Here is the new chapter for Five Years Changed! It was originally supposed to be two chapters, but I figured I could condense it into one (since I've been so terrible at updating). There's a big RobRae moment at the end to make up for the lack of RobRae in this story (sorry about that! They're the main pairing, but it's a slow build up). Anyways, I hope you all enjoy!
"I wish I was here under better circumstances," Bruce Wayne spoke loudly, his voice filling the space in front of him. His hands were on the podium, and his blue eyes were looking straight into the crowd. His voice was stern and powerful yet filled with remorse. "But, unfortunately, I am not. Like S.T.A.R.R. Labs, Wayne Enterprises has also been infiltrated by criminals who want to use our technology for their own gain. In the past few days, we have managed to go through all of our employees and distinguish who was working for this criminal and who was blackmailed into silence. I am glad to say that Wayne Enterprises no longer has any sign of or source of corruption for now; however, that does not mean that we are safe. We are going to upgrade our security to make sure something like this never happens again. We would also like to encourage other technological companies and labs to do the same. This man will not stop until—"
Suddenly, the television screen turned black, and the image disappeared. The blank screen reflected their images, exposing their expressions of surprise and relief that Bruce Wayne managed to weed out all criminals in a week. He truly was an impressive man.
Batman, who had turned off the TV with the remote, turned to both teams, who were sitting on the couch. For the past week, they had scarcely seen Batman, but they assumed he was assisting Wayne Enterprises by handling some of the criminals. Now he was back, and he was not pleased. Even Superman appeared to be mildly afraid of the man standing in front of him. He gulped nervously, and it seemed as if he didn't know how to handle the situation but came anyway. Beast boy clenched his shaking fists, hoping it would help to calm him down. It seemed like the long awaited lecture was coming. This time though he was determined to remain silent and keep his loyalty to Robin.
Batman took a deep breath before he stated, "You did a good job."
The young heroes' eyes widened as they stared at him. Robin smirked and leaned back in his couch, looking rather satisfied. Aqualad scowled at his actions and braced himself for the lecture. They would not be forgiven so easily for going behind the League's back regardless of their success.
"However," Batman continued, anger seeping into his voice, "you went on this mission on your own without informing anyone on the Justice League. This team was formed so you could receive missions and not go rogue. Some of you nearly got hurt, and some of you did get hurt!"
At this, Batman specifically looked at Robin, who merely shrugged. When they returned to the mountain, Black Canary practically dragged him to the infirmary and attempted to look at his injuries herself. He continually refused, but she still managed to discover he had a few bruised ribs and that he required rest. Robin nearly laughed and jokingly asked her when she'd ever seen him rest before. It was the first time that night he'd seen Black Canary relax and offer a small smile. He reassured her he wouldn't do too much strenuous activity, and she seemed to be okay with that.
Obviously, she had to report it to Batman regardless of Robin telling her it was unnecessary.
"I don't see what the big deal is," Robin cut in. "We saved Wayne Enterprises."
"You should have gone to the Justice League if you suspected Wayne Enterprises was in danger," Batman glared at him.
"Yeah!" Superman cut in, sounding more betrayed than angered. "We could have helped you!"
"I'm sure," Robin replied sarcastically.
Batman narrowed his eyes, "Are you suggesting that the Justice League, the very people who trained you and helped raise you, are incompetent?"
Robin immediately shot up from his seat, cold fury momentarily blinding him. Until the pain kicked in. Wincing, Robin slowly sat back in his seat, his hand pressing against his bruised rib. "No," Robin grunted out. "Don't twist my words!"
Batman watched him with critical eyes as he held onto his rib. After a few moments, he sighed, "I don't know how else to interpret them, Robin. You assign your own missions to the team even though it is the League's job. You refuse to give us critical information about Slade then get angry at us for not figuring out his plan as fast as you would like us to. You isolate yourself on this couch to look over details of multiple cases but have not told anyone what you're looking for. You lash out against me but have so far refused to tell me what I have done to anger you so much. You may say you don't think we're incompetent, but you still don't trust us. Robin, we need your trust to stop Slade. I need your trust."
Robin clenched his fists, meeting Batman's stare head on. "I gave you my trust. You're the one who threw it away."
With that, he stood up, ignoring the pain shooting up his body from his ribs and walked out of the room. Batman sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Rob's eyes softened as he saw how tired he looked. Superman clearly noticed it too and took a step forward, continuing the lecture on how the team could not assign missions their own missions. Batman remained in the background, clearly thinking over the conversation he just had with his ex-apprentice.
