When I said lengthy updates would probably be a regular thing with me, I meant it.
So, very few words shy of 7,000 words. In fact, it may be. It trumps the last chapter anyways, I never knew how much I actually had to fit in a single stint.
Also, because I forgot to mention last ch, Rachelle's last name has gone to Wilde. The original last name actually. This is very insignificant, really it is, but I want to tell you just in whatever case it pops back up and your not wondering where the hell my head has gone.
Chapter the eighth
Robin walked into the stilling silence of the common room alone, while not even the sun had risen up high enough to greet him through the large, panoramic window quite yet. He trudged through the kitchen, in between the island counter and the sink until he stood in front of the fridge where he rummaged around in its depleting cavity for food. Settling on a recipe in mind, he pulled the required ingredients out for preparation, then the required tool to carry out the order - a silver frying pan. Cracking the egg into the warming skillet, two pieces of toast were set into the toaster before he leaned back against the counter, hands running up over his face and through his hair, reforming its style to the best of his abilities as the gel's stiff hold had started the process of breaking down.
No one could accuse him of, how Starfire had once put it, "abandoning the human need for sleep", that night. Indeed he had slept, it had simply been slumped in his desk chair. Another practice his friends vocally frowned upon on occasion.
In the beginning, it had started simply as a reviewing of the sample of blood for himself. An occurrence that was indeed strange, but just as Cyborg had portrayed it; untouched by the mortal elements of time and deterioration.
Although truthfully little of his time had been spent pondering over the glass vial of blood, an area of expertise he deemed more wholly suited to Cyborg and his praise-worthy knowledge of biological sciences. No, most of his time and interest had been spent poring over the ware house footage, zooming in and out, adding and adjusting filters, and sharpening pixels to the best of his ability. However between the building's out of date security camera, and its lens distorted by the years of dust, the footage had been disqualified for trace details. The only real thing he'd managed to discover was how the suitcase came to be, making the journey with her masked behind a particular star-burst of light, where her hand had released it upon entrance. Even that had been hard to determine. The end product had been largely disappointing. Neither hidden clues or hints had been uncovered. Not even a retrieved image of the Professor's face satisfactory to Robin's standards, nor the databases facial recognition program. But his mind was locked in determination. The same determination his friends often mistook for obsession. Like Robin had always said, there was always a clue.
The egg in the pan popped, spraying a drop of boiling oil at the bare flesh on his arm. He cringed away, rubbing at the spot before grabbing the toast from their heated slots and sliding the perfectly cooked egg onto a waiting slice. He dropped the pan into the sink and spread his condiments of choice on the opposing slice, flipping it over to form a sandwich he cut diagonally to split the yolk. Satisfied, he grabbed the plate and yesterday's paper, yesterday's events had neglected him to read, making his way to the roof. The sun crept its way across common room floor in wide panels as he left.
Passing through the thresh hold of the door, Robin kept his hand on it as it closed, ensuring its silence. His body stalled upon turning around, finding a figure already resided in his desired seating. Her feminine frame laid horizontally on the tower's raised ledge while the right knee curled up and the left leg hung off the edge, towards ground six stories below. An open book rested spine up across her ribs rising and falling with every intake of breath, hands securing its placement. Eyelids were closed, hair pouring over the side like a flow of lava. He walked to her right, acting on the decision to resume carrying out his breakfast plans regardless of her presence as he took his seat and crossed his legs. Biting into the sandwich he chewed, tasted, swallowed, and bit again when he noticed a small movement to his left. The form's leg lowered, leaning to the right, towards the drop as her lids peeked open.
In one fluid movement Rachelle shot up, inhaling a sharp draw of breath, obviously startled by his presence though she had yet to see him as the book fell off the edge, only to be slapped to the side of the tower by the panicked reflex of her hand. Robin's arm shot across her collarbone and grasped the opposing shoulder to prevent what he foresaw as a terrible accident, her body leaning dangerously forward over the edge.
"Careful," He said as he retracted his arm. "It's a long way down." She didn't reply, but pushed back the hair having fell over her face with a comb of her long nails, pulling the book back up to safety and crossed her legs upon the ledge.
