Disclaimer:I don't own the Teen Titans.
Author's Note:This has popped into my head not too long ago and I got inspired with Raven A. Star's Mother's Day piece so I decided to write a Father's Day piece. A couple of things: this would be the sequel of sorts to my up and coming Robin/Raven sexuality fiction "A Vicious Cycle" and the prequel to my also upcoming Robin/Raven baby fiction "Seeds". It's self contained so you don't need to read them to enjoy this but once the aforementioned stories are written it will become much more clear. God willing. I also borrowed some elements from one or two fanfics. It helped mesh things together I think. Any format problems I apologize. I'm in transit between computers.
Timeline:Eleven months after Year 5,one month after "A Vicious Cycle". The Titans are all 20.
To Archangemon for both his Robin/Raven fiction and his artwork. Your originality never ceases to amaze me. Now if only we can do something about your grammar(insert smirk).
To Raven A. Star for inspiring me to write this.
To the real men who want to be fathers and the sons and daughters who need them.
Let's get started.
Richard Grayson stirred from his bed. He looked at the calendar illuminated on the wall by the faint sunlight shining through the room. He signed. Today was the day. The day that was forever burned into his memory. The day that everything changed.
He went through this every year. Every year he took off to parts unknown without any explanation and returned as if nothing happened. The Titans tried to question him in the first year but after the third they gave up. Nobody knew what he did or where he went,not even Raven Roth,the gothic mistress of secrets and his closest confidant of three years. Of course she tried but she quickly gave up. She understood the need for secrets and eventually the need to tell them as she revealed hers and he revealed his.
That was two and a half years ago. Not only did it make them better teammates but better people as well. Raven opened up more and Richard in his alternative identity as Robin wasn't as consumed by the day-to-day rigors of his job. With Raven's friendship he got over Slade and he in turn help her got over Terra's betrayal.
And her return.
Raven went ballistic when Terra returned on her knees begging for a second chance. After much debating with Robin and a little from Beast Boy she acquisced and allowed the earth psychic back in. After two years of observing both Robin and Raven let down their guard and allowed Terra back into their good graces. With a stern warning of course. After that things began to wind down Richard began to realize how important Raven was to his existence just as he was important to hers. He began to see how much the dark psychic completed him in every way,far more than Starfire or any other girl(if they existed)ever could.
He realized that he loved her. Deeply.
But he wasn't sure if she felt the same so he took a chance and finally decided to tell her. He was more than surprised when she told him she felt the same way. That she fell in love with him the day she met him. That she felt like she could actually feel for the first time. That "Our souls are intertwined,then and forevermore".
That was eleven months ago.
Eleven months of happiness,eleven months of feeling true emotion,eleven months of being free.
But now the anniversary hung its ugly head again and Richard wondered if he would be able to endure the pain this time. The pain was getting more intense with each passing year and he wondered if he would be able to survive it. He noted that there was one major distinction between this year and last year.
'I have her.'
Through him Raven got over her fears:fear of her powers and her inexperience of emotions and now hopefully she can help him get over his.
Speaking of the object of his affection,she was beginning to stir.
It was a month ago when they started to move the relationship into the bedroom. They couldn't have done it sooner because of Raven's fears and inadequacies which Richard eradicated with his love and empathy.
Now he hopes Raven will return the favor.
'Hope I return what favor?' She asked telepathicly in a disoriented tone.
Richard looked at her as she turned to face him. The telepathic bond struck again. Within the first weeks of their relationship she established a psychic bond with him or what she dubbed the "Psylink". The Psylink bound him to her and her to him. They shared thoughts,conversation,feelings with the Psylink. All psychics did this to their mates whether they were psychic or not. The intimacy factor did scare him very briefly at first because the concept was unknown to him. Other than Raven,he hardly dealt with any psychics but with the Psylink he could feel and felt free from the emotional cage Destiny seemed to have trap him in. The Psylink did the same for Raven and both were free. Free to feel or anything else. The Psylink does have an addtional bonus in that it warned other psychics that he was Raven's and she was his. And if they didn't understand that,well that's why God created fists and Shadow Balls.
'It's nothing. Just lost in thought.' He responded.
She scanned his face and some of his thoughts. 'Well if it's important I'm sure you'll tell me,right?'
'Of course Raye.' He told her the truth:if push came to shove he'd tell her the truth but wasn't looking forward to it. There were just some feelings and truths he couldn't tell her. He had to keep some things secret.
'Alright.' She then leaned over and kissed him tenderly. Richard was surprised.
'Not that I'm complaining,but...any specific reason you did that?' He asked. He was still surprised by Raven's occasional outbursts of emotion and affection but he knew this was the price to pay to be with someone who suppressed every emotion since birth and was only now be able to release them. It was quite a challenge but worth the struggle.
'Am I not allowed to show affection for my mate? Besides I thought it might convince you to take me with you on your yearly excursion.'
Richard thought for a minute:he'd love to tell her but not yet. He has been doing this for eleven years now. Bringing another person into the tradition seemed...foreign even though who was asking was his mate and the love of his life. Raven started to worry and was waiting for an answer.
Raven scanned him for a minute and relented.
'Alright...for now. When do you have to leave?'
'I don't have a set time. I can leave at night so that gives me the day to spend with you.' He said while stroking her arm.
'Works for me. Shall we join them?' Raven said indicating the rest of the Titans.
'Sure after we shower. You want to go first?' Richard said getting up.
'Actually I thought we'd go together.' Richard did a double take when Raven said that.
'Well with an invitation like that how can I refuse?'
And with that he followed her into the bathroom.
After showering and a little bit of lovemaking Richard and Raven entered the living room. Raven was wearing her traditional casual wear:black T-Shirt with a bloody pentagram,black jeans with a wallet chain,black boots,and buckles on her wrists and neck. Richard was wearing blue jeans,multi-colored sneakers,his mask,and a white T-Shirt with a blue stripe in the middle and blue sleeves with white stripes in the middle and a dog tag type of medallion. Richard remembered when he first wore this,Raven was quite taken with it. "I like it." is what she said which is about as close as a declaration of love as one could get from the dark empath. Cyborg was in the kitchen cooking. Terra and Beast Boy were playing yet another video game.
"Say it. Say it!" Terra exclaimed.
"Fine. You're the man." Beast Boy grumbled.
Raven looked at the couple. Terra's crudity was in perfect sync with Beast Boy's immaturity,in short they were perfect for each other. Like Raven and Richard were. Despite her feelings towards Terra she was grateful to the earth psychic then and now because then her appearance gave Beast Boy someone else to focus his attention on and left Raven alone to focus her feelings for Richard and now for her recent help in getting Raven to overcome her fears about sex and finally made love to Richard. A wish she's had since she met him and thanks to Terra it was finally achieved. But if she betrayed them again...
"While The Captain and Tenille are busy,you two want breakfast?" Cyborg asked,breaking Raven out of her mulling.
"Sure but something quick. We've got a full rich day ahead of us." Richard interrupted. Raven felt that Richard didn't want waste a minute. He wanted to spend as much time possible with her before he had to leave. Raven smiled inwardly. At least he wasn't shutting her out like she originally thought.
'He's just full of surprises isn't he?'
They sat down and Cyborg was cooking eggs by the stove. "Starfire is visiting Blackfire in prison. She sends her love."
"That's what she does best." Raven deadpanned.
"Next question. Should I dare ask when you'll be back?" Cyborg asked.
"No. How is my bike? I know it needs repairs." Richard asked.
"I was going to work on it today."
"Damn,I guess we walk."
"Not necessarily. I could drive the T-Car." Raven said.
Cyborg nearly wet himself. "No,not my baby! I just had it reblocked!"
"I helped bulid and rebuild your "baby" five times. I think that would entitle me to drive it." Raven counterargued.
"Fine. But if you scratch it..." Cyborg reluctantly handed out the keys.
"You'll live." Raven quickly grabbed them before he changed his mind.
"Well,here both are your eggs. Rob,scrambled. Rave,poached." Cyborg went over and handed their respective plates.
They ate quickly,each one wondering what the other would do.
"Thank you,Cyborg." Richard said.
"Yes,thank you." Raven said.
"You're welcome. Now you crazy kids go out and enjoy yourselves." Cyborg said.
"Goodbye,Cyborg." They both said and were walking out the door when Beast Boy called out.
"Where are you two going? Going to some cheap motel and rock the casbah?"
"Beast Boy..." Raven growled. "...Maybe."
Beast Boy looked liked he was going to throw up.
"Ewww. Gross." Terra just chuckled.
Richard just looked at Raven.
'You never cease to amaze me do you Dark Angel?'
'I had to put him in his place. Besides,how do you know we're not going to do that?'
Richard immediately blushed and said nothing as they walked towards the hangar.
