(Well Anons, I tried my best! I hope it's to everyone's liking.)
The command room of Mt. Justice was dominated with a tension so thick you could slice and serve it and would have been almost deafeningly prominent if not for almost equal waves of HATRED rolling off of Superboy like a heat haze and through it all the team had to wonder one thing: Where. Was. The. Bat?
It had been a day like any other. Red Tornado was placidly puttering in the control room, Robin was off with Batman doing the dynamic duo thing which, of course, meant that the rest of the team had zilch to do since their dispatcher was having daddy time with his partner. It DID give time for some much needed R&R. Kaldur had set up a basketball hoop in the gym and had challenged Superboy to some one on one (partly for fun, partly as an exercise in not destroying the ball) while M'Gann practiced making refreshments in the kitchen, Kid Flash hung out and looked up from his DS every now and then to watch the game and Artemis perved quite happily and openly over the fact that both boys were currently shirtless.
When Red Tornado's mechanical monotone rang out over the intercom, calling them to the command room immediately, they knew something was wrong. He never spoke to them on their days off unless spoken to first… And the image they saw on the main screen when they entered spoke volumes for why their robotic supervisor had called them so urgently:
The bloody face of their little bird, domino mask ripped at one corner, his soft black hair in the grip of a big, big hand.
The cry that went up among the young heroes was almost unified in combined horror and anger and shared agony. This was their little ROBIN. He was capable and strong, deadly despite his size and so smart it could be truly frightening but... he was also so TINY and breakable and HUMAN. He was different from the rest of them, even Artemis felt her edge was harder and sharper than his own...
Superboy exploded, his hands balled into fists and entire large frame shaking and trembling, no one dared touch him. Kaldur's hard eyes remained trained on the brute on screen, his usual cool, collected leader self even in this situation.
"What are your demands?"
Quick and logical. This was a hostage situation like any other despite the person who was tied to that school-looking desk chair being one of their own. Robin's head was pulled back out of frame by his hair and Wally cringed at the roughness. He also felt an extra horrified JOLT run through his body at the face and torso that filled the screen.
Shirtless and ripped with heavy muscle, square-jawed face full of the implacable edge of a convict, dark beady eyes glinting with pure malice and a grin that was devoid of any emotions worth smiling over. All under a layer of white and black grease paint that SCREAMED that this was one of the Joker's guys. The speedster shook and hugged himself. He had the feeling they'd never see their snarky little acrobat again.
The maniac pulled Robin back into the shot next to his face and his sickly wet red tongue slid over the column of the boy wonder's throat. A sudden splintering of plastic and screech of metal heralded Superboy destroying a chair in his monstrous grip.
"I demand you watch the fucking show, superbrats. Ya see, I don't think the big J likes you kids nosing in on his hero territory. The bat and the bird should be HIS to play around with and you have the boy running around, ruining his fun away from Gotham."
There was a RIP as the front of Robin's tunic came open, a big hand sliding up and down that slender bare torso, tight with young muscle. Too young. M'Gann had made her way over to Red Tornado and telepathically signaled to the others that he was running a trace on the signal. They couldn't track Robin's communicator wherever he was and however he was sending this to Mt. Justice it was sent well and securely with some really wicked encryption. The only one who could have worked it out quickly would, of course, been Robin.
"What the hell did you do to him!"
Wally's voice cracked out, on the tips of his toes and almost vibrating with a dozen bad feelings. Robin DID look out of it, his head lolling a bit on his neck, eyes unfocused, mouth open. Too pliant and quiet for the boy wonder.
"Oh, I just gave him something so me and him could be better friends is all."
The creep grinned into the screen, his teeth grazing Robin's throat, his collarbone, his chest, lips and tongue swirling around a pink nipple in ways so sensual and wrong that Wally and Artemis couldn't watch and Superboy and Kaldur couldn't look away. Their telepathic network rang out with the question: 'Where was Batman?' Where could this guy be that the caped crusader hadn't found to beat him worthless yet?
