The crescent moon showered the city in a faint ghostly glow of white light. All was silent and it seemed as if life in the city had ceased to exist. The usually jubilant city was asleep, preparing itself for the next busy day of light that waited, all except for a few who resided in the most prominent building of all: Titans Tower.
A single dim light penetrated one of the large windows that created the monstrous T. All was quiet as Richard Grayson sat idly in front of a series of computers. The empty streets of the city stared back from each computer screen as he simply waited, waited for an answer. With a heavy sigh, the boy ran a hand through his jagged black hair.
"This is hopeless. What do I think I'm doing? I've been sitting here for hours trying to solve the only mystery I've never been able to crack. Who would've thought trying to learn the secrets of a girl who knows more about you than anyone would be so damn difficult? Then again, this is Raven we're talking about. I don't even know if that's her real name!" A green gloved fist slammed down onto the keyboard. "Not like I've been faithful to my own name."
Richard stood from his seat and walked slowly toward the window, gazing at the black ocean below. His mask was furrowed in deep thought. Gloved hands reached up and removed the black and white shield from his face, revealing eyes of blue that dazzled in the pale light of the moon.
"How many identities am I going to have?" He spoke to no one has he touched the pale skin that lay where the mask had been. "Richard, Dick, Robin, and if Starfire's right, maybe even Nightwing? Lord, who am I?"
"You are who you make yourself to be, Robin," a soft voice echoed through the room.
Robin quickly shielded his eyes with the mask once more before turning around, his hidden eyes meeting sapphire orbs of mystery. "Raven," he breathed. "Don't sneak up on me like that."
A slight smile formed on her face as she quietly apologized for startling him. Robin waved his hand to dismiss her remorse as he walked back to his chair to face the screens of the empty city. Raven approached him cautiously, her eyes focused on the computers while her hood shadowed all sign of expression from her face.
"What are you looking for so late at night?"
Robin sighed, realizing it was pointless to keep anything from her. She would simply read his mind if he wouldn't tell, so what was the point of trying to make up an excuse?
"I'm searching for Slade."
The empath shuttered at the sounded of that name and yet her eyes held the essence of curiosity. She placed a pale hand on the top of Robin's chair as she looked at his face for answers.
"Yeah, I know what you're thinking, Rae, but it's not that. I'm just worried about you."
Raven's eyes widened at this new revelation, but before she could speak her utter confusion, Robin explained himself.
"He chased you, tore apart your uniform, and dropped you off a 20 story building. He's an insane freak and I won't stop until I know we've stopped him, even if it means losing a few nights of sleep just watching the city." Robin let out a small laugh as he lowered his head. "I'm actually glad I convinced the mayor to keep up the camera system I designed last time Slade was here. I almost had him dismantle the program, give the city a bit more privacy, but-"
"Your hunch that Slade was still around stopped you from ever requesting the destruction of such a key program."
Robin paused for a few moments and then relaxed, finding himself in a fit of laughter. "Good God, Raven, you really do know everything about me!"
The cloaked girl removed the hood from her head, revealing her amethyst hair that shined in the glow of the night. "I have been inside your mind, Robin, I know all that you were willing to share and in return, you were given the chance to see into my mind as well."
The boy lowered his head. She was right; he had seen a part of her that she kept locked away, the side of her that thrived on her home planet. He had been privileged enough to see Azarath through her eyes, to see her beautiful mother, but that was all he saw before darkness covered the memories. Suddenly his thoughts vanished as a soft voice filled his mind.
"You should rest. There is no need for you to remain awake and simply stare at the empty street."
"I think you'll agree with me when I say you'll be more help to the team if you're fully rested, Robin. There's no point in wasting yourself in front of these screens only to end up tired the next day when an enemy attacks."
Robin sighed, standing from his seat. "True, but I have to find him. I might not be able to catch you next time! What happens if he-"
Raven silenced his lips with her finger. Her sapphire eyes bored holes into his mask as he stared down at her. He could see her worry, her fear, and yet buried behind it all, he found appreciation. His eyes softened as he continued to search hers.
"I know you're only trying to protect me, but why are you being so persistent? Why do you care so much…Richard?" Raven asked quietly as she removed her finger from his lips.
Robin froze, his mind repeating Raven's voice as she called him by his true name. No one had ever spoken to him as anything other than the mask he wore. He felt his iced determination melt beneath her gaze and soft voice though he tried to fight it and keep his feelings locked away. This dark power she had over him slowly penetrated his mind.
"You mean a lot to me, Raven, you're my friend. You're the only one here who understands me, who knows what I go through. You've been inside my mind; we have a bond. Besides, you mean the world to Starfire, and I'm sure the others feel as strongly about you as she does. I promised myself that I would protect everyone, and I plan to keep that promise. Star would never forgive me if I let anything happen to you."
Raven smiled. His feelings for Starfire truly did run deep. She always knew the two were destined to be, Starfire was the light that could save him from his darkness. With a heavy sigh, Raven pulled her hood back over her head and placed a pale hand on Robin's broad shoulder.
"Go to sleep, Robin, I'll watch the city for you."
"Are you sure?"
The dark girl merely nodded her head and watched Robin walk out of the room. When she was sure he had left, Raven turned her face toward the moon. Its pale light failed to comfort her. She sighed once more before walking back to the abandoned seat Robin had been in. Gazing at the screens of nothing, she slowly closed her eyes.
"He's keeping himself awake to find the answer to something I already know. If I wasn't cursed with this damn fate then I would gladly tell them the truth!" a single silver tear cascaded down her grey skin. She quickly swept it away with a brush of her fingers. Darkness overtook her as she feel into a silent sleep, unaware of what was around her.
Robin shook his head, moving away from the door he had rested his back against. He placed his hand on the wall, letting Raven's words fill his thoughts. Before he walked away, the darkened hallway echoed in his whispered words.
"I knew she was hiding something from me…"