Mens rea

To Find a Robin

The door opened and Robin entered solemnly into the cell. Kyle immediately sensed the depressed aura around him. Curt's face perked up, much like a dog sensing something amiss. As the door clanged shut behind, the two prisoners watched Robin curl his fingers into tight fists and march right into the corner between his bunk and the metal bars. Back to the men, Robin unfurled his fingers, right hand gripping a bar in white-knuckle grasp as his left hand clawed softly at the wall. Face resting in the corner, muttered words sneered and snarled quietly.

Kyle backed up to the sink, knowing that it would be better if the kid just vented silently. Yet, Curt was not as observant. Green eyes blinked at Robin behind the pepper colored hair. "Aw, did someone have a bad day?"

The mocking tone made the hit man tense up, ready to leap in and break up the expected fight that would ensue. However, Robin's shacking form eased, the hands lowering themselves to his sides. Turning around so that his back was against the wall, Robin slid down to the ground the seething anger still there but not as wild. "She made me listen."

"Listen?" Curt cocked his head to the side. "The voices?"

"No. It was an interrogation," whispered Robin. "And I made it worse." The last words were chocked. Kyle could see the beginning signs of guilt and grief. It was common amongst the fresh employees, most getting sick, others leaving and few who kept it inside.

Stepping up, Kyle draped his hand on the bunk over Robin's bed. Leaning down, he kicked the boy lightly. "Come on, this couldn't be your first interrogation."

"No, but…"

"The methods involved."

A dark, distant look befell Robin's features. "I might not have been the hand dealing those methods, but I was on the receiving end. Gotham and her villains had some fun times with me." Pausing, Robin gazed up at his mates, "To go from being in the chair to the one handing the weapons, was a line I never wanted to cross."

Kyle nodded. "It's a hard line to cross. But did it work in the end?"

Robin surprised the man by smirking slightly, "He revealed everything." The young brow furrowed as blue eyes shot over to Curt. "Did they curse at you?"

It took only a minute for the professor to know what the boy was talking about. The girls shimmered next to him. The frizzed blond woman sent him a cold smile, "Tell him, handsome."

The crazy man blinked and gazed into Robin's eyes. "Of course, but they understood in the end. They thanked me."

Robin curled slightly into himself. The reason he asked Curt was because he feared what Slade would think. But hopefully, the criminal would understand and not exploit any more guilt and try to turn him into some henchman.

"You're still a hero, kid." Kyle's soft words made the Robin uncurl and begin to rise. "You made the man talk and saved some people. Sometimes it's good to beat up a man, teaches him whose boss."

Robin shook his head, still not wanting to buy this form of interrogation. "Look, I don't want to talk about it. Just wake me up when the guards come for dinner."

The two older men sighed in agreement, resting on their side of the cell while Robin slide under and stretched out on his bunk. Starring hard at the rocky wall, he listened to the whispered voices of Curt working out another math problem. Kyle was muttering something in the background. Closing his eyes, Robin waited quietly for Slade to appear in his mind and give him a long lecture. Yet all he could hear were the screams of the prisoner and the sadistic laugh of the Joker.

Starfire stood silently at the entrance of the small hut Slade had rented during his absence. The villain had returned an hour later and told them to tie up the guards and haul out of the agency. Stripping the guards of their uniform, he ordered two local men he hired to wear the clothes and come up with a story as not to arise suspicion. Everything went smoothly and Starfire couldn't believe how different things were now.

She never would have pictured Robin interrogating two guards or retaining them while covering his tracks. Then she had heard from Raven, that the criminal had injured the guard named Daniel and only with her magic had she healed the broken wrist. That was another thing that had unnerved her and made the alien earn for Robin's return.

Robin. She finally had been able to tell the leader how she felt towards him. For a long time, the alien didn't know these strange feelings, but it clicked when Robin went with Slade into Hell's fires to find Raven. Starfire loved Robin, loved how he would do anything to save his friends and strangers. His heroism, his flashing grin, his patient tone…the alien felt tears prick at her eyes. Rubbing them away quickly with the back of her hand, Starfire fought to push back the wave of grief. Just when she had worked up the courage to tell him, for him to reject her so quickly felt like eons ago. Maybe, when they finally retrieved Robin, she could ask him again, for he truly did not mean that he did not care for her. Not after everything they've went through…


The redhead turned her head slightly to see Raven walking up to join her. "You ok?" asked the Goth.

