Disclaimer: I do not own Witch Hunter Robin or any of the characters/setting from that anime; they belong to Bandai, Sunrise, and eventually Sci Fic Channel, apparently. The plot and actual prose, however, do belong to me, so no copy plzkthnx. I make no money off this; in fact, I'm a poor student so I make very little money anyway. A lawsuit would be bad and make my face look like this. :(

======

Three hundred and twenty years have passed

Since the Coven sank in the dark.

Sunset.

A fractured rendezvous.

The fall of fire.

Awakening power seeks the name of great warmth.


Chapter 1: Shadowplay

The shadows were deeper at twilight, she realized. In the blood-red rays of the setting sun, they seemed to stretch on endlessly, their dark depths penetrating so far that she could not see more than a few feet inside the deserted factory. Was this where they were hunting tonight? Was this the place where yet another Witch would meet his destiny? Robin Sena, the newest member of the STN-J, stood and stared as her smooth black skirts billowed about her feet.

Standing just a few feet to her left, Amon tapped on his headpiece to send a call to Michael. "What's our status?" Even he seemed overshadowed by the twilight; the sunset had left deep clefts of darkness in the folds of his trenchcoat.

"Sakaki and Karasuma are already at the back entrance." Michael's voice crackled too loudly over her headpiece, causing the red-headed Craft-user to wince slightly. "I haven't heard anything from Doujima yet. Amon, has she contacted you?"

Out of the corner of her eye, Robin saw Amon's lips part as he moved to speak, but instead was forced to wince again as Sakaki's voice interrupted him. "Why is she always slacking off like this? Doesn't she know this is serious?"

"She's not coming tonight," came Amon's smooth voice; he had completely ignored Sakaki's interjection. It was rather odd to hear him both normally and through the headpiece, as it added an eerie echoing quality to his calm timbre. "I got a call from her on the way over here."

"Dammit! Why can't she--"

This time, it was Sakaki's turn to get interrupted. Karasuma, Robin was relieved to hear, spoke in far softer tones that didn't overload the speaker in her ear. "Calm down, Sakaki. We can handle this just fine. Michael, do you have a definite file on his powers yet?"

"Not yet." If Robin strained her ears, she could swear she could hear the distant sounds of typing coming through her headpiece. "His relatives had magnetism, electricity, and. . .telekinesis, apparently. They were all distant relatives though. At least three or four degrees away."

"So that doesn't give us much, does it." Robin's own voice was the merest breath of sound in her ears. Despite her voiced concern, Robin felt oddly at peace. If she looked out of the corner of her eye, she could see the flame-red color of the sky just beginning to fade into the deeper blacks and purples of the night. At least then the shadows would be shorter. She felt awkward standing in shadows so much bigger than herself.

Beside her, Amon was slowly opening the door to the factory, sliding his lithe form through the door centimeter by paranoid centimeter. "We'll just have to be careful. Sakaki, Karasuma. We're entering the factory now." Even as he spoke these words, the black-haired leader tilted his head back towards her and spoke one simple word: "Robin."

Robin stared up into Amon's cool gray eyes. Was he chiding her for staying behind? Or was he asking her to come along as a partner? Either way, his one word could only have one answer from the young flame-Crafter. She nodded.

With that, both of them took halting steps into the abandoned factory. Here, where there were no windows and few functioning lights, their surroundings became a maze of dim and hazy shapes. Only by the light of an eerie, pulsing field in the middle of the factory could they see anything at all--a clearing in the center, rows of derelict machinery, and a few thin catwalks that looped around the perimeter. Michael, too, seemed to have gotten a visual on the factory. "Watch out for those catwalks. Their supports are rotted out according to the latest report on this place. I wouldn't be climbing them, Sakaki."

This prompted an irritated sigh from said Hunter. "What makes you think I'm gonna climb them? Doujima's the idiot, not--"

"Anything else?" Amon's quick response cut off any further bickering between the two teenagers.

"Not that I can see, no."

