Number One Zero

By psychicsoul

Thriller / Romance

Chapter 14

A few months ago…

Robin was carrying a very heavy box. He wasn't sure what was inside, but he knew that it took a lot of effort on his part to get it. It was hidden deep within the bowels of some cave near a volcano, bound by old and rusting chains. There were some kind of energy beings that were guarding it, and though he was able to defeat them easily, it still piqued his interest. Obviously, this item was something magical, or something of that sort. But what would Slade want with something like that? The last time he worked with magical beings, he lost his humanity and had to go into the bowels of Hell to get it back -- with him in tow. They were still enemies then.

And now, he was working for him.

But not of his own choice, of course. Slade was going to hurt his teammates if he showed any signs of escape or insubordination. He snickered to himself at that thought. Little did Slade know that he was already weaving his own plans, and it would only be a matter of time until he was finally able to break away from his current Master and be his own. Everything was already in place. All he needed was the right moment, the perfect opportunity, and he could be rid of his captor once and for all.

And he had no idea that that day would be today.

Robin entered the security code and the door of Slade's lair opened with a swish. He saw the masked man in front of a computer screen, looking over their next plans. But what he saw on the screen made his heart stop.

"No, it can't be…" he mumbled to himself as he stared at the images.

He saw pictures of the Tower, of each of his teammates, with different procedures on how to take them down. But what scared him the most was the image of Raven, and the plans that were underneath her name. Plans that included the words, "chains" and "apprentice".

"Slade, what is the meaning of this?!" Robin screamed out, quickly dropping the box that he was holding.

"Oh Robin, I didn't notice you come in." Slade replied, honestly caught unprepared by his presence. He tried to exit the computer screen from the plans, but Robin stopped him from doing so.

"I already saw your plans! I thought the whole deal of this apprentice thing was so that you weren't going to attack my friends. Then what the hell was that?" Robin shouted out once more. Slade could feel the authority in his voice and was surprised. Since when did Robin have that power in him? And why was he affected by it?

"It was supposed to be a surprise." Slade finally said, after reigning in his shock and fear of the former Boy Wonder. "You've seen how your teammates have forgotten about you so easily, especially after you have sacrificed all for them. I just wanted to give you a chance to have your revenge. Isn't that what you wanted?"

Robin fell silent for once, feeling the rage for his teammates flow through his veins. In truth, he was hurt by how they seemingly forgot about him. He had already spent two years in Slade's clutches, and yet they didn't even make an effort to look for him or to investigate his disappearance. But there was one Titan that still hasn't given up on him. And she didn't deserve to be caught in the crossfire.

"But what about Raven?" he asked, his heart beating erratically at Slade's reply.

"Ah yes, your little Raven." Slade replied condescendingly. He could deduce Robin's intense feelings for the dark sorceress, and he knew that he could use those to his advantage."I was thinking of keeping her here, as our own little toy. Her powers would prove to be very useful to us. With everything that she can do, we can increase our expansion exponentially, and instantly be one of the most formidable villains in America. And with those chains that you have just delivered right now, we can assure ourselves of her cooperation."

Robin's eyes widened behind his mask and he instantly backed away from the box that he just dropped. Now it all made sense. Now he knew why he had to battle magical beings just to get this box. They held chains that could hold Raven into submission. And though he wanted nothing more than to be with his best friend, he didn't want her to be involved with Slade.

"The plan is brilliant once you realize it, Apprentice. I just have to make some minor modifications and we can set it all into action." Slade mumbled as he turned his back and focused his attention to the screen once again, typing in a few things and making the adjustments that he was saying.

Unfortunately, that was his biggest mistake.

Robin sacrificed his freedom, his values, his morals, everything that he held dear just to protect his teammates. Or at the very least, just to protect Raven from this mercenary. And yet here he was, about to cause chaos in her life once again. But he knew that he couldn't let that happen. He knew that he had to protect her, the one girl that was continually trying to save him, above all costs.

This was the moment that he had been waiting for.

He pulled out his bo-staff from his utility belt, ready to defeat his Master, once and for all.


Now

Just as the villains were quickly approaching the Titans, Cyborg racked his brain for a plan to get them out of this alive. They were still huddled around Beast Boy's bloody form, and his arm was throwing off sparks from the damage he got from Merlyn. He knew that they would certainly lose. And deep inside his mechanical heart, he was desperately praying for a miracle to happen and save them all.

