Waves lapped the sides of the Tower's s gorgeous hilltop, begging for a few dazzling sunny rays. Instead, a throng of moody clouds overshadowed them, layering Titans Tower in a heavy mist.
Thirsting from anticipation, a curious figure, rubbed the fog away from a single window as he dangled carelessly from the Tower's roof, peering inside.
"There it is, Robin's EZ320 stealth mask, highest quality material daddy bat bucks could buy. Robin your so predictable. A laser security system, real original kid. I'll snatch the mask, a few toys, and be on my way to the bank tomorrow. Too easy."
On the opposite side of the Tower an irritable empath wrestled with Lust. She lay strewn across her bed, her notebook spread open on the floor, as her less than charming emotion nagged her as usual.
"Do you even know how horribly devastating my love life is?"
"Oh, wait, of course you do." Lust's hands shot up in the air. "Your the reason why I'm stuck wearing an invisible chastity belt!"
If looks could kill Raven would have backed over her several times with a semi. Seeing the battle at hand, Lust mustered up her most endearing look. Batting her eye lashes, she smiled.
"All I want is one small tiny simple little favor..."
"GET SOME ALREADY!"
"Not going to happen. " Raven barred her teeth, her extra set of red eyes gleaming. "The diary is as far as it goes and that's pushing it. You've already made me look like some hormonal teenager in front of everyone."
"I told you already it's not my fault. " Lust sneered, layering her toe nails with another thick coat of violet nail polish. "Besides you've left out one BIG detail on every entry. "
"Well, why don't you just get it off your chest. It's the least you could do for me. You and I are the only ones who read this thing anyway."
"Exactly, and we both already know who HE is so it's unnecessary."
"What are you so afraid of?" Lust's hands rested on her hips.
"Who said I'm afraid? Besides, I haven't been experiencing problems with my powers lately so why should I?"
Irritated because she was losing the battle, Lust decided to play dirty, and when she made up her mind, she knew right where to hit. Her lips formed a nasty scowl.
"You may think you're satisfied keeping your stupid secret, but deep down, I know you're not!" Lust reached a pale finger out of the diary and poked Raven in her chest. "You want him so bad and you're mad at yourself every day you see him and hold back. I have so much evidence against your sorry grey butt! You're such a chicken! Timid has more guts than you! Guess you're always going to live your life on the side lines watching while he's with someone else."
With that, Lust slammed the diary shut, and Raven was left alone, questioning her own values. Did it matter if Lust thought she was scared? She had revealed her dreaded secret in the diary out of necessity rather than choice. As much as Lust begged to differ, this wasn't about some pent up passion she secretly held for her teammate, it was simply a coincidence. As far as Raven was concerned, this thing that had plagued her could happen to anyone and could be about anyone even a total stranger. It just so happened that it was a thousand times more intense for her all thanks to her powers. Lust knew this and she would make every effort to play on Raven's weakness to receive some sort of sexual gratification. She was a desperately thirsty emotion. She couldn't help it.
Bad news Lust, your plans backfired once again.
Leaving her diary on the floor, Raven got ready to head off to the team's workout session, but oddly enough, she had the faintest feeling she was being watched.
Weird, she took another brief glance around the room. I could have sworn I heard something. Shrugging, she exited, leaving the room encased in darkness as the door thudded shut.
A glass tile from the roof unhinged and a teen wearing a dark body suit dropped to the floor nimbly. His dark figure was impossible to see except for his white skull mask and the bright red X sitting on his chest and forehead.
"Finally, chicks like a human security system, but how can I complain, her rooms the only one not being monitored. " He smiled picking up the talking notebook he'd witnessed a few minutes back. The thing had to be worth something. Why not steal it along with the mask. He flipped through a few of the front pages.
Piece of junk, blank, he sulked.
Suddenly handwriting began to appear. Immediately, he dropped the book, step by step he eased away, but when he felt it presented no threat he snatched it off the floor again.
Skimming the pages his lips curled with devious delight.
"Oh this is rich."
Eighty one, eighty two, eighty thr-, dude can I stop now?" Beast Boy's eyes swirled.
"Not a chance. Not until you can last a few more rounds sparring."
"Face it B, Robins not letting up. You're going to be doing chin ups till your arms fall off." Cyborg chuckled.
Beast Boy exhaled melodramatically. "How come they get to do cardio?" He cocked his head in the direction of Raven and Star.
"Oh yeah... cause cardio...some walk... the pa-rk!" Raven panted, hunching over and gripping her sides. It was like someone had lit a fire in her mouth that coursed through her entire body. She looked over at Starfire hoping that she was beginning to feel the burn as well, but the alien looked like she had been at the spa all day. UGH. Raven sucked in a mouthful of air, getting ready to run her next suicide, but just as her foot lifted off the ground she heard a loud clank.
"Hey! Who shut out the lig-"
The main alarm sounded and Robin abandoned his sparring gloves for his bow staff. "Titans search the Tower!" he commanded.
