Disclaimer: Well, here I am in my fantasy world where not only do I own Teen Titans, but I also own a mansion with an indoor pool, bowling alley, private theatre, Batcave included. Although now I'm back in reality where the most I own of DC Comics or Warner Brothers is movies, T-Shirts and of course a couple comic books that I bought from the mall. So yeah, I don't own Teen Titans if you haven't figured it out by now. Also, some of the lines in this One-Shot are from the TV series. I don't own those either.

Author's Note: Okay, here's a small little one-shot (No, I'm not going to make it longer like I did with my last one-shot that's now many chapters long). It's supposed to be a metaphor sort of story. I thought it up and was like, yeah I should post this. So I hope you enjoy it! (And for those of you who want me to get back to writing "What?" I'm getting there, I'm getting there...) Now, on to "The Corset"!

Quick Note: If you don't know what a corset is, remember in Pirates of The Caribbean (1st movie) where Elizabeth couldn't breathe because of that piece of clothing that was wrapped around her waist and Jack ripped it off? That's it. They are meant to make people look a certain way (primarily thinner). Both women and men have worn them and they have many different designs for men and women.

-T-

Regular: What's going on

Italic: Metaphoric

-T-

The Corset

In. Out. In. Out.

I ran. I laughed. I fought. At the end of the day, I was watching a movie and eating pizza. I was still awake by the end of the movie. I woke up Starfire who had fallen asleep on my lap and nudged Raven to get Beast Boy to stop drooling at the movie's ending. I went to bed and fell asleep. I was relaxed and calm. I was soothed, not feeling any of the world's weight around me. Hey, I'm a teenager.

In. Out. In. Out. I can breathe.

I woke up. I locked my door. I turned on a single light. I took out a file. The pages were turned. Notes were made. A knock on the door.

"Yes?"

"Robin, do you wish to eat lunch out with us?"

"No."

"Oh," She sounded disappointed, but I brush it off.

In.. Out.. In.. Out.. I'm fine.

They come back in the evening. Cyborg tells Beast Boy that if he ever turns into a dog again in the T-Car he'll blast him to pieces in the gym. I roll my eyes. The alarm. I flip open my communicator, open my door, and race to the R-Cycle. We arrive, myself in the lead. The sound of explosives come from inside. I race in and find Sladebots surrounding the place.

We begin to fight. I look up at the rafters and see one cruel eye staring down at me. I grapple up and begin to fight. He laughs at me and calls me pathetic. He says I have potential but that I am wasting almost all of it. I get angry. He pins me down to the rafter, pressing his foot into my back and pulling my arms up behind me. It hurts and I bite my lip so I don't scream. Then he throws me over the side. I fall, but Cyborg alerts Starfire who grabs my hand. I yelp at the pain in my shoulders.

The fight is over. I race back and again I'm locked in my room.

In.. Out.. In.. Out.. Got to work harder.

I roll around in my sleep. I scream as I wake up. Nightmare, only a nightmare. I can feel the cold sweat on my face, neck and chest. I hug myself telling myself it was nothing. Nothing at all. But his eye. Watching me, just taunting me. I hate it.

I hate him.

In... Out... In... Out... Just a bad dream.

"Robin, please come out. This is not good for your health," Starfire begs.

"I'm sorry, Starfire, but I have to work," I respond through the locked doorway.

She gets too concerned and rips the door's lock off. I turn around annoyed.

"You're paying for that lock," I said to her.

"Robin!" She yells at me. She grabs my shoulders and shakes me, "Why do you care about the door? Why do you care more about catching Slade then spending time with us, your friends?"

"Star, it isn't that. I just have to..." I start off.

She starts to cry, "Is that all you can give us? Excuses?"

"I'm not making excuses, but some things come fir..."

She looks at me as though pleading, "Do not the Titans come first, Robin? Do we not come first?"

"Starfire, this is to keep you safe. It's to make sure that..." I can't finish.

She starts to cry harder. I feel her arms wrap themselves around my neck and she cries into my shoulder. I hug her gently and rub her back, trying to calm her down. Her tears soon make my suit wet and I can feel them on my shoulder.

"You do not wish for us to be friends?" She whispers.

"Star, it isn't anything like that. I just want to protect you..." I whisper back, "I can't let anything happen to you. I know what happens when..."

Starfire leans in. I can feel her breathe on my ear as she speaks, "Robin, please..."

I slowly pull away from her. In my gut, I feel like I've just been stabbed with a knife, "I can't, Starfire. I don't want to see any of you hurt."

"But it is okay if I, we, see you hurting yourself?" She asks me.

I'm speechless and turn away.

In... Out... In... Out... It's starting to get tighter.

I look at the clock. 3:47 AM. I shake my head, hoping to rid the sleep from my eyes. I get up and jump when I hear papers falling to the floor. Nothing, I only knocked them over. I pick them up and place them on my desk. But I can't get up. I'm too tired. I kneel down against the wood and wall. Leaning against the wall, I rest. My eyes drift. I fall asleep.

My alarm goes off across the room at 5:45 AM. I get up. I'm so tired. I walk to the bathroom and practically collapse at the sink. I'm dizzy. A shower, and I feel like I'm up. Off to the training room. I punch at the punching bags, lift the weights, aim at targets. By the end of it all, my muscles are sore and worn out. I don't go to my bed. I get right back to my desk.

11:26 PM.

I grab a Sprite out of the fridge. I hear Beast Boy walk in, "Dude, please don't tell me you're still up."

"It's not that bad. We stay up for movies this late," I respond.

After a yawn, "Yeah, but dude, that's not work."

"Whatever, Beast Boy, I'm just getting a soda, okay? I'll be in bed by twelve," I tell him.

