This fic has been born out of my ABSOLUTE BLINDING FRUSTRATION that I have with my other Zoids fic, "I'll Pity You When You're Gone." It's driving me nuts. It takes too long for me to get to the point, and too long to update, so people hardly ever see it. Plus the characters, what basket cases they are . . . YES I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU, RAVEN.
So, I decided to write a *different* Raven fic. It doesn't make sense, I know. But hey!
This fiction is based around Raven's training under Prozen, and his change from scared child to the bloodthirsty freak we all love :D. There's nothing too explicit. A bit of violence . . . some whipping . . . Prozen gets a bit perverted, but not in the shounen-ai way (I can imagine that half of you just died XD). Just some angsty fun.
I don't own Zoids or anything related to the label.
Raven twisted away and flung himself at the door. In his panic he couldn't work the door handle properly, frantically twisting and pulling at it. He didn't know that it was locked. Suddenly he was grabbed from behind and flung down on the floor again. He cried out and stared up at his torturer, shadowed in front of the bare fluorescent light.
"Did I say that I was finished yet?" came Gunther Prozen's calm, insidious voice. Raven barely had time to let the words sink in before a savage kick landed in his side. The breath was knocked out of him as he hit the hard stone wall and collapsed in a pile on the floor. He gasped for air and tried to stem the tide of pain hitting him from all angles. Footsteps echoed on the stone as Prozen's boots came to rest in front of him. Quickly he covered his head with his arms and prepared for more onslaughts. Instead, he distantly heard soft laughter. "Now I'm finished." More footsteps. The creak and clang of a door being opened and shut. Silence.
Still, Raven didn't move for a while. It might be a trick. If he moved and Prozen was still there he'd be in trouble. So he waited, panting, on the floor, still shielding his head. Eventually though, the continuing quiet convinced him that he was indeed, alone. Slowly he unfolded himself from his cringing position. Sharp aches and pains stabbed at him as he moved, and more than once he choked on his breath as he tried to stand up. Finding it too hard to manage, he slid back down onto the floor. He looked around the room he was confined to. It was small, almost too small to really be called a room. It was more like a prison cell. And for him, that's what it was. There was a bed, nothing else. And a sad looking bed it was. It was closer to a suspended plank of wood with some ratty old blankets for bedding.
Ten days he had been here now. Ten days since this man, Prozen, had descended upon the Republican forces he'd been with, and annihilated them all. Ten days since he'd tried to shoot him, but failed to.
Drawing his knees up to his chest, heedless of the pain it caused him, Raven wrapped his arms around them and buried his head. He cried, like he had done for ten days.
There was a loud slam, bringing him to consciousness. His mind was going into overdrive; attempting to warn him, get him up. But the effects of sleep hadn't worn off yet, and he couldn't respond to his own instincts. He felt the rough stone on his back and realized he must have fallen asleep on the ground. "Get up," a voice said above him. Raven didn't move; couldn't. There was an annoyed sigh, and then Raven was hauled up roughly by the arm. Finally his eyes snapped open and he glanced around wildly. Prozen. The older man regarded him coldly with dark brown eyes, the eyes that so nearly resembled blood red. Without waiting for him to walk on his own, Prozen half-dragged him to the door and pushed him out. He stumbled before turning around to look up at the Imperial nervously.
Prozen smirked at him, which caused him to shiver in fear.
"It's time for training."
All day long, he was instructed in the use of guns. Handguns, sub-machine guns, rifles, grenade guns. Guns in so many styles, shapes, colours and methods of killing that Raven was dizzy with the information he tried to hold onto. The man teaching him worked rapidly, moving onto the next weapon before Raven was completely sure of the one he held in his hands. They came to the last gun on the table, and the officer turned to him with a bored, professional look.
"This is your training gun. You will now fire rounds with it. Aim for the center of those targets," he stated, pointing at a row of circular boards pinned to the wall least close to them. Black lines were painted around, with a ring of yellow surrounding a red spot in the center of each. The man handed Raven a magazine of bullets, showing him how to insert them and ready the gun for firing. It was a relatively small one; the sort of weapon a bodyguard or high-ranking official would carry with them for safety's sake. It felt heavy in his hands. Heavy with the will to murder and destroy. It scared him. He gulped, and twisted his head to look up at the window above the shooting area. It was a one-way window. But he knew who was in there, watching him. Fearful as he was of the gun . . . Prozen scared him more.
