Status: This is an ongoing story! I will be posting chapters as I finish them. I hope you like the story and have as much fun reading it as I did/do writing it.

Once Upon a Time

Chapter Five

Fear was one of the many things the little girl had known in her short life. The Bookworm had found her a new home, certainly, but it wasn’t long before they came for her again. Each time they took only her grandmother, and each time she grew more afraid of them. Since the first incident, each of the grandmothers in the other stories wouldn’t talk to her. No matter how hard she tried, each time she brought up the stories her grandmother had told her their faces fell. They all told her the same thing, “The less you know, the better.”
There was one time, however, she got one of them to say something. She was huddled in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night after a reading when she decided to try again. “Grandmother,” she piped up, staring into the fire anxiously. Her toes wiggled in her little worn socks. “Why do they keep coming back? What do they want? Where do they come from?”
The old woman was quiet for some time, possibly debating whether or not to say anything, like all the others before her. After several minutes, she finally spoke. “Dear...these people,” she trailed off, letting out a strained sigh. “Your grandmother told you of the man who came into the Library many seasons ago, but she left out some details..perhaps to protect you.” The little girl’s head snapped to the woman, glaring into her grey eyes with her own defiant blue ones. “Protect me? I hardly see the point of that nonsense given all that’s happened.” The grandmother held up a hand, and the little girl pouted, but obliged all the same.
“She had told you of the man and his people, but there’s more to the story. You see, the man wasn’t a simple storybook character, like you or I. He was once a Writer, but a negligent one. He thought the skill a Writer obtained to create us was easy, and when he created his first story and succeeded, his belief solidified into fact.” The woman paused, taking a sip of her tea. “Sometime later, he was writing a story when the unthinkable happened. He couldn’t write anything. He had somehow reached a point in which he couldn’t create, couldn’t fully flesh out his story. Ordinarily, this would be fine, if it weren’t for one thing. A Writer, when creating, can do whatever he or she likes, but mustn’t solidify any characters or plot points until they are sure of their story. This young Writer hadn’t known not to do this because all his other stories were simple and were therefore easy to quickly publish, but this time was different. The plot twisted several times, there were multiple characters with their own complex character arcs that all ended differently.
“This was, it seems, what was stumping the young Writer. When he stopped writing, his characters started corrupting. The ones that weren’t completed turned into horribly disfigured beasts, hell bent on destroying everything in sight. The ones that were had no chance. It wasn’t just that incomplete characters turned, it was worse than that. If a character has any character flaw that hasn’t been fully realized and their arc hasn’t been created to fix that flaw, it will become the only thing of note about them. A queen with a narcissistic complex will morph into a creature that, if not loved and admired, will turn to bloodshed. This was what was happening to the young Writer’s story, and instead of asking for help from others, he did something most thought illegal.”
The little girl stilled, eyes wide. “What did he do, grandmother?” The woman set down her tea cup, picking at an invisible piece of lint on her sleeve.

