"Who gave you that black eye?"

Robin paused momentarily in his movements. The young man took a deep breath and resumed his actions of replacing his tools away in the duffle bag. "That's none of your business."

"I'm making it my business. Who hit you?"

Robin looked on over to where Red was. The blonde girl was testing out the movements of her new arm by twisting off the caps of her vitamin bottles. He turned his attention back to the cyborg. "It doesn't matter."

In a different time, in a different life, things would've played out differently. Murphy would ask a few questions, assess the situation carefully. He would then give the boy his card along with a phone number. After that Murphy would keep out an open eye and try to read for any signs of future abuse and go from there.

But now he's living in this time, living this life. Murphy didn't have the luxury of waiting. He knew exactly what was going on.

"Robin," Murphy said in a soft voice. "Who is hurting you?"

The boy chuckled darkly. "Nobody is hurting me," He huffed. "Your job is to keep an eye on her. Not me. So just drop it."

"Tell me his name."

Robin's hand slammed down on the table. "Shut up!" He yelled. "It doesn't matter!"

At Robin's sudden outburst, Red jerked in surprise and spilled the contents of the pill bottle over the table in front of her. Murphy pushed forward. "It does matter. Someone is hurting you and I want him to stop."

Robin wasn't looking at him, he was looking at Red, frowning at her facial expression. He placed one last item into his bag, swung it over his shoulder and said in a much calmer voice, "Like I said, it doesn't matter. I have to leave now." He got up quickly as if expecting for Murphy to grab him.

Murphy kept his hands to himself. He watched the boy ruffled Red's hair. The girl asked what was going on and Robin ignored her question. Robin threw Murphy one last dark look and left.

Red was gaping noiselessly at his departure. "What was that about?" She shrilled. "Why was he so upset?"

Murphy didn't answer immediately, watching Robin leave down the stairs. "I'm afraid…" he began, not exactly sure how much he should tell her. "Robin is being hurt by someone."

Red shook her head. "What do you mean? I don't see any blood or bruises."

Murphy did not want to get into details. This future may have desensitized her beyond normal, but that doesn't mean he wants to add on to that."Trust me, Red. Someone is hurting him."

But…

What to do about it? It's not like he can burst into the sewers, guns ablazing. He didn't know where the fugitives were, who was hurting Robin, and for god's sake- he didn't even have a gun.

Even more, Murphy thought, eyeing Red's worried face, he couldn't just leave her by herself. Even if she had experienced long isolation periods, Murphy was not willing to leave her. It was too dangerous. He would not take her along either- that's just plain stupidity.

Then what about Robin? Was he just to leave the boy to his fate?

Fuck!

Red touched Murphy's arm. "Who is hurting Robin?"

"I don't know," he said, thinking it over. "He didn't say."

It was quite likely it was the grandfather. Most abuse cases, the abuser was usually the father, an uncle, or the grandfather. Even if Murphy wanted to rush in, guns ablazing, he certainly didn't want to hurt the wrong person.

Fuuuuuuck!

()

Sleep sequence: Over in twenty-five seconds.

Over in fifteen seconds.

Over in ten seconds.

Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

One.

Murphy woke up. He would never need to drink coffee or struggle to wake. Once his sleep cycle was over, it was over.

It was a brand new day in the isolated city and once again, Murphy thought he may be deaf. It took him a few seconds to remember the reason behind the lack of noise.

He stood, his hydraulics whirring loudly. Now that he rested, he wouldn't need to sleep for at least another three or so days. He quickly accessed his security system, scanning the area for dangers. He didn't expect any, but it didn't hurt to be cautious. The top floor of the library was empty like he expected.

Wait…empty?

"Red?" Murphy called out, moving over to her sleeping area. Her mass of blankets showed evidence of recent use, though the girl was nowhere to be seen.

"Red?" Murphy moved down to the first floor, expecting to see the girl hunched over the books she so loved to look through. He really should teach her how to read. It's not like he didn't have the time.

The girl was not in library. Murphy double-checked to be sure.

No way someone would have come in and taken her by force. His systems would have alerted him to that. So that only meant… she left on her own accord.

A million and one horrifying thoughts went through his mind. She didn't leave a note obviously, so where the hell did she go…?

No.

Dread went through him as sudden realization dawned.

No, no, no, no, no…she wouldn't be that stupid, would she?

Yes. Yes she would.

Murphy stalked down the library's front steps, looking to his left right immediately, hoping he would catch her form in the distance. Nothing but silence on all sides.

The sewers. Go to the sewers.

The nearest manhole was about fifty feet down the street. He scanned it and saw no traps, no planted bombs or other such devices. With one finger, he popped the manhole out, sending dirt and water grime over the clean streets.

He wouldn't care, but common sense told him leaving evidence of human for someone to see is a very bad idea. He took a quick second to scoop the grime into the hole, before lowering himself down. He replaced the manhole as perfectly as he could and climbed down.

Upon seeing the sewers, it was like a breath of fresh air, so to speak. The sewers were clean- impossibly clean for sewers, but there still was a measure of fungus and dirt on the walls. Who would've guessed Murphy missed the sight of filth?

The water that flowed through here was also dirty, brown and stale. The walls were made out of some new material, something Murphy didn't recognize.

He stretched out his scanners as far as he could, allowing echoes to bounce off the wall, alerting him to walls, unseen drains, and other man-holes.

God, he could be down here for years and never find a trace of the girl. Murphy had heard of criminals trying to hide in the sewers, only to get lost themselves and die of dehydration, suffocation, or they unknowingly cut themselves and infect the wound with gangrene or cholera.

But… if Red was down here, Murphy was going to find her.

()