Ok, here I am with DeathIsOnlyTheBeginnin's one-shot prize for winning the challenge. Once again, I'd like to thank everybody that competed in that…your pain was not in vain! Thank you for stretching yourselves beyond your comfort zones! …-cough- Anyway, sorry it took so long…the teacher's have been trying to cram as much homework as they can before thanksgiving. Anyway, on with the show! Italics is telepathic communication or thought.
"Please tell me you aren't that stupid."
Robin's face remained expressionless as he ate the cold cereal spoon by spoon, looking up and replying calmly to every question or comment that was directed at him. To his teammates, his behavior was completely normal. All except one, that is.
"You're going through with it, aren't you?"
Raven's thought held a hint of disbelief and more than a hint of anger. Robin felt her fierce glare burn into him, but he refused to meet her eye.
"So then I said, 'Who needs a pet when you've got a whole zoo'!"
Robin made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat as Starfire giggled and praised BB's joke and Cyborg rolled his human eye. Raven didn't even twitch.
"Weren't the first several times enough? If you want to be abused that badly, I would be happy to assist."
Robin's right eye took up a persistent twitching as he rubbed his temples slightly, looking around the table to make sure his friends were occupied. He would have just blocked her out if he hadn't known it was impossible. He never thought he would regret the mind meld, but at this point, he was starting to wish Raven had just left him to the dust. Her constant nagging was like being poked in the ear with an invisible toothpick.
"Good. Maybe if I annoy you enough, your eyes will be opened to your stupidity."
"Hey Robin, you sure you don't want to go to the movie with us?" asked Cyborg, fixing the Boy Wonder with a questioning eye.
Raven's eyes took on a malicious glint that only Robin would catch. "You've been saying you wanted to see one for months. Why the sudden change of heart?" "Liar."
If looks could kill, both of the birds would be stone cold.
"Yes, I have, but I didn't plan on being so swamped in with work."
Starfire hovered at his shoulder, her hands clasped hopefully. "Could you not catch up with this work tomorrow, friend? By your own calculations, Mondays are the days with the smallest amount of wrong-doing, and tomorrow is a Monday, Friend Robin!"
Raven's eyebrows shot into her hairline. "You're right, Starfire. On average, Mondays have a total of 2.5 petty crimes in all. Isn't that right, Robin?" "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we—"
Robin stood up so fast he nearly knocked his chair over. "Nope. Sorry. Can't go. End of story. Have fun!" he practically shouted, surprising Raven enough to cut her off mid-thought. He strode from the room, disappearing behind the sliding metal panel before his friends had fully registered his words.
With a glance around the table, Raven stood up and glided towards the door. "I need to meditate."
It was the one excuse that no one could argue with.
"Sure, just run away. That'll solve anything, right?"
Robin stopped mid-stride and spun around. He was very much in Raven's face in the blink of an eye, though she showed no outward signs of surprise. "Why don't you just use your mouth, like normal people? If you're going to say it, have the guts to say it out loud!"
Raven's glare took on an extra layer of fury as she faced down the wrath of Robin, refusing to back up even though they were practically nose-to-nose. She'd seen him play the intimidation game enough to recognize the steps. "Oh, now we want to talk about guts? Fine. Let's talk about how gutless you have to be to lie to your own friends."
"I'm not lying to them!" spat Robin…literally, spat. Raven didn't so much as flinch.
With the suddenness of a traffic light turning from green to red, Robin's face lost all signs of anger, and he stepped back quite a bit. His voice was perfectly calm, even somewhat polite. "Not that it's really your business, Raven."
This pretend calm made her even angrier than his spitting had. The rapid change of emotion had her a little surprised too…but then, she had always known Robin was bipolar. "What's your word for it, then? Omission?"
Robin sighed and shook his head as though he were arguing with a stubborn toddler. "No, I simply am not telling them something that has nothing to do with them. I said I have work to do. I do."
Raven's voice was an octave or two louder; he was pushing her. "So it's none of our business if you decide to get yourself killed? It's none of our business if we end up without a leader?"
Bitterness crept into his 'emotionless' voice as his mouth twisted into a sneer. "I'm afraid you can't get rid of me that easily."
Her violet eyes widened in shock. "What's that supposed to mean?" she hissed.
"I don't know, Raven," he whispered, distrust shining of the fake, plastic surface of his mask, "what do you think it means?"