"We're on it man." Cyborg headed toward the common room. Beast Boy turned into a bat and followed. Raven and Starfire stayed put, but Robin took to the main hallway alone, heading for each of the Titan's bedrooms, his foots steps were barely audible as he crept along the still walkway, halting in front of his door. He charged in, his fist raised, but the room was empty. The only sound was his ceiling fan clanking. Annoyed, he quickly moved to the next room.
WHAM! His steel toed boot flung into Beast Boy's door thrusting it open.
"Give up now and I'll go eas-..." Huh? he dropped his fist, his forehead puckering. Empty.
Same deal with Starfire's room.
"Braking in to hide," Robin's lips pursed. "Some criminal you are ."
He took a final step toward the last door. Raven's room. Apprehension filled his gut. Raven didn't let people in her room and there was a reason, he was sure of that. His hand slowly reached for the doorknob and turned it, quickly retracting. The door cracked open revealing striking darkness. Nudging the door with his elbow he dared step inside, but hesitated.
Maybe I shouldn't. I doubt that whoever broke in went in there. Her room isn't exactly Disneyland. He turned swiftly, feeling a slight chill against his back. He was still alone. His eyes danced along the walls of the empty corridor. Suddenly, his feet slipped out from beneath him followed by a sharp pain thrust into is abdomen. A second later he was on his back, gasping for air.
"Who said I was hiding?"
Squinting, he tried to make out the blurry figure towering over him.
Of course, why didn't I think of him before.
"Whatcha got there, a few Titan collectibles?"
"Hardy Har Har, wouldn't you like to know. Actually, I think you would...pretty hot stuff," X chuckled.
Robin leapt to his feet lunging at X, but X slipped past him, springing up like a jack rabbit high off espresso. He sent a powerful round house kick to Robin's gut, leaving him doubled over in pain.
"Tell you what, I'll let you see what's inside the goody bag... if you can catch me." He took off sprinting down the hall . "You're getting soft Wonder Boy!"
Robin struggled to keep pace, but when he reached the end of the hall X was no where in sight.
"Dang, lost him." He pulled out his communicator dialing Beast Boy and Cyborg. "Guys keep a look out for Red X he's somewhere in the Tower."
A split screen showed both Cyborg and Beast Boy's faces. "How do you know it's X?"
"He just attacked me. Don't know what he stole, but obviously it's valuable. Robin out."
Cautiously, X crept up the stairwell to the fifth floor security control room. If Robin was as predictable as he figured, and he was, that's where he was headed next. It was only a matter of time.
X pulled Robin's stealth mask to his lips kissing it. "Priceless, he couldn't even see me standing right in front of him." Now for part 2 of the plan, escape.
Once the Tower went on security lock down, only Robin could unlock it. X figured as much. That meant bad news for him unless he could somehow trick Robin into unlocking it for him.
How can I get him to shut down the system? It would take mind control, torture...blackmail.
The security control room sat in darkness except for the emergency light by the entrance and the soft glow coming from the string of computer monitors. The slow and steady hum of computer fans mingled with Robin's careful footsteps as he entered. Hunching over the central monitor he tapped away at the keys. Just need to zoom in a little closer. Tap, tap, click, he entered in several commands, enlarging X's face and vectorizing the image. Alright decrease speed 25x, rewind, and playback, Bingo.
"Alright X, let's see your tricks up close." Robin's eyes stuck to the screen like a squashed bug. There, he's pulling down something over his eyes. Shortly after, X disappeared off camera.
"He used my mask, bastard stole my stealth mask!"
"It looks better on me anyways."
X stood in the door way smirking, the emergency light casting a shadow over his skull mask.
"How much is this old thing worth anyway? A hundred grand? Two hundred grand?"
"Not for sale." Dashing forward, Robin reached for the mask.
Somersaulting over Robin's head, X landed behind him,pulling him into a choke hold. His arm tightened around Robin's throat causing his face to flush. His eyeballs began to turn bloodshot and small droplets formed in his tear ducts as he sputtered desperately trying to loosen the hold. Bending X's arm backwards, he twisted loose, and thrust his foot into X's shin, throwing him off balance. Both teens tumbled to the floor, Robin's knees piercing X's ribs. Swinging his feet around Robin's neck, X managed to drag him to the icy floor, his ankles tightening around Robin's throat.
"This game is getting old."
"I agree." Robin choked, spittle forming at the corners of his lips.
"I'll make you a deal."
"I don't make deals with criminals."
"Oh no? Something tells me you just might this time."
Reaching into his black sack, he pulled out an interesting specimen.
"What is it? Some plan to destroy the Titans, a plot to monopolize the city, a scheme to get away with bank robbery?"
"Not even close." He cleared his throat. "And then I woke up in his bedroom naked. I thought I was alone, but when I pulled the covers back he was there also," he skimmed down a few lines and continued. "It happens almost every night, I don't know why, but I can't keep dealing with this secret."
