Sleepless Beauty
Chapter Seven: Hollywood Ending
December 15th 2008

Will it all work out like a Hollywood ending?
Will you reassure me?
My eyes are burning
When is wardrobe coming with my costume change?
Lighting director, give a glow to my face

My head is spinning
Can you feed me my next line?
I'm new at pretending in these scenes that you write.
Will it all work out?
Will they cut this last scene?
Will an editor please make it all feel complete?

We're in the dark here.

- Hollywood Ending, Halou

)O( )O( )O(

"So, Raven…" Robin's eyes still couldn't meet hers, and he ran his fingers through his hair. Silver dust shimmered to the floor as his natural black color reappeared. "Now what?"

"Now… what?" Raven wasn't sure how to even begin to let the revelation wash over her. She shoved the blankets off herself and stomped up to him, glaring more than just daggers. She was begging for the fires of hell to burn him on the spot.

"Now what!? What do you expect from me!? From Starfire!?All this time! All this time it was you!" She flung a fist at his chest. It connected and Raven prayed that she broke a rib. Her hand hurt under the pressure, but she didn't care. It felt good to let something out. "You dirty, lousy… CHEATER! Do you know what this will do to Starfire!? Do you know what this has done to us!? To the team? Do you even realize the mess you made?"

"I know." His admission was quiet and he didn't even twitch, though Raven was beating his chest with every ounce of her strength. She didn't care. He would feel it later and it would hurt, just as much as his actions hurt her. "I knew what I was doing when I started this. I knew what this would do to the team." His gaze turned heavy. "I knew, Raven. I knew."

"So, that's it then!" Raven let her open palm connect with his face. The sound was deafening in the spacious room. Robin stared at her, still keeping his emotions carefully in check. Raven wasn't so controlled, and a nearby vase took the brunt of the attack. It shattered and water spilled to the floor with the two dozen roses the vase held. "You were just planning to flit between us until one of us figured it out?"

"No." His eyes were honest. "I didn't want to do what I did."

"But you did, Robin! You did!" She slapped him again. "You made the choice."

"I know."

"What were your plans for a long-term relationship?" She spit the words out at him, letting the fires of possibility sweep into the words between them. "What would have happened if by some glimmer of a chance I fell in love with Red X? Would you have led a double life because you, being a stupid, testosterone drenched male, couldn't choose between us?" Her hands stilled, trembling palms laying flat over his heart. She glared up at him, pain from betrayal shimmering in her tears. "What would you have done, Robin? What?"

"I would have chosen."

"You're lying!" Dark magic was starting to pool underneath her touch, and it webbed across his chest like poison. "You're an idiot. The biggest, stupidest, jerkiest idiot I've ever known. If I didn't hate you before, I do now."

"Don't say that. Please… I never meant for it to turn our like this. You have to believe me." Robin whispered his words into the heaviness between them. His hands moved up to cover hers, stilling the magic. "Damnit, Raven. You hold my heart in your hands. I wasn't lying when I told you that last night. It was the truth. Everything I said or did as Red X was the truth. Pure and unadulterated."

"Except for, oh I don't know, the whole playing two sides! Get away from me." Raven pulled her hands away as if she'd been burned. Tears started and for the first time in her life, she didn't care if anyone saw her cry. She'd been hurt past pain, it had become complete agony. "Stop spouting off this stupid bullshit. You can't have both, Robin. It's one or the other, and you made your choice. You chose Kory."

Robin barked out a cynical laugh and his eyes couldn't meet Raven's again. He looked past her to the far wall. "And what would you claim to know about that? How can you possibly begin to understand what is between us?"

His words stung and Raven stepped back. "What do you mean?"

"Don't you remember what I said to you the other night? Don't you remember me telling you that outward appearances can't be trusted? That maybe the inside is much different than you understand?" Robin let his back fall against the wall, looking as though his body couldn't hold his weight anymore.

"What did you mean by that?"

"I wasn't talking about myself. Jesus, Raven. Starfire doesn't love me! I can see it, why can't you!" His fist connected with the doorframe, but it didn't sound passionate. It sounded tired and worn. He glared at Raven for a long moment before continuing. "She wanted human experiences! She wanted a boyfriend because that was what 'normal' humans did. She wanted to kiss me because that's what couples do. You don't think I know that? Do you know how it feels to wake up one morning and realize that you're the equivalent of skydiving? Of bungee-jumping? Nothing more than a new, interesting thrill?"