"I just worry about Robin," whispered Starfire.

"This is beyond worrying."

Starfire gasped slightly and took in her reflection off of the violet eyes of Raven. "I do not know-"

"You love him," stated Raven.


Raven shook her head, "It's clear as day, Starfire. Your little glances at him, how you worry over him like a mother hen. The question is have you told Robin, cause you know he can be very dense sometimes."

Starfire nodded, tears threatening to fall. "I told him I wished for more and for a moment he seemed to want it as well, but then he was all worked up over an insight into the case. And then," the alien hiccupped as she felt a single tear fall. "He said that heroes do not have time for relationships."

Raven frowned, but the massive wave of grief and self-guilt that it was Star's fault made the half-demon due something beyond her boundaries. A pale gray hand rested itself on Star's golden shoulder. Green eyes shot up in shock at the near figure.

"That's just Robin, Starfire. Just give him time and he might come around."

Starfire soaked in those much-needed words to heart. But, her mind felt that the witch was holding back something. Yet the notion was fleeting and disappeared into the back of her mind.

Patting the girl's shoulder, Raven turned to leave. She spotted Cyborg leaning in the entryway, sending them an almost sad look. Raven frowned and as she passed the older man, she sent a small spark of black magic to shock him from behind.

"Ow!" yelped Cyborg, "What was that for?"

"The time for mopping faces is at an end, time to get information out of these guys. We only got twenty four hours left."

"Right," mumbled the cybernetic hero, "Star ok?"

"She'll be fine once this is over," sighed Raven. Stepping into the room, Raven took in the tied up Matt and Daniel in two chairs. The chairs in turn were tied back to back in the middle of room. "Alright guys, let's just do this the nice, simple way. You answer yes or no to our questions or I enter your mind, which is in a weaken state considering you haven't slept or eaten in the past twenty-four hours."

Matt sent a cold glare while Daniel laughed. "Bring on the worse, witch. We wont' tell you anything."

Beastboy slide off the windowsill and walked over to their captives. "We heard you the first time. But come on, you're telling me you would rather be a drooling baby? If anything, we could totally forget you guys and let you go back to your mundane lives without turning you in jail for kidnapping Robin."

"Beastboy," reprimanded Raven.

"What? Rewards always work in the movies!"

"This is not a movie."

Beastboy mumbled something incoherent under his breath. "Thought I would just help out."

"Well, you suck," mocked Daniel.

"Dan-" hissed Matt.

"Oh, please." Glaring at the Titans that now occupied the hut and Slade, the guard continued. "We're proud of our job. Even though the living conditions stink and the food is disgusting, the work we do helps people."

Cyborg snorted, "Yeah and what about your boss?"

Daniel narrowed his eyes at the teenager, "Boss knows what she's doing."

"She?" Slade's stern voice made the rest of the group flinch slightly.

"Shut up," growled Matt quietly to his partner.

But Daniel only fixed his gaze onto Slade. "Boss." He smirked darkly. "You're a kitten compared to her."

Slade curled his hand into a fist. He hated being criticized and more over to know that a woman had placed false blame on him made his blood boil If this female was as dangerous as the guard said, he would have known her by now. Which meant only two things: the guard was bluffing or this Boss had kept herself hidden from the world. And by how Daniel continued to glare at him with certainty, Slade had to assume that it was the latter.

Raven sighed, closing her eyes in frustration. It seemed that words would have no effect on the guards. None at all and that only left one choice: brute action. Where was Robin when you needed him? Raven knew that she was the only that could truly evoke true fear in the guards, enough to make them talk. But, that meant she had to lose precious control. If it were Robin, the boy would have already launched the guards onto the floor, pinning them. With reddening fury, the leader would keep the struggling guard down while an animalistic tone forced the man to confess. And when the information was given, those overflowing emotions would be gone in a blink of an eye to be replaced by their levelheaded leader. But, Robin wasn't here. And Raven didn't know if she could revert back to her calm self so quickly like Robin did without causing any damage.

Lifting her arms slowly, the half-demon took a deep breath. Then so be it. She had no choice in the matter. Damage might be done but at least the guards would talk. And it probably meant they would live in the end instead of dying if Slade intervened. "Azerath. Mentros. Zinthos." And Anger was let loose.

Once velvet eyes snapped opened revealing black abysses with sparks of red shining in them. A black claw of energy sprung forth slamming the guards into the wall. Miraculously, the wall didn't collapse from the impact. Before the guards could crash onto the floor, the black claw pinned to the wall.

