This is a special something I scribbled for everyone who read and/or reviewed the repost of Underneath Your Clothes. It has not been as successful the second time around – well, yeah, twenty reviews was a lot – but it has done well nonetheless and I therefore offer a HUGE thankyou to everyone who helped make up those numbers. It means a lot to me that people were kind enough to read/review it again; it was my most popular one-shot EVER (and in such a short space of time – Who Killed Cock Robin? has taken about 6 months to get 18 reviews) and I was gutted when it got pulled down by the site admins.
Sooo… in order to thank all those lovely people who read and reviewed it (and even just those of you who read and had nothing to say; thankyou all the same!) I have taken to heart the request from A Raven's Last Song – to write a sequel to the strangely-popular (I have never quite figured out why everybody likes it so much) Underneath Your Clothes. So now I offer Lace and Leather – a two-part "continuation" of Underneath Your Clothes. Think of this quite literally as the "morning after". Part I – Lace – will be, as was Underneath Your Clothes, from Raven's P.O.V.
Part II – Leather – will be some fun screwing with Robin's head. Yes, indeedy! Robin's P.O.V! I have only done it once before – for the Cyborg-centric one-shot Flaws – and people seemed to think it came out okay, so yay for you! You get to witness my second go around at Robin's P.O.V! Oh, and… this fic is not about masochism, etc. I know that the title is suggestive of such things…
But all that later. For now, can I just say a big thankyou to all reviewers of Underneath Your Clothes: The Repost; Daybreak25 (BIG thankyou – you reviewed it again!); FredTheBedHead; Novemberscorpion110388; BrokenSoul0917; Simply Myself; Calamol; Baby-Ice; RavensLair; Creative Spark; Rgfawkes; and of course, A Raven's Last Song, who requested this. ALSO, to additional people who put it on their Favorites List: HowlAtTheMoon2Night; Immoral Burnings; GMastr56; Frost Mage; Snowyshadowwolf; and AvatarAsha. Big thankyou also to my co-writer Narroch06, who always kindly reviews everything…
This is for you guys.
This is set in the aftermath of Haunted, remember.
And if you haven't read Underneath Your Clothes (it's only a one-shot)… you don't have to. But this won't really make any sense if you don't.
Lace and Leather
Part I: Lace – Raven
It's the first thing I realize as I open my eyes. That it's dark. Which actually isn't very observant of me.
Because it's always dark in my room.
I center myself, still lying there, and engage my telekinesis; lighting the candle at my bedside without even having to move. My mind does it all for me.
I lie there unremittingly; still not fully awake, I will admit. I cannot even remember getting into bed last night. It is difficult to gather my bearings, even now. I am not too sure of the time; my senses tell me that it is still early. It is quiet; if it were late morning, there would be the "joyful" sound of Beast Boy and Cyborg pounding up and down the corridors as what I suppose you might refer to as a "wake-up call".
It's nice. Dark. Quiet. I'm alone with my thoughts; and warm and comfortable into the bargain. Just how I like it.
And then I feel the movement beside me.
My heart lurches in my chest unpleasantly. I suddenly feel like being sick; although it quickly subsides.
I am certainly wide awake now.
I turn my head sharply to my right and—
Ohmygod… Robin. In my bed. Under my covers. Next to me. Asleep.
I stare at him, speechless. How on Earth did he…?
I remember. It hits me like…
…that time Beast Boy smacked me across the back of the head whirling one of his sneakers over his head by the laces. He didn't mean it – and he paid dearly for it – but it still hurt my brain.
As does this.
Did I…? And did he…?
Meditation. I only brought him in here to meditate. He was afraid and wanted company.
I worry that I gave him rather too much company.
Yes, I do remember now. We were meditating together and then… just…
I don't remember why it happened; or how. I am not even sure who instigated it. But it happened.
It happened; and so did a whole lot of other things. I had not thought rationally; it had just happened.
And it was…
He was beautiful. He truly was. All those bruises… his hallucinations were not kind to him. I kissed every one of them. I did not kiss them better; I could have. I could heal him. He won't let me, though. He seems to want to be in pain; he wants to suffer. But they were everywhere; on his arms and legs and chest and face… I kissed them all, every last one, and he seemed to like that.
He doesn't want me to heal him; but he does want me to care. Maybe those kisses did make them feel better.
And I can remember now; it had been clumsy. He had been so nervous; I remember feeling his hands shaking. I suppose I got the easy role; the lady tied to her manners. I let him do everything, in all truth. And he was scared, and he didn't get everything right. He couldn't decide whether he should undress himself or undress me first. He opted for me and I suppose he was doing okay until he got to the bra. The hooks got jammed and he either didn't have the patience to unwork the material or he was embarrassed by his lack of suavity, and he employed a birdarang and cut it.