"You're lying." Raven said it more for herself than for him. The look of complete despair in his eyes told her otherwise. There was something about his emptiness that touched her heart, and she didn't want it. She wanted to run away. "You're a bastard and you're lying."

"I can be pretty cruel, Raven, but I'm not oblivious." His body gave up and he slid to the floor. He stared up at her, his eyes turning listless in the dregs of adrenaline. "It hurts a lot to have Starfire turn away because I'm no longer new. But it hurts a million times worse to have you turn away because you think I don't have feelings for you."

"You made that decision." Raven's heart felt like it wanted to explode from her chest. She shouldn't be feeling like this. She shouldn't feel elated that her love had come flying into her arms, even though the action shattered her best friend's heart and Raven's trust. She shouldn't feel like all the pieces were falling into place and the heavens aligned. She shouldn't feel like this over what he'd done.

But she did. And gods, did it feel good.

"I don't know if I could ever forgive you."

"I don't think I could forgive myself." They glared at each other, feeling the anger and hurt wrap around them. Feeling pain begin to ebb away and let calm though wash in. Neither one could break the silence, and neither one wanted to. It felt good to let the emotions loose. It felt good to let them out where they could be examined, where truth could be applied. If someone broke the silence, the truth would become permanent and their lives would change forever.

There is no greater pain than truth.

"I love you."

"What?" Raven felt her body flush from head to toe and she forced herself to look away. She didn't know what her truth should be. What she was allowed to tell him. She didn't know if she had anything to tell him anymore. "I don't know what to say."

"That you love me too." Robin jumped up from his spot of the floor and grabbed her wrists, pulling her tightly against him. She could feel the soothing thump of his heart beneath their chests. "Tell me that you want to be with me… in spite of all the things I did as Red X. In spite of the fact that you think Starfire loves me… I've waited my entire life for someone like you. If I have to wait any longer, I'm going to die."

"Stop being so damn dramatic." Raven tugged at her wrists, but his fingers held tight. The feeling of being trapped with him suddenly frightened and enthralled her. It felt both fortuitous and forbidden. She stopped struggling and glared at him. "Come on, Robin. Let me go. I don't want to talk about this right now."

"You're always running away from me." He pulled her closer, and Raven could feel his soft breath stir her hair. It felt natural and calming. "For once in your life grow a pair and own up to your feelings."

"Stop being a jerk." She tugged her wrists free, but Robin's arms slid around her waist and he pulled her to him. Raven glared up at him, praying a lightning bolt would strike him down. "Let me go or I swear I'll remove a limb."

"You know, you're beautiful when you're angry." His nose slid down her neck. Their closeness reminded her of Red X's, or rather Robin's, kiss and her heart slammed against her ribs. She had to find a shred of anger to hang on to, or she was going to fall back into the hole she just escaped.

"I'm not angry. I'm furious. And you're stupid for doing this entire charade." She tried pushing at his chest again. He didn't budge an inch. She punched him in the stomach, and he finally took a step back, putting needed space between them. Raven glared, but Robin's face was unreadable. It was as if he was waiting for something to trigger his emotions. "Look, Robin. I don't want to have a fight with you. I don't want to deal with any more of this. It's not fair to me, to Starfire, or to you. Go home to her. That's where you belong."

"I belong next to you."

"I think you read more smut than you let on." She took another step back and the space was charted, known. It was a security blanket to her. "I need time to think about this. I just want to sort everything out before I can even tell you that I understand why you did it. Right now I'm barely sure that the earth has gravitational pull, let alone how I should deal with this mess."

"Starfire and I aren't dating anymore."

The admission was made without ceremony, and it struck Raven all the more because of it. She stood there, dumbfounded as the words felt like arrows through her chest. Had she been the cause of the break-up? Had her ridiculous involvement with Red X turned a healthy relationship into a disease? More tears welled up in her eyes and she couldn't tear her gaze away from the calm exterior of Robin.

"What?"

"It was mutual." Robin shrugged and looked away, obviously not wanting to discuss it much beyond what he was willing to tell her. "She already knew your feelings, but she didn't want to hurt me, and she didn't want to hurt you." Pause. "She heard our fight last night."

"Only I yelled." Raven had to sit down or she was going to lose herself in his words. She fell on to the bed and tried to catch her breath.

