Hiya, peeps! Alright, I've updated appropriately, reviews at the bottom, and I just have a few announcements.
First off, I must thank keystone for his sheer brilliance in the midst of my writer's block. The first half of the story...that was all his idea. Thankies, twin!
And secondly, Happy Birthday shoutouts to:
WitchGirl, more appropriately, Carly Enchilada (had to add that in there :P), who's birthday was February 25th.
And Zodokai, whose birthday is today!
I'd also like to thank Blowfish the Monkey Tamer, CloudsHalo, and keystone again for pointing out the paragraph glitches was oh-so-kind enough to leave on my update. Tremendous apologies. They were update mishaps - not a part of the story. I think I fixed all of the glitches; if there are anymore repetitive paragraphs, please let me know! Thankies all:D.
You all rock my socks to the tenth power! Thank you! I love you!
Raven sat on her bed, her feet dangling carelessly above the floor. It was usually quite easy for her to go to sleep after her nighttime tea – one could give it 30 minutes or less. Tonight, however, almost triple that time had elapsed.
She couldn't help it. One of the many things that kept her up tonight was the thoughts that washed over her. She was a slave to them. Her mind refused to cease in its reeling.
Never in her life – her life in New York at least – did Raven ever have to endure anything so complex. So complicated. So…beyond her control. Or so it seemed, anyway. Whatever was going on, it was quite apparent that it wasn't good. But what's more – it was targeting her friends; making them victims of her hellish wrath.
Raven groaned and clasped her head in both of her hands. Too many thoughts… too much to consider… too many more thoughts left unconsidered. She looked up at the archaic-style clock mounted on her wall. 11:30 PM. Today just won't end, will it?
It was as though time – in all of its abstract brilliance – decided to freeze over for no reason other than to displease Raven.
All the same, with an inward sigh, she stood up, and walked blindly across her room, a calming idea coming to mind. She knew what she'd do now to soothe her nerves and get her – at long last – to sleep. She'd past the corridors, go up the stairs, and make her way into the kitchen – ease her senses a little bit more with another cup of herbal tea.
It took Raven close to no time at all to walk the length of her room; she was so used to the Tower, one could ask her to walk it blindfolded, and she'd do so with ease. She decided to refrain from roaming in the dark, however, and immediately flicked on the hallway lights when she exited her room.
It was much to her dismay, though, when she remembered exactly what she'd have to pass on her way to the kitchen.
And then a second thought. She did think of phasing into the kitchen area, but to admit the truth – she missed them.
Beast Boy and Starfire – they weren't here. It was her fault. The least she could do to pay respect to their absences was walk past their rooms.
No, not past their rooms.
She wanted to go in them.
Without another moment's hesitation, the introvert made her way down the corridor, careful to be quiet, for fear of waking up Robin. …Or Cyborg.
His name hammered its way into Raven's consciousness. No. She wasn't going to think about him now. Not about him, or Bryan, or anything else that had an effect on her lately.
As suddenly as the thought of the half-robot came, it left, and a prominent, whimsical aura – very much like Starfire's – tugged at Raven's conscious instead.
Grateful for a change from the negative air that surrounded her, Raven closed her eyes and stepped into the room of the ever-optimistic Starfire, bracing herself for a world of cotton candy colors.
The bedroom door shut behind her; she opened her eyes.
For some reason, it was all okay; she felt comfortable. Even more so – she felt at home.
"Uh…is this the place where air fresheners come from?"
Raven blinked. Beast Boy's voice. In her head.
Oh! She remembered! That day she faced Doctor Light…when something rather…bad got loose…when Beast Boy and Cyborg were in her head…her happy counterpart had directed them through a part of her mind. Floating strawberries…a valley of pinks and yellows…
Her mental-being reminiscing, Raven absent-mindedly roamed Starfire's room, her eyes locking on the circular bed in all of its grandeur almost at once.
Heh…her bed Raven didn't know whether it was because it was Tamaranean custom or because Starfire's room was right near the Tower's archetype insomniac – Robin, but the damn girl couldn't even sleep normally. All the same, a force pulled Raven towards that bed, and she surrendered to it unquestioningly.
Her entire body laying down the exact opposite way than what was considered normal in Earthly customs – which was precisely how Starfire slept – Raven relaxed, allowing her head to hang off of the mattress, as she studied her surroundings.
It was a funny thing she noticed at that point. It seemed so small, but when one looked up at the vast, white ceiling…the room seemed to run on for days…forever.
Raven sat up and rolled off the bed, making sure she didn't crumple the unused bed sheets. That girl's sleeping habits… she thought.
She really was alien. Slept on her back, not to mention the wrong way, on her bed. Always waking up on the "right side" of it. Only one thing, as far as Raven could think, made Starfire as human as any other girl in Jump City, and the rest of the world for that matter: she could spend days on end in the bathroom.
Abruptly, something caught Raven's eye as she stared at the bedding, and she turned around to the Tamaranean's dresser.
There, on top of it, sitting in all of their wooden glory, were two puppets – one of Starfire and the other…Raven…
"'Hello, Starfire!' Hello, tiny wooden replica of Starfire!"
…That seemed so long ago…
"Shall my tiny replica do battle with your tiny replica?"
"…Knock yourself out."
Raven gulped at the remembrance of her deadpan words. She was never that mean to Starfire…was she?
"Very, very good! What was your joyful thought?"
"…You don't wanna know…"
"Oh, but I do. Please, tell me, what did you imagine?"
"…You not talking."
"Oh…well…I am glad I was able to help."
So she was that mean…
She never did give Starfire enough credit.
For putting up with her and the rest of the team, for always trying everything – tofu, meditation, "hanging out"…
And to put up with so much and maintain a smile…she was stronger than Raven could imagine. She deserved to be looked up to by so many people.
Those puppets, though.
It was quite funny how they brought the two girls together.
That experience… they switched bodies. That had to account for something. And both of them were entirely different considering their background and personalities, but to switch bodies – to understand the other's capabilities – a deeper respect grew between the two. Now, there wasn't a day that went by without the two doing some sort of bonding – going to the mall, meditating, channeling spirits – even just sitting down quietly on the rooftop…just peering overhead at the enchanting Jump City skylines…. There was always a time where they were together…just like the puppets were…side by side.
Raven broke her gaze on the two wooden figures. She had had enough reminiscing here. She paid her respects to something she did to Starfire, without the full understanding of what she did. And now, Beast Boy (for once in his life) deserved that same attention.
With one last look at the puppets, one last look at the bed, Raven swept out of the Tamaranean girl's room, her cloak whisking softly behind her.
No. She never gave Starfire enough credit.
There was no one quite like Beast Boy, Raven thought, as she entered the changeling's sleeping quarters. The brilliant green walls, the sickly smell of tofu lingering in the air… just yesterday he was in here…
And Starfire…Raven was sitting right beside her this afternoon.
