A/N: Wow. This is the first time I've written first person since I did 'Morning Glory'. It just feels so constricting.
Ha ha! The writing is so flowery and… Byronic. I don't like it at all, but I suppose (and hope) that it suits the purpose well enough. Please remember that constructive criticism is praised and welcomed.
Inspired by the song Diary by the band "Bread". Go look up the lyrics!
Disclaimer: TEEN TITANS and all related characters and elements are copyrighted property of DC COMICS.
It happens slowly, the way a heart breaks, yet it happens in an instant. A long, excruciating instant that both lingers and passes in our minds. I know, because I can imagine how I would feel, if that were the case. If I did not just discover the proof that I had long been so desperately seeking for.
Raven loves me.
And it's funny, the way these things play out. I can think about the conditions that lead me here – the thoughts, the circumstances, the prompts – that lead me here, to make the most amazing discovery of my life.
Her diary, clutched in my hands, the tower empty but for us, and a euphoria so overwhelming that I cannot suppress it, even though I know she will sense it out.
Honestly, I had not meant to pry. I had always, always, respected her privacy. I alone, could really empathise with her on value of it. It was only once I had already started reading, that I'd realised the nature of the novel in my hands.
I should have known, I suppose. She rarely leaves books around. But lately, she'd been so distracted, distant and inviting, that several small mistakes and oddities had turned up around the tower. I was sure I was the only one who had managed to notice.
And perhaps I had known, on some level. Perhaps the book – her story – had steeped and soaked in her scent. Why else would I be driven to read the unremarkable volume I had found peeking from under the couch in the living room?
But the book is now closed. Placed reverently on the couch, next to where I had been sitting. I do not need to open it to recall the passage that the half-filled pages had culminated with:
[Extract from the journal of Raven Roth]
There are three things I don't believe in. The first of these is Fate. I choose not to believe in Fate simply because, if I did, it would have been equivalent to forfeiting the fight against my father. It would mean admitting that I am nothing more than a tool for Ultimate Destruction, seeing as Fate decrees that that is my destiny.
The second is Faith. I do not have Faith in Anything, because Everything is prone to change and the ideal Faith relies on a constant source of hope. Nothing is constant and Hope has failed me many times.
Lastly, and most importantly, I do not believe in Love. Love is the ultimate mixture of Faith, Fate, Hope and Stability. I cannot accept it, as it is a completely illogical dream. I will not consider it, for if I did it would mean that, as Love is supposedly Everything, my inability to experience it would make me Nothing. This is what I've always told myself.
Obtaining friends made me doubt my scepticism. That was perhaps the first step, but it is miniscule alongside the questions recently raised, unknowingly, by one my 'friends' in particular. He has led me to believe that I'm in Love.
There are reasons. Certain things that have begun to change my outlook. Little things. My breath doesn't catch when he walks in the room. I don't blush every time he looks at me. My skin doesn't tingle wherever he's just brushed past. I've been reading up on Love, and these classic symptoms don't come into play.
Instead I just feel… content. This total and utter peace and security is something that has escaped me all my life. Maybe it isn't full blown 'Love'. We have been through many trials together, as I have with the other Titans, and it is possible that this feeling comes from the solidarity of the relationship formed through those circumstances.
My friends make me happy, I suppose, but happiness is fleeting, and too strong for me too entertain for long. True contentment, true peace is of greater value to me than any happiness. After all this time alone, it is all I could ever hope for, and I am truly content with that.
I want to tell him. I want to thank him for everything he's given me, but there are problems. One, I don't know how. Two, I would never, never be able to tell him the truth. I suppose it's for the best, since I've always been told to suppress my desires. Plus I am certain he loves another, and even if he didn't I could never condemn him to loving me. I don't mean that in a self-pitying way. It's just logic. Humans need love and I can't return the emotions I'd receive…
And, as I turn to greet her when she glides into the common room, I arm myself with these words in my head.
Raven turns to me, sees me, and smiles. She's not like others when she does this: Raven doesn't smile with her mouth. She smiles with her eyes. My euphoria is bleeding into her.
"Robin." She greets with a graceful nod, "You seem happy."
She doesn't ask why.
I cannot think of what to say, so I merely hold my grin inside and nod back to her. She continues on into the kitchen. I study her, in the same way I have for months on end now. I start noticing things: the gentle swish of her hips as she walks, the way her lashes fall against her cheek, the pursing of her lips as she concentrates on brewing tea. And there are other, more ethereal things: the confident poise with which she sits, her air of sombreness and tranquillity, and also the warm, contradicting glow in her eyes.
