Why be rational when you can be insane?
The question played over in Robin's mind as he watched the light reflected from the indoor pool flit over the ceiling of the pool room. He had overheard Raven saying that to Cyborg a few days ago, and although he tried to think nothing of it, a gnawing feeling kept growing inside him.
Why be rational when you can be insane?
Why was Raven talking like that? He remembered how her voiced seemed to be so amused and sardonic. She might have been joking, of course. That particular thought had crossed his mind several times when he thought back on it. But from the almost hopeful edge to that same voice dismissed his conjecture immediately. Raven meant what she said—how much of it she meant he could only guess.
The main problem with Raven's declaration is that if Raven really were to go insane, as she so wanted to do, she would no longer be fit to be a titan. Then, there was Cyborg. Robin had waited and waited for Cyborg to reveal any knowledge of Raven's strange thoughts, but he seemed perfectly normal, as if he accepted her morbid philosophy.
Why be rational when you can be insane?
He knew that if Beast Boy or Starfire had been the one to overhear Raven, they would confront her. But as if now, he had no evidence besides that twisting feeling in the pit of his stomach that points to madness—or even seriousness—in her words.
Robin passed his hand over his mask, feeling the warm cloth beneath his fingers. He was at a crossroads, torn between asking Raven outright and keeping quiet. What exactly could 'why be rational when you can be insane' mean, anyway?
"Robin?" came a voice from behind him. He turned to see Cyborg there, arms crossed, face grim. "I need to talk with you."
Finally, thought Robin, his lips quirking in relief.
"It's about Beast Boy."
The smile dropped.
That was when a sudden force knocked him from the back of his head and he tumbled to the tiled floor, his vision blurring. "Sorry, dude. Gotta do this," Cyborg whispered. He felt the half-robot man pick him up, sling him over his shoulder, and make for the door. The last thing he saw was the blue and white tiles being stained with a red liquid.
Robin opened his eyes, distinctly aware of the throbbing pain on the back of his head. He also became aware that his fingers were wet. And that he was breathing through his mouth into a tube. Reaching out of the glass casket.
He nearly gasped with shock, but he closed his mouth over the tube again just in time. He was in a glass casket filled with water. His hair, drifted around his face and neck, out of its usual spiky coif. Outside, lights illuminated the area from under the casket, giving the room with the whitewashed walls and the peeling paint an eerie look.
His eyes followed the yellow tube from his lips out of the casket and into another one directly on top of him, this time filled with air. The glass casket was positioned a meter away from his, propped up by several metal rods. There was a figure lying inside that casket, too.
He began to take short, agitated breaths.
There was Beast Boy, lying unconscious, his lips slightly parted.
So this was what Cyborg meant, Robin thought, his heart sinking.
A movement to his right caught his eye and he turned his head a couple of centimeters. He recognized Raven's indigo cloak, turned away from him, swaying as if being pushed by a tiny breeze. Her eyes were fixed on him as she looked back over her shoulder. The rest of her expression, hidden under the cowl, was unreadable. In her hand was a pair of metal rods with little sharp edges at the top.
"Why be rational when you can be insane?" she whispered. She lowered her face slightly so that the light shining from beneath her would light on her lips. "And you thought we didn't know you were listening." Her pale, ashen lips stretched into a wide, grotesque grin.
A heavy step to his left alerted him to Cyborg's presence. His old friend did not look like his old friend any longer. His human eye had a cold look to it and the glow of his red, cybernetic eye no longer seemed comforting, but menacing. "We fooled you good, Robin," he said, deceptively gentle.
Robin wanted to ask them why they were doing this, but he couldn't lift his lips away from the tube. Instead, he furrowed his brow and made a muffled noise.
"I know what you're thinking, Robin. Do you think the witch wouldn't know how her own leader thinks?" Raven's free hand pressed against the glass on his side and she leaned close to his face. "I've spent the last two years studying you and Starfire and Beast Boy. I've acted the sardonic, introverted goth from the beginning, and now the time is ripe. Do you want to know why we've gone to the trouble of fooling you and bringing you here? Because without Cyborg's distraction, you would have been able to block my attack easily."
"The point of bringing you here was for a little experiment. I knew of Beast Boy long before I knew of you, Robin. He is the boy with millions of creatures in his body, in his DNA. He is the boy with hundreds of lives, because he is each and everyone of the animals he so loves. I wanted to see if these lives would last him through imminent death, Robin. I also wanted to see if this life force of his could be transferred to someone else."
Raven lifted her head and nodded at Cyborg, who extended his fingers to move the tube from right beside Beast Boy to into his chest. There was the sound of it jamming into his flesh and his veins right above Beast Boy's collarbone and Robin immediately tried to move his lips from the tube. Except it didn't work. The tube could not be removed from his mouth, no matter how he tried. I should have let it go when I gasped, Robin thought, his hands exploring the casket for weaknesses.