"I didn't mean to wake you. Actually, I was trying not to," Robin apologized.
"I was on the fringes of a dream. I could hear you," She stated, voice groggy and low with sleep. "I just…didn't expect you."
"What'd you dream about?" Robin asked, beginning the social ritual of small talk as he took another bite.
"You. And a bunch of stupid, nonsensical imagery," She said, looking down to flip through the book's pages to reinstate her place, finding the bookmark must have periled to the fall. She peeked over the side.
He stopped chewing to speak. "Me?"
"And a variety of nonsensical imagery," She repeated. "My brains private rendition of…this." Her arm swept across the expanse of the city, eyes keeping track on the pages as the faint grin that had formed was lost from her face.
"So, uh," Robin continued. "What are you doing up here?"
She shrugged, her knees pulling up to her chin while her arms wrapped tightly around them. Her face stared across the bridge already heavy with morning traffic, the sounds of the many tires rolling over the uneven asphalt reaching across the waters softly. "What about you?"
He shrugged himself. "I come up sometimes. Everyone just tends to gravitate here I guess." Suddenly remembering his manners his mother had long ago taught him regarding sharing, Robin picked up the plate, swinging it in her direction. "Want half?"
Her left arm crossed over after a moment, plucking the diagonal slice off the plate. Peeking discreetly between the slices for the contents, she took her first bite of food since arriving. "Thanks," She said softly, and Robin nodded his acknowledgement.
"So uh, Antimatter…"
Her head turned at him slowly into the crook of her arm, her storm blue eyes peeking up from underneath their lashes, but Robin could tell she was concealing a smile. "I was being difficult."
Robin chuckled lightly. "Why?"
She shrugged again, her face turning back away, but revealed no smile. "A shrink may choose to call it a coping mechanism." Suddenly the book was held out in front of him for him to take, her finger pointed to a particular line. "I originally got it from this. It starts here."
He set the sandwich plate aside and took the book from her offering grasp, beginning to read while his brain highlighted the key points.
"You've lectured on it yourself, director. The universe contains two kinds of matter. Scientific fact…. One matter is the kind we see here on earth, making up rocks, trees, people. The other is its inverse - identical to matter in all respects except that the charges of its particles are reversed…. If antimatter and matter come in contact, both are destroyed instantly. Physicists call the process 'annihilation.'…. A thousand times more powerful than nuclear energy."
He flipped the book over to its cover, reading the title. "Angels and Demons," He read aloud, handing the book back. "Interesting title."
The book was closed and set to the side. "I started reading a few years back, never finished. Threw in my bag on a whim." She paused. "Now seemed the perfect time." The conversation tapered off, falling into silence.
The morning sun had risen well by now, casting her red, curl accented waves into an orange glow which Robin metaphorically equated as being that of a fiery demon, licking into flames as the breeze blew it across her face and shoulders until it burn down into the embers of black beneath, melding into the black leather jacket over her shoulders. A black shirt peeked from the bottom of the jacket, transitioning into dark grey jeans secured by a black leather belt with simple detailing. A pair of biker boots reached above her ankles, branded on the side by Harley Davidson and looking decently worn. Robin could tell by the thin metal strip at the top that they were steel toed.
"Is now a good time?" she asked, suddenly breaking the silence in danger of becoming awkward.
"For what?" Robin asked in return, unsure to what she was referring.
"Slade. You said you would explain it later. It's later." But his voice never broke the following silence as she had expected.
"You don't have anything to say?" She asked softly, her gaze refusing to part with the bridge though her eyes flicked to his side.
"He's…the bad guy…" Though Robin deemed the term 'bad guy' didn't come close to cutting it. "The most elusive. He's smart, and destructive and… Has a habit for recruiting teenagers as apprentices. You need to stay away from him." It was Robin's turn to receive silence where he had expected her interjection. "He's a manipulator," He finished, detecting an edge to his own voice.
"Yes," She stated, catching him by surprise. "That he did seem to be." The area fell into another silence as Robin stared at her silently from the corners of his vision, evaluating.
"All these masks…" She began, again breaking the silence.
"What?" He asked.
