Chapter 15: Epilogue
Note from original posting: "K so I decided to make an epilogue just because I was bored!" I sincerely doubt this, 2005 Ash. I can almost guarantee this was going to happen as soon as I finished chapter 10 or something. Epilogues were IN back in the day, guys. All the cool kids did it.
Also originally the first few lines were designed to be the beginning of their own story, but lazy lil me just put it into the epilogue. Work smarter, not harder.
This is almost not in need of editing (for what it is/is supposed to be, it ain't half bad), but I like finishing what I start. So obviously I'm going to change a ton of things. Because I can. Onto the end!
She had always been alone. It was her life's story. So when a boy one year older than her in the colors of a traffic light came calling, she didn't know what to think.
"What do you want me for again?" she asked in a monotone, almost bored.
"Well, I heard you had super powers, and we need a new team member," he explained.
"We?" she stated flatly. Three other teenagers popped up on the screen in front of her. The intrusion surprised her, but her pale face hid any indication.
"This is Cyborg." He pointed to a boy, half metal, half man. "This is Beast Boy." He picked up a small green kitten and whapped it on the head. It morphed into a small green boy.
'That was weird,' she thought.
"And this is…" The boy looked around. "Uh, guys? Where's Starfire?" The green boy and the metal man both pointed off to one side of the screen.
"Starfire! No, don't-" The boy sighed as a large explosion rocked the background.
"I am sorry, friends! I was merely trying to free the people of smallness from the box of moving lights!" A girl with red hair and orange skin, presumably Starfire, came onto the screen.
"Aw man, Star! You blew up the Game Station!" Cyborg said, running off the screen.
"What? Dude! We just got a new one!" The small green boy also ran off.
"I am most sorry! Please, I will assist in the fixing, yes?" Starfire started shooting green energy balls out of her hands and two yelps could be heard. "Please, be of the stillness!" Starfire called as she flew off. Raven raised her eyebrow, glad she was safe on this side of the transmission. The remaining boy gave her an apologetic smile and scratched the back of his head.
"So, whadda ya say?" he asked, flashing a smile.
"Fine," she replied sullenly. It's not like there was any other option for her, anyways. The boy's smile grew wider when she said this.
"Alright, Raven. I'm Robin, and welcome to the Teen Titans."
That was six years ago when they first became the Teen Titans. Three years later, a little robin stole her heart. That was when she was a child of eighteen. Now, at age twenty-one, she was still part of the Titans, but no longer were they teenagers. Robin and Cyborg stood at twenty-two, and Beast Boy and Starfire were both age twenty.
"Whatcha doing?" The same smooth silky voice she'd come to love broke the silence of the rooftop she was sitting on.
"Thinking," she replied softly, her voice no longer a simple monotone. Three years of learning to use emotions had changed that.
"May I join you?"
She scooted over on the edge of the roof to make room for the man clad in blue and black. He had changed uniforms when he became Nightwing two years back, choosing the darker colors to match her own uniform as well as honor Batman's legacy, and together they were one of the many sub-teams in the Titans.
"You okay?" he asked gently. "You're awfully quiet."
"Just tired," she yawned, stretching her shoulders.
"That tends to happen when you stay out on patrol all night," Nightwing chuckled. "Did you sleep at all before we started last night?"
Raven didn't respond, choosing instead to draw her dangling legs to her chest and lean on her companions shoulder. She could sense him shaking his head—he thought she didn't sleep enough. He spared her the lecture, though, and she felt him kiss the top of her head.
"I think we can head home. Speedy and Star should be out here in about ten minutes." He stood up and stretched before pulling Raven to her feet. She took his hands and flew them down to the alley below. The sky was still dark, though the indigo was giving way to the lighter shades of daybreak.
"Let's walk a bit before we fly home," Raven said. Nightwing took her hand and they started walking towards the beach a few blocks away. Both had grown up, emotionally and physically. Raven hadn't grown much taller, but she remained thin and her hair was longer now. Her face was lighter, more open after the last few years of shedding her stony façade. She had Robin, well, Nightwing, to thank for that. He had shed the streetlight colors, but not the mask. Standing over six feet tall, the man was still lean, but his muscles were much more pronounced beneath the spandex. His ebony hair was no longer the spiked look of his youth either, but it was still long and he kept it neatly tied back. The two had opened up to each other, the broken children hiding inside finally finding the chance to emerge and heal, no longer needing masks or hoods for protection.
Upon landing back on the roof of the tower, Nightwing slipped an arm around Raven's waist, his fingers just brushing her hipbone. The pair descended into the living room where the rest of the Titans, save Starfire and Speedy, were eating breakfast.
"Got anything for us?" Nightwing asked.
"Of course! How could we forget the love birds?" Cyborg joked. Raven threw a wet sponge at him with her mind, and he easily dodged it.
"I'm just kidding, Rae," he laughed, sliding two plates onto the counter for them. Raven shook her head with a small smile. After finishing, she started walking back up to the roof, not quite ready to sleep. A strong yet gentle hand grabbed her arm.
