Summary: AU. Amon is a High school Literature teacher; Robin is a new student in his class. When he sees the way the other students treat her, he is unable to stand by and watch. How deeply do his feelings for her go? Will his interference do more harm than good? Read to find out!
A/N: AU. Deal with it. I had to change a few of the ages for this to work, namely, Karasuma is now 23, and Doujima is 17. The other characters kept their real ages. The school they are attending was origionaly supposed to be Japanese, but it ended up American. "Amon-sensei" just didn't sound right for some reason.
Editing Round 2! I'm hoping to correct the formatting that apparently doesn't feel like supporting any more, and tweaking some storyline problems. And maybe, hopefully, re-inspiring myself to finish this fic!
marathons WHR for the 8th time as she writes.
Please read and enjoy!
Chapter One: Meeting
A Witch Hunter Robin Fanfic
By Yuriko Tsukino
All babble in room 204 ceased immediately upon the arrival of its instructor. Mr. Amon was notoriously strict; he was feared, and often hated by most of the student body. This didn't seem to occur to him, however, as his swept into his classroom a full ten minutes after the tardy bell had rung. This was quite a strange occurrence; Amon was usually the first teacher--or faculty member, period--into the school in the morning, and last one to leave each night, sometimes staying even later than the night janitor.
The explanation for his tardiness followed in his wake: a girl with her blonde hair up in buns, in a long, old fashioned black dress. She trailed Mr. Amon to his desk tentatively, as though unsure she had followed the right person. His rather cold personality did tend to have that effect on students. Especially new ones.
"Look," Haruto Sakaki whispered to the girl next to him. "Fresh meat."
Yurika Doujima grinned wickedly. "She's almost too easy. Look at that dress! Did she get it at Good Will or something? Wait; thrift stores haven't been around long enough for her to find something that out of style!"
"What's up with her hair?" chimed in Michael Lee. "She's so--"
Amon cleared his throat, taking his place at the front of the room. "We have a new student. This is Robin Sena. She's come here from Italy through the exchange program." He pointed to the only empty seat in the class, in the back of the room by the opposite wall as Doujima, Haruto, and Michael. "You can take that seat over there," he said. He picked up a spare text book from his desk and handed it to her. She moved to take her seat, and he continued with the class.
"Open your books to page 129; we'll be starting with the haiku at the bottom of the page. Michael, would you please read?"
"May I sit here?"
The assembled group at the table where Robin was attempting to eat her lunch collectively rolled their eyes and moved away.
Do I have the plague or something? she wondered. All day, people had been avoiding her. In fact, the only people to speak to her directly instead of whispering behind her back had been Principle Zaizen, Vice-Principle Kosaka, the counselor who had handled her transfer, Miss Karasuma, and her Honors Literature teacher, Mr. Amon. None of the other teachers had bothered to even take roll call, and as she always slipped into a seat in the back of the room, most of them hadn't even noticed they had a new student.
Robin looked around the crowded cafeteria. There were over a dozen long tables, most of them overflowing with students. Hers, however, was completely empty. Suddenly, she wasn't hungry anymore; in fact, she felt somewhat sick. She gathered up her books and dumped her uneaten lunch into the trash.
It was wet and cold outside; the pouring rain was saved from becoming snow by a mere five degrees. But shivering beneath the overhang by the front doors was preferable to sitting alone amid the stares and whispers of her classmates.
Hugging herself, Robin leaned against a pillar, her books at her feet on a patch of dry concrete. I want to go home, she thought miserably as the wind changed, and blew chill, damp air across her neck.
She glanced through the window at the clock in the lobby. Only five more minutes until the bell for the next class. Her eyes fell on a group leaning against the wall, talking. Enjoying themselves. Being normal.
Robin's empty stomach clenched. She would never be normal.
"Recertification will be on Saturday, March 16. The cost of the class is fifty dollars and is necessary if you plan on teaching next year. There'll be another class in June, but it will be seventy dollars. I think that's all of our new business."
