Author's note: Hi, readers. This is considered my first ever FanFic, so please read and review!
I have no idea what triggered my mind to come up with this story, but EmaniaHilel and GuardianKysra's stories had been so inspiring that I have decided to try to post something of my own. If you're a RobRae or SpeedyRae or RedRae lover, feel free to read some of their amazing work. You won't regret it.
BTW, RobRae FTW!
Disclaimer: I wouldn't have to put this in words…
"Sometimes I tried to go on, I know it's wrong, cause when I see your eyes, I can see the flame is gone…"
- Thirteen Senses, 'Gone'
The wind blew gently across the Earth's surface, sending a cool breeze through the cemetery, causing the trees and grass to sway along with its movement. The sun's rays penetrated the ozone, allowing soft rays of light to light up the day, giving warmth to every being, yet managing to keep the temperature cool.
About two dozen people were currently gathered around a headstone, each wearing stoic, poker faces. Some had tears running down their cheeks, falling onto the ground or clothes after, sounds of their cries being carried about the bare cemetery; others were just standing still, a look of calmness on their face, only the slight downward tilt of their lips and the furrow of their brows showing their restraint.
A son, a man, a friend, a brother, a hero. That was what they decided to have engraved on top of the stone bearing his name. He was someone's son, a child born from a family who was grateful they'd been blessed with such a gift from the Gods. He was a man, who had once been a little boy with a bright future ahead of him, until an unfortunate accident that might have caused him half of his anatomy, but brought about a better future. He was a friend, who was willing to listen, to share, to care, to argue, and to fight for everything to save his friends. He was considered a brother, a family member that was not blood-related but close enough to be considered so.
He was a hero. A hero who does shed tears for the small wonders; wouldn't mind showing kindergarten kids how to cross the road safely; wouldn't feel embarrassed to be caught going to the game store to buy a new video game; would always cook up a pile of meaty breakfast for his friends (and cause a ruckus with a green-colored being). But most importantly, a hero who would give up his life to protect those that he loved, knew, cherished, or even strangers to him.
Among the crowd were the founding members of the Justice League, who stood still with their heads tilted down in respect, his parents who, after getting word of the news, broke down before they managed to explain his death, and last but not least, his teammates, his friends, his family.
Passersby would always wonder about the irony during burials: such a sad and unfortunate event, yet the sun is still high in the sky, shining no less. But maybe, he was currently up there, smiling sincerely down at their blackened silhouettes due to their dress code, thanking them for being there, yet willing them to move forward and not be bounded by the past.
The cries subsided, and they began to leave.
The first to go were the League, again giving their condolences and praise to his parents about both his death and heroic acts throughout years of service, yet not offering any help should they need it. They left without another backward glance.
Next was his parents and friends. After consoling them that they best go back to the hotel to get a good days rest, they complied, and left with both the sobbing alien and silent green-skinned boy. The only ones left were the birds.
Robin was in a neat tuxedo, his hair gel-free, allowing the wind to blow softly against it. He still had his mask on, as though the headstone bore the name Victor Stone, it was 'still important they kept their identities secret,' said Batman. Robin still remembered the way the Leagues appeared when they first arrived: the man albeit in tux, had either replaced their masks with Robin's identical domino ones, or had sunglasses pushed up the rim of their noses. The ladies though, had no need as people had seen them without their superhero costume.
He glanced around, marveling on the day, the beauty and clarity of the cemetery, the way the headstones of the people's beloved stood across the yard, some having flowers laid before them. The birds were flying about, singing a tune only birds know; the breeze creating a serene image in his mind, making him almost forget that they were present to mourn about their own lost, and not taking a stroll in the place where the dead lay.
His gaze wandered back to the headstone, then to his female companion. Her shoulder-length hair was swaying with the breeze, reflecting the sunlight, making it glow a brighter violet. Her eyes were fixed on the headstone, her face calm, though he knew better. She was wearing a simple black knee-length dress that she got (courtesy of Starfire) and wore to the annual party the mayor of Jump City held, and low heels that were a big contrast as compared to her boots.
