The Sun Also Rises

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. 'The Birthmark' was good. R/R if you think this is too.

The crack and boom of thunder startles me awake. In truth, it was a blessing. My sleep is often troubled by dark dreams. This night seems no different. I shudder as I try to purge my mind of the unwanted demons that haunt it. Cold sweat makes my skin damp to the touch, so soaked I might as well have been sleeping outside in the storm. I stare at the clock. Only a few more minutes till sunrise. I roll over and attempt to return to sleep. The attempt is futile.

My life, should it be called such, has turned into a waking nightmare. I suppose it's nothing less than what's expected of me. I am, after all, a monster. My father is the most evil being in this world or any other and I am damned by his evil to bring about the destruction of this world. I have heard the prophecy many times. I have tried to escape this cruel fate but it seems that I have only helped it become a reality. They will all die on that day. Their flesh will turn to stone and they will cease to exist. It's already been foretold. These people, my friends, will suffer a fate worse than death just for simply being associated with me.

I give up on sleep and crawl out of my bed. My skin still aches from the runes. I can feel them seep through my skin like acid and burn into the very core of my being. It's who I am, what I am. It's what haunts me in my nightmares. It's the evil, little voice in the back of my head that taunts me. Control. All my life all I wanted was to have control, over my emotions and over my destiny. I wanted my own life, a life where I didn't have to be some black angel of death. I wanted to make my own choices and have my own say in what I do with my powers. But fate can't be so easily ignored. This day, my birthday, has taught me that much.

The living room is empty. I find myself slowly walking over to the windows. I kick aside some stray streamers, remnants of the party they threw me. It was a nice gesture, really. I almost felt like a normal girl, like a human being. Ice cream, cake, even a piƱata. But I can't forget the fact that I'm not normal, that I can never be normal. I shudder a little as I watch the storm. The lightning makes me unconsciously flinch. I never get scared. I tell everyone that but deep inside I know it's a lie. I am scared, scared of losing the only people in the world that matter to me. I'm scared of losing my friends.

"You should be getting some sleep." The voice startles me somewhat but I don't let it show, even to him.

"The same can be said for you," I tell Robin's reflection in the window as I watch the storm begin to subside, "You had a rough day too."

"I'll live," responds Robin as he moves to stand next to me.

"Don't be too sure," I tell him grimly. He reads me like a book and nods. The reference was thinly veiled for a reason. I want him to realize what being my friend will cost him, cost everyone.

"Raven, I . . .," he begins, "I wanted to thank you."

"For what?" I ask, the surprise evident in my voice.

"For letting me into your life like this," explains Robin, "I mean you've seen what my life has been like and what I've been through by going into my mind. I just wanted to thank you for letting me into your world."

"You don't get it," I tell him, somewhat angry at how he's treating this, "This is not a game. You will die when that day comes, Robin. You and all the others will die and I'll have to stand there and watch it and probably enjoy it. Don't you get how horrible and disgusting that makes me feel inside?"

"You don't have to remind me about death," states Robin, "Every time we go out and defend this city I think about it. I think about what will happen if one of us doesn't come back. But do you know what keeps me from dwelling on it?"

"What?" I ask him.

"The fact that it's 50/50," explains Robin, "There's a chance one of us might not come back but there's an equal chance that that person will. There's always a chance, Raven."

"I wish I could see that," I tell him, "I wish my destiny was as malleable as yours seems to be instead of being set in stone."

"Your fate isn't sealed," he assures me, "I had a father once too or at least someone who was like a father. He wanted me to be a lot of things, some of them I didn't want to be."

"So what happened?" I ask him.

"I left," replies Robin, "I came here, met you guys, and here I am. The point is that I thought my destiny was to be like him but it's not. You don't have to be what others make you, Raven." I stare at him. His memories flash through my mind in a jumbled haze. I feel close to him, even closer after all this.

"I. . .I can't help it," I tell him, "I tried to run away from it, tried to control it, tried to ignore it and hope that it just goes away. I'm a monster, Robin, a heartless witch. When that day comes you're going to see what I truly am."

"I've already seen it," replies Robin, "I see what you truly are every time you go out and put your own life on the line to protect this city. You have so much faith in this stupid prophecy, Raven. You should have a little more faith in yourself." He takes my hand in his now. Damn his mask. I want to see his eyes. I want to see into his soul because if I can see in myself what he seems to see in me then I can conquer even destiny.

"You believe in me?" I say with surprise, "You really believe in me?"

"You're my friend," says Robin, "I care about you and I believe in you. All of us believe in you." His words give me strength, chase away the doubts that plague me. Maybe I'm not what the prophecy says. Maybe I really can change fate.

"Thank you," I tell him, "You're right. . .I don't have to be this. There's always a chance."

"I'm glad to hear you say so," replies Robin with a smile, "I hope that day never comes, Raven, but if it does then we'll all face it."

"I don't deserve friends like you," I tell him, "but I'm glad I have them." I turn and look out the window. The storm has died and the sun is rising.

"I'll make breakfast," says Robin quietly. I nod but keep my gaze locked on the sunrise. The sun will set, never to rise again. That day may come but I can't live in fear of it. There will come a day when the world sees what is truly inside me, good and bad. The day will come when I fulfill my destiny be it the one prescribed for me or the one I create for myself. Yes, that day will come. But until then the sun will rise and set. Until then I will still have my friends. Until that day comes when I see my last sunrise, I will fight my father with every breath inside me.