"Yes, you can come," she said, turning to face Nightwing with a soft smile she saved only for him. He grinned and hugged her around the waist from behind, keeping his arms in place and head propped on her shoulder as they walked up to the roof. The sun was still red, the horizon an explosion of fire.
"Beautiful," Raven breathed. The sky was just beginning to turn blue and the sun warmed her face.
"Just like you," Nightwing whispered into her ear. She smiled and laughed.
"Cornball," she teased, lightly hitting his shoulder with the back of her hand. She leaned further back into his chest and his grip tightened around her.
"You do know how beautiful you are when you smile?" he said softly.
"Only because you remind me on a daily basis," she giggled.
"And your laughter, like a thousand tinkling silver bells," he cooed.
"Okay Bird Boy, you can stop with the corny pickup lines. What do you want?" She turned around in his arms to face him.
"Well, dearest, I was wondering if the Lady Raven would like to accompany Lord Grayson to dinner this evening at Chez Pierre," he said with a flourish.
"Richard! That's the most expensive restaurant in town!" Raven gasped.
"I want to do something special tonight. Reservations are at seven, so you might want to take a nap before then. You have bags under your eyes," he said teasingly, pinching her lightly as he said so. Raven pouted.
"I know," Nightwing smiled. "But I know I'm going to need a nap. These old bones could use the sleep. Now, about dinner…"
"If you want to take me, sure," Raven said, smirking. "I'll be ready at seven. But now, apparently I need some beauty rest."
"You need beauty rest like I need more spandex," he said, kissing her nose. "I think I'll go to bed now too, then." Raven started to walk downstairs but was stopped yet again by Nightwing. She turned, ready to act annoyed, but was surprised by a deep and sensual kiss, something she had grown so used to receiving. She tenderly kissed him back before withdrawing.
"Sleep is good. Repeat after me, Rich. Sleep is good," Raven said, pressing her forehead to his for a moment before setting back towards the stairs with his hands in hers.
"Sleep, is, good. Must, follow, the pretty girl," Nightwing droned, dutifully following. They walked back down the roof stairs to the elevator and then to Raven's door, which still read Raven, but the words 'and Nightwing, too' had been etched crudely into the metal under her name. The door opened and they entered the room.
Nightwing quickly shed his spandex and climbed into the bed they shared while Raven took a quick shower. She changed into a pair of red boxers and a large black t-shirt before falling into bed next to Nightwing. His arm wrapped around her waist and hugged her close, his face buried in her neck, breathing in her lilac shampoo.
"Did you set the alarm for five?" she asked sleepily, snuggling back into his chest.
"Yes, ma'am," he responded. She sighed contentedly before they both slipped into a much-needed sleep.
It was six thirty when Nightwing and Raven stepped into the living room. Nightwing had on a suit and Raven was in her favorite dress. It was simple, but elegant. It was black with an asymmetrical v-neck, draped ruching detail at the shoulder and bodice, and a subtle side slit. If she turned in the right light, one could maybe even see some purple glimmers in the fabric. Nightwing had suggested she wear it, in honor of their first official date three years ago. But when Raven had tried to goad him into wearing a red shirt under his suit, he had simply tut-tutted something about men's fashion at her and opted for a red bowtie and cummerbund instead. When she called him a 'pretty boy,' he had simply shrugged and told her to enjoy it.
"Those outfits definitely bring back memories," Beast Boy remarked from the couch. "Although, Nightwing, you're cheating."
"See? That's what I said!" Raven exclaimed, pointing first to Beast Boy then Nightwing.
"I said it before, and I'll say it again: it's tacky!" Nightwing said, his lamentation exaggerated as a hand flew to his forehead in mock horror. Cyborg laughed from the other side of the couch where he sat with Bumblebee.
"Pretty boy is right," Bumblebee called. Raven elbowed Nightwing in the ribs, laughing as Bumblebee pulled out the same name she had used only ten minutes earlier. He stuck his tongue out at her in response.
"See? I was right," he said.
"You're going to be late, man," Cyborg said. Raven shot him a look. How did Cyborg know about this? She looked up to see Nightwing grinning, and even though he had his mask on, Raven could tell he was planning something.
"Yeah, yeah. Well, we're off! Don't wait up for us," Nightwing said before grabbing a set of keys from the pegboard and leading Raven down to the garage. Their garage had grown over the past few years as additions kept piling up. Ranging from cars to motorcycles to jets, the garage was full. He led Raven over to the newest addition, a black sports car that he and Cyborg had modified and were very proud of. Nightwing opened the passenger door for Raven.
"After you," he said, flashing a smile down at her. She climbed in and Nightwing walked around to the driver's seat. He revved the engine and they shot off towards downtown.
"Bonsoir, monsieur Nightwing, madame Raven! I have your table veiting for you in ze corner! Please, follow me," the host said in a perfect French accent. He led them to a small table along the back wall by the piano. "Enjoy!" He handed them a set of menus before departing. The waiter came over and Nightwing ordered for them: a bottle of wine, soup, and pasta.