"Where do you want to go first?" Raven asked,unlocking the T-Car v 6.0.
"To the Galleria. I've some shopping to do. Is that alright?" Richard asked while walking to the passenger side.
"No,it's fine." Raven said while opening the door and entering the car.
'You alright? You feel like there is something on your mind.' Raven asked gently through the Psylink.
'Richard.' She said in a probing tone.
'I'll tell you later. I promise.'
Raven relented and started the car.
"I'm going to hold you to that,Richard."
"I know you will. If you didn't,we wouldn't be here now would we?"
Raven responded by placing her right hand on his left hand and gave a half smile.
Richard gave off a heartwarming smile and washed in the concern she was radiating.
Raven took her hand away and shifted gears.
The drive was in a comfortable silence. Richard however was still thinking. Thinking about telling Raven the truth. Thinking about the guilt. Thinking about survival.
The car stopped.
"We're here." Raven said,interrupting Richard's thoughts.
"Alright then." He said opening the door and exiting the craft.
Raven didn't like the pensive look on Richard's face:she didn't like it when he hid behind his mask,his cage. That was one of the things that bound them together:the walls and barriers they had to create to hide their wounded souls from the rest of the world. To reveal the shattered little girl or the broken little boy from within to another soul meant that that person had to be worthy to accept the knowledge. Starfire,Raven felt was not worthy but Raven had no choice. She had to understand why Raven does what she does in order to properly control Raven's body during the Puppet King's invasion of the Tower. Richard,on the other hand felt worthy to Raven because of the subtle pain and darkness he carries with him. He would understand the need for barriers and hoods and would not turn away. Because she felt that he earned this worthiness she revealed everything to him:her past,her fears,and her emotions. She held nothing back and thought he did the same.
As much as Raven wanted to debate this with him,she knew the best thing to do was to give him time. As time elapses hopefully Richard will figure out the problem and tell her what the hell is wrong so she can try to help him solve it whatever it may be.
'It had better be soon. He'll be leaving and I'll be worrying all night. I don't need this on top of that.' She exited the car.
"So what do you need to do?" Raven asked.
"Get some gifts for everybody. This time I've got a special helper to help me." Richard grinned.
Raven remembers that within the past two years of Richard's yearly excursion he's always returned with gifts for the Titans. She never knew why he did it but didn't care:she was distracted by the gifts he gave her. The first year was a first edition of "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein". Obviously someone with a stockpile of currency was able to get one but Raven didn't care about that. She didn't give a damn about the cost just the thought and the fact he did it for her. She was equally touched by last year's gift:it was one of her favorite novels "The Catcher in the Rye." actually signed by the author J.D. Salinger. Salinger is notorious being reclusive. Raven wondered how in the hell Richard pulled it off and asked him.
"I have my ways." He smirked.
When Raven told him she had nothing to offer him in return he said that he didn't care.
"I have you in my life Raye. That's worth far more than any bauble I'd ever receive." he said with a heartfelt smile.
That statement destroyed her lingering doubts and solidified her courage to tell him the true depth of her feelings. That statement gave birth to an emotion she thought she would never be allowed to experience. That statement gave birth to...love.
Raven snapped out of her thoughts.
"I hope you're not going to spend any more money on me this year."
"Raye?" Richard asked not sure where this was going.
"Your tradition. I don't want a gift."
"Raye..." Richard wasn't sure what to think:he wanted to give something to Raven,tradition or not. But he'd respect Raven's wishes whatever they may be.
'Yes. I have you in my life Richard. That's worth far more than any bauble I'd ever receive.' Raven said in a quiet tender voice through the Psylink.
Richard gave a small knowing smile. "You remembered."
'How could I forget it? It was after all the statement that gave me the courage I needed to make me bound to you now and forevermore.'
"No regrets?" He held out his hand.
She took it and held it. "None."
And they walked into the mall complex holding hands.
"Okay we got Cy a new circuit board. A disk compilation for Beast Boy,a ring for Terra and now we just have to get Starfire and then we're done." Richard said running down the list of gifts. Raven was holding one bag,he was holding the other.
"Why don't you get her some perfume? That's right up her alley." Raven said.
"Great idea,Raye. Let's go." And with that they walked to one of the more expensive department stores.
"What made you think perfume? It's a good idea but I was wondering why you thought that?" Richard asked.
"Because it would go well with the expensive makeup you gave her last year." Raven explained.
Richard stopped in his tracks. "You remembered that?"
"Why would you remember a thing like that? I don't understand."
"How quickly we forget. I was in love with you for well over five years Richard. For the longest time I thought Starfire would have you forever. Even when you both broke up I still had my fears that there were some lingering feelings you both might have had and rekindle your relationship based on your interactions with her and the manner of gifts you've given her. That's why I remembered." Raven said,trying not to get swept in the petty,jealous emotions and was failing. Various items started to rattle.
"Raven. Raven! I understand why you might think that but rest assured it's completely in the past. I don't feel that way anymore. Haven't for a long,long time. You're the only one I love. If you don't believe me then look inside my mind." Richard said placing both hands on each of Raven's shoulders.
Raven scanned his mind and felt the warmth and feelings of love he sent. It was like an sea that stretch into eternity. Neverending. Forever emcompassing her. Cherishing her and the impact she's made in his life. For without her he would be truly alone.
'Richard,I'm sorry. I'm sorry.' She apologized after shedding a single tear.
He encompassed his arms around her. 'No,I'm sorry. Sorry for not realizing your insecurities and for not trying to help you overcome them. It's just you,not her. It will always be just you. Never forget that.'
They stayed like that for a minute. She reluctantly left his arms and stared into his eyes or tried to because of the mask.
"That's one of the reasons why I love you. Because you actually mean what you say. You don't lie to me or manipulate me like everyone else. You tell me the truth." She said forgetting about the issue Richard was avoiding,it wasn't as important as what she was feeling a minute ago. The fear that he might leave her to return back to Starfire.
"I don't say things unless I mean it Raye. Like when I told you I loved you and I still do." He whispered. He wasn't sure if he whispered in words or through the Psylink.
"I know you do." She said softly. She gave him a quick kiss on the lips. If they were in private she would do more to show her love for him but being that Raven resents public displays of affection this was as close to full-on make-out as one could get from her.
"Feel better?" Richard asked.
"Why don't we finish up here and go to lunch?" Richard suggested.
"Okay." She said tiredly.
They went to the perfume and jewelry section and looked at the selections.
"Essence of Vileplume,Essence of Bellossom,Essence of Gloom,Essence of Weezing." Richard went through the names of the perfume on sale.
"I don't understand why women put this garbage on their bodies to make themselves smell good. It's offending as offending can be. At least I think so." Raven said examing the perfume bottles and taking a whiff of each of them.
"I think it's supposed to used as an attraction for men and the occasional woman,Raye." Richard mused.
"But instead it repels. It defeats its purpose." Raven opened a vial,took a scent,and put it down.
"That the demoness or the goth girl in you talking?" Richard smirked.
"Both. Here get this,Essence of Bellossom. It sounds more pleasant than ugh Essence of Weezing." Raven deadpanned as she looked at and put down the Essence of Weezing vial.
"Fine. Looks expensive enough." Richard said as he looked at the vial.
"Then she'll love it." Raven smirked.
Richard glared at her.
"What? I have to get my fun somewhere." She said innocently.
"Just get the perfume Juliet. I want to look around a little bit." Richard groaned as he pulled out his wallet and gave her five hundred dollars.
"Whatever you say Romeo." She smirked. She took the money,the vial,and her bag to a register and waited to be served.
Richard looked at the jewelry case. He wanted to give Raven something special. Not just because of today but for all she's done for him. Her friendship,her loyalty,her love. These three items made him the man he is today and for that she deserves something that represents his gratitude for her,for being in his life but at the same time to remove any and all doubt that Raven might have about the depth of his feelings for her.
Richard looked around the display case but found nothing that stood out. Nothing that fit Raven's unique tastes. They were all too bright and gaudy. Completely inappropriate until he crouched down to search and found what he was looking for:
It was a pendant.
A pendant that had a diamond shaped onyx stone which was completely smoothed out with a gold placesetting which two curls stood side by side at the diamond points and two sharp prongs at the angles. They almost look like...horns. Complete with a ruby pearl band that shimmered in the light. It was dark,gothic,and beautiful. It was...Raven.
It was perfect.
"Excuse me." Richard called for the clerk.
"Yes sir." A woman in her early 40's approached him behind the counter.
"I want this black pendant please." Richard said pointing to the pendent.
