Amon, meeting his brother's gaze, had a frown plastered on his face. They were seated in a dimly lit office, at a large, dark table, awaiting everyone else's arrival. James had called from wherever he was and told them to wait for him in a conference room of sorts, a room they hadn't been in until today. The table seated eight people, three on each side and one at each head. Upon entering, Nagira went to the left side of the table and took the furthest seat from the door, next to the head. Amon took the corresponding seat on the right side of the table and Robin sat next to Amon on his left. No longer were they happy and carefree, instead, they were serious and anxious. About two weeks ago, they were at the zoo, having fun, living life like normal people…and yet it felt like it was a lifetime ago.
Nagira puffing on his cigarette and tapping his fingers on the tabletop, the clock ticking, the wind blowing outside…the silence was deafening, something had to be done.
"What do you think he wants?" Nagira asked, his voice sounding serious and quiet.
"It must be something important, he didn't sound quite right on the phone." Amon answered. "Maybe he's found something…"
"I don't know if I should say 'I hope he has' or 'I hope he hasn't' at this point." Nagira responded quietly.
Just then, the door opened and all three turned their heads to see who was entering the study. It was Aideen. Upon entering, Aideen froze in the doorway, her gaze going straight to Amon and Robin. She looked briefly at Robin and then made eye contact with Amon, holding her gaze firmly on him. He stared back, suddenly hell bent on not being the first to turn away no matter how much he wanted to. Instead, he simply reached under the table and grabbed Robin's hand, Robin turning to look at him questioningly. Aideen gave a little sigh and a "hmpf" and then took the seat on Nagira's right despite the unfriendly look he was giving her.
Thankfully, not long after that, Nate and Sarah entered, breaking the uncomfortable silence that had clouded the room. Nate ran one of his hands through his hair as he made his way to the chair next to Aideen as Sarah filled the final seat on Robin's left. Robin glanced over at her friend, worried that not even Sarah's face held her usual smile. Feeling Robin's gaze, she turned her head to look back at her and forced a small smile onto her face.
"Hi, I haven't seen you much lately"
"No," Robin answered, "I haven't seen you around the house lately, how have you been? Well, I hope."
"As well as one can be in such a situation." she sighed.
Before Robin could ask what was wrong, the door opened again and James entered with his laptop and several thick folders. Avoiding their gazes, he walked to the head of the table and took his seat. As he settled in, everyone waited patiently. And finally…
"Ah, good morning…" James said sounding worn. "I've been working tirelessly for the past two weeks, trying to figure out what has happened to the missing Solomon hunters. I haven't been able to find what's happened to them or where they are but, and this is merely speculation…I think their disappearance is too fishy, it must have something to do with Robin and the destruction of the FACTORY in Japan. Amon, I'm sure you've already thought of this before my mentioning it, as have I, but I was waiting, hoping, I could find something to confirm it…or otherwise."
He sighed before continuing on. "Basically, I can't find anything and I don't think I will. They're hiding something and they're doing a good job of it. I fear I'm failing you by simply sitting here and waiting so… Let me put something to you, and, please give me your opinions on it…" At this Amon and Nagira nodded. "Robin, your grandfather is Father Juliano, a retired hunter, correct?"
"Yes." Robin answered softly, her eyebrows coming together in concentration. Where was he going with this?
"Could you tell me about his involvement in your hunt, please?"
"He feared my power…that I would lose control…" Robin said quietly, tilting her head down so as to hide her face as she spoke. At that moment in time, she felt staring at her lap was the only way she could speak about her grandfather. "So he ordered a hunt on me…and eventually told Amon to complete the hunt… He later apologized and explained wh"
"Ah, so there's a possibility that he'd help?" James asked quickly, interrupting Robin.
"Wh..well, yes, I suppose…" Robin said, taken aback by James's question.
"What are you suggesting?" Amon asked suddenly.
"I'm having quite a hard time trying to locate any information on these hunters…after leaving a friend's house, empty handed yet again, something hit me. Robin came from Italy, she had to have some connections to HQ…caretakers, friends…and then it came to me- family. Word had spread that Robin's hunt was ordered by her own grandfather but I wasn't sure. Since I didn't know exactly where he stood, since it was only a rumor, I figured I'd ask. I had nothing to lose, really… If he really is sorry about what happened, maybe we can still consider him to be a friend and even an ally. Maybe we should look into contacting him somehow."
Amon took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, staring down at the tabletop as he thought. The room was completely quiet except for the ticking of the clock which, once again, filled the silence. It felt like an eternity had passed before anyone said anything.