"Hohoho, you taste so good boy. You lot don't know what you're missing. Now howsabout we all take a good look at his face together and see how pretty he is?"
"NO!" Rang out Wally and Kaldur'ahn at once, both knowing just how important his id was to both him and Batman but the brute wasn't about to stop his fun now. No... He peeled that slim black mask off and revealed blue eyes even in their hazy state so lovely that Superboy had to let out a gasp, and the crime being done seemed about a thousand times more VILE.
"I am going to KILL YOU." The creep had the audacity to LAUGH in Superboy's face, metaphorically speaking, and gave that tantalizing throat another hot lick as he watched the rage build in the super's eyes. The two was connection was the best part, the con was convinced.
"How you going to manage that? I'm willing to bet you still have no idea where I am, or even how I'm broadcasting this! It's genius the likes you junior heroes can't understand. Big J level genius!"
The pride was clear in his voice, pride in his leader and in his own sin. It was also clear that the recording was being made level to a sitting position, because the man stood up and only seemed larger as he loomed out of the frame, his huge hand looking even bigger against the little head he was gripping. He was wearing striped pants of some sort and from the disturbing amount of detail in the mammoth bulge being made in the crotch of those pants not much else, a crotch that Robin's pretty face was being mashed against in the next moment, a sick groaning chuckle emanating from the rumbling throat of the brute as he HUMPED the boy wonder's face, hips rolling in a parody of playful sensuality.
The helpless whimper that came from between lips being assaulted by the heavy clothed manhood was so striking that Superboy actually gripped his chest, feeling his heart practically breaking.
"Now let me show you what happens to cute... vulnerable little superteens who mess with the big boys, huh?"
His hand went to the waist of those pants, starting to push down when there was a sudden SMASH, the sound of a door breaking in.
"H-hey, wait! NO PLEASE NO I-"
The man was hauled away, his crotch no longer in the frame, Robin left listing and panting and shaking as a cacophany of blows sounded from somewhere off screen and the telepathic network between Young Justice filled with sudden hope and elation and in Superboy's case, sick satisfaction. The sounds of the tussle intensified then the camera apparently fell on it's side and the hope faded again as the fighting pair on the ground became clear in the frame.
It wasn't Batman. It wasn't Batman at all.
"DON'T. YOU. DO. THIS. SORT. OF. THING. WITHOUT. MY. PERMISSION!"
It was the Joker, and how such a skinny freak could be holding a huge brute like his minion down with one hand and savagely beating him with a magnum revolver in the other was a complete mystery. The formerly frightening brute was crying and blubbering through bloodied lips, begging in vain for mercy.
"To top it off you're not even broadcasting to the damned BAT! Don't you GET IT? This isn't how I wanted something this big to go down! THIS ISN'T EVEN REMOTELY FUNNY!"
"Th-the kid's communicator thing, I only knew how to get it to that signal, he must use a different one for the bat or something, BOSS NO PLEASE!"
The green-haired madman stood, his magnum pointed at the blubbering minion, those meaty hands up in supplication before the gun sounded and his mind was blown all over the formerly gray concrete floor. After a few moments of angry huffing a bloodstained gloved hand reached down for the camera and righted it again so that both the Joker and Robin were in the shot and the villain pointedly did not look at the boy wonder as he covered his face with one hand, then slipped the retrieved domino mask back on. He turned to the camera, his hands folded in front of him diplomatically, his smile no less horrifying despite the mockingly gentle and understanding tone he was using.
"SO sorry about this kiddies! Trust me when I say that this wasn't my idea at all, I mean look at this setup! NO CLASS AT ALL! AHAHAHAHA!"
He doubled over in laughter and wiped a tear from his paper-white face before shaking his head and sighing.
"Impossible to find good help you know. You weren't supposed to know about the nice setup I had here, I'll have to scrap it and start all over again! And I certainly didn't want to learn anything about bird-boy's identity so easily, takes the fun out of EVERYTHING. Being a supervillain isn't about winning, it's about winning with style, you know."
