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For my story, I have a character who is a police officer. In this story, a child is a key to solving the identity of a crime lord after witnessing one of their crimes. The child is in questioning, but of course is not in a comfortable place with health and trauma of the event witnessed. They need the girl to trust the police especially after it’s shown she dislikes them from her past environment conditions. With no answers and crime getting worse due to this crime lord, time is running out.

My question still stands. How can the relationship of the police officer and the child fit? They’re the two main characters, but would it be possible for the officer (in the whole mission of gaining trust and info.) to possible foster the child? I don’t know how to otherwise connect the two close and that for a father and daughter relationship for the development of story.

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    sounds unethical if not illegal… but try to justify it in-world. If your setting is a small town, in an earlier naive-half of the previous century… or you've shown the officer has tangible (in-story) motives to keep the child out of the system… and at the very least you have someone else (in a position of authority, not a badguy) who can 'hang a lampshade on it' by ringing the conflict of interest alarm…. If they kept the kid so she'll reveal the 3rd Act – and she does – that's too obvious. A 'hero' should want to protect the traumatized kid, remove her from danger, not exploit her for a job. – wetcircuit Apr 27 '20 at 3:09
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People break the rules. Fictive characters do it even more.

@Wetcircuit has a good point in his comment to your question, and I want to add to it.

  • If your police officer is not the hero, he would house her for his benefit and not hers.
  • If your police officer is 'the hero', he should house the child to save her, not to use her.

I imagine a scenario where your officer (like the rest of the police force) realizes that they will get nothing out of her, and have to let her go. Maybe he managed to make her smile once, but, overall, she wasn't useful to the case as a witness.

Later, he comes across the girl in another place. Perhaps he intervenes during a kidnapping, or she's caught up in/witness to something else, and this time, she actually finds comfort in recognizing the police officer. Perhaps, this time she doesn't actually have anyone else (or her parents are part of the crimes or dangerous, perhaps one killed the other...), and though 'his superiors' won't (and can't legally) allow him to let her stay at his place, he risks it for her safety.

He slowly earns her trust when she realizes that he's not there for her because he wants something. Perhaps he shows her care and attention in ways she's never felt before. She slowly learns that "the police" isn't the evil she's been brought up to believe, and perhaps indirectly gets to know some of the police officer's closest friends/pals/colleagues - the police officer tells stories about them.

Act 3; our police officer is critically injured, maybe killed, and to save/avenge him, she comes forward with useful information.

Additional tips for structuring the story

If these are both main characters, I suggest making sure that they both have their own side-stories/sub-plots, where we get to know them and understand how differently they approach the world (seemingly).

Later, they may realize that their differences are merely a matter of perspective and that they actually have the same core values, only shaped and created differently (us vs them, good vs bad, right vs wrong).

Also, focusing on side-stories makes it easier for their relationship to grow at a natural pace. If everything's focused on what happens between them, it will probably happen unrealistically fast, or take way too long to stay interesting.

Examples:

The police officer: Romance or relation to a friend and sibling or family issues + additional crimes to fight and keeping her a secret.

The girl: Trying to figure out what's in it for the police officer (until she trusts him) + what's her own life actually like? Friends, family, school, hobbies? How does she act/feel about the crime(s)?

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