On To Something
The night was cool and still, the outskirts of the finally city settling down. All around, citizens were preparing to go to bed, ready to wind down the day. Though, one citizen's day was far from over. A young man around the age of twenty could be found running through a system of alleyways, sleek as the night itself. His footsteps were soundless, his movements swift, and his technique flawless. He was a shadow, unseen by those that populated the suburbs.
The jet black haired kid headed towards the outer edges of the town, taking the occasional rooftop and running with tremendous stamina. His breath was steady and his form impeccable. He was wearing a solid black leotard with a large orange S that started on his right shoulder and rounded its way down to his inner left thigh. He wore black steel toed boots, though they made no sound along the pavement, and several metal plates along his arms and legs. His mask was mostly black, the portion directly over his eyes being white, and the ends rounded from the edges of his eyes down his jawline in a thin strip of fabric.
The young man suddenly skidded to a stop, crouching down with his hand pressing on the ground. He looked forward at the warehouse, seemingly abandoned and falling apart; though he knew better. He had become all too familiar with structurally unstable warehouses in recent years. He stood up and walked calmly towards the warehouse, careful not to set off any of the alarm triggers. He learned to not set off the alarm a long time ago after Slade beat him within an inch of his life; Slade's reasoning being that Robin needed to learn to not set off alarms on future missions.
Inside the warehouse, a loud clang could be heard reverbing along the hallways, followed by the sound of footsteps. Robin's steel toed boots always clicked against the steel floors in the warehouse, no matter how softly he walked. He believed that Slade did this on purpose so that he could always hear what Robin was doing, not that Robin cared anymore. He walked along the corridors, taking several turns before arriving at a large set of doors. He opened the massive doors and walked into the room nonchalantly, heading towards the large work bench where Slade was sitting.
He stopped, standing directly next to Slade's chair, and dropped a file onto the bench in front of Slade, who grunted in response. He continued to examine the small metal object in his hand, ignoring the file next to him. Robin turned and walked back towards the doors, taking the silence as his queue to leave. Robin had reached the end of the room and had one foot out of the door when he was stopped. Slade leaned back in his chair, placing the object back on the bench, and crossed his hands in his lap.
"The mission went well, I presume?" he said, his voice calm and collected. Robin turned around to face him.
"Yes," Robin said, his voice void of emotion. He stood still like a statue, his breathing the only thing indicating that he was human. The room was silent, the only sound being that of a ticking clock in the distance. Robin waited, being used to Slade's drawn out response times.
"And I see that you retrieved the file," Slade stated. He was now looking up towards the roof, his expression thoughtful.
Robin continued to look at him, "Yes." His face was impassive and his voice monotonous. He felt nothing towards Slade, not even anger. He gave up on that a long time ago; life just became easier once he gave up.
Slade turned his head and looked at Robin. "Good," he replied and turned back around, once again examining the small metal object. Robin stared back at him for a moment longer before turning around and continuing on his way out. He knew that Slade had meant something by that, he didn't normally stop to talk to Robin after a mission. Whatever it meant, Robin wasn't keen upon finding out and decided to just forget it.
He walked down the halls absentmindedly, his shoes clacking. He wasn't certain whether or not he wanted to go to bed. He was kind of hungry, but in no mood to cook. So he just wandered along the halls, not particularly knowing where he was going. He was letting his body go into auto-pilot, something he did a lot these days. He liked to wander sometimes, he liked not having anywhere to go, anywhere to be… It made him feel almost free, like he was no longer Robin, but just some kid.
Across the country, in a city far away, another young boy was pacing along his hallways. His heart was racing and his mind flew in fifty different directions. He was contemplating something that he believed to be important, but he was sure that they would pass it off as nothing. It was late at night and he knew that most of them were asleep. Should he wake them? 'It is important though,' he thought to himself. Suddenly, in a split second, he decided. He was going to tell them, and he was going to make them hear him out. He turned and sprinted towards the doors, which slid open for him, and ran into the main room. In the far corner a tall man could be seen typing on a computer.
"Cyborg! We need to call a meeting. NOW!" Beast Boy shouted, his voice urgent. He stood on the stairs in front of the doors, his eyes drooping from fatigue. Cyborg turned around quickly, alerted by the tone of Beast Boy's voice. He knew it must be important, considering that Beast Boy was normally asleep by this time.
"What's wrong? What happened?" Cyborg asked, his voice full of alarm. Was there danger in the Tower? Was the city being destroyed? The alarm would have gone off on its own if something like that happened. So what had Beast Boy so worked up? Cyborg's mind was racing, trying to figure out what could be wrong.
"JUST DO IT!" Beast Boy shouted. Cyborg was getting worried now. He ran towards the main computer of the room and set off the alarm, waking up the rest of the Titans. Beast Boy ran down the stairs towards Cyborg, preparing to start the meeting. He stopped directly in front of the mainframe computer, Cyborg watching him with concern the entire time. He began collecting his thoughts and was once again pacing, impatience washing over him. What is taking them so long? This is important!
