Roman has always known, even from the days when he had been younger than the base child so carefully and protectively held in his arms, that he had been rather fortunate as a child growing up. While his pride had never really had much to their names, the life they'd been driven to live dictating they carry with them only what was most important if not entirely needed for them to thrive despite always seeming to have that need of moving from one place to the next, in the golden-hazel eyes of the lion, what they'd needed most was not something they had to worry about carrying over their shoulders or their backs. The Lionels had each other, and that had always been enough for him. Most children who were fortunate enough to have a home they did not have to abandon only a year or two later might be so lucky as to have those boxes full of toys, dressed stuffed with clothes that had been purchased for them for various occasions and sometimes simply because new ones were needed, but these things were not a luxury the man had been given as a child. What few personal items Roman had had growing up had been hand-me-downs from his older brother, Tristan, and yet those clothes had been so well taken care of by their mother that it was often hard to tell that they were not bought just for him. He would have a few different pairs of jeans, a couple shorts, and a handful of simple shirts that would easily be able to be worn with between them. They only ever had enough that would allow for them to travel lightly, and so even from the start, the lion's life had been a simple one. Far from able to afford those shiny, new action figures that many of the other children might be gifted with for their birthdays and various holidays, it was his brothers and sisters that Roman looked to for entertainment and games often calling on that childish imagination that wasn't entirely lost on the were as he grew older. The holidays had always been modest for his pride, the meals nowhere near as large or lavish and it was certainly a time where the family was thankful for their capabilities to hunt and gather what the wilderness could provide. It was their were nature, the predatory expertise and the hunt that kept their stomachs full, though it was easy to say that one kill was barely enough for the large family. And yet, somehow, they would always make ends meet. Even though he had grown up with only what was needed, Roman had never desired anything more. It was because of how much his family appreciated the little things that kept them so very close to one another, untouched by greed and selfishness as they shared whole-heartedly and with endless love for each other that Roman would never wish for a different start in life.
The lion knew without question that he was fortunate not only for his family and their simple life, but for all the love to be found in those younger years now only fond memories. He has seen for himself the poverty-stricken families less fortunate than his own, and it is always heartbreaking for the were to see a family going hungry. He only ever loved his family all that much more when they were able to help those less fortunate than themselves, trapping rabbits and giving them away as they could afford to do so. Despite so often using any extra game they could hunt ke catch in order to trade for other things like fresh vegetables, clothing, or pots and pans, items that were perhaps a bit harder for the Lionel family to gain due to the sporadic availability of money, his pride ensured their help where it could be given freely. He remembers well a little girl he'd seen on the streets in a tattered and warm dress, a ghost of a smile dancing across her lips as she amused herself with her imaginings and a singular stick clutched within her hand. It was easy to see even in her youthful face that she was thin, and still somehow finding a reason to smile and a joy in her innocent heart to play alone when all the other kids might make fun of her for looking a little unkempt. Roman also remembers how the girl and his youngest sister, Trinity, had been the same age as this girl. He'd sifted through his own belongings one afternoon and found one of his very first - and even fewer - toys, a Mickey Mouse doll that had been stitched and sewed here and there from all the places he would carry the toy as a toddler, finding the girl the following afternoon at recess and giving it to her. How her eyes had shone that day, her smile so radiant and beautiful even through the messy chocolate curls as she thanked him agree revealing how she once had a doll much like that one and it had been lost in the fire that also took away from her and her poor parents the roof over their heads and almost everything that had belonged to them. The girl had hugged him so tightly then, before her teacher called the girl back inside with the rest of the students. Roman could never forget that girl, and they'd even been friends for a while until Roman and his family had packed up with little they owned and moved on to the next town. Ever since that day, whenever he would see a family needing more than his own, having so much less, the lion would try and give what he could when he could. Perhaps this has played a part in the lion's fondness for children, so delicate and yet so hopeful and strong in spirit that the were could hardly help but feel compelled to watch over them as they would play in those public parks, working in unison with that innate "big brother" disposition where he would always stand up for the smaller and more timid children in his classes even as he grew from a child to an adolescent and eventually into the man he was today.
