This is it. The final chapter. Hope it doesn't disappoint.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed or favorited this story. It means a lot, considering how different this is from anything else I've written. We're approaching Titans Together review numbers, which is amazing. Thank you a thousand times for reading and following. You are amazing.
As per usual, I own nothing. The Teen Titans belong to DC and their respective creators.
Chapter titles are taken from the song "Valerie Plame" by Peter Tracy.
"Will the defense rise?"
Raven, in the back of the courtroom, tried to remain calm as Slade Wilson, in impeccable suit and tie, rose to his feet. In the front few rows, she saw Melvin, Cheshire, Bee, Jinx, and all the other girls who'd been held. Some looked worried, but most were angry.
In the past three months, the judge had heard testimony after testimony of what Wilson and Blood had done. The girls who took the stand spoke of the ways they'd been abducted, transported, what they'd seen or heard, and, worst of all, what had happened to them. Every bit of each testimony had been taken apart and put back together with flight plans, pictures, and records.
Raven, due to her occupation, couldn't testify. Still, Raven went to every day of the trial - and it hadn't been easy.
Wilson's lawyer, a man named Wintergreen, was no fool. He brought up irrelevant moments from their youth to show a lack of integrity. He attacked their finances to give them motive. He'd said the girls were willing, then changed their mind. He demeaned them in every way possible, but they continued forward.
When it became painfully clear that it hadn't been their fault, Wintergreen changed tactics, painting Blood as the mastermind and Wilson as the hapless lackey. Thanks to Vic, Blood and Wilson's bank statements and accounts became available to the prosecution - old friends of Dick's - and that attempt was ruined.
Still, witness statements only went so far. Although the jury was moved, mostly by Melvin's tearful recounting, there was a chance Wilson would still walk.
Until three days ago.
Heading to her usual seat in the back, Raven stopped when a familiar face was already there.
"X?" she asked, sitting next to him. "What are you doing here?"
He smirked at her. "Business in town. You?"
Crossing his arms, X lounged back on the bench. "Isn't that convenient."
"All rise," the bailiff called, cutting off any further conversation.
Raven tuned out a majority of the opening statements, trying to discern X's reason for being here when she heard-
"…like to call Jason Todd to the stand."
She nearly jumped when X got to his feet. "Excuse me, Demon. They're calling my name."
Flabbergasted, Raven swung her knees to the side to allow him to pass.
Taking the stand with easy confidence, X - Jason - smiled at the crowd.
"Please state your name and profession for the court, Mr. Todd."
X nodded. "Jason Peter Todd. Former CIA. Former MI5. Currently Interpol."
"How do you know the defendant?"
Turning his eyes to Wilson, X's easy grin faded. "Wilson was arrested at the site of a human trafficking ring. He'd been involved in a fight with another agent when she caught him fleeing." He didn't so much as glance at Raven, but she knew he was referring to her.
"Take us through the events of that night."
He did. Some things were changed. Garfield became a "concerned, unnamed individual," and the other members of DP were faceless agents. But the reality and terror were all completely honest.
"Blood was unavoidably killed during the fight," X began to sum up, "as he had a gun to an agent's head. But we took in Wilson, obviously the bigger fish."
"Objection!" Wintergreen had finally found his voice. "That's speculation."
"Not according to these emails." X gestured at the files the prosecutor raised, as if scripted. "Those were kept at Blood's mansion. No online trail, but printed and saved. They detail how this operation would run. Blood was the front man and, if necessary, fall guy. Wilson was the brain behind the scenes. And we traced the email address and timestamp back to Turkey, which these photos place you at."
Though Wilson's expression was fierce, X smiled directly at him. "We've got you, you son of a bitch."
The courtroom erupted as the judge tried to restore order. In the end, she bent to the pleas of the defense and granted a small recess.
Raven waited outside the door, catching Jason on his way out. "X."
He veered toward her with an arrogant grin. He deserved it. "Hello."
