Hey, everyone! Holy crap, sorry it's been forever. Dx I have a feeling this is going to be a regular thing. At first I hadn't updated in a while because I wasn't in the mood to write for this story. I had so many ideas jumbled in my head that I was more preoccupied with them rather than adding to "Sealed Fate". Then I got frustrated, so I just threw something together and updated. I'll keep that chapter around for probably three days, but after that, I'm deleting it. So whoever read the previous chapter I think I titled "Out of My Control", ignore it. It's no longer relevant to the story and will be deleted shortly. This chapter, however, is the new and improved chapter that will be relevant to the story. lol
So sit back, relax, and enjoy, fellow readers. And lemme give a big thanks to my beta-reader, dragondancer123! You rock! :)
"Welcome to Stonewall"
October 17, 1987; three days prior to the grand opening of the Stonewall Penitentiary, the Director of Security issued special keycards to every one of the guards dedicated to keeping criminals in. Never, under any circumstances, were they permitted to let them out. No matter what, guards were given strict orders to hold the penitentiary under lockdown, barricading both guards and criminals with no hope of escape. During lockdown, keycards were basically rendered useless.
After the defeat of the Brotherhood of Evil, the Stonewall Penitentiary was filled to capacity. Because the Titans brought in so much 'business' for the guardsmen, Robin was thanked in person by the Director of Security, Alexander Keith, and granted access to his very own personal keycard. It truly was a great honor to be given something that held so much trust.
It didn't take very long to travel from the tower to Stonewall by jet – about a ten minute flight, seven minutes by T Ship. However, although Robin was granted permission to visit the penitentiary as much as he pleased whenever he pleased, he still needed to be escorted to Stonewall and have a guard with him throughout his visit.
Robin preferred it this way anyway. Even though it didn't take the rest of the Titans very long to return to sleep after their battle against Dr. Light, the roar of the engines would've woken up at least one person, and Robin didn't want to take his chances as to who that someone would end up being. Neither of the Titans would believe him if he said he was just going out on patrol or cruising the night because he couldn't fall back asleep, not after the way he kept eyeing the penitentiary just a few hours ago.
"It is him, isn't it?"
Robin shut his eyes, feeling the warmth of Starfire's fingertips brushing against the top of his shoulders, the apprehension in her emerald-green eyes sending shockwaves of guilt coursing through his body. If she knew what he was doing – if she knew where he was heading right now….
The jet commenced its landing. Robin quietly thanked the pilot as the cockpit swooshed open, allowing him to leave the jet. A guardsman propped up some stairs to assist Robin down. He thanked him kindly and promptly made his way towards the gate.
Two guardsmen stood their ground in front of the gate – one with a handheld device strapped to his belt, both with rifles. The two guardsmen saluted the Boy Wonder before standing back at attention.
"State your name and business," one of the guardsmen ordered while the other pulled out his handheld device – a fancy, hi-tech metal detector – before approaching the Boy Wonder.
Robin nodded, unhooking his utility belt and handing it to the guardsman with the device. He raised his arms at shoulders-length and spread his legs two steps apart while the guardsman scanned him for any harmful weapons or triggers not hidden in his belt.
"Robin, leader of the Teen Titans. Business stands at a simple background check."
The detector bleeped approvingly. The two guardsmen nodded.
"As you were," one of them spoke while the guardsman lacking the detector escorted Robin towards the gate. Using the keypad near the entrance, he punched in a quick code after pulling out his card to be scanned. Like the device, the keypad chirruped approvingly. The metal doors swooshed open, allowing Robin to enter.
The two guardsmen saluted him before the doors began to close.
"State your name and business," another guardsman spoke, standing at attention in front of another gate only next to a computer desk.
"Robin, leader of the Teen Titans; background check."
"Holder number one-eight-one-five-two-nine-one-four."
The guardsman held out his hand, not a word spoken. Robin nodded and removed his keycard around his neck, handing it to the guardsman. He took the keycard and typed in the code. Robin stood waiting.
The guardsman glanced up at the Boy Wonder and nodded his approval, handing the card back. Robin grabbed it and placed it back around his neck.
Hmm, strange. It feels, almost heavier.
