Title: Little Bird
Author: Yami no Kaiba
Archive: Yes, but leave me a note.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Teen Titans! DC owns the original characters. I get no money from this project.
Summary: The bird is lovely when it chirps.
Notes: As you may know, Katarik wrote a pseudo Slade/Robin duo-ficlet thing without a title that was really cool; basicly it is Robin's POV of the events taking place here, and the links for them can be found on my Bio Page. She kinda/sorta volunteered me to write Slade's POV of the situation. So I did.
The first day, when Robin takes the mask from the crime scene, Slade laughs at the boy's habit to take trophies and physical reminders from his battles. It makes infiltrating the Titans security system so much easier then hiring a computer expert to hack into their sophisticated system--and a pretty penny to both his little bird and the half-robot for that lovely system.
His bird though... Is entirely too naive. Doesn't even check the mask he takes from the android to see what type of traps or small hardware is wired into the metal. When he finally takes the boy under his wing, that will be one of the first traits he will correct in the boy.
And yet... He is surprised by where Robin places the prize. In the most coveted of all positions, and perhaps the boy isn't as naive as he had thought. Perhaps Robin realizes exactly what status Slade has among the entirety of the boy's foes.
The way Robin tosses heated looks and intense contemplation directly in the direction of the mask--and consequently into the camera--are delightful little bonuses to the overheard plans and conversations. Little gems that he cuts and edits onto other video streams for his perusal.
Then the child's 'friends' interfere, sending the witch to retrieve the mask from the boy's room. It is... disappointing in more ways than one that he'd only had such a short time to gather info, before the mask is discarded into a trash bin in the witch's room, the camera showing only faint outlines of crumpled papers.
All common sense tells him to cut the feed, to redirect the little power the now useless camera uses to the greater whole of his spy network. Yet as his hand hovers over the final switch, he idly switches the feed to a smaller monitor instead.
Perhaps he'll at least be able to retrieve the mask later. After all, such good work is hard to come by, and expensive.
It's near midnight the next day when he notices a shift in that camera's perspective. The vague outlines of paper in darkness are shifting, and the camera of the mask in Titans Tower is relaying the apprehensive face of the one named Raven.
Has the witch found what his bird had not? He switches the feed to one of the larger monitors for closer inspection, intrigued by this change of events.
The witch apparently comes to a decision, and lays the mask down in a tunneled area, before covering the camera with a paper substance much thinner than the average sheet.
Truly, this is becoming highly interesting. He doesn't bother switching the feed back to a smaller monitor--the witch had packed the mask for a reason and Slade is interested in seeing the eventual recipient. Perhaps a lab of some type? The Justice League? Local authorities?
For now there will be no more input it seems, and he continues on with his tasks for the night, going over the information he's been sent by his drones to check if the cuts he's being given by Jump City's various criminals are indeed the correct amount.
Its only a few hours later that he notices movement on the monitor of the Tower mask camera, and turns his attentions from the book keeping to watch as light rapidly filters through the levels of what ever paper substance the witch had placed above the mask.
And as the light reaches it's strongest point, the last layer--tissue paper--is lifted to reveal the shocked face of his bird.
How lovely. The boy is wearing nearly nothing but a pair of red draw-string sleep pants and that ever-present black mask. Now what, exactly, had kept his bird from the rest that he had so obviously tried to get?
Robin walks through the halls of his temporary home, and replaces the mask onto the wall of his room. And what the boy does next sincerely startles Slade.
Leans in, and Slade can assume from the way the visible portions of Robin's hand moves that Robin's tracing something on the mask. "I'll tear your mask away. I'll see you, one day. And then I'll win."
Oh yes, his boy is highly competitive. One of the many traits they have in common.
Slade's pleased enough with the return of his property to it's rightful place that when Robin seems to finally fall asleep, he decides to personally pay a visit to the few of his associates that had skimped on their protection dues.
It's several weeks, and many procured secrets later, before he notices a dissonance in Robin's behavior.
Though considering how he notices, it's a wonder that anyone wouldn't. It begins with Robin waking up one night, and starting into a surprisingly long and involved course of swearing and epithets directed towards the mask and Slade. When Robin stops using English, and launches into Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and a language he barely recognizes as a dialect of Arabic from a little corner of the middle east, he finds his eyebrows rising farther towards his hair-line.
The fact that Robin had dreamed something so emotionally charged and linked in some way towards him is something Slade's curiosity starts to wonder about.
