I've been inspired by 1) one of the stories from a book my friend gave me during our xmas party, and 2) the things I've read about sorcery, magic, and witchcraft from that certain book, "The Best of Fantasy 2004."

I do not own Teen Titans, as well as Robert Silverberg's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in which I based this story on.

The story's mine, the plot belongs to Robert Silverberg…

My Christmas gift to all my faithful readers and reviewers…An added bonus because this is my first M-rated story, not because there will be a lemon, but because of the suggestive scenes.

Dedicated to: baby blue ice cream, alena-chan, Tecna, Darkofthenight, Iris Night, BigBlackWoman/Cherished18, Cherry Jade, azn sister 92, and Mind Shadow.

And of course, to everyone reading this, my Christmas gift to one and all…

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Utter shock escaped from his parted lips as his eyes were met with an unexpected sight at the topmost landing of the wobbly stairs.

He took another step forward, getting a clearer view of the floor conjoining the ramshackle lopsided structure below, and the floor above, supposedly owned by his soon-to be mentor for the next six months.

Richard Grayson struggled upward, with his luggage in one hand, the other grasping the notice he snatched from the public dormitory for wayfarers, the only choice for sheltered accomodation on his first night in Triggoin, and committed to memory the parchment posted on the bulletin board:

APPRENTICE WANTED

Fifth-level adept instruction for serious student, plus lodging. Thirty crowns per week for room and lessons. Some household work required, and assistance in professional tasks. Apply to R. Roth, 7 Gapeligo Boulevard, West Triggoin.

The young man soon found himself in a rather awkward rendezvous with folded arms and a hostile glance by a woman about his own age and height: raven-haired, pale-skinned, with keen unwavering eyes of lustrous amethyst and thin, savage-looking lips.

Evidently she had heard his bumpings and thumpings on the staircase and had come out to inspect the source of the commotion. He was struck at once, despite her chilly and even forbidding aspect, with the despairing realization that he found her immensely attractive.

"I'm looking for R. Roth," Richard managed to choke out, pondering on the reason why he was gasping for breath: his climb or the haughty female in front of him, clad in a simple white bodice and a full skirt, smudges of dirt here and there.

"I am R. Roth."

That stunned him. Sorcery was not a trade commonly practiced by women, although there were some who did go in for it. And apparently, R. Roth was one of them.

"The apprenticeship – ?"

"Still available," she said with a tone that indicated she was indeed serious as she looked, "Give me these." In the manner of a porter she swiftly separated his bags from his grasp, levitating them as though they were weightless, and then led him to her right, all the while waving her free hand over a padlocked door.

Her chambers were dark, cheerless, cluttered, and untidy. The small room to the left of the entrance was jammed with the apparatus and paraphernalia of a professional sorcerer: astrolabes , crucibles, an armillary sphere, beakers and retorts, trays and metal boxes holding blue powders and pink ointments and strange seeds, a collection of flasks containing mysterious colored fluids, and much more that he was unable to identify.

A second room adjacent to it held an overflowing bookcase, a couple of chairs, and a swaybacked couch. No doubt this room was for consultations. There were cobwebs on the window and he saw dust beneath the couch, even a few sand roaches.

Down the hallway lay a small dirty kitchen, a tiny room with a toilet and tub in it, storeroom piled high with more books and pamphlets, and beyond it the closed door of what he supposed – correctly, as it turned out – to be her bedroom.

What he did not see was any space for a lodger.

"I can offer an hour of formal instruction per day, everyday of the week, plus access to my library for your independent studies, and two hours a week of discussion growing out of your own investigations," R. Roth announced,

"All of this in the morning; I will require you to be out of here every afternoon, because I have private pupils during that time. How you spend those hours is unimportant to me, except that I will need you to go to the marketplace for me two to three times a week, and you may as well do that then. You'll also do sweeping, washing, as well as household chores, as you surely have seen, I have very little time to deal with. And you'll help me in my own work as required, assuming, of course, your skills are up to it…Are these agreeable to you?"

"Absolutely," said Richard, bemused in her ebony locks that brushed a little against his cheek with every turn of her head, looking deep violet as they glistened against the candlelight, falling to a sparkling cascade down her shoulders.

"The fee is payable four weeks in advance. If you leave after the first week the rest is refundable, afterwards not."

But the amateur wizard knew already that he was not going anywhere, nor leave.

R. Roth held out her hand, "Sixty crowns, that will be."

Almost as if a jolt pulled him back to reality, he replied as he put both hands into the pockets of his trousers, "The notice I saw said it was thirty crowns a week."

Her eyes were steely, "You must have seen an old notice. I raised my rates last year."

He would not quibble. Her defiant stare was enough to grip him with tangible tension. As the coins clanged against each other to a jingly heap on her small palm, words blurted themselves out from his mouth, "And where am I going to be sleeping?"

This did not bother her, for she gestured indifferently toward a rolled-up mat in s corner of the room that contained all the apparatus. And Richard realized that that was going to be his bed.

"You decide that. The laboratory, the study, the library, or the hallway even. Wherever you like."

His own choice would have been her bedroom, with her, but he was wise enough not to say that, even as a joke…if ever he wanted to live through the next morning.

He told her that he would sleep in the study, as she seemed to call the room with the couch and the books, while she gently lowered his bags to a corner of the bookcase.