“He did what all Writers had forbade themselves to do. He stole ink from the Vault of Creation and took ideas that had been cast away by others and wrote his own story, with himself as the main character. But he stole just enough Ink to do all of this before he began to run out, so with the knowledge his family had provided on the ink he began to create more. When he came to the Library many years ago, he hadn’t expected the great Bookworm to deny him, and so he devised weapons using the Ink that when used against any Writer’s creation it would do unspeakable horrors to them.
“So many of us died that day, and so many more were taken away, never to be seen from again.” The grandmother fell silent, tears welling in her eyes. The little girl too was quiet, thinking over what she’d just been told. As she thought, she tried to put the pieces together in her head, trying to connect the dots between herself and the attempts to take her away. However, something just wasn’t making sense. “Grandmother..” She said, confusion pushing her eyebrows together. “What do they want from me? Why am I so special?” The old woman let out a breath so long it seemed to have been trapped in her aging lungs for a while. “That, my dear, is a story for another time. Come to bed now, love, the time for talking has passed, and the time for sleeping as arrived.
There is a rumor going around that any and all failed creations of Writers find a home in a dark and gloomy place far removed from any other stories. Given what happens if stories are not completely finished by the time it reaches the readers, this is understandable. There is also another rumor that the place that these creations go is much like the readers “hell”; all fire and brimstone, mostly screaming and torture. This is partly correct, however the place this all occurs has never been described well. This too, is understandable, seeing as anyone or anything that goes to this place hardly ever returns. One person claims to have been there and survived, but the Mad Hatter has always been a little...well, mad. Obviously. He was feeling a little bored when he made this claim, and wasn’t expecting the amount of annoyed faces glaring back at him.
Going back to the matter at hand, the unknown place was actually quite bright. People also believed that the land beyond the Library was a foreboding kingdom, with a tyrannical leader who did unspeakable things to his subjects. This, again was not the case. What the land actually looked like was much cleaner.
The area may be called “The Abyss” for its outward appearance, but the building in the center of it all was quite the opposite of its surroundings. Once inside, one will come across white walls and fluorescent lights, with faded and peeling paintings of cartoon animals and children having a merry time running through a stark green field which was not as bright as it perhaps once was. Haunting, yes, but certainly much cleaner than assumed.
Somewhere within the maze of hallways and rooms, and rooms connecting to more hallways, there is a reception desk. Why, one may ask, is there a reception desk in a place called “The Abyss”? The answer is quite simple really. Let’s just say the head honcho likes his organization. Too many times people have gotten lost trying to find the right room. It got to the point that staff had trouble navigating the halls due to constantly bumping into people who had taken a wrong turn, and so reception was created.
The woman running reception was extremely bored today. She was never allowed to leave in case of emergency, (though she was of the opinion that in an emergency this should not be the protocol, but what did she know? She was just the receptionist, the emergency people had control of the emergency protocol, not her.) and so her day was filled with a few people a day escorting some poor soul whose head had found itself under a hood trying to find their way to some torture room or whatnot.
This boredom had been eating away at her bones until sometime in the afternoon, a mysterious man came in. She smiled to herself. Finally some entertainment.
She hadn’t known this man for very long; she wasn’t even on a first name basis with him. What she did know was that the boss upstairs (and hallways and corridors-the two of which are significantly different thank you very much-and more stairs and then a left) had sent this mysterious man on a mission. Word around the office was that for once in his life he was unsuccessful. She also knew that the boss had given him a second chance-a rare gift-and he still failed to return with his target, and that was simply not going to sit well with the boss. So she sat there, a small smug smile on her face, as the man approached her.
She made a big show of finding his file, shuffling through every paper in her filing cabinet before brandishing the piece of paper that said-in so many words-that he was done for. As she handed the paper to him, she gave him the directions she knew he already had memorized. “Good luck.” she said, flashing one last contemptuous glare at his back as he turned to leave. Once he was out of sight, she put away her newspaper and grabbed a bag of microwavable popcorn and waited for the shouting to begin.
The boss’ office was not terribly foreboding. It was quite big, but it was filled with minimalistic items, as most offices usually are. When the man walked in, he was greeted with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the barren and depressing wasteland. In front of the window was a desk, as any office would have. Behind the desk was perhaps the tallest chair in existence. One may think upon seeing such a large chair that a rather large person sits behind it, and one would be correct in assuming that this was contextually accurate.
The chair was facing away from the man as it had been the last two times he had come in, and so he never could confirm the proportions of his boss, and he suspected if he ever found out that it would not be as cathartic as he thought.
The massive mahogany double doors leading to the office closed without a sound, and yet somehow the man in the chair knew he had a visitor and also knew who said visitor was.
“I see you have returned.” A gravelly voice rumbled.
“Well if you’d turn around that might actually be true, you bell-end.”
This is what the man would have said had he wanted to die at this very moment in a slow and painful way. However, this was not the case, and so he wisely decided that keeping his thoughts and imaginings very much to himself would be the best idea. “I have, sir.”

“Do you think me a fool, boy?” the voice rumbled.

Why yes, sir, how could I not? “Not at all, sir.”

The man in the chair paused, punctuating his next words with a long sigh. “What happened this time? I see you do not return victorious.”

