Chapter Five: Taking Inventory
smell of charcoal and cooking steak filled the restaurant. In the
background, the overpaid pianist played classical compositions in his
own soft style. Waiters and waitresses balanced glasses on top of trays
taking them to their customers, hoping for some generous tips. After
all, their customers could afford it. The managers went about
frantically trying to keep their slip-ups as unnoticeable as possible.
The chefs inside the kitchen were perhaps the only ones who kept the art
of cooking their priority. Outside, it was the art of presentation that
mattered the most.
Mounted on the walls were fake heads of
supposedly exotic animals. The only real ones consisted of deer and
antelope that were well paid for. The walls had each been painted
individually to reflect a certain time and tone of day that took place
in the grasslands of Africa. Everything was comfortable and could suit
even the most casual of diners to the most elegant of high society, each
divided out into separate rooms so that every guest would have the best
dining experience. The lighting could set each individual room ablaze
or be so dim as to make it that it appeared that only the stars and
candles in the room created a source of light.
In one of the not
too extravagant corners of the Serengeti Club, a man sat in the corner
waiting for his dinner, his appetizer finished. Andrea had just finished
serving several older gentleman who had thanked her kindly, but all she
could really think about was her feet that were just begging for her to
go home and go to bed. But she needed the money for college and so when
her boss, Sherry, had asked her to cover for Ben, who had just gotten
off early, she had obliged.
Sherry had pulled her aside and told
her specifically, "Don't screw this one up. That's Mr. Wilson. He leaves
some of the best tips. Just get him his order, ask him if he wants
anything, tell him it will be out momentarily, shut your mouth, and
leave him alone. He travels a lot and likes a quiet dinner."
nodded in response as she glanced over at Mr. Wilson. Well, at least he
didn't look like the old money she normally served. She walked over, a
napkin folded over her arm and a pad of paper in her hand to take
Wilson's order. It was ten at night. Her mom hated the fact that she
worked so late. Gotham wasn't exactly friendly at night. At least the
Club was in uptown Gotham and away from the clubs downtown. There was
nothing to worry about around here, at least she hoped so.
"Mr. Wilson, Ben just got off, but your order should be out in a minute," She said as she reached his table.
Mr. Wilson laughed under his breath, "Thank you, Andrea."
voice was deep and rich, but was relaxed. Yet he had given her the
creeps. It wasn't something in his voice. It was what he had known
without even glancing up, her name. It was like he had that sixth sense
"Um, well, you're welcome," Andrea answered, a bit nervously and taken off guard.
watched for a good sign. His blond hair was flecked with gray and fell
limply on his young face, covering his forehead and part of his right
eye. But from that she could see, a black strap was protruding from
underneath his bangs wrapping around his head. The marks of an eye
patch. Great – another reason for him to creep her out. He was dressed
in a brown leather suit and a white button up shirt, his tie a bit loose
and she reminded herself of that tip.
"How long will it be?" He asked her, as though it had been nothing.
"A mere ten minutes," She told him promptly, "Do you need any more water?"
"No, I'm good," Mr. Wilson said, "And don't worry about rushing with the swordfish, I'm expecting a guest tonight."
Andrea looked up from her writing pad and nodded, "Oh, who should I look for?"
"A young woman," He told her, "Long black hair."
nodded and went to the front to see if there was anyone waiting. She
was glad that she could once again slump a little in her posture. Once
Andrea left, Wilson sat back in the plush seat and let out a sigh. He
picked up his glass and twirled it a bit from one side to the other,
letting the reflection of the lights above shine and glitter while the
water swished around. As he brought the glass back down, he saw a young
teenager heading toward him.
She was dressed in a blue kimono that
was loose and flowed instead of the normal tight and strict style of
most kimono. It was an intentional attempt to look sophisticated and
elegant. Her face was what looked like a mix of French and Vietnamese
heritage. She wore a couple long gold necklaces, some that reached past
her ribs. On one hand she wore a bracelet that matched her diamond
earrings. He eye make up flared making her green eyes shine brilliantly,
but the rest of her beauty was natural. For a teenager, she knew how to
make herself look like an adult.
She sat down across from him and he finally spoke, "Jade Nguyen."
Jade smiled slightly, "You weren't expecting me, were you?"
"No, I was," He answered, "Blackfire got in over her head, didn't she?"
