Yes: 'Tis another fic that I decided to start writing. I'm incredibly stupid for doing this, since I'm only going to regret this later, starting so many stories and whatnot. But on the other hand, I got this idea a couple days ago and I thought it was really cool; if there's one thing I've learned, never ignore an idea…soooooooooooooo….here goes.
Prologue—The End of the Beginning:
Night loomed over the many buildings that made up Jump City, a pale faced moon gleaming in the waters of its harbor. Nothing seemed to stir—and yet, what would at the very stroke of midnight? Ships creaked from where they were tied at their posts, and trees creaked slightly under the pressure of the wind, which howled again and again in the air, like a mournful wolf. A single, pale flake of snow fell from a sky of dark blue velvet, meandering its way down on short puffs of air, before landing on the edge of his nose.
He didn't even dare to raise a hand and brush it off—for fear that movement would attract attention—but allowed it to melt, cold droplets trickling down to the tip of his nose, before falling, creating a single ripple in a puddle below. It had rained recently, though he had the sense that the first winter blizzard was on its way tonight.
Silver mist floated from the warmth of his mouth, as he trembled with both the cold and excitement at what he had done…but the second one got the better of him. Though he hated to admit it, there was nothing like the thrill of doing something wrong. It was even better when you weren't caught…
Freezing cold water, swiping at burnt flesh, as the tumbling ocean bristled with Winter's fury…the waves roared wildly, tossing this way and that like stallions. Foam spilled over rocks, as the water continued to carry the dead body outward, passing the gray city by…menacing cliffs overtook the far left side, casting its massive shadow over the civilization…
He should have worn a coat; a light but frigid drizzle had picked up and was slowly soaking his clothes, making them stick to his skin, and he was finding it difficult to move in a stealthy enough manner for his liking. Somehow—though he was positive he was going to catch hypothermia for this—he held back a violent shiver and pressed on, vaulting his body gracefully from one rooftop to the next.
There should have been no one of the streets, but of course, vigilant as ever—under his orders, of course—the occasional policeman strolled up the street, passing briefly beneath a lamp post, before entering the shadows again. He didn't mind: As long as they didn't look up, he'd have no problems. All he wanted right now was to get home and get to bed…he was going to be exhausted tomorrow morning…where had he left the aspirin? He was going to need that so badly…there were bruises all over his arms and legs and back…fighting had been especially brutal today…
A broken, blistering body bumped against the craggy shoreline, ragged clothes catching on one of the sharp points of rock that jutted out from the blackened sand. Without speaking a word, or making a sound, silhouettes appeared through the mist, as the figures approached, pulling the corpse from where it had snagged…limbs, empty of life left trails behind, as deceased was dragged away, the thick air swirling and closing over like a curtain dropping after the final performance…
With the skill of a cat, he managed to jump and grab onto a lamp post, swinging himself around so that he perched on top, keeping a wary eye at the streams of golden light pouring downwards onto the sidewalk. If he was revealed, pandemonium would most likely follow, and that would be the end of him…again.
He was about to attempt latching onto the rim of an office building across the street, when a pair of policemen halted beneath him. He cursed mentally, but remained silent, straining his ears as he listened to their conversation.
"…I don't know about you, Ted, but this place is getting to be a bit too dark for my liking, if you know what I mean?"
"No doubt about, Jack; My wife won't let the kids go outside anymore and even when I'm off duty, I keep a gun near me at all times. I don't care what the Justice League says, I don't feel safe at all!"
"Hmm. Did you know Doris was talking to me about moving out yesterday?"
"But she's never been fond of it here, with all the crazies running around, and the heroes chasing after. She's never stopped talking about how she's like to move to another place, like Gotham—you told me that yourself!"
"This is different: She doesn't even like Gotham anymore, with the breakout at Arkham a couple weeks ago. She wants to leave the state all together!"
"Can't blame her," The other muttered ominously, glancing up and down the abandoned street. "Nothing's safe around here anymore…The hell, we have a friggin' wall to keep strangers out! You can't trust any new people anymore, ever since the murders and the 'accidents' started happening."
The man called Jack shuddered as the wind screamed out again like a tortured soul.
"Let's keep going…I don't like it here."
"Who would? This is where the first of the killings took place…"
Their voices trailed off as they departed.
So…this is what it felt like to be dead…frozen, paralyzed, alone. Seeing was impossible, since eyes glazed over with putrid film…a stench of decay rose, poisoning the nostrils with a smell that would make the stomach lurch…and the stillness, the everlasting stillness, of the heart.
He waited until he was positive that they were gone, before he swooped down into the alleyway. Crouching over the sewer drain, he began brushing slush away from the grate with his bare hands…it was still there. Dark stains spread across the firm brown bars that, for some odd reason, could never be removed, as if they served a purpose…a constant reminder of past sins for the blood-thirsty killer that had taken the first life out of thirty other innocents…before his life had been lost as well. The murderer had been shot in the heart, just as he had been advancing on his next victim.
The day lingered in his dreams and daily thoughts constantly. He remembered it with all too vivid detail…the blood that lay in pools on the street…the shouts of shock and triumph as the mortician came and went, taking the body with him…
He sighed, trying to pretend and convince himself that he was simply tired, and that once he got home, everything would be much better. In truth, sighing seemed to be the only way to relieve the stress that was constantly building up in his soul like a brick wall…that, and combat practice, but he felt that there was beginning to be too much of that in his life for his tastes.
Carefully, he crossed the street and began climbing up the fire escape to the office building he had picked out earlier. In the distance, an owl hooted urgently in a skeletal tree: he should have taken it as a warning.
