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When There's No Way to Say

November 2004

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Though my heart is filled with feelings to convey
You see, I can't change them into words well
If I had not met you
I wouldn't even have such an embarrassing pain

Little by little, I've come to realize
That my past never heals
And that it's no use
Fearing the future I can't refuse

-- Ayumi Hamasaki; No Way to Say

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Robin watched his gloved hand clench bitterly, his eyes blank behind a black and white mask. The others had gone, left him alone in the Tower. He didn't care where they'd gone, when they came back.

That was a lie. He knew that.

His lips twisted into a frustrated snarl.

Dammit, they were his friends. Weren't they? So why did they avoid him in the halls, never talk to him, whisper behind his back … they acted like stupid grade school girls spreading rumours, dirty lies.

He flung his fist away from him; it collided with a nasty thud against a nearby wall. Robin welcomed the pain; it was different, at least, from this burning frustration, the itch to get out there and find Slade.

They didn't understand. And they didn't try to.

Robin was surprised by a faint stinging in his heart.

They didn't want to understand him and that thought hurt him, cut him deeper than anything he had ever suffered through before.

"It's not fair," Robin muttered, flexing the fingers of the hand he'd thrown into the wall.

"Nothing's fair. I thought you knew that better than any of us."

Robin jerked, one hand on his belt, wildly wondering why Slade sounded so much like Raven.

Because that's Raven, you idiot, not Slade.

This wasn't determination anymore. This was a downright obsession.

Raven stood in the kitchen doorway, watching him with emotionless amethyst eyes.

"What are you doing here, Raven?" Robin said tiredly.

Raven raised an eyebrow; they both knew why she was here. It was a stupid question to ask.

In her hands, Raven held two small red cups, steaming herbal tea filled to the brim of both.

"Here." Raven held out a cup.

"No thanks. I'm not a big fan of tea."

"You should be. It'll calm you."

"Like I need calming."

The faintest of smirks touched Raven's lips. Robin sighed.

"Yeah, yeah."

He strode to her, wrenching the cup from her, his gloved fingers brushing hers; to distract himself from a new, prickly feeling around his stomach, he lowered his masked eyes to the swirling contents of the cup.

Of all people, why Raven? Why now?

She sipped her tea calmly, her round eyes blank, as always. He wondered what she was thinking— needed to know to know what she was thinking.

"Robin …" Raven said after a moment, setting her teacup on an end table.

"Why did you have to stay behind, Raven?"

She froze; both hands wrapped around the small cup, as though debating crushing it, his eyes never once lifting to her own, Robin's voice was flat, cold.

Raven didn't answer.

"I'm going to find Slade, Raven. I'm going to kill him," Robin continued.

Dead. His voice was dead. He was making it dead, forcing everything out of himself. Raven stood still as ever; inside, she was a whirl.

"I'm going to do it whether it matters to any of you or not."

Fire danced around her eyes; she stiffened.

"Is that what you think, Robin? That it doesn't matter?"

His voice was dead; hers was deadly. Robin tightened his hands on the cup.

"You're wrong, Robin."

He threw the cup on the floor; somewhere in his heart, pain surged at her words, at his actions, at this whole damn situation.

"Then why don't you trust me?" Robin shouted. "Why don't you help me find Slade?"

He grabbed her arm, pulling her to him; she stared unflinchingly at his masked face.

"Why don't any of you look at me?"

"I am, Robin," Raven reminded him; irritation nipped at her, and something else. Something she did not know, could not place.

Robin's grip on her arm tightened; his expression was stone. Distant, uncaring.

Pain tingled in her arm. She did not let it show on her face, in her eyes. Her expression matched his.

"We can only do so much, Robin," Raven said coldly. "You have to help us, too."

She shoved him; Robin released her in his surprise, stumbling away.

Her skin would reflect the pain Robin inflicted upon her. She silently cursed him.

"I'm going to my room."

Why she announced her destination Raven couldn't quite say. She turned, holding her cloak firmly around her.

"Raven," Robin said, reaching for her, guilt overwhelming him.

She didn't look at him.

"Raven!" Robin repeated, watching her leave the room.

He was alone.

Furious, with himself, with Raven, with everything, Robin seized a nearby lamp and threw it against the wall. His heart felt split in two and he couldn't tell why; he was disgusted with himself for treating Raven as he had. The lamp hit the wall, shattering with a satisfying glory.

Robin stared at the broken lamp, as he sank to the floor. His brain felt too clogged with thought to function.

They didn't understand, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire. Raven. They couldn't help. They just couldn't. Slade would be the one to tear them all apart.

The lights in the Tower dimmed, and blinked off. Robin buried his face in his hands, wondering if the tears falling into his palms really belonged to him.