Life Bonds

Chapter 3


(This takes place one month and one week after Starfire's left the team)


It shouldn't feel like this, Raven thought, as she waited outside the T-Tower for Cyborg. They were friends, going outside together, to hang out, to enjoy each other's company. As friends. Friends did it all the time. There was no reason for her heart to be pounding ninety miles an hour. No reason for her palms to be sweaty, or for her to feel so...excited.

After all, it was nothing new. They'd been sneaking out-- no, they weren't sneaking. They'd been going out-- no, they weren't going out. She sighed in frustration. It was all beginning to give her a headache. Something that had been happening quite a lot lately...

Okay, they'd been hangingout, together, as friends,for about three weeks now, ever since Cy had asked her out to the movies.

Cy. They were calling each other by nick names. It didn't mean anything. Friends did that all the time too. So what if it made her feel insanely happy, that he evidently felt comfortable around her, to call her Rae? It didn't mean anything. It wasn't like they were--

No. They weren't.

If I feel this confused over it...maybe it's best if we just stop doing...this.

It would be the smart thing to do. At least then, she wouldn't feel so conflicted. He made her feel like BB did, only different. Something she couldn't put her finger on. He made her feel relaxed. And things at the Tower were so...quiet. Only not the comfortable type of silence that she usually thirsted for, but the tense, stifling quiet that made her feel like she was going to go insane if things continued the way they were going.

But when she went out with Cy, no matter what they did, be it going to the mall or movies, or just hanging out at the park talking, all of that melted away. It didn't matter that the team, their world, was slowly falling apart. Because in those precious minutes, when they talked or just sat next to each other, they weren't Raven or Cyborg of the Teen Titans, they were simply Rae and Cy, two teenagers out having a nice time.

It was so normal, and so relaxing, that she couldn't find it in herself to feel nearly as guilty about it as she should have been. She didn't wantto stop doing it. Didn't want to give up the only nice thing she had going for her right now. Beast Boy wasn't even talking to her. She wasn't even sure if they were still together.

So she really had no reason to feel guilty...about this. Whatever this was...

She heard the door open and close, signalling that she was no longer alone.

"Sorry I'm late. I was trying something new with the Tower's security grid and a bug popped up at the last second, and I just knew that I was this close to fixing it, and before I knew it one minute turned into another and...sorry." He grinned sheepishly, realizing that he was babbling.

Raven shook her head dismissively. The way he talked, she must have been waiting outside for a while. And if the tingling in her legs was anything to go by...she probably had been. Had she been that deep in her thoughts?

"Don't worry about it."

Seeing that she wasn't mad, he relaxed and continued to prattle on as they made their way to Jump City, knowing that while she wasn't actively participating in the conversation as he was, she was still listening, and very much interested. He didn't really have anything major planned for today, and they had only gone out just a few days ago...

But he'd been so bored, with no one to talk to, and so he'd taken a gamble and had hoped against hope that she'd accept.

And she had.

Because he knew for a fact that if he were to stay in that quiet Tower, any more, that he'd kill himself. It was thatdepressing. None of them ever ventured out of their own rooms anymore. Once when he was fixing himself something to eat, he noticed just how unused the rest of the Tower was. There'd been dust collecting on the furniture.

He hardly saw anyone other than Raven, and the only reason he knew that BB and Robin were still staying in the tower, was because they still fought crime together, even if it was done in silence now, with their teamwork a pathetic resemblance to what it used to be...

Cyborg sighed, and forced himself to shove those thoughts aside as they neared their bench in the park. At first, they'd gotten quite a few stares from civilians, not used to seeing two Titans out in the open, but after a few weeks, they weren't given a second thought, as people found more important things to focus their attention on, such as which famous movie star was pregnant and whatnot.

Occasionally, someone would come up and ask for an autograph, but for the most part, they were left alone.

They sat and conversed comfortably for a few minutes, until he stretched. He didn't really haveto stretch, but he was starting to get restless. Maybe he'd suggest they walk around in a few more minutes. Cy spent most of his time in the Tower sitting at his worktable tinkering. He was tired of sitting.

He realized that Rae had frozen in whatever it was she'd been saying (he really needed to pay attention before she asked him something) and glanced over, bemused. "What's wrong?"

Cy followed her gaze and froze as he realized where his hand had landed.

Time seemed to freeze.

Stiffly, she removed her hand.

The silence was overwhelming, and he suddenly wished that he was back in his room, tinkering where it was safe, and his emotions weren't going haywire, just because--

Gingerly, Raven lowered her hand on top of his, her eyes staring straight ahead.