Suddenly, Robin stood up and raised his arm up in a stop gesture; shouting out with much authority in his voice, "Wait."

The villains paused from their attack and looked toward their master, ready to listen to his order.

He slowly approached the group, taking his time with each step. The Titans felt tortured all over again as they tried to anticipate what the Master had to say.

"I think it's a little unfair to our guests if we ganged up on them all at once." He smiled with what he said, and it was one of the most devilish ones that they had ever seen in their lives. "And I have been such a terrible host, letting you guys entertain them all this time. Let me properly welcome them into our humble abode."

"What are you talking about, Robin? This is our Tower! You were the one who drove us out of here!" Cyborg yelled, as he bravely pointed his cybernetic arm at the former Boy Wonder.

Robin only raised his eyebrow at the leader's sudden gesture. He simply pushed away the outstretched arm, not even considering him as a threat.

"Really Cyborg? You say that this yours? And whose funds were used to build this Tower? And why do you think the Tower is still standing and functional even until now?" he asked proudly, seeing the other leader bow his head in defeat. The only reason that the Tower was constructed, and was still functional was because of the Batman's money-- money that was legally Robin's as the Dark Knight formally adopted him.

Taking Cyborg's silence as defeat, his lips then formed into a wicked grin as he outstretched his arms,as if in a welcoming gesture. "Now that all of that is settled, welcome Titans!" He pulled out his bo-staff while saying those words, still with that chilling smile on his face. He readied himself in his battle stance as he continued, "To your defeat."


Raven nervously sat in her room, not knowing what to do at this point. She could feel something bad was happening in the Tower at that very moment, and she knew that she had to find out what it was. All she knew was that Robin's men have already captured the Titans, and that he went out to face them-- to possibly hand out their fate. Raven paled at the thought. Knowing the great hatred Robin has against his former team, she could only guess that whatever fate he had for them would spell doom for them all. She knew that she had to stop him, or to distract him at least to buy her team enough time to escape the clutches of the evil Master.

But could she really do it? Could she betray the one person who has been taking care of her all this time? Would she still choose the Titans, the ones who were good, but who have been alienating her throughout this whole debacle? Or would she go with Robin, the man who was evil, but who has been showering her with love and affection ever since his return? The lines of good and evil have never been more blurred to her than they were now, and she certainly did not have the luxury of time to think things through.

Suddenly, a powerful BOOM shook the Tower, making her crash unsteadily to her bed. Without another thought, she enveloped herself in her aura, and teleported to the fray, hoping that somehow,she'd make the right decision along the way.


Before Robin could say another taunting word, Cyborg blasted his sonic cannon at him, but he easily dodged the attack. He leapt up and was instantly barraged by a flurry of starbolts. Using his bo-staff, he easily deflected and even cut through most of them, until he landed gracefully on the ground. Bumblebee took this opportunity to charge at the Master but when she was close enough to him, he rammed his bo-staff right in her face and sent her flying off to the opposite direction.

Starfire let out a battle cry, hoping to avenge her friend as she sent an eye-blast toward Robin. The former Boy Wonder just jumped out of the way, which allowed him to kick Aqualad's side, as he was still powering up for an attack. He even spun around and gave him another kick, just for added measure.

This of course, made Starfire angrier than before. She threw even more starbolts toward Robin, which he evaded, making him jump towards Speedy's incoming arrows. He dodged them just in time to be right in Mas and Menos's way. But he simply swung his bo-staff at their incoming form. They fell to the floor in a matter of seconds, both out cold from the force of the attack.

He jumped toward Starfire and held his bo-staff up high, ready to bring it down toward her skull. Seeing through his attack, she used her eye-beams to destroy his weapon. But she was shocked to see him slice through her attack. In fact, she was so shocked that she couldn't do anything but watch as his bo-staff collided with her beautiful face.

Seeing Starfire fall down to the ground, Cyborg fired another sonic attack toward Robin, which he easily evaded, and the ray hit the wall behind him instead. As he landed to the floor, he raised his bo-staff up, blocking an incoming arrow from Speedy. Not even missing a beat, he ran toward the archer, while deflecting every arrow that he was sending his way. When Robin was close enough, he used his bo-staff to throw the bow aside. Speedy tried to reach for it but instead; he received a hard punch in the face from his former friend. "And you even had the guts to go for my Raven." He said as he sent another kick to his fallen form.

Cyborg was enraged at how his teammates had fallen. He should have directed them toward a plan or a battle formation. They should have known that just simply attacking the Master wouldn't work. And now he was the only one left standing-- with a broken arm.

