Chp. 11 The Courting
Raven's face was the epitome of blank.
"Yeah, there were two other girls." Sino continued. "Their names were Quirty and Leila. Leila was the first girl he sought after. She was a weak girl, a gargoyle and she was easily influenced. Naten took advantage of her and was going to bring her here to make his mate."
"Sino, don't." Flora warned as they frowned disapprovingly at their cousin.
Sino shot them a look that quelled any up roaring in them, before continuing. "He didn't love Leila; he was just going to use her. Maybe he's using you too. I think he just likes weak girls."
Sino paused a moment for dramatic effect. "But Leila never made it here. She was afraid of Naten and ran off as soon as an opportunity arose. I don't blame her; he wasn't very nice to her. Then there was Quirty. Now, Quirty, she made it here. She actually loved Nate and he…liked her. Quirty was a banshee, and a powerful one at that. She and Nate was a great couple. I've never seen Nate so happy."
"So what happened to her?" Raven asked, curious, despite her effort to stay immune to the tale.
"Nate killed her because she wouldn't marry him." Sino answered matter-of-factly.
"No!" Flora interrupted. "He didn't kill her. No one knows what happened to her. She just disappeared."
"That makes me feel better." Raven mumbled as a small smile crept onto her face.
"What are you smiling at?" Sino snapped, upset that Raven wasn't angry.
"Because none of that's of my concern. I am not weak like the gargoyle, nor am I going anywhere like the banshee. I came here because Nate is my friend and he wanted me to visit, but I'm staying because you are an endangered species, and my impish lineage is intrigued." Smiling, Raven showed off her pointy teeth again, loving the nervousness she caused by doing so.
"You really are a demon, aren't you?" Effie stated as she came to stand next to Raven, her own image now reflecting demon qualities, her smile just as menacing as Raven's. Raven could not detect any fear or nervousness from her. She found herself liking the unstable revine, and knew she would have to work harder to scare her.
"Uh-oh!" Flora exclaimed, casting nervous eyes over Raven's head as she and the other girls hopped to their feet.
Raven didn't turn her head, didn't want to show anyone she could succumb to fear or even curiosity, and merely watched the girls with narrowed eyes.
They moved silently and stealthily, as if they had practiced, or done it often. All smiles had turned nervous or disappeared completely. They slowly scattered off into different directions, their forms melting into the shadows of the little garden. Whatever was coming seemed to scare them like rabbits, even Sino and Effie seemed to stiffen, although Effie's back was facing the threat just as was Raven's.
"The boys are on the prowl." Sino muttered to Raven, her eyes darting from over Raven's shoulder to Raven's eyes.
Calci was the first to leave, not bothering to make eye contact as she walked backwards into the shadows. Imbri and Stipe vanished next, their eyes meeting Raven's first, their movements fluid and deliberate.
"Watch for our brother." Imbri whispered, warning Raven with her eyes, before she bowed into the darkness.
"He likes nothing more than a good hunt." Stipe finished, with her eyes wide and giving Raven a brief smile before she seemed to leap into the dark canopies.
"I apologize for anything my brother says or does in advance." Flora mumbled briefly before she bounded off into the bushes.
"My brothers are idiots." Sino muttered defiantly, but as she said it, she cast her eyes downward, looking at Raven through her lashes. Although she spoke with confidence, Sino too seemed to be in a hurry to leave, for she dared not spend a second taunting Raven more and turned into the night and vanished.
Finally it was just Raven and Effie, who was now fidgeting. Directing an apologetic smile at Raven, Effie leaned towards the way the others girls had fled.
"Don't let them break you." she murmured, gripping Raven's arm briefly, in what she had meant to be comforting, but since her hands were slick and slightly webbed, the feeling she evoked was a complete opposite.
Effie took off for the shadows, but before she entered them, she stopped and smiled coyly. "At least it's you and not me."
"Hm." Raven muttered, watching the black bird fly away into the darkness. Girls, it seemed, were to be seen and not heard, and only seen when they were wanted.
"Dear Raven!" a loud, fast voice suddenly interrupted the peace as Raven was violently spun around in a mini twister.