It was a quick, painless lecture. As Superman finished discussing how they should learn to be more respectful of the Justice League, he noticed they all seemed incredibly distracted. He sighed and turned back to Batman, mumbling something inaudible to him. Batman nodded, and the two of them walked out of the room, quietly talking.
That left the two teams in the room.
Aqualad sighed, 'That could have gone better."
"I'm really wishing that they would stop fighting in front of us," Kid Flash commented dryly. "Would make me a lot more comfortable."
"Wally!" Artemis scowled.
"Ditto!" Beast boy exclaimed.
"Robin refuses to be alone in the same room as him," Rob shrugged. "That means whenever they fight they have an audience."
"Great," Conner crossed his arms. "Guess that makes three of us with mentor issues."
"Three?" Starfire questioned.
"Red Arrow," the other team all spoke at the same time.
Starfire nodded, clearly confused by their response. "I see?"
"Maybe..." M'gann spoke up, "maybe they're right. Maybe we should stop with these self-assigned missions."
"Is that really up for us to decide?" Aqualad questioned.
"Well yeah," Conner shrugged. "The next time Robin wants to assign a mission, we can just refuse to go. That will solve everything."
Aqualad shook his head, "Robin will clearly not stop until Slade is caught. I do not see him stopping these missions just because the teams refuse to go on them. He will most likely start going on them alone and not tell us about them."
"No!" Starfire protested. "He would not do that!"
"Why wouldn't he? It seems like something he would do." Artemis said.
"Because he would never betray our trust like that again," Starfire clenched her fists, sadness seeping into her expression. The rest of the team's gaze turned to the ground with different levels of anger, sadness, and betrayal on their faces.
"Starfire?" M'gann questioned, scooting closer to her and softly grasping her hand.
"He would not!" Starfire repeated with just as much force.
"Wow," Artemis raised her eyebrows. "What did he do to you guys?"
"Red X," they all answered together.
Raven sighed, "It's a long story. But he won't go off on his own again without telling us…"
"The problem is we would go with him," Cyborg finished for her. "He's our team leader, and he's done so much for us. We wouldn't abandon him when he needs us."
"Yeah I can see that," Rob smirked, but it was void of any humor. He sighed, glancing to the door where Robin walked out earlier. "Maybe someone should go check on him…"
Starfire nodded, standing up, "I shall go."
"Um…" Rob held his hand out. "I'm sorry but… do you mind if Raven goes instead?"
Starfire's eyes widened, and Raven groaned. "Rob," Raven glared. "For the last time, he does not—"
"I know you think that," Rob interrupted, "but I'm not convinced. Can you just go? For me? Please?"
Raven stared at him for a few moments, trying to decipher what he was thinking. Still, she did not make any movement whatsoever to suggest that she was going to go comfort him. Slowly, Starfire sat down, watching the scene before her. M'gann once again grasped her hand, squeezing it for support.
Raven sighed, "Fine."
Rob smiled softly, "Thanks."
Raven nodded and stood up, leaving the teams behind as she walked out of the room knowing fully well they were all staring at her. Later she would prove to Rob that any romance between her and Robin did not exist. Right now, however, was not the right time.
Besides, she would be lying if she said she wasn't concerned about him.
Bruce frownd, looking through the files he found at Wayne Enterprises. So far, only he and a select few knew these files even existed, and he intended to keep it that way for a little longer. While he knew Robin would eventually hack into his computer and find them, he wanted to keep them a secret for a little longer. After all, if Robin knew about their existence, he would most likely try to use them to figure out Slade's next move regardless of whether or not he was injured. As Bruce started to read them, he paused for a moment and sighed, "You know, you were never that great at being quiet."
There was a slight pause before an amused voice spoke up, "Nothing gets past you, Bats."
Barry Allen stepped out of the shadows. While he was still in full uniform, his cowl was down, revealing his bright green eyes that looked so much like his nephew's.
Bruce sighed, "What do you want?"
Barry placed his hand on the table, leaning down and grinning brightly, "You know, you'll get back problems if you keep hunching over like that."
Bruce rolled his eyes, sitting up straight and turning to Barry. "Barry," he said with a warning tone.
"Alright, alright!" He sighed. "I'll get to the point!"
Bruce raised an eyebrow, waiting for the man to proceed.
"It's about Dick."