He aimed his sonic cannon at Robin but he knew that he could easily dodge it. He needed a distraction if they even wanted to hope that this would work. Just as those thoughts were running through his head, his prayers seemed to have been answered.

Beast Boy suddenly got up, even with a bleeding side, and transformed into a bear, ready to attack Robin. "Why can't you just lose?!" he shouted out, as he extended out a claw to damage his arm. But the Master jammed his bo-staff in Beast Boy's wound, making him cry out in pain, even in his bear form. He pulled out the now bloodied bo-staff, as the shapeshifter collapsed on the floor, turning back to his human form. "Because Beast Boy, I'm just too good to lose." Was Robin's proud reply.

"You spoke too soon, Boy Blunder. And now you're going down." Cyborg suddenly said, as he fired his sonic cannon to Robin's back. As he turned around, he saw that the blast was right before him already. There was no way he could've dodged that attack in time, and Cyborg felt victory finally come to the Titans.

That was until Robin raised his bo-staff right in front of him, and it split the ray in half, keeping him safe right in the middle. The cybernetic teen has his eyes wide open in shock, not knowing that hisstaff could actually do that. Robin took this opportunity to run toward him and strike him down on his fist, making him crash down to the floor, while stepping on him, just to keep him in place.

"It's made of adamantium in case you are wondering. It's nice to have some inter-dimensional metal every once in a while. You should try it sometime." Robin taunted, answering the unspoken question that was looming in Cyborg's mind. He moved his foot to be right on top of his face, as he added in a menacing voice, "And no one calls me 'Boy Blunder' except Raven. Be thankful that I haven't killed you yet for even saying that."

And that was it. Robin finally had his foot pressed down on Cyborg's face, making it hard for him to breathe or to even think. He couldn't believe it. Robin single-handedly defeated seven Titans, without even breaking a sweat. He didn't know if they were just disoriented and tired, but as Robin's foot continued to dig into his flesh, he certainly knew that this was the end.

Unless, he found a way out of this.

"And here I thought you'd pose more of a challenge for me. You had me outnumbered already." Robin spoke out in disappointment. "Well, I think you'd be happy to know the dungeons have been renovated and are more suited for your needs--"

"Wait!" Cyborg suddenly called out from under his foot, cutting off his taunting. "What if I make you a deal?"

Robin raised his eyebrow at the sudden proposition of the cybernetic leader. "And what do you think you have that would remotely interest me?"

"If you let us go, we'll let you have Raven." Cyborg said in a rush, making sure to sustain the Master's interest.

"I'm sorry, you want to what?" Robin replied, disgust clearly evident in his tone as he took off his steel-toed boot from Cyborg's face.

"I said, I'm trading our freedom in exchange for Raven." He weakly attempted to get up from the floor, using his arms to bring him up, but he failed when he received a powerful blow to the head from Robin's boot.

The Titans were also getting up from their defeated spots on the floor, enraged at their self-proclaimed leader, especially with his sudden reply.

"Sparky! Didn't we just talk about this a while ago? You have to stop using Raven as your ticket outof here! She's your little sister for crying out loud." Bumblebee said angrily.

"She is right, Cyborg! We cannot risk friend Raven! It is too dangerous!" Starfire pleaded out, floating next to Cyborg.

"We can't leave this Tower without Raven! Stop making decisions by yourself. Isn't that what being a team is all about?" Speedy added, placing himself right in front of their cybernetic leader.

"Are you really using her like a bargaining chip? She's a human being for crying out loud! Not just some object that you can barter for your freedom. See? Even your team doesn't agree with your decision." The Master said smugly, noting that the other leader didn't have the vote of confidence of his teammates.

"Let's just get on with this." The leader of the Titans replied, in a strained tone, barely concealing his raging anger at the situation. He didn't like the fact that it seemed that he was trading Raven for their freedom, but what enraged him more was the fact that his teammates were clearly showing that they were against his idea. It made him look like the weaker leader, especially toward Robin. And that hurt him more than any other wound could. "Do you want her or not?" he finally said, as he got up from where he was slumped on the floor just moments ago.

"Yeah, he actually does. Unlike you apparently."

Cyborg's human eye widened, instantly recognizing the owner of that voice. He couldn't believe it. She came in just in time to hear how he bartered her off like some commodity. He didn't want to do what he did, but he had no choice. It was either that or they would all be captured in the hands of the Master. Unfortunately, it seemed that Raven didn't understand his intentions.