Coming out of the twister, Raven found herself in the arms of the Lord of Speed.
"Marius." she greeted slowly.
The Lord of Speed smiled as his name left her lips. "Dear Raven," he said again, "I am Sir Marius, the Lord of Speed, and you…shall be my Lady." Raven heard growling behind her. The growl was familiar to her heart, and so, because she was miffed at the growler, when Marius aimed to kiss her, which she knew was coming, she let him.
Although that didn't mean she had to kiss him back.
"OI!" many voices yelled from behind her, joining the growler, making Marius laugh in triumphant.
"If you shall be my Lady, then I guess I'd have to keep you to myself." Marius's speech came out so fast that it took Raven a second to get what he was saying, but it took less than a second for Marius to put his plan into action.
Raven didn't think she would ever get use to going this fast. She was vaguely aware of branches brushing past her as Marius ran, but before she could decipher what had touched her or not, something else was there to take its place. It wasn't until she was faced with a vast dark wall that she realized that they had stopped and now stood at the edge of Welkis' castle in the sky and below them was sure death if they should fall. So obviously, Marius jumped and brought her along with him.
"Damn it, Raven!" she heard Naten yell before sheer adrenaline roared in her ears.
Raven didn't scream this time. She was expecting the speed and the sudden plunge, so now she even managed a smile. She felt Marius's hold on her tighten and when she glanced at him, she caught his eye and winked. It was time to take things into her own hands. Or powers.
"Raven, stop fooling around and get away from him." Naten yelled angrily, keeping pace with them as they fell.
"Can't you see that the Lady and I would like to be alone?" Marius taunted, throwing a dismissive hand in Naten's direction as he hugged Raven closer to his body.
"You have a death wish Marius? She's my woman!"
"I belong to no one." Raven spoke up, her voice flat and her eyes on Naten.
"Raven..." Nate whispered, his face softening, which earned him a scornful look of distaste from Raven before her shadow self oozed from Marius's grip and soared away.
"Wow!" Marius breathed. "She's interesting."
"She's more than that!" Naten snapped, throwing his cousin an angry glare.
"I'm sure." Marius replied placidly. "So...are you going to save me? I'm kind of falling to my death here."
Raven belched and frowned in distaste.
Being around so many Revines was giving her indigestion.
Rubbing her stomach absentmindedly, she gazed at the wooded area she had emerged into. Being one to never let fear of molestation guide her, Raven made to leave her spot when her troop of suitors landed in the brush, some with the assistance of their cousins, and others with the shear force of their powers. They landed with nothing more than a dull thud with all eyes and ears alert for any sign of her. She ducked back into the bushes and waited for them to pass. None made any inclination that they knew she was there, but Venn did pause shortly but kept on with a twitch of his nose. They continued in companionable silence, but after only a few feet, the boys glanced at each other with distaste and disbanded.
Raven waited until they disappeared into the foliage before letting the smile she felt bloom onto her face. She shivered. For a moment, the only thing that was worth her appreciation was the fact that she was alone and there were countless males possibly fighting to the death over her at any moment. That was enough to make any cold-bloodied demon purr with pleasure.
"Silly boys." she whispered.
Emerging from her hiding spot, she stretched and brushed off her robes and leotard. Now the question was, did she make it easy by going out into the open, or did she slink through the woods like a beast of misfortune?
Slinking through the forest, Raven was a bundle of nervous energy as each sound made her jump and fidget. The smile on her face was pure mischief, her teeth pointed with excitement. She didn't know when or where she would run into her suitors, or which ones she wanted to run into.
"I'm so excited." she murmured aloud as she barely suppressed a tremor.
A shadow passed overhead and she froze like a dear in the headlights. Looking overhead, she stooped down to make herself less visible, but she saw nothing move, nor did she hear anything. She frowned in disgust and disappointment. There was no one to get her and she was getting paranoid. Scoffing, she stood to her full height and marched purposely through the brush.
"Got you!" Marius yelled as he was suddenly there and scooped her up and away.
"This is getting old." she told him, wondering how she allowed this revine to keep snatching her up and just how had she ended up straddling his waist and holding on for dear life with him keeping a firm hand on her buttocks. To keep her from slipping and falling of course.
