Robin had fallen asleep early that night, feeling strangely comfortable as Beastboy's back pressed lightly against his own. He could feel every inhale of and exhale air, and soon they were both breathing rhythmically, with the younger boy's soft snores in sync with his own sighing. Before he knew it, the whites of his mask were no longer visible, and he finally fell asleep.
His mind's eye opened the moment his actual eyes had closed. Familiar with his dreams, Robin looked around, expecting a dark cavern or the usual black void as the setting.
He was surprised to find himself not in the dreary corners of his gloomy thoughts, but instead, of all places…
Buzzing with people of every age and character, the Boy Wonder was utterly bewildered. Dreams weren't normally this noisy, but he was able to hear every giggle, every joke, every conversation that went on around him.
His eyes darted wildly to every person, but they did not spare him any second glances, moving along as a crowd. Several cages were situated all around, containing various species of animals. People walked up to them and children pointed, while parents merely watched with feigned interest.
Robin blinked, thinking there was something wrong with his vision, when he noticed that almost everything around him was a shade of green. He could not see any animal clearly, but through the bars of practically every cage, he was able to spot several trees and shrubs, meant to be a replication of the animal's habitat.
Everyone around him wore at least one article of green clothing, whether it be shirts or lime-colored jeans, or even dyed hair that, to the masked crime-fighter, seemed eerily familiar.
Robin jumped when out of nowhere, a hand clapped him on the shoulder and squeezed. He quickly spun around and was about to attack when he was greeted by a familiar face.
"Hey, you alright?" Cyborg asked, concerned as always.
"I…Yeah," He replied, swallowing. He was about to ask what they were doing in a zoo, but before he could speak, the half-robot was leading him off somewhere. They maneuvered through the crowd in such a precise manner, it was almost as if everyone else was transparent., Robin noticed this and merely stared as he saw a person's hand pass right through his arm.
Soon, the two boys had stopped, and Robin found himself right in front of a huge cage. He stared straight ahead, and immediately his attention was caught by a leopard – a huge, hulking, clouded leopard, which lay curled up right behind the bars. Black spots scattered themselves all over its body, contrasting nicely with its emerald green skin.
Robin gasped as the leopard opened its eyes. It stared at him, its eyes sparkling with what seemed like diamonds as it waged a staring contest with him. Robin couldn't look away, and only noticed out of the corner of his eye, Starfire (he never knew Cyborg could morph into other people…) standing beside him. "Gorgeous, is he not?" She said softly, and all he could do was nod, still eye to eye with the creature.
And then, Raven was in Starfire's place, speaking to him. "The only one of its kind, so you have to be gentle."
"I will," He whispered slowly, extending his arm in between two of the bars. He reached out, desperate to touch the beautiful creature because only something so special would hold his gaze for so long. He struggled and stretched some more as his fingertips drew nearer to the cat's face. Its eyes were like pools of water and he could almost sink his hand through them….
…And Robin lurched forward, falling into the bottomless pits that were the leopard's eyes, yelling with a voice that sounded disembodied and empty. Everything grew darker as he fell deeper and deeper…
Blearily, the Titan opened his eyes, and immediately they grew big at the sight before him.
A green lizard was sleeping inches from his face, and before he could stop himself, Robin let out a surprised yell and leapt to his feet, causing the lizard to fly as well. It was in the air for at least three seconds before it landed back on the ground with a thump, fully awakened.
"Dude!" Moments later, a disheveled Beastboy was standing a few feet away from him. "What'd you do that for! I was having a good dream too… Sorta…" The changeling grumbled, looking down.
"Why did you sleep as a lizard, anyway! You were right next to my face!" Beastboy reddened slightly at this.
"Well, first of all, I was a gecko, not a lizard." The other boy grumbled at this. "I sometimes transform into animals unconsciously, when I'm asleep," he shrugged, and noticed Robin's strange look. "Errr, I've never really found out why. But it just happens, I guess. Kinda frustrating when you go to sleep as a human and wake up as a hippo in a broken bed." The masked Titan grinned slightly at this.
"Anyway, sorry for scaring you, and sorry for acting a bit grumpy earlier. It's just that, I've never had such a-" He stretched. "-Relaxing - sleep before. Well, recently, I mean. I think I've forgotten what it's like to sleep on a mattress." Robin couldn't help but let out a snort that quickly turned into a cough, and then a snicker.
"Well, since we're up, better get moving…" Both boys crawled out of the tent and moved to remove the pegs that had kept the structure glued to the ground. A few minutes later, the tent was securely packed into Robin's backpack, and after a short breakfast, they set off once more.
"…So then Larry says 'Hey, you can't eat that,' and Cliff still doesn't listen to him! He just keeps going on and on eating my precious tofu before Mento finally comes and tells him off. It was a riot!" Beastboy said, chuckling as he inhaled and prepared for another story from his Doom Patrol days.
