Okay, this is the part where I beg for forgiveness. Normally I'd go into a whole speech naming the reasons I didn't update, and you'd get bored and skip over it, so I'll leave you with a summary of two words: College applications. «Insert blood-curdling scream here.» I actually planned to have this story on hiatus until after November 30 (one of my many deadlines), but the guilt was absolutely terrible. So I wrote this chapter for you... instead of rewriting my college essays. That shows loyalty, right? Anyway, here's chapter 19 of Ill Intentions for you. Enjoy.
In an instant the Archimage had Raven kneeling on the ground, bound by some manner of spell. It felt as though she were being pulled down by several ropes entwined around her arms and torso. She struggled against whatever force was keeping her in place, but was unable to break free of it.
"Let – me – go!" she seethed. "If you do this, I guarantee you'll regret it. Believe me; you do not want my powers."
"Oh, but I think I do," he said, resting the palm of his hand on her forehead, preparing to perform his spell. Raven flinched upon feeling the icy cold of his touch on her skin.
"No, you don't. You won't be able to handle them. I have trouble handling them most of the time. It's not something you're prepared to deal with."
The only sign the Archimage gave of hearing her comment was one last smirk before he closed his eyes and removed all expression from his face. He began chanting in what seemed to be some ancient language that Raven wasn't able to place. All she could do was sit there stunned, completely helpless and unable to stop him.
The other Titans had been watching silently, but upon seeing the villain begin the spell, their bout of speechlessness quickly wore off. Everyone seemed to jump up and shout at once, and a certain number of "no"s and "stop"s could be heard echoing off the walls.
The Archimage stopped chanting and pulled his hand away from Raven, though whether he stopped because of the Titans' warnings or because he had finished his incantation, she couldn't tell.
He knelt down so his face was just inches from her own. She could feel his warm breath on her as he glared into her eyes. He leaned in close and whispered into her ear, "Take one last look at your friends before I destroy you…"
Raven's eyes grew wide as on instinct, she did as he said and looked to her friends. She saw the looks of fear on each of their faces and quickly averted her gaze to the ground. She couldn't look at them.
I could have prevented this if I had told them what was going on sooner, and now they're going to blame themselves. This is going to kill them.
All at once Raven felt ashamed, scared, alone, and guilty. How could it have gone so wrong?
The Archimage watched Raven's actions with an amused smirk. "You don't want to say good-bye to your friends? All right, but I did give you the opportunity…"
He then whispered one last quick incantation, and with a wave of his arm the spell was complete. Raven's chakra suddenly burned black, sending a wave of white-hot pain through her body. She wasn't able to hold back the scream that had formed in the back of her throat. She was in so much agony.
But as suddenly as the pain had come, it vanished, only to be replaced with a feeling of increasing coldness. It was like the warmth was being sucked out of her.
My powers… He's draining my powers.
Raven wrapped her arms around herself at this realization, trying to keep calm. Was there any way out of this? She couldn't even move, let alone try to defend herself against someone who had powers while hers were temporarily out of commission. Looking up, Raven scowled bitterly at the man. He was just standing there staring at his hands in awe, as if he were receiving a blessing from the Almighty himself.
Suddenly the Archimage glanced toward Raven and grinned. "These powers are being wasted on you… Let's see what they can really do."
Before Raven could even acknowledge the fact that the magic that had bound her to the ground was gone, she was lifted into the air and violently thrown to the side of the stadium. Had she not just collided with a concrete bench, she might have taken the time to notice that the energy barriers that caged her and the rest of the Titans in were now gone. The others, however, had noticed. They didn't waste one second before they ran over to their friend.
The now bruised empath felt an arm around her pulling her into a sitting position. "Starfire?"
"Yes Raven, we are all right here. Are you injured?"
It was several moments before Raven was able to open her eyes and process her friend's question. Everything was moving so slow… And when did it become so cold in there? "Just a few scrapes Starfire, it's nothing."
As she tried to sit herself up more comfortably on her own, Starfire released her arm from around Raven's back, practically jumping as she brushed past the empath's hand.
"Your hands are like ice! Raven, what ails you?"
Knowing that for some reason she wasn't going to respond, Robin kneeled down next to Starfire and grabbed Raven's hands between his. His eyes opened wide from shock, but quickly returned to their normal size. Getting panicky was never a solution to anything. He raised a gloved hand to her forehead, and a few seconds later turned to his half-robotic friend. "Cyborg, what's her temperature reading?"
