Mens rea

Blinding

The color yellow is a bizarre oddity amongst the psychology world. Add a tiny splash of yellow and everything is fine, it even seems to brighten up the room. Darken the shade to a warm golden yellow and people are in love, dreaming of Mediterranean resorts. Yet, if yellow is brightened to a blinding color, people become annoyed and glare away.

Yellow was the sun, the symbol of life. Yellow was a humor, the yellow bile pointing to the easily angered and bad tempered characteristics of people. Yellow signaled people to slow down but still keep going. It was a paradoxical color and somehow it fitted Robin perfectly. The boy was short-tempered, full of life, a blinding fury of energy. Now if only he learned to slow down, instead of keeping up with his break-neck self-destructive nature.

It was if the boy was just asking for Fate to deal the final blow, throwing himself into every suicidal mission. Whether it be self-sacrifice, saving the guilty, fighting for the sake of fighting, Robin sought pain. It was clear as day, now.

Fumio and Maura glanced at each other for a second, relaxing in their usually chairs in the balacony. Fumio nodded and began scribbling as Maura returned to observing their special case. Robin moved quietly between the prisoners, his body high-strung, ready to fly away the moment a snake would strike out. The sneers and taunts and tension was filling the chamber. But no fists went flying. Despite everything, yellow was only the fuse. The red dynamite was what caused the explosion.

"At least he's slowing down," pointed out Fumio.

"Give the boy some credit, he knows when to fight and not," whispered Maura.

"I highly doubt that. He's a short-tempered brat, who likes to punch someone's lights out and then ask the questions."

"Can you blame him? It is how he was trained. To survive in Gotham, one has to work that way or die."

Fumio shot Maura a questioning glance, "And how would you know that?"

The woman sent a small, tight smirk. "Once upon a lifetime."

Biting his lip, Fumio took in his notes. No fighting, just walking, taking in the words, no comebacks. No nothing. "He's either a masochist or is not firing on all thrusters. That is why I hate solitary confinement, you can never tell. And not to mention the stupid drug."

"Easy Fumio."

The stern voice made the doctor blush slightly. He hated being reprimanded like a child. Maura rested her head on her fist. "Robin is not a masochist. He's enduring the pain, not enjoying it."

"Why not fight against it?"

"He feels that he is innocent, thus the accusations would have no effect on him. However, you said he lost it when you pretty much called him a criminal."

"Yes," Fumio narrowed his eyes, trying to get a sense of where Maura was going.

Maura closed her gray eyes. "People don't snap like that unless they're hiding something. People don't endure the pain quietly unless they feel like they deserve it." Opening her eyes, the woman's eyes hardened in confidence. "He's sinned."

Fumio felt his mouth dropped. "H-how did you come to this conclusion, may I ask?"

Those eyes slide with ease and locked on him. "I'm from Italy, Fumio. There are a bunch of religious devotees who inflict pain onto themselves to make up for their sins. It is a way to relieve themselves of a guilty conscience."

Fumio frowned, not totally agreeing with her. "There are still other reasons. I'm not going to believe you a hundred percent till we get a confession."

"I wouldn't expect less." Standing up, Maura walked up to the edge of the balcony and took in her prisoners. "Thankfully, we won't have to wait long."

"Oh?"

"You said Robin tried to convince you to help me."

"Yes."

"Robin is getting desperate. He's given up on the Titans to arrive by trying to break out himself."

"Or it is simply an honor issue, I mean it's not like Batman would wait for the Justice League to rescue him."

"And Batman doesn't trust people. The same can be said about Robin, he doesn't trust us or even his friends."

"Being the Devil's advocate here, are you saying that Robin is hiding things from his friends, thus why he doesn't trust them. No offense, but that is just human nature in general. We tend to never truly confess everything, even to the most sacred people. We're a secretive race. Besides, his secret identity is crucial to his survival."

Maura folded her hands in front of her, "There's a line between secrets, Fumio." Her voice lowered itself to a dark, whisper. The gray eyes seemed to lose themselves, gazing distantly down at Robin. Fumio licked his lips and leaned slightly forward. This was strange for Maura to disappear into herself.

Narrowing her eyes, Maura's shoulders tightened slightly underneath the blue coat. As if sensing her coldness, Robin gazed upwards towards the woman. "He's desperate because he is breaking."