The clairvoyant studied Beast Boy's room just like she did Starfire's. His bunk bed, his video game system, his dresser, his closet, his mirror…
…His constant primping.
…His pathetic pick-up lines.
Ugh…Raven thought, rolling her eyes. She remembered how he was always posing in his mirror, doing different impressions, reciting stupid date lines so as to attract the attention of any Jump City girl that caught his eye near the pizza place.
"Hey, how's about going for a ride in my…moped?"
"How you doin'?"
"Hey, what's up?" "So what's a pretty chickie like you doing eating all alone?"
"Hey, what's up?"
"So what's a pretty chickie like you doing eating all alone?"
Raven stared at the mirror, amused. Looking at her reflection, she smirked, remembering exactly when she got to accepting the shape shifter…
Beast Boy had gone in her head once before. Ever since then, their friendship seemed to grow; ever since then, they both knew that they wanted each others' friendship. They became closer. The changeling sought to understand her. And he did.
Out of all the Titans, he should have known not to mess with Raven.
That was just it with Beast Boy. There was no doubt that Cyborg was the voice of reason in pursuing the chance to take a peek into Raven's room. Beast Boy didn't listen. He was always too brave without ever knowing it.
He never will know it. Everything he does isn't given full thought to, the introvert reflected.
That's why he was the first one hurt.
Raven could handle his antics fine; she had always been able to. But for some reason, this time she had snapped. And he had kept joking about it…he didn't take her seriously, even though her every action, her every facial movement had been so harsh…and his way of making the situation at hand seem so light – that was what triggered his fall.
What was so different about yesterday that made her finally lose it?
She was so used to him by now, and yet…she blew up so easily at him, without thought, without knowledge of doing so. And the same could be said for Starfire.
Here were two people she cared for; people she could never imagine hurting, even to save her life. And yet, she did hurt them. And their absence was really getting to her.
No day was ever normal without them.
And the Tower was way too quiet for its own good. It was a completely revamped environment – serene, contemplative, mellow…and though it was a change she'd usually appreciate, it was unsatisfying in every sense of the word.
Where was the noise? The laughter? The chaos? The everyday circumstances that made the Tower and the team what it was?
The essence of Raven's every existence relied on being surrounded by all four of her friends – knowing that they were safe and still supported her. Not fear her. Never fear her…
…And the fact that two of them were gone – hospitalized.
The two people who she probably spent the most time of the day with weren't in their rooms… in the Tower…
Because of her. Because something was controlling her and she didn't know what it was.
Raven shook her head, and without further thought, looked away from the mirror and turned her back on the green that stained Beast Boy's walls.
She yawned quietly. Exhausted as she felt, Raven knew it would be pointless to try and force sleep upon herself. Oh, how much she would've welcomed slumber, though…
She was done. It took her some time, but she managed to walk the corridors without surrendering to her thoughts of phasing into the kitchen.
The doorway opened in Raven's presence, and she was welcomed by the dark and composed air of the living room. She descended the steps and flicked on the lights, illuminating everything in its motionless revelry.
Immediately, the Goth sauntered over to the kitchen, reaching for the teakettle and preparing the water to boil.
This was the part she hated most about making her tea: the wait. Granted, it didn't take so long for the water to heat, but the living room was so large, and the space open for walking only made her want to wander around even more so.
Raven rapped her fingers on the counter for a moment for lack of anything better to do. However, looking out of the Tower window, she found herself abandoning the counter almost instantly, entranced by the view outside.
The sky was pitch black, aside from the faint glint of the moon shimmering on the water's surface around the Tower. This was the perfect atmosphere for the Titan to do the one thing she couldn't do – sleep.
Raven found herself standing directly in front of the window in no time. Her reflection lingered silently in the glassy surface. She stared at her mirrored self for a moment before tentatively running a finger on her face in the glass. At once, Raven retracted her hand, though the reason for it, she didn't know.
Until she scrutinized her figure even closer.
She placed both hands on the glass in front of her. That's when she remembered. That's when she saw.
The glass…it wasn't a whole pane.
It was fragmented.
She recalled the two incidents… Beast Boy's fall… and her fit of anger when no one believed her side of the story….
She quickly tried to relinquish her thoughts. To remember what she did…to think that she never did it, and then to realize and recall that she did… it was too much for her to reflect upon. For right now, anyway.
Raven turned away from the glass and found herself face-to-face with the couch. Seeing it as an opportunity to distract the devastation she felt, she sat down on it… soon discovering that there was so much to remember here, as well…
Except now, Raven felt the ends of her mouth curl upwards slightly as the memories swept through her…
"So my fellow couch potatoes, what'll it be? 'Super Ninja Showdown 8'? Or 'Maniac Fury: Attack of the Protozoids'?"
"Gee, they both sound so good."
"Yeah, It's really hard to pick. Wanna watch 'em both!"
"Yeah, It's really hard to pick. Wanna watch 'em both!"
"Oh, I got you! I got you now!"
"Heh, heh. You want some more Cyborg? I'm gonna take you down!"
"Hey, what the…how'd you do that! You just passed me!"
"Who's gonna laugh when I make fun of Beast Boy?"
"Yeah! And who's gonna beat me at video games, and fall for my practical jokes, and shoot spitballs at the back of my head, and watch dumb movies with me, and barf when I feed him tofu?"
Raven snapped back to reality laughing to herself, her eyes suddenly lingering on the focus of most of the problems that occurred between the boys in Titans Tower – the Gamestation.
She couldn't fathom what gave her the impulse to do it, but the next thing she knew, the first player controller was in Raven's hands. The blue clad girl took a deep breath, as though she was awaiting her death sentence, and looked around the room prudently before returning her gaze to the controller.
Who was she kidding? Despite all of the bribes and forced game play strategies she endured in the past, she still didn't know how to work this thing.
Raven turned the device in her hands a few times, before tentatively pressing several buttons. A sudden methodical beat blasted throughout the living room, causing Raven to jump off the sofa in a panic, and dive to the computer so as to lower the volume tremendously.
She caught her breath, and resumed her posture after the slight scare, listening for any sign of vivacity in the background. When no sound was heard for a few moments, Raven's breath assumed its normal pace, and the girl looked back to the screen, where three monkeys in space suits with mini ray guns were poking their heads out of a large number four. In seconds, the words "Mega Monkeys 4" appeared on the screen, and Raven had to suppress a grin when she remembered exactly how much trouble Beast Boy when through…before and after retrieving this game.
Raven screwed her face up in concentration, studying the controller in her hands once more for the right button to push. A red one in the middle caught her eye immediately.
"Start," she read, shrugging. "It makes sense…"
She pushed the button with no hesitation, and the screen went black. Raven cocked her head to one side. She was pretty sure that wasn't what was supposed to happen…and then a scene change.
Suddenly, a tiny monkey popped onto the bottom left corner of the screen, geared up in white, and ready for action. On the top of the screen, Raven observed that there was a timer and a score counter. Without further hesitation, she fixated her stare on the controller once more, pushing random buttons fervently. Not a moment passed when the sound died and a black box appeared in the middle of the screen, the face of her tiny monkey on the top left of it, frowning at her.
