He shouldn't be here… be here of all places to run to in the middle of the night, climbing into the solitary darkness of familiarity, bleeding onto the invisible carpet.
He got there. That's all that mattered.
Solitary must have been correct because a human presence could not found, no alarmed rustle of sheets, no demands for identification. He felt disgusting, his costume and body coated with grease and blood, he was unsure if the black crimson was pouring off of him. A metallic tang, sour in the back of his throat, induced his gag reflex and the figure blending into the strange eclipse of living space groped along for the spare bathroom, large sweating hands fumbling for the handle before pitching open the door and slamming it closed behind him without flinching at the impact it made.
Once he reemerged, his skin throbbed bright red from the harsh scrubbing with soap and water, to remove the grime and fluids, and the top half of his costume slid off. Absently he rubbed his arms, reminded of unwanted sensations, and slouched down on the thick round mattress nearby.
The man was so lost in his psyche that his face actually gave visible signs of effort, he made such an effort of suppressing his reproachful thoughts that unnoticed, the resident of the living space had made a hasty appearance.
She could feel him coming from a mile away.
What Dick was repressing, whatever possessed him to come back or what he was experiencing, its presence shrieked itself in her face like a frantic siren. Based on what was known about him, his hearing had been more acute then most, he found ways to sense people coming just as quickly as she could read emotions. If he hadn't noticed her by now….something had to be enormously wrong.
Something threw her off, her senses swaggering…it was in the air…..combined with blood…it came from her darkened ajar bathroom door. Filth. Earth. The smell vaguely sickening with vomit combined. Was he sick?
His spine stuck out like spikes in the tender white flesh of his back, scars obvious, and his posture completely curled forward. She was almost certain he was shaking but trying to control it. Dick was not one to shake. To show weakness. At least, not in front of anyone. Thinking he was alone, he was free to lose himself to the worst conditions.
No, even alone, he could not give in.
Eventually she made herself known, letting her arms slip around his thin neck, intently pressing the inner warm flesh of her wrist against his bare side. The only light in the darkness of the unholy dwelling were the sparks of starlight reflected in her purplish-blue hues.
"Want to talk about it?"
Her lips hovered over the nape of his neck where she decisively settled behind him and rested her velvet cheek on the edge of his shoulder, gazing up at him with a mixture of quiet patience and sheer deliberation. The seductive way she breathed, purposely grazing his skin to bring him to goose bumps, seemed empty that night.
"I don't need to."
He shifted around and quickly drew himself to his feet, allowing himself a moment to look blindly at her. Moonlight cracks from her window permitted him a lucid visual. Garbed without her usual flowing cloak, seemingly exposed in her body-hugging spandex, she was a nymph in the shadows.
But neither of them were thinking about that.
"You didn't come all the way from New York to break into my room and reflect in the dark without a reason," the powerful telepath raised a fine eyebrow, "In fact, I'm not sure why you chose here of all places to mull something over."
He had been thinking the very same thing.
His fingers pressed into his hair, clutching the spikes and he shook his head with a groan, turning away from her.
"You can't save them all Dick…that's just how it works out sometimes…."
"You can't save them all Dick…that's just how it works out sometimes…."
'Shove it up your ass, old man', responded the inner workings of the young man's mind.
He was denying himself of a memory, of events that had transpired, and they were excruciating as they slashed at his skinned vulnerability. Her skin mocked crawled as she got up, whispering gently, "Hey…"
Trying to comfort him by touching his bicep was a huge mistake, she soon realized as he reacted badly to her halfhearted gesture, thrusting her back into one of her walls. His voice, no longer recognizable as Robin's but as a man cracked, filled with years of knowing more, knowing less, and infected by resentment and incoherence. The guttural of it burned her on the inside just as much as his stale angry breath burned her exterior, "I'm a failure. You can't heal me."
His strong forearm removed itself from her collarbone and her teeth unclenched, the young woman gulped in a fresh breath, "You never asked me. And if you continue acting like that, I can assure you that whatever injuries you sustain hereafter, I won't be healing."
"Is that a threat?"
He was pretty big. Her small gray fingers curled into a ball, glowing around the edges. She could take him.