"We have to get far away from here." He was telling her. "There are too many cousins around here and we wouldn't want any of them stealing you away, now would we?"
"I don't know." she answered, running her hands through his wind swept hair as they entered and exited up to three forested areas in less than a minute. "Would we?"
As he ran, she looked deeply into his eyes as she played with his hair. He seemed to lavish in her touch and was unable to break contact as her eyes turned white.
"Am I in for some hot, demon love?" he asked her huskily.
She smiled and winked at him before leaving his embrace. As she morphed into a shadow and out of his arms, Marius had no time to slow down before hitting the tree.
Raven winced as she looked at him. He had hit it pretty hard with a very audible impact. The tree had a newly acquired crack going up its trunk and it still continued to groan as if it too cried out in pain. However, Marius was not crying out in pain, he wasn't even groaning. No, he was unconscious and if the smell of blood was anything to go on, he had a broken nose and an overall busted face.
Knowing she could do nothing for him, but heal him and see if he was all right, Raven morphed into the shadows once more and escaped.
She fell back into form a few miles away in the clearing of a foreboding cave. Seeing the cave and its dark entrance, she smirked, knowing that it was a clichéd trap. Ignoring it, she turned on her heal and made to leave; her way was suddenly barricaded by a wall of flames. Knowing who it was to trap her, and not really wanting to escape, Raven made no attempt to fight or flee.
She felt him coming and spun to face him. Her abrupt about face made him jump in start, but Ignis didn't let it deter him. Grabbing her hand, he bowed and touched it to his forehead. "Dear Lady, I am Ignis, Lord of the Flame, and I will be the one to win you over." Looking at her with his red eyes, the flames flared in response to his attraction. "Although, by the magnetism between us, I'll say I have this in the bag."
"Someone's confident." she replied in her monotone, though she didn't deny the allure that he presented to her. She didn't know it, but apparently, she had missed the passion of fire.
Feeling the mutual attraction, Ignis, with her hand still captured in his, pulled her closer, his flaming hair cooling with anticipation, but before he could draw her in for a kiss, she beat him to it.
Though he was caught off guard by the kiss, Ignis soon melted into it, his hair standing on end and blazing brightly. So enthralled by the kiss, he lost focus on the flames blocking her way and they died down as both their bodies became aflame.
"Enough of this!" a voice yelled out, breaking the mood like glass. The attraction suddenly died along with all of the fire, including that what was trying to burn her newly appointed fireproof robes. Looking around confused, Raven saw him before Ignis and made no move to warn him.
Winking at her, Sonet, or Wryth, she wasn't sure, quickly stepped up to his cousin and whispered in his ear. Ignis reacted violently and Raven watched confused as he clutched his ears screaming in pain as blood leaked from them, his eyes, and nose. With his hair dying out to reveal dull red hair, Ignis collapsed to the ground an unconscious, bloody heap.
"Interesting." she commented as the twin walked to her, ignoring his possibly dead cousin, and kneeled before her. Clasping her hand, he touched it to his head and spoke. And that's when she knew which twin she was now working with.
"I am Sonet, Lord of Sound," he announced, his voice caressing her head lovingly, making her smile and nod as he drew her down to him. "And you, Lady Raven, will be my bride." as the last word left his lips, he crushed his to hers, but as his words ended, she found the spell ending. Yet, just as she was about to pull away, the kiss was ended by the arrival of the other twin.
With seemingly little force, Wryth backhanded his twin into the forest and out of sight. As Raven made a face of impress, Wryth had her in his arms and causing turmoil within her.
She was hot and covered in goose bumps. She was acutely aware of the blood running through her veins and especially how it reacted in her most sensitive parts. Her lips tingled, wanting to be kissed. Her toes were curling involuntarily and her hands were balled tight. His hold on her was too comfortable, his body felt too good against her, and when they rubbed…the friction was driving her crazy. She just wanted to run her hands all over him, and she wanted him to do the same to her. Just as long as he never took his hands off her.
He kissed her, and her soul screamed. Everything important was pushed to the back of her mind as she only focused on the feel of him in her mouth. She felt melded to him, as if they had become one being and that being was ecstasy. She wanted to bring him home to meet the team; she wanted her father to meet him; or just be aware of him.