"Speedy, Kid Flash, slade, you, and many others…" Naming off the few she could remember. "It's like a Masquerade."
"It's for identity protection," Robin stated matter of factly, taking one of the last bites of his sandwich and noting she had finished hers.
She turned to stare at him, again half buried in her arm, her eyes containing a teasing gleam. "Hide your face so the world will never find you," She summarized.
Robin scoffed out a small, brief laugh through his mouthful of food. "I've never heard it put quite that way before, but yeah, that's the idea."
"Speaking of the others…" Robin suddenly realized. "How'd you know? All the masks I mean."
"How?" He asked.
"Yeah, but our internet has a security key," He said knowingly.
"You uh, " She took a moment to swing her gaze back to the bridge. "left that super computer of yours on. The operating system's set up a lot like windows – developed by a company called Microsoft where I come from," She explained, unsure of the differences the two worlds contained.
"We have that here."
She gave a short nod. "Then long story short, the password was stored under network settings." She turned to face him. "I was surprised actually, everything around here is very…technological, secured." Robin's expression was flat, disapproving or even suspicious perhaps. And suddenly there was the need to explain herself.
"I wasn't snooping, I was just..." She stopped a moment to reassert herself. "I'm sorry, and I apologize, but you can stop looking at me like that. There's nothing you have that I want," She said, trying to reassure him that informational theft- aside from the Wi-Fi password -was the farthest thing from her intent. "You're mad," She half stated and half asked, keeping her gaze averted.
"It's just… Don't do that again. Ask." Truly he was a little miffed at the fact, and he gathered she could tell from her stoic face staring back at the bridge. He looked down at the empty plate as he felt the conversation wearing thin and the mood falling south. He cleared his throat. "We'll probably go out for breakfast again, foods kinda low. You up for it?" He asked.
"Depends." She shrugged.
"On what?" She stood, and Robin realized they were dead even in his 5'5 height, other than perhaps the half on inch he had on her solely do to the way his hair was styled.
"Their fatality rating," She answered.
Robin chuckled as she handed him the plate and he grabbed his unread paper. "Uh, yeah. Well, Mancino's is on the ground floor. I think you should be good."
For the second day in a row Robin walked through the common room doors surprised, finding Beast Boy sitting at the kitchen island. "Beast Boy, you're up early? Two days in a row?" He asked, Rachelle coming to stand by his side.
"Nooo," Beast Boy moaned, his head plopped vertically on the counter facing the T.V. "Iz Cyborg's faul…" He mumbled.
"Cyborg?" Robin questioned, looking to the man in question already preparing food at the stove.
"Revenge," Cyborg answered. And though he was facing the stove, there was a smile in his tone. "This'll teach him to burn the bacon."
"Dude," Beast Boy protested, his face still smooshed into the counter. "I did not burn your bacon. You burned your bacon," He finished, pointing a lazy finger at his accuser.
"Either way, I'm cooking a proper breakfast of hearty meat and eggs and haven't heard a thing from you yet. It's a nice change."
"I was going to say we go out once everyone got up, but it looks like you found something," Robin said.
"If you can't make something out of nothing, you aren't a true chef," Cyborg said proudly. "Side's, I had a backup box of waffle mix, and a hidden family pack of bacon in the back of the freezer."
"You keep waffle mix in the freezer?" Robin asked.
"My mom used to do it, keeps it fresh. Well good morning little lady," Cyborg greeted with a broad smile as he turned and noticed Robin's accompanied presence. She graced him with a short nod in return, the quiet disposition they had first met seeming to slip into place once more.
"Where'd you guys come from?" Beast Boy asked. In answer Robin stated, "Roof." Making his way around the counter to set down the plate and make a grab for the coffee beans before Cyborg shut the cupboard door completely.
"Well no need to stand around like that, have a seat." Cyborg gestured to the bar stools on either side of Beast Boy and she did as she was told, taking a seat on the round stool to his right. "Breakfast will be ready in a second, and Starfire should be out any minute."
