Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans :( I don't own anything :(
IMPORTANT NOTICES AND INFORMATION: READ BEFORE CONTINUING:
THIS FICTION CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE YOUR MIND SET ON BEING COMPLETELY SURPRISED BY BETRAYAL AND AFTERSHOCK, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, READ ON.
Okay! Hope that didn't scare too many of you away. Trust me, I haven't seen betrayal or aftershock and the tiny knowledge I have comes from The World's Finest images and sound clips from the two episodes. The few "factual" things I took from these images goes at follows: Slade minions arrive and bang up the tower something fierce, Beastboy is alone with Terra when he first finds out she's working for Slade, Raven and Terra have a "sewer fight" during which the dialog "Terra" "Raven" "Traitor" "Witch" is spoken and Raven eventually loses control of her powers. Also, for those of you not familiar with the comics, any reference to Raven's father is a reference to Trigon the Terrible, a dark demonic force who was referenced as Satan a few times in the comics. The show has alluded to Raven's past but never directly confronted it. Aside from those few facts, the fiction is entirely made up and contains no other spoilers (I'm anxiously awaiting Betrayal and Aftershock myself). The plot, I will admit, it almost nonexistent because I really wanted to focus on how Raven felt after Terra betrayed the group. Okay, that's it, now read it!
UPDATE: I sent this to a friend in the UK and she just got back with the news "Wow! That was really nothing like the episode at all, nerd!" So I guess, consider it my own take on what might have happened ;)
Something To Believe In
"To be trusted is a greater complement than to be loved." - George MacDonald
As a dozen more of Slade's minions broke through the windows of our beloved tower, it only took one glance. Amidst the fighting, kicking, grunting chaos, my cool, calm eyes met Robin's and we knew. We knew that Terra had betrayed us.
It was the kind of overwhelming fact that we couldn't take the time to truly realize or allow to sink in. We were 'superheros', after all, and our instincts told us to fight. Fight now, think later. So that's what we did. I don't know how many hours later it was when I flung the last of them out of our home.
"It was Terra," Robin announced, voice serious and forlorn. Starfire let out an innocent cry, covering her hands with her mouth and Cyborg slammed a fist into the wall. As always, I worked my hardest for no reaction. I had to use every trick in my elaborate book of them, breathing deeply, closing my eyes, focusing my energy, but I still could feel the rage inside me. I could feel it bubbling, burning, hissing, eating me alive. A hidden, waiting, unspeakable danger that I feared would force itself to emerge.
"Beastboy…" Starfire whispered breaking the silence that had fallen upon us.
"No man," Cyborg said, dazed, as he took a seat on the ground. "No. She couldn't have…he must of have…no…"
Beastboy was with Terra. Beastboy might be dead. I began breathing frantically, a war for control raging inside my mind. My feelings for Beastboy, my hatred for Terra, the dangers of allowing my powers to get out of hand all mixing, melting, feuding. I had to stay in control. I could not feel. I could not feel. I clasped my hands tightly, letting my sharp nails dig holes into my skin. I focused on the physical pain. But it wasn't enough…it wasn't enough. Desperate to numb myself, I dug deeper and deeper. My eyes closed, I started to shudder. I was barely conscious of the warm blood trickling from my fingers.
"Raven," Robin said, observant, as always, and the first to notice my struggle. He put a comforting hand on my shoulder. "You have to stay calm until we find her. Anger won't do you any good now."
"Yes Raven," Starfire agreed, smiling sweetly at me, though her eyes were filled with tears. "I am sure that Beastboy is fine. He posses the ability to escape from the most impossible situations." She comfortingly reached for my hand. "Raven!" she gasped, pulling back from the bloodied mess. I wiped my hands off on my cape, but more blood trickled down.
"We need to find Terra," I said, my stoic tone cracking. "Now."
"I have a feeling she'll find us," a cold voice breathed from some unknown location.
"Beastboy!" Starfire squealed, grabbing the short changling and throwing her arms around him. "I am so pleased that you are alright!"
"Yeah," Beastboy said emotionlessly, shrugging Starfire off. He looked around our home, furniture, pictures, walls, laying in ruin. It was a testament to our spirits. "I can't believe she thought a bunch of Slade's goons would be enough to take us out."
"BB," Cyborg started gently, realizing how personal this betrayal had been for the group's former comic relief.
"She's Slade's apprentice, she has been this whole time," he looked around the room and gave a small, self loathing laugh. "And I was stupid enough to think she actually liked me."
"We all trusted her," I offered up quietly. He looked at me with surprise. My eyes showed him that I too, felt like a fool. For once, we were on the same level, for once, we understood each other. He smiled slightly, a silent thanks for letting him know he wasn't alone.