"'Quit monkeying around!'" Raven read, arching an eyebrow. "The originality amazes me. 'Two lives left. Try again.' So what the hell am I supposed to do?" she said aloud.
The box maintained its position on the screen, and for a few moments, Raven did nothing but stare at it, as though her gaze was enough to will it to go away and let her continue the game. She heaved a sigh when nothing happened, and pushed a random button, making the box disappear entirely. Raven blinked. "O…kay…"
In as much time as it took her to realize the game was back on, it was soon over again – another life lost without her moving.
She gritted her teeth. "Okay, I think I've got this." Raven positioned herself comfortably on the sofa before pushing another random button, and when the box disappeared from the screen this time, her hands were all over the controller.
Raven slouched in the seat for a little bit, as the words glared in front of her, credits rolling on the right side, and her battles replaying in the background. The lavender-haired teen studied her monkey for a second; it was doing nothing but jumping. No matter what, it wouldn't move from its spot. The lasers from the gun the monkey held were firing only to the right, no place else. Why?
Raven looked, once again, to the controller for the answer. She suddenly realized – the most prominent feature of the controller, the joystick, was left untouched and unused. Perhaps this was the device that allowed her monkey to stroll across the screen with ease?
Quickly, Raven pressed "start" again, fixing her posture from her current slouching position to one of preparedness. Soon again, Raven found her monkey in the same suit with the same gun, ready to be moved. With a few experimental taps, she quickly grasped the science of using the joystick, mingled with her random button pressing, and gained a serious advantage over the other zoo-like animals that were charging at her in orange space suits of their own. This time, Raven lasted for a good 20 seconds before losing a life, and in no time, dominated level one and moved her monkey up to a new round.
"Go monkey, go!" Raven kept chanting under her breath, gritting her teeth together competitively as her monkey dodged the various other animals that popped up.
By the time she reached the end of level two, the teakettle started its whistling. The game was starting to amuse Raven very much so, though, and so she tried her best to ignore her tea. The whistling was growing louder, however, and the last thing she wanted to do was wake up Cyborg or Robin. Therefore, reluctantly, Raven paused the game, and telekinetically turned off the stove and removed the kettle from it.
With one last look at her monkey (who was now in mid-jump), Raven glided to the kitchenette, gathering her teacup, the kettle, and any miscellaneous herbs she thought might help her temporary insomnia.
She took everything and telekinetically touched them to the surface of one of the corner dining tables in the Titans' common room, seating herself mutely on a part of the cushioned bench, and darting her eyes to nowhere in particular. They fell on the clock. 1:00 AM.
A sip of herbal tea stirred Raven's senses abruptly.
I was just playing a video game, she thought with a raised eyebrow. Beast Boy's video game.
Perhaps she was feeling more downcast than usual…maybe it was an aftereffect of what she did…the fact of the matter was – Raven realized at this moment, sipping some more of her tea – that she wasn't herself. She wasn't feeling like herself, anyway.
With a wave of tea crashing against her stomach, and a sudden rush of thoughts consuming her, Raven felt her vision blacken, and all became obscure...
A sudden chinking noise instinctively had Raven's hand grasping for a perpetrator. She looked up when she caught something relatively cold feeling, and saw her reflection in the wide, brown eye that was Cyborg's. She immediately let go, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes in turn.
"Sorry," she muttered, watching him continue to walk on with the teacup and kettle that she used earlier, after giving her a look of apprehension. The Gothic teenager studied her surroundings, and realized that she slept on the dining table, rather than within the confines of her room.
She watched the half-robot out of the corner of her eye as he placed the newly taken utensils in the sink, and went back to fooling around near the stove area. He didn't seem to acknowledge her. Perhaps it's for the best.
Morning seemed to have broken a few hours earlier than Raven's awakening, and as a token of daybreak, Cyborg always liked to start the day off with a particularly traditional, yet delectable, serving of waffles, bacon, and scrambled eggs – the exact dish he was cooking right now.
Raven inconspicuously stretched, while stifling a yawn, as the Boy Wonder made his presence known.
"Morning," he said in a raspy and just awakened voice, scratching the back of his head, and walking down the steps into the living room.
"Hi," Cyborg called loudly, as Raven merely nodded at Robin, her head in her hands.
Robin merely smiled back, and then sniffed the air in delight. "Smells good, Cyborg."
"And it's ready. Pass me your plate, Wonder Boy, before I decide to eat your portion, too."
Robin smirked. "Alright, alright. Hey, Raven," he said, looking at her in turn. "Are you getting a plate, too, or is Cyborg gonna help himself to seconds?"
Raven lifted her head and stood up. "Actually, I'm not hungry. I'll be upstairs if anyone needs me."
Robin followed her with his eyes as she made her way to the corridors. "O…kay, I guess. Suit yourself," he said with a shrug.
Cyborg interrupted the awkward air automatically, smacking his lips in regards to the heaping pile of food on his plate. "Now that's what I'm talking about!" he beamed. He then turned around to head towards the direction of the dining room table Raven previously occupied, when he did a sudden double take.
"Hey, Rob," he called out.
Robin turned to look at him, losing sight of the Gothic teenager. "Yeah?"
"Were you playing BB's game, Mega Monkeys Four?"
Raven suddenly grew wide-eyed, casting her hood over her head so as to hide her flushing face.
"It's on pause. And I wasn't playing it."
"And it wasn't me; I got up not too long ago. Unless…" Robin turned around to where he expected Raven to be. A quick wisp of the girl's dark blue cloak, however, indicated her hasty exit. Robin turned back around and analyzed the screen. "And to think," he stated, "of how close she was to finishing this level…if she didn't pause, I guarantee you that she would've had the newest best time."
"Until I beat it, of course," Cyborg said smugly. "Come on, let's do two player."
"Oh, you're on. Set me up, Tin Man."
For the most part, Raven kept to herself the entire day, trying to avoid the other two inhabitants of the Tower as much as possible. She was either up on the rooftop or in room, thinking; trying to meditate. She still hadn't gotten the hold of meditation again.
At one point in the afternoon, Raven decided that a cup of herbal tea would do her nicely, and the aftereffect of her presence was a stirring conversation between Cyborg and Robin – who were tied in their number of victories in another game they decided to play.
Raven had padded down the stairs and into the kitchen quietly, concocting her organic beverage as quickly as possible. She couldn't sense much tension in the room…aside from the lack of regard between her and Cyborg. Moments after she glided out of the room, however, Robin struck a nerve in Cyborg.
"You, uh…think you might've been a little hard on her lately, Cy?"
"Raven?" the half-robot said in a somewhat bewildered tone.
"No," was his blunt reply. He became tense. "Nowhere near as hard as she's been on BB and Star."
"Come on, Cyborg. Raven's our friend. She wouldn't have done it on purpose."
