Cold. She hates the cold. She knows that whenever the temperature dropped, it would be harder for her to live on the streets. It was already hard for her considering the number of beggars and homeless people in the city, especially since she was near the outskirts of the city.
She was a nobody among the sea of people that were bustling about in the midst of the cold wintry night. She could hear loud voices and boisterous laughter coming closer to her little alleyway so she made her way to the end, nearing the street and sitting just at the mouth of the alley. She prepared to beg for some change, hoping that the incoming group would spare her some kindness even though she knew how unlikely it was.
Just as she reached out and asked for some coins, one of her hands grazed the coat of one of the females who suddenly screamed as though electrocuted, startling even her.
"Ahh! This brat tried to pick my pockets!" the woman yelled out angrily as she sent a gloved hand flying to the young girl's face who's eyes were wide with shock.
The force of her slap, threw the little girl to the ground and made her whimper in pain. People around them made a beeline and tried to avoid getting involved even if they saw a young beggar girl getting beat up.
"I wasn't trying to steal! I swear!" she gasped out as she tried to crawl away.
"Lies! I felt your hand in my coat you little-"
"That's enough." a deep, gruff voice boomed out as an arm shot out to catch the hand that was about to hit the trembling child.
"Who the hell do you think you are?!" the woman spat out indignantly, her eyes looking angrily at the middle-aged man who stepped in to protect the little girl.
"Someone who doesn't bully the weak." he retorted, his voice full of derision as he stared the woman down.
Looking at the tall and intimidating man, the rest of the people in the woman's group slowly urged her to move on and just leave. With a haughty attitude, she stared at the man and beggar girl with disgust before giving a snide comment and marching away along with her group.
The little girl was stunned at what happened, mostly surprised at the fact that someone actually stepped in and helped her.
Dazed by the slap, she jumped in surprise when she felt a large hand gently land on her shoulder. Her eyes traced the hand to look up to the owner of the hand to meet the worried green eyes of the stranger who helped her. She saw him talking but for the life of her, she couldn't hear let alone understand what he was saying over the ringing in her ears.
Blinking her eyes confusedly, she tried to concentrate on trying to hear and trying to read his lips to understand. After a few moments, she was finally able to hear.
"Are you alright little one?" the man asked, his rough baritone voice drawing her attention. Slowly, she nodded her head in response, getting a small smile in return.
"That's good then. Tell me, where is your home? I'll bring you there."
Hearing his words, the little girl stiffened and tried to avoid his gaze but he was still able to catch the emotions that flitted across her face, making a small frown form on his forehead.
Gently, he placed a finger under her chin and tilted her head to meet her big watery eyes.
"Do you have anywhere you can go to?" he asked gently.
"No." the little girl answered quietly as she slowly hid her emotions one by one.
The sight sent a pang through his heart. He saw a little girl at a tender age of around five or six who already knew how to control her emotions and hide behind a mask. It just wasn't right.
With a sigh, he gave a small sigh before he scooped the little girl into his arms and walking off while he carried her, making her squeak in surprise.
Shock, surprise and a little bit of fear showed in her face that made him give her a reassuring glance as he moved quickly out of the city and through the forest in it's outskirts.
"Don't worry little one, I'm not going to harm you." he murmured quietly in assurance, making the little girl look at him warily.
"Then where are you taking me?" she asked quietly.
"To my home. You did say that you had nowhere to go to, right?" he said with grin, shocking the girl to silence as the man laughed boisterously when he saw the dumb-founded expression on her face.