The look in her amethyst eyes were distant, as though she were someplace else, and not standing by him in front of the grave. She might not look it, but he could see the small frown on her face, the sadness in her eyes, the slight curve formed on her lips. Though she still stood tall, chin forward, back straight, not showing any signs of remorse or grief.
"Hey," he called out softly, as if the slight pitch of his voice might shatter the blissful atmosphere. Still, she stood, ignoring him, or not being able to hear him at all. "Raven…?" Quiet. Hesitantly, he raised his hand and touched her left arm. The sudden contact made her jolt up in surprise, her piercing gaze landing straight on him, eyes wide open, looking like a scared child for just a few seconds. And just like that, he could see the child in her he rescued just a year ago, clinging onto him, unwilling to let go.
For a while they stood, looking into each others eyes (she was looking at his face, clearly at his mask, trying to seek his eyes through the thin fabric). And then she broke the contact, her eyes slowly rolling down to stare at the ground.
"Raven, you ready to go?" She was struggling for an answer, with the slight shake of her head, and then a small nod. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and brought her into his warmth, trying to give her comfort both physically and through the mental bond they shared since she entered his mind. She allowed the contact without protest. He would have been willing to stand there for just a few moments longer, but he knew she needed rest just as he knew he too had to get some shut-eye. He started walking, with her close to his side, towards the car he borrowed from Bruce, knowing that she disliked being on a motorcycle, and thinking about the awkwardness of driving a fancy red motorcycle just after a funeral.
Things were different after they got back.
Starfire, who would usually be spotted in the kitchen making her God-only-knows-what-name food from her home planet, was leaning by the window, looking out into the sea surrounding the T-shaped tower build by theirs truly, still clad in her dark purple dress. Her eyes were slightly darker from before, an inverted smile plastered on her once bright and bubbly face. Her gaze went everywhere: the sea, the sky, the city from afar, the rocks by the shore, as if seeking an answer to a question.
Cyborg was one of the friends she first met when she came to Earth, who fought alongside her in order to free her from the Gordanians. He taught her how to cook, though unsuccessful. He was willing to listen to anything she has to say be it stupid or annoying. He might be a half-robot, but to Starfire, he had a beautiful soul, and is willing to accept him for who he is. But now, he would not be here to taste her cooking, have a heart-to-heart chat, or spend time with.
Beast Boy was practically slump on the couch, his dark green tie on the floor, a game console in his hands, gazing at the television. He was deep in thought. He might be the youngest member of the team, but he was mature enough to experience the lost of a loved one. He still remembered the time when they were battling each other out on the new 'MegaMonkey 5' before the alarm sounded. Cyborg might be a pain in the ass, but he was still family. Now, who would be there to remind him that meat is way better than tofu? Make him clean his room once in a while? Hit him on the head whenever he directed a corny joke towards someone? Beat him when a new edition of 'MegaMonkey' comes out? Pick on Raven and Robin with a game of 'Stankball'…? Okay, that might have been underrated, but still. Overall, Cyborg was the older brother Beast Boy never had, and with his death, it's like a part of him had disappeared with him.
This is the state of the team Robin came upon after getting back from the graveyard, each of them getting lost in their own thoughts. He wasn't used to the silence that greeted him every time he entered the common room, hell, the Tower. The sound of guns firing, bacon sizzling, 'Booyah!'s could no longer be heard. Maybe never.
He was still holding Raven's hand in his (after helping her out from the car, he felt reluctant to let go), but at the slight nudge to his side, he glanced at Raven.
"I need to meditate." She said monotonously. And with that, she let go of Robin's hand, turned on her heels and headed straight for her room without another word. Robin watched her go, feeling her sorrow and hurt through the bond. Knowing he couldn't do anything more – consoling Starfire and Beast Boy would just end in another teary scene – he retreated into the quiet of his room.
It just happened yesterday, said event. They were all going about their own business: Starfire making another one of her 'Pudding of Happiness' and humming a song with a strange tune; Beast Boy and Cyborg playing while yelling at the top of their lungs, hoping to distract the other; Raven floating just a few feet off the ground by the floor-to-ceiling window, eyes closed, face serene, a cup of tea by her side, totally ignoring the two; Robin, who stood by her side, hands on his waist, looking out at the city they swore to protect, yet his gaze wandering once in a while to the woman beside him, absorbing her beauty, welcoming the comfortable silence between them.