Which I suppose might have been a turn-on… if it hadn't cost $39.
He had apologized so profusely for it that it had almost ruined the mood; incidentally, the only way to get it back was to begin unbuttoning his shirt to get him started. He had then gotten into that with so much haste he had gotten tangled up in all those clingy clothes.
And then, when we were finally ready… he missed. So badly, in fact, that I had to guide him into me.
And then pure nature took over and he lost himself to it. As did I.
He was beautiful and I was proud of him. I kissed his mouth; and I kissed his bruises. I remember his skin glowing gold from the candlelight in the room; and I remember it shimmering with sweat. I remember him holding me and I remember the smell of his skin – sweat, that musky boy scent, and honey, for some reason. I remember the taste of him; of his mouth and of his flesh. The scent of his hair; hair gel and that coconut shampoo he uses even though it belongs to Starfire. I remember the pattern of his breathing – quick and heavy – and the sound of every soft little moan.
He was beautiful and I felt a sudden love that I never felt before for anything. I wanted to protect him; hold him and kiss his hair and tell him everything would be alright for as long as I did so. And he gave me magic; he gave me secrets; he gave me gifts. He gave me, within that short space of time – and nestled deep within the sweat and heat and pleasurable friction – everything I have ever wanted and needed and more.
He gave me love and promise and his trust and he taught me a lesson.
And at the very second in which he spilled into me—
He gave me something I have never felt before.
I cried into his hair and then he cried a bit too; and I remember falling asleep in his arms, naked, with my head on his thin chest and my legs between his…
But that was last night.
And now, the morning after, I am, for one thing, no longer in his arms.
He is on his stomach, his face turned away from me, so that all I can see is the crown of tousled ebony hair. His slow heavy breathing pattern tells me that he is still fast asleep.
I don't wish to wake him, either.
Will things be forever awkward between us now? Or will they become easier? I do not regret what happened between us, but I regret the implications of it. I do not wish for our friendship to become in any way… tainted by the happenings of last night…
He shifts again, giving a sleepy little moan. Rolls over onto his side. Faces me.
Still the same. He might be naked but that mask is still stuck to his face. I remember seeing his mother in that memory; of her, and of his father, falling to their deaths. I saw other things, too. Tiny flashbulb images. Of her, and of him.
She was beautiful.
And he looks just like her. It is a strange occurrence; his father, yes, had black hair too, but Robin is the spitting image of his mother. Even the type of hair, as well as the color, is the same as hers; silky, shiny and strong. The shape of his face and his skin-tone and his nose… they are all hers. I have said this to myself before but every time I study him now after seeing his mother makes me blink and look at him twice, three times… I know that I look like my mother, but I am female and look nothing like my father (thank Azar…), so that does make sense. But for Robin to have gotten only the shape of his mouth and the size of his hands and feet from his father, and for everything else to be his mother's… I find him intriguing, to say the least.
I nestle down under the sheets and curl up against him; breathe him in again. He doesn't awaken but that is okay. I don't think I want him awake.
I'm not sure how much time has passed now that I open my eyes a second time. I know I was not asleep – if I was even asleep – for very long.
I awaken fully as I realize that Robin is no longer present next to me. I sit up and look around for him, but he is truly gone.
My hand slips under my pillow for the silk nightgown I usually wear for bed; if I do not sleep in my leotard, that is.
And if I do not sleep with Robin.
I pull it on over my head, running a hand through my violet hair. It's the nicest one I have; falling to the upper thighs, red shimmering silk with black lace at the cleavage and hem. Tiny spaghetti straps; I was with Starfire when I bought it. She bought one too; bright candy pink, with baby pink lace. I preferred the red and black.
The door suddenly opens and Robin slips through the gap, closing it softly behind him. He must have been to the bathroom, for he has neatened up his hair and straightened his mask. He's wearing his white boxer shorts – I admired the glittery blue electric guitar printed on them last night while he was struggling to haul his cape off over his head – and his crimson "R" motif shirt. The guitar glitters now too, in the soft candlelight. It has tiny glass studs and rhinestones decorating it as well as that stick-on glitter they can print on shirts now. They don't look like the type of thing I would have expected him to wear underneath his neat prim uniform; they seem a little too… flamboyant.
A little too Elvis.
Like I said, he's full of surprises.
I bid him good morning, my tone as flat and charmless as ever, and he jumps.
