking his eyes from hers for a second.
"Uhh... well... I was talkin' ta Lucky... an'... well... I like ya... like more dan a friend," Ruby said, blushing furiously.
"Really?" asked Snipeshooter, nearly choking on his dinner.
Ruby nodded, wishing she could shrink and slip through one of the cracks in the floor.
"Cause, uh... I t'ink I like ya like dat, too."
Ruby smiled. "Really? Ya ain't jokin' or nuttin' like dat?"
Snipeshooter shook his head vigorously. For a few moments, the room was silent.
"Awright, dey's a li'l too quiet. Whatcha say we go join 'em, huh?" suggested Blink in a whisper, turning to his friends. Making a point to stomp up the stairs and talk very loudly, the newsies headed upstairs.
"'Ey Snipes! How ya feelin'?" called Bumlets.
"Bettah!" replied Snipeshooter cheerfully, glad to get his confession off his chest.
"Ya didn't eat any of dat mush dat Kloppman makes, didja?" asked Skittery anxiously. "I sweah, dat stuff kept me sick!"
"Don't I know it," Specs joked.
"So dere's li'l miss Ruby! Why'd ya leave in da middle a dinnah?" asked Race.
"Wasn't da middle fer me, Race. I was done, so I left!"
"Ruby, done before the rest of us?" asked Dutchy, pretending to be shocked. "Now there's something we never expected! Is it possible that she can eat faster than us?"
"Aww, quit makin' up stories, Dutchy!" joked Snitch.
"I was! I was done faster'n any a yous!" said Ruby proudly. "I'se a real newsie now, huh?"
"Heart an' soul," added Blink.
Snipeshooter spent two more days recovering from his cough and fever, and then he joined Ruby and got back to earning a living. They had a wonderful time wandering the cold, snowy streets of New York. All the larger houses of the wealthier people, and even some of the apartment buildings and boarding houses were decorated with wreaths.
"Don't it almost make ya wish we was rich?" asked Ruby with a sigh, watching as a little dressed up girl looked in the window of a toy store and pointed out the doll she wanted and would surely get.
"Almost. But I like bein' a newsie. What's wrong, dontcha like it heah no more?" asked Snipeshooter, knots forming in his stomach.
"No! I like it lots heah. I ain't nevah gonna leave," Ruby said defiantly. "But... I dunno, I guess I'se jist a li'l bit jealous. Cause all 'em rich kids get new toys, an' new clothes, an' dey get stuff dat we ain't nevah gonna get."
"Yeah," said Snipeshooter sadly.
"But 'em rich kids ain't got a whole lodgin' 'owse full a deir real good friends, an' dey don't get da chance ta see da city like it really 's. Dey only get ta se da fancy part. An' dey don't get nuttin' ta wish fer, 'cept new toys an' stuff," said Ruby, sounding like someone much older. Then she changed the subject. "'Ey, we had a real good day. Wanna split some a dose roasted chesnuts? I heah dey's dee-lish-us. An' dey's wahm..."
"Awright. My treat, dough."
"Nah, dat's awright, I'll get 'em."
"No, I got da money."
"So do I!"
Snipeshooter rolled his eyes. "You get da chesnuts, and I'll getcha a sarsaparilla tanight at Tibby's, awright?"
Ruby paused, then nodded. "'Scuse me, mistah, kin I get a bag a dose chesnuts?"
"O' course ye can, missy! Use 'em to keep yer wee hands warm. There ye go. That'll be one penny, missy."
Ruby rummaged through her pocket but could only find a nickel. "Heah, keep da change."
"Oh, no, I couldn't, missy."
"Naw, dat's awright. I know it's tough woikin' dis time a year. Ev'rybody's at home, keepin' warm, and we's out heah tryin' ta sell da papes ta nobody. It's gonna get bettah, dough," said Ruby cheerfully. "Keep da change. T'anks fer da chesnuts. An' merry c'rismus!" She ran off with Snipeshooter to a nearby bench.
