Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans, any of the medical jargon/conditions/procedures, or the quote by John Milton from his poem "Pardise Lost." I hope you enjoy the epilogue of the story.
"This is Katrina Halona from channel 6 six news, and I am coming to you live from outside the court house where deliberations in the case of the state of New York against Slade Wilson are underway," a woman with ebony haired pulled back in a loose bun spoke into a microphone. "If you are just tuning in, Slade Wilson is being charged with numerous accounts of first degree murder, assisted suicide, and malpractice. Many here today are urging for two consecutive life sentences without parole, while others demand capital punishment. We send you now to our correspondent in the building."
The picture moved from the wind beaten woman to the front of the court house. It roamed methodically along the various Roman columns and carvings on the face of the building, swooped back down and slowly climbed the stone stairs, then settled upon the large wooden doors.
Suddenly the shot went from resting upon the outer doors of the building to framing a broad-shouldered man holding a microphone. He flashed a wide smile at the camera. "Thank you Katrina. This is Harden Smith coming to you live from right outside the doors where the trial against Slade Wilson has just heated up. Moments ago Doctor Drew O'Hare, a respected forensic pathologist, revealed to the court that during the autopsy of the young girl, Terra Markov, he found traces of a lethal dose of Potassium chloride. He went on to explain to the court that the dosage administered to the girl was equal to that which is given as the execution drug to death row inmates."
The man paused in his monologue, he had his left hand pressed against his ear and nodded his head at the words he was hearing. "I have just been informed that Sylvia Markov has left her seat and is approaching these doors." Upon the man's last words a middle-aged woman pushed open the large, wooden doors and walked out of the court room.
As she began to head in the opposite direction of the reporter, the man rushed after her. "Mrs. Markov! Mrs. Markov, may I have a word with you? Mrs. Markov!" It was only on the last scream of her name that the woman turned around and nodded solemnly at the man. The camera pulled in close to the woman's tear-streaked face and stayed there while the man asked his question.
"Mrs. Markov, is there anything you wish to say to Slade Wilson?" he inquired.
The woman wiped the tears from her eyes and stared hard at camera. "I hope you rot in hell a thousand years for every second I think about my loss. I want my daughter back."
The television screen went blank after the woman's comments. 11456783 lowered the remote back down to the table situated next to the bed. For his entire month and a half stay at the hospital he had watched every moment of the Slade Wilson trial. Everyone agreed he was guilty, but the courts had to spend equal time on each of his accounts. The latest being the suicide of Terra Markov.
A sigh escaped his lips at the memory of the blonde-haired girl.
"Are you ready to go?" The boy turned to face the doorway and smiled as he caught sight of Star. He nodded his head, picked up his duffel bag, and hurried to the door.
The two walked down the bustling hallway in silence. Occasionally they would have to split apart in order to allow a stretcher to be brought through, but they tried to stay side by side as much as possible. Suddenly the red-haired woman veered from their path and began to walk down another hallway in the opposite direction from the exit of the hospital.
"I forgot my purse," she quickly explained when the boy caught up. They journeyed the various hallways until they reached the intensive care unit. 11456783 watched Star as she instinctively walked to the fifth door on the left. The boy considered not following, but allowed his curiosity to sway him to enter.
He immediately regretted his decision as he found himself face to face with Doctor Grayson laying unconscious on a bed. There were tubes protruding from all over his body; various monitors were set up next to the bed, each beeping and buzzing as it relayed the data it was collecting; but most disturbing to the boy was the multitude of white gauze wrapped about the man's head and arms. The boy reached to his own abdomen and felt the bandage he had.
"Good Morning Star," a man dressed in a white lab coat greeted as he walked into the room.
The woman attempted a smile at the man as she responded: "Good Morning, Doctor Feder. How is he doing today?" Star asked while turning to face the man on the bed.
"In my opinion he is doing better. After monitoring him for the past few days, we have found that he performs exemplary without any aids in respiration; which means we will not have to perform the tracheostomy." The doctor smiled encouragingly at the woman. "With this improvement, I am also able to classify him as PVS instead of comatose."
11456783 turned from the conversation and strolled over to the bedside of the doctor. His eyes were closed as if in sleep, but there was a stillness and absence about the man which suggested otherwise. The boy placed his hand gently on the man's shoulder and smiled hoping it would help break the unnatural slumber. When nothing happened, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a cream envelope. 11456783 turned to the table next to the bed, and placed the envelope to the side of a picture containing a laughing Star receiving a kiss on the cheek from Dick.
The boy gazed sorrowfully down at the man before walking back to the open door. He watched in pained fascination as the red-haired woman gently brushed a small piece of the unconscious man's black hair. With a slight smile she kissed his gauze-wrapped forehead then turned to join the waiting boy.
The boy sat tranquilly in the passenger seat of the jeep and laid his head against the window. He watched as cars drove by; people ran down the sidewalks to wherever the destination entailed; hot dog venders sold their newest creations to any poor soul; and for a short time, at a halt in traffic, the boy stared in fascination at a small game of baseball being played in a side lot. Everything seemed perfect, almost dreamlike in its reality, and that excited the boy because for once, it was real.
A slight sniffle to his side broke 11456783's concentration. He turned his eyes to the woman driving and frowned upon the radical change in her mien. No longer was her face eternally radiant and youthful, now dark circles formed beneath her eyes and her face was stained from the constant flow of tears she experienced each night.
"From what I heard, the doctor believes he will recover soon," the boy ventured in a pseudo-exuberant tone. "What did he say he was now, PVS? That has to mean something good."
Star shook her head at the boy's attempt. "PVS means persistent vegetative state," she explained lethargically. "All it means is that he can breathe on his own, but is still completely unaware to his surroundings. With the severity of trauma he received to his head, I doubt he will ever awaken from the state." The woman turned her face back to the road and allowed one more tear to stream down her cheek.
