A/N: I'M BACK! Surprise for those of you who were watching me, eh? I was pleasantly surprised when I began to compile various messages asking me to continue my writing on FF, as well as DA. So I decided that ya' know, if there's people on here who'd rather stick to just FF instead of transfering to DA, then so be it! I care about those people, too, so I've started of fresh with a new Sladin story, and deleted my older ones so they can be edited and reposted another time.
Please be patient with em right now, as I'm waiting for my new laptop (I'm on my father's right now), and I've apparently overstimulated my muses, and they've been spewing ideas too fast for me to stick with just one. I'm currently working on 5+ different plots, but I'm gonna' try to finish one story before diving into another, because I know I get annoyed when people do that, so I know how irritated you guys probably got with me.
My writings has been getting better, so I'm hoping to attract more prestigious writers with my new pieces...
So here's to a fresh start! -grin-
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans or the characters! If I did, it probably wouldn't by classified as a children's show... -
Chapter I : The Same Old, Same Old
The rain pelted Robin almost painfully, landing on his skin with the sting that would normally accompany the prick of a needle. The wind howled and whipped around his lithe body, tugging at his raven locks and moaning eerily in his ears.
The R-Cycle tore around the street corner, tires squealing as they attempted to gain ground on the wet asphalt. The motorcycle slid, but Robin steadied it by leaning smoothly into the turn.
Behind his mask, the boy's eyes were clouded with tears, dripping down and slowly weakening the spirit gum that held his mask firmly in place. He silently thanked the rain, for it camouflaged his tears and helped wash away the many thoughts that thrashed and raged in his head like a caged animal.
"Faster..." Robin whimpered, but his hands nearly crushed the accelerator lever as it was. "I have to go faster..." Frustration and disappointment hung off his every word, as if he thought he went faster, the wind would pity him and tear away the emotions and memories he himself was unable to dispose of.
A sob escaped his lips.
"Come on now, my pretty little bird." Slade smirked behind his mask, that forever taunting eye focused intently on Robin's own masked gaze."Haven't we been through this before?"
Robin snarled, aiming a well placed kick to the back of the man's knee. Slade stumbled, providing the captured bird with enough time to scramble to his feet.
"No." Robin said, his hands clenching into fists at his sides. "I would NEVER join you Slade!"
Robin lunged, dealing out a right hook punch. It was easily deflected by the man. He hissed and whirled into a spin kick that made contact with its target. Slade flew across the warehouse, hitting the ground and bouncing to his feet.
"Is that all you've got Robin?" Slade asked casually, stepping into a run.
Robin rolled aside and pushed off his hands, feet smashing into the man's stomach. Slade took hold of his ankles and swung him aside as if he weighed next to nothing.
"I will have to feed you more." Slade said thoughtfully, stroking the chin of his mask. "You're very thin."
Robin growled and forced himself to his feet, yet again running at the masked villain. He kicked out a foot, which was caught, and followed it with a punch. It, too, was also deflected. He cried out as he hit the ground, Slade's boot planted firmly on his heaving chest. He grabbed his ankle in an attempt to move the foot, but to no avail.
"Let go of me, Slade." Robin said, his voice a cross between a growl and a wheeze.
"I'm afraid not, sweet bird." Robin could practically hear the smirk in his deep voice. "Not until you agree to be my apprentice."
Turning back to face Slade, the blue-eyed teen showered the momentarily stunned man with a barrage of hits with feet and hands alike.
"I. WILL NEVER. JOIN. YOU." Each word was accented with a sharp kick or punch, attacks which Robin knew would barely faze the other.
Slade growled in irritation and dodged the last punch, sending Robin right past him. He took the opportunity to grab the boy by his cape, tugging him back before kicking his foot out to knock him at the base of his spine, causing his small frame to stumble forward. Robin flailed his arms, quickly regaining his disrupted balance.
He spun around and yelped in surprise.
Slade's face was a mere inch from his own. His eye glinted tauntingly, and the raven was sure he wouldn't live to see morning. He stood stock still, heart thumping wildly as if it might burst through his chest at any moment and flee the warehouse as he wished he himself wished he could. They held each other's gazes for what seemed like an eternity to Robin before any movement was engaged.