"Gimme onna dose chesnuts," said Snipeshooter eagerly, his mouth watering in anticipation of the warm snack he was about to devour.
Ruby opened the bag. "Mmm... Dey's real good, Snipes! Heah, take one b'fore I eat all a 'em!"
"Oh wow, dese's da best t'ing I'se had ta eat in a real long time!" said Snipeshooter.
When the two friends were done eating their midday snack, they headed off to wander the streets of New York for a bit longer. Ruby peered in the window of a store and saw that it was only four-thirty. Most of the newsies didn't eat dinner until five or five-thirty.
"'Ey, Snipes, wouldja look at dat? Dere must be twenty wreaths heah!" said Ruby as she tiptoeing towards the back of an alley.
"Dere's a flowah stoah right dere. Dey must be t'rowin' 'em away!"
"But dey's poifect! 'Ey... ya t'ink dey'd mind if we took 'em?"
"What 're we gonna do wit a buncha wreaths?"
"Well... da lodgin' 'owse could use a li'l culah fer da holidays..." pointed out Ruby.
Snipeshooter smiled. "Sure, let's take 'em. Not like dese hoity-toity flowah people 's gonna notice dat we took some a deir garbage. 'Sides, it's fer a good cause."
Ruby shrugged, grabbed a few, glanced around, and tore off to The Lodging House, with Snipeshooter close behind.
"'Eya, Mistah Kloppman! Look what we found!" said Ruby, panting from her run.
"Well well well, what have we here?"
"Wreaths!" announced Ruby.
"Where did you get those? Didn't steal them, did you?"
"Nah. Some flowah shop was t'rowin' 'em out. T'rowin' 'em out! Dey's poifect! Why d'ya t'ink dey was t'rowin' 'em out?"
"Well, I don't know, Ruby," said Mr. Kloppman slowly.
"Kin we hang 'em up, Mistah Kloppman?"
With a smile, Ruby quickly hung one on the door, one on the stairs, and the rest scattered throughout the lodging house.
"Dey look real nice, huh?" asked Ruby.
"Sure do," said Mr. Kloppman, nodding slowly in agreement.
"'Ey, Ruby, c'mon, er we's gonna be late fer meetin' all da guys at Tibby's!" called Snipeshooter.
"Bye!" shouted Ruby as Snipeshooter grabbed her hand and pulled her out the door and down the street.
There was some tension between the two friends. Snipeshooter felt it. Ever since they had admitted their feelings, things had been... different. Suddenly, he stopped and turned to Ruby, who looked confused.
"'Ey Ruby... do ya really like me more'n a friend?"
She paused and nodded slowly.
Snipeshooter smiled as he leaned down to kiss her. They were completely oblivious to everything but each other for a few seconds. Snipeshooter had never felt happier, and suddenly felt much older than his twelve years. Ruby also felt very happy, obviously, and knew that this would change everything.
"'Ey, git outta da way! Lousy loveboids..." a man shouted at them.
Ruby giggled. "C'mon, we's gonna be real late an' Jack's gonna be mad."
"Awright," Snipeshooter agreed, taking Ruby's hand. She smiled as they headed through the snowy streets of New York City.
"'Ey everybody!" called Ruby cheerfully as they entered Tibby's. "Merry C'rismus!"
"C'rismus 's tamarrah!" called Race.
"I know dat! I ain't stupid. But it's C'rismus Eve, so I'se sayin' merry c'rismus!" said Ruby defiantly. She slid into a chair and ordered her meal. "Remembah, ya owe me a sarsaparilla," she said to Snipeshooter.
"I didn't fergit," he replied. "Um... a hot dog an' two sarsaparillas."
"Two?" asked the waiter.
"Yeah. One fer me an' one fer me friend heah," said Snipeshooter confidently, putting an arm around Ruby.
"Friend... yeah, sure, and you're Teddy Roosevelt," muttered the waiter as he walked off.
Ruby glanced sideways at Snipeshooter and burst out giggling. All the older newsies glanced at each other, and Race triumphantly looked at Snitch, knowing that some money was coming his way. Boots and Les looked at each other. What was wrong with their friend?
