DISCLAIMER: TEEN TITANS and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and copyright DC Comics. This story is more directly based on the animated series of TEEN TITANS produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
OTHER CREDITS: Research on comic events, specifically for character pasts, was done at the website TITANSTOWER.
This story contains a number of references to THE RAVEN, a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
TIME PERIOD: This story can take place any time after the episode HAUNTED and before the first episode of the fourth season, EPISODE 257-494.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Although fanfiction, this is an extremely personalized piece. Even with the already existing characters, the extensive research, and the literary references to Poe's poem, this is mine. I could go on and on and point out every single way I connect myself to the material, but…I think it's too personal.
NOTE FOR REVIEWERS: The story was planned out, basically, in August of 2004 and was started in September. It was completed on January 31, 2005, before the airing of BIRTHMARK. If elements of characters pasts (specifically Raven's) are revealed in the series and their adaptation differs from my own, changes will eventually be made accordingly. Besides that, feel free to bash the work all you want.
Darkness had overcome the city as day was turned to night. But while citizens slumbered, one still lie awake. Stationed in her room at Titans' Tower, the melancholy young heroine, Raven, was having a difficult time falling asleep, much as she had many a night prior. There was no simple explanation, as nothing was simple when it came to Raven. A mysterious plague had fallen upon her, the likes of which she did not know. But is it not possible she knew quite clearly, but refused to accept the fact? Perhaps not all was well in her mind… She had been having difficulty keeping her emotions under control, as of late. Her change in attitude was apparent, as she had been much quicker to anger with her friends, the Teen Titans, particularly the joke-cracking Beast Boy.
Though often she had been flustered in the past, a bit of meditation would easily put her mind at rest. Even more frequently than she had before, Raven would retreat to her room to meditate, but any ease she was put at would not last long at all. Something was most obviously bothering her, and the cause of such a great sore should have been apparent, as well. Why did she refuse to let it be? She refused to admit her disposition, even to herself. Day after day, week after week, Raven would simply push this unwanted emotion further into the depths of her mind; each time it would push back, even harder.
The night that had consumed the city began to dissolve as she still lied awake. Frustrated and disturbed, the sleep deprived Titan's mind wandered to the poem of Edgar Allan Poe. As The Raven ran through her head, the weary Titan fell asleep.
by Kevin Kypers
Chapter 1 – Some Visitor
Well rested, Beast Boy strutted through Titans' Tower. He would even be so bold as to knock on Raven's door, this morning. He knew something had been bothering her and really wanted to help. Even though he knew she wouldn't want to tell him what was wrong, he'd cheer her up with his clever wit and sophisticated charm.
"Hey, Raven!" he called, pounding on the door, "Want me to make you some tofu eggs and bacon?"
Having been face down in her pillow, the sound of the Changeling's voice made her lift herself. Waking up to hear him had startled her a bit; suddenly her stomach filled with butterflies and her face turned a hue of red. The feeling was broken, though, when the butterflies began to churn in her stomach to the point of feeling sickened. Her mood shot to an irrational anger. She yelled fierce in response, "Herbal tea!"
On the opposite end of the door, Beast Boy winced in the form of a mouse. Quickly, he transformed back into a human and called, "Kay!"
Apparently his sophisticated charm didn't work as well as he had hoped, as she sounded aggravated. He didn't want to try and push her any further by cracking a joke, so continued on his way to the kitchen to prepare Raven's herbal tea.
There he met with Starfire. "Good morning, Beast Boy!" To tell the truth, it could hardly be considered morning. It was nearly the afternoon, but awkward sleeping habits were part of being a Teen Titan. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah; morning, Star," he replied, "Have you noticed anything…strange about Raven, lately?"
She thought for a moment, "Yes, I feel she's been acting somewhat differently. It would seem she's angry all of the time."
"Do you know what's bugging her?"
"I'm sorry; I cannot say that I do."
He simply sighed and leaned on the counter. He didn't know why he was so worried about her. Raven always seemed to have things under control. Aside from that, she was Raven. Why worry about Raven? He considered her a friend, but all she seemed to do was push him away. It was obvious she wouldn't give him a second thought. He, Beast Boy, was probably her least favorite Titan.
