Raven giggled as she ran to an aquarium window and watched the dolphins swim around playfully. She wasn't dressed in her usual sorceress uniform today, as it wasn't chic when it came to a date. (And Raven so wanted to be chic!) She was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a purple sweater, both of which hugged her nicely. Her sneakers were fashionable and kept her feet comfortable more than her uniform slippers ever could.
"Look at them go!" Raven exclaimed as Beast Boy came up behind her. He too was dressed in street clothes, complete with a baseball cap worn backwards. Of course, his green face still gave away his inhuman nature. Luckily, he and Raven were celebrities and were respected by most of San Francisco's populace, even though they were 'different'.
"They're happy to see you," Beast Boy said before giving Raven a kiss on the cheek. Raven giggled again and pushed her tease of a boyfriend away. "They get this excited only when a pretty girl comes to the window."
"I bet," Raven said suspiciously. She gave Beast Boy a sly look and motioned for him to come closer. Beast Boy smiled and met his girlfriend in a tight hug. She leaned in and whispered into his ear.
(Let's find a cozy place to snuggle, Tiger.)
Beast Boy leaned back to respond, and his eyes went wide with terror. He pushed Raven away with enough force to bruise her shoulder against the dolphin window. He continued to back away.
"Beast Boy... what's the matter?" Raven asked fearfully. She reached out for him, only to notice that her hands had changed dramatically. Rather than being slender and pale, her hands were red and scaly!
"You're a monster!" Beast Boy exclaimed before making a break for it.
"Don't go!" Raven cried. She looked at her hands again in disbelief, and her gaze eventually fell to the dolphin window. She saw the vague reflection of her face, now transformed into something as disturbing as her hands. Her face was completely red and scaled and she had an extra pair of eyes. All four of her eyes were solid yellow. Her teeth were now fanged, and a pair of horns protruded from her head.
This can't be...
Raven saw the other Titans rushing into the aquarium, led by Beast Boy. Raven cried for them to stop, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Robin threw a bird-line and trapped her arms at her sides. He flicked the line through a beam above and pulled it at the other end, dragging Raven helplessly into the air. The Titans glared at her with malicious intent.
"Look at her," Cyborg sneered. "She's not even human."
"She is strange," Starfire said, almost afraid. "I cannot understand her."
Raven shouted for them to stop saying those things, but all that came out were several demonic growls. Raven covered her mouth to stop the noise.
"Why does she always act so high and mighty?" Robin accused.
"She can't be trusted," Terra scorned.
Beast Boy stalked forward and slowly changed into a large gorilla. "She's a monster. She needs to be destroyed before she can spread the evil inside her."
Beast Boy balled up his fists and reared back with both. With earth-shattering force, he brought them together on Raven's head, crushing it with one blow.
Raven shot to a sit-up position, panting heavily into the darkness. It took her a moment to realize where she was. She was in her room at Titans Tower. It was the middle of the night, and she was all alone. Nobody was there to hurt her. Raven sighed and fell back, her head landing on her pillow. It was just a dream. A horrible, nightmarish dream.
I don't know which would be worse - being a demon, or being Beast Boy's bimbo. Raven pulled her blanket over her face, and groaned.
** The tune for "Teen Titans, Go!" begins and shows the opening credit animation. **
When there's trouble, you know who to ca~ll! Teen Titans!
From their tower, they can see it a~ll! Teen Titans!
When there's evil on the attack,
you can rest knowing they've got your back!
Cuz when the world needs heroes on patro~l! Teen Titans, GO!
With their super powers they uni~te! Teen Titans!
Never met a villain they didn't li~ke! Teen Titans!
They've got the bad guys on the run!
They'll never stop 'til the job gets done!
When the world is losing all contro~l! Teen Titans, GO!
1-2-3-4-GO! Teen Titans!
Shadows – Part 1
The Titans woke up in the early morning as usual. There was no telling when an alarm would go off signaling an emergency in the city. Plus, all the Titans had hobbies or appointments in the city that required early morning hours. Raven was no different, but this morning she didn't have any appointments to make. The only thing on her mind was that dream she had. It was rare for her to have a dream that affected her so strongly. She lied in bed and contemplated the dream.
Is it prophetic? Raven wondered. Being a magician and an empath meant that Raven's dreams often held a deeper meaning. But it scared her, knowing that the dream included Beast Boy so prominently. The dream may have been trying to tell her something about Beast Boy and her relationship with him. Would they someday be something more than friends?