There was a short pause while the metal Titan checked his sensors. "Scanners say she's 96.4°."
Starfire looked briefly confused before turning to Robin. "Is this a bad thing to have?"
"Well it's definitely not a good temperature, Star," he said with an air of calmness that Starfire didn't think she could possess herself. "We need to get Raven out of here and warmed up as soon as we can."
"Unfortunately you won't be getting out of here anytime soon."
Everyone turned to face the Archimage, whom they hadn't realized was now standing very close to where they were gathered.
A faint beeping noise was heard and Cyborg looked down at his arm. "Now it says she's 96.2°. Her temperature's dropping."
"And it will continue to do so until I've absorbed every bit of her power. But it shouldn't take too long;" the villain paused in his speech, collapsing an entire section of the stadium's seating with a mere gesture for emphasis of his next statement. "I can feel my own powers increasing tremendously."
Cyborg returned his arm with the scanners to his side, now focused solely on the enemy in front of them. "Well then we'll just have to put a stop to you right now."
Beast Boy turned to their leader, who was still kneeling on the ground with his two female teammates. "Your call Robin. What do you want us to do?"
Had Raven been feeling any better at the time, she would have been sure to make some remark about Beast Boy's serious, determined expression, but she supposed certain things just weren't appropriate at some moments.
Robin glanced back at her for a moment, then at Starfire. "I want you to take Raven and get out of here. Just in case anything goes wrong, she shouldn't be here. Got it?"
Starfire nodded. "Yes Robin. I wish the best of luck for you all. I know you will be victorious." With that said, the two girls were gone, Starfire flying them out through the stadium's now open roof and into the far corner of the parking lot outside. It seemed like a safe enough distance away, yet close enough that she could help the other Titans should the need arise.
The remaining Titans all stood, sonic blasters and birdarangs at the ready, prepared to jump into battle at the drop of a hat.
"That won't save her you know."
The boys' focus wavered as the Archimage's words hit them, but they never moved out of their positions. They had dealt with far too many villains to let them get under their skin like that.
"You could take her clear to the other side of the world to try and save her if time would allow it, but the spell I cast is far-reaching. It's too late to reverse it, and you can't stop it. All her power will soon be mine."
Cyborg charged his blaster, aiming it straight at the Archimage. "Not if we put a stop to you." Before the other man was able to make any sort of comeback, the cybernetic teen released the energy blast. Unfortunately, it had absolutely no effect on the powerful villain.
In an instant all chaos broke out. None of the Titans remained in one place for more than a second, determined not to give the Archimage the opportunity he needed to decommission another Titan. A blur of green could be seen charging and swooping at the dark-robed man, red and yellow disks were flying through the air in a seemingly endless supply, and blue flashes of light could be seen clear from the parking lot where the two girls waited anxiously.
Starfire peeled her eyes away from the battlefield where she knew her friends were giving it their all and turned to her friend. Raven was leaning against the concrete base of one of the light structures for support, her cloak wrapped around her for warmth.
"Raven, you are shivering. Let me help you."
The young Tamaranian reached forward and gently adjusted Raven's cloak, then began to rub her hands up and down her friend's arms to help increase the circulation. She could tell that Raven was even colder than before.
For a moment Raven was rendered speechless by the kind gesture. She really did have wonderful friends, and each one cared greatly for her well-being.
Then a wave of guilt swept over her. She should be more concerned with the others' well-being. At that very moment they were all fighting a powerful villain (powerful thanks to me, she thought,) and risking their lives. It wasn't fair.
"Starfire, I'll be fine. Go help the others."
The redheaded Titan paused, thinking about how to respond. "Raven," she hesitated, "I believe that the others can manage on their own, without my assistance… and you are in great need. I will not leave you."
Raven gave a soft barely-there smile to her friend. "Thank you, Starfire."
Starfire returned the smile tenfold.
Letting out a small sigh, Raven turned her attention back to the stadium.
I wonder how they're going to pull this off.
Okay, I'm SO close to getting past this really sucky application period. Please just bear with me a little while longer. I promise this story will be finished, and I will not abandon it. It's just a matter of me finding/making the time to write chapters. (That and fighting off the signs of the dreaded writer's block.) As always, I'd really love to hear from you, whether you comment on the chapter or my rather long absence.
And you know, each review is a reminder to me that people actually read my story, ultimately giving me motivation to update. «Except for this chapter, ugh. Again, my apologies.»