Hazeru - Almost a year. It has been almost a year since I updated this.
Hera - This is unforgivable. But hopefully people will be happy we're updating anyway.
Hazeru - Hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans
Although it wasn't exactly unexpected, it irritated the Boy Wonder nonetheless when it became apparent that his mentor had returned to his own city without any sort of farewell. He was all too aware that the Bat was not finished with him and that the situation, which had been complicated to begin with, had become complex. After speaking with his father figure less than twenty four hours ago, he was agitated and dreading what was still to come; he had no idea what to expect from the man now and wondered vaguely why Bruce was waiting.
The team stayed out of their leader's way, knowing that this had unsettled him even if they didn't know precisely why or to what extent. Raven returned to her own private room to give Robin his space, and the rest of the team, observing this, followed her lead. Starfire and Beastboy had individually decided to stay out of this one entirely, although for different reasons, and Cyborg had never intended on getting involved in the first place. No matter how much they all cared for Robin, they were aware that his relationship with Batman was a difficult and bizarre one that they could not hope to understand. Even Starfire knew better than to get involved.
Raven, however, was caught in the middle of the struggle. She knew that the real reason for Robin's frustration was that his old mentor knew about their forthcoming child, and she also knew that she was involved whether she cared to be or not. This was, after all, as much her fault as it was Robin's. Not that she regarded it as a mistake; the conception of their baby was an accident, yes, but she knew now that 'unplanned' was not equal to 'unwanted'.
She just wondered how much the Batman would understand that.
Being metaphorically buried in articles, dead ends and fruitless clues was suffocating in and of itself, but with the added pressure that his guardian's rather short visit had put on his shoulders, Robin was finding it hard to cope. It was only a day after the Bat's abrupt departure and he had yet to calm himself down, but he had thrown himself back into the search for Mask nevertheless. He appreciated that he was human and had to rest sometime, but as long as he could stand up and keep his eyes open, he considered himself to be in a fit state to work.
He was tired, though. Leads followed through to nothing and after four solid hours of searching, Robin was no closer to finding the criminal. Determined to make some sort of progress, however, he pursued the useless clues and frozen links until there was a knock on the door.
In his weary state, the leader of the team was startled and jumped a little at the sudden noise. Part of him was half expecting it to be Batman, back to yell at him, but he calmed down quickly and reminded himself that it couldn't be him; the Bat would not knock.
"Come in" he called.
The door opened and in walked his second in command. "Hey, man. You haven't come out of here for hours - you gotta eat something."
"I'm busy. I'll grab something later."
"We both know what that means." Cyborg sighed deeply and walked up to stand at the opposite side of the table, maintaining constant eye contact. "Look, I know that him coming here unsettled you. I get it, the dude can't have been happy to hear about the baby, but ..."
"Cyborg, I ..."
"...You moping around in here isn't gonna do anyone any good. Especially you. We've been through the leads on Man In The Mask a hundred times since his last attack, Robin; there's nothing there. Just leave it and come get something to eat."
Sighing gently, Robin nodded and put down the article he had been studying; he'd read it twenty times anyway and knew it almost off by heart. He followed his friend out of the room silently and wandered into the main room, aware of his friend's watchful eyes even if he was trying to ignore the concern aimed at him.
He pulled out of the fridge the necessary ingredients for making a basic sandwich and prepared a quick snack. It wasn't until he sat down on the sofa that Cyborg moved from his position by the doorway and took a seat next to him. Knowing what was to come, the food in his mouth stopped tasting like ham and lettuce and bread and began to taste of nothing; he had a hard time swallowing it while he listened to his friend speak.
"Raven's been in her room all day. I know you've got a lot going on right now, man, but she needs you. BB tried to get her to come out earlier and she chucked him straight into a wall." A chuckle ran through him and the half-robot added, "must be the mood swings."
Robin made an off-hand noise of agreement, partly because his mouth was full and partly because he didn't know how to reply.
"Anyway, you should go talk to her. You know she ain't gonna come to you asking for help, you're gonna have to go to her" Cyborg continued. "Star tried asking her what exactly was going on but I think she's done asking questions for now. Nobody here's going to ask for answers, Robin, but I think Raven deserves them."
Without any more words, the oldest member of the team rose from his position on the sofa and made his way out of the room, leaving Robin alone with a half finished sandwich and a lot to think about. After sitting in silence for several moments, the leader rose and made his way out of the room, chucking the remains of his meal into the bin as he passed by the kitchen area.
