Disclaimer: No ownership over Teen Titans.
September 12, 5:28 [A.M]
It was strong. So much that it pulled at her mind and gave her a small migraine at times. She did not know if it affected him in that way as well; for she had never asked. But the only reason the connection had survived at all was her fault. She had kept it alive with her mental abilities. If it were not for that, they would not have been able to talk inwardly to each other or sense when the other was in distress or severely injured. But when she wanted, which was a very rare occasion, Raven could dully hear his thoughts and musings. But they were faint and distant pieces of the statements or questions. Never full sentences. But since she could sense what others felt, she would use his emotions as hints and make predictions, but rarely.
Raven thought of the link as a good and bad thing. For one, if she or the team could not locate him, she would mentally tap into the connection and use that as some sort of navigation system. But one con of the link would be the mass of stress and anger that would sometimes seep into her head from his, enhancing her powers and making her lose a portion of mental control. And that would always end up destroying computer screens and overturn some furniture.
And at the moment, or time, knowing where he was located at was helpful for her, to an extent. The reason being an attraction she had to him. Not just because of the actual mental connection she had to him, but an endearing attraction. And every time she would get it under control, seeing him would evoke those feelings once again to the surface. And even though she knew that those kind of thoughts and emotions were forbidden for obvious reasons, she still felt them. Involuntarily.
For one, another woman had her eyes, probably her hands, and mind on him. Secondly, it was an extreme and pointless thing to dwell or act upon her feelings. For instance, if she were to try him, she would have to double her meditation hours and spend less time with him. The relationship would be off balanced, the missions would be harder due to the extra anxiety and unawareness, and the whole thing could end abruptly and badly.
Oddly and coincidentally, the object of her thoughts had joined her. Raven was on the roof as the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon. Robin would normally accompany her up there in the mornings, talk or just sit there comfortably. A small smile was on his face this particular time, typical considering he was always cheery and uplifted in the early hours. It almost made her want to grin. His emotions were that infectious.
"Morning, Raven," he said calmly, his cape waving in the wind.
She kept her stare straight and unfazed, trying to not look at him. "Good morning."
His gaze surfed over the horizontal line the ocean settled under, figure covered in the orange glow. Raven felt flushed, catching herself in the act of turning to him. What was she to say now? Luckily, the young man spoke up.
"Practice is in two hours."
With that, he revolved around and headed for the stairway door, disappearing into the Tower. She exhaled loudly, still looking out on the ocean below. It might have seemed like the ideal place to meditate, but the sunlight was just starting to show. Which meant that she would not have been able to close her eyes without burning them to raisins.
Walking into the building known as her home, Raven settled in the common room, sitting at the island in the kitchen. A mug of tea was sitting there in front of her, as if watching her. Wondering where it came from, she glanced around to see Robin at the black couch playing his video games. None of their other comrades were awake, considering the hour of day.
A faint trace of a small smile played on her lips in appreciation at the sweet gesture. It was because of these simple doings and favours that tugged her heartstrings in his direction. And the more he did them, the more difficult it was becoming for her to resist him and her feelings.
It was not usually normal for her to be all smiles and flustered, but for some reason, the smallest of things changed her persona in the other direction. And she did not like it. Well, that was what she keeps trying to tell herself. She would not ever dare to throw away a lifetime of practicing to become monotone just because of some boy that evoked some feeling from her.
'But he's no boy anymore. More of a man now.'
Raven jittered her head, whipping out the thoughts from her mind. Even though she seemed like an absolute innocent woman, as in pervertedness, on the outside, it did not mean that salacious thoughts had never crossed her mind. Considering she kept to herself most of the time.
Her head rose from the tea mug and directed to where the source was. Of course, it had to be him.
"Hi," she replied in her lacklustre.
Beast Boy walked by her and reached into the fridge. "Wanna play a game of volleyball? Cyborg and Starfire are already up on the roof warming up."
She arched a brow. "Um, Robin said we have practice in two hours, though."
He grinned. "So? That's in a while! Let's have fun! Besides, he's up there, too."
'How did I not notice him leaving?' She mused.
Was she really that out of the loop that day?
"Oh. Thanks, but no. I … I have something to do," she dehydrated the last of her tea from the cup and placed it in the sink.