He's out of it, "You do that, man, while I go and speak to the cute chicks over there."

I think he's delirious, so I shake my head and walk off. I get up to change into shorts and a T-Shirt. I'm so in the mood to get into my bed. I'm about to sit down when I hear his voice.

"I will annihilate them, Robin. And I'll make you watch."

I shut my eyes at the memory. I breathe in deeply and go to the newspaper file. It was going to be another long night.

In... Out... In... Becoming a little dizzy, but I'm fine.

Cyborg is downstairs showing me the upgrades he gave the R-Cycle. I tap my foot impatiently. He had banged on my door interrupting me from my work. I know he's only trying to help, so I don't say anything objectionable.

"So, there you have it. One fully upgraded R-Cycle," Cy smiles at his achievement.

"Yeah, thanks, I'm going to go and..."

"Hey, Robin, man, listen, Beast Boy and I were going to go to the arcade. We were thinking of getting the girls to come, too. You want to come?"

I looked at him like if he was expecting a different answer he was crazy, "After what Cinderblock did today, are you kidding me?"

"Just was hoping," He replied.

I sighed, "Hope doesn't get reports filed. Action does."

I hate to admit it, but the arcade sounded fun.

In... Out... In... I can feel tugging.

Movie night again. It's also my turn to do dishes. Raven comes over. She places her brown old book down on the counter and sits down. She sips her herbal tea. The orange smell is what alerts me to her presence.

"Want some help?"

"No, I got it."

She sighs, "What movie did you pick?"

"I'm not picking, Beast Boy can," I say simply.

"Robin, it's your turn and you know how we all feel about Beast Boy's taste in movies. Except for Cyborg of course," She sounded like she was almost begging me.

"Fine, you can choose," I say.

"They'll think I'm lying," She tells me.

I get annoyed, "Fine, watch 'The Perfect Storm'. I'm not watching, so I don't really care!"

I finish the last of the dishes and leave Raven who I know is glaring at me behind my back. That evening I hear the sound of the waves at sea from the movie. I don't really care. I'm surprised that Aqualad hasn't stopped by to watch. He loves those sorts of movies. I go back to files I have. I check the thumb print files. None are close enough to anything recognizable because he wears gloves.

I shiver as the memory of him proudly placing his hands on my shoulders comes back. He thought I was the perfect prodigy. I didn't want to be his prodigy. I shook off the memory.

In... Out... It's becoming tight. The strings are still being pulled. They hurt. They hurt a lot.

I look over computer files. My eyes are dropping. I pull out an image again of him. I'm tired from fighting today. He gave me a couple bruises. They hurt. I probably should take a break. I should probably go to bed. But I don't. Soon, it's morning and I haven't gotten any sleep.

"Robin, dude, you awake?"

I here Raven slap Beast Boy, "Shush, let him sleep."

"Come on, Rae, he's not even sleeping. And I bet you know that, don't you?" Cyborg replies.

There's silence. They walk passed my door. I rest my head on my desk. I let my eyes drop as I fall asleep.

In... Out... I'm fighting to keep my mind thinking straight, but the lack of oxygen...

"You won't admit it..."

I throw a punch, a kick, an explosive disk.

"But on some level..."

I yell as I try to elbow him in the gut.

"You enjoyed stealing for me..."

I feel my foot being grabbed in a mid-kick.

"It was a thrill, wasn't it?"

He throws me across the room. I struggle to get up. But my arms are weak. They feel like they're broken. I start to crawl away.

"No..." I start.

He kicks me and I cough. Spots cover my vision. I feel him grab my jaw. I'm too weak to fight him off. Slade's hand comes to the rim of my mask. My mask is the only thing that has protected me from all of the pain life has shown me. It's kept me strong. It's what has made me, me and Robin, the prodigy of Batman. I feel him start to take it off. I beg him not to. I close my eyes as I feel the cool air on my eyelids.

"I own you."

In... out... I can feel him behind me. Encouraging the strings to be pulled, even helping...

I open my eyes expecting to see him still staring at me. Instead, I find myself staring at the ceiling of my room. I'm in my bed. I throw the covers off of me. I grab the bottle of water on my dresser. I take a swig. And breathe. I hate the nightmares he gives me.

"Already out of breathe? Don't tell me you've gotten soft."

I whip around to see no one. But I feel like I'm being watched. I back against the wall and feel something cold hit my head. I turn around and find myself face to face with Slade's mask. It might as well be him.

"What I remember is that you couldn't defeat me, at least not all alone."

The mask might as well be talking to me because I've never seen his face. Only the grated mask has been where I have heard sound. I go back to my dresser. Instead of drinking the water, I throw the water on top of myself to reassure myself I'm awake. I am.

"I am the thing that keeps you up at night..."

"No..." I start. I find myself on my knees, covering my ears with my hands. He's not here.

"The evil that haunts every dark corner of your mind."

"Please, stop..." I beg.

"I will never rest... and neither will you."

in... out... I can't breath...

"Robin?" Starfire... "Are you okay?"

She's outside my doorway.

in... My hands hurt, like they've been burned. I look behind my back, my vision giving way. In my hands are the strings. Slade's holding my wrists, helping me pull them back. I need to let go. I have to let go.

I let go.

"Starfire?"

"Robin?"

"Help."

She opens the door and runs to my side. Kneeling down she hugs me. I hold on to her, as though without her, I'd collapse. His voice is gone from my head.

"It's okay, Robin. It's okay."

"Thank you," I whisper, "Thank you."

In. Out. In. Out.

-T-

A/N: Well, there it is. I hope it wasn't too vague. I've actually had this in mind since around April, but I've been too busy with my other story, "What?" to write it up. How was it? Like it? Review! Later!

Rena