"You could say that," She replied.
Andrea came over with his swordfish and poured Jade some water as well. Slade waved her off and she got the message.
"And you expect your cut," Slade answered.
fire crackled off to his side as one of the waiters put a couple logs
on top of the already hot wood. It wasn't exactly common to have a
blazing fire going in the middle of the summer, but the Serengeti
compensated for it and kept the AC on up high.
Jade was quiet as
Slade continued, "Although, I'm sure that she laid everything out for
you. I pay her. You get your cut from her."
"She's currently... unable to do so," Jade started.
"And that's your problem," Slade answered.
"No, it's your's!" She spat.
the sleeve of her pocket, Jade withdrew a thin metal disk that sparkled
as she waved it slowly in the air, small rainbow beams meeting Slade's
"I have what you want. She doesn't," Jade told him, "Give me my cut and I give you your prize."
looked at her, unfazed, "Ms. Nguyen, you don't want to waste your time
here. And honestly, that's not much of a prize. It's an advantage point
in a silly game."
Jade's face turned slightly sour as she
answered, "I. Want. My. Cut. Don't think I won't hesitate to run my
nails across your other eye."
Slade sighed and took a sip of water. Like she could manage such a thing, "Where will you be?"
"East Asia," She answered. "You can find me, yes?"
not a question, Jade," Slade answered, "I can... adjust my agreement
with the Tamaranian. Bailing her out of jail and giving her a slightly
diminished payment will be her reward, plus she won't have to pay you.
I'll give you your payment that will be what she agreed to give you."
"Forty percent." Jade told him.
leaned back in the booth, her shoulders relaxed again. She slid the
computer disk across the table where Slade picked it up and, after a
moment, smiled. The only problem with some poor people is that they can
never compromise and need someone else to negotiate for them. That was
what this had been. The hushed tones that they had used before hand were
gone as they entertained each other for the rest of the night about
petty things such as the criminal world's gossip (this was mostly from
Jade's part of the conversation since Slade didn't need to gossip to
know what was going on) and the atmosphere of the Serengeti. It was a
personal favorite of Slade's to say the least and it led to Jade talking
about her preferences in Asia. To make things better, the managers and
most of the employees could easily be bought off. They parted ways at
the end of the evening, Cheshire leaving first, Slade guessed, to get to
the airport for a flight.
Mr. Wilson put the disk into his coat
pocket and pulled out a hundred for Andrea. He paid the bill and left,
deciding to walk, in favor of trying to get some fresh air. He kept his
head down and out of site. Barely anyone was out who would care if he
was missing an eye, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to be cautious.
The roadways were cooling off from the hot summer day that had
followed. The stars weren't visible due to the many lights of Gotham
City. He'd been here for barely a week and he was settled in nicely. But
still, he didn't like the set up. Gotham was foreign territory, enemy
But foreign was the biggest threat here. He could lay
low. He could avoid Gotham's Dark Knight. He was playing two separate
games. One in Jump, one in Gotham. It wasn't hard. It was just a matter
of keeping a close watch on both sides, both opponents, both resources,
and both cities. He reached a large townhouse in the northwest section
of Gotham in the islands. Walking up the steps, Mr. Wilson unlocked the
door and stepped inside, the place dark and empty. He turned the lights
on as he pulled his coat off and walked into the living room.
grabbed the remote and switched the TV on. He rolled his shoulders as
he sat down. He was glad that he didn't have to be 'Mr. Wilson' all of
the time. Often, he'd forsake the name when possible, just because it
was a pain to keep up. But it would keep him out of the spot light and
right now, that's what he wanted. He hit 23343 and suddenly the cable
switched to a specialized menu, his own. He scrolled down and hit Titans
Tower. From there, multiple screens of security cameras within the
Tower popped up. Movement caught his eye in the hospital wing. He
scrolled down and pulled up the screen to see Robin lying down on the
hospital bed, apparently getting healed from Raven. The other three sat
in chairs around the area talking about the afternoon's recent crimes.
"I'm seriously fine, Raven," Robin complained, as Raven held her hands above his back.
cocked her eyebrows and moved slightly downward. Robin tensed as she
reached a knot in his back. She smirked, her point proved. She was
emanating a black/blue aura from her palms that met his back to heal him
and had forced him to throw his cape and shirt off to the side so that
she could heal him quicker than she normally could.
