What Friends Are For

A Teen Titans Fan Fiction by Jacob McDonald

Opening Notes – This is a one shot that's been floating around on my hard drive for almost six months. I never posted it because I didn't really feel it was too great. I wanted to make something more out of it. Turns out all it needed was a few lines added here and there, and it became something of a decent fic.

Dedicated to reallyravenroth and signoRINA so they'll leave me alone about writing a Rob/Rae fic for them… though somehow, I don't think they'll stop…

Standard disclaimers apply. I don't own Teen Titans.

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He had been fighting harder than ever, lately.

His style was the same, all fluid movement, acrobatics, and lightning fast strikes, but… there was more power now. He hit harder, and more accurately. Hard enough to break bones, and in just the right spots to inflict the maximum amount of damage in as little time as possible. He was blazing through fights, taking down criminals faster than ever, better than ever.

Still, Raven worried for him.

After they had taken down the Brotherhood of Evil, and established the world wide network of Titans, he had started changing. He was bordering on brutality, and as much as she hated to admit it, watching him fight sometimes scared her. It was… frighteningly intense.

As she dragged her gaze across the battlefield of the street, Raven noted that the others were wrapping up. She had already beaten and restrained the gunmen she had taken on, and it looked like the last one fighting was Robin.

Staring at him, she narrowed her eyes.

He had taken on Mammoth by himself, insisting that he could handle it, and that the rest of the team needed to worry about the gunmen the genetically enhanced giant had brought with him. Their fight had been raging for almost five minutes now, and Mammoth was showing signs of the battle rather acutely.

His left arm hung limply at his side, probably dislocated. Blood painted the left side of his face, leaking from several cuts along his brow and cheek. Limping on his right leg, he staggered forward and slammed a fist down at Robin, who just jumped back out of the way.

Coming back in lightning fast, his steel rimmed boot connected with Mammoth's face with a wet smack, snapping the giant's head back, and toppling him. Robin grit his teeth, a bit of saliva trailing from the corner of his mouth as he pounced forward, shouting out an unintelligible war cry, and bringing his open palm down in a chop towards Mammoth's throat.

A fallen parking meter surrounded in an aura of black energies flew in front of him, and his strike met it with a clang. Jumping back, Robin cursed and whirled around, glaring at Raven. She met his gaze from under her hood with glowing white eyes.

"He's out Robin. Stand down." She said in a cool voice.

He growled at her and marched forward. He got within a foot of her before he shouted, "What the hell do you think you're doing? You should be helping the others on clean up, not worrying about my part of the fight. I had it under control!"

"Stand. Down." Raven narrowed her eyes.

Robin shouted something she didn't understand, and before she knew it, he'd yanked her hood off and was screaming in her face, one of her arms clutched in his hand hard enough to bruise, "You're disobeying orders like an amateur, Raven! That kind of attitude is going to get someone killed!" She glared at him in a fierce manner. He screamed again, spittle flying from his mouth, "Are you listening?"

"Robin!" She barked, the raising of her voice getting his attention, "Stop acting like a child and STAND DOWN!"

Robin was breathing heavily as he suddenly became aware of the stares directed at them as they stood in the middle of the quiet street shouting at each other. Starfire's eyes were wide, staring at him with a look of abject horror. Cyborg looked grim, ready to march over and rip him off of Raven if he didn't let go of her. Beast Boy just stared with his mouth open.

The worst part though, were the four civilians still on the scene, and the six police officers who were watching the altercation with looks of nervous interest. Robin swallowed hard, and dropped Raven's arm. Without a word, he whirled around, walked to the parked R-Cycle, and mounted it. Kicking over the engine, he peeled out without even putting on his helmet.

"Dude," Beast Boy stepped up next to Raven, "what's his deal?"

Raven didn't answer. She just watched Robin's back until he disappeared from view.

---

After re-assuring the others that she was okay multiple times, Raven finally escaped them and vanished into the upper residential levels of the Tower. The trip back had been rife with questions, some of which she'd answered, and some of which she hadn't. For all their many talents, Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy didn't see as many things as Raven did about their leader. How he had been sliding down a dangerous slope for the past several months.

It wasn't hard to find him at all. She didn't even need to use her powers to search out his awareness, since he was making so much noise. It sounded as if the punching bag in his room was taking quite a beating.

Stopping in front of his door, she took a deep breath and centered herself. She buried her emotions, let go of her ego, and steadied her mind. She would have to confront him with a cool, rational mind.

Raising a hand, she knocked. The sounds of bag abuse stopped instantly, and she heard heavy footsteps approach the door. There was a bleeping sound as he disengaged the lock, and opened the door. She looked up at him, her face hidden under her hood, except for the thin line that was her mouth.

Robin was breathing heavily, and his bare chest glistened with sweat. He had removed most of his uniform, and now wore only his pants and boots, along with his mask. His hands were wrapped in tape, which had split from constantly slamming into the punching bag in the corner. His knuckles were raw and bleeding, but he didn't seem to notice.

"Oh." He said, "It's you."

"Yes. Me." Raven glared.

Robin glared back, "What do you want?"

"Aside from an apology?"

"I'm sorry. Now go away." And he made to shut the door in her face.

Raven's hand shot out and she held it open, "You're bleeding." She said quietly.

Robin glanced at his hands, grunted and walked away from the door. Raven resisted the urge to roll her eyes and stepped in after him, shutting the door behind her. Robin stepped across the room and stopped next this his bag, studying the blood splatters on it. Raven floated over and landed next to him, gently taking one of his hands and holding it up so she could heal it. She was so close to him that she could smell the salami on his breath from his lunch, and make out the individual droplets of sweat that hung on his body. The unusually intimate closeness didn't seem to bother either of them.