"I am Wryth, Lord of Sense," he breathed. "And you, Lady Raven, will be my very, happy bride."
'Of course. Whatever you want. Just keep touching me.' she thought to herself as she made to make out with him again. But before they could devour each other lips, Sonet was there and tackling his brother down and away from Raven.
As their contact broke, Raven stumbled away, still affected but coming to her own senses. Shaking her head, she watched the brothers fight and grimaced. They were dangerous.
Dizzy, disoriented, and feeling drained; she staggered away into the forest and the dangerous duo. The more she moved, the more her head cleared up. She went from stumbling like a newborn calf to running like a spirit to flying through the woods like the very night itself.
As she flew, she was slightly aware of the animals in the revine world. Most seemed similar to the human realm, like the deer like creatures that now paced her curiously. They looked like regular deer, but their fur was a soft, luminous green and they had three eyes.
Flying with the herd, they made good time, escaping the Revines and their proposals. Leaving the forest behind as they sprinted across the land at a reckless speed. Raven found that she was enjoying herself. Flying in the wilderness, no need to worry about super villains suddenly attacking town, no worrying about being too demonic for the feeble minded. These deer creatures didn't mind the demonic sense they got from her. They probably didn't even know what she was and so had no reason to be fearful. The thought suddenly made her smile. She almost felt like a harmless, innocent young maiden. Almost.
She laughed aloud as she began to spin and twirl in midair. The deer seemed to catch her joy and began to leap in formation around her, before her, under her, and over her.
Not too soon afterward, another creature loomed up out of the grass before them. It was big, furry, with scales on its belly. It looked vaguely bear like, but with none of it ferocity. Upon seeing them, it faulted and turned to ran away.
Seeing it retreat, the deer's third eye suddenly glowed yellow and they opened their mouths to reveal rows of sharp teeth. Screeching loudly, they sped up, leaving a bewildered Raven behind, and attacked the frightened creature with unabridged viciousness.
Raven stopped flying and merely hovered a little ways back from the massacre. The sound of the animal dying was weak, pathetic, and quickly extinguished by its attackers. Before the last of the tremors left the body, the deer had already begun to feast upon it, and the noise they made sounded suspiciously like children giggling. Every now and then one would pause in its eating to glance up at her with what seemed to be grins upon their faces.
"Okay." she murmured to herself, watching the fiasco with an insipid eye.
After the deer finished eating, Raven continued her adventure with them. How could she be mad at the creatures for being themselves? So they were vicious, meat eating, pack monsters. They were also cute when not covered in blood and gore.
They were now back in a wooded area, soaring through the air, scaring all creatures into hiding, and dodging trees as if they were dodge balls. She was happy; didn't feel as innocent now; knowing that the only reason the deer were calm with her was because they recognized the predator in her.
Suddenly, the deer stopped in their tracks, ears perked up and alert. She froze with them, looking around for what had them so tense. By the way their ears turned from here to there, she could tell they didn't know where the threat was coming from.
On alert, Raven opened her senses and did her own scrutinizing of their surroundings. She listened with a demon's ear, she sniffed the air with a demon's nose, she looked with a demon's eye, and felt around with the senses of an empath.
She heard nothing, she smelled only the forest, she saw nothing, but she felt the terror. It was coming up behind them, its aura dark, dangerous, and thrilling. Its presence raked her senses like a clawed hand and she felt a tremor roll down her back.
Turning around, she stood still until she saw it. The shadows moved and became a body, the branches of the tree turned in her direction and were now a head, and the fireflies grew still to stare at her as eyes. The deer sensed him seconds after she saw him and they bolted with the fear of earthen deer. As they ran, she saw his body ripple as he followed them with his eyes.
Raven found, that when he switched his attention to her, she couldn't break eye contact, and she liked it. This boy was dangerous. As Sonet and Wryth were dangerous to her body and mind, HE was dangerous in his nature. This revine was damn near demonic. He was perfect.
