Another story rescued from LiveJournal, polished and posted.


Robin was in the gym, eviscerating practice dummies, when his workout was violently interrupted by the shrill chirp of his communicator.

"What is it, Star?" he asked when the LCD displayed Starfire's face.

Robin, your presence is required in the Main Room most urgently.

Robin frowned. "What's going on? Is the city under attack?"

I— but Starfire cut herself off, biting her lip and looking away. After a moment—a moment full of indiscernible background noise—she looked back again with renewed determination. You are needed in the Main Room. Please make of the haste to travail upon this location, as time is most assuredly of the essence!

And then the screen went blank.

"Starfire? STARFIRE!"

But it was no use. Starfire had killed the transmission.

Robin wasted no time. He sprinted up the four flights of stairs between the gymnasium and the Main Room rather than wait for the elevator. When he reached the Main Room floor though, he pulled himself up short.

There was no light shining under the door.

Robin realized that the Main Room had to be totally dark, with even the shades pulled down against the bright afternoon sunlight, and his resulting scowl could have rivaled even that of his mentor. Tower security had been breached before—by H.I.V.E., Mad Mod, the Puppet King, Slade—heck! It might as well be called Titans' Hotel for all the random villainous traffic. Robin readied his Bo-staff, activated the night-vision option in his mask, and opened the door as stealthily as possible.

Silence greeted him.

Slowly, cautiously, Robin entered the Main Room. It was dark, quiet, and—most importantly—deserted. He took a slow, steadying breath as he swept the seemingly empty room with an electronically assisted gaze.

Then suddenly everything happened at once.

A scurrying sound off to his left. Robin spun around and grabbed a fistful of birdarangs at the same instant the lights clicked on. He flung an electrified disk into the control panel, effectively killing the lights again even as his night-vision automatically winked out in a moment of inconvenient blackness. Then shouting, coming from all around him in the dark, but Robin didn't pay attention to the words. Instead he reacted, instinctively diving forward, somersaulting in a flurry of cape as two birdarangs flew off to the left and the Bo-Staff whipped out to the right. A loud crack (gunshot!) and then even more shouting as the Bo-Staff made contact and some unknown assailant toppled over.

Robin sprang to his feet and whipped a set of bolos in the direction of the shot. Then he reactivated his night-vision. The first sight that greeted him was that of the splayed brown mass that had landed at his feet.

Clayface!

Robin gasped, jumped back, and whipped out a freezing disc when suddenly the shades flew up. His night-vision deactivated in a flash of green.

"Surprise."

Robin's head snapped around at the sound of Raven's characteristic monotone. When his normal vision returned a moment later he saw that she was standing by the wall with a pointed party hat poised to fall off the hood of her robe, which she'd pushed back and off of her head. Robin realized she'd used her powers to open all the shades at once.

"Way to go, man! You just totally ruined your cake!"

Robin looked down and saw that the brown smear at his feet was in fact not Clayface but rather Cyborg, covered in what appeared to be chocolate pudding. Too shocked to speak, Robin could only dumbly stare, slack-jawed.

"And dude, you totally popped your birthday balloon."

That's when he finally noticed Beast Boy, entangled in bolos, holding the string of a burst balloon. Starfire was attempting to untangle him.

"My… birthday balloon?" The words just did not compute.

"Truly," Starfire verified. "We received an anonymous transmission that informed us of the immanence of the anniversary of date of your birth. We could not let this day pass without the typical Terran-style celebration." Then her expression fell, and she broke eye contact with him. "Alas, you appear to share friend Raven's opinion of this tradition."

Finally the Boy Wonder snapped to his senses. "No!" he defended quickly, then just as quickly he returned the freezing disc to his utility belt and retracted his Bo-staff. "I'm sorry. It's just that I—" Robin bit off his explanation, embarrassed. "Uh, well I'm not too good with surprises."

"No kidding," Cyborg called out from the ground. He tried to shove himself into a sitting position, but he slipped on the chocolate on his hands and landed on his back again with a soft splash.

Robin winced. "Guys, I'm really sorry, but I thought—"

"That we were under attack," Raven interrupted, walking over. "I warned them, but why should they listen to me?" The question was rhetoric, but she directed a half-hearted glare at Beast Boy anyway, whose attempted shrug was hindered by the bolos. Meanwhile Cyborg finished slurping the chocolate from his hands.

Robin was chagrined to the point of mortification. "You even baked a cake?"

"Spent all morning on it, dawg," Cyborg said as he stood at last. "The recipe was embedded in the transmission. Came out great, too."

"Dude, did you notice the streamers?" Beast Boy managed to point in the vague direction of the ceiling.

Robin swallowed thickly and looked up. No, he hadn't noticed the streamers, hung with such precision only Raven could have managed it. There was a banner too, cheerfully spelling out "Happiness For Your Birthday Robin!" obviously made by Starfire. The table was set for five, and was already adorned with pizza boxes and all manner of junk food—Beast Boy's influence there. And then there was his cake, which Cyborg had baked... and was now wearing.

"Guys… I don't know what to say."

"Say you'll go away for two hours—that's how long it'll take me to bake another cake, now that I know what I'm doing," Cyborg offered. "Then come back here and let us surprise you."

Robin looked at his friends. Cyborg was covered in chocolate and Beast Boy was entangled in bolos, and they each had a party hat askew atop their heads. Starfire wore her hat perfectly—albeit upside down—and Raven had pulled hers off but still had it in her hands. Despite it all, they each seemed to genuinely want to throw a surprise birthday party for their leader, even if the "surprise" was no longer possible.

Robin smirked, agreeing, as he found it impossible to say no to them.

The looks on their collective faces was well worth it.

-fin-