Number One Zero

Chapter 6

“Good morning! I’m Robin Scherbatsky, your guest reporter and today we are very privileged to have Robin, the Boy Wonder on the show for a very exclusive interview!” The beautiful reporter with brown, wavy hair and smoky eyes turned her attention to Robin.

“Welcome Robin!” She let out a nervous chuckle. “We actually have the same name. How cool is that?”

“Robin is just a code name, Ms. Scherbatsky.” He replied, showing off his coy smile at her. There was something in his expression that seemed to affect the reporter, somehow making her entranced to follow whatever the hero wanted.

“Okay, so let’s get started.” She looked intently into his masked eyes and began her interrogation.

“So Robin, what happened to you? Where have you been in the past two years that you left the Titans? They never gave a comment as to your whereabouts. Can you enlighten us on what you were doing at this time?”

Robin simply held a seemingly genuine smile on his face as he replied, “I went around the world, improving on my fighting skills. I wanted to protect the city better and the only way I knew how to do that was to improve on my techniques. I knew that the Titans could fare well without me so I trusted them to protect the city until I got back.”

“But now that you’re back, they’re the ones that have gone missing. Do you know what happened to them?”

“There was an attack in the Tower and they were all badly hurt. I wasn’t there yet when it happened but I know that they’re recuperating with other Titans across the country.”

“Liar!” Beast Boy shouted out at the television screen. “He was the one who attacked us! They shouldn’t believe what he’s saying!”

“Shut up, BB! Of course he’s going to lie. What we should be worried about is the fact that knows where we are!” Cyborg snapped at him, clearly aggravated by what he was seeing as they all sat together in the Titans’ East common room. Raven just rolled her eyes at him, even if she was on the other end of the couch, because he didn’t realize how obvious their location was. But their side comments were short-lived as they turned their attention to the large screen once again.

“I’m sad to hear that. We wish them all the best as they regain their strength until they come back to Jump City.” There was a short pause before Ms. Scherbatsky continued with the interview. “Did your time away from the Titans affect your relationship with them?”

Despite how personal the question was, Robin still chose to answer it. The only sign of his discomfort was how his smile seemed to fade, but not completely disappear. “Unfortunately, it did. There were a lot of changes in the Tower while I was away. But it has led me to realize the importance of a specific Titan.” He turned his gaze toward the camera and wore a devilish look on his face, which was partly hidden by his domino mask. But he knew that the one to whom he intended his gaze to could feel that it was for her and for her alone.

“Oh! Is there romance in the air of Titan’s Tower? Well they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Tell me, which one of the lucky ladies is it?”

Robin let out a hearty laugh, which he shared with the reporter beside him. After his laughter subsided, a playful grin danced on his lips. “Well there are only two girls on the team. I suppose it isn’t too hard to guess.”

“But you have to give us at least just a little clue. And why her? Why do you think that that girl is special?”

Robin turned his gaze toward the camera and looked through it, as if he was focusing on her and her alone once again. “She is fiercely loyal. She has never left my side, even if I was so far away from her. Her intelligence and wit is unlike any other. I would brave hell and back just for her. Every breath I take is for her. She is all I live for.”

The reporter let out a girlish squeal, despite her supposed professional demeanor. “Oh! Please tell us for whom that beautiful declaration was for! I’m sure she’s the envy of all the girls out there.”

“Now that would be too easy.” Robin teased, bringing his gaze back to Ms. Scherbatsky.

“Please! Even just a little clue! If I would make my guess, its Starfire isn’t it?” she asked excitedly.

Robin’s face was disgusted for just a split second before he was able to rein back his emotions into his stoic smile. “If you must know, she shares her name with a famous poem from Edgar Allen Poe.”

Light bulbs exploded in the Titans’ East common room as Robin said those words. All eyes shifted to Raven, knowing that she was the only one who fit that description.

“Okay, that’s all the time we have for today. Robin, do you have a message for the Titans?”

“Just one.” Robin flashed another smile as he turned to face the camera. “Hey Titans. Hope you come back soon. We still have a lot of catching up to do.” His lips turned into a wicked grin as the TV screen suddenly turned black.

Cyborg held out the remote, closing the TV with an irritated look on his face. “Robin has gone too far.” he said with clenched teeth.

