The door clicked shut behind her quietly, almost silently. On either side of her the brightly lit hallway stretched on for what seemed eternity, exactly the same on both sides, a mirror-image; equal amount of doors, light fixtures, tables with phones, and an elevator at either end. She decided to go to the right, even though going to the left would have taken her to the same exact place. Her bare feet made no noise on the thick, cushiony red rug beneath her as she walked quickly, stealthily to the elevator at the right end of the hall. Once inside that elevator, watching the doors close to reveal a reflection of herself, she let out a sigh.

Robin stared back at her reflection, staring at her slightly mussed hair, her too-white shins and calves, her long, narrow face. She was dressed in her bedclothes—still not quite used to having to wear bedclothes—which consisted of a long, satin slip. Before leaving the room she'd put her long coat on over the slip for warmth and for protection from prying eyes. To herself, though, looking back at her reflection, she looked like a little girl playing dress-up in her mother and father's clothing; running about at night while everyone else was asleep and she was supposed to be so, as well.

She wasn't really sure what she was doing, or where she was going. Robin had found sleep impossible, and had been lying in bed staring at the ceiling blankly, hoping that by some grace of God her eyelids would shut for the evening. Minutes stretched into an hour, and she'd then resorted to creeping quietly to the window to stare out of it, observing the city of Paris. Despite it being almost midnight, the city seemed to still be alive and kicking, carefree and jovial—two things Robin herself had not felt she was, at that point in time. She'd stared at the lights of the city until she'd stared too long and everything had become one bright white blur, and then she'd turned away to look at the clock. 12:45. She'd stared at the city for a little over 45 minutes.

Amon was sleeping on the couch in the room, no noise issuing forth from him. He slept as if he was dead, Robin had come to notice—not that he slept very deeply at all, but that he did not move, his breathing almost inaudible. She didn't dare to get close enough to him to discern whether or not he made any kind of noises at all during sleep. She'd learned that doing things like throwing back her covers too sharply could awake Amon, and so could things like opening and closing most doors. The sound of shoes on most floors seemed to cause him to awake almost instantly, and, frighteningly enough, he was innately able to sense when one looked at him for extended periods of time during his sleep. This, too, would cause him to awaken; it was as if he could feel the weight of a gaze pressing in on him, even in sleep.

Robin had only managed to escape from him one other time before tonight. It had been only a month since their exodus out of Japan, and in that time, they'd almost been killed three times by Hunters. Well, perhaps not almost killed, but they'd definitely been tracked and confronted. Due to the dangers still facing them, Amon rarely ever let Robin out of his sight. And more oft than not, when he would go out frequently during the day or the night to stalk about, prowling about for information, for defense, for fun—whatever it was that Amon lurked about the streets for—Robin was made to stay in the room, the door locked, not to be opened to anyone. She knew it was all only for her defense, and knew that it made Amon feel better knowing that she was somewhere where she would be safe—not even SOLOMON was daring enough to come into a heavily populated hotel and kill her there, surrounded by people—but Robin grew very, very weary of feeling like a bird in a cage.

So every once in a while, she'd entertain stupid thoughts of sneaking out, and had so far acted on those thoughts twice.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open, revealing the vast expanse of the hotel's lobby, still somewhat alive with activity. A few errant bellhops wheeled carts of luggage about, and what appeared to be a room service waiter was wheeling a covered cart towards the elevator where Robin was. She stepped out and stepped aside, using her hand to hold open the elevator doors for him. He nodded to her appreciatively and babbled something in French that she didn't understand; she merely nodded back at him and smiled. The doors closed, shutting him away from her, and she was left with her reflection again, staring back at her.

Robin stood that way, there, for a moment, half expecting Amon to come tearing out of an elevator at any moment, anger and frustration written all over his face at her disappearance. No such thing happened, though, and with a small guilty pleasure, she started to make her way across the museum- like lobby in a slow, ambling fashion. It wasn't as if she really had anywhere to go, anyway. All that she cared about was the fact that she was out, out of the hotel room. A group of obviously intoxicated, very well-dressed young French people bustled past her, clinging to each other for support and chattering amongst themselves. Robin's eyes followed them on their unsteady, zig-zagging trip across the lobby, and all the way to the front desk. Something was apparently very funny, for they all began to laugh very loudly almost in unison, and one of them almost fell over with the effort. Robin smiled faintly, watching them. They seemed very happy, very alive, and it was contagious.