She was not sure if the feeling in her abdomen was the movement of the baby or just bitter anticipation building up inside her. Meditation helped a little but it did not bring her the sense of self control that it normally did, so worked up was the half demon. At just over five months, it might well have been simple early movements but she was too worked up to enjoy such a sensation. Being in her room gave her some comfort, knowing that this was her own private space, but it did not allow her to properly relax.
Her lover's old mentor had disappeared. Although Robin had not said as much to her, she could tell that his departure had been unannounced and hurtful; she just wondered whether or not it was surprising. She was stunned that he had not even said goodbye to his former partner, but perhaps Robin was not. She had not seen him in hours and had not thought to ask.
Regardless of the specifics, she knew that the Batman had not been happy to hear that his former sidekick was going to be a teenage father. She didn't know what exactly had been said between the two of them but could gather enough from the waves of discontent that she felt through her bond with Robin that it was not looking good. Raven could only wonder how this might play out over the coming months. Would the Bat be protective over the child or would he ignore it completely? Would he even acknowledge it or cast the child aside as having nothing to do with him? She did not know the man and so could not even guess.
Raven got up from her position on the floor where she had been unsuccessfully meditating for the past hour and a half. Giving it up for the rest of the day as a lost cause, she removed her signature blue cloak, revealing the swell of her stomach, and lay down on her bed. The darkness outside told her that it was time for bed, and she had been tired all day from emotional exhaustion. She would have been happy to go straight to sleep.
However, she had been lying there for only seven or eight minutes when there was a short knock on the door, faint and seemingly hesitant. She groaned quietly and got up, hoping that, for his sake, it was not Beastboy; she had told him to leave her alone earlier and if the shapeshifter had returned to ask her again if she wanted to watch him eat tofu to 'cheer her up', she was not going to be held responsible for her actions. But as she opened the door a crack (just enough to see her visitor) the skin she saw was pale and not green.
"Robin" she murmured, opening the door fully. "What is it?"
"I came to see how you were doing."
The two went into her bedroom, the door sliding shut behind them. Raven automatically returned to her bed, but chose this time to sit on the edge. After a brief moment of hesitation, her lover joined her there. The two inches of space between them felt like miles.
"I've been trying to find Mask and getting nowhere all day. I didn't even think to come check on you."
Raven sighed, reading between the lines of what he was telling her. "Robin, don't feel bad about this. It took us time to adjust to the idea of having a baby. It'll take him time, too."
"That's not what this is about."
"Isn't it?" A clear and present challenge. "I know that he left without saying goodbye. Are you trying to tell me that it didn't bother you?"
"It doesn't matter" Robin muttered, knowing that it was pointless to hide this from her. It was morally wrong; she was his lover and the mother of his future child, she was his whole future. It was also a wasted effort: after she had entered his mind to help him fight off Slade, a figment of his imagination triggered by chemicals, a permanent bond had been formed between them and through this bond she could tell when things like this were bothering him, as he could with her. "I wasn't expecting him to like this."
"What did he say to you?"
"He says I need a plan." Robin's expression grew dark, something like a mixture of anger and desperation taking over his features. "As if I didn't already know that."
"He has a point" Raven said, practical as ever. "We really don't have a plan."
The Boy Wonder reached out and clasped her hand in his, the tightness of his grip informing her that this worried him even if he would never voice those fears out loud to her. She laced her fingers with his and rested her free hand over her growing child, as if to remind herself why her partner was so stressed and why it was going to be okay in the end.
After a short while, Raven replied, "is he going to get involved?"
Robin looked at her in surprise - of all the questions the poor girl had to have, that hadn't been the one he would have expected her to choose - but answered nonetheless: "He might. I don't know. But I promise, he's not going to take over this. I already told him that this is my life and it's my baby and it's my choice."
His hand began to shake, just a little, in her grasp and she pulled her hand free in order to wrap both her arms around his well built shoulders and guide them both down to a lying position on her bed. Nothing had to be said and no more actions than stroking fingers were required for him to understand and accept her comfort. She couldn't truly understand his dilemma and his inner demons - she didn't know enough - but she could sympathise and this was enough. She cared enough to try, and that was all he needed from her.
They had accepted their own lack of preparation tonight. And it was clear to them both, now, that they had no greater plan for the future than they had shortly after their discovery of the baby's existence. However, they both knew that the unavoidable talks to come would be better had in the morning, when their minds had cleared.
That night, embraces and kisses were shared in the most intimate forms that two people can engage in, and despite their mutual tiredness, it was almost sunrise before the two allowed themselves to drift off to sleep.
Hazeru - And what of Mask? And the Bat's reaction? Will he interfere?
Hera - Find out in coming chapters. Please R&R!