"Now how do you know that, Robin? Man, can't you see?" he fully turned on the sofa to face the masked teen. "I mean, this could all be some kind of façade. What if she is doing this on purpose? Robin, there's too much against her to ignore."
"You can't always find the answers in logic. You have to believe. Starfire and Beast Boy believe her, and as a teammate – but more importantly, a friend – you should, too."
"You can't always find the answers in logic. You have to believe. Starfire and Beast Boy believe her, and as a teammate – but more importantly, a friend – you should, too."
"What are you suggesting?"
"That you take it easy on her," Robin said, a hint of defense etched in his voice.
But all the same, Cyborg was persistent. "Why should I?"
"Because," Robin hesitated, searching for an answer. He looked around the room for a second – Cyborg's unmoving expression, the paused game, the dishes in the sink, the hint of blue fabric peaking out of a silent corner in the room… "Because we're all she's got." He said it harshly. Quietly.
Cyborg studied Robin for a minute, staring at him hard. Robin returned the stare, only to see the hint of blue behind the corridor disappear from his peripheral vision.
"Alright, fine. But if something happens again, don't say I didn't warn you."
"…You just cheated. Finished the game without telling me you continued it."
"…We never agreed on timing out the game, dawg."
"You sneaky little…you're going down," Robin said, with all of the menace he could muster.
"After you," Cyborg smirked, restarting the game.
And now Raven found herself in the comfort of her own room, trying to regain the control she had two days ago…trying to meditate appropriately, at the very least. It was her hope to retire to bed sometime soon, but the lack of restoring faith in her abilities upset the blue clad teenager. She had been in there for the past couple of hours, ever since the sun had set, and yet there were still no results.
Up, she ordered herself.
Still, she screwed her eyes shut tight. Still, she crossed her legs and maintained perfect posture. Still, she kept her hands at her sides and tried to summon her energies.
Up. Get up.
Concentration was hard. Impossible. There were just so many thoughts consuming her at this point. Beast Boy…Starfire…Cyborg…Robin…their faces swam around in her head – tauntingly, as though daring her. Daring her to try…or daring her to put another foot out of line…she didn't know. She just couldn't focus.
Up. Levitate. Come on. Get. Up. Now.
She took a deep breath, and tried to find her center again. The Jump City stars twinkled as though to cheer the telekinetic on in her hopes to regain full concentration. She continued to coax herself, growing more and more desperate for results with each passing second.
She just couldn't get her mind off of the many things that could occur if she couldn't control herself consciously anymore. Two Titans down…two to go. Soon enough they'd be way past half dead the way things were going.
Up. Please get up? Please.
Raven opened her eyes and sighed deeply. This wasn't working. And it wouldn't get any easier. If she couldn't even focus on levitating during mediation, what's to say she could stop herself from hurting someone else again? She shut her eyes tightly once more, and though tense, still tried.
This is the last time. Get up. Levitate now, or else…
A sudden weightless sensation pulsated throughout Raven's body, and she opened her eyes immediately.
She did it.
She was floating. She managed to focus!
The prospect was overwhelming, but that wasn't the feeling that got her to do what she did next. As sudden as her levitation came, and wave of thoughts ate at her mind again, making Raven fall from the air, holding her head.
Titans' Tower. Beast Boy. Jump City. Bryan. The Pizza Parlor. Starfire. Paramedics. Cyborg. Bryan. The Hospital. Robin. Falling. Bryan. Room 378. Bryan. Bryan. Bryan. Bryan. Bryan….
And nothing more.
"Doctor Hagen, please report to Room 509. Doctor Hagen, please report to Room 509. Your CAT Scan request is being processed."
Raven felt as though she was opening her eyes for the first time that day. The white, boundless walls were the only things present in her line of vision, but according to the nearby electronic beeping noises, as well as the intercom and its various medical announcements, Raven knew she was at a hospital. Jump City Hospital.
Though she didn't know why…
And it's not like she wanted to be in here, either. The last people she wanted to face right now were the friends she hurt, regardless of how much they supported her.
She looked for a sign…any sign…so as to know exactly where she was. A mapahead and to the right of her gave her the answers she needed. With a flip of her royal blue cape, the girl set off to the blueprint and studied its many intricate, geometrical figures. She soon discovered the floor she was on. The second one.
She could get out of here without having to see anyone she knew.
An elevator to the distant left caught her attention, as it opened up to the second floor to allow a few doctors off of their break out of it. She walked as fast as possible to it, and accessed the doors just in time. In moments, the doors shut, and Raven being the only passenger, pressed the first floor button and waited for the elevator to move.
She breathed in deeply, shutting her eyes. She had no idea how she got here, but she surely knew her way out. A sudden jerk made Raven open her eyes. The elevator started its acceleration…upward.
She looked at the button she pushed – floor one. Then why was the elevator going up? That meant…
"Hey! What are you doing?" she screamed at the mechanism, banging her fists against it. "Go down! Do you hear me? Go. Down." She jumped for emphasis on the last two words.
The elevator came to a sudden stop, leaving Raven up in the air for a second. She half-expected thething to cooperate with her request, and she half-expected it to open.
Much to her dismay, the latter happened.
She shut her eyes again and took short, quick breaths.
No, I don't want to see them. Maybe if I push the button again…
The notion made her quickly go for the elevator buttons. Rapidly and repeatedly, she pressed the first floor button, and just as quickly, she stepped away to observe what would happen.
For a moment.
All of a sudden, the elevator closed its doors again, permitting Raven to exhale contentedly.
Until the fact that the elevator wasn't moving seeped through the Gothic girl's mind. "Damn it...come on…"
As though it were listening to her requests, the elevator jerked again…though it didn't do anything else…except open its doors once more…
Each time faster, for a good thirty seconds, until it just stopped.
Raven deadpanned, massaging her temples with her hands.
Perhaps the elevator confused the floors, she thought. Perhaps if she pressed floor three…it would bring her to floor number one? It was worth a try, anyway.
The blue clad girl stepped back again, anxiety overwhelming her as she watched what would happen.
She had pressed the third floor button…and to no avail. For moments she waited for a reaction from the elevator, and for moments, the machine did nothing but sit in its exact location.
"Come on, come on, come on," she repeated under her breath.
It wouldn't budge.
"Oh, come on!" she dictated again.
Raven groaned in frustration, turned around, and hit her head against one of the elevator walls.
And then, a desperate epiphany…
This was a dream. That was it. A dream. It was all a dream. How else could this happen? She didn't even remember coming into the hospital. Everyone…everything…all of it was a figment of her imagination, she thought at that point. But then…if this was a dream, what was her reality?
If this was her dream…she could easily get out, and any and everything she would encounter wouldn't be real. Everything would be fake, no matter how realistic it would seem, right? She didn't have to see Beast Boy or Starfire if she didn't want to…it was her dream. She controlled it…despite the fact that she couldn't control that damned elevator. But maybe that was a sign. She didn't know.
