Worth Fighting For
A Teen Titan Fanfic
Chapter I: Demon Within
[Main (Rec.) Room, Titan Tower]
The moon is lovely.
The blanket of night had settled upon this side of the Earth, tucking in its sleeping cities snugly. The silver ember of moonlight basked the land in an ethereal glow, making everything glitter and glisten like jewels. From here, everything looks peaceful and tranquil, the mixture of light and dark creating a dazzling, almost romantic effect.
How beautiful it must be to have lived here all life long. . .
"What're you doing up?" Asks the ever-dark Raven, sleep-deprivation having made her even grumpier than usual. I hear her shuffle towards the kitchen ungracefully--which is odd for her--and open the refrigerator. I can feel her gloominess, even from where I sit, and I want so badly to brighten it . . . but I know she will not let me. Instead, I simply shift on my small little bean-bag chair--I had to beg them to let me get it--and continue to gaze out the window, answering her so that she will not take out her frustrations on me. "I do not sleep," I say, leaving out why. I did sleep before . . . but no longer. I can't. I have tried, but sleep refuses me . . . so I learned to give up and accept it. . .
As I do everything on this planet.
I feel Raven's eyes on me for a moment. I half-hope she will ask me why it is that I no longer sleep. I half-hope she will sit by me and demand that I tell her what was wrong--like on those T.V shows I have seen. I half-wanted her sympathy, wanted her to tell me that she cared, and that she was my friend and ally.
But she did not.
I knew that she would not. She is Raven, but more importantly, I am me; Starfire.
"Goodnight," she says out of habit. I hear her finish off whatever it was she was drinking and shuffle towards her room, closing the door soundly behind her. I used to flinch at the awful, horrendously loud sound, but now I do not. It is proof that I am getting used to them all; their quirks, their flaws, their small imperfections which make them so wonderful to me.
But . . . will they ever get used to me?
Slowly, I stand from my comfortable spot and walk over towards the sink, where Raven had dumped her empty cup. I have learned that, while sleeping (or even near that state), humans have no real control over what they say or do. Oft-times they say things honestly, but harshly. Or they do things they did not mean to. Such as now; everyone usually cleans after themselves here, but Raven left her cup uncleaned.
I decide to clean it for her.
I finish it in almost no time at all--it was only a cup--so I go back to my seat and think some more, gazing at the breath-taking scenery before me. It reminds me so much of Tamaran; of the land of the King and Queen--my mother and father. I sat there, unmoving, for what must have been hours. When I snap out of my hazy reverie, it is morning, and Robin is yawning and stretching as he emerges from his room, scratching his chest in the way that all males tend to do in the morning. I do not have to look at him to know that he is wearing his trademark mask and sleeping boxers--and nothing else--with his hair sticking up in every direction possible. I do not have to look to see Cyborg groggily stumbling into the room and mumble a "Good morning," to anybody who passes, his human eye streaked with red lines from sleep. I do not have to confirm that Terra will bump into every inanimate object until she opens her sleepy blue eyes.
I know them all so well . . . and yet, they do not know me.
It is easy to see Raven emerging like a shadow from her room in my mind's eye, her eyes heavy-lidded and tired. Beast-boy would come stumbling out of his quarters shortly thereafter, affectively tripping over something and hurting himself. He will then awaken fully when seeing the drowsy Terra and promptly make a fool of himself--and she will giggle sleepily before yawning.
"Anybody seen my Pop-Tarts?" Cyborg will ask, I predict. He does and I hide a smile. I already know it was Beast-boy who took them, and I know that Robin will make him go to the store to buy more to make up for it, him being the leader figure and all. Cyborg will growl at Beast-boy and Beast-boy will cower and smile that nervous/innocent smile of his. Raven will roll her eyes at them and grab her food of choice for the day, going back to her room afterwards. Robin will tell Cyborg to stop growling and Beast-boy to go and get the Pop-Tarts. Terra will volunteer to accompany Beast-Boy. Afterwards, Robin will drink some milk and return to his room to get ready for a long shower before going back to the fridge and bringing out some cereal to eat in front of the large T.V screen.
And I will sit here and listen, staring out at the red-and-gold city, still awakening with the dawn.
