Disclaimer: Teen Titans belongs to DC Comics and Warner Bros.
Set: After Season 5.
A/N I am Australian. We follow British-English spelling, not American-English. Common differences include the use of 'ou' instead of 'o' (colour, flavour),'s' instead of 'z' (realise, apologise), 'c' instead of 's' (offence, defence, but not defensive, go figure) and 't' instead of 'ed' (burnt, dreamt, only in certain cases, cookt is not a word.). Please also note, this is written in first person. As such, there are some deliberate grammatical errors in there to increase the feeling that we're inside Robin's mind. No one speaks (or thinks in Robin's case) grammatically perfect.
It all started with a dream.
Yes, it was one of those dreams. I'm not going to apologise for it, I'm nearly seventeen, an adolescent male, I'm entitled to dream. It's not like I can control them. Batman has those dreams too, even when he has Catwoman or Wonder Woman scratching his itch.
It had the whole hog, lustful whisperings, ample bosom before my face, vague sense of a person behind the smouldering sexiness. You know the ones. What got me was I woke up calling a name I never thought I would, not in that sense. Raven's is not a name you call out after a dream like that, you're likely to die before you sleep again.
Yes. You heard me. Raven starred in my dream.
I woke up drenched. I'll let you figure out the particulars of that, but most of it was sweat. After all, I don't see Raven that way, or at least, I didn't think I did. There was an ick factor involved and a moment of panic that Raven would somehow know. She's been in my head, after all.
But this dream, it's got me thinking. And, knowing my brain, thinking can be a dangerous thing. Batman trained me well.
Raven, well, we are friends. That's all. I never really thought we'd be more, that we even could be more. I didn't realise my brain thought of her as a woman, rather than a sister. And after this, I don't think I could go back to thinking of her as a sister.
So many possibilities. It was like my sexuality had awakened in one dream, all my senses honed in on her. I was suddenly remembering a hundred different things about Raven. How she wore her hair, how she chewed her lips when she read, how she had her tea every morning and how I'd often make it for her without realising it. She would twirl a strand of hair between her fingers, her legs curled underneath her when we had movie night. How much I'd missed her when we'd all gone our separate ways around the world for a while, and hadn't realised until I saw her again. How nice she'd felt when she'd impulsively hugged me after we'd defeated her father.
Every time I thought her name, there was this odd little thumb in my chest and my stomach filled with annoying butterflies. Raven. Raven. Raaaaven. Ravenravenravenravenraven.
I was crushing on Raven. How the hell could I be crushing on Raven? That was just insane. This was Raven. I love Raven, as a friend. I like her quirks, her tiny smiles. She always knows what I'm thinking. She's an ace chess player. She likes, strangely enough, to listen to cello music. Nice deep tones, she told me once, she likes the melodic way a cello spoke to her. She reads bad poetry (well, I think it's bad), mournful stuff like Edgar Allan Poe. She goes out of her way to hang out with Starfire and do girly stuff. She tolerates Beast Boy and calms him when he gets too psycho. She helped Cyborg improve the T-car and likes talking mechanics. I've caught her playing skank ball.
It was Raven. You don't just crush on Raven.
Now, I just know what you're going to say. What about Starfire?
Well, Starfire and me, we're best friends. I love her, I really do. She's fun to be around and she gets me. I can talk to her about anything and she can talk to me too. But, despite Cyborg's insinuations, we're not a couple. She doesn't flirt with me, not like other girls have when we walk down the street. Every laugh, every word from Starfire, it's all sincere. We don't stroll around hugging or holding hands or making out in dark corners of the Tower. I don't think it's even crossed Star's mind that we could be doing that, if she wanted to.
As she said, a girlfriend is 'a female with whom you have a pleasant and special association, including the sharing of enjoyable recreation and occasionally the buying of bountiful floral arrangements'. Well, that particular sentence applies to both Starfire and Raven. Except for the flowers.
Is this dream about Raven a betrayal of Starfire? No, I don't think so. I've seen Star when she goes gaga over a guy. She doesn't think of me that way. Okay, yes, she hugs me. But she also hugs Beast Boy and Cyborg too, it's just her way of expressing herself. I don't take Starfire's hugs as a hidden message that she's into me in that way. So there have been a couple of meaningful looks toward each other, the possibility of frenzied kissing probably, but we both step back when the time comes. What do you think that says?