It was the other man’s turn to hesitate. He stared off at something outside the window. “Yes sir. I was close this time-”

“You were what?” The man in the chair growled, his voice echoing through the room and reverberating through the other man’s frame. “I didn’t give you this mission so that you could come close to succeeding!” he bellowed. The chair began to turn around, and the man’s eyes darted to the grey carpet at his feet. His vision of the lovely charcoal material was obscured by a pair of very large, very shiny black shoes. Before he knew it, he was being lifted by his shirt collar and had no choice but to look the other man in the eye.
The man eventually released him, but not before saying one last thing. “Return with the girl this time, or your family will be Unwritten.”
The mysterious man’s stomach filled with leaden dread. He simply nodded in response and turned to leave. By the time he passed reception his face had shifted back into its emotionless mask. He knew what he had to do. He also knew he didn’t have a choice.
When Red arrived in Robin’s story unceremoniously she had been told to rest until her wound had completely healed. Since no one had had a brush with death quite like her own, the duration of her recovery was unknown. This rather irked Red as, if one hadn’t been paying attention until now, waiting was not part of her personality. It took her about a week to get restless, another to get cabin fever, and another to start tearing up Robin’s home in frustration. Suffice it to say that she really didn’t like being told to lay still and generally take up a vegetative state for long periods of time. This is backed up by numerous arguments held by herself, Robin, and occasionally Alice who all had very different ideas on the matter. (Though to be thoroughly accurate it was often Alice and Robin doing the quarreling.)

“I’m telling you, if she moves it could make her condition much worse. I’ve seen this before-”
“Oh have you? I find it extremely convenient given that in our many years as friends the whole ‘Red’s dying from a super weird black virus-wound-thing’ conversation never came up until now.”
“I agree that she needs to rest, however I don’t think we’re treating the wound correctly. You see, I read in a book recently that..”
“What a shock, Wonderland’s read another book! It’s astounding! Look, I don’t think some magical cure is going to be found in the pages of some silly novel-”
“It’s not a silly novel, it is thoroughly researched science. And I am not looking for a magical anything, not that magic doesn’t exist. I was reading into that story about the rogue Writer we found weeks ago, and-”
“Magic doesn’t exist, Wonderland. If it did, d’you think I’d be stuck doing petty theft? I’d be a king! Or a warlock. Ooh, a warlock king! Yes, I quite like the idea of that..”
“Robin, we’re getting off topic.”

Red, who had been standing by the window peering out at a bright summer’s day she was destined to miss out on, decided she’d had enough. She turned and looked at the two bickering buffoons in front of her. She bore her eyes into each of their skulls, trying to get either one of them to notice her obvious anger. She swept a flask off the dining room table and began in general making quite the racket-and they still continued arguing.
She sighed, coughed loudly, and after a moment just decided to leave, letting the door slam on her way out.
Red had made it about a hundred paces down the cobblestone road before she heard them yelling after her. “Hood, wait! Your wound, it hasn’t healed!”
“Nice to see that amongst all the arguing you’ve been doing for me, you still have enough time to chase after your dear old Red. Really touching.” Red shot over her shoulder, continuing down the path to the story’s end. She had now made it deep within the forest, still trailed by her companions.
“Red, we’re sorry if we overreacted, we just didn’t want you to get hurt.”
A bitter laugh rang out, burying itself in the surrounding foliage and carried away on a sparrow’s wing. She turned to look at the pair of them, now walking backwards. “I dunno if either of you have noticed, but you seem to have already mucked up that perfect plan of yours.”
Robin flinched. “What Wonderland means is that you still need time to heal. Any strenuous activity, and-”
“And what, I could become Unwritten?”
These words hung in the air like a half empty balloon. Alice and Robin stopped dead, Alice’s breath hitched in her throat. “How did you..?” Robin started, his eyes darting to hers and quickly sinking to the ground upon seeing the anger broiling there. Red looked at the pair of them, daring one of them to make eye contact. “Don’t think I don’t already know. My grandmother-my real grandmother told me enough.” Her eyes stung with unshed tears. “Did you honestly think I was just going to sit there and listen to you two arguing over my health until I somehow magically got better? Until File Thirteen just changes their mind about their plans for us?” Red’s heart raced, veins pulsating with fury.
“Too many people have died because of them, people we could have saved. I lost my wolf because we were too afraid to fight back. Alice, you lost White Rabbit, and Robin-”
“Don’t.” said Robin. Red paused, studying him. He had grown still, hands clenched into fists at his sides. A flash of pity went through her, but she continued on. “Robin, you lost your family. Don’t you want them back?”
A heavy silence perched on nearby branches.
“It’s too late.” Robin muttered, so quietly Red almost asked him to repeat himself. Alice went to put a comforting hand on his shoulder, but he pulled away roughly.
“Robin, they could still be..”
“What, alive? Oh, I have no doubt they’re alive, but I sincerely doubt they’re...themselves.”
Red tensed. “Robin..what aren’t you telling us?”

