Witch Hunter Robin Fan Fiction ❯ I Cannot Offer You Freedom ❯ Chapter 10 ( Chapter 10 )
I Cannot Offer You Freedom
The hospital room was white and warm, and Robin felt out of place in her dark, wet dress.
She sat uneasily by the injured man, watching the steady rise and fall of his chest. Most of the machines and wires were gone now, and the doctor had assured the young craft-user that Amon slept easily in the land of the living.
Nodding off, she found herself tormented by demons of her own making; several times she started awake, her stomach a churning mass of guilt.
The sound of her name brought her out of her latest doze. "Amon."
The dark-haired hunter stared up at the ceiling, his eyes twin pools of darkness. His hair was dark against the whiteness of the room, and what strands poked through the wrappings lay limp upon the pillow.
"You were injured badly by your fall," Robin told him to break the silence. "The doctors say you're going to be fine, but you'll need some time to recover."
But Amon merely nodded and continued to stare at the ceiling. Robin fidgeted a little as the silence grew louder and louder, only emphasized by the starkness of the room.
"When I was little, I fell three stories out of a tree," he said suddenly, speaking in the same flat, emotionless voice he used everyday. "I've been afraid of heights and falling ever since." He paused. "I want you to get Miro."
Choking back her emotions, Robin answered, "Michael already did."
"Michael?" Amon turned his head and looked at her, some bit of emotion shining through for the first time. Whether it was surprise, satisfaction, or something else, Robin couldn't tell, but she saw the spark in his eyes.
The girl nodded and explained the whole story to the fallen leader, her voice rising and falling with emotion. Amon listened impassively, inclining his head every once and a while to show his understanding. "Zaizen's a fool," he said matter-of-factly, once Robin was done. "He should know better then to hunt a cornered animal."
Robin merely looked away and stared out the window, where the rain still fell. She watched as it ran down the panes in waterfalls, washing away any dirt and grime that might have dirtied the glass. Her hands lay limply in her lap and she could feel the chill in them seeping up her arms; despite the warmth in the room. Shivering now, she pulled her damp skirts closer around her legs and glanced up to find Amon staring at her.
"Go home," he told her, looking away once more. "You're no good to the team if you're sick." He closed his eyes and Robin left the room quietly, head down. The older man heard her sneeze even through the closed door and he grimaced slightly.
"Michael . . ." he mused aloud after she had left. "Michael . . ."
Darkness surrounded him, dragged him down, both figuratively and literally. He closed his eyes once more, figuring there was no point in looking when there was nothing to see. Cold metal stung his wrists and he could feel the weight of the shackles around his ankles, pulling his feet down. Twisting a little, pain engulfed his arm, shooting white-hot fire through his brain. Crying out, his eyes flew open and he blinked back the tears that had formed.
Breathing heavily, he tried not to move the arm and stared off into the blackness around him. Robin . . . The events of the past 12 hours flooded his head with images and emotions that threatened to bring his tears back. Snarling to himself, he clenched his teeth and tried to blank out at least the images, but he was unsuccessful.
The images of Robin prevailed over all and Michael found himself reliving the moment of their kiss over and over again. The tears burst from his invisible dam, and he cried there in the dark with his arms chained above his head.
The few members left of the STN-J sat in silence their shame shining through in their eyes and Doujima's tears. The chief glanced over at them and for once, wisely decided to say nothing. Their little team was falling apart.
Once they had returned to Raven's Flat with the unconscious hacker slung between Sakaki and Karasuma, Zaizen had appeared before them, eyes hard and unforgiving. HE had ordered them to chain Michael in a holding cell below the tall building, and they had done so, almost vomiting with their surprised guilt.
Doujima's tears had started the moment they had begun chaining Michael to the rough stone walls, and they hadn't stopped since. Now, Sakaki reached out with his good right arm and touched her shoulder lightly, surprise showing on his face as the girl turned and buried her face in his strong chest.
He put his arm around her and glanced over at Karasuma; her dull eyes met his and fell down again to the clenched, white-knuckled hands in her lap.
Suddenly, with no warning, she stood up, grabbed her coat, and fled the room. Sakaki stared after her and sighed; he pressed his lips softly to the top of Doujima's head and ignored the tear that slipped down his own cheek.
No longer shivering, Robin stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a towel. She gazed into the foggy mirror with eyes turned a flat, dull, gray-green and tried to see inside herself, tried to find a reason for her madness.
She stood and stared for many long minutes before finally turning away. There was no excuse for what she had done. True, she may have saved Michael's life, but her bloody heart refused to believe that. There must have been some other way!
Mind still trying to rationalize the betrayal she had committed, Robin left the steamy room and entered her own. Putting on a new set of clothes, she sat down on the edge of her bed and did her best to offer up a prayer for strength and forgiveness; but the words would not come. Mute, she glanced out the window, then watched as the rain began to taper off, then stopped altogether.