"Thank you, Hattori," Zaizen said with a nod in the direction of the secretary. "That's it for our staff meeting today. You are all dismissed, but I would like to speak with you, Amon, and you too, Karasuma."
The other teachers and staff members left the room, except for Zaizen, Kosaka, Amon, and Karasuma.
"I would like to speak with you about our newest student," the principal began.
"Robin Sena, you mean?" Karasuma asked.
"Yes. She was sent from a Catholic school in Italy. As I'm sure you're both well aware from her transcripts, she's very bright; skipped her fourth grade year and has been in advanced classes since her freshman year, even though she's a year or two younger than the rest of her classmates."
"So she's only about fifteen, then?" Amon asked. Usually, his students, while labeled "gifted," didn't display much talent in their work. However, for a fifteen year old to be in eleventh grade Honors Literature, she would have to or be sent back to sophomore classes.
Zaizen nodded. "But her intelligence isn't why I wanted to speak with you about her. As I'm sure you noticed on her records, she's been involved in several...unusual incidents."
Amon nodded. There had been a list of three or four such events in her file; she had been attacked by other students, whose clothing had was said to catch on fire in the middle of the fight.
"She was searched after all of the incidents, but she wasn't carrying a lighter or matches or anything else that could have started the fires. No one has any idea what happened, only that she must somehow have started them since it happened to three different students or groups of students."
"You suspect her of being a witch, then?" Karasuma asked. Zaizen nodded.
"But still, there's no proof that she actually started them?" Amon asked.
"How else could they have started?"
Amon chose not to answer. Something about this whole situation didn't seem right.
"I want you two to find the answer to that question," Zaizen stated, leaning back in his chair. "Amon, you're her teacher; according to Father Juliano, her guardian back in Italy, she's always gotten along better with her teachers than her peers, especially those relating to the language arts, which are her forté. That's why we put her in you're class, and not Muroi's; you don't put up with nonsense and you don't get emotionally involved with your students on any level. You can do your job well and indiscriminately.
"Karasuma, you're the junior-senior counselor. A good portion of students confide in you, especially when they're at the end of their rope. And they trust you. Robin will probably end up in your office eventually. See if you can find out anything about those fires."
"That's all," Zaizen said. "I'll speak to you two again within the next few weeks to hear what you've found out."
"Yes sir," Karasuma repeated.
Again, Amon said nothing. There was something about this that gave him a feeling of Wrong.
"She's so weird."
"Not exactly social is she?"
"How did someone that young end up in an Honors class?"
"She thinks she's so good."
Robin slid a little lower in her hard plastic chair, wishing it would swallow her whole.
I hope Mr. Amon gets here soon... she thought. There were a few more minutes until the tardy bell, so the students were taking advantage of his absence to whisper, none to discretely, about the new student. .
Robin hunched over her seat. She felt like their whispers and candid stares were pushing down on her shoulders. She wished more than anything she could become invisible instead of...
Mr. Amon finally arrived, just as the bell rang. He cast a quick glance at Robin. She looked away quickly. She didn't want anyone to notice her.
Amon waited at the front of the room for everyone to be quiet. When the last conversation stopped, he began. "Today we will be continuing our unit on poetry. We will be starting on page 131. Robin, would you please read?"
Robin glanced up in shock as Mr. Amon moved to his desk. Hesitantly, rose from her seat, book in hand, and began.
"Robin, please start over and speak loudly. I can't hear you," Amon said tersely. She would learn very quickly to get things right the first time in his class. He didn't have time to waste on those who didn't put forth their best effort in every aspect of their lives, school work included.
Robin swallowed hard, obviously nervous and unaccustomed to public speaking. He would have to work on that.
She began again, this time in a loud clear voice. A little wobbly at first, but picking up speed and enthusiasm as she read. Even if she was nervous, it was the best reading he had heard in his class. She didn't stumble over the words like the other idiots. Her enunciation and pronunciation were perfect. She read with feeling.