"So, what do we do now?" Cyborg asked, never having been particularly fond of waiting.
"There's not much we can do," Robin, our leader, admitted. I could see his mind racing, blaming himself, trying to figure out where he had gone wrong. "She has all the codes. She knows all our hideouts. The ball's in her court now. She decides what happens next."
Once, what seems like long ago, five highly skilled super human crime fighters, had stood silently and bravely in a spotless tower, willing to give their lives to save the world. My eyes fall over each of my friends, my teammates- my family. Starfire's hopeful eyes are tired. Robin's determined face looks lost. Muscle-man Cyborg sits with his head in his arms. Beastboy hasn't made a joke. Once, we were all superheros…
Five scared and helpless children, stare at the moon through a shattered window in a shattered tower, their empty hearts filled with a loss of faith in their world.
We didn't have to wait long for her to strike and when she did, she brought company, lots of company. We were outnumbered, outskilled,…defeated. But we fought, we always fought. We weren't traitors; we weren't cowards; we weren't like her.
Fear. An emotion almost as incapacitating as anger. For the first time in a long time, I was fearful. What if someone didn't make it? What if none of us made it? It was a thought I couldn't bare to imagine. We fought and risked our lives everyday but it was only now that I understood the true gravity of it. The Teen Titans weren't indestructible. If we could be fooled, then we could be killed.
And that was all I was concerned with. Don't let your friends die. As long as we lived, we could fight Terra another day. I protected my friends at all cost. I protected them from the evil I had failed to protect them from before.
"AZARA-" I began in vain as the very earth began to shatter beneath me. It was too late. I stumbled through the cracks and plummeted beneath the earth. "Robin! Beastboy! Cyborg! Starfire!" I yelled desperately. I flopped around in the murky sewage, desperate to find my friends.
"Not quite," a female voice giggled from behind me. I hesitated for only a moment and then swung around, full force, knocking her to the ground.
"Terra," I growled lowly, as if the name in and of itself was a curse.
"Raven," she sneered as she stood up from amidst the muck.
My blood blooded inside. I searched for accurate words, something to explain, some way of showing just how much I hated her. "Traitor," I hissed. The ugliest, most venomous word I knew that showed her for exactly what she was and for all she could ever be.
"Witch," she insulted back but it meant nothing half as strong and nothing quite as evil.
That was enough. I had been merciful; I had been fair. I had given her the reason why she was about to die. I had read her her charge and I had sentenced her to death. She had betrayed us. Now she would face the punishment.
"Azurath mentrion ZYNTHOS!" I screamed, capturing her easily with my power, lifting her up into the air, and slowly squeezing the life out of her. She withered helplessly, like the pathetic rat that she was. Consumed with my own loathing, I didn't see the yellow glow until it was too late.
"UGH!" she yelled and I was knocked painfully to the ground, my concentration broken. I heard a splash as she plummeted into the water.
"A little edgy aren't we, Rae Rae?" Terra wheezed, fighting to catch the breath that had been squeezed out of her. I would kill her. I would kill her. I would kill her if I could only get up. Pain seared throughout the right side of my body but I forced myself to ignore it. My leg, I thought, might be broken, but I would deal with later. Now, I deal with her.
"You betrayed my friends," I answered coldly, still working on gathering the strength to fight.
"Your friends?" Terra snickered, weakened as well. "Are they really, Raven? How long do you think it will take them to disown you after they find out who Daddy's little girl really is?"
This, she found delightful. "What? Did you think it was sort of secret?" she cackled hysterically. "I can't say I was all too surprised when Slade filled me in. I mean, I knew you were a bitch…but spawn of Satan? The actual spawn of Satan! I've got to say Rae, I'm impressed."
"No," I whispered lowly, unable to face a past that I had been running from for so long. But the more I ran, the more it became a part of me. My anger, my father, swelled inside of me. I threw my power, his power, at Terra.
Terra dodged it easily but wasn't ready for the second wave. She flew backwards into the dripping wall and slid slowly back down. No sooner had she hit the ground then did it rise beneath her, flying her high into the air. "Come on! Why are you trying to hide what you really are, Raven? What are you doing fighting on the good side? You can't deny what's inside of you. You're evil, Raven. You'll always be evil, it's in your blood and no amount of pathetic little 'good deeds' you do will ever change that."
The remarks hit closer then I would ever care to admit. I was stuck in disbelief. How could she know? How could she see so clearly through me, accessing all my burning, plaguing fears? And worse, the biggest question running through my mind, if she was smart enough to know all this…could she actually be right?