Turning back to the targets, Raven raised the gun in both hands, trying to ignore the dull echo of pain it sent up his arms. He centered the aiming notch on the barrel towards the red circle in the middle of the target. Hesitantly he pulled the trigger. The noise of the gunshot was much louder than he had anticipated and the kickback from the gun caught him off guard. He stared at the thin wisp of gunpowder-scented smoke curling out of the barrel. Looking up, he saw where the bullet had hit the target. It had made a hole in one of the outermost rings.
"Again," his trainer said, startling him. He raised the gun again, and tried to tense himself in anticipation of the recoil. This time, his shot made its mark one ring closer to the center. The third shot, however, missed the target completely.
For an hour, Raven fired at the targets with the gun. He felt sick and horrified to be using a weapon like this. He'd seen guns kill people before, and it had terrified him. But he had no other choice. He didn't even want to consider the consequences of disobeying Prozen.
The day was waning. The sunlight coming through the glassed windows was muted and dim. Raven only glanced at them briefly as he was lead back to his room by a soldier he didn't know. For some reason Prozen was not here. He didn't know whether to be happy about it or not. Prozen had become like the dark to Raven. Even standing in the brightest light, Prozen lingered in his shadow, ever present. The harbinger of agony.
They arrived at his room without his realizing it. The soldier unlocked the door and waited for Raven to go in. He scurried in quickly; only too wary of what happened in the morning when he hadn't moved right away. The door slammed shut as he stood facing the wall, and he heard the click of the padlock being snapped into place. He stared unseeingly at the grey stones in the wall. He felt so tired. He hadn't been sleeping well, from pain and fear and grief. And the training he was put through was a harrowing ordeal, certain as he was that unless he paid absolute attention he would be punished three-fold for his insolence. Sighing, he went over to his bed and flopped listlessly onto it. He lay facedown with his arm hanging off the side, swinging a bit.
Can I do this? He wondered. Why am I doing this? Why are they doing this to me? I'm not big enough to be a soldier. I've never hurt anything in my life. My life. . .
Who am I, really?
Raven jumped, as the door was slammed open, and quickly spun around to sit facing it. It was Prozen. His heart started to thump as he entered the room, and shut the door behind him, locking it. Prozen locked eyes with him, lips quirking into an almost-smile. This was not comforting.
"Off the bed," Prozen said, pointing to the middle of the floor. Trying hard not to shake, Raven obeyed. He stood with his head down. He knew what was coming.
"I got a new toy today. Do you want to see?" Confused, Raven looked up. Prozen's smile grew as he brought his hands around from behind his back. He stared in horror. Even he knew what that long, thin cord was. It was a whip. Against his will he started shivering a bit. Prozen spoke again. "Do you know what this is?" Raven was about to answer yes when he remembered something that a person had told him once. If the inevitable is going to come, buy yourself some time.
"N-no," he mumbled, still unable to look away from the whip in Prozen's hands.
"Well," he said slowly, dragging out the syllables as he ran his finger along the coiled, hard leather rope. "This is called a whip. It's generally used on animals to keep them in order. A whip like this one has been expertly made. Do you see the double binding here?" Raven nodded, heart hammering in his chest. "That's an indication of the craftsmanship. Ordinary whips aren't double bound. The extra binding gives it a firmer structure; it isn't going to snap, and it's very strong." Prozen glanced up at him, crimson eyes narrowed. "You know why you are here?" He couldn't bring himself to answer. His mind was panicking and flying ahead to prophesize the pain and torture that would start any minute now. The Imperial commander flexed his hand, deftly uncoiling the whip so that it trailed down to the floor. "You're here because I saw potential in you. It was only for a second, when you held that gun in your hand. I thought to myself 'That kid could be something great.' And I decided to help you on the path to greatness." The strange smile on his face disappeared. "Turn around."
He stood there. All control of himself had been lost. A part of his mind was screaming at him to turn around, or things would only be made worse. Suddenly he was smacked across the face, hard. "I said turn around!" This time he spun quickly, almost losing his balance from dizziness. He didn't know what to do. What could he do? Nothing. He was only a child. And nobody here cared much for his wants. The only person who even paid attention to him was Prozen. And he didn't want Prozen to pay attention to him. It hurt.
"You will stand," came Prozen's voice from behind him. Faintly he heard the swish of the whip being flicked backwards. "If you fall down, no meals for five days. And more punishment." There was an echoing silence after his words.
And then the whip came.