With newfound, though rash belief, Raven stepped out of the malfunctioning elevator into the third floor corridors. Perhaps she could find the staircase somewhere.
The third floor directory straight ahead, Raven ran to it, running her finger along the path towards the staircase. It was to her right.
The same hallway Room 378 was.
Raven smacked her forehead, groaning.
This dream sucked. But the nightmare was quite thrilling…if one liked that sort of suspenseful thing…
With not much else to do, the teen made her way down the hallway, hoping to any god that would hear her pleads that no one would make themselves present in the hallway she was in. And to further her desire to be unseen, as paranoia flooded through her, Raven hid herself whenever possible, in any doorway or place in the wall that would allow her.
He ate only two hours ago, and yet his stomach was grumbling a symphony. With a sigh, yet a mission to be satisfied, Cyborg unplugged himself from the battery charger, and heaved himself up and out of his room.
He checked the built in watch in his left arm, and realized it was only 11:45 at night. It was progress in many ways, he thought.
For one, this was the first night in a while he went to sleep early. It was also the first time in a while his stomach could hold off for more than an hour.
On a side note, so the thought came to him, this was the first day out of three that nothing strange happened with Raven…or so it seemed. The day would be over in fifteen minutes, anyway.
Come to think of it, the half-robot had been avoiding the Gothic Wonder as much as possible, and he was sure she was returning the ignorance. It wasn't a matter of ignoring her, though, as much as it was a matter of avoiding another near fatal freak accident.
Though he didn't see her a lot today, Cyborg's only assumption was that Raven was in her room, resting up, like she couldn't do for the past three days.
He knew she needed him to trust her. There was just no support Cyborg could give her right now. He saw what she did to Beast Boy, to Starfire…with his own eyes. And, yes, maybe she looked lost and confused afterwards, but…well, let's just face it, he thought. This isn't anything I wanna get wrapped up in. The girl's got some problems, and she needs to take care of them on her own. Why do I have to side with her? Why do I even have to be a part of the problem? Sure I can believe in her, and sure I can support her…but I'd rather do that from a distance, before being her friend can be damaging to me, in turn.
He didn't mean to be fickle or simple-minded about the whole ordeal; it was just that the entire affliction in itself hit the team out of nowhere. What was he to do?
What he did do was open up the refrigerator door. It took him close to no time to get into the kitchen, and halfof that time to concoct a snack out of the various meats, cheeses, grains, and beverages that were stowed away.
He sat on the couch to enjoy his after hours meal, and a distant, sudden noise caught his attention. The bionic teenager shifted his gaze to one of the entryways – the one he heard the noise from – and gave it his full attention for a while.
He shrugged, and pursued his snack once more, without interruption…for a minute.
The same noise was heard again – distant, but repetitive – like something was opening and closing or something…
Maybe it's a rat problem, he thought, while munching on his sandwich. Then again, it's highly unlikely a couple of rats could make that much noise.
"Who's there?" he said again, standing up. The noise stopped once more.
But he wasn't going to let it by that easily again. Cyborg lamentably put down the rest of his sandwich, and flicked on his built-in flashlight, scanning the entire living room. He shined his light on the door in front of him, where he heard the noise, and saw nothing suspicious. Even so, he walked towards the doors and through them as they separated automatically at his presence.
Again he scanned the area. Still…nothing. He walked a little ways more, and then spotted what could potentially have been the problem.
The Titans' Tower elevator.
It was a plausible idea for the cause of the noises. That thing had the potential to cause racket. But if that was it…then why was it being so noisy? Was someone using it? …A break-in perhaps? Maybe he could stop them…if anything, the perpetrator was walking in this direction…and why be behind when he could go around and do a full-frontal assault?
This notion in mind, Cyborg spun around, ran back through the living room, down the stairs, and to the opposite side of the corridor he was at seconds before. He started his investigation then, pursuing the empty-looking corridor that led to Beast Boy and Starfire's rooms...and, eventually, the elevator.
Maybe it was them, the half-robot supposed. Maybe they were out of the hospital and sneaking back home to surprise them or something. They didn't look too bad when he last saw them, after all. That was another possibility.
But what or whoever it was, Cyborg wasn't going to let them off that easily.
He flashed his light in the hallway, though it didn't reach through the entire length. Even so, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
"Hello?" he said softly, his echo gentle and breezy in the corridor.
He started walking through the otherwise dark corridor, hoping to get to the other end as quickly and safely as possible. And then he came to Beast Boy's door.
I swear, if that green ball of fuzz is in there…Cyborg thought, suppressing a smile, I'm gonna scream. Ain't no doubt about it, I'm gonna scream. He was given admittance into the room easily, and yet, it seemed as though no one was in there. His suppressed smile turned into an apparent frown. That's what he got for having his hopes up.Cyborg thought, suppressing a smile, gonnaHe was given admittance into the room easily, and yet, it seemed as though no one was in there. His suppressed smile turned into an apparent frown. That's what he got for having his hopes up.
His shoulders hunched, Cyborg made his way out of the changeling's sanctuary.
Suddenly, a door opened, and Raven prayed she was out of sight. She inhaled, and held her breath as she saw two doctors walk by, seemingly way too busy to notice her.
"If we can triple the medication, I'm sure he'll be fine. Right now he's weak. The machine is doing all the breathing work for him."
"Yes, but Doctor, I think the family understands and finds it in their best interest to just pull the plug. The man's 92. He's had a long, good life. Why pay for medication when it's not a fact that he'll still live?"
"I've seen many live through heart attacks."
"That doesn't ensure the same thing for this patient."
"Well, then, when we get to his room, we'll just tell the family and let them decide for a fact, all right? How about that?…"
And their voices faded.
Raven let out a sigh of relief, and after checking both sides of the hallway, pursued the staircase once more.
That was the instant her reflexes failed her.
In that moment, out of nowhere, exited someone else from that exact same room. The last person she expected to see. And despite her desire to move, Raven was frozen in her spot, staring.
She couldn't do anything, say anything. She could only stare, suddenly scared.
"Raven? What are you doing here?" he took a step forward.
"No," she mouthed.
"N-no." She choked on the word, but let it out all the same.
"What do you mean, 'no', Raven? What's wrong?" Cyborg said, clearly puzzled.
"Go away?" she whispered. "Please just go away." She started muttering indiscernibly under her breath. Something about...it being just a dream?
"'Go away?'…Why? Rae, I…I don't understand…" The half-robot took a step forward.
"NO!" she boomed, the effect of her voice releasing her energies on accident, breaking a nearby picture frame.
Cyborg jumped, and studied her once more, his head cocked to one side.
"Please. Just leave me alone," she said, shaking her head.
"I…I didn't do anything."
"And that's why my life's a living hell right now, right?"
"Is this about that, Raven?" Cyborg said, stepping closer slowly.
"STOP! Don't. Move."
The half-robot stopped in his tracks obediently, wide-eyed and confused.