"You're really pulling out all the stops tonight, Wonder Boy," Raven mused, observing the fine dining atmosphere around them. The waiter returned with two glasses and the bottle, pouring the burgundy liquid for them.
"I can't do something nice for my girlfriend every once in awhile?" Nightwing teased, raising his glass towards her. She tilted her head towards him with a kind smile.
"You know I don't need things like this," she said, gesturing towards the restaurant. She lifted her own glass and clinked it against his in toast.
"That's what makes it so wonderful to do," he responded. He took a sip of his wine and put the glass back down. Raven picked up waves of anxiety spilling across the table as he began to fidget.
"Richard? Is everything okay?" she asked, suddenly nervous herself.
"Don't know yet. Can I ask you something?" he questioned. She set her own glass down, definitely nervous now, and gave him her full attention.
"You know you can ask me anything," she said gently, covering his fidgeting hands with her own.
"Come with me." He turned his hands upwards and took hers, leading her to the secluded outdoor patio. She noted there was nobody else out here, just the glowing candles on the unset tables.
"Richard?" She looked up to see he had removed his mask, and his blue eyes gave her a sideways look as he led her to the far side of the patio. They stopped and he turned to face her, fiddling a bit with something in his hands before dropping to his knee in front of her. In his outstretched hands was a small black box with a red ribbon tied around it. She recognized the wrapping job immediately and her hand flew to the necklace around her neck. The box wasn't rectangular, though. It was a ring box.
"Is this…" she started, her voice catching in her throat. He nodded slowly, a hopeful smile on his face and eyes shining brightly. She tried, and failed, two more times to speak before the words finally passed over her lips.
"I would travel around the world and back again just to be with you, Richard Grayson. Yes," she breathed out. He launched off his knee and lifted her up in the air with no effort at all, spinning her once, twice, lips on hers before setting her back down on the ground. Raven tottered a bit, head spinning, but he steadied her with another kiss before pressing his forehead against hers.
"You, Raven, have just made me the single happiest person in the universe," he said. She kissed him, and he pulled back to open the little box for her. Inside was a black diamond ring.
"I know it's not customary to use a black diamond, but I always preferred them over the regular ones," he said, fiddling with her hand and the ring on her finger. "Just like I always preferred you over regular girls." She smiled at his words.
"You always did know how to put a smile on my face," she whispered, leaning forward into his chest.
"I guess good things really do come to those who wait," he murmured. She gave him a questioning look. "For years I had a gaping hole in my heart. I thought that because of my responsibilities, I might never be able to fill it. Love was a luxury, and I had other things that needed to be taken care of first. Or so I thought," he began. "That was before I met a certain girl. She was dark, reserved, and even snide at times. But I was drawn to her at once. She was a mystery to me, and I love mysteries. I thought I'd never be able to tell her how she captured my heart those first few days of our friendship. And then that friendship grew, and she was suddenly my best friend and I thought there was no way in hell she could ever feel the same way."
"Oh, how naïve we were," she murmured. Nightwing smiled and squeezed her hand.
"Oh we were. But one day, the madman I hated the most brought us closer together in a way I only dreamed of. His drive for ending lives caused that girl to save me from myself, and that same drive allowed me to finally show my love for her. And now, after so many years of pain and three of the best years with the love of my life by my side, I can finally make her mine forever." Raven interrupted him with a kiss, her hands on either side of his face.
"Did you write a whole speech for this?" she whispered against his lips. She felt him smile, and suddenly his finger was against her lips.
"Hush, my bird, I'm in the middle of the most important monologue of my life," he said, kissing her once more before pulling back again. She smiled and shook her head. He had always been one for monologues.
"You know you are in love when you see the world in her eyes, and her eyes everywhere in the world." Nightwing lifted his hand to the sun setting over the small trees that lined the patio. "Raven, as long as the sun keeps setting and the moon keeps rising, as long as there is breath in my body and spirit in my soul, as long as we live and through our deaths, I will love you. That is my promise." He lifted her head up to his, surprised when the pads of his fingers felt moisture on her cheeks.
"Are you crying?" he asked.
"Shut up," she mumbled. "Just kiss me." And he did. Leaning down to her waiting lips, he kissed her with the moon rising behind them in the purple sky, soft piano notes gliding around them. They had found understanding and compassion within each other, and through it, they learned to love and overcome the haunting tragedies of the past. But most of all, the two birds had found happiness. Unshakeable, beautiful, blissful happiness. And that was all there really was to it.
MOUNTAIN. OF. CHEESE. Lovin' it. Please leave some reviews on your way out! It means a lot! I mean, I added a total of 7,692 words to this already lengthy story, not to mention all of the editing and reviving. Doesn't that deserve a little love? =)
I can't believe this has come to the end once again... now the question is, do I keep going with my other stories? Revive the hiatuses? Breathe life back into dead writing? Do new things? The possibilities are endless!
Read on, dear friends. Ain't no story like a Titans story, especially if it's RobRae.