Last night, like just about every other night, I couldn't sleep for quite a while. Ideas for stories were chasing themselves around and around in my mind...They simply Would Not Shut Up, so here is the result. A sequel. To Aftereffects. I hope you will all read and review, and I hope I can make it as good as the first...I hate when they make a sequel to a cool movie and screw it up...so here's hoping. This is for all of you who reviewed Aftereffects; I hope to see...er read you here. Thunder...nice touch. Too bad the rain makes the roads muddy.
A deep sigh escaped his lips as he watched the pale orange fingers of sunlight creep up the horizen. No matter how long the night seemed, no matter how deep its darkness, the sun would always rise.
Seemingly small things, like the sun, gave him knew hope. He was taking the time to notice life's small miracles these days. They were among the only things keeping him going.
Robin winced slightly, his breath catching in his chest as he put weight on his right leg. The cast was finally off, but it was still difficult to use. Batman had warned him that, even with Raven's amazing healing powers, he would most likely always walk with a limp. Bruce kept telling him that, considering how badly damaged his leg had been, he was lucky to still have it. Technically, he should still be using crutches, but he refused. He hated feeling like an ivalid.
As much as he didn't want to, Robin had to face the facts. His fighting skills would never be the same again. He could barely walk, much less run, jump, and kick. He was a burden now. He was no longer of any use.
He sighed again, slowly and painfully making his way to his bedroom door. He might as well go down to the kitchen and find some breakfast. The hall was dark and silent, devoid of life. It was six o'clock in the morning; no one would be up yet. Except...
"Morning, Wonder Boy."
Robin smiled, turning slowly. When he was awake, Raven was awake. When he was up all night, she "couldn't sleep". He counted himself lucky every day to have her. "Morning, Rae. Sleep well?"
Raven nodded, then took a closer look at him. She frowned slightly, seeing the dark circles under his eyes, not quite concealed by his mask. "Are you still having...?"
Robin tensed, his fists clenching and unclenching nervously. Then he smiled, but it was not as warm and natural as he tried to make it. "No, I'm fine. Don't worry about it." He stared at the ground to avoid the stern look on her face. Old habits die hard.
"I don't know about you, but I'm starved. Let's go find some breakfast." Robin took her hand and tried to hurry off to the elevator. He didn't get very far.
"Robin!", said Raven, her voice full of concern as he fell against her, face twisted in pain. "Where are your crutches?", she asked sternly, pulling his arm across her shoulder.
Robin breathed deeply for a moment. "Those things? I don't need them. They just get in the way."
Raven rolled her eyes, a worried frown fixed to her pale lips. "Your stubbornness is going to get you in trouble one of these days. Oh wait, it already has."
"Ha ha", he said sarcastically, letting Raven help him down the hallway. He was eager to change the subject; he hated when she worried about him. He hated anything that upset her. "Do you know if there's any cereal left?"
She sighed, giving in to his game of Skirting the Issue. "I think our little green friend finished it off last night."
"Dang! We've gotta get him to stop snacking on breakfast food."
The door to the kitchen/living room area slid open, and they were both surprised to see that the light was already on. Robin growled in frustration. "Beast Boy left the light on aga-"
Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire stood up from the couch, turning to face the newcomers.
Robin's eyes widened in disbelief. Beast Boy was never up this early. Ever! "Who died?"
Beast Boy looked at his shoes, while Starfire stared at Robin, slightly confused. "We need to talk", said Cyborg, a grave expression on the human half of his face.
Robin raised an eyebrow. "Must be important, if you managed to get BB up." He suddenly realized that he was still leaning on Raven. With a slight flush to his cheeks, he let go of her and stood on his own, keeping his face straight and emotionless.
Cyborg didn't smile at Robin's joke. His face remained serious as he opened his mouth and spilled out a well-rehearsed speech. "Things aren't working out. No offense, man, but you've changed...alot. We've had to fight without you for months now, and we did just fine."