As if rehearsed, Starfire glided through the doors, approximately one inch off the ground before her flight pattern stalled. "Beast Boy, you are up? How wonderful!" She exclaimed, resuming her flight path to a stool at the counter where Cyborg and Robin greeted her with a, 'Hey Star,' and Beast Boy conformed to stretching his arm back behind him for a lazy wave.
"Rachelle," She beamed. "You slept well yes?"
Rachelle shoulders shrugged and lips cracked a light smile.
"Breakfast is ready, Raven coming?" Cyborg asked, his question more direct towards Starfire than anyone else.
"I do not know. She does not usually come out until after meditation, which we were planning to perform together later after breakfast."
Cyborg shrugged. "Well, maybe she'll surprise us. Until then, more food for us." Cyborg picked up a plate piled high with food, handing it to Starfire before picking up a couple more and walking them to the table and setting them down in the center. Robin opened the cupboard doors, pulling down plates for the places and grabbing his mug of brewed coffee.
"Coming?" He asked Rachelle, passing her on route to the table as Beast Boy slid off his own stool.
As they sat down Beast Boy began sniffing, popping his eyes fully open at his alarm. "Where's the tofu?! It's all meat and eggs! Live eggs!" He exclaimed as he pushed his empty plate away simply to make a statement.
"Well they ain't alive anymore, never were actually. And man, I ain't makin' any of that nasty soy stuff! You want it you can do it yourself. Sides', this is what you call a healthy, hearty breakfast!" Cyborg combated with equal excitement, roaming his eyes over the plates massed with scrambled eggs, bacon, and waffles with greedy contemplation.
Rachelle leaned slightly in towards Robin. "Is this common?" She whispered, recalling how the morning before had held a similar start.
"Every morning." He seemed to groan as he said it, then raised his voice to be heard. "Look Beast Boy, there's waffles. Just, eat those." Beast Boy sat back and scoffed, reaching for a waffle with his fingers.
"Nobody takes my needs seriously around here," He stated, pouting as he poured syrup on his plate for waffle dipping purposes.
"Go ahead," Robin said. "help yourself." He motioned with a small nod of his head.
"You...already fed me."
"That? That was a snack. Half a snack," Robin corrected.
"That was breakfast."
"Then it was half a breakfast," Robin resolved.
"Half a snack could never be breakfast. Which is why I need something more than waffles!" Beast Boy piped in as a sarcastic last attempt at getting his problem resolved.
"Perhaps for you," Rachelle stated, ignoring Beast Boy's comment just as everyone else did. "But I highly doubt you and I share the same daily activities. Vaulting off buildings, for example."
He shrugged a shoulder as he salted his eggs, suppressing a smirk. "Whatever you want I guess."
Most of the conversation held at the table involved discussions she had no relation too. Tofu and video games for example. Before she knew it she had lost herself in the labyrinth of her own thoughts, time had passed quickly, and suddenly Robin was indicating his desire to stand. She slid herself out of the booth for him to exit, sitting back on the edge as she watched him set his plate in the sink. A small throw back to the night before until he began walking away towards the double doors leading out of the room.
"Where are you going?" She asked, causing him to halt and turn in between the doors that had flung themselves to the side at his presence.
"My office. I have work to do," He answered, somewhat curtly as he continued on his way.
"You'll get used to it," Came Cyborgs voice. She looked up to find him smiling knowingly behind his generously sized glass of orange juice, chuckling lightly. "We all did."
"Yeah, and it's still annoying," Best Boy said. But the only thing she found herself thinking, was if they anticipated on her staying that long.
Starfire floated off the seat with her plate, heading towards the sink, turning back once the dishes were in place. "I am to meditate with Raven for the girl time now. Perhaps, Rachelle, you would like to join us? You are most welcome too, I am sure Raven would not mind." She smiled.
"Perhaps another time," She declined.
"You are most sure?" Starfire asked. Rachelle nodded. "Very well, I shall see you all later, friends."
A rythmatic beeping began and Cyborg looked to his arm. "Finally, my baby's parts are in. It's about time!" He exclaimed happily, standing and gathered his dishes before stopping as he realized something. "Uh, you two wouldn't mind keeping each other company while I go pick them up from the shop would you?"
"Not at all," Beast Boy said, plan already mapped in his mind.