"Look, Rae, I'm sorry for what I said earlier."
"It's not what you said. It's just you."
"Me?" Bryan said innocently enough. "What about me?"
"Don't give me that. This is the third time I see you. And every time before that, something bad happened to one of my friends at the same time. I understand now. You're not real. You're…I don't know." Raven slumped to her knees in frustration and held her hands. "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. But you're not here. So go away."
It was then Cyborg realized. Oh no… he muttered to himself. She thinks I'm Bryan…doesn't she?
"Raven. Raven, you've got to snap out of this. You're right, okay? You have to be. Bryan's not here. It's me." His words seemed to fail him…she was still holding her head, and it looked as though nothing he just said was getting through to her.
"Raven?" he attempted again, walking towards her some more.
"NO! I said stay back," she said, her eyes watering.
"Look, I just wanna help you."
"Then go away."
She put her hands on her ears and concentrated. "You're not here. You're not real. You don't exist." She got louder and louder each time.
"Rae, it's Cyborg. Let me help you!" he said, continuing to walk towards her. "We can get through this."
"Get out of here. Get away from me! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"
"It's okay, I promise!"
And as quick as it happened, it stopped.
A blast of energy surged from Raven and hit her friend…at least, she thought he was her friend. She couldn't possibly be anymore confused as she presently was…
Her breath hitched, Raven looked for any sign of Bryan Spencer and couldn't find a single trace of him anywhere. There was a presence lingering though. Quite familiar, too. She couldn't pinpoint it, though. Scared beyond her wit, the girl could think of nothing more to do than run past Room 378 as fast as possible, and exit the hellhole they called a hospital.
A sudden crash had Robin bolted upright in his bed. It was a heavy thud – one that could only be caused by some sort of machine. Or half-machine, he thought, now panicking.
With the instinct of a true leader, and a master of the towers' many corridors, Robin leapt his way to the location he heard the loud noise.
And there he was…
His mechanical half totally shut down, and his human half knocked out just the same.
The Boy Wonder knelt in front of his friend and studied him. His forehead was bleeding, some wires were astray. He was, simply put, a mess. And there was no one else there…
Robin immediately ran for Raven, stopping first at her room – she wasn't there – and then to the living room, in which case she was sipping herbal tea in a sophisticated, yet half-sleepy state.
"What did you do?" he asked once he got in, expecting an immediate answer.
Raven looked up from her spot at the table. "I couldn't sleep. Made some tea. You want?"
"No," Robin said, shaking his head. "What the hell happened between you and Cyborg?"
Raven straightened up. "Me and Cyborg?"
"There's no one else here at the Tower."
"But…I haven't spoken to Cyborg all day…"
Raven paused, her breath starting to rise in pace as she studied her leader's expression. She didn't want to ask…she didn't know what to anticipate… "Robin? What…happened?"
Robin looked down after she asked, shaking his head.
He looked back up at her, and slowly nodded.
She put down her cup of tea and stood up, using her shaking arms on the table as support. "I…how?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out," the leader admitted. "Come here."
Raven put her hood up immediately, and after taking a few moments to pace her breathing, sauntered over in an obedient manner to Robin's locale. "You know I wouldn't do anything like this on purpose, right?" she asked him, looking him straight in his masked face.
Robin looked at her, gulped, and said nothing in return. He merely put his hand on her back, and led her to the scene, where, upon seeing the condition of her half-robot friend, Raven knelt down and started her silent bawl of frustration. Robin crossed his arms and watched her quietly as she pounded her fists into the ground, studied him, and repeated her actions many times before turning around and standing up, huffing.
Robin put his hands on her shoulders, and put down her hood, looking at her sternly.
"The third day. The third day in a row. Do you have any idea how close I was!" A clock in the corridor proved her point. "It's twelve. It's twelve o' clock. Robin, I tried. And I don't know how this happened. I know I can't afford another mistake, and I tried to stop it, but I have no idea what's going on!"
Her breath got caught in her throat, and Robin knew she was about to break down. In the heat of the moment, he simply threw his arms around her, and caught her weakening body in a hug. She needed his support. No matter how confused he was, or how likely he was next, she needed him. And so long as she did, he would be there.
He held her for what seemed like an eternity, until she suddenly pushed herself away from him, and without even looking at him, fled upstairs.
"Raven!" he called, starting to chase after her. But he realized she was fleeing to the rooftop…what he titled her second room, and decided to leave her be for a while.
She'll be fine…I'll just check on her later, he thought, looking back down at Cyborg, and preparing to clean up the scene in front of him.
Raven focused on her breathing – on respiring in rhythm…flowing…a beat. And it didn't come easy. She had been up there for a while now. Sunrise was well off, sleep wasn't coming…and so she thought.
There had to be some sort of solution. She had a deep fear. Three Titans gone in three days. And one left…aside from her. What exactly were to happen if she hurt Robin? On the fifth day, would she hurt herself, too? Or would she harm all of Jump City?
She didn't even think of that…
The city she strove to protect…the one she and her team risked their lives for everyday…what if she were to destroy it? Why would she destroy it? That or her friends? She still had no idea…
But there had to be something she could do. Some way to control herself and ensure that she wouldn't hurt anyone again.
Jail would do her no good. They wouldn't treat her. They wouldn't try and figure out what's wrong with her. They wouldn't meet her standards…help her in any way.
Being in the Tower wasn't an option either. Her life was the Tower. She couldn't stand seeing that destroyed. Nor would she trust herself in there anymore…not with Jump City at her feet.
What could she do?
"Raven? How are you feeling?"
His voice was so soothing…so supportive.
"Okay," she said calmly, though inside she was a total wreck. It wasn't like she was trying to mask her feelings either. She knew Robin saw right through her. They could so easily relate in that sense. There was a mystery to them both, and yet, regardless of how little they knew about each other, they could sense what was wrong. It was a special bond. And that was probably the only reason Robin couldn't find her at fault for anything that's happened.
"Look…if it helps, I have no idea what's going on either."
A small "oh" was heard from Robin, before he did nothing but reflect with Raven while watching the Jump City skylights twinkle…and some shut off at random intervals.
"We need to do something," Raven said after a few moments of silence. "I need to be away from here. I don't know any other way."
"You mean, leave the Tower?" Robin said, turning to look at her.
She nodded distantly.
Raven frowned at him. "Robin…that's the stupidest question you've ever asked."
Robin shook his head. "What I mean is – "
"Robin," she interrupted. "Let's face it, I'm useless here. All I'm going to wind up doing is hurting you, too. You know this. We have no reason to believe otherwise. Neither of us have any clue as to what's going on!"
"I know, I know. But…what are you thinking?"
"I don't know."
"Jail?" he said, an eyebrow raised.
"…Then where? An asylum or something?"
"…An asylum?" Raven wondered out loud.
"Yeah. Like the one over in Gotham? Where they treat every criminal there like a basket case and try and figure out what the hell is wrong with them?" he scoffed.