It was some time before he spoke, but when he did, Red began to regret asking.
“I told you the story of my parent’s capture, but I left out some of the details. You see...I didn’t just let them go. I mean I couldn’t, they were my family.” Robin swallowed, mouth suddenly feeling quite dry.

“I followed the vehicle they had been thrown into. They went out of my story and into a place far away from the Library. I had followed them for perhaps days until I saw a massive building. I didn’t know what to do at this point so I did what any thief would and snuck in. What I saw…” his voice wavered, growing quiet for several moments.
“What I saw was pure hell. They were taking people and submitting them to the worst kinds of torture. They strapped them to these odd machines and injected them with a black substance. Worst of all,” he finally looked at Red.
“They were re-Writing them.”
Red’s face fell. “But, that isn’t possible. Only Writers can change us, and even then where’d they get the Ink?”
“That’s just it.” said Robin, pacing now. “I heard a version of the story where he had taken some of the Ink the Writers used and learned how to make more.”
Red’s gaze darted to him. “I heard that story. From my grandmother, but I thought it was a dream-”
“Well it clearly wasn’t,” butted in Alice. Red and Robin jumped, both seeming to have forgotten she was there. “I read another book about the rogue Writer-something about one of his creations.” she then proceeded to rummage through her bag, pulling out a leather bound book and flipping through it. Finding what she was looking for, she turned the book towards them. “He wanted to create a weapon.” Alice looked up and saw the deadpan faces of her friends. “A better weapon, more powerful than any he’d made before.” She pointed to an image of the Writer holding a piece of deep red fabric. “He made a cloak that would have the ability to carry out the wearer’s deepest desires.” She grabbed the book back and flipped through more pages, all the while Red grew more anxious. Alice stopped suddenly, and with great fervor turned the book back toward them. “One day, someone snuck into his chambers and stole the cloak from right under his nose. For years, no one has figured out who the person was nor their intentions with the hood. What people do know is that he will stop at nothing to get it back.”

If Red was to be honest, the first mention of the word ‘cloak’ was enough to send her into a downward mental spiral. Now she understood why the cloak she never wore felt like more than an article of clothing when she finally got around to looking at it. But one question remained unanswered. “Why me?” she said, looking between her friends, who looked equally confused. “Why would the cloak have fallen into my grandmother’s possession when she was a little girl, and then be passed down to me?” Her friends shrugged. “Maybe your grandmother thought it’d look nice on you?” Robin suggested hesitantly. When no one responded save for a signature I-would-very-much-like-to-kill-you glare from Red, he sheepishly added, “Yeah, you’re probably right, doesn’t make much sense, that logic.”