"I said enough to warrant suspicion." Robin shrugged as if he didn't care but something about his posture made Raven question what else had been said. What words had been exchanged. "She put it all together. She's smart. We talked about it, and Starfire decided she wanted to see what other relationships were like. What other couples did." He let out a small, hurt laugh. "I think she's on a date with Aqualad today. They're perfect for each other… both a little on the zany side."

"It still hurt you." Raven didn't know what else to say. The truth seemed to be the safest path. Robin shrugged and moved to sit down next to her on the bed. The sun fell across his salt and pepper hair, creating a damaged halo. He looked broken and torn, and it was all Raven could do to not reach out and comfort him.

"Yeah. It hurt. Maybe I was still hoping everything would work out. Maybe I didn't expect it to be so sudden… but if I got to win you in the end…" His ice-blue eyes met hers and he smiled sweetly. "I think the pain is worth it."

"You thrive with drama in your life… don't you?" Raven couldn't help the shadow of a smirk that passed across her lips.

"You enjoy making my life difficult. I was under the impression that the two went hand-in-hand?" Robin let his body fall back against the silk sheets. The moment felt still and perfect as all the emotions seemed to ebb away with Robin's steady breathing. Raven pulled her knees to her chest and watched his chest rise and fall like waves.

Maybe it would work out.

Maybe.

"I have to ask." Raven put her chin on her knees and stared at him. "How'd you do it? Really. How did you manage to turn yourself into something I could barely recognize? How did you anticipate my moves and words?"

"It's something Bruce and I have been working on. A liquid that modifies your voice for a period of time. He's used it for a few things with pretty good results… I wanted to see if it would work on me. The hair is just spray-in silver. It'll come out in the wash." Robin leaned up on his elbows and smiled at her with his trademark, boyish grin. "I can see I almost fooled you."

Raven laughed. It felt calm and natural, even though the situation was anything but. Maybe it was a start to her healing. Maybe it was the first stitch in their relationship. "It actually was the scar on your hip that did you in. Maybe if you had put on a shirt we would be having breakfast and not arguing over Starfire." She looked around the room and made a mental note to clean up the broken vase. Her eyes met his again. "And the penthouse? It can't really be yours… it's Bruce's right?"

"No, actually… it's mine." Robin shrugged at her shocked expression. "I never bothered to tell anyone about what I did in my free time. I didn't think it mattered until now I guess." He laughed at a joke only he knew, but Raven felt dumbstruck at the admission. "Being Junior Vice President of Wayne Enterprises has a few perks… like a six figure salary. And this penthouse…" Robin thought for a moment. "I think I have a Ferrari coming to me eventually."

"Why didn't you ever think any of that necessary?" Raven raised an eyebrow, but she couldn't say anything else. Her words couldn't come out right.

"It just didn't seem important." Robin's smile fell suddenly and he sat up. He reached out and took her hand in his, letting his thumb caress the back of her wrist. It was that simple movement that sent shivers down her spine and pooled in her abdomen. She found herself unable to look away. Something glued her gaze to his. "I swear, Raven, I was going to tell you tonight. When the time was right. I was going to take you to dinner and take off the mask and tell you everything Kory and I had discussed… I want you to know that I had chosen. It was you."

Raven forced herself to turn away to hide her blush. "Thank you."

"Truth." Robin said the word peacefully, reverently. Raven watched him as he leaned in to her, letting his nose just barely touch her own. "I promise we'll have nothing less between us. Nothing less than what you deserve."

Raven wished her heart would start beating soon. "Which is?"

"Everything." Robin didn't wait for her response, he leaned in and stole his kiss off the wings of her breath.

)O( )O( )O(

The End! I hope you enjoyed it. I feel pretty good about the end of this, and maybe I'll actually write one where Red X is an original character. We'll see. It moves in me, but I have no idea where it all goes. So I hope you enjoyed it, leave a review. I should be doing a ton of writing of Christmas Break. In case you're interested, here are some other pieces I'm working on:

Union Dues (Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess) Midna & Link Romance.

Across the Universe (Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess) Midna & Link Trans-Demensional Romance.

Black Magic (Teen Titans) Raven & Robin Romance.

We'll see how the rest of it goes. Merry Christmas, and Happy Festivus.

OH! I forgot to mention, the Red X and Raven story Burn inspired me to pick this piece up again. I love EmaniaHilel's work. She's incredibly talented, and if you have a chance, read her work. It's lovely.

Thanks again. With love!

Xaph.