|How Long is Forever?
Author: Demons Of Doom PM
Starfire leaves. Obsolete Cyborg knows his batteries wont hold for much longer. Bald Beast Boy feels strange outside of his cage. Raven isn't sure if what's happening to her is real. And Nightwing stares at them, not quite sure what to do.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Raven & Starfire - Chapters: 9 - Words: 22,271 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 01-10-13 - Published: 06-21-12 - id: 8240908
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Can you figure out exactly what year Raven headed to?"
Cyborg looked up from the battery-cell he was inspecting to find Warp's device right under his nose. The looks on Nightwing and Starfire's faces were grim. He took the object and examined it carefully. A frown darkened his features.
"The setting's being changed."
It took a moment for him to realize the implications of that. Starfire winced at the heart-broken look on his face. It was fleeting. His face hardened as he set the device down on the table.
"It was too good to be truth."
"I am sorry."
Starfire whispered and reached out to touch him. Cyborg stormed out of the room before she could. Nightwing was quick behind. He grabbed his massive wrist to stop him.
"We talk to her. No yelling, no fighting..."
The big man jerked his hand free, the robotic eye ablaze.
"Dont you tell me how to treat people."
And he walked away. Nightwing sighed and followed. Starfire shuffled along.
"I don't know what to tell you, Raven. I've never given Star a pet."
"Did you bring any animal to the Tower?"
Changeling sighed and dropped the box he was carrying. It was the first time in years Raven and he talked to each and it annoyed him it felt more like an interrogation than a conversation. It was better than nothing, though.
"Well…there was this really old cat, then that small puppy Mas and Menos took home. Then those cows…Oh, and that mutant worm." He smiled although there were tears on his eyes. "Do you remember Killer Mob, Rae? He forced Robin to take that brat to the prom."
Raven remembered Killer Mob and she suddenly remembered the worm Beast Boy had brought home after the mutant was dealt with. The pink thing had eaten the couch and Cyborg blasted it in a fit of rage. That incident precluded one of the most horrible arguments she remembered and one of the first that would finally push Beast Boy out of the Tower.
Changeling remembered it all too clearly. He quickly shoved the depressing thought down and picked up the box again. The future looked too promising to keep dwelling in the past. This was the last time he stepped on Titan's tower. They would move to a new place to build a new life. He would help Raven deal too.
Nightwing and Cyborg were standing at the door, looking pissed as hell. Starfire stood at their side with an uncharacteristic grim expression on her face. Beast Boy blinked a few times and glanced at Raven. Her eyes were glowing faintly. He stepped back.
"Okay…what's going on?"
"Why from the past?" Nightwing asked softly. "Why not our Starfire?"
Raven was silent for a moment. She seemed to be leveling each of them carefully.
"Because I found her dead."
Raven winced. Their pain stabbed at her like knives. She pulled her hood up- finding reassurance in its concealing shadows- and whispered her calming mantra.
"What is going on?"
Changeling insisted, looking among his friends for an answer. He stopped on Starfire. She held his gaze briefly before looking away.
"I do not belong here. This is not my home and I am not you friend." There was no anger on her words. Raven looked at her from the shadows of her concealing hood. "I am sorry."
"No..." Changeling gasped and took a hand to his chest. It felt suddenly so tight. "It's not true…"
"She was dead so you just brought somebody else?" Cyborg snarled, towering over Raven. "You really are fucked up. I should have never trusted you! I should have broken this shit the second you put it in my hand!"
The enraged Titan lifted his arm, intended on slamming Warp's device against the floor. A massive hand caught his wrist. The green gorilla that was the Changeling snatched the device off his hand and turned back to his human form.
"Yelling at her won't fix things. But this's gonna."
"He's right." Nightwing grabbed the device and faced Raven. "Just take her back where she belongs."
Raven stepped back from them. She shook her head, eyes glowing hauntingly. Nighwing's face hardened.
"It wasn't a suggestion."
"I will not be alone again."
Warp's device was swallowed by darkness. Nightwing leapt forward and kicked Raven in the chest. She grunted and fell hard against the wall. The device was freed from the influence of her powers but the price for its safe keeping was chaos.
Changeling shifted into a gorilla and shoved Nightwing back. He snarled his defiance but before Robin could retaliate, Cyborg stepped between them.
"Chill, man, what side are you on?"
"What side are you on?!"
"How about the sane team?!"
Starfire gasped in terror as the whole room seemed to be swallowed in darkness. Changeling and Cyborg were too busy yelling at each other to notice. Nightwing did, however, and he whirled around to attack Raven again. From there, reality seemed to spiral into a nightmare.
Beast Boy turned into a beast of hideous proportions, all teeth, fangs and hair. It howled madly and leapt at Cyborg. Furniture and old machines exploded as Raven thrashed under Nightwing. He had managed to clamp a hand over her mouth. Starfire screamed at them to stop but nobody listened. The wolfish beast slammed Cyborg violently against the floor and slashed at his face with wicked claws. A powerful plasma blast sent him rocketing back against the far wall, Cyborg crawled back to his feet and shot again. The tower shuddered to its foundation. Nightwing howled in pain as Raven bit his smothering hand. Blood dripped from under her teeth…
"Stop. Stop! STOP!"
Cyborg stopped strangling Changeling and the green beast ceased his attempts to claw the half-human's face off with his claws. One of Raven's eyes popped out from under the hood Nightwing had pulled over her face and she stopped chewing on his hand. They stared wide-eyed at the alien standing in the middle of the room.
"It is not my absence what has destroyed the team! It is you!" They released their painful holds on each other, looking chastised. "You have forgotten about the friendship."
She waited for that to sink in and then approached Raven. She looked up. Starfire was reminded suddenly of a kicked dog.
"Please, I wish to go home now."
"But I can't be alone again."
Nightwing placed a hand on her shoulder. He was staring at the bite mark on his other hand.
"You won't be." He said. "I won't abandon you again."
Changeling shifted back from his monstrous visage and stood at Raven's side.
"You've got me too."
Cyborg sighed, rubbing his sore head.
"I'm still pissed but…hell, I haven't got so much fun in years…"
Starfire beamed at them. It was wonderful she had managed to give them hope. She looked at Raven and hoped her smile would banish the hesitation she could still see on the young woman's face.
"You have hurt each other and still forgive! It is a most important duty to fulfill to nurture and maintain a strong friendship! You do not need me here. You just need to remember how to be friends!"
Raven's dull eyes finally rose from the ground.
"You are happy. In the past."
"It is where I belong."
"And you want to go back because you are happy there."
Raven smiled. Without a word, Nightwing handed her Warp's device. They stepped back to give her space. Her eyes glowed and her body lifted off the ground. Starfire glanced with a smile at the other three Titans in a silent farewell.
Cyborg's eyes suddenly widened, he stepped forward.
"The device ain't on!" He shouted. "Shut her up!"
Nightwing leapt at the white robed sorceress just as the last word passed her lips. A huge demonic shadow rose from her petite form, all enveloping wings spreading across the room, swallowing light and sound and filling their hearts with terror.