Author name: Allaine
Recipient name: KM Petravich
Requested character(s): Raven, Starfire
Story title: My Generation
Rating: Suitable for all ages
Spoiler warnings: Takes place between issues #12 and #13 of the current Teen Titans comic book.
Author's notes: This story has nothing to do with the animated series, so familiarity with that show is not required. Some knowledge of the events that took place during the New Teen Titans title that ran in the 1970s-80s is helpful but not necessary.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Mooncat for her feedback and proofing.
Summary: Written for the recent challenge at the 4colorheroines Livejournal community, this was anonymously written for the benefit of a community member who wanted a story involving Starfire and/or Raven.
Those who did not know Raven well, Koriand'r thought to herself, often misinterpreted who she was. When she was solemn, she was thought to be morose. When she chose to meditate alone, as she did now, she was accused of being standoffish and withdrawn. And when she reflected on her identity and the terrible things her father had intended for her to put in motion, they thought her morbid.
Koriand'r had known her about as long as anyone else, and she knew the truth about Raven. She silently acknowledged, however, that if anyone else had seen Raven meditating before the statue of the late Donna Troy, it would not have helped ease her reputation for being a cold recluse obsessed with death. Still, Raven had her rooms in the Tower. Choosing to reflect here was a trifle odd.
Odder still that Koriand'r's feet had taken her here first, and not to said rooms. It had not been due to conscious thought. Her mind simply - led her here.
Her subconscious had the right idea, however. If Koriand'r was to talk with someone, Raven would be the best candidate, even though she was no great conversationalist. Kid Flash might say more in an hour than Raven would in an entire day!
It wasn't about how much Raven said, though. It was about what she knew, and what she could understand. For one thing, Raven was the only one, besides Koriand'r herself, who didn't exactly belong on the Teen Titans. There had been too many years, and too much sorrow in those years, for her to consider herself a teenager any more. And Raven, no matter how old the body she inhabited might be, had been old before her time