Stockholm syndrome. a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which he has been placed.
Robin could not believe that he had been in the pitch black room for so long. How long had it been, come to think of it? Two days? Three days? It was so dark that he could not see his hands in front of his face. He stopped pacing around and sat a far corner of the confined space. His corner, as he had little to claim. Little to do. He half sighed, half groaned, and began to lightly beat the back of his head against the rough, stone wall. After a few minutes, he began to do it harder, and harder. Hard enough to make his mind dizzy and throbbing at the same time. It was one of the few things he had to pass the time. He had never been captured by Slade like this before. The first few times, Slade had wanted him to be his apprentice and threatened him with his friends, the city, civillians. After that, he had just flat-out taken him to his lair and sparred with him, trying to taunt him. Trying to make him want it. Now, however, he had just rendered him unconsious with a blow to the head and this is where Robin awoke…so long ago, stripped down to his boxers and socks (the socks he had already taken off because the room was hot and the sweat had just been unbearable). He wasn't even wearing his mask, which made him feel even more naked than the lack of pants.
Perhaps Slade was really just tired of him and had decided to kill him. The thought didn't surprise Robin. The man didn't seem to be one for a quick kill. He liked things done in a torturous manner, and starving one to death half-clothed with no light seemed pretty tormenting. He continued to beat his head, hoping he could just knock himself out. At least when he was asleep, he was not bored out of his mind.
"You may be hard-headed, but your head's not that thick," the sound of a dead bolt unlocking made Robin sit up abruptly.
Light suddenly filled the small cell, though it wasn't a lot, but enough to make him squint uncomfortably. Slade's massive figure filled the doorway, and Robin sprung to his feet in a fighting stance. The masked man did nothing, and the boy lunged at him with a flying kick. "Gerraahhh!!"
Slade merely stepped out of the way, and Robin flew out the door, landing on the floor. He looked around to notice a long, dimly lit hallway, and glared at Slade. "Where am I?! What have you done with my friends?!"
The villain shook his head slightly. "Look at you, Robin. Unmasked, undressed, dirty, bruised." He swiftly took the boy by the wrist and squeezed it hard. "And you're demanding things from me."
"Ahh!" Had Slade always had this heck of a grip? Robin winced as the man squeezed harder.
"Let me let you in on a little secret, Robin," Slade bent his arm back, making Robin cry out even more. "I've been very patient with you. Extremely patient." He held his firm grasp on the boy's arm, which was now starting to turn a faint purple. "But even my patience wears thin, and I've just about had with your defiance."
"I'm not gonna work for you!" Robin growled through gritted teeth. "NEVER!!"
"Three months, Robin," Slade suddenly released his arm. "I'm going to give you three months to change your mind." He slammed the boy up against the nearest wall and his single exposed eye glittered. "And you'll be surprised when you find out what three months with me can do to you."
"I'm not scared of you," Robin informed him.
"Not yet, you mean," Slade replied, pulling him away from the wall and parading him back to the dark room by the back of his neck. He shoved him inside and said, "Our three months begins now."
He then shut the door, locked it, and the sound of the dead bolt echoed through the building, whatever it was.
Things seemed different when you were about to die, and right now, Robin wasn't so sure he he'd live to test that theory out. He was starving, he knew he was. Not for food either. Well, of course for food, but he mostly wanted water, His mouth was so dry, so nasty feeling. He hadn't brushed his teeth in forever. His hair was matted and oily. But most of all, his stomach was empty. His abdomen throbbed. He needed something in his body. He now spent his time lying on the floor, sometimes on his back, sometimes on his stomach, pretending he didn't need food. Pretending he didn't need to be clean. Pretending he didn't need light and human interaction. He was, however, tired of pretending, and felt he was really going to die.
"It's been three days." The door unlocked and Slade stepped in. "Do you think you're ready to leave your cage?"