It took a while for Raven to respond, but when she did, she was leaning back, reflecting on the possibility. "Tell me more…"
Robin eyed her. "What?"
"Tell me more," she repeated.
"…You're…not actually considering…"
"There's no other place that sounds beneficial."
"It's not beneficial. Raven, they treat you like a lunatic there – "
"And who's to say I'm not going crazy?"
Robin stayed quiet. Raven continued. "Robin, I don't know what's going on," she pressed. "And you act like it's all that bad, but…there's no other solution I've heard of that sounds as good. Do you have a better idea?"
"And have the entire city at risk? I don't think so."
"Raven – "
"Robin. All I'm going to wind up doing if I stay is hurting you guys. I'm useless right now, don't you get it?" she egged on, hoping to pry the thought into his head. He stayed silent. "…In Gotham, you said? What is that? Arkham Asylum?" She looked to him, and he nodded wordlessly. "You have to take me there."
"Raven…I – "
"Robin," she said sternly, starting to choke back on her emotions again, "you have to. I don't want to hurt anyone anymore."
Still he was persistent, and Raven continued to interrupt him. "Please, Robin? Look…if you're not going to do this for you, then I need you to do this for me. I can't. Be. Here. I'm of no use. I don't want to go – "
"So what's stopping you?"
Raven sympathized with a sigh. "It's not that easy. I don't want to go, but I know it's what's best. For me, for you, for Jump City." She looked up at the horizon. "...I know you believe me, Robin, and you have no idea how much I appreciate that, but Robin…Jump City needs to believe and trust that they're safe. And to do that, I need you to support my decision. Regardless, I know you and I both know it's right. I don't know how to get there. I need you to take me. Please."
She studied his expression for a moment – one of stone, disapproval, and sympathy. He heaved a sigh, and looked at her. "Arkham Asylum. …Are you sure this is what you want?"
Raven nodded fervently.
Robin looked back at the sky, silent for a moment.
"Tomorrow at noon. You'll be ready by then?"
A ghost of a smile passed on Raven's face. "Thank you," she said, before getting up and retreating to her room.
A/N: So, here's to hoping you all enjoyed it. And to show my gratitude, as always, it gives me great pleasure to respond to everyone who's been supportive enough of this ficcy to review it:D.
Nagaina: Hey! Thank you so much for the compliment! I can only hope Ientertain, because this has honestly been my favorite ficcy I've written. And, Dude! How'd you do that tongue thing? (XÞ) It's so snazzy!
Raven A. Star: Heh, I enjoy all of your fics. Very original, and sometimes outlandish, storylines...and you make them all work. Dunno if you're still on for I heard you've left, but all the same, I totally appreciate your reviews and support for "Mind Games". It means a lot; you're a great author.
Sarah-Crysala: Thankies:D. And it's a good thing to be analytical. Can't promise you that you're close, but I can't promise you that you're not, either. And thank you so much for your compliment. Indeed, everything does have a purpose. It's what makes the guessing part from you guys so much fun to read:P. Again, thanks for everything. Now...how veird vas zis chappie:P.
Zako Lord of Randomnessness: WHOO! THANKIES ZAKO:P. lolz! Love ya, dude!
Nakira Ayame Outsuno: Y'know something? I've been doing some thinking on it, and I'm probably not gonna have a couple in this one. It might seem appropriate at the end, but for the most part, this is all about Raven fighting - not for love - but for sanity. I'm still contemplating things on that part, so...we'll just have to wait for the end. And I'm glad you threw a cotton pillow at me. Feather ones aren't so comfy. :P.
cchanyagami: Aww! Thank you SO MUCH:D. I'm glad you felt everything was dead-on. Kinda got me worried there...I'm such an in-character fan, lolz! It's one of my main priorities in a story. Yeah, poor Rae needs a support net. And one figures, who better than Robin, right? After all, birds of a feather...:P. Anyway, here's to hoping your theory's on the right track. :cheers:
keystone: You owe me a one-shot.
ACrazyTeenager2005: Well, it definitely pleases me that the wait was worth your while. ...Wow...that was some snazzy alliteration there, if I do say so myself :P! I just hope this chappie was worth the wait just the same. Don't worry, I can assure you you're not the only one lost, lolz! Hopefully this chappie gave you a new perspective? Hope you liked!
Zoe Rose: "Holy Friggin' Update Batman!" DUDE! I'M SO STEALING THAT FROM YOU:P. LMAO! Glad I wasn't wordy; I worry about that sometimes...seeing as Ch. 7 was 23 pages, and this one's actually 31... o.O I don't mean for them to be this big...but I keep thinking of new things and such to add in, and it becomes this fun interweaving thingerz...and I'm babbling about god-knows-what. :P. So Sasha reminds you of a young Janine from Ghostbusters, eh? lolz. Cool! I used to love that show...what happened to it:S. Nevertheless, I'm definitely ecstatic that the comic relief pleased you. And that you thought it was worth the wait. You, my friend, never cease to rock my socks. :D.
ChocolateCurlz: So the characterization worked for you? Definitely a good thing to hear, and from a great writer like yourself, too :D. And for the last time, TWU is SO not simple! lolz! It's awesome, intricate...and very creative...and I hope to read more of it soon! By the way, the chocolate Ravens were delish. Thankies much:P.
keystone: Just kidding, twinnums. You desrve a longer response than that. :P. In a time...like...5 months ago when I was having severe writer's block, you totally got me thinking of where I could head off ch. 8 on a different, and very introspective level. I can only hope I conveyed your idea well in a way that pleases you and the others as much as it pleases me. So thank you for your extraordinary ideas, keep up your mondo-awesome possumness, and continue kicking arse. Thank you as well for your compliment concerning Cy's behavior and persona. I hate that guy. He had to go. :P. Only kidding.
cmartist: Highly recommend it to others? COOL BEANS:D. Thank you so much for that compliment! And I'm glad you enjoy the mystery. More to come, so stick around. 5 chapters left, actually... Anyway, thank you for your kind words.
Rini Suichi: Dude, how can I forget you? You were laughing when they got kicked out? ...How dare you. :growls: Only joking. Cool stuff. Glad you liked:D.
Cherri munkey: ...You...name changer:P. "He gets all poop-head and go to bed!" LMAO! You're great, y'know that? Fantastically awesome and eight faces! And it definitely pleases me that you noticed the humor, as well as appreciated it and the characterization. Thanks so much!
koriandrStar: Holy...dude. I think that's the longest review I've ever gotten. Well, essay more like :P. But I appreciate it, nonetheless. I thank you for taking your time to pinpoint things; it helps me learn to be better, and having people constructively criticize me as such definitely helps. I must insist that you chillax about Star's "death" though. Remember, I'm doing everything this way for a reason, and her loss is no exception. I just realized exactly how reminiscent my battle with the H.I.V.E. was to the episodes...oops. Great minds think alike? ...Guess that won't work, eh? lolz. Nothing is done here to attack you on your ToH story, lolz:P. You like Star, I like Raven...this story's about Raven, not Star...so yeah. Gotta do what I've gotta do to make things fit. Again, thank you so much for pointing these things out...as well as your compliments. You make me better:D.
