In the Beginning There was Darkness

Chapter Nine

December 6th 2004

- - -

"Hey."

Raven's eyes bolted open, and she let her gaze fall upon a handsome face, void of any mask, and bathed in the rich, warm hues the sunset radiated. She shifted a little uncomfortably as her face turned the same shade of the sun.

"Hi…" She whispered, eyes falling from the mortal god's face.

It had been nearly a week since Raven and Robin's evening of bliss, and since then, Raven had done everything in her power to avoid any sort of contact with him. For five days she ducked, dodged, and excused her way out of his sight, never letting him string more than two words together if she happened upon him.

Raven wasn't sure why she acted this way, all she knew was that now, after their kiss, she felt inadequate and beneath him. She was never attractive enough, smart enough, witty enough, or talented enough to be within ten feet of him, and therefore she kept her infatuation at a distance.

However, the whole plan was sort of backfiring in her face, because the more she avoided Robin, the more pains he took to seek her out, and the more troublesome the whole ordeal became. Also, having no contact whatsoever with Robin, was really starting to bug her. She had never noticed how truly attached to the masked hero she had become.

Robin, on the flip side, was going crazy with the way she kept avoiding him. He wanted to pin her to the ground and make her explain all of her ridiculous antics. It was as if she was upset or disgusted by what had happened five nights ago. They kissed, so what? He had asked her if she was upset, and she replied she wanted to be kissed, so what was the current game she was playing? Was it: 'Let's Annoy the Crap Out of Robin Week?' and no one told him?

"Raven." He said firmly.

Raven cringed immediately and turned back to him. She hated that tone of voice. She was only been living with the Titans for a few months, but she knew that tone with Robin, and hated to hear it come from his lips.

"Yes?" She questioned, trying to keep her composure. "Do you want something?"

There was a moment of silence as their eyes argued with one another, then Robin nodded curtly. "Yes. I want you to sit where you are sitting, and don't move a muscle." He approached her, then seated himself next to the dark maiden not saying another word.

Raven stole a glance at him, and noticed the strange, ambiguous look on his face. He looked as if his mind was struggling between many different emotions, and was undecided upon a single one. He appeared to be happy, angry, sad, worried, nervous, but above all, he appeared to be frustrated; and she knew the origin of that frustration.

"Raven…" He said softly, finally turning to look at her, "If something is bothering you, let me know. I hate these games of hide and seek you're playing. It's not fair to either of us, and we'll never get this… whatever worked out if you can't face me."

Raven said nothing and turned away slightly, hoping to find answers elsewhere. What could she say? Spill out every feeling she had tried to keep secret? Pour out the inner workings of her soul? There was little or nothing she could do that wouldn't initiate some sort of backlash.

The silence was ear deafening and seemed to continue forever, and the dark girl from Azarath had nothing to say. No, that wasn't true. She had a lot to say, she was just too nervous to say it. How could she explain her feelings to him, when he made her feel so strange and ill at ease?

Robin sighed deeply and stood up, shaking his head in disbelief. "Forget it," he said irritably and coldly, starting for the roof door. "If you're not willing to talk to me…"

Raven sat, terror-stuck at what was happening before her eyes.

'What is he doing?' She asked herself as his hand fell on the doorknob. 'No! He can't leave! He's the only one I can talk to, the only one who understands me… the only one who's ever really accepted me.'

It was at this revelation, Raven knew what she had to do. She had to open up to him, and talk to him… she had to show him that she cared.

Robin was walking away; he was giving up on trying to work things out with her. She couldn't let him leave, she had to keep him by her side. She wasn't sure why she was so needing of his presence, but she was well aware that she needed him.

"Wait, Robin." Raven jumped up and went to him. He looked at her, never saying anything and waited in patient silence for her to continue. She looked flustered, and stuttered for a few moments before anything more was said.

"I'm just… worried."

A smile spread across the boy wonder's face. "Well," He said, reaching out and taking her hand, "That's a start." He led her to the edge of the rooftop, and they sat down together, looking out at the sunset.

"Why are you worried, Raven?" Robin asked, turning to her.

"I… I don't know. I've never really felt this way about anyone, Robin," Her dark eyes locked with his own sparkling, green. "And no one has ever shown interest in me before, except… except with my father." She choked a little on his name, and turned away, face flushing suddenly. She was still trying to forget everything that had happened, no matter how futile it may be.

