Disclaimer: I own nothing except a great love for animated superheroes and heroines. I don't actually own the heroes/heroines themselves.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. - Salvor Hardin
Sometimes. - sundroptea
"Frankly, I don't understand why you're objecting to this so strongly." Robin stood before her with his arms crossed, and a surly look on his face. Raven saw that stubborn determination of his creeping into the set of his jaw and she blew out an annoyed breath. That look meant trouble, and they both knew it.
"Because I don't understand why this is necessary! Why do I get the extra-special training sessions with El Douche?" Raven was bordering on deer-in-the-headlights at this point, in her desperation to escape from Robin's newly improved training schedule. He really didn't understand what he was messing with. She trained alone for a reason and she was more disturbed than she cared to admit that he didn't seem to get that. If she had been forced to say who understood her mentality the most she would have picked Robin up until the very moment he started with this 'upper level physical combat' whatsit.
Robin scowled at her chosen appellation. He took a step towards her and she could tell by the lines of his mask that he was not a happy bat scout today. She almost flinched back before she remembered that she was Raven and she didn't do that.
"There's no need for you to get nasty! I'm trying to help you!" He took a breath as if gathering his thoughts. "Don't you get it, Raven? Slade is gunning for you now." A light dawned in Raven's mind and it was as if every single conscious thought went, "duh!" She held up her hands in an attempt to brush him off, but he continued regardless.
"I've been on the receiving end of that man's focused attention before and I can't stress to you enough the importance of being prepared when you face him. He was bad enough as a normal mortal. Now's he's Slade: Version 2.0. Your father gave him powers that make him even an even bigger threat than her was before. You need to learn to use every means available to you." Robin looked uncomfortable all of a sudden and she noticed. He was in his training clothes, some old sweats and a tank top, and she could see the muscles in his arm clenching and unclenching. She looked hard at him, wishing she could see his eyes and know what he was thinking. She locked her arms behind her back, with her expression just as guarded as his.
"That's not all, is it? There's something else you're not telling me." Robin winced and she knew immediately that she was right. Her eyes began to glow softly and she turned on her heel. "If you don't feel you can trust me with the truth then I don't feel like trusting my time to you."
"Raven." She berated herself for stopping when he called her and blamed it on instinct borne as a result of too many battles under this man's command. It had nothing to do at all with the way his voice sounded when he said her name or the note of pleading in it. Nothing whatsoever. She knew because it sounded reasonable when she explained it to herself as she turned around. Yay for logic.
"Slade is strong. And he's unpredictable. The only thing I know about him for sure is that he means no good. I don't even know what he is anymore let alone who. Why won't you let me help you?" He looked almost desperate himself. His hands bunched at his sides and he looked like he was on the verge of shaking her. That didn't exactly endear her to his cause.
"I can handle myself, Robin." She glared at him, and expected to see his mask narrow in retaliation. She expected a pompous directive to be issued forth and then promptly ignored as she retreated back to her room. She expected a week of badgering, two weeks of cold silence and then a morning where he would hand her the butter for her toast without her having to ask to show that he's sorry. She didn't expect him to look at her with his wide white mask and say what he did.
"I know. God, I know better than anyone just how damn strong you are. But he almost got you on your birthday. He almost took you. I would have lost you that night had you been any less capable than you are. And I couldn't stand that." He tried to hide it but his voice broke on that last bit. He turned away slightly to fiddle with the sound controls but Raven could see the earnestness of his words in the slight tremor of his hands. "I can't."
Raven stood stock still, her mouth hanging open. A small set of ankle weights exploded in the background, unnoticed. She didn't know what to do. She couldn't decide how to approach the situation before her. Should she tackle the 'I almost lost you to Slade' comment first or the 'I couldn't deal with it if you were gone' comment? She flushed and tried to process the fact that Robin just had an emotion in front of her. A real one, with layers and hidden subtext. She was still reeling from this unexpected occurrence when he turned to her and took her hand in his. Could she really be blushing? Did she do that?
"God in freaking Azarath, stop freaking BLUSHING!" She hissed mentally.
"Raven, when Slade was after me, the first time, he wanted me for a son. For an apprentice." God, there was so much self-recrimination in that word that she almost jumped right off the edge of the stupid cliff into idiocy and tried to console him. "I'm worried that he doesn't think of you as a daughter. I think Trigon may have paired up with him by way of a… betrothal."
Raven jerked her hand away from him and started.