It's not like I don't like Starfire as a girl. I do. I like her very much. Hell, who wouldn't? She's got a great body, she's got a wonderful, sparkling innocent personality which would drive any guy wild.
Except me. Because for me, Star's my best friend, and I don't have a lot of those. She and I, we could make that step, if we really wanted to and I bet it would be incredibly easy to fall in love with her, but there's something stopping both of us. I think it's the same reason for her as it is for me. Best friends are hard to come by.
I don't want to ruin anything I have, with either girl, by becoming a couple. Could you imagine what that would do to team dynamics? A girlfriend for Robin. I'd be compromising everything, just like Batman always said. Don't date a team member.
I didn't even know if Raven liked me, in that way. If she could like me. She'd fought so long to control her emotions and being in a relationship meant she would have to trust someone else with them. I'd be fighting against her nature, fighting my own controlling nature too, every step of the way.
Best just forget about it all. Crush on Raven all you like, stupid brain, but I'm not letting it get any further than that.
After an hour of trying to get back to sleep after this dream, I gave it up as a bad joke and wandered out to the common room for a drink. Yes, I changed first, God. Must you? It's a natural process; all guys go through it, nothing to be ashamed of. We just don't talk about it. Get off the topic. As I was saying, I went to the common room for a drink.
Raven was there, curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate in hand and reading a thick, leather bound book.
I thought for sure I was dead. She's read my mind. She watched my dream. She felt the vibrations in the air or whatever it is she does to just know things.
She looked up, smiled in her own quiet way and said, "You're up early."
I was a deer in headlights for a moment, before I recovered. I am Robin, nothing truly catches me off guard. That's what I tell myself, anyway. "Can't sleep. Nightmares."
She lifted an eyebrow. "Really?" she asked, and closed her book, a finger holding her place. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Yes, I did. I really wanted to tell her how she was writhing above me not an hour ago, begging me to— No. Don't go there. It'll open a door you can't close. "Not really."
Raven shrugged. "Suit yourself," she said, returning to her book. "I made some tea not long ago, the kettles still hot."
I'd like to say I didn't have any. That I got my water and got out of there as fast as possible. It would have been the smart thing to do. But when it comes to girls, I guess I'm not that smart.
I plonked myself down on that sofa beside her and put my feet up on the coffee table in front of us.
She glanced at me, quirked her lips up and shifted so she was no longer curled up with her book and put her bare feet up beside mine, her boots already discarded on the floor.
Raven doesn't smile, not like Starfire does. And that's okay, a simple quirk of her lips is enough. Raven also rarely cries. Raven rarely shows any emotion. But we're her friends, she knows she doesn't have to. A subtle shift in her body language shows she's not angry that I've invaded her space or am intruding on her reading. She's quite open to the company.
I lifted my chin at her, waggled my eyebrows and said, "How you doin'?"
Raven rolled her eyes. "Spare me."
I can tell she's playing along. Her words don't have icicles around them. "What are you reading?"
She closed the book on her finger again so I could see the title, not that it made much sense, it was all odd symbols.
"Right. Thanks. Very helpful."
She laughed. A 'Raven' laugh, Beast Boy calls them, consists of a tiny smile, a snort and a tiny 'teehee' sound. "It's a spell book."
"What language is that?"
She must have seen my want to talk because Raven sighed and put the book on her lap. "It's got a few new techniques I've wanted to try. Now that I'm free of my father's influence, I've got the time to develop a few things I let slide."
That sounded interesting. "Like what?"
Raven shook her head. "I'm not ready to share any of them until I'm certain I can do it. Set that training gleam in your eye elsewhere, Robin."
I sighed. "Fair enough. Pink?"
Raven blinked at me. "What?"
I nodded down at her feet.
She seemed embarrassed, because she curled her toes. "Believe it or not," she said with a stern frown. "I am a girl and sometimes I like to have pretty toes."
She's cute when she's flustered… where the hell did that thought come from? "I wasn't complaining."
"Besides, they're not pink, they're rose," she muttered.