Raven's pale face gained two spots of angry color as her eyes began to glow a red-tinted white. Robin had just denied everything she had done for him, every attempt to understand, every word of kindness. He had denied the very fact that she cared for him at all, and acused her of wanting him dead. It was too much.
The slap rang out as Robin's head jerked forcefully to the side, a look of shock on his masked face.
Raven gave him one last look, packing it with as much anger, hatred, and, unknowingly, hurt as she possible could...before turning her back and phasing through the wall.
Robin felt the slap deep down. It wasn't the physical pain--he was used to that. It was the way she looked at him.
Come on, shake it off. You have a job to do.
Slade had told him to be at the appointed place by two o'clock and it was now one-thirty. He didn't have time to waste feeling guilty. He was doing his job, and Raven had no right to attempt to stop him. She was being completely irrational.
Robin took the long way to Slade's old lair, slipping through back alleys and avoiding contact with the bustling world around him as much as possible. He felt entirely seperate from them...superior, even. Like a giant among ants. They were all so oblivious, so ignorant to all that surrounded them, blind...
Careful there. You're starting to sound like him.
Robin flushed red with anger as he pushed all thought from his mind...immediately noticing how strange it felt to be capable of it. Raven's constant commentary had ceased; dead silence broadcasted from the little "Raven Recievor" somewhere in his brain.
Why am I complaining? he wondered, with a small derisive snort. First time she's shut up in days.
No sooner had the thought been formed than a wave of guilt curled somewhere around the region of his stomach. He felt sickened with himself.
Robin dragged the sewer lid away from the hole and dropped down into darkness, landing with an echoing splash. Nice.
For the rest of the twisting and foul-smelling journey Robin did his best not to think, but his mind was constantly tugged downward to the hard knot in his stomach. The closer he got to his destination, the more sweat dripped down his face and slicked his palms.
It's just hot, that's all.
The second the thought had formed he was hit with its inaccuracy. Actually, the sewers were very cold, making him shiver violently as he part-walked, part-waded his way to Slade's lair. It was anything but hot.
His heartrate increased with every step he took, his breaths coming hard and fast, though he attempted to slow them. Robin felt the sudden and powerful urge to turn and run, dread hanging thick in the air around him--he shouldn't have come--Raven was right--
He gritted his teeth in determination just as the entrance came into view around the next sewer bend. No way in heck would he go back now. He had a job to do, and he was going to do it...no matter what.
No sooner had he cleared the entrance than an ominous creaking sounded over his head...then a deep rumble...
Running on instinct, Robin threw himself forward as far as possible, ducking and rolling--
The scream of metal on stone pierced his ears, a bang that he felt in his very bones shaking the sewers...then a shockwave that chucked him forward several feet. The friction of skin against rock finally slowed him down.
Breathing heavily and pushing himself to his feet, Robin stared in astonishment at the entrance...where it should have been, anyway. A solid wall of steel beam met his shocked eyes as fear gripped him. That was the only way out of Slade's lair.
"Well done, Robin. You've just walked right into a trap."
"Ok, here are our options. The Mask of Zorro starts at 2:30; Harry Potter is at 2:15; Elizabethtown started fifteen minutes ago and..." Cyborg grimaced, "we're just in time for Chicken Little."
Starfire beamed, opening her mouth to express her joy over this luck when Beast Boy dashed her hopes to bits.
"We are NOT watching that queer show! Dude, we gotta see HP! It's the Triwizard Tournament, dude! THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP! THE RETURN OF LORD VOLDEMORT!" Beast Boy's eyes glazed in anticipation, a thin stream of drool trailing down his green chin.
Cyborg took a few steps away from his green comrade as Starfire gazed at him fearfully. Shaking his part metal head at the hopelessness of the situation and wishing that Get Rich or Die Trying had a matinee showing, Cyborg turned to his dark-haired friend. "What do you think, Raven?"
The empath looked somewhat surprised to find herself standing in front of a theatre ticket booth. Shaking her head as she realized his question, she grunted, "Pick one."
Starfire appeared to be on the verge of tears as she started longingly at the undersized chicken on the movie poster. Cyborg sighed, rubbing his human eye and knowing what he had to do. Darn, he was a nice guy.
Pushing the bills across the counter, he said the words he never believed he would.
