Okay. So after much hemming and hawing, I decided to try my hand at a Teen Titans fic. I really do wish they would start showing Season 4 here. I guess in the meantime, I'll have to make do with what I've got.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for my story.
Raven has been wasted away both emotionally and physically, thanks to a certain Boy Wonder. She fights battles within, starving herself and growing ever wary of the blade that lurks in the darkness of her mind. Can Robin save her from herself before it's too late?
Shards of Distortion
Chapter One: Lullaby of Darkness
Indigo eyes stared sullenly into their reflection. She blinked once, then blinked again, before feeling that prickling sensation. The one of tears she had begun to feel more and more frequently. She tore her gaze away from the mirror, shaking off the salty tears that threatened to come.
She glided over to her bed, falling into a sitting position. She cradled her bare knees with her arms, resting her head. Purple-blue locks fell around her pale face as self-hatred consumed her.
She glanced warily at the cold metal that gleamed. Even in the darkness it managed to shine. It was calling her; a haunting, bittersweet lullaby flooded her mind. The knife, it could rid her of this. It could numb the pain of life.
'I'm so weak…'
She was slipping away. Her reality was becoming blurred, as depression overwhelmed her. She was screaming on the inside with the rage and fury she held towards herself. She didn't understand it. She didn't understand anything anymore.
She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream out loud. She wanted to bleed until her pain was all gone. But she wouldn't. She couldn't.
Suddenly, she heard a knock at the door. She jumped slightly, startled by the disruption of her melancholic thoughts. "Hey Raven," the boy's voice came. Her insides froze. One of the strange stone sculptures that added to the creepy décor of her room suddenly exploded. 'Great. That makes three this week,' she thought to herself wincing slightly, hoping the sound had gone unheard.
"Uh… everything okay in there?" No. His voice gave her shivers, but she didn't know why. She didn't want to know why. She would run from it, hide from it…
"Go away," she said. Her voice was cold, as she tried to block out any trace of emotion.
"Whatever, Raven. I was just going to ask you if you wanted lunch. Considering you skipped waffles this morning…" Silence answered him. "Uh… Cyborg made triple meat sandwiches…"
"No," she said, her voice rising slightly. "Now get lost, Robin." She didn't mean it, really. She knew that eventually, she would need her friends. But right now… it was too hard for her. She wasn't strong enough to confront them. She didn't even know what was wrong. She didn't know what else to say.
"Er… okay," he said and walked away, not looking back at the closed door before joining the rest for lunch. She hovered silently on the other side, listening as his footsteps faded away.
She exhaled slowly, only now realizing she had been holding her breath. She stared once again at her reflection in the mirror. It had become an obsession, perhaps. But every time she looked, she would find a deeper yet hatred for the girl staring back. "Weak, pathetic fool," she whispered.
She studied her own face. Pale and dreary, her complexion was greyish in colour. Dull and lifeless like her tainted soul. Her hair was flat and limp like one of those 'before's in a shampoo commercial. And her eyes… murky and dark, they stared tiredly back. Even the jewel on her forehead had lost any sparkle.
Idiot. She wanted to smash the mirror into a million shards of shimmering nothingness. That would be relieving. That would be… incredibly stupid. She would proceed to spend the next three hours sweeping and vacuuming to avoid sharp pieces in her feet.
She felt rather cold – her room was chilly, and had succeeded in avoiding any remote trace of physical contact for what seemed like weeks. She pulled her royal blue cape closer to her body, concealing her figure.
She was drawn to the darkness of her mind. It tempted her so. Give in, it willed her. Collapse… and let the pain be over. She forced her eyes open. "No…"
'That's it. I need to meditate…' she told herself. She couldn't be weak. She could never be out of control.
She levitated above her bed, closing her eyes slowly. "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos," she slowly chanted. "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos…"
Meditation had been harder lately. She couldn't seem to focus, and disgusting self-pity took over. She had been getting weaker and weaker as she fell deeper into her self-loathing. Her frame had been gradually getting thinner and she was increasingly more tired, however the Titans had not questioned.
Nonetheless, Raven managed to slip into a subconscious state. She stayed for hours maybe, she hadn't been counting, until her concentration finally broke.
She cautiously slid her door open a crack, checking for the other Titans. Perhaps skipping two meals today was a bad idea; it may have aroused some suspicion. But she couldn't have eaten anyway. Hoping none of the others would catch her, she swiftly left her room to use the washroom – she hadn't left her room since the evening before.
She was not caught on the way there. However, on her way back to the room, her name was called. "Raven…" It seemed they had been waiting for this for quite some time.
"What," she snapped, glaring at the boy in red who had spoken her name. He stepped out of the shadows of the hallway.
"Uh… we made you something," Beast Boy said, appearing with Robin. Robin grasped her shoulders so she was looking him in the eyes (or mask, rather). The situation was sending unwanted chills down her spine. He then took her slender arm and led her into the big, empty living room. The warmth she felt would be somewhat comforting, though she wouldn't allow it to be. So much for no physical contact.