That recent glow. That distracting glow. That hopeful glow.
And, in a way that I have both come to expect and abhor, these things and her presence lead me to say one of the most incredibly stupid statements of my life.
"Raven, I read your diary."
And Raven – very ungracefully – spits out her tea.
"What?" She looks over with wide eyes.
My mouth zips shut, and I hope that this is one of those times where, because of my covering mask, others are left to construe what they want to see from my expression.
It is not one of those times.
Her look hardens and she bites out, "Robin, what are you talking about?"
I backtrack as much as possible.
"I found it just a little bit earlier, when I was cleaning. I'm sorry, but I thought it was just an ordinary book, and opened it. By the time I realised what happened, it was too late."
A tense silence falls, as she searches my expression for something. Honesty? Remorse? Ridicule? Whatever it is, she doesn't seem to find offence, because she turns back to her tea and sighs. I watch as her shoulders draw in and her heads droops: her body crumples in on itself as if defeated.
The image disturbs me so much, but I cannot move. The chasm stretches out between us, the silence itself becoming a ringing in my ears.
She is the first to break it.
A few heartbeats later, I reply.
She snorts in amusement (or disbelief), and turns her head slightly to fixate bored eyes on me.
"No comments? No opinions? I assume you read something sensitive, or this would hardly be the issue you are making it seem." She pauses, and seems more earnest when she asks, "Well? Did you?"
Raven nods to herself.
"It… It was unexpected." She explains haltingly, "I never knew… I never thought –. But, you don't have to worry. I know a relationship between team mates is compromising. I won't… burden anyone, least of all you. I don't want things to be awkward. We can pretend as if this never happened."
This is the least poised, confident or graceful – and the most vulnerable – I have ever seen Raven. More so than when she told us of her father. Here it is herself, and not her secrets, that are laid bare.
It is like she is a child again, running from me and from her memories. But I don't want her to run. My emotions have never felt so at odds before. I am happy, because she loves me. I'm upset, because she is upset. And I know I have to fix this.
"Raven." I breathe as I approach her, "I can't do that. That's not what I want to happen."
I finally reach her. I clasp her hands and draw her slowly out of the chair, so that she is standing tall again. Our posture mirrors the one that we had at the world's end.
Her eyes look curiously, uncertainly into mine as I continue.
"You can't keep hiding these emotions. And I don't want you to. You should let yourself feel. If you are willing to, then I know that you will get everything you deserve."
"You want me to tell him?"
I stop. I pause. I freeze.
My voice is choked.
She frowns and nods, "Yes. Beast Boy. Who did you think I –?"
Our hands unclasp as realisation dawns across her face. And mine.
There is only a second's silence before –
- I am running.
It happens slowly, the way a heart breaks, and yet it happens in an instant. A long, excruciating instant that both lingers and passes in our minds. I know, because this is how I feel, as I race away from my mistake. I should know that trying to outrun the pain is useless, but I don't believe it yet. I'll learn.
There is only one place in the Tower that I can think to head. It is the most peaceful, the most consoling space – but, that was because it is her space, too.
I end up on the roof.
When I reach the side, I still. I look down at the long drop. The strong breeze brushes at the silvery tears that make it past my mask. I sigh, and sit down.
I know where I went wrong, of course. It would forever be the most stupid mistake of my life. The diary. Her entry. It did not contain a name. I had assumed… because I had hoped. I had thought… because I had wanted to be thought of.
This whole situation, the change that must now take place between us, is entirely my fault. I pull my knees in close, both looking and feeling as vulnerable as Raven must have felt earlier. It is so much worse than I imagined.
I am not sure how long I am there, but I know when she is.
A hand settles on my shoulder. I nod, and she kneels to sit down next to me.
"When I was first free of my fathers power I thought..." a pause, and she turns to look at me directly, "I thought it would be you."
I say nothing, so she continues.
"But… I can't choose where my heart settles, no more than you can."
She takes my hand again. There's that glint in her eye. She looks sombre.
She means it.
And I take the apology. I take it for what it's worth. A consolation. An absolution. A reparation.
I take it because it's the most I'll get from her, and because Raven rarely ever apologises.
I smile and speak.
"I'm happy for you."
I mean it, too.
The whole time I was writing this, all I could think was 'As if Raven would keep a diary!'