The woman looked at him:he looks like someone without any money,not to mention he looked like one of those freaky-looking goth kids she's heard about with that mask of his on. His female companion looked even freakier than he did. He looked like one of those up-start teenager superheroes called the Teen Titans. A bizarre and quite frankly sad case of hero worship,she thinks. 'Why can't kids act like heroes of yesterday,like Superman,Mary Marvel,Green Lantern? Heroes who show respect,dignity,and honor in every breath they take not some prepubescent punks who disrespect authority and embarrass us all with every turn. This generation is going to hell fast.' she signed.
"I should have you know this is one of our more expensive items. About eight hundred dollars sir." She said daring him to actually produce the money.
Without a beat he pulled out his wallet and whipped out nine one hundred dollar bills.
"This should take care of everything." He laid out the money on the counter.
"Y..Yes sir. Would you like it giftwrapped?" She asked in a surprised tone,actually surprised he had the money.
"Please and quickly."
As Richard looked around he saw that Raven was still waiting to be served and saw something else that captured his attention. He was right by the men's department when he saw a little boy with raven hair by the ties grabbing one of the lower shelves. He ran over to his father.
"Daddy,I'm gonna get this for you! Happy Daddy's Day!" He cheered excitedly.
The father looked at the tie.
"Seems mighty expensive. Think you can pay for it?" He asked gently.
"I saved enough of my allowance. I can pay for it." The boy pleaded.
"I don't need a fancy tie to show that you love me. C'mon why don't we go some lunch? In honor of your selflessness." He put down the tie and picked up the child,put him on his shoulders and started to walk out.
"Okay,Daddy." He giggled.
Richard watched the scene and was rocked to his very core. He remembered when he last experienced a scene similar to this.
It was his father showing how him to walk the tightrope. But he fell off and fell on the safety net and skinned his knee and cried. His father warned Richard that he wasn't old enough for the tightrope but he pleded and pleded and finally his father gave in. When he fell,his father didn't scold him. He said "We'll try again later. Okay?" and held out his hand. Richard stopped crying and took his hand and was ready to try again but his father couldn't make his promise:he got distracted by the owner of the circus.
"Zucco's here." He said gruffly.
"Richard I got to take care of this. Okay?" His father pleded gently. He hated to leave his son like this but he had to help the owner try to convince "Boss" Anthony Zucco to leave them alone. So far all attempts have failed.
"Okay. But are we still going to do the tightrope later Dad?" Richard asked anxiously.
"We will,I promise." He said with a heartfelt tone and smile and left.
But he never did. He was so consumed in his efforts to prevent Zucco from extorting the circus and perfecting his highwire act he failed to notice the sabotage of the wire and paid the price. One hour before his parents did their act Richard accidently overheard a last minute converstion between the owner and Zucco,telling him to submit or performers would be threaten but he didn't. By the time Richard got to his father to warn him,both of his parents were already on the tightrope and he watched it snap. Sending them,the two people he loved the most to their fates. If Richard got to them sooner,he could have stop it.
He could have stopped it.
But he didn't. He failed. He failed them.
That was eleven years today. Eleven years of subtle,quiet rage and guilt building to critical mass until an alien princess and later a dark empath tried to difuse it in their own individual styles. One failed because he was too morose and still too consumed by it and she just couldn't help him. The other he's not sure about. She understood but what she didn't know was how consumed he still was by the aftershocks. And if he told her then she might think he would become too obsessed with his own demons to be with her and leave him. That or he becomes too dependent on her and she leaves him because she's too inexperienced to deal with his neediness.
That thought terrified him. Raven was essential to him. If she left...
He was so happy within the past year thanks to her. He was free and now he was pulled back in. But he can't let go,he can't forget them.
'I..I don't know. I...I just miss them so much.'
As much as he missed them Richard has to admit he was damn lucky to have such a loving father and mother albeit briefly. His friends on the other hand weren't so lucky. He knew about Raven's issues with her parents. About how she was nothing but a pawn to him in his grand designs while her mother hardly would give her the time of day during her daily training of suppressing emotions. He knew about all that when she bared her soul to him all those years ago.
Cyborg's father didn't care about him but saw him only as an extension to his own glory. All he saw was an experiment nothing more. Cyborg tried to resist him over his future but he couldn't. Even his mother tried but both found out that his father was just too dominant. In the end thanks to his father and his apparent carelessness,he lost his mother and himself. A freak accident in S.T.A.R. Labs with one of his father's machines killed his mother and nearly killed him too. Critically damaged,his father rebuilt him with experimental cybernetic equipment and he was reborn. There was a sense of irony. Cyborg's father loved science and now his son was a product of one.
Starfire's father and mother groomed her to be Queen since her older sister Blackfire was considered too "deformed" to be Queen. Blackfire eventually fled and returned to her homeworld with the help of the Citadel,a race of invaders. They threated to conquer the entire planet unless the King and Queen handed over the young Starfire. The King agreed,he sacrificed his daughter but knew it was worth it to maintain peace of his planet. Blackfire then banished her into slavery for six years but she never gave up hope. She later was experimented on by a race of aliens which backfired and gave her Starbolt ability.
Terra was the illegitimate daughter of the King of Markovia hence her surname. She was banished to the United States in avoid a scandal in her country. To her father's eyes she was an embarrassment and never acknowledged her existance. Terra's blood was the reason for her earthkinesis along with the help of a Markovian scientist who worked with the Royal Family or specifically her research. Just how much of her earthkinesis was Terra's own innate ability and how much was the artificial research's remains a mystery. After that she became a free agent willing to do anything...for a price.
Beast Boy had a childhood similiar to Richard's,happy:at first. Beast Boy's parents were biologists who were exploring Africa conducting genetics research and took their young son with them on tour. While there Beast Boy contracted a deadly disease that believed that only animals could survive. In a move of desperation his father treated him on a untested machine which was originally developed to isolate the common genetic codes between animals and humans. Beast Boy survived but later grew his skin green as a side effect but his parents didn't care,he was alive. It wasn't until years later that Beast Boy developed his shapeshaping ability when his mother was in danger and he transformed to save her. But the bliss didn't last:they died in a boating accident which Beast Boy felt he could have prevented. Doesn't that sound familiar? After Beast Boy went to King Tawaba,a friend of the Logans and the chief of the local tribe but the witch doctor of the tribe had other plans. He deeply resented the Logans and planned to kill Beast Boy. He hired two American men to kidnap and kill the young changeling in exchange for treasure. They succeeded in kidnapping him but they wanted to use his transforming ability to commit crimes so they brought him to America. The two fools killed each other and Beast Boy was put in the system. The courts decided to place Beast Boy in his parents' attorney's charge. What they didn't know was that the attorney was tapping the till of the Logans' estate and Beast Boy's return ruined everything so...he plotted to kill the changeling. Things were getting from bad to worse until he met agents Elasti-Girl and Mento of the superhero group,the Doom Patrol. The young couple was quite taken with the changeling. So much so that once they wedded they adopted Beast Boy after a protracted legal battle with the attorney. Beast Boy was finally happy again:he may have lost his parents but he got them back in the form of Elasti-Girl and Mento who loved him very much. In honor of them he fought in the Doom Patrol alongside them. But again the euphoria didn't last:the Doom Patrol and his stepmother were killed by Madame Rouge and General Zahl,old enemies of theirs. Alone again,Beast Boy left for the glitter of Tinseltown and even acted in a space opera "Space Trek 2022". But that didn't work,so after a failed romantic relationship and helping his step-father have his revenge of the Doom Patrol's killers he needed a change:his press agent suggested to join the Teen Titans for good PR and the rest is history.
They knew what effects of not having a loving father and mother can do to a child. They make them sorrowful,rageful,and worst of all...wounded and lonely.
Richard finally realized why he gave the Titans gifts every year. To show his appreciation of these five young adults and how much they mean to him. For without them,he's nothing. Without Raven,he's nothing.
Without the memory of his parents,he is truly nothing.
That's why he can't let go.
'I..I can't. God...I wish I can finally let you and Mom go,Dad but I can't,I can't! If I let you go then I'll forget you. I'll forget about the skinned knees,the hugs,the kisses,the words of wisdom and everything else. I'll forget why I took the chance and became Robin in honor of you and Mom. I'll forget why I keep fighting. I forget you then I forget who I am.'
Raven finished with her purchase and was walking to where Richard was. As she approached him she felt a bombardment of sadness and grief irradiating from him. Feelings she was all too intimate with but she wondered why Richard was feeling like this. Why is he feeling so sad,so hurt?
Again nothing. Apparently these feelings were so strong,so intense that they blocked Raven out.
"Sir? Sir?" The clerk called to him.
This snapped Richard of his thoughts.
"Here's your pendant,receipt,and change,sir." The clerk said giving a small wrapped box.
"Thank you." He said in a distracted tone and grabbed the items and lowered his hand to trying to hide them.
"I'm done." A melancholy female voice said to him.
