She danced circles around him, this little girlwoman, this firebreather.
Tethered by his own aloof nature and his orders, Amon sat immobile day after day while Robin whirled around him, becoming more alluring and less forbidding with each passing moment. Her dance was carefully constructed, fluid. Her movements had turned her into less of an object and more of a human; layers fell away from her outside that revealed her more and more for what she really was.
She was Robin Sena, the Italian-Japanese former-convent girl—and, Amon was beginning to suspect from having observed her sleeping patterns, her eating patterns, and her desire for all things that were good and pleasure-bringing—a secret hedonist at heart. The Japanese girl within her kept her quiet, kept her focused on the tasks at hand, kept her submissive and eager to please. The Italian girl within her sometimes startled him with the force of her convictions, her ability to be independent, her subtle female daring.
She was Robin Sena, not just the replacement Hunter. Her dance increased in pace as the days went by and Amon's head spun trying to keep up with it; his eyes trying to follow her and keep from being noticed. The veils were falling, revealing all of her, and Amon couldn't tear his eyes away.
The others were likewise entranced by Salome-Robin's dance. Adaptable, quick on her feet and quicker in mind, Robin had learned how to worm her way into all of their hearts. To Kosaka, she was a smiling, dimpling girl; his youngest Hunter, still a little girl to be doted on despite the fact that she was a trained and deadly killer. To Doujima and Karasuma she was a little sister, another girl to talk to and share secrets with. To Sakaki, she was an audience, a gracious captive who would always smile and be impressed with his stories. To Michael, she was a friend who made him forget about his imprisonment, quite perhaps the first girl who'd made the hacker's heart beat faster and his palms get sweaty.
To Amon, she was like a madness infecting his brain; slow and insidious, attacking his defenses and taking them over like cancer or an invading army. She was going to climb to the top of his brain and stick in the flag, laughing, hands on her hips; she was going to claim the land for Robin.
The veils were coming down, revealing more and more of her, leaving her less and less to hide. She could not be dangerous; she was already baring so much of herself, showing so much of herself to the world. It would have been difficult for her to hide anything at all, anyway, through her veils. What few layers of defense Robin had were thin, anyway; her face said whatever she thought, her eyes constant alerts as to what she felt.
Could he Hunt this girl? Fuck. He had to at least try.
"The poor kid is harmless," Touko murmured one night while in her bed, arms and legs tangled and hair sticking to sweaty faces. "After all this time she still can't even use chopsticks. If her mind can't work chopsticks, I don't think she's planning diabolical schemes."
In the moments when Robin's defenses were all down, Amon watched her. He watched her when she thought no one was watching her. He watched her during an idle moment after a Hunt, waiting for Factory to arrive; watched her experimentally covering the moon in the sky with a tiny thumb, eyes squinting at the digit. He watched her during briefings; her fingernails scratching at a loose piece of the table, hidden from view. He watched her tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth in concentration as she used the photocopier. He watched her sitting at her workstation, one day; a pre-fab bento lunch in front of her, a pair of chopsticks in one hand. She tried several times with no success in picking up an ekiben, only to finally sigh in quiet frustration and stab one of the chopsticks into the rice-covered pickled apricot, poking the whole thing into her mouth, chewing largely.
Could he Hunt this girl, this inquisitive, slightly gaijin Salome? She danced circles around him and the small secrets that were revealed astounded Amon most of all, made his head dizzier as his eyes remained locked onto her. She ate miso with a spoon when any sensible Japanese person knew you didn't need anything but a cup and some hands to eat miso. Her canine teeth were a little pointier than most, the left one a bit higher in the gums than usual. Her handwriting on all of the official Hunt reports was fluid, rounded, loopy, decidedly feminine. There was a rosary hidden under the not-oft-used mouse pad at her station. Michael bragged that he'd gotten her to read at least one or two mangas as an excuse for bettering her knowledge of written Japanese. Once, Amon had discovered that Robin had worn green socks as she pulled up her skirts a tiny bit to scratch her shin—perhaps out of clean laundry. Touko informed Amon that one evening she'd come home to find the kitchen a mess of stalks and accidentally butchered flowers; Robin had been trying to teach herself ikebana.
As the layers fell away, his eyes peeling her like an orange, Amon worried more and more that he could not find enough to hate about this girl to Hunt her. He worried more and more that he could not find enough to hate about this girl, period.
"No, no, it's like this," Sakaki sighed in exasperation in a calm moment at Harry's, grabbing Robin's hand and positioning the chopsticks in them. "They're not weapons, you know."
The Dance of The Seven Veils was spinning to a climactic end, Robin's beauty nearly fully revealed and Amon's head spinning too much to do anything but look at her, fighting hard to keep from caving, keep from breaking down and offering her anything she wanted.
She already had a head on a platter—his. What more could she ask from him?