"Well, there is always hope. I mean, look at me," the boy waved his hands around himself like a showgirl.
The red-haired woman chuckled and gave in to the boy's comments. "Perhaps there is still hope." The two sat in silence as they journeyed down the various streets. "Do you still wish to visit her?"
"Yeah," 11456783 nodded at the woman's question. "More than ever."
Star reached down to the radio and turned the dial to a folk music station. The car filled with the rhythmic notes and tranquil harmonies as they traveled out of the city and down country roads. 11456783 turned back to the window and watched as trees began to sprout almost spontaneously into his view and hills of rolling emerald receded and grew like the waves of the ocean. The serenity of the surrounding milieu eventually lulled the boy to sleep.
A hand was pushing incessantly against his shoulder. "Wake up, we're here."
The boy sat up and stretched his arms out to the side. He yawned once or twice while allowing his eyes to regain their focus on the surroundings. Before him was a small hill covered in stone placards and statues. An enormous oak tree was settled in amongst all of the memorials, its falling leaves creating a blanket for those in their eternal rest.
Slowly he turned to the woman and smiled warmly at her. "Thank you, for all of your help." The boy hesitated a moment before continuing: "May ask you a couple questions."
"Of course you can," Star answered.
The boy nodded his head, "First I was wondering if you could tell me what I suffered from, and then how long I was in the institution."
"You suffered from a rare mental illness known as zoanthropy," the nurse began. "The illness causes delusions that one can change their physical and mental form to fit that of any of the lower animals. As for how long, three years." The woman turned from the boy and reached into the back pocket of her seat. Carefully she extracted a slightly tattered folder and pulled from it a piece of paper. "This is the signed release form for you. It states that you are officially cured and free to enter the world once more."
The boy haltingly reached out towards the woman, treating the paper as if it was a holy relic he was not worthy to take. He finally gripped the sheet and brought it close to his eyes.
A slight smile formed on his face as he read the document. "Garfield Logan, no wonder I thought I could become any animal; I was named after a lazy cat."
Star grinned at the boy's comment before advising him once more. "Once we're done here, there is a family waiting to take you in as a son and help you with anything you might have troubles with. Of course, you are eighteen and by law an adult, so the choice is all yours."
Garfield gazed at the woman before him, and even though it pained him, he knew that this first step was to be his alone. "I think I want to walk back there, have some time to think. Plus you need to get back to Doctor Grayson."
With his final request made, the boy opened the car door and exited the vehicle. But before he walked away he turned one last time to the woman. "No offense meant, but I hope I never see you again, Star."
"Vice versa," she simply replied as she waved good-bye and drove back down the road.
Slowly Garfield made his way through the maze of stones and holes until he reached a freshly laid mound of earth. He squatted down in front of an onyx colored headstone. Lightly he allowed his fingers to trail along the curves and lines of the letters as he read the inscriptions in a whisper to himself:
"The mind is its own place, and in itself,
Can make a heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven."
The boy brought his fingers back to his lips then placed them once more on the headstone. "I'll never forget you, Terra."
Garfield stood from his crouching position and stared decisively around at his surroundings. If he took the right, he would find a home and a family with arms open wide; if he turned left, only uncertainty could be seen lying in the distant trees. Subconsciously he reached up his hand and flicked it through his hair. There was something alluring about the woods and the chance of spontaneity they offered.
With a smile plastered on his face, Garfield Logan took the first step down the path leading to his left. His mind told him it was the right choice; but then again, the mind is a dangerous thing.
A/N: I can breathe now, it is complete and I hope everyone liked it. If not, well, feel free to say, but I must warn you that it will not phase me because--for the first time in my life--I have completed a multi-chaptered story. Which means, I am currently sitting on the largest cloud known to man.
Since this is the final entry for this story I thought I would thank my reviewers in a bit more personal way.
Judgement (Mathew: I see you finally reviewed chapter five, luckily it was before this one was posted . I was, I will admit, very tempted to email you about more ways for people to die…but I decided I didn't want anyone else to die, at least not yet. Thanks for all of your reviews of my story, and your willingness to read and give your opinion about anything I sent you.
Miserys haunted vessel: Thanks very much for your review, it honestly brightened my day when I read it.
The Magician (Joseph: First off, thanks for the, I believe it was, three consecutive reviews of the story. You should be happy (maybe) to know that you are one of few to have reviewed every single chapter. I agree with you also on the point that Slade is crazy. Anyway, thanks for all of the reviews, and the "humbling" experience of making me continuously walk into to doors and fall on my ass.
TigerHelix: Thanks for the review, I'm glad you thought it was sad…'twas what I was going for.
Blowfish the Monkey Tamer: First off, I love the name. Secondly, thanks for reviewing, it was always great to read your reviews whenever I posted a new chapter.
Eventidespirit: I just want to say that your reviews are the reason I love writing stuff and posting it. Every single review was uplifting to myself as the author because I could tell you liked my story, and I honestly loved reading your reviews each time. I must also mention that I am quite jealous of your internship at the lab studying Schizophrenia. Thanks again for all of your reviews.
ssjEasterBunny: Thank you for reading my story, and also for writing such a great one yourself. I don't care what you say, yours is by far the superior. Anyway, I agree with you on ending with a crossroads, it just felt right. Not to mention, it left the doors of possibility wide open for any further developments for my favorite zoan.
Hiyum: Thanks so much for reviewing my story.
Airsurfer: I'm glad you like the story, and thanks for the review.
Cryptically Bitter Sanguine: Love the name, it's awesome. Thanks for all of your reviews, they really made my day.
I hope everyone enjoyed the final chapter of my first fanfic. Review if you wish.
Thanks again for reading