"Try me Nightwing."
She didn't want to though.
Scrutinizing his trembling silhouette, the telepath insisted, "I don't understand what you want."
He collected his wits while still struggling to keep conscious and levelheaded; it must have been a while before he heard the low tones of her uneven voice, "Do I have to pick at your brain to get it like everything else?" The offer was not hostile, it held a comical leer to it, and the glowing across the room died.
Despite what he wanted to say, nothing would leak out. Exasperated, Nightwing made a purposeless hand motion, hindurance made evident when he uttered desolately, "I failed. My responsibility, the lives I'm suppose to take care of, my lives are dead. Because I couldn't save them."
"What do you mean?"
She shouldn't have been prodding at the wound…but how else was he going to tell…….
"The block was relatively new; I should have checked the perimeter more thoroughly for civilians before attacking the goons. They were carrying gunfire on them, potentially deadly long range distance, they planned on converting the neighboring area into a drug joint, they had the officials scared to check up on it. I would have gotten them…."
He murmured longingly, tilting his head down and running an anxious hand through unruly locks, "I would have gotten them." It took another moment of silence to compose himself, in attempt to stop the shivers and swells of nausea.
"A little girl, she couldn't have been more then seven, she had been in plain view down the neighboring street. Just stood there. I couldn't understand why she was just standing there, she had a tricycle in one hand and started running right in our direction. The goon I had I threw down to go after her and I had her around the waist when the shot went through the back of her white blouse. One of them shot her…for no reason."
"I've watched men, women, grandparents, bums, criminals... kids die. I've held several, I've felt their blood run down my arms, stain my clothes, I've watched their eyes shut, the light flickers like a candle and some unseen force pinches it out. Most of them die without making any sound, someone will beg forgiveness to their God, someone else will ask me to tell their loved ones, almost all of them get quiet after. When the bullet hit her, she screamed like her life depended on it. It wasn't even human; it was agony, fear, and everything else surfacing as noise. I could barely keep a grip on her, her lungs refused to quit. They open fire and I went for the alley to avoid either of us getting pelted. The noise whirred in my head, my sight spun a couple times and over her screaming I heard others shouting. Four or five kids. Two couldn't be any older then Tim's age, sixteen maybe. They were same two that were killed by massive internal damage the moment they were shot. It varied on the rest of them. I couldn't focus on anything but stopping the gun fire.
"When all the goons were knocked out, the guns broken, I finally noticed the silence. It was the kind that made your eardrums pressurize. Made your eyes water. I had left the little girl in the alley. I went back for her, one of the boys clutching his stomach had grabbed onto my ankle with his free hand, crying and bleeding from the mouth. He lay outside the alley, I felt her skin, and I knew it was cool but at first I thought she was alive. The light, the glittering of life, I saw it in her green eyes…….it was just glass. Tiny pieces of glass from the explosions we encountered before finding safety, I should have seen it from the blood seepage on her eyelids….."
Nightwing trailed off, lips slightly parted. His female companion stated monotonously, "It sounds like what happened was completely out of your control."
"It shouldn't have been out of my control. I should have just stopped them," he growled dangerously, "I should have saved that girl. I should have gotten there faster. I should have done something other then just taking it!"
A fist swung for the steel wall and she caught his muscular arm with both hands firmly, although straining to keep her seize, "Need I remind you that you are human? You did what you could with what you had. Nothing more could have been asked out of you. Even Batman is human."
Nightwing managed to rip himself away and coldly grasped her up by the upper arm, pulling her almost chest to chest with him, leaning into her face and she tilted her chin defiantly. A raw cold undertone issued from his mouth, giving her unnamed chills, "Batman is not human."
"You only think that," Raven suggested with malice aforethought, "Is that what you're striving for? To be the Caped Crusader? Is that what you want to be when you grow up?"
He snarled heatedly, "When I'm in this suit, there is no room for mistakes. I can't be human. You don't know Batman like I do. Batman wouldn't have let this happen."
And he would say no more on the subject.
Retching herself back into her own air space, she looked down and thoughtfully stroked the place where his fingers once enclosed her. "You're not Batman."
