“Robin, get up. We’re not done here yet.”
Robin’s face was inches away from the floor. His breathing was shallow and heavy. He felt like his broken rib was already puncturing his lung, as open wounds were scattered all over his body. He had been “training” with Slade throughout the day, though he felt it was more like torture.
When Robin failed to get up from his lowly position, Slade let out a disappointed sigh and said, “Fine, let’s finish this tomorrow then. You still have a long way to go, but I will make sure I will make the perfect apprentice out of you.”
He went closer to Robin, only to yank his arm from where he was laying. He pulled him to a small room at the end of the vast concrete space that they were in and threw him there. Afterwards, he shut the door and locked it, leaving a flickering lamp as Robin’s only light source.
After coughing weakly, Robin looked up to his room for the past three days. It was just a small space with a cot, and a small mirror and a sink on the other side of the bed. Slade had said that he would get a better room once he deserved it. Once he was able to defeat him in battle.
His mind wondered what would happen after that. After he became strong enough for Slade’s standards, what heinous crimes would he be asked to do? Would he steal for him? Would he bleed for him? Would he kill for him? That thought made him shudder instantly. He should have known that coming with Slade that faithful day would only lead him into a path of misery and evil. He was a hero --- he shouldn’t have fallen this low. But here he was, at the mercy of his arch nemesis. He had to sacrifice himself, just to save his friends.
“Friends that couldn’t even risk their lives to save you.” A menacing voice inside his mind said.
He shook his head, trying to shake off those kinds of evil thoughts. He knew that it was probably Slade’s influence talking, and he had to try his best to fight it off. He didn’t want to become like the people that he had put behind bars all these years. But a part of him knew that it was inevitable. That if he was ever going to survive this, he wasn’t going to be the hero that he once was. And that scared him most of all.
He took out a birdarang from his belt and heaved a deep sigh. He wondered how deep he had to cut his wrist to end his life quickly. It would’ve been so stupid, to take the coward’s way out. But it was the only way for him to get out of this with his hero’s dignity intact. It was the only way for him to survive this ordeal without anyone’s blood on his hands. It was the only way for him to end this never-ending pain and suffering.
He held the birdarang close to his wrist, just where he could feel his vein pulsing, when he heard her voice.
She heard her voice echo throughout his mind. He couldn’t believe what he had heard. She was trying to reach him through their bond.
“Robin, where are you?”
She called out to him again. He could feel her mind searching for him, trying to reach him wherever he was. He became desperate to hear her voice again.
“Raven!” Robin screamed out in his mind, trying to reach Raven through their bond just as she did.
“Robin? Robin! Are you alright? Where are you?” she called out through his mind. He could feel the worry and concern in her voice which was very different from her usual monotone. He knew that she cared for him. At least she cared for him.
“Robin!” she called out again, this time even more worried than before. “I can’t track you down, damnit. There’s a magical block in your location. I can’t even teleport to where you are. We’ll have to drive to your location. But we’ll get you out of there --- just tell me where you are.”
Her voice was firm with a burning determination that he had never heard from her before. He knew that she was dead set on finding him, no matter where he was in the world. Unfortunately, he had no idea where he was. And he knew that he would be endangering their lives if he even tried to lead them to where he was. The last time that they tried to save him from Slade, they almost died with the probes inside their bloodstream. Who knows what kind of punishment Slade had for all of them if they even tried to fight him this time?
“No, Raven.” Robin commanded through his mind. “I don’t want you to risk your life any more for me. Don’t look for me. Just... wait for me until I get back, okay?” He ended his order with a sort of positive note, trying to reassure her (and himself) that he was coming back; though he knew in the depths of his heart that that he might not make it out of there alive.
“No Robin! We are going to get you out of there. Just tell me where you are. Robin? Robin!” Raven shouted out through her mind, trying to reach her leader through their bond. But no matter how much she tried, he wouldn’t respond anymore, until finally his end of the bond went blank, and she had no choice but to let it go.
