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The Culinary Spy

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It was a quiet day in the tower. Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy had all gone into town leaving the two birds alone in the tower. Raven was most likely in her room reading, or on the roof meditating. Robin was enjoying the quiet in his home, it was a rarity. He had spent the morning training, much of the mid-day working on case files, and then a good chunk of the afternoon taking a relaxing swim.

Now that he was showered and dressed, it seemed like the opportune time to seek out something to eat. He stopped short as he rounded the corner to the kitchen, hiding himself behind the corner of the wall. He gently looked into the kitchen, where Raven stood with her back to him as she stirred something in a pot on the stove.

Robin had never seen Raven make anything in the kitchen aside from her tea, the idea of her cooking anything was shocking, but intriguing. She turned around to the counter opposite the stove as she arranged a cutting board, knife, and veggies in a bowl. She was wearing her usual leotard with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows and a dark green apron was tied gingerly around her tiny waist. Her cloak lay draped over a chair off to the side. It was unusual to see Raven without her cloak. Her body was more slender than Robin had imagined it to be, though curvier at the same time. Her legs were toned and smooth, something he had never noticed before.

He watched at she pulled a stalk of broccoli out of the bowl and began chopping it with the knife. Her hands moved deliberately, expertly. When had Raven learned to cook? He watched as she pulled another stalk of broccoli from the bowl before dumping the chopped pieces into it. She chopped away at the second stalk. He watched in awe as her movements worked the muscles in her forearms. He had never noticed how lean her body was.

When the remaining chopped pieces were placed into the bowl, she pulled a handful of white bulbs onto the cutting board. Robin watched as she laid the flat of the blade on the bulbs and pressed hard, flattening them all. She corralled them into a small pile on the board and grasped the knife firmly in her right hand, laying the palm of her left hand on the smooth side of the knife near the end. She rocked the knife up and down, mincing the little bulbs. A whiff of the aroma told Robin these bulbs were garlic. Her actions were precise, calculated, with no unnecessary movements. How could anyone make mincing garlic look like poetry? He lost himself watching her hands. Her long delicate fingers, the smooth skin on the back of her hands, her tiny little wrists. They seemed so dainty. How had he never noticed that before?

An upbeat song came up on the player she had plugged into the the speaker dock Cyborg kept in the kitchen just as she finished her mincing and added it into the bowl with the broccoli. Her body rocked gently to the music, his chest tightened at the sight of her hips swaying when she turned to grab the pot off the stove. He found it hard to breathe as his eyes remained glued to her hips as she sashayed to the sink to drain whatever had been in the pot. He was sure it was pasta, but his mind was working overtime to pull his eyes away from her curves.

She returned the pot to the stove and dribbled some oil in it's bottom before tossing the broccoli and garlic into it. He watched as her biceps flexed through the thin material of her leotard as she stir fried the vegetables. All the hand to hand training he was making her do was clearly doing it's job. After a minute or two, she dumped the broccoli back into the bowl and threw a spoonful of butter into the pot when she places it back on the burner. He watched as she added a bit of flour and grabbed a whisk from the drawer to mix it together. They owned a whisk? He had been hardly aware they even had pots or a strainer. She reached into a cabinet and pulled out a can that she cut two triangle shaped holes into with the can opener. He looked on as she poured some of the amber liquid into the pot and whisked it together with the flour and butter, adding more slowly as she stirred.

He forced himself to look away when she leaned over into the refrigerator to pull out the milk to prevent himself from looking at her backside. She poured some milk into the pot and raised the heat before reaching over to preheat the oven. Raven pulled a casserole dish from the cabinet next to the stove and sprayed cooking spray along the sides and bottom.

He smiled as she brought two bags of shredded cheese out of the refrigerator to her counter top. The whole scene was so domestic that he couldn't help the soft smile from appearing on his lips. His raven looked like a little mother. Wait, his Raven? Where had that come from? When had he started thinking of her as his own? He barely knew her.

His shoulders fell as that realization came over him. He barely knew her. Of course he didn't know she could cook, he had never thought to ask. Why had he never made more of an effort to get to know her. He sighed as he watched her add one of the bags of cheese into the pot, a regretful look into his eyes.

'It's never to late to start'

That's right, there was still plenty of time to get to know the dark empath. He would have a late start compared to their companions, but he was certain that they could still build as strong a friendship as either of them had with anyone.

His mood improved by his new found determination, he moved a bit out of his hiding spot to notice that Raven was stirring some chocolate syrup into a glass of milk. Not her usual choice of a beverage for certain. She tossed the spoon into the sink and held the glass out to her side.

"Here you are Robin." she said in his direction without looking away from the pot she was now stirring.

"How long have you known I was here?" he asked as he took the glass of chocolate milk from her.

"Since I started chopping the broccoli. You needed a reason to come spy on my cooking skills, and what better reason than chocolate milk." she replied in her usual monotone.

"Oh, well, I..." he stuttered and avoided looking at her as he struggled with his words, missing the ghost of a smile she wore.

"Drink your milk."

He leaned on the counter and did as commanded while his eyes followed her movements as she added the broccoli, pasta, and some shredded chicken she pulled from the refrigerator to the pot and stirred it into the cheesy cream that she had prepared for it. Once mixed, she poured the concoction into the casserole dish and dusted the top with the other bag of cheese before tossing it into the oven and setting a timer for it to bake.

"I didn't know you could cook." he said as he set his half empty glass on the counter between them.

"There is a lot you don't know about me Robin." she replied with a smirk on her face as she lifted his glass to her lips and finished off his milk.

A smile danced in his eyes as he realized she was playing with him.

"You're right. That's something I intend to change."