Slade raised a gloved hand and Robin flinched, expecting a firm fist to the jaw. The hand however, came to rest gently on his cheek, brushing over his lips and the tip of his nose. The teen was startled as Slade leaned in closer, his free hand reaching up to snap his mask off.
It fell to the floor with a clatter.
Before the boy had a chance to register the lack of coverage on the villain's face, their lips were touching.
Robin's breathing hitched and he knew his face was absolutely blazing red. Thoughts raced through his head, and he willed them to slow so he could keep up with them. His instincts screamed with warning alarms, and his body lurched backwards in response.
The raven went flying through the door, his mind raging like the untamed sea, stormy waves crashing against the rocky shore. His vision was blurry, providing for poor navigating conditions.
It had just begun to rain when the boy leaped onto his bike, knocking his kickstand up and smashing the accelerator lever to the handlebar. The tires screamed against the wet wood, and his abandoned helmet bounced to the ground.
He left it without a second thought.
The rain dripped past the poorly secured edges of his mask, gathering behind the one-way frosted lenses, and he shook his head to shoo away the offending droplets.
His bike jumped a bit over the entrance of the bridge and he went flying towards Titans Tower. The tires hummed as they passed over the grates, sending vibrations wracking through Robin's body.
Robin turned sharply, nearly plowing right through the garage door before it had finished its gradual rise upward. He relinquished his hold on the bike and it skidded to a halt by the T-Car. He stumbled to the door, raven locks plastered to his forehead and blocking his already poor sight.
Jamming the big red button situated by the light switches, the door slid firmly closed behind the boy and he slowed his pace as he reached the elevator. He jabbed at the button and waited impatiently as it descended to the ground floor. He entered and slumped against the wall, his head flopping into his hands.
"Why?" Robin asked, more to Slade than himself, gripping his hair between clenched fingers. "Why do you always have to play these stupid games with me?" He slammed his head back against the metal wall of the elevator, his clouded mind barely registering that under normal conditions, he would have felt a stab of pain.
He stared at his hands.
The elevator door opened with an annoyingly cheerful ping, and he walked into the main room, turning down the hall and stopping in front of his own bedroom door. It slid open with a hiss.
Robin peeled off his wet mask, not even bothering with the removal solvent since the gum was already soggy and weak, and uniform, tossing them in the direction of his hamper. The boy was not in the mood to fight with his laundry right now. He quickly slipped into an oversized t-shirt and trudged across the room.
He collapsed on his bed and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
Robin awoke groggy the next morning, his head pounding and his eyes bloodshot. He looked at the clock and was surprised to see that it was almost ten o'clock. He had slept for eleven hours and it felt damn good.
His stomach growled.
The raven trudged out the door after slapping some spirit gum on a fresh mask, unable to bring himself to shimmy into his uniform.
He ran on automatic as he padded into the kitchen and poured himself a bowl of cereal. He didn't notice the other Titans' absence until he caught sight of the note placed in the middle of the kitchen island, and it reminded him of how much he loved Raven.
Forced everybody out for patrol. Thought you might like to sleep in for once and sort out whatever's bothering you. Starfire offered to make you breakfast, but I told her to leave you be for awhile. If you'd like to talk, we'll be home by noon. -Rae
Robin managed a smile as he swirled his spoon around in the bowl. He halfheartedly took a bite and stared at the counter, his mind running at maximum power to sort out the events of the previous night.
It had started out with a threat, a few bombs strategically planted on the supportive beams of the Jump City Bridge, a rather gutsy move that would only be initiated by Jump's most ruthless criminal mastermind. Said bombs had been efficiently scouted out and deactivated, leaving only one serious threat to deal with.
The man had been oddly quiet lately, lying dormant while the many lower level villains continued on with their various acts of rebellious undertakings. They had thought it odd, the mercenary's silence, and had foolishly dismissed it as a gesture of defeat.
Robin blamed himself for the quick dismissal, as it had been idiotic and oddly out of character for the normally Slade-obsessed teen, but he never thought the man would come up with something so… minor. Of course he had known somewhere deep down, that Slade would return, but he had expected some great act of destruction after nearly two weeks of silence.
Never could he had guessed that the man would return with a few small bombs and an offer of apprenticeship. The proposition had been laid out long ago, but each time it was brought up, Robin would throw a fit and decline as physically as he could, usually resulting in a few bruises on both sides of the offer.