Robin knew that he had to keep them safe, keep her safe. She had already risked so much to save him. She probably only contacted him at this point because she had only regained her strength now. But he also knew that he couldn’t give up, for that same reason. He couldn’t throw away everything she had sacrificed just for him. He had to survive, even just for her, so he could see her again. So he could tell her how grateful he was. So he could say how much he loved her.
Raven opened her eyes and realized that her vision was still blurred. She could barely keep her eyes open, but she strained them just to see through the haze that was covering her vision. She could finally make out some shapes and she could deduce that she was in some kind of room. The walls were filled with dark décors and a bookshelf was standing proudly to her left. Her eyes widened in the realization that she wasn’t in just any room, she was in her own.
She slowly got up from her purple sheets; only to hear chains rattling as she did so. She raised her arms only to see chains shackling her wrists. She heaved a sigh and started chanting her mantra, only to see that nothing happened. She took another look at the chains that bound her to her bed and realized that it had the symbol of Scath. “Damnit.” She inwardly muttered to herself, realizing those chains were cancelling out her powers. She had wondered how he would have been able to acquire such magical objects. But her thoughts were cut when she heard a familiar voice enter her room.
“They’re from Slade. He was going to use it against you, I suppose. Aren’t you glad that I didn’t give him the chance to do so?” Robin entered her room as the door swished to allow him entrance. His expression turned from grim to a grin in less than a second, making Raven shudder in fear.
“How long have I been out?” she asked in her signature monotone, though her heart was racing in fear, remembering everything that had transpired before.
“One day.” He replied honestly. He started approaching her as she saw her eyes widen with his reply. “Sorry, but I had to do it. I needed to make sure that you would come to me.”
“You drugged me? And then chained me to this bed? Robin what is going on?” Raven replied with so much anger in her voice that it made Robin’s hair stand up. She struggled against her chains, physically showing how infuriated she was. But he couldn’t have that. He couldn’t take it if she was mad at him. He didn’t survive everything he did just so she would hate him.
“Raven, I’m sorry but it was the only way that I could think of... the only way that you wouldn’t…” he begged
“The only way I wouldn’t what?” she spat back, still wanting to maul him the second that she was free of her chains.
“The only way you wouldn’t leave me.”
Raven froze at Robin’s admission. She could feel the desperation and need in his voice that it shocked her. Despite the fact that he had become so cruel that he could just hurt her teammates without remorse, he knew that he was nothing without her.
“Robin…” she shook her head in despair. “What is going on? Why are you doing this?”
Before Raven even realized it, Robin was sitting beside her on her bed. He looked deep into her eyes before he replied, “I’m doing this for you... for us.”
“I don’t think it’s in my best interest to have my teammates incapacitated.”
Robin chuckled, finding some humor in what she said. “I’ll admit that was my personal thing. But you know, I could always set them free…” he whispered those words into her ear, as if he was tempting her into doing something. His hot breath caressed her cheek, making her heart beat erratically in her chest. He descended down her neck and continued, “but with a price.”
She felt his lust and love overcome her through their bond. It was only then that she realized that it had become more active now. This was probably why he was able to answer her question as she came in, without her even verbalizing it.
“What did you have in mind?” her voice started shaking as he continued to trace her neck with his nose. She knew what she was doing was dangerous, but she had to save her teammates. Who knows what devilish plot he had in store for them? At least she knew that Robin had no intention of hurting her, for now. But she could not say the same for the other Titans.
“Oh you know, just becoming mine.” A wicked smile curved upon his lips. “Raven, you have my heart and soul in your hands. The only reason that I had come this far, that I had survived all that pain and suffering, was for you. I wanted to see you again, I wanted to hold you in my arms and never let you go. I wanted to claim you and make you mine.” He started placing warm kisses on her neck, and Raven could feel her body and her heart submitting to his request. She knew the evil that surrounded the man before her, and yet she found it harder and harder to resist him.
“I’ll let your precious Titans go, just become mine and mine alone.” He breathed out his offer in her ear, making her yearn for his touch more than she would have wanted to admit.
He pulled away from her, to gauge her expression, to know if she’d agree to his offer. All she could do was to stare into the depths of his domino mask as an internal battle raged on inside her mind. But then she had to ask herself, was it really so bad to be his?
