Number One Zero

Chapter 3

The Teen Titans were ready to charge at Robin will all their might, but they didn’t expect his lips to form into a twisted grin as they prepared to face him.

“Unfortunately, you idiots couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s finish this quickly; I still have some business to attend to.” Robin said as he readied himself in his battle stance. Cyborg processed what he said and realized that it had something to do with Raven. He felt a burning determination rise in his chest to get his little sister out of there as soon as possible.

“You just caught us by surprise last time, but now, we’re ready for you. Titans go!” Cyborg ordered as he fired his sonic cannon at Robin. Starfire and Aqualad went toward his left side while Beast Boy took the right. Robin easily dodged the ray of the sonic cannon, but was quickly greeted by Starfire’s starbolts. He easily evaded those as well as he kicked Starfire in the abdomen. She was sent flying to the wall, making her crash into some of Raven’s gothic décor. Aqualad sent him a flurry of punches and kicks, only to be thrown into the bookcase by a single roundhouse kick.

Beast Boy, seeing as how well his teammates were faring against Robin, directed his attention instead on freeing Raven. He knew that Raven had teleporting powers, and if they even wanted any hope of defeating Robin, they needed Raven’s help. As Cyborg charged into their former leader, Beast Boy started approaching Raven to free her.

“Hey Rae, it’s okay. We’re gonna get you out of here.” Beast Boy said, as he started taking Raven’s shackles in his hands.

“Wait Beast Boy, these are magical chains. They cancel out my powers. I’m not entirely sure how we can destroy them.” Raven replied, worry and confusion marring her face with everything that was happening.

“Well, we’ll just have to find out, won’t we?” Beast Boy replied proudly. He transformed into a Tyrannosaurus-rex and took the chain in his mouth, biting against the magical metal.

Even though Robin didn’t want to admit it, he was having a hard time in battling the Titans all at the same time. No matter how hard he trained, or how advanced his skill set had become, he was still one person. He was still outnumbered, three to one. Even if he could get past Cyborg’s sonic cannon, or Starfire’s starbolts, he still had Aqualad to face. As he used his bo-staff to throw Cyborg to the other side of the room, he fell to a starbolt that hit him square in the back. He rolled to his side only to narrowly miss a hard punch from Aqualad. But he knew that there was still a fourth Titan missing. And if he wasn’t here, then that meant only one thing.

“Guys, let’s go. I’ve got Raven!” Beast Boy shouted throughout the chaos that was unfolding in her room.

Instantly, as Robin heard those words, anger surged through his veins. He had worked so hard to get Raven at his side, and he had no intention of letting her go just yet.

“NO! RAVEN IS MINE!” Robin screamed as he jumped off of the floor. He began attacking the Titans wildly, as he came into a fit of animalistic rage. He used his bo-staff to slice through one of Starfire’s starbolts and spun around, sending Starfire straight through a wall. Aqualad was angered at what he did, but he too was sent flying to the other end of the room before he was even aware of anything that was happening.

Cyborg took this opportunity to blast him with the sonic cannon. He collapsed on the floor, but he started to get up at once, which scared Cyborg. He knew if the Titans stayed there, they might all end up dead. Robin was going crazy and it would only be a matter of time until he tore them into pieces. Cyborg knew they needed a plan-- and fast.

“Guys, get out of here now! I’ll hold him off.” Cyborg ordered, standing in front of Robin as he stood in his full form.

“Give. My. Raven. Back.” he spat out every word with so much anger that it made Cyborg’s hair stand on end. But he knew that he couldn’t show fear, not when he was in front of their former leader, not when they had a score to settle.

Beast Boy scurried to follow his current leader’s orders. He started picking Aqualad up from where he was. Raven stared helping Starfire up as well, but she couldn’t help but feel torn at how Robin was acting. He was filled with so much rage because of her. She had never seen him like this, and it scared her, but it made her feel special as well. No one had ever cared for her like he did at that moment, and a part of her wanted to take him into her arms and assure him that she was his.

“Raven? What are you doing? Let’s go!” Beast Boy shouted out in panic as he held up Aqualad on his shoulder. Raven shook her head of those thoughts as she helped Starfire up and led them down to the garage.