Swallowing thickly, he tried to will his own arm to stop trembling. This was so wrong. BB was his friend. Okay, so he wasn't being a very good friend at the moment, but still, BB was his friendand Rae...Rae was BB's girl, and it was just sowrong, on somany levels and...

"What about..." Didn't have the nerve to say hisname, because that would strengthen his resolve that this was wrong, even though it felt so right, and he didn't want it to stop just yet.

"I don't know."

He cleared his throat awkwardly, her hand still resting on his. So wrong...just so wrong...

"I won't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, I swear."

She smiled ruefully at him. "That's what I'm afraid of."

He didn't know what worried him more. The fact that Rae was BB's girl and it was only inevitable that they get caught, because that was just how his luck ran, or...the fact that he couldn't find it in himself to feel guilty. Unnerved, maybe. Worried? Definitely. But Guilty?

Over this? Whatever this is...

Never.

Cyborg smiled at her. It wasn't one filled with any type of emotion, it was just there, and it felt so out of place.

But he didn't know what else to do.

She stood up, her cloak billowing about her as the wind shifted. "There's a Tech show going on at the mall."

Cy nodded. He'd checked it out online, and it seemed to be pretty interesting. Though he knew that it wasn't really her thing. But they'd gone to her favorite cafe last time, so now it was his turn. Besides maybe there'd be some food at the place, and he could get something to eat. Now that he thought about it, he hadn't reallyeaten anything in the past few days...

"Alright, let's go."

They started down the sidewalk, their conversation almost nil. Cyborg frowned. Had going another step forward ruined everything? Did she no longer feel comfortable enough around him? Or did she think that everything was supposed to change now? Was everything supposed to change?

Cy noticed they had yet to let go of hands and felt a sense of...well he wasn't sure what it was, but it helped him to relax, and he no longer felt like he was going to malfunction. Maybe it'll all change for the better.

Reality settled in.

Or maybe it'll all just get blown to hell and back.


Where was he? Light. There was light. It was so warm, it washed over him and filled in the gaping holes he hadn't even noticed were there. Okay, so maybe he had noticed, but just hadn't wanted to admit it.

But that was okay now, because the light was here, and everything was okay. He felt at peace. Only the light started to move away a little bit. But still, that was okay. He could still feel it. It was just a bit colder.

But then it got farther away. And farther.

And even though he knew he should have...he didn't chase after it.

Couldn't.

The light was so warm...but there was a part of him that said it was wrong.

It was warm...but wrong?

As if hearing his thoughts, the light shrank away faster, and he felt despair settling in.

Run! Come on! Chase after it! But his legs wouldn't move. It was like his entire body was frozen in place, and then the light was completely gone, and he was alone, again. In the darkness.

Only, now that he'd gotten a taste of the light, however brief, he now realized just how cold the darkness was. How it bit cruelly at the missing parts of him, tearing at the holes, making them seem wider.

Except, they werewider. And getting bigger the longer the light stayed away.

If only he would have just rantowards the damn light.

But he couldn't.

It was...

Wrong.

Aware that he was now on the verge of waking up, Beast Boy pulled the covers over his head in protest. He didn't want to wake up just yet. Maybe if he had the dream just one more time...

He'd be able to chase after the light.

The changeling didn't know what the light was supposed to represent, but he did know it was important. And that without it, he felt...

Like he was dying.

And he knew, if he chased after the dream just one more time, he'd be able to chase the light. And he'd be able to live.

He couldn't wake up. Not yet. Didn't want to wake up.

In his dreams, he kept feeling like he was dying. But at least in the dream, he had a chance to stay alive, if he'd only chase after the light.

Didn't want to wake up.

Because when he didwake up...

And went to fix himself something to eat...

Saw how empty the rest of the tower was...

And remembered about the times when they would lounge on the couch and watch movies...

The dust collecting on everything...including the memories...

He realized that he was already dead.

At least in his dreams he had a shot at living.

In real life, it was already too late.

Alas, his prayers went unanswered, again, so he forced himself to leave his comfortable cocoon and get ready for more reading. Coughing, he entered the shower and quickly bathed, his shoulders shaking as more hacks racked his body.

It seemed like he was catching a cold, so he kept telling himself to go out and buy some cough medicine, but he'd find a new lead in the Library, or a villain would choose that moment to attack Jump City, and he'd end up forgetting all about it.

It probably wasn't anything to worry about, but it was beginning to annoy him.

