Usual disclaimers, yada yada. This chapter I would up in rating from whatever it is now to M (mature), only because I do mention the origins of Raven, which consists of rape according to the comic books, and I did use comic book lore. Now it's only mentioned in passing really, and I don't go into detail or anything like that, so I don't think it's too bad at all. But I'd rather err on the side of caution. Anyway, I'm happy with this chapter, and hope you enjoy reading it.
With Raven back in the Tower, things returned to normal, for the most part. The threat of another attack from Slade hung over everyone's heads, but each Titan was so relieved with Raven's return that even the issues of Slade lost its urgency. Robin, ever the insomniac, still searched nightly for the villain, but now with the hope of finding and disabling him, as opposed to the urgency that came with a missing teammate. Cyborg and Beast Boy were back to playing friendly video games, instead of sessions that resulted in frustrated hostility. Starfire started using the joyous mustard in her dishes again, giving a yellow glow to all of her strange concoctions.
Raven, never the type to take to bed and show weakness, was on her feet within a few hours of waking up after her conversation with Beast Boy. Her own insomnia had returned, as her mind swirled around the events that had caused her to be so injured in the first place. It was a warning, she knew—Trigon letting her know the time was coming. As hopeful as she tried to remain, Slade's abuse had taken its toll on her very limited optimism.
After changing the extensive bandaging all over her body—Slade had loved that whip, hadn't he?—Raven slipped unnoticed up to the roof. The other Titans had assumed she'd be sleeping for quite a while longer, and had left her in care of Cyborg's systems, knowing she'd been conscious and would be fine. Upon reaching the roof, she had been surprised to discover it was close to sunset. Raven had assumed it to be early afternoon at the latest; if for no other reason than that she had just woken up.
Crossing her legs gingerly and touching her middle finger and thumb together, Raven took to hovering above the roof of the Tower. Before entering her trance, she took a moment to appreciate the view. She wondered how many times the sun would set on the Tower, before it would never rise again.
Over the next week, Raven continued to heal, though she gave no indication of pain. In fact, when Robin ordered her on light patrol, she'd protested vehemently, despite knowing he was right. Cyborg shadowed her, always out of sight, while she was out on patrol. She never mentioned her injuries or what had happened with Slade, and quickly changed the subject when it was breached. If possible, her attitude was even more subdued than usual, but otherwise Raven made no signs of being the bearer of the end of the world.
Every meditation she fought her father. She fought him in her dreams. As the day of the prophecy neared, he leaked into her conscious thoughts, and she fought him there. Soon she felt like she was fighting all the time, a silent battle none of the others could see. Azar had trained her to control her emotions, to keep Trigon imprisoned within her, and Raven was beginning to draw on strengths she hadn't even known she'd had.
Robin was becoming progressively more and more obsessive, with a frustration towards Slade that had it not been genuine, would have been comical. He was like a movie trivia wizard trying to come up with the name of a famous actor whose name continuously escapes him. Robin could see Slade's face, could see the symbol in his mind, was convinced that the solution was right there in front of him, but couldn't call it into consciousness. Whether Raven liked it or not, soon it would be time to discuss what happened with Slade.
The Tower's alarm resounded through the halls. Robin was the first to the main room, staring at the giant screen. Cyborg ran in next, followed closely by a flying Starfire. Raven phased through the floor, and Beast Boy ran in last, tugging a shoe on and hopping.
Robin gave a look to his team, and punching his open palm with a fist, narrowed his eyes and said gruffly, "Slade."
Raven paled. The other Titans turned to look at her. She shifted her eyes back and forth and looked puzzled. "What?"
"Raven, are you sure you're up to this?" Robin stared at her intently, like he was trying to read into her soul. Their eyes met and held, her stare as unflinching as his.
"Don't coddle me, Robin. I'll be fine."
After thinking a minute, Robin went against his better judgment, knowing she'd fight him to the end about it. "Okay." Addressing the group, he shouted, "Titans, GO!"