Robin let out a primordial scream as he punched Cyborg full force. He caught the punch, but the force was so powerful that he had to stand his ground to keep himself from flying toward the wall. Their fists stayed like that for what felt like an eternity, both of them refusing to give in to the other.

“You can’t take her away from me.” Robin said, in such a shadowy tone that it sent shivers down Cyborg’s spine. But he would be dead if he even showed Robin an ounce of the fear that he felt.

“I’m sorry, Rob. But you don’t own her. She’s not yours to take.” Cyborg replied, readying his sonic cannon in front of Robin’s face.

He chuckled darkly before he did something that utterly shocked Cyborg, something that only the cruelest of villains could do. “And that, my dear friend, is where you’re dead wrong.”

The other Titans reached the garage and easily found the T-Car. Aqualad had finally regained consciousness and ran toward the car door when he heard Raven ask:

“Aqualad, you can drive, right?”

“Yeah. Why? Where are you going?” he replied, wondering what she had meant by her odd question.

“Drive the T-Car off the island first. I’ll catch up; I still have to get Cyborg out of there.”

“No way you’re going there alone Raven! It’s too dangerous!” Beast Boy warned, worry overcoming his tone.

“It’s okay Beast Boy, I’ll just teleport us both out before Robin can hurt us.” Raven said, pretending to be confident but deep inside, she was also terrified of what could happen.

“Be careful.” Aqualad said, knowing that Raven was their only hope of getting Cyborg out of there alive. No matter how Beast Boy wanted to protest, he had no choice but to let her go. He sat in the backseat with Starfire’s unconscious form, making sure she was alright as Aqualad drove them out of danger.

Raven simply nodded and disappeared in a portal underneath her feet. She had only hoped that she was still in time to save her mechanical friend from danger.

Raven’s eyes widened in shock at what she saw; her mouth fell open at the scene that lay before her eyes.

She saw Robin holding Cyborg’s arm in his hand. He heartlessly ripped off her older brother’s arm and held it as if it were a trophy.

Cyborg’s systems were almost shutting down, registering the pain that he felt. In the stand-off against the two leaders of the Titans, only one had to emerge victorious. Unfortunately, it was not a proof of who was a stronger or a better leader; it only showed who was more ruthless.

“Robin! What did you do?” Raven screamed, finding her voice against the chaos of the situation.

Robin snapped his head toward her direction, finally noticing her presence in the room. He dropped Cyborg’s arm as he stared right into her eyes.

“He was taking you away from me.” He said, in such a soft and dejected tone.

Raven rushed to Cyborg’s fallen form and grabbed his arm, ready to teleport themselves as fast as she could.

“Raven, wait!” Robin called out to her, just before they disappeared in a dark portal that she created.

“I… I have to save my big brother first.” Was all Raven said as she sank lower and lower into her portal, until finally she was out of sight.

“ARGH!” Robin let out his frustration as he slammed his fist into the nearby wall, leaving a huge dent in the wake of his force. He was infuriated at how everything had turned out. He already had Raven responding to his touch; just a little more and she would have been his. But not until the Titans had to break free and destroy everything. Despite his sacrifice, despite him giving up his life to save his so-called friends, they always seemed to hinder him from his happiness. They always took him out of the equation, neglected him even if he was their leader.

He felt like they had sentenced him to such a cruel fate, just like what they had done before.

Robin had finally defeated Slade. It took him two long months, but finally he was able to beat his arch nemesis into a bloody pulp, and claim victory as his own.

He was now seated in a luxurious room as compared to the previous one that he stayed in. He now had a full sized bed, with a mattress and a blanket that he could sleep soundly in. He faced his large closet, which only held different battle suits that Slade wanted him to use for his various training drills and missions. Right beside it was a desk with a few sheets of paper and some pens on top of it, and a desk chair for his use. He inwardly chuckled at how it looked too much like a typical boy’s room. He didn’t know why Slade had to make the effort of making him feel at home; he knew he was in hell already.