"What do you think Robin?" Hearing her name, Robin's head jerked up to see that Amon was staring at her, waiting for her answer. She sighed and looked back down at the table, her mind chewing on everything that it had just been fed.
"Well…" she started slowly. "He did seem remorseful that day he came to see me back in Japan…" At this, she looked back up to Amon to see his reaction.
He nodded his head and responded softly, "Yes, he did." Suddenly, it was as though they were the only two people in the room, the only two that mattered. What they wanted is what was important, they consulted each other- end of story.
"And we have nothing else to go on…" She looked Amon in the eyes, her own filling with tears. Suddenly, she was so sad…Amon caught this and frowned. He didn't like to see Robin upset.
"…We can't stay here…not like this…it's not safe and it's no way to live, running, always fearing what might be coming…" she whispered, her voice revealing the pain she was in.
All Amon could do was nod his head in the affirmative.
"So," James started, "I think the best route would be to find a place to stay in Italy and stay there. Whoever is attacking us clearly knows we're here."
"Yeah, we should get right on that." Nagira said, speaking for the first time since James entered the room. "I just want to get this all over with."
"Yes, but safely of course. We should be quick but careful." James looked at Aideen, Nate, and Sarah in turn. "Do any of you have any problems with the plan? If any of you want out, you may leave now." All three shook their heads no, indicating that they wanted to come along. "Alright, the first thing to do is to find a place we can all stay and the…"
"Whoa, isn't that going to be expensive? There are seven of us…" Nagira interrupted.
"Don't worry about it, I can take care of it." James winked with a smile.
Nagira, shaking his head and laughing, said, "If you say so."
Everyone rose and made their way out of the room but Robin and Amon stayed where they were. Nagira, chatting with James as he left, stopped and turned to see where Amon and Robin were. Seeing this, he continued on, deciding to leave them alone for a while. The chatter continued as everyone left but the solid oak door shutting muffled it and it eventually faded away so that only silence remained. Neither Amon nor Robin moved.
Robin's face was, yet again, pointed down towards the floor so Amon couldn't see her expression. Even though he couldn't see her face, he knew she was upset. Happy that no one was in the room, he reached over and took one of her hands from her lap and held it in his.
"Robin?" He questioned softly. He heard her take a deep breath in and then sigh. "Robin, are you okay?" She nodded her head. "Robin, I know something is wrong, you can't lie to me."
Holding her hand in his left hand, he turned his chair towards her so he could better see her. Using his right hand, he gently turned her head towards him. She was chewing on her bottom lip, trying to keep the tears in her eyes from spilling. Thinking of what to say, he rubbed her cheek with his thumb.
"Robin, everything is okay. We'll go to Italy and find your grandfather. He'll help us and then, once these hunters are dealt with, we'll be able to live, really live. Everything will be fine."
Robin sniffed, "Amon, we're running again. How long will we have to run? How long until we can just…be?" At this, Robin lost the hold she had over her tears.
Amon pulled her into a hug and just held her there, rubbing her back, and shushing her like a father would a baby.
"Robin, I know this is hard and I know you're tired of living like this but things could be much worse. We've still got each other"
"I know Amon, I know, but… Don't you ever want to just settle into one place and stay put? Live like a normal person?" Robin asked, no longer crying. "I've never…had a normal family…or a normal life. I've always been different, secluded from the rest of the world. I want now, more than ever, to know what it feels like to live, really live."
Amon pulled back away from Robin and took her face in his hands. Looking her directly in the eyes, he answered, "I never had a normal family either Robin…yes, I want to know what it feels like. I promise you, you will, one day, know what it feels like. We'll just have to fight for it. Can you do that? Can you fight on?"
She nodded her head and Amon gave her a small smile and kissed her on the forehead. "I knew you could." He then looked back down at her and leaned in for a kiss. Placing his lips upon hers, he felt her kiss back, a good sign that she wasn't as upset as she had been a few moments before. He deepened the kiss, taking full advantage of being alone. Robin felt him take their kiss to the next level and let him, let him take control, let him wash away all her fear and sadness. This is what she needed-- he is what she needed.
Sorry for the long wait, I couldn't find the time to write and when I finally did my laptop broke down and everything was erased. I hope this chapter is alright, I had to work through my brother's noise so there may be some mistakes. If there are, feel free to point them out so I can fix them. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing, I appreciate your input as well as your patience.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing, I appreciate your input as well as your patience.