Raven frowned at the thought. Not with Terra around. She and Beast Boy seemed to be having a good time with each other already.
The dream might mean nothing at all, Raven realized. Just because she was empathic didn't meant that all her dreams were prophecies. Her energies were probably out of alignment for some reason or other. That made more sense than the possibility of her finding Beast Boy attractive. Or vice versa.
No woman in her right mind could find that idiot attractive. Raven sat up and arched her back, popping several vertebrae in her spine before exhaling. Much less kiss him. I don't know what Terra sees in him.
The empath went to take a shower, continuously thinking about how untrue the dream was. She would never flirt or be so air-headed as to giggle. Granted, she sometimes imagined herself that way in another life, without the constraints she had to place on her emotions because of her heritage. But she couldn't honestly picture herself living like that.
Even if she were free from her father's evil and free to express her emotions, she would not choose Beast Boy as someone to express them too. He was loud, stupid, painfully basic, and lacked any sense of style. His idea of an interesting book was an "Archie's Pals and Gals" comic digest. His jokes weren't funny, and he couldn't understand the complexity of the human mind, especially when it came to the opposite sex. He probably didn't know that girls had brains; his examination of a girl's qualities started and finished with the skin.
He's a pig. Of all the animals he could change into, that one suited him best.
Raven shampooed all thoughts of Beast Boy away and tried to forget what she did with him in her dream. She would never think of Beast Boy as anything more than a gibbering buffoon.
Raven left the shower and toweled off. She put on her uniform as she dried her hair with a handy magic trick. She sat down at her dresser and combed her hair slowly, her mind drifting from thought to thought. She avoided thoughts of Beast Boy, which continued to pop up with irritating frequency. That dream bothered her so much, it was unbearable. She had to focus her attention on something else today. Starfire and her were planning to go to the mall to find street clothes for the alien to wear, so changing her focus should be simple.
When Raven finished combing, she left her room and headed for the den. True to her expectations, the other Titans were milling about and eating breakfast. Starfire and Robin were busily reading through the sports section together, with Robin explaining the various sports and players to the redhead. Cyborg and Beast Boy were worshiping at the church of Gamestation and 'Super Racer EX'. Raven noted the intensity of their game and made a slow beeline for the table.
"Ah! Good morning, Raven!" Starfire said brightly with her usual politeness. "Were you able to sleep well?"
"...Not well enough," Raven drolly replied. She glanced at the kitchen, where the remnants of breakfast were, and triggered some of her magic. A handful of utensils and plates animated and danced around what was left of Cyborg's cooking. The utensils scooped and organizing food onto the plate in the portions that Raven preferred.
Raven returned her attention to Starfire once the magic was underway. "I'm a little tired."
"That must be so, if you wish to use your magic for such a simple activity." Starfire spoke her words methodically but expertly. It was hard to tell, but English was difficult for her.
Raven's plate and utensils flew in formation to the table and landed gently in front of her. She began to eat, calmly cutting her eggs and toast into smaller bites and eating each morsel one at a time. Starfire watching the magician eat when Robin finished explaining the sports to her. Eventually, she pranced over to the entertainment rack where the gang's CDs, DVDs, and magazines were, and picked out a random one to read on the couch beside Cyborg.
Now was as good a time as any, Raven thought, to ask about the blond. She looked up at the newspaper across from her. "Where's...?"
"Out," Robin replied instantly. "She said she had an important errand to run downtown, and she wanted to be alone for a while. It's seems she's still getting used to communal living."
Raven nodded slowly and returned to her meal. Robin continued speaking without lowering his paper. "You don't trust her, do you." He kept his voice low, so that the others didn't hear their conversation.
"I don't, but that's not the reason I asked." She didn't elaborate, and instead took another careful bite of her food.
Robin lowered his newspaper. "Something happen between you two?"
"No." Raven answered his questions without complaint. Of all the people on the team, Raven trusted him most with her secrets, and her feelings. It was the two of them that started the Teen Titans in the first place, so they shared a special bond of leadership. The other members looked to them for leadership and support, and they looked to each other for advice on serious matters. And they both knew when to pry, and when not to.
"Terra moving in has affected all of us," Robin said, folding up the morning paper and laying it neatly at the center of the table. "Starfire and Cyborg are getting along with her easily. And Beast Boy seems to be spending a lot of time with her..."