And she was Italian.
When the poem was over, she sat down quickly, clearly eager to hide again. Something must be done about that, too. He was getting the same feeling of wrong that he had the night before at the faculty meeting. A pretty, intelligent girl like her shouldn't be hiding in the back of the class as though the chalk erasers might jump out at any time and attack her.
Only one more period to go, Robin thought tiredly a week later. She let her books fall with a thump onto her desk in the history classroom. She was feeling somewhat sick; she hadn't eaten breakfast that morning, and had skipped lunch again to avoid being around so many people. All of those eyes made her nervous.
She slumped into her seat, glad to sit. Low blood sugar was making her hands and knees shake. The tardy bell rang, and the teacher began his class introduction from his desk.
"We're starting our WWII project today. I'm going to split you into pairs, and each pair will represent a country. It will be your job to represent that country's interests in WWII. You have two days to do research. On Friday, we will begin with a Model-UN simulation, in which you will act out those country's roles with the information you have gathered. It will be interesting to see how this war plays out." The teacher reached for a list on his desk. "These will be your groups."
Robin zoned out momentarily until she heard her name. "Robin Sena. You will be with Yurika Doujima. Your country is England."
Across the room, Doujima gave Robin a withering look. She looked away quickly and resisted the urge to just curl up in a ball right there. Doujima was probably the person she most wished to avoid at school. She often heard Doujima making fun of her in a loud voice she was intended to hear, or sending her smug looks over whispered conversations.
"Since you only have two days, get together with your partner now and begin discussing your plans," the teacher said. He yawned, and turned back to the solitaire game on his laptop as the students shuffled around the room.
Just try to be nice, Robin thought as she took the seat in front of Doujima. Maybe she's not as bad as she comes off. "So, it looks like we're England. That's not so bad.
It's better than being Germany at least."
"No duh, Captain Obvious. And let me make one thing clear before we get too deep into this. Research is not my thing. Neither are you."
Scratch that idea.
"Remind me again why I'm in the library at lunch and not hanging out?"
Robin fought back a sigh. In the half hour they had been in the school library, Doujima had surfed six celebrity web pages, taken two quizzes, and was currently leafing though a magazine. She complained the entire time. Robin, on the other hand, was buried in encyclopedias and history books, with four pages of notes laid out in front of her.
"We're supposed to be researching for our history project," she said, trying very hard and very unsuccessfully to keep her voice level and quiet in the half filled library. "It's due in four periods, and we only have half of our research done. Because I've been the only one working on it."
"Well excuse me for having a life. There are other places I'd like to be after school than in the library."
"Maybe it would go faster if you helped."
"I have better things to do with my time than look up irrelevant history facts. Besides, you've taken enough notes, we can't possible need much more information." Doujima pulled one of the pages across the table. "...Not that these are going to do much good. What is this crap?"
"It's Italian. Since you obviously didn't plan on working, I just put the notes in Italian, which is easier for me."
Doujima's face went red and her eyes narrowed dangerously. "Hello. I have a reputation. It would look bad if I weren't the one presenting the report."
"So I just do the leg work for you to take the credit?"
"It's not like you have anything better to do," Doujima snapped, her voice raising ever so slightly. "I've been watching you, Sena. You don't have any friends. A friend of mine lives on the same street as you, and she said that the "exchange family" you're supposed to be living with doesn't exist--they moved out two weeks ago." Her expression was becoming more and more dangerous, and her voice continued to rise. "You're an anti-social know-it-all and a social reject. You don't even have any hobbies. You're a pitiful excuse for a human. A complete freak!" By now Doujima was standing. Her expression was now at it's most fearful--placid and calm. Her words were loud enough to carry over the entire library. Robin glanced at the librarian's desk, but she wasn't there. The students at the tables around them were looking up with interest. Some of them shot smirks at Robin.
"You don't even deserve to be called a person."
Everyone was looking now. Robin looked down at her hands, squeezing them into tight fists.