Getting up, she left the room and slipped into her coat and shoes, closing the front door quietly behind her. No need to worry Touko.
Approaching her vespa, she glanced up at the sky and saw that the clouds were beginning to dissipate. It was the first good thing to happen to her all day.
Zaizen sat in his office, a pungent cigar hanging from his lips and smoking a thin stream of smoke into the air above him. One hand came up and fingered the chain links still hanging from his neck; the other drummed its fingers on his desk.
Now you know . . . what it feels like . . . Robin's voice rang in his mind even as her slim form stepped timidly into his office. He glanced up at her, and the lines around his mouth softened a little. But not much. "Robin?"
"Sir, I'd . . . I'd like to speak with you." Even her voice was hesitant.
The imposing boss of the STN-J beckoned her forward and extinguished his cigar, the hand on the chain lowering itself discreetly to the desk. She stopped in front of his desk, right in his line of vision, and looked him straight in the eye. "I must ask you to spare Michael's life." There was no pleading in her voice, no begging tone, just a simple, urgent need.
He stared at her, surprised to say the least. The man had expected some form of protest, but not like this. He had been expecting begging, screaming, pleading, anything but the simple question of the young woman now standing before him. Zaizen was shocked.
So shocked in fact, that consequently, he stared at Robin for at least a full minute before her restless shifting brought him back down to earth. "You want me to let Michael live?" he asked, wanting to make sure he had heard right.
Robin nodded. "His mother was murdered by that witch, sir! That was the only reason he left. Michael's loyal to the STN-J, he would never do anything that would put us in danger."
Zaizen's eyes widened a little at the part about Michael's mother; he hadn't known that. Still . . . it was no excuse for the way the boy had acted.
Sighing, he rubbed his temples and breathed deeply through his nose. "But the fact remains, Robin, that Michael left this building, which he is forbidden to do. I spared him his life earlier, but only after he promised to never leave here again. He has broken that trust, and he deserves to be punished. I cannot afford to let him get away with this."
"But it was for his mother sir!" Robin's stubborn nature was beginning to kick in. "He wasn't doing anything wrong by wanting to avenge his mother, was he? He didn't do anything illegal or sell information or-"
She was cut off by her boss's waving hand. "I get the picture," he said, voice carefully neutral. He sighed once more and swiveled in his chair to look out the window, where sunshine was once more streaming in. He was quiet for so long that Robin thought he had forgotten about her.
But finally, "I will let Michael live, but-" He raised a hand with the first finger raised in the air, "under one condition! If Michael ever leaves this building again, ever, he will die. No questions asked, no explanations or second chances. Understood?"
Eyes shining Robin nodded, then realizing he couldn't see her, answered, "Yes sir!" She spun around to go find the hacker, but Zaizen's voice called out and halted her search.
"I will get him . . . there are things I need to speak with him about." The harsh tone had returned to the tall man's voice and he brushed past the shorter girl without a second glance, disappearing into the lower levels of the building. She shivered at his tone and spared a second of worry for Michael then stopped that line of thought. Everything was going to be fine.
Walking on air, Robin joined Sakaki and Doujima in their main working area and found the two talking quietly in low voices, their faces very close together.
Upon noticing her presence, Doujima let out a little sound, almost like a squeak, and jumped back about five feet from Sakaki, who only looked at Robin in wry amusement. But the amusement faded quickly, dampened, like everything else, by the reality of Michael's dire situation. All of the team knew their guilt would never fully diminish, they would regret their actions to their dying days, but afterwards it would no longer rule their minds and hearts as it did now.
"Why are you so happy?" Doujima asked, her eyes red and her cheeks still glimmering faintly. "You of all people!"
But Robin only sat next to her and replied, "Michael's not going to die."
Two pairs of relived eyes turned to focus on her and she saw their faces light up just like hers. "He's-" Doujima began.
"He's gonna live!" Sakaki shouted. He jumped up from his chair and let out a loud whoop, running over to the chief with the news, trying to be as annoying as possible.
Doujima's tears flowed once more, but this time they were tears of happiness and respite. She reached out and hugged Robin, then grabbed the phone, presumably to call Amon at the hospital and tell him the good news.
Robin sat back in her chair and watched the suddenly bustling office with only a trace of her former guilt registering in her eyes. Michael was going to live.
WOW! This is my longest chapter yet. It's five pages! I've finally figured out how I'm going to end this, but I will say there's going to be at least a few more chappies before that sad day comes. ^_~
Yes Qui-ti, I read the FAKE mangas, and I love them TO DEATH! It's the funniest series I have ever read in my life and I worship Sanami Matoah's art. It's gorgeous, for lack of a better word.
I loved all the comments on how evil Zaizen is . . .
Keep up the reviews! I thank you all for the millionth time!