"Raven.." he breathed out, trying to find the voice to explain himself. "It's not what you think…"

"Of course it isn't what I think." She said, cutting him off, her eyes livid with anger. "I mean, how else would I explain the fact that my leader just handed me to the enemy on a silver platter? The enemy that actually gives a damn about me; the evil Master who has been taking care of me this whole time while you all have been treating me like crap." Raven shut her mouth, in an attempt to stop herself from continuing her tirade. She knew that she shouldn't be talking like that to her friends, but she couldn't help her hurt feelings from surfacing. After blaming her for falling into Robin's hands, they were now offering her as a bargaining chip, as their way out. As if they actually owned her! She let out a calming breath, trying to calm Rage as she tried desperately to break out of her cage. Her control of her emotions have improved greatly over the years but right now, all she wanted to do was to destroy everything and to break everyone's necks.

Breathe.

Calm.

"Raven I--" Cyborg began, but he was instantly cut off by Raven saying,

"Don't. Just. Don't."

She raised her arms in the air, as black energy slowly enveloped the Titans. With her eyes going white, she chanted out, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos."

And before they knew it, all that was left in the Tower were Robin and his henchmen.

"Good work, guys. Let's pack up from here. We'll be moving to the new site now. Reconvene in Bludhaven in exactly one week." Robin ordered, with a smile on his face, seemingly pleased with the events that had just occurred.

"But Master…" Merlyn began, unsure of how to address his leader, especially after his enemies escaped with his beloved with them.

"It's all good, Merlyn. Everything went according to plan. You all did great. And you deserve a week's vacation. Do what you want. Go home to your mother. Rob a bank. Just come to the site next week." And with that, the Master finally left them, leaving the group puzzled and confused with what had just happened.

"He's just probably in denial…" Merlyn mumbled as he gathered his things and left, following the other villains out of the Tower.


When the darkness faded away, the Titans found themselves in the Titans East main room. Most of them collapsed on the floor, weak as they were. Aqualad tried to help Starfire up, as he had her shoulder over his neck. Bumblebee instantly placed Beastboy on the sofa, trying to help with his wounds. Mas and Menos plopped on top of each other in pure exhaustion. But Cyborg looked the most dejected, kneeling down the floor in defeat. Sparks were flying out of his cybernetic body, but he couldn't do anything to repair the damage on his system, and to the team as well.

He just sold out his little sister to a criminal mastermind, and it made him feel so guilty it was eating him up inside, hurting him more than any of the wounds on his body. He didn't have any other choice; if he didn't do what he had done, then they wouldn't be safe in their Tower now. And if wasn't for Raven, they wouldn't have made it back. From then on, he vowed to make it up to her, in any way that he could. And he was going to start now.

"Raven…" he began, forming the apology in his head.

"Uh Cyborg, Raven's not here." Speedy suddenly said; as he looked around in the room, being theonly Titan standing on his own two feet.

The Titans' hearts stopped at what the archer said.


A few months ago…

Slade was caught off-guard as Robin's bo-staff swiftly connected to his masked skull, sending him flying across the room. He turned toward his attacker, shock clearly evident in his one eye.

"Apprentice! What is the meaning of this?!" he demanded as Robin silently walked toward him.

He didn't speak another word; he just sent a spinning kick toward his side, making the mercenary twitch in pain. He was about to land another one when Slade grabbed his foot and flung him toward the other side of the room.

"I don't like insubordination." Slade threatened as he slowly got up from the floor.

He readied himself in a battle stance, but his heart skipped a beat when he couldn't find Robin anywhere. He frantically looked around for his apprentice, trying to catch him before he attacked. Butjust as he turned his head, he saw a bo-staff heading directly for his masked face. The brunt force ofthe blow sent him crashing into the opposite wall. He slumped to the floor, as part of his mask broke and fell to the ground.

"Oh don't worry. This isn't insubordination." Robin said, slowly advancing toward him. "This is your defeat."

Another kick was sent to Slade's side, and he was pretty sure that attack broke a few of his ribs.

"You said you wouldn't touch the Titans if I worked for you."

He felt another jolt of pain as the bo-staff crashed to his side.

"If I wanted revenge, I'd get it myself." He lifted Slade off the floor, and punched him in the gut. He coughed out blood from its sheer force. He threw Slade's body to the side, as if it weighed nothing.

