Robin could see tears running down her cheeks as she slumped down once again.
"Well that seems to be a successful experiment…", commented the villain joyfully.
Robin glared at him, preferring not to make any rude comment to prevent the evil mastermind from letting off his steam by hurting his friend. But he didn't have to as the dark girl raised her head once more, also glaring furiously at the man torturing her, a small smirk growing on her lips. Raven don't!, wanted to shout the young man, realizing what she was about to do, but he knew even if he did it would not stop her. Nor prevent Slade from hurting her again.
"Oh… I'm way stronger than you Slade!", she spat at him with her best wicked smile.
The tall man turned back to her and stared at her through his mask for a few moments, though it seemed like an eternity to the boy wonder. Then, ever so slowly, and Robin was sure he had the same smile as Raven plastered on his face as he was doing that, he raised his arm again and placed it on the dark girl's head. The he approached his masked face from hers and spoke almost inaudibly.
"Oh are you?"
He straightened up and his right arm tensed before he shouting.
"THEN LET'S SEE HOW STRONG YOU ARE EXACTLY!".
Robin saw his friend tense, everything happened in slow motion, he saw Raven's smile fade and be replaced by a mask of pure pain. Then came the scream. The first one had betrayed her pain and almost broken the Dark Knight's apprentice's spirit but this one was truly horrifying. It filled the room completely, eclipsing everything else, everything was screaming and pure pain. Robin could feel his friend's suffering as if he was in her place, he didn't know how someone could survive this nor how a human being could do that to another…
But Slade wasn't human, he was a monster, a monster who didn't hesitate to kill or torture when it was in his interests. Robin felt anger rise inside him, a rage he had felt several times when the other Titans had been in danger or hurt. He had always had problems controlling his anger, a feeling of hate that had been inside him ever since his parents were brutally murdered. His training with Batman had taught him that it was not always possible to keep it inside, in check, but that you could use it to your advantage, focus the flow on your enemy. That is why him and Raven felt so alike and were so close, they both had a brutal side to them that they tried to keep at bay but that sometimes threatened to blow.
"NOOOO!", he screamed, his mouth wide open as he gave voice to his hatred for Slade, swearing he would kill him when he had the chance.
He was pulling on his chains, trying to jerk them off, not caring if it broke every bone in his body in the process. Then silence fell again in the room. Raven slumped once more, her head fell down and she didn't move. Robin couldn't see if she was still breathing but he hoped and prayed she was, he couldn't lose any of them, the Titans were his family and he was supposed to protect them! What a great leader he was, here, chained to the ground unable to save his friend from their enemy… He let himself fall on his knees, following the example of the dark girl. He kept looking at her, trying to detect any sign of life until Slade walked past him again and sat back on his throne, taking off the gloves and putting them back in the box.
After a few very long seconds he spent looking at the tall man with pure hatred in his eyes, he turned his head back towards the demon girl and then looked outside towards the place where the battle took place. Something clicked in his mind. He was helpless. Right now he couldn't do anything, he was powerless before their nemesis. But he was not alone. They were never alone, that is what he had repeated to each of them when they had doubted their purpose.
"You are not alone," he had said once, as they were all depressed by the life they could never have, "we are not alone, we are a family and we have each other. Never, you hear me, never let anyone make you think you do not belong in this world. We are friends and together we are the powerful Teen Titans."
That little speech hadn't had the effect he had hoped but he could see that his friends were a bit more cheerful during the next few days. He had to believe in them. Being the leader did no mean he had to assume everything, he could count on them too, Starfire had once told him. He still did not quite understand how she could have such a good insight on what he thought. His trail of thoughts was suddenly cut off by Slade's low voice.
"So, what are you going to do now, 'boy wonder'?", he asked.
Robin tensed again at his mocking comment, looking up at his nemesis, but did not answer and looked down again.
"What? Nothing to say…?", Slade wondered out loud, faking surprise.
The teenager could sense the pleasure he was taking in torturing him emotionally. It made him so angry but what could he do? What could he achieve while he was chained to the ground at the villain's mercy? Raven was being tortured in front of his eyes and there was nothing he could do to prevent it, nothing the others could do to help her either, they were too far away... He knew they must've heard her cries of pain down there and he could imagine how angry- a sudden thought made a chill run down his back.
"I'm not…", he muttered in response.
"What was that?", asked the masked villain sounding amused.
"I'm not going to stop you Slade…", repeated the young man, "I won't need to…"
He looked at the masked man and let a mocking smile spread across his face. Slade cocked his head to the side, unsure for the first time of the teen's reaction.
"What do you mean?", he asked, his eyes narrowing behind his mask.
"I trust my friends, they will come and we will take you down. But, you know what?", he paused a moment for the effects, "You've made a great mistake by harming her Slade…", the boy wonder said in a confident tone, taking the villain once again by surprise, thought he didn't show any sign.
Slade then started laughing.
"Hahahaha! You still believe in justice my dear Robin? What a fool you are if you think your friends will come to help you, to save her."
"I don't think, I know Slade…", Robin retorted, looking straight at him. "You've hurt her and I'm sure he heard it... Now he knows…"
Slade looked uncertain for a second.
"You should know better than anyone what happens after that…"
Understanding of what the young man had said seemed to dawn on the villain and he laughed again.
"You think that monster will save you? You must be desperate Robin! I defeated it, I crushed that boy!", he responded, disdain evident in his tone. "I outsmarted you! I captured your most powerful comrade after crushing the Beast myself! I over powered the alien princess and out brained the machine man! I defeated the Teen Titans, don't you see that? It's over for you now…", he exclaimed, walking to the teenager and kicking him repeatedly while laughing like a madman.
Robin flew in the air by a few centimeters with each kick. Once the villain stopped and his laughter died he knelt beside the teenager. The leader of the Titans coughed blood as Slade grabbed him by the hair and lifted his head.
"So, what do you have to say to that? None of you can defeat me boy..."
Robin couched again, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth. He laughed weakly as he looked at Slade once more.
"You still don't get it… Slade?, he managed to say, heaving with difficulty, "Do you still not understand-", he coughed again and breathed in with difficulty before continuing, "what the Teen Titans means?"
"And what might that mean then?", Slade asked, more ironical than curious.
Robin could imagine him still smiling under his mask. He did not reply, simply steeling the defiance in his eyes as he glared at Slade. Despite all that had happened he was still confident, his friends could make it, they would make it. And if his detective instincts were correct, after all that he had witnessed over the years, saying the changeling would definitely not be happy. was a blatant euphemism...
The villain stared at the teenager for a few seconds, thoughts coursing through his mind, before loosening his grip on the boy wonder's hair, letting his face hit the ground with a thud. He slowly stood back up before silently going back to sit on the stone throne.