Raven shrieked as it sliced through his shirt and skin in the space of a millisecond. He'd never felt pain like this before; this kind of agony cut through him and burned into his soul. It hurt like a knife slashed across him at supersonic speed. Gasping and shaking, he managed to stay on his feet. "Excellent. But I believe I need more practice." He barely comprehended the words. His back was on fire.
The whip slashed again, though this time he heard the whistling of air as it came down. He cried out again, and started to cry. This was ten times worse than the beatings. And it didn't look like it would end any time soon. Again. Again. Again. His vision was blurred and spots of light danced around as what had been separate savage slashes rolled together into one all-encompassing haze of pain, with the additional assault landing periodically. Was he still on his feet?
Flowers in the meadow.
The bricks swirled in and out of sight.
Zoids; Zoids running, Zoids fighting, Zoids standing.
It hurts, Mama!
I know dear. Hold still a moment.
It hurts real bad.
Ssh, Tabris. It'll feel better soon. Just let me stop the bleeding.
Mama? Papa? WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM?!
Blackness. Whiteness. Redness. Colour. Shade.
A soft touch. Screaming. Laughing. Running. Kindness. An embrace.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM?!
Sounds. Swish. Beep. Murmur. What? Shadows, shadows beneath the dark. Where? Movement. Touch. Pressure. Who? Pain.
He stiffened as the entirety of the hurt slammed into him and screamed. He couldn't breath from the pain; it choked him and strangled him. Violently he thrashed around, trying to throw off the pressure around him, but something grabbed at him and held him down. His skin burned under the touch, burned through the wound there. Still shrieking, Raven had no idea where he was, or whom he was, or what was going on. All he knew was pain.
It hurts! Hurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurtshurts!
A sharp sting in his arm. He howled and twisted away. Still he was kept under control. He became aware of someone holding his head stable. Trying to wrench away, he found that he couldn't. His responses were blurry. Gradually, he stopped screaming; couldn't scream anymore. A great draining of power was coming over him. He stopped thrashing, and then stopped moving. Even the pain slid away. All was grey. He was drowning in grey. Is this death? Am I . . . dieing?
"I . . . don't want . . . to die . . ." he mumbled, hardly more than a slurred whisper as his mind succumbed to the grey.
Light danced in front of his closed eyelids. Wincing, he tilted his head away. He could feel soft cloth around him. A bed? Confused, he opened his eyes.
It was indeed a bed. A hospital bed. He was in a small hospital room, with only the bed and a couple of chairs in it, along with a cupboard off to the side. Pale morning sunlight was filtering through the gaps in the curtains, and threw a strip of light across his chest. Looking down, he saw that he wasn't wearing his old clothes; he had one of those light blue hospital pajama sets on. But his chest felt odd, like there was something else there. He slid a hand under the shirt and his fingers brushed against thick bandaging, wrapped all the way around his middle. Moving upwards he found more bandaging; straps across his shoulders. The wrappings went around to his back as well.
It was then that he remembered the whipping. Freezing, he pulled his hand away. A few seconds later though, he noticed that there wasn't any pain. Instead, there was an odd tingling numb sensation all across his back. It was frightening. Was he in shock? Once he'd heard someone use that word to describe the strange way a man had acted after a dangerous accident. He'd been completely spaced out and limp; with his eyes open the whole time but seeing nothing. But if he were in shock, he wouldn't have been able to move. Raven gulped, and decided to try sitting up.
Surprisingly, he managed it. He sat in the bed, and wondered. It was no coincidence that he was in a hospital room after such a blinding attack. Did someone bring him here? But Prozen wouldn't have done that. He would have just left him there like every other time he hurt him; what was so different about this time? Or maybe . . . maybe he'd been in a dangerous accident and dreamed the whole thing, Prozen and all. Maybe it had all been a delusion. He dared to hope for a moment, clinging to this idea. He heard the door open and glanced up.
It was Prozen. The dream shattered. The Imperial stood slightly inside the doorway for a few minutes, merely looking at Raven. Raven was clutching the bed sheets to himself, in an absurd attempt to hide in plain sight. After a while Prozen moved in and shut the door behind him. He came right up next to the bed and stared at him, which gave him cold chills. Everything about him was scary. From the way he treated him, to his stark white hair, to those almost-red eyes; he just wasn't normal.