As the Terminator slowly got up from the floor for the nth time, he wondered in horror of what he had wrought. He trained Robin to be his apprentice, but he didn't know that he was creating a villain that was admittedly greater than him. Before Slade even noticed he was there, Robin slammed the bo-staff against his skull once again.

Slade looked toward him, knowing that this was the last thing he was ever going to see in his life. He gazed up in horror at what he had created. Robin was more than a man now. His shoulders were broad and muscular, making him seem larger than who he was. His arms looked like they were pulsing with unbridled power, muscles barely straining against his two-toned suit. But what changed the most in him were the features of his face. Two years ago, he still had a boyish grin to his features, a touch of innocence that never left him, even with the numerous trials that he had to face. And now, as he looked down upon him, that innocence was completely gone. What was in its place was a controlled expression of power, a sense of superiority and strength. By exposing him to the evils of the world, he created a far greater evil-- an evil that was going to control it and bring it to its knees.

And though he was staring at death right at the face, he couldn't be more proud of what he had created.

"And you don't get to touch Raven." He continued, his tall figure towering over his tormentor's fallenform. Raising his bo-staff high in the air, his lips turned into a devilish smirk as Slade heard the lastwords he would hear anyone say.

"She's mine."


Now.

Robin walked in the Tower halls with a triumphant gleam in his masked eyes. Finally, all his hard work had paid off, and he was about to reap its beautiful reward. His mind traveled back to that time before, when he felt this fulfilled. It happened only a few months ago, and so much has changed in his life since then. He would always be eternally grateful to his inspiration. She probably would never understand how much she had influenced his life, but he was determined to at least try to get the message across. And he was going to start right at that very moment.

As he stood in front of Raven's door, he punched in the override code, and the mechanical door opened, revealing an emotionally distraught half-demon, with her back toward him. He couldn't help the smirk that appeared on his lips as he slowly approached the empath, careful not to startle or frighten her. He could feel the sadness, confusion, and betrayal coming off of her in waves through their bond. And he knew that he had to fulfill his promise to her, especially now that he finally has her now that she chose him over the Titans.

He stood right behind her, his breath on her neck as he slowly wrapped his arms around her waist. He felt her jump a bit by his sudden touch, but she instantly relaxed into his arms. She turned around and wrapped her arms around him, holding him as tightly as her small body could. He softly caressed her back like he did just a few hours before, his hair tangling in her short violet locks.

"Everything's going to be okay now, Raven. We're finally together and no one is going to separate us ever again." Robin whispered into her hair as he pulled back to kiss her lightly on the forehead.

Raven chuckled for a bit before finally admitting her true fears. "I have no idea what I'm doing, Richard. I don't know if I made the right decision, I don't know if this is just some spur of the moment thing. For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'm doing and it's scaring the crap out of me. You obviously do not want to be around such a confused half-demon sorceress."

Robin laughed wholeheartedly at what she said. It was the first time that Raven was completely honest with what she was feeling, and truthfully, he found it so adorable to see her this way. He was also impressed by the fact that she was willing to shed all of her pretenses and be who she truly was in front of him. Was it a testament of how much she trusted him? Of how much she loved him?

"You don't have to be sure about anything." He replied, tucking a violet strand of hair to the back of her ear. "All you need to know is that I'm here now and nothing is going to separate us ever again." And once more, he sealed his promise with a kiss. But this was far different from the last. His lips were tender and comforting before, but now they were burning with a fire that Raven had never experienced. She was caught in the whirlwind of passion that Robin was sending her in, and she could only comply to the desires of his lips. Things quickly became heated and before she knew it, they were on her bed, with Robin frantically taking off her cloak. Once he did, he hungrily ravaged her pale neck, leaving small red welts with each of his kisses. With her lips free, Raven finally had the opportunity to speak.

"Robin. Wait-" she exclaimed breathlessly as he nipped vigorously at her neck.

"Shh. Raven. It's going to be alright." Robin said, his breath ghosting against her ear. "Just give yourself to me."

And Raven could do nothing more, but to grant him what he had been longing for all this time. She surrendered herself completely to the Master.

This was the victory that he had been waiting for all this time. He felt more triumphant in this moment than when he had killed Slade, or created his dark empire, or when he defeated the Titans. This was a far greater victory because now he had her; he had his inspiration, his salvation, his Raven. And nothing was going to stop him now. Not even her. He started zipping off her leotard as he said the words that would forever seal her fate.

"You're mine now."

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