'Why did it . . . turn out this way?'

Like a broken record, the words replaying in her mind a thousand times. As if the torment she already underwent wasn't enough, her subconscious had to spew out this thought every few hours just to make sure that she was really feeling the darkness that had once been protectively sealed behind that wall of friends. Kneeling in the all-white room, snowy cloak clasped tightly around her shoulders with the hood pooling over her face and casting her eyes in shadow, Raven bit her lower lip and forced all of the words out of her mind. However, they just came coming back, a tidal wave of thoughts and accusations that would have her reeling for hours yet.

'Things happen.'

That was the one she had relied on so fiercely, but how could she count on it when so many other things had deserted her? She had fallen into such a pit of despair that she felt nothing could have yanked her out; if time itself could have been rewritten, she didn't think it could pull her out of the abyss she had dug herself into. Not that she cared. The void she had sealed herself in cut off all emotions; everything that appeared before her eyes was an illusion, just another figment of her imagination that refused to leave her alone. She could command it to leave, and eventually it would, but just seeing something that looked so real intimidated her.

'Did something that drastic have to happen?'

It wasn't like she couldn't remember the days before she had gone half- insane, or so she liked to call it; she could still see her friends, lounging around when there was nothing to do, blaring music and fighting over video games while she merely looked on. However, the memories seemed to be in slow motion; the color was faded, the sound was off, and it looked as if the camera of her perspective was out of focus. It seemed hazy, grainy, not the best quality, as if some poor cameraman had made a movie of it and not her own memory. She could envision each of them to some degree, but in some way or another it was marred; the hair color would be off, or the height, or the clothing - something little that made a big difference in the long run. She couldn't tell Cyborg from Starfire now, and Beast Boy seemed a thing of the past. But Robin . . .

'Stop that.'

He she hadn't been able to warp as badly as the others. He was a bit morphed in the untouched parts of her memory, but otherwise he was perfect, like the untouched, ever-present snow that covered their Tower. The demons hidden in her mind were ready to leap at the exposure of Robin, whom she'd forced back into that crevice that kept all emotions from breaking loose, but she beat them back as well with a simple inward glare that seemed to scare them more than anything. Slowly she drew out more thoughts of Robin - just Robin, no one else - and smiled at them, enjoying the taste of the rest of her sanity for the moment, something that wasn't just a figment of her imagination. She hadn't seen him in so long; it felt like eternity, like somebody had sucked up all of the years of her life. He hadn't done this to her, not him personally - but he had helped.

'Since when do you recite poetry?'

She ignored the thoughts swirling in her mind, constantly contradicting and criticizing her. It was something she had learned to deal with, but it didn't mean she had to keep taking the beatings with her head held straight - she felt like draining her mind of every last word and just living like an empty shell for a while, experiencing a moment when your own thoughts didn't attack you like rabid hounds. When she had been with her friends, it hadn't been this way. She hadn't been this way. Doing what was right . . . having everybody there . . . having him there . . .

"Raven?"

It was a voice she knew to well, the same one that played over and over in her mind as she ignored sleep and continued on awake into the late hours of the night and into the small hours of the morning, the same one that tormented her as memories flashed behind her eyes, and the same one that kept her from completely losing herself. But she knew what this was: another image, another hallucination, something else to draw her mind away from the real picture, which was, essentially, that she was alone. "Go away," she murmured, her limp fingers itching to draw her cloak tighter around herself. "You're just another one. Another figment of my mind. Go away. You're not real."

"But I am real. Raven," he whispered - if she could call it a 'he', when she knew that it was just another half-dream. It sounded so convincing, just like all the others, but somehow . . . this one had more depth. No, that was impossible; she was imagining this. It was just her subconscious playing tricks on her again. She had to stop falling for this stupid mind game!

"You're not real," she continued in a monotone, feeling the words echoing around her like the cry of gulls on a grey day at the beach. "This is not real." Heavy strides came up to her, and stronger hands than she had ever felt grabbed hold of her shoulders. The shadow that protected her reared up, but the image - it had to be an image - turned her so forcefully that the shadow seemed to just evaporate. Her defenses, gone - an image had never done that before. An image had never touched her before. What was this?

"Starfire came here and said that if we could change history, we could change the future. Do you believe that we can change now, Raven? That we can undo everything that's happened?" His dark hair brushed his shoulders, but she could not meet his eyes. Her head was still lowered in the position it had resumed after she'd arisen to her friends' aid, after she had fallen back into the swarming chaos of her subconscious. He was holding her shoulders firmly, and so many images of him flared across her vision, images of a younger him, a young her - a younger everybody. All of her friends, minus the twenty years and the scars they carried.

"No," she said listlessly, seeking the comfort the hood provided for her. "Everything is gone - she came back once. You can't expect it to happen again." He shook her, now; she felt an inaudible noise escape her lips, and her hood fell back, exposing her eyes to the blinding light that seemed to sear down from everywhere at once. She slammed her eyes shut, trying to get past the burning that seemed to tear at her vision, darkened as it was.

"We can change, Raven! Everything can! We've got to stop hiding - you've got to stop hiding!" Robin's voice was deeper than she remembered. His grip was stronger than she remembered. He pulled her tightly against himself - an embrace, the one thing she had hardly experienced in her entire life. She opened her eyes and blinked, finding herself face-to-face with his shoulder. Raven blinked.

Robin embracing her. Her, Raven, letting herself be embraced. The light was too much for eyes that had been hidden in darkness for such a long time. She closed them, and allowed herself the one comfort that had kept her from completely dipping over the edge for how many years - she leaned back into Robin's arms, and nodded mutely under his chin.

"Yes," she whispered tonelessly. "We can change."

----~----

It was random. I know. But I would appreciate a few reviews, at least; if other people can do odd things, why can't I? In case there was any confusion, this takes place shortly after Starfire goes back into the past in episode number I-don't-know-which, the one with Warp and his Eternity Clock. I've placed the disclaimer down here to make the top neater.

Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans. If I did, I wouldn't be sitting here. End of story.