Robin watched the woman, the voices in the background disappearing. For a minute, it was just him and her sharing some secret knowledge that he had yet to understand. Tilting her head slightly, Robin's eyes widened when he saw Slade in her place, hands folded behind his back staring at him with the same cold gray eye.

Shaking his head, Robin broke the moment. Shivering, he sat down on the ground and pulled his legs to his chest. Masked eyes scanned the crowd. Thankfully, Kantarou was not here this time, but there were some faces that looked eerily familiar. He was surprised when he walked into the chamber that no one right away punched him. Bizarrely, the ones who started the fight burst into tears and ran off somewhere into the chamber. A few others squinted and backed away as if they were getting burned. Taking notice that he might step out of this alive, Robin walked through the crowd.

Tense shoulders, hands clenched into fists, eyes scanning for any threats Robin made his way slowly to the other end of the chamber, where he had been lying in his own blood last time.

"Bird boy, why don't you freakin' shut off the light?"

"Look if it ain't Mr. All Sunny and Cheerful. Idiot!"

"Still can't believer I got bloody beaten by a baby in diapers."

"Pansy."

"Girly-boy."

"Did you guys see the yellow streak that just ran by?"

"Bruuuck! Hahaha, what a chicken!"

"You're yella'"

"Dandelion! Where's my weed wacker?"

Robin kept his gaze on the ground, biting the inside of lip till blood started to pool in his mouth. Shoulder quivering in anger, Robin kept his mind focused on walking. He repeated the mantra, "Don't fight, don't fight, don't fight." His body was still healing from the last one. His energy was now returning at a painfully snail's pace. Robin needed to store that energy to get out of here and the last thing he needed to spend it on was a fight based on his honor. Not that his pride was a big issue, but he needed to push his ego to the side for once.

Reaching the wall, he made eye contact with the woman and was now sitting minding his own business. The accuses still ran high, even ones he didn't understand was a painful smack to his pride. Yet, Robin continued to hug himself hard zoning out the noises to focus on the pebbles on the ground trying to figure a way out of the prison. Tension continued to rise but nothing exploded into pure mayhem.

Groaning, Robin plopped his head on his knees. His head was aching like a jackhammering was going off inside. It didn't help that cramps were clutching his insides and the shivering had returned with ferocity.

"Yo, you lazy excuse of meat!"

Robin peered up and took in a small, tanned Indonesian man. The man has missing a few teeth and his dark hair was shaven into three lines on his skull. Spitting onto Robin's forehead, the man reached out and yanked Robin onto his legs. Stumbling slightly, Robin felt pain shoot down his spine into his lower back. The cramps clenched harder feeling as if someone had punched him in the stomach. Energy felt to drip off of him, like something was sucking it away from him. Robin couldn't but link the symptoms to the ones women described having every month. He felt a wave of respect for the female race for enduring the pain on a monthly basis.

Try as he might, Robin tried to sound pissed off. "Wh-what?"

The man growled, "Make yourself useful!" Gesturing behind him, Robin watched as the prisoners cleaned the chamber with an efficiency that put the Titans to shame. Tossing the boy towards a mop and bucket, the man pointed at a corner away from everyone else. "Clean that area!"

Robin was about to object, when the man started to crack his knuckles. Recognizing the universal 'if-you-don't-do-what-you're-told-I'll-beat-you-into-a-pulp" symbol, Robin nodded and picked up the two items. Reaching his corner, the boy sighed in relief at being left alone. Plopping the mop into the bucket, he moved methodically twisting his back once in awhile to ease the pain away. But each time, it came back with the determination to bring him crashing to his knees.

One wave hit him so hard that Robin reached out and held himself up against the wall. Closing his eyes, he tried to hold back a groan when the surge hit his chest. It felt as if it was clutching at his heart. Shivering broke out into small convulsions. Collapsing, Robin knocked over the bucket, the clattering of the mop sending tsunami size waves pounding into his sensitive head. Teeth clenched hard that they felt on the verge of breaking. His hand gripped to the yellow tunic as he rode out the convulsion.

What the hell was happening to him?

"Dru-drug with-draw-al," stuttered his mind, "Serious drug withdrawal."