Cyborg continued to watch his friend, uncertain about what was even happening. He considered asking what was going on, but he thought it better to wait for the other Titans to arrive. Beast Boy was now bouncing with agitation, "Where are they?!" He was losing his temper, something that happened often these days.
"Calm down BB, they are coming." Beast Boy stopped in his tracks and glared at Cyborg. Cyborg could feel the anger glowing off of him and he was really becoming concerned for his friend. What could possibly have him this worked up? Just when Beast Boy started to make a move towards Cyborg, Starfire walked in. She looked exhausted, dark circles hung under her eyes and her body drooped from fatigue. Her hair stood up in all directions and her clothes were wrinkled, indicating that she had fallen asleep in her uniform.
"What is wrong? Is there the danger?" Her voice was alert, despite her tired appearance. Beast Boy glowered at her, angry that she had taken so long, but also relieved that she was finally here. Her face turned to a look of confusion; she did not understand why Beast Boy looked at her with such anger.
"Just take a seat Star," Cyborg sighed, his voice resigned. He didn't feel like explaining Beast Boy's behavior, not that he could if he tried. She flew over to the couch and landed softly on the middle cushion, eager to see what was going on. She looked from Beast Boy, who was pacing back and forth, to Cyborg, who just shrugged at her. After a few moments of silence, the doors slid open again, this time Raven walking in. She strolled in calmly, knowing that there was no imminent danger. Beast Boy looked at her, a twinge of bitterness hitting him at the sight of her. She sat down silently next to Starfire, crossing her legs and folding her hands in her lap.
Beast Boy glared at her a moment longer before deciding to start. "Took you long enough," he mumbled, voice embittered. Raven rolled her eyes, already sick of Beast Boy's complaining. Cyborg walked over to the couch and joined the two girls. He decided that it would be best to just let Beast Boy have to floor. He didn't want to provoke him further.
"Now that we are all finally here, I have something important to tell you." Beast Boy took a deep breath, preparing himself. All of the Titans, save Raven, looked at him with curiosity. "I think that I found Robin," he whispered, his anger subsiding. There was a silence that followed his statement, which he thoroughly expected. He stood there with anticipation, waiting for someone to say something. Raven stood up and started walking towards the kitchen, still remaining silent. "Where do you think you are going?!" Beast Boy shouted after her. He couldn't believe she was just walking away, she was so stone hearted. She hadn't even heard what he had to say yet; she didn't even given him a chance.
"I am making tea," she replied, her voice cool. Cyborg looked back at her, knowing exactly what she was thinking. Starfire sat up straight next to him, her face perking up. Cyborg hated how excited she got every time they thought they had a lead, because it just broke her heart every time that it led nowhere. It was unfair to her and quite frankly, he was angry at Beast Boy for doing it to her again.
"Please, tell me, friend Beast Boy. How is it that you think you have found Robin?" Her voice was eager and her expression was full of excitement.
"I will tell you when we are all here listening," Beast Boy replied, obviously aiming his voice towards the kitchen. Raven walked back over, a cup of herbal tea in her hand, and sat down on the couch with a sigh. She once again crossed her legs, her demeanor uncaring. "Okay, so I was surfing the internet when I saw this news report about some guy that got killed in New York," he paused and looked around at the group, "and I think it was Robin that did it." He didn't sound very convincing; in fact he wasn't even sure that he believed it himself. Now that he was saying it out loud, it sounded ridiculous. He realized that it would be more difficult to convince them than he had initially thought.
"Look, Beast Boy, I don't see what that has to do with Robin. I mean, just because some guy got murdered…." Cyborg's voice was cautious; he was trying his best to not set Beast Boy off. Beast Boy looked at Cyborg eagerly and raised his eyebrows. "I mean, people get killed all the time, BB…"
"Just hear me out! Please!" He pleaded, becoming desperate. Cyborg looked at him a moment longer, he could feel Starfire bouncing with excitement next to him, and decided to just hear him out for her sake. Beast Boy walked towards the computer and started typing away. Raven shifted her weight, fed up with Beast Boy's presentation already. Cyborg looked at her and could see it in her expression; he gave her a look, asking her to just let him continue. She just turned her head forward and sipped her tea.
After several minutes of typing, a news article popped up onto the screen so that everyone could see it. Beast Boy turned around, indicating towards the screen. "Look!" He pointed towards the picture in the far right corner. "You see that! They found those in the dumpster behind the building where the guy was murdered!" He continued to point at the picture, imploring them to understand what he was saying. Cyborg's expression was skeptical as he looked at the article and Starfire slumped back onto the couch, disappointment washing over her.
"BB, they found clothes in a dumpster, so what?" Cyborg was becoming worried for his friend; Beast Boy was getting desperate now, finding clues about Robin in places that made no sense. Raven stood up, preparing to leave.
"NO! Don't leave! Look!" He pointed once again, "Look! The clothes! Black jeans and an ORANGE shirt!" He continued pointing, begging them to see it. Raven stood still, looking at the screen with blank eyes. "Orange is Slade's color! Orange and black, you see?! It was Robin!" Raven sighed, she almost pitied Beast Boy.