Raven almost yelped when Prozen's hand darted out to touch his jawbone. Instead he froze entirely. Prozen's cool fingers traced the bone, and then returned to cup one side of his face. Eyes wide with confusion and terror, Raven dared not pull away. The Imperial's breath played across his skin. He was regarding him with intense consideration, as if deciding some vitally important thing. Then he spoke.
"You stood until the last stroke landed. And then you fell." Raven stopped breathing. "Well done." And with that, Prozen was gone.
He spent three days in the hospital. After that, he was restricted to his room for another four days, presumably to rest. In that time, Prozen didn't visit any punishment upon him. Raven wasn't sure if he was glad or not. The wounds on his back healed, but left long white scars; scars that would never disappear.
On his exit from the hospital, one of the nurses gave him some new clothes that Prozen had commissioned him. Apparently his old ones had been lacerated by the whip, and so were not fit for use anymore. They had been dumped. Another item from his past was gone. Prozen had given him something that resembled a purple and black body suit. It covered him from neck to toe, and seemed more like something a Zoid pilot would wear than a soldier. But he wore it anyway; there were no other options.
The eighth day since his torture, Raven was taken out to train again. With the guns. Silently he despaired. He had never wanted to touch those things again. But train he did.
A different soldier supervised him this time, though there wasn't much difference between the two. Raven loaded the handgun himself this time, as instructed, and aimed at the targets. He considered things a long time before he made his shot. Everything his teachers had told him, and his own experience firing the gun. When he did make his shot, it hit the middle of the target. His other nine shots also hit the center. He was amazed.
At the end of the session, Raven was unloading the cartridge of the gun when he became aware of a presence behind him. A hand came down on his shoulder. Quickly he dropped the gun on the table, and turned around. Prozen was there. The commander nodded his head towards the door, and he went through first, with Raven trailing behind. Down the long corridors, he started becoming frightened again. This was how it was before the whipping. Now he would be beaten again, seeing as he was fully healed.
They came to his door. Prozen unlocked it and stood to the side, obviously waiting for him to go inside. He did, and hesitated a moment before turning to face the older man who was still standing in the doorway. Shadowed by the light behind him, he seemed to be looking at Raven.
"You did well today." He shut the door, and the sound of his footsteps echoed off down the hall. Confused, Raven went and sat down on his bed. This was something new, to be sent to his room without torture. He wondered.
The next day came more gun training. Again he hit all the marks. Again Prozen didn't hit him. A new idea made itself known in his mind. And he wondered.
Day after day, week after week, he trained. Soon he was introduced to the martial arts, new weapons, and military strategy. And the better he did, the less the beatings he received. He fully realized what was going on: if he did well in his training, Prozen didn't hurt him. When he did badly, he was punished. This idea fueled his newfound ambition to do well, to never fail, to be the best. At night, he lay down to sleep and became himself again, the young boy who had nobody, and was quiet and afraid. He was living two lives now. And he was not sure if the two Ravens inside of him would co-exist peacefully forever.
Zoid training came last. On the day he realized that he was meant to pilot one of the mechanical monsters, Raven hesitated longer than he ever had as the two sides of himself warred with each other. One side wanted to run away. He hated those Zoids. Zoids had brought him nothing but pain and terror. The other side wouldn't back down. He would be tortured if he didn't do it. Eventually, like in so many other things, he had little choice. Under the supervision of ever-changing teachers, he was instructed in basic piloting, and then specific piloting for separate models.
One day, he found himself in his first combat situation against another soldier. The soldier was piloting a clunky Di Bison, and Raven was using a Command Wolf. They faced each other off across the flat expanse of ground used to train pilots. The radio unit beside him crackled into life. "Now remember Raven," came the voice of some anonymous person. "You are to disable only. Do not engage in flashy maneuvers you haven't been taught, and be mindful of the information panels around you. They can make or break your fight."
And with that, the Di Bison reared up and began its charge towards him. Raven clamped down on his panic, and focused only on the task at hand. He made himself clear of mind, and relied on instinct. As the Di Bison came within range of the Command Wolf, he began to fire. He dodged, moving the canine Zoid to the left and into a run. Implementing a circular track, he came around to the left side of the Di Bison as it stopped to turn. He fired a volley of shots across it, evenly spreading the damage, then sprang away again as it retaliated. Sprinting away, he glanced quickly at the screens around him, then pivoted to face the Di Bison again. It was charging straight at him. When it began to fire, Raven zigzagged through the shots and leapt onto the back of the mechanized bull. Letting the full weight of the Command Wolf impact down on its back, he then jumped off again. The Di Bison creaked and shuddered, but didn't get a chance to turn again before Raven started his assault again. He fired a volley, then leapt to another side, where he fired again. Systematically he wore down the Di Bison, as it made futile attempts to regain lost ground. Suddenly he saw the larger gun barrels on the Di Bison's back begin to glow. It was preparing to use its main weapon. Deftly he twisted the controls and landed in front of the Di Bison's cockpit. He tilted the aim of the guns, and fired straight at the head. The Zoid shrieked and attempted to fire, but didn't have enough power. Raven assaulted the cockpit until the machine stopped moving, and then allowed his guns to go silent.