"Don't bother looking," Raven sneered, leaning against his casket. "It's been reinforced after we put you in. There's no way to get out, except if you were to change into a beetle and crawl into that little tube into Beast Boy's body. And who wants to do that, even if they could?"
She laughed and even Cyborg grinned.
Robin's eyes caught onto Cyborg's, begging him set him free.
"No can do, Robin," Cyborg said, watching Robin struggle with his fate. "When I first found out about Raven's plan, I admit I was shocked. But I liked it afterwards, when I thought about it, so now we're a team. Sorry ta havta sacrifice ya like this, man, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do."
Raven's sneer only grew larger.
Cyborg removed two squares of glass from either sides of Beast Boy's casket. Then, he pressed a couple of buttons on his arm and Robin started to hear a creaking sound. Four metal clasps, small enough to fit into the coffin yet large enough to crush bones, came towards Beast Boy, entering his casket with ease. Raven took a deep breath. "It is time to begin," she said, her fingers stroking the cold glass of the bottom side of Beast Boy's cage. She nodded at Cyborg, who entered a code into his arm. Beast Boy groaned, waking up slowly.
"You see, I put a drug in BB's drink last night, just before Cyborg came to see you. It disables his morphing powers and leaves him vulnerable."
The metal clasps advanced, pressing on either side of Beast Boy, two on his ribcage, two on his neck. Beast Boy coughed a little, straining to open his eyes. Robin pushed against the lid of the casket, trying to alert Beast Boy. He could hear bones cracking in the casket. Beast Boy's eyes suddenly widened, his mouth strained as if in a silent scream.
His limbs began to thrash wildly as he struggled to be free of the claps, but the two on his neck pushed and pushed. Robin pounded on the glass, trying to save him. But with a sickening finality, Beast Boy's spinal cord cracked and the last bit of oxygen in his lungs rushed downwards towards Robin, rocking him, pushing him backwards. The blood and pieces of lung came with it, causing Robin to choke. Raven removed the tube from the casket as Robin grasped as his throat, smiling indulgently. She melted the little hole the tube came out of with her powers, sealing the casket.
When he was able to hold his breath, Robin looked back up at Beast Boy's body. What he saw there made his heart sink and his stomach crawl. The pressure had been too much for his teammate. His chest was shattered, crushed in the middle, and his head had burst from the lack of oxygen. Blood dripped out of the cuts on his neck and his skull had cracked open. Robin could see the bloody mulch that had once been Beast Boy's brain pool where his head laid. His face was contorted in shock and pain; his eyes betrayed his confusion and desperation.
Robin could feel Beast Boy's life in him. That force that had knocked him backwards was not just oxygen and blood—it was life. Beast Boy's life had been given to him. Repulsion seeped through him as he gradually became aware of the traces of blood on his tongue. He was the reason Beast Boy had to die. Without him, Beast Boy would still be alive. Robin closed his eyes, no longer able to look at the slaughter above him.
He heard the swish of fabric as Raven bent over and whispered something to him. He turned his head away, and picked up only a couple of her words. Starfire had been one of them.
He turned back, pounding on the glass again. "And after Starfire sees this, she'll go on a rampage after Aqualad and Hotspot and Speedy, thinking that they were the ones who had done this," smirked Raven. "Of course, we'll wait until you die first, but drowning really isn't that interesting. Goodbye Robin." Raven started to go, but suddenly turned back with a malicious look in her eyes, saying sarcastically, "You were a good leader."
Robin started. Starfire couldn't see this. It was bad enough that he had to suffer, now Starfire and Aqualad and the rest of the titans, his only hope, would suffer, too. His lungs began to hurt, and he realized that there was no source of oxygen—they were going to leave him hear. In desperation, he punched and kicked and thrashed, but to no avail. He felt for his weapons—they were not there. Robin watched Cyborg smile nastily at him as he exited. He didn't know how long he would last, trapped here.
The walls of the casket seemed to close in and Robin started to pound against the walls again. He caught sight of Beast Boy's eyes looking down at him suddenly, and his movements faded away. Beast Boy had given him his life force, and yet what good did that do? He was still about to die. Darkness began to creep into his vision. Guilt welt up inside of him. Because of his foolishness, his trust, so many were going to die. He lost feeling in his limbs gradually, until finally he couldn't feel anything and darkness was all he saw. My lungs are going to burst, he thought. He groaned, sinking into unconsciousness and then death.
This is actually based on a dream that I had, so some of it won't make sense.
Disclaimer: TT is not mine here, in the one-shot before, and in the one-shots from now on.
Each of the one-shots are not related.