"Excuse me, mademoiselle." A concierge suddenly appeared in her line of sight, and she jerked her head slightly up to look at him with somewhat startled eyes. She'd almost forgotten what it was like to talk to anyone but Amon. Although, she supposed she knew why the man was addressing her; she probably looked very lost and confused, standing there in the middle of the hotel lobby in her nightclothes, barefoot, staring blankly around her. "Can I help you with something?" he asked her politely, in strongly accented English. She looked at him for a moment, and then smiled at him gently.

"Not unless you can help me sleep, no," she replied, and he loosed a small laugh at this. Robin's heart sang; oh, the simple joy of interaction with another human being! At that moment, the man in front of her could have been a SOLOMON operative for all she cared. As long as he kept talking to her, kept making her feel more like a human being and less like some sort of rare, hunted animal, she didn't care.

"Ah, no." He smiled at her, and then pointed behind her, towards the other end of the lobby where two heavy oaken doors hung. "But, mademoiselle, the bar is still open—perhaps a nightcap would assist your sleep."

Robin's eyes followed his pointed direction, and then she turned back to him, smiling. "Thank you," she said gratefully, and then started to make her way slowly towards the doors. She had no idea what she would do in a bar, but at the very least it would be nice to simply sit there and not feel like she lived in a cave. She opened one of the doors and stepped inside.

The bar area was richly decorated in deep, dark colours, and the bar itself was made of a darkly-hued, fine looking wood. The lighting was kept dim, and the air smelt faintly of cigarettes and the remnants of somebody's perfume. Windows looked out over the city, and Robin turned her attention to the man behind the bar, who seemed busy with collecting empty glasses from the bar's surface. Down at the far end of the bar, an older man sat shrouded partially in darkness, and he looked up at over at Robin for a fleeting second, then looked back down. For a moment her heart stopped, filled with dread—but then she realized that she was probably just being paranoid. Not every person who looked at her would be a Hunter, but sometimes she couldn't stop the paranoia from creeping into her mind. It was any person's normal reaction, when in an empty room, to look to the door when it opened.

"Oi," the man behind the bar called at Robin, looking up at her with a smile. Her eyes jerked over to him, her unstoppable smile returning. "Hello."

The bartender looked somewhat surprised, and then pleased. "You're English?" he asked, in disbelief. Robin shook her head.

"Well, no. But I speak it, mostly," she replied, and the bartender made urgent motions for her to come sit at the bar. She complied, happily.

The bartender looked down at her as she sat, his hands on his hips and a grin on his face, displaying his somewhat crooked teeth. "Ah, lovely. You're a sound for sore ears, then, m'love. I 'aven't had a single person who wasn't a Frenchie in 'ere all night, and me French leaves a bit to be desired."

Robin knew right away from his accent that he was British, perhaps, even, a more clean-accented Scot. That, she thought with amusement, would also explain his teeth. She tucked her hair behind her ears and looked at him imploringly, finding that she was almost starved for conversation. "What're you doing in Paris?" she asked, interested.

"Well," the bartender began, resuming to clear glasses off the bar, dropping them into a large green dishwasher tray behind the bar, "I did what most stupid Limeys do when they finish their schoolin' and they don't want to go to university—I decided, like a bloody fool, that I'd come to live in France and write a novel."

"Have you written a novel?" Robin asked, now very interested.

The bartender didn't even hide his laugh or his amusement at her comment. "God, no. I couldn't write a book to save me life. Of course, I didn't realize that until I'd been 'ere for about a year. So I got a job, I'm barely scrapin' along, and here I am!" he finished with a flourish, spreading his hands out as if to say, 'ta-da!' "What about you, there, love? What brings you t' Paris?"

Robin blinked, taken aback by the question. She quickly scrambled about in her brain, trying to recall what Amon had always used as an excuse any time a random encounter became too prying, any time anyone wanted to know why they were where they were, and why they were with each other. She couldn't remember exactly what Amon had always said, but she did remember that involved him being her brother, so she settled for that. "I'm here with my older brother," she said simply, and luckily the bartender didn't push any further. He merely nodded and smiled faintly at her.

"Nice older brother!" he exclaimed. "Takin' you around to France and whatnot. Ah, bugger, where're me manners?" He dried a hand on his apron and stuck it out towards Robin, grinning his uneven-toothed grin again. "Name's Francis. You?"