No. No. No. She couldn't be. "I'm not evil!" I yelled, struggling to push back an oncoming flying boulder. My voice sounded serious and persuasive. I wasn't sure if I was I trying to convince Terra or myself.
"Stop pretending! Even your friends sense the darkness in you. They're afraid of you! And once they find out, that'll be the last straw. They won't take the chance of letting you live."
"That's not true," I growl, using my powers send the murky water chasing after her.
"Oh yeah, then why haven't you told them?"
She hurled another rock towards me. It exploded in the air.
"It's none of your concern."
Another power struggle as she sends a boulder towards me. So far she had controlled this battle. Well, I decided, not anymore.
"What about you Terra?" I taunted back, blasting her into the wall. "How long will Slade keep you if you can't defeat us?"
"I'm not worried about that," Terra smiled, the ground beneath me rose, knocking me to the side. "I'll have no trouble beating you. Really, I don't know how it's taken Slade so long to do it."
She brought up both her hands and the rubble around me started to rise and spin. She was good. I rose my own hands, creating a protective bubble. "It was really easy Raven. Sure, you put up a good fight. At first, I really thought you clue them all in, but you gave in in the end, you all did. I mean, Beastboy was just about ready to propose to me!" she chuckled.
There was a sudden nausea feeling in my stomach and my blood burned in my veins. My mind flashed to Beastboy, his once jovial face now full of hate and hurt. He was naïve, yes, and yet so refreshingly, beautifully innocent. And here, standing before me, was the girl who had taken all that away.
"You'll regret that," I hiss and with a show of strength I didn't know I had, the circling rocks around me burst into thousands of tiny pieces.
For the first time since our battle began, I saw fear flash in those calm blue eyes. "What, touched a nerve, have I?" she said, regaining her cool almost immediately. "Guess it must suck, right? You've been after him this whole time and then I walk in, and boom, he's head over heels for me! What can I say, it's must be a blonde thing!"
I watched her through narrowed eyes as she playfully flipped her long hair over her shoulder. But at that moment, it wasn't hate I felt, it was pity. Terra was scared. She had chosen the wrong people to betray. The broken, bloodied street above her was evident enough. The Teen Titans would not lie over and be crushed just because someone they had trusted turned on them. The Teen Titans would fight and keep fighting, even if it meant the death of every one of them.
She had not known it then, but now, it was all too painfully clear. Terra finally realized she might lose and she was giving her all to stay in the fight. From her time at the tower, she knew the dangerous connection between my emotions and my powers, and she had done well to try and make me angry, try and make me lose control.
She was smart. She had read me well. She had touched upon my greatest fears; my past, losing my friends, becoming my father, my feelings for Beastboy, and the ever growing darkness I felt inside myself. But what she forgotten would prove to be a fatal mistake. Hate is as great as it is terrible. It is more powerful then fear, more powerful then hope, more powerful then love. And fierce hate in my hands, or really, in any others, was a deadly weapon. With new found assurance, I was ready to wield it.
Noting my silence, she continued to taunt. "What will he think if he finds out about Daddy? By now I'm sure he's learned what happens when you put too much faith in people. He'll kill you." She pondered this for a second. "No, he'd probably be too stupid." She laughed gleefully. "You should have seen it Raven, he was head over heels for me. That whole time and he had no idea what I was about to do. That fool."
Blood boiling, I gave a hateful smirk. This is for you, Beastboy. Like a flood gate opening, I let pour out all the anger, all the hatred, all the loathing I had kept inside me from the beginning. The constant hold I had kept on my emotions was let lose and I was free. I let the hatred take control and let logic, intelligence, thinking of any kind, slip away. I grew into a towering force, six glowing red eyes incased with bellowing blackness. The rest was a blank and forgotten war until finally, it was clear that I had won.
"Why, Terra?" a new, dark, seething, raspy voice, my voice, asked, my powers pinning her against the wall. "They took you in…they gave you a home…they kept you as one of their own. Why would you do this to them? How could you do this to them?"
Her eyes began to water as my grip on her grew tighter. "I…don't know…" she whimpered, tears rolling down her bruised face, apparently I had given her quite the thrashing. She knew the fight was over. She knew she was beaten. She hung her head. "Slade…he…he told me you were all evil…that you didn't care…that he was the only one who could ever truly love me."
She sniffled a bit more, heaving and shaking her tiny frame. "He was wrong. You do care. You care about each other…you cared about me…but I threw it back in your face."
She looked down again, as if unable to face me, tears spilled down her face. "I deserve to die."
I shook my head slightly. She was a pathetic, weeping little girl. Horrible, hopeless, wretched…but she had repented. No rage was left, I melted back into the real Raven, dropping my magical hold on her.
"No," I told her tonelessly. "Not today."