The kiss… that had surprised him more than the bombs themselves had... as had the removal of the mask that haunted his once happy dreams. He had seen Slade's face. Slade's face... the one thing he longed to see to the point where he was forced to obsess and hatch plans to remove the blasted piece of bicolor metal.
Robin had been stunned by the mask's dismissal, he could have never predicted the move, and he had suffered for it.
Beaten by a kiss.
The boy suddenly didn't have much of an appetite. He pushed his cereal away and rubbed his temples. His skull felt as though every citizen of Jump had come and punched him in the head.
"Ugh..." Robin trudged over and laid down on the black leather couch, curling up in the center curve and hugging the pillow his overtaxed head rested on. He closed his eyes and tried to focus on the soft patter of the raindrops, but his mind kept drifting to the kiss they had shared.
Slade had removed his mask and he had been... he couldn't even think of a word to describe him. Handsome didn't even hold a candle to him! He was unable to even think of a word that surpassed handsome, so he settled for absolutely stunning.
His face was masculine and tan, his strong jaw shadowed by fresh stubble. His short white hair was brushed back and managed to look shaggy and well kept at the same time. One eye was shielded from view by a thin black eye patch, while the other glinted dark grey in the poor light that had managed to filter through the dirty warehouse windows.
Robin had immediately found himself attracted to this new man, much to his own horror. He had fled by instinct, an instinct that had kept him from falling quite hard and quite foolishly into Slade's strong embrace.
The boy's eyes burned and he allowed himself to doze fitfully, the handsome face of his enemy lurking in the inky black shadows at the back of his mind.
Robin's eyes reluctantly fluttered open at the touch of the hand that gently shook his shoulder.
"Robin...?" Raven spoke softly as not to alarm their leader. "Time to get up Robin..."
The blue-eyed teen moaned softly, turning to hide his face in the pillow he was currently crushing between his crossed arms and chest. He felt the couch sink on either side of him, and he knew that he had to get up or someone would sit on him. He glared at the two boys that he lay between. They only glanced at him, obviously embarrassed.
It took Robin a rather awkward moment to realize he had refused pants that morning due to his foul mood. That was alright with him. Let them look. He honestly couldn't even bring himself to care, which part of him was irritated about, as he knew he would mortified once he snapped out of this funk.
The hero rolled off the couch, slowly stalking to the far corner of the couch, where he proceeded to curl up and glare at them with narrowed eyes, hidden behind his mask.
Cyborg and Beast Boy looked rather taken aback by the poisonous glare they were receiving from their leader, but their uncontrollable mouths were silenced by an even darker glare from Raven.
The television was hastily flipped on and the two teens were lost to the world, the sound effects of their video game blaring, echoing softly throughout the halls of the Tower. Starfire sat between them and watched in fascination, while Raven took a seat next to Robin, a book in her hands. She opened it and began to read, casting the occasional worried glance towards the other bird.
Robin appreciated the space Raven gave him, and he really appreciated her babysitting the other three whilst he rested and thought things over.
The Boy Wonder stared at nothing in particular, mind once again drifting to Slade.
Raven's gaze shifted from her book to the boy curled up next to her, and she looked him up and down.
His masked eyes were focused on nothing, just staring. His hair was tussled and free of all gel and his usual crown of spikes. He was wearing his 'depression shirt', as she called it, an oversized and over worn grey t-shirt that fitted him loosely and draped down his hips. She knew how he refused to deal with the chore of putting on clothes when he was in such a dangerous mood, as he would most likely become angered by his skin tight uniform and become a danger to both himself and others.
The empath sighed and turned her attention back to her book, trying to focus on the printed words instead of the frustration and confusion that was actually rolling off the boy situated next to her.
Somewhere along the lines of page 341, Robin pulled himself from the couch's comforting embrace and trudged out of the room.
They all watched him from the corners of their eyes, but nobody followed.
Robin stood with his back pressed up against the door, staring at the wall opposite of him. He padded over to his computer and plopped down into the swivel chair, spinning in a quick circle before facing his computer, mildly amused by his childish tendencies.
Robin sifted through his files one by one, keen eyes scanning the many articles he had collected and notes he had so meticulously typed. What he was searching for, he wasn't aware of.
He wished something useful would jump out and say "Hey! I'll help you out here." Nothing ever did.
The boy sighed as he steered the mouse to shut down his computer. A pop up interfered.