"You might just have single-handedly closed this case," she admitted, smiling up at him.
"Like I said, I was passing through on business." He glanced past her as the others began to leave the courtroom. "And I owe you a debt."
His grin lowered down from arrogant. "It's the job. And we do the job."
Dropping her eyes to the ground, Raven's euphoria faded. "Right."
"How's Beast?" X asked, watching her.
"Wouldn't know. Haven't seen him since Prague."
"Oh, little bitter?"
Raven looked up and her feet shifted, solidifying her stance. "Watch it."
"Not like you to give up, Demon."
"Not like you to care about my social life, X." When he smiled, she knew that the tension was gone. "Is Jason even your real name?"
"One of them." He glanced behind her again and Raven was startled to see his eyes light up. She turned as X called out, "Rose!"
The blonde paused and veered toward them, "X." She smiled, trailed by several of the other girls.
"Mixing business and pleasure?" Raven murmured, watching X's eyes follow Rose.
"You should try it sometime," he suggested, walking past her. He put his arm around Rose's shoulders and they dropped into familiar conversation. Raven couldn't help her smile.
Melvin approached her, "Can we talk?"
Looking at Bee and Jinx behind her, Raven figured this wasn't just idle chatter. "Sure. Let's go outside."
The bright sunlight made Raven blink. News crews were huddled outside, but kept back by police lines. Leading the girls around the west side of the building, they found a small café off the courthouse and took a table in the corner. "What's up?"
"We want to work with you." Melvin began the meeting without any buildup.
Raven frowned, "I don't think-"
"Before you flat out reject us," Jinx drawled, "hear us out."
"We've got nothing," Bee said. "And after all this…how can we just go back to a normal life?"
"Don't underestimate normality," Raven murmured, tapping her nail against the table. "This isn't a life for everyone. Why do you want this?"
"The action, the thrills," Jinx said. Raven would have said no, except Jinx kept talking, dropping her eyes. "To make sure that no one will ever hurt someone in front of me again."
Bee spoke up, "Because there are more men like Wilson out there. And someone has to find them."
Raven looked at Melvin.
"I want to help people."
"And what about your brothers?" Raven asked.
Melvin leaned forward, fire in her eyes that belonged in a much older face. "I'm doing this for my brothers."
Raven inhaled, considering. "I would have to talk to my team. You'd have to undergo serious training. And there would be lots of rules."
"I can train," Melvin said, her eyes lighting up. "And I like rules."
"I'm indifferent on rules," Jinx admitted. "But it would be worth it."
"This isn't a yes," Raven reminded them.
"It isn't a no." Bee smiled. "Good enough for me."
Raven looked over the three girls and saw something akin to hope. She could work with that. "Let's go put this bastard behind bars."
Garfield turned the volume up on his computer, listening to the live news feed. "…and in other news, Mr. Slade Wilson, prime suspect in the human trafficking ring, has been found guilty." Garfield sighed in relief, a weight lifting off his chest. "His punishment of four consecutive life sentences was met by cheers in the courtroom. Mr. Wilson worked with Mr. Blood for several years and-"
He looked over to Steve, summoning him from his office. Yanking the bud from his ear, Garfield shoved his hands in his pockets and walked over. He nodded briefly at Cliff as he passed, another small nod to Rita. She looked like she was going to say something, but Garfield kept moving.
He knocked once before pushing open Steve's door. "What's up?"
Steve nodded past him and Garfield turned around.
X leaned against the wall, "Hey, Beastie Boy."
"X." Garfield shook his hand. "What brings you here?"
"Business. You following the trial?"
He nodded, a sense of fierce accomplishment warming the chill he'd been smothered in the past few months. "Guilty."
"He'll rot in prison his entire life." X's smirk seemed like something Garfield would have worn a few months ago.
"If you're quite finished," Steve said from the desk.
Straightening up, Garfield faced him. "Yeah."
"X brings us a job." Steve pulled up an image of a thumb drive. "Retrieval. Should be a quiet in and out."