Robin let out a short laugh to prove that he had been listening. Although he didn't really find Beastboy's tales funny, he still appreciated hearing the changeling's voice. It was a nice change over the silence a few days ago.
Still, Robin had felt uneasy ever since they set off. It was the strange feeling that told him that maybe they weren't alone. Every now and then he would glance behind him, but of course, nothing was ever out of the ordinary.
Robin narrowed his eyes, trusting his instincts. If they insisted that the two Titans were being followed, he was going to believe them and be on his guard.
"Huh- What?" The Titan jumped as Beastboy called his name. He looked sheepish as he noticed the changeling's weirded-out expression.
"Dude, I called your name like, a thousand times."
"Sorry, I was… Distracted."
"Is anything wrong?" In less than a second Beastboy had gone from happy to worried, making Robin feel slightly guilty.
"Nothing, it was just…"
"You're lying again," Robin felt like crumbling upon seeing the disappointed look on the other boy's face. "Dude, you promised to trust me. You can tell me what's goin' on."
Robin bit his lip and stared as Beastboy's hand came to rest on his shoulder. He made a move to take it off, but unexpectedly froze right when he had grabbed hold of Beastboy's wrist. His heart was beating so fast that he couldn't even think properly. The waves of dizziness that were hitting him weren't helping either.
"I…" He had never noticed how much Beastboy's eyes sparkled before. Those green orbs stared at him intently, making him shudder and tighten his hold on the shapeshifter's wrist.
Both boys stood absolutely still, their breathing awfully shallow as they stared each other down for what seemed like hours. Finally, Robin had an idea, and he moved toward his companion as slowly as possible.
"Wha-?" The masked boy tried not to notice the red hue coloring the green boy's cheeks as he leaned forward. Soon, their faces were merely inches apart, and the tension was as strong as ever.
"What are you-"
"Someone's watching us," Robin whispered urgently, and Beastboy's eyes widened in realization.
"Now? …Right now?"
"Yeah. They've been watching us since earlier. We have to locate them immediately." Beastboy nodded and slowly tried to move away, but Robin's hand was still clamped on his wrist.
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to find them. Watch," The youngest Titan smirked, and Robin smirked back, finally releasing him, albeit hesitantly. He watched as before him, the boy transformed into a bloodhound and barked reassuringly before lowering its nose to the ground to catch the scent of their stalker.
Robin stood still, listening closely for the rustling of the leaves and the cracking of twigs – anything that would give away the spy's location. The silence was becoming deafening as he waited with baited breath. Soon, a familiar growl caught his attention.
The green hound was staring at a bush intently, teeth bared as Robin ran over to it.
"You sure?" The boy asked it, and it nodded, tail wagging to accentuate its point. It continued growling, and Robin made a move to bring out one of his electric disks.
"Ready," He warned, clutching his weapon as he assumed a defensive stance. The hound crouched in anticipation.
"Set…" The hound gave a low, enthusiastic bark.
"G- OOF!" Before they could strike, something burst forth from the bushes and tackled Robin, sending him skidding to the ground.
The Boy Wonder dazedly opened his eyes, and they widened as he saw the figure standing over him. It was most likely a girl, judging from the green kimono. Her face was concealed by a large mask, with a huge grin and two wide eyes painted on it. Robin was eerily reminded of the Cheshire cat from the popular Alice in Wonderland story.
She looked at him and quickly raised her arm. Three sharp blades appeared (seemingly out of nowhere) bursting from behind her knuckles. Robin reacted instinctively and pulled out his bo-staff, just as she had brought her fist down to stab him with the blades.
The sound of metal against metal echoed through the forest. Robin grit his teeth and growled angrily as he pushed as hard as possible. The claws had been intercepted by his bo-staff and both were currently pressed together. The girl unexpectedly raised her other arm, the same three claws sprouting from his fist, and was prepared to sink them into Robin's side, when all of a sudden, she was thrown off him.
A green tiger had tackled her, and Robin quickly got up and ran towards their enemy as Beastboy squared off against her. Both were circling each other, searching for a weak point.
"HYAH!" Robin charged at her and swung the metal rod with all his might, but she managed to block it. At the same time, Beastboy attacked as well but met a similar fate.
Silently, the girl pushed back and both boys were sent flying to the ground. Wordlessly, she trembled, apparently laughing silently. Robin angrily wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as he got up, and charged once more.
He threw three birdarangs, all of which were deflected as he ran towards her. The woman unexpectedly turned her head in one fast motion, and Robin was batted away by her hair, which was bunched up together, serving as an effective weapon.
A green snake had crawled up her arm and she shook furiously tried to shake it off as it bared its fangs at her, circling her neck. But she grabbed it with her bare hands and threw it, Beastboy sputtering madly as he crashed to the ground for a second time.