"Raven…" Robin whispered, not sure if he should let her brood, or if he should gather her into his arms and kiss her. He knew the pains and problems she went through, and he wanted to keep her from hurting, but how was he supposed to do that when she kept pushing him away?

"You were the first person to accept who I was, Robin… you showed me something no one has ever shown me… and I guess I'm not sure which way I should go." There was a pause as she turned to look at him. "When I'm with you, Robin, I start to feel all sorts of things, and I like them."

Robin's face lit brightly at her innocent and romantic words, and he pulled the dark girl into his arms. She all but melted into his embrace, and wrapped her arms tightly around his chest, burying her face into his neck, as if looking for a place to call home.

"I'm sorry… I'm sorry I'm so much trouble for you," Raven whispered, trying to keep tears from falling. She didn't want to cry. She had never cried over anything, and wasn't about to start now. She was a strong woman from Azarath, and refused to let anyone tell her otherwise, including her emotions.

"Raven… shhh," Robin cooed in her ear, stroking her hair gently. "You're not trouble for me. You are… you are everything I want, and anything but trouble." He kissed her temple innocently and cradled her tighter to him. "I love you, Raven…"

Tears rolled down Raven's face. It was the first time she cried since her mother died, and it felt nice. It felt nice to let her emotions come pouring from herself, and not to keep them locked away.

"I love you too, Robin…" She whispered.

- - -

Starfire paced back and forth, glaring at anything that moved even an inch. Needless to say, that Beast Boy and Cyborg were under constant scrutiny of her cold, steely eyes. However, they both knew that the origin of her ill feelings and frustration came from the fact that Robin and Raven had been missing for over two hours now.

"Where are they?" Beast Boy asked as they ducked out of the living room, lest they be Starfire's new prey. "They've been gone too long for a fight, and not long enough for a date."

Cyborg chuckled slightly, raising a skeptical eyebrow at his green friend. "Think about what you just said, BB." There was a small pause and the smell of something burning before Beast Boy responded.

"Oh."

"Yeah, 'oh'." They rounded a corner, and Cyborg shrugged nonchalantly. "I don't see a problem with it or anything. I mean, if they're happy and all."

"If who are happy?"

Cyborg and Beast Boy started, then turned around to find Robin and Raven standing there, looking nonchalant, and… and holding hands!? The two other Titans' mouths dropped to the floor, and they stared incredulously at the 'couple' for a few, long moments, as if they weren't quite sure what to make of the situation; or, more importantly, how to respond to the situation. One wrong move and they would have a creepy alien and the boy wonder on their cases.

"Um… okay, when did this happen?" Beast Boy asked carefully, hoping that he wasn't treading on 'dangerous ground', especially with Raven, that girl could be scary when she wanted to be.

"A few days ago," Robin stated calmly, drawing the dark girl nearer in a protective manner. "Don't tell me you guys don't approve," He stated warningly, raising a speculative eyebrow.

"No, it's just… it's just a little surprising…" Cyborg smiled encouragingly at Raven. "But if you're happy, then I'm happy for you."

"Thanks, Cyborg," Raven responded, a half-smile gracing her face. "That means a lot to me." She was glad that Cyborg approved, she didn't want everyone to hate her because she had fallen for Robin, or even more importantly: was dating him. She just wanted to get along with everyone, including Starfire. No matter how painful that may be to initiate.

"R-robin?"

Speak of the devil.

"Hi, Starfire," Robin said carefully, shifting a little uncomfortably under the Tameranian's shocked gaze.

Even Raven had to feel a little bad for Starfire. It looked as though her heart had just been broken in two, and smashed painfully on the floor. She looked from the masked, powerless superhero, to Raven and back again, her face showing signs of helplessness.

"I… I just wanted to see how you were doing," Starfire whispered, taking a step back and averting her eyes from the couple in front of her. She stole a glance at Raven and whispered, "I finished your room… if you're wondering." There was another long, awkward pause. "I guess I'll just go now…"

Without another word she turned and flew around the corner, down the hall to her own room, where she undoubtedly brooded in her pain, and wallowed in her sorrow. What else could the girl do? After all, she had lost the battle to exterminate Raven from the band of Titans, not to mention losing the heart of a certain masked Titan. It just was not a good day for the poor Tameranian.

Raven sighed deeply and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. "My conscience is getting the better of me," she muttered almost painfully. Shaking her head, she looked at Robin and slipped her hand out of his gentle grasp. "I'm going into the lion's den," she stated flatly, "and don't try to stop me."