And she would say no more on the subject.
Raven stepped out to where her window was located and unclose it, shoving the space wider, the rapidly cooling temperature blasted the wind into her face challengingly and she locked the pane in place. Her fingers sprayed out on the ledge she leaned on, the now veiled stars outside over the dusky California ocean gave her an implication of contentment. Nature always calmed her nerves. She voiced her single annoying thought that slowly gathered energy throughout this entire conversation, "Why did you come to this room? Why out of all the people in the Tow--?"
A pair of hands spun her around; her gaze met that of irresistibly warm blue.
"It is a simple fact that I trust you Raven."
To prove his point, he wiggled his Nightwing mask in front of her face, smirking faintly. It was reassuring to say the least. She snorted, batting it away; it must have been contagious because it began plucking the corners of her mouth. No wonder he wore a mask, no one would be intimated by the charm and ardor streaming from his naked stare.
At times… …she wondered why she was going to be the last person on Earth to fall in love with them.
"Are you staying? Everyone here would get a kick out of seeing you; Garfield and Wally were just talking about you yesterday."
"I'll bet," He chuckled dryly, not revealing anything, "No, I've got a few places to stop at. I need to be somewhere else for a while."
'At least he's not brooding……I shouldn't jinx it…'
Raven retorted, "So that's why you came here? You have a dizzying intellect even I'm astounded."
This time real laughter greeted her secreted apprehension, as did the welcome of his body heat when his sizeable fingers found a stray strand of indigo lingering over her cheek, his smile distracting her as the hair tucked behind her ear, "I needed to see you."
Asking questions would have just complicated things so she internally accepted it.
The emotion in his eyes suddenly became fearful as he examined her sharp features, savoring the vision of her tiny slender nose, feathery lashes framing unspeakably gorgeous purple eyes, the feature he found himself eyeing on more then one occasion, her plump almost lilac-colored lips. Damn temptation.
"I…I should probably go."
Raven agreed, "I think you should."
Stay… she mouthed between notched breathes, into his lips, his tongue against hers tirelessly, he robbed her of her breathing. Her hands were everywhere, absorbing the feel of the rough hairs on his jaw, the thin skin of his temples, rubbing his back, his abs, and digging into his hair. This was not the stubborn, awkward but brave boy she grew up with, she grew to respect and confide in. In place of that image was an impulsive, dominant and caring man who carried the same traits, the same memories, but it wasn't the same. Raven would have never been caught dead kissing Robin…...but Dick…
Nightwing groaned loudly into her mouth when her hand flitted between them, they separated and she coughed, apologetic and breathless, "Sorry. I didn't mean to…uh…."
"Get a little handsy?" A fiendish grin crossed him. "S'alright. I can't wait to see what else you do when you get excited."
She grumbled under her breath and Nightwing grinned wider, "Aw. That's cute." When panic struck her expression, he gently squeezed the tips of her ears, "They blush."
"I like it."
"Shut up," she mumbled impatiently. Why did he have to tease her like that? It was embarrassing enough she couldn't control it but did he have to make it worse? He smiled softly, messing her short hair kindly, "You know I love you."
Raven asked skeptically when he perched himself on the ledge, making a line for himself, "What is that suppose to mean?"
Nightwing paused to shrug, keeping a weak grip on his Grappling Hook, "I'm tired. You're probably tired. I'm not sure anymore what kind of game we're playing."
"You know that's the first time you ever kissed me?"
A Robin smile, genuine and satisfied, cast her way, "Let's hope it's not the last. Thanks for listening Raven."
It was a noiseless escape; he became nothing more then a harmless dot amid the obscurity. Quietly, Raven stood on her tiptoes while leaning over, the doubtful wind caressing her face lovingly.
The End. All the disclaimers go with this, TT and Batman references belong to their creators. Oh, and please check out the works of the dedicated, Alena-chan and Cherry Jade, they are phenomenally talented writers I idolize immensely. Their chapter stories are only of the highest quality. Think about it? Alright, review please, likes, dislikes, yaddayadda you know the drill. Thanks for reading this random plotline!