He nodded sagely. The easy way he was handling this didn't calm Young Justice one bit, Kaldur least of all who still looked as steely and cool as ever.
"So, Joker, what happens now?"
The Joker looked pensive for a moment, finger on his chin, before his blood red lips stretched into another smile and he opened his hands before him. "Now? I send him back to you of course! When I want to teach you a lesson about elbowing in on grownup territory I'll do it myself. And when I want to destroy the bat and bird... Hehe... Hehehehehehehe... I'll do it... myself. I'll leave the birdy somewhere the bat will find him and we'll call this whole thing even stevens for now, hmmmm?"
The feed cut then, the big time supervillain not really interested in what the junior heroes he could care less about had to say. Superboy was the first to speak after a long, tense, awkward silence.
"Even... Not even close..."
It was at least a week until they saw Robin again. In that time the team was a wreck. Any and all assignments were canceled due to their shared trauma and Batman's unavailability, but Black Canary at least could tell that the inactivity was only making things worse. They needed to be kept busy, not left to stew. It was hard for her (and she assumed Red Tornado but who could tell) to watch the team like this.
Kaldur had retreated into himself somewhat. He was still the good leader on the outside and he did a fair bit to keep everyone else together but he was in meditation more often than not. Wally was sullen and withdrawn, snappish and hard to deal with. M'Gann tried her best to go on but she was used to dealing with pain with telepathic support, so her days were dominated with half-hearted culinary attempts. Superboy was wrathful. He'd broken more things and a lot of the leeway he'd made on mastering his strength had been lost, his anger being taken out physically on a lot around the base. Canary herself still regretted offering to spar with him and the massive bruise on her side (only from countering a hit that was going far too fast, he still hadn't been able to really lay a hand on her) was testament to that.
Artemis seemed to be handling it better than the others, but she was more... skittish wasn't really the word. Paranoid, maybe. Joker's dark little promise during the transmission had affected her quite a bit.
"I think we really need to beef up security around here. I mean, if the Joker could transmit here then..."
The older woman had laid a comforting hand on Artemis' shoulder, the fearful look in the archer's eyes fading a little.
"Then if he tries to come here and start trouble the LEAGUE will stop him. He's nothing you all need to deal with right now, all right? Concentrate on getting it together. You need team unity more than anything, and being the newest you have further to go."
Artemis had been frustrated by the answer and whirled off but the superheroine was at her own wits end here. She started assigning the team tougher training and that started to work some of the nervous energy out and she was seeing marked improvements in Red Tornado's reports on their psychological condition. When Batman finally returned with his protege the team seemed ready to face him.
Wally practically jumped on the little black-haired gymnast the moment he appeared, picking him up off his feet in a tight hug. Robin winced but chuckled and pat the readhead on the back, shaking his head gently.
"Hey hey, watch it KF. Still a little sore, here."
Wally let him go and the boy, clad in his customary hoodie and sunglasses instead of the robin suit, brushed himself off teasingly and elbowed Wally. He looked a little worse for wear still, his face wasn't marked but the way he was carrying himself spoke volumes of how he must have looked under his hoodie, and the unmistakeable mark of a hickey peeked out at his neckline. The sight of it didn't do well for Superboy's temper.
"I didn't die you know. Hey, no crying!"
But Kid Flash already had tears flowing from those greens of his as he talked a mile a minute, blabbing on about how scared they'd been and they hadn't heard a damned thing about him all week and HE WAS FAMILY DAMMIT and Robin just shook his head and hugged him again, patting the taller redhead's back before pulling away and putting his hands on his hips. Batman loomed in the background protectively, though Black Canary was trying to get a word out of him, looking rather... irate after a week without a word on Robin's condition.
The boy wonder had a few words of his own though. He pushed his glasses up and the rest of the team clustered closer, hovering a bit. Which annoyed him.
