A/N: This is my first response to the challenge I issued on my 'emsscraps' livejournal. (If you want to challenge me with something, go look up the challenge in my emsscraps journal and post a request onto there.
Kysra asked for one month before Trial and Error. I tried to make it a bit more risque, but it didn't work out that way. I already emailed it to her and she seems to have liked it. I hope the rest of you do too.
Trial and Error – One Month Earlier
"I'm standing here until you make me move/ I'm hanging by a moment here with you..."
- Hanging By A Moment, Lifehouse
They were alone.
This, in and of itself, wasn't particularly strange. They were the ones who usually preferred to stay home rather than to go out clubbing or to game rooms or even most movies, so they often were. Alone, that is.
Or, more specifically, alone...together.
Robin raised a brow at Raven who offered him that soft turning of her lips he recognized as her smile.
"Wrong game, Rae."
"Oh?" she quirked a brow and shrugged, "Sorry," even though she obviously wasn't. "I'll take two," she answered, discarding two cards onto the pile.
"You know," Robin said, casually leaning on the table between them, "If you're having trouble getting the rules of the game straight..." he trailed off, holding his own two cards close to his chest.
"I can't have two?" she asked, with all the semblance of innocence. Robin knew better.
He pushed her cards back across the table toward her with a flick of his wrist. "Take your cards back, smarty pants," he said dismissively.
"Smarty pants?" she echoed, quirking a brow and a corner of her lips.
Robin would not be dissuaded from his near victory by his unfortunate choice in slang. He knew all her tricks. "Read it and weep, Rae," he tapped the card he had placed on the table, "The card says 'Draw Four'."
Raven's eyes went wide as if in sudden understanding, "Oh, so that means I have to---?"
Robin grinned, "If you need me to explain the rules of the game, again," he tried to goad her, "because you couldn't understand it the first time..."
"Well, pardon me for not understanding a game," Raven said monotonously. "Not all of us can pick up game strategy within the first few moments of game play, and I have always said I don't like games..."
"Bullshit," Robin coughed.
"Are you trying to insinuate that--"
"I'm not trying to insinuate anything," Robin interrupted frankly. "I'm saying that you're trying to cheat." He ignored her near look of offense and continued, "I'm saying you have very cleverly noticed that I've only got two cards left and that you've got..." he trailed off and tried to count the stack of cards in her hands which she quickly hid behind her palm before he could, "...well, a lot," he said joyfully, "...and I'm saying, bluntly I think, that you're trying to use a pretense of ignorance to cheat."
"I would never--"
"Bullshit!" Robin coughed, louder.
Raven narrowed her eyes at him, "Can I get you a glass of water, Robin?" she asked, her calm tone belying the threat in her eyes, "You seem to have a really nasty cough there."
Robin laughed, "No, no," he cleared his throat. "I think I'm okay now…" he looked at her, "If you're through with the bullshit that is."
Raven's expression became the epitome of monotonous casualness. "I think I'm offended."
"No, you're not," he countered, unrepentant, "You're just peeved that you got called on it," he said smugly.
Raven raised a brow, "You seem awful sure of yourself, Boy Blunder."
"Where you're concerned," he answered a determined kind of certainty in his voice. "Yes."
"You think you know me that well, do you?" Raven asked into his silence.
He shrugged and looked at his cards, "Yes."
"Why?" she questioned. "I don't know myself, not anymore, how could you say you know me?"
He felt the shift of mood like a palpable thing and knew the conversation was no longer about whether she was bluffing or not. "I just do." He cocked his head to the side, "Don't you know me?"
He read the answer in her eyes, but he hadn't really doubted it before. The realization of it might be surprising to Raven, but not to him.
"Well," she hedged, thinking, "But I'm an empath."
He laughed. "And I'm a detective, what does that have to do with anything?"
She looked, for a moment, frustrated. "I know you because I'm an empath, that's what it has to do with it," she answered.
He shook his head. "Let me ask you something," he leaned forward again, capturing her eyes and demanding honesty, "Do you know any of the others as well as you know me?"
