Author: Daisy Sparrow
Rating: PG-13 so far, R in later chapters
Pairing: Currently they are all implied, Robin/Starfire, Slade/Robin
Disclaimer: I don't know who Teen Titans and all its characters belong to, and frankly I don't care. It's bad enough they are not mine, so please don't rub it in, OK.
Warning: Slash (aka: m/m situation), other than that, English is not my first language.
The story has been betaed and reposted, all thanks to the wonderful Fire Tears. I don't have enough words to express my graditude. Thank you so much, you are a goddess!
A/N: My most recent obsession is Teen Titans, not the comic book, but the cartoon that's showing on YTV. I love its animation style, very anime like, and so cute. Not to mention the main villain kicks ass and has a Robin complex.
The title is inspired by Chrono Cross. In the game, the beach where Serge can cross between worlds is called 'where angels lose their ways'. It's kinda novel, so I used it. ^^
Slade doesn't talk to Robin. He purrs.
Starfire can't remember exactly when that particular conclusion came to her. No one has ever credited her of being overly perceptive. She doesn't blab out what's on her mind like Beast Boy, nor does she indulge in constant, silent observation of others like Raven.
Starfire is just... Starfire.
She likes to compose flourish poems about friendship, alter edible earth recipes to unrecognizable states and pay attention to her teammates. And she knows something is wrong when Robin refuses to come out of his room for the third day in a row.
She figures that it probably has something to do with his impersonation as Red X in order to infiltrate Slade's power base, and of course, Slade himself.
Why does everything always come back to Slade?
That brings her back to her current predicament, floating outside of Robin's room, balancing a food tray with one hand, while the other hovers close to the door. She has halted before actually knocking, and is now staring sightlessly into the silvery metal in front of her, contemplating Robin's bad mood and Slade's voice.
Her most recent acquaintance with that voice was when Robin was interrogating Slade's robotic henchman on the beach. Slade had only shown for a few minutes on the small screen, but he almost seemed magnified somehow, with his towering pose, the slight tilt of head and the glittering which flicked momentary in one eye. He was like a giant tiger, waiting to strike and snatch away the unsuspecting prey.
Starfire had inconspicuously held onto Robin's cape the whole way back.
The ordeal unnerved her.
Slade has a deep and throaty voice. One might even call it seductive. Sometimes it reminds her of Blackfire, which in itself is disturbing beyond comprehension. It's the same soft, coaxing tone her sister uses when she really wants something. A tone that says 'I'll wait, I can be patient, but there is no escape and it will be mine sooner or later.' A tone that contains a world of contradictions. Gentle like an ocean breeze, yet straightened with bones of sturdy steel. Leniently warm one second and biting cold the next.
Coming from Slade, that tone always covers some kind of unnamed emotion, like some strange current that blends in with each sentence. The same something that smoothes out the edges between the letters and bridges the gaps between words, so that they all flow out fluently like one continuous serenade.
It was only a faint impression at the beginning, but layer upon layer it rolled with each progressive encounter, and one day she suddenly realized that it's just... there. Gracefully hiding underneath every exchange of fists and strategically planted underneath every unspoken word.
Impalpable until both parties choose otherwise.
It scares her.
Slade, who has been treading closer since the incident with Cinderblock, is making himself known to the team more and more. The man is as unfathomable as ever, but he is visible now and his presence lingers longer each time his name is uttered. Starfire has the horrible feeling that they have been baited all this time, strung along like helpless puppets. However, she doesn't think that it's the Teen Titans that Slade is interested in, at least, not as a whole.
That scares her more.
Because she thinks... no, she knows what, or more specifically, whom Slade is after.
One of her closest human friends, the boy who is dear to her heart.
Slade is after Robin.
But for what purpose?
It can't be because of their oppositions. Slade has been presented with ample opportunities to do Robin serious harm, but he has spared the boy each time. It can't be because of the pleasure of the chase, either. The seemingly eternal chess match of wits between the two are too relentless and harsh to be cataloged as simple child's play.
What then? What can the criminal mastermind possibly want with Robin?
But whatever it is, it is most likely not mutual.
