Teen Titans- Bitter Memories
Chapter 1: An unlikely request
As the sun began to fall beneath the heavy grey clouds in the cluttered sky, the wind picked up on Titan's Tower, pushing a guest that made Robin's cape flutter like an American flag and tested the fit of his white and black mask over his eyes. He could tell from his favorite perch that a big storm was on its way through Jump City and crime was likely going to go up as a result. Parking lots and already dark alleys were going to be obscured, lots of businesses were going to shut down early for the night and leave their possessions locked up.
Maybe he should go on patrol. After all, it had been a week since the team had encountered anything besides Magic Mumbo trying to rob a jewelry store downtown. That had been a pretty easy takedown. But now Robin felt a familiar itch he wanted to but couldn't scratch, a sensation of need to act, pursue, or infiltrate something criminal that was hardwired into his brain, body, and even his very soul. He had it for years after realizing that being a hero was who he was and who he was meant to be. Recently though it had made him less of a person for it, less of a teammate and even just a friend.
Slade probably chuckled at that one, wherever he was.
Robin guesses that was why he spent so much time alone. He didn't necessarily want to be but more often than he cared to admit, any time anyone talked to him for an extended period of time his conversations would always steer towards trouble and seriousness. Lately he had isolated himself even more than usual, if that was possible, just for that reason. The simple fact of the matter was that it wasn't healthy for his team to constantly think about all the stresses of their position all the time. It was his duty as a leader to leave them all the Hell alone and let them have more free time.
He blamed it partly on the undisputed king of workaholics AKA Batman. Speaking of, Robin seriously contemplated calling the member of the Justice League while everything was momentarily nice and peaceful. He hadn't spoken to his father in easily several years thanks to their last argument. Batman had thought Robin needed to be treated with kid gloves but he proved him wrong these past several years, having saved the world numerous times with his team, not just the city he resided in. He knew Batman was still checking up on him all the way from Gotham City, no doubt fully aware of his many achievements to date as a leader of his own team.
Despite that small amount of continued resentment he felt for the man for that, here Robin was, scowling at the city he protected every day while holding his communicator already flipped open in one hand, ready to key up the frequency he knew the Justice League operated on. Or Hell, he could have even called Wayne Manner's phone number once he encrypted the call. Nah, that was a little too risky and he knew it. If someone got ahold of his communicator and cracked its security key they could easily put two and two together for Batman's true identity as well as Robin's, and that was not going to happen while he still wore the cape. So the best way to contact him personally would have to be in person.
He stood up, making up his mind that he would leave Cyborg in charge of the Titans while he was gone to try and work things out with his father. Even if things weren't completely resolved between the two of them, at least the two would be on talking terms again after…jeez, maybe 3 years? Way too damn long, that was for sure. He smiled at the thought of seeing Alfred again after so long as whipped around so fast he almost walked directly into the girl floating in midair directly behind him.
"Whoa! Raven?" Robin stumbled back a step or two as she too flinched a little and landed awkwardly in a hasty crouch behind him. "What are you doing, sneaking up on me like that?" he inquired, a little embarrassed at how quietly she had gotten so close to him.
"I wasn't sneaking," Raven said. As she looked into the whites of his mask with her deep, beautiful amethyst eyes, she smiled a very small smile unique to her. It was something she only did with him, he had noticed, ever since the incident with Trigon several months back. He had never seen her smile like she did now, staring into his disguise as if she could see right through it into his true self, with anyone else on the team. Even though all of them had somehow mended her loneliness and despair for her terrible destiny, she seemed most thankful to Robin, and sometimes even very admiring of him.
Like she was right now, when they were alone. Robin didn't miss a beat in her meaning either. "You came up here to meditate but didn't want to be alone," he reasoned.
She nodded and pushed some of her violet hair away from her cute face, tucking it behind one ear, which was also something he noticed she never did but when she was alone with him. "I knew you would be up here. You usually are this time of evening, watching the city as the Sun goes down."
Robin noted as she spoke, several other subtle things were different than usual about her. She rubbed one of her forearms absently, shifted her weight very slightly from one foot to the other. He could even make out the faintest amount of blush on her smooth cheeks. She was…nervous. And embarrassed? About what, he wondered. It's not like her sneaking up on him was something to be all bashful about. "Well, you're lucky you caught me up her this evening. I was just thinking about going somewhere to take care of something," he said somewhat brightly, the idea of patching things up with his Dad giving him reason to smile a little himself.
Raven frowned a little in curiosity. "Are you going to go check on the Titans' East? Or one of the other new members somewhere nearby?" Robin shook his head and started to walk past her towards the door. "Nah, its just something I need to go and do is all."
