To Love and Hate You
I don't own TEEN TITANS, if I did I'd be burstin' with swag, but that hasn't happened.
Summary: Ten years after the Teen Titans disbanded, all of them have left Jump City save Beast Boy and Raven. Beast Boy's become a gang lord known as Changeling and Raven's a waitress by day/vigilante by night. They're as different as night and day now, but what if fate brings them together?
Chapter One: Reviving a Phantom
Her life wasn't always like this, she mused. 10 years ago she would have never seen herself cleaning tables and waitressing. No, 10 years ago, she was Raven, a Teen Titan and a crime fighter who struggled desperately to control her powers. Now, her powers were dormant and the costume stuffed away with the mothballs in the closet collecting dust. She had no purpose now, she was not needed, no, she corrected herself Raven was not needed. She didn't care anymore.
She finished her cleaning and waited as costumers began coming in and taking seats. She went through her normal routine. Her shift was nearly over and it was about closing time when she noticed a man sitting in a dark corner. She didn't think much of it until she noticed that he was staring at her. She decided to walk over to him and see if she could help him with something.
The man looked at her, "Well, he said, "I would like some coffee..." he waited for her name.
"Angel," she replied.
"Call me Gar," the man said.
"I'll get you that coffee," she smiled at him. She went and got the man his coffee. Something about him was familiar but she couldn't place it. She brought Gar his coffee.
He smiled as he took it from her, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," she replied, "I hope you come again."
The man smiled, sipping his coffee, "I just might," he said, "I just might."
Later, the man called Gar left and Angel started cleaning up. She heard the door close. "Sorry, we're closed now," she said, not looking up.
"Empty the drawer if you wanna live!" a voice demanded. She turned and saw the barrel of a gun in her face.
"Easy, mister, easy! I'll get you what you want!" She calmly started walking over to the register.
"Hurry up!" the voice yelled. She was busy getting the money out of the register as she studied the robber. He was wearing a mask over his face so she couldn't see him. Just then, Katie a waitress and a friend of hers walked into the room.
"What's going on?"
"Get your hands on your head and get down on the ground!" the man shouted.
"He's robbing us," Angel explained, "do as he says." She did as she was told, Katie lay down on the ground shaking with fright. She quietly reached over and pushed the alarm button. It started blinking on and off.
The man looked and saw the alarm blinking, he saw Katie too. Saying nothing, he raised the gun and fired.
"No!" Angel screamed. Panicked, the man grabbed the money and ran out the door. Angel got up, grabbed the phone and dialed 911. She gave them the address and held the phone as she knelt down by Katie's side.
"Is she breathing?" the voice asked on the other line.
"Yes, but it's very weak."
"We'll be right there," the voice said. Within minutes, the building was swarming with police.
"Angel...Angel," a wheezing voice whispered.
"Katie, I'm here," she said.
"I-I'm sorry...I shouldn't have done anything..."
"Don't say that, you did what you could."
"Goodbye, Angel...You, you've been a good friend..."
She didn't finish as she closed her eyes and died. Angel told them all she knew as they loaded a dead Katie onto a stretcher.
Suddenly, she heard over the walkie-talkie: "We've spotted the getaway car. It's heading towards the square." The officer ordered the squad out. The squad was gone and Angel was all alone. She felt so guilty. She knew she could have used her powers and stopped the robbery. Her guilt was replaced by vengeance. Her friend shouldn't have died. Now she would avenge her death. Turning, she ran out he back door. She knew she wouldn't be able to catch the crook running, so she would fly. "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" she said as she rose off the ground. She soon spotted the car, weaving wildly in and out of traffic, trying to avoid the cops chasing him.
The getaway car swerved and crashed into a railing. The man got out and started running towards the alleyway. Angel followed him on the rooftop and as the man neared the other side she leapt in his way, blocking his path. "Who are you?" he said as he raised his gun and aimed it at her face.
"I am...the Raven..." she said nothing. The man fired his gun. Raising her hand, Raven easily stopped the bullets in midair and with a flick of her wrist, threw them uselessly aside. The man panicked, out of bullets, he rushed her straight on, drawing a knife. She slammed her fist into his face and side. He pushed against her, trying to stab his knife through her heart. Rage and hatred gave her strength as she threw him off and ran after him.
She grabbed him and drove her booted foot into his gut and stomach as she relentlessly punched his face. She felt power surge through her as she continued to pour out her fury on him. Suddenly, he threw her off and ran to a sewer drain. She leapt to her feet and followed him, coming to the sewer, she saw him climb into it. She gave up; she didn't feel like going down there.