After spending time in his room, he was summoned to Slade’s computer room. He had said that Robin still had a “prize to be claimed” there. He was quite curious as to what his arch nemesis-- no, mentor-- had in store for him. He should have expected that it wasn’t anything good.

“Ah, there you are Robin. You’re just in time to claim your reward.” Slade said as Robin entered the computer room. He looked toward the many screens that filled the wall in front of him, each showing a different image or a different set of data that they would need for their next mission.

“What is this all about Slade?” Robin spat back, still not enjoying any of Slade’s tricks.

“Well, I just wanted you to see how they were all doing back home.” Slade let amusement color his tone as he pressed a button and instantly, all the screens showed the activities in Titans tower.

“No… way.” Robin said in disbelief. He stood there, his jaw wide open as he saw all the rooms of the Tower through Slade’s computers.

“Oh Robin, I thought this wouldn’t have been a surprise for you. Now you can see that any time I wish, I can end their insignificant little lives. So even though you know that you can defeat me now, any sign of insubordination and I will destroy them all. Do you understand?”

Robin did not respond to Slade’s threat. He was too preoccupied with seeing his friends right before him. He could see Cyborg and Beast Boy battling each other on the couch, while Starfire was cooking one of her Tamaranian dishes. He saw them going on with everyday lives, without even the slightest clue that they were being watched. How could they have been so careless? How was Slade able to get the video feed from the cameras in the Tower? Were they really that vulnerable to defeat?

Slade was watching his apprentice curiously, wondering what thoughts were going through his head when suddenly, there was a development in the Tower. The doors in the common room burst open, and Aqualad came in.

‘Aqualad?’ Robin wondered to himself. ‘They chose Aqualad to replace me on the team? Wait, I’ve been replaced already? But I’ve only been gone for two months!’

Just as Aqualad came into the room, Starfire saw him and instantly flew to him. “Oh dear Aqualad! How I have missed you so! Please, tell me about your trip to your kingdom.” She said, as she wrapped the Atlantian prince in her warm embrace.

Robin did not catch a word that Aqualad said. All he saw was how Starfire was flirting with him, how she held him still in her embrace, how she had seem to forget everything that she had shared with Robin. And he was only gone for two months! Two damn months…

Slade could only watch Robin with curiosity gleaming in his eye. He didn’t expect it, but showing how the Titans have moved on without their leader had played to his advantage. He was amused to say the least when he saw Robin’s fist clench at the sight before him. It would only be a matter of time before his apprentice would hate his old team completely, and he didn’t have to lift a finger.

Raven came into the common room shortly after. Slade found it interesting how Robin’s tense body seemed to have relaxed at the sight of the dark Titan. He became curious once again, wondering why that specific Titan had that effect on his apprentice. But he was even more intrigued to hear what Raven had to say.

“Guys! I think I may have found a new lead on Robin’s location! After triangulating the GPS signals, and using the information I have gathered, he might be still here in Jump City, in Pier 42 just outside the docks!” Raven announced with a small hint of excitement in her signature monotone.

Slade’s heart skipped a beat, since that was their exact location at the moment. He was impressed at how Raven was able to acquire their location. “Well Robin, it seems that you have taught her well.” Slade commented, as he was about to prepare a full evacuation of their hideout.

Robin’s domino mask widened at what he had heard. He felt a surge of pride fill his chest when Raven was able to find where they were. He remembered her promise so many nights ago, that she would get him out of there. And at that moment, he had hope in his heart that maybe; just maybe he would be free of Slade’s influence.

That is, until he heard what Cyborg had to say.

“Raven, that’s the fifth location in a month that you’ve asked us to check out. And what makes you think they’re still in Jump anyway? They might be halfway across the Pacific for all we know.”

Robin’s head was spinning at what he heard. He couldn’t believe that they were just dismissing such precious information that Raven was handing to them. “No! What is wrong with you guys? Listen to her, she’s right!” Robin began screaming out loud, as if his teammates could hear what he was saying.

“Yeah Raven, what makes you think Robin’s going to be there this time? He’ll come back eventually; all we have to do is wait.” Beast Boy added, not even peeling his eyes from his virtual battle with Cyborg.