"If you would just relax, it could go by faster." Raven told him.
"But I'm still going to be in here for the rest of the night anyway." Robin argued back.
"He has a point," Cyborg whispered over to Beast Boy, igniting an irritated glare from Raven.
She sighed, "Robin, it's not even that bad. You're lucky it's not worse."
"You're right, Raven, I should be grateful that Blackfire didn't brake my back," Robin remarked sarcastically.
"Actually, yes," Raven answered in response
At the mention of her sister, Starfire interjected, "Again, I am so sorry for my sister's behavior."
"Man, Star, I don't see why you stick up for her," Beast Boy said, exasperated from her many apologies.
"Because Blackfire is still my sister," Starfire told him.
"Who's out to kill you," Cyborg finished.
shook her head and sighed as Raven said for the sixth time this
evening, "Starfire, it's really alright. We're here to stop people who
do bad things. That's our job."
Starfire nodded, but only because
she knew that that's what the others wanted her to do, "I just feel the
guilt, as though it was my fault, my presence that made Blackfire attack
"It's not your fault, Star," Cyborg told her.
She started when Robin interrupted. "He's right, Starfire. It wasn't your fault."
looked back down at Robin, who had moved slightly to lift his head up
from the pillow, and asked, "Do you think she had something to do with
Robin scrunched up his face, "Well, if it makes sense,
how likely is it that Cheshire would attack at the exact same time that
Blackfire did? She likes to be in Asia; California's not her her cup of
tea, you know? And what did she do? She separated us. They were working
"To do what?" Beast Boy asked.
Slade watched with rapt attention as he watched Robin try to come to a conclusion, but found none.
"I... don't know..." The others watched him as he continued. "But they wanted to do something. We just need to figure out what."
moved to get up, but Raven forced him to lie back on the bed, "The
police are perfectly capable of doing a police report on the damage at
"Don't start. If you want, Cyborg can go and do a report himself." Raven told their leader, her tone resolved and unmovable.
man." Cyborg told him, walking over so that Robin could see him, "I can
do it first thing tomorrow or maybe in the evening or something..."
need to chill, dude." Beast Boy added, turning into a sloth and resting
on the bed on the other side of the room to reiterate his point.
"Yes, please, Robin," Starfire said, "You must get an adequate amount of rest to heal."
felt the four sets of eyes of his teammates watching him. Peer
pressure. He hated it, "Alright, fine, but I can get up tomorrow,
The others glanced at Raven who answered, "In the afternoon, yeah."
took away her hands and Robin felt the slight chill in his spinal cord
leave him. He let out a sigh and pressed his head into the pillow,
aggravated. This was the downside of being the only human on a team of
super-powered teens. It took him longer to get up from falling off a
bridge than it did the others.
Raven went to the door and before
she left told them, "I'm going to my poetry reading. Call me if there's
something that you need."
Robin nodded and the others watched as
Raven whisked up her cape and disappeared into the air, making the room
cold as though they had briefly stepped into an ice box. Beast Boy
"Hate it when she does that," He whispered.
not like I hate it, but I wish that she could leave the room temp the
same," Cyborg shrugged, "Look, I was going to work on the T-Car. You
gonna be alright, man?"
Robin looked over and nodded glumly. Even
Buffing the T-Car sounded fun to him right now and they all knew it.
There were some occasions where it was extremely difficult to read
Robin's thoughts and others where it was... to put it nicely, obvious if
you knew him.
"Yeah, I'm gonna go and... uh, do stuff," Beast Boy told the others as well.
The two boys walked out leaving Robin and Starfire in the room, "Do you wish for me to stay with you for a while?"
Robin asked looking up and then he answered, "Oh, no, it's alright,
Star. I'll be fine. Besides, if I 'exert' myself Raven will keep me in
here for a week."
Starfire giggled slightly at the joke. Her eyes
moved to Robin's back where some blue and black marks were slightly
raised and her facial expression changed. "Well, if you should need
anything, the killers of pain or the ice in the packs, feel free to
"I will, Star. Thanks, and seriously, don't feel bad about
Blackfire. It was out of your control," He told her, allowing for a
slight smile to creep onto her face in the face of less guilt.
