Robin sat in the backseat of the car, hair touched with gold in the light of the morning sun. The Driver's Ed teacher's voice droned on to the other student in the front seat. She listened to the radio, book forgotten on the seat beside her. She closed her eyes, trying to forget the memory of a week ago, but the radio reminded her...
"You don't need me anymore, Robin. The STN needs me more than you do." Amon told her, not looking her in the face, as her green eyes slowly filled with tears.
"Doesn't our friendship mean anything to you?" She pleaded. Amon's hand moved towards her, then dropped back to his side. His voice cracked forth harshly,
"If you lean on someone else, then you won't be able to stand alone." His own eyes softened slightly, and she barely had a moment to register the regret written on his face as he picked up his trench coat and left their apartment...
"You said you'd be my watchdog," She accused softly, her voice picking up the next lyrics of the song,
" 'And I need you more than want you/And I want you for all time...'"
She closed her eyes against the tears that threatened. When she reopened them, the car had stopped at a red light by an alley, and out of habit, she glanced down the alley, checking for trouble.
A muscular male assaulted an old woman, standing back as he gestured to a vine, which wrapped itself around the old woman's neck.
Robin didn't pause to think. She wrenched the car door open and jumped out, her feet running almost before her seatbelt was off. She didn't hear the teacher's voice demanding to know what she thought she was doing.
"Where is the Arcana?" The man was demanding of the withered crone. He jumped back with a startled oath as the vine he controlled caught fire.
"That's more than enough!" Robin snapped. "You shall not harm her farther!"
The witch turned with a snarl. "Don't interfere, girl! Didn't your coven teach you anything?"
"The last coven sank into darkness three hundred and twenty years ago. Seek not for the Arcana."
"This woman has information that will lead me to it!" The man cried, turning to back to his victim.
Robin was too frustrated to realize what she was blurting out. "Did it ever occur to you that the Arcana might be a person rather than a thing?"
The witch's eyes lit with greed, and a rock flew at Robin's head.
Robin melted it.
Desperately, in an attempt to catch her, the man threw vine after vine at her. Each one withered, shriveled, and shrank away from her fire. Finally, in disgust, Robin ignited the man's coat. The hag who had watched in fascination threw herself at Robin's feet.
"Spare him, Eve! He didn't know what he did!" The woman begged. Robin allowed the fire to go out as she said,
"Please rise! I don't want anyone to kneel to me! I'm nothing special."
The old craft user rose, staring at Robin in wonder. "You truly are the hope of witches," She said, wonderingly, and then turned scathingly to the newly awed young witch. "The Arcana has spared you. Remember her, and follow her. Keep her safe."
Robin, about to protest again, heard a soft whimper from behind her, and turned to see her classmate staring at her in fear. She knew how she looked: black jeans, amulet still glowing from her fire, golden hair spilling from the bun she wore, polished black boots, arms bare in the sleeveless shirt despite the cold; in the eyes of all who saw her, norm and witch alike, she was a fire goddess. Never again would her classmates or teachers believe she was anything short of a freak.
Her ashen-faced teacher approached, and hoarsely whispered, "Who are you?"
Robin knew what her reply must be.
"I am the Arcana."