"Alright. Yeah I was caught and tied up and beaten but it wasn't the first time, alright? And I barely remember anything, I was drugged up pretty good. Everything's asterous now, promise. You don't have to treat me any differently. Let's just get back to business, alright?"
The grin he flashed seemed to reassure Wally at least who sped up to him and held his hand out for a very bro hi five. Kaldur smiled and put a hand on Robin's back to welcome him home just before M'Gann wrapped him in a hug and Artemis did the same on his other side, embarrassing him with a little hair ruffle.
The only one silent and most certainly not concerted was Superboy, who stood apart, arms crossed over his massive chest and face drawn tight, staring at his boots, at the wall, at anything other than Robin. Every time he looked it HURT… And it was either that Black Canary and Batman had forgotten about his super hearing, or just had forgotten he was there entirely because he heard every word of their whispered conversation across the room, one obviously meant to be private.
The blond had urged Batman into a corner, hissing through her teeth as she started to lay into him.
"They have been worried SICK Bruce! No word for a week then you sweep out of the darkness as usual, what the HELL?"
"He's my responsibility, Dinah. My partner. My son. I'll let you and them know what I want you to know and when."
She stood resolute and straight before him, staring down her nose at him.
"Well it's not enough, do you have any idea what they've been going through? These kids have bonded, Bruce, bonded as a family. You of ALL people should know-"
The bat held up a hand and silenced the canary.
"Don't go there, Dinah. Look, Robin... He's been through more than he's letting on. I don't think he's even being honest with me. He would still be home in Gotham if I didn't think being with his friends was what he needed. I've done all I can as a father."
"Sure Bruce, sure. We're going to have more words, trust me. I expect to hear a hell of a lot more on this."
"You're their trainer, not their den mother. It's not your business to begin with."
"...Don't go there, Bruce."
Her rejoinder was punctuated with her turning and walking away before they both said anything more they'd regret. Batman came forward only to lay a hand on Robin's shoulder and the black-haired boy nodded, that silent communication they'd had perfected since he was 9 going on between them. Then he disappeared.
Superboy respected both of his mentors enough to silently forget hearing their first names, but the rest... It wasn't sitting well with him. He still had too much anger unspent and his heart... It kept doing that clenching, pained thing when he thought back to the monitor and the man and the way Robin looked, vulnerable and helpless and... And it made SUPERBOY feel helpless too. So much was WRONG about this and everyone seemed so eager to forget that, to go about their business. He didn't know how they could move on when he couldn't. Too many questions and too much rage boiled in his blood.
That night was spent reconnecting and starting to piece together their little family again. They made a dent into M'Gann's partially successful projects over the weeklong separation during an impromptu welcome back party; much pizza was eaten, Rock Band was played and everyone retired late to their rooms at the base. Superboy remained silent throughout despite M'Gann's attempts to get him involved in things with her gentle prodding and KF thrusting the bass at him (he busted it within 7 seconds of his first song, much to the redhead's shrieking). He couldn't look at Robin all night.
The party split up around 1:00 in the morning when even Wally's energy started to wane and he ended up falling asleep on Artemis during a rewatch of The Watchmen (he was a dork for loving documentaries but he couldn't help it, it was too epic) who then declared it bedtime before she shot him through the foot for drooling on her favorite top. Robin ducked away first, waving goodnight with his usual smile and Superboy left last, sitting on the couch until the movie was over even though he couldn't recount a scene if quizzed on it. His questions finally boiled over and he headed for the boy wonder's room.
Robin took a long hot shower and when he got out of his bathroom (Glasses already on naturally) he was surprised to find Superboy of all people sitting on his bed, looking... dark. He paused in rubbing his hair dry and padded barefoot and boxer-clad over to his dresser, glancing at the muscular boy.
"Uhhh, hey Supie. What's up?"