His concentration was lost when the alarm sounded and the door slid open. Robin stood in the doorway, in full costume. "Have breakfast later, Titans. We have to move!"
The night before, Control Freak had broken out of prison and already he was making his mark. He began his raid at the electronics section of the department store. Robin had just received word that the Teen Titans were needed on the job.
Robin tore through the streets on his R-Cycle. Cyborg trailed closely behind in the T-Car, with Raven in the passenger seat. Starfire simply used her ability of flight, while Beast Boy transformed into a peregrine falcon.
Meanwhile, at the department store, Control Freak was causing quite a ruckus. His remote control was able to over-load the stereo systems, causing one to explode.
Turning back to the cashier, he commanded, "Now, fetch me a copy of the Intergalactic Glory special edition DVD!"
The girl at the register cowered, "I'm sorry! We don't have anymore! See for yourself; the shelf is empty!"
"No way! You must have a box or two in the stock room, right?"
"No! The new shipment hasn't arrived, yet! You could reserve a copy; guaranteed to arrive within two weeks!"
Control Freak sighed, "Fine… I guess I'll do that…"
She relaxed a bit as it seemed he wouldn't cause anything else to explode. Slowly, she pulled herself back up from under the counter. "Okay, then, sir. I'll just need your name, address, phone number, and a ten dollar deposit and you can be on your way!"
"WHAT?" He aimed for another stereo, placing the same fate upon it as the other. "I didn't break out of jail to pay ten dollar deposits!"
Quivering, the girl pulled out her wallet and put ten dollars in the register. The receipt for the reserved copy began to print out. "You're right! I'm sorry!"
Even so, Control Freak seemed disappointed, "Geez; I broke out of prison to get this DVD and—"
"—and now we're putting you back in," stated the Boy Wonder. In proper position, the Teen Titans stood before Control Freak to foil his plan.
"Darn! It's my archenemies! The Teen Titans!"
"That's right," began Robin, "and your show's just been canceled!" Robin ran forward at full speed, jumped into the air, and prepared to kick the controller from his hand.
"Sorry, they ordered a new season." Unfortunately for Robin, Control Freak activated the television set above him, used for video game demos. It unplugged itself and landed on top of him.
Upon its crash, it was destroyed. Robin pushed it off of him, infuriated. To keep the Titans entertained, Control Freak aimed his remote at a pile of discount DVDs, a large stereo system, a Gamestation console, and a row of CDs.
Starfire gasped as the CDs charged towards her. Quickly getting over the shock of inanimate objects being given life, her eyes began to glow with energy. In her hands formed orbs of power; as each CD attempted to attack her, she would shoot.
Cyborg backed away from the possessed video game console asking, "Aw, man; why'd it have to be a video game?" It continued towards him, ready to attack. "Listen, man; this is gonna hurt me a lot more than it's gonna hurt you…" The system only responded by flinging its torn, unplugged wires towards him. Cyborg prepared his blaster and muttered, "Game over."
Meanwhile, Raven was taking on the stereo. She took a step back and cried, "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" With that, she was able to grasp the speakers of the object with her mind. By swaying her hands, she pulled the stereo through the air until finally the wires snapped. She quickly hovered out of the way as it crashed towards the floor.
Starfire was having trouble with the CDs. There was an army of them surrounding her; there were too many to blast with only two hands, and emitting a large blast may damage more merchandise than necessary. This was when a green ram popped out of nowhere and trampled them all. Starfire beamed at the creature, "Beast Boy! I shower you with gratitude!"
The animal transformed into a green skinned human, "Don't mention it!" But suddenly, an equally offensive army attacked him, covering him completely. The only difference was that this army consisted of DVDs.
"Oh-no!" Having just been saved by the fallen hero, Starfire felt an obligation to begin blasting the DVDs off of her friend.
Within seconds, though, a gorilla emerged from the pile, smashing his fists on every last disc. He returned to human form. "DUDE," Beast Boy whined, "I was attacked by DISCOUNT DVDs!" He seemed to take such an unwanted item as an insult of an enemy.
Robin ignored the distractions and went straight for Control Freak. In his panic, the villain aimed his remote in any random direction. It happened to zap the light on the ceiling, causing a power surge and burnout, but nothing serious. Robin kicked Control Freak to the floor. He lost grip of his remote control, as it slid across the tiles towards Beast Boy. He took the form of a chimp, picking it up and running to give it to Robin.