Raven curled her eyebrow. Talking to Robin was almost as bad as talking to a psychic. But she played it coolly and hid her expression expertly. "If it means him bothering me less, then I'm glad she's here."
"Of course," Robin said with a tone of pity. "Training isn't until the afternoon. Be sure to keep track of time during your meditation." He left the table to join the others in the den, and immediately declared that he would play the winner between Cy and Beast Boy. Judging from the whimpering, it sounded like Cyborg would be the winner of that match.
As usual, Raven was by herself and the other Titans were "over there". It didn't matter what day it was, or where they were. Raven always ended up standing alone, like a statue on a deserted island. Granted, she preferred to be alone. But sometimes - just sometimes - it bothered her to see her friends playing some silly game that she didn't know how to play. It made her feel like there was a gap between her and them, and the gap seemed to grow wider and wider every day.
Now, with Terra in the picture, the gap was a crevice with a single, rickety bridge allowing her to reach the other side. Her emotional vents were growing fewer and fewer without Beast Boy there to bug her, or Starfire and Cyborg to spend quiet time with her. Everyone seemed to enjoy Terra's company more than hers, now. Was it just her imagination, or was she becoming the odd-man-out?
Raven stood and placed her empty plate in the sink before turning to leave the room. She quietly walked to the edge of the den as she always did when she went to meditate in private. But today, she stopped at the entrance and waited. Her eyes remained forward, but her ears were focused on those behind her. She waited for one of them to comment about her - even think about her. She would hear it either way.
She peeked over her shoulder at her friends in the den. All of them were laughing with each other and focused on their game and their general feeling of brotherhood. None of them even had a stray thought for her. They'd grown used to her slinking in and out of a room unnoticed, like a dog. It was unavoidable, but disheartening.
Raven turned and resumed her lonely walk into the shadows.
Meditating after waking up seemed like a waste to the lesser minded. Why meditate – an act that was as close to sleeping as you could get without sleeping – just after you woke up? Raven didn't bother to explain it to those who asked. Sleeping and meditating were totally different things to a true mystic. In one, your consciousness is in a dream state and has little to no effect on the body or the psychic functions it can generate. In the other, you had full control over your psychic potential and can affect every part of your physical and spiritual self. It is difficult to meditate properly, but doing so unleashed incredible benefits to a mystic. It recharged energy, both physical and spiritual, and allowed them to sort their thoughts with ease.
And right now, Raven valued that bonus effect more than the others. She had thoughts that needed to be sorted out.
Raven floated just above the ground and crossed her legs. She turned to face the rising sun and closed her eyes. She rested the backs of her palms on her knees and joined her thumbs and middle fingers together. She relaxed her body, gently exhaled, and focused her energies on the chakra stone bound to her forehead.
Lastly, Raven triggered a simple magic spell and summoned her Mind Mirror from her room below. The artifact rested on the ground before her, its mirrored side facing up.
"Azarath..." Her voice echoed against the very fabric of reality. Her magic grew and folded around her, forming a bubble of light that unfolded like a flower petal until it became a runic circle on the ground.
"Metrion..." The circle flashed brightly and sent its power towards the heavens above. The sound of the magical byproduct was like that of crashing waves, but not as loud and barely physical. It was enough to make her cape flail about as if caught in stormy winds.
"Zinthos!" Raven hissed. The meditation had begun.
Raven opened her eyes, and found herself standing at the gate of her own mind. As she'd explained to Beast Boy and Cyborg, Raven could enter her own mind through meditation and the use of this magical mirror given to her by the high mage of Azarath. It was a device she needed if she was to control herself.
Any mystic could enter their own mind and see glimpses of its confines. But Raven had to turn her own mind into a prison. That required a lot more magic muscle. This mirror and her techniques gave her that muscle. But sometimes – like today – Raven wished she didn't have to deal with magic, the mind, or her interdimensional demonic deity of a father. Sometimes, she just wished she could be a normal, carefree, joyful teenage girl.
Raven looked at the stone road ahead. This was the same "road" that Beast Boy and Cyborg used when they accidentally entered her mind with the mirror. The only difference was that they didn't have to meditate to summon the gate to get here. That was one of the downsides of having a mind built like a prison – easy for others to get in, but not so easy for them to get out.