Garfield nodded. "You'll get me the file?"
"Robot-Man has a copy of it. Pick it up on your way."
He turned around and was stopped by X's incredulous voice. "That's it?"
When Steve and Garfield just looked at him, he continued, "No arguments? No questions about the mark or the threat or why?"
"Mento gives me a job, I do it."
"Since when?" X frowned.
Garfield shrugged. "Since now."
X's expression didn't clear up. "Well, this is damn important, so I need you to understand what's at stake."
Garfield glanced at Steve, who nodded.
"Fill me in."
"When Wilson tried to research you, he got a few files. We've traced the thumb drive back to Adonis's house in Brazil," X told him.
Garfield hid his cringe. Of course, it would be back there.
"With the trial going the way it did, it's just a matter of time before Adonis and Rouge get put on the stand and their homes are searched. We've got a couple days at most to get that file before someone else does. It contains a few of your mission reports, some aliases, basic stats…enough to make your job more difficult if it were to fall into someone else's hands."
"Got it," Garfield said. "Anything else?"
X sighed, shaking his head. "No, not for you. I've got business with Steve, here."
"Nice seeing you," Garfield told him. He made it to the door before X called out.
"Heard from Raven lately?"
Garfield froze, the two gazes on his back almost physical. He bit out a quick, "No," then escaped back to his desk.
No, he hadn't heard from Raven. Over the past three months, he'd almost spoken to her a hundred times. He'd be in his car, halfway to the safe house before turning around. He'd dialed the number every night for weeks before hanging up. He'd almost contacted her hundreds of times, but stopped.
Because at the end of the day, he'd agreed to return to D.P. and she was a Titan. He made a deal and he had to stick to it. Even if his world was a little greyer without her. Even if everything hurt a little more.
A few minutes later, once Garfield had gathered his things, he was going to head out. He stopped by Steve's office and heard X, "So, that's finished then."
"Signing over my soul."
"Don't kid yourself, Steve," X said calmly. "You and I both know you never had one of those. This is better."
"I'm aware. Otherwise I wouldn't have agreed. My life's work…"
"Kind of surprised you signed, to be honest. Why the change of heart? Or whatever black-coal thing you've got pumping the sludge through your veins."
Steve was quiet for a moment and X said, "Figured. What the hell did you do?"
"I kept my team together." Steve didn't sound so convinced.
Garfield made himself known, ignoring the look X shot him. "Heading out. I'll look for the flight details."
"Happy hunting," X said.
"Beast," Steve stood and walked over to him.
He held out his hand, "Good luck."
Garfield took it, trying to remember the last time Steve had done that. "Thanks. See you in a couple days."
In Brazil, Garfield sat in the same bar he'd been in months ago, the same chair he'd pretended to be drunk in, facing the same way he had the first time he'd seen her.
Even before he knew Raven was a spy, she'd still interested him. He watched her work over Adonis so effectively that even he'd been impressed. The long, pale legs and violet eyes had been a siren's call to him even as she walked away with Adonis.
And then to find out she was beautiful and a badass?
God, it was a miracle it took him as long as it did to fall for her.
With a self-deprecating snort, he threw back the tequila in his glass. Fat lot of good it did him, though. All that time with her, with another team, finding out he was more than he ever thought he could be, falling in love with the woman who brought out a side of him he thought had died with his parents, and where was he now?
Right back where he fucking started.
Getting over himself, he eyed the few security guards loitering around the bar. With Adonis being held without bail, there weren't too many who're loyal enough to stay on at his house. Had this been a few months ago, Garfield would've tried to flirt his way in with the housekeeper or maid. Not anymore.
He followed the off-duty security guards back to Adonis's house, watching them trade positions with the previous shift. After a few hours in the bar, they were already complacent and tired, so sneaking into the building between their rotations was simple enough.