It's the second night though, when Robin wakes again and starts into the same litany of curses directed at himself, that Slade seriously starts to consider creating a list of meta-humans that could observe Robin's dreams. However, the possibility of losing control over such a person is too high a risk to actually take the idea seriously.
The third night in a row that the boy wakes in the middle of the night is filled with an admirable flurry of activity; a sifting of papers, reading of articles, and the ferocious strikes of a highlighter against dried ink in fiber weave.
The fourth night is a repeat of the third, and Slade starts to wonder if this will be a new pattern of the nights to come for his bird.
The fifth night breaks him of that half-formed thought, as Robin wakes quietly, so much so that Slade almost misses that Robin is in fact awake at all. It's only because of a shift in the rise and fall of Robin's svelte chest that he looks closer, and notices the steady defiant air in Robin's steady gaze on the mask.
The sixth night...
The sixth night is a contradiction between actions and words, and he can feel his eye widening in astonishment as the boy stands from his bed, hair mussed from what little restless sleep Robin had managed to get. The boy's red pajama-bottoms hide nothing from the camera.
Robin is obviously aroused, and it takes only a second for his mind to connect the actions of the previous nights to this new phenomenon. To realize that his little bird has been having wet dreams, and not just any wet dreams, but wet dreams about him. Which is... a wonderfully delightful icing to an already baked cake, he thinks in amusement as the boy stalks closer to the camera, with a grace that is far more associated with a dancer than a fighter.
Robin's hand rises once more, and if the movements of what can be seen are correct, then the boy is stroking the metal while staring into the lone empty void that pierces the trophy Robin has taken.
"I'll beat you, I swear," he hears, and can't help but be amused at the bird's confidence. Beat him? Robin can barely lay a hand on him unless Slade plays with the boy on Robin's level.
And then the camera's obscured by the fall of black hair that moves rhythmically, and he almost doesn't connect it to Robin rubbing his cheek against the side of the mask.
"I'll beat you, I will; what's your name? Who are you?"
He almost laughs aloud. Poor little bird, kept in the dark on purpose and yet striving unfulfilled for the light of truth that he will always dangle above the winged creature. Tease the bird to be amused at the pretty creatures' antics and beautifully displayed breast of feathers as it hops and chirps in distress.
He almost misses the small sound that follows, caught up in his amusement at the continued little game he's playing with Robin, and even then it takes a few seconds for his mind to realize; it's Robin. It's Robin moaning, and like the fastest speed of those twins in Titans East and that damnable Flash of the Justice League, he's no longer amused at all. Just quietly focused, almost leaning forward to see what Robin does next.
Not that he'll ever admit to being eager to learn about this fascinating side of his bird.
And perhaps he hasn't given the boy enough credit in Robin's knowledge of this particular side of human nature, because that is definitely a tongue swiping across the protected lens of the camera.
An interesting thought to study later, as he watches Robin's black hair bob into view once more, giving brief glimpses of the boy's skin. Abruptly the cost of purchasing the services of a top-rate hacker becomes a negligible loss. Getting as much film as he can of this is worth the combined pay of his last two jobs.
"I hate you, I'll win, you can't keep beating me forever," he hears over the speakers. Voiced in a whimpering tone, a lovely sound he hadn't known he had wanted to hear until he heard it.
Then a hiss, and another contradictory statement to action, as that black hair moves, both of the boy's hands stroke the metal of the mask, and the boy hisses out, "... I hate you..."
Such an interesting, twisted conundrum the boy is. Even from what little he can see he knows that Robin is practically paying homage to his most note worthy symbol, and yet keeps insisting to having negative feelings for him.
That fall of hair rises, and he can see the veiled eyes of his bird once more. Wants to rip that last formal barrier down from Robin's face, to see the truth of the boy's thoughts in his eyes.
But he is miles away from his bird, and can only watch in appreciation as Robin pays verbal homage to his name, the chirp high and thready.
Then Robin steps back, as if finally regaining some type of sense, staggering under the force of obvious will-power, staring once more into the endless void piercing the trophy Robin had willingly placed in the boy's most personal space.
Robin staggers about and returns to bed, and Slade is only mildly disappointed at the sudden use of self-restraint as that lithe chest calms under the influence of sleep.
He's left to eye the arch of his bird's spine, and all though it's not nearly what he wants, it is enough.
For now. Later... Well. Tomorrow was another possibility entirely.