Superboy's sharp blue eyes shifted from staring at his knees to glancing back at Robin (and his pale, vulnerable torso with that HAND sliding down it and those hickeys) before looking to the floor again. The little gymnast's eyebrows raised and he finished rubbing his hair dry before picking a shirt out of a drawer and slipping it on.
"Well? You're not just here to watch me dress, right?"
Robin chuckled and put a hand over his mouth as if scandalized, but the joke fell terribly flat when Superboy's face didn't change a bit. The clone's jaw unclenched long enough for him to growl out.
"...Was he the only one?"
Superboy asked the question he hoped would finally soothe the bloodlust in his knuckles and Robin winced.
"Uh, what do you-"
"Don't play dumb."
The seethe in the clone's voice stopped Robin dead for a moment before he let his face go hard.
"Look Supie, really, it's nothing to worry about anymore. I already said it, I'm trained for this. I'm used to it. I've been tied up before even, it's more embarrassing than anything so could we not even bring it up? Batman has it handled."
"Yeah but I don't!"
The big teen shot to his feet and turned on Robin, stepping forward and cupping his shoulders in a tight but far from painful grip, bringing Robin in closer to his body and looking down at him, forcing himself to bear the pain of staring into the hidden face still obviously open in surprise.
"I don't have it handled at all. I don't know how the others can STAND it. All I want to do... It's un... unSUPERMAN of me but I want to KILL the bastards who touched you! It's you we're talking about, it couldn't have just been him! And... And I heard Batman and Black Canary talking... He... Your dad... I mean... BATMAN says you're hiding something from him and..."
The powerful boy finally seemed to run out of steam a little, his eyes softening, his mouth loosening from its snarl into a confused and pained frown and his hands on Robin's shoulders started to tremble a little.
"You're just so TINY."
Robin's mouth set into an angry line but before he could respond the bigger youth kept going. He couldn't lose this momentum.
"Tiny and strong and smart and amazing and... and fragile. And I saw how scared you were and I saw your beautiful eyes and I can't STOP SEEING THEM. I don't know how to deal with this, Robin!"
The gymnast was struck speechless, just staring up, his glasses slipping enough to let the clone see those EYES again, blue like his but not like his, they were so much brighter... The silence stretched as Robin's jaw went taut and Superboy jerked away with a growl, anger renewed, turning to stalk out of the room. Robin thought of stopping him, of soothing his anger somehow, of making him see that HE WAS ALRIGHT. That he didn't want any revenge or need any sympathy!
Robin just didn't want to lie anymore tonight. He locked his door, fell onto his bed and didn't sleep a damned wink. A fate shared by the clone of Superman next door.
The next morning was awkward at best... When in downtime everyone tended to keep their own hours. Superboy didn't have much of a circadian rhythm and just slept when he felt like it, taking naps throughout the day. Kaldur and Robin both got up early to practice forms and kata for their respective martial arts (they'd become quick workout buddies) and warm up for the day. Wally and Artemis slept in and M'Gann's sleeping habits were strange at best thanks to her alien upbringing but she always seemed to be fresh and ready in the morning.
This morning was an odd convergence that had everyone in the kitchen at the same time for breakfast and everything was all smiles until Superboy came into the room. The tension between himself and Robin was practically electric, like crackling ozone. No one wanted to cross it. They didn't ignore each other (...pass the orange juice? Sure.) but that practically made it worse, seeing the way they danced around their interactions. When Robin excused himself Wally let out an audible sigh of relief that earned him an annoyed look from Superboy, and a daub of cream from Artemis' doughnut on the tip of his nose that started one of their many minor arguments throughout the day.
The next day Batman handed them their first mission in far too long. The young heroes were more than happy to go on it, even if it was just a textbook thing. Rumors persisted of a ring of chemists from STAR labs who were using their expertise to distribute a drug that offered the user very temporary metahuman powers at the risk of very permanent morphological effects. They were going to retrieve a sample for the League to examine before their mentors could publicly out the chemists as criminals. Artemis was going to play the part of a buyer, Wally was going to be available for fast recon and package interception, M'Gann and Aqualad were going to be in the warehouse with her as backup in disguise and Superboy and Robin were going to be patrolling the streets nearby in order to keep watch for any bigger players (supervillains).