Not to mention, the Librarian was one strict Lady who would not tolerate noise of any kind, even if he wasa member of the Teen Titans.

He slid into one of his costumes, collected his books and headed out the Tower and towards the city. For the past several days, he'd been reading the Library's vast collection of books. Mainly about psychology and dream interpretation.

Not his usual interest, and yes he'd had to look up a few things, but he was determined to figure out just what the dream meant. Night after night of the same dream...and if he could only run after it, he'd probably figure out just what the light was, but he couldn't, so he'd decided to figure out as much as he could during his waking hours.

Beast Boy shifted into one of his bird forms and flew past the first Library he came across, the one downtown, deciding, like always, to go to the one in the outskirts of Jump City. It didn't take much longer, considering flying was faster than walking. The library he usually went to, had a better selection.

And besides...

Raven often went by the other one.

The changeling knew he wasn't being fair to her, that she deserved at least an explanation of why he was acting like...well...an ass. But he couldn't bring himself to face her just yet. Because when he was around her, he felt like a part of him was complete, like always. But then he'd remember the light in his dream, and even though he knew he shouldn't...he found himself comparing what he felt when he was with Raven, to what he felt when he was surrounded by the light.

And always, it paled in comparison.

And then he'd spend hours just sitting in his room, staring at his walls, feeling so empty and depressed.

If he couldn't have the light in his dreams, what were the chances he'd be able to have it in real life?

Entering the Library, he walked to his usual section and started scanning books, hoping to find the ones he'd seen earlier. It always irked him when he found that someone had checked out the books he'd been interested in.

Pulling down a thick book, he began scanning through it, a cough threatening to break loose as he breathed in some of the dust that had been on the huge tome.

If he could find out what his dream was about, then everything would make sense again, and he could go back to being with Raven, just how things used to be.

Just give me time, Rae. That's all I need.

He coughed again.


They stood there in the awkward silence of the Tower, both avoiding eye contact. It was something that caused Robin's masked eyes to narrow, as he took in how they weren't even touching each other.

"I had a...good time."

"Yeah, same."

"Well...I should go."

"Ye..ah...Rae?"

"Yes?"

"Are we...okay?"

Raven nodded.

That's a weird question to a--

His jaw dropped as he watched her reach up and gently place a kiss on Cy's cheeks.

"We're fine, Cy."

And then they were gone, heading to their own separate rooms, leaving him staring at a blank screen, wondering if what he'd seen had really just happened. They were...

Together?

No...

Together?

Raven and Cyborg?

They couldn't...

Wouldn't...

But the kiss...

But soon shock turned to anger. No, he wasn't angry. Angry was a polite word for what he was.

He was pissed.

How could they do that to Beast Boy?!

Sure, the changeling was being a bit elusive, but they all were! And just because he was having a hard time dealing with Starfire...

Starfire...

Snarling, he began throwing anything he could get his hands on at the wall, trying to get his anger out before he accidentally did something he'd regret. Everything was messed up. It wasn't supposed to be this way damnit!

Raven is supposed to be with Beast Boy.

And he's supposed to be with Starfire.

But then he started having those dreams and...

And then I messed everything up.

His hands searched for something else to hurl, only to come up empty handed. Looking at his floor, he saw how much destruction he'd caused and his shoulders sagged, his anger draining out of him as he dropped to his knees.

Everything was messed up.

And he didn't know what he could do to fix it.

Robin began feeling his chest tighten and tried to relax his body, knowing that if he didn't--

FUCK!

Pain started shooting up through his neck and back. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to breathe slowly, trying not to panic. Another wave of pain and he gasped, falling forward into the shards of glass on his floor, glass cutting into his skin.

Stars began to appear in his vision, but he forced himself to hold on. After a few more seconds, the pain started to ease up, and he let out a sigh of relief before gingerly pulling himself into a sitting position.

Stupid, getting yourself worked up over that...

He'd done test after test on his body; his heart to be exact, and hadn't found anything abnormal. Nothing to explain the sharp pains that happened whenever he got too emotional. Only that it was starting to get worse, and he was beginning to fear it would interfere with his crime fighting.

Cautiously, he stood up and moved to his bed, glancing down at his almost naked body, having just got out of the shower when deciding to check the cameras. There were a few cuts, but nothing serious. He glanced over at the monitor in his room and cursed himself for ever having installed those hidden things.