Lodging that night was free, courtesy of Mr. Kloppman. All the newsies cheered, and Racetrack somehow found a bottle of moonshine and popped the cork off, sending it flying.
"Owwwww!" shouted Boots, picking the cork up off the floor, grabbing his slingshot, and firing it at Boots.
Race looked ready to fight, but Blink and Mush grabbed his arms and he calmed down soon enough.
"Don't drink dat stuff," Mush told the younger newsies. "It's awful! Honest!"
"I ain't tryin' it," said Ruby, glancing at the older newsies, who were crowded around each other, drinking the alcohol straight from the bottle. Skittery took the bottle and proceeded to finish it off, while the newsies stood around laughing and cheering her on.
"Yous guys 's sick!" shouted Lucky unexpectedly. "Doncha know what's gonna happen? Yer gonna turn out like me fadda! A sick bummah, who beats up 'is kids! Dis 's why so many a yous guys 's heah, y'know. Cause yer fadda was drunk an' 'e beat up yer mudda. Cause 'e beat some a yous guys up. Don't t'ink I dunno 'bout it. I'se seen some a da youngah an' da newah newsies comin' in heah more beat up den I'se evah seen. An' den ya go and drink! Yer all sick." Lucky left the entrance of the lodging house and pounded up the stairs.
The newsies glanced at each other. "Guess I bettah go talk ta 'er," said Jack quietly, hurrying up the stairs. The rest of the newsies followed. Race was apologizing to Mr. Kloppman as Ruby slipped up the stairs. The window was opened, so she assumed Ruby and Jack were out on the fire escape or the roof.
"Look, Lucky, like I'se said a million times. I'se sahry-"
"I know yer sahry! But ya don't know what it's like, Jack. I mean, yer fadda didn't beat ya up fer no reason. Ya jist don't know what it's like."
Jack came climbing through the window. "I dunno what's wit 'er," he said to himself as he ran down the stairs.
Ruby glanced around. No one was watching her. Snipeshooter was talking to Specs and Bumlets. Racetrack was organizing a game of cards. It was just like any other night. Except Lucky wasn't in the middle of it, playing cards, and laughing.
Ruby checked one last time to make sure no one was watching her, slipped the window open, climbed out, and quietly closed it again. Lucky was sitting halfway up the stairs to the roof, with her back against the building. She was hugging her knees and quietly staring out at the skyline.
"'Ey Lucky. Merry c'rismus," said Ruby quietly.
Lucky jumped. "Geemaneez, Ruby! Scare me ta death, why doncha?" she said sarcastically.
"Aww, sahry, Lucky. If ya don't want me ta be out heah, I'll go back in." Ruby was starting to pull the window open when Lucky grabbed her sleeve.
"Nah, I don't wanna be 'lone out heah." Lucky paused and exhaled, her breath forming a frosty white cloud in the air as Ruby sat down several steps below Lucky. "I'se sahry 'bout yellin' at all a yous guys downstahs. I'se jist... I dunno, seein' yer brudda, it made me t'ink a Chaun, an' fer some reason, dat made me t'ink a me fadda, so I ain't been in a real good mood. An' den when all da guys was drinkin' downstahs... it jist made me crack, y'know?"
"Yeah. It's awright. Me fadda, 'e drank a lot, too. 'E was always drunk. But 'e nevah beat me er me mudda er me bruddas er me sistahs up, er nuttin. 'E was always at da saloon. 'E pretty much left us alone. Like 'e was jist some strangah, dat showed up ev'ry once 'n a while."
"Was 'e yer real fadda?" asked Lucky.
Ruby nodded. "What, yer fadda wasn't yer fadda?"
"Nah, 'e was me stepfadda." Lucky unbuttoned the top button of her coat and fumbled with something before pulling out a chain with a small gold ring on it. "Dis was from me real fadda. 'E gave it ta me on me tenth birfday, an' when I left, I took it so I could always remembah 'im."