"Surprise!" Starfire grinned, jumping up and down. Beast Boy and Cyborg stood aside, revealing an unbelievably large chocolate cake.
"We figured you would be hungry, having skipped waffles AND meat sandwiches," Cyborg said. "So…"
"We made a cake just for you! One that nobody could ever resist," Beast Boy positively beamed. "Quadruple layer, with chocolate fudge frosting and chocolate sprinkles and chocolate shavings on top!"
They all stared expectantly at her, waiting for her reaction. She stared at the monstrosity. "Oh."
"Well?" Cyborg asked.
"Look. Thanks, but… no thanks." She turned around to leave, as their mouths hung open in shock.
"But… but…" Beast Boy stuttered.
"Come on, Rae. We went through all this trouble…" Cyborg was cut short.
"I said no thanks," she said sharply, not bothering to turn and even look at them.
Suddenly, Starfire cut in front of her. "Is this how friends are to be treated?" Starfire asked. Anger flared in her voice. "Is this how you repay those who have worked ever so hard to make you a cake? Cyborg and Beast Boy have been working on this for a very long time. And now, you tell them no? You will not eat their cake?"
"I'm not hungry," Raven said quietly.
"Raven?" Beast Boy looked at her. She turned her head to face him, and stared back. Her eyes, normally so beautiful, were dull and sad. He could feel himself plunging under the surface, being pulled under by thousands of dark hands. "Raven…"
She turned away and flew back to her room, her cape trailing behind her like limp and broken wings.
"Dude… herbal tea?" Cyborg questioned.
"For Raven," Beast Boy answered. Concern was apparent on his green-skinned face, as he gripped the steaming mug.
"Yeah… okay," Cyborg said. "She's had maybe an hour to cool down, now. If that girl ever does cool down…"
Beast Boy smiled slightly, as he walked into the Titans' sleeping quarters. He knocked on the door that read 'Raven'. "Rae? It's me, Beast Boy. I brought you some herbal tea. Can I… come in?"
He waited for her answer that would follow along the lines of "no" or "go away", because nobody went into Raven's room. However, the answer he got was rather unexpected. She opened the door, causing Beast Boy to nearly drop the mug.
He sat himself on her bed, across from her. "Thanks," she muttered, as he handed her the warm mug.
"Raven… is anything wrong?" he asked carefully. He stared into her blank eyes, then her once lustrous, now dull hair. She looked even paler than usual, and thinner. Her hands weakly gripped the blue mug.
She stared at him. "No… I don't think so." Her voice was distant and somewhat weak.
"Okay, well… if you ever need to talk, I'm here," he offered. He put his hand on her shoulder, emphasising his support. "I'll try my best to help."
She nodded. "Sure. But really, there's nothing to help with."
He smiled slightly. "Alright. So… uh… you sure you don't want any cake?"
She looked up from her herbal tea. "Positive."
"Just, you know, making sure…" silence entailed, however it was not completely awkward. It was nice of Beast Boy, Raven thought, to try. She really did appreciate it. But he couldn't help her. Nobody could.
Beast Boy, meanwhile, was respecting the tranquillity of the room. He watched as Raven silently slipped into meditation. He was trying, really trying, to keep quiet and sit still. But, alas, he could not ignore the fact that his attention span was about that of a carrot.
After about fifteen minutes of watching her meditate, he realised he was bored out of his mind. He swiftly morphed into a kangaroo, using his transformation abilities. Then a magpie, a koala, a platypus, a hippopotamus…
A darkly lashed eye opened. "What are you doing?" The changeling was transforming at about an animal per second now.
"Meow?" A green kitten stared up at her. He morphed back into his regular human form, grinning. "Uh… sorry," he said, sheepishly. She stared at him, though the annoyed expression wasn't there.
"Okay," she said quietly. He blinked twice. He actually would have preferred she yell at him, or make some sort of snide remark. Anything.
There was a knock at the door, interrupting the silence. "Yo Raven. BB? You in there?" Cyborg, obviously.
"Yeah," Beast Boy called.
"Training's starting now," Cyborg said.
"'Kay," Beast Boy answered. "Coming."
It was beautiful outside. The sky was a rather bright, clear blue, and clouds were scarce and thin. Perfect for training. They watched on the sidelines, as Beast Boy, Starfire and Cyborg in turn cleared their courses. And then it was Raven's turn.
"Come on, Raven!" Beast Boy yelled.
"Rae! Go for it!" Cyborg shouted.
"You can accomplish it!" Starfire cheered.
Target practice had started. Black bolts of energy flew from her hands as she threw them. Ten targets had gone by. The Titans stared at her – she had missed every single target. More targets came, and she managed to get very few. The series ended, and she had failed miserably.