"Four for the 1:45 showing of Chi--"
A loud beeping cut through the air as each Titan began to blink in their respective places.
Cyborg grinned in relief. Saved by the bell.
A short and fast-paced ride later, the Teen Titans, minus one, had arrived at the site of disturbance: Jump City Elementary. Judging by the pink goop on their clothes and hair, Plasmus had been working his charm on a group of terrified second-graders.
"Titans, GO!" yelled Cyborg, stepping in for Robin with ease. The half-robot was shocked that he wasn't here yet. Their leader was generally the first at any crime scene.
STarfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg all went about their usual attack patterns, the alien and the machine blasting simultaneously as Beast Boy swung a spiked dinosaur tail at the monster's icky pink face. Raven closed her eyes, positioned her hands, and began her mantra. "Azarath Metrion Zi--"
It was almost as though an alarm had gone off in her head, a distress signal that grew stronger with each pulse. In an instant, she knew who it was. Who else could it be?
"Raven! Little help here?" yelled Beast Boy, ducking to avoid a large ball of green slime as Starfire struggled to extricate herself from a pile of goop.
Ignoring Beast Boy's indignant shout, Raven morphed into her shadow form and took to the air, spreading dark raven wings and phasing out before the changeling's shocked eyes. There was somewhere she had to be.
Robin winced, biting back a scream as the blade ripped through his arm. Instinct was the only thing that save him yet another wound; he threw himself to the side and rolled to his feet.
Slade didn't gloat over the victory. In fact, the masked lunatic hadn't said a word since his initial greeting, just staring coldly from behidn the cruel mask. His eerie silence was infinitely more distracting than taunts.
Speaking of distractions...
Robin's eyes widened as he saw the blade plunge towards his chest, arching downward in a fatal swing. His reaction was slow; thoug the blade missed his heart, it penetrated his side, going in one end and out the other as he screamed in shock and pain. Slade viciously ripped the knife back out, with every intention of trying again...but he never got the chance.
Black lightning ripped from the shadows and struck Slade in the chest, sending him flying half-way across the spacious room with a grunt of surprise. Furious white eyes glowed as the form of Raven shimmered into life in the darkness, her hands upheld and glowing a fierce black.
Nauseous from the sight of his blood leaking from the wound, Robin's voice was less powerful than he wanted it to be. "Raven, what are you doing here? Go! I can take care of my--"
He cut off with a gasp as something hit him hard from behind, sending him crashing to his knees as his stomach churned and his vision blurred. Swallowing hard and attempting to regulate his breathing, Robin stared at the concrete between his two green hands. An overwhelming sense of panic gripped his as blood continued to drip from his arm and side, splashing with a sound far greater than was realistic. What had he done? She was right, he thought, the guilt almost stronger than the pain.
Somewhere above his head, Raven and Slade were fighting, blasts of demonic energy shaking the ground as cry after cry of Raven's familiar mantra echoed in his ears. "No...this is my fight...leave me alone..." Robin struggled to his knees, but try as he might, he couldn't stand. He had lost all control, right down to his own body, as the buzzing increased and his stomach lurched with more force.
"Lucky for Robin that he has you to save him."
A cool hand gripped his wrist tightly as smoke filled the air. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos."
Black energy engulfed him, an electric current crackling through him as the room faded out, shifting gears and villain alike. "NO!" he shrieked, struggling against the power in vain; it wouldn't even let him move. No control...
Robin fell on his hands and knees as the world became solid once again, though it still spun ever-so-slightly...no doubt recovering from the violation of physics. He immediately recognized, from the dim lighting and the black carpet, that he was in Raven's room. Fury boiled inside him as he pushed away from the ground, using a chair to pull himselfto his feet. "Why did you do that! I was fine!"
Raven's gaze was hard as she matched his fury head-on. "You were dying, you moron! You passed 'fine' a couple miles back!"
"No!" yelled Robin, shaking with the effort to remain standing. "It was my fight! You had no...NO right to...It was my fight, Raven! Mine! My fight!"
Raven's eyes glowed an angry and threatening white. "What did you expect me to do? Ignore you? Ignore you cry for help? Pretend it never happened!"
Robin's eyes grew wide as he spluttered indignantly. "I never asked for your help! I never wanted your help! I DON'T NEED YOUR HELP!"