"Dat's nice, dat ya got sumpin ta remembah 'im by. I ain't got nuttin. Den again, I don't 'ticularly wanna remembah me fadda, so... Wait, yes I do. I got dis..." Ruby dug around inside her pockets until she produced a small gold chain with a gold cross dangling from it. "Me fadda won some money, gamblin' er sumpin like dat, an' 'e got me dis." Ruby looked at it, then slipped it around her neck.
"Kinda unusual, ain't it?"
"What?" asked Ruby, looking up at the older girl.
"We's a lot alike, y'know dat, Ruby?"
"What, jist cause ahr faddas were drunks, we's a lot alike? I'll bet half a da guys in dere had faddas who were drunks, jist like ya said," said Ruby, nodding towards the window.
"Well, we's da only goyl newsies in Manhattan, so we gotta stick tugethah, right?"
"An' we's both in love wit onna ahr boys, right?"
Ruby nodded again, smiling and blushing slightly.
"So does 'e know?"
Ruby paused, then nodded. She didn't feel like it was right to give Lucky all the details so soon after it had happened.
"'E likes ya, don't 'e?" asked Lucky, grinning wickedly.
The window rattled open, and Snipeshooter peered out.
"'Eya, Snipes!" both girls said cheerfully.
"'Ey goyls!" he replied, shutting the window behind him. "Lucky, 're you awright?"
Lucky nodded. "Yeah, I'se awready feelin' a bit bettah. T'anks ta yer goyl heah."
Suddenly, a bright splash of color exploded in the sky, and a deafening boom was heard throughout the city.
"Somebody's shootin' off fiahwoiks," noted Snipeshooter.
"Gee, t'anks, Mush," joked Lucky.
There was a lot of noise as all the newsies ran to the window and pushed each other as they climbed out. Jack was the last out, and he slowly walked past Snipeshooter and Ruby.
Lucky merely looked up at him, then shifted her glance to the brilliant sky and hugged her knees tighter.
Lucky looked up at him again. Jack only used her given name when he was serious.
"Cassie, I know ya've been t'rough a lot, an' it ain't easy fer ya, but ya gotta know dat if ya evah need ta talk, ya can talk ta me. I'd ratha have ya wake me up at t'ree in da morning cause ya need ta talk, dan have ya go off at ev'rybody like ya did downstahs. But dat's undahstandable."
"I jist don't wanna be any trouble ta anybody," she said quietly.
"Ya've already been plently a trouble, ya can't be any more trouble!" Jack laughed. When he saw that Cassie wasn't laughing, he sat down on the step below her and took both her hands in his. "Cassie, I'se gonna love ya forevah 'n' evah! I sweah! I ain't nevah felt dis way 'bout any goyls, evah."
There was a pause. "Ya don't have ta git all mushy on me, Cowboy," she said, sniffling. "C'mere."
Both the newsies fell silent.
Ruby felt someone grab her hand, and nearly jumped out of her skin. She turned and saw Snipeshooter sitting on the windowsill, looking at Ruby as if she had just lost her mind. Ruby sighed and squeezed Snipeshooter's hand.
Finally, after about fifteen minutes, the fireworks ended, and the shivering newsies made their way down from the roof.
"'Ey, Snipes, ya an' yer goyl bettah move, cause we's freezin'!" warned Itey, who was half-joking.
"Eh, we's going, we's going, ya scab," said Snipeshooter. "C'mon, Ruby."
Itey looked back at Snitch and grinned. Snitch muttered something about betting and Racetrack, with a few obscene words thrown in.
"'Ey, it's Denton!" shouted Snipeshooter as he climbed in the window.
All the newsies immediately began shoving each other as they climbed in the window. Ruby, being the smallest newsie, quickly got pushed aside.
"Oof!" she cried.
"Ruby! Ya awright?" asked Snipeshooter, going over to her.
Ruby nodded. "I'se fine." She grabbed Snipeshooter's hand and pulled herself up. Snipeshooter carelessly rested an elbow against one of her shoulders.
