Flock Together

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. R/R.

The night breeze winds its way through my hair. The coolness is refreshing and a welcome change from the stuffiness of the tower. I sit cross-legged, floating in the air. I have come out on this roof tonight to meditate, to clear my mind of all thought. I close my eyes and begin to focus. Normally, this would all be very routine and therefore easy for me. Tonight, however, seems another story.

He is up here with me tonight. In truth, he is always with me. My thoughts have turned to him lately. We have known each other a long time and I have grown accustomed to and even quite fond of him. We have forged a seemingly mutual respect for one another. He is not like the others. He is darker, seems more disturbed by what I cannot guess. I hear him now, on the roof with me. The air is alive with his mock blows. He shadowboxes but it is as if he is battling some inner demons.

I watch Robin, not with my eyes for they remain closed but with my mind. His movements are precise, agile, and quite graceful. A perfectly landed somersault into a leg sweep. A roundhouse kick and the following spin kick with the other foot. He dodges unseen blows, backflips, and then leaps towards his opponent in a flying kick. A rolling dodge and one of his birdarangs whistles through the night. The weapon disarms the invisible attacker and returns neatly to his hand. It's poetry in motion to watch him work. He is focused, controlled, everything I wish to be. What I seek through meditation he has seemingly already achieved though it seems at a somewhat high price. I suppose I'm a bit envious of him.

Robin and I have a mutual respect. I respect his decisions as our leader and he respects my advice or opinion should I give it. He seems to tolerate my reclusive ways as I do his sometimes stoic and distant behavior. He has never once inquired about my past and I have given him the same courtesy. We are friends but it seems not quite enough these days. People, such as Beast Boy, are always bugging me to "be part of the group" which usually leads to me wanting more and more privacy. It seems to be the opposite with him though. The more it seems as if he doesn't want to know anything about me, the more I want to tell him everything. I'm not quite sure how to handle this or even what it is. I just know it's there and that he makes me feel this way.

I've had these feelings for him for a long time now. It's hard to say what brought them on. I just began noticing things, little things. Robin is a man of mystery and they say that such a thing is very attractive. He seems so alone now up here fighting his ghosts. There's something inside me that says I should move to him, tell him that I care. Yet at the same time there is fear, fear of rejection. I care about Robin but the strength of said emotion is tied to the hope that perhaps he feels the same way about me. If that hope is crushed then so is my heart. It's a no-win situation. I tell him and risk rejection or stay quiet and let the feeling inside turn into a dull, painful ache.

I am so lost in my thoughts I don't notice he's already finished his staff kata. He uses the same routine. First comes hand-to-hand then bo staff. This isn't the first night I've watched him from here. It probably won't be the last.

"Raven?" I feel a hand on my shoulder.

"Hmm?" I ask as I turn to see him standing next to me.

"Sorry if I disturbed you," he needlessly apologizes, "You just . . .looked lonely." Lonely? I stare at him and search his words for hidden subtext. I read into things a lot. Sometimes I read more than I should or more than what is actually there.

"You did too," I reply, not exactly sure what to say, "Do you always do this up here?"

"A lot, yes," he replies as he sits down beside me, "Do you always watch me?" My face involuntarily reddens and then reddens more as I realize that showing embarrassment is a very large tell.

"A lot," I reply. He smiles a little. Robin likes to show off for people. It's not exactly cockiness or arrogance though. He just likes showing everyone what he can do. It's interesting that out of the five of us he's the only one without powers or enhanced abilities. Maybe that's why he likes to show everyone his skills, to prove that you don't need powers to be a hero.

"So . . .." trails Robin. Is he nervous? Most people are a little put off when they're around me but this is different. It's more like shyness and it perplexes me.

"I suppose I should explain myself before you think I'm stalking you or something," I tell him.

"Well, you don't have to," he tells me.

"It just seems like you have something inside you," I explain, "some demons that you have to fight. It's almost refreshing actually. For a long time, I thought I was the only one here who felt that way."

"I see," he replies, "I have some issues I guess you could say. We all have our own way of dealing with things." I nod in agreement. I feel a little bit more comfortable now that we're actually having a conversation.

"I have a confession to make," he tells me. My eyebrow arches as I motion for him to proceed.

"Do tell," I prod him.

"I watch you too sometimes," explains Robin, "Up here on the roof, trying to calm whatever's inside of you that you can't let out. You seem so peaceful and still. It's a beautiful thing to watch." I try to read him again. Does he think I'm beautiful as well? I could read his thoughts but such a thing would violate our trust. Still though, I can't help but wonder. Does he feel the same way about me that I feel about him?

"Why do you always wear your mask?" I ask him suddenly. It's a question I've always asked myself. Even I, the most reclusive and mysterious of the Teen Titans, pull back my hood and show my face when we're at home.

"Old habit," he replies, "Hard to break I guess."

"You won't tell me, will you?" I ask him. God, I would tell him anything about myself just to get him to open up to me, to get under his skin and see what's inside.

"It's hard for me to get close to people," he explains rather frankly, "Wearing the mask helps. It makes sure everyone only sees Robin and not who's inside."

"Who is inside?" I ask him. I understand him more than anyone else I live with. I keep people away too for their own protection but deep inside I desperately need to be close to someone. He seems the opposite. He pushes others away for his own protection, because he's afraid of getting hurt.

"I don't know anymore," he replies grimly. I nod. There is a palpable connection hidden under the silence in the air. My stomach flutters a little. I want to tell him. I want to tell him that if he will open his door for me I will let him have all of me he wants. I want to tell him my love for him.

"What about you?" he asks as he slides a little closer to me, "Who's under that hood?"

"Raven," I reply, "Although being Raven isn't really anything great."

"Doesn't seem so bad," he replies, "I'd say it's a little bit better than being Robin." His closeness drives me insane. I want to tell him, I need to tell him. Still, there is something inside me that won't say it. The words stick in my throat and refuse to come out of my mouth.

"I suppose it's a matter of opinion," I tell him. He nods in agreement.

"Little too cold out here," he says as he gets up, "Wanna come in?"

"Okay," I reply as he leads the way to the door. I let a small smile creep at the corners of my mouth as he gallantly opens the door for me. There is light in him. It shines in the darkness and makes him seem all the more brighter. It's the light that has kept him functioning the way he has been. It has adapted to all the darkness around him but the light has not been snuffed out.

"Uhm, here we are," fumbles Robin as we enter the living room. By now, everyone else has gone to bed.

"Yeah," I reply, "Here we are." I have made up my mind. I will tell him now. I can't wait anymore. I don't care about the costs. If I don't tell him I will surely explode and perhaps blow up a great many objects as well.

"Robin?" The voice is not mine. Both of us turn to see Starfire standing in the hallway.

"Couldn't sleep?" asks Robin. Starfire nods.

"Bad dreams," she informs us, "Could you maybe provide comfort."

"Sure," replies Robin as he moves to Starfire's side. Something inside me breaks. He wants her, I can tell. He wouldn't do anything like that for me no matter how much I may secretly want him to.

"Robin," I say to him.

"Yeah," he replies as he turns to face me. I try to search his eyes. Damn that mask and damn him for wearing it.

"Nothing," I tell him, "Good night."

"Night," he replies as he and Starfire retreat to her room. I stand alone in the hallway.

"I love you," I whisper to the dead air, finishing my sentence the way I should've. I sigh deeply as I head to my room. Being two of a kind doesn't mean you're destined to be a pair. I guess the old saying was wrong. Birds of a feather don't always flock together.