Well, this chapter came out sooner than I expected. I was just so inspired after having finished Chapter 4 that I started writing a new one right away. Sweetness! Anyway, this chapter consists of Slade's appearance and more Red X groping Robin. Sorry if the plot seems a bit slow here, but things should be picking up in the next chapter.

I'd also like to give thanks to Anna Craft for her especially uplifting reviews. :) I read your RedX/Robin fanfic and I enjoyed it, although I never reviewed it. I rarely log on to leave reviews, I'm afraid. Thanks for your support and of course to everyone else!

Chapter 5: Encounters of the Evil Kind

Red X was jumping from roof to roof, like a bouncing flea that couldn't be caught. He finally decided to give his legs a rest and landed on top of a roof with more than ample space for him despite the large Wayne Enterprises sign melded to be displayed to those below.

He leaned against the giant metallic 'W', even though it wasn't exactly a fluffy pillow. Screw it, he was tired and he would lie on a bed of nails if he had to. Red X shifted his neck off his letter-shaped support and cracked it as he re-though that idea. Well, maybe a bed of nails was pushing it – a fluffy bed would be better, draped with curtains to give him privacy.

Oh yeah, a bed made of nothing but fluff with more pillows than I have fingers and a naked Robin –

His daydream was interrupted by a creak behind him. Acting on reflex, Red X leaped into the hollow metal 'W' and held onto the sides, making sure to be completely hidden. Who the hell came up on this roof anyway?

"You can get down from there," a smooth and unfamiliar voice spoke. "I'm sure we have much to talk about, Red X."

The thief suppressed a gasp. How did this man know his alias? He was sure he would have recognized the voice… Without another hesitation, he dropped down from his hiding spot and emerged to face the stranger. Just as he thought, the guy was unrecognizable. He wore his own disguise consisting of a metallic suit and an orange mask showing nothing but one eye.

"The costume party was three nights ago," Red X quipped. He didn't voice his next thought of, and I know I wouldn't be caught dead dressed like a cyber mummy.

The tall man didn't move an inch and for a moment, Red X thought he wasn't actually human, but some creepy statue moved up here, probably because it freaked out the employees inside the building. Well, he didn't blame them.

But the supposed statue spoke again. At least, he was pretty sure the voice was coming muffled from within that mask. And the sudden step forward finally convinced him that no, this wasn't a statue.

"Robin made that suit. But you're not Robin."

Red X was glad he was wearing a mask because his face was unable to betray his emotions then. He had become somber at the mention of Robin. Who was this guy and what did he know of the suit he wore? Of course, he refused to let any of his apprehension show through and haughtily replied with, "Nice guess, Tin Man. You have any other obvious statements you want to share?"

"I would advise you to be polite to the great Slade. Assuming of course that you've heard of me?"

Red X raised an eyebrow despite his action not being visible. "So you're Slade? The big scary bad guy who wants to take over the world and destroy the Titans, yadda yadda…"

Slade chuckled low. His voice did not die at once but faded into a ghostly laughter that put the normally cocky Red X ill at ease. Perhaps it was not a good idea to underestimate this man. After all, if the Titans couldn't get rid of him like they did with all the other villains…

"Perhaps now you'll tell me who you are and why you're following the Titans around?" Slade said, pulling the thief from his thoughts.

Where the hell was he getting all this information? "Shouldn't a guy your age be retiring on a tropical island and sipping on cocktails? Preferably in the farthest part of the Southern Hemisphere."

If Slade noticed his blatant disregard for answering his question, he didn't call him up on it. Instead, the evil mastermind came up with another subject, one he had the feeling would capture the thief's interest.

"Did you know that Robin built that suit so he could obtain my trust in disguise?" Slade's voice did not hide the faint smugness as he closely watched the thief. He had the feeling by the twitch of his hand that he was on the right track. "Oh yes, noble Robin pretended to be a thief in order to lure me. But of course, I already knew who it was. And it led him to become my apprentice… even if only for a short while." He spoke the last phrase darkly.

Red X didn't respond. His mind was working furiously to determine Slade's intent upon reciting his past with the Boy Wonder. I didn't know Robin had been his apprentice…

"Unfortunately, getting him back won't be easy. And he would have become so powerful under my tutelage!" Slade eyed the boy before him for a moment before continuing, "Maybe since you so skillfully stole his suit, you have the potential to become my apprentice?"

Red X scoffed. "Sorry, but I work for myself. Pays better," he said.

Slade shook his head slowly as if reprimanding the thief for his decision. "Pity. And here I was thinking you could get whatever you wanted from the Titans as well as help me."

Red X glared underneath his mask, completely forgetting that all facial expressions and altercations made by him were lost to the outside world. "What are you talking about, old man?"

"Isn't that why you're following them, because you're after something? Are you perhaps trying to take something of Robin's again?"

Now Red X was angry. He was not about to let his biggest weakness be pulled out of his nose by some tin-wearing old fart.

"What my plans are have nothing to do with you. Now go back to your secret lair with your world maps and keep on plotting global domination. I've got better things to do."

