Witch Hunter Robin
Coffee and Donuts

Mr. Golden

Rated: PG for now; may rise later.

Summary: Post Episode 26. Michael reflects on Robin's disappearance, their relationship, and her replacement, until one night when he finds Solace in Donuts, Coffee and a Love Letter. Edited and Updated after a hiatus that lasted way too long!

Disclaimer: Still not mine. I tried to buy it, but apparently twenty dollars isn't enough money. Story is mine, however.

----

Click.

Click.

Click. Click. Click.

Michael Lee's fingers were as nimble on a keyboard as an Olympic runner's feet on the sandy track of a stadium. If the Olympics ever decided to add a typing contest Michael would be the world champion. Then again for three-and-a-half years he had done computer work for the STN-J. From coordinating hunts to filing information, Michael knew computers better than Bill Gates.

Michael's mouth opened wide in a deep yawn. He hadn't slept again last night. He had been up all night checking police reports, hospital lists and coroner offices. He had almost finished Japan this week, and was becoming desperate for some sign of them. He wanted so badly to find them.

No.

Not them.

Her.

Michael really didn't give a shit what happened to Amon.

It was a cruel thing to think, but it was also true. Michael blamed this all on Amon.

He knew it wasn't the Dark Hunter's fault, but it made it easy to place the blame on Amon and Zaizen and all the faceless, nameless bastards at Solomon HQ.

It was easy to place the blame. He blamed them all in some way. He blamed himself too. It was everyone's fault. Everyone but Her fault. She wasn't to blame.

She was just a victim. An innocent victim of a cruel world.

Besides, blaming Amon was fun because he knew she loved Amon.

"Michael!"

The hacker blinked and looked up. Between the thoughts swimming in his mind and the loud music blasting over his head phones, he hadn't heard Kosaka's words. The bald Chief was angry as hell by the look at him. A thick vain throbbed on the man's pasty neck, and his small mustache was wrinkled along with his nose in fury.

"Yeah?" Michael said in his quiet, almost shy voice he'd adopted since it happened.

"I asked if you've got the info on the witch we're hunting?"

Michael blinked. Of course. He was supposed to be researching that witch.

That what's-his-name who had been killing police in the Walled City.

Michael swallowed. The Walled City. He remembered her going to the Walled City on many occasions. He sighed and shook his head to clear it of memories of the blonde craft-user who had stolen his heart and never even known it.

"Damn it Michael will you pay attention!?"

Michael looked back up at Kosaka, who was shouting again.

"Sorry. Yeah. The Witch's name is Tito Kitsumanda; he's an Air-Craft user."

"Well it's about time." Kosaka snapped. "Well you heard him." He snapped at the group of Witch Hunters.

Miho Karasuma, who was now the leader-in-charge of the group with Amon gone, aimed a nasty scowl at Kosaka. She, like Michael, was still upset over what happened. The other two hunters, Haruto Sakaki and Yurika Doujima, were also still grieving over the loss of their beloved friends. It was a bit different for each of them. Karasuma had taken on a somber, quiet outlook almost like Amon before her. Sakaki would mutter and curse whenever he was reminded of them. Doujima seemed to be handling it the best, but everyone knew that behind her jokes was the same pain they felt.

However the biggest difference was that they, unlike Michael, believed their friends to be dead.

Michael did not believe that. He knew they would not die. He knew they were still out there, still alive, still well.

Then why hasn't she sent a message to you?

Michael shook his head, and bit back tears. He didn't want to think about the reason behind that question.

I'll tell you why you sorry excuse for a hacker, because She loved Amon, not you.

Michael couldn't hold back one of the tears as the voice in his head spoke. A single, cold tear fell down his pale cheek all the way to his chin, where it dripped off and landed on the table just inside a ring of coffee.

The ring had been formed because that's where She had set down the coffee cup every night. She always set it on that side so that he wouldn't spill it when typing. She always made Michael coffee. Coffee and Donuts. They would sit in silence and eat them quietly. After Solomon started hunting for her they could no longer meet like they used to, but She used a pathway in the basement to meet with him.

He never saw her face while she was behind that stone wall, but they could talk. Michael had to make his own coffee and buy his own donuts for those nights, but he always brought them with him. And he wondered still if she had brought any with her.

Stop doing this to yourself Michael. She loved Amon. That's why the first question she'd ask you ever night was "Any news about Amon?" How could she ever be expected to love you? You're on a leash for the rest of your life.

No. That wasn't true.

