Disclaimer: Teen Titans not mine
Ah... sweet sweet Robin/Raven... nah, I'm just kidding, but this one was a ton easier to write than most of the others. It just comes a lot more naturally to me, so yeah. (I do like the pairing, but this chapter isn't quite a romantic scene between the two so much as... well I won't give it away. You'll just have to read and see if you like it.)
Robin and Raven
It had been a very busy day. Either the villains were getting stronger, or security at the prison was getting lax, but the fact was that the Titans had had to deal with four attacks in the same day.
And that wasn't even the worst of it. Robin looked outside at the darkened city, still finishing filling out the reports and information he had gathered after the attacks, even though it was already 1:00 AM. No, the worst part was, they had been down a member - Raven hadn't shown up to any of the fights.
It was rare enough that one of them sat out on any battle and that was usually due to either illness or simply being away for something else (like the time when had Robin visited Gotham and the HIVE had used the opportunity to strike... that had been unpleasant), but never had Raven sat out before. She didn't have anything else to do and he supposed that if she did get injured, she would recover quickly, being a half demon and all. Robin sighed. He was worried about her, even though he knew that she was probably the strongest member of the team: after all, she had beaten an interdimensional demon god in battle and was practically half-divine herself. But then again, given the range of her moods, which basically were from angry to depressed and sometimes frustrated on a good day, he definitely had a right to worry.
Maybe I'll go to her room after I finish up here. She probably won't let me in or even answer... but it's worth a shot. Actually, Robin thought he rather liked the way she had set up her room. It might have been dark and creepy to most people, but it reminded him a lot of Gotham, his home. It was something he had gotten used to and enjoyed a little, more so than the bright sunny days in Jump (although he still was a morning person and like to watch the sunrise. But in his defense, Batman had like to do that too, and he was anything but bright and sunny.)
1:45 AM. Robin sighed and grumbled under his breath, pounding his fist on the table. He was never going to get all of this stuff done. For some reason, he just couldn't focus at all and slowly exhaustion was catching up to him. Unlike Batman, or Raven, he was not nocturnal. Getting up from his computer chair, he left his room and went down to the kitchen to get some coffee.
Practically sleepwalking down the hallway, he yawned as the doors to the common room opened, rubbing his eyes. And then opening them again, he noticed that there was someone standing in the darkness, making what smelled like... tea?
"Raven?" He murmured, still half asleep. He walked over and flicked on the light over the kitchen counter, shining on her midnight blue cloak with the hood pulled over her head. "Where were you today?"
"Sick," she whispered, her voice hoarse and painful to listen to. Robin pulled down her hood and looked at her face.
She indeed looked terrible - the whites of her eyes were all red and there were dark shadows all around them, making her look as tired as she probably was. Raven coughed into her hand and stared at the mist of blood left on her pale skin.
Tuberculosis maybe, she projected her thoughts out to him rather than use her voice.
Robin looked at her seriously. "If that's the case we have to get you to a hospital."
No! The force of her thought was like a blow to his head and actually made Robin stagger. Sorry. But you know I can't do that. If I go to a hospital and they test my blood, they'll find out I'm not human. And then...
"Raven..." Robin seemed very concerned to her. Why? Why was he worrying about her so much? Nobody ever worried about her like this, not over something so little at least. Even when Trigon had come, her friends hadn't been worried for her so much as him taking over her. Raven knew that they did care about her as a friend, but they also knew that she was strong and could handle... and prefer to handle a lot of things by herself.
Well, besides Robin apparently. Although she had to admit that she did like having someone who was genuinely troubled that she was hurt. Even if just a little.
"... Raven are you listening? Hello? I said, coughing up blood is never a good sign of anything. You might die if it's a particularly bad infection. You have to see a doctor."
Raven coughed up a bit more blood and sniffled a little. Ugh. She had never felt so bad in her entire life. Feel like my brain's on fire, and I can't even breathe at all. Nose is all stuffed up and every time air travels down my throat I just start coughing again. She took a sip of her tea and grimaced as she tasted the irony blood mixed with the slightly bitter liquid. Maybe I should sleep early today. Well, early for Raven was 2:00 AM apparently.
"... Raven, stop zoning out. Here, first thing tomorrow morning I'll take you to the hospital and we'll get you checked up. It doesn't matter if they find out you're not human, I'll explain to the press or something."
Raven rolled her eyes. No. I'll be fine. Just let me rest for a couple days... She put a hand to her head as the stream of her thoughts trailed off, a wave of dizziness coming over her. The world spun for a moment, going blurry, before Robin's worried face came into focus in front of her.