Robin wasn't normally touched by anyone from his own team unless they were in the heat of battle or he had to be held back for something, which didn't happen very often at all anymore. And he was especially not used to being touched by Raven of all the other Titans. But she did; as he passed by her both her arms shot out and grabbed him by the forearm faster than he thought she could move. She was never one to initiate physical contact unless it was utterly necessary, so when she pulled his tight forearm between her small, soft hands and brought it up against her chest like she really wanted his attention, he stopped his stride sure as if she had a remote and he was a TV.
"Can I…go with you?" she asked in a very quiet voice, looking up at him with a hopeful expression in her eyes. "I don't care if it's a regular patrol or a secret mission or even something personal to you. I won't get in your way," she added, glancing her eyes down and off to the side as she said it, before looking back up to him slowly.
Get in his way? Man, he must have really been a dictating jerk around the Tower lately if she had to say that to him. Maybe the rest of the team had even asked her to confront him about his behavior lately that way. Or maybe he was overthinking that, considering how much time he tried to stay away from everyone lately. But it did make him really wonder what the meaning was behind it all. Was Raven just saying that because she personally wanted to spend time with him and, if what he was doing was a personal matter to him, she wanted to do it on his own terms so as to protect his secrets?
It wasn't easy to tell from Raven so he gauged the truth by answering in a neutral tone, "It's a personal thing, Raven."
Raven's expression was still masked by her usual neutrality to keep her powers in check but over time, Robin had learned to see past it by instead reading the subtle movements of the rest of her body to uncover how she really felt, deep down. He noticed now the minute way her eyes lowered and her pupils grew slightly, the way her shoulders tightened up slightly in anticipation, and the very small parting of her lips. She was hopeful to learn something about him on a deeper level, but also somewhat nervous…maybe of upsetting him somehow. She was also somewhat scared, possibly of rejection, he thought. Above all, she just wanted the chance to go with him wherever he was going even if he would continue to hide things from her to keep his secrets, which she was totally okay with.
Just so he could see more of what she was thinking, he decided to elaborate a little more. "I need to travel somewhere in Gotham City to speak with…well, actually, to resolve an issue. I'm going to leave immediately."
Raven showed signs of more hope; she squeezed his arm a little more and smiled a little wider than before. She really wanted to go with him. And the strangest part was that he really didn't mind. Somehow. The usual- apprehension he felt, the sense of unease that his father had built into him to protect him from trusting people too easily just sort of lifted off his shoulders as he looked at her, like the weight of the world was slowly lightening its load on his stressed body. "If you don't mind riding, I'll take you there."
"Okay. Should I pack a bag?" Raven asked. Robin sighed and nodded, "Yeah…it'll probably take overnight. It's sort of a complicated situation to figure out." She nodded with a somewhat concerned expression now and let his arm go, her smooth dark skin leaving the contact with his elbow and green gloves. "I'll meet you in the garage."
And with that, she rather quickly decided to just phase through the concrete of the roof's surface rather than actually take the stairs and disappeared in a swirling vortex of her dark magical energy. Even from a few feet away, Robin felt the slightly cold sensation it threw off on everything around it. It was kind of like getting an anesthetic at a doctor and feeling it start out cold entering the body before warming up to take effect. It was pretty weird, but that's how affected him, at least. The cold sensation numbed the feeling of her actually making tangible forces on you, so often Robin couldn't even tell if she was using her magic on him unless he heard the words of her magic spell or he saw whatever the dark energy did to him.
But anyways, time to pack. Which reminded him something vital.
They had to go undercover for this. He wasn't supposed to enter the mansion openly wearing his uniform, and he certainly didn't want someone to see him and Raven riding around seemingly for a joy ride and give them the wrong idea. Part of him couldn't believe he didn't think of it earlier when Raven was still there with him but he guessed she did have a way of taking his mind off whatever he had been thinking about. And come to think of it, Robin was astonished she actually got the drop on him without him even noticing. If Batman knew he'd probably reaffirm Robin needed to stick to further training because that was a pretty serious mistake. He'd say that was going to get himself killed, or worse, his entire team as well.
Oh well. He'd figure that out when he got to back Home. First, he had to go tell Raven the need to know info,
He proceeded downstairs feeling a mix of differing emotions for everything going on…confusion, slight agitation, hope. Funnily enough though he wasn't as worried about settling things with Batman as much as he was still just surprised and perplexed at what Raven had just asked of him. It really made him wonder what she had been thinking of lately. Because she had been acting differently ever since Trigon, being more open to other people despite her restrictions on her emotions due to her powers. And she had been trying to spend more and more time alone with Robin ever since they defeated the Brotherhood of Evil together.