It is noon before anyone speaks to me. By then, I have lost myself to the quiet serenity of the day, glad that no criminals--or Slade--have tried to take over the world . . . again. Predictably, it is Robin that speaks to me, unknowingly establishing his role by being the first to try and figure out what was wrong with me. "You okay, Starfire? You've been quiet all morning."
Had he asked me that this morning, I would have poured my heart out to the boy. I cared for him a little differently than I did the others--I have yet to figure out exactly how differently--and I felt comfortable, yet nervous, in his presence. This morning, I felt vulnerable and alone, wanting to be comforted, even when I knew no one would.
But it was noon. I felt fine--other than this weird urge to be alone lately--and I didn't want to trouble him. "I am okay, Robin," I say and I give him a determined smile to assure him.
"You sure?" He asks. He does not believe me, I think, but I cannot see his eyes to confirm it. I nod my head, still smiling, and he knows he cannot pressure me. He nods and walks away, his steps hesitant and unsure, and I hope it is not because of me. I know it is obligation that he asks after me--not true concern. I know, right now, he feels like he has failed in some way because I did not communicate openly with him--as they are used to. They are used to me being light and airy; light and happy. They are used to me speaking my mind and floating around like a ray of sunshine.
Night falls again. I am still here, still thinking--still wondering.
I do not think it will end anytime soon.
[Raven's Room, Titan Tower]
Her long blue cloak fluttering behind her, the violet-eyed Raven walked towards the beautiful mirror that lay upon a desk--the source of her discomfort. Her brows furrowed, a pale hand reaching out and picking up the accursed thing with cold, unsure fingers. Instead of reflecting a face devoid of emotion, it revealed a world that she knew all too well; the portal to her mind. Amidst the bloody reds and never-ending blacks that made up her dark and confusing mind, was a double pair of slitted, glowing yellow eyes that were not supposed to be there.
'Trigon.' "What're you doing out?" Her brow furrowed, her voice held a tone of surprise--an emotion rarely heard from the dark spellcaster. Her slender fingers tightened around the handle, the pressure making them an even paler shade of ivory.
"Hatred shall rule you. . ." A fanged smile appeared from the depths of the mirror, revealing deadly, sharpened white teeth. "Rage shall consume you. . ." The voice was a low, throaty rumble; the tiny hairs on the back of her neck rose and prickled like a cat's.
"Not if I can help it," she growled back, her eyes glowing. Laying her hand before the mirror face, she muttered, "Azarath, Metrion, Zin--!" but she was cut off when an evil, sadistic laugh emitted from that gruesome mouth revealed within the depths of the mirror. The impure sound of it sent a horrible shiver down her spine and kept her from muttering the words that summoned the full force of her powers to the surface. Within her head, she felt a jarring, as if someone were trying to break free. The pain was excruciating and she gritted her teeth against it, clenching her eyes shut in an effort to keep the scream at bay.
"I won't let you out again," she growled out with obvious effort. "You won't control me!"
"Who says I want you. . ." A low, mocking laugh. "I've already caught my prey . . . you no longer interest me, daughter."
Violet eyes snapped open in shock in spite of the pain. She fought the evil force with a renewed effort; black energy cackled and thundered about her, knocking off the larger mirror from her wall and flipping over her bed with a loud crash. It felt as if her head were splitting in two and she could no longer hold back the cry of pain that tore from her throat of its own accord. Her door slammed open.
She faced her friends through eyes that shimmered an evil, unnatural red; her own pointed teeth drawing blood from her pale lips. Tendrils of pure dark energy emerged from beneath her closed cloak, grabbing at anything that lived and moved. Graceful and swift, Robin easily ducked and dodged the slippery tendrils of evil, unearthly power--yet he was unsuccessful in reaching the transformed Raven. Beast-boy was like a green streak, changing from form to form in an attempt to reach her. Cyborg fought off the strong vines that wrapped around him and pulled him towards the darkness that emitted from Raven's cloak. In desperation, he shot at them with his weapon, but they just ricocheted and almost hit Terra, who was fighting against the vise-like grip.
Morphing into a pterodactyl, Beast-boy crashed into Raven, effectively slamming the spellcaster back into the floor. An enraged, pained roar exploded from her in a voice that wasn't her's as her head collided with the floor. In a flash, Beast-boy had transformed into his normal form, kneeling above an unconscious Raven--who seemed normal enough. . .