"Maybe I should take you right now... you really don't look so good."
I said I'm fine... she thought back to him before disappearing into a dark portal, sipping her tea.
The next day
Of course Raven was still sick, Robin didn't doubt that, but he wasn't very inclined to tell the rest of the team. If they knew, they'd all be clamoring at her door telling her to go to the hospital, and he knew she wouldn't appreciate that. As much as he hated it, Raven could outstubborn even him sometimes. Although this time, that stubbornness was probably not in her best interests.
Regardless, they took care of Plasmus quickly enough and shipped him back to his holding cell where he would be kept in perpetual sleep... at least until Slade had someone go to break him out again. But Raven's absence during the fight had not gone unnoticed and the others had asked him where she was, wondering if he knew. Of course they would ask him - he was the closest to her out of all of them and the one that she would most likely go to first if she was in trouble. And the one who she knew would respect her privacy. He simply told them that she needed time alone, and when Beast Boy complained, Robin merely gave him a stern look before going back to the Tower.
He knew that they wouldn't understand her need to be alone. Although sometimes, he admitted, he had a hard time reading her emotions, even with the bond between them that they had gained after the whole Slade hallucination thing. Like after Malchior had betrayed her, he should have stayed behind to comfort her when it should've been obvious that she needed it. But he hadn't. It was a lucky thing that Beast Boy had been considerate of her feelings that time and been there for her, or she really would have suffered a great deal.
Hell, why was he worrying about her so much? He was supposed to be with Starfire, and even if Raven was one of his closest friends, it wasn't like he worried this much about anyone. Not even the alien girl. Maybe it really was the bond they shared. Raven might not have known it, or maybe she did know and didn't care, but just as she had read his mind and seen his darkest secrets - and kept quiet about them, he was grateful for that - he also got snippets of what went on in her mind from time to time.
It was gruesome to say the least. Often, Robin would wake up during the night and catch a vision of horrible things, visions of hell, with creatures of all sorts being tortured, mutilated, disemboweled, a sense of eternal agony and unbearable pain... but more often than not, what was conveyed more strongly through the bond was a deep sense of sadness. He knew that Raven was dreaming or thinking, if she was awake, about what might have happened and what might still happen if Trigon returned. She had told him that her father had often sent her dreams of all the disgusting and terrible torture methods of hell, being forced to eat the flesh of the dead and then having your own organs torn out of your body and fed to yourself... not pleasant... but he had tried to corrupt her by playing mind games with her.
That worried him, but what worried him more was the pangs of depression that also came through from time to time, and it wasn't like her anger which was merely a flash of emotion that was suppressed after a moment. When Raven got depressed, which wasn't very rare at all, it was something that settled about her for days and was something so severe that he thought that she sometimes would commit suicide or something. Robin frowned. And now that he realized it, he had never been there for her.
Well, that was about to change. He could literally feel the pain of whatever she was sick with and decided that the first thing he would do when he got back to the Tower was visit her room. Those dumb police reports could wait a day.
"Raven?" He knocked on her door and pressed his ear to the metal to listen for any sounds of movement.
What? Robin jumped back at the sound of her voice in his head and realized that he had forgotten that she could project her thoughts to other people.
"Can I come in?"
He could sense the conflicting emotions within her briefly before she forced them down. I guess. The door's open.
Robin entered the room, which was almost completely dark since Raven had closed her curtains. The door closed behind him and it took a couple moments for his eyes to adjust to the blackness. Blinking a couple times, he walked over to her bed and sat beside her, looking down at her.
Raven was curled up into a little ball with her eyes closed tightly. Sweat ran down her red face and she was very warm to the touch. Fever, he supposed. It took a couple moments, but one violet eye opened as if to check that it was really him.
"You really look terrible, Raven. Are you sure you don't want to see a doctor?"
Not particularly. Her eye closed and her ragged breathing eased slightly. I've been through worse.
"You've been sick before? I though you said demons were-"
Resistant, not immune. But it hasn't been this bad before. Feels like I'm dying.
He held one of her hands in his own and was surprised at how weak her attempt to pull away was. Normally she had a decent amount of physical power, but right now she had no more strength than an infant.
Robin... Actually she wasn't trying to pull away...she was squeezing his hand more tightly.
"I'll get you some medicine," he said softly and got up.
No, Robin... please, stay. Her voice sounded frightened in his head, although he wasn't sure why she would be scared.
"I'll be back really fast. Don't worry."
Raven nodded almost imperceptibly and her grip on his hand loosened.
"Robin?" Starfire inquired as he an dug through the medicine cabinet, looking for something that might help his friend. "Might I ask what you are looking for?"