He turned around and bent his knees, preparing to let them uncoil into a spring over to the next rooftop. But Slade's next words froze his movements.

"Ah, so it is about Robin. What could the little hero have that you would want?"

Red X clenched his fists so tightly that he was afraid he would accidentally trigger a mechanism and blast his own hands apart with his suit. He did not turn around, refusing to let the bastard get to him.

"You know, I was having a nice day until you came along," he said through gritted teeth. "Now I'm going to have to drown in a vat of chocolate to cheer myself up."

"Perhaps I should find Robin myself and ask him if he knows that you're looking for him?"

Red X's heated emotions reacted before his mind could. He whipped around and fired a red shuriken from his palm directly at Slade. The older man easily dodged the weapon by doing a backward flip. He looked back up at the thief and wagged a finger at him slowly as if he were disciplining a young child.

"Temper, thief. I'm beginning to think you're trying to hide something from me."

Red X put his hands on his hips, clearly annoyed by this banter. "Tell you what," he said, "You leave me alone and I promise never to steal anything from you. Not that I'd want to. Find something to wear that doesn't clash, would ya?"

With that, he sprinted and leaped onto the next rooftop, disappearing behind the building's water tower.

Slade watched him go without moving an inch. The grin forming on his face was invisible, although his low laughter gave away his mood to any nearby spectators, which happened to be a pair of pigeons.

"Things have become interesting," he murmured to himself.

Red X kept on travelling above the bustling life of Jump City, not even thinking about where his feet were taking him. His confrontation with Slade had left him feeling more vulnerable than he had ever felt in years and he was disgusted at himself.

The moment he had mentioned Robin, Red X had been unable to control himself and had rashly attacked Slade without thinking. He let out a long-suffering sigh and finally stopped his rooftop acrobatics. He stood on top of an unknown building with his head in his hands as he tried to stop the raging in his veins.

The kid had a stronger hold over his heart than he had previously thought. That was not a good thing for someone in Red X's profession; he needed to be selfish, to have no weaknesses, so he would have nothing to lose. And with a few simple words, Slade had found the way to his undoing.

Do all super villains have a degree in psychology or something? He wondered wryly.

Another, more worrying thought occurred to him. What if Slade really went after Robin now? He couldn't let the kid be targeted because of his stupid slip-ups. Then not only would he lose all chances with him, but he might also quite literally lose him.

Red X turned around and headed for Titans Tower. He was feeling paranoid and had to check up on the kid.

Today had been a great day, Robin thought as he lay on his bed for a rest. No evidence of criminal activity for once, and if there were, it had apparently been enough for the local authorities to handle. The gang had opted for a day in at the tower and had spent it having an all-genres movie marathon.

Robin still had chuckles whenever he remembered how Starfire had screamed and hid behind the couch when the action movie star on screen had dramatically declared that the device in his hand was about to blow up the whole world. She still had a tendency to think that whatever happened on TV wasn't completely fictional.

Then of course, there was the obligatory romance movie. That had put stars in the Tamaranian's eyes and had left Raven feeling ill while the guys pretended to gag. Robin had noticed the furtive glances Starfire had given his way during the ultra gooey moments, but pretended not to see them.

He was unsure where he and Starfire now stood in terms of… well, whatever it was that was supposed to be happening between them. She clearly showed more interest in him than that of a mere friend, and Cyborg and Beast Boy had been quick to pushing him to make a move. However, Robin had never felt the need to do so, thinking he would take his time and see where it would lead him and Starfire. On her part, she had never made a move either. Were they both simply too shy to talk about this nameless spark between them?

Robin sighed, his gaze never leaving the ceiling of his bedroom. His fingers that were linked underneath his head were numb, but he didn't move them. He was too busy brooding over the fact that relationships just had to be complicated. Well surely his feelings wouldn't have been so mixed up if a certain dirty thief hadn't started playing mind games with him. But if Robin was so certain that his hatred for Red X was strong and his feelings for Starfire were genuine, then why was he so confused? Shouldn't everything be crystal clear to him?

A small thud made the ever-alert hero bound off his bed and turn to his window. He groaned as he saw a certain black-clad, mask-wearing someone stuck to the glass like a fly on a windshield… a fly he very much wanted to swat.

He panicked when he saw the cross on Red X's palms glow and dashed over, practically sliding the glass pane clean off its hinges with the force of his opening.

The thief stared at him as he poked his head outside. "Don't break my window again!" he yelled angrily.

"Thanks for the invitation, kid." Red X slid into Robin's room with all the grace of a feline and took a few steps around to properly admire the room, now that he was here in broad daylight.

He let out an appreciative whistle and said, "Nice pad you got here, kid. I might have to crash here sometime."

"What do you want?" Robin growled, ignoring his previous statement.

Red X was silent for a while. Robin began to wonder if he had forgotten the question when the thief spoke up in an unnaturally quiet tone, "Just checking to see if you were OK."

That certainly wasn't the answer he had been expecting. "Why wouldn't I be?" he asked with a frown.