"Sorry," began Robin, "show's over."
Soon after, the police showed up to take Control Freak away. Robin tried to interrogate them for any flaws in their security system. They just ignored him, which bothered the Boy Wonder. "Why won't they just tell me? I can help!"
"Do not worry about it, Robin," comforted Starfire, "We are victorious!"
"For now…" he stated grimly.
Cyborg didn't seem bothered in the least, "Hey, y'all! Check it out!" He pointed to a cardboard cut-out of a ninja dressed in black holding some sort of ball. "They got the new Ninja Monster Fighter!"
"The game where ninjas catch and train monsters to become ninjas?" Beast Boy asked enthusiastically, "Sweet!"
Cyborg found his way to a demo for the game, "I don't have any money on me, but what do ya say we try out the demo?"
"Awesome!" But Cyborg grabbed the controller, which seemed to frustrate Beast Boy, "Dude, you can play after me!"
"Nu-uh," the half-robot half-human protested, "I got here first! You'll get your turn, man!"
Behind the Titans walked a father carrying his screaming daughter; her fear was understandable after Control Freak had just had his way. But the little girl's cry quickly wore on Raven's nerves, as she seemed to be having troubles controlling her emotions as of late. In an attempted calm voice, Raven stated, "We're leaving… Now…"
"But, Raven," argued Beast Boy, "I didn't get to play, yet!"
The child's scream grew louder and Raven's eyes began to glow. "NOW…"
The look in her face was all her friends needed to recognize how uncomfortable she was there. They all headed for home.
Upon returning, it was already around noon. "Well, looks like we missed out on breakfast, but who's up for some tofu hotdogs?" asked the green shape-shifter.
"No thanks, B," began Cyborg, "I'll have actual MEAT."
Robin smirked, "I think I'm with Cyborg on this."
Beast Boy edged over by Raven, "Mmm, tofu hotdogs sounds pretty good, huh?"
"I'll just have the tea I requested earlier," Raven said as she turned away. She began to head towards her room, "If you still intend to make it, knock on my door when you're done. If you don't intend to make it, just don't bother me."
Starfire called to her, "But friend Raven, you must eat something!"
Raven paused in her steps, "I'm not hungry, Starfire." Having said that, she continued.
The Teen Titans watched in concern as the door shut behind her.
Try as she might, Raven could not find the root to her problem. For weeks she lived each day only partially aware of events and time. Most of her mind was fixated on her emotional troubles, but all that had come to surface was confusion and frustration.
Given the same feelings, someone else may have turned to a friend for help. But Raven wasn't just someone else. She had been raised to use meditation to help herself; no one else could possibly understand her. Hardly anyone would ever even attempt to understand her, let alone want anything to do with her.
The Teen Titans were the only few who wanted to understand and help her. Even so, she never would consider trying to teach them about herself. Raven's problems were hers. She didn't want to get anyone else involved, not only because she was stubborn and independent, but because of the danger it may put them in. The Titans couldn't help but fear Raven, and she knew this…
The offspring of a mortal and a demon, Raven's emotions were far more complicated and loosely strung than your average person's. Always her father's rage needed to be kept locked within her heart.
Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy all had opened her up more than they may have realized. Before joining the Teen Titans, Raven would have never considered the possibility of friends. Nevertheless, she now had them. Life suddenly became more complicated and far more difficult to grasp.
And yet, through the confusion, she had finally found happiness. Friends made her happy, even if she didn't convey it too well. But it wouldn't be long until Raven would come to see this joy as a weakness.
One day the Teen Titans had met Terra, a teenaged girl with the amazing ability to mentally move earthen objects, as in rocks and soil. Although they had wanted her to join the team, Terra ran away in embarrassment when it had been revealed that she could hardly control her powers.
Some time passed, and eventually Terra returned with new found control. Her return must have pleased Beast Boy the most. In the brief time she had been with them before, it was clear that the two of them had great chemistry together. They considered each other their best friend, but it might have secretly meant a bit more to both parties. As for the rest of the Titans, they also welcomed Terra with open arms. This goes for everyone except Raven.
