(Ugh, so many Young!Emma feels after that episode. CS street kids AU)
She’s heard about him.
Seen him a few times, the boy in the leather jacket with the dark hair and bright blue eyes. He’s cute, more than cute, but Emma keeps her distance. He has a gang, they snatch purses and lift wallets and they squat in an old factory with a skull and bones spray painted on the brick wall. It’s their sign, their symbol.
Its easier now, to look for the cameras and to slip a box of cookies or palm an apple under her baggy coat when the clerk’s back is turned, easier, but not easy, and there’s days when she doesn’t eat at all.
She’s seen him, the gang leader, buying McDonalds and pizza, taking it back to the old factory with his buddies in tow, doling out the food and she can smell it - it makes her mouth water and she’s tempted to come out from her hiding spot and see if maybe they might share. But she can’t take the risk, there’s several of them, and they’re all boys and she knows what girls on the streets trade for food and shelter with the other gangs, and she’s not one of them, not yet.
Better off alone, anyway.
There’s a few places where she can sleep, safe, or safe-ish at least, with her bag tied to her waist so no one can make off with it without waking her. She can’t go to a shelter, they’ll take one look and know she’s underage and call the cops, and she is not going back to another group home where the other kids steal her stuff or foster family where the dad “forgets” to knock on the bedroom door when she’s changing.
Three of them try to corner her one night, in the alley behind the bakery where one of the cashiers sets out day old bagels and muffins next to the back door. They’re from the other gang who’s territory ends one street over, two boys who leer at her and a girl with dead eyes.
Emma fights, a lifetime of foster homes and group care taught her to fight, and she blackens an eye and splits a lip, but there’s too many of them and she takes a punch to the stomach and loses her bag (oh God no), and then she’s running, running, two streets over and through the hole in the chain link fence and they’re following her and she’s going to get the shit kicked out of her and raped but she swears she’ll go down fighting, but then four of them appear, led by him, the boy in the leather jacket who’s got a chain wrapped around his hand with a hook swinging from the end and his buddies hold tire irons and baseball bats and they yell to her pursuers that this is their territory and the three of them turn tail and run.
The girl drops Emma’s bag by the chain link fence.
The boy in the leather jacket retrieves it, and kneels down next to her.
“I’ve seen you before. What’s your name?”
She thinks she should lie, she thinks she should grab her bag and run, but she doesn’t, she just looks at his face (younger, up close) and whispers, “Emma.”
“Emma,” he repeats, “They call me Hook, but my name is Killian.”
He helps her to her feet, hand on her back and she frowns, “What do you want me to call you?”
The blue eyes blink, and he actually blushes, “Killian.”
She doesn’t have to trade anything for a share of the food and a place to sleep in the factory squat, Killian steals a set of bedsheets and hangs them across an alcove so she has privacy, she can sleep without tying her bag to her waist and for the first time in weeks, she actually sleeps through the night.
Within a month Killian is sleeping in the alcove with her, his jacket folded up underneath their heads and his arm wrapped firmly around her waist, and she sleeps better than she has in years.
It’s not much.
But it becomes home.