With a thought, Raven activated the gate a few stones ahead of her. This was the gate that Beast Boy and Cyborg used to enter and exit the different "realms" of her mind, populated by her 'sisters'. There were seven or eight versions of Raven in her own mind, each of them an astral manifestation of her "imprisoned" emotions and the magics associated with them. During her fight with one of them, Anger, she was able to tap into these suppressed magics by tapping into those emotions, if only for a moment. Luckily, Trigon's manifestation was defeated before it could escape.
The stone steps formed a more solid path in front of her, and Raven used the newfound path to walk to the gate. She ignored the four-eyed ravens guarding it, and they ignored her as well. They were magical and under her control, so they ignored her and her sisters for the most part. Apparently, Beast Boy and Cyborg fought with the birds and almost lost. Good thing Happy showed up in time to save them.
Raven stepped through the gate and appeared in another section of her mind world. This one looked like a spooky old castle out of some B-rated horror movie. It even had bats flying across the moon above and leafless trees lining the road that led to the castle door. Raven ignored the environment and walked the path to the castle – the gathering place for all the souls in this mind world. It was here that Raven could find the answer she was looking for.
Raven stopped at the archway that protected the doorway from rainstorms that never occurred. Hanging against the inside of the archway was a wooden board with several wooden name tags hanging from one of two hooks. One row of hooks symbolized the "people" who were present, and the other row showed who was not present. Raven went through the name tags out of curiosity.
Brave – green rune – "home"
Gross – orange rune – "home"
Pain – brown rune – "home"
Timid – gray rune – "home"
Anger – red rune with message, "Sealed"
Happy – pink rune – "not home"
Hate – blue rune – "not home"
Raven – purple rune – "not home"
Smart – yellow rune – "not home"
Raven moved her tag to the "home" row and pushed open the front door with ease. She walked inside the well-lit, somewhat drafty castle, and waited as the door shut behind her. Raven looked around at the various paths she could take in this hallway, and eventually decided to try the dining hall. 'They' usually met there to sit by the fireplace. Raven still didn't understand what astral spirits needed a fireplace or a dining room for, but anytime she asked they would just shake off the question and comment on how lucky Raven was to have a body.
Before she could open the door, someone else opened it from the inside. Raven bumped into a gray-robed copy of herself who seemed to be on the verge of tears. She looked up at the mystic's eyes, then darted them back down to the floor a moment later.
"G-good morning, Other Me," she greeted formally. "I-I'm really sorry for bumping into you. I should watch where I'm going."
"It wasn't your fault," Raven said, putting a hand on Timid's trembling shoulder. The girl seemed more worked up than usual. "What's the matter now?"
Timid looked into the room, then back up at Raven. Even though they were the same height, Timid seemed smaller because she slouched meekly. Plus, she just had so little presence that it was easy to disregard her even if she was right in front of you.
Raven looked over Timid to see two other copies of herself having a food fight with various desert pastries – presumably whatever it was they ate, stylized to look like real food. One of the spirits was wearing a green cloak and had a wild, confident look in her eyes. The other wore an orange cloak and was laughing with an irritating rasp, not unlike that little child Gizmo that tormented the Titans on occasion.
"Take this, bubble butt!" Gross shouted before chucking a cherry pie at her opponent. Brave easily dodged to the side, and the pie splattered on the ground harmlessly.
"What'd you call me, you smelly brat!?" Brave snapped. She threw a shortcake and narrowly missed the back of Gross' head. Brave followed up with all the trimmings, and managed to pelt her messy double with several strawberries and a glop of whip cream.
"I said your behind is as big as a house and twice as breezy!" Gross taunted. She picked up another pie with telekinesis and threw it with all her might. Brave ducked, and the pie sailed across the room towards the doorway. Before they could react, Raven and Timid were slapped by two halves of the same custard dessert.
"Oh crud!" Gross gawked when she saw Raven. Brave had a similar expression, but she seemed more amused than fearful.
Timid's soft eyes shook from her embarrassment. It wasn't long before she started crying beneath her gray hood. Timid ran from the room and down the castle hall, losing herself in one of the many passageways there.
"Now look what you did!" Brave said. "You made the 'baby' cry!"
"It wasn't my fault! You ducked!"
"You shut up!"