Artemis and her "posse" had to get themselves in good with the local dealer thugs first of course and during this Aqualad and Wally couldn't help but notice that Superboy was deviating from his patrol pattern so that Robin was in sight of him more often. The redheaded speedster slapped his forehead (his trust in Robin was absolute) in exasperation and Aqualad was getting both nervous and upset.
"Superboy, you are off mission parameters."
"I know what I'm doing."
That was all Kaldur'ahn could get out of the clone. The plan went off without a hitch and earlier than they thought and they left with perfect stealth for once. Aqualad gave Superboy quite the dressing down that night for his behavior after the others had left and the boy Kryptonian couldn't help but feel guilty for going against the wishes of the leader who respected him, even if he didn't feel sorry in the least.
This went on for another couple of WEEKS. It had almost become expected to the point where Kaldur was seriously considering bringing it up with Batman and Red Tornado even if they were expected to handle this sort of thing themselves. They'd go on a mission, it would begin to plan then Superboy would do SOMETHING that set him deviating so that he could be closer to Robin. It was never close enough to be a MAJOR problem, but he seemed to need to remain in visual contact with him.
Robin, on his part, only seemed mildly annoyed. Superboy hadn't become more directly protective of him but the big teen HAD become a sort of shadow to him, it felt like Batman when he was 10 all over again! But when they were back at base it was the dancing around each other and awkwardness again. Superboy wouldn't talk to him and he didn't feel up to going to the clone.
Which was why he was surprised to find Superboy in his room a second time, this time while he was coming in from playing a few before-bed rounds of Halo:Reach with Wally. He really had to start locking that door every time he left his room, didn't he?
"...Supey." He greeted quietly. The clone stood and was holding something small in his huge hand. He flipped it in his fingers a bit and Robin realized it was his communicator (Young Justice comm, not the one he used to patch in right to the BatDad). He'd left it on his bedside as usual, one of the few decorations in his sparse but comfortable bedroom (plenty of his tinkering and superhero stuff was here but all his awesome personal stuff was in his ridiculously huge bedroom at Wayne Manor).
"...What are you doing with that?"
"We usually patch through M'Gann on missions."
Robin nodded at the remark slowly, almost patronizingly.
"Thank you, ObviousBoy."
"And Wally told me a lot about how our communicators work."
He was good at not shutting up about science.
"I'm willing to bet it would be easy to find out where they were holding you if I thumbed through it a bit."
A frigid feeling dropped icily through the boy wonder's stomach. It was amazing how fast that oh-shit sensation set in. Robin had managed to banish the... incident from his conscious mind in the past couple of weeks and Superboy's inability to let it go like the rest of the team had (even if Wally hung over him more often and Megan seemed to make sure something tasty was always set aside for him) brought it back in full force. It made him feel weak again, which made him angry. He lunged at the bigger boy and shot his arm out to try to grab the device back from him but the muscular teen did just about the most embarrassing thing possible... He held it above his head at full extension of his arm and tiny 5' Robin couldn't get up to snatch it from huge 6' 2" Superboy without shimmying up his body like he would a building.
He blushed at how YOUNG that sounded and he planted a bare foot on Superboy's thigh, which he wasn't expecting, and vaulted up to grab the comm unit but a huge hand, gentle but implacable, on his chest kept him from getting that high and he found himself bounced onto his bed while Superboy stood over him.
"TELL. ME. Tell me and I'll give it back. I swear."
Superboy couldn't lie to save his life (couldn't lie at all?) so Robin believed it easily... But his iron wall went back up and he crossed his arms and legs in the middle of his bed. Superboy wasn't exactly an expert on the whole human interaction thing yet but he knew enough to sit next to Robin and be silent for a bit, letting the little acrobat collect himself...