When he'd discovered Bruce's hidden cameras at the manor, he'd sworn to himself that he would never grow as paranoid as the overgrown bat; would never stoop so low. Bruce had of course, just smirked when he'd told him that, and had said, 'We'll see.'

And now, here he was, years after having made said promise, spying on his own teammates. Damn Bruce for being right all the time. Damn him.

Damn Raven and Cyborg.

That thought caused his blood to boil, as he remembered just what he'd seen on the monitor.

How could they?

"HOW COULD THEY DO THAT TO ME?!"

He gasped as the pain in his chest returned, his eyes wide as he tried to remember what he'd just said.

How could they...

Do that...

To me?

They...they left me behind. His mind stated, sounding like a sulky child.

Robin shot out of his bed, and jerked open his closet, taking out one of the suitcases in there.

The Tower was driving him insane. Being around a group of people he no longer knew...they weren't a team anymore, and...

He couldn't stay in the Tower anymore, that was just a shell of what it used to be, without Starfire there...

And with Raven and Cyborg...

Beingtogether.

His hands froze over one of his shirts. Am I really going to do this? Am I really just going to leave? Leave Jump City...the Tower...them...? What about the mission?

The mission always came first.

Isn't that what Bruce used to say?

I can't be you, Bruce. Robin thought, slowly pulling down one of his shirts. I'm sorry...but I can't...stay here...anymore...

The door to his room slid open, and he whipped around, looking very much like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Beast Boy stood in the doorway, a book in hand, his green eyes staring at the suitcase that sat on Robin's bed.

"Taking a trip?"

Robin heard the accusation in his tone and sighed, looking away. "Don't...do that. Don't try to stand there and...act like you're handling this any better than I am." He turned back to his closet. "Alright? Because you're not."

The silence that came after his statement was so long that he'd actually thought BB had left. So he was surprised when the changeling whispered, "Maybe not. But...I'm not the one running away. You are."

Beast Boy saw how his back stiffened and opened his mouth to say more, anything to get him to listen, to stay. But then the alarm sounded off, and he knew that the mission always came first, something Robin had told them countless times... so off he went to see what was happening in the city they'd sworn to protect.

And not for the first time, he wished that the mission could come second, because the longer he was away from Robin, the bigger chance it was that Robin would run. And he couldn't let that happen.

Raven was there, but he didn't have time to feel guilty or avoid eye contact. Didn't have time to register the fact that she looked slightly guilty or that she wasn't trying to talk to him for once. She only had to say one word, before he was running back to Robin's room, his blood pounding heavily in his ears.

"Slade."

Robin couldn't go. Couldn't leave. He was their leader. Without him...what were they? They were barely hanging on as it was without Starfire. Without Robin...there would be nothing left to hold on to. He wasn't allowed to leave damnit!

He wouldn't leave now...not with Slade out there in the city, wrecking havoc. He wouldn't leave with Slade still loose...would he?

No! He wouldn't...

"Robin! Don't go just yet, okay?!" He yelled as he ran down the hall. "Slade is out there and--JUST DON'T GO!!!"

A part of him registered the fact that Raven and Cyborg were running behind him, not really understanding what was going on, but knowing that they were about to lose another teammate. Another friend.

At last, he came across the door, which was still open slightly. Feeling his heart sink, he lifted a trembling hand to the metal object and slid it open the rest of the way. The suit case was gone.

And so was Robin.

Footsteps sounded behind them, and they turned, seeing Robin standing ahead of the hallway, his face set in stone.

"You're not--"

"I forgot to turn in my communicator. I thought you'd be out there taking care of Slade."

His voice was so cold it caused even Raven to wince.

Cyborg laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, trying to ignore the suspicious glance BB threw his way. "But...your mission--"

"I'm not giving up on the mission. I'll just...have to work on it somewhere else."

Beast Boy watched with disbelieving eyes as their leader threw his communicator down to the floor. This wasn't happening. It was a dream. A trick by Slade. Maybe a drug. SOMETHING. Not...this wasn't the real Robin speaking...

Was it?

Robin...how can you just... Leave us? Raven wanted to ask. But she couldn't form the words. Couldn't force herself to ask the question. To ask would be to admit that it was real. And it wasn't. Because this...wasn't happening.

"Damn it, not now." Robin hissed, clutching at his chest.

Cyborg started walking towards him, concern flashing in his eyes, only to freeze in place, as his former leader hissed, "Don't."

They watched as he slowly straightened up, clutching his suitcase tightly. "I can't dothis anymore. I'm sorry. But I just...can't."

And then he was gone.


Sooo...how'd you like it?