"Alright, Robin," She replied.
princess walked out of the room and left the hospital room devoid of
anyone except for Robin. Slade chuckled a bit. It was so amusing because
he knew Robin's exact reaction to the night that would follow. He knew
that Robin would despise the evening. Not being allowed to get up. Not
being allowed to move. It would be misery for him. And yet, as amusing
as it was, there had to be reprimand for such an act. Blackfire's bail
was not going to be as automatic as Mad Mod's. He had told her to
inflict nothing crucial and he knew that she was smart enough to realize
that one wrong move could have put Robin in a concussion. Such a
punishment for the Boy Wonder was reserved for only the most grievous
mistakes, none of which Robin had made.
Slade turned off the TV
screen and leaned back, relaxing his tense muscles and letting them
almost regenerate with a long, deep inhale and exhale. He dealt with
teenagers. Teenagers who would be the next Justice League if they kept
it up. But he wasn't going to deal with them tonight. Tonight, he had
another adventure to explore. Gotham's streets were ripe with an energy
that pulsed through the darkness. He got up and went upstairs. Unlocking
the door to the master bedroom, Slade went in and began to change. The
leather and steel guards were so much more comfortable. Funny, at one
time, jeans and a T had been his idea of comfort. Now, Deathstroke was
more ideal. Slade looked at his reflection in the mirror before placing
the orange and black mask onto his face.
the balcony, Slade felt the summer air hit him with all of the smells
that Gotham had to offer him. Fresh and clean? No. But it gave him
everything that he needed to get ready for the night. It was not going
to be dangerous. It was going to subtle, stealthy, sly. It was going to
be a thrill. All according to plan. Slade took a running leap and jumped
out of the townhouse, landing on the opposite roof as he kept running
towards his target. He could deal with the computer chip tomorrow. Tonight, was all about setting the wheels in motion in Gotham. Slade
also realized as he ran that it was also about igniting the adrenaline
rush. And one could be sure that he would enjoy every minute of it.
laid down on the bed. He'd been lying down all day and all night, save
for the one time that he had been allowed to use the bathroom that
morning. Around ten, Raven had finally given in and told him that at two
she'd let him get up.
Couldn't the clock go any faster?
This was murder.
kept running his eyes everywhere while glancing up at the clock every
ten seconds or less. The room, though he had gotten used to it over the
night, smelled strongly of soap, antiseptic and, in general, a very
sterile doctor's office. It was one of those times where he wanted to
fidget and make a fuss about being stuck in one place, but he was way
too old to give into to such a childish resolve. So instead, he remained
on the bed silently fuming until...2:00 PM. Finally.
jumped out of bed, the sudden shock to his system caused him a moment of
dizziness and reminded him that he'd need to stretch a bit to relieve
the stiffness that still lingered in his bones and muscles. Grabbing his
shirt and cape, Robin walked down the hallway to his bedroom, with the
intent of grabbing a quick hot shower to get rid of the smell of the
hospital's bed sheets. Within about five minutes, he had managed to jump
in and out of the shower.
His hair dripped down and plastered
itself onto the back of his neck, bugging him with a soft itch. In
response, he quickly rubbed his hair dry and spiked it back up with hair
gel. Most of the time, the others thought that his hair must have been a
rock or something because he used so much, but it was just a habit. One
that his mother had started and one that Bruce had promoted. He was
about to go check and see if Cyborg had actually put together a report
when a knock on the door alerted him to someone outside. Keeping the
towel around his waist, Robin walked over to see Beast Boy walking into
his room on his own terms.
"Hey man, we're gonna go to the park," Beast Boy told him.
"Why?" Robin asked.
it's nice out. 'Sides, don't ya want to get out of tower? I would of
thought that the hospital wing would have done that," Beast Boy asked.
Robin rolled his masked eyes and answered, "Alright, I'll go."
"Awesome. It's semi-civilian style alright?"
"Yeah, whatever BB," Robin answered.
Boy smiled and ran out to find Raven to bug her into going. Robin
laughed under his breath and changed his route from the closet to his
dresser drawers where he kept his 'semi-civilian' and just plain
'civilian' clothes. The difference? Mainly a mask and his civilian
clothes were much more... proper... mostly. It was hot outside so he
grabbed a pair of red and white shorts and a black T-shirt with red
stripes on the sides. Underneath his bed, he grabbed a pair of flip
flops and put them on while throwing his communicator into his side
Eventually, the knock came and this time, Beast Boy had
gotten both of the girls, "Come on, man, Cyborg's got the T-Car
"I'm coming, BB, I'm coming." Robin replied and he got
in line behind the girls. The three of them road down the elevator to
the garage where Cyborg honked the horn of his car to get them to hurry
"You guys are way too slow," Cyborg said.
