Robin closed her eyes, leaning back in the chair as her weary mind tried to close itself down. She hurt. She was sick. Her contacts burned as brightly as her craft. She was subsisting on espresso, ice cream, and two hours of sleep every night. She knew she had to stop this.
But she was the hunted.
She sat quietly in the lobby of a hotel in Seville, the only sound that of her fingers clicking the keys of the computer as she typed. She had been run out of the room she had managed to scrape the money together for by the return of her partying roommates; three girls, their boyfriends, and a brother. She had endured teasing, and photographs taken of her ¨sleeping form. She had risen when they had left again, and gotten dressed, slipping out of the room, putting in her contacts as she walked down the hall. Her black skirt was tucked elegantly around her legs, and the short sleeveless blouse revealed the tan she had gotten while on the run. Her hair hung loosely around her shoulders, hanging now to halfway down her back.
Silently, she thanked Doujima for the few words of Spanish the girl had taught her during her time in Japan. Unfortunately, all she spoke fluently was Italian and Japanese, with Doujima´s Spanish phrases and some of Amon´s Arabic curses thrown in for good measure, which made her movements a lot more predictable to the STN.
A threat, am I? She thought wryly. The Arcana of the Craft? I'm starving in the streets of a country in which I can say ´please´, ´thank you´, and ´hello´. She chewed absently at her cuticles, a bad habit she had tried to break herself of for years.
Micheal! I can always learn English! That'll give me a few more countries to hide in! She looked towards the door, where a pay phone in the plaza a few streets away beckoned, then at the clock on the computer. She shivered slightly. She couldn't go out there. Not this early in the morning.
I am a coward. I am running from the most dangerous organization in the world, and I'm afraid to leave the hotel before dawn for fear of rapists and murderers. The idea that she had thought that struck her as funny, and she muffled her laughter. She had come a long way from being the innocent girl in the monastery, who would never have thought of the dangers, not knowing that they existed.
They took my naivety, as much as that-female!-upstairs took my sleep! She thought indignantly, not sure whether she meant the STN or the world in general. She stretched, and shoved away from the computer. No, she wouldn't bother Michael at this time of day, but she would go eat her ¨breakfast¨. She had to get away from this place.
The early morning traffic was just noisy enough to give her a comfortable feeling that there were others around, in case she needed assistance. Her boot heels clicked softly on the pavement. She almost laughed again as she realized that she turned seventeen in a month, exactly. And Amon…tonight had been Amon´s birthday.
"Aishiteru," She whispered to the street. "Many happy years ahead of you, my partner…my friend." She dared not say, even to herself, how she truly felt about him. Restlessly, she ran her fingers through her hair, wondering where he was, what he was doing tonight. If he had anyone with him…
She wandered into a tiny café, and sat, checking her tiny pouch. She had just enough change left to buy a bottle of water. Either she needed to find another job for the day, or wander the streets until she found enough euros to buy breakfast. If only she could risk settling down long enough to be able to support herself…
"Only a bottle of water, pretty lady?" A masculine voice teased her, flirtatiously. "Surely a little bird like you will waste away on such fare! Let me buy you a cup of coffee, at least."
Robin's body and nerves thrilled to the sound of that voice. It was Amons, only more carefree, younger sounding. And that nickname, the one adopted by her friends in the office. Her spirit singing, she looked up.
The man who stood before her had longish, dark hair, but it was tied back with a leather strap into a low ponytail. The brown eyes sparkled flirtatiously. He wore dark pants and boots, but a light, white, long sleeved shirt that looked like it would be cool, even in the hottest part of the day. The man looked remarkably like the partner she had just been thinking of, as though she had conjured him from the streets of Tokyo.
But this man looked younger, more jovial. Mischief shone in his eyes. This was an eighteen year old Amon, one who was still curious, who loved the world, and was not yet hardened and bitter. And he was speaking to her in Italian.
He sat, and she quietly agreed to his offer. Leaning back, he began to talk to her, easily, lightly, his banter bringing blushes to her cheeks, making her feel again like the inexperienced huntress who had left the STN post-Factory two years before. Her heart thrilled, and she had to keep reminding herself that it was not he, could never be Amon.
At last, her own eyes shining, but from suppressed tears, she rose to go, but the gentleman caught her hand.
"Alas, fair maiden. You have yet to tell me the name that accompanies such angelic features such as yours."
Robin choked back, as her lips tried to shout, "You know me, Amon! I am your Robin!"
Instead, she answered carefully,
"Me llama Rena."
"Ah, si, Señorita Rena. Y yo soy Allen." Charmingly, he smiled, and then switched back to Italian. "I hope to see you again tomorrow morning. Again, my treat. I enjoy talking with intelligent, beautiful women."
"I may be leaving for Madrid," She answered. "It was a pleasure. Good-bye, Allen."
Amon looked after the blonde girl as she moved off up the streets. He dropped the façade of this, his most recent persona, as he untied his hair and wiped the makeup from his scars. His heart constricted painfully. This was not Robin. He had to get over his pain.
But her mannerisms, her soft voice…
"You know me, Robin." He whispered. "I am your Amon."