"B.B., look out!"
He barely had time to heed Robin's warning when a large cloud of red and black smoke ripped itself from Raven's unmoving body. The force of it raised the prone girl in the air, hovering a few feet above the ground. When the smoke and Raven separated completely, she fell like a limp doll; landing securely in Beast-boy's awaiting arms. The slithery cloud took form; vague horns appeared on either side of a four-eyed face, red overtaking the black.
It seemed like a giant, smoky devil had emerged from within Raven.
"Weaklings!" It exclaimed. "She is worthless to me now; I have already found my new shell--worthless fools!" And he disappeared from the room in blur of red.
Another scream tore from Raven, her eyes wide and unseeing; no one heard another cry of anguish that filled the halls of Titan Tower with its melody of pain. No one saw where the demonic spirit flew off to, nor did they care; the Titans--minus Starfire--rushed to Raven's side, hovering over her as Beast-boy gently placed her on the ground. Terra was the first to speak, her voice quavering noticeably.
"What--or who--was that? Yeesh, and I thought I was the only one who couldn't control her powers; I've never seen Raven act like that."
Robin's voice was grave and low when he answered the blue-eyed blonde. "That's because she's only acted like this once before. I'm not too sure on the details, but. . ." Masked eyes met emerald ones across from Raven's still form. "Beast-boy and Cyborg know what happened last time--they know what caused it."
"What?" She asked curiously. Bright blue eyes locked on Cyborg before they moved to Beast-boy, who was still staring down at the unmoving Raven. Seeing as Beast-boy wasn't going to answer, Cyborg decided that he would instead.
"Well, ya see. . ." He began awkwardly, not knowing where to start. "After the first time she went all crazy like--we were fighting with Dr. Light and I guess he pushed her too far--me and B.B. accidentally went into her room when it was empty--"
"You knocked so hard, you broke down the door," Beast-boy said with a small smile on his face.
Cyborg glared. "Whatever. Anyway, we found this mirror in her room and B.B. had to go pop a zit in front of it." Another glare for Beast-boy, who blushed and stuck his tongue out childishly at him. "And we got sucked into her mind. We met different versions of her--Happy, Timid, Brave--" He ignored Beast-boy's comment of "The Happy one laughs at my jokes!" and went on over him "before the real Raven came and told us that something in her mind had escaped; which happened to be her father. In the end, she had to combine every version of herself to beat him, and he turned out to be Rage--y'know, the Angry, Hateful part of herself. So she absorbed Rage (I guess you'd call it/her that) and everybody was okay . . ." The metallic giant looked down at his friend. "I thought so anyway. . ."
Terra's eyes were wide and awed. It seemed to take a moment to find her voice. "Whoa." Her jaw was slack. "So that thing that came out of her--that was Rage, er, I mean, her father?" While she spoke, Robin motioned for Cyborg to help fix up Raven's room--meaning, flip over the bed and make everything as neat as possible. Raven didn't like people in her private domain--even if it was to help her--but maybe cleaning it up would save them from her wrath.
Beast-boy shook his head. "I'm not sure, but I think it was. Same voice and everything." When Robin told him to, Beast-boy carried Raven over to the now-fixed bed, placing her down as gently as he had before.
It was decided to let the Titan rest. Solemn and confused, they retreated from the dark and disorienting room, closing the door quietly behind them and standing in front of it in the corridor for a moment. As one, they quietly walked to the Main Recreational Area to think amongst themselves. Beast-boy offered to make some pasta--tofu style. Cyborg declined less-than-politely and the two males engaged in one of their daily arguments.
Terra followed Robin to the sofa, where they sat looking out the large windows instead of the television set. Silver rays of moonlight streamed in through the overly-large windows that over-looked their beloved Jump city. Stars twinkled in the vast, midnight skies, their light pale in comparison to the Lady Moon.
'Stars. . .'
It was in that moment that the leader of the Titans realized something. He sat up, his senses alert now that he was not lost in thought. Terra, who had fallen sleep, was startled awake, the movement having jostled the sofa cushions and awakening her easily. Groggy eyes looked at him, asking what was wrong and he turned to her, his own, masked orbs unfocused. "Has anyone seen Starfire?"
--[End Chapter One]--