"I don't think I can take another faceplant," The shapeshifter groaned.
"This isn't working," Robin said, equally disheartened. "We have to work together… We have to take her by surprise." Beastboy nodded.
"Right. Leave that to me!" The Titans leader blinked as the other boy vanished before his eyes, but he thought for a moment and soon realized what Beastboy was planning.
"With a mask like that, it's no wonder you're always hiding!" Robin taunted, and the girl trembled, this time in rage as she jumped towards him, somersaulting in the air.
He managed to block her kick and began fighting with her hand to hand, swiftly evading her hair as she swung it towards him. He smirked as he managed to grab it, and tugged mightily, causing her head to jerk to the side.
Furious, she swiped at him with her claws, trying to break free, but he took out two familiar disks and slammed them on each wrist. A resounding crack was heard and soon her claws were frozen, rendering them useless.
Right behind the girl, a T-Rex suddenly appeared, roaring loudly as its teeth dripped with saliva. Robin quickly released the girl as the dinosaur swung its tail and hit her, sending her flying wordlessly into a tree.
She sank to the ground, clothes and hair disheveled. Her fists were shaking, affected by the ice that was still trapping her claws.
The woman stared at them for a few seconds, and then vanished.
"NO!" Beastboy yelled in despair as he ran towards the spot she was in seconds before.
"She won't be coming back anytime soon," Robin said wearily. "It'll take some time getting that ice off her claws." He dusted his uniform off as he spoke, examining the cuts and bruises he had received in the battle.
"…But if she was following us, that means the Brotherhood has known our location for a long time."
"So this whole journey by foot was a waste?" Beastboy frowned.
"…Not really. At least we got her off our tails. Apparently the Brotherhood didn't bother tracking us by machine, which is why they sent her instead. So we still have a chance of reaching their base undetected." The other Titan sighed in relief.
"Well, I can't wait for another bad guy to come so we can kick their sorry butt!" Beastboy declared, pumping his fist in the air.
"Don't be so sure about that," Robin smiled as the two resumed walking side by side.
"Why not, dude? We make a great team!"
"Yeah, we do, don't we?"
"And I don't just mean fighting team. Do you remember how we clobbered Starfire and Cyborg, Mas and Menos and Speedy and Aqualad in volleyball?"
And as the sun began to set, the two friends continued to talk, enjoying each other's company more than ever.
"Robin… I… I think I've found a way out!" Beastboy's voice was muffled as he tried to push leaves and branches out of his way. Whimpering as a wayward vine had somehow wound its way around his ankle, the green Titan looked at Robin sheepishly.
"A little help?"
Robin wasted no time in getting to his friend's side and cutting the vine with a birdarang. He twisted and turned, grabbing Beastboy's arm as he tried to steer him out of the bushes.
"Beastboy, lift your feet!"
"I'm trying! But they're… Stuck or something and- YOW! Something's on my leg! Something's on my leg!"
"This is no time for—AGH! I can feel it too! Get it OFF!"
"Dude, stop kicking me!"
"I will if you let go of me—AH! Get off!"
"It's in my shirt! Get it off, get it off!"
"We're gonna fall over!"
"IT'S STILL MOVING AROUND! BEASTBOY-!"
They groaned, as both of them hit the ground painfully, clothes torn in several places. Beastboy was the first to get up, groaning the whole time. He rubbed his head, feeling a bump starting to form beneath his emerald green hair.
"Dude… Is it gone? From your shirt?"
"Yeah…" Robin got up as well and dusted off his clothes, freezing when he looked down.
"Wait a minute… Sand?"
Beastboy and Robin were awestruck as they stared at their surroundings. There was sand everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Large rocks protruded from various areas. The whole place looked like a desert.
"…Are we in the Sahara?"
"No. The Brotherhood's behind this."
Robin bent down, grabbing a handful of sand and letting in slip through his fingers. His eyes narrowed as he stared out into the horizon.
"We're close to their base. Let's set up camp here, and we'll continue walking tomorrow."
The changeling nodded, and moved to help his companion set up the tent. When they were done, they stepped inside and prepared to go to sleep.
"Mmm, 'night Robin."
"Good night Beastboy."
The familiar feeling of Beastboy's back pressed against his own made Robin shiver as he clutched his blanket tighter. He frowned as he felt strangely warm, despite the strong wind rustling the tent. Sighing, the Boy Wonder closed his eyes, half-heartedly wishing for the warmth to go away. It may have been comforting, but the sensation was so new and different that he was slightly afraid to embrace it.
Sorry for the very long wait. I just started college, and where I live, it seems the colleges here take everything you have in high school and throw it out the window. Basically, I'm still adjusting.
I hoped you liked this chapter. Too long? Sorry. I have to admit I got carried away with the dream. But yeah. Please review! I've had more than a thousand hits, so… Please please please review? It'll only take a minute of your time.