Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans. I just play with them for awhile and return them a little worse for wear.
The Rescue – Raven's Revenge
She was the first to fall. The moment she sank into the heavy, thick mud, her mind in a turmoil of rage and panic, the dark energy burst from her. In mere seconds she could breathe again in its safe bubble. She let herself float, cocooned in the darkness, while she gathered strength and tried to calm the panic and fury that consumed her. She had come so close to dying, the fear was almost unbearable. Her emotions buffeted her and tore at her. She wanted to sweep out, to kill, to maim, to crush the evil that had done this to her. Because now she knew for sure that she had been right all along. Beast Boy was wrong. There was nothing left to save in Terra. She had gone over completely to Slade's side. And now she had to be totally destroyed. Before she destroyed them.
But for now, there was nothing she could do. While the anger swelled and burned inside of her, she was also too weak from her defeat to channel it into power. The only power she had now was that which was keeping her alive. She could only wait, and drift, and heal, trying to put some sort of control on the wild emotions that were threatening her.
But, the others. Her anger faltered at the thought. The others were in danger too. She would go after them next. That is why they were split up. Oh, how they had fallen for that trick. Three major criminals, all loose at once, all menacing a different part of the city. Dividing them, to conquer them, one by one. Her power had indeed grown. But Raven knew what, or who, was behind that increase in power. She just had no way to warn the others, her friends, who would face the same type of trap that she had fallen into. It was too much to hope for that they wouldn't fall victim to her ill-gotten strength. They were no more expecting it than she had been.
"My friends. Nobody hurts my friends." Raven thought furiously. She would get free of this. She would find the evil traitor. And she would make sure that she never betrayed anyone else ever again. Suddenly, with a sweep of strength she wasn't aware that she had anymore, she began to harness the storm of rage and the screaming panic. She gathered her thoughts tightly, and searched for the four individuals in this world, to whom she was close enough to feel their very existence.
Starfire was the weakest link to her, due to her alien mind. She was a wisp of sensation, that was all. Raven could never find her well. She danced a glittery dance just at the edge of Raven's reach. All joy, wonder and light, Starfire' essence was irrepressible. Raven felt her throat tighten at the thought of that light being put out. She stretched herself as far as she could, channeling her message in as tight a beam of concentration as she could make it, and blindly hope that it reached
"It's a trap! Beware of Terra!"
With great persistence and focus, she found each of them and sent the message. Cyborg, a rock of strength, his presence was solid as a mountain. Beast Boy, a mercurial presence that was quick and ever changing. And Robin, easiest to find, his presence a white hot spot of energy and drive and focus. At least she could still find each of them. The evil betrayer hadn't gotten to them yet. Her only difficulty was that she couldn't tell if they heard her, nor could she hear any reply from them. She could only wait, and hope, and let her mind search for some sort of response, or some kind of miracle to save them all. She relaxed herself into meditation mode, and whispered her mantra faintly.
"Azarath. Metrion. Zinthos..."
A desperate idea whispered back to her.
The anger smoldered deep inside of her, hatred and rage combining to make an inferno of emotion. But she was well schooled in keeping the flames banked. It wasn't easy, because she had never been tried so hard before, and the emotion had never been so wild and close to the surface before. But now, she realized there was a purpose for all of that negative emotion. Rather than have it take control of her, as she feared, she could take control of it, and let it spend itself out doing something positive. It was power. It was strength. And she would let it feed her until she could do something...impossible. Fear tried to twist its way into her mind. Would she be strong enough? Or would her efforts only serve to destroy the ones she cared about instead of saving them. She didn't know. She had never attempted anything like this before. But if she didn't act, the only family she knew would be attacked and killed by that traitorous girl, that puppet of Slade. Raven took a long, deep breath, found her center and began to reach for the maelstrom of emotional power she held at bay. The shadow raven spread its wings as it grew, and searched.
She was feeling spread a little thin, but she knew her hatred was strong. As long as she could channel it into saving and not killing, she was safe from herself. Robin was the one that she was the closest to mentally. And she could use him to find Starfire. They wouldn't be far apart, and knowing Robin, he would be the last to fall. Catching Starfire would be the trickiest part. And her senses told her that Starfire would be the first one that Terra went after. Whatever her attack would be, Raven vowed to be ready. This was the first test of her risky plan.