A raspy, thundering voice emitted from Raven's pale lips. "Now tell me what you know!"

The Titans raised their hands to protect themselves from a forming windstorm that whipped around Raven's body. Raven fought to maintain control. Yet she felt that time was running out. She could feel the all-too familiar burn of two red eyes appearing on her forehead. Narrowing her eyes, she squeeze the guards together till their chairs snapped apart.

"Raven!" Cyborg's urgent tone pulled the witch away from the abyss. Lowering her arms, Raven closed her eyes shut and slumped slightly forward. She was surprised to find Cyborg's strong arms about her, catching her before she fell.

"Thanks," rasped Raven, her normal violet eyes flickering up to Cyborg.

Her teammate sent her his infamous wide grin. "No problem."

Easing her upright, Raven nodded an ok as she took in the damage. Despite being slightly ruffled, the hut was still intact thankfully. Matt and Daniel moaned in pain on the floor. Matt had a wooden piece of debris jutting out from his leg. Daniel had snapped the same wrist again. A wave of bile rose up in Raven. She hadn't meant to hurt them, not this much. Taking in shuddering breaths, she began to chant three familiar words.

Cyborg motioned to Beastboy to keep an eye out on Raven as he walked up to the two guards. "Well, you guys now ready to talk?"

Matt hissed in pain as he shifted to lean against the wall. "No."

Panting, Daniel turned his shoulders to ease the strain of the ropes of his wrist. "That all you got."

At that moment, Cyborg never felt such a strong urge to punch a man's lights out. Raven had risked her control to get these men to talk. But her effort was in vain and in less than a day, Slade would get his hands dirty. The Titans had already breeched protocol by asking for this man's help. But Cyborg knew that Robin would never forgive them if they let Slade hurt and kill two men.

"Then we'll just let your buddy here bleed to death." Turning, Cyborg pointed at the door, "Let's go Titans, meeting time."

The Titans walked solemnly out of the hut, discussing how they could make the men talk. Slade merely bypassed the group and walked out into the city. The trek was fast and soon he reached a small abandoned apartment. Rummaging through the closet, he picked out the remaining clothes and donned on his makeshift costume. The fading black fleece pants and the dirty green military jacket hide the recognizable black and orange underneath. Unclasping his mask, Slade slide the precious piece behind his back underneath the jacket. Picking up a brown baseball cap, he slide the hat over his head and down enough to make his eye-patch not stand out like a sore thumb.

Satisfied, Slade made his way back to the agency. He knew from the start that Titans wouldn't make the guards talk. But he felt lenient and gave them the allocated time period to see if they could surpass his expectations. They were failing at the moment. Raven had surprised him once again with her burst of power to strike fear into the men. But, she went too far. There had to be a delicate balance between brute and subtle force to make a man fear enough that he would spill information.

Then again it was the thought that counted. And while those Titans were busy with making the guards talk, Slade would get the information his own way. In fact, he had already 'purchased' a boat when he had reserved the hut. The Titans had said that they couldn't find the island from the air, even with sending sonar bombs on suspected places. Therefore, the next best way to search was on foot. One could see clues much better on land. The only problem was that there was thousands of islands in the region, hence Slade needed to narrow it down to three at the max.

The agency was alive and bustling with activity as was the rest of the city. It was close to closing time and the employees had that restless movement about them. Entering the building through the front door, the chime caught the attention of the receptionist. Brown hair tied up in a loose bun, the dark-skinned woman flashed white teeth. "Good evening sir, may I help you?"

Slade walked up to the counter, his hand pulling out the ad. "Heard about some restful place for the stressed?"

The woman nodded in understanding, "Aw, our little resort. Well, first off you have to answer some quick questions."

"Sure." Slade leaned forward and folded his arms on the counter. The computer screen was built into the counter side, making it hard for him to read. Lastly, an opaque covering making it hard to determine what the woman was typing. Now, Slade knew the position the keys by heart, but the woman was typing too fast for him to pick up the words. And that logic didn't even factor in key words or abbreviations.

"Ok, sir. The basics are: stress level, physical and mental shape, work history and brief life history."

Slade hummed slightly, "Well my buddy" the villain stressed the word, "has an immense stress level even though he doesn't want to show it. It comes from being chased after all the time and the jobs he gets."