Much to the dismay of Star, BB and Cy, the rock sequence commenced. "But Robin," Starfire said quietly. "I do not think-"
"She's fine," Robin interrupted. "Accidents happen."
"Dude," Beast Boy frowned.
"Let her off the hook for today," Cyborg said gently.
"Guys, Raven's entitled to a few slip-ups," was all he would say.
Great boulders came hurtling towards her. Well, hurtle may be a bit of an exaggeration - they weren't coming very fast. And they weren't great boulders either… rather rocks. But Raven looked as if she was having difficulty with it.
A chunk of rock skimmed her leg, followed by another, which hit her arm. She couldn't do this. A large, craggy boulder hit her dead-on. The frightening thing was the fact she made no sound. No scream, no groan, not even the slightest whimper. All that was heard was the sickening crack of impact upon her body. "Raven!" the Titans cried simultaneously.
Violet eyes opened slowly, dazedly. She had been out for a couple minutes. "Raven, are you alright?" Cyborg asked. He held the girl's limp body in his arms, noting that she was incredibly light.
"Fine," she muttered.
"Okay, then. Try it again," Robin said impassively. Raven stared at him, surprised. The rest glowered at him.
"No she will not," Starfire said, green eyes glowing a brilliant emerald shade.
"Yeah. Back off," Cyborg said. "Come on, Rae. Let's go back inside." Cyborg carried her; Starfire and Beast Boy followed. Robin watched them, before reluctantly heading inside the tower after them.
"Okay, Raven. Time for dinner," Cyborg knocked at the door. She had gone to her room to rest, after assuring them she didn't need attention in the hospital wing. But now was time for dinner, and they were not going to let her miss this meal.
"Uh… Robin tells me to tell you that this is your last chance. And… it's your duty as a Teen Titan to be able and fit to fight?" Beast Boy's voice came, before the two broke out into ramblings. She caught snatches of 'spiky haired little…' and '…insensitive jerk' from inside her door, before opening it.
"Raven! How marvellous! You will join us for supper!" Starfire positively beamed. "…I am sorry for having been so mad at you this afternoon. Afterwards, Raven, will you accompany me for a 'spa' I have seen in the teen magazines?" Her eyes sparkled at the notion; her hands were clasped together.
Raven opened her mouth, the 'no' already formed on her lips, but caught her tongue. Beast Boy grinned. Cyborg nodded, urging her to say yes. "Okay," she said reluctantly. Starfire was literally jumping for joy. BB and Cyborg were ecstatic as well.
"Okay, guess we'd better eat now!" Beast Boy suggested. The four headed down the hall. "So, uh, have a good rest?"
She nodded, though none of them believed her. BB cocked an eyebrow; Cyborg frowned slightly; Starfire looked at her worriedly. She looked in terrible condition. She tried a smile, but it was hollow and weak. But that was all they could have asked for. She was trying. They entered the large main everything room, which had the lovely couches, gigantic TV screen, stereo system and, of course, the kitchen.
Robin sat at the table. Her large, dark eyes turned to him, and he nodded, acknowledging her presence. Nothing more than a nod. She saw how his expression seemed to brighten as he saw Starfire, but swallowed any feelings that threatened to erupt. Not that there were any feelings, she reminded herself.
"Feeling better?" he asked, though it was obviously insincere. She had interrupted his training. She had ruined his schedule. She had broken the routine. She glanced up from the plate Cyborg was piling pasta onto to look at him, rather emptily. She wouldn't say 'yes'. Perhaps she wanted him to pity her, as pathetic as it was. "Well? Are you going to answer me?" his voice was growing agitated.
She continued to hold her stare. "Look, Raven. I've had enough," he said, annoyed. "Stop with the selfish attitude. What is your problem?"
She stood up abruptly. Her eyes glowed white, as dark energy below her seemed to swirl around her. "Any problem, Robin," she hissed, "is none of your concern."
"Whatever," he said, apathetically. The boy was too stubborn to relent.
"You will never understand, Robin. You're too narrow-minded and obstinate to see anything. I don't want to act selfish. I don't want to be this way. At least the others will see I'm trying. They make an effort, unlike you. You're too proud to make a mistake. But let me tell you, Robin. You have."
"Raven, you're being ridiculous. You're obviously deluded. How can you call that trying? Oh, yes. The targets. The rocks. You were really trying there… Raven, you got the others. But I, for one, will not give you pity or sympathy. Starve yourself. See if I care."
The drinking glasses exploded, including the one in Robin's gloved hand. She took the form of the dark bird, then fled through the walls.
"Pass the spaghetti," he said calmly.
Alone in the dark room, her thin figure trembled. Shaking softly, she rocked back and forth on her mattress. She hugged her knees to her chest, the eerie melody of darkness threatening to conquer her. She screamed without making a sound, pain and hatred escaping and hurting.
A single tear fell down her pale face, staining her cloak with sadness.
END OF CHAPTER
Please review, tell me what you thought! Thanks!