Robin frowned, looking at Cyborg calculatingly. Was he hearing right?
"In a team, the majority rules, and...we've voted for a new leader."
Robin's eyes widened in shock. He struggled to keep his cool. "Since when is one a majority?"
Beast Boy lifted his gaze, a determined look on his green face as he stepped forward.
Robin blinked. "Two still isn't-" He cut off abruptly as Starfire stepped forward, eyes fixed on the ground. "Star..."
"I am sorry, Robin. But...friend Cyborg is correct in his thinking."
A dead quiet filled the room as Robin and Cyborg stared each other down. Unexpectantly, Raven broke the silence.
"Are you serious?" There was a quiet indignation vibrating through her. "Who started this team? Whose tower is this? Who gets the money we need for food, maintenance, repairs?"
"That's all well and good, but this is a democracy, not a dictatorship. What matters most is what's best for the team."
Raven almost crackled with electricity. "This is Robin's team. You can't vote him off his own team!"
"Not off", said Cyborg hastily. "Just...not leading."
Raven rolled her eyes in exasperation. She opened her mouth to retort, but Robin held up a hand, silencing her.
"Fine. I won't pretend I haven't been expecting this. Just out of curiousity, who's the new leader?"
"I am", said Cyborg firmly. Beast Boy and Starfire nodded in agreement.
Robin raised an eyebrow in a way said he was not in the least bit surprised. "Fine", he said again, his voice icy. "Best of luck to you." With that, Robin turned, ignoring the arm Raven offered him, and walked out of the room, back straight and head erect, despite his limp. The door wooshed closed behind him, and the "democratic" team was left in silence.
Robin waited until he was a good ten feet down the hall before falling against the wall, breathing raggedly and clutching his leg. He leaned on the wall, waiting patiently for the pain to subside. He knew this was going to happen. It had only been a matter of time before they confronted him.
All the same, he couldn't help feeling betrayed. Everything that Raven had said in there had been running through his own mind. This was his team. He had founded it, he had recruited every last one of them. Because of a little mistake, Cyborg had decided to take over and shove him to the side!
...Ok, so maybe it wasn't so little...but that still didn't give Cyborg the right to take control! There was nothing wrong with him! He could lead just as well now as he could then! He was healed now, nothing was wrong with him! Nothing!
Robin slammed his fist into the wall that was supporting him, his eyes narrowed and his breathing heavy. The thing that infuriated him the most was that Cyborg was right. He had changed, for the worse. He was...disabled. Damaged goods. Flawed. A look of disgust filled his eyes, hidden behind his mask. He could never fight the same again; Slade had made sure of that. His leg was holding him back. He could see an eternity of mistakes stretched out before him, resulting in injury, capture, defeat. His team being forced to rescue him, burdened with his presence.
"No", he growled, pushing himself away from the wall and limping towards the training room.
"Great job, Cyborg. I suppose he just wasn't feeling deffective enough on his own. You just had to throw this at him, not even two days after he gets his casts off." Raven's voice was loaded with sarcastic bite as she glared at the half-robot.
"Come on, Rae. Don't pretend nothing's wrong with him. He may not be under Slade's control anymore, but...he's just...not all there. That last run-in with Slade pushed him over the edge. He can't handle the pressure that comes along with leading a team anymore. I don't know if he ever really could." Cyborg sounded almost sad.
Raven wanted to argue, to tell him that he was wrong, to defend Robin...but her mouth just wouldn't move. She hated it, but Cyborg had a point. Robin was not the same. More often than not, she caught him staring out the window aimlessly, lost in his own world. And, judging by the look on his face, it didn't suit him. She grasped on to the only thing she had left to argue with. "You could have waited a while. Why couldn't you just give him some time? Let him get over things? Maybe he would have recovered if you had just left him alone. Now that you've hurt his pride, there's no going back. If you thought Robin would take orders from someone on his team, you don't know him at all."
"How Robin takes things isn't the point! This is about what's best for the team!", yelled Cyborg.