Zaizen was gone. Maybe he was dead, maybe he was just bidding his time somewhere, whatever the case he wasn't here and Kosaka had allowed Michael to leave the building. While Kosaka was impatient and a complete jerk, he trusted Michael and now Michael was living in an apartment building on Delaney Street near the Walled City.

Michael was only vaguely aware of Kosaka leaving, and the Witch Hunters preparing for the hunt. He was only vaguely aware of the young, raven haired woman who was standing in front of him. She obviously wanted to ask him a question, but he pretended like she wasn't there.

He had been pretending she wasn't there since she got there.

Her name was . . . Michael paused. No. He wouldn't even think her name. If he thought of this dark haired girl's name, it would only prove that she was really here. And if the black-haired replacement was here, than She was really gone.

"Mr. Michael?" She asked in a quiet kind of voice.

Michael said nothing.

"Umm. I just wanted to ask where the Witch was. The one we're hunting."

Michael only continued to type on his computer, treating her as if she was a fly on the wall and not worth the time of day. Doujima bit her lip upon seeing this and stood up, crossing over the room and walking over to Michael.

"We need to talk." Doujima said flatly.

"Yes Miss. Doujima?" Michael asked as he looked up at her.

"In private." Doujima grabbed Michael's wrist and attempted to move him from his chair, but Michael made no effort to stand up or budge in the least. And while Michael wasn't particularly heavy, there was no way Doujima could move him.

"Either you come with me." Doujima snarled through gritted teeth. "Or I'll make Sakaki make you come with me."

Michael sighed and stood up, allowing the blonde to lead him away from the computer and into the kitchen. Once they got there she turned around and slapped Michael across his face. Michael didn't even flinch. He made no move to touch the large red mark that now adored him, or to fix his now lopsided sunglasses.

"We all miss her, okay? And I know that you had a thing for her but you need to start being respectful."

Michael said nothing.

"Look." Doujima said, her anger turning into sorrow. "I know you loved her. I can tell from the look in your eyes. And no one will ever replace her, but Michael, you have to at least try to get to know the new girl."

Michael remained quiet; Doujima sighed and looked down at her feet. Michael was – whether he meant to or not – slowly becoming Amon.

"Kate was my best friend. Did I ever tell you that?"

Kate.

It was the first time Doujima had even used the name of the first Craft User they had employed. Kate had been a friend to everyone at the STN. She had been kinder to Michael than any of his other colleagues – except for Her. Kate was the person She had replaced.

"This isn't like Kate." Michael said.

"Yes it is." Doujima spat. "Kate was my best friend. I didn't like the idea of Kate being replaced at all when Amon first told me, but you know what? Once I got to know Kate's replacement, I liked her more than Kate."

"But Kate died." Michael pointed out. "She is alive."

Doujima sighed. "No she's not Michael."

"Yes she is!" Michael nearly shouted. And with that he turned around and walked away from Doujima; who cursed, bit her lip, and sighed.

----

Hours passed. The hunt for Tito went well. The Witch was now dead. Of course, there was no Factory now, no Orbo, so they used bullets, they killed Witches. That was the way things were.

And now it had become late. Only three people remained in Raven's Flat. Michael was at his computer, once again done with his work and now searching every possible lead for a clue as to her whereabouts. He knew she was alive, he could feel it.

The other two were Doujima and the new girl. Doujima gave a yawn and then grabbed her purse. Before she turned to leave she looked at the new girl and whispered something to her, then she walked into the elevator and vanished from sight.

Michael knew what Doujima had said without hearing it. Three words he didn't want her to say.

Talk. To. Him.

And sure enough a second later the new girl stood and walked over to Michael. Her brown eyes scanned him over and she smiled happily. Didn't she know Michael hated her? Why was she smiling?

"Mr. Michael." She said. "Can we talk?"

Michael ignored her and kept searching.

The new girl sighed. "I just want to meet you."

Michael didn't even hear her.

"I'm sorry I'm not Ro--."

"Shut up." Michael said bitterly. "Don't you talk about her."

The new girl sighed. Michael saw genuine tears forming in her eyes and part of him, a small part, that same part that kept reminding him that She loved Amon felt sad. But the rest of him, the big part that kept shouting To hell with Amon didn't care. He wanted her to cry. He wanted her to know she'd never be like the woman she was supposed to replace.

The replacement was crying now, and she ran to the elevator and hit the down button quickly and vanished.

Michael didn't care.

Not much.

----

The replacement made it down the elevator, crying all the way. She just wanted to be friends with Michael. She knew they all hated her.

