A/N: Please know that this is VERY AU!
Emma Swan stood holding some lunch for she and her boyfriend Neal. The eighteen year old couldn't believe she managed to fall in love after the life she'd had. Being bounced around from foster home to foster home, not to mention being left on the side of the freeway when she was a newborn. No more than at least an hour old, from what the people at Child Services had told her when she was released into the world.
It made her sick. Her 'mother' must have given birth to her in the car, and then the just dumped her like she was nothing, for… whatever reason. She didn't care to know the reason why – all she knew was her parents left her to be found by a child and then to be bounced around like a simple toy someone sells at garage sales.
No, don't think about that now, Emma, she told herself. She needed to wait for Neal, the only bright spot she had… and soon they'd have many more bright spots, because they were settling down and becoming normal. She would look for a job in Tallahassee when they got there, and they'd rent a small apartment with the money they had, and then they'd get a bigger and better one, or even a house.
The world was open to her now. No more sleeping on the streets, stealing cars, and ripping off convenience stores. It was amazing to think about.
"Hey! I have lunch," Emma said when she noticed Neal, a smile on her face as she wagged the bag in his face.
Neal though, looked concerned about something. "That's good. We need to talk."
Emma frowned. "What? What's wrong?"
Neal sighed and pulled out a piece of paper. A wanted poster.
With him on it.
Emma knew something like this would be coming. They couldn't avoid it forever, but she hoped and prayed that everything would be avoided.
"I stole some watches when I was younger and working at a jewelry store," he explained.
"What did you do with them?" Emma asked.
"They're in a locker in the train station. Emma, I don't want to go to jail, but I know I have to give it up. The sooner I do the less time I'll spend in jail."
Jail? Oh no, Emma didn't like that thought at all. Taking a deep breath, Emma rested against him. "We'll think of something, so you don't have to go to jail. I can't lose you Neal. Not like I've lost everyone else important to me. You're the first one to show me something I never thought I would have."
"Emma, what do you want me to do? I can't evade the police forever now that they've put out the updated lists. Police here will find me and recognize me," Neal said, trying to pull away from her, but Emma held firm, determined to think of something. She was a street rat. She thought of ways to get out of trouble.
"Neal stop. Please. Just let me think," Emma replied. She couldn't lose him. He was the first one she let in since she was fourteen, and she loved him. She'd read fairytales, she knew love wasn't that superficial, but she knew this was love. "Please."
"I can't drag you into this Emma," Neal said. "I don't want you to go to jail too."
"Neither of us will go to jail… because I have a plan."
Neal sighed. "What is it?"
Emma grinned a sly smile. "I go to that locker, and pretend to 'find' the watches in a locker that I rented. The watches are returned, we get the reward money, and you don't get into trouble. Then we can start our life in Tallahassee!"
Emma's enthusiasm was obvious, a wide grin on her face, her eyes bright for the first time in a long while, and, eventually, it got to Neal, and the man eventually smiled, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "Emma Swan, that's just crazy enough to work," he murmured softly. "I'll wait for you a block away from the station, and then we'll go from there when you turn them in."
Emma nodded. "Tonight we'll do it." The possibilities in her head with what they would do with twenty thousand dollars was unbelievable. She thought they would only be able to afford a small apartment, but with that money, they'd be able to buy something better. Something stable. It would be strange, after so many years of being bounced around, and running away, it might be nice to… plant some roots.
Like the stories she'd read as a child, the ones she'd scoffed at as a teenager… but now, she'd be able to have that life.
The fairy-tale life.
She laughed a little as she and Neal settled down to have their lunch. "So, are you sure you want to do this?" Neal asked.
Emma nodded. "Yes Neal. Starting our life together, planting roots… it's something everyone told me I was too wild and out of control for something like this. One of the guys at the foster home told me I was destined to die on the streets because I was so cold to everyone."
Neal frowned, before smiling a little. "Time to prove all of them wrong Emma."
The blonde nodded. "That's exactly what I was thinking."