From the moment Terra returned, Raven had suspicions and deemed her untrustworthy. Had Raven been as introverted as she was only a few years ago, she would have clung to these concerns and Terra would have never gotten away with what she did…
Terra soon gained Raven's trust, despite her initial feelings. How? Terra became her friend. Before long, Raven considered Terra a true Teen Titan. Raven considered Terra her friend.
A short while later, the Titans learned how Terra gained control. This was achieved with the aid of Slade, the Teen Titans' worst enemy. The ingenious psychopath was able to manipulate the girl into working for him. Ever since her return, Terra had only Slade's bidding in mind.
Gain the Titans' trust and then strike when least expected. The plan was perfect, and it gave Slade the apprentice he wanted so very much. Terra's betrayal broke the hearts of the Titans, especially Beast Boy's, who's heart contemplated being in love with her.
Raven couldn't help but blame herself. How could she let her guard down? She knew right from the start she should not trust Terra, but she let friendship and happiness cloud her judgment.
Terra was not evil; she had been manipulated. Only Beast Boy was able to convince her that this wasn't what she had wanted. In a final showdown, Terra turned against her master and called the Teen Titans her friends. Immediately afterwards, a volcanic eruption threatened the city and only Terra could stop it. While it appeared that Slade was killed, saving the Titans and the city cost Terra her life, as well.
Immortalized in a shell of volcanic rock, the Titans hopelessly vowed that they would try and find a way to bring their friend back. Silently and shamefully, Raven found comfort in recognizing just how hopeless that would be.
In the end, she did like Terra. She could not deny this fact. But she also knew that she was not to be trusted, no matter what. The only way to ensure she wouldn't betray them again would be to never see her again. Besides, her absence made it easier to ignore the jealousy she felt towards Terra, allowing her to cling to any respect she might deserve.
Even if with Slade's help, Terra accomplished in no time what took Raven her entire life. Terra gained control of her powers. Even with daily meditation, Raven would still have occasional difficulty with her powers, like she was now.
Aside from that, Raven couldn't help but notice the way Terra immediately got along with all of her friends. It took much longer for such friendship to spark between Raven and the others, and even after that she was still the pariah of the Teen Titans.
And what bothered her more than anything was how close she was to Beast Boy. Raven could barely rationalize why it troubled her, which was the main reason it bothered her more than anything else. She had always had difficulty tolerating him, herself. She should have been glad that Beast Boy was spending less time trying to get her to laugh, but she couldn't enjoy the peace. Seeing him and Terra laugh so easily together showed just how much of a burden she must have been on him. The two of them were so close and she saw she could never be like that to…anyone.
Why did reflecting on this trouble her so? And what was troubling her now? Meditation wasn't helping; she couldn't even concentrate long enough to do it properly. Raven's confusion caused a jump of rage. Her eyes glowed red, as the pottery on her dresser was consumed by her power. Subconsciously, she sent it flying across the room, shattering it against the wall.
She was shocked by her act of destruction; such loss of control frightened her. Breathing heavily and fear stricken, Raven turned around to face herself in the mirror.
"What's wrong with me?" she whispered to herself.
It was all she could do to calm herself; concentrating on the problem only brought more problems. All she could do was clear her mind as she stood perfectly still staring at herself in the mirror; she stood like this for about ten minutes.
A knock on her door sent her back into reality. Putting her cloak over her head, she walked to the door and opened it a small bit.
There stood Beast Boy with a tray of herbal tea. "Um, I, uh," he awkwardly began, "I have your herbal tea."
For a few seconds the two just stared at each other. Then Raven opened the door wide enough to take the tray from Beast Boy's hands, "Thank you."
She began to close the door.
"R-Raven, wait," he blurted out.
She paused, "What is it?"
"Is…Has something been, like, bugging you, lately?"
After a couple of seconds passed, Raven began to close the door again, "That's none of your concern."
Her friend pushed the door further open and held it there. "So something is wrong," he noted, "What is it? Raven, you can tell me!"
"It's none of your concern!"
"Yes it is! I'm your frie—"
He was cut off by abruptly being sent flying back against the hallway wall, "NO IT'S NOT!" Her eyes glowed a crimson red.
Wide-eyed and now with a sense of fear, the shape-shifter remained on the floor staring at Raven.
Raven quickly caught herself; her following actions were to turn around and shut the door.
Only this and nothing more.