Raven narrowed her eyes, giving Cyborg a piercing glare. "Is this about the team...or you?" She left him to think it over, whirling around, cape fluttering, and flying off to find Robin.
It hurt, but he kept going anyway. Another punch, another kick...He was holding onto the old, abused punching bag to stay upright, but his attacks were no less furious for this fact.
Robin screamed, partly in anger, partly in pain. His moves were slower, stiffer...he had gone soft. WACK! He was a failure. SMASH! He was weak. RIP!
The poor punching bag crashed to the floor, but Robin didn't even pause, his fury now turned on the wall. This was his team! The Titans were successful because of his hard work! But if they wanted him gone, FINE! He wouldn't inflict his company on them! He would leave, and they could do whatever the heck they wanted!
Through his fury, he heard the door of the training room swish open. He spun around, fists raised, almost as though he wanted to strike whoever had interrupted him. He froze when he saw Raven's purple eyes, wide with shock. He stared, trying to catch his breath...his ears were ringing, his vision was blurring...
"Robin..." His face was a ghostly white, sweat pouring off of him. Her eyes swept around the room, taking in the finally defeated punching bag and the holes in the wall. Her attention snapped back to him as he moaned quietly. The next thing she knew, his eyes rolled up into his head, and he fell forward. She caught him awkwardly, stumbling slightly under his dead weight. "Great!", she grumbled, easing Robin down on the floor.
Raven gently took his hands, pulling there gloves off. His knuckles were torn and bleeding; not a surprise, given the holes in the wall. "What were you thinking?", she mumbled, frustrated and more than a little worried. He had only been out of the hospital room for a week, his casts had been off for a day. Putting this much stress on his body so soon after recovery was a very stupid thing to do.
Raven beamed them up to Robin's room, levitating him over to his bed. His room was, amazingly enough, clean. He had even replaced the light bulb. She walked into his small bathroom, finding a rag and soaking it in ice-cold water. That should be enough to bring him around.
Robin's eyes fluttered open behind his mask. He groaned, feeling rather than seeing the damage he had done to his newly-healed body. He tried to sit up, but someone pushed him back down.
"If you move again, I won't be responsible for what I do to you."
Robin blinked up at her, trying to remember what had happened through the dull ache in his head. He was in the training room, upset because... Robin tensed, scowling. He had been kicked off his own team.
"Glad to see your memory's back", said Raven dryly. She was slightly surprised when Robin pushed her off of him. She watched him struggle to stand, offering him help that he refused to take. And she had thought she was starting to get through to him! "Remember what you said, about not realizing you needed help? Remember where it got you?"
Robin froze as the words sank in. He sighed. He had no right to take this out on Raven. She was on his side. "Look, I'm sorry, Rae", he said, the harsh look gone from his face. "I just...It's so..." He sighed again, in a position somewhere between kneeling and standing, his legs unwilling to support him. When Raven offered her hand again, he took it, smiling weakly at her as he struggled to his feet.
"It's fine", she said dismissively, helping him into the bathroom to clean up his cuts. She suddenly stopped, looking searchingly at Robin. Raven had sensed something...she reached with hermind, letting go of her own thoughts, feeling Robin...
Determination, sadness, self-doubt...a feeling of worthlessness..."I won't be a burden! They don't need me. Cyborg made that crystal clear...But what about Raven?"
"Yes, what about Raven?", she echoed, watching him jump out of his skin. You would think he would have learned to guard his thoughts by now. "What exactly are you planning, Robin?"
Robin stared at the ground as though it was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. "I'm not going to hang around and drag the team down. I won't do that, Raven." He slowly lifted his eyes to hers, not liking what he saw there. "I...I'm leaving, Rae."
Hmmm...well there is the first chapter. Please review and let me know if you want me to continue...some people have already told me I was stupid for making a sequel, so just say the word and we'll forget this ever happened. However, if you like it, I will keep writing. Either way, please review. -Dusty