The clock in the heart of the city struck one, as a shadowy figure appeared by the narrow stairway that led up to the top of the large wall that surrounded the city like a giant, black serpent. It was one of the citizens' meager defenses against any strangers that threatened their beloved home
"Pathetic…they think this can honestly save them…"
The dark stranger flicked out the knife that he had stored in one of the compartments of his belt, before making his steady way to the ramparts; the guards—men that he supposed were from a S.W.A.T. team—were already tired from pacing all night long. They weren't difficult to deal with. Just a quick slash to the throat and they were gone.
He couldn't be sure that it was going to happen…that was probably the only thing that concerned him at the moment. If his prediction was not correct, then most of the things he said would have been for nothing…not that it mattered. He already had complete control, but still, he felt that something like this needed to happen, to finalize all his accomplishments, all his work that led to utter perfection.
…Time seemed to pass too slowly for his liking, and even though he had arrived mere minutes ago, tension seemed to grow within him, and spread to his arms and legs and stomach. He had half the mind to start tapping his foot, or drumming his fingers, or some other tactic normal people usually did. But he wasn't normal. And anyway…
Patience was a virtue…
Somehow, miraculously, he managed to slip in through the window by picking the lock. It was slightly amazing that, despite all their advanced technology to keep intruders from invading their personal space, creeping in was this easy.
But then…he had learned from "the best."
Robin gave a small, sad smile and slid the glass pane back into place, before turning to survey the main room. Thankfully, it was empty; he didn't want to have to deal with any late night stragglers, like Raven out for a cup of tea, or Cyborg having a late night snack. He crept down the hallway soundlessly, towards his room, praying to God that he wouldn't be caught. If he was, there'd be questions, and there was just too much to explain…
The Boy Wonder keyed in his personal code and rested his head against the wall as the computer analyzed it. It was unbelievable, how much one person could transform over time…make so many excuses and lies…he'd never thought it quite possible…but then, look what happened to him.
The quick, swishing sound of the door opening made him look up, preparing to enter…but he was prevented by group of people that were blocking his way.
Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, Cyborg: All of them stood in the doorway, stiff with mingled rage and confusion; all of them watching him with blazing accusation in their eyes.
"How—how did you guys get in my room?" Robin asked uncertainly, trying not to imagine how much they knew.
"We overrode the computer mainframe," Cyborg said in a flat voice, as though he were uncaring about the whole situation, those his eyes revealed the truth. "We can do that you know."
"They know…they know, screamed a voice in the back of his head. "Get out while you still can…"
Robin tried stubbornly to ignore it.
Raven stepped forward, dark eyes glittering with unbridled fury, a small crescent of red outlining her pupils.
"How could you?" She whispered. "How could you betray us?"
"I—I didn't—you don't understand—"
Beast Boy cut him off with a surprisingly cynical snort of disbelief.
"Yeah right. 'We don't understand.' You liar!"
Robin gritted his teeth, trying to maintain control over his temper, and Starfire took the moment to withdraw something from his work table behind them all, before holding it up, the metal still glinting even in the dim light. When she spoke, her voice was trembling, as though she were on the verge of tears.
"What is this?"
The 'S' insignia. How had he missed that? Robin stared at his feet, unable to speak; he felt like his voice had been lost all the way back in the city.
"You know what happens now, Robin."
The teen hero whipped his head upwards in shock, and watched in silent horror and grief as Cyborg aimed his arm cannon at his face, before—
A flash of blue and white light…somebody sobbing…falling…darkness.
Slade smirked as he saw the flash of light come from Titans Tower, out on its distant island amidst a sea of fog. His keen hearing caught the soft, splash, from what was once the home of honorable teenagers, of heroes…and now, killers. Or, in a different perspective, new targets to be annihilated…
Robin awoke with a start, lying on an operating table in the center of a dark room, blinking water out of his unmasked eyes. Every part of his body was deathly cold, and he couldn't breathe for a few minutes, out of fear. He barely had the strength to turn his head, though when he did, he instantly regretted it. His skin was viciously burnt, though parts of his flesh were raw and gleaming from the water. And yet…it was crawling back and forth, as though it were…
Robin felt a sick, twisted feeling creeping up in his heart, and he blinked back tears as he stared wearily at the ceiling…if only…
If only he hadn't been so reckless that one morning…
If only he had gone after Slade with his team by his side…
If only he had fought harder, and not allowed it to take control over his body…
Because now, he was…Just. Like. Slade.
That was his master calling. Without hesitation, Robin banished the regret from his head and sat up immediately, ready for orders. The one person he hated with all his life, was now the only person left to turn to. He could never be accepted anywhere else, now that he was a freak.
It was just like his parents had told him, when he was still a child, long ago, before he had been introduced to a new world, full of hatred and killing, and broken souls:
"Eventually, you have to grow up; there's nothing you can do about it, nothing you can change. You become someone completely new…and sometimes you may not like who you are. But you live with your decisions, and try to make the best of it."
That's exactly what he was going to do. Become a villain, an apprentice, and make the best of it.
And he'd be damned if anyone got in his way.
To be Continued…
Did it surprise you? Yes? No? Maybe so? Please review, because I'd love to know what you think. And yes, this fic is going to be continued. Technically, you already know the end of it, but there's still a lot of stuff left to be explained. This thing is backwards: You know the ending before the beginning…but I guess it kind of has to be that way.
If this confused you: The italics were describing how Robin's "dead body" ended up with Slade, and the normal print was explaining how Robin ended up "dead" in the first place.
Once again, please review, so I can see if anyone's really interested by this…or whatever.