"What?! Come on! You never play!" He whined as he popped open a root beer.
"I said no."
His happy green complexion turned strained. "Fine. Just meditate and be boring."
Beast Boy gargled the rest of the drink and crushed the can, jogging out the large room. Raven sighed. She did not have anything to do; she never did, actually. Even though she did have to meditate and relax sometimes, there were times when she would use those activities as excuses to get away. Not to isolate herself from her friends, but to have a good enough reason to skip out on their pleadings to do something she clearly did not like. For instance, moving around and sweating while trying to uphold a ball for no particular reason, was by all means pointless.
While her feet were planted on the ground, stationary, the double doors jerked open once again. A repetitive sound padded the floor as she still stood unaware of the newcomer.
"Raven? What're you doing here? Aren't you going to play volleyball?"
Her head quickly revolved in his direction. Something was crumbled in his gloved hand as he looked at her, making her mind amplify with thoughts.
"Uh, no. I was planning on … meditating, actually." There is the typical excuse.
"But you always meditate on the roof when we play a game of volleyball. Well, normally," Robin countered.
Damn. She was caught red-handed. And red-faced.
"Uh–uh, it's really bright and hot outside. My room seems like a fine choice at the moment. I'll just meet you guys at combat practice."
Fortunately, she had upheld her indifferent character throughout her sentence. Considering the turbulent drifts in her own conscious.
He shrugged his shoulders and ran out the doors. She let out a gust of breath, thankful that he did not keep questioning her.
All those times she rebuffed their offers on a game of volleyball were for the same reasons. Once again, it was because of the pointless sweating and moving. But the second one was that her seeing the acrobat bounce around would surely send her emotions channeling through her. And having things blown up was not all that peachy. Especially when she would have to explain why.
September 14, 6:30 [A.M]
Maybe coming to terms with it was not such a good idea. It caused her face to bloom with red and emotions to surf over her mental control. She had to meditate more and become even more emotionless, if possible, causing the others to pester her with questions and petty concerns. Not only would their worries annoy her, but they would distract and refrain her from being in peace, increasing her inability to stay stabilized.
But if she was to suppress her constant feeling of admiration, what would happen? Last time a feeling was retracted, all hell broke loose and she was almost killed by her own monsters. So there was no telling what love would project to the outside world. People making out? White doves forming throngs along the hallways? Whatever the outcomes would have been would forever, or so she hoped, be unknown. For she already acknowledged her adoration for the human.
Her head elevated from her book and gazed at the source of the voice. It has to be him every time!
"Finally! I've been calling you for hours!" The green boy leaned over the back of the couch lazily.
"What?" Raven queried.
"No," she stated indifferently, turning back to the book she was "reading".
"What?!" He snapped up from his slouching position. "You don't even know what I was going to say!"
"Then what were you going to say?"
A feigned smile molded his lips. "Uh, w–wanna play a game?"
She showed an expression devoid of amusement. "Like I said before, no."
"Aw, come on! All you ever do is eat, sleep, meditate, and train. When are you gonna have some fun?"
"The day I play video games is the day I go to heaven."
Beast Boy groaned and slinked back into the couch cushion. Cyborg soon jogged into the room, much to the boy's relief.
"Hey, Rae. Waffles coming up in a few minutes if you want," he slung beside his best friend.
"Oh, goodie," she stated dully.
Returning to the book in her lap, Raven continued to contemplate several topics in her head. And even though she was thinking, it seemed as if the book held her thoughts since she still cared to resume staring at it.
'What would Starfire say? She'd hate me.'
Coincidentally, the whole female population in the team went after the uptight leader. That was a surprise considering how irritating he came off to be to other people. But everyone knew that the redhead was fond of him, so there must have been some attractive quality the boy possessed. It was more than understandable when people saw what type of girl fell for him. Especially the other one that did not show any sense of feeling. That is "Exhibit B".
If anyone found out that Raven had a nice and soft spot for Robin, they would all laugh at her. They would give her odd looks and questioning glances, anything that will get her embarrassed and flustered. Not only that, but if Starfire heard of it, she would not talk or make any kind of communication with her. Not because she hated her, but because it would be awkward. The two were basically going after the same mate, even if one technically was not trying.