Robin sat up, slightly confused about what was going on. Not just Slade, but everything. He felt as if he were asleep and dreaming. The kind of dreams that don't make a lot of sense after you wake up. He winced slightly as something hit his head, but he soon realized it was only water, and he knew Slade was pouring it on him from a container. It was welcoming and painful at the same time, and Robin suddenly felt ashamed as his hands cupped together, attempting to catch it and drink it. It didn't seem to be enough, and he pressed his lips to wet arms, suddenly needing the liquid more than anything.
"Thirsty?" Slade oozed sarcastically.
Robin stopped, his eyes on the floor. He did not want Slade to know how embarrassed he was. After all, it was hard for fifteen year olds to comprehend that the body can only take so much before it ignores the mind, pride and all.
"Come on," Slade pulled him up by his arm and prodded him to the open doorway. "Let's get you cleaned up."
Robin staggered slightly as he walked down the hallway, pulled down the hallway was more like it. His stomach hurt so bad. He had cramps and nausea at the same time, Is this what starvation felt like? Slade led him to a shiny white room, too bright for Robin's unadjusted eyes, and pointed to a showerhead in the far corner. The boy's mind immediately processed water and his mouth watered. He took a peek at Slade from the corner of his eye and made his way over to the showerhead. He gingerly fingered the single knob attached to the wall, as if it would bite him, and when it did nothing, he began to turn it. Slade grabbed his hand. "That's my knob," he informed him. He eyed the boy up and down and ordered, "strip."
Robin's mind suddenly seemed to click on, as if he finally remembered who and where he was. "NO!"
Slade pulled him back roughly and said, "Very well. Let's go back to your room."
The dark room. The room with no sense of time. No interaction with anything. The room Robin would rather die than go back to. "No!" He squirmed. "Stop it! No!"
"Then do as I say and take off your clothes!" Slade growled, leaning into the struggling boy's face.
Robin's face turned beat-red as he stepped out of his boxers, and pretended he was at home in his own shower. As the shower ran, he drank as much of the water as he could. It seemed like he couldn't get enough. After he'd had his fill, he noticed Slade was gone. He also noticed there was a bottle of generic shampoo and soap near his feet. As well as a towel nearby. He washed himself quickly, and picked up the towel to wrap it around his waist. Surprisingly, there was a pair of boxers, black pants and black short-sleeved shirt under the towel. He dressed just as quickly as he'd washed up, and was a bit disappointed the clothes were a tad too big for him. They'd have to do, of course, because he wasn't going to sit around in his underwear again.
"That was fast." Slade reentered the shower room and picked up the towel from the floor. He pulled the boy by the back of his shirt closer and roughly began to dry his hair with the damp cloth. Robin grunted slightly, feeling like he was in a washing machine, and Slade tossed the towel to the side.
"Where are my shoes?" Robin demanded, though not too bluntly in fear of being taken back to the tomb again. "And, my…" he felt around his eyes, suddenly feeling vulnerable again.
"You are not going to wear shoes unless you are training," Slade informed him. "And as for your mask, I've decided you have no right to keep your identity from me." He smirked behind his own mask. "Richard Grayson."
Robin awkwardly looked down at his feet, wriggling his bare toes. He'd never thought about it before, but being fully dressed without shoes in a place that's not your own house could make you feel just as naked as anything. Slade tugged at the boy's shirt collar and ordered, "Follow me."
"Why?" Robin's eyes narrowed. He knew it was a mistake the second it came out, and actually covered his mouth.
"That's what I thought," Slade said cooly.
The boy followed the man down many twist and turns of the empty building until they reached a large, black door. Robin's heart fell slightly, assuming he was about to be shut up in another dark room. Slade opened the door and Robin's brows furrowed in confusion. It was a bare room, sparcely furnished by a bed and a dresser. There was also a small bathroom on the right. Slade motioned for him to step in, and the boy cautiously did so. He looked around slowly, as if monsters might spring out from every nook and cranny, and touched one of the walls. Stone.
"This will be where you'll live," Slade informed him. "For a long time."