"Hm?" Her head shot to the side from where she was sitting on the noir, canvas couch she had been led to not moments before.
"I said do you wanna play. You know, video games?" There was hope in his eyes as a dark blue controller dangled limp and helpless, swinging back and forth from the cord held in his hand as it tried desperately to be tantalizing. It Beast Boy's opportune chance to set Cyborg straight on the question of his video gaming skills.
Her porcelain hand reached out to pluck it from his grasp. "So then, is this Mega Monkey 4, or Turbo Speed 6?"
"Pfff, Cyborg doesn't even know what he's talking about, Turbo Speed 6 is old news. This is Turbo Speed 7, brand new!" Beast Boy exclaimed, hoping his excitement was contagious. Her face remained neutral. "Have you played any of the Turbo Speed's before?" He asked.
"No. But I play Xbox."
"Alrighty then, let's play!" Car color and specs were chosen and customized before heading to the digital raceway where the competition was quickly underway. To his complete joy, Beast Boy took the first round. The second and third by close call, were claimed by his newest gaming companion, and by the fourth round Rachelle had to wonder why Cyborg had made him out to be less than sufficient at video gaming. Unless she herself were worse than previously thought – and she hoped this wasn't the case. Her slim black car crossed the finish line, a millimeter ahead of its dark green competition.
"Noooooo," Beast Boy wailed, jumping to stand as if it would it would push his car to move any faster. He plopped back down to his seating as the scores popped upon the screen. "So close…" He whimpered, and after a moment of thought he stated, "I'm changing my car."
Rachelle stood, dropping the remote to the black cushion as Beast Boy began enhancing a newly bought race car with his acquired, virtual prize money. She walked forward, advancing up the stairs on the side of the computer console and stopped in front of the large window. "It's close to here. Isn't it?" Her voice suddenly asked.
"What is?" Beast Boy questioned, to engrossed to part his concentration from the game as his thumbs clicked the buttons.
"The warehouse," She clarified.
"Oh that thing? Yeah, not too far."
Her fingertips came up to caress the surface of the window, pressing down until her palm and the glass met. "Where?" She asked.
Beast Boy looked up briefly. "Behind the big white building with the top like a pointy needle. It has a buncha old buildings an stuff. Why?" He asked.
She shrugged, finding the building with its needle point with a sweep across the city and turned to walk back down. "Conversation."
Beast Boy could see her standing at the side of the couch from the corners of his eye but was paying little attention to her presence because he was captivated by his finished product, a high speed, sleek, green beauty with black pinstripes and a leather interior. The only thing his mustang lacked was an upgrade to the handling, which still required more funds.
"Hey how much money did you win? I'll race you for…it…" He looked around, but found himself to be alone. Twisting his torso around the back of the couch and then back again, he switched the game mode to solo race for a test drive.
A long walk, a very long, damp walk from another swim across the bay was what it had taken to get to the area in question; an old district which had proved reasonably easy to find with Beast Boy's simple instruction. Past a certain point the city had simply seemed to drop off into what may have once been the heart of the city in its younger days. Billboards, building murals, and stray pieces of paper still tried to represent the old structures glory days.
Finding the exact building proved slightly more difficult than finding the district itself, and she wondered how long she would have to comb the haunting maze of abandoned buildings before she were to locate it. But before long, one in particular boldly stood apart from the rest, missing the entire far left corner.
The remaining structure of the building was severely compromised, not by age, but by the aftermath of an explosion. Finding an easy admission to the insides of the property proved only slightly more difficult than simply walking through a nonexistent door, and required climbing up a hill constructed of concrete rubble to reach its inner sanctum. The far right corner still existed as a whole, its walls and ceiling protruding a fair distance before the damage set in, holding part of a balcony before it too crumbled off into rubble to form the compromised metal skeleton of a large building, the sky visible by turning ones head toward the heavens.
The faint smell of stale dust and burnt electrical assaulted her nose as she continued to walk across the less than stable ground littered with debris. Making her way to a larger and more prominent, wrecked, and tilted structure set within the middle of the dismantled scene. The large mechanical device let her know without a doubt this was the place she was looking for.