"BOTH of you shut up!" Raven yelled. Both spirits hastily obeyed. Brave folded her arms and turned her head defiantly, while Gross used that moment to scratch her armpit, which had grown sweaty during the fight.
"You sure know how to make an entrance," Brave quipped. Raven glared at her coldly, and she just smiled in response. Brave knew she was in trouble, but she was the kind of girl who thrived on trouble. It was her way of getting attention.
"Where's Smart?" Raven demanded. "I need to speak with her."
"She's out with Happy, dealing with some destrado spirit causing trouble," Gross said. She jumped onto a cushioned sofa and sprawled unceremoniously with her legs wide open for the world to see. "I think they got tired of hanging out."
"Can't blame 'em," Brave added. "It gets pretty dull, being stuck in the astral plane for a decade-and-some." Again, Raven just glared and didn't humor her with an answer.
A Destrado... that was a nightmarish spirit formed by negative energy. Psychics had to deal with them on occasion. Raven's unique heritage made that happen more often, since she had a lot of negative energy, even when compared to her less-than-cheerful nature. Beast Boy and Cyborg got a taste of what a Destrado could do when they visited last. The two-faced statue with the swords was a Destrado. Timid knew it was waiting for them at the end of the maze, but she couldn't bring herself to warn them or fight it herself. Brave, of course, dealt with it rather handily.
"What did you want to talk about?" Gross asked. She wiped a piece of pie off her face and slurped it off her finger, making Raven wince visibly. She couldn't believe that was part of her.
"...Nothing important," Raven lied. "But if they come in, don't let them leave."
"Are you going somewhere?"
Raven headed out the door. "I'm going to apologize for what you two did."
Gross quickly protested. "But I-!"
"Just clean up the mess," Raven ordered. The dining room door shut behind her of its own volition.
Brave scowled at the door and bowed mockingly. "Yes, sahib." She waved her hands once, and every food item in the room shot into the fireplace like a bullet before burning to ashes. Gross watched in stunned silence, then waited apprehensively for Brave to sit down and start brooding.
Timid usually ran to the library when she wanted to be alone. Her and Smart were the only two who seemed to know the library existed. Raven's other selves found the place boring. All you could do there was read books containing memories and information from Raven's past. Timid liked to read the books and use them to experience the world outside Raven – a world she'd only experienced in their youth, when Raven was still able to express her emotions. That was before her first "accident".
Timid hid in an alcove on the second floor of the library. She sat in an enclosed corner, obscured from the main walkway by bookshelves and decorative greenery. She cried over a book worn from age and continuous use. It was Timid's favorite book, and one she treasured above all the other memories she'd read.
Raven walked into the alcove where the bookshelves were labeled "15", meaning they were from Raven's most recent memories. Timid heard her approach and hastily closed the book before shoving it into the desk in front of her. She tried to bury herself in her cloak as Raven walked into view beside one of the shelves.
"I'm sorry," Timid apologized. She wrung her hands anxiously in her lap. "Please don't be mad."
"Why would I be mad?" Raven muttered, trying her best not to sound irritated. She'd done this way too often to not be irritated by it. "It wasn't your fault."
Timid went silent. Raven walked over and took a seat next to her, making the other girl cringe. Timid's territorial bubble was very wide and very easy to disrupt, even with her other selves. Raven looked down at the desk and opened it slowly. She reached into the drawer and pulled out the memory book carefully. Timid turned her face shyly, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. The title of the memory was "Us at the Beach, June 9th".
Raven opened the book curiously to the first page. The page had a polaroid sized window, which started to play a scene like a home movie. Starfire was flouncing around in the sand, showing off a new, frilly bikini bought specifically for this occasion. She giggled characteristically and displayed herself to the world.
"Raven, how do I look?" the recorded Starfire asked.
"I don't know Star. This isn't my thing." Raven exhibited her usual grumpy behavior. The view panned to the right, where Robin and Cyborg were throwing the football around. Starfire bounced over to join them, and Robin ended up getting sidetracked by her appearance. Cyborg's next pass slammed into the side of Robin's face, making him fall over face-first into the sand. Both Cyborg and Starfire laughed hysterically, and Robin jumped up to pursue Cyborg to get his revenge.