"Didn't know you were into cheesy romance novels X?" Robin smirked.
Tightening his ankles around Robin's throat, X replied, "I'm not, but the press is. Your dirty little side missions are going public if you don't shut off the security system. Oh and you know what, the mask is a start, but I raided your room and found a few other necessities. "
He pulled out a couple stolen items from his stash.
"You're out of your mind! That's a titanium electrocircuit, capable of shorting out almost any average to medium grade security system in Jump City. You'll rob every bank and jewelry store in town. And you're not getting my custom designed platinum mutliquip staff! That thing is rigged with enough explosives to level out a small neighborhood." Robin fumed.
"Shut off the system or your secret might end up on the next bestsellers list."
"What secret? You have nothing on me!" Robin snapped.
X's teeth became jagged and he opened the notebook to another page, shoving it in Robin's face.
"WHEN THE HELL WAS THAT TAKEN!"
"Don't know, but your nuts are going to be a new pin up if you don't shut the system down."
"Fine X, Robin sighed. "But I can't shut the system down when I'm pinned to the floor now can I."
"Oh uh right." X released him and Robin walked toward the control panel appearing to disable the security lock down switch. Instead, he turned swiftly throwing a right hook at X's jaw dislocating it and knocking him to the floor."
Casually dusting himself off, Robin picked up the sack of goods and the notebook.
"You were saying?"
X laid on the ground twitching slightly.
"How bout I make a deal with you. I let you out with NOTHING and you get lost and keep your mouth shut."
Slowly X nodded, still clutching his jaw.
Robin pulled out his communicator and got ready to dial the rest of his team, but paused.
Better make this convincing.
He glanced at his reflection in the computer monitor and tasseled his hair a bit more. From his utility belt, he pulled out a black marker, and made a few smudgy marks under his left eye. Trying out his new disguise, he coughed and contorted his face in pain.
Perfect. He picked the communicator back up and dialed his team.
"Sorry guys, he escaped. Don't know how the prick pulled it off, but he got past the security system. We'll catch him next time."
Back in the common room. All four Titans exchanged baffled glances. Raven folded her arms under her chest not quite buying Robin's story.
"How the hell did he escape?" Cyborg complained.
"I told you, no idea."
"Robin are you sure we are right to leave the Red X do the escaping?"
"I DIDN'T LET HIM ESCAPE STAR! Uh um, I mean, I didn't let him escape. He just uh slipped passed me I guess. Besides, it doesn't matter. He's never been a serious criminal, only a thief."
"But, But..." Beast Boy's eyes bulged in disbelief. "You're just going to let him GO? Since when does Robin give up so easy?"
"DROP IT." Robin folded his arms irritably.
Beast Boy opened his mouth to speak again, but Cyborg waived his hands frantically at the green teen.
"Leave him be Beast Boy. If Robin says he doesn't know how X got away, then he doesn't know. Let it go."
"Fine." Beast Boy pouted.
"Well guys, we have a meeting with Titans East and Kid flash bright and early tomorrow morning. I'm going to bed early and I think you should to." He let out an exaggerated yawn, and headed for the door, leaving the other Titans scratching their heads.
Arriving back in his room, he slammed his door and locked it. Then he pulled out X's black sack from his capes secret compartment. Tossing it on his bed, he pulled out the incriminating notebook.
I can't believe X would resort to using a fake photo. Robin snarled, flipping back the cover.
"NO." His eyes nearly fell out of his skull.
Slowly the words, property-of-Raven, spelled themselves out.
He couldn't believe it. But it had to be hers. Who else's handwriting could spontaneously appear on paper. Besides, her name wasn't written in it by accident.
His body froze, I should give it back. He chided himself. I can't read it. Raven trusts me. Besides it's not my business. He folded his arms.
"I have to read it!"
Suddenly a miniature haloed Robin appeared on his right shoulder.
"You know how important a person's privacy is. Your suppose to be looking out for the interests of your team not your own!" he scolded.
Robin's head hung low and he set the book back down causing the shoulder angel Robin to nod his head with approval.
But then another tiny Robin appeared on his left shoulder. This one had two small horns, a tale, and a tiny pitchfork.
"Just read it. What could it hurt? Raven would never know. It's not like she's all that innocent herself. Your pasty ass is lining the inside of her diary, how is that innocent?"
"I can't. Raven's like a little sister to me."
The shoulder angel smiled at Robin's sense of integrity, but the other Robin pouted and stomped his nasty little foot.
"Keyword like. She maybe somebodies sister, but she's not yours. Besides when does she not invade your privacy! Remember the time when she read your less than platonic thoughts about Starfire's bikini, or the time she glossed through your memories, or when she tapped in on your phone conversation with bat girl, how bout the other night when she was spying on you! Stop being such a puss and just read it."
"Well," he let out winded sigh. "Since you put it that way."