"Alright, before we get started, in the chance of a prison break, we are not authorized to help you escape during lockdown. We will try our damnedest to lead you to a safe place located at the end of the penitentiary while our other soldiers lead the escapees back to their prison cells. Should you make it to the safe place, you are to stay in it until we have concluded all lockdown closing procedures. Do you abide by these rules and regulations as written by the Director of Security?"
"Yes, sir." Robin nodded.
The guardsman scoffed, entering a code in the keypad near the entrance way. The keypad chirped approvingly as the doors began to open. Robin was awarded with a salute before being allowed to enter.
"Your funeral, kid. Welcome to Stonewall."
Robin ignored the guardsman's words and entered through the metal doorway. A series of bright lights flashed to life, all illuminating the hallway one at a time in a sequence of spotlights.
The guardsman snorted rudely behind the Boy Wonder as the metal doors shut behind them loudly. "Don't see the whole point of these background checks, son. I know the boss gave you special permission to drop by as often as you please, but you've got some nerve swinging on by trying to imitate what us professionals do every hour on the hour."
"A lackadaisical attitude prevents me from pointing out the obvious. I'm not here to argue, Sir, I'm just here to make sure these criminals stay where they belong, confined. I'm sure you know as well as I do that a lot of your prisoners here are master escape artists."
The guardsman sneered before jabbing a finger hard against the R insignia coated on the Boy Wonder's chest. "That's Lieutenant Bridge to you, son," he growled. "Now I didn't spend more than half of your existence getting my ass handed to me in the academy to get to where I'm at right now – taking orders from a snot-nosed little shit like you. Leader of the Teen Titans? Tch. Now you may control what goes on out in the city with your little freaky-ass friends and their freaky-ass powers, but in Stonewall, we're breaking city barriers, kid. You're in my house, now. Do I make myself clear?"
Robin calmly bushed the guardsman's meaty finger away, his face as placid as possible. "Sir, yes, sir."
"Good boy," Bridge sneered. "Now march."
Usually tech operators didn't get to witness much action, at least that's what Field Trainee, Jason Montgomery, was told. Because Stonewall is one of the high-end security facilities in the state, nothing ever got in or out without a keycard or password inscription knowledge. So naturally, watching Sergeant Bridge chew out the leader of the infamous Teen Titans was like watching a prison riot unfold.
"Shit. I'd hate to be that kid right now. Bridge'll knock your teeth out just from looking at him wrong. Poor bastard." Jason grinned.
Corporal Zach Barnes glanced at the screen with disinterest, leaning back in his chair and sipping his mug of coffee. Jason peeked over his shoulder and rolled his eyes. "C'mon, Barnes. You gotta admit this is the most interesting thing we've seen all night."
Corporal Barnes tuned out Jason's words and kept his focus on the control panel before him, glancing at a couple of monitoring screens and switching a few camera angles. "Montgomery, I know this isn't the most exciting assignment in the world, but you're a trainee and as I recall, Field Trainees are supposed to sit back, shut up, and do what the Field Training Officer tells them to—"
Frozen. Corporal Barnes' lips solidified in a temporary fixture from being interrupted, mid-speak – a look as if he were preparing to kiss someone – whereas Jason sat still, a bored, apathetic look in his tired, half-lidded eyes.
The temperature seemed to decrease. Not drastically, but enough for one to feel a cold shiver run against their spine. If both weren't temporarily frozen in time at the moment, Jason or Corporal Barnes probably would've noticed the sudden drop in temperature. However, none would've been able to figure out the source. Clockwork made sure of that.
After waiting a few seconds, the Master of Time emerged tangible, his eyes scanning a room full of screens and monitors displaying the outskirts of both inside and outside the penitentiary. The control room, he presumed, floating towards a small patch of monitors, all frozen at a complete standstill, just like the two humans before him. One monitor in particular, caught the time ghost's eye. He reached for the intercom located in his ear and spoke, not taking his eyes off the screen.
"I'm in," he spoke.
"Excellent. Do you see your target?"
"I still don't see the point of this, Slade. The only one who will be able to see me is the boy. It's his word against advanced technology. Do you really think the guards are going to believe him when he claims he saw a ghost roaming around the penitentiary when in fact, there will be nothing to validate his word on camera?"
