Witch Hunter Robin Fan Fiction ❯ Bird ❯ Bird ( Chapter 1 )
Author: Catherine Grissom
Warnings: Post-series, mild AxR, possible character death
Disclaimer: I do not own Witch Hunter Robin. Sunrise and Bandai do.
Summary: We had plans, contingencies, but I was still unprepared.
Have you ever watched a cat kill a bird? They don’t immediately move in for the kill. They toy with their prey. Catch, release, stalk, repeat, tormenting the bird until the small creature gives up, collapsing in exhaustion and defeat.
I am that bird. Until recently, I had my own cat, one that had decided that even birds need protection. Unfortunately, the other cat was bigger, faster…
We’d decided, after months of trying to find somewhere even relatively safe, that the safest move was the most daring. We settled in Italy, in a small town just outside of Rome. The apartment was small, comfortable, and, having been paid for in cash, untraceable.
Or so we’d thought.
They caught up with us.
We’d discussed this: with his high security clearance and formidable military training, they were more likely to go after him first, despite the apparent danger I presented to them.
We were right. They concentrated their attacks on him and he led them towards Rome. I slipped into an adjacent alleyway and headed back to the apartment. They were so concentrated on the more obvious threat that they didn’t notice.
I made it back to the apartment without being followed. In a panic and adrenaline fueled rush, I packed what few belongings we had into duffels. I deposited the bags in the small living area and dropped onto the lone couch to wait.
I sat, drained, frozen, unbearably alert, waiting for the door to open, for heavy footfalls to enter, for an imperious voice to declare that we were moving.
Dawn came. Then night. Then another dawn. Five cycles of day and night. I slept sitting up, jolting awake at any sound. I ate or drank only when I could stop my hands from shaking.
I’m still waiting. Waiting for the door to be kicked in. Waiting for heavy footfalls. Waiting for shouted orders, smoke, gunshots.
It’s the only thing I can wait for now. Our plan, my orders, had been, if he was captured, I was to pack our things and, if he did not return within a day, to move to the next location on the list he’d outlined. It has been five days. I should be long gone by now, safe in Algeria, or Uzbekistan, or wherever, having long since left him here in Rome, nothing more than a memory.
If he were captured, tortured, broken, unimaginable as it is, he should be able to give them this place. To end his suffering, secure in the knowledge that I would not be here. Knowing that I would be safe.
But, for some reason I can’t explain, I’m still here, still waiting. The bird, exhausted, defeated, broken, waiting for the cat, whichever one may come.
I feel an odd yearning, one that I’ve not felt since I was a child, one that even then was not indulged. I long for- no, now is not the time for poetic leanings. I need someone, anyone, to hold me, to stroke my hair, to reassure me, to offer platitudes, however meaningless.
Even if he were to return, unlikely as that is now, it would not be him. Our relationship never afforded room for affectionate contact. He protects me. I, in turn, would offer guidance, should his sleeping craft awaken.
I’m suddenly angry at myself. He, until the end, protected me, even providing for my continued protection in the event that he was no longer able to see to it, and I-
Am I to throw that back at him? To sit here dumbly, waiting for death simply because he is no longer here to order me on?
My anger urges me to my feet: the bird, finding the strength for one more desperate flight. I’ve just grabbed the duffels and am thoroughly prepared to march out the door and never look back when a soft clicking reaches my ears.
The door. Oh Heaven, the door.
I stop where I am. The duffels drop dully to the floor as my hands come up to my breast to clasp the ever-present pendant, fingers twining together as I murmur one last prayer: the only one of the many drilled into me that I can recall at the moment.
Another click. Louder. The lock catches this time, turning.
The door swings open and footfalls begin. Tired, staggering: their access here was hard won, it would seem.
“Robin,” the familiar voice is shocked, weary, and I turn to look at the source.
He is so beaten, so bruised, so bloody that I wonder how he is able to stand even as my own legs threaten to collapse under me.
His name escapes my lips, carried on barely enough air to be a whisper, “Amon.” My own perversion of the end of prayer.
Cracked lips move again as he speaks, “Robin, wha-“ He staggers slightly and I am halfway to him before he even draws breath to try again. “What are you doing here?”
My chest is oddly tight and I nearly choke on the words, “I waited. I couldn’t leave.”
His mouth works soundlessly for a moment, considering, as I offer my own slight frame as support for his. He ignores my offer and begins moving past me. I trail behind.
He hefts one of the duffels, mine I realize, and passes it to me. “Go,” he orders. “Run.”
I blink at him in confusion. “Where?” I question dumbly.
“Nowhere on the list,” his voice is sharp. “London. Contact Nagira. Go.”
I suddenly realize that his orders do not include him. “What about you?” I ask, my eyes on the second duffel, waiting for him to lift it. “Come with me.”
