Six Months Earlier...
It was a dark night, as it always seems to be, when those with just as dark intentions seemed to thrive like maggots among the streets. This meticulous darkness was something he was used to as his past can atest. The petty criminals, the violent gangs, and moreover the arrogant villains never seemed to change no matter where he went.
Different faces, different places, but always the same intentions.
Jump City was one such example. As he crouched among the shadows of some nameless building's fire escape, the young hero commonly known as Robin watched as some thief or other made his way down the alley. Smirking confidently to himself, Robin watched as the robber hid behind a dumpster while a parade of police cars stormed passed them on the street. Eyeing the slightly larger man, Robin concluded that it wouldn't take much to bring the thief down.
As silently as his once mentor taught him, he leapt across the way to the building opposite, letting his cape make the slightest flutter as an effect. The thief paused and glanced around, suspicion claiming his otherwise cocky appearance as he pulled a crowbar from his belt. 'Tsk, tsk-ing' the man in his head, Robin hurled a birdarang at the man's wrist, effectively surprising the man. The crowbar disappeared farther into the alley, and the man nearly freaked.
"I don't want trouble, ok?" The man's hands seemed to gripped the bag of cash and jewels tighter as he slowly walked backwards, searching for any indication of someone else.
Robin dropped down behind him, concealed by the darkness. The man twisted at the sound of feet landing on the pavement, and then the flapping of wings. Peering nervously into the alley, he couldn't see them until they were practically on him. Gasping in shock, he reflexively released the bag to protect his face. Gritting his teeth, his eyes followed their path as the bats flew right passed him.
Robin, comfortably shrouded in shadows, strode instead out confidently towards the thief who twirled back around at the sound of footsteps. The man's jaw dropped as Robin spoke, "You should've thought about that before you committed the crime."
With the time for introductions over, Robin leapt into the air, powerfully kicking the man in the center of his chest before flipping back and landing on his feet. Once he recovered his balance, the man swung at Robin. More than well used to these kinds of criminals by now, Robin blocked the hit with his forearm, and the other hit that came from his right. He ducked another left hook and punched the man solidly in his abdomen, coming up with a knee to his upper body immediately after. The man fell back, but Robin didn't let up. Using the wall, Robin jumped and pushed off the rough bricks to successfully vault overtop the man, grabbing his shoulders and using the momentum to flip the man over and down onto his back. He relentlessly continued the motion by flinging the man effortlessly into another building with a crack.
The thief grunted at the sudden onrush of attacks, and looked up at the vigilante from where he'd fallen. His eyes immediately widened in recognition and fear. Sweat running down his temple, the man exclaimed, "Hey! This isn't your town!" This wasn't right, none of this had gone right, his plans were ruined. What was the sidekick doing here? And, if Robin were here, then- "Aren't you supposed to be with-"
"Just moved here," Robin stated gruffly, mask glaring towards the man for even mentioning it. "And from now on I work alone." Never again would he work with a man such as Batman, or anyone else. Partners weren't equals, and Robin would not be another sidekick. Still glowering at the man, a sudden shriek in the air of wind and powerful jets convinced him to look up. Curiously enough, a green streak of light beamed across the sky before crashing in a great boom.
Robin narrowed his eyes in suspicion at the sight before looking back towards the thief, who was cradling an arm at the time. The man was pleading to Robin with his eyes, hoping that Robin might leave him behind to check out that flash of light instead. To his displeasure, in a matter of seconds Robin had him hanging upside down in the dank, filthy alleyway. He was not happy.
The Boy Wonder, meanwhile, raced down into the darkness towards his destiny.
The petty criminal had been a good warm up.
That was her first thought on this planet.
Crawling up from the crater, her mind was spinning. I'm free.
The weight of her cuffs drew her eyes down. Free for now. Get rid of the cuffs, but first she had to prepare for war. This planet is unknown, and so far as she's aware she could already have landed at the Citadel.
No, she corrected herself. She couldn't have landed there as she had crash landed here, on this very bizarre planet. Nonetheless, she called forth her boundless confidence and righteous fury. Her eyes glowed a threatening green. There were strangely pale creatures staring at her fearfully. Rutha. Weak. They communicated in loud screams and cries. Perhaps they'd help her. She tried to speak to speak to them.
"Zwakvor'ni vornot! Zwakvor! Ut gux'ut vreu!" Koriand'r stepped towards them, though they shrunk back in fear. They didn't understand. She shouted in frustration. The Gordanians would be here soon. Maybe baser things would make more sense? Koriand'r held up her arms to show them the arm encompassing handcuffs that barred her from using her full motion and starbolts. They were so very heavy to hold that way.
One of the bald creatures held up an object with only slight hesitation and she felt a burst of hope. Were they going to help her?