Venn stepped from the shadows, bringing all of him to the wan light. It wasn't much of an improvement. His body seemed made of constantly moving shadows, his antlers seemed to be part of the surrounding trees, and his eyes still glowed with the intensity of fireflies.
Watching him, Raven found herself growling at him, which he was all too quick to return, and she smiled. Quicker than she could give him credit, Venn had bolted and pinned her to a tree, but just as quick, she had switched to her demon form and had tentacles of darkness wrapped around his neck and body, ready to penetrate and strangle if necessary.
He leered at her new body and glanced at the tentacles with interest. Not knowing which set of eyes to look into, he licked his teeth with his red tongue and switched back and forth between the two.
"I am Venn, your Lord of the Hunt, and you, demon, are mine." She liked his voice; it was deep and gravelly, prone to giving people nightmares. She liked his confidence, he was cocky and sure of himself, and she believed that he had a good reason to be. She liked the animalistic predator with the hint of demonic under toning that made up The Lord of the Hunt. He interested her and she interested him. A lot, she assumed, if the kiss was anything to go by. The kiss was a move to dominate and she reacted instantly.
He was the Lord of the Hunt, but she was the Mistress of Seduction and she wouldn't be cowed by any demon wannabe just because he was handsome and good at kissing.
She growled viciously and he growled back. He bit and gnawed her lip and she bit back. He devoured her mouth and she attempted to make him give up his soul. Grunting, growling, and snarling; they made for an unusual couple.
Venn was the first to pull away, Raven's blood seeping from his closed mouth. She felt he let it seep out on purpose, to show her what he had done, what he was capable of.
"You don't taste so different."
"Neither do you." She replied, making a show of licking her lips and showing off her bloodied tongue.
He smiled at her, his teeth coated in her blood, his skin rippling with shadows. "Our children will be glorious."
He lunged for her again, the move fast and vicious in intent, but as his mouth fell to hers he went slack and collapsed to the ground.
"Having fun?" a soft voice asked.
Smiling, she took a step over Venn's fallen body and spun in a circle. As she stopped, she blinked and met the heavy-eyed gaze of the Lord of Sleep. He held out his hand for her and when he spoke the words came out faster than his lips could move. Watching him talk was like watching a poorly dubbed film.
"Walk with me?" he asked; his voice low to her ears but loud and clear in her head.
"Of course." she answered, letting him grab her hand and lead her away.
They walked in a companionable silence, arms entwined together, simply enjoying one another's company. Every now and then, one would smile at a memory that the two had shared and the other knew of which one they thought of.
Raven found the walk easing to her soul and she hadn't realized how tensed and tired she was. Being tracked, courted, and kissed by one revine after the other seemed to be a demanding marathon even for her.
They left the forest behind and were now walking across a grassy plain. She wasn't running, she wasn't being chased, and she wasn't being carried away. So the leisurely stroll let her notice her surroundings and she was surprised by what she had missed. The moon stood large and high in the sky, almost purple in sheen and surrounded by meteorites and a nebula forming the shape of a corkscrew.
She found it beautiful and wondered if she was self centered for not noticing it before. Had her demon heritage made her that way, or had she been so all along? Was she slowly turning back into the monster she had thought herself to be in the Lost Desert? Should she leave these creatures in peace and reevaluate her life? Think about the choices she was making and the consequences of her actions?
She frowned. What the hell was up with that moon? She reconsidered its beauty and declared that she hated it.
Lethar waited patiently for her to do what she needed, her arm still captured in his embrace, and as she looked back at him, he continued on with their walk.
They walked for a long time and they did not stop until they reached the end of the world, or Land's End. They ended up at the shoreline.
"You've changed." He finally said as they stared at the waves crashing just short of their feet.
Raven said nothing, though she went still. Was her old friend about to judge her?
"Your dreams have changed."
"I don't dream." She replied with a small, humorless smile.
"All things dream, even demons. Just most don't remember. But I do."
Now he turned to look at her, but Raven saw no resentment, no judgment, no need to declare his love. He just looked sleepy.
"You've changed." He said again. "Your dreams have gotten darker, they sting the senses."
"I've accepted my demon line." She answered with a shrug. "I'm less human."
"I know. You're becoming neutral, or balanced."
