The Titans lay sprawled around the common room, enjoying some downtime while the criminals were too scared to make a move. As usual, Beast Boy and Cyborg were arguing over some video game, Star was concocting some alien food that smelled like the bottom of an old shoe, and Raven lounged on the couch, her attention fixed on a small black book. Robin, the fearless leader as always, was sitting at a computer terminal, searching through newspaper clippings for anything bizarre.

"Yo, Robin, give it a rest man, come on, i need a real oppenent at this..." Cyborg said, dodging Beast Boy as he turned into a gorilla and tacked the half-robot. Robin grinned at his teammates briefly, looking between the computer and the video game. Finally, he flicked off the screen and vaulted over the couch, snatching a controller from the mayhem that beast boy and cyborg had become. Just then Star entered, triumphantly carrying a foul smelling tray.

"Friends! Please partake in my freshly made-"

"HAHA! I WIN!" Beast Boy interrupted, emerging with the other controller in hand. Robin and Beast Boy began the game while Cyborg sulked and Star, oblivious to the other's distate, began to devour her meal. Glancing up from her book, Raven surveyed the scene around her, rolling her eyes upward at the antics of her friends. Despite herself, Raven felt an emotion rising up in her, seeing her friends like this, so carefree, made her feel safe. No, it was more then that, it made her feel happy. Unbidden, a small smile escaped her lips. Suddenly, there was the sound of an explosion and a light bulb above Raven was momentarily covered in dark energy, then burst into glass shards, causing the other four Titans to momentarily freeze as sparks and glass flew about the room. Cursing silently, Raven leapt up from the couch, angry at herself for letting her guard down. Unfortunately, her anger only made matters worse and with a sickening crash, the TV exploded. Her eyes wide, Raven glanced around the room panicked as several more crashes sounded. Finally, as if waking from a trance, she shook herself and fled the room, locking herself securly in her own room, her every breath puncuated by a crash or a bang.

Taking a few deep breaths, she slowly began to chant "Azarath, metrion, zinthos"

Slowly and painfully, she forced her emotions back into the box inside of her where she kept them locked up so they would not hurt anyone.

After a few moments that seemed to last hours, Raven, breathed a sigh of relief and despair. The emptiness had returned, it felt like she was made of a giant black hole. Her friends knew she could not afford to feel, but they could never imagine what it felt like to not feel. It was cold. Always so cold. Raven shook herself from her grim thoughts and stood up. 'This is the way it must be. I must protect them from myself. No matter what.' With another sigh, softer this time, she slowly walked to her window and stared out at the night stars. She had purposely chosen her room on this side of the tower so that it is almost never in the sunlight and always has the best view of the stars. There was something about the stars that gave her hope, little pinpricks of light in a vast sea of darkness. Maybe, just maybe, she wasn't completely evil inside. Her father's legacy haunted her every nightmare, and she was terrified that one day she would realize, she was just like him inside, empty, soulless, evil.

Raven's thoughts were interuppted once again by a timid knock on the door.

"Raven?" A soft voice said. Male. Soft, but still somehow defiant, couragous. The voice of a true leader. How she loved that voice.

"Go Away, Robin." She said, her voice a clear monotone. There was a pause as if the Boy Wonder was not quite sure what to say.

"We just wanted to see if you were OK." He said finally, "Can I come in?"

Taking a deep breath, Raven realized her well-meaning friend was not about to leave until he got proof that she was not about to explode the Tower. Telekinetically, she slid her door open.

"See, Robin, I'm fine. Powers in control. You can go now." She said, without bothering to turn away from the window. She was scared what would happen if she looked at him.

"Well...if you're sure..." He said, taking an uncertain step into her forbidden room. She could tell her words had hurt him, and she screamed inside for that, but the cold voice inside her head again reminded her it was necessary. 'Don't let him get close. Push him away, keep him far away, keep him safe.'

Suddenly the Boy Wonder seemed to regain his composure, he strode across the room and grabbed her arm, spinning her around so that she was facing him.

"Look at me Raven." He said, but she just pulled her hood up further, avoiding his eyes. Gently, he reached out and lifted her chin so that her eyes gazed into his. Shocked by the tenderness of his action, Raven's eyes widened and a vase on a shelf in her room exploded and scattered into thousands of pieces. "We want to help you, I want to help you. We're your friends, you can trust us."
"Honestly, Robin, I'm fine. Just a minor slip. It won't happen again." Her monotonous voice sounded hollow even to her own ears, and her violet eyes flicked with emotion for a fraction of a second. Then it was gone and Robin found himself staring into two violet colored voids, hiding behind them whatever was going through Raven's head. He found himself transfixed by her eyes, as if maybe if he stared at them enough, they would give him some hint, some clue, anything about his dark team-mate. After a minute, Robin realized he was still staring at her, her chin in his hand, and stepped back, embarrassed.

"We're here for you, Raven, please talk to us." He said, his face almost pleading, but he found no reply in her stone cold exterior. With a sigh, he turned and left, pausing at the door for a final glance at Raven. "You can trust us." He said, and then he was gone, another shadow in the night. The door closed behind him, though neither was sure exactly which had closed it.

Staring at her own closed door, Raven's blank eyes concealed the turmoil with in her mind. Then she turned away and began to chant, glowing with dark energy.

Outside her room, Robin paused a moment, and listened. Hearing her begin chanting, he shook his head slightly then continued on to his own room, lost in thought. However, despite the growing late hour, Robin found himself unable to sleep, troubled by something he could not quite put his finger on. In his mind, he kept seeing her blank eyes, her cold, pale face. Finally, frustrated he head to the training room to release his anger on a defenseless punching bag.