Raven paled when she realized where Slade had led them. The building, now standing alone amidst a surrounding circle of ashes and debris—Slade had cremated the adjacent buildings—was one of the oldest in the city, and was used by the Church of Blood as a place of worship. She should have known this was where it would be.
Angela Roth, abused by her father, had finally run away from home. Hungry, thirsty, alone, and desperate, she had stumbled into a church, seeking sanctuary. When she was caught drinking from the "holy water," a member of the church invited her to stay. The first time she'd been welcomed anywhere, Angela agreed. There she found the closest thing she'd ever felt to belonging. They promised her family. Unwittingly, she had joined a cult, the Church of Blood, who worshipped Trigon, the eighth devil.
One night, the cult was preparing to perform a ritual, and selected Angela to be the summoner. A man appeared to her—a handsome man—and took her to bed. The man revealed his true form—his demon form—but it was too late.
Pregnant with the demon child, Angela had tried to end her and her child's life, to no avail. It was as if the child growing inside of her knew what she was trying to do. It was then that a man appeared, sweeping Angela and her unborn child to Azarath, a culture of pacifists led by the goddess Azar, whose mission it was to destroy Trigon once and for all. Angela adopted the name Arella to conceal her identity from the searching eye of Trigon, and bore his child, who she named Raven.
The other Titans stepped cautiously into the church, looking around for Slade and preparing for a fight. Raven lingered behind, a strong sense of foreboding looming over her. As her toe delicately crossed the threshold, Raven was suddenly bombarded with an image of her mother: young, scared, crying, and alone; staggering into the hall of the church. She felt her emotions, everything her mother had felt as if it was happening again. Involuntarily, she gasped. It was similar to the time Terra had run by her; she had seen a jumble of images, and felt Terra's betrayal.
Beast Boy noticed Raven's hesitation, and heard her gasp, however light. His animal hearing came in handy. He turned to look at her, and noticed the color in her cheeks and the confusion in her eyes. With his eyes, he questioned her. Closing her own violet orbs, she shook her head slightly and moved past him into the church. He followed, close behind.
The Titans delved deeper into the mysteries of the seemingly abandoned church. It was set up similarly to the stereotypical Christian church, except everything was stone—the doors, floors, pews, shrines—and where there should have been a lectern there was a stone altar. Robin approached the altar cautiously, ahead of the other Titans. He circled it, investigating it for clues with an ease that only comes from years of fighting crime. His eyes missed not a detail, making meticulous mental notes of everything. On the opposite side of the altar, he discovered an inscription:
gemma eram prognatus of malum incendia
gemma vadum exsisto suus prodigium
Is adveho vindico , is adveho ut genitor
terminus of totus res letalis
"I think I found something," Robin spoke, waving the other Titans over to where he stood on the other side. He kneeled before the podium, and the others crowded around to see over his shoulder. "Anyone have any idea what i—"
Raven grabbed her head and groaned. There was an influx of images and emotions like a tsunami—her mother being prepared for the ritual, to become the summoner, and the terror she felt upon seeing Trigon's true form. Raven experienced it all in a moment, second-hand, as her father laughed distantly and triumphantly in her head. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut. Having the read the prophecy, it was now undeniable. It was here that Trigon had sired her; it was here that would call to her in the end. The knowledge hung heavy on her, made her desperate to change her destiny, but hopeless at the same time. She hunched over, kneeling a few feet from the altar, feeling Beast Boy's hand on her back as she recovered awareness of her surroundings, finally breathing evenly again.
Beast Boy was kneeling beside her, a slight waver in his voice betraying his cool exterior. "Raven, what's wrong? Are you alr—"
"Well Titans, it seems you have played right into my hands again." A voice echoed throughout the empty sanctuary of the church. Daylight seeped through the mostly red stained-glass windows, casting an eery glow implying something quite the opposite of Heaven. The Titans, except Raven, automatically and immediately stepped back into their fighting stances. Slade wasn't showing, just talking. For now, anyway.