Raven, in the library, noticed a bookmark sticking out from the top of the book. She fingered the edge of the pages until she found the marked section and tried to turn to it. Timid's squeaks of objection stopped her, but when she looked at her for an explanation, Timid turned away again shyly. Raven returned her attention to the book and turned to the marked page. Another scene started to play. This one was later on in the day, with Beast Boy running towards where Raven sat on the beach. He was dripping wet from playing in the water, and he was dressed in nothing but a pair of black swim trunks. He plopped down beside Raven, spraying her with water inadvertently. As expected, she complained at the unwelcome shower.
"Come on Ray! You can't just sit here in the shade. Go get a swimsuit and come play!"
The "real" Raven could feel the hesitation of the Raven in the memory. She wanted to go play, but the usual limitations kept her from going. She didn't have the luxury of playing and having fun. And she'd never been a 'sun' person anyway.
"No thanks," she drolled.
"Please?" he asked again. He tilted his head slightly, allowing his hair to fall into a rugged style naturally. Raven felt her self's heart skip a beat. She was a girl without emotions, but she was still a girl. Her breath could be taken away by the most accidental and inane things.
The memory Raven licked her lips unconsciously as she risked thinking of what fun she could have with her friends. The sheer joy she could feel by doing something as simple as playing in the water boggled her mind, because of the mystery it held for her. The thought of just letting go and being happy – with Beast Boy – was intoxicating.
"Hey you!" someone shouted off-screen. Both Beast Boy and Raven looked towards the water, where Terra was holding a beach ball. "Hurry up and get over here!"
Raven looked at Beast Boy out of the corner of her eye. The green mutant shouted back, "I'll be right there!" He stood up and made tracks, kicking up dust as he ran through the sand towards the water. Raven watched him go, and a part of her hated him for leaving so easily. But when Terra called, he didn't hesitate. Because she was actually fun to be with. At that moment on the beach, Raven wished more than ever to be free.
Raven gently closed the book. She drummed her fingers on it and thought about how often Timid must've looked at this book – that scene – and felt the same way. The desire to be free. Raven and every facet of her soul desired nothing more than pure, utter, emotional freedom. But it was their curse to be forever denied it, so long as her father's essence existed inside them.
"...I know he doesn't like me," Timid admitted meekly. "But, I-I... I... like this memory. His smile..." The girl pulled her hood further over her face in an attempt to disappear completely. "His smile makes me feel better. It makes me wish that you... we... could express our feelings to him."
"I've told you before. We can't risk having emotions. It's too easy for 'him' to escape. And if that happened, the world would end."
"I understand. But..." Timid twiddled her fingers. "...I envy you. I wish I could have a body. So that I could meet him and... he could smile at me too."
"He doesn't smile at me," Raven said. "Not anymore."
Timid's eyes widened. "B-but... why?"
"All that time he spent bothering me... he uses that time to be with Terra now." Raven actually felt sadness welling up in her heart. It was such a strange feeling. "I hardly see him at all now."
"Then... he does not like us anymore?"
Raven pushed her chair back and stood up. "I had my chance. But without emotions, there is nothing I can say or do about him and Terra." She paused dramatically, but only to calm her heart and keep her cool.
"... I'm little more than a ghost." She left the alcove as silently as an apparition, both her and Timid sharing the same feeling of regret.
As Pain would have said to them, "There was so much you could have done. But as easily as night changes to day, so does the window of opportunity."
Happy and Smart returned eventually. It felt like an eternity to Raven – several hours in front of the fire with Brave and Gross trying to stave off more food fights. In reality the time could have been less than ten minutes, since time and space always worked differently in a person's mind, especially during meditation. Raven wished she could exert as much control on her emotional sisters as she could on time and space, but alas, every magician had her limits.
Raven pulled yellow-robed Smart aside once the initial greetings were out of the way. Smart wasn't so much an emotion as she was a superego construct. In short, she was the calm, motherly, intelligent portion of Raven's essence responsible for keeping all her emotions in line and maintaining order in the chaotic world that was Raven's mind. Whenever Raven needed advice, she always consulted Smart before her other selves.
Raven felt stupid asking "herself" questions, but she knew it was necessary to treat Smart as someone outside herself. The magic that imprisoned her father Trigon's essence also diffused her spirit into parts. This prevented her emotions from weakening his prison. So Raven had multiple personalities by necessity, and had to treat her facets like flesh and blood people.