"Hey, Raven…" He flashes me that lopsided grin of his; the one that always looks kind of guilty, if you ask me. But I know it's the one he saves for occasions in which he does not know quite where to put himself. He has a whole arsenal of smiles; the nervous one, the sour one, the sarcastic one, the grim one, the happy one (the most devastating), the malicious one, and of course the "know-it-all" one; more commonly known as simply "The Smirk".
Right now I'm getting the nervous one. Or the guilty one. Whatever.
"What time is it?"
"6:30." Robin yawns and scratches his hairline. Comes back to the bed and sits on the edge. "I just checked the clock. Whatever, it's still early…"
He looks at me. His pale cheeks are tinged with the slightest hint of pink as our eyes meet.
He clears his throat and looks away again. I continue to gaze at him. I see the bruises still dark on his arms where they are bare. I see the bruises on his bare legs. There is a near-black one on his lower jaw, which I can see more clearly now that he has turned away. The swelling around his right eye has declined even more since yesterday, although it is still noticeable.
"What?" His tone is moody now, and he doesn't look at me as he speaks.
"It's…" I watch him, trailing off, as he looks down at his lap intently, even though there is nothing to see but the bruises on his legs.
Which I am certain he would rather not see.
"Robin, please look at me…"
He sulkily looks up, shifting his legs anxiously. His cheeks are most definitely flushed pink now.
"Raven… I…" He heaves a sigh; and I know the feeling. I do not really know what to say either.
With an angry jolt I realize that we have potentially ruined our friendship for good; all for one wonderful night.
One wonderful night that is now over.
He gazes at me long and hard now. I look back at him, sitting up against the headboard, the sheets at my lap. He opens his mouth—
And then closes it again. His gaze shifts downwards. Irritated, I follow it; and am annoyed when I find that his stare has stopped at my cleavage and hasn't moved.
I am surprised at him, to say the least. Beast Boy I could see following that sort of behavior; but not Robin. He was raised, since being orphaned, by a billionaire; and so I know that he is well-mannered.
He looks up quickly at the irritated little sound I make. The pink deepens again.
"I'm sorry… I…" He nods at the nightgown. "It's… it's nice…" A very strange expression crosses his face; one halfway between sadness and amusement, and I think there may be part of a smile in there too.
"The lace…" He breathes deeply. "It looks like… the lace on this dress my mom used to have…"
Now I stare at him.
Because that is the first time I have ever heard him say anything about his parents. To me, or to anyone.
He's so… introverted. At least when it comes to talking about his past. He rarely mentions Batman or his origins as the "Boy Wonder". He never talks about his parents.
We had discussed this. Starfire and Beast Boy and Cyborg and I. Before the events of two days ago. Long ago. Because we always wondered why he never talked about his parents. I speak of Azarath – if not my whole past, for reasons which… do not matter at this present time – and Starfire never ceases to tell of us of the customs of her people. I believe we are almost as well-versed on the ways of Tamaran as she is by now.
And we have been there, of course.
Cyborg doesn't say too much, but sometimes mentions his life as a champion athlete. We know Beast Boy came from the Doom Patrol, although his retrospections are lacking detail.
But Robin? Nada. Not a word. If we did not know for a fact that he was once Batman's partner – because who hasn't heard of Batman and Robin? – we would most likely know nothing about him at all. Because he would most certainly not tell us himself.
And his parents? We discussed this. We came to the conclusion that he had probably been orphaned, and that it had not been recent incident. From the legal documents on the database – and through a little research on my part – we know his name is Richard John Grayson, and we know that he is legally billionaire Bruce Wayne's ward; even though he no longer lives with him. We also found out that yes, his parents had died in an accident eight years previous.
There was no detail of the accident.
But of all that we know… he did not tell us a word of it himself.
I know now. I saw it in his head two nights ago. Saw what he saw. His mother and father falling to their deaths from a circus trapeze. Saw them screaming—
It was a quick image. I didn't see them hit the floor. I know that he did.
And he doesn't ever talk of it. He never says "My mom did this…" or "My dad used to do that…". He keeps it all locked up in that wild mind of his; and he keeps it all to himself. Maybe it hurts less.
But I have seen.
There are places in my mind that no-one should ever go. And there are those same places in his. But I have been there, and I have seen. I should not have seen, but I have.
And I know.
He has been within me in a far more physical way. He may be the only one to ever do so. I trusted him enough to allow him, and I know that he trusts me.
And if I did not know that before… the spoken memory of Mary Grayson would have just informed me so.
"I… I never saw her wear it," he says softly. "But it always hung on a hanger… a wooden one, on the inside of her wardrobe. And there was a picture… a picture of her…"
His brow creases and he looks at the sheets for a long moment. And then he gets up. He crosses the room and walks out without another word, and before I can stop him.