"Lay him out, I need his body semi-relaxed!"

Through the haze, Robin took in the red-hair of Egyed. Carl and Ben grunted as they pushed Robin's arms to the side and uncurled the young body. Lying on his back, Robin took in the other faces of Maura and Fumio, whom seemed a bit furious.

"If he dies!"

"He won't." Kneeling, Egyed held out the clear liquid. At once, Robin felt his body respond with a rush of desire. His tongue began to lick his lips and his eyes widened. But Robin's mind screamed in protest. Egyed smiled, "You want some?"

Another wave hit him and Robin whimpered, "...y-yes." He had to get out this alive and he couldn't do that while withering on the ground.

"Then answer a question."

A small nod before another wave blackened his vision for a couple seconds.

Fumio knelt down. "Why did you hate Psycho Tech?"

Confusion flickered briefly, but Robin didn't know if he could withstand the pain for much longer. "He at-tack-ed o-our ho-me…"

"He was a threat?" continued Fumio.

"Y-y-es."

"What a pathetic excuse, pride can be."

Anger lit the boy's face, burning away the temporary stuttering, "He was a threat to my friends! He could have killed them! I had to protect them!"

"You killed to protect them?"

"Yes."

"You seem to be willing to do many things, cross many lines to protect them." Leaning down, Fumio whispered into the boy's ear, "Could it be that you had be a criminal for them? Is that why you don't like being compared to the other prisoners?"

Color seemed to drain from the boy's face. Snarling, Robin made a quick comeback, but not quick enough. Snarling, he snapped at Fumio. "Go to hell!"

"That is enough Fumio. Egyed, give him the drug." Maura sent a smile to the boy, "Thank you for your corporation. It wasn't that hard, now was it?"

Robin stared back at her, not flinching when the needle slide into his arm bringing with it the much needed warmth of the drug. Sighing, his body relaxed and he felt the cramps fade away. The black hole that was sucking away his strength retreated. Fumio and Egyed rose and stepped to the side. Carl and Ben hauled the tired body up onto its' feet. Robin pushed his shoulders back to keep some of his dignity in tack.

"Change him into regular clothes, then escort him to the mess hall. Afterwards, he is allowed to spend some time in his cell."

The guards nodded and led Robin back to the small corridor. Maura watched as Fumio and Egyed bickered quietly behind her. The prisoners paid no heed and continued to work. Yellow forced people to become focus on tasks that needed to be done. But it was also a great motivator.


Back in the welcomed gray uniform, Robin didn't argue as the mush was poured into his bowl. He felt the gazes watching him, but he ignored them. Off to the side, Kantarou pointed and laughed at the Robin. The boy just walked and only smiled softly when he saw Kyle and Curt sitting at one of the tables.

Easing down on the bench, he grinned when Curt leaned up into his face and studied him.

"Been too quiet in the cell resulted in the missing x factor of you plus your senseless blabbering," puffed Curt, before pulling away and began fiddling with his spoon.

"Didn't know I would be missed," spoke Robin as he began to eat the mush.

Kyle raised an eyebrow, studying the hazy eyes. It was a feat for Robin to still be able to eat, which meant the boy must have just been injected with the drug. The conman ate quietly. He had been in the prison for a long time and he knew of the drugs the docs liked to use. Yet, nothing could rise to that one drug, where the special cases were forced to inhale. Closing his eyes, Kyle felt a brief shudder dance down his spine as the memories of their screams bouncing off the cavern walls.

"Kyle?"

The man pulled out and gazed down at the tight-lined face of Robin. "Nothing kid. Done eating?"

"Ready to sleep," a warm, dreary smirked tugged at his lips.

Kyle sighed as he stood up. Curt danced up and sprinted to the other side, "Time is up, time is up."

The trio was led quietly back to the cell. Curt ran over and began making Robin's cot ready for the boy to sleep. "Be a good boy, and I get rewarded. Two rights do equal a terrific 100 right answer."

Kyle shook his head, "As you can tell, the crazy math prof-"

Robin paid them no heed. As if in a trance, he sat in his regular corner. Pulling up his legs to his chest and resting the small raven head against the bars, Robin stared out over the prison till sleep finally claimed him.

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