A sudden flash of light blinded her, and she couldn't see. Were they attacking her? Koriand'r shook away her blindness and advanced on the strange inhabitants of this planet. These creatures seemed easily afraid, and yet in was not her intention to make them fear her. In desperation, she had run towards them, shoving the cuffs in their face, swinging her arms from person to person to try to make them see. It worked out in the end that they ran from her. She needed space if she was going to try to break free from these shackles. With as much force as she could muster, Kori smashed her locked arms into the ground. When that didn't work, she swung them at an oddly shaped mode of transportation, and then at what she assumed to be this part of this planet's vegetation. With a metallic clang, a shower of perfectly circular "seeds" graced the asphalt road as the plant snapped from it's roots. She proceeded to smash a rectangular rock and then at a taller, strictly linear tree.
None of it seemed to put a dent in the cuffs.
She had to get them off, and soon, before the Gordanians caught up with her. She eyed them, wearily, tugging at them in opposite directions in an attempt to break them apart. Useless, for it didn't work. Her boundless courage and righteous fury faltered for a moment before she noticed another object on this planet that she might try to use in order to break the cuffs.
Impatient and more than somewhat desperate, Koriand'r flew to the tall support beam, crashing her wrists against it in one smooth motion. Planting her feet on the ground, Koriand'r reeled her arms back and pitched them towards the beam.
"Zjok!" She swung at the beam again. "York!" And again. "Mesna!" Breathless, she raised her arms to strike the deformed beam again when something struck her in the side of the face, veering her from her intended path.
Which was just what Robin had planned.
Koriand'r knew it would happen; perhaps the Gordanians came sooner than she thought. She turned to look at her attacker, baring her teeth and bracing herself for battle. If there was one thing she knew, it was that a warrior did not go down without a fight.
Flinging his cape aside, Robin took on a fighting stance. "Who are you?" Robin demanded of her, frowning slightly. She did not understand the words, although she thought it very obvious what he had stated based on the harsh tone of his voice and the tenseness of his posture.
Presuming that to be a challenge, Koriand'r leapt into the air and charged arms toward him. She recuperated quickly, having missed him by a quite a few feet. Another crater was created in the cracked cement. Looking up, Koriand'r rushed the slighter hero, who effectively dodged her half-decent blows. In retaliation, Robin flung a couple of flash bombs at her while dark eyes watched from the shadows.
The battle carried on.
The sounds of various explosions and violent crashes floated down to the reclusive girl obscured in the light, or lack thereof, of the alleyway. She was on the fence, metaphorically speaking, about what to do. Indecisiveness ate away at her, for some reason, and she tried to ease it away with a whisper under her breath. As she gazed at the near war that was taking place between a slow gathering of metahumans and the alien, she wondered if it was as painfully obvious to anyone else just why the other girl with the orange skin fought so aggressively. Didn't the human boy in the atrocious Halloween-Traffic Light getup get it? She'd heard he was supposed to be a master detective.
Tucked safely away in the heavy folds of her cloak, the girl-a metahuman herself-watched and listened to what was happening before her very eyes. The alien girl easily took a hit from the traffic light, smirking like a true warrior as she nudged an SUV up into the air as if it weighed nothing. Vaguely reminding the dark girl of some human sport or other, the alien sent the car spiraling towards Robin despite her cuffed wrists. He was barely able to dive out of the way.
Did he notice that metal on her wrists now?
"Hmph. Stronger than she looks."
No. The idiotic boy didn't see. Rachel pinched the bridge of her nose in barely controlled frustration. She shouldn't want to help; she shouldn't help, but that overwhelming desire to speak up was eating at her. She'd leave, and yet there was something gripping her here, begging her to stay. With her luck, this was probably Fate. Rachel closed her eyes and listened instead.
The groaning of metal and a mixture of explosions and shatters; there, the grunting of the boy as he attempted to deflect some hit or other; there, the alien girl sending a warrior's cry.
"Zota." Rachel could hear the smugness in the other girl's throat.
The sudden involuntary groan and collision of one body pile-driving the next.
Two feet on the pavement, and a cracking voice-
"Ex-Doom Patrol Member, Beast Boy, Sir! How can I help-"
A gasp of recognition.
"Wow-zers. You're Robin aren't you Sir?"
"Well you can start by not calling me 'sir'."
She could already tell the newcomer would never shut up.
"Well let me just say that it's a real honor to be-"
"-Beast Boy, was it?"
There was silence for a moment, and then the alien girl roaring as she threw something heavy and metallic.
Rachel opened her eyes to see yet another individual grappling with a bus. Two plus two is four, and Rachel deduced that the bus was what the alien girl had thrown. Narrowing her eyes just the slightest, the metahuman recalled Robin's earlier statement of the obvious. She is stronger than she looks.
Each of these people fighting each other felt different. Empathetically, she meant. Robin felt purely human, with a strong sense of duty and confidence that few heroes actually had. There was a shadow about his demeanor though; something weighed deeply on his thoughts. Perhaps this is what distracted him from seeing the desperation of the alien girl.