"Most likely not, Clockwork, but that's not the point. I've schemed against the Boy Wonder long enough to understand what catches his interests. Seeing is believing in his eyes, no matter what anyone else tells him. Trust me, I know. Commence the operation. Slade, out."
Clockwork growled in frustration and stared back at the monitor screen displaying the Boy Wonder and the guardsman escorting him. He narrowed his eyes at the keycard wrapped around Robin's neck and sighed. In a blink of an eye, he returned to his intangible form and fazed through the ground, leaving the control room frozen in time.
"Have you guys run any simulations during the past couple of hours?" Robin asked, looking over pod keeping hold of one of the Titans' strongest criminals, Madame Rouge. He narrowed his eyes at her frozen body, remembering how easily she could fool someone with her ability to shape shift as well as using her elastic body as a very powerful weapon.
"It's protocol we run our simulations at least three times out of the day. As to when we run them is classified information, bird boy," Sergeant Bridge snapped, following closely behind Robin as he checked every pod containing all the villains associated in the takedown of the Brotherhood of Evil.
Robin ignored the overly used insult and continued walking down the hallway, taking time to inspect each pod holding a different frozen villain. He stopped at Gizmo before he asked another question. "The lights – the ones that are always gyrating to let the JCPD know that things are under control here at Stonewall – during simulations, are they set at a standstill for some reason?"
Sergeant Bridge growled in frustration, tearing his eyes away from the pod next to the one Robin was inspecting. "What's with the third degree, kid? And didn't I tell you all that stuff is classified? You gotta at least be a Field Trainee to know how our simulations work."
Robin narrowed his eyes impatiently. "Look, I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job. I'm just here to inspect and make sure everything is—"
He stopped, his gaze focused over Sergeant Bridge's shoulder. He could've sworn he heard something. Like a whisper echoing throughout the hallway.
That's when he saw it. A pale figure at the very end of the hallway. It was small, draped in a lavender cloak carrying a silver scepter that gleamed in the brightly-lit corridor. The figure gazed at Robin with an unusual, flashing red eye and grinned. Before his eyes, he disappeared around the corner, beckoning him to follow.
And he did.
Ignoring any orders he was expecting Sergeant Bridge to yell at him for fleeing away from a guardsman, Robin ran down the hallway, the echo of his steel-toed boots clanging against the floor booming throughout the entire room. He turned the corner, coming at a crossroads. He scanned all four paths, searching for the figure in the lavender cloak and the red eye. Had he imagined the whole thing? No one got in or out of Stonewall without any type of password or keycard or even running into one of the guards.
Robin searched frantically, his eyes scanning back and forth. A sudden chill grazed his spine, but he tried to ignore it, looking left to right, back and forth.
There he was, only this time the figure looked taller, frailer than the smaller, younger-looking figure he saw before. It didn't matter. There was an intruder in the vicinity. Or worse, one of the criminals had in fact managed to escape. But who? Mumbo? Mother Mae Eye? Control Freak?
The room seemed to get a little chillier the faster he moved. Understandable, seeing as every villain he passed was frozen solid. However, Robin didn't remember the vicinity being this cold.
He shrugged it off, turning another corner and catching glimpse of the cloaked figure. He was getting closer. All he had to do was pick up speed and ignore the sharp pain in his lungs that were begging him to slow down and rest. No, not now, not when he was so close….
The figure stopped in his tracks, turning to face the Boy Wonder who was mere feet away from catching him. He raised his scepter, pointing it towards Robin and spoke one word that seemed to ring clamorously throughout the entire vicinity.
A blast of light exploded from the cloaked figures scepter, stopping Robin in his tracks. He raised his arm to shield his eyes from the luminescent glow as he felt two strong invisible hands grip him from behind. The Boy Wonder had no time to react. It was like a force much similar to the dark energy Raven possessed when she tried entrapping a criminal so he wouldn't escape, pulling at his body, dragging him backwards to where he started. It all happened so fast, too fast for his eyes and brain to process.
Suddenly, Robin was facing Sergeant Bridge once again, glancing over his shoulder at the spot where he first noticed the cloaked figure beckoning him to follow.
What in the…?
Sergeant Bridge seemed to notice this time where Robin was looking and glanced over his shoulder, only to find nothing. "What the hell are you staring at, boy?"