The carcass of the Di Bison smoked behind him as he headed back towards the launch area. He arrived, and got out of the cockpit to meet his instructor. However, it was Prozen who was waiting for him. Raven was slightly mystified. Prozen didn't say a word, but motioned for him to follow.
Passing along the route towards his room that was as familiar to him as his own hand, Raven wondered why Prozen was escorting him back. He hardly ever did that anymore; it was usually a soldier who did it. They arrived and he entered the room, surprised that the commander followed him. He felt trepidation for the first time in days when he locked the door behind him. Standing near the wall at the end of the room, he watched the silver-haired man who was still facing the door. He turned his crimson gaze onto him then. It was cold, colder than usual.
"What were your orders, Raven?"
"To engage in combat, sir." He wondered where this was going. He had thought he'd done well for his first true Zoid battle. Prozen narrowed his eyes and glared at him.
"Is that it? To engage in combat?" Despite himself, Raven started to worry.
"Yes. . ."
"Wrong." Prozen strode forward until he was bare inches away, towering over him in anger. Old quakes began to run through Raven's body. "You were ordered to disable only. And what did you do?" He said nothing. It was obvious what he'd done. In the midst of the battle, he had forgotten the order. And he had forgotten there was a pilot in that Di Bison, concentrating only on the offense. The calm mask Prozen wore broke then. "YOU KILLED ONE OF MY SOLDIERS!"
As he yelled, he furiously smashed Raven against the wall. Cracking his head against the stone, he cried out in pain. The noise seemed only to ignite Prozen's rage. He laid a terrific punch into his chest, which knocked all the wind out of him.
"You obey my orders at all times!" Another fist landed on his stomach. Raven crumpled to the ground, feeling the agony spread outwards from the blow.
"You listen when I speak!" Prozen kicked out with his boot. Raven screamed as the hard tip crashed into his ribs. Another kick, then another, and another. Prozen was in a killing frenzy as he laid into him with all his power. His vision flashed in and out as the blows landed: chest, arms, torso, legs. It seemed to go on forever. Finally, he lay panting on the ground, making odd squeaking groans and curled up in a fetal position. He tasted blood in his mouth, and felt it on his skin and hands.
Yelping, he was roughly jerked up onto his feet by a pair of strong hands underneath his jawbone. Opening his eyes he found Prozen's red ones, closer than they had ever been, burning into him like fire. His hands were still around his neck. "You've failed me, boy." He choked as Prozen's nails dug into his skin. "I thought you were strong. I thought you had potential. I was obviously wrong."
Releasing his grip, Prozen stood back from Raven. Gasping, his hands went up to his neck, trying to restore proper breathing. Catching sight of Prozen again, he stopped. The Imperial had his hand at his belt, and he saw with horror that he drew a gun from a holster he hadn't noticed before. Cocking it, he leveled it straight at Raven, between his eyes.
"It seems only fitting that you should die the way you intended to kill me." Prozen's eyes glittered with cold, hard triumph. "Except I know that the safety is off."
An eternity seemed to stretch out within the space of a couple of seconds. Raven was almost sucked into the darkness of the gun's barrel as he fixed his gaze on it. He lost all awareness of his body and the pain it suffered, could no longer hear anything, could only see that gun, pointed at his head. So focused was his gaze that he couldn't keep up with the movement Prozen made next.
Swiftly drawing back the gun, Prozen belted Raven across the temples with the hard metal handle and barrel. His vision exploded with red and white and black all at once, and he knew no more.
I don't like this place Daddy.
Why ever not?
I just . . . I don't.
Well you must have a reason. I can think of lots of things that I like about this place. The stars are brighter here than at home. There's such wonderful people and customs. Landscapes like I've never seen. And the Zoids, Tabris, what about the Zoids?
I hate the Zoids.
You hate them?