It was simply who he was; a protector and a heart that would give what he could offer where he could. And, as he holds tired little Maeve, carrying her through the streets in search for the place she has made her temporary home in, the lion cannot help the love that he feels for her. The fae child gives him that familiar sense of purpose he has not felt in years, and though the man hardly needed to feel needed, there was something in knowing that she trusted him which has so effortlessly stolen the were's beating heart from his chest. He knows in this moment that there was nothing he would not do to guard her from the world and those in it that might dare to be foolish enough and seek to harm me frighten her. No, he does not know her story, unable to see into her past as some with such a supernatural gift might be able to. He is unaware of how she's run away from her previous families, that she was a child so unfortunate enough not to have the loving arms of her true parents to shelter her from the shadows and the strangers that might look upon her innocence and see something to be manipulated or broken down. But, what the lion does see is a child that is alone. He has seen her frightened, crouched behind that dumpster, the girl's heart pounding so loudly in her chest as it raced in fear of being found and taken to a place she did not want to return to that the lion had heard it long before seeing near-white hair and startling violet eyes, and he is bound and determined that she will not have to feel it again. Walking through the people, golden-hazel eyes fall gently over the girl as she reaches her small hand out to the stubble of his jaw. Her touch is gentle, fleeting like that of a butterfly landing delicately upon sun-kissed skin as her murmured words fall softly over her lips that smile so sweetly to the lion that he can hardly keep himself from falling for the child in what he could only imagine a father might feel for his daughter - even though Maeve was not his own. It has always amazed him, how children were capable of some of the most profound things, their eyes hearts so far from blurred or clouded by bias and judgement that they could speak words and see things in the world that others with many more years lived could not fathom or see."Thank you, Maeve. I think your heart is much more beautiful, though", he says gently to the girl in his arms then, smiling fondly down to her before golden-hazel eyes look ahead to see the various hotels towering over the sidewalk and those walking beneath them, wondering how close they might be. It was nearing those evening hours, and the man was certain that it would not be long before she grew hungry. He would need to see what she had in the way of food, the thought of her meals suddenly having him all the more concerned that she was living on her own.
He rounds a corner then as tenor tones ask the child what it was she would like to play when they reached the fae child's home, and suddenly that exhaustion which had only moments ago had long lashes fluttering tiredly over amethyst eyes seems to melt away entirely. Perhaps that was all she had needed, a brief rest from her frightening ordeal which had sent her sprinting through the city streets and away from the officer who sought to return her to somewhere she did not want to be. Her reply has Roman smiling gently once more down to Maeve, that sudden shyness so very endearing to the lion."I would very much love to see your drawings", he replies warmly then as they are nearly upon one of the tall building seeming to be made almost entirely of glass. It was his query on whether or not any of these buildings looked familiar to her that her soprano voice assures him that she is aware of where they were. She offered to guide him the rest of the way, and Roman does not hesitate to lower the girl to her own two feet."Lead the way", he says warmly, a gently humor touching tenor tones as she reaches for his hand. Carefully unfolding his strong and calloused one over her much more delicate and petite grasp, he readily allows for the fae child to take him through the doors to one of the hotels. Again, her voice rings out quietly for the lion to hear, those keen senses of his easily catching the soft note of embarrassment that the staff would think him to be her father. However, Roman only smiles down to Maeve in that moment."Then suppose I had better act the part, hmm?", he whispers back, golden-hazel eyes assuring her that there was nothing to be bashful of. If it was the part of her father he was to play, the lion would do so readily. Afted all, he has promised silently to look after her as though she truly was his own daughter, Roman having often wondered if his future might ever hold such a precious gift to bless his world with. However, still he does not trust himself with the heart of another, unable to forget the hearts that he'd hurt in his past. And so, such as thing was not something he sought. If the gods saw fit to provide him a family, then it would come to be when the time was upon the lion, but not a moment sooner. Guiding him across the large lobby area and towards a hallway where there was surely some elevators, Maeve goes on to say that they would not be bothered, that she'd told them not to, but before the man can ask her how it was she's made this request of them, she wastes little time in revealing how it was she had accomplished such a thing.
Golden-hazel eyes soften as she releases her hold of his hand then, as if perhaps she was ashamed of what she'd done. This is when Roman brushes a stray strand of platinum blonde hair from the girl's face, his gaze ever-gentle and understanding."It isn't easy living alone. And I am sure you do not use this gift for the wrong reasons, Maeve. But now, you won't have to so much. I will help you. I promise", he says gently to the girl as they come to stand in front of the closed elevator doors. Pressing the "up" button, he then kneels down so that golden hazel eyes meet bright violet, his hand taking her own as he smiles softly to the fae girl."You don't have to be alone anymore if you don't want to be. You have me", he whispers affectionately to the child then, still holding her hand until the moment she no longer wants him to. No, he would not make her keep him around if it was not what she wanted, and yet he could hardly allow for himself not to become her shadow, watching over her from a distance if she did not want him around. He would protect her, whether she knew he was there or not. Until he knew that she was safe, until she no longer needed him... he would be there for her, as any father or uncle figure would for their daughter or niece. Just as he had been there for Dea, Drake, and Trinity. Whether the girl knew it or not, she was his pride now, the closest thing he had to family, and he would whatever he has to in order to make sure she was happy and healthy.
Somewhere there is a world with no wars and no hate, where all the broken hearts and souls are safe