“Friend Raven, I believe that our teammates are right. We have done what we can for Friend Robin. I’m sure he will be alright, and he will be with us soon.” Starfire said from Aqualad’s arms.

“No! No! No! You guys are all wrong! Listen to Raven! She’s saying the truth, listen to her!” Robin shouted once again, becoming even more desperate in his tone.

Slade was surprised at how the Titans did not believe the dark Titan, even though she was right. He let out a sigh of relief, knowing that the Titans would not be thorn on his side tonight. In spite of that, he could not help but watch his apprentice with pity; seeing him pained like that, betrayed by the ones he had considered his family was one of the most painful tortures he had witnessed. And what shocked him the most was that none of this was his doing. All he did was to expose his teammates for the selfish beings that they were. And that was what probably hurt Robin the most.

“We can’t just give up on Robin.” Raven replied weakly, as she covered her face with her hood. “He saved us countless of times, without his leadership and guidance, we wouldn’t even be here in the first place. And just when he needs us the most, that’s when you abandon him? What is wrong with you guys?” She raised her voice as she ended, causing Starfire’s Tamaranian pudding to explode in a fit of her anger. She then flew out of the common room, greatly disappointed at her teammates.

Silence ruled over them as the Titans realized the truth in Raven’s words. They were all dejected for a moment, wondering if they did give up on their former leader too easily. But that moment soon passed and in just a matter of minutes, they continued their previous activities. Cyborg and Beast Boy both went back to their Gamestation while Starfire and Aqualad chose their own corner of the common room and started cuddling there.

Robin was shocked at what he saw. He couldn’t believe at how his teammates could forget him, just like that. Only two months had passed since he disappeared and the Titans had already given up on him. His heart felt like it was being ripped apart into shreds again and again as he watched them go on with their normal lives, as if he wasn’t even missing, as if he didn’t even matter to them.

He realized now that what was worse than being hated was not being cared for at all.

But, there was still one Titan who clearly cared for him.

After Slade left him, Robin used the controls of the computer to access the camera in Raven’s room. He was surprised to see that it was empty, so he then tried the roof, but still she wasn’t there. Following a hunch, Robin decided to use the camera in his room and he was surprised to see who he found there. He saw Raven sitting on his computer, deep in thought as she checked and re-checked the data that was given to her.

“It’s the right spot, I’m sure of it.” Raven muttered to herself, as she stared out the location of Pier 42. “Why won’t they believe me?” She placed her head in her hands miserably, realizing how she had failed her best friend.

Robin felt his heart sink as he watched Raven like that. He felt horrible knowing that he was causing her this pain-- no, it was their teammates that was doing this to her. If they had only followed her information, then they would probably be reunited by now. He hated how the other Titans forgot about him, but he hated them even more for making Raven miserable. And he swore that they would pay for the all of the hurt that they had caused.

For the following days, Robin simply watched the events in the Tower. He just sat in the computer room all day, bearing witness to Beast Boy and Cyborg’s tofu-meat battles, or Starfire and Aqualad’s cuddling sessions. Even Slade found his apprentice’s obsessive habit to be disturbing, but Robin continued to watch them, day in and day out.

But once out of Slade’s sight, he would turn the screens toward Raven. He would watch her meditate or read a book in her room, or he would stay up late with her as she continued to track down leads on his whereabouts. If he was obsessively watching the Titans, he was stalking Raven’s every move. And as he watched Raven’s movements in the Tower, all he would mutter to himself were the words: “You were the only one, Raven. The only one..”

Robin shook his head of those memories, and started to focus on the task at hand. Once again, the Titans have meddled into his affairs, but he would do everything in his power to stop them.

He pressed a few buttons on his black suit and a holographic interface appeared from his wrist. “Computer,” he commanded, “send the Sladebots to Jump City. Target: the T-car. Their mission: To stop the Teen Titans at all costs.”

The holographic screen disappeared, as he once again pressed a few buttons on his suit. “Do they really think I would let them get away that easily?” he said as he chuckled darkly to himself. “They aren’t going anywhere, not while they have my Raven.” And with that, he teleported out into the city, ready to meet the Titans once again.

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