Sneaking up the stairs to Adonis's office was also a piece of cake. He had to hide once from a maid, but other than that, the house was quiet. A few security guards still took their job seriously in a room down the hall from the locked office, but once Garfield picked the lock and closed the door behind him, he breathed easily.
The room looked just as he remembered, minus a red ledger and a book on the bookshelf. He started with the desk, quickly and quietly going through every drawer and the pockets of the jacket hanging on the back of the chair. No luck. He tried the bookshelves, moving the least dusty novels out to check behind them. Then behind paintings. He even cracked the safe under the rug in the floor, but to no avail.
"What the hell," he muttered, looking around again.
A red purse was on the chair by the door. Rouge's? It seemed unlikely, but leave no stone left unturned and all.
Garfield quickly and quietly went through the purse, dumping things out. There was no thumb drive. He even checked the compact and lipstick for a hidden one, but there was nothing. He cursed quietly, double-checking the seam of the purse for something he might have missed.
"You know," a mellow and familiar tone interrupted him, "you can tell a lot by a woman from her purse."
Garfield spun, her name already escaping, "Rae…"
She was leaning against the wall by the window, looking for the world like she had been there for hours. She was dressed in the same tight suit he had first met her in, her face composed and nonchalant. Her gun was still in her belt, but in her hand was the thumb drive he had been sent for, the thin strap tangled in her fingers as she spun it. Her hair was left down and tumbled over her shoulders in soft waves.
"That's mine," he said finally, unable to think of anything else.
Her brow lifted, violet eyes revealing nothing. "Funny, seeing as how I have it."
He wasn't sure how to act with her right now. Part of him wanted to run before everything started to hurt all over again and the other part…the other part wanted nothing more than to cross the room and take her in his arms and-
-and risk getting shot. He'd walked out on her. She probably hated him, even though he'd done it for all the right reasons. Or at least, the best reasons he had.
"What are you doing here?" he asked her, his voice slightly strangled.
Garfield frowned as she tucked a significant portion of his life into her belt. "Those are my files."
"I know." She crossed her arms, still as calm as could be.
"Who hired you?" Garfield took a step towards her. "Adonis?"
Her indifference was replaced by annoyance. "You think I'd work for him? After everything I did to put his boss in jail?"
Stupid question. "Right. Sorry. But who, then?"
Raven arched her brow. "Your former boss."
"Rob?" Garfield reeled.
"He would be your current boss."
Garfield stared at her, his mouth slightly agape. "What?"
"Aren't you supposed to be a clever spy?" Raven asked him, taking a step forward and pulling out a white envelope. "I was hired by Steve, your now-former boss, to get your file for our records. D.P. has been dissolved, hired out as consultants for X, who will act as a lesion for Interpol, MI5, the CIA, and the Titans. You're being transferred."
"To the Titans."
She could've shot him and he would've been less stunned. "I don't…"
"Don't what?" she asked, passing him the envelope.
Garfield shrugged weakly, that second part of him growing strong by the second. She was right there – and she looked just the way he remembered her. His chest ached painfully and a piece he thought that he'd been used to missing suddenly sparked up again, as if it was the first day he'd left all over again.
She just stared at him with those eyes he'd had dreams about, then gestured to the envelope. "Well?"
"Well what?" He'd never been this off his game before and it was driving him crazy. He hated this, he hated this awkwardness.
"Are you just going to stand there? Or are you going to read it?" she asked him, heading to the window and opening the shutters to the outside.
Garfield continued to watch her as he ripped the envelope open, multiple pieces of paper slipping out into his hands. He frowned, recognizing some of them.
His fake ID's, training paperwork from D.P., his file of missions. This was his entire record of work from D.P. Everything he'd ever done for them and all the information they had on him. His history, his photos, his identifications, medical work. What the hell was Raven doing with all of this? The last piece of paper was a letter.
You've reached as far as you can with D.P. Consider this my letter of recommendation.
It's been a pleasure and a trial working with you. I'm sure you'll do well with the Titans. You're a good man.
He looked up, startled. Raven was watching him, her hand on her hip.