Raven, more aware of the situation than any of them, lifted her heard, her eyes glowing white with her power. Standing tall, she stepped forward around the altar, into the center aisle between the pews. The Titans watched flabbergasted. Robin, regaining his composure, shouted forcefully, "Raven! What are you doing? Come ba—"
She didn't wait for him to finish. Slade wasn't here for the others. He was here for her. Right now, the other Titans were in little danger, aside from being annoyances to Slade. And Slade would not dream of taking care of such annoyances now, in front of her, and risk her wrath when he would be unable to kill her. Despite the brutality he had inflicted on her only weeks ago, Raven knew he could not have killed her; she was too important. As long as she lived he was still needed as a messenger, to ensure that she would bring about the end of the world. Whatever it was that Slade needed from Trigon, it rested on her fulfillment of the prophecy.
"SLADE!" Raven yelled into the rafters, her voice commanding and her stance dignified. "Show yourself!"
From a beam almost directly above her head, Slade leapt gracefully to the floor, landing approximately ten feet in front of her in the aisle. The other Titans hesitated a moment, before closing the gap between themselves and Raven to about five feet. They knew this wasn't about them, but they refused to leave a fellow teammate completely vulnerable.
"You called, Raven?" Slade quipped sarcastically. "I'm sure by now you've figured out the purpose of this little experiment in destruction. I do love having fire power; it makes my errands so much easier."
Raven wasn't really one for hero banter. Her voice was ice, and her stance was defiant. "Why do you want this, Slade? If this comes to pass, you will die as well. He will not keep you around for long, a worthless mortal. When your usefulness is gone, so will you be."
"Speaking cryptically, aren't we?" Slade had noticed that despite several mentions of the prophecy of her birth, Raven had not said anything specific. "Have you not told them of your birth yet? The glorious destiny that awaits you? The demon blood that runs within your veins." This last was a statement. He was telling them himself.
"You son of a bitch. Leave them out of this. It does not concern them. I will find a way to stop it from happening, and I will destroy you and your master."
"Wishful thinking, birdie, and you know it. You cannot defeat him. You cannot deny the pull he has on you, even now. Even this long before the fulfillment."
"I will find a way. There has to be a way. And when I find that way, you will not be spared."
"When you give in to Daddy, neither will they." He paused a moment to appreciate her reaction. His words had stung. "The best part is that it is you who brought them into this doomed world, the day you arrived on Earth. The day you met them they became targets of Trigon, the day they became your friends they became his enemies. What tortures he has for them I can only dream—"
With an inhuman growl, Raven lowered her head very slightly, and threw her arm violently out in front of her, which in turn enveloped Slade in a black aura and threw him violently into the stone wall of the church near the entrance. In her anger, the runes returned to burn her skin, and her eyes changed to a dangerous color of red. Raven was still in control of her emotions, however the effects of the expression of them had changed with the nearing of her destiny.
Slade cracked open an eye after hitting the wall, only to see several large stones flying at him, which crushed him in between. Raven has having a blast exorcising her inner demon; Rage was giggling feverishly in her mind. Slade took a good three-minute round of beating, before Raven walked over to where he lay on the floor, bones and body twisted at unnatural angles. She stood over him for a moment, before kneeling down and saying softly, "Tell your master he'll have to kill me before I help him destroy everything I love."
Standing abruptly, she threw Slade into another wall. After he slid to the floor, he got in his last words, "No one said you had to be willing." With that, he phased through the floor.
Raven stood, her back to the Titans. They approached her from behind; she could hear their cautious footsteps on the stone floors. As her anger dripped from her like water, the runs lightened, until they were gone completely. Her eyes ceased to glow. She closed them. Robin, ever the leader, broke the silence first. "Raven, I thi—"
"Yes, I know, Robin. I've got some explaining to do."
That was a ridiculously fun chapter to write. I cut the Slade being thrown around scene, because it was really just a brief moment of Raven getting to exercise her power, and I think repeated Slade bashings would have been boring. Also, the Latin translation was done using one of those unreliable online ones, so if it's wrong tell me, and it's a rough translation of what they used in the show as the Prophecy: "The gem was born of evil's fire. The gem shall be his portal. He comes to claim, he comes to sire, the end of all things mortal." Read, review, and prepare to love me.