A/N: I had this one mostly done before I gave Puck the sleeping pills so I could study for the bar. He's still kinda groggy and a little out of it (the after-effects of the sleeping pills...) so I went over this to make sure it's showable, and as far as I can tell, it is. BUT, I'm still not too happy with the way the end turned out. I had something else in my head, but I just can't make it turn out that way, and I figured I might as well just post it before I forget about it. Also, this isn't beta'd either, so bear with me, kay?
Special Note: This is one of the few of my one-shots or fics that is really dated. In other words, it's pretty obvious when time-line wise, this is taking place. I'd say this is post the end of the show. A random moment after "Things Change". Probably a bit in the future, even. I don't know all of what happened in the last few episodes because I haven't seen them all (although I am trying). Anyway, bear with those inconsistencies in mind, too.
Disclaimer: I don't own the music, I don't own the Titans...I don't even own my education...I'm still paying for that...
"With him along, who could be lonely/ I reach for his hand, it's always there..."
- Where Do I Begin, Shirley Basey
She never would've pegged him for a jazz fan.
The soft strains of saxophone and drum told very plainly how wrong she was.
There was no one in the Tower that night, not even she should have been there...but he wasn't supposed to be awake either.
She was supposed to be checking up on the Munchkin Maulers as she'd taken to calling Melvin, Timmy and Teether and he was supposed to be sleeping while Beast Boy kept patrol duty.
Of course, he wasn't. Sleeping, anyway.
And she came home early. The ankle biters were fine...more than fine, they were flourishing. And she had felt a pang of something she hadn't wanted to name as she watched them play and so she had come away...come home...to her family. Even if she knew that it'd only be Beast Boy and Robin in the Tower. Cyborg had the night off and wasn't expected back until the next morning and Starfire was in Steel City 'learning' about Atlantian culture with Aqualad.
It seemed lately that they were all pairing off...like animals onto the arc.
Beast Boy had Terra (or whatever her name was now).
Cyborg had BumbleBee.
Starfire had Aqualad.
Speedy...well, he had all of Steel City and half of Jump City.
They all had soft whispered words and glances for each other, dripping with love and only she and Robin seemed to be without it all and although she didn't miss it, sometimes, she wondered why. Why she didn't have anyone and why she didn't miss it. Why Robin didn't seem to either and why he hadn't paired off like one of Noah's animals, too. She didn't often think of it, but Jazz and a day playing with kids tended to do that to a girl, she guessed and she couldn't help but wonder.
Sure, they had things, other things they busied themselves with, things they did. Right at that moment, Robin had Jazz as "You and I" played through the speakers and Raven...
Well, she had grapefruit juice along the front of her leotard.
Luckily it was purple and didn't show too much, even though it was awfully sticky.
Usually, these other things were enough, but sometimes, she wondered whether that was all she was entitled to.
"Were the kids alright?" his voice floated to her under the soft strains of Michael Bublé and she started a little at the intrusion.
She wasn't surprised he knew she was there, but she had to make a conscious effort to shake off her previous thoughts in order to answer him. Forcing the intense thoughts from her, she thought of the Maulers and felt the pull of contentment. "Happy, healthy, and raising hell," she answered a hint of humor in her voice as she fully entered the common room. When Robin half-lifted his head off the back of the couch to raise an eyebrow in her direction, she smiled, "Well, not really raising Hell...obviously."
He smirked, "I'm sure the monks would argue with you."
She smirked herself, "Probably." She walked around the couch to stand off to one side, facing him.
"Is there a reason you came home early?" he asked, his tone casual and not at all the way it normal was when talking business.
She could tell he wasn't in the mood to talk shop. "Yes," she admitted, and when he looked up at her, she smiled, "I wanted to come home." He smiled at her and rested his head back onto the back of the couch. "I suppose you don't want me to debrief right this moment?" she asked, making a show of looking at the stereo system.
He shook his head, "No, not right this moment," he agreed, patting the couch next to him with the hand that held the stereo remote, "Take a load off."
"I had hoped to change..." she said and at his questioning look, she pulled aside her cloak and motioned the spot just between her breasts where Timmy's grapefruit juice was just barely visible in the half light, "Timmy's rather joyous greeting resulted in a rather unfortunate end for his box of grapefruit juice."
He chuckled, "Ah, I see..." he said. "Those kids have taken quite a liking to you, haven't they?" he asked.