"I don't even know," he grunted in response. Indeed, he didn't, because his stubborn dark bird had refused to go to the doctor so he didn't even know what she was sick with. But he guessed it was a viral infection, so antibiotics obviously would be useless. Maybe he'd give her some cold medicine. Something to sooth the throat and bring her fever down.
"Robin, you seem... angry. Is there something the matter?" Her voice was all concern for him and he sighed. It wasn't him she should be concerned about; he wasn't the one who was deathly ill.
"I'm not angry, Star," actually, he was, but it was more of a frustration because Raven had no clue how to take care of herself. She, the empath who was so good at reading other peoples' emotions and helping them with their problems (Cyborg and Sarasim, Robin's problem with Slade, Starfire's problems with her body, and yes, even Beast Boy and his issues with "growing into a man," she was much more sympathetic than she let on)... she was unable to recognize when she herself needed help. She always tried to do everything herself and it frustrated him to no end. The saddest part was that she didn't even expect anyone to care enough to help her.
"Robin..." Starfire said his name softly and put a hand to his forehead. "Perhaps you are sick. Maybe you should 'take the day off' tomorrow and get the rest."
How ironic that statement was. "Star, I don't have time for this right now. Sorry," he said curtly and left.
Starfire looked at his retreating back sadly. Normally if there was something wrong, he wouldn't hesitate to tell her, but then again, there were some things that he kept hidden even from her, some things that he didn't feel comfortable telling anyone about. Only friend Raven had seen into those parts of his head and prying something out of her was like trying to drill through concrete with a toothpick. Starfire sighed. She knew that Robin and Raven were close in a way that she and him could never be and as much as she hated to admit it, she was somewhat jealous of her friend. Of course, she couldn't be selfish in the matter and keep Robin from Raven if they truly loved each other, but their relationship was... complicated.
But if they ever got together, Starfire knew that she would respect that. She wanted them to be happy, after all, and she recognized that they could bring each other happiness... and suffering... in a way that nobody else could.
"I brought you some tea too," Robin first held a couple pills to Raven's lips and she opened her mouth very slightly. He then held the tea to her. "Careful, it's hot," he murmured.
She swallowed painfully and made a face when the hot water burned her tongue, but she didn't care all that much. It was at least something to take her mind off of the pain wracking her whole body. Robin?
"I'm here," he replied. Robin felt her hand move up and touch his face, the cool skin, the edges of his mask... he could sense her distaste when her fingers moved across the fabric... across his sharp brow ridges... "Should I take it off?"
You'd do that for me?
Robin shrugged. "You already know what I look like without it." But she sensed that that wasn't the only reason. He wanted to make her feel comfortable. And she was someone very special to him, even though she didn't know why. Just for her, he'd take that mask off. She opened her eyes a sliver and caught sight of the intense azure eyes that reminded her of the Batman, who she had seen unmasked in Robin's mind. They had the same eyes, although she had to admit that Batman's glare was much more intimidating, but there was faded sorrow, a deepset anger, a knowledge that they were outcasts, and a yearning for happiness... so many emotions all at once, all within those eyes.
She murmured her thanks to him and coughed slightly with the effort of moving her throat even a little.
"Shhh," he didn't want her to hurt herself just to thank him. Raven smiled a little and snuggled against his body and he didn't move away. A pleasant surprise for both of them.
Looking down at her, he fancied her to be some sort of cute, tiny animal - he was reminded of the time Mumbo had turned her into a bunny and could not help but laugh a little. Curiously, Raven smiled as well when the memory came up into her mind as well.
I might not look like it but I do like certain animals. Just not dogs.
Too slobbery, messy, loud, and annoying. Like Beast Boy.
Robin chuckled. "He cares about you though. You know that, right?"
But he just doesn't get it sometimes. I know he does, but the way he goes about it gets on my nerves. And his jokes are so inconsiderate.
Robin shrugged. He couldn't disagree with that. Beast Boy got on his nerves sometimes as well. There was silence for a looked up at Robin, who reached over to her tea and held it to her lips. She smiled and took a sip.
You always know what I want, don't you.
Robin couldn't help but smirk. "And you're awfully talkative today, aren't you?"
It's weird. I might be sick, but I haven't felt this comfortable in a long time. Raven closed her eyes and he felt her body shudder as she coughed again. Just kidding.
Trust Raven to be sarcastic even when she felt like she was dying. Robin patted her leotard covered back a couple times and her coughs gradually subsided. "You're really tense," he muttered.
No shit. I can hardly breathe. How do you expect me to be relaxed when my body can't even get enough oxygen?