A sound, light and ambient rung throughout the air, so light one had to wonder if its presence were genuine. Its source undetectable as the pitch wavered through the room. But with each step towards the defeated structure, the more noticeable it became. She found herself walking up the red painted stairs to the consoles platform where she found herself then standing before a blackened panel, explosion streaks stretching out from a metal staff embedded within. She slid her hand down exterior, still smooth despite the micro scratches marring the surface before wrapping both hands around its circumference and bracing a foot against the panel, pulling it free with a screech of metal. Her thumb caught a small imperfection in the metal as she examined it. With a purposeful manipulation of what she deemed was a small lever, the staff shrank down, jerking in her hand as its weight dispersal changed and it's segments slammed down. Her finger skimmed lightly over the lever again before shoving the shrunken staff beside the phone in her back pocket.
Now within closer proximity, the sound had become clearer, and she realized as she looked up, that the source was hung between two slanting spires previously obscured by the angle and height of the machine. A translucent sphere hovered, suspended, like water rippling with waves of transparent, opaque colors, and emitting a thrumming pitch so high it almost seemed inaudible, akin to that of a wavering dog whistle.
She had heard the sound before. Deep in a dream, that was in fact not a dream, two nights previous.
Stepping up on the dysfunctional console to grab the right spire, her body hoisted itself up to it with her arms, its prominent slant making it easier for her to crawl up its metal shaft. It groaned under her shifting weight, causing her to momentarily freeze for the fear of falling, then promptly continued on her way until she were close enough it could be touch should she lean forward. Through the orb the world was a distorted image where every so often, a ripple would appear to imitate the appearance of her home world. Several more ripples ran across, their surfaces acting as a transparent mirror, throwing her image back at her, and allowing her to understand what Robin had meant by his statement of different.
Her fingers slid gently across her cheek bone as she touched her face. A slightly more prominent facial shape, deeper shadows and highlights as the light caught the vaguely more prominent angles in bone structure than the others possessed. But the eyes were what held the most difference within the small details of their construction; trivial curves, turns. All minute details that on their own could not be detected, but as a whole left the mind to ponder its distinction. An appearance, she wondered, that was caught between worlds.
Her head cocked lightly as her quizzical thoughts were pushed against her mind. Before long her hand began to extend, reaching towards the mysterious orb in unbridled curiosity until she felt a tingle run down her shoulder and through to her fingertips. She paused, judging the new found sensation before continuing on until a golden line of electricity strung a path between tips of her fingers and the orb. Freezing, she waiting for something unsuspecting to happen, to become electrocuted, or for the orb to explode or disappear.
Her body jolted as her phone began its signature jingle she rarely heard. She fumbled for the device in her lap, staring at it long and hard before her brain registered that if she didn't answer it quick, the call would be lost.
"Kellso?" she answered, using the nickname she had knighted her friend not long after their acquaintance.
"Where are you?" The voice accused.
"Where am I?" Rachelle repeated, a dazed air in her tone. "Where are you?"
"At the plane. And my mom's getting mad that you left, so please hurry."
"Are you- You're still at the airport?"
"Yeah… Why? You need hurry, there holding the door for you." He voice lowered in tone. "And the Woman looks like a witch if you know what I mean. Where are you?"
"The fifth dimension." She answered as she sat straighter, adding some humor on her part.
There was a lengthy pause before her friend asked, "I don't get it. Why are you talking like this?"
"Look," She sighed. "You're going to have to keep a very…opened mind-"
"What are you doing here?" She both inhaled sharply and jolted simultaneously as a strong male voice broke her conversation across the way, the phone slipping from her grasp. Within a split second she found herself viewing the dismantled room upside down, her legs still wrapped around the metal shaft, the phone caught between her hand as its decent was abruptly halted. Eyes scanned the room, alighting on an upturned figure standing at the thresh hold of the building. The phone in her hand beeped to indicate it was out of service range and the call had been lost.
"Oh, you. Nothing," She replied, turning her gaze away from him to swing her torso up to upright her position.
Robin walked forward, making his way to the broken machine. "The building's not too sturdy you know." As if to make his point, braces and joints shifted and creaked eerily, dropping a pile of dust from the ceiling.