Miss. Karasuma and Miss. Doujima had been very nice to her, and Mr. Sakaki was friendly as he could be. But he saw the look deep in their eyes that was disappointed every time they looked at her. She saw that look of resentment that she was who she was and not the woman she had been sent to replace.

She sighed and the tears fell faster. She walked out of the elevator at the ground level slowly as tears continued to fall. She was too distraught that she didn't notice the young woman who was standing in the shadows. When the replacement finally did see her, she gasped.

"Who are you?" The replacement said, her voice was still shaky.

"You must be the new girl." The young woman in the shadow said with a smile. "It's nice to meet you."

The replacement wondered for a moment if this blonde youth in the shadows was another hunter she had not yet met. But no, the Chief had introduced her to everyone . . .

There was a honk of a horn. The blonde girl in the shadows looked down at the street where a black car sat, and a man with dark hair inside was honking. She mouthed "hold on" to him and turned back to the replacement.

"Is Michael here?" The blonde girl asked.

"Yes. Who are you?" The replacement repeated.

"Why are you crying?" The blonde girl asked, ignoring the replacement's question.

The replacement didn't want to talk about it, but somehow she found herself opening up to this woman she didn't know. Why, she didn't understand, but somehow the young woman in the shadows seamed like someone she could trust.

"Mr. Michael doesn't like me." The replacement said quietly.

The blonde girl frowned. "I see. Will you take this to him?" She pushed a small brown package into the replacement's hands.

The replacement was taken aback. "O-okay, but who –"

"You know who I am." The blonde girl said with a warm smile before the replacement – her replacement – could finish the question.

The replacement did know, but she couldn't believe it. "Mr. Michael would really like to talk to you."

The blonde girl shook her head. "No. Not yet. I can't stay in Japan and if I see him I may change my mind. Just give him the box, okay?"

The replacement nodded in somewhat understanding and then turned around to get back on the elevator, eager to deliver the box to Michael.

The blonde girl watched her replacement vanish up the elevator before she turned around and walked down to the black car at the end of the road, opened the door, and climbed inside the passenger seat. Amon looked at her.

"Who was that?"

"My replacement."

Amon paused. "I thought you wanted to talk to Michael."

It was her turn to pause. "I did. I do. But not now. I'll see him again one day, won't I Amon?"

Amon did something surprising; he flashed a small, but genuine smile. "Yes, you will."

And they drove away.

----

Michael was still sitting at the computer, still searching for any sigh of her when the elevator dinged again and the replacement walked inside, a strange brown box tucked under her petite arm as she ran over to Michael's desk.

"I know you don't like me." The replacement said. "But this is for you."

"Feh."

"A girl gave it to me downstairs. She told me to give it to you."

Michael looked up and mused at this. "What girl?"

The replacement couldn't help but smile. "Open it and see."

Michael reached down and tore the tape off, gently folding back the flaps.

And then he gasped.

Inside the box were two small, yellow cartons of a dozen donuts each and a silver thermos next to them, which from the look of it was filled with piping hot coffee. Lying across the top donut box was a small, white envelope.

Michael, who was now in a state of shock, reached out and picked up the envelope and opened it quickly, but gently so he wouldn't tear the letter inside. A small piece of paper fell out. Michael picked it up and unfolded it. Written across it in the dainty little handwriting Michael recognized right away were these words, words that changed Michael Lee's life.

Dear Michael,

I'm sorry I didn't write sooner, but things have been confusing since the Factory collapsed.

I hope everyone is doing fine. I've missed the Flat a lot lately.

We're fine. Amon is still shaken from when Zaizen shot him, but he'll be alright soon enough.

I told him I wanted to come see you before we leave – we're heading into hiding from Solomon, I can't say where incase this letter is intercepted – but obviously if you're reading this than I decided to write you instead of coming there.

What I want to say to you, I wanted to say in person. I wanted to say to your face. But I can't, I suppose.

I had to write instead of coming to see you. If I see you again I'll want to stay. I do want to stay, but Amon says it's not safe in Japan until things clam down.


I don't know how long we'll be gone for. Maybe years. But I do know I'll come back some day, and I'll look for you.

I'll look because I love you.

I wish I didn't have to say those words in a letter, but I do have to.

For now.

Also, Nagira tells me you've found a replacement for me. I hope you're making her feel welcome. The way you made me feel welcome when I replaced Kate.

No, that isn't true. I never replaced Kate. And she won't replace me.

I've already written this much too long as it is. I have your email, and I will email you once we get to the States.

Sayonara Michael-san,

Only for now.

Ai Shiteru,

Robin

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