Sighing, Raven stood up and clenched the book, walking out the double doors. The grey walls narrowed the corridors as she walked by them, prohibiting light, other than the small round ones in the ceiling, from following her. The only place that would clear her mind soothingly and without meditation was only a staircase away. And if the day wanted to add to her stress, then a specific someone would be there as well.
Once she was standing on concrete, the mass of slightly fresher air dipped into her lungs, already calming her. The sun was about to touch the horizon over the far skyscrapers, painting the sky with pink and yellow; the most despised colours in her mind. Even if them being present at sunset was an exception.
The girl sat on air at the end of the tower roof, letting her cloak settle under her on the floor. Sometimes she would do that; shed the shroud for a while. It was more of a relaxation rather than something to do with temperature.
"Drop your robe, Raven?"
That foul voice, in an agitated way, crept up to her once again. Did he make sure that she hated each day? Did he even know?
She nodded. "On purpose."
"Okay, then. Just remember that–"
"Combat practice, I know," she finished for him.
It was like she knew him. Knew exactly what he was going to do or say right then and there. As if she could read his mind even if she did not try. As if they thought with the same mind. That was how strong the bond was. Well, that and then some.
'When did I turn into a creep?'
Okay, maybe she did space out a bit when she thought over the unique connection she had with Robin. A bit too much for her taste.
"Right," he said, smiling to an extent. "It's in–"
"An hour, got it."
'Damn, I'm good. Still creepy, though.'
"Right. Can I sit here with you?" He asked.
Her eyes unsealed and she revolved in place, facing him in a shocked manner. Never had he asked her that. He usually just stood a couple of feet away from her, staring at the sun as if it could not blind him, silent. What was next, is he going to ask her out on a date?
Robin did as he wanted and located himself beside her, silent and dazed as always. It would never change, would it? The invisible wall will remain impenetrable in between them, refraining her from getting to him.
"Can I ask you a question?"
'I just had to say something.'
She looked at him once again. "What?"
He steered his head down to the ocean. "Can you by any chance teach me how to … meditate?"
Her eye twitched faintly. "Excuse me?"
"I mean," he immediately took it as if she was offended, "do you have any suggestions that would help a human relax?"
Raven arched a brow at the 'human' part. Was she not partly human?
"Why would you want to mediate?" She questioned.
A hand reached to rub his arm. "I–I just want to see if anything other than training can lower my stress. You seem pretty calm when you meditate, you know. Maybe it works for me, too."
Her gaze remained on him, not only studying for if he was set up to do this by one of Cyborg's dares, but because he was simply fascinating to look at.
"Uh, sure. I can show you how to meditate."
It really did not take that much time to see if there was at least one flaw in his actions, considering she could practically enter his mind. He was being genuine and sincere. He really wanted to know, and that stunned her.
"So what do I have to do?" He questioned, getting into the lotus stance.
She eyed him one last time before giving him instructions. The same ones she told Starfire. Not much of a surprise, Robin passed through the steps with ease, since the alien had trouble dimming her emotions. And soon enough, the two Titans were settled placidly on the roof, quiet as a rock, and clearing their heads.
September 16, 4:00 [P.M]
"You know, this is pretty nice."
She smiled a bit. "Yes, it is."
"No wonder you do this all the time. It practically kills the stress, leaves you brain-dead for a while. But in a relaxing way," he stated.
"Another reason Beast Boy doesn't do it," she joked, still lacklustre.
Robin chuckled, inwardly agreeing with her, even if it was a joke.
'That laugh,' she thought.
It was a bit late into the day— code for the middle of the afternoon —and the two Titans were located on the roof once again. The only thing different this time was that Robin was floating at the same level as Raven. The girl had manifested a black shelf under him to lift him in the air, for a more comfortable position. At times— since the two started meditating —the boy had fallen asleep a couple of moments. It humoured her to see his cheek squished against the pavement when he would tilt to the side from his lotus position and hit the ground— dead asleep. If anyone else had done that she would have swivelled her eyes and resumed the quiet activity without further distraction. But this was Robin— the current core of her affections. So instead of being agitated, she would feel her heart batter and stomach waver.