“Yeah! How can he present himself as the hero even if he’s clearly the bad guy?!” Beast Boy exclaimed, pulling at his hair.

“Yes, and what did he mean with his feelings for Friend Raven?” Starfire asked innocently. “It was Friend Raven he was referring to, yes?”

Once again, everyone turned their gaze toward the dark empath. She raised her eyebrows in response and said “What?”

“Did you know Robin was that crazy about you?” Cyborg questioned in an authoritative tone.

“No.” she replied through gritted teeth.

“Then what the heck was that declaration awhile ago?” Beast Boy yelled with his hands in the air. He was bordering on hysterical now because of everything that was happening.

“I don’t know! I’m not the one who said those words on national television!” Raven defended, her monotone colored with her frustration.

“Yes Beast Boy, this all might be a play of Robin’s.” Starfire reached for her green friend and grasped his shoulders, being the voice of reason.

“I don’t know, Star. He did seem pretty sincere to me.”

“And what if he was?” Raven said. “It’s not like it’s going to change anything.”

“What are you saying? A psychopath just declared his love for you and you act as if nothing happened! He’s madly in love with you Raven. And that kind of attraction could jeopardize the entire team! He’s probably attacking us all because of you!” Beast Boy exclaimed, pointing his finger at Raven.

“Are you seriously blaming this on me?” Raven shouted out, her eyes glowing white as she took a step forward toward the changeling.

“That’s enough Beast Boy!” Cyborg commanded, breaking Beast Boy and Raven apart. “Pointing fingers isn’t going to do us any good. You have got to calm down and think this through. We’re obviously dealing with a deranged mind here and we don’t have room for mistakes or rash judgments. I want to bring him down as much as you do, but berating Raven won’t do us any good.”

Beast Boy started relaxing in Cyborg’s grip, his tense muscles starting to loosen up. Raven’s eyes also went to their natural amethyst color, inwardly thanking Cyborg for taking control of things. She felt sad that he had to deal with all of this a day after he came back from S.T.A.R. Labs, but Robin wasn’t going to back down anytime soon.

Suddenly, the alarm sounded throughout the Tower, signaling trouble in Steel City. The giant TV screen came to life, showing which area of the city was being attacked, and who was responsible for it. Bumblebee flew toward the screen, trying to find out what was destroying her city this time.

“Uh guys…” she said, as her eyes widened at what she saw.

“What is it, Bee?” Cyborg asked, looking up at her.

“I think you have to handle this one. Someone from your home court is crashing through our city.” she replied with worry etched on her face.

“Who is it?” Raven’s monotone rose through the tension in the room.

“Cinderblock.” Her words were heavy, carrying all the implications they knew that came with it.

“But I thought Robin sent him to jail just last week.” Aqualad said in disbelief, finally speaking in this conversation.

“That’s exactly the point. Robin had something to do with it.” Cyborg replied bitterly. “C’mon Titans West, it’s time we get back to action!”

All five members rose up and started heading out the room, with Speedy following after them.

“Speedy! Are you going out too?” Bumblebee asked, as she flew towards the archer.

“I know this is their villain, but they might need some help. They’re not really in the best shape to fight.” He replied, genuinely worried for the other team.

Bumblebee heaved a sigh. “You’re right. Make sure they don’t get killed. Or kill each other first.”

When the Titans came to the scene, Cinderblock was already tearing up half the block. He was lifting up a car in his stony hands when he saw the Titans show up.

“Titans go!” ordered Cyborg, as each Titan charged at the giant with newfound rigor and determination surging through their veins.

Black energy surrounded the car in Cinderblock’s hands and went crashing straight to his face, thanks to Raven’s attack. Starfire sent starbolts all over his body, making him stumble backward. Beast Boy whipped him with his tail in his T-rex form, making him fall on his back.

Before the changeling could move out of the way though, Cinderblock grabbed hold of his tail and threw him toward a nearby building. He crashed straight through it, destroying most of the walls; he was in pain as he reverted back to his human form. The stone giant tried to get up, but was quickly greeted by Cyborg’s sonic cannon, and a flurry of Speedy’s explosive arrows. Smoke was covering Cinderblock’s face, and it looked like he was going to be unconscious anytime soon. But before he could succumb to defeat, he threw a silver ball toward Raven’s direction. Seeing this as a threat, he was attacked by a barrage of starbolts, another exploding arrow and a car enclosed with black energy being smacked in his face. Finally, the giant fell and collapsed on the street, out for the count.