"Is this for real?" he asked hoarsely, clutching the paperwork that held his past and his future.
Raven nodded. "If you want it to be."
"What about me?"
"Are you okay with this?" he asked her honestly. "Me, being on the team after everything that happened."
"You saved my life. You put bad guys behind bars," Raven answered him. "I'd be honored to work with you again."
"You know that's not what I mean," he corrected her, shoving the papers into his pocket as he walked over. She didn't drop her eyes as he approached, not backing down.
"You mean, you and I?" she countered, her eyes flashing with a familiar fire. He'd missed her.
"Yeah." He was close enough now to smell her perfume, that lavender and gunmetal.
"Ah," she said, the faint sign of a smile playing across her face. "You mean how we were…together?"
"Yes," he breathed, reaching out and twisting a lock of her hair around her fingers.
"And how you ran out on me?" she continued coolly, arching her brow.
Garfield paused, then grinned, unable to help it. "Yeah."
"Are you going to do that again?"
He shook his head, still smiling.
"Good," Raven answered, turning to the window. "I don't like wasting my time, tracking you down, even if I do love you."
His grin, if possible, widened even further. "You love-"
Her head swung around as the door slammed open, her gun raising in a fluid movement that Garfield copied before he'd even realized it.
She fired three times, dropping three men with wounds through the shoulders. Garfield took out another two, but six more came in. She grabbed the jacket from the chair and ran towards the window.
Garfield felt his heart constrict as he watched her go. Again.
Then she glanced over her shoulder at him, "You coming?"
Garfield grinned and took off after her.
3 Months Later
Raven hit the floor hard, her breath exploding out of her. She tried to move, but felt cold metal against her temple.
"Bam," Melvin said.
Raven smiled as Melvin got off of her and helped her to her feet, lowering the fake pistol. The padded floor of the safe house's gym had kept the hit from being too painful, but she was still winded. "Nicely done," she told the younger girl. "You've been practicing."
"So?" Melvin asked, her eyes bright and dancing.
Raven pretended to consider, ignoring Vic's smile behind Melvin. The big man glanced at his clipboard and nodded.
Raven nodded. "I'll have Dick put you on the active roster. Retrievals only, until you've got some field experience."
Melvin grinned, "Deal!" She hugged Raven tightly and danced out of the room, shouting, "Bee! Did you hear?! I'm an agent!"
Raven shook her head as Vic approached.
"Good work." Vic handed her the clipboard to sign.
Raven scribbled her signature and passed it back. "She did the work. I just trained her."
"With good results. Every girl you've trained has passed with flying colors."
She smiled, unable to disagree. Bee, Cheshire, Jinx, and Melvin had passed the rigorous training Dick had set into place for them. Even Rose, only on loan from X's new consultation group, had improved drastically during the three weeks she spent with the Titans.
They left the gym and headed down to the first floor of their former safe house. With the increase of agents and Kori's desire to get out of the spotlight more now that she and Dick were officially a couple, the safe house had become their main base of operations. With the bright California sunlight streaming in through the windows, the sounds of laughter and chatter coming from the kitchen, and the music coming from the bedrooms upstairs, Raven was hard pressed to recall a time this hadn't been her home.
Raven smirked as Vic's smile turned disgustingly sappy. Jinx strode towards him, her eyes seeing nothing but the big technician.
"You all finished with the testing?" Jinx asked, winding her slender arm through his.
"Did you not hear the cheers?"
Jinx smiled, "When Melvin goes supersonic, it's hard to understand her. You free this evening? I had this idea for your mini-EMPs."
If possible, Vic's grin got even brighter. "Awesome. Let's go test it out. Rae?"
She took the clipboard with a smile. "I'll bring it to Dick."
Jinx winked at her as they went back up to the armory, Vic already beginning his technical questioning. Thank god Jinx was as interested in it as he was.
She walked over to the conference room where she could hear voices. Kori was laughing as Raven entered, her eyes on the monitor.