The green one was also, strangely, human. She wasn't quite sure what she was expecting of him when she'd first heard his crackling voice speak with an air of respect. It's safe to say that 'green' and 'can turn into animals' did not make the list. His emotions felt rebellious and proud, stubborn to a fault, while opposing to the like animalistic nature of beasts that seemed to be ingrained into his every fiber. Her demon purred as her mind briefly touched the beast within his.
The other metahuman present felt different as well. Like her, he was only half-human. The rest of his sense that she should feel no longer existed. Instead, a cold, almost vaguely reminiscent stain of what felt like the smell of alcohol and antibiotics replaced the should-be other human half of him. And his every emotion and thought felt carefully calculated.
And the alien girl, as with before, hungered for freedom; she starved for it, and the desperation to be rid of the cuffs that held her down grew more and more with each passing moment as the three other boys ganged up on her. They fought like a team, the boys, and yet the girl fought like a warrior. There was rage there, and conversely joy; a sense of honor and dignity that gave Rachel an idea of the girl's regal bearing. The other girl fought for some reason that held more to clearing her name of whatever lies were told.
Rachel could relate to the need to clear a name.
She's been stuck with one for all fourteen years of her life.
It was why she left Azarath, among many other things.
Her name was a burden to bear.
The other girl partially freed herself of the cuffs. Her arms were still locked together, but her hands were now free to... fire green bursts of light? If those explosions were of any indication, then those were painful bursts of light. The other girl fired them in rapid succession.
She knelt on the battered asphalt street, breathing heavily. The other three boys regrouped and chatted in undertones that, should she have had the desire, Rachel could've overheard. She felt it then; the rising mount of tension and aggression. This battle was at the breaking point, one way or another it was about to end. Rachel had the feeling that the alien would fight to the death, and the boys would fight for as long as it took to bring the other foe down. This wouldn't end well, and it all began because of a misunderstanding on both parts.
Should she help? Would she?
She really, really wanted to.
"Girl's gonna wreck the whole city," the other half-human stated.
The traffic light on two feet gritted his teeth, and gnashed his fist into his palm. "I won't let her." He said it as if it were a matter of choice. "I won't lose this fight." The boy's pride was in the way. Rachel gave the green boy props for proving her wrong about her earlier assessment and not saying anything as the her own instinct to speak up overwhelmed her.
In a flash of shadows and black abyss, Rachel appeared before them just as they began to run in for the final match. A surprise to both her and the strangers she was about to rationalize with, her soul-self took a moment to appear out of the black of her mind. She'd never seen it before. It gave a loud, musical cry as her soul spread its wings before them. Rachel finally felt connected to herself, as she realized just what the bird was. Rachel's soul was that of a Raven.
Momentarily recalling the teachings of Azar, she realized her true name is Raven. Arella had made the change from Angela Roth to Arella, so to would Rachel make the change to Raven. It wasn't too difficult to accept.
Raven sunk back into the shadows and rose behind them, now that their attention was efficiently distracted.
The low, yet careful roll of her voice carried out to them; "Maybe fighting isn't the answer."
They looked at her, and she deliberately turned her attention instead to the alien girl, the flow of her energy returning to her. They followed her line of sight to the girl who was still on her knees, still breathing heavily, and if that frustration Rachel -Raven- felt, then more unhappy with herself for this turn of events than with the fact that there were three against one should the fight continue. A look of realization seemed to fill Robin's face, followed quickly by determination in the set of his eyes.
"Stand down," he said, as if had the power to tell anyone what to do. The other half-human seemed to have similar thoughts. Indignantly he demanded, "What, you think you[re the boss or somthin'?" Not phased in the slightest, Robin said to, "Just give me a chance."
With that, Raven knew that her work was done. She shouldn't stick around. She wouldn't stick around.
So Raven quietly turned and slipped away, not noticed by the others who were too busy watching the rather shaky interaction between the alien girl and Robin. She reassured herself with the knowledge that if they knew who she really was, they wouldn't want her around.
And who would she be kidding?
Rachel wasn't really the hero type anyway.
And then the green one's voice, nearly painful to listen to as it creaked, carried down to her in an echo on the abandoned street, "So... I'm Beast Boy. Who are you?"
Rachel vanished in a pool of black.
Raven emerged miles away on a dock in the harbor.
Better safe than sorry.
Happy Birthday to me.
This took me a while to think out carefully. I had a vague idea of where I was going to go with this, but now I think I want it to change. Either way, this is going to turn out more than slightly AU while still incorporating aspects of the TV series into this. This isn't so AU, being just the prologue, as I needed it to follow as closely as possible to the original interaction between Raven and the other Titans. Which, in case you didn't realize, she didn't stick to watch the Gordanians attack, or to find Starfire. She doesn't join the Titans.
The question is, does anybody join?
Thanks for reading, and leave a review. This will be continued, and I promise to try to update at appropriately as I can. Life's stressing right now too much for me to get much legible writing down.