As she worked, she murmured, "Self destruction doesn't suit you."

Robin was silent as she took his other hand and began healing that one as well. When she was done, she let him go and took a step back out of his personal space. She stood by and waited for him to speak.

After a long moment, he said, "Why did you do it?"

"Do what? You'll have to be more specific."

"Why did you throw me off the battle field like that?" he turned on her, his stance coiled and tense, "Why did you disobey me in front of the public like that?"

"I wasn't aware the Titans were now condoning lethal force." Raven's voice was cold enough to lower the temperature in the room a few degrees.

"You know what I'm talking about, Raven! Don't play dumb!" Robin growled, "The public is going to think that the Titans are falling apart if you start ignoring my orders and-"

"You were going to kill him, Robin." Raven cut him off.

Robin surged forward and got right up in her face, "I had it under control! I know what I'm doing!"

"You're losing control, and if you knew what you were doing, you wouldn't be shouting in my face right now." Raven narrowed her eyes.

"I'm not losing control!" Robin shouted. He spun around, grabbed a ceramic pencil holder off his desk and hurled it into the wall, where it exploded into hundreds of shards. He stomped away from her, then whirled around and shouted again, "I don't know what twisted little fantasy world you're living in Raven, but in the real world, people die if you mess up, and-"

"You know as well as I do that blow would have killed Mammoth in his weakened state." Raven cut him off again, maintaining her cool.

Robin was on her again in a second, "Stop saying that!" He screamed at her, "Stop it! I don't kill! Batman trained me not to kill! I would never kill anyone!"

"You're getting out of hand, Robin." Raven used a calm, soothing voice, "You've been more violent lately. More reckless. I've had to patch you up four times this month, including broken bones in your hands from where you hit people too hard."

"I'm just trying to keep up with the bad guys!" Robin continued to shout, "If they bring it on hard, we have to bring it back harder! We have to show them we're still tougher than they are! We have to stand united and-"

Raven's cool snapped, "Cut the bullshit, Dick."

BANG!

Raven's breath left her as she slammed into the wall. Robin had grabbed her and hoisted her around so fast she hadn't even seen it coming. He pinned her to the wall, his arm across her throat, and his knee digging into her gut. "Don't… ever call me that name again." He pressed harder, the sweet sent of sweat filling her nose, and his terrifyingly angry visage glaring down at her.

"You're hurting me…" Raven whispered, her eyes pleading with him.

Robin's scowl slowly faded, and he realized what he was doing. Letting her go, he stepped back, a look of abject horror on his face. "Oh God… Rae, I'm sorry, I didn't… I…"

Raven rubbed her throat, and looked at him seriously, "I could have used my powers to stop you. Don't worry about it."

Robin shook his head, looked away from her and staggered to his desk chair. Falling into it, he leaned forward and dropped his head into his hands, "What's happening to me?"

Raven walked over and crouched down in front of him, taking his hands away and lifting his face so she could see his, "You're going through a rough patch, Robin. Why are you fighting so hard? Where's all this anger and excess violence coming from?"

"I…" Robin looked away, "I don't want what happened with the Brotherhood to ever happen again. I can't be helpless while my friends need me."

"And you think going after the criminals with near murderous levels of violence is going to scare them?"

"If it hadn't been for Beast Boy…" Robin looked back into her eyes, "Raven… I can't let them down again."

"You don't have to be like this, Robin. Being harder on your enemies' just makes them fight back all that much harder. The cycle of violence and anger continues until someone dies… and I don't want to see you become a murderer." Raven reached up and lowered her hood, "I know you don't want that either."

"I don't, I…" Robin gazed at her for a moment, then leaned forward quickly and pressed his lips to hers. Raven's eyes went wide for a moment, then fluttered shut as she too leaned forward a little, all the while, her brain screaming at her to stop.

As Robin moved to deepen the kiss, Raven pulled back, then fell on her rear, looking up at him. His eyes went wide behind his mask, and hers matched his a moment later.

Raven spoke first, "What in the Seven Hells do you think you're doing?"

Robin dropped to the floor next to her and grabbed her hand, "Holy shit, Raven… I'm sorry… I don't know… what came over me, I just-"

"Robin." She held up a hand and he stopped, "Let's just… this never happened, okay? I'll forgive you this time, but if you ever do it again, I'll blow you through the wall."

"That's fine… I'm sorry, I just… what the hell was I thinking?"

"What does that mean?" Raven looked miffed.

"I didn't mean it like that… I just… aw, Hell, Raven…"

"You were emotionally weak." Raven's eyes softened, "I'm not a warm person by necessity, Robin. But I'll make an exception for the one person I've known longer than anyone else on this plane of existence." She held open her arms, "Come here."

Robin sighed and crawled forward, resting his head on her chest and letting her wrap her cloak around him in a protective covering. After a moment, he curled up in her embrace and hugged her back.

After an indeterminate amount of time, Robin sat up off of her, and swiped at his eyes, "Thanks Raven… it helped." He slung an arm around her and squeezed.

"Any time, Robin." Raven leaned against him, and the two of them sat in quiet companionship on the floor of his room, as friends. "Any time."

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Closing Notes: I'm going to try and get the rest of 'Timelines' done today as well. Hope you enjoyed this little interlude to everything else I have going on! Reviews are appreciated.