The Titans rejoiced, finally having a sense of victory come over them. It has been awhile since they were able to fight crime, and that was the moment when they realized that they had missed it. But as they were enjoying their latest victory, horror was etched on Raven’s face, as she stared at the silver ball that laid by her feet. It was just a plain silver ball, around the size of a basketball. It had a line running through it, with a yellow letter ‘R’ in the middle. She picked it up, though she was so afraid of what could be inside it. She was afraid that it might be a bomb, or a canister of lethal gas. Cautiously, she gently swept her thumb over the letter ‘R’ in the middle, knowing all too well from whom this silver ball was from.

Suddenly the ball opened, making Raven almost drop it in surprise. But what shocked her more was the black box inside, with a note on top of it, specifically saying that it was for her. She quickly grabbed the box and placed it in her cloak, fearing that Beast Boy would blame her once again if he found out what was inside. The silver ball closed on its own, as the other Titans finally noticed what she was holding.

“Raven, what is that?” Cyborg asked.

“I don’t know. Cinderblock threw it awhile ago before he knocked out.” Raven replied, trying her best not to sound too suspicious.

“Is it a bomb?” Cyborg inquired as he took the ball in his own hands and examined it.

“No. I don’t think so.”

Cyborg scanned it with his arm and announced the results. “No, it’s not a bomb. I think it’s a capsule of some sorts.”

“Yeah, and I can tell who it’s from.” Speedy suddenly said, looking over Cyborg’s shoulder to get a better look at the ball. “You can’t miss that letter ‘R’.”

Cyborg’s face suddenly became angry when he looked at what Speedy was pointing out. “C’mon Titans. It looks like Robin really misses us.” He started stomping toward the Tower, as the rest of the team followed him.

Raven simply stood there at the spot, seemingly lost in thought. “You okay?” Speedy asked her, suddenly appearing right beside her.

She was a little surprised at his unexpected closeness, but quickly regained her composure. “I’m fine.” was all she said as she went toward the other Titans, teleporting them all back to the Titans East tower.

Cyborg stood in the common room with the Titans West. The Titans East decided to give them privacy for awhile, especially with their new discovery. The silver ball was still in Cyborg’s hands as he was trying to decide on what they should do with it.

“Should we open it?” Starfire asked with fear in her voice. Aqualad just clutched at her arm, trying to comfort her as best as he could.

“The question is Star, can we even open it?” Cyborg asked, as he looked over and underneath the ball. “I don’t see any way of doing it.”

“Try pressing the yellow ‘R’ in the middle.” Raven suggested. “It looks like a button.”

“It does not--“ Cyborg was about to interject, when finally the silver ball opened. Cyborg took a step back in shock, fearing what might happen now that the ball was unlocked. A holographic message suddenly appeared in front of him. It was Robin, holding up his signature cocky grin at the half-metal man.

“Hello Cyborg. How’s the arm? I hope it hasn’t killed you yet. You know we still have a score to settle. I’m dying to find out if you have a detachable head. I’m sure you will too.”

Cyborg’s anger suddenly came over him and he moved to throw the ball away before it was enclosed in dark energy.

“Calm down. Don’t let his words get to you. We still need that intact if we want to find out anything about what he’s planning.” Raven said, trying to use her empathic powers to calm him down. “He probably has a message for everyone, and it’s important for us to listen to what he has to say.”

He finally let out a deep breath and gave the ball to Starfire and Aqualad, who were next to him. It was obvious in his face that he was still angry, but he knew that Raven had a point and he had no choice but to comply.

Starfire was afraid of what Robin was going to say to her. She almost looked like she was going to cry. Aqualad saw this and placed a hand over her own, lifting it up on the letter ‘R’ so that they would both touch it at the same time. Instantly, the ball opened and revealed another holographic message. And to their surprise, it was actually directed to the both of them.