It was Starfire's natural kindness, an innocent disbelief that anyone she called friend could be so cold and callous as to attack her when her guard was down, and that let Terra defeat her. Aghast at the coldness, Raven felt that bitter betrayal tear though Starfire in the instant before she was struck and fell. It was a cruel trick to play on the only one besides Beast Boy who had welcomed Terra back with hugs and greetings and no second thoughts. Raven's dark blanket swept out and wrapped itself around the falling Starfire, protecting her and sheltering her. Raven knew that a little part of Starfire's innocence had died in that moment that Terra had struck her down. And she felt her own fury blaze up at the thought, lending more strength to her darkness. That was one.
Then Cyborg fell, into a bottomless chasm. She heard his great heart pound with sudden terror as he tumbled in the dark. Stretching out with her wings of fury, she caught him in a net of black safety. He was still afraid, but he was safe. She took a slow breath. That was two. She couldn't maintain this for long; she could feel the strain already. But unless she was mistaken, the evil apprentice of Slade was in a hurry to be sure she destroyed each and every Titan as soon as possible. Raven was starting to feel a perverse, grim sort of enjoyment in snatching victims from Terra's grasp without her knowledge. Her friends would survive; she would make sure of that.
Beast Boy, his heart breaking once more, toppled into the chasm, his cry rending the air, the betrayal even more harsh this time. His spirit was crushed and he made no effort to even change into something to save himself. Such pain, Raven thought, and let it fuel her fury. The flames whipped up as she fed them Beast Boy's anguish. And before Terra could close over the bottomless pit she had consigned her best of friends to, to seal his fate, Raven snatched him in a pillow of darkness, cushioning him, protecting him, even as his pain echoed in the void. Safe for now. That was three.
Raven could feel the last battle, as Robin, horrified by Starfire's fall, and feeling a growing sense of dread about the fate of the rest of his team, fought Terra with grim determination. For him, the concept of losing his teammates and friends was too crushing for words. Raven could feel his anguish, his pain and his anger. She followed it, ready to grab him when the moment came. Robin fought well, but even he wasn't powerful enough to beat a Slade controlled and enhanced Terra all alone. He fell, and Terra made an effort to be sure to crush him out of existence with no remorse. Only, Raven was there first, her phantom black claws whipping out of the shadows and snatching his numb, reeling form before Terra could finish her strike, and better still, without her knowledge. And that was four.
Now was the crucial part, the dangerous part. Raven sank deep into herself, fanning the flames up as high as she could get them. She let herself feel Cyborg's fear, Beast Boy's broken heart, Starfire's betrayed friendship, and Robin's helpless grief for the teammates he thought he had lost. She needed the most strength now. Bolstered on the emotions of her friends, she felt it swell. Slowly, ever so slowly, the majestic raven spread its mighty wings. The precious burdens were picked up one by one by its claws, in their private safety net, pillow, and blanket and were carried though rock and stone, through dirt and soil, down, and gently set in a deep, unused cavern beneath Teen Tower. The one claw that nestled Robin let him down with care beside the others. Then the great raven shrank into itself until it held enough space for one exhausted form.
The anger was gone. And along with it the hate, the rage and the fury. She had turned them to good use. Her friends were safe now. She was safe now. She knew that as she blinked her eyes and saw the cavern. Slowly, each of the others was regaining consciousness, and looking around with mystified expressions even as they winced from cuts and bruises. Raven felt rare tears sting her eyes. Seeing them all alive and safe made the risk worth it. It was Robin whose eyes lit on her, and who rose from the floor and walked over to her, extending a hand to help her rise. She met his gaze, feeling at once relieved and proud, and also weary and sad. His lips curved in a bittersweet smile of thanks, even as his brows arched beneath his mask.
"If I'm not mistaken, you just saved every one of us. We owe you." He said quietly, and for the first time, enfolded her in a hug.
"No you don't." She replied, her eyes going to Cyborg who was helping Starfire up, and to Beast Boy, who offered another helping hand. "We all help each other. That's what friends do." Her eyes came back to Robin. "They don't ambush you and try to kill you."
"I know, Raven. And now that you've made it possible, we will take care of Terra." Robin said. "No more chances."
"Raven" Beast Boy scrambled over to her, eyes wide. "I felt you there!"
"Raven, dang, girl." Cyborg put a big hand on her shoulder. "Thanks."
"Oh Raven, "Starfire threw her arms around Raven. "I have not the words to say!"
"Wonderful." Raven had to force the dry tone to her voice, and lower her lids to hide the tears, as her teammates surrounded her with their friendship. "A group hug. When you're done, can we go annihilate Terra for good?"