"Well, that makes all the difference, then," I said, not really seeing the difference myself. And because she made the comment first I told her, "I think they're pretty."
Raven made a huffy sound, so I dropped it. One needed to know when to stop teasing Raven and unlike Beast Boy, I stopped way before that line.
I watched her out of the corner of my eye, trying to figure out what my subconscious was trying to tell me. Raven was pretty, I'd always thought that anyway, but lately she seemed more beautiful. She smiled more often, but that wasn't what I was seeing. She had her whole life before her to do with what she would, now she was no longer hostage to her father's will. She had chance to relax, and live and it suited her immensely.
"You know, we really haven't had much chance to talk lately. How are you doing?"
She lifted an eyebrow at me. "Fine."
Not really the response I wanted. "Fine doesn't cut it. C'mon, I'm asking as a friend. We've been gallivanting around the world and a lot of crap happened and I want to make sure you're okay."
Raven narrowed her eyes. "As a friend… Robin, I really am fine. You've helped more than you know. You and the others have just been so positive about Trigon and everything that's happened I can't help but tap into that. It's nice knowing my powers are mine, rather than them being an extension of his. I always wondered about that. It's given me a new look on life."
"Awesome," I replied, thrilled for her.
"You seem more relaxed," I commented. "It's a good look for you. I like it."
She gave me an odd, undecipherable look. "Thanks."
I yawned and stretched my arms above my head, then placed them along the top of the sofa as I looked out the window. The sun was starting to rise, the horizon turning decidedly pink. There were a few clouds in the sky but I recalled the weather forecast yesterday said today would be 'fine'. I contemplated going for an early morning run. Would be nice way to start the day, get my heart pumping.
"If you were anyone else, I'd think you were putting the moves on me."
"Huh?" I asked, looking over at Raven. She flicked her eyes at my hand, which somehow happened to be right behind her neck, resting on the back of the sofa. Honestly, I don't know what came over me, perhaps it was the dream, but the next thing out of my mouth was, "What if I was?"
Raven lifted an eyebrow. "Really, the old stretch and yawn? I thought you had more class than that."
I sighed. "Yeah, probably," I said, but made no attempt to move my arm. Nor did she ask me to move it. Interesting.
We sat in comfortable silence, watching the sun rise. It's strange; I never feel the need to fill any silence between Raven and me with words. Silence is nice, I enjoy it.
An odd thought occurred to me. "Just curious, you did get all your powers out of us, right? Nothing left over?" That would be a more plausible explanation than me crushing on Raven, if she'd left some residue of herself inside. She'd given a taste of her powers to us to protect us from Trigon when she'd opened the portal to his dimension. I always wondered if she got it all back.
Raven frowned. "Of course. I would never intentionally harm you or the others. I made sure I got everything out. Beast Boy especially, he can't handle my powers."
"And you don't, like, wander into our heads while we dream?"
The same odd, undecipherable look I'd gotten before. "No. Why?"
I shrugged and attempted to appear blasé. "No reason."
"You had a nightmare," Raven stated, twisting in her seat so she could look at me more closely. "Was I in it?"
I couldn't look her in the eye. "It was just a dream."
"You're really nervous about something," Raven said and I cursed inwardly. "It's not like you to get worked up over a dream. Unless it's a Slade dream."
I frowned. Slade. Yes. He could mess with my dreams like that. But Slade was gone, it couldn't be him. Eww, that just made me feel icky, a sex dream about Raven put in my mind by Slade. I shuddered. "No, it wasn't Slade. It was just a dream."
"Robin, you're easy to read," Raven told me. "And since I've already been in your mind, you broadcast quite clearly." She lifted a hand, her fingers pointed toward my head. "If you're worried about something, I can—"
Bad, bad! "No!" I moved my head away, lifted my hand from the sofa to catch hers. "It's fine."
Both her eyebrows shot up in surprise. Her cheeks got some colour to them. Her mouth dropped open for a brief moment, then she closed it with a snap. Her eyes widened and she made a sort of croaking noise.
My stomach turned to ice as I realised what was happening. Before I could even think to apologise, she warped out of there so fast she gave my hand portal burn.
Real suave, Robin. Stupid hormones.