"Oh,good. Shall we go?" He said and proceeded to walk out. Raven just stood there for a minute.
"Sure." Raven said in an underlining uncertain tone.
Raven wanted to probe his mind to find out what's wrong but she's afraid that if she did that he would shut her out. Her brooding was bad enough,Richard brooding often lead to dangerous things,like burnout,reckless behavior,and broken friendships. She lived through that with Slade,there was no way she was going to let this happen again.
She had to but Richard interrupted her.
"Can we go somewhere private?" He asked.
'Good. Then we can resolve this now before it gets any deeper.' Raven thought.
Richard led her to a secluded alcove near an exit. He looked rather nervous.
"Richard,you want to tell me what's wrong?" Raven asked in a warm,caring tone she said just for him.
"Nothing's wrong. I just have something for you and I guess I feel nervous about giving it to you." He said with an underlining nervous tone.
Raven watched as Richard hestitantly rose his hand and handed her an beautiful wrapped small box and smiled. Raven took the box and used her powers to unwrap the package,careful not to damage the paper. She opened it and stared at the contents.
Richard got worried when Raven neither moved to retrieve the pendant from the box or said anything.
Although he may have heard two or three faint explosions.
"Well Raye,do you like it?" Richard nervously asked.
Raven looked up at Richard,then back down to the obviously expensive gift he had just given her.
"Richard I don't know what to say. It..It's very beautiful. I..I.." Another explosion in the background. "...Thank you. But why did you get this? I didn't want you to get me anything for today." She finally answered.
Richard put down his bag and took the pendant from the box,as he held it in his hands,Raven's eyes never left the pendant. Richard undid the clasp and fastened the band around Raven's neck. It hung right below her neck buckle and right on the rim of her T-Shirt shining in the light.
Richard put both his hands on her shoulders. "This isn't about today. This is to show you how grateful I am that you're in my life. That you've always been there for me right when I needed you the most. That without you,I would have been forever trapped in this damn mask and lived all alone." He said as his emotions rose and took off his mask.
Raven stared into his beautiful amber eyes. "You took the words right out of my mind. I wish I can pay you back for everything you've done for me. I wish..."
She never finished as Richard leaned in to kiss her. It was a lengthy and tender kiss and as they parted,they stared into one another's eyes.
"All I ask is that you don't leave me." Richard pleaded.
Raven stared at him for a minute thinking a response. "I could never you Richard,not before,not now,not ever. We are bonded. I am yours and you are mine. But please don't insult me by thinking that trinkets like these or your money is going to buy my affections. I'm not like those whores who pursue your step-father just for his money." She said in a soft emotional tone quickly followed by subtle anger.
"I know you're not like that Raye. I know you're not like other girls. Other girls,from what I learned from Bruce,would be impressed by baubles like these and would expect more and more. No sentimental valve,just dollars and cents. And if the guy couldn't produce anymore then they'd leave. But I know for a fact you would never do that to me."
"Damn right I wouldn't." She said defensively.
"The fact that you don't care about money and status proves to me that you do care...about me." Richard said simply.
"When we entered this relationship I didn't want to create any illusions that I was in this for any gain,like for your money as an example." Raven said softly.
"And you didn't. I know for a fact that when you're interested in somebody you would be kindled by passion not by baubles and flash." Richard said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Thank you Richard." She said softly and gave a half smile.
"But please wear it. For me?" He softly pleaded.
Raven felt through the Psylink that he would be more than pleased if she wore it.
"I will wear this for you,Richard. If I didn't love you,I'd throw it out or make you return it." Raven said with a tinge of annoyance which quickly melted.
'Thank you Raven.' He beamed quietly through the Psylink. Raven responded with a feeling of joy and a mental caress.
"Now that we got our shopping done,let's go eat." Richard suggested.
"Well,melodrama always tends to make me feel hungry." Raven quipped.
"Really?" Richard put on his mask,picked up his bag,and with that the couple walked out.
They ended in a small cafe right by the park. They sat by a window facing the park. The waitress came and took their orders.
Richard was looking at the atmosphere,it had a nice clean cut feeling to it,nothing like the dark,grungy goth clubs Raven makes Richard go to. It had a real homey touch. A family of three walked in. Richard recognized two of the members.
It was the father and son from the department store.
They were glancing at the menus. The little boy glanced at it and spoke.
"Whatcha going to get Daddy?"
"I think I'm going to get the soup and salad." He stated.
"Since I couldn't pay for the tie,I'm paying for this." The little boy firmly stated.
"You don't have to. I can pay for myself."
"Daddy! I want to." The little boy pleaded.
"Oh,Malcolm. Let him pay." His wife said.
"But,but...I got nothing. Fine." Malcolm acquiesced.
"Thank you Daddy." The little boy chirped.
"The things I do for you Sydney." Malcolm grumbled.
"Oh,stop it Malcolm." Sydney smirked.
"Yes,dear." Malcolm smirked back.
Richard watched the scene with great interest and mused. He used to have scenes like that with his parents and deeply longed to have an another one. But...he knew that was impossible. You can't change the past and there was no use in complaining about things you can't control,like the past. That's what Batman and to a smaller degree Raven always said to him. It's just now he finally understood its depth. But he can't deny these feelings,he longed to be in a family again. He's starting to understand why the Titans are so important to him.
They were his family,his new family.
They were the brothers and sisters he never had and in case of Raven so much more. But as much as he cared for his adopted family it wasn't the same as an actual family. To interact and be loved by friends wasn't the same as when a father or mother or anyone related by blood did it. Other than his parents he didn't know anyone else by blood and felt like he'd never experience that feeling again. Oh,how he wished...he wished...
'Oh,stop it,Grayson! You can't change the past or complain about things you can't control. Let it go.' His conscience inwardly screamed. He felt resigned to his fate and knew it was right:he couldn't change the past...
But...He could change the future. As his relationship with Raven deepen,he thought of the final stage:marriage. He knew being with Raven would be a major commitment and didn't turn away. He knew that there was no one that could come even close to Raven,so if he was going to spend of his life with someone,it would be her,no question. And if things progressed properly with her,he could have a child and finally achieve his greatest desire:a family.
Not only would he be finally happy but a child would have a two-pronged effect:
One)His family would expand with the Titans,in the form of godparents,aunts,and uncles and be closer to all of them.
Two)Raven would finally get out of her shell. He knew that Raven was capable of nurturing and love if given the half the chance. She could be the human being she was meant to be instead of the being she is forced to be.
That did it. He would ask now before he left.
'What if she says no?' His conscience asked.
'Won't know until I try.' He responded,firming his resolve.
Raven looked at Richard and wondered what he was thinking. She tried to approach him with the Psylink but he was in deep thought and blocked her out.
'I wonder if his ruminating has anything to do with that family he was staring at two minutes ago.'
Before she mused further,the appetitzers arrived and began to eat.
"Richard,I don't wish to prolong this any further:are you going to tell me what's been eating at you all day or must I use force to get it out of you?" Raven asked imperatively. She thought Richard would forthcome about his problem already. His emotional turmoil has been eating away at her mental shields all day and the longer it lingers,the more critical the damage will become as she is forced to release both his turmoil and hers through her powers. She didn't want to use her psychic powers to actually force the problem out of him but avoid either them or anyone else harm,she had to.
"No,I'll tell you." Richard knew it involved the tradition that's been bothering him all day but he wasn't ready to tell her,what he was about to say next would be the perfect distraction.
"Let me ask you a question. Where do you see us in a year? Two? Three? Five?" Richard asked.
"I..I'm not sure what you mean. You mean as Titans? Or...Us?" Raven asked uncertain not sure where Richard was going with this.
"Us." Richard corrected.
"Oh. I..I'm not sure. I haven't thought about it. Why do you ask?" Raven asked with a creeping fear in her voice.
'Answer the question.' He stated firmly through the Psylink.
Raven thought long and hard. Thanks to him she can finally tap into the emotions she had long buried away and explore the full gamut with him by her side. In time as their love deepens she would talk of marriage and be the woman she longed to be,to be by his side for this life and all eternity. She wouldn't do it now or any time soon,despite her deep desires to do so,she still had to explore and experience first before she would dare to try and achieve that final,happy place. Maybe at the mininum three years she can start thinking about that.
'Well,I would have to explore emotion more in depth before I'd be willing to take things to the next level. I estimate that will take at least three years,I can't make it any sooner,you know that Richard.' she said with a whisper of emotion.
'In time I would discuss marriage. Five years seems most likely. Why are you asking about this?' She inquired.
'Assuming we get married and I have no doubts about that,how would you feel about children?' Richard said with anxious hope that she would give him the answer he wanted.