Raven's anger seemed to disolve, leaving something undefined in her eyes and face. Several minutes passed before she answered. "I know you don't want it, and I know you'll never ask for it, but Robin...you need it." She reached out a hand, glowing a gentle blue...
Robin shook his head, though he was instantly sorry as the world spun, and pushed the hand away. "No."
Raven's eyebrows shot up. "I'm going to heal you," she said, slowly and clearly.
"No, you're not," said Robin, mimicking her tone.
Raven's anger was back. "Let me heal you, you stubborn ass!"
"No!" yelled Robin, his voice breaking mid-shout as renewed pain shot through him, the knife wound a source of agony. Gritting his teeth, he growled, "Why do you care, anyway? Don't you know by now that this is how I am? Psychotic, obsessive, stupid! Everyone else gets it! Why Do You Care, Raven!"
"BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, YOU JERK!"
Robin's face went blakn, eyes wide with shock and mouth slightly open.
Raven was on a roll. "And you would know that if you ever took two seconds to actually notice someone besides yourself! I don't want you dead, Robin! That would kill me!"
Robin's eyes grew wider still.
"Why do you think I'm always going out of my way to help you? You've made it plain that you couldn't care less, but I still try!"
A mirror, the doorknob, and a bookcase exploded into black-tinted smithereens, but Robin didn't even flinch; his entire focus was on Raven.
Tears were gathering in amethyst eyes as her hands balled themselves into fists. "You don't want it, and you never asked for it, but I know you need it. So I give it to you." She choked slightly, squeezing her eyes tightly shut, ashamed of the tears. "I always will."
His eyebrows formed a peak as guilt tore him up inside...he had rarely felt so ashamed of himself; yet, above that was the desire to make it right. He could never stand to see Raven cry...it was like watching the death of an angel. He had to make the tears go away...especially since he had been the one to cause them.
A warm embrace folded itself around her, surrounding her and comforting her. Raven was stiff, for a moment, but slowly she relaxed against him, her arms circling around his waist.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, a quiver in his voice that she had never heard before as he hugged her a little tighter.
Shocked and touched by this unexpected act of kindness, and more than a little embarassed by what she had said, Raven pulled away, opening her mouth to explain--
Robin kissed her before she could say a word, powerful yet controlled, telling her all that he felt yetstill keeping the amazinglygentle touch that she had never believed possible from him. Where was this hiding? she wondered dazedly, eyes closed and arms softly stroking his hair.
"You'd be surprised."
Raven smiled at his reply, choosing to overlook the violation on her thoughts. Heh, not like she could say anything anyway...it would be just a little bit hypocritical.
Much sooner than Raven would have liked, Robin pulled away, and she let go reluctantly. "What?" she asked, Insecurity and Doubt starting up a chorus of wails.
Her violet eyes grew wide and a curse escaped her as she saw his deathly pale face and the crimson blood that blotched her stomach and completely covered his.
"D...do you think you could...?" he stuttered, words slurrred together as he swayed and leaned against Raven.
She couldn't help but laugh a small, nervous, worried laugh at his mannerisms as she placed one blue hand on his arm and the otherat his side. "It's a good thing I'm so forgiving," she muttered as the wounds melted away beneath her healing touch.
Robin smiled ever so slightly, tucking a stray purple strand behind her ear and kissing her briefly. "I love you, too."
"Yo! Rob, Rae, you guys here?" The distant yell drifted up from downstairs, partly worried, partly agitated.
Both jumped, looked at the door, then stared down at their blood-stained clothes.
"Oops." Robin looked slightly sick as he contemplated the reaction of his teammates...he wasn't exactly looking forward to explaining why he was drenched in his own blood.
Seeing the look on his face, Raven sighed, shook her head, and flicked her wrist at the door.
Sound-proof mode, initiated. Permanent lock, online.
Robin looked somewhat comical as his mouth dropped open, but Raven just smiled. "I saved your butt this time, but if you do it again, I'll leave you to face Big Brother's wrath on your own."
Robin grinned, pulling Raven back into the hug that had been so rudely interrupted. "Point taken."
Hmm...well there it is. Took an eternity to type up...I know it's kinda weird and random, but I hope you liked it, DeathIsOnlyTheBeginnin. If you really, really didn't like it...you can give me instructions for a new story and I'll write that. I guess I'm just not used to dictated writing. Everybody else, well...I hope you liked it too. Review please! -Dusty