The answer came a minute later.
"You don't want to know."
A hurt look crossed Superboy's eyes and he frowned deeper.
"You don't believe I... am concerned for you."
Robin let out a little chuckle and ran a hand through his hair, shaking his head.
"No, that's not what I mean... I mean... I don't know, it's an expression. It means you're better off knowing."
"I'm better off with plenty of things. Doesn't mean I don't still want them there."
"Supey it's... You can't DO anything about it now, okay? It's done."
"TELL ME WHAT IT IS!"
The clone ROARED and his arms were on either side of Robin and he was looming over him with fear and anger and concern and sadness in his complex blue eyes and Robin backed up against the wall, scrambling against it and Superboy drew back up as if burned. His face relaxed slowly and Robin was clutching his chest, pale and sweating... This time when Superboy came close it was much more gently and one of his big hands took Robin's and pulled him close, letting the little acrobat steady himself against the broad, warm chest, cheek resting against one large pectoral, holding him without restraining him, chin on top of his head. The sudden uncharacteristic contact made Robin stiffen (because when did SUPERBOY hug anyone) and his fear ebbed and he sighed, mouth slowly opening, working against the material of the clone's shirt.
Robin had enough. He couldn't keep it in. Superboy's eyes on him all this time, his pure concern, his anger and indignation at knowing Robin had been hurt... Superboy didn't PITY anyone, he didn't lie and he didn't present feelings that he didn't have, he didn't PERFORM, not like robin did. Whatever he was feeling it was 100% real. Robin was sure of this.
"...There was more than one camera... The one he used when he talked to you guys? That was... That was after the test run."
"They had me on tape, Supey. They... did things to me and captured them on tape and you can see my FACE in it... They wanted to make sure... I was... complacent before they broadcast and they had to test the Joker's connection and..."
He tried to keep it clinical and simple. It was just a thing that happened to him. He didn't cry over getting punched or kicked by two-bit thugs. He didn't cry from taking a bullet, kevlar or no. He didn't cry from being shocked or beaten or thrown or frightened half to death with evil nerve gas.
But he cried from THIS.
"That one wasn't... wasn't the only one the other touched me too. They stripped me and... licked... they were so... they seemed HUNGRY Supes I didn't... I didn't know what to feel, how to react... They made me... lick them back. Suck them... They took turns... inside me..."
Superboy was often angry. He liked to feel passionate and dedicated and driven, he LIKED that but... Anger? Rage? Mindless and blank? He hated it... HATED it... It felt like it was too big for his body sometimes, like he was straining to stay wrapped around a wrathful red ball of rage that built and built until it might tear him apart and he was forced to vent on something. He felt that way now, he felt like he had to VENT but... not with Robin in his arms.
The beautiful little acrobat wasn't sobbing. Robin had too much dignity to break down into tears even at a time like this but in a way it was even more heartbreaking to see those tears silently slide down his pale cheeks from behind his sunglasses, hands shaking as they fisted in the clone's black t-shirt, face pressed to the Superboy's chest. Superboy laid them both down, a hesitant (trembling with emotion) hand sliding up Robin's side, shoulder, the side of his face and they both gasped as they moved together closer and accidentally thick fingers pushed the obscuring glasses up and Superboy was confronted with them again, those blue eyes...
Rimmed with red and watery but still so BEAUTIFUL, he could feel some of the anger draining just gazing into them. Robin reached up to help slide them off and set them on the side table, realizing Supey had seen his face before anyway. They all had. His little family.
The boy wonder relaxed, felt so warm and... safe. Superboy's heart clenched but... in a good way? He wasn't used to this, but allowed himself to feel the purity in the feelings their bodies reciprocated as they held each other. (warmth trust protection affection something deeper than that) Their legs tangled, their bare feet mingled as they pressed chest to chest and Superboy shuddered with something wonderful as he pressed his forehead to Robin's, feeling complete in one way (accepted, allowed to hold someone even though he wasn't a REAL boy like Robin) and still unsatisfied and far too raw in another (Joker wasn't thorough, more had to GO).