'Children? Children?' Tables started to shake. A million thoughts surged in her head. A child meant that Trigon would have another vessel for which to do his dirty work. A child meant a weakness that their enemies can exploit. A child meant that in order to control and discipline his or her powers would mean she have to be cold and withdrawn,like her mother was when Raven did her training as a child. She would not turn
into her. She'd rather slit her throat first. On top of that there was the general reasons:overpopulation,corruption of the child.
Richard looked at her still clinging to that spark of hope even though the analytical part of his mind knew what the answer would be.
A table in the background flipped up then two others. A panic was stirring fortunately there weren't that many people.
'No. No! Richard,what the hell are you thinking? First off you know my father would get to him or her and use them as a avatar. Secondly we would be compromised as crime-fighters because criminals could and would use our offspring as a weapon against us. Third,in order to train the child to use his or her powers properly,I'd have to be cold and withdrawn like what my mother did to me and I'll be damned if I'm going to like her. And if that wasn't enough,you can add that the world is vastly overpopulated,evil is prevailing over good and Lex Luthor has been married three times! I'm sorry but I can't and won't bring a child into that,not now,not ever." She finally stated firmly,after feeling and showing an explosion of rage over the fact he would even dare suggest that.
As Richard heard her speech,he felt his spark of hope explode into nothingness. Emptyness.
'T..T...That's how you really feel?' He said in a tired,crushed tone.
'I'm sorry to be so brutal but yes,Richard that is how I really feel.' Raven said.
'If that's how you really feel,then maybe we shouldn't be together.' He didn't want to come down to this but he just had all his hopes and dreams crushed in that one speech. What else can he say?
'What are you saying?' Raven screamed in a pained expression as a car exploded outside.
'I'm saying that I want to be a father. More than anything. It's the one dream,the one hope I have left now and if being with you is going to destroy that,then I can't be with you. I'm sorry.' Richard said emotionally with a rising anger in his tone and got up and stormed out.
'Richard. Richard!' He blocked her out. She got up and rapidly walked outside and didn't see him anywhere.
The T-Car was still there and he didn't bring his grappling equipment so climbing to the top of the building would some effort so where else could he go?
She stared at the park. It was the only logical choice.
"Maybe Lex Luthor looks good in boxer shorts." She said to no one as she ran towards the park.
Richard sat on a bench facing a giant fountain after running as fast as he possibly could. He shouldn't have said that to Raven but what was he supposed to say? Stay with a woman who would never make his dreams come true despite the fact he loved her very much? He briefly considered going to Starfire:she would want to have children but quickly dismissed it,he loved Raven too damn much.
He took off his mask and looked across the park and saw fathers watching and playing with their children and felt pangs of sadness again. There was a little girl with shoulder length raven hair by the fountain and she was accompanied with a little boy with the same colored hair but shorter. They looked like they were playing quite happily. They both walked up to Richard and Richard was wondering where their parents were.
"Hi there!" The little girl chirped happily.
"Hello." Richard said trying to dredge up some cheer for her.
"Why do you look so sad? Don't ya know it's Father's Day?" The little boy asked.
"Yes,I know." Richard said giving a small smile.
"Don't you have a daddy to go to?" The little girl asked.
"Where are your parents?" Richard asked changing the subject.
"Oh they're shopping somewhere around here." The little girl replied
"Are you two lost?" Richard asked.
"Nah,we know where we are." The little boy said with confidence.
"Don't you sound brave?" Richard smirked.
"I am brave! No one better mess with me or I'll hurt them!" The little boy said with bravado.
"Well,what about me?" The little girl asked timidly.
"Don't worry,I'll protect ya too!" he said with the same bravado.
"Thanks!" She chirped happily.
The little boy reminded Richard of himself while he was that age. There's that malaise feeling again.
"Are you two brother and sister?" Richard asked.
"Nope. We're best friends! See?" She took off and handed to Richard the locket she was wearing and he opened it. There was a picture of the little boy and little girl hugging each other.
The picture made Richard smile. He started to envision Raven and himself there instead of the two children. "Best friends forever...always." A year after Richard started his efforts to befriend Raven,they made this pact and it always stayed with him. Even now,after they became an item.
"T...That's very nice. Have you two been best friends for a long time now?" Richard asked returning the locket.
"Yup. We've been best friends for like forever and we always will be,right?" The little girl said putting on the locket.
"Yup!" The little boy put his arm around the girl and then the little girl responded in kind. The girl then broke free of the embrace and walked around the tree behind them,the little boy then accompanied her. Richard wasn't sure what they were doing until they returned with dogwood blossoms in their hands. They handed the blossoms to him.
"Here ya go! Hope you feel better." Said the little girl.
Richard accepted the blossoms and stared at them. They were quite beautiful.
"I hope you find your daddy. Every boy should be with his daddy on Father's Day." The little boy said compassionately.
The little boy's eyes shifted to the right. So did the little girl's.
"Hi there ma'am!" The little boy said.
"Hello there." A tired and melancholy female voice was clearly heard to say.
Richard froze. He slowly turned his head to find Raven standing there with her face graced with concern.
"Hi!" The little girl chirped.
"Hello there." She returned.
She sat down beside him while Richard continued to stare.
"Hello there,Sir." She said to him. He still stared.
"Hey Ma'am,this guy doesn't have a daddy. Maybe you could help him." The little boy blurted out.
"He doesn't have a daddy? That may be but I'm sure he's not all alone in the world. He must have someone...a best friend...or a girlfriend perhaps,that is worried about him." She said half smiling. Richard turned away,staring at the ground.
"A girlfriend? Maybe. Do you have a girlfriend?" The little girl asked.
Richard's eyes were starting to water.
"Well?" The little boy asked.
Richard looked at Raven. "Yes. Yes,I do."
"Really? Cool! Bet she's really worried about you." The little boy said looking at Richard.
"Yes,she is." Richard said reflectively.
"Well,why don't you tell her what's wrong? I bet she can make it go away." The little girl said hopefully.
"Yes,why don't you tell her what's wrong? She could help." Raven said.
Richard opened his mouth but no words came forth.
"See! This girl agrees with me." The little girl said happily then injected with "You need to talk to her."
Richard gave a sign. "Maybe I should speak to her. What do you think?" He asked the two children.
"Yeah!" They shouted in unison.
"Oh,yes. Do talk to her." Raven said doing her best imitation of a seven year old. Richard just smirked at her.
"What would you say?" The little boy asked.
Richard thought for a minute. "Well,I'd apologize first for my behavior as of late. Then I would tell her what's wrong. And finally I'd tell her how much I love her."
"You love her?" The little girl asked surprised.
Without a beat Richard said "Yes,I do."
"Well,then I'd wouldn't worry about not having a daddy. As long as you have her then you'll be ok." The little girl said
Richard gave a wistful smile.
"She is right,you know." Raven interjected.
"So,how did you like my little speech?" Richard asked.
"I liked it!" The little girl exclaimed.
"Me too! What about you Ma'am?" The little boy asked.
"I liked it as well but I don't think the apology would be necessary. If she really loves him then she should realize something is wrong,right?" Raven asked the two children.
"Right!" The two kids exclaimed.
"There you two are! I've been looking everywhere for you two." A male voice said. The young adults and children turned to see a young couple with hands full of bags. "Thank you so much for watching them." The young woman said.
"Not a problem." Richard said.
"Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!" The little girl exclaimed.
"Hi there,sweetie." The father said picking up the child and hugging her.
Richard looked at the scene. 'That's exactly how I want my family to be. I want my children growing up with both parents. I want my family to be full of love,just like this one.' Richard mused not knowing or concerned that Raven caught that thought or not. She did.
"Thank you,again" The young woman said.
"No,thank you madame. For raising a wonderful daughter." Richard said.
"Bye Sir! Bye Ma'am!" The children shouted in unison.
"Goodbye." Richard and Raven both said.
"Oh,and Ma'am?" The little girl asked Raven.
"Make sure this nice man finds his daddy. Okay?"
"I will." Raven said as the family walked away.
There was several minutes of silence. Richard smiled,thinking about the exchanges that just took place.
"So you have resorted into tricking a pair of seven years-olds into thinking that you're someone you're not." Richard smirked.
"It worked apparently. I'm not complaining. Now then,are you finally going to tell that desperate girlfriend of yours what's wrong?" Raven asked.
Richard looked at her. "I'll never going to get rid of you,am I?"
"I wouldn't have said "Our souls are intertwined,then and forevermore." unless I had a damn good reason now would I?" She countered.
"No,I suppose not." Richard said not able to counter.
"I liked your speech. Particularly the part where you said you were going to tell her how much you love her. Or was that for their benefit?" Raven said with a very serious tone.
Richard looked at her amethyst eyes. They displayed a sense of firmness but also a lingering fear waiting to rise up from the maw.