Red shook her head, brushing off her brief annoyance at the man. “One thing’s for certain,” she said, continuing on her way to the end of the story. “Whatever the Writer’s intentions, he needs to be stopped.”
The next few hours were spent at Writer’s Block formulating a plan to infiltrate File Thirteen’s Headquarters. To be more specific, the first two hours were spent in dead silence as no one was able to come up with any ideas that were remotely contextually accurate (it was a bar, after all). As the group laid off the drinks and focused more on the task at hand, a legitimate scheme began to form.
Red paced in front of the blackboard at the back of the room. On the board were scribbles marching off on designated paths. “So the plan goes something like this,” Red said, tapping a piece of chalk against her chin. “Alice, your group will cause a distraction at the front gate, drawing the guards over and allowing Robin and I to take them out. Once that’s done we don their uniforms and blend in with the crowd. Then, we take someone hostage and convince them to take us to the top floor where-I assume-the rogue Writer is.” She turned and faced Alice and Robin in turn. “Any questions?” Alice’s hand popped up like an eager schoolgirl. Red nodded, and she spoke. “Firstly, this plan is swell, I think it’ll be really fantastic and amazing.” She straightened her skirts. Red stared at her, waiting for her to continue. Alice stared back. “Oh, that’s all.” she smiled brightly. Red sighed in response.
“What’s plan B?” Robin said. Red turned to him, eyebrows creased. “Plan..B?” she asked. “Yes. Plan B. What is it?” Robin quipped. “If our fantastic and amazing plan doesn’t work out, what then?” He stood up, toying with a throwing knife. “If Alice’s diversion doesn’t work, what do we do? If you or I can’t take out the guards, what’s next? And do you honestly think we can just ask nicely where the boss man is?” His questions nipped Red like hot sparks, her eyes began to itch the more his questions grew in number. “Do you even know how to fight? And what exactly are we to do? Huh? This isn’t a plan-it’s a suicide mission!” he punctuated this by throwing his knife at the board, cleaving Red’s name in two. Silence filled the room as Red fished for the proper response. Robin laughed bitterly. “You’re just a girl, Hood. We’re not fit to do any of these things.” he said, gesturing at the board. “The moment we step foot in their territory we will be chased like meager prey and devoured no less violently.” He walked toward the door, slamming it open. Afternoon light spread in a hesitant line from the threshold to Red’s slumped figure. “We can’t win.” These last words were accompanied by the door swinging shut, closing out the warm sunlight.
Robin was right, of course. Red knew as much, she just didn’t want to see it. She supposed if they came up with something-anything-to combat this threat, then they might have a shot. She thought if she ignored the facts, if she went in blind, the fear wouldn’t set in and paralyze her. This was quickly proven to be ineffective as soon as Robin opened his mouth. She knew it would be, that’s why they were so close.
When she first came to the Library and had the run ins with her attackers, Robin was one of the first people to talk to her. He offered her solace in his story while the Bookworm figured out what to do with her. As the years went on he taught her his tricks; how to steal a pouch from under a man’s nose, how to climb trees like a monkey, and even a few fighting moves sprinkled in, though he didn’t teach them as much. “I can’t imagine you getting hurt,” He’d say, a smile in his eyes. “So long as you stay in your story, you’re safe.” This statement was usually followed by Little John tackling Robin to the floor, sending him about twenty paces to the side and out of view. Robin would say something, a string of things, in response, but Friar Tuck always managed to cover Red’s ears before anything could be heard, which always annoyed her.
As she grew up, she got better at climbing trees and stealing, but the fighting lessons remained the same. She could punch a man hard enough to knock him senseless, and she knew where a man’s weak points were, but other than that she still knew little. Each day would end and Red would beg Robin for more lessons, and each time she would be refused.
Now, she sat in the pub, alone and defeated, and still at the same point she was when she was a little girl. She ran a hand across her face, swiping away the rogue tears that perched on her freckled cheeks, and stood up. Alice, who Red had quite honestly forgot was still there, jumped up, startling Red and sending her into a nearby table which promptly toppled over. “What do we do now?” Alice asked softly. Red crossed to the door, thrusting it open. “Now, we ready ourselves.” she said.