"Thanks Supie... For... For needing to know."
Superboy rubbed their foreheads together wordlessly but it was clear enough to Robin, he nuzzled back softly and let his head hit pillow. They were both asleep in heartbeats and warmer than they had been in more than a month.
Robin had fallen into bed tangled up with Wally on more than one occasion. They'd stay up too late doing dumb BFF stuff, playing Halo or reading comics or nerding out over their mentors, and they'd get so tired they didn't care whose bed they ended up with. They'd flop together into Robin's bed and snuggle up and annoy and poke each other until they fell asleep, sometimes just having conversations into the night far past when they'd meant to fall asleep. But that was... different from this.
Wally was warm, sure, and it was nice to cuddle up to him. He was well built and he cared a lot for Robin. Loved him, even, like a brother (or more sometimes?). But with Superboy it was different. There was something like instinct in the way they'd come together, not with the easy casualness he and Wally slept with but with something else that was like magnets coming together, like a dragonfly finding a partner. They held each other and they just FIT. There was no finagling for position or prodding or banter, it was like they were custom made to get close to each other (did batman and superman feel this way?).
Robin came to slowly, fuzzy and happy and comfortable with warmth and with the PEACE of his dreams, not nightmares or nothing but honest to goodness good, silly dreams. His head was pillowed on a swollen bicep and he nuzzled it a bit, chuckling with a straight light feeling in his heart he'd never felt with anyone as he turned in Superboy's arms, the clone already awake, eyes fluttering open and closed intermittently before the muscled youth blew a sigh and looked a little guilty.
"I'd been... I'd been planning on leaving after you fell asleep... Get the location off your comm then going to get revenge."
He furrowed his brow and Robin just tilted his head curiously. The blunt sudden confession was so Superboy he almost laughed out loud.
"Why didn't you? Why'd you tell me instead?"
"Because... I didn't want to let go of you. Too comfortable. And it would have been the wrong thing to do."
He nodded and Robin nodded back. Superboy had been built as a weapon but as long as the boy wonder had known him he'd only wanted to try to do good. He'd reigned in his strength every time. He was no killer. CADMUS had succeeded in making the successor to a great hero, they'd failed miserably in trying to make someone capable of the evil of killing him.
"I want them to hurt bad, but if I went I'd become someone I don't want to. I think you should tell Batman though, show him everything. When you're ready. If I went to hurt those men it wouldn't fix anything, it wouldn't make anything better."
Robin was quiet for once. He'd never heard Superboy want to talk so much so he listened with a patient ear. One of his hands drifted down the Kryptonian's chest and over and arm to entwine their fingers together.
"I hope... I can help make things better in other ways? You're so STRONG, somehow I don't think this can break you... But if it bends you? You can lean on me, okay?"
Robin took the hand he was holding and pulled it back around his waist, snuggling up against Superboy's torso and pulling the blankets up around them so they were in their own little private cocoon from the neck down and he gave a slow but sure nod.
"Okay. It... may take me a while before I'm ready to tell Bats. Or anyone else. I don't think I can handle too many people knowing about what happened yet... Hey, Supey?"
Superboy blinked and tilted his head curiously and the expression was so cute Robin had to lean up to press a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. The action made the muscled youth's cheeks color and he hummed in the back of his throat without realizing. It made Robin grin before he continued.
"I'm finally feeling the aster again."
They shared a smirk and Superboy leaned down to share a little love of his own softly and squarely on the lips, slow but chaste and short. For a first kiss it was really, really nice. Neither boy was sure when they'd want to go any faster or further than that... But the action and emotion behind it was so far and away from what was done to Robin that the little acrobat MELTED with joy and tucked the blankets around them both tighter, determined to sleep right through noon if he could keep feeling this way. Superboy buried his nose in Robin's silky hair and heaved a deep, quiet, contented sigh.