"You don't have to change. Ever," Raven told him in response.
"I did," Cyborg answered, "And I never took that long,"
"You've never seen Starfire's wardrobe, have you?" Raven asked.
Cyborg shut his mouth about it after that. Beast Boy got in the front while the others piled in the back.
"So friend Beast Boy, why is it that you are so excited to go to the park today?" Starfire asked, as she buckled her seat-belt.
"They've got a pet expo today and it's only a bit of a walk to P.I.Z.Z.A. for a snack if we want," Beast Boy told them.
a minute, you got us all to go out just so that you could see cats and
dogs. You could have rented the movie!" Cyborg yelled.
"Oh, come on, Cy, those animals are so adorable. Plus, we need to sign every petition against puppy mills," Beast Boy told him.
Cyborg rolled his eye and continued to drive as Starfire asked, "Excuse me, but what are mills of the puppy?"
answered, "People who are technically allowed to do what they're doing
even though they don't always treat their animals right."
nodded, still unsure of what they were talking about, but she could
tell that that was all the answer she would get while in the car. They
rode down into Jump where Cyborg parked the car. Most of the pet expo
was at the east end of the park. The boys went off while arguing about
whether or not to go see the lizards or food stands first.
and the girls hung back a bit. The sun beat down on their shoulders and
made them sweat off any sun tan lotion that they had put on beforehand.
Raven in particular, her outfit barely any different save for the lack
of her cloak and a pair of jeans, was suffering from the heat and lack
of shade. Starfire on the other hand seemed to thrive on it and enjoyed
browsing along the booths. Right before they got to the end of the
stands as they headed for the west end, Starfire felt a tug on her hand.
"Um, 'scuse me. Are you Starfire?" A little girl holding a teddy bear asked.
Starfire smiled and replied, "Yes, I am Starfire. And what is your name little one?"
"Dana," The girl told her while pointing, "And this is Freddy and that's my mommy over there."
Starfire smiled at her as she bent down, "It is very good to meet you Dana and Freddy."
"You gotta meet my mommy, Starfire!" The girl exclaimed, "You gotta, she's always talking about you guyses."
looked around Starfire to catch a glimpse of Raven and Robin, who were
both a couple feet away. Maybe it was because of Robin's status as the
team leader and Raven's lack of... cheerfulness, but she quickly looked
back at Starfire who stood up and walked with her over to a woman
running a booth. Robin smiled as he watched Starfire happily talk with
Dana's mother who was selling dog toys and other various items.
Raven sighed as she walked up to Robin, "She's gonna be there a while."
"Yeah, you want to find some shade?" Robin asked.
caught Starfire's eye and held up his communicator. She nodded and
waved at them. Robin and Raven walked out of the stream of booths and
started walking around the park, stopping at large trees to enjoy the
shade. Seagulls above called out and caught spare bread that some kids
were throwing into the air. Robin watched them and looked out at the bay
at the Tower. He sighed and Raven looked at him.
"Are you still worried?" She asked.
both knew what she was talking about, so Robin didn't pretend to be
oblivious. "It just doesn't make sense, Raven. There wasn't a reason for
them to work together. I mean, they're both the quote on quote 'bad
girls', but Blackfire's in jail and Cheshire... She didn't really do
anything. I don't see how that helps either of them."
slumped down against a tree and gazed over at some other teenagers,
probably from Jump City High, playing Ultimate Frisbee. Everything
seemed to be so carefree for them. They had normal lives. And it
couldn't be for any of the Titans. They didn't mind it, but there were
days that they could feel it. Today was one of those days. He wasn't
complaining, but sometimes, everything just got to be so heavy on his
shoulders. Raven watched him and leaned against the tree. Her melancholy
tone normally allowed for things of serious nature to be natural for
her to deal with a bit more ease than the others.
She nodded and told him, "Cyborg wasn't able to go to Cook's this morning.
When he glanced up slightly she gave up the explanation he wanted, "They were still taking inventory to see if..."