All three male Titans looked at her in shock, as if silently asking her if she was sane, or if she had lost her mind. Just a few days ago they had been at each other's throats, and now it looked at if the dark maiden was going to go console the crazy one. Who warped the space-time continuum?

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Robin asked, glancing around carefully, as if waiting for the redhead to pop out of the wall, or something. "I mean… it is Starfire."

"Yeah," Cyborg piped up, "you guys were ripping other's hair out yesterday, and now you want to talk to her?"

"Well," Raven said, shrugging slightly, "what else can I do? It was kind of my fault and all… you know," she rolled her eyes, "for being such a demon."

"You're not a demon," Robin said automatically, "and it's not your fault."

"Still…" Raven sighed and nodded curtly at Robin. "If I'm not back in an hour, call a forensic scientist." With that she turned on her heel and followed the trail of the redhead from Tameran, hoping she didn't disappear in the process.

Raven stopped outside her door and stared for a few moments. What exactly was she hoping to accomplish by this 'meeting'? She knew that Starfire wanted nothing to do with her, and yet she felt compelled to at least try and make amends. After all, they were teammates now, and teammates usually worked together… as a team.

Taking a deep breath, the dark maiden raised her fist and knocked lightly on the metal surface, waiting for some sign of life within. There was a soft rustle of fabric, then a strangled "yes?" from inside.

"Starfire," Raven said, trying to sound supportive, but feeling like she was asking the lion to come and eat her flesh. "It's Raven, can I come in?"

There was a long pause, a snuffle, then Starfire replied acidly, "I guess…"

'Why?' Raven asked herself as the door slid open. She carefully stepped inside, suddenly wishing she could step back out again. The whole room was covered in fuzzy, pink things, and gave the dark girl the feeling that she was standing in a molding bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Glancing carefully around the sickening room, she noticed the melancholy redhead, lying on the bed. Raven sighed slightly and approached her with caution.

"Look, Starfire," the dark girl began after another pause, "this stupid spat between us has gone on too long. You have misconceptions about my planet-" an evil glare erupted from Starfire "-and I have them about yours…" Raven added quickly, "but, we're teammates now and I don't want us to hate each other because we're 'supposed' to. We're better than that." She finished her sentence and looked at the distraught maiden, shaking her head slightly. "You're a great Titan, Starfire… and I want us to be a team. We'd work together a lot better if we worked as a team."

Starfire sat up and rubbed a few tears from her eyes, still sniffling slightly. "Does working as a team mean destroying my heart?" she asked painfully and sharply.

Raven took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to think about how she should respond to that. She was trying to get Starfire to be a more pleasant person towards her, or at least get her on neutral ground, but it didn't appear to be working as well as she hoped. 'But how much could I hope for when this girl was ready to kill me?' Raven thought, rolling her eyes again. She turned back to Starfire and shook her head slightly, feeling very frustrated at this whole situation.

"Look, Starfire, it wasn't my intention to 'destroy' your heart. Robin and I grew closer together, that's all. There was no intentional pain… and I'm sorry that you feel that way." Raven stepped closer to Starfire, who was slowly looking a bit more hospitable as she contemplated the other girl's words.

There was a long pause before Starfire looked up into the dark girl's face, her own façade showing signs of a possible truce. Perhaps Raven's visit wasn't entirely in vain, maybe there was some hope to be found in her enemy.

"I know that you never meant to hurt me… but… it's so hard to trust you," Starfire said as she shifted uncomfortably for a moment, then looked away. "I've been told my entire life how terrible Azarathians are, and when I finally met one I wasn't sure what to do…" She sighed deeply moving to the side and offering a place for Raven to sit, who accepted her offer with slight caution.

"I just want us to be a team, but I was confused on what you would do and how you would react. And I know the room thing was a little extreme…"

"A little!?" Raven asked incredulously, voice spiking in shock of the other girl's stupidity. "You call walking into your room to find horrible insults painted on your wall a little extreme?"

Starfire squirmed, desperately trying to avoid Raven's eyes. "Well… I'm sorry, just the same. I'm not quite sure what I hoped to accomplish by doing that… but I do know I didn't accomplish it." She sighed deeply, looking back at the dark girl. "I can't be your friend right away, Raven. So much has happened before and after you arrived, that I'm not sure where I stand with you."