He's back within the minute, something square and – from where I am sitting – white in his hand. He comes back across the room again and actually gets onto the bed this time, crawling up it to kneel next to where I am sitting.
He offers it to me.
Just as I suspected, it's a photograph. The photograph. I take it and look at it in wonder.
But the wonderment is not just at the beauty of his mother. It's him. He suddenly seems so… different. Suddenly eager to talk, to tell me all the secrets he has hidden away for so long.
She is beautiful. It's a professional photograph, albeit a small one. The lighting is perfect; and so is she. She's sitting by herself, her hands folded in her lap, on a dark wooden chair of slightly gothic design. The background is one of a Victorian nature; tall wooden bookshelves stacked with beautiful leather-bound volumes, and to the left there is part of a wide sweeping staircase.
She's in the most beautiful dress I have ever seen; I dislike dresses, and yet I would proudly wear this one she wears myself. It's black velvet, tight and form-fitting, with a sweetheart neckline and sweeping velvet across the shoulders. A single rose – crimson velvet – with a glittering diamond set into the middle of it is at the very center of the plunge, and across the cleavage line…
It's the same lace.
Or similar, anyway.
I look at her again; and then I look at him. That same jet black hair that I see spiked on him is in this photograph; it sweeps across her forehead and tumbles in a shining mass of midnight waves around her face and shoulders. I see the skin tone and the shape of the face – heart-shaped – on him.
He does not have her mouth.
But somehow he has her smile.
Because he's smiling now – that beautiful, handsome, happy one he rarely wears – and I look at the photograph; and yes—
It's the same smile that she wears.
"You look like her." It's the truth, and I whisper it, gazing intently at him.
His smile deepens; and it's truly sincere. It is maybe the first one hundred per cent genuine smile I have ever seen grace his face. I mean, he smiles when he is happy; and he smiles when he is amused.
But somehow… this is deeper still than even that.
"You think so?" His tone is tentative; yet I can hear the delight in it too.
"Yeah…" I look at him; and then I look at her again. "You really look like her…"
I'm not lying.
The pink returns; but this time it's not embarrassment.
"Thankyou…" He leans his head against my shoulder and looks at the photo himself. "She's… I miss her. And dad. I miss them…"
I bring up my hand and begin to stroke his jet black; her jet black hair. He reaches for the photograph and I gently give it back to him, watching him first stare at it almost longingly – as though he wishes for her to move from her seat and walk out of it to embrace him – and then press it against his forehead.
Somehow, his encounter with "Slade" those two nights ago seems not only to have opened new wounds; but to have reopened old ones.
Was that me? My intrusion of his body; my entrance of his mind?
Because I saw those things as clearly as he would have seen them all those years ago. I saw Slade. I saw Batman. I saw his vow and his pledge. I saw a circus. And I saw them.
I hear a sudden little sniffle from him and look down at him in surprise. He's already fiercely wiping a few hot tears from his face with the heel of his hand. I blink, but say nothing.
"Don't tell anyone…" he says softy, his voice catching.
"About you crying?"
"No…" He sniffs again and looks at me. "About… what you saw in my head. About them. Please don't tell anyone. I… they will know. They will, I'll tell them some time, but just… not now…"
He takes a deep breath and puts her photo aside; presumably so that he does not have to look at her anymore.
"It fades in time, but it never goes away," he whispers. "That's what Bruce said to me…"
"Of course not, Robin. They were your parents."
He turns into me, resting his head against my collarbone and curling his body against my side.
"Sometimes… I ask myself… why it had to be them," he murmurs. "Why me? Why my mom and dad? And when I was younger, right back when it first happened…" He heaves another aching sigh; "…it was so horrible and lonely. Bruce didn't know how to deal with kids, so he generally just left me alone. Used to talk to me sometimes, you know, but he never wanted to play with me, never wanted to go anywhere with me… He got better over time but at first… You know, I ached so much I couldn't even cry. I think the first time I cried was about a month after it had happened. Because I was all by myself again and it hurt so much and I just… cried. And I used to dream… dream of them falling and screaming, and every time, just like the real time, I just watched them helplessly because I couldn't save them and neither could anyone else… It was like I was always waiting for them to walk into my room and hug me, tell me that there'd been some mistake, they weren't really dead, and it would all be okay because they were going to take me home…"
He shakes a little.