She didn't have to answer that question, of course, and she probably wouldn't – not vocally anyway -- but at least asking it would make her to think about it. It wasn't that he was particularly looking to bring about these kinds of realization today above any other day. He was perfectly content to wait and would be perfectly willing to drop the serious conversation at the first hint of discomfort on her part. She doubted each of her emotions, even now, when she was notably freer with them and so he knew that realizations with Raven had to be prodded little by little and very slowly. He was fine with that. He had patience, where it counted, anyway.
He wouldn't have taken the conversation in this direction. He didn't, though. She did. And he knew her enough to know it must have something she had been wondering about for quite awhile if she was speaking of it now. Raven never spoke of anything this serious without having given it quite a bit of thought on her own before hand.
So, although he was willing to wait, he was also ready to take this as far as she wanted to.
"I've been in your head," she offered as an excuse.
He exhaled and shrugged, busying his hands with organizing the discard pile they would use as the draw pile. He was very careful to offer an answer she could let drop if she wanted to. "That's part of it, I suppose."
"But not all of it?" she asked.
He looked at her. "Not as far as I'm concerned, no," he answered, smiling. "Why would you being in my head explain how well I know you?" he challenged.
"I don't know," she answered.
He shrugged again and smiled, taking her answer as a sign that she was not ready to explore the conversation any further – at least, not just yet. He motioned the pile, "So, draw four."
She pulled four cards from the pile and looked at her hand for a moment, organizing her cards. He knew she was organizing them by color first, then by number, in descending order, with any wild cards at the end of the deck, on the right. He watched her organize and figured she had at least one wild card in the deck.
"I pick green," he declared.
She sighed and reached back for the draw pile.
"Why don't you use your wild card?" he asked.
She looked at him in momentary surprise, before lowering her hands to rest on the table, her head bowed for a moment. "Why do you know me so well, Robin?" she asked after a brief pause in silence.
He thought over his answer very carefully but waited until she looked up and met his eyes before speaking. "It's easy to know someone when you pay special attention to them day in and day out."
There was a pause, and he thought she might not pursue it any further, but then she spoke again.
"You pay special attention to me day in and day out?" she asked.
Robin had been waiting for her to ask a question like this for years, so when he smiled, it was the kind of smile people rarely saw from him, but which Raven had seen at least three times before, if she were counting. "Because I love you." And as if he hadn't noticed her surprised expression, he motioned the game before them, "Now, use your wild card so I can beat you already."
Raven blinked and put down her wild card, "Blue," Raven spoke as if in a daze.
Robin grinned and put down his blue skip card and when she realized that she could not put down a card of her own but had to wait for him to go again, he put down his final card, a green skip, with a bit of a flourish. "Uno," he called, smiling at her.
"You win," Raven said in her customary monotone, lowering her pile of cards onto the table and standing up. Robin watched her start to walk away and wondered whether he had made a mistake after all. He looked up at her as she approached him, and there was a moment when he was certain she would walk right by without even looking at him, but even when she turned her gaze on his and their eyes met, he couldn't have anticipated that she would stop, lean down and kiss him.
He responded of course, Robin was never an idiot, even when surprised, and when they came up for air, Robin's chair had been pushed away from the table and Raven had somehow ended up half on his lap and half straddling him, her hands gripping onto his shoulders.
They looked at each other, both downright flabbergasted, Robin that she had kissed him at all and Raven that what she had intended, in her naiveté, to be just a press of lips had ended in such blatant impropriety and Robin that she had kissed him at all. (He knew exactly how kissing her would end up if he had any say in the matter.)
She recovered quicker than he did. After all, she had kissed him and she was notoriously better at controlling herself than most anyone in the world. When she smiled at him, there was an edge of something altogether sinful about it. "You didn't know I was going to do that, did you?"
Robin had to admit that he didn't, but he could only shake his head to do so. And just when the shock was starting to wear off and he was more than willing to explore the situation a little more, Raven shifted and somehow managed to raise herself from his lap and disentangle herself from his arms quite gracefully. She was back on her path toward the elevators before he could think of one civilized thing to do to stop her.
A/N: So, what'd ya think? I've got ideas in my head for Guyute24's request (one month after Enough and Aileene's request (one month after Laid Bare).
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: If you like Kysra's work, she did this same challenge on her livejournal. You can find it here (take out the spaces): http :// guardian – kysra . livejournal . com / 191487 . html She's only had me ask her for something from the Teen Titan universe, so why don't you guys go and ask her for something else, huh?