"You're vermin, Robin Sena. You don't belong here. You never will."
Robin rose from her seat, eyes squeezed as tightly shut as her fists, and in a strangled voice, whispered, "I know."
Turning on her heel, she ran from the library, not caring that she had left her books and notes behind.
The halls were deserted. That was just as well. She needed to find some place to hide. Some place where she could regain her composure. The restrooms were out. They were too obvious. No way would she go to the counselor. Miss Karasuma had seemed nice when they had first met, but she would never understand. She would tell Robin that she shouldn't listen to Doujima. That there was nothing to worry about. That plenty of people liked her.
But none of that was true. People actually got up and moved away every time she sat near or, heaven forbid, beside them. Robin wasn't normal. She had always stood out, try as she might to fit in. Growing up in a convent made her choice of clothing seem strange, but she would never be comfortable in tight jeans and short shirts, so she could never fit in visibly. But there were other things that set her apart. Things she wished didn't exist.
Miss Karasuma wouldn't understand what it was like to be hated because you were allowed to skip a grade. What it was like to never get along with people your own age. What it was like to never have a real friend. What it was like to hurt people without meaning to. What it was like to have everyone pull away from you. To never be touched.
Robins feet took her to the back doors of the school. Outside, dreary, cold, February rain continued to fall, just as it had all week.
It was only thirty-five degrees, but to Robin, it looked like a sanctuary. She pushed open the door and continued running though the half frozen puddles and muddy gravel of the parking lot. She passed between two SUV's, and—
Ran smack into a very solid feeling chest.
Mr. Amon was Robin's favorite teacher for several reasons. He didn't ask questions. He didn't get involved. He didn't try to "help" like most of the teachers. Not to mention the fact that his class was the only one Robin was free from teasing in, he was a great teacher, and her highest grade was in his class. He wasn't exactly hard on the eyes, either.
Mr. Amon--the owner of the chest she had smacked into--hadn't asked why she was out in the cold rain without a jacket or why she was crying or why she was outside, period, in the middle of the school day. No. He merely escorted her into his classroom, which was near the exit that led to the parking lot and turned on the little space heater behind his desk to allow her to dry off. In fact, she had been in his room for almost ten minutes before he even spoke.
"You are aware that students are not permitted to leave the premises during lunch hour, correct?"
"Yes." Just give me a detention. I don't care. It's not like there's anyone waiting for me at "home" anyway.
"Then why were you outside?"
Robin didn't look up. She didn't want to say the truth. She didn't want to have to repeat all of the hurtful--but truthful--things Doujima had said. Didn't want to get an adult involved. Adults would only make it worse. Eventually, things would blow over if she didn't say anything. Adults would only prolong it. Make everyone resent her even more.
She couldn't think of a good excuse, so she stayed silent.
Amon rose from his chair. "I'll let you off this time. But you should know that I don't believe in second chances. There are too many things in life where you only get one chance. To expect more would be unrealistic."
"Then why are you letting me off this time?"
The bell rang then, and the hall was filled the sounds of students heading off to their next class.
"You need to go."
But you didn't answer my question! she wanted to say. But she knew he was right. While her next class was down this same hall, she needed to double back in the opposite direction on the first floor to get her books from the library. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to make it in time.
Reluctantly, Robin left.
Why are you letting me off this time?
Amon rested his forehead in one hand. He had slipped. He had almost shown--no, he had shown a sign of affection towards a student, by letting her off. He would have written up any other student so fast his head would still be spinning by the time he was deposited at the front office.
She's a good student. And she's new, he rationalized. And she's foreign. Don't most European schools have open campus?
He himself had been out at his car to retrieve the worksheets he was handing back in his next class. Somehow, he had forgotten them that morning. He had been busy berating himself, and hadn't noticed the teenage projectile hurling herself between the rows of cars. When she had looked up at him with those tear filled eyes...
He shook his head. Even as he came up with excuses for his behavior, deep down he knew the truth. And he wasn't sure how long he'd be able to ignore it.