"It didn't happen. It never happened. And I guess after a while I grew to be happy with Bruce, and I'm happy here with you guys, but… it never goes away…"
I just hold him because there is nothing else I can do. I cannot take away that pain; it is too deep within him, too old and too personal. I can only hold him as tightly as I can (without hurting him) and whisper that it is okay; it is okay because I am here, and because I…
Love. It's a strong word.
But I care for him deeply. And I know him now perhaps better than anyone.
If he will sing, then I am the "Phantom" inside his mind. I have seen. I have felt. I have known.
And I know now that he cries for many things. He cries for his parents. He cries for the devout obsession – the cancer – that takes him; the hatred for Slade that led us to this. His tears are for change; last night he cried as I did, as we lay intertwined after it was over, because things had changed. Because our relationship had taken a twist; and because he seemed to realize that he was no longer a child. Teen Titan and Boy Wonder, yes, but no longer a child. He may not be a man, but that simple encounter of last night seemed to mature him.
As though he suddenly realizes that hiding everything away does not make it any easier.
He turns his head and kisses my collarbone. I lean my head back and he plants a few more tiny little smooches there before pulling back. I arch my back into him, my head against the headboard of the bed, as he sits up and straddles my lap, putting his hands on my shoulders. I can see tears still shining on his face and the smile is gone. He leans in again, kisses the crimson jewel on my ashma chakra, before kissing down my jaw and throat. I place one hand behind his head and hold him there, but he still manages to slip down further to my cleavage.
He starts kissing deeply, and I realize…
…he's not kissing me. He's kissing the lace.
I allow him to; looking to the side to see his smiling mother. I see that beautiful woman as her equally-beautiful sixteen year old son kisses the black lace of my nightgown, tears on his face.
And then he suddenly stops. Sits up. His eyes are wide and he looks at me briefly before getting off my legs and shifting away along the bed. He stands, starts gathering his clothes from around the room, where he (and I) threw them to the floor the night before.
The studs on his shorts flash in the candlelight as he moves.
"Robin, where are you-?" I am nonplussed, but he cuts me off;
"I can't— I have work to do. I should get started…"
He sounds angry and irritable; but more as though it is directed at himself rather than me.
I do not know what has suddenly gotten into him.
Maybe I do not know him as well as I would like to think.
He starts to walk away, his uniform bundled in his arms.
"Robin!" I snatch up the photograph and hold it out to him.
He doesn't turn. He doesn't look back, even though I know he heard me.
He walks out without another word.
I lean back, perplexed.
He's smart. He's strong. And he's beautiful.
And it would also appear that he is as delicate as lace.
You like? I sure hope so. Everybody seemed to like Underneath Your Clothes…
The second half, Leather, from Robin's P.O.V, will be up whenever I have finished writing it. You wanna know why he walked out, you're gonna have to come back…
Reviews I love. Constructive criticism I find invaluable. Flames I either laugh or rant at.
If you have anything at all to say, any of the above is fine.
You know what I don't want for this fic? Lectures from morons convinced that Teen Titans Robin is Tim Drake. I am not one to blatantly tell someone that they are wrong, particularly not in an AN. BUT… anyone who STILL thinks, after FIVE seasons of Teen Titans, that Robin is Tim Drake is seriously deluded. Where do you people get that from? Most people realize that it is Dick Grayson, but I have come into conflict with a few die-hard Tim fans who insist that TT Robin is Mr. Drake.
I am sure that anyone reading this fic will have already caught onto the below evidence; ONE: The reference to "Batman" in Apprentice Pt II; "I already have a father", followed by a swarm of bats. Dick was Bruce's WARD – Tim was NOT; TWO: Fractured – what more proof do you need? Not only is Larry's real name NosyargKcid (clearly DICK GRAYSON backwards), the cartoon version of Robin who appears at the side of the shot in correlation to "Mr. Larry!" is the 60s version of the character. Was Tim Drake around in the 60s? No, sir, he was not; THREE: Canon romance with Starfire, whether you support the pairing or not (given that this is a RobinxRaven fic). Straight out of The New Teen Titans; DickxKory. Ain't gonna be happening between Tim and Star, that's for sure!; FOUR: Tim Drake was never leader of the Teen Titans. That honor goes to… you guessed it – Dick; FIVE: Hello? Nightwing? How Long is Forever? Did you not see that episode? DICK becomes Nightwing, NOT TIM!; SIX: Haunted. Oh, come on… acrobats falling? GRAYSON…
There is more evidence, but I have ranted long enough. I am sure that no-one reading this has that moronic view anyway. But I really would like to know where people got that idea from…
Sooo… anyone who gives me a review saying that I got it wrong because Robin is Tim, not Dick, will get their ass royally kicked…
- RobinRocks xXx