Robin looked up at Sergeant Bridge, almost taken aback before glancing back over his shoulder. "You—you didn't see it?"
"See what?" Sergeant Bridge asked, sounding more and more annoyed with each question Robin asked.
It felt like Robin had no time to answer. He walked past Sergeant Bridge, his eyes focused on the corner where he first saw the cloaked figure. Nothing. No one was there. But there had to be. He saw it.
"Kid, are you alright?" Sergeant Bridge asked, noticing Robin's unusual behavior. Once again, he was ignored and Robin dashed down the corridor. "Hey! Kid, you can't leave my sight, remember? Kid!"
How could he not have seen him? Matter of fact, how could Sergeant Bridge not have followed after him when he ran off? A guard had to be with him at all times, those were the rules. Why didn't Sergeant Bridge follow after him the first time Robin ran off? It didn't make any sense.
The sound of clanging rang familiarly through Robin's eardrums as he turned the corner, running into the same crossroads he faced not too long ago. He searched his surroundings, trying to see if the cloaked figure was anywhere within sight. Sergeant Bridge finally caught up to the Boy Wonder, his face showing nothing but anger.
"I think you've overstayed your welcome, kid. Your ass is outta—hey!"
Familiar. Everything looked familiar. Not because he'd inspected every pod in Stonewall before, but because he took this same exact path not too long ago. Déjà vu. It all felt like dream, a memory replaying itself with the absence of one – the cloaked figure with the glowing scepter.
Robin stopped, reaching the corridor he last remembered before the blinding light. He stood at the hallway, breathless, scanning his surroundings only to find nothing. He knew he was here. This is where he last saw him.
Suddenly, Robin felt another familiar sensation. The hands. He immediately turned around, pulling out one of his birdarangs in a line of defense. Bad move.
Sergeant Bridge took a step back and raised his weapon, a hi-tech plasma gun. Robin's eyes widened at the whirling sound coming from the gun and slowly lowered his birdarang, an apologetic look on his face. "Please, let me explain."
A monitor showing Robin and Sergeant Bridge from earlier played in the control room, showing the Boy Wonder glancing over Sergeant Bridge's shoulder before taking off. Each monitor showed different angles of the event unfolding, however, whatever Robin seemed to be chasing after didn't show up on the screen.
Jason glanced over at the distraught Boy Wonder and then back at the monitor. Corporal Barnes paused at the event in which Robin pulled out his birdarang in front of Sergeant Bridge and faced away from the control panel, looking rather pissed off at the Boy Wonder. "Nothing. Our cameras show nothing about a cloaked figure with a glowing red eye wielding a scepter."
Robin growled in frustration. "Look, I know it sounds hard to believe, but I saw something. Please, at least do a simulation lockdown, just to make sure there isn't anything roaming around the—"
"—Enough!" Sergeant Bridge barked, his eyes narrowed dangerously. "The Stonewall Penitentiary is run by some of the top elite forces handpicked by the Director of Security himself. Now we let you come by and do your little amateur inspections, but we know how to run this place and keep these criminals under permanent imprisonment."
Jason looked back at the monitors and then up at Sergeant Bridge, his voice quivering slightly with apprehension. "Sergeant Bridge, maybe the kid's got a point. Would it hurt to at least send a guard or two down there to make sure we didn't miss—"
"—I don't remember giving you permission to speak, Trainee." Sergeant Bridge glared.
"Apologies, Sergeant, but—"
"—Corporal Barnes, I advise you to enforce better discipline to your trainee otherwise he's going to find himself talking back to the wrong people and wind up getting his ass demoted,"—he glanced over at Zach, his crossed behind his back to show better authority posture—"I'm sure you're aware of how close you are to getting promoted to Detective. A trainee getting demoted will not look good at all on your transcript. So I advise you hold him on a leash and teach him how to keep his mouth shut in the presence of a Sergeant."
"Sir, yes, sir." Corporal Barnes saluted before nudging Jason hard in the ribs. Jason winced, but kept his mouth shut.
Sergeant Bridge smirked and glanced back down at Robin. "Now I suggest you march your sorry little ass back to your little tower and leave this stuff to the professionals. Otherwise, I'll have the Director of Security on the line and have him yank that special little keycard from your hands so fast it'll make your head spin."