She doubted that. She didn't feel balanced, she just felt more demonic, and the feeling got stronger everyday. "How do you know?"
"Your nightmares have gotten sweeter. And I had gathered as much from the others."
"Naten and your friends."
She said nothing and waited for him to continue.
"You've affected them. You scared the alien; she has nightmares of you turning evil. The human is worried about your state of mind. You did not affect the robot much, apparently he holds you high in his head. Or perhaps he needs an upgrade to be compatible with your own. And the green one…you merely haunt him. Dreams and nightmares. You have been the star in many of his subconscious visions." Lethar paused here and his eyes looked closed in thought. "They disturb me, concerning his usual dreams. They used to be tamer. Boring. What did you do to him?"
Raven looked away, but a grin split her face in two. "I never touched him."
"I fear his mind if you ever were too."
The silence that garnered his words was only broken with the ocean waves.
"Is that your aspiration here? To wreak havoc on the souls and minds of us young revines? As we pursue your heart and body?"
"I am demon." She answered with a shrug. "And what of your goals? To court me? Fool me with devotions of love and win over my heart, mind and soul? Then force me into motherhood? Into slavery? Is that not why you're here, Lethar? Have you come to entrap your dear old friend?"
He looked at her with his languid gaze. "Would you like me to?"
Neither answered and they once more relapsed into silence. With the ocean shushing its repetitive lullaby, and being so close to the Lord of Sleep, Raven found herself wanting to lie down and close her eyes forever.
"My people are doomed." Leth told her blandly. "The adults won't be around forever, they cannot reproduce. Only us children will survive and the cousins would go crazy with their nature without supervision. They would care nothing for maintaining our species. You would be a blessing to our people. You, Trigon's Key, Opener of Doors, Realm Walker. You could help the cousins find suitable maidens."
"What about the girls?" she asked, noticing how only maidens would be found.
He smiled lowly at her. "You see how things work. The boys will go forth first. That is what they will demand. That is what they will get."
She scoffed. "This realm is stuck in barbarian days."
His smile stretched and his eyes seem to come to life with amusement. "We used to be worse."
"I don't doubt that." She replied, his smile contagious.
They sensed someone approaching and went still. Tilting his head, Lethar nodded once before giving her a quick bow. "I'll let you get back to your whoring." He said, and as she blinked in surprise, not knowing whether to laugh or be offended, he was gone.
Glancing around, she saw no sign that he was ever there, not even a footprint, for hers were the only ones she saw.
"Hm." She commented to herself before turning around to startle the revine coming up behind her.
Sidus was just as beautiful as she recalled and being out at night only put him in his natural environment and the effect was marvelous. He seemed to glow. Continuing his advance, he strode to her side, grabbed her hand and bowed it to his forehead before looking at her with his startling eyes.
"I am Sidus, Lord of the Stars, and we, dear Lay Raven, are destined to be." Standing and towering over her, he looped one arm around her waist and bent her over to kiss her like a romance cover come to life. The kiss was quick and romantic; she felt nothing for him.
"Walk with me?" he asked, offering her his arm.
She shrugged and circled her arm around his. So they walked down the beach. Demon and revine, arm in arm, small, dark and intimidating with tall, bright, and handsome. She grew bored quickly and he couldn't get enough of himself talking. And he did it a lot. A lot of talking, about himself.
They walked and he talked about his lands, his many conquests, and how hard it was to get his hair into the perfect degree of bounciness. He talked so much she fell asleep during their walk and when she came to he was still going.
"Enough!" she finally snapped as she halted in her step and snatched her arm from his grasp.
He turned towards her in alarm.
"You." she hissed with contempt and narrowed eyes. "You bore me."
His face fell in despair and he looked all the more beautiful with pouty lips and saddened eyes. Raven looked on at his beauty in contempt. It was all just a show.
As she rose into the air, his mask fell away to reveal the annoyance he felt. How dare she deny his virginity stealing looks?
"Beastboy?" Starfire called out as she and the other titans gathered outside Beastboy's room.
After extracting the green hero from Raven's room and barricading, locking, and cementing the room closed, they had hoped that the time away from his obsession would help him to calm down. They had locked him in his room and waited until the horrible noises within had subsided.
