Summary: The End is over. The Prophecy has come to pass. Everything should be okay again. But not everyone is ready to put The End behind them. (oneshot, slight Rae/Rob)
Rating: T (PG-13) for general tone and mood, and for allusions of graphic violence.
Disclaimer: Me no own, you no sue, me no cry, you no die.
AN: It's a cryptic little oneshot, and I'm not sure that I like it. If you're not for the hinted pairing, BITE MEH. I don't care. THIS IS A ONESHOT. It's left rather open-ended and seems like it could be continued, but I'm leaving it this way anyways. If you're at all familiar with comic cannon, you may get a few undercurrents of allusion. If you do, yay. If not, you're not missing a whole hell of a lot, promise. It may seem a bit OOC, but bear with me. It was a random drabble, and as I haven't posted in a while, I figured what the heck.
Robin stood panting in the pitch-dark training room, sweat making his costume stick to his skin. His cape was lost somewhere on the floor, ditched in frustration when he kept tangling his arms in the heavy cloth. Tonight he trained his body for darkness; he could bother with weight on another sleepless night.
His hair, sans gel, was matted with sweat, bangs plastered to his forehead, itching as he regained his breath and his bearings. He could see nothing, and there was no other sound but his own breath and the heartbeat pounding furiously in his veins.
It was sometime in the small hours of the morning, when all good Titans were abed and lost in dreams. Robin stood awake and adrenalized, winding down from two and a half hours of pumping fists and flinging kicks to combat the nightmares hanging watchful and waiting in the darkness.
It was over a month ago, but the memory still seized his heart with fear, sent his blood singing with fury and his inner demons howling. The world had not ended and the threat of Trigon the Terrible was suspended, if not defeated, but Robin could not quite move past those horrifying hours.
Every little thing he could have and had not done whispered like knives in his ear, and his impeccable memory replayed every move he had matched flawlessly with the villainous Slade in the pits of Hell. Many things haunted him from that fire-blasted day, but the foremost were his failures—and his admissions.
There was no denying it anymore, as he flexed the hands he could not see before his eyes; he and Slade were truly very much alike. It sickened the Boy Wonder like a poison.
And though he did not worry his friends with erratic behaviors, he spent his late nights away from bed, hidden from prying, caring eyes, beating back his monsters and honing his body exhaustively into a more perfect tool.
A soft sigh of breath and the whisper of motion brought him blinking out of his brooding, his spine freezing in that second caught between the options of the fight-or-flight instinct.
How had someone gotten in? Had he been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't even noticed the door opening? But surely his light-starved eyes would have ached at the graying of the room, his ears catching desperately on the mechanical click to escape the sound of his rushing blood.
Small, delicate fingertips pushed almost hesitantly against the back of his shirt, then pushed probingly against his spine, and he relaxed imperceptibly, never having to choose the fight option over flight, for this night.
He stood stock still in quiet confusion as the fingers ghosted over his damp shirt, following the curve of his spine and running over the corded muscles of his back, tracing the lines of his shoulder blades and the slopes of his shoulders. The small palm pressed against the sweaty nape of his neck, fingertips brushing soaked hair, then planing down the path of his backbone, middle fingertip ticking over his vertebrae all the way down to the very small of his back. He tensed slightly, both at the sensation of the unusually familiar touch and the awkward proximity of that delicate hand.
There was a hushed, hitching sigh, like a mixture of desperation and relief, and two hands slid over his back and to his shoulders, down again, over his ribs and around his waist, where they met over his navel and continued on up to his chest, where they clutched and grasped, fingers twining in his damp shirtfront. Robin's eyes widened when the arms about him tightened in an embrace, and a set of firm, full breasts pressed against the middle of his back.
She laid her cheek against his shoulder, and he could feel the edge of her frown.
His mind a mess of confusion and mixed signals, Robin's hands lifted themselves through the thick dark and came to rest over hers on his chest, the much larger ones curling loosely around the slender appendages.
She has such small hands.
"I'm sorry." Her voice was hushed and tightly controlled, barely audible in the quiet room. Betraying her careful monotone, her arms squeezed around his ribs and her form pressed closer, as if she were trying to burrow into his back. "I needed to be sure. It was just so real."
He did not move, did not turn, because he knew to look at her, even in this all-concealing dark, would be to ensure that she would not tell him what had brought this on. If she had to look him in the face, whether she could see it or not, she would not be able to make herself share her troubles with him. He knew this.
It was a whisper, and he was glad he his ears were so trained. "It was so very terrible. So real."
"You were hurt… badly. I could do nothing, and I could feel the blood slick between my fingers, and the twitching muscles and torn skin…"
He exhaled deeply. She had probably been reliving old, old fears, the nightmares she had repressed and internalized ever since joining the Titans as a part of a family. He knew she had wanted so badly to protect them from her fate, feared their pain more than the erasing of her own existence.
"It's over, Raven. We won. Trigon is gone now, and you're free. We're going to be okay."
It was very quiet for a long moment, and he felt her shift against his shoulder, could imagine in his mind's eye the way she would look, her bottom lip pulled between her teeth.
"Sometimes… sometimes I don't believe it. And sometimes, you don't, either."
He could say nothing. For all his flowery speeches and pretty words of hope, this had been one of his great, loathsome failures.
Finally, he scrounged up an answer for her, and found himself returning it in a whisper, his voice soft and gray. "That doesn't matter. For all our paranoia… we're safe now, Raven."
She pressed her face against him, her mouth a hard line on his shoulder. He curved his hands over hers more tightly, forcing her fingers to entwine with his own. He would offer it, and they would both know he could no more mean it than not say it.
She exhaled into his shirt, breathed in the smell of his skin and sweat, and wished that she could put stock in his words, and that they would never have to move from this spot, into the future that waited to swallow their every next step.
She did not contest the vow they both knew he could not keep.
She did not pull away.
And she did not tell him that this was the seventh time in two weeks she had had this particular nightmare.
She did not tell him she had not had it before the culmination of her destiny.
Or that, in the nightmare, his blood ran through her fingers, because hers were the hands tearing his flesh and muscles, ripping his spine out as he screamed his agony beneath her.
Or that, in the nightmare, she could not do anything… because she didn't want to.
Or that it was not a nightmare. That it was a vision.
And, above all, she did not tell him…
That it definitely was not over.
Though you think the battle won
The war has just begun
Though you swear the end in sight
You have not yet begun to fight
AN: That's all, folks. REVIEW.
PS: Chapter three for Awkward Entanglements is still a good ways off. This piece here was totally not in the schedule. Next up is, in entirety, my Big Project, a oneshot-turned-miniseries, and following that, AE chapter 3. Stick with me folks, I ain't dead yet.