"No. No way." Robin reached out towards her again, but she evaded him, black tendrils of energy beginning to crackle around her dangerously. He hated the look in her eyes; that half-shocked, half disgusted look that faded after a second to be replaced with resignation. Because that was what made his gut wrench: the resignation. In that split second expression Robin could see that whatever horror he father was sending at her, whatever bad thing was occurring, secretly she thought she deserved it. She thought she was bad, deep down. He wanted to break that part of her that thought she was lesser. He just needed a chance to do that.
"He's old enough to be my father himself, probably! That's not right and that's a cheap way to try and get me to agree."
He followed her retreating steps, trying to calm her down. "Look, I'm not saying it to upset you, but we have to consider every possibility. He's sick, Raven. We're going to stop him, I promise, but we have to be prepared for every contingency."
She shook her head, slightly wildly. Shelves of gear and weaponry began to rattle all around them. She looked at him and her eyes spouted waves of energy. Her tone grated against his tentative hold on his patience.
"We're going to stop him? And how are we going to do that?" The walls seemed to vibrate with the force of her anger. "Gee, maybe we should do it like you did last time and I could break the law too! Did you ever get that Red-X costume back?"
This was what did it for Robin. He was not the most even tempered of individuals at the best of times, and right now was a shining example of not the best of times. He darted forward and grabbed her shoulders, pressing her up against the wall.
"Look-" he started, but that was about as far as he got. He figured out that a physical argument was perhaps a mistake right about the time that his back connected with the wall at the opposite side of the room. Then his temper overtook him again at her next words.
"Still think I'm the one who needs the extra lessons? Maybe I should train with you. You look like you could use the practice," she sneered mockingly, turning to leave once more, although the energy cloud around her was fading slightly as she processed her comments. She really hadn't meant to be that mean. She was paused before the doorway, contemplating an apology, when his full weight suddenly impacted her from behind and sent her reeling.
"From the back, Wonder Boy? How underhanded!" She spun out of his grip and tried to sweep his legs out from under him. He was prepared this time though and jumped over her outstretched foot. He grabbed her arm and used her momentum to swing her back into the center of the room.
"Sorry if it doesn't meet your standards of decency. Do you think that next time Slade comes after you, he'll politely approach from the front and ask your permission to engage you in combat?" his voice was hot with anger and laced with cruel amusement. He stood in a defensive stance and waited for her to attack.
She didn't disappoint.
She ran forward and launched herself bodily at his midsection, at the same time hurling the contents of a cupboard at him. He ducked and dodged the spare bo-staffs and birdarangs raining down on him (she would have to pick his cabinet) but was unable to completely elude her attack; her shoulder caught him in the kidney and he doubled over.
She followed the action through and came around to rest behind him, colored with her anger and the slight exertion. She shook her lavender hair behind her ears and rested on the balls of her feet. "I don't know, Robin; you tell me. You're the one who spent so much time with him. Did you gain a lot of insight when you worked with him? Have any trade secrets to share?"
She sent the cups and the extra water bottles at him, but he had already recovered. Robin whirled around and caught her in the jaw with his taped up foot. A flurry of short punches followed.
"I'm sorry, Raven," he scoffed. "Some of us don't have the luxury of genealogy. We can't all just bat our eyes at Daddy when we need to get all dark side."
This time he was dodging the entire water cooler. He winced at he thought about how much that was going to cost to replace.
"It's always gotta be bats with you, doesn't it?" Raven sent a blow to his face and tried to kick him in the side again. He grabbed her ankle and sent her spinning down into the mat. She braced her back against the floor and swung her legs around to catch him behind the knees. He crashed down next to her. She tried to get to her feet but he pounced on her before she could get any farther up than her knees. He crushed her to the mat with his weight, his cheek tucked against her hair as he breathed into her ear.
"What are you going to do when it's Slade wedged against you like this, mmm?" He caught her wrists in his hands as she struggled to push herself up. She could feel the muscles in his stomach contract as her backside brushed his hips as she wiggled. She grunted angrily. "I could be wrong about you. Maybe you're into bad boys. After all, you fell for Malchior, didn't you?" His hot breath traced the shell of her ear and he pressed closer to her than ever, sealing the lines of their bodies together.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" He felt himself flying backwards through the air for the second time in one day. "How DARE you!" She levitated after him, sending free-weights and bar-bells in his direction. "What in the name of Azar gives you the RIGHT!"