'Of course it wasn't for them. I...I love you. I love you so much. You're the reason I'm still living anymore.' Richard said emotionally,using the Psylink to express his true feelings. Feelings of deep,intense love.
Raven responded by embracing him in a tight hug. Richard finally let the tears he built all day fall. He was more than surprised that Raven tenderly wiped them away.
"I know I don't always show it for obvious reasons but you know I love you with everything that I am,right?" Raven gently said.
Richard nodded as Raven held his face. He closed his eyes and felt the deluge:the powerful torrents of Raven's love washing him,cleansing him. The last time he felt this...this loved was with his mother. Which made him cry even more.
'Don't hold back for me,Richard. Let it out. I'm not going anywhere.' She softly said embracing him,trying to absorb and cleanse his sorrow. She even shed a tear or two for him.
After ten minutes and after Richard shed most of his tears,he looked into Raven's eyes. They were soft and tender,other than the first time they made love he has never seen them like this. He was still afraid to tell her the truth but he couldn't hold back anymore. The damage was done,now it was time to mend.
Richard gave a deep sign,Raven responded by grabbing his hand and squeezed it tightly at first,then softly.
'First off,I believe an apology is in order. I'm sorry for worrying you like I did. I didn't mean to. It's just that...It's just that it has been a long time since I had someone care about me like this. And I failed to realize the effect it was having on you. And I'm also sorrying for springing marriage and children on you so soon. I know we never talked about it until now.' Richard said tiredly.
Raven carassed his cheek lightly and Richard melted at her touch.
'It's alright. You've always helped me with my problems and I should do the same for you. I wish I was more...aggressive in trying to root out the problem. It's just that...I don't have the emotional experience. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for being so brusque with my answer,I...I didn't know it was that important to you.' Raven said in her trademark melancholy voice tinged with emotion.
'I suppose that makes us even then.' He said simply.
'Apparently but we're digressing here.' Raven said.
'You're right. I...I just don't know how to start. It's just so difficult.'
'Just take your time. Don't rush.' She soothed.
'Every year I go to the park and watch all the fathers...with their children. They are all smiling and laughing...just enjoying each other's company. That's why I go out,because I envy those kids...because they all have parents.' Richard said,feeling the tears again.
'I know this won't comfort you but I'm sorry.' Raven said sincerely.
'Coming from you it does. I...just miss them so goddamn much...'
'I know you do.'
'But worse than that I could have stopped it. I could have saved them!' Richard said very emotionally,ready to break down again.
'I don't understand.' Raven asked what he meant by that.
'You remember what I told you my past?' Richard said making reference to the day he bared his soul to Raven. The day he took off the mask to free the broken little boy he had hidden for years. The day he had started to his path of freedom.
'I didn't tell you all the smaller details. I told you that about that bastard Zucco and how he tried to extort money from the circus. When the owner refused him,he sabotaged the circus' biggest act:the Flying Graysons and they fell to their deaths. What I didn't tell you was I overheard a last minute conversion between the owner and Zucco telling him to submit or the performers would be threaten. The owner didn't back down and I ran to tell my parents but it was too late. They were on the tightrope and it snapped. If only I had got to them sooner,they'd still be alive. I...I...' Richard began crying again.
'Oh,God. I'm sorry Richard. But why didn't you tell me?' Raven said with rising emotion,particularly why her best friend at the time withheld that piece of infomation from her.
'I did it because of you. Your empathy would have felt my deep guilt and it would have destroyed your mental shields. I couldn't bear to have you hurt because of my pain. You're too damn important to me.' Richard cried. As much as he wanted to tell her,he couldn't burden her with his guilt. If she had the emotional experience perhaps,but he couldn't do that to her. Considering how hard it was for both of them to open up,it would have a major setback to reveal the dark guilt and the fact he was still consumed by it.
'Richard,pain is the only thing I was ever allowed to feel. I would have understood,especially if it came from you.' She empathized.
'Raven,I'm not the type of person who burdens other people with his problems. I'm sorry but I'm just not.' Richard said defensively.
'Well,neither am I,but I still told you my past,my problems. I'm hurt that you didn't think of me strong enough to help you.' Raven said,rather hurt.
'You're just told me your problems,your pain and I knew how hard it was for you to open up to reveal all that. It was far more important that you revealed all your pain than mine.' Richard said rationalizing.
'Your concern for me still bleeds through even now. But Richard,there are times when you're allowed to be selfish. You shouldn't trivalize your pain,it's a part of you. A part of you that could easily lead you to your death like with Slade or worse,you could be a mindless shell...like I used to be.'
'Used to be?' Richard said surprised.
'Until I met you,I thought I'd never be free of the pain. Never be free of my parents' shadows. Never be free of my hood and then you came along and you took it all away. You freed me. Now finally let it be my turn. Let me free you at last Richard.' Raven said with pure genuine emotion,not giving a damn what was exploding in the background.
'I want you to,but I'm afraid.' Richard said meekly.
'Because I thought you would think I'd be too obsessed about my guilt to be with you and drive you away or I'd need you too much and you wouldn't emotionally experienced enough to handle me. You were enjoying yourself for the first time and you were happy. I couldn't and wouldn't take that away from you. That's why I didn't tell you now.' Richard said woundedly. He just revealed his darkest secrets and fears,he never felt more vulnerable. What would Raven do now?
'Remember when you gave me the pendant you said to me "That you've always have been there for me right when I needed you the most". Well,I am going to make sure that I am worth those words.' Raven firmly stated.
'How are you going to do that?' Richard asked unsure of what she might do.
'First thing that helped me was no secrets:sharing the pain. And the fact I shared it with you made the pain tolerable. Now it's your turn. Hold nothing back. If you do,I will sense it.' Raven said in a comforting tone then sternly at the end.
'Are you sure?' Richard asked hesistantly. He didn't want Raven's empathy on overload and destroy everyone and everything around them.
'Absolutely. Now stop hiding and tell me,please?' Raven said that last part uncertain,not knowing if he would tell her. So she resorted to the last emotion she never thought she'd use:pleading.
'Alright. I told you mostly everything of my early childhood and my parents. But there are some items that I never told anyone. Bruce is the only one who knows.' Richard took a deep sign,what he is about to say hasn't been spoken to anyone. 'After I completed my training and became Robin in honor of my parents,it was the most exhilating year of my life. I felt I could do anything,be anything,and best part of all:I felt like I could make a difference and make certain to what ever happened to me would not happen to anyone else. But there were some...mishaps. One in particularly stands out in my mind and still does to this day. At the end of the year,they appointed a new District Attorney after Harvey Dent went psycho as Two-Face and Harvey kidnapped him. Bruce tried to rescue him but Two-Face got the better of him and caught him too. I followed him by the docks where Two-Face both had the D.A. and Bruce suspended in hangman nooses in a "double gallows deathtrap"." Richard took another deep breath reliving his past torment. Raven embraced him tightly.
'Keep going.' She encouraged.
'I tried to save the D.A. by throwing a batarang at his noose and freeing him. But what I forgot about,what I failed to see was Harvey's obsession of the number of two and the floor under the D.A. gave way and he fell in the water and drowned. I failed. I failed to remember and thanks to my forgetfulness,someone else paid the ultimate price. Two-Face saw my distraction and proceeded to beat the hell out of me while Bruce watched. Bruce ultimately freed himself and caught Two-Face but the damage was done. I never forgot that and that's why I became so overanalytical. To make sure my laspes in memory never cost another life again.' Richard cried again as he relived through the guilt.
'As much as I hate giving platitudes,you did the best you could,that's all anyone could ask.' Raven said in a soft,apologenic tone. She then looked at his fragile amber eyes.
'It wasn't good enough,not for him. With Bruce you had to be perfect in order to work with him. He was apologenic but I knew he was disappointed. So I kept training and retraining until I was perfect again.' Richard said with a subtle anger.
'And you were?' Raven asked.
'I thought I was. Until one showdown proved I wasn't. I told you that we had the falling out because we disagreed one time on how to handle the pursuit of one small-time criminal. That he was too...obsessed and didn't care about the prices he made in capturing him.' Richard said.
'And that was another lie?' Raven asked,not hurt,just wondering.
'Of sorts. The real truth was we fought the Joker and...he shot me on the shoulder. Nothing serious obviously but Bruce saw it as a warning and took away my costume. Saying it was his to take. I felt so betrayed. You remembered when I told you that my mother named me "Little Robin" as a baby?'
'Well it was because of that nickname and because of them that I became Robin. That I took that chance for them. It is my identity,to do whatever I wish with it. He had no right to try and take that away from me. It felt like he was trying to take away my parents away from me.' Richard felt his eyes were becoming filled with tears again.
'I agree. Even though I understand why he did it,it still should have been your decision. It's your life,Richard and your reasons.' She agreed.