"How may I help you today, Other Me?" Smart asked formerly. She adjusted her thin-rimmed glasses and folded her hands on her crossed legs. Overall, she looked like a librarian or a counselor waiting on her patient. Ironically enough, she served both functions in Raven's mind world. She helped keep Raven and her sisters in line, and organized her memories into manageable groups when she had free time.
"I wanted to ask you about... Beast Boy," Raven muttered.
Smart smiled gently. "You mean young Logan, yes? The funny green boy you work with."
"Yeah." Raven shifted nervously in her seat. "Not that I think he's funny."
"Of course," Smart said. "Now, what has Mister Logan done to upset you?"
"I don't get 'upset'," Raven corrected. "I'm just concerned about-"
"'Pigeon' dear, please. Do not act as if I don't know your true nature. If anyone knows your nature, it is I. You do not have to 'act cool' in front of me."
Raven frowned. "Please don't call me that."
"Then be honest with me. Now, what is the matter?"
Raven cast her eyes on the ground as she thought of what she was going to say. There were so many ways to hint at it, but she realized it was pointless to obscure her true worry. She wouldn't improve her situation by pussy-footing around the subject.
"...I like Beast Boy. Whether he's trying to annoy me or trying to entertain me with some stupid joke, he inspires those feelings that I have to keep hidden – joy, humor, silliness..."
"Love?" Raven was about to protest, but none of the words on the tip of her tongue would escape her lips. Smart smiled at this, and even covered her mouth to giggle a bit. "Sorry dear. Please continue."
Raven glowered, and did so. "Ever since Terra joined the team, I've seen less and less of him. I feel like he's grown... bored with me, or has forgotten about me. Even though we work together every day and live under the same roof, he doesn't treat me the same as he used to. He doesn't tease me, or make innuendos, or bug me to go downtown with him. Now, he does all those things with... her."
"And she does the same with him, yes?" Smart guessed. "Express herself with jokes and 'party down' with him and the other Titans?"
Raven nodded slowly, and bit her lower lip sadly. "I'm the only one on the team who isn't emotional. And, I think it's making me fade into the background. It's not just Beast Boy. I think... the whole team is forgetting me."
Smart rubbed her glasses along the bridge of her nose. "It is common for people who don't make that social leap to be 'forgotten' even though they are right under the nose of their peers. You've been open with your friends on occasion, but it's not enough to build a social relationship on. And it goes without saying that a romantic relationship is out of the question."
"Romantic!?" Raven snapped. "I like Beast Boy, but I don't want him like that!"
Smart leaned forward and smiled. "Pigeon. Terra is stealing Beast Boy away from you. That is how you see it, at least. And the reason she can steal him away is because you can't express your feelings to young Logan or anyone else."
Raven tried to come up with a comeback of some kind to refute that outrageous claim of her loving Beast Boy. But once again, her lips failed her. Once again, her heart knew her feelings better than her brain. She sighed, and held her face with her hands. "Yes."
Her double waved her palm gently, summoning an arc of light that formed into an image of Raven fighting Trigon with Beast Boy and Cyborg. Eventually, it showed the white-robed Raven obliterating the massive demon and forcing it to revert into Anger, the shard of her personality belonging to Trigon. The white-robed Raven then reabsorbed Anger and dispersed all the personalities across her mind, returning to normal.
"You've grown stronger since your time in Azarath," Smart noted. "And since the battle with your personal demons, you've grown stronger still. You may have evolved to a point where you can exercise total control of your mind, without fragmenting yourself."
Raven looked up. "Impossible. Trigon is a demon god that can destroy galaxies. Even the fragment of him inside me is too much to handle without the spell."
"You don't give yourself enough credit, dear." Smart waved the images away. "We've noticed our own powers getting stronger, limited as they are. In turn, that must mean your power has reached a new plateau. Like all demon hybrids, your strength increases daily. But in your case, your good nature is growing stronger too. I think we have your friends to thank for that."
Raven wondered if, perhaps, Smart was right. All the time she'd spent with the Teen Titans had improved her combat abilities naturally. But did their good nature grow on her as well? She helped create the Titans in order to find a way to get rid of her father and his curse. Had she finally found the answer she'd been seeking in her friends? In Beast Boy?
Smart leaned forward and put a reassuring hand on Raven's head, like a parent consoling her child. "Believe me, dear. You have earned the right to a happy existence. It is time we partake of that happiness waiting for you. But, we must tread cautiously. So I propose you start slowly."
"Slowly?" Raven echoed. "What do you mean?"
