Disclaimer: I do not own any Witch Hunter Robin Characters

Thanks to my reviewers who kept me going until the end.

CHAPTER NINE: ENDING

Mai walked, trembling, around the side of the imposing stone edifice. It was one of many ancient churches in Italy. The stones were beginning to blacken with the pollution of the city, but the underlying beauty was still there in its arched windows and carved ornamentation. A light rain began to fall as she rounded the corner.

Italy wasn't sunny all the time, as she'd imagined it was. On the airplane over, she'd thought of all the movies she'd seen set in Italy. It was always sunny. The reality had been a harsh surprise. Grey lowering skies, the air heavy with expectation of rain, and now it was raining, a light, steady relentless pressure all over.

Mai lifted a hand to her forehead, and swept back the locks threatening to plaster themselves to her face. She should have brought an umbrella.

Her steps led her to a smaller building, a house set beside the church. It was a parsonage, the place where the priest lived. This particular priest was very high up in the Vatican hierarchy, yet he chose to live in a simple parsonage. It hadn't been easy to find his address. She'd had to do it behind Nagira's back, for she didn't want him following after her. That would be too dangerous.

She'd left him a goodbye note, knowing that he'd neither accept nor understand her explanation. She'd also left him a resume for her replacement. Nagira needed someone to keep his office organized, and of all the ones she'd found posted on the internet, Mika Hanamura's had seemed the most promising.

She'd arrived. She set down the overnight bag she'd carried with her from the airport. The parsonage door was before her. Mai stared at it for a moment, collecting herself, then reached out and knocked. It was just coming on evening. Perhaps the priest was out to dinner, or at a meeting, or in the church presiding over a service. She waited dully, not knowing what she would do if no one answered the door. Surely he had a housekeeper or a servant?

The door swung inward, and Mai looked up into the face of the most imposing man she'd ever seen in her life. His expression was remote, like the marble statues of the Vatican she'd seen in the brochure of Italy she'd read on the plane. Deep wrinkles were carved into his cheeks. His hair was white. He looked old, yet solid rather than infirm, and completely unapproachable.

Mai sank to her knees, her heart sinking within her as well.

"Please. I need your help." Mai spoke her words to the ground, unable to meet the older man's gaze. "I'm a witch, but I don't want to live this way anymore. The darkness...it tries to consume me. Can you help me?"

There was silence, then strong hands grasped her upper arms and lifted her, disappearing as soon as she was on her feet. Mai steeled herself, and dared to look up. The man's face hadn't changed. He was still a dignified bastion of his church, but there was a difference about the eyes, which looked at her so searchingly.

"Do not kneel to me, child. It is fitting to kneel only to our Lord." His voice was low, commanding. Mai doubted that anyone would fall asleep during one of his sermons.

"I'm...sorry. I didn't know." Mai bit her lip nervously then continued. "They say your God can do miracles. Can He help me?"

"Yes." The priest answered simply. "If you truly desire to be changed, only He can change you."

Mai thought of Nagira, waiting for her in Japan, waiting and not understanding the danger he was in when she was around. She thought of her friends, and the family she'd voluntarily left behind. If the darkness inside consumed her, and she returned to Japan, none of them would be safe. She swallowed, straightened her spine, and answered. "I do. I do wish to be changed. But if I can't..." She glanced away from those questioning eyes, then back again. "If I can't, then I know what you must do. I understand..." Mai trailed off, unsure how to say it. If the priest couldn't cure her, he'd be forced to kill her. If he could.

The priest stepped back, pulling the door open wider. "A wiser man than I once said, that the church is in the business of hope. I have seen many things in my time as a priest, but I have never yet seen God give up hope for a repentant soul. Come in."

Mai stood on the doorstep, hardly able to believe her luck. The priest was going to help her, or at least try to. She picked up her bag and took a step forward, then another, toward the welcoming interior light of the parsonage entry hall. As she moved, the priest nodded gravely, encouraging her.

"I am Father Juliano. What is your name?"

"Mai. My name is Mai."

"Come in, Mai. We have much work to do."

It would be work, a great deal of it, Mai had no doubt. The black beast inside her would require taming, and it would probably not be pleasant. But it had to be done. That was something Nagira just couldn't understand. The thought of him sent tears pricking her eyes. "I will come back to you someday." She promised Nagira in her mind. "I swear it."

"Coming." She said.

And with that, Mai crossed the threshold, and began her new life. She would never forget Nagira, or Japan, but until she could return with confidence, until she could stay by Nagira's side with no self-doubt, Italy would be her home.

THE END

Explanation: I basically wrote this to give a back story as to why Nagira would help Amon hide Robin, and why he seemed to have a network of informants and to know so much about 'witches' in the anime series. It also serves to explain Nagira's anger with Amon when he thought Amon wanted to hunt down Robin. This is just a fanfiction; so if anyone out there can come up with a better idea of Nagira's background, have at it! I wish you all the best.