“Hey, Hood!” Robin turned, smirk cracking across his face. When he saw who the voice belonged to, he continued on his way through his forest. “If you’ve come up with a better plan, I can’t wait to hear it.” he said in monotone. He got several steps further before a certain reddish brown shape interrupted his progress. He rolled his eyes, and looked down at Red.
“I don’t have a plan, I think it’s safe to say I suck at those,” Red chirped, walking backwards to stay facing Robin, who simply rolled his eyes again. “Instead,” she continued, still matching his pace. “I want to train. Teach me to fight so I won’t be, how did you put it? ‘Just a girl’?” This time Robin really looked at her, studying her. He stopped in his tracks, hands at his hips in annoyance. “I need to be able to fight,” she said. “I need to be able to win.”
Some moments passed, most spent while Robin looked up to the skies and muttered to himself. Finally he let out a strained sigh. “Fine.” was all he said. Red grinned from ear to ear, and would have embraced him had he not given her a hard stare at that exact moment. “I’ll teach you, but don’t expect me to go easy on you.” Red dropped her grin, face now serious despite her joy.
The next day she was woken by a pail of very cold water drenching her, bed and all. As she wiped water from her eyes, she looked at her assailant. Robin stood over her, brandishing the bucket. A glare formed on her face, and Robin’s only response was to walk out of the room. “Your training begins now.” he called over his shoulder.
Red groaned, sitting up. She got dressed and went to leave the room, when she stopped suddenly. She looked at the deep red cloak she never wore, thinking.
Robin turned to look at Red as she crossed the field towards him. When he saw what she wore, he raised an eyebrow. “Sure you want to train in that thing?” he said. Red nodded, pulling the hood over her head. “I want to try something.” Completely engulfed in the fabric, she could feel its power pulsing through the threads. It seemed happy to finally be worn, and eager to be used.
Laying against a small boulder were a couple of quarterstaffs, one of which Robin tossed to Red. “Today we keep it simple. If you can knock me over and keep me that way, you get to eat.” Red smiled. “Sounds familiar.” she said, twirling the staff. Robin shrugged. “Creativity was never my strong suit.” he replied. Then, he struck out with his staff, aiming for Red’s face. At the last second, she brought the staff up to block his blow. She had scarcely time to think before he swung again, this time for her legs. She jumped, again a narrow miss.
This continued for a while, until Robin let her on the offensive. “Try and hit me, Hood. Come on. Hit me.” Thwish. “Hit me.” Thwish. “Hit me!” Thwack! Each time she swung she hit nothing but air. Robin seemed to grow annoyed, as he finally shouted, “Let your inhibitions go and hit me already!”
Red’s face flushed as she grew hot with embarrassment. Sweat dampened her tunic and her hair clung to her forehead. They’d been out here for hours and still she hadn’t managed to hit him once, much less knock him over. After some time they finally broke for water. As she drank, she studied Robin. She couldn’t figure out how to beat him. She was sure of her aim when she went to strike, and yet he was always one step ahead of her. As she thought, her cloak began to hum, as if it wanted her to use it this time. She grabbed her staff again and prepared herself for another round
When the water break was over they reconvened in the middle of the field, staff in hand. Robin looked at her sternly. “Your objective hasn’t changed. Knock me down and you get to eat and go home.” Red nodded, and they began again. Blocking his strikes had become easier, though she suspected that he was beginning to make it easier. She didn’t much like the thought of that, so when it became her turn she struck harder, and went faster. Each time he either blocked her swing or she missed. Red grew more frustrated as time wore on. When they switched again, she tried studying his movements. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, she concluded, except-That’s it, she thought. He favored his right side more than his left. She changed her tactics and on her next swing she faked right and went left, causing Robin to miss her staff by centimeters. She caught him squarely on the jaw, knocking him to the ground with a thud. Smiling down at him, she offered him a hand and pulled him up. “Guess I get to eat now.” Robin only grunted in reply.
Weeks passed in the same fashion, every day she’d spend with Alice trying to find out more information on File Thirteen, and every evening she’d spend with Robin working on her fighting skills. Researching with Alice turned up little. What they did find was a very small variation on the story they’d found initially. Hidden under a copy of “One Thousand Ways to Properly Imaginate the Imagination” was a couple of tattered and faded pages, crumpled under the weight of so many other books (the poor things).
Alice picked them up and studied them. She wrinkled her nose in concentration, squinting slightly. “The story seems to be the same, save for one detail. In this one, it claims that once the rogue Writer wrote himself into our world, he fell in love of his creations, a…” she held the paper closer. “I’m sorry, the rest is faded beyond repair.” She set the paper down. “Shall we keep looking?” Red nodded, and the two continued in silence.
One day, as Red and Robin were walking home from sparring in the woods, Red decided that there was just one question she couldn’t handle not having an answer to. “Robin,” she said, stopping a few paces behind him. He turned, brow raised inquisitively. “About that the bar…” He chuckled. “Hood, there have been many nights in many bars. I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific.” Red didn’t return his easy smile. She wrinkled her brow and took a breath. “Did you really mean all that stuff you said?” Robin’s grin faded to be replaced with a serious smirk. “Ah.” he said, suddenly interested in a small patch of grass at his feet. “That time in that bar,”
“Red, you and I have been friends for ages. For as long as you’ve been here I’ve been protecting you from anyone wishing to hurt you. We’ve become best friends, had some wild times,” he flashed a suggestive eye, which Red slashed with a roll of her own eyes. Robin sighed, ruffling his hair with a hand covered in bruises from their previous practices. “That being said, I can’t imagine losing you. You’re very dear to me, if you were to get hurt...I don’t think I could live with myself.”
They reached Robin’s home. As they were settling in for the night, Red in a spare room and Robin just down the hall, Robin paused at the door to her room. “How soon do you think we can be expected to leave?” Robin asked, his voice soft, query floating gently in the air across the space as if not entirely sure where to go. Red sat on the edge of her bed and shrugged. “I think we need to attack as soon as possible.” Robin nodded, a corner of his mouth raised slightly.“‘Night, Hood.”
“Night, Hood.”