by CidGregor

Rated T / PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.

Author's Note: This story is set after the events of my fic "Sleeping Prince." Please read that fic first, or certain story elements may not make sense to you. Thank you.




Raven glared at the moldy old cover of the book in her hands. She had no idea why it was even still in her bookcase, or even where she'd gotten it. More than likely it had been a gift from years past that, out of guilt, she was reluctant to get rid of, because she'd never really liked it, and it certainly didn't seem like something she'd pick up herself. It just wasn't…dark enough.

She threw another dirty look at the old tome and dropped it into the box at her feet. It was loaded with assorted trinkets she didn't really want or need anymore: hairclips Starfire had left lying around now and then, figurines that had been stuffed in a back corner, that sort of thing. Her room was, frankly, getting cluttered. Nowhere near as bad as Beast Boy's room, of course, but for her room to even slightly resemble the pigsty that the changeling lived in was reason enough to do a little spring-cleaning.

The bookcase dealt with, she turned to her dresser. She went through the drawers one by one, tossing into the box some of her older clothes and uniforms that either didn't fit anymore or were too tattered from battle to wear. There was a surprising amount of such unusable attire; Raven wondered to herself how she'd let them pile up so much.

Once that was done she looked at the top of the dresser. Aside from her magic mirror, the only things that adorned its surface were a pair of framed photographs. One of them was a group picture of the five Titans, posing in front of the Tower.

The other was a solo picture…of Terra.

It was one of the few photos the Titans had of her. There hadn't been a lot of time for picture-taking in the short time that the blonde girl had been with the team before she had showed her true colors. Most of the photos they did have of her, Beast Boy held on to. But each of the other Titans did have one picture of their former friend.

Raven took her photo in her hands, suddenly lost in thought. It had been quite a while since then…since Terra had finally freed herself from Slade and sacrificed herself to save the city. A little over six months, if she was counting correctly. And still the girl was encased in stone, and the Titans were no closer now to finding a way to free her than they were back then.

At least, that was what the other Titans believed.

Truth be told, Raven had made some progress. Her power had grown a lot lately, thanks to the teachings of the dark dragon in disguise, Malchior. And despite his deception, he had taught Raven many powerful new spells during that deception…one of which had a solid chance of reviving their fallen comrade Terra.

But there were problems. Most notably was the glaring fact that the spell in question was not guaranteed to succeed. There was a very real chance that, if it was not properly cast and controlled, it could backfire and destroy Terra's stone body completely. Control, of course, was not a huge problem for the dark girl under normal circumstances; it was something she'd practiced religiously her whole life.

But that led to the other problem: the circumstances here were far from normal. Even though Terra had made such a noble sacrifice, she was far from redeemed in Raven's eyes. There was a lot of evil she had committed while under Slade's apprenticeship, not the least of which was the utter and total betrayal of the Titans, and the attempt on their lives that had come dangerously close to succeeding. Combined with the fact that the volcano Terra had sacrificed herself to stop was her own fault in the first place, Raven believed Terra was worthy of neither redemption nor forgiveness. Even if she were to somehow decide to let Terra free, she didn't trust herself to stay calm and in control the entire time; as much as she did not like the blonde girl, Raven didn't want to risk losing control and destroying Terra's stone body. She wasn't a killer.

Raven glared at the photo in her hands, wondering why she still kept it. Terra had caused a lot of hurt through her secret service to the terrorist mastermind, Slade…she'd betrayed Raven's trust, destroyed Starfire's innocent friendship, spit on the final chance Robin had given her, turned Cyborg's best and most carefully-crafted defenses against their creator…and perhaps worst of all, broke Beast Boy's heart…no, that was an understatement. She'd held his heart in her hands and slowly, torturously squeezed the life out of it before utterly shattering it. Beast Boy had never really recovered from that; although her final turnaround and sacrifice had healed his heart to an extent, he still was prone to uncharacteristic bouts of sullenness at the slightest reminder of his first love. Why did Raven still have such a constant reminder of all that pain?

For a brief moment her anger flared a bit, and in a small flash of black the glass of the frame snapped. Raven dropped the photo, broken frame and all, into the box. No more, Raven thought. Your face is through haunting me.

She spun away and strode over to the trunk at the foot of her bed, her mind back on her task of cleaning. She lifted the lid and began tossing more old junk into the box, until something else caught her eye; a leather strap built into the apparent bottom of the trunk. Of course Raven knew that it wasn't really the bottom; with a small tug on the strap, the 'bottom' lifted right out, revealing the trunk's hidden compartment. And beneath it was a symbol of yet another betrayal and deception; a large, white book, a thousand years old and yet looking brand new. The ancient prison of the dark dragon Malchior.

This, Raven thought to herself, there was at least a reason for holding on to. If anyone else as capable as Raven ever discovered this book, they could very well be manipulated into freeing the dragon once more, just as Raven herself had been.

She replaced the concealing panel with a long sigh. The only two people she'd ever trusted outside of the Titans, Terra and Malchior, had both turned on her. Was she really that bad a judge of character? Were the two traitors simply that clever?

Or am I just that stupid?

It didn't matter, in any case. Raven had learned from both betrayals, and would not make the same mistake again. And both betrayers were sealed away in there own personal prisons; Terra in her stone, and Malchior in his book. They would not be hurting her, or her real friends again anytime soon…


Red flashes and a wailing alarm suddenly filled the Tower; the Titan alarm was sounding. There was trouble in the city.

Abandoning her task and the box of junk, Raven turned and headed out the door, locking it behind her as usual…and completely failing to notice, in her hurry to leave, the strange black glow that was suddenly shining through her trunk…nor did she hear, over the wailing alarms, the ghostly, inhuman laugh issuing from it…