Robin looked off suddenly and cut her off mid-sentence, "Inventory... Raven, you don't think..."
Raven quickly tried to think back to Cheshire's attack and answered, "The place was a mess, it could have been..."
"Overlooked?" Robin filled in.
"Yes," Raven told him.
momentary success brought only a second of supposed 'happiness'. Robin
stood up and for a moment looked like the problem was solved until a
frown came to his face again. Raven looked at him confused.
"What?" She asked.
"All that for a robbery?" Robin asked.
"Hey guys!" Beast Boy yelled.
They looked over to see Beast Boy running at them, "Don't let him get me!"
He turned into a cheetah and ran off. Cyborg came out seconds later, "Aw, man, where's the grass stain off to now?"
"What'd he do?" Robin asked.
it wasn't for him and his stupid 'pet expo', then I wouldn't be seen as
a fire hydrant for about a dozen great danes!" Cyborg yelled and suddenly
he caught sight of a green bird flying in the air, "Oh no you don't!"
Cyborg opened fire with his sonic cannon at Beast Boy who quickly attempted to dart out of the way.
"Well, that's disruptive," Raven stated bluntly.
laughed and looked back over at the pet expo where Starfire was
following the same girl around. Dana was over excited and wanted to show
her idol everything while Starfire obliged, liking the smile that came
to Dana's young face. She liked kids. They were just so energetic and
full of life. It was too cute. Robin's smile faded when he looked back
over at Raven and remembered what they had been talking about before.
He continued to answer her questioning look, "It just seems strange."
couldn't shake the feeling that she was growing a bit hesitant about
this, "Robin... We still don't know if she even took anything. Let's
just wait and leave it at that. Don't..."
"Are you going to say to
not obsess over this like everyone else?" Robin asked, not accusingly,
though, to Raven's slight relief.
Raven's eyes narrowed as she
looked at the ground. Being the telepath of the group, she knew the
weaknesses of others. She knew a lot of things that they didn't even
realize. It wasn't her fault, but when she slept, their dreams,
sometimes, just to feel, she would take in their feelings, good or bad.
Robin, her mind bond with him only allowed for so much. Robin had been
trained to conceal his thoughts by putting up a mental barrier. If she
had a mind bond with anyone else, she would practically know their life.
Robin was another story. She barely had an idea. But it was an idea and
it gave her insight for the reason for his... protectiveness.
you don't even know what you become when you get into this 'obsession
mode' of yours. You'd barely recognize yourself. You should see yourself
when obsess about things like Slade. It's just... unhealthy and almost
disturbing sometimes," She told him. She wasn't saying it to be mean.
She was just stating the facts.
"Raven, I'm not obsessing. You know that I'm just trying to keep everything I have as it is: Safe," Robin sighed.
"I know. That's why I barely say anything about it, but..." Raven gestured over to their peripheral vision and Robin looked out.
saw the city. He saw the skyscrapers. He saw the people in the park. He
saw the teens playing frisbee and a couple having ice cream. He saw the
kids feeding the seagulls. He saw Cyborg and Beast Boy fighting. He saw
the Tower in the bay. He saw Starfire standing up after petting a small
kitten. But his eyes were still in contemplation as though debating as
to whether or not Raven's warning was one that he really needed to heed.
get wrapped up in this. We'll work on it as a group. Alright? In our
experience, nothing good ever comes from diving too deep into these
sorts of things, " Raven said from behind, "The miserable think that if
they make others miserable it will make them happy. You know that. And
don't tell me it's your job to work 'obsessively'. We're teenagers, too.
So enjoy it more than just 'a little bit'."
He looked at the ground and then at her, asking, "Raven, if it is anything, it's a robbery. Why are you so worried?"
Raven hugged her sides slightly and answered him slowly, "I don't know. I'm just, I don't like it."
"Neither do I," Robin told her.
watched the scene in front of them. Raven watched the boys with a
corner of her eye on Robin as he gazed over at Starfire who was saying
good-bye to Dana. She smiled slightly. She knew that Starfire could
bring Robin to his senses with more luck than her or the others without
even trying sometimes which was by far a good thing. She wasn't good
with igniting emotions or dousing them anyway and well, the guys were...
guys. Plus, the two could be kind of cute. She just wondered when
Cyborg and Beast Boy would start making bets. Starfire came over to
them, flying slightly above the ground.