The alarm broke their morning routine.
Starfire stopped levitating; Cyborg and Beast Boy quieted down; Raven opened an eye; Robin running towards the computer located just below the 7 feet TV. "Ah, it's The Hive again." He said, clearly annoyed with them, but having full knowledge that they were still dangerous. He turned towards his teammates, and shouted the well-anticipated command: "Titans, go!"
They arrived downtown, just in time to see Jinx, Mammoth and Gizmo blowing fire hydrants into the sky, creating man-made rain. Some would have enjoyed getting soaked, but when it comes to a fight between the good and bad, they were smart enough to know to make way.
They charged at each other. Starfire and Beast Boy dealing with Mammoth; Robin and Raven dealing with Jinx; Cyborg had Gizmo all to himself. It would've been another victorious battle, ending with The Hive being led away in police vans, and a date with the local pizza restaurant. But this time it was entirely different.
While Beast Boy, in octopus form, was clinging onto Mammoth who was swinging Starfire around by her ankles, and Raven creating a barrier against Jinx's hexes and Robin throwing ice discs at her, Gizmo who was flying about his jack-pack got hit by one of Cyborg's sonic blast, sending him crash-landing into a clock shop window, shattering the glass that separated the displays from the outside world. With the gas leaking out from the jack-pack, Gizmo managed to unhook himself before scrambling further away from the upcoming explosion. Shards of glass were sent rocketing towards all direction, and one of them managed to pierce through Cyborg's un-metallic-side skull and straight into his brain.
He went down with a "thud". All battles stopped. Mammoth in the process of getting rid of Beast Boy's sticking tentacles stood, mouth agape. Jinx, ready to fire another hex, lost her concentration, the pink magic dissolving from her hands. Gizmo, still face down on the floor, lifted his head and stared in horror.
The Hive was brought to jail without protest as they were shell shocked from what happened. They attacked the city for fun, but not to take a life. It wasn't meant to be taken to another level. As they were whisked away, the four teens stood in front of their fallen comrade. Cyborg laid with his eyes still wide open, caught surprise by the sudden impact, mouth a small 'o', blood oozing out slowly from the head wound, whole body limp, never to get up again. People were gathering around, both tearful and curious as to how did it happen. Kids were crying as their mothers covered their eyes, hoping to get rid of the image of their fallen hero. Murmurs were heard from the crowd.
Suddenly, a drop of rain fell from the sky. Two. Three. Followed by a downward pour from the heavens. The crowd began to break, running home towards sanctuary. The fours still stood, heads down, drenched in rain, not knowing what they should do, until the Flash and Martian Manhunter appeared before them, ordering them to go home, while they take it from there.
The call to his parents was made by Raven. Cyborg had confided in her in numerous times, knowing she was a good listener to his complaints, statements, or talk. Victor's parents, who were currently vacationing in Colorado, upon hearing the devastating news, broke down, clutching the phone tightly until their knuckles turned white. Raven had helped booked a flight to Jump and a room at the Jump City Hotel to accommodate them. They accepted gratefully without question about the dark Titan's behavior, as Victor had bragged about her often to them, it is clear they were close.
Cyborg's death might've affected everyone who he came to know, but the one that got affected the most was Raven. When she first came to Earth, she was wandering about the streets aimlessly with no where to go. And when she met the others, all she did was followed along. She would've stopped halfway, changed her mind, and flew towards Gotham. But a hand on her shoulder stopped her. Cyborg. He made her feel like she belonged. In fact, he had been the first one to make her smile, bring out her inner self, the self she wanted to become but knew she can't.
He had always been quite protective of her, calling her his 'little sister'. Plus, after years of bonding through car-fixing sessions, she allowed him to call her 'Rae', and going as far to fulfill his wish of wearing Robin's uniform. Though not her kind of activity, she enjoys every moment of it, cherishes it even. They brought out the carefree side of her, who was willing to have fun with her friends instead of being stuck in a gloomy room reading horror novels. But now with him gone, she wondered, will she ever smile again?