He pondered the meaning behind all that as he passed through the halls and heard all the other Titans exactly where they tending to be this time of night; Cyborg and BB were on the couch playing a racing game while Starfire was in the kitchen in vain trying to cook something from Earth, with little Silky belching loudly on the counter beside her. Robin decided against interrupting their game to tell Cyborg to watch over the place. He'd just shoot him a text once he and Raven were on the road. And speaking of Raven, he found her door shut as usual in only a short time.
Knocking quietly he said, "Raven? Hey I forgot to tell you something, you there?" The door slid open with the help of her dark magical energy instantly, something Robin never expected of her either. She was bent over in front of her twin glass door dresser, the one that had big white masks of different emotions all over it, with her blue cloak set on the bed. For whatever reason, she actually had the lights on and all the way up in there too so a lot of things he had only seen maybe at a glance before were super defined now. He saw a really large triangle shaped bookcase off to his left hand side right beside the door, a dresser of drawers made of wicked shaped black wood next to a podium ordained with even more dramatic looking masks. Her bed, hooded by what looked like a gigantic beak of a bird with black satin sheets all over it. It was all very alien to him, as if he were only just now seeing it all for the first time.
Most noticeable of all was her body. Robin had never really looked that closely at her because most of the time she was covered down to her ankles and the little blue boots she wore over her feet, but it was hard not to now. Her skin was a grayish looking color but it wasn't actually creepy or anything to him. It was just different, something that nobody he had ever seen had like she did, and it suited her well. Her legs were longer than he ever thought they were, very slender. But her hips were wide and her core was tight in that black leotard she always wore, giving her a very distinctive hour glass figure. It made him think of an Olympic swimmer.
And man….with her bent over full on like that, it was not easy for him not to check out her butt. Or the way her C cup breasts strained against the fabric of her one piece uniform hanging down from her chest. The curve of her back was even alluring, all the way up to her slender shoulders.
"….Robin?" With a start, he realized Raven had turned her cute face back to him now, while she continued bending over with her hands on her knees. His cheeks felt a little hot. She was smirking at him now, obviously aware he had been seriously checking her out and was now subtly teasing him for it. "What do you need, Robin? I thought you wanted to tell me something." She flipped a little of that gorgeous hair she had out of her equally tantalizing eyes.
It was enough to make his knees shake a little and force him to clear his throat before speaking. "I…ah, wanted to tell you we have to go undercover for this. We can't be seen going in uniform."
She pursued her lips in thought and for a moment he thought that might actually be a problem. After all, he had never seen Raven wearing anything other than what she was wearing right now, even since the very first day that they met years ago. Maybe she didn't have anything else. But then she turned around and walked into one side of the dresser, covering herself in that dark energy that obscured her body in an instant. He felt the waves of cold coming off from it and had to admit it helped a little; he was still a little warmed up from seeing her in such an amazing pose.
She appeared out of the curtain of magic only a moment later, now dressed in something he quite simply could not believe.
Raven now walked before him in a pair of heavy black combat boots, black skinny jeans that suction cupped every curve of her lower body like a glove, a thick black leather belt with tons of little silver studs all around it, and a tight fitting smoky grey tee shirt that had a big cartoon skull and crossbones on it, advertising some kind of headphones. She also had a little dark blue watch on her left wrist, facing backwards in an unusual fashion, a matching studded bracelet on her opposite wrist, and a tiny little blue hair clip that helped keep one of her long bangs tied up behind one of her ears, accenting the left side of her flawless skin face.
She blushed a little initially as he gazed at her in shock, even rubbing one toe absently on the floor so she could look at something other than his reaction. "I…bought this a while ago when I went shopping with Starfire but never took a day off to just go wear it. Will…this work?" She looked up at him slowly and as soon as she caught on to whatever retarded expression he probably had on his face, she instantly brought back that playful smirk. She knew how stunned he was seeing her like this and she liked the attention.
All Robin could think about was what it would feel like to pull her close and kiss her.
Wait, nope. No way. Not happening. That was wrong and he knew it.
Or was it?
"It…it looks great. That'll do just fine. Ummm but you'll probably need a jacket to go with it for the road."
"I don't have one. Maybe I could fit in one of yours?"
"Sure. Let's, ah, go to my room real quick."