Robin stuck her hand into his and shook it, lightly. "I'm Robin. Nice to meet you, Francis."

"Same here." He withdrew his hand and looked at her in a manner that spoke of secrets and conspiracy. "Now, Robin, love—you don't look nearly enough to be sitting at a bar, or even to be out at this hour—but oi! This is France! What can I get for you t' drink, dear?"

Here Robin's brain scrambled again. She didn't drink, but she was sitting in a bar, after all. It would probably be sort of strange if she didn't at least have something; and plus, she was still riding her high of feeling somewhat dangerous and escapist. She figured she'd live a bit. "Oh. Um, I don't know. ...What's good?" she queried, realizing that she probably sounded pretty dumb. Francis merely laughed and turned behind him, grabbing a bottle and a wine glass. He uncorked the bottle and poured a liberal amount of the very light, almost clear wine into the glass and then handed it to her, replacing the bottle. Robin looked at the glass in front of her and pulled it closer slowly, sniffing it slightly. It didn't smell like it would kill her.

"That's Riesling, some o' the finest in this joint," Francis explained. "It's a very sweet dessert wine...I mean, c'mon, now! This is France! You've got to drink wine while you're 'ere. And I'll tell ye what," he said, winking at her slightly, "it's on the house. I didn't figure ye had any money on you, considering there aren't even any shoes on your feet, love."

"Oh. Thank you," Robin murmured, and once again eyeballed the glass in front of her. She picked it up, after a moment, and took an experimental sip. It was very sweet; the wine in the glass tasted more like some kind of juice or candy than a wine. She took another sip, this time bigger. It was very good, just like he'd said. There was silence for a bit as Francis resumed his work, cleaning up the bar, and Robin sat alone with her thoughts. The old man at the end of the bar eventually left some money on the counter along with his empty glass, and got up, leaving the bar. An overflowing ashtray sat on the bar at Robin's elbow, and she found herself staring at it after a while, lost in thought. She studied the different styles of the butts, the different lengths, the different shades of lipstick on the ends of the dead cigarettes. A voice jerked her out of her reverie.

"Ah, good idea," Francis muttered, noticing her stare at the ashtray. "It's almost quittin' time, 'bout time I lit up meself." He produced a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and placed one in his mouth, lighting it and exhaling a large cloud of smoke, slowly. He then turned the pack to Robin. "You don't look old enough t' smoke, either, but like I said—this is France! If you aren't drinkin' wine and smokin', then you're not getting the full French experience."

Three seconds later found Robin leaning over the bar, cigarette in mouth, so that Francis could light it for her. Coughing slightly, she exhaled a small cloud of smoke, furrowing her brow slightly at the foreign taste in her mouth. Francis laughed at her look and muttered something about amateurs, and then set about his work again. Experimentally, Robin began to attempt to smoke the cigarette, finding that after about fifteen seconds her fingers and hands had gone numb and tingly, and her head felt light from the experience. It felt very, very strange, but not bad. She found that if she kept her inhalations of smoke very small and light, she didn't cough or feel an itching in the back of her throat, urging her to cough.

She felt alive, and happy, even if she was sitting anonymously in some bar in Paris, smoking and drinking and hiding from people who wanted to kill her. It felt beautiful and glorious to be alive, and interacting with the outside world again.

A sudden weight on the back of her chair made her jump and turn, wide-eyed and shocked. She found herself staring unexpectedly back up at a pair of gun-metal grey eyes and a mouth in a tight line that betrayed no amusement, whatsoever, at the situation. Amon's hair looked slightly mussed, and his clothing as well, as if he'd dressed in a hurry. He said nothing, only loosed a sighing gust of air through his nose.

Robin tittered, and felt Francis looking on with what was probably slight apprehension. "Amon," she murmured, suddenly guilty, suddenly caught—like a little kid with her hand in the cookie jar. "How did you find me?" was the only thing that came to her mouth, without thought. She'd been certain that he was asleep when she'd left, and even if he had—how did he know to look for her in here?

"Smoking and drinking," he said, flatly. "Any other habits you've picked up that you've not cared to share with me?" He released his grip on the back of the chair, and looked over to Francis, who merely shrugged.

"You 'er brother?" the British man asked, undaunted by Amon's intimidating, weighty presence. Robin, for her part, had not moved, mortified that she'd been caught.