"Have your … stress levels decreased?" She asked, eyes still sealed.
His shoulders dropped in relaxation. "Yup. I feel like a hippie."
She barely grinned at the comparison, a bit offended since she meditated every day. Acknowledging that this was Robin, a good person with no bad intentions, she shoved it away.
"But I'm not the one that eats tofu, though," he added, "or looks green."
She turned to him.
"There is nothing wrong with Beast Boy, though. We're all different, if you haven't noticed," she defended.
He opened his eyes underneath his mask and also peered at her. Why did she have to snap like that? He was not insulting the green boy. Far from that, actually. More like playfully joking.
"Didn't mean to offend you. I was just playing," he stated calmly, stress-free.
"I know. I just don't like it when people judge others. It's demeaning."
She sighed. "It's okay."
There were no conversations after that, considering Robin had fallen asleep once again. Raven exhaled and heard for the familiar thump of skin hitting cement. Soon enough, the boy had unintentionally scattered his body onto the floor, sleeping with soft snores emitting from his mouth. Raven peered at him from beside him. A smear of admiration, or adoration, masked on her face as she watched his slumbering form. Staring and observing people was not something she did everyday, but it was a bit fascinating to watch him, scrutinize what made him what he was. Nice, now she seemed like a fan-girl stalking her celebrity crush. Well, in her defense, she did have some feelings for him. At least she was not there in the same room while he showered or was in need of privacy, or anything.
'That doesn't really help my case at all,' she spoke inwardly.
The sun was shinning a lot brighter now that the time was closer to mid day. It also signaled that they— mostly Raven —had been meditating for a fair amount of time. Well, since they had finished combat practice, which was at eleven a.m.. Raven reopened her eyes and exhaled a relaxed breath. Her body was feeling less tense than before— most likely due to the extra hours of meditation —and her mind and breathing pace felt at peace. Settling down onto the cement, she looked around for Robin. He was in the same place she last saw him: the floor, knocked out like he had not slept in months— which is a bit believable considering who he is. It was not really his fault that he was tired and fell asleep. Everyday he trains from 7:30 to 11:00 without rest and equal energy throughout those three hours. No, it was not annoyance she felt whenever he fell to the floor when they meditated like this, it was sympathy. Sympathy because he had been like this practically his whole life. Waking up early in the morning hours, training for three hours without breaks, and barely any rest when something is bothering him— which is basically every day.
Raven stood on her feet and ambled over to his unconscious form, still studying him and collecting more information. Such as: that he can sleep with his mask on without discomfort, he likes to curl up into a ball like an armadillo when asleep, and that his mouth opens up just the slightest. Those details were the smallest and the most unnoticeable and would take an extreme observer to conclude.
'Whoa, maybe I am a stalker.'
Reaching out to poke his arm, she tried to arouse him out of sleep. "Robin," she called in her lacklustre.
A strained grumble escaped his lips as the movement interrupted his slumber. Another note: he is a light sleeper, but will refuse to actually awaken.
"Robin, wake up."
This time, she knew that a poke was not going to be enough, so a punch seemed to be in order. A light one because he was still the leader. She hit his arm and he spasmed, now awake and alert. Robin bounced to his feet in a fighting position and focused expression, as if he was not asleep just seconds before. He looked around and saw Raven standing a foot away from him. A sheepish look overcame his concentrated appearance as he realized the situation: he had fallen asleep during meditation again.
'Is she mad at me?' He questioned in his head.
"Oh. Hey, Raven," he said in his calm voice— stress-free.
The addressed girl arched a brow. "Planning to sleep on the roof the whole day?" She asked in an amused manner.
Robin pulled at his collar and gave a slight, nervous smile. "Heh, sorry. I was just really tired, and all."
"It's okay, I understand."
His crooked smile turned into a real one in the speed of his kicks. "Thanks, wanna go inside or are you still going to meditate?"
"No," she breathed out. "I've meditated enough for today."
He nodded and ran for the door. Raven could not stop the small, satisfied smirk that crested her lips. But before Robin left her alone on the roof, he called out to her.
"Hey, Raven. Thanks for letting me join you in meditation."
She nodded and he went inside the tower for real this time.
'Any time, Robin. Anytime.'