The chains rattled as she reached out to touch his cheek. She started stroking invisible patterns on his skin with her thumb; as if she was giving her answer without using her own words.
Cyborg opened his eyes with a jolt. He remembered his fight with Robin and had suspected that he’d still be there in front of him. Instead, he saw the vast emptiness of what seemed like a dungeon before his eyes.
“Dude! Finally, you’re awake!” He heard Beast Boy’s voice scream from beside him.
He turned around and saw his green friend with his arms raised above his head in chains. His eyes widened in shock upon realizing this, knowing that he had been defeated by their former leader as well.
“Oh glorious! I am glad that you are unharmed.” Starfire exclaimed from his left side. She was in the same condition as Beast Boy; she too was chained to the wall with Aqualad right beside her.
“Uhhh, how long have we been here guys?” Cyborg asked, realizing the danger that they were all in.
"A day, I would guess.” Aqualad said. “Robin’s been leaving food and water for us, but aside from that our situation has been pretty bad here.”
“Where’s Raven?” Cyborg asked with much concern in his tone, feeling like an overprotective brother toward his missing teammate.
“We do not know.” Starfire replied, shaking her head sadly. “We woke up in the same way you did, wondering how we came to this place, with chains imprisoning us. We do not know if Friend Raven is safe or not.”
“Do you think she escaped?” Beast Boy asked, with some hope in his voice.
“There’s only one way to find out.” Cyborg started checking through the Tower’s security system, trying to find Raven’s location. “Okay, it says here that we are in the Tower’s basement and that Raven is…” he paused as the computer on his arm located Raven’s unique energy signature. “Oh good, it says here that Raven is in her room…” his voice trailed off, as his face twisted into an expression of horror at what his computers showed him.
“What is it?” Aqualad asked, sensing the dread in their current leader’s words.
“The scans show that Raven is with someone else in her room, someone with the same readings as” he gulped before continuing “…as Robin.”
The other Titans felt shock and worry overcome them as Cyborg said those words. They all fell to a horrible fate in Robin’s hands, and they feared what form of torture Robin was giving her now.
“Friends, we must get out of here and help Friend Raven!” Starfire exclaimed, as she struggled against her chains. “Who knows what perils our friend is facing at this very moment!”
“Starfire is right; we have to escape before Raven gets chained with us too.” Aqualad said as he too struggled with his own bindings.
“We’ve got to save Raven before he does anything bad to her.” Cyborg said in an authoritative tone, checking out the basement’s blueprints, and identifying the fastest way to get to Raven’s room.
“But dude, maybe Robin isn’t as psycho as we think he is. I mean, you’ve gotta admit, it was kind of weird for Rob to hook you up to get recharged. I didn’t know he cared for you that much.” Beast Boy commented as he pointed at the generator that was behind Cyborg’s back.
He too was shocked to realize that Robin had actually charged his batteries for him. He remembered Robin’s words from the night that they had fought, and he knew why Robin did that. He wanted a rematch, one that didn’t have Cyborg to a disadvantage. Fortunately for him, that was the same thing that he wanted.
“Well, that was his biggest mistake. Come on Titans, we’re getting out of here.” Cyborg said, as he readied his sonic cannon to blast them out of the dungeon that they were in.
A loud explosion was heard throughout the Tower. Raven immediately took back her hand from Robin’s face from shock, which made him very upset.
“And they choose this time to escape from their prison.” Robin spat out with much hatred that Raven couldn’t help but cower in fear as she heard it.
“You mean you kept them here in the Tower all this time?” she asked in disbelief.
“Yes. I had other things planned out for them.” He suddenly stood up and started cracking his knuckles. “Well, no matter, I needed the exercise anyway.”
“Robin, wait!” she called out, stretching out her chained hand toward him, in a desperate attempt to reach him.
He turned around to face her, only to snap his head in front once again. A blast echoed throughout her room as Cyborg stood proudly at the entrance, with Beast Boy, Starfire and Aqualad at his side.
“Miss us?” Cyborg said teasingly, with his sonic cannon aimed at Robin. “Well, you’re just in luck, ‘cause here we are.”