John Thomson slipped himself into the sewer, completely panicked. He knew that he was done for, Changeling would have his head; he knew that for sure. His job had been so simple, rob the café after everyone left. The man had told him that it was near closing time after he had had coffee inside. The job was so simple. Then that girl had pulled the alarm. In a complete panic he had shot her. Now the cops were on his tail. He had the money, so what? Changeling would kill him because he had failed to do his job without alerting the cops. Changeling would punish him severely for his incompetence, he thought in horror; he knew he was as good as dead. But to make matters worse, there was that girl, the one who had called herself the Raven. He didn't know who she was, but he was afraid. He tired to console himself by convincing himself that all Jump City's vigilantes were gone. The Teen Titans were disbanded and Changeling ruled the streets, killing or maiming any would be vigilante types as to keep his power safe.
Navigating the sewer system, he got out at just the right street John got out and made his way into an abandoned manor and silently opened the door. The other members saw him and let him pass. The gang was the Iron Fist and their leader was a mysterious man known as Changeling. The silently headed towards great double doors and waited at the entrance silently.
"Come in," said a cold, hard voice. John did so. He walked into a spacious office. The wall was lined with illegal weapons and machine guns. At a great desk sat the man known as Changeling. His face was hidden in the darkness. John placed the money on the table. "I have what you wanted," John said and waited for an answer.
"Fool," Changeling said, "You failed me..."
"I know," John stammered, "let me explain—"
"You shot someone..." Changeling said, his voice cold and even.
"Yeah, but she pulled the alarm—"
"So what? Your job was simple: Rob the store; bring me the money. Simple, no harm done and we both get what we want."
"I don't take 'sorry' as an answer John. Neither do I take failures like you." Changeling turned his chair to face him. "Failure is costly. Very costly. Take him away!"
Two members came and grabbed him, pulling John into the light. The light shone on his bruised face and body. John saw the man lean forward slightly, "What happened to your face?" Changeling demanded.
"I don't know who she was. She came out of nowhere—"
"She?" he demanded.
"I heard the voice. It was female."
"Ah, what did she do?"
"She gave me this," he pointed to his bruised face, "and my busted side."
"Do you know who she was? Did she have a name?"
"I can't remember, Sir. I was too panicked by her to think."
"I see," he said, "You let a woman make a fool out of you. I can see that I made a mistake taking you off the street, you pathetic, incompetent fool. I'll just have to correct that."
John was stunned, he knew what was going to happen. "No, wait—I won't fail you again. I swear! Just give me another chance!"
"Sorry, John. This was your second chance. You blew it and now you're going to have to pay the consequences!" He gestured to the two men. "Take him to the car. We're going 'hiking.'"
John was truly panicked now, he began to scream, "No, no, NO—!" until he was bound and gagged with duct tape.
"Sorry, Johnny, I have no use for you anymore," Changeling let out a chuckle. They drove to a wilderness reserve on the outskirts of Jump City. It was two in the morning and no one was there. They dragged John deep into the woods and threw him on the ground. He scrambled to his feet, looking around. Suddenly, to his horror, Changeling was gone! Then he heard it, the roar of a giant bear. He began running but the bear charged him. He fell to his knees and tried in vain to defend himself. He screamed as the bear's claws ripped into him. His blood flew in several directions as he screamed and screamed for help. None came. He continued to struggle, but the bear's teeth sunk deep into his throat, drowning out his gargled screams. Very soon he lay still, dead.
In the dead of night, it seemed that the 'bear' laughed. It was Changeling, who had not been called that for nothing. He laughed and laughed maniacally. He felt the blood on his hands, and power. "Fool. You were so useful for a little while. Why did you have to fail me?" He let out a derisive chuckle. "Come, my business is done." He gestured to the cowering figures hiding in the trees. They crawled out, shaking with fear and followed him silently out of the park, leaving a mauled John Thomson to bleed to death.
Angel Anderson walked home in silence that night. She'd failed to find her friend's killer and was exhausted from searching. She went into the small house she lived in and got ready for bed. She quietly put her clothes in the closet. She was about to close the door when she stopped suddenly. There, among the mothballs and dust was her old Teen Titans uniform. She hadn't touched it in years, but now that she looked at it, she began to realize that she was needed again.
She felt guilty; if she had been Raven she could have prevented the robbery. She could have stopped the man from killing her friend but she was too selfish, in a way to care about the crimes committed in Jump City. All she cared about was herself and getting through the day. It was her selfishness, not the gun that had taken Katie's life. She stared hard at the uniform. Yes, she would have to revive an old Phantom long dead. She quietly slipped into her old costume. The Raven was released at last. She headed to her window opened it and slipped silently into the waiting darkness.