The woman raised her eyebrows up at him, "Continue."

"Physically, the man's a giant. The guy has super strength, agility and a master in all fighting styles. Mentally, the man's a freakin' genius, likes to twist his words around. Work history, he's a people person." Taking a break, Slade jerked his neck slightly as if being hung. The woman better know the universal motion for killer. And it seemed she did, for the woman continued to type but her lips began to curve upwards. "As for personal life, got me. The man's a complete mystery."

"And who is this man?"

"Deathstroke the Terminator."

The typing ceased as the woman's eyes widened slightly. "And…he's a…buddy of yours?"

"Newly acquainted, if you get my drift."

Realizing that she was still at work, the woman finished typing and clicked a button. Turning, she jotted something down on a blue post-it. "There seems to be an opening at the resort. Please drop him off at this location tonight." Raising her arm, the woman handed Slade the post-it.

"No problems. Nice working with you," Pulling at the brim of his hat to make a curt bow, Slade turned and left the agency. Making his way to the cheap motels just in case someone was following him, Slade gazed down and memorized the address. Twisting, he sprinted down an ally, tossing the baseball cap away as well as the note into a trash bin.

A couple more turns later; Slade reached the dock where the boat was housed. Taking in the area, he spotted two guards at the entrance as well as five guards on the boat itself. Flickering upwards, he also noted that the area was too busy with commercial trade to take on the guards himself. Biting his tongue, Slade reached down and pulled out a small gun from his utility belt. Taking steady aim, he fired the silencer and watched with satisfaction as the tracing beacon latched itself onto the hull.

Sliding the gun back into place, he slide his mask back on and watched as a tiny green screen displaying the general map of the area and the location of the beacon appeared in the upper right hand corner. Crawling backwards, Slade shed the costume as night befell the island once more.

Food time, since Robin could no longer remember what time it was, went by with little incident. Curt babbled on how pleasing your friend can win one brownie points. Kyle merely shoveled down his food and told him some stories of his day back in the mafia. Robin had left before them, half a bowl eaten.

Eyged greeted Robin in his medic cell. Letting the kid sit on the metal table, the doctor pounded away on the computer. His mouth jabbered on and on about the chemistry behind the creation of the dust. At some point, he began pointing out how actually the dust could be a benefit in that it thought in a different manner, thus provoking discussion and critical thinking.

Through all this, Robin sat on the table silently, his feet dangling off the side. Hands rested his lap while the face was bowed down slightly. Blue eyes studied nothingness, but his mind continued to absorb the information. Nothing could break the boy out of his state, not even when a guard when rushing by, yelling for Maura to come quick.

No. All was quiet to Robin. In his own mind, he and Slade sat across from each other eying the broken shackle that once had chained Slade. None spoke, but Robin could feel that Slade had been a bit unnerved as to what had happened. Yet, all Robin could think was if he was a hero still. Was he still worthy of wearing this new uniform that once had provided him strength?

Carl and Ben arrived, escorting Robin through a familiar tunnel that existed beyond the shower. Stepping into the wide chamber, Robin's eyes swept the region. He recognized a few faces. The Philippine who had given him a busted lip. There was the Japanese man who now limped because Robin broke his leg. There a few others, he remembered in flashes of pain and fists. One guy bore the remnants of a bit mark Robin had done and in return the man next to him had bitten into Robin's own leg. The flash of satisfied green eyes flashed in his mind, causing the boy to shiver.

Taking a few steps into the crowd, he waited for the attacks to begin. But none began.

"You're not red," whispered Slade's voice, breaking the silence.

"No red, no pain," chanted Robin, blinking slowly as he made his way to one of the benches. His muscles tightened up. He might have concluded that they would not attack him, but he still didn't want to take any chances.

Sitting down, Robin sighed with relief. "All is good. No pain for any-"

Just when the boy thought he could get through today without causing anyone harm, a pain filled scream echoed in the chamber. Everyone turned their heads towards the sound and even Robin's curiosity got to him.

The crowd seemed to part revealing two familiar men. The heavyweight bald man was pounding a skinny Japanese man into the ground. Stepping back to view his work, the criminal grinned. "Teach you to keep your mouth shut."

The beaten man rose himself up onto shaky hands, spitting out blood. Reaching out, he slid his bent glasses on. "Barbarian."

A groan escaped Robin's mouth as he watched Katarou send a kick into Fumio's stomach.

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