And like that he was walking away feeling embarrassed slightly for openly gawking at her like a frickin sweat construction worker howling at a passing legal assistant or something. He forced himself to keep his eyes ahead of him as she walked behind him, clomping that little boots as she went along because she wasn't used to something so heavy. Confusion was rampant all through his train of thought, the whole thing having left the terminal and basically imploded the moment he found her almost touching her toes in front of that dresser.
God, he wanted to see it again. He wanted to see more of her. But at the same time he didn't. His conscious sitting on one should was telling him that he really needed to keep things professional between him and his team, even though they were all already very good friends. A relationship could tear the whole team apart just being happening, or even worse if it failed and left the two of them with bad blood. Plus, Robin just wasn't the type for that sort of thing. Girls were too complicated. One of the very few mysteries that he would rather just avoid than actually try to solve, because they were so damned confusing and difficult to understand. And with him already acting so distant and inward reflective lately? Forget it.
Or, at least, that's what his rational mind told him. His emotions disregarded all that logical nonsense without pause and sent him a very clear, concise message over and over again like a broken record: kiss her. Hold her. Try.
"So how are you gonna disguise the R Cycle?" she suddenly asked casually.
"I made a second one that's hidden in a warehouse downtown just for missions like this. It's got all the same toys as the R Cycle, but it looks like just an ordinary sport bike. It's pretty comfy to ride too," he replied, sure as his mouth went on auto pilot with the words. "Cool. How long's the drive?" Robin made it to his door and made a bee line for the closet, feeling a bit of relief that his mental cluster of crap was subsiding from the conversation. The last thing he needed was to feel out of whack when he went to talk to quite possibly the most observant and analytical man in the entire world. "It's about four hours from downtown."
"Can I drive some of it?"
Robin almost dropped some of the clothes he was taking out of his closet, the question caught him so off guard. Raven, driving? He was perplexed enough that she had even decided to go on a trip with him at all, much less on a motorcycle. And now she wanted to drive it? What the actual hell? She had never wanted to do anything like that and yet here she was, sitting on the edge of his bed in those skin tight jeans of hers, kicking her feet back and forth casually as she waited for an answer.
"Um, sure. I'll teach you how to ride if you want. What's the sudden interest?"
Inside the closet, he quickly changed into his version of "undercover; a pair of black combat boots, slim fitting blue jeans, and a white tee shirt with a black leather riding jacket. A pair of wide black sunglasses would replace his mask. Stepping out, he saw Raven was now standing in front of the mirrored surface on the other side saying, "As much fun as meditating all the time is…I really want to just have more fun. Do something different, something exciting."
For no particular reason, as she kept turning side to side examining how her brand new jeans tightened around her very attractive thighs, Robin found words about himself he hardly told anyone blurting out of his mouth. It was like they had completely bypassed the station in his mind and just jumped onto the talking train. "I used to make all of being a hero about having fun after I got justice for my family's deaths," he said, voice quivering a little. "I got a thrill out of doing the stuff Batman taught me saw every bad situation like the opportunity to really mess with the bad guys, in some way or another. I was more like a prankster than a real hero."
"Like how?" she asked, glancing back from her hair as if she were debating whether it fit with what she was wearing or not. She paused for his answer and when it hung for some time, she turned all the way around to look at him, and immediately stood up with a puzzled look on her face. Robin felt like a kid again disappearing on her like that. "Robin…?" She sounded partly confused, another small part concerned, and another part almost slightly agitated as she scanned the inside of the closet and peeked across the room.
He felt such a simple, immature joy in confusing her like that, followed by the act of laughing like he used to, short with a quiet little echo in an amused tone. He even threw his voice with it, something he hadn't done in practically years, making his voice sound like he was somewhere in the bathroom off in the corner of the room. He also made it seem to come from behind the nightstand on the opposite side of the bed and even the desk across the wall, all at the same time. It all sounded like he had just started playing a game with her and he was already winning, and gloating in glorious pride.
Raven smirked as if his trick amused her and put her hands on those ridiculously shapely hips of hers. Then she added some cold to her voice and whispered the words of her mystic spell while waving one hand across the room.
"Azarath Metreon Zinthos." The black magic poured out of her body like a water faucet with a leak under high pressure, flowing like a giant wave into the shape of a constantly expanding orb that swept through the room with a tiny hum of her will running through it, giving it form and tangibility. It was a lattice work of sensory magic that detected every single nook and cranny of the area around her, penetrating each object so she could visualize everything around her as if she had ran her delicate fingers through all of it. It didn't go very far before she detected him.
