Miho Karasuma sighed and waited for her partner to arrive with their drinks. Despite the fact that this was supposed to be a vacation of sorts for them, she couldn't help feeling exhausted. She and Haruto had been sent to Portland, Oregon, for a Hunters' conference. Three days of relaxing, sightseeing, and chatting with people who understood what they did.
Except they didn't. The other Hunters hadn't been at the factory. They hadn't known Robin. They hadn't known Amon. They didn't know about the Orbo or the Witches' Eve. They didn't the people behind the abilities. Which was probably why she and Haruto had found themselves in this little bar trying to relax.
"Here, Miho. One Mimosa for you, and one Irish coffee for me."
He slid into the seat beside her. In the four years since the Factory's destruction, she and her hunting partner had gone from simply co-workers to good friends to a slightly odd couple. At least, she thought they were a couple given that they practically lived together anymore. But they had never really announced it or made it official in anyway. Haruto had just moved in when the lease on his apartment ran out.
Still, she was content with the way things were. Miho leaned into Haruto as a smiling man took the microphone on the stage.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special treat for you tonight at The Singing Tree. Our favorite songbird's going to sing Hey Eugene by Portland's own Pink Martini."
There was thunderous applause as a petite woman took the stage. The simple emerald dress drew Miho's attention to the green-grey eyes that seemed familiar. The woman tucked a strand of auburn hair behind her ear and nodded to the musicians. As the music began to rise around her, she smiled and sang.
"Hey, Eugene, do you remember me? I'm that chick you danced with two times through the Rufus album Friday night at that party. On Avenue A. Where your skinhead friend passed out for several hours on the bathroom floor, and you told me you weren't that drunk, and I was your favorite salsa dancer you have ever come across in New York City."
Her voice was hauntingly familiar. Miho frowned trying to place it. She knew this woman from some where.
"Eugene. Eugene. Eugene. I said hello, Eugene. Are you there, Eugene?"
The singer directed a gentle smile towards the back of the bar. Miho turned, trying to find the recipient of that smile. It was clearly meant for someone.
"Hey Eugene, then we kissed. Once we lugged your friend into the elevator and went to write my number on a soggy paper towel. And the car went down. And when we were finished making out we noticed that your skinhead friend was gone. Long gone. And you looked into my bloodshot eyes and said is it too soon if I call you Sunday."
There in the back she located a man dressed in jeans and a grey t-shirt, nursing a bottle of beer. He followed the singer's every movement, and when he shook his dark hair out of his eyes, Miho's breath caught. Amon. It could only be Amon.
"Eugene. Eugene. Eugene. I said hello, Eugene. Are you there, Eugene? I said hello, Eugene. Eugene. Eugene."
Her head whipped back to the singer. Robin, it had to be Robin. Older, yes, and dressed more casually than she ever had at the STN-J, but it was her. She should have recognized that smile sooner. They were safe.
The rest of the music just washed over her, and it wasn't until the club filled with applause that Miho snapped out of almost trance. As Robin exited the stage, she grabbed Haruto's hand.
"Miho, what in the world are you doing?"
She tugged him through the crowds back towards the stage entrance. "Didn't the singer look familiar to you?"
"She looks a little like Robin, but what does that have to do with anything?"
Grinning at him, she pulled him onward. "And do most girls who look like Robin have tall, dark men watching over them?"
"You think it's Amon?"
Miho just smiled. "We're going to find out."
It took some doing to get over towards the door that led from backstage into the club, but Miho wasn't about to let this opportunity get away from her. She had lived for years with questions and worries about Amon and Robin. It had been hard to hold onto the hope that they were still alive after the Factory even though there had never been any evidence of their deaths found. It would be a relief to know for sure.
The stage door opened just before they reached it. Robin slipped out and into the arms of the dark haired man from the back of the club. He pressed a kiss to the crown of her head and smiled at her.
"Ready to go?"
It was Amon. His voice was distinct. Miho couldn't hold back the joy bubbling up inside. She stepped forward.
They turned, Amon pushing Robin behind him.
Miho smiled. "I am so glad you two are all right. We've been worried for you since the Factory."
Robin gently smiled. "We didn't want to risk Solomon thinking you all were helping us, and the less you knew the better for all of us."
"Don't worry about it. Doujima convinced everyone at Solomon that there was no way you could have survived." Haruto sighed. "And then she ran off with that Nagira guy. They eloped a few years ago, and now they're spawning. She's due some time in this winter."
Amon's mouth quirked. "It might be a good thing that I'm not in contact with my brother."
Robin elbowed him. He just smiled at her. Miho traded a glance with Haruto. Some things had definitely changed. Apparently, Amon had a sense of humor after all. Robin leaned into him.
"We were just heading out to dinner. Would you like to join us?"
Haruto nodded. "We'd like that."
The four of them ended up at a little bistro. It was clear from the waitress' greeting that Amon and Robin were regulars here. Over dinner Amon and Robin's story unfolded from that night at the Factory to their departure from Japan. What followed was a series of tales of their journey from Japan to Russia to Romania to Italy and then France, England, Iceland, and finally the U.S. And this was followed by the account of their cross country journey from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
By the time they finished dessert, Miho had a better idea of what the pair had been through. She had noticed that neither of them mentioned any change of relationship between them, but it was obvious that the pair was no long just partners. Especially, given the fact that at least two of the waitresses had referred to Robin as 'Ms. Nagira'. But it was the little things that really gave them away. The way that Amon played with the loose strands of Robin's hair or Robin's habit of playing with his fingers. They were just too cute together.
"And you two are doing all right here?" Miho asked. "There have been no problems or anything?"
"No." Robin shook her head. "It took us a little while to find steady jobs, but that's all. I'm working at a local florist shop now. It's not far from the university where Amon works. And we haven't really had any problems with Hunters."
"Oregon and Washington are a blind spot for the American Hunters," Amon explained. "Most of their West Coast operations are centered in California."
They parted ways, Robin and Amon heading back to their home and Miho and Haruto back to their hotel. Miho leaned into her partner as they meandered back to the hotel. For the first time in years, she didn't have a niggling worry in the back of her head about if Robin and Amon were alive and okay. Her friends were safe to live their own lives, and she didn't have to feel guilty about living her own.
"Hey." Haruto slid an arm around her. "Are you okay?"
Miho nodded. "Just happy."
He kissed the top of her forehead, and they wandered off into the night.