Bruce snorted. "I know."
"I knew you knew," Barry said defensively. "It's hard hiding things from you. Heck, I'm a little impressed that Dick is managing so well with keeping secrets from you."
"He learned from the best," Bruce replied dryly.
"Obviously," Barry smirked. There was a beat of silence as the two simply stared at each other before Barry sighed. "You have to talk to him, Bruce."
Bruce scowled. "I know. I've been trying. He doesn't want to talk to me."
"Then you have to try harder," Barry suggested. "I know you're not used to not being on the same page with him, but you have to adjust. You can't just expect him to suddenly tell you everything like Rob does. He's changed."
"Did you just come here to tell me things I already know?" Bruce questioned, clearly irritated he was receiving parental advice.
"Maybe," Barry shrugged. "Look, I get that you're worried. I am too! I'm worried about Robin's behavior, and… I'm also worried about Wally."
Bruce frowned, "Wally?"
Barry nodded, staring at the wall instead of Bruce. "He's… Dick and Wally have been best friends since we introduced them to each other. You know how inseparable they are. But… Robin hasn't mentioned Wally once. Wally isn't a part of the Teen Titans. That just means that Wally stayed with me but lost his best friend, or… or something else. Either way, Wally loses and… I just don't want him to grow up like that."
"I know," Bruce stood up. "But I don't think he will. Wally won't grow up miserable. He's a smart kid, Barry, and he has his family and friends with him. You don't have to worry."
"I know I shouldn't, but… I thought the same thing about Dick," Barry stated. "Something happened Bruce. Or maybe a few something's. Either way, we have to figure it out, and I think working with Robin to catch Slade will help us."
"No." Bruce said harshly. "Dick will not be going anywhere near Slade! That madman nearly broke his ribs! He trapped him in an apprenticeship! He taught him how to use a gun! He's the reason Dick is acting like this!"
"I know Bruce, but if we work with Robin—"
"HE POINTED A GUN AT HIS HEAD!" Bruce shouted.
Barry took a few steps back, his eyes wide as he stared at Bruce. His fists were clenched, and his eyes held such fury and hatred that Barry had never seen before. He'd never seen Bruce this angry. He'd never even seen Bruce express this much emotion.
Bruce sighed, his body slowly relaxing as his rage morphed into despair. "He pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him if he said another word."
"Bruce," Barry whispered, taking a step forward.
"No," Bruce stated, gaining control of his anger. "I am not going to help Robin capture this criminal."
"Then what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to take down this bastard myself."
Raven slowly approached Robin, who was staring at the sea below him. Raven scanned the area for a moment, surprised this was even a part of the mountain. It was a small section of the cave that was built like a balcony, and the view was completely stunning. Raven shook her head. Now was not the time to be admiring the view. Taking a deep breath, she approached Robin and sat next to him.
"Hey," he mumbled.
"Hey," she replied.
"What are you doing here?" he sighed, turning to her.
"I'm worried about you." She stated. "We all are."
"Oh," he murmured, turning back to the view of the ocean. She stared at him for a moment, taking in the slight frown on his face. She couldn't see his eyes due to the sunglasses, but she knew they would only be filled with pain. She glanced at his chest and noticed that his seating position catered to his bruised ribs.
She sighed, "Why are you shutting us out again?"
He didn't answer, and she didn't expect him to. Partly because she already knew his answer. He always did this when he was carrying a large amount of stress. It was as though he didn't know how to open up to someone else and let them help carry some of the weight he placed on himself. A trait that, surprisingly, his younger self knew extraordinarily well. Part of her wanted to ask him what happened that made him stop trusting in others. More specifically, what happened with Batman that made him stop trusting in others.
"I wish we never came to this time," Robin spoke, interrupting Raven's thoughts.
She smiled softly, "You're not alone in that. I don't think anyone likes the situation."
Robin snorted and turned back to her, a confident smirk on his face. She smiled. It was a more befitting expression on his face than the one he had moments ago. He let out a loud sigh, leaning back with an amused expression. "So," his voice sounded lighter. "What did the big Bats have to say after I left?"
Raven shrugged, "Nothing important. Superman took over the lecture."
Robin chuckled, "I'm guessing no one paid attention to that?"
"Not really," Raven agreed. "He's not as intimidating."
"No… he's really not," Robin agreed, staring at her for a moment before he asked his next question. "Why are you so scared of Batman?"
Raven raised an eyebrow, "Scared?"
