Raventhedarkgoddess: Impatient much? If I get one more e-mail telling me to update, I'm going to flip out… Still, those of you who have been loyal to me from square one have been waiting a very long time, and I'd feel bad refusing to update.

So I will.

Chapter Thirteen: Feather

She awoke slowly, the room swimming at first as she came to it. Her mind had been forced to see the scene over and over. She was protecting Robin, the way she had been so inclined to do, and even as the pain and her breath came heavily she would not let go of the idea that she could free him, could save him from Slade.

That was when she first became aware of the face close to hers. She looked slightly to her left- A green-gloved hand rested against her shoulder, and her head felt like it was resting on a comfortable pillow.

Until she looked up into the masked face of the boy she had been saving in her disillusioned dream. "Robin?" She asked, reaching over to touch his fingers and finding their hands brushing, feeling his fingers clasp around hers.

"Raven." He said her name slowly, like a fact he wasn't sure he would ever get time to mention again. "How do you feel?"

"Weak," she answered with a small smile. "Sick." She looked around their home. "But what happened to Slade? To the tower?"

"He got away." Robin's fist clenched and his fingers squeezed her a little bit harder. Raven tried not to sigh, although it didn't work so well and her breath escaped softly before she clamped her mouth shut again and looked back up at Robin, who quickly slackened his grip.

"At least you're okay," she said finally. She looked to both sides; All the other Titans had long-abandoned their cleanup efforts and gone in search of rest in their respective rooms. "I... I don't know what came over me in that battle..."

Unwittingly and unbiddenly, Robin reached up and stroked her hair. "Well, you're all right now. We're going to stop Slade if it kills us."

"Don't talk like that," Raven said suddenly, moving her head out of his reach and snatching her hand back, letting it rest limply at her side. "Don't talk about letting anything kill us. We have a future ahead of us, and..." She recoiled at her own use of the word 'future,' said so lightly, so happily, as if she actually believed in that.

"And what?"

Raven didn't respond. Instead, she quickly looked away from him. "Do you think we're ever going to completely get over our pasts?" She asked him suddenly.

Robin was stunned into silence for a moment. "Maybe." Another pause. "If we want to work together."

More silence. It drove Robin mad- And so he was shocked to hear his own voice bridge it. "Do you remember, Raven, our conversation earlier?"

"What about it?"

"I still have something very important to tell you."

Amysist eyes locked on his masked face. "Go ahead."

"I love you. I wanted to tell you earlier... I can understand if you don't feel the same..."

Damn you, Slade! Robin thought. Raven's arms were locked around his waist from her position behind himon the R-cycle, their moment broken by a call from the city's police force. She had told him she loved him too, but nothing else had a chance to happen. Damn you, why can't you stop ruining my life?

Her hair flew out behind them and Robin could almost feel her uncertainty at being behind him. He had asked her to stay back but she wouldn't. "I need to be there to support you," she had said.

Head unclear and legs worse for wear, he lept from the R-cycle at Slade. His attitude, his cockiness, everything that marked him as an admirable leader, was gone. Instead, he was attacking, punching Slade with accutiness.

Cyborg caught Raven around the waist and helped her off the R-cycle. "He's going to kill him... In all the stains of his past, he's going to kill again..."

"Again?" Raven asked him.

"Robin's past... Was never the greatest," Cyborg said quietly. "If he loses it here... He's never going to forgive himself."

"Then why don't you try to stop him?"

"Do you know what it takes to reach a person haunted by demons?" Cyborg asked. "Do you know what it's like to try to deflect him from ideas about saving you from death? He feels like he has to protect you, even if it means taking a life!"

"I know what that feels like." I've already been there for him. She looked over at Robin, then back at Cyborg, and began to take slow, unsteady steps.

Robin and Slade were dancing around and around, Slade moving quickly, sometimes only dodging by a lucky shot, taking more hits than he was avoiding. "Robin.. The girl is alive, yet your fire is so strong... Do you really intend to kill me?"

"Why would I let you live!"

"Because the girl is right there. Can you imagine if my blood were on your hands, if death came by your hands... Again?"

Robin seemed to falter for only a second. "You... You...!" He kicked out. "Stop trying to take the people I love from me!" Slade fell to the ground under the weight of another punch. "Just stop it right now!"

"Are you going to kill me, Robin?" Slade asked mockingly. Robin raised a fist in answer, the other four looking on silently, when suddenly...

He felt a hand latch around his own. "Robin, we have to fight for the future! I love you! Please, please don't slip back into your past... Robin..." The hand on his was weak, yet he turned to find himself looking back at Raven, Slade still laying on the ground, Robin's foot crushing his windpipe.

"I'm doing this for you."

"I don't want you to live this way, Robin!" The emotion clouded her voice and her hands reached out, reaching up and slowly...

Robin's mask fell to the ground between them. She stared at him, into his electric blue eyes. Cyborg was the first to recover from his shock and ran forward to cover Slade, quickly followed by Beast Boy and Starfire. Robin felt himself gently falling against Raven.

"Are you listening to me, Robin? I want you to forget the past. I love you... I love you. Please..." Her hands stroked his hair quietly.

"Take him... back to jail?" Beast Boy asked slowly.

"Yes," Robin said suddenly. "Get rid of him. Let them try him."

As the other three Titans gathered Slade up in their arms and moved away with him, preparing to take them off to jail, Robin looked around the world for the first time in several long years. "Raven..." Pause. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me." She moved her face closer to his. "I couldn't let you make the same mistakes you once did."

He put his lips on hers and kissed her. There were no words to describe her rush of emotions- Instead her weak body produced no burst of power, only sheer joy, and she kissed him back before falling against him, leaning on his chest under those powerful blue eyes and letting him stroke her hair.

"Do you think the Past will ever really go away?" Robin asked Raven softly.

Rather than answering, she moved away from him to stand at the edge of the alley where the fight had taken place and stood, watching the sky until something small and black fell from it.

A feather.

She began to walk toward him, t"Small events are like the touch of a feather... They can take away or add pain to our lives." She held it in-between her index finger and her thumb, twirling it. "As surely as I can touch this to my face," she demonstrated, "Or let it go, we can overcome this."

Robin took the feather from her and held it, then bringing the same arm holding the feather over around the small of her back. "Love is kind of like a feather's touch, then."

Instead of answering, she cuddled closer to him. Neither spoke for several seconds, and the first ray of morning sun struck their forms, casting long shadows on the ground around them.

The two shadows appeared to get lost in each other, forming one shadow and slowly bringing their lips together.

They stayed like that for several seconds. It wasn't just any kiss, though.

It was the touch of a feather.

A feather that would erase their pasts.


Finished: Dec. 3rd, 2005
Thank you to all my reviewers. I love each review and hope that I've at least made a fan out of someone out there.
Respect and best wishes.