"My friends will find come for me," Robin turned to him. His assurance and spirit were now back.
"Whatever you say," Slade almost chuckled. "Anyway, until that day comes, this is where you will sleep, shower, sit." He moved towards the door. "And if you decide you want to be cocky or disobdient, the other room works just as well."
The courage and pride that had just returned in the boy, vanished once more, and Robin shuddred inwardly at the thought of the other room. Slade snapped his fingers and commanded, "Come out now, you'll be used to your quarters soon enough."
Robin sat at the long table, staring at a plate of food before him. A sandwich and an assortment of raw fruit and vegetable chunks. His mouth watered and he swallowed hard. Slade motioned casually. "Eat. It has been a while, after all."
Robin did eat, and finished in about five minutes, cleaning the plate and downing half the glass of red liquid beside him before spitting it back in the glass. He made a face and Slade actually laughed. Robin had never heard him laugh before.
"Don't tell me the little Catholic boy has never tasted wine," he said.
Robin almost asked how he knew he was Catholic, but decided against it. He knew he did not want to drink wine, but what other choice did he have.
"Good for the blood," Slade informed him, sipping his own wine.
Robin sipped it too, cringing slightly. He honestly could care less if it was good for his blood. It was bitter and disgusting. 'Funny,' he thought. 'So is Slade'.
"I never guessed your eyes would be blue," The man suddenly said, peering at him.
Robin half shrugged, half sipped his wine as he squirmed uncomfortably in his already uncomfortable chair. How was he supposed to answer a comment like that anyway?
After dinner, Slade marched Robin to his new room, shutting and locking the door. Robin wasn't too thrilled with being locked up again, but at least he could see. At least he was full. At least he was dressed. He sat on the bed, his hands in his lap, figuring out what to do. How would he get out of here? He ventured to the bathroom and opened the cabinet above the sink. He was surprised to find toothpaste and face wash, but disappointed he didn't have any hair gel. He immediately felt silly, thinking his arch nemesis would actually provide him hair gel. He wasn't stupid, though. He dug around until he found some medical lotion and hand sanitizer mixed a glob of it together in his palm. He then used it to spike his limp, black hair, suddenly feeling more like himself again. It didn't spike as well as real gel, but almost. It worked, and that's what counted.
For days, Robin was locked in his room which he was now beginning to hate almost as much as the old one. He was only let out to eat and train. Oh, how he loved the training. Slade was rough and demanding about it, but Robin needed that hour and fiteen minutes of 'run-around' time. It felt normal fighting Slade, even if it was in a controlled environment. He could do just as he had before. Scream, growl, kick, do backflips, punch. He also got to wear his old steel-toed boots. However, the second the timer sounded, signaling the training time was up, Slade would take them back.
"You did well today, Robin," Slade said as the boy handed him one of the boots. "I'm proud of you."
Robin looked up at him from the floor where he was removing his other shoe, and almost beamed. He mentally chastised himself however, and glared instead. 'Don't give him what he wants', he scolded silently. 'You don't owe him anything. You don't want anything from him'.
Slade took the other shoe and commanded, "Stand up, boy."
Robin stood. His shoulders slumped slightly, knowing he was going back to his room until the evening meal, but Slade said, "We're going to do a different kind of training now."
Robin eyed his shoes. "Won't I need those back then?"
"No." Slade walked over and put the boots against the far wall. He then walked over to a closed shelf and removed two items-a black, nylon rope, and a black blindfold. Robin's heart sped up and his hands raised slightly. As Slade got closer, Robin's hands flew to his neck.
"I'm not going to strangle you," Slade informed him sarcastically, taking both of the petite boy's hands in one of his and bringing them behind his back. He used the rope to tie them tightly. He then wrapped the blindfold around the boy's eyes.
"What are you going to do?" Robin asked, hoping the fear in his voice wasn't obvious.
"You'll see," was all Slade replied with, walking away.
To Be Continued…