"They are just clothes Beast Boy. You always do this and quite frankly, I am sick of it. You get Starfire's hopes up, just to let her down. It is not nice, Beast Boy. Face it, Robin is gone and we are never going to get him back." Raven was completely serious, staring at Beast Boy with an empty expression. Beast Boy breathed heavily, looking around the room at everyone. Starfire was looking down at her lap, her expression defeated, and Cyborg was standing up, shaking his head. Beast Boy turned back to face Raven, his face livid.
"Just because you have given up doesn't mean that we have! If you don't care enough to look for Robin, then maybe you should just…just… leave!" Raven looked at him, her expression impassive. Cyborg could feel this going sour fast. He understood both of their points of view, but didn't want to provoke either of them further by saying anything. Beast Boy continued to glower at her, waiting for her response.
"Fine," Raven replied. She turned around and walked out of the room, the doors sliding shut behind her. Cyborg turned to go after her, but decided against it. He had to talk Beast Boy out of this before he went for Raven. Starfire just sat on the couch, her face buried in her hands. Beast Boy looked at Cyborg in disbelief. He could not believe how rude Raven was being, well actually he could. She had given up, but he hadn't, and he was on to something this time. He was sure of it!
"Why are you on her side?! This could be Robin! We know he is working for Slade and then this guy gets killed and they find those clothes in the dumpster, those are Slade's colors!" he shouted.
"That doesn't mean its Robin, BB. I think you just need some sleep." Beast Boy was about to say something, but Cyborg interrupted him, "I get ya BB, we all miss Robin, but we are all very tired. You don't need to take it out on us." Cyborg wanted this day to be over. He knew that Beast Boy just needed some rest, he had been up for hours searching through news articles online and it was obviously taking a toll on his mental health.
"Why am I the only one that is still looking for him?! Do none of you care anymore?!" Beast Boy was on the verge of tears, his anger mixing with despair. He felt like no one cared about Robin anymore, that no one cared enough to continue looking for him. It was obvious; the team had been falling apart without him. They lost half of their battles; in fact, they didn't even bother to answer most distress calls anymore. Beast Boy and Raven fought constantly, Starfire cried almost every day, and Cyborg was just desperately trying to keep the team together for Robin's sake. Cyborg knew that if there were no Titans anymore, then no one would be looking for Robin, and he didn't want that to happen. Robin deserved better than that.
"Look, if you go to bed and get some rest, I promise that I will look into it in the morning," Cyborg reassured. This seemed to work as Beast Boy calmed a little. He hoped that Beast Boy would be satisfied enough after tomorrow to drop it. Cyborg walked towards the doors, ready to get some rest, before stopping and looking back. "You aren't the only one looking for him. I do every day, I promise that I will never give up, BB. I promise." With that said, Cyborg walked out, leaving Beast Boy and Starfire alone.
Beast Boy suddenly felt tired, he only hoped that Cyborg could see what he was seeing tomorrow after having some sleep. Starfire suddenly stood up, tears swelling in her eyes. "Star," Beast Boy said with sympathy. He did feel bad for doing that to her, he knew that she missed Robin more than anyone. She walked out of the room, ignoring Beast Boy's remark, and headed towards her bedroom. He watched her leave, feeling ashamed. He shouldn't have called her to the meeting. In fact he shouldn't have called a meeting, he should have just told Cyborg. He would have understood better if Raven hadn't been so skeptical the whole time. She was never of any use; he didn't know why he even invited her in the first place. With that last thought he left, ready to get some sleep and hopefully clear his head.
Robin ended up in his room, having decided against eating and having finished his nightly wandering. He walked into the bathroom that adjoined his room, ready to end the day. He turned the shower on and stripped out of his uniform. He intended upon taking a short shower so that he could get to bed earlier, but the hot water just felt too nice. There were not many things that he enjoyed anymore, but he still found pleasure in his showers. He liked how the hot water burned his skin, forcing him to feel. He didn't feel much anymore, he was always numb. It helped him cope better, yes, but sometimes he wished he could feel again, just for an hour or two, so that he could feel like he was human.
After having his fill, he turned off the water and stepped onto the cold tile. He dried himself off with a towel and walked over to the sink. He started to comb his hair, looking at his reflection in the mirror. He examined his face, looking everywhere before landing on his eyes, those once vibrant blue eyes, now so empty and cold. They looked so foreign, like they weren't his. He didn't recognize himself; he had stopped seeing himself in the mirror a long time ago. He hated what he saw now; the young boy who looked back at him was a cold blooded killer, Slade's apprentice, Slade's property… Suddenly, the mirror shattered and shards of glass flew everywhere.
Robin looked down at his fist, now covered in blood, and flexed it. Fragments of glass were embedded in his skin. He looked back up at the mirror where several large pieces of glass remained intact, distorting his image. He sighed and turned on the faucet, running his hand under the water before starting the task of pulling the pieces of glass out of his hand.