(A/N:  This story is very, very in media res.  You're starting off here, and next chapter, you'll see where I stick you.  For now the characters may seem kind of

OOC and whatnot, and hopefully that'll get better as I keep going and develop and expand a bit more, but for now…I don't know.  If it sucks, it sucks.  So be it.  But here we go.)






The dawn was coming through the grey clouds, bulging and heavy with precipitation.  Thunder rumbled off in the distance somewhere, then rumbled again, decidedly closer.  Echoes of the din in the valley a good distance below could still be heard, traveling up the sides of the hills, resounding off the trees, bouncing back down to earth from the soupy, dense sky above.

Below them, looking much akin to a house of blocks knocked over by a tantrum-throwing child, lay the rubble that had been Factory, a few hours ago.  People were no longer visible; cars, trucks, and other types of vehicles looked like tiny models meant for a strange diorama of sorts.

It was cold out.  Despite the cold that threatened to seep through to Robin's very bones, her very soul, she stopped to turn and look back down the mountain, through the trees, out at the landscape before her and the mess below her.  Sensing her sudden pause and hearing the halt of her footsteps, her considerably worse-for-the-wear companion stopped his own climbing and leaned against a tree, winded.  He too looked down below, although if Robin had looked back to him, she would have noticed that his face wore a curious dual expression: part of him glad for the break from climbing, his body already weary; the other part irritated that they weren't moving, and quickly.

"What is it?" he asked her, tersely.  She didn't look at him.

"Where are we going?" she asked of him, panting slightly.  She felt like she should ask, even though she had the feeling that for once Amon had about as much of a clue as she did—which was close to nil. 

Silence, filled only by the sounds of their breath, birds in trees, noises far below, and thunder.  "We've got to get out of the forest, out of this area entirely.  They're going to mobilize eventually and start looking for us, probably."  Amon winced, slightly, and rubbed at his ribs gingerly.  Something definitely didn't feel right around perhaps his second or third rib on his left side, but he'd take care of that later.  At least his lip had stopped bleeding.

Robin watched the sun break through the clouds, ever so briefly, to illuminate the valley below.  "And then?"

"Away," was his only response. 

"Away where?"

"We're alive."  Amon's words were terse, strained, irritated.  It sounded very much like he was frustrated at his own lack of knowledge on what to do.  Robin decided not to push her current line of questioning any further.  "I haven't thought much beyond that, Robin."

She turned to look at him, her neck aching horribly with the strain, her face feeling gritty and very sore on one side due to a rather nasty scrape.  She was sore all over, disgustingly filthy and tired, and her left shoulder ached dully, but she managed to push all of that out of mind when she let her gaze rest on Amon.  He looked as if he'd been hit by a truck.

Not as if he'd ever admit that he felt worse than she did, or that his injuries were any more extensive than hers.  His hands were bloodied from gashes and nicks all over his knuckles, from moving chunks of concrete and girder to free them from Factory; there was still a great deal of dried blood down along his neck and somewhat upon his face—apparently, somewhere, along the way, something had hit Amon full on in the mouth, and when they'd first emerged from the debris, he'd looked like a vampire fresh from the feast.  Robin wasn't sure what the rest of his injuries were (she was thankful that he still had all his teeth) but from the way he was leaning on the tree he'd stopped next to, she knew she hadn't seen the whole tale of the tape yet.

But, like he'd said: they were alive.

"The sun's coming up," Robin murmured, turning back to look out at the sky, pregnant with rain, threatening to give birth any moment.  A faint smile spread across her lips, causing her scraped cheek to protest with a slight burning sensation.  "We lived to see another day."  Silence.  "Dawn.  Have you ever seen anything this beautiful?" she added on, quietly, the full force of the reality hitting her—she was alive, when, had everything not gone the way that it just had, she could have very well been dead.  Very, very dead.  Tears stung at her eyes, suddenly, and despite her efforts to keep her eyes moving, to not blink, to look upwards, they began to fall regardless.

"No," Amon said, his tone as close to comforting as Robin had ever heard it, "no, I haven't."  She listened to the sound of his feet turning, the ground crunching and displacing beneath his shoes.  "Robin.  We need to keep moving."

She sighed, turning around to follow his broad back, not bothering to disguise the wobble in her voice, not bothering to wipe the tears from her dusty face.  "I know," she whispered, tromping up the hill behind him, depressed, thankful, determined, angry, hurt, lost.

"I know."