Red X debated whether he should bring up his recent meeting with Slade. But then knowing Robin, he would probably freak out and accuse him of conspiring with his arch-nemesis. He also wanted to ask about the story if him being Slade's apprentice, but he had a feeling that it would be a very unwelcome question, at least for now. He settled with a shrug. "Love makes you paranoid, y'know?"

There it was: the dreaded L word. Robin wished he were one of those people who could control the rising blood to their cheeks, if there were any. He suddenly felt very hot under the collar of his uniform and reacted the only way he knew how: angrily.

"Leave now before I call my friends and have them kick you out in true Titan fashion," he threatened.

Red X leaned forward with a tilt of his head, clearly egging him on. "What's the matter, kid? Can't get rid of me by yourself? Or is it that you don't want to?"

Robin pulled a bird-a-rang from his utility belt and flung it at the thief with a roar. Red X easily dodged it and the weapon flew back into Robin's hand, but he wasn't finished. He jumped over his foe and intended to flatten him with a kick, but Red X slid out of the way and dropped to his knees in a flash, swinging his leg to bring Robin's knees buckling.

With a cry, he fell on the bed and was immediately held down by the weight of another body on top of him.

"Get off me!" he screamed, wishing for the first time that he hadn't soundproofed his room. Where was backup when he needed it?

"It would be a lot more enjoyable for the both of us if you could hold still!" Red X grunted with the effort it took to keep Robin pinned beneath him.

The Boy Wonder struggled with his charge but was unable to pull free as Red X had both his arms pinned above his head and his legs were entangled with the thief's. He was becoming increasingly aware of the hard body rubbing against his own and cursed his straying mind. Red X was obviously enjoying their position and made no attempt to mask his heavy breathing.

That was when Robin realized that he had stopped struggling as much. The domineering streak Red X had, the urge to wrap himself around the slightly smaller boy… Those notions raced through Robin's brain and made his body heat up. Those undeniably masculine traits were things that Starfire evidently lacked, and those same traits made him unwillingly moan in a small voice.

Red X did a little gleeful cheer in his mind when he heard the Boy Wonder moan softly. Of course, how could he remain unaffected with someone as undeniably sexy as himself on top of him? Slowly, he let his leg drift higher between Robin's calves…

"Robin! We wish for you to join us in the playing of video games!" Starfire's cheerful voice called out from behind the door.

Red X jumped off the bed, cursing his bad luck. Robin struggled to adjust himself and hastily flattened his spiky hair backwards. He glanced fearfully at Red X only to find him already gone.

"Coming," he called out weakly to Starfire. He made sure his erratic heartbeat had slowed somewhat before opening the door with shaking fingers.

"Were you asleep?" she asked him.

"No, it's OK."

Starfire peered at him curiously, her smile still in place. Robin stared at her for a moment before looking away. He tried to imagine her fighting him for dominance, wrapping herself around him like a shield… But the images did not seem right. Starfire was too docile, her body too soft, too… feminine.

Robin gulped. His mind was ahead of him once again. Starfire tugged at his arm to lead him to the living room and as he watched the back of her head bobbing happily in front of him, he knew that whatever spark Red X had created, she never would be able to.

Steel City had been quiet for the past few days. No ultra-villain activity had been detected, giving the Titans East some relaxation.

Sitting at the kitchen's island countertop, Bumblebee listened to Cyborg's ramblings from her laptop. She almost thought his concern was radiating through the screen, slowly affecting her too.

"Anyway, none of us have said anything to him. You know how he is, always keeping his problems to himself."

Bumblebee nodded. "And you're afraid he's lying to you guys again," she said just as Speedy and Aqualad entered the room.

"Well, Robin said he wouldn't do it anymore," Cyborg said uncertainly, rubbing the back of his neck, "But something's definitely bugging him. He's been pretty distracted lately."

"Gee, I wonder why?" Speedy muttered behind them. Bumblebee whipped around and looked at him inquiringly. Speedy stared back before shrugging his shoulders and said, "What? I don't know anything!"

"You sure 'bout that, Arrow boy?" she pressed.

Aqualad came to his boyfriend's rescue. "If Robin's not talking to his own team about it, why would he come to us? I'm pretty sure he'd tell his closest friends first if something was bothering him."

Bumblebee turned back to talk to Cyborg while the two boys sat on the couch.

"Nice going, genius!" Aqualad hissed, "Don't make her suspicious again! We promised Robin we wouldn't tell anyone!"

"Does this mean you're going to make me sleep on the couch?" Speedy dramatically cried.

Aqualad glared at his boyfriend. "You have your own bedroom," he said pointedly.

"But your bed is so much nicer 'cause you're in it!" Speedy replied with a grin.

"Well guess who's banned from my bed for a week now. That'll teach you to keep your mouth shut from now on." Aqualad got up from the couch and went to the fridge, ignoring his suddenly groveling boyfriend.

"Robin owes me big time for keeping his stupid secret!" Speedy muttered to himself as he lay in his own bed alone that night.

Nothing else to say here. Good day, folks!