Robin shrugged. "You get really stressed when he lectures us. You seem to have a lot of respect for him. I'm just wondering why?"
Raven frowned, "What are you really trying to ask me Robin?"
"Ever since we came here, you seemed to be really star struck by the Justice League," Robin admitted. "I was wondering why?"
"You tried asking me this before," Raven commented, remembering how Conner and M'gann interrupted them. She had actually forgotten about his question until now.
"Yeah, but it didn't work out, so I'm asking again." Robin playfully nudged her. "Why do you admire them so much?"
Raven stared at him for a few moments. Sighing, she turned to the view of the ocean. "It's a long story."
"I've got time," Robin supplied jokingly.
She snorted. "I suppose you do..." Sighing, she confessed, "It started when I came to earth. I kept seeing news reports about the Justice League, and I got curious. After I did a little research, I discovered there was a whole league of heroes that were dedicated to saving the world I was destined to destroy. When I started reading more about them, I started to respect them… but the one I respected the most was Batman. He was a hero who was always in the shadows and in the darkness… like me. He was the one who inspired me to try being a hero because… if he could be a hero and live in the shadows, then maybe I could too."
She turned to Robin and frowned. He was staring at her with a strange expression that she couldn't read, and it was causing anxiety to bubble in her chest. She wasn't sure why, but she knew she had to change the subject. "I learned about you too," she added. "I immediately thought there was no way I could ever get along with someone like you."
Robin laughed, "I'm sure you did!"
Raven chuckled with him but soon frowned when she noticed Robin wince. He had sat up and was rubbing a spot on his chest. Most likely his rib… Raven frowned, "I could try healing that for you."
Robin turned to her. "You could?"
"I'm not good at healing people, but I could try if it's bothering you?" She offered.
"Yeah, that would be great!" Robin sounded slightly surprised. Most likely because she never offered to heal anyone before.
Raven shifted her body so she was facing him. "You're going to have to take off your shirt so I can see it," she instructed. Nodding, Robin slowly took off his shirt, wincing when he raised his arms over his chest. Once it was off, Raven's eyes widened. She had expected a lean, muscular chest, but she did not expect the scars and burn marks splattered all over his body.
He seemed to notice her staring and sighed, "Raven…"
"Was it Slade?" She curtly asked. There was an extra edge to her tone that surprised Robin.
Robin shook his head. "No. It wasn't Slade."
"Robin," she warned. "Do not lie to me."
"I'm not lying," Robin reassured. "It wasn't Slade. It was… it was a long time ago."
She stared at him for another moment before nodding, accepting his answer. Looking back at his chest, she saw the injured area. Along the right side of his rib cage, there were some severe bruises. She winced at the ugly coloring and slowly reached out, pressing her fingers lightly against the injury. Closing her eyes, she tried to focus on mending the bone and healing the bruising. Robin gasped as he felt a strange mystic power enter his body, but he forced himself to calm down.
The only other time he felt like this was when Raven entered his mind.
Raven frowned, concentrating deeply on fixing the bone before she sighed. Opening her eyes, she looked up at Robin. "I'm sorry," she mumbled. "I couldn't heal it, but I should have been able to take away some of the pain."
Robin smiled, "Thank you."
Raven nodded and began to pull away her hand when suddenly Robin grasped it. She frowned, looking back at him. He stared at her for a moment, his grip slowly loosening on her hand but never letting go. "Robin…?" she questioned and froze when he began to lean in.
Her eyes widened. Her hands began to tremble, yet the warmth of Robin's hand holding her own gave her a strange sense of comfort. She wanted to move, but her body was not obeying her mind, and she ended up sitting there, frozen and unable to do anything. His lips were just about to press against her own, and he was so close… so close…
She quickly yanked her hand out of his, leaning away to put some distance between them. Robin frowned, staring at her with confusion, but she couldn't bring herself to care. "We should go back inside." She stated.
He frowned, nodding in agreement, "Um… yeah. Yeah, it's getting kind of cold out here."
She nodded, and the two of them stood up. Raven quickly turned and started walking inside while Robin lingered behind. Raven shut her eyes tightly, trying to make her pounding heart calm down.
Damn Rob for putting ideas in her head, and damn Robin for looking like he actually loved her for a moment.
And damn me for actually thinking I might have loved him for a moment…
Thanks for reading! As you can see, Raven is in very deep denial. Why? Well that will be revealed in later chapters! Thanks for reading!