"Yes," Amon replied smoothly, without hesitation. "I'm her brother. I see she's been talking about me?" Robin flinched, inwardly—talking about themselves to strangers was one of the things that Amon had more or less expressly forbidden her to do. She could see the whole situation turning very ugly in her mind's eye, very quickly; she didn't know how she was going to explain to Amon that she'd simply felt trapped, that all she'd wanted to do was feel like she was a normal person again, and wander around a bit. She didn't see him being very forgiving towards that.

"Only mentioned you," Francis replied, ashing his cigarette calmly in an empty glass. "She should've mentioned that you two looked absolutely nothin' alike, though. That's amazing, you two are."

Amon frowned a bit, visible from the corner of Robin's nervous eye. "Different mothers," he answered tersely. "It's late," he then said, towards Robin, disappointment and disgruntlement lurking beneath the surface of his even voice. "We should go back to the room."

Robin said nothing. She knew there was no use arguing with Amon once he had his mind made up, and anyways, she knew that she had an ice cube's chance in Hell of convincing him to let her stay there, by herself, peacefully. She didn't have to convince him of anything, however, because Francis stepped in on her behalf within two seconds.

"Aw, c'mon, mate," he wheedled at Amon, taking a drag of his cigarette. "She can't sleep. At least let 'er finish the glass o' wine—that'll put 'er out real quick-like."

Silence reigned. Robin couldn't help but look back up at Amon, behind her, casting an desperately pleading look his way. He looked back to her momentarily, caught the look on her face, then looked away with a heavy sigh. His eyes fixated on a point on the bar's surface, finally looking back up to Francis, the bartender.

Robin let out a small sound of relief as Amon seated himself next to her at the bar without a word, leaning forward to rest his forearms on the bartop. He pointedly ignored Francis's triumphant, crooked smile, and instead stared at the bottles of liquor. Although Robin felt somewhat cowed by Amon's presence, she took another drink from her wineglass and another small puff of her first cigarette.

"Pick your poison," Francis said to the dark man who had just joined them, indicating the expanse of bottles behind him. "Fag?" he asked a second later, fishing the pack out of his pocket and extending it towards Amon.

"What the hell," Amon muttered, and grabbed a cigarette from the pack. "Do you have a light for this vile thing?" Francis obliged him with a lighter, and the ex-Hunter lit his cigarette with a quickness and style that was indicative of the fact that he was no stranger to cigarettes. Handing the lighter back to Francis, Amon let out a cloud of smoke through his nose; like a dragon, Robin thought. "Whisky and water, please," Amon said to Francis, who immediately set about getting the drink.

"Did you smoke, before?" Robin asked of her partner suddenly, who looked over at her, smoke again escaping through his nose. "You seem, um, somewhat familiar with these things."

Amon looked at the cigarette in his hand momentarily before looking back to Robin, as Francis set the ordered drink near Amon's elbow. "Yes. I smoked far too much for far too long. And what's worse is I've been thinking of starting again, recently."

Robin looked down at her own cigarette, taking one more puff before extinguishing it, daintily, in the ashtray. She moved the ashtray over closer to Amon, who utilized it almost immediately. With slight amazement, Robin noticed that his cigarette was just near halfway gone, when it had only just been lit. She watched him pick up his glass and take a rather large gulp of it, no expression evident on his face, even though the very fumes from his drink made Robin's nose protest. Suddenly feeling the weight of her gaze upon him, he looked back over at her, quirking one eyebrow upwards.

"What?" he asked, bluntly. Robin shook her head and turned away. "Nothing," she murmured, and looked back to Francis, putting a smile on her face, trying to ignore the weird slippery feeling that had surfaced in her stomach when she and Amon had made direct eye contact.

"Do you get to go home soon?" she asked of the man behind the bar, who nodded emphatically, obviously very much relieved.

"You two are me last customers for the evening, an' then I'm off." He hefted two green dishwasher trays of glasses and jerked his head towards a door behind the bar. "If ye'll excuse me, I've got to get this glassware and such clean. I'll be in back if ye need me—just holler." He pushed back through the door and within seconds the sounds of water spraying and things clinking around could be heard, and Robin was left alone with Amon. He said nothing, and she cleared her throat slightly, looking over at his arms in place of having to look him in the eyes.