Finally, after many hours, many, many hours, it happened. No more growls. The moaning had ceased. They no longer heard the sound of claws gouging chunks out of the interior of the room. They weren't being haunted by the horrible croons of some unknown animal. All was silent.
"Are you alright in there?" Robin asked as he rapped lightly at the door.
They glanced at each other as the silence stretched on, and they were just about to force open the door when it opened to reveal their beloved friend. He looked just as normal as he usually did. They sighed at the sight of his smiling face.
"Hey, buddy." Cyborg greeted gently. "How's it going?"
"Fine." He answered with an embarrassed laugh as he rubbed the back of his head. "Everything's all good. Why? What's up?"
"Just checking on you." Robin answered for him in relief.
"You had us quite worried." Starfire chimed in.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I don't know what came over me. I bet you think I'm pretty weird huh?"
"Always." Cyborg laughed as he patted his green friend on the back. "But we're used to it."
Being nervous for his friend, Cyborg hit him a bit too hard and had caused the titan to fall to the floor, but as he pulled himself back up, something stayed down.
"You seemed to have dropped something." Starfire told him as she bent over to pick it up. "What is it?" she asked suspiciously as she stretched the familiar garment between her fingers.
"Its part of my costume." He yelled frantically as he snatched the material from her grasp, but it was too late. Robin had recognized it for what it really was, and Cyborg had spied the contents of his room as he had lain on the floor. Alerting Robin, they both pushed past the protesting teen and stepped fully into the room.
The room was a mess. The wall scoured with claw marks of all shapes and sizes, the bed was torn to shreds, mirrors smashed and windows shattered. Besides the other broken furniture, the room was littered with trash and scattered with torn clothing, and in the corner, sat a nest. Large enough to accommodate a human adult, constructed from the debris of the destroyed room, and filled with the intact clothing, mostly underwear, stolen from Raven's room.
"Awe, BB." Cyborg muttered sadly. "What's gotten into…you?" but as they turned to confront the guilty party, they found him gone.
Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, Raven found herself enjoying her alone time. She had just decided to find herself a fortress of solitude and take up brooding again, when her vision was suddenly obscured by pain and light.
Yelling as the pain hit her, Raven was forcefully drug down by a net of revine power made into light. The closer she got to the ground the tighter the net became, and the tighter the net became, the more pain she felt, and the more pain she felt the angrier she became, and the angrier she became the net would strengthen in power and shrink in size.
"Damn this conundrum!" she growled angrily, grabbing and tearing at the net, only to have it repair instantly.
"I know, right?"
Stopping mid growl, Raven realized she had touched down and that now a tiny little man child was standing over her holding the end of her net in his hands,
"Little revine." She greeted ominously. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Well I was planning on proposing my intent to court you, but…now that I've got you here in person, I find myself a little….lost for words. And I'm a little put off by that attitude madam."
"Want to play a game? Let me loose, Little revine."
"Now. That sounds like a bad idea."
"Want to try dying this once?"
"Hey, threats aside, you're pretty darn cute, and I might be valuable asset to have as your husband,"
"You're weak and unremarkable. I care not for looks, and you do not possess the flames I crave. I sense no strength or power from you nor the maliciousness that suits me. Little revine, set me free."
"That's mean." He said, his face deflating at the black eyed stare she sent his way. "But I am the Lord of Knowledge, and I can be of more assistance than you give me credit for."
"I'll rip your soul out through your navel and make it my slave."
"More threats? I think you may have a problem."
"You'll have more problems than that if you don't release me now."
"Listen to me." He told her, suddenly serious. "I may not have insight into the future, but I know where our existence is heading. I'm not strong, they'll eat me alive."
He went silent as his mind wandered on, but before he could open his mouth, he was suddenly crushed under the feet of a new arrival. The young revine looked as if his spine was broken, and he made no noise or movement, but Naten only had eyes for Raven.
"I think your cousin's dead." Raven said as Nate set about releasing her from her net and helping her to her feet.
"Are you alright?" he asked, looking her over.
"Fine." She answered offhandedly as she straightened her clothes and reverted to her normal state, as she finished, she looked up at Nate expectantly.