"Ruby, dis is ahr friend, Mistah Denton, an' Denton, dis is ahr newest newsie, Ruby Dryden. An' ya ain't nevah met Lucky. Dis is Lucky Jaspah."
"Nice to meet you, Miss Dryden, Miss Jasper," replied Denton. "I've heard a lot about you."
"From who?" asked Lucky suspiciously, raising one eyebrow.
"Dave and Les," replied Denton.
Lucky nodded. The newsies began to scatter and as Blink walked by, he casually snatched the cap off Lucky's head.
"'Ey! Ya bummah! Ya bettah give dat back, er I'll soak ya!" Lucky tore off, chasing Blink all around the bunkroom, through the washroom, and back again. As Lucky was passing a bunk, she grabbed a pillow and hurled it at Blink. Blink laughed, picked it up, and began beating her with it. Soon, the whole room was involved in an all-out pillow fight.
With one exception.
"So, I heard that you've already got yourself a new girl," Denton said casually.
"'Ey, Sarah's been gone fer almost a yeah! An' two months was a long time ta be widout anybody," said Jack defensively.
"Hey, calm down. She seems nice enough. Seems to have a big mouth, though."
Jack tuned Denton out, thinking of nothing but Lucky's mouth- and not in the way that Denton had meant it at all. (Note: Not in THAT way either, ya pervs! This is rated PG! Get outta the gutter! This is a PRIVATE gutter, thankyouverymuch! =) )
"And Snipeshooter too, well well well, aren't you all growing up so fast," teased Denton.
"Aww, shuddup! Ya sound like Medda- 'Keeelly, you're growing up so fast. Why, it was only yesterday that you were a little boy,'" mocked Jack, sounding exactly like Medda, much to the amusement of the newsies.
"Jack, help me git me hat back! Why 's yous guys always takin' me hat? BLINK! Givvit baaaaaaack!" whined Lucky.
"Uh-oh, she's whinin'. Bettah give it back," warned Jack, a smile creeping onto his face.
Lucky smacked him lightly as Blink tossed the cap towards her. "T'anks," she replied, tucking her dishwater blonde hair up into it.
"Well, I'd better get going," said Denton. "Merry Christmas."
All the boys shouted their goodbyes, and as Lucky, Jack, and Blink were walking over to say goodbye, the ever-observant Blink asked, "What's that?" He pointed to something small and green hanging in the doorway.
"Mistletoe," said Specs, glancing away from his card game. Snipeshooter tried to hide a grin as he glanced at Ruby, who buried her face in a pillow so no one would hear her giggles. Jack had a goofy grin on his face, as if he was saying, "Why not?" to Lucky.
With a grin, Blink put one hand on Lucky's shoulder, his other hand on Jack's shoulder, and pushed them together. All the newsies whooped and cheered as their leader and his girl kissed under the mistletoe, looking as if they never wanted to let go.
How's 'e do it? thought Snipeshooter. Jist goes right ahead an' kisses his goyl right in front a Denton an' all da newsies... I mean, I like Ruby an' all, but ta kiss 'er in fronta all dose people... Geemaneez, ain't he outta breath yet?
Meanwhile, similar thoughts were running through Ruby's head. If I were Lucky, me face'd match me 'air by now. How kin she kiss 'im, in fronta all dese people? I like Snipes an' all, but dat'd jist be weird. 'Sides, dey'd all t'ink I'se mad, er sumpin. An' nobody knows dat I like 'im, 'cept Lucky. Itey was jist teasin'. 'E's been callin' me Snipes' goyl since- geemaneez, I'se been heah a week awready? Seems like a yeah!
Finally, Lucky and Jack pulled apart. "Well, I dunno 'bout yous fellahs, but I'se awful tiahed. G'night." Lucky went over to her bunk above Blink and began undressing for the night.
"Me, too. G'night," said a few other newsies, Ruby among them.
"G'night," whispered Snipes as he walked past Ruby's bunk on the way to his own bunk. Ruby grinned. Whatta great c'rismus, she thought as she drifted off into dreams.
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