"I'm sorry I snuck out," she whispered. He did not look over at her, instead ground out his then spent cigarette in the ashtray, perhaps a bit more forcefully than was absolutely necessary. He was still irritated, even if he had given in and let her stay in the bar; she could sense this.

"You shouldn't have done it," he replied, staring straight ahead of him, speaking more into his glass than to her. She took the cue and picked up her own glass, sipping from it. The wine, coupled with her first cigarette, was causing her head and her limbs to do a funny tingly thing.

She looked back over at his arms on the bar, black-button down shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows, white forearms bigger around than both of her arms put together. Amon, she had noticed very long ago, was a man of large proportions. This, coupled with the way he carried himself and how he acted made him seem two times larger than he actually was. His hand, around the glass on the bar, seemed enormous and looked as if it could crush the glass with a slight squeeze. The muscles in his forearms shifted slight as he did, and re-gripped the glass. "I couldn't sleep," she began, eyes still locked onto his arms and hands, "and I had to get out. I'm sorry, but I had to do it. I couldn't take being in that room anymore."

Amon tilted his head slightly to either side, causing it to pop once, twice. This was one of his habits; Robin had been around him long enough to know that. "You're in that room most of the time for a good reason, Robin. I'm not trying to imprison you. It's for your own safety." He took another drink from the glass, almost draining it. "I suppose you were going to turn into a normal teenage girl sometime or another, though; sneaking out and all."

She sighed, feeling guilty now for sneaking out. She wasn't sure if Amon had intended for her to feel guilty, twisting her emotions to his benefit, or if he was just making a statement. "I know you're just trying to keep me safe," she replied, quietly, "but I had to get out. I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I worried you."

"Worried me?" he asked, flatly. "Oh, no. I love waking up not knowing where you are, where you've gone, if you've gone of your own power, or if Hunters have taken you out from right underneath my own nose." He paused for emphasis, turning his head to look at her with a chastising stare. "It's the best way to wake up."

Robin sighed, shoulders slumping. Amon's flat sarcasm was his way of letting her know that something really bothered him; she'd heard it before, and knew that in this case it was his way of saying more or less than she had scared the living hell out of him. "I'm sorry, Amon. I am. But...well, you found me. And I'm okay."

He continued to stare at her pointedly, face unmoving. "Next time, you may not be. And next time, I may not find you. I'm not a miracle-worker; I'm just resourceful." Silence reigned again, heavy between them.

"Don't do it again," Amon said finally, draining his glass. He looked at her wineglass, a little less than half full. "You should finish that and we'll end this evening of debauchery. While you may have not been able to sleep, I was in the process of doing so until a certain lack of a certain presence awoke me."

Robin offered him a sheepish little smile, to which his face seemed to soften as much as Amon's face ever softened; the perpetually down-turned lips evening into a straight line, his dark eyebrows lifting slightly into a more neutral arch. She picked up the glass and took a deep breath, and then dumped the rest of the contents into her mouth and swallowed before she could think about it. Setting the glass back down on the bar, she set it down a bit more forcefully than she originally would have intended; it seemed to Robin as if she'd misjudged the distance between the bottom of the glass and the bar. Her hands had gone from tingling mildly to feeling like they'd been bewitched by faeries or something of the sort. Feeling criminal, she realized that she may have been somewhat affected by the glass of wine—although not unpleasantly.

"Some warder I am," Amon said, his own brand of amusement evident in his voice. "What kind of responsible adult allows his fifteen-year-old charge to get drunk in a bar?" Hearing the continuing clinking sounds of glasses and the sprays of water from the bar's back room, Robin recalled what Francis had said to her when she'd first come into the bar, and offered Amon a small smile.

"Hey," she said with a small shrug, her eyebrows mimicking the motion. "This is France, after all."

"And I suppose," Amon retorted, his deep, emotionless voice oddly teasing, "that if we're ever forced to run to the Netherlands, you're going to want to smoke pot?"

Robin shook her head. "Oh, no. Not really. Not really at all." She slouched back in her chair a bit, feeling decidedly affected by the wine. "Wine, however, isn't too bad. Cigarettes don't seem so bad, either."

She looked up and over to see Amon regarding her in a strange manner, appearing somewhat...bewildered? Robin couldn't quite pin his emotion down, which wasn't anything new.

"My God," he said quietly, almost in wonder. "You are turning into a normal teenager."