'I thought you'd side with him. Telling me to quit risking my life for...for nothing it seems.' Richard said surprised and then defeated.
'Don't you dare say that Richard. I know you're not reminded of this very often but you provide hope and comfort to people who need it. Without you,those people would have been dead or worse. If you quit,what will happen to them? What will happen to the children who need their mother and fathers? What will happen to the mothers and fathers who need their children? If you stop,then your parents would have suffered for nothing. And that would be the greatest shame of all.' Raven said with such conviction,such rising emotion. Richard was surprised she felt this way.
'Thank you,Raye. I needed to hear that. More than you'll ever know.' Richard said with a sad smile.
'I wouldn't have said it unless I meant it,Richard. And I do mean it.' Raven whispered.
'I know you do.' Richard thought of something.
'When you were looking for help to deal with your father,why did you choose me? I never understood that.' Richard asked simply.
Raven thought of a minute. 'There were a lot of souls I could have chosen but after I got rejected by the self-proclaimed "super heroes",I was afraid to try again. Then when I had given up all hope,I felt a soul with such pain,such...beauty. It captivated me. It resonated with me and my pain. I hoped,a feeling that I burned away long ago,that I would find it. I hope it would understand me and my plight and help me. And it did and it still continues to now. I glad I got rejected now. If it weren't for their myopicness,I never would met you and be happy for the first time.' Raven said sorrowfully at first,then finished with a muted happiness.
'But it took such a long time.' Richard said sorrowfully.
'True,but it still happened. I never gave hope that we'd be together. I gave up on everything else but not that.' Raven said.
'You thought I was worth the wait?' Richard asked.
'Yes. Even if it took forever and it nearly did,I still didn't give up.' She whispered.
'And people dare to call you cold and unfeeling.' Richard returned,stroking her face.
'I don't care what people think,with the exception of certain,special people that is. Feel better?' Raven mentally returned the gesture.
'I...I do actually. Better than I have felt in a long time. How can I ever thank you?' He said,feeling he would be forever in Raven's debt.
'Just stay with me,Richard. That's all I ask.' Raven said in a exhausted tone.
'I think I can do that.' He smiled. She returned it briefly.
'Now that you told me your secrets,why don't you tell me what you're really feeling? That's the second thing that helped me.' Raven demurred.
'You sure? I don't want to hurt you.' Richard gently asked.
'Yes. You need this. I need this.' Raven said staring into his amber eyes again,sending him waves of love.
'Okay. Here goes. I guess I'm torn. Torn between my intense longing for them and my roaring guilt for failing to save them. But far more than that,I'm torn...' Richard took in a long breath. 'in that of I want to let go but if I do I'll forget them. If I forget them then I forget who I am. I don't know what to do.' Richard said,letting his unshed tears fall.
Raven thought for a minute. 'You can't let go of them right now Richard,their memory is essential to your existence. You wouldn't be who you are without them. Without them,you wouldn't be the man I love. I wish...I wish I can thank them myself for making you so...beautiful.' Raven shed a tear,for the two beings that made her soulmate possible.
'That's the second time you referred to me as beautiful. I thought only a man could say that to a woman.' He wondered.
'That may be true...but this woman is going to say it to her man.' Raven said simply.
'Your man.' Richard said amazed.
'That's right and no one can take you away from me. Not now,not ever.' Raven said firmly and went over to briefly give him a tender kiss.
After the kiss,Richard gazed at her very tenderly,still drinking in the emotions she sent,not just for him but his parents as well.
'You know I wish...I keep on wishing they were alive because not only I want to tell them I'm sorry I failed but far more than that,I wish they were alive for you,Raye.' He said very tenderly.
'What do you mean?' She asked puzzled.
'Well,your father just wanted to use you and your mother neglected you. I always had this wish in the back of my head that if my parents were alive,then you would have a mommy and daddy that would love you just as much as they love me. They wouldn't treat you like a pawn or an embarrassment,they'd treat you like a real daughter.' Richard softly shed a few tears because of his wish.
Raven thought about that. It would be nice to have parents that actually gave a damn about her,a pity it wasn't reality. Raven wasn't one for wishing thinking but there is always a first time.
'But what if your parents would have resented me because of my true nature? I mean you're not with a human girl.' Raven asked,wondering if the Graysons would have accepted her despite of her demoness nature.
'Well they might freak out a little,but as long as I told them I love you then they wouldn't care.' Richard said thinking of what his parents might think if they met Raven.
'You think so?'
'I know they would have love you,Raye.' Richard said in a caring tone. Raven gave him a mental smile.
'All the same,it would have been very pleasant to meet them.' Richard smiled at that.
A few minutes of comfortable silence elapsed. 'Since we're talking about mothers and fathers,why the desire for us to be parents?' Raven asked.
Richard thought for a few minutes. 'I don't know. I just...I just long to be in a family again. And I knew I couldn't have that anymore with my parents. You know,can't change the past and can't complain about what you can't control and all that but I thought I could change the present and future and take control with what I have. I should have considered your arguments and I didn't and I'm very sorry. But you have to admit:would it be so insufferable to have create someone that's part you and part me? It would be the perfect expression of our union. That it's proof that we can rise above our pain and pasts and just be normal. Be who we want to be not who we're suppose to be.' Richard intertwined his fingers with hers.
'You really want this Richard?' She asked while trying to find a better counterargument. She couldn't.
'More than anything Raye. But...if you don't want to,I understand.' Richard forced himself to say. He hated to say it,but in order to be with the woman he loves,he has to sacrifice his dream.
Raven caught that. 'I don't know Richard. I just don't know.' Richard tried to hide his relief. At least it wasn't no.
'That will do for today. Quite a day huh?' Richard smirked.
'To say the least. I suppose you have to get going.' Raven surrendered and let go of the embrace.
Richard thought for a minute. He then took her hand and clasped it tightly.
'No. No more secrets. I'm tired of hiding my pain and now finally I want to share it...with you. One way or another I'm going to make that wish come true.' He got and dragged her along with him.
'Richard I don't understand. Where are you taking me?' She asked concerned.
Raven watched the scenery pass her by as Richard drove into Gotham. The buildings had for lack of a more better phrase a gothic feel to them. Raven was quite taken by the city's architecture and felt the silly impulse to move here when she got the chance. She hated Jump City's...brightness. Its colors. She felt very out of place being there. Gotham on the other hand she would fit right in. The tall buildings with the looming darkness born within them just...speaks to her even now in the daylight. Nice to know this was going to be her city one day perhaps.
Now if she can just convince Batman of that fact,she'd have it made.
Richard didn't give much of a reason why he dragged Raven into the T-Car and immediately drove to the direction of Gotham. He just said "Please trust me,okay Raye?" Raven for lacking of a better course of action agreed to it. She just hoped whatever point Richard was trying to make,he better make it soon.
'We're here.' Richard whispered.
They were by the gates of a cemetery.
'Richard?' She asked worried.
'Come with me.' He opened the car door and held out his hand. She looked at it uncertain for thirty seconds and then she took it.
'Can you please explain why we're here? I certainly hope it's not for a date.' She asked as Richard began to drag her throughout the cemetery.
'I'll explain in a minute.' Richard said trying to calm Raven.
'I hope so.' She replied.
'We're almost there.' Richard said thinking "all or nothing" in his head.
Raven looked around the cemetery:it did look very well maintained as well as having several beautiful monuments,some taking the forms of angels.
Raven turned around in Richard's direction as he looked down,she joined him and widen her eyes.
Born Feb 5,1963
Died June 21,1998
Born Dec 30,1965
Died June 21,1998
It was a simple gray headstone,it seemed rather small when compared to the others,not that it would matter now.
'Richard...Are they...' Raven stuttered,wondering if they are who she thinks they are as well as wondering if any tombstones were exploding in the background.
'I don't understand.' Raven meekly stated. Still shocked he bought her here.
'This is part of the tradition:after the park I come here and tell them what's happened to me within the past year. I tell them everything,how much I miss them,Bruce,the Titans,...you.'
'You tell them about me?'
'Yes. That's another reason I wished they weren't dead:so then they'd see how happy I am with you.' Richard said,nearing crying.
'Oh,Richard.' They both entered a tight embrace.
"Where are my manners? Mom,Dad,this is Raven Roth,my girlfriend and the love of my life." Richard beamed as his tears fell.