"Alright." Was it just her, or did the connections seem to be wavering somewhat? Both Sakaki's and Michael's voices had been far too loud just outside the factory, but now that they were within, she had to strain to hear them. "Everyone assume positions. Our target is probably somewhere near that light." With that, he glided towards one pillar, his soft black boots making only the slightest of noises in the dark. As she followed her leader, Robin felt all the hairs pricking up on the back of her neck as if some heavy field were in the air. A glance towards the light showed no movement, but if she looked farther up ahead--

THUD.

"Miss Karasuma!"

Just at the edge of the lighted clearing, Karasuma's body slumped forward, a thin trail of blood throbbing from one temple. Sakaki was at her side in the next instant; his pale brown hair seemed a lurid green in the strange light of the factory. "I. . .something. . .couldn't. . ." The rookie's words were almost completely decimated by static, rendering whatever he was trying to say completely unintelligible. Amon too seemed to be having trouble; his hand had moved up to bang against the headpiece in an attempt to get it to work.

A loud crackle in the headpiece made Robin jump, and she recognized Michael's voice amidst the buzz of static. "Guys, I got his power. It's-- "

Whatever Michael had to say next was cut off as Robin felt the earpiece being yanked physically from her head. As she jerked her head to see what was pulling on her, the entire thing flew off her head and entangled itself in one side of her hair. Even her pendant was floating up in front of her, the metal in it drawn inexorably towards a small, feeble looking man now standing in the middle of the light. Her brilliant green eyes widened-- this was their Witch!

Even as she thought those words, a second shockwave seemed to ripple through the factory, picking up a horde of metal cans that began to form a small but swiftly spinning ring. To her right, Amon fired off a bullet, but the Orbo only seemed to bounce off the virtual force field of cans. The black-haired leader continued to struggle for a moment before his entire Orbo gun was wrenched out of his hands. Behind the Witch, Sakaki was moving as well, although he had now hunched beneath a catwalk to clutch at the headpiece that threatened to leave his head entirely.

"Robin. Use your--" Amon's words, which sounded tinny and faint from the headpiece still caught on her hair, cut off as the leader's microphone also flew to join its metal compatriots; still, it didn't take much brainpower to figure out what Amon had meant. With one agile movement, the young Hunter moved her glasses from her pocket and placed them expertly on her nose. One hit, she thought. There was an opening between the whirling cans; she could take that and take the Witch down in one hit.

As she cast her flame Craft, however, another shockwave rippled through the room, yanking her glasses off her face entirely. No--if she cast it straight at the Witch, it would likely miss entirely and hit Sakaki just behind him. Focusing her Craft upwards, she watched the flames narrowly miss Sakaki's head and arch towards the catwalk above. Good, no harm done, she thought. Indeed, it even seemed to have done some good; the Witch was now gaping up at the catwalk, where the supports that held the structure aloft were glowing a dull red.

Twang! Twangtwangtwang!

Frozen in horror at what she had done, Robin could only stare as each catwalk cable snapped entirely. She watched as Sakaki looked up--then let out a cry of terror that was dwarfed by the horrible noise of countless kilograms of metal hitting the ground. As the dust settled, silence did so as well. Even the Witch had paused, staring back towards Robin as if she were some kind of monster. "You. . .you. . ."

Three shots rang out, followed by the thunderous clatter of metal cans hitting the floor. Karasuma was standing once more, this time armed with a smoking Orbo gun. Gurgling faintly, the Witch fell to one side, one arm reaching for the fallen catwalk. Sakaki. Robin ran across the field of metal debris as quickly as she could. The tapping of her footsteps seemed to have awakened the fallen Hunter, and she heard a faint voice from the earpiece that swung wildly from her hair. "My arm. . .god, somebody get my arm. . ."

Robin's skirt pooled outward as she kneeled next to him, her grass green eyes searching for her comrade. He had been lucky--the falling metal had apparently lodged on something else as it had fallen, causing a small pocket just large enough for the unlucky Hunter. Only his arm was hurt; it was pinned beneath a second piece of metal that had come down with the catwalk. "Can you move?" she whispered.