Raven smiled a little, nodding in agreement. "I had no intention of walking out of this room your friend, Starfire. But we're teammates now, lets at least attempt pleasantries. Besides… who knows, in a few months we could be regular friends."

Starfire nodded, allowing a small smile to show through. It was clear this whole meeting was uncomfortable to both of them, but they each felt as though a better team was being accomplished by it. "Yes."

Raven suddenly stood up and headed for the door. There was not much else to say, a truce had been issued and the Tameranian and Azarathian were now on neutral grounds… even though it was hell to accomplish. She paused and turned around to look at the redhead, who appeared to be in a slightly better mood, but not by much. "Have a good day, Starfire," Raven said firmly, smiling just a little.

"You do the same."

Opening the door, Raven walked out, feeling more at ease than she had her entire life. True, she hadn't made another friend, but she had gained a new teammate. And to top it all off…

"Hey there."

Raven looked up into a pair of masked eyes. A smile played on the lips of the masked 'stranger', and he bent down to give her a kiss.

"Hi."

She had found love…

"You're still alive," he teased, wrapping his arm around her slender waist.

"Barely…" Raven rolled her eyes.

"Friends?" Robin asked, the dark girl only laughed.

"No. But not too far from being teammates."

"That's good…" There was a slight pause as he continued to smile at her. After a moment, he took her hand as they walked down the hall. "Let's go get something to eat."

"Okay…"

…and, she had finally found a place to finally call home.

- - -

OH GOSH!! I thought I was never going to get that out!!!! I know it took me forever, and I'm REALLY sorry, but it's been one stress on top of another stress, on top of another stress… and it becomes a never-ending cycle. I'm ridiculously behind in my English class, and National Honors Society is just about ready to kick me out. Oh well, at least I got my story finished!! YAY!!

Now I have time to work on Black Magic and a new one I just started writing called Solidarity? Which will hopefully be out within the next week or so, but I'm not making any promises. I still have three papers to write by the 9th… damn school to hell and make it burn there… grrr. Anyway! Review PLEASE! I really want to know how the ending worked for you!!

Lots of love: Xaph!

PS: SNEAK-PEEK at: Solidarity?

Before the Titans banded together, they were each their own superheroes leading double lives of normal citizens. Then a threat forced these five bantering teenagers together… what happens now?

… an accidental meeting would set a ball into motion that would never stop rolling.

"Dick!"

Richard Grayson looked up, then smiled and waved at his friend through the Plexiglas window at Fatboy's Burgers, motioning him to come inside and sit with him.

The green friend outside waved back, then trotted inside the dirty, old restaurant. He plopped down in a seat across from the green-eyes, dark-haired, stunningly handsome college student, and currently closing a battered textbook.

"It's nice to see you, Gar. You're not usually on this side of town… what brings you here?" Richard asked as he signaled for a waitress to come and take their order.

"Oh, you didn't hear?" Garfield Logan asked, pulling out a slip of folded paper. "I was cast as the plant in West View Theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors. I've been out here a lot lately." He grinned brightly as his friend made a confused face.

Richard leaned over the table and dropped his voice low. "Stop playing games, BB. You're never on this side of town, what brings you here?"

Garfield looked around carefully, before leaning forward to match eyes with his friend. "There's a new one. Here, on the West Side."

"I know. She's been cutting into my own missions, and making a nice clean job of it. I can't find any clues about her."

"You know it's a she?" Garfield asked, a little surprised.

"Yeah, I caught a glimpse of her once. Trust me, I don't think a guy could have a rack like that."

Garfield laughed. "Whoa… maybe I should meet her too."

"Don't count on it. The millisecond she saw me, she bolted. It was like she didn't want to be seen by anyone," Richard sighed deeply, taking a sip of his Coke.

"Well… it's certainly a change from that Starfire chick. She'll fly circles around you, flipping her hair and giggling," Garfield chuckled, watching the look of disgust cross Richard's face.

As Richard trudged up the last flight of stairs, muttering to himself, he could hear the sounds of moving furniture and groaning. He finally came to his landing and looked at the door next to his own. It was standing ajar, which gave him a sliver of a view of the inside. Making a strange face, and hoping it wasn't something he didn't want to see, Richard looked inside. There, crawling around the dirty floor of the tiny, studio apartment, was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. With deep purple eyes and shining lilac hair, it looked as though a dark angel had moved in next door.

HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE SNEAK PEEK!! And remember to review!