ShadowSage2: LOLZ! Officially confused, eh? No worries. It'll all tie in at the end. ...What's WOT on a stick:S. The sprinkles make it seem very tasty though :P. And dude...MAJOR APOLOGIES for the lack of updating within the past forever. I know I said I wouldn't take that long anymore before...but wow...I don't even know what happened to prolong the updates, aside from a major case of writer's block. Again, I'm sorry. I hate waiting and making you all do the same, for I love your reviews:D. Anyway, continue your sock-rockiness! And thank you so much for your compliments! How's Honors English II treating you?
Flying Star: I got your e-mail, and will reply to it soon, lolz. I'm glad you thoughtthe last chapter was well worth the wait, and I hope you think the same of this one. Wow...you're so snazzy! lolz:D.
Blowfish the Monkey Tamer: "Suspicious? Yes. Relevant? Er...?" Yes. Heh...you're the first to bring up the Drew Carey allusion. Glad it amused you. If you ever do feed my soul to your monkeys, just uh...could you make sure it's after Ifinish"Mind Games"?Because I'm thinking after this, and possibly one more one-shot, I'm washing my hands of :P.
WitchGirl: Carly Enchilada! ISO wanted to get this up on your birthday...but I couldn't. I wasn't done. Sorry. :(. HowEVER, I still hope being 17 is treating you well. I'm jealous. Frankly,I've got two monthson you, and you've got pure genius on me. You're excellent...you're wicked...you're envied. A growl unto you for your snazziness. :P. Thanks a bunch foreverything! And get online when I rarely am so we can chat!lolz:P.
Defafaeth Mechqua: Thank you:D.
AbsentAngel: Eep! You were crying! COOL STUFF! It makes me happy to know that the last chapter was capable of producing such emotions for you. :D. I hope you like this chapter just the same!
Calisto: No idea. My first instinct was to definitely have a couple, but I'm not so sure it's a good idea anymore. Actually, on the contrary, I was always aiming along the lines of Rae/BB. Rae/Rob would already be too out there, what with Robin being her support net and all. But yeah...no idea as of now. I might, but I might not. In the end, it'll come to me.
Daughter of the Equinox: Going insane! Now what gave you that idea:P. I promise, it'll all come together in the end. For now, sit back and enjoy the ride. And I would be honored and privileged to R & R your stuff! Thank you for doing the same to mine:D.
TheDarkAzar: Alright! A regular! lolz:D. Thank you so much for your compliments! I just try my best...do everything I'd like to see others do, also, I guess. It's not that serious...it's just concentrating, learning, and wanting to be better that makes you that way.
Cat o'thWind: LOLZ! Aww...you thought you flamed me, lolz! Glad I caught your interest and you liked those scenes. I hope you like this chapter just as well.
Velvet Death: Definitely took your CC into consideration. After all, little things very much count, just as much as the big. Thank you so much for your kind words...actually, just for reviewing. You're a very talented writer...and at such a young age, too! I'll never get over that! lolz! I hope my writing still pleases you:D.
WriTerGrL: DUDE! That's the BEST thing anyone can tell me! I'm so glad to have inspired you, and I hope that story came out great! A total spirit lifter, that review was. :D. And I'm so glad you like this story so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lady Karmina: You're addicted, lolz...cool! Wow...professionally? Writing? Nah...Actually, I've been thinking along the lines of advertising and marketing. But then...I've still got a month or two to decide :P. I'm glad to have made your head hurt...so long as it's not dire enough to the point that you need aspirin.
Mistress Dizzy: Ready for an explanation? I put a few things in here that are important...like in every chapter. Hopefully it adds on to your theory, and not confusion, lolz! Thank you for the review!
ScarletAngel68: A very random part you liked, lolz, where the heart monitors sped up. :P. Thanks for your review! You never cease to make me laugh :D.
DarkXeno: Thanks for understanding, and as for your worry about Rob/Rae...don't dwell on it. At least not for now. Remember, he's the support net. As to whether or not a love will blossom from this experience...it's something I don't even know right now.
Grumbumble: YAY TO TWISTS:D. Glad to have kept you interested! And thank you so much for pointing out some of the things you liked. The majority of them were some of my favorite things to write, lolz! If you ever have CC though, hit me with it. Doesn't do me any good not to know that I can improve. Thanks a bunch for your kind words:D.
mew-xena: Ah, so many questions, no answers to give. You're pretty much on the right track though, I gotta hand it to ya. Keep up the good guess work.
noggy P. Sno: Thank you:D.
Geodesic: Thanks! Didn't understand the chapter title, though? Pandemonium...think chaos...confusion...basically what I wanted to get across in that chapter, lolz! Also...think of that word in itself...literally. ;)
Ti-Lung: YAY! Butterflies rock my socks:D. Glad you like!
elemental-girl: Really powerful writing voice? Thank you so much! I'm definitely flattered...by all of your compliments! Pacing though...if it's something you thought was a little shabby, it's definitely something I consider working on. Thanks for your CC and your kind words! You're awesome:D.
spAybaraSimonslit: Well, you know what they say, "Great minds think alike", and so long as your story isn't mine...take the title, lolz. I'm glad you like the drama, though. :D.
beautifully-evil: You're one of those extremely, just totally awesome reviewers that goes through every chapter, reviews at the end of each one, and makes the writer feel like they still have a purpose, even though you caught on to the story when there were so many chappies up. Thank you. You rock.
Seishi Sairensuno: Thanks so much for the compliment! And I'm sorry if you didn't like the cliffhanger thingerz, lolz!
TamerTerra: Yes, I do know! lolz! And I'm glad you're still here...thought something might o' happened to ya. :'(. That would've sucked...especially since "Herbal Tea" isn't quite finished. :P.
Pikachu: Oh my! Thank you so much! lolz! Cool...
storywriter10791: Thank you:D. Sorry it took forever to update!
sky.davis: "Holy plot twist Batman!" I love that one, too! lolz! So it boggles your mind, this story, eh? Hee hee...chouetteness. Hey, feel free to leave TWO novels in my review thingy. Your words are inspiring, and a joy to read...it's great to know how much you enjoy this ficcy! Thank you so much:D.
The Last: Yay! You likies:D. I hope you enjoyed this chapter just as much! Good luck on your guessing!
BloodCri: Hmm...keep guessing...nevertheless, I'm glad I have a story that's suspenseful enough to make everyone think, lolz:D.
KidFlashisHot: I'm glad you like my plot! Pairings...no idea if I'm gonna have. But I was never aiming for Rae/Rob anyway. It could happen though...a very interesting concept to toy with... And continue guessing... you just might be on your way to the answer... I couldn't tell you though. :P.