As leader, Robin had been in charge of the funeral. The invitations, the flowers, the service, everything. He made sure it went about smoothly without fail. If Cyborg were here, he might've laughed at the seriousness of the whole event. But it was an honorary funeral, to mourn the death of a comrade in justice.
Cyborg and Robin had problems before, even during the inception when the team first formed. They would fight about strategy, complain about one others weakness, yet they stayed best friends throughout the years. Cyborg was his second-in-command, and the one besides Raven that he would trust his life with. Sure, they had healthy competitions now and then, but what's stopping then from killing each other? Not even he can answer that.
Cyborg had always been the one to reason with him, besides the others. Whatever he said would make Robin think twice about his actions (Cyborg spends way too much time with Raven…), but this has been what made him a good leader, creating a trust that cannot be broken easily. They might be different in color, in technique, in thinking, but that's what made them closer.
Adjusting his tie, he picked up the mask from his table. Cyborg had actually seen him without his mask before by accident, though Robin wasn't angry. Each had shared part of their life stories together before, what's the shame or harm in showing your eyes to friends/family? He gingerly lifted the mask to his face, looked back at the mirror, regarding his reflection, then turning towards the door.
It was late.
The clock read 12:37 AM. Raven turned away from the sight of it and faced the ceiling. She couldn't sleep, probably wouldn't have a good nights sleep after this. Moonlight from the window shined in, refracting its rays towards objects laying about the room: her books, wardrobe, bedside table. It was cooling outside; she could see the shadows of the clouds moving from her position on the bed. But in her room, it was stuffy. She had pushed the blankets covering her legs down, leaving her in a cool black tank top and short boxer pants.
She decided to close her eyes again and hopefully drift into sleep when a soft knock sounded on her door. She knew who it was before he spoke.
"Raven?" he hesitated. "You awake?"
She got up, wondered whether she should open the door to allow entrance or leave him, let him think she's asleep. Somehow, her state of lethargy made her act without thinking, and before she knew it, she was opening the door, looking up at Robin.
He was in a white form-fitting shirt and knee-length pants, and the ever-present mask was no longer… present. His crystal-blue eyes were wide in surprise at the sight that greeted him, even though he had seen her in her PJs before, she still took his breath away. He was at a loss for words. He shifted his gaze, finding his feet interesting, lifting a hand to rub the back of his neck. Raven was annoyed. She knew Robin pitied her, but she knew she was strong enough to handle it, as she had done so many times before. She rolled her eyes. "What?" she said harshly.
Robin, who caught the tone, immediately thought of something to say. "I was just wondering whether you were okay… I mean, after all that's happened, are you…"
"I'm fine." She said tersely.
But she's not. She knows it; he knows it. They were closest to Cyborg. Always spending time with him, be it in the conference room, out practicing, or during breakfast. Without Cyborg, would they be able to go on like nothing happened before? The aroma of meat floating around in the air; his famous "Booyah!", and his childish acts. Was it possible? …No.
To both of their surprise, Robin pulled Raven into his arms, enclosing them at the back of her waist, bringing her into his chest. One of his hands came on the back of her head, pushing it down to his collarbone, allowing it to rest there. Raven, whose hands were the only thing keeping her from coming in contact with Robin's muscular chest, relaxed, and instead went around his waist, clutching onto the shirt, hugging him tight. Robin too responded with equal strength, tightening his hold, breathing into her hair, inhaling the scent of her.
Raven couldn't take it anymore: a tear fell from her face, glided down the curve of her cheek, gathered at the base of her jaw, and dropped down onto Robin's shirt. Her shoulders hitched, her chest heaved in and out, and tears began running down at a faster pace. Robin's eyes were blurred by the tears that accumulated, but he would not allow them to fall.
"Can you stay…?" she said in a whisper, and Robin had to strain his ears to hear.
He had been planning to do so even without her asking, so he whispered softly in her ears, "Yes…"