"They are so adorable when
they are young. Thank you for not being upset at me for going off with
her," Starfire said, as she stopped in front of them.
"It's no problem, Star. Wanna go for a walk?" Robin asked.
Starfire nodded and answered while landing, "Oh yes, that would be most enjoyable."
three of them started walking. Cyborg had finally gotten a hold of BB
who had received injury enough to make them even. They came running up
behind the others and the five began to talk about what they wanted to
do that evening. The sun was dipping down, but it had enough energy in
it to keep it floating above the horizon. The Titans kept walking, their
outlines marking them shadows against the orange and purple sky.
inside the T-Car, their silhouettes disappeared and they headed for the
Tower. Upon arrival, most of the Titans dispersed. Raven went back to
her room and threw off the old pair of jeans. She kept reflecting over
why it was that she could be having these feelings about this. Robin was
right. It was just a robbery. But it felt bigger, scarier, more
threatening to her. It was irrational. Totally irrational. They both
knew that. So why couldn't she shake the feeling?
Raven lit a
couple candles and incense. Maybe it was just her father's influence
messing with her powers. Maybe her powers were going haywire. Maybe
someone was messing with her. Maybe it was nothing. But... What if it
wasn't? Raven sighed and began to levitate.
Zinthos, Azarath Metrion Zinthos, Azarath Metrion Zinthos..." Her
chanting, rich in composure, calmed her slightly as she mentally scolded
She had no reason for any of these feelings. At least,
none that she knew of. If she had known that there was someone hacking
their security system right now, then she would have. If she had known
that they were watching Robin smiling at Starfire as they walked down
the hallways, then she would have. If she had known that they were
focusing on Robin's slightly happy step in his stride, she would have.
And if she had known that that someone had one eye, then she would have
had her reason.
But she didn't. There was no way of knowing. No
way for her or anyone else for that matter to know that one of their
most dangerous opponents was watching half way across the continent
their tower, their leader.
Slade watched as Robin talked to
Starfire and then he watched as the two parted ways when they reached
his room. He watched as Robin fell flat on his bed and then got up to
write on a dry erase board two new things: 'Write up a report for
Cook's' and underneath that 'Check Cook's Inventory'. He smiled. Smart
boy. He was getting somewhere and he had no doubt that Robin could
connect this to Mad Mod. Could he link it to him? It was a slight
possibility. At the rate Robin was going, though, he'd have starve
himself of sleep to find out in time to have any chance of stopping him.
And then if he didn't sleep, he'd have no energy to even put up a
fight. It was a catch-22 situation in his favor.
Robin was a teenager. Teenagers wanted to make those years like a movie.
Teenagers wanted to have fun. They wanted to fall in love and go to
parties and make rivalries and have contests and watch TV thrillers. It
was a literal checklist of what they had to do during those appointed
high school years. Robin was no different. He didn't realize it all of
the time, but he still had all of those qualities despite his
disposition to be fastidious when it came to his work. It was one of the
few weaknesses that Slade didn't blame Robin for having, just because
of the boy's age. On the plus side, it made his job that much easier.
to say, he wasn't worried. The boy would learn of his plans as soon as
it suited him. When that would be was... still up to debate. It was
early in the afternoon in Gotham. The sunny disposition of the area
didn't reflect Gotham as a whole. It didn't bother him. Jump's view had
taught him that even in the most perfect of cities, there were always
shadows, always places to hide. And Gotham, it spoke for the world in
terms of both diversity and danger. Robin had been taught to fight in
one of the most crime ridden cities that the world had to offer. That's
why he was so good at what he did and why he could be a challenge.
Slade didn't waste his time with pathetic cases, anyway. Normally, he
wouldn't even plan to use this much time on the ones that were even
'good'. The boy's defiant glares, his constant determination, his total
resolve to stop him... Robin had been a thorn in his side for so long,
he figured he could take the time to do this right. Slade glanced
outside the window to see the street deserted. Kids were at school.
Parents were either inside their homes or at work or running errands. He
was alone in the townhouse. Wintergreen was nearby, but had been told
not to visit unless there was a situation that absolutely called for it.
Slade walked over to his computer and picked up the small computer disk. It was time to put Cheshire's heist to good use.