Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. Much as I wish I did. Oh, and the song "Love's Recovery" isn't mine either.
Author's note: Slight change of pace this time. We have a Starfire/Robin story. Fear not, there will be enough BB/Raven to keep me happy. And yes, Robin may seem a little out of character for a bit. Be patient and more will be revealed.
Chapter 1 – The Blows of Insecurity
I'm walking - no, stalking – down the darkened streets, in the rain, angry, confused and hurt. In some corner of my mind I realize that I am grateful for the rain that has matted my hair and runs down my face, because that same cold rain is masking the hot tears on my cheeks. A few short hours ago, my life had changed in a way that I had not predicted, had not wanted, and most certainly was not prepared for.
My hands are shoved deep into the pockets of my jacket, long since soaked through, and I feel the cold water adhering my clothes to my body. I pause for a moment, and look at my reflection in a store window. Behind the glass stand three mannequins, dressed in what I presume is "joyful holiday wear". Truth is, I have never been much for clothes. The few I had served me very well. Superimposed in the glass, between droplets of water distorting my visage, is a phantom reflection of myself. Even in this poor image, I can see that my eyes have become reddened and swollen. My cheeks somehow seem hollow.
"All right," I mutter softly. "Enough is enough. Time to quit feeling sorry for myself." And with that, I begin shoving my feelings down. Feelings that aren't that important, anyway.
I turn away from the glass and look around. In my aimless wanderings, I have come to an older part of town, and I am standing on a corner in that vague transition from the historical shopping district and the even older downtown residential areas. Behind me, the wet sidewalk runs past storefronts, couples looking into the stores, shopping. My own gaze into the glass moments before a strange parody of these holiday shoppers. Before me, the sidewalk stretches in a series of puddles
Closing my eyes for a moment, I take a deep breath, bracing myself for what I needed to do next.
Another ten minutes in the rain turned downpour has left me soaked through. It has also brought me to the front steps of an older tenement. Four broad stone steps lead from the street to the double doors on the building. On either side of the stairs stand heavy concrete handrails, the banisters capped at the ends by concrete gargoyles, the once gray sculptures stained almost black by moss and pollution. As I walk up the steps I am overcome by a desire to turn back. I pause for a moment and force myself forward.
My right hand finds the well worn brass knob on the heavy door and turns it. Carefully I swing the door back towards me and I slip into the building, the interior halls dimly lit by inexpensive 40 watt incandescent lights spaced too far apart. It's been nearly a year since I came here last – shortly after we had decided that it was time to turn the Tower over to a new generation of heroes. I still know the way to the apartment I am seeking.
Dripping, I shuffle my feet across the matt that lies inside the door in an attempt to leave behind any mud and grime that may have chosen to call my shoes home. Before me, a wood floored corridor leads back past the ground floor apartments. I turn to my right and start climbing well worn stairs up and into the darkness of the second floor. At the top of the stairs, a wide hall leads back towards the center of the building, but my destination is the plain white door just off the stairs.
I raise my right hand, wet fingers curling in to a loose fist. My knuckles rap three times on the door, and I wait. 'What if she's already called ahead. Told him her side of things,' I muse, insecurely.
Enough time passes that I am thinking about knocking again, or going back out to the streets, to walk in my mixture of anger and sorrow. As I start to turn from the door, I am surprised as it opens. Light floods out of the apartment and into the hall, momentarily blinding me. Within the doorway stands a young man dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, his green skin revealing that he was not just another ordinary young man. I brushed my hair back out of my face.
He blinked a few times, looking me over before asking uncertainly, "Rob? Robin, is that you?"
I nod, knowing that this was likely the first time he had seen me without my mask.
"Dude, come in! You okay?" Beast Boy opened the door wider and I shuffled my way into the brightness of his apartment, my clothes dripping cold rainwater onto his floors.
Not trusting my voice I shake my head in response to his question.
"Okay, Robin. You need to get into a hot bath. I'll find some clothes for you," Beast Boy said. He turned for a moment, his green eyes drifting past a clock. "You can stay here tonight. The futon doesn't look like much, but it's comfy." He turned and yelled out behind him, "Raven! We've got an emergency out here! I need you to find a bath towel"
I feel my eyes widen in shock. The last time I had been here, Beast Boy had been living alone, Raven traveling across Europe.
My shock must have been obvious, as Beast Boy started scratching the back of his head, nervously. "Yea," he said, "about this… We were waiting to tell you guys at Christmas…"
Before my mind could process this information, Raven glided into the room, bath towel in hand. Unlike Beast Boy, Raven was dressed in her uniform, ever present cloak hiding her. "Gar, you really need to stop drinking soda on the…" she began, stopping when she saw my wet figure. "Robin?" she asked.
"Raven, I'm going to get Robin to the bathroom and find him some clothes. Can you see about setting the futon up for him for the night?" Beast Boy turned to me, "Come on, Rob. Let's get you out of those clothes and maybe you can tell Raven and I what's going on when you're warmer."
Raven handed me the simple white bath towel and I followed Beast Boy down the hall towards the bathroom, and freedom from my cold wet clothes.
Nearly an hour later, I slipped back down the hallway from Beast Boy's bathroom to his living room. I was dressed in a white t-shirt and red plaid flannel pajama bottoms. The t-shirt was a little tight, but I had been surprised at how well Beast Boy's clothes fit me. As I rounded the corner from hallway to simple living room, I paused and looked at the room I had been too numb to notice before.
Beast Boy's apartment was a modest affair, the fixtures done in colors that had been popular some thirty years before. The bathroom had been painted white, with cream floor tiles. But the sink and bathtub had been heavy enameled iron, finished in Harvest Gold.
In the living room, it appeared that Beast Boy had decided to keep the retro look intact. He was seated in a chair upholstered in a color I recognized as Avocado Green, across from Raven in a matching chair. Beside each chair stood a simple end table finished in a dark cherry stain. Between them on the floor was a futon, opened out as a bed, covered in white sheets and an avocado blanket. The windows were masked by beaded curtains in surprisingly tame oranges and yellows. The walls were adorned by prints of Georgia O'Keefe paintings, and a couple photographs by Alfred Stieglitz. Raven's influence, I guessed. In the corner of the room stood a vintage television on a stand.
"Hey, man," Beast Boy said, noticing I had entered the room. "Feeling better?"
"A little," I said. Not wanting to discuss why I had turned up wet and alone, I made a suggestion, "Can we try and get some sleep, and talk in the morning?"
"Sure, Rob," Beast Boy said, slipping to his feet. "We'll talk in the morning." Beast Boy padded quietly out of the room and down the hall I had just come from, leaving me in the room with Raven.
Raven's quiet voice cut through the air, "I know you're hurting, Robin. Don't feel like you have to be alone with it. Beast Boy and I… We care about you." Having said that, Raven got up and followed Beast Boy down the hall.
Alone in the living room, I sighed and turned out the lights. Sliding under the covers I resolved myself to an evening of fitful sleep.