"Yes, I did."
"And you still just, walk in?"
"I was still curious."
"Curiosity killed the cat."
"I'm not a cat."
He let the smallest of smirks appear as he stood on the machine at the base of the spire.
"I thought you were working in your office?"
Robin shrugged. If he had had any pockets he would have shoved his hands in them, instead he settled for crossing his arms. "You went missing." He took a step closer, a suspicious tone to his face. "So, what are you doing here, really?"
"Just...looking," She insisted, pushing her phone out closer to the transparent sphere Robin had not yet seemed to notice.
"What are you doing?" He paused when his eyes caught the rippling distortion suspended in the air. "What is that? He asked, holding his gaze on the suspended ripple effect. Her hand pulled a lazy motion for him to come closer. Planting his feet where they had landed the night before, he pulled himself up on the second spire which had been bent at its base to form a closer connection between the two. Unlike her, Robin did not crawl but rather walked up the shaft with the grace of a practiced tight rope walker. As far up as she, he crouched to his knees, securing his legs around it as he sat.
"I get a signal when it gets close enough." She demonstrated by holding the bottom of the phone, shoving it forward just close enough till the signal bars reappeared, receiving an onslaught of three text messages, the signal disappearing as it was pulled back. "Until you pull away."
"Ok," He said, as if he were expecting more.
Unfinished with her demonstration, she shoved her own hand toward the sphere.
"I wouldn't do that," Robin warned. She ignored him, continuing to reach until the strings of electricity began before she stopped.
"It tingles. Doesn't hurt," She stated.
Robin scooched forward, tentatively reaching out his own hand till it hovered by hers. To his surprise, nothing happened. He pulled back, pulling off his glove before reaching to the distortion once more.
Beneath the gloves his hands had scares, small white lines and crisscrosses across his knuckles and fingers. But the other thing Rachelle noticed was the lack of electrical activity she herself was receiving. His brows pulled together as he flexed his hand waiting for the same phenomenon to appear. He looked to his right, watching her fingers curl and hand twist as she watched the lightning dance with every shift she made, her face wrought with a focused fascination.
A second latter he watched her hand move closer, and he yelled out "Don't-" as she reached out and her hand entered the field, transform before both their eyes into a texture he had never seen.
"This is it," She breathed, fascinated and frozen at the change as her hand had once more taken on its true form. "This is what it's supposed to look like. What everything is supposed to look like."
"I've…I've never seen anything like it."
She glanced at him, reveling in the amazement on his face as he took in the sight for the first time until his face clouded over. "Rachelle-!" She whipped her head back, horrified as it appeared her skin had been peeled away, so shocked she found herself unable to pull her hand away as the muscle beneath began to disintegrate, revealing the nerve and bone structure. She gasped loudly, a muffled shriek caught between her lips as she yanked it away swiftly, clenching it protectively around her stomach. Robin immediately leaned over to pull it from her grasp with his gloved hand, pushing the gory image from his mind.
"It's… It's fine," He said upon discovery, inspecting the restored flesh with a scrutinizing gaze, looking for any molecule out of place as she flexed it in his grasp, shallow breathes exiting her lungs. "Does it hurt, are you ok?" He looked up, and she shook her head. "No it doesn't hurt, or no you're not ok?"
She swallowed, her voice even as she pulled it back into her grasp to massage the skin. "No, it doesn't hurt."
"Lets, not do that again," He said, and she looked at him, her stunned eyes beginning to return to their normal size.
"What, you mean you didn't want to try it?"
"After that? No thank you. I can't believe you even did that. Cyborg needs to see this thing," He said.
"What do you think 'it' is?" She asked.
"I don't know," He replied, beginning to slide back down to the console as the metal creaked. He stopped, waited for the metal to settle then continued. With another creak and a shift the spire split at the base, falling towards the ground, groaning with a tear of metal. By the time Robin was ready to launch himself off, the tip of the spire had already completed its relatively short fall, the tip hitting the ground with force and throwing off his balance for a slightly less than graceful landing than he would have liked, the orb disappearing with the loss of connection.