New message for LittleBird.
Sender: Unknown Username
What the hell…? Robin glanced around the room in alarm before slowly shifting his gaze back to the monitor. This account is secret…who in God's name managed to find it…? The hero hesitated before he clicked on the link.
A video file enlarged itself to fill the screen, and Robin immediately recognized the face that smirked at him. How could he forget it?
"Hello, my sweet bird." The previously recorded image of Slade spoke casually, as if their little 'indecent' never even happened. "Have you missed me? I've missed you. I would like to see you again tonight. I have a deal that I believe you will find quite satisfying. I'll see you at midnight, my pretty little bird."
And with that, his face was gone and the message automatically deleted itself.
Robin stared slack-jawed at the computer monitor, blue eyes wide behind his mask.
He wanted the man to reappear on the screen. He needed to chew him out! There was no way in Hell he was going to meet that psychotic pedophile after what had happened during their last little 'get together'!
The raven's face smoothed before his lips tugged upwards into a smirk.
Slade had forgotten to mention where they were to meet, which gave Robin the perfect excuse to why he didn't show.
Robin aimed another well placed kick, almost knocking the punching bag right off its hinges. He laughed as it creaked in defeat.
The boy thanked whatever higher power that was listening that the criminal population had slowed in their scheming today, as it left him with plenty of time to work out his frustrations. He did feel slightly guilty for his ambush on the previously unharmed gym equipment, though…
The alarm rang only once that day, and it was for a minor disturbance in the center of town. Robin had been in such a foul mood that he had beaten the hell out of a very surprised Plasmus before returning his now unconscious human body to its proper location in the Jump City prison's stasis chamber.
Once he had captured the monster, the bird had fled to the gym to kick the life out of some unsuspecting workout equipment, a mission that had been completed quite skillfully.
Robin wiped the sweat from his forehead with a bandaged hand and treated the punching bag to one more strong kick before retreating for a well earned shower. Working out had lifted his mood, so he decided to be lenient towards the now overtaxed punching bag.
The hot shower had done wonders for the teen.
Robin tied a fluffy black towel loosely around his hips and draped one over his head, scrubbing it over his damp raven locks. Padding out into the bedroom, the boy noted that it was almost eleven thirty, meaning he had been working out in the gym for almost three hours.
"Oh well." he shrugged, dropping the towels and slipping into his shirt and fresh underwear. He threw himself onto his bed and snuggled his face into the soft blanket.
Yesterday had completely worn him out, but today had been more of a lazy day consisting of sleeping in, one call for trouble, a few hours of exercise and a hot shower.
Long story short, today was a good day.
Robin sighed into his blanket, turning his head to the side to observe the rain droplets that crawled lazily down his windows. He watched them quietly.
"Hello, pretty bird."
Robin would never admit that he screamed like a little girl, nor had he ever planned to, but the secret was outed rather abruptly to one very amused Slade.
"Slade?" Robin spluttered, rolling over to glare harshly at the villain. "What the hell are you doing in my room?"
"I told you we were to meet at midnight." the masked man replied casually, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Robin looked over at his alarm clock, and indeed the blinking red script read 12:00 AM. How could he have possibly stared at raindrops for half an hour...?
His confusion quickly turned to a mixture of surprise for his forgetfulness and anger for the failure of his plan to avoid the man.
"Hmph." The teen crossed his arms, glaring at his enemy.
"Planning on putting pants on, my little bird?" Slade said, amusement shining in his visible eye.
Robin's face flushed to a deep red and his ears felt as though they would melt off.
"Not that I'm complaining…"
The bird blushed darker and resisted the urge to throw himself out the windows that made up his far wall. It was only a few feet from his bed… perhaps a good jump would send him through the glass...
"Would you get out?" Robin hissed, sliding off his bed and maneuvering himself into a defensive stance.
"I'm not looking to fight, Robin." Slade said, brushing an invisible piece of lint from his shirt. "I merely came to make a deal." He folded his hands behind his back in that too calm way that always set the black-haired teen off.
"Get out!" Robin snarled, lunging at the man. Slade caught him easily and threw him back onto the bed, pinning him down. "What's your problem? GET OFF ME!"
Slade held the struggling hero down, using one of his big hand to pin both of Robin's above his head. His remaining hand reached up and unclasped the secure hold of his mask, letting it fall into his awaiting hand. He leaned in and pressed their lips together, effectively silencing the boy.