"You are awful, X," Kori said.
From the monitor, X shrugged, "Just 'cause we're working together, it doesn't make Steve any less annoying."
"I could've told you that," Raven announced, passing the clipboard over to Dick.
Her leader looked over the paperwork and shook his head, "Nice work. I'll put her on active duty."
"Another one of your wayward girls moving up?" X asked.
Raven nodded. "Melvin'll be in the field. Do me a favor? Keep an eye out for her?"
X scoffed, "I think we've evened the playing field when it comes to favors, Demon. My debt to you is paid."
"Oh, shut up, X." Rose entered the monitor, hitting him on the shoulder. "You're a big softy and you know it."
"You are single-handedly ruining my reputation."
"What reputation?" Raven and Rose chorused together.
X glared at the two of them, but Raven saw the smile tugging at his lips. "You wound me. Awful girls. But yes, I will watch out for your kids. As per frickin' usual."
Dick interrupted the banter, "X comes to us with a mission."
"For the girls?" Raven asked.
"I'd prefer a bit more experience on this one." X gestured to Dick, who opened up a file on the computer.
"A few bars of Xenothium went missing from a lab in Washington. Just a little bit can make quite a big explosion, so I need you to find it as quickly as possible. Our biggest lead is Professor Chang, a scientist who was laid off the day before the Xenothium went missing." X leaned back in his chair. "Steve's tracked him down to an island off the coast of Canada."
"Always wanted to go to Canada," Raven said.
"Might want to bring your partner," X suggested. "Chang's got enough firepower even without the Xenothium to make a dent."
She nodded, "We'll leave this evening."
"Careful," Kori said, leaning on Dick's shoulder.
She walked up the stairs to her room, the music pounding out from Cheshire's door. Raven knocked loudly before opening it up. "Ches?"
"Yeah?" She turned down the music and faced Raven, brass knuckles on her fingers and sweat down her back.
"I'm heading out on a mission. Can you take the training tomorrow for Bee and Melvin?" Raven asked.
"Try not to break them."
Cheshire grinned. "No promises."
Raven shook her head and crossed the hallway to her room. Pulling the bag out from underneath her bed, she began filling it with what she would need for the mission.
She heard the door creak open, but ignored it. Despite listening carefully, she was given no other sign before a pair of lean arms wrapped around her waist.
Raven smiled as Garfield pressed his lips to her shoulder. "Hey."
"Going somewhere?" he asked, leaning over her to look in the bag.
"X called me out on a mission."
"Nice." He let go and crossed over to the closet. He pushed some clothes aside and grabbed her thicker jacket. "Pack this. You're going to freeze out there."
She took it. He was right. "Get your coat, too," she told him, folding the jacket tightly.
His smile was audible in his words, "Why's that?"
"Like I'd go anywhere without my partner."
The jacket fell to the floor as Garfield grabbed her arm and pulled her against him, kissing her senseless. She had half-thought, that after sleeping in the same room for months, that things would have started to cool down between them.
Not the case.
By the time he let her go, she was breathless and pink in the cheeks. His crooked, cocky smile made her roll her eyes. It dimmed somewhat as he traced her cheek.
"I love you."
Raven smiled. "I love you, too." She pressed another quick kiss to his mouth before pushing him away. "Now get packed up. We're leaving tonight."
He pulled his bag out of the closet, grabbing a few dark sweaters and tossing them in without folding. "Mark?"
"Professor Chang, scientist." She placed her gun on top and sipped up her bag.
"What're the risks?" Garfield held out his hand and Raven passed him his boots.
"Heavy firepower and a highly explosive chemical weapon." She added his coat before he zipped up his bag.
"Awesome," he grinned, straightening up and pulling his bag over his shoulder. "Dangerous?"
Raven picked up her bag. "Always."
He held out his hand and Raven interlaced his fingers with his, glancing up into bright green eyes. She asked, "Ready?"
Garfield grinned and winked. "Let's go save the world, beautiful."