When she sensed he was directly behind her she jumped a little and widened her eyes in surprise, instinctively adopting a protective fighting stance he had taught her, and all the other Titans, for fighting in close combat. It was definitely not Raven's strong suit, but she got the form right, instantly facing him with her body at a 45 degree angle to his, knees slightly bent, with her non dominant left hand up close to her face while her dominant right was about chest level, extended a little closer towards him, ready to throw a punch or grab a knife. As she did the dark energy disappeared in the blink of an eyes and Robin rose from where he was crouched, directly behind her where the nightstand and the bed touched the wall. A place that was so small and hard to access she couldn't see him unless she bent over backwards and peered down at it.
"How did you do that?" she demanded, looking him up and down at his new choice of wardrobe. Robin saw a mix of emotions run through her eyes mostly; first, surprise, then slight fear, followed by irritation, and finally…indifference, or at least a mask of it again. She was a little irritated she did not guess correctly at where he was hiding from her it seemed, so she was feeling cheated. Or maybe the loser of their little game. A lot of bad guys had those same emotions right before he knocked their lights out. It gave him a real rush of excitement doing it again to someone so just to mess with her he made a big show of wiggling his fingers in a mystical fashion and whispered, "Magic…"
He also grinned ear to ear, probably pretty arrogant and childishly based on how she knit her eyebrows in response.
"I would have sensed that," she countered, matter-of-factly. "You must have slipped under the bed," she reasoned, proud of her conclusion. "That's how I didn't just feel you move. Because if you went over the bed I definitely would've heard it, or just felt it move once you put weight on it."
"Oh? Maybe you should check under the bed then. What if there's no room to crawl under there?"
She gave him a slight glare of boundless confidence and a subtle expression of "you're totally bluffing", but she nonetheless squatted down on those amazing legs she had, then bent over to glance underneath the frame. She would only see tons of sealed cases and boxes down there though, all parts and tools used to make his specialty gadgets and toys for the utility belt. She continued looking down there anyway, pushing on things to see if they moved easily, maybe thinking he just slid one out of the way to slip under her radar.
He disappeared again and had to cover his mouth to keep himself from laughing in childish glee at her fiery reaction. This time, she stood up and crossed her arms in an agitated fashion, cocking her head to one side and muttered, "Seriously?"
Robin let the giggles run through him until he was sure he could contain the stupidity that made his body twitch and shake before throwing his voice once more in a cheerfully playful tone, saying, "Hey, I'm doing you a favor. Batman does this so much he doesn't even realize it anymore. And if you aren't trained on how to be one with the shadows then you better get used to it now."
She guessed pretty well the second time. She walked over to the opposite wall and poked her head around the other side of his desk, in the small space next to a trash can full of botched reports and failed gadget designs. But, after not finding him there, she turned around to discover him laying nonchalantly on his own bed, on his side with one elbow supporting his head as if he were just reading a book. He yawned as if he had been there for a while just for the Hell of it, even being so audacious as to glance at a little sport grey watch he now wore on his left wrist. It was all just one big show to make it seem like he had been waiting there for a while, even though he really had only just back flipped from the ceiling onto the silky sheets.
"We should do this more often, Raven-"
The sound of the door flying open so violently it cracked the wall made them both bounce a little in alarm. Starfire strode into the room quick as Kid Flash and demanded in haughty tone, "Do what it is more of the often?" Her posture was plagued by jealousy and suspicion for honestly no good reason at all. Nonetheless, the emerald green eyes glanced back forth between the two of them. First, to Robin as if he had just stolen something of hers and was the likeliest suspect, and then over to Raven, whom made her squint in unattractive way as she surveyed how, ah, differently she was dressed.
It didn't really hit him how bad it might have looked, with him lying on the bed like that and her dressed so provocatively, until Raven gave Starfire a wintery cold smile and told Starfire, nonplussed, "Robin was just showing me something is all. Something he used to do all the time."
"What is that?" Starfire asked, not understanding at all. Probably getting the worst idea, actually.
Raven jerked a thumb to where Robin had vacated the bed like that thing was on fire. Instantly, Starfire's eyes popped as wide a little kid's, and she scanned to scan the room like she just lost her new puppy. "Robin? My friend, I wish to know your location!" Raven just shook her head and started walking, grabbing the red hoody he'd left out for her to wear off the corner of the bed. As she slipped out she said, "He's disappeared on me like that 3 times now."
"Meet you in the garage," he called cheerfully from what sounded like the hallway.
"The two of you are going somewhere?" Starfire inquired, instantly jealous again. "To where and why is it you go?" Raven didn't look back at her but instead pulled the hoody over herself, which was slightly too long for her, and said without looking back, "He has some things to take care of out of town. I'm going with him."
And before she could say some venomous response, Raven phased through the floor.