She looked off and found herself sitting down on the edge of the couch anyway, "They probably would've taken a liking to anyone that took care of them when they were feeling so alone," she answered, noting only briefly as the song changed into another soft jazz tune with a female singer this time.
"And you've taken a liking to them."
She smiled to herself, "Yes, I suppose I have."
"No excuses for it?" he asked, surprise obvious in his tone.
"Do I need any?" she countered.
"No," he admitted, leaning back into his comfortable position against the couch.
They sat in companionable silence for a few more moments before she caught a whiff of sugary sweet grape and remembered her intention of showering and changing. With barely a shift of weight on the couch, she stood, but didn't get very far.
"I missed you."
His words stopped her as surely as if he had reached for her, which he hadn't.
She didn't know what to reply, or even if he expected one. He certainly didn't look as if he did. He wasn't even looking at her. So many different responses went through her mind. 'I was only gone for a day': a condescending answer. 'Thanks': a cold answer. 'I missed you too': an out of character answer.
She wished she knew what he expected, but knew he wasn't really expecting anything from her. She wished she was better at this, at conversation, at saying what she felt, but she knew she didn't have to be.
Around them, the song changed again and the soft strumming preceded the unobtrusive voice, "I can only give love that lasts forever / and the promise to be near each time you call..." (1)
He didn't think she'd answer by now, probably.
"...and the only heart I own for you and you alone..."
"It's good to be home," she spoke, allowing her sincere relief to resonate in her voice.
"... that's all..."
"It is now," he agreed over the following verse and she only caught some of the words.
"...a hand to hold..."
And he let her hear the relief in his own voice and just like that, she knew, without a doubt and without the need for his words, that he had been waiting for her. She knew other things too in that moment, in the way she felt warm and welcome in his presence and the way the Tower was only a home because he was there.
"...all I have are these arms to enfold you..."
And it could've been surprising, she knew, it probably should have been, but it wasn't. There were no bells or whistles. There was no sudden shock. It was like admitting something she had always known, like confirming the sky was blue or that Robin was persistent...it just was and had always been. Like the scent that followed the rain that was always there and she always smelled even if she was sometimes too busy to acknowledge it.
"...and a love time can never destroy..."
It was a simple thing, warm and comfortable and at her realization, it spread the way mothers were supposed to spread blankets over their children, offering the promise of safety. It wasn't soft whispered words or glances dripping with love. But it was tender and all encompassing and it had always been there, even without either of them realizing it.
"If you're wondering what I'm asking in return dear..."
Except she knew that he had probably realized it...Robin realized everything. "How did you know I'd be coming home tonight?" she asked softly.
"...you'll be glad to know that my demands are small..."
He chuckled, and in the darkness and soft music, it was surprisingly intimate, "A guess?" he offered, knowing the way he seemed to know everything lately, that she wouldn't buy it but that it would be enough.
She smiled, but didn't turn and he didn't see it. "Goodnight, Robin."
"Sweet dreams," he replied.
"...Say it's me that you'll adore..."
Yes, she decided, he knew. He had realized, probably quite a while ago. Just as he knew she'd come back downstairs after her bath. "Probably," she said as she walked out of the common room and toward her room.
As she rode to her room in the elevator and the soft strains of the song followed her, she thought that although she maybe didn't have what the others had, she didn't really need it. All she needed was someone who would wait up for her when he thought she might come home...
"...for now and evermore..."
Just someone who she knew would be there waiting for her to come back from her shower even if she insinuated she wouldn't...
Just someone she could sit comfortably with...
Just someone who made her warm inside...
Just someone who missed her and told her...
(1) "That's All" by Michael Bublé
And although I don't mention it, my playlist for this is as follows:
1. "You and I", Michael Bublé
2. "Body and Soul", Diana Krall
3. "I Miss You So", Diana Krall
4. "Where Do I Begin? (Away Team Mix)", Shirley Basey
A/N: Don't report me for this. I keep thinking of removing the lyrics at the end, but I couldn't make myself. I could probably take them off, and I might eventually, but for now, let's leave them okay? Like I said, I'm not really very happy with the ending of this.
Thanks: What was the last one-shot I posted that you guys reviewed for? Refusal? I think that might be it. Okay, so I can't think that I responded to those reviews yet, so I'll be responding to them on my 'emsscraps' journal, as usual. I hope you guys like this one. And if you do, you know what to do...g'on...hit that little button. I could use some cheering up after the bar exam kicked my butt from here to kingdom come and back again. (Yes, this is a desperate plea for sympathy...)