Robin opened his mouth to protest but immediately shut it. He glanced back at the monitors and then back up at Sergeant Bridge. He knew what he saw, but what else could he do? There was no evidence, no other witnesses. All he had was his word. And frankly, that wasn't enough.
"A jet should be waiting to taking you back to the Tower. Corporal Barnes will show you the way out." Sergeant Bridge nudged Corporal Barnes, grinning as Robin followed him toward the door. "Good night, and have a nice day."
I know what I saw…. Robin trailed off, watching the sun peak just over the tip of the mountains. The pilot had just pulled up to the T Tower, opening the cockpit and allowing Robin to leave. As the jet raced back towards the penitentiary, a sudden gust of warm wind captured the Boy Wonder's cape, making it dance in the glow of the rising sun.
Warmth. It was an unusual feeling during this time of day, especially when the T Tower was located in the middle of the ocean, which seemed to draw in fog and mist that brought a chill to anyone who walked outside. But despite the warm air, Robin still felt the icy chill of cold hands wrapping around his body, dragging him backwards into a pit of darkness.
What was that? Who had he seen running through the halls through the penitentiary? That pale, cloaked figure with a gleaming red eye carrying a silver scepter? Surely that was the first time Robin had come face-to-face with a villain sporting those types of features. Going down the list of all the criminals involved in the battle against the Brotherhood of Evil, Robin never recalled ever facing a villain that matched the description. Neither have any of his teammates, from what he can remember.
Rewind. He remembered that one word muttered by the cloak figure before the blast of light had blinded him and the cold hands had dragged him into a sea of darkness only to place him back in front of Sergeant Bridge. A do-over. Like he was being yanked back in time.
The sound of mechanical doors opening nearly startled the Boy Wonder as he turned around to see who had come outside so early in the morning. Cyborg, with a rather clamorous yawn and good stretch, stepped outside the rocky terrain. Their eyes met, leaving Cyborg a little confused.
"Good morning," said Robin, sounding as guiltless as possible.
"Morning," Cyborg responded slowly. "It's like five o'clock in the morning. What're you doing out here?"
"Jogging. I woke up a little late. Usually I'm in the shower before the sun fully rises."
Cyborg rose a quizzically eyebrow but dismissed it, ruffling the Boy Wonder's spiky hair. "There's an 'early bird catches the worm' pun in here somewhere, but it's way too damn early."
Robin chuckled and brushed the mechanical teen's hand away. "So, why are you out here so early? Weren't you just complaining how Doctor Light was interrupting your beauty sleep a couple of hours ago?"
Cyborg rolled his eye and grinned. "Please. Does this look like a face that needs any beauty sleep? Now Beast Boy on the other hand, there's no hope for that little green mess." He laughed. "I'm just checking up on the surveillance cameras. Might as well start now so I don't have to worry about it—"
"—It's my day to check them."
"—later…. Oh, it is?"
Robin nodded his head.
Cyborg's good eye widened before he threw his hands up dramatically. "Ah, man! You mean I woke up at the ass crack of dawn just to have you tell me it's not my day to check the damn cameras?"
Robin shrugged, giving his friend a sympathetic smile.
"Ugggh! I'm going back to sleep."
The sound of the mechanical doors swooshed open before closing back up as Robin stood making sure the coast was clear. He looked up at a small, blinking red light just above the entrance. In total, there were ten surveillance cameras placed all around the tower. High, some low, even in unnecessary places. But you could never be too careful.
Truth be told, Robin was thankful Doctor Light had chosen earlier this morning to rob the bank as well as catching the odd discontinuation of the gyrating lights at the penitentiary. It all just so happened to fall under the day he was supposed to check the surveillance cameras.
Coincidence? Or just plain luck? Either way, he wasn't complaining.
He looked up at the blinking red light just above the entrance to the Tower. His nightly visit to the Stonewall, the jet coming to pick him up and drop him; it was all captured on film. Had it been Cyborg's turn to check the cameras, Robin would've been screwed. Thankfully, it was his day. Another coincidence, or did Lady Luck have her eye on him all of a sudden?
Again, he wasn't complaining.
That's a wrap! Keep a look out for the next chapter, where Danny finally finds himself in Jump City! Remember, review, review, review!