And definitely not returned.
Must not be returned.
After all, Robin absolutely despises Slade. The apparent animosity, often expressed without constraints by Robin, has caused even Raven to comment on its intensity. Cyborg has cracked more than one joke about how their leader probably has a voodoo doll with Slade's mask nailed to it in his closet somewhere. And Robin has called Slade 'that creepy bastard' with gleeful frequency. Starfire is quite sure that the phrase isn't used for flattery.
So in that case, her suspicion is baseless.
Robin won't leave them.
Robin can't leave them.
There won't be any Teen Titans without Robin.
Then why isn't her fear eased by this knowledge? Why can't her pounding nerves be still?
This is... all Slade's fault.
This dangerous spinning vortex and mystery of a man. His involvement, his ever-present... meddling in their affairs has opened a whole new set of doors and threatens to swallow them all, sweep them away with its temperamental waves, blur their vision and choke down on their consciousness until they lose their ways, and all mistakes are final and irreversible.
Starfire fears for all her teammates.
In Robin's case, perhaps Red X was only the beginning.
The door whooshes open.
Starfire gasps, blinking rapidly before focusing back to an equally startled Robin. She gives him a weak little smile in greeting, raising the tray in her hand slightly, stating her intention wordlessly.
"No, thanks, Star."
Robin looks dead on his feet, eyes bloodshot with weariness and cheekbones standing in sharp definition against his thin face. Starfire's heart skips a beat. She swallows uneasily, resisting the urge to reach out and brush away a strand of those wayward locks.
"Please eat something, Robin," she pleads softly. "Rest assured, I followed the recipe exactly, so there will be no nasty surprise this time."
That warrants a small chuckle from Robin, followed by a slight shake of head. Robin turns sideways and makes as if to close the door. Starfire darts forward hastily, pressing one palm against the door frame to intercept its movement.
"Then will you not at least take a break? Come potatoing on the couch with us? Beast Boy has acquired the newest addition to the Super Ninja showdown movies, he has informed me that--"
Robin cut her off. "I have a lot of work to do, Star."
She added eagerly, "Then I am certain that some food, rest and mindless television would aid greatly in your effort to do... whatever it is you are doing."
He sighs, mutters something too quiet for her to catch, eyebrows creasing together. Starfire, however, isn't discouraged, and instead continues with her reasoning in earnest.
"Please, Robin. You have not left your room in three days, and we are all very worried."
"...I'm... I'm all right, Star. I just have a lot on my mind."
She hesitates, peeking at him under red bangs. "Does it has anything to do with what I said earlier?"
"My... comments on the similarity between you and Slade, and of your distrust in us. Please pay it no mind, it was very thoughtless of me. I did not mean to imply that--"
"No, it's not that." Robin puts two fingers gently on her lips, effectively silencing her frantic words. "It's... not what you said... but you were right. You were right when you said that we are the same."
She blinks, confused.
"...But I don't want to be like him... not like him. I just... I..."
"You are not!" She speaks past his fingertips, hoping the conviction in her voice is enough to reassure him.
Robin smiles sadly. "Thanks for saying that, and for everything you're trying to do."
"I just want to be alone for a while. I... need to sort this out on my own."
With that said, he turns and shut the door in her face. Starfire's gaze falls onto the door once more, her feet landing on the floor soundlessly and her shoulders slumping in defeat. She can almost feel the ground sway under her; the walls blur for one instant and she rubs her eyes furiously.
She just... wants the old Robin back.
She wishes that everything can go back to a time before they'd even heard of the name Slade. A place without this senseless suffering, uncertainty, and self-doubt.
When did it all start?
Did it begin with their fights against those three graduates from the Hive Academy? Was it their first non-meeting with the elusive man when they first learned of Slade's existence? Or was the wheel only turned when Robin asked that fateful question:
Who is Slade, indeed? Starfire wants very much to know that as well, and then she will know what needs to be looked out for and what precaution to take.
Starfire will not allow Robin to be taken away, not by Slade.
Not by anyone.
Not from her.
Thanks for reading. Reviews will be treasured. Flames will be laughed at and ignored.