I hate them. They stole you and Mama away.
Oh, I see. I realize it must be hard for you, having us working all the time. But it's our job. We're helping a lot of people by what we do. The Zoids are a part of that. We want to find out their mysteries, and utilize their power to do good. Do you understand, Tabris?
Yes . . . but I still don't like them.
Well, perhaps one day you'll change your mind . . .
. . . Where did you find him?
He was in a house, not far from here. I'm afraid his parents were killed, and most of the house was destroyed. It seems he was only knocked out.
He hasn't said a word since we brought him here.
Really? Hey now, little guy. What's your name?
. . . I don't know.
Did you forget it?
I . . . did I? Do I have a name?
Of course you do. And I'll bet you remember it after you get some food and a hot drink.
Captain Flyheight, sir? We've gotten reports of an Imperial convoy headed this way.
As we expected. Tell all the available pilots to get to their Zoids and be ready?
What's that? Did you remember something?
I . . . I don't like Zoids . . .
As Raven swam into consciousness again, he felt something warm running down his face. He was crying. The ground was painfully rough underneath him, grinding into his bruises mercilessly. He felt terrible whenever he sobbed; his ribs were protesting violently and breathing was difficult at best. But he couldn't stop himself from crying.
He had remembered his father. The locked doors of his mind had opened in his dead dreams, and memories sealed by shock and horror and grief had come spilling out. His father had never wanted anything more than to study Zoids, those Zoids he hated. And he'd died because of it. The other man, the soldier, had died as well. He couldn't even remember the soldier's name. These things he'd forgotten were like a bittersweet irony to him then. He would never see those people again. He could never forgive them or be forgiven for hurting them. They were gone. Gone, like his freedom. Even his old name was gone. Tabris.
I'm not Tabris anymore. I'm Raven now. Black Raven, black like the darkness.
And as he softly cried on the stony ground, Raven came upon the horrible inevitability he'd been avoiding for weeks. He couldn't survive in this world with these old memories. Tabris and Raven couldn't live together; it was dangerous to him. He needed to be one, or the other. There was nothing left for Tabris. If he chose to be Tabris, he would die. Either by physical torture, or the soul-damaging life he had to live now, he would die as the kind-hearted child he used to be.
No, he couldn't be Tabris anymore. Tabris wasn't strong enough, and he wasn't wanted. He needed Raven. Raven was the only way to survive. Cold purpose and indifference wouldn't be destroyed so easily.
Raven cried in pain and despair. This was the end. After he made the decision, he wouldn't exist anymore; not truly. The thought was terrifying.
Eventually, his tears ran out. He had nothing left to give. There was only one thing left for him. Sadly, and for the last time, he remembered his father's face, smiling on that cold bright night. In his heart, he dissolved the old feelings of abandonment and hurt he'd had towards him. In the dark, he whispered to his father, wherever he may be now, in a language that he would never speak again.
"Itel na norrande . . . Kinada."
I love you . . . father.
And he let the last piece of Tabris fall away into darkness.
Notes: That was a rather sad story, at least in my opinion. I'm sorry I went so much for the torture-Raven approach, but I felt it necessary. I hope I didn't upset anyone by that.
I have always preferred the idea that English isn't Raven's or his parents' native language. Seeing as they come from another planet and all. And remember that Raven's dad said they came from "the blue planet"; he didn't exactly say EARTH. Yeah.
Regarding the name I gave Raven, Tabris . . . I really couldn't resist doing that XD. "Tabris" is the name of the angel of free will, self-determination, choice and alternatives. I felt it was fitting, seeing how Raven had to decide in the end whether he wanted to be Raven or Tabris. And . . . the reason I couldn't RESIST calling him that is because Tabris is the Angelic name of Kaworu Nagisa from Neon Genesis Evangelion! And Kaworu is my favourite anime character OF ALL TIME! I have made them into one super being! Muahahaha!
I have no idea what rank Prozen was, so I just called him commander. Also, I don't have much idea what Prozen's motives were for stroking Raven's face in the hospital. Call it twisted psychotic motherly instincts if you will. Definitely not shounen-ai though. Sorry folks :D
I hope I wasn't too confusing in that scene before Raven woke up in the hospital. Basically he was being treated for the whip marks when he woke up and went nuts. Then he got an injection which sedated him. That was the "grey" I was talking about; falling under sedation. Not that I'd know, I've never been sedated myself . . .
*30/03/03* Fixed some errors.