Nobody expects the antihero to have backup.
It really begins with Robin spying on the whereabouts of Red X for two weeks before locating him. At first, he half-suspects the Bat-radar to be flaking out — why hasnt Red X moved in three days?
He investigates, notifying Raven with the hopeful expectations that she won't care to look into this.
The underground, dripping tunnel smells like Beast Boy's room before Starfire decides the entire tower needs a spring cleaning. And something else… something acidic and… … …
Robin feels himself blacking out, sluggish-slow and without his permission, as two different shadowy men approach him, muttering.
When he comes to, Robin find himself naked, with his belt and gauntlets also missing. His arms are zip-tied, but there's nothing to restrain his legs.
The gun pressing bruisingly-hard against his nose keeps Robin from trying to kick or escape.
"Make him do it," comes a voice from the shadows, with a tinge of a Russian accent. "Harris can wait to shoot his load before the dealers meet us. Damaged goods are still goods."
Human traffickers, Robin assesses the situation, narrowing his eyes without his domino mask.
One of the men, in a dusty, featureless overcoat, withdraws his double-barrelled gun and roughly hauls Robin onto his bare, aching feet, leading him down the tunnel without saying a syllable.
There's a drier area through a smaller tunnel, with a single electric lantern and a table, and another boy. Robin halts, feeling the gun's muzzle urge him on. He has black, messy hair and is naked like Robin, practically shackled over the table's edge. A small amount of blood crusts on the surface of the other boy's lean, muscular thighs.
To his dread, the boy responses, his back tendons tensing. "Ss'shat you, Chuckles?" he whispers, sounding completely exhausted.
"Yeah, it's me," Robin says muttering, earning himself a wallop across the cheek with a palm.
"No more chit-chat."
He doesn't know what to expect, but not being shoved onto Red X's exposed buttocks as the other men lurking start to hoot and guffaw.
The cogs whir in his head. "No," Robin blurts out, shaking his head even with the gun at his skull.
"Then you die, little boy."
"Fine," he answers dully, eyes shutting.
As soon as they hear the safety click off, Red X lurches, his human voice shouting, "Robin—"
Glowing-green lights up the tunnel. Robin witnesses a starbolt appear, knocking the double-barreled gun out of his attacker's hand and rattling onto the concrete ground.
He spins around expertly, aiming a flying kick for the man's jaw, stunning him. Robin twists his raw-red wrists free, snapping apart the zip-tie.
There's no key for the shackles, and Robin does not have his gloves. But thank god, the sex traffickers didn't know how to turn off his comm.-link locator in his gear. Or even know who he is.
"Hey, you okay?" Robin asks hurriedly, touching the boy's shoulder and not peering around for his face. It… it doesn't feel right. None of this does.
"Go to hell…"
An answer is still an answer. He just needs to confirm Red X isn't going into a state of shock.
For the next month, the rest of the Teen Titans lecture Robin every opportunity they came about him going out alone, though accepting he still does when Robin needs time to process.
Bruce even calls him, hearing what happened from Alfred when a grim-faced Robin explains.
"I didn't tell you thanks back there, kid," Red X points out, his brand new voice-modifier crackling. The neon signs on the rooftop sizzle. "For stalking me long enough to know something was wrong."
Robin's smile thins.
"Think you would do the same," he mumbles, listening to a mechanized, soft laugh.
"Count on it."
Teen Titans isn't mine. I WANTED SOME ANGST but only to a certain point. Alrighty thanks for stopping in and any thoughts/comments appreciated! Noice!