While he was unrolling the mat, he noticed, out on the corner of his eye, R. Roth leaned against the dining table not far from the couch and looked upon him, with nonchalant bewilderment projected by her aura.

"What level of instruction in the arts have you attained?" Her question caused him to turn to her direction.

"Oh, I'm self-educated, although a novice, I assure you I have the interest to learn, with some apparent gift for the craft." He finished setting his 'bed' and drifted his gaze to the mat, fumbling with the loose straw leavened at the edges, for he found her intimidating enough.

This action, of course, did not go unnoticed, and R. Roth countered with another inquiry, but this time, in a softer tone, void of the demanding underestimation she held for him.

"For how long were you amateurishly pursuing sorcery?"

Yet, the interrogation did not save him from a rather insulting tease.

"Erm, just a hobby that somehow got to me…" And Richard slouched his head in a manner that let his bangs fall to the front of his eyes.

His 'master' appeared untroubled by that. Perhaps all that mattered to her was the rent; she would instruct anyone, even a novice, so long as he paid on time.

She turned away, heading for her bedroom.

The man suddenly perked up and called after her, but did not bother to get up from his cross-legged position on the mat. "I'm Richard Grayson. And your name is – ?"

"Roth," she said, disappearing down the hallway, boots clicking behind her, as her last name escaped her lips, dripping with venom.

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His first night at the Roth residence proved to be quite difficult for him. No sooner has he laid his head down the mat, insomnia crept up to him like a thief in the night, robbing the precious hours intended for sleep away.

With boredom as his only company he opted to familiarize himself with the place by walking about, careful not to make any noise, as he lingered his sight on every corner of every wall of every room.

Her first name, he discovered from a diploma in the study, was Raven, an exotically lovely name to him, but if she wanted to be called 'Roth,' then 'Roth' was what he would call her.

Richard would not take the risk of offending her in any way, not only because he very much craved the instruction that she could offer him, but also because of the troublesome and unwanted physical attraction that she held for him.

He could see right away that that attraction was in no way reciprocated.

That disappointed him.

One of the few areas of his life where he had generally met with success was in his dealings with women.

Of course, Roth wasn't like any other woman now, is she?

He sighed with the thought that obviously, she's not.

But he knew that romance was inappropriate, anyway, between master and pupil, even if they were of differing genders.

Nor had he asked for it: it had simply smitten him at first glance.

If these 'feelings' of his for Roth became a problem, he supposed, he could go into town and purchase whatever the opposite of a love-charm was called. If they sold love-charms here, and he had no doubt that they did, surely they would sell antidotes for love as well.

But he wanted to remain here, and so he would do whatever she asked of him, call her by whatever name she requested, and so forth, obeying her in all things.

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Clouds shed tears that drifted down over the quiet city of Triggoin, and a rumble of thunder in the distant horizon woke up Richard a little early as Roth required of him.

Perhaps a little too early.

Gritting his teeth all the while grumbling his way towards the bathroom, slouching as if the world was on his shoulders, he staggered is weight and kept walking as straight as he can to his destination.

The young magician hurriedly opened the door to the bathroom, with such force and visibly not aware that somebody else was in occupation of it for the moment.

Roth was apparently taking her morning bath, yet the faucet was too loud, drowning out any noise chanced upon by the room itself.

He saw her from the rear, first, the long lean back and narrow waist and the flat, almost boyish buttocks, and then, as a gasp of shock escaped his lips she became aware that he was there, she turned and faced him squarely, staring at him coolly and unconcernedly as though he were a piece of furniture.

He on the other hand, was overwhelmed by the sight of her bosom, so full and close-set that they almost seemed out of proportion on such a slender frame, and of her flaring sharp-boned hips, and of the startlingly coal-hued triangle between them, tapering down to the slim thighs.

Hastily he shut his eyes as though he had accidentally stared into the sun, just as he heard her mutter a strange incantation. A force propelled him onto the air, sending him flying, then landing on his back at the far end of the hallway.

Richard opened them again, only to curse at the imprint of Roth's nakedness burning its way fiercely into his soul, setting loose a conflagration that he knew would be impossible for him to douse.

Knowing fully well that it would be hours before his first lesson with Roth, he somehow felt it might be the last, after what happened.

Wanting to prove to his teacher that he was not a hormonal pervert passing himself off as a student, he was determined now more than ever to redeem himself.

That it, if ever Roth would give him a second chance.

Dizzied and dazed as a tremendous swirl of adolescent emotion roared through his adult mind, he braced himself against the hallway wall and gulped for breath like a drowning man.

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To Musay: I hope this isn't too much…too mature? Call me when you've already read this…can't use the internet at home, computer's bein' a bitch again, I can say the same for my cellphone, I reached past the credit limit so can't text either…went to Netopia to post this fic. Thanks for the Chicken Little notebook by the way.

Well, whaddya guys think?

I almost forgot…the words with the asterisk () are sorta glossary terms…just in case:

astrolabe – instrument used for measuring the positions of heavenly bodies

crucible – heat-resistant container where metals are melted

armillary sphere – an instrument that shows the principal divisions of the heavens and the motion of celestial bodies

Remember, my first shot at all the M-rated stuff…I have high hopes for this fic, and I hope you guys will too.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

God bless,

Kiki