He shrugged and massaged her shoulders and upper back, eliciting a very pleased sigh from her. Pushing into the smooth muscle, he wondered why he had never noticed just how... well sexy might not have been the appropriate term, but you get the idea... Raven was. Perhaps it was because of her demon blood, or perhaps it was because she secretly did do physical exercise (and he didn't know about it, but Cyborg did :p ) but her physique was quite attractive. And her angular, smooth face that seemed emotionless at first glance until you looked at her eyes and the slight movements of her mouth, he loved how he could tell what she was thinking if he studied her closely enough. To the unpracticed eye, she was a robot, a block of ice, but he had had years of experience with Batman so he wasn't exactly unpracticed.
Raven smiled weakly at him. Thanks. But don't think this means you can touch me whenever you like.
"Of course," he replied. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Robin, you know... I've always thought that... I've always felt... Her thoughts trailed off.
Raven was silent.
I... It's nothing... her thoughts trailed off again and he could sense something from her. Pain, her body weakening, exhaustion. Something else too, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"Hey, are you okay?" He could sense that that something within her was causing her a lot of pain, enough so that she didn't even have enough energy to respond to him by thought anymore.
And then her barriers flew back into place and her emotions were cut off from him. Sorry, her voice was very soft inside his mind. I'm just tired.
"You worry me," he muttered.
I know. You worry so much that you're even making me worry.
He rolled his eyes. "If you have the energy to crack jokes at me maybe you really should direct it at worrying about yourself. You won't get better if you disregard your own body."
Raven's breathing gradually slowed and grew more even. Actually I don't feel very energetic right now. Might just... go to... sleep... She yawned and stretched, back arching, before curling up beside him again. Robin watched her slow breathing for a few minutes before laying down beside her and staring at the ceiling.
He knew that when she got better, Raven would be all ice queen mode toward everyone again, including him, so he wanted to enjoy the closeness he had with her while it still lasted. It really was a wonderful feeling. She actually felt comfortable around him, even if she pretended otherwise. He supposed he was lucky like that. Although he still wondered what she was going to say that she had ended up suppressing. What had she thought? What had she felt?
Did she... love him?
There was no way in hell she loved anyone. At least, that was what Robin thought. But sometimes, he could be just as oblivious as she was in these matters. Funny, considering she was an empath, but she couldn't tell... deep down, he thought of her as something more than just a close friend. But they were both oblivious to each other's feelings in that respect.
It was perhaps why, when Robin left her room a couple hours later, he felt a bit happier, but still unfulfilled.
Three days later
Well, Raven had been right. She didn't need to go to the hospital after all. A couple days for her immune system to work and whatever it was she had contracted had gone away. At first, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire had all bugged her incessantly about where she had been for the last few days, but a growl and four eyes shut them up immediately. It was weird, they thought, that Raven seemed both happier and more irritable than usual - Cyborg caught her softly humming a cheerful tune to herself while working on her roundhouse kicks one day, but when he had smirked at her and pointed it out she had kicked the punching bag clear off of the ceiling and proceeded to beat the crap out of it in a fit of rage. And then she had glared at him and almost beaten him during their sparring but he was still better.
Or Beast Boy found her smiling an awful lot while she was reading... something... but when she realized that he was staring at her, she had gone all four eyed demon and chased him around the Tower for a good ten minutes before going back to her sullen... happiness? Something was weird.
And she had even accepted Starfire's offer to go to the mall... and even go to the spa and get a manicure and get her hair done. And complained about it all the way through.
And then when Robin had caught her alone, meditating on the roof as the sun was beginning to set, he had seen a glimpse of a peaceful smile on her face that quickly shifted to irritation when he stood behind her for more than a minute. Deep down, she was frustrated for the same reason he was. They thought of each other in a way only people who had an - intimate - relationship should have... they were closer than just friends were, closer to each other than even to any of the other Titans, but yet there was still something that was stopping them on both ends. They were both frustrated because... well, honestly, Raven told herself, because they were not together. And she knew that they probably would never be. And it irritated her to no end.
And then when she caught the same look on Robin's face as he stared at her, she finally knew that he felt the same way. Her frown quickly shifted to a knowing smile and she turned away, suppressing her emotions once more and fading into oblivious peace. And behind her, Robin did the same.
A/N: Great, now I feel unfulfilled too. What a horrible way to end this chapter - the plot was practically begging me to throw them together as a couple, but I didn't.
But. Don't worry! Eventually in one of my stories or oneshots they may yet be together! - Hint hint, keep your eyes open :)
So yeah. Next up will be Cyborg and Starfire (another toughie to write but we'll see how it turns out)