"Are you ok?" her voice called from the remaining spire above him.
He corrected his stance. "Fine. So much for that," He muttered, referring to empty space the orb previously inhabited.
With that assurance, small dark laughter began as her leg swung around, sliding her body from her own spire so she was hanging from her arms from which she dropped. Her boots hit the ground a little too hard as she landed in a crouch, sending compressed pain through her ankles. "You had much more finesse yesterday."
"I do better with heights."
"Mmm," She hummed.
Robin stared back up at the empty space, contemplating what it could have been. An energy field, or perhaps a portal maybe? He'd never heard of any portal that dissected human anatomy. But perhaps Raven would know the answer to that. He turned to exit the building until he realized he wasn't being followed by the absence of rubble crunching under foot. He found her still rooted in place as he turned back to look, her face slowly passing over the grander of destruction. "Are you coming?" He asked from the outer threshold of the building.
"In just a minute," She replied, disappearing behind the machine.
Kicking around the rubble she searched for her desired possession, the partial reason for coming to the building in the first place. Somehow in her head, finding it hadn't seemed like such a long shot. But now, staring at the intensity of the rubble and debris, she half wondered why she was taking the time to search at all. Which was why it was such a shock to actually see the black, dust powered strap that she took a moment just to stare before shoving away the slab of ceiling from where it kept it pinned against a panel of the red machine. She lifted the leather bag away, kneeling to one knee as she brushed the sooty dust away with quick strokes of love and care before stealing a quick, detached glance at the panel with a flit of her eyes. A brief glance of light warranted her brain to take another glance as her hand stopped brushing at the material.
A soft, light glow burn at the seams of the panel door that, without the weight of the concrete slab, had pushed open due to a crushed-in hinge. Her fingers grabbed at the edge, pulling it open with a soft creak at the resistance. Beyond the door held the guts of the machine, smelling heavily of burning wires still humming with the current of electricity. Inside the components lay something just as perplexing as the rippling orb. Or rather it balanced on a needle point tip as it rotated in a slow, circular motion, displaying itself attractively. On either side two prongs, looking very similar to the two spires on the outside of the machine, seemed to hold the object atop of its point while refraining from actually touching it. The 'object' was a black octagonal disk, smaller than the palm of her hand with a matching octagonal hole in the center where a thin, clear crystal spear seemed to be impaled through from the top, and was the source of the glow.
Her hand reached out to grab the disk, quickly retracting with a memory of the orb. She thought for a moment, picking up a fair sized stone and tossing it at the disk, satisfied when the force threw off the delicate balance and sent it clattering to the metal floor, killing the light to the soft incandescent glow. The electric hum increased a moment as a surge ran through the pointed pedestal with several pops, and was then silent. Rachelle picked it from the floor, turning it in her hand and running her fingers along circular grooves split into pieces and aligned out of sync in the onyx like surface, where beneath it a silver plating seemed to reside.
"Are you coming?" Robin's voice startled her as he called through the building. Hand tightening around the disk as she rose from her crouch, she shoved it into the front right pocket of her dark jeans, moving back towards the buildings point of entrance.
Robin was seated on a streamline sports cycle, its red, black design and 'R' insignia coordinating with his vibrant uniform. He noted the bag slung over her shoulder with a nod of his head. "Is that why you were here?"
"Yes." She stopped just short of the bike, thumb hooked in her pocket. "We get to ride this?" She asked, gesturing with her head.
"Yes," He answered.
A sly smile threatened to pull across her face. "My mother would not be pleased with you right now," She said as she mounted the bike's extended seat and the shocks shifted, hunching down with her added weight before lifting back up.
"Doesn't like these things huh?" He said, humor in his tone.
"She begrudgingly said yes. Very begrudgingly. And as for acquiring one, it's completely up to me," She stated, placing her slender hands gently upon his waist.
He caught her off guard when he grabbed her wrists, pulling her arms around him fully while stating, "You're going to want to hold on tighter than that."
She looked up. "Are we planning on going fast?"
"Well," He grinned, turning the key and the engine ignited with a deep rumble. "That's what it's built for."
I'm going to say it. I have to say it.