“Hello Starfire and Aqualad. I knew the both of you would watch this video at the same time, since you don’t really separate from each other anymore. In fact Starfire, you always leave Raven alone in the room, just so you can be with your precious boyfriend.” His masked eyes narrowed toward them, as if that fact alone irritated him greatly. “Tell me Starfire, was it worth it? Did your body quiver to his every touch? Be sure to answer that question when we meet again. I’m sure I’d love to make your body quiver to my every touch. In pain, that is.”

Starfire looked away from the holographic screen, as if she felt Robin’s judging eyes boring into her. She didn’t want the personal details of her life being laid out in the open like that, especially since Robin was not supposed to know any of it. The message ended right after that and closed shut once again. She wordlessly placed it in Beast Boy’s hands, as if her own hands were made of lead. Robin’s words affected her greatly, knowing all too well the truth in his words.

Beast Boy gazed at Starfire as the Tamaranian started crying in Aqualad’s arms. He looked down in the silver ball in his hands with hatred etched on his face. He was determined to make Robin pay for all the pain he was causing his teammates. And the first step in doing that was to listen to whatever insult their past leader had in store for him. But as he opened the silver ball and the holographic message came to his attention, he knew that he was unprepared for what was said to his face.

“Beast Boy, Beast Boy, Beast Boy… you shouldn’t be too angry at everything that’s happening. It’s so unlike you. You might kill your only brain cell if you keep on doing that. How’s Terra by the way? Is she still living in that apartment in Steel City? Oh, of course she is. Remember to keep your cool.”

The holographic message ended with Robin’s devilish grin staring at Beast Boy. And finally the silver ball was sealed shut.Beast Boy couldn’t take it anymore. He threw the ball on the floor. It would have crashed if it weren’t for Raven’s powers catching it and bringing it up to her hands. Beast Boy was beyond furious. Robin obviously knew that he has been experiencing some uncharacteristic rage lately. But what was worse was that he knew where Terra lived. What if he found her, went to her, hurt her? Beast Boy would never forgive himself if something bad happened to Terra just because of him. If he was mad at Robin before, he was enraged now. It would take an entire army to stop him from ripping his head off the next time that they’d meet.

Raven froze in her spot as she held the silver ball in her hand. She already got the box that was supposed to be for her. Did she have another message? Robin already gave her the biggest message of all when he admitted his love for her in national television. And if she didn’t have a message, what would the other Titans think? Either way, it would make them even more suspicious than they already were. Realizing that she had no other choice, she lightly placed her finger on the letter ‘R’ and the silver ball opened, only to reveal a holographic message unlike any other.

“Raven, what’s going on? What does your message say?” Cyborg asked, momentarily forgetting his past leader’s insult. All eyes instantly turned to Raven, distracted by what the empath had to say.

“It’s… it’s an IP address.” she replied in disbelief.

“A- what?” Cyborg rushed to her side and stared at the numbers being flashed before them. “She’s right, it is an IP address…” he started analyzing the numbers, knowing as much as he could about them without actually accessing it.

“Damn, this is a pretty tight connection. Whoever owns this made it pretty secure. You can’t track down or find this number unless they were actually given to you.” he explained, genuine astonishment coloring his voice.

“So what are we going to do? Are we going to access it? What if it’s some kind of intense virus that will wipe out our entire system?” Beast Boy asked with a serious expression etched on his face. If the situation weren’t as tense as it was, the Titans would have noticed the sudden change in his demeanor, knowing that it wasn’t healthy, especially for someone like him.

“Guys, I think I know this address. And we should probably go to it right now.” Raven said, suddenly enlightened by a strange memory. Those numbers seemed so familiar; she just didn’t know where she had seen them before. No-they were strangely familiar not because of her own memories, but because of the ones she had shared with Robin. And knowing her former leader, she knew exactly who owned that IP address.

Without another word, she went straight for the laptop that was conveniently placed on top of the table in the common room. She started accessing the IP address before anyone could stop her.

“No Raven! This could be a trap!” Beast Boy warned her, as he and the other Titans gathered around Raven.

But he was too late as the screen turned to a man dressed in a dark cowl with pointed bat ears on top. Everyone started gasping behind Raven as she called out to the Dark Knight.

“Hello Batman.” she said in her signature monotone.

“Raven.” he acknowledged, his own deep voice colored with surprise.

“We need to talk.”

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