Robin positively melted at the sight of that handsome face, and when their lips touched, he nearly suffered a minor stroke. His face heated to a whole new degree, and he fought the urge to faint right then and there.
Damn teenage hormones! His rapidly processing mind screamed.
The Boy Wonder felt Slade's hand against his naked thigh, and he gasped, providing the man with the perfect opportunity to slip his tongue into his hot mouth, probing and exploring the unknown territory.
A moan slipped from his throat, and Robin blushed deeper in shame. He shouldn't be feeling so hot towards his worst enemy! It was wrong!
The kiss was broken by the need for oxygen, and Robin lay gasping to replenish his burning lungs. Slade's hand was still settled on his thigh, and he couldn't fight to move it with his own hands restrained above him.
"Are you going to listen to me now?" Slade asked calmly, raising a brow.
Robin nodded dumbly, fighting the horribly strong urge to stick his tongue out and pant like an overheated dog.
"Good." Slade let the boy up, hooking his mask onto his belt.
"Why don't you put your mask back on?" Robin asked softly, refusing himself the indulgence of staring.
"Because I like to see you blush." Slade smirked. "Red looks very cute on you."
Robin turned away, crossing his arms over his chest and pulling his naked legs up to his chest.
"Didn't you say something about a deal?" he hissed.
"Yes." Slade sat on the edge of his bed, and Robin imagined he was standing way on the other side of the room. "I want you as my apprentice."
"Tell me something I don't know." the boy snorted.
"It's rude to interrupt somebody when they're talking." Robin's mouth dropped open when he realized he was being scolded by a ruthless criminal mastermind. "As I was saying... I want you as my apprentice, and I have prepared a deal that I think you will find quite satisfactory."
"Oh? Is that so?" Robin growled dryly.
"… And are you going to tell me about this deal?"
"What do you mean maybe?" Robin snarled. Was the man trying to waste his time? "You know what I would much rather be doing right now instead of listening to you taunt me? Sleeping. Goodnight." Robin flung his blanket over himself and turned away from Slade.
"I believe that if I was to take control of something you are fond of, then you would be willing to join me to reclaim what it was that you lost."
Robin moaned in irritation and folded his pillow over his head.
"Or maybe if I had a few somethings. Let's see... what is it that you truly love…?" Slade glanced at the boy, who was blatanly ignoring him. "Alright. I'll choose then. How about your friends?"
Robin's eyes snapped open and he turned to stare at the man.
"My. Don't you look angry."
"You wouldn't dare lay a filthy paw on any of my friends!" The hero had risen from the blankets and leaped towards Slade, tackling him to the ground and straddling his hips. "You wouldn't dare!"
"Oh, but I would, my pretty little bird." Slade smirked, brushing away the small hands that clawed at his throat. Robin relinquished his hold on the man's neck, staring at him with wide eyes. His arms fell limp at his sides. He stood stiffly and walked over to look out the window. It was still raining.
"… What do you want?"
"As I said before, you give yourself over to me."
Robin gazed out the windows, his eyes glassy and unfocused behind his mask as he thought.
He loved his friends. He loved them so much it hurt, and he would never do anything to place them in harm's way. Did he really even have a choice in the matter? He knew that if he didn't take the deal, Slade would keep fighting them, and he would be risking the safety of his only family if that happened. If he took the deal however, his team would be safe and he would serve Slade. The answer was obvious.
Robin turned to face Slade, eyes burning with tears he refused to shed in front of such company. His mind positively blared with warning bells, but he cast them aside and focused on his number one priority: the safety of his friends.
"I'll do it."
For my family.
A/N: Damn, I edited my horribly long chapter to be two smaller chapters! -grin- This is high brow stuff guys! I suppose I forgot to mention that I'm gonna' be posting longer stories (I enjoy reading long chapters, and I hope you do, too), so my updates will be moderately regular, but still a bit far apart to give myself time to make 'em nice and hopefully typo free! I'm also starting school in 2 weeks, so I might hit a rough patch, 'cause (unfortunately) I can't take my laptop to school, and that's where most of my shit's located.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I want you to... it sure doesn't do justice for Wynjas or Jayto or any of the other amazing Sladin writers, so head on over to their pages and read their stuff!