"Mr. and Mrs.Grayson,I want to thank you for raising such a beautiful son. I can tell you were such loving parents to him and loved him very much based from the way Richard talks about you. I never knew that type of love from my parents or any type of love for that matter until your son entered my life. He showed me and continues to show me what love truly means and I thank every deity I can everyday that he's in my life. Now I know where he's gets these beautiful traits from. But now Richard thinking about letting you both go but I won't let him. Because of you and his memories of you he saves people's lives. He saves the mothers and the fathers and the sons and the daughters. If he lets go then those people will end up like you and Richard and I won't that happen,I won't. The little Robin will not leave his nest and leave you behind for as long as he has his Raven." Raven knelt down before the headstone,touching it,caressing it,wishing she could transfer her empathy down to them,showing them just how much she loves their son. Richard placed his hands on each of her shoulders and gripped her tightly.
"Thank you,Richard. I never thought I'd ever be the girl you can introduce your parents to." Raven shedding a tear.
"You are to me,Raye." He basked in her love.
"I wish I can return the favor but I..." She dragged him down and embraced him.
"I know." He simply said,hugging her as tightly as he possibly can.
They just sat in the grass,showing and feeling one another's love in front of the two people who made their love possible. Didn't give a damn about the eminent explosions or anything else but each other in this perfect,perfect place.
As they were driving away,Raven was in deep thought. She turned to Richard who was driving.
'Richard,thank you. I know how hard that was for you.'
'You said "to share the pain". So I did. I keep wondering what's going to happen next year that we have to tell them.'
Raven's eyes widen with shock. 'Next year?'
'Until that is a problem.' Richard said now starting to feel disappointment that Raven doesn't want to participate.
'It's a date.' She simply said and sent feelings of love.
Richard felt them and returned them as they both drove in a comfortable silence.
Richard parked the T-Car in the hangar and put on his mask. They were somewhat surprised that Cyborg was waiting for them.
"I thought Raven was going to be home a lot sooner. What took so long?" Cyborg asked.
Richard and Raven exchanged small knowing glances.
"Change of plans." Raven simply said.
"Whatever,how's my baby?" Cyborg looked around the car,scanning it for dents and scratches.
"Needs new brakes." Richard smirked.
"Whaaaaa?" Cyborg screamed.
"I'm kidding,okay? Relax." Richard said,trying to calm the mechahuman down.
"That's not very damn funny!" Cyborg grumbled.
"Not from where I'm sitting." Richard smirked.
"Well you two are lucky,dinner is almost ready. Would have had it sooner if a certain goth girl knew how to call home or knew how to tell time." Cyborg said looking at Raven's direction.
"I was busy. That's all you're going to get." Raven briefly flashed her eyes.
"What did you do?" Cyborg asked.
"The aftermath of a headache I had. It is of no consequence." She demurred.
"Right." Cyborg said dubiously.
Richard got the bags. "If it makes you feel any better,we got presents." Richard said a taunting tone.
"You know it does." Cyborg hurrumphed.
"Can we please continue this exchange later? I'm rather hungry." Raven grumbled.
"Fine." The two male Titans said and walked to the elevator.
'You reset the odometer,didn't you?' Richard asked.
'You know me so well. We can't have him deduce where we went,now would we?' Raven smirked.
Richard gave her a mental smile.
After dinner,Richard gave the Titans the gifts. They all fell in love with each of their gifts,Starfire and Terra the most. Starfire asked Raven a question.
"So friend Raven what was former,I mean friend Robin's gift to you this year?" She innocently asked.
Raven noticed her correction but didn't care. "Well,he gave me the gift of Robin in all honesty."
"Yeah,and a really snazzy looking pendant. How much did it set him back?" Terra smirked,noticing the pendant.
"It's not the gift,Tara but the thought behind it." Raven stated rather firmly,hopefully destroying any and all doubt and then walked away.
"Ok,ok. Jeez. I'll never understand these goth girls." Terra grumbled.
"Perhaps it's best that you don't,friend Tara." Starfire demurred.
Raven walked to Richard was still talking to Cyborg and Beast Boy.
"I'm tired,Robin. I'm going to lie down. I'll be in my room." Raven softly said and walked away but not before implanting an erotic image of her and Richard in his head.
Richard slightly blushed. Cyborg and Beast Boy just smirked.
"Shut up." Richard commanded.
"What? We can't have our fun?" Beast Boy innocently asked.
"No." Richard said sternly.
"God,you two are no fun at all. No wonder you belong together." And with that Beast Boy stormed off.
"Well,thanks for the gift man. I really needed it." Cyborg said in gratitude of his gift.
"You're quite welcome."
"So...then what did you and Raven do today?" Cyborg inquired.
"Oh talk about this and that." Richard gave a lop-sided smile
"Like what?" Cyborg asked.
Richard knew he couldn't tell him the real truth,not yet but he had to tell him something. Something that was at least half true.
"Well,we talked about the future. Talked about marriage and kids." Richard suddenly had a urge to stare at his sneakers.
"Whoa! A...And what she did say about all that?" Cyborg asked in shock wondering what antisocial Raven's answer would be.
"She was okay on marriage but she's not too warm on kids." Richard whispered.
"Well I can certainly see why but if anyone could make her change her mind,it's you,Rob." Cyborg said compassionately.
"I'll certainly try,Cy."
"So why the urge to have it all? It's a kind of young age to be thinking about it. Don't you think?" Cyborg wondered.
"I suppose but the desire to be in a family again is getting stronger and stronger and I want that with the woman I love. Along with you guys of course." Richard said with pure honesty.
"I would hope so. Of course if you do succeed in having one and I hope you do,man,you know we're going to be spoiling that kid rotten,right?" Cyborg smirked.
"I'm counting on it." Richard gave Cyborg a small knowing glance.
After Richard bid good night to Cyborg,he went to Raven's room and crawled in bed alongside her. She was fast asleep and Richard kept thinking about today:with her empathy and love she finally cast aside the mask he had wore for so long. Today proved that she was the perfect choice,in fact she was the only choice for him. He thought that her inexperience of emotions wouldn't help him and his fears but thanks to her,his fears have taken flight,never to disturb him again. If he has to spend the rest of his life and beyond repaying her for her love he gladly will but hopes that the pendant would be at least a good starting payment.
She began to stir and caressed Richard's mind.
'You know I think it would be more than tolerable to have a child in this world that is part Richard and part Mr. and Mrs. Grayson.' She commented.
Richard wondered if she was being sarcastic or dead serious.
He was surprised it was the latter.
'Well it would be part you too,Raye. Don't forget that.' Richard said gently.
Raven didn't return the comment. She thought for a minute and then quickly went back to sleep. Richard smiled and went to sleep.
He dreamt that he was playing his children with their mother looking on with a small smile on her face. Little did he know that Raven dreamt the same thing.
I wish I can debut this on Father's Day but with my computer problems I doubt that. The best,laid plans and all that. So I made it one day before,it's still good.
One)After reading Raven A. Star Mother's Day fiction piece I felt inspired. I originally wrote it to be Raven and Robin finding a lost child and during the course of returning to where he/she came from,Robin would start to develop paternal feelings and wants to have a child with Raven. Raven natually refuses but she does warm up to it slightly in the end. The more I thought about it,the more difficult and unoriginal it would be so I scrapped it and wrote this instead.
I used this one website for the Titans' past and it was extremely helpful. All Teen Titans writers should swear by this site. A perfect compendium.
One)I used the "perfume" Pokemon:Vileplume,Gloom,Bellossom,and finally Weezing. I read in the Silver Pokedex that perfume makers take Weezing's liquid gases and dilute it into perfume. I find that offputting. Taking the noxious vapors,a weapon of choice of agents of Team Rocket,used in noxious perfume just seems wrong to me. Anyway I have a major issue with perfume and how I feel about it was written in Raven's dialogue. Sorry to the girls who actually like perfume,I'm sorry but that's how I feel.
Two)The Psylink came from the Sabrina's Alakazam holo card from the Pokemon TCG. While in play,its Pokemon Power allow Rina's Alakazam to copy any Psychic attacks on the player's side of the field,but has to pay the cost of the attacks. I thought the power was intriguing and I thought psychics would do that with their mates so I threw it in.
One)I used the Black Pendant card for Raven's black pendant. It seemed so gothic,so beautiful,so perfect. I was quite taken with it. And it's a nice card to play too.
Two)Richard's look are from Joey Wheeler's second season look,I keep wondering what his next clothes style will look like. From the spoilers it won't be anytime soon. Oh,well.
One)For the cemetary scene I was inspired by Archangemon's R/R fic "Getting To Know You" Chapter 5. The tradition concept inspired me and even though the original concept wasn't expanded that much,I hope mine will do it justice.
Two)For the park scene,I used pikagurl23's Christmas Miracles in the Pokemon section. I didn't want to do it but it helped me gel things considerablely. Pokemon fans here should read her work. It's quite good. Well worth your time.
I'll get to "A Vicious Cycle" and later "Seeds" as soon as I can. My muse is away and I'll be quite busy with school for the next month. But I'll get to it,God willing and with that have a happy Father's Day.