Nate returned her look with one of confusion. "Uh, come on. We should go before anyone else shows up." He grabbed her hand and made to take off with her, but she remained rooted to the spot.
"What is it?"
She raised an eyebrow at him. "Aren't you going to propose your intent too?"
He deflated . "What? You want me to play along with this charade?"
She shrugged and removed her hand from his grasp. Rising into the air, she made an inclination that she was about to leave.
"Why?" he demanded. "You know how I feel! Why are you doing this to me?"
"I've had a few interesting offers tonight, Renatenial. What's to keep me from following up on one of them?"
"You're serious." He couldn't believe it. Staring up at her, feeling betrayed, he suddenly growled in anger and began beating himself in his chest. "You're breaking my heart! Do you know that? Breaking! My! Heart!"
"I never promised I wouldn't." She whispered.
He suddenly began to laugh a humorless, heartbroken laugh. "Fine!" he yelled, kicking his fallen, forgotten cousin.
Grabbing her hand from the air, he placed it on his forehead before giving it a rough kiss. "Dear Raven, Cast off Princess of the Demon Realm, Keeper and abuser of my neglected, beaten heart, Promised of my soul, and Recipient of my Undivided Love. I am Renatenial, Lord of Air, Prince of the revine Realm, Protector of the Innocent of the Human Realm as a Teen Titan, and you will make me FUBAR, if you will become my beloved wife."
"Yeah. Right?" He looked confused. "Beastboy told me that. Fortunate upon a blissful and adoring Raven? Right?"
"No. Absolutely not." But she turned away to hide her smirk. "But it probably fits in this situation."
He tried to see in his head what else the acronym stood for, but could not for the life of him, get anything else. "That does not matter at the moment. Raven, will you marry me?"
Raven still did not look his way nor did she offer an answer, and an after an awkward silence, she gave him a noncommittal grunt.
He scowled at her. "What the hell does that mean?"
She slipped her hand from his and rose a little higher into the air. Placing a hand over her stomach, she gave him a blank stare.
"I think I'm hungry."
"We just ate." His scowl deepened as he stood up taller.
"Is that so?" she asked with a curve of her lips.
"You're not going to give me an answer." He knew the answer, so he didn't even bother to relay it as a question.
She looked at him with something akin to sympathy. He lowered his head at the sight of it. When you loved someone, pity wasn't the look you wanted to see. Most of the looks Raven gave him were not the looks anyone wanted to see when in love.
"Did you say yes to any of the others?" his voice was quiet. A soft rumble of distant thunder. He felt a coldness wash over his body in the aftermath of his question. She didn't answer him right away, and he feared the look he would see if he were to look up. Instead, he looked at his fist and watched them clench and unclench. The knuckles bulging and turning white. Idly, he thought of his children with Raven. They were sure to be some pale, gloomy looking children. He was blue and she was gray. They were going to look like storm clouds. Fierce, imposing, and wonderful storm clouds. Blue and purple haired little devils. Because that is what they would be. He knew. His kids were going to rain hell on all they came across. And he would sit back and laugh. Laugh wholeheartedly like his father did, only he would have his wife by his side. His love, his life; with Raven standing next to him. With him. Smirking. She didn't laugh, she smirked. A sexy smirk. A sexy ass smirk.
"NATE!" with a look that belied intelligence he looked up at her.
Raven didn't control her impulse to roll her eyes and indulged generously.
"What?" it came out as a long drawl.
"I gave no one an answer." She repeated. "I do not intend to wed any of your psychotic cousins, though I seem to have been proposed to by them all."
It did nothing to comfort him.
"But you might?" he asked.
She shrugged. "If I find any of them interesting enough. If they're…worthy." Nate started to say something but Raven cut him off. "But none may escort me to my room."
"Well at least that's something." He murmured glumly.
He looked at her suspiciously.
She floated closer and held out her hand to him. "You can escort me to my room, dear Prince. If you like."
He held her hand and flew up to meet her, and as he did so, he encircled her waist with his arms. "You know damn well, I want to escort you to your bed."
"I said room." She corrected him.
"Same difference." And they flew off into the night sky together.