I stared at her weeping body, huddled on the floor, and made no attempts to scold or to comfort. Which would I do, if I could actually do them? I don't know. "You should go while you can; Slade won't be so lenient with you." Without another word, I turned and walked away.
"You're up late," I said, attempting be casual, as I sat down beside him. I frowned as the cold, wet rocks slid against my bare thighs. I shifted slightly and pulled my cloak down to cover them.
"Yeah," Beastboy responded, tossing another rock into the lake, but never looking my way. I might have given a solemn smile, if I was the kind of person who did such things. He was acting somber, unresponsive, detached…and I hated it. He was acting like me.
"Beastboy-" I started. I had never been one for poetic speeches or comforting words but I felt there was something I really needed to say- no matter how ineloquently.
He turned to me with burning eyes, the first real sign he knew I was there. "Look Raven," he snapped. "I'm really not in the mood for any 'I told you so's right now or lectures about how I should be 'careful who I trust'. So just, come back later, alright?"
"That's not what I was going to say at all," I said, slightly hurt that he would assume that's what I had come to say. Did he really think I would have no sympathy, no empathy, at all? Did he think I was so heartless? "I just wanted to tell that you that I'm sorry…about everything."
Shaking his head, he looked back into the water. "It's not your fault." He was silent again. I had wanted to comfort him, to offer myself up as a shoulder to cry on, a friend to lean on. But he was silent. It was clear he didn't want my help.
I was ready to leave when he spoke again. "I can't believe I was so stupid. I can't believe I actually-" He turned back to the lake, closing his eyes and shaking his head, as if the truth was too painful.
"The heart rarely listens to the head," I tell my pale green companion solemnly. I look into the still, black water in front of us. "Emotions are never very logical, but their always very powerful. They get the best of all of us."
Beastboy snorted lightly. "Not you."
"Yes, me…" I admit, thinking over the last few days. "I've worked everyday of my life to contain my emotions but even I lose control sometimes."
"Maybe I should start meditating too, you know?" Beastboy suggested, idly tossing a rock into the water. "Emotions are dangerous. We'd all be better off without them."
I look at him as if he'd screamed a horrible blasphemy. His cool green eyes focused on my own and a tingling feeling washed over me. I turn, shake my head, and give a slight laugh. "No Beastboy, you can never be without emotions. No matter how long you mediate, or how stoic you act, you will always have emotions. You will always feel the same things as everyone else; hate, jealousy, joy, anger, happiness, love…You'll just start to keep them inside."
"But at least it's safer that way," he commented, still feeling so miserable that he never wanted to feel again.
"It's may seem like it, but it's not. For every terrible, horrific feeling you'd be getting out of, there'd be a dozen beautiful, happy feelings you'd be sacrificing. Suppressing your emotions is often more dangerous then if you were to just let them out. I know it seems bad now, but it will get better Beastboy. After all, we won, right? No one got hurt. Pretty soon you find someone else and forget all about Terra." I finished with a sort of half-frown, surprised to hear myself giving such an optimistic speech.
Beastboy grinned slightly, also noticing the awkwardness in me trying to be helpful. "Thanks Rae," he smiled.
I nodded, and feeling I had done all that I could, I started to leave.
"Raven!" came Beastboy's frantic voice, and I felt a warm hand on my arm. He removed his hand, blushing slightly and rubbing the back of his neck. "Could you maybe…just…stay a little longer?"
My eyes open wider at the thought. He wanted me to stay? I nodded and sat back down beside him.
I don't know how long we sat there, but I imagine fairly long. To my own relief, we stayed silent the whole time, as if just be being there for each, being there with each other, was enough comfort for the both of us. Eventually, the sun began to rise and the rest of the world began to wake up. We would have to come out of our silent dream, and enter back into the real world. The world that had betrayed us.
Without speaking we both stood up, walking to the back door of the tower. I would head back to my room for some mediation and Beastboy would head undoubtedly to the kitchen for some tofu. Before we parted ways, he stopped me again. "Raven," he said calmly, his lack of sleep clear in his tone. "Thanks…really thanks…I mean it."
He leaned forward and hugged me closely, closing his eyes. I froze at first, but slowly relaxed into the embrace. When he let go, I gave a small shrug. "We all need someone we can trust."
He smiled and his green eyes twinkled once again. The tower had been cleaned; the windows had been fixed; the sun rose on a new and brighter day. "Yeah," he said, looking at me like he had met me for the first time in his life. "I guess we do."
AN: Yeek! Writing Raven was hard! My first Teen Titan fic, my own little take on what could have happened. Hope you enjoyed, or didn't hate it beyond all reckoning!
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Best wishes and warmest regards,