"If you allow parts of yourself to assume control of your body, there should be little risk of Anger breaking free. And even if there is, you can simply retake control and exert your normal influence."
Raven's eyes widened. "You're suggesting I let Happy, Brave, and the others take turns using my body? That's insane!" The sheer magnitude of the things that could go wrong just boggled the mind. And what would the others think if they saw her prancing around like Starfire or picking fights with the boys?
Raven realized immediately what they would think. They'd probably think it was awesome, or miraculous. Smart understood that already. She was suggesting this course of action because it would get the others to pay attention to her again.
"If all goes well, you can try uniting your personae again and manifesting as one complete person. Imagine your friends' surprise when you start laughing and crying and playing like a normal girl." Smart smiled knowingly. "And imagine what young Logan would think of you then."
Raven imagined – perhaps too vividly – what it would be like to be a "real" girl with Beast Boy. She remembered the dream, where they were a couple. He was her 'Tiger'. She hated to admit it before, but a part of her wanted that dream to be reality. And after this conversation, that part of her was growing bigger.
"What do you say, Pigeon?" Smart asked. "Do you think it's worth a try?"
Raven smirked back. "...Yeah. It's worth a try. But who's going to go first?"
"Draw straws. It's the only fair way to do it."
"Good idea." Raven jumped up to go break the news. Quickly she turned and ran over to hug Smart. She didn't hug people in real life, but here she didn't have to worry about hiding her feelings as much. And such news deserved a hug. "Thank you."
"Don't thank me. Thank you." Raven nodded happily and ran out of the room to find the others. Smart watched her leave with a satisfied grin.
Smart stood up, the smile on her face not leaving for an instant, and followed her happy counterpart out of the room. Soon, she and the other spirits would get a chance to see the real world. And if all went well, they'd all be reunited and become one real person again. The thought of such a joyous occasion was staggering.
She just hoped that everything would be okay.
Everything will be okay. I promise.
"Are you serious!?" Happy shouted, like a valley girl hearing about a clearance sale. "This is GREAT!" She started to dance around with unbridled joy, her pink cape swinging around like the ribbons used in some baton dances. Happy grabbed Brave and swung her around in an impromptu dance routine. Brave shook the girl off and chided her for acting like an idiot. Happy eventually let go and simply bounced up and down beside Timid, who shied away before she could be forced to dance.
"So who gets to go first?" Gross asked. "We can rassle for it or have a belching contest!" Gross worked up a nice one and let it rip with resounding force, literally shaking the room with its intensity. Smart plugged her nose delicately, while the others showed their disgust in more verbal ways.
Raven sweatdropped. "The five of you will draw straws. Whoever gets the short straw will go with me through the gate and share the body for... a day, I guess."
"A day! That's it?" Brave muttered. "Stingy."
"This is just an experiment," Smart said in her defense. "We must tread cautiously until we are sure that we are indeed strong enough to exert our influence without giving Father the opening he needs to escape."
"What about Pain and Hate?" Gross asked. "Don't they get to draw for it?"
Raven shook her head. "Not yet. I'd rather keep them out of my head for now."
Gross frowned and muttered to herself, "Discrimination by emotion ain't fair."
"Now, let's draw." She put her hand inside her robe and pulled out four straws, tightly clenched in her hand. She held the straws out to the crowd. "Now everyone pick one. And don't think you can read my mind to find the right straw, because I don't know which straw is the shortest either."
"Snot," Gross pouted. "There goes my plan." She grabbed a random straw and examined it with a frown. Timid, Happy, and Smart drew straws in turn, and each looked at their choice carefully. Soon, it became clear who would get the chance to enter the real world with Raven first.
"Looks like it's you."
Raven --- Purple Robe --- "Blank" emotional state (for the most part).
Brave --- Green Robe --- Aggressive, competitive, confident.
Happy --- Pink Robe --- Joyful, optimistic, humorous.
Smart --- Yellow Robe --- Superego aspect. Moral, very orderly.
Timid --- Gray Robe --- Submissive, shy, self-conscious.
Anger --- Red Robe --- Trigon's fragmented life essence. Evil.
Gross --- Orange Robe --- Messy, disorganized, cowardly.
Hate --- Blue Robe --- Self-centered, full of contempt.
Pain --- Brown Robe --- Remorse, depressed, almost suicidal.