"Hey, what's going on down there? I lost your connection for about five minutes." Michael's voice. Now there was a sound for sore ears.

"Send in the Factory. The Witch has been captured," intoned Amon, who was now standing almost close enough to be treading on her skirt. "We have some injuries though." Even as he spoke, the calm leader was reaching out to Sakaki, gently maneuvering him free of the metal. The young rookie's face was creased in tension and pain; Robin's heart ached just looking at him.

"Injuries? What happened?"

"Ahhhh! That hurt!"

"Sakaki?" Michael's voice sounded panicked. "What happened, dammit?!"

Robin helped Amon pull the rest of Sakaki's body out from under the catwalk. His arm was bloodied beneath his jacket; it was clear that he would not be using that appendage for some time. "He's going to be alright," came Karasuma's smooth voice. Although shaken and still bleeding from one side of her head, the older female Hunter was back on her feet again. "We'll need to get some medical attention right away, however."

"Relax, Sakaki." Robin helped the rookie sit up, her face as soft and compassionate as she could make it. Sakaki did so, the painful creases finally giving way to a far more peaceful expression. As if corresponding his will, the last support snapped with a twang, causing the remaining catwalk to hit the ground with a loud THUD. They had been close, Robin realized as she allowed her gaze to move from Sakaki to the Witch they had just hunted. Too close for comfort.

Above them, Karasuma reached a hand down to the rookie Hunter. "Can you stand?" she asked gently, as if not sure of the answer she would get.

"Y-yeah. I got it. It's just--"he winced painfully as the act of standing jiggled his hurt arm, "--the arm." He glanced down at the Witch they had just Hunted and frowned. "Bastard."

"Sakaki, I--"

Robin's attempt to correct him was cut off by a loud groan from the Witch. Although his eyes were clouded and his limbs barely functioning, he reached one arm up towards Sakaki and let out a few rasping words. "H-h-haruto. . .H-haruto. . ." Another shot from Karasuma, however, silenced him easily. One more Witch ready to be carted off to the Factory.

Amon, however, frowned slightly. "Why did he say your name?"

"I dunno," protested Sakaki. "I've never seen the guy before. In fact--" here he winced and touched his arm, "I didn't get to see him much during the fight, either. Don't ask me."

"Whatever the reason," intoned Karasuma, "we should probably get out of here." The older woman reached down to remove the headpiece from Robin's hair, smiling slightly. "We're not all exactly in the best condition."

"Alright then. Michael?"

"Yes Amon?"

"We'll be there soon." The leader paused for a moment, then stooped to pick up a bit of debris and his Orbo gun. Turning towards Karasuma and Sakaki, he continued, saying "Go ahead and leave. I'll catch up."

Karasuma nodded and proceeded to help the injured rookie towards the exit. "Why did he?" Robin could hear Sakaki talking softly to himself. "Why did he know my name?"

"Robin."

The young Hunter turned softly, her black skirt rasping against the rough factory floor. "What is it, Amon?"

Before she could move further, however, a black-gloved hand waved a pair of glasses in front of her face. "I think you need these." Robin flushed at that, looking up at Amon rather sheepishly. While he did not seem to be angry with her, he was hardly pleased either. "Try not to lose them in the future."

"I will." Now she did stand, transferring the frail spectacles to her pocket as she did so. "Amon?"

"What?"

She stared up at him, her green eyes meeting his gray ones for a moment-- but then sliding away again along with her confidence. ". . .nevermind."

"Fine then." With that, the older Hunter strode out and into the last fading lights of the sun, leaving Robin to follow in his shadow.

======

A/N: Well, here's my first WHR fic. There don't seem to be quite enough of those just yet, so here's my contribution to the pool. This fic takes place sometime between episodes 13 and 14, so if you haven't seen the end of WHR yet, never fear. I haven't either. :) For the most part, this fic will focus on Sakaki, although Robin and the others will get their fair share of spotlight as well. It's just that Sakaki never got enough in the series, so he gets an extra big helping.

Any criticisms or reviews would be vastly appreciated. Thank you!

--Manny PenPen