“I can’t,” no emotion, a fact. “Run, get as far as you can from here,” he returns to his call for my action. “Leave. Now. Please.”
The word is unusual for him, but it is not so much its presence as its tone that causes me to search his face. His control has slipped, he’s nearly frantic, eyes scanning over my head for some unseen spectre.
There is some noise downstairs and I hear our landlady screeching, demanding to know who, why.
“Too late,” he swallows hard and begins urging me towards the window, the one obscured by the formidable tree’s leaves. “Get out of here,” his voice is just above a whisper now. “Get out of Rome. Out of Italy. Out of Europe, I don’t care, just go! Contact Nagira. He’ll know what to do.”
He opens the window, the cat pleading with the bird to fly. I hear footsteps on the stairs and, closing my eyes, trusting him again, I make a slight leap into the tree. I scurry down, nearly falling, before reaching the ground and taking off, blending with the lengthening shadows.
I hear his voice, confident, calm, quiet, on the wind behind me, “Fly, little Robin. Love, fly.”
Then I hear the window shut, angry footsteps, the voice I know so well, now higher, seemingly hysterical, “I told you! I told you she wouldn’t be here! I told you the witch would know! That she’d leave! I told you!” His voice and their angered replies fade as a run further, out of the town, away from Rome.
By the time I hail a taxi, night has passed and dawn is come again. I give the elderly driver a large wad of bills and tell him to take me as far as that will allow. Anywhere. It doesn’t matter.
He speaks to me in soothing tones, trying to calm me, and I realize that I must seem insane. I force myself to calm down, smiling tremblingly at him, and reassure him that I will be fine, I just need to get as far away from there as I can.
“Ah,” he says knowingly, a sad smile lighting his face. “I see.” He looks to the road, the car finally moving.
Pulling out the satellite phone, another item that I had until recently been sure was untraceable, I study it for a moment before deciding to follow my orders. To Hell with the risk.
The phone on the other end rings for scant seconds before it is picked up.
“Yeah?” it’s Nagira, gruff, chain-smoking Nagira.
I manage to choke back the tears that suddenly threaten.
“Look, you gonna talk? Or should I just start working on suing you now?”
My voice is thick when I am finally able to form words. “Nagira-san?”
He’s silent for a moment, before he speaks again in a voice torn between caution and joy. “Robin-chan?”
“Nagira-san, I need help.”
He sighs heavily before immediately becoming all business, suddenly sounding so much like his brother that I nearly sob. “Where are you?”
It’s fifteen minutes later, after I’m set up with a flight to India, under the pretext of missionary work, and a new name, that he asks.
I open my mouth to respond, to say what, I don’t know, and a strangled cry escapes. He lets out a soft ‘Oh’ and that’s all it takes to reduce me to a weeping, tear-ridden mass.
The driver shoots me concerned looks in the rearview mirror as Nagira murmurs comforting words, whether to soothe himself or me, I’m not sure. The urge to be held returns and I raise a hand to my mouth, as if to try to smother the oncoming sobs.
I’ve nearly calmed by the time we reach the airport. Clinging to my duffel, I thank the driver before letting Nagira know that I’ve arrived and thanking him profusely for once again saving me.
“Don’t worry about it, Robin-chan,” I can hear the slight smile in his voice. “I promised you and Otouto my help and I plan to keep that promise. Good luck.”
Without another word, he hangs up, leaving me alone with my duffel and the driver. The driver studies me for a moment before he nods. Quietly, he holds out the wad of bills I’d handed him.
“No,” I protest. “The money is yours, keep it.”
He shakes his head. “No, bambina. The ride is free. You need this far more than I.”
Forcing a small smile, I take the wad back, but press a few bills into his hand. “For your kindness,” I explain.
He turns in his seat, reaching his free hand out, gently brushing a stray bang out of my eyes. “He did not deserve you, Tesoro, whoever he was.” He nods his head toward the door of the airport. “Fly, little one. Heal.”
I nod silently, having neither the breath nor heart to correct him, and exit the cab, striding towards the airport, looking far more confident than I feel. Words of the men who have given of themselves to protect me throughout the night ring in my ears.
“Fly, little Robin.”
I push through the door.
I pause for the barest of moments to scan the deserted terminal. A woman waves me over to her station, smiling warmly.
She offers me a warm handshake, saying she’s been expecting me. “India, yes?” she asks, giving me a knowing wink. “Name?”
“Claire Elizabeth Savon.”
A/N: Written while listening to Priesner's 'Requiem For My Friend' (I should just stop writing to Priesner, too much depressing stuff comes from it). The prayer Robin says is in Greek, part of the mass, and translates to "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy." I figured it was appropriate, given the situation.I don't know if this is going to be any longer. If it is, it is, if it isn't, well, then it can end here. No, I don't know if Amon is alive. Yes, I am expecting flames for this.