"God dammit, Raven!" Robin grabbed one of the bo-staffs scattered across the floor and knocked the airborne missiles out of the way. He was angry and somewhat embarrassed by his antagonistic behavior. "Why does it have to be like this? Why do you always have to be so defensive!" He swung at her and missed, but she found that he had faked her out when he brought the staff up behind him. It struck her across the stomach. She lost her balance and went crashing into the wall. She bounced back quickly though and with a wave of her hand the panels covering the lights began collapsing down onto his head.
"Me? That's rich coming from you! At least I don't walk around here like some sanctimonious hypocrite! You're the one who hides behind that stupid-ass MASK twenty-four/seven!" He latched onto her feet where they hung as she hovered above him. Unfortunately, Raven had just sent a cord of force at him, and he pulled her with him as he spiraled back. They landed in a tangle of limbs, sparking black haze and fury.
Robin managed to pin her arms with his knees as he straddled her. "Is that it? Is that what it would take to get you to just fucking LISTEN TO ME for once! Here! HERE!" And with that he ripped of his mask. The light bulbs exploded and the door flew off its track, slamming back into the hall. Raven looked up into blue, blue eyes and she stopped fighting.
"It means that much to you?" she said, softly, almost mesmerized by the sight before her. He ducked closer, shifting his weight off her arms and bracing himself with a hand on either side of her face. He looked as taken aback by his behavior as she did.
"You mean that much to me. Please Raven, don't let him win by cutting yourself off from us. You're worth it. You're worth whatever it takes to me."
With that, her face crumpled and she began to shake with silent, tearless sobs. She shuddered in his arms, as he shifted his grip so that she was tucked against him. He soothed her as best he could, occasionally batting away debris that resulted from her outpouring of emotion. She let go of her control and cried out her despondency, her frustration and her fear. He held her through out it all, and when she was done she looked up into his eyes. She smiled fuzzily, embarrassed by her outbreak. He tilted her chin up and grinned at her.
"Well, gee, why didn't you say that it would only take harsh, psychologically scarring insults, violent battle, the removal of a symbol of my identity and hundreds of dollars worth of property damage to get you to see things my way?"
"Holy dimwitted superheroes, Birdman. I don't know why you couldn't figure that out in the first place," she deadpanned.
The rest of the Teen Titans then found them in the middle of the ruins of what had formerly been the training room. They had been investigating the source of the loud screech that had, in fact, been the door tearing off its hinges but were unprepared for the sight of a mask-less Robin forehead to forehead with a laughing Raven. The two strolled past the dropped jaws, and disbelieving looks without comment. Robin reattached his mask casually. As they walked away, Raven halted briefly to turn to Cyborg.
"I don't mean to bother you, but would you mind patching that up quickly? I have some extra training to do."
Robin just laughed and laughed.
Hi, everybody! Me again. I hope you enjoyed this latest work of late night muses. Corny title I know, but it struck me funny. :)
I just realized that those two never kissed. How annoying! This was supposed to be rather on the lusty side and it wound up rather not so. Grr. At least it wasn't as pathetically short as my other ones. Hopefully you all find that a good thing.
I just want to note, because I got a rather harsh email about pairing Robin and Raven, I don't dislike Starfire. Not the cartoon series one anyway. I think she's endearing, and very kind, and do not mean to disparage her in anyway. I am however fascinated by the Robin/Raven dynamic and I like the opportunities that pairing these characters together offers for explore their mindsets. If it bothers you to read a Robin/Raven story I am indeed sorry, but it doesn't bother me to write one. Please feel free not to read my stories if Robin/Raven is not your cup of tea. I don't feel the need to defend it further than that.
Eugh! I'll step down off the soapbox now.
Thank you again to anyone who reviewed my other works. Since there are so few of you I feel I should show my appreciation by replying individually. So here I go.
Chibi-Ra-Chan: Thank you so much! I saw it clearly too. I thought it might have come out slightly fuzzy on the comprehension front.
KhmerGurl113: I'm glad you liked it. It's really nice of you to say that. :)
AinoMinako: I don't think I'll be adding more to Enough, but I hope you enjoy my other work. I realize it was slightly confusing. I wish I could figure out how to make it more forthright, but I don't know how to do that without losing the stream of consciousness feeling I was trying for. Thank you for reviewing.
Kr0nnikal: Thank you so much for your review on Enough and for your one on Observation! I'm flattered that you liked my stories enough to add them to your favorites list and by your kind comments. You are really too kind.
Haunting Whispers: Thank you! I am honored to be on your favorite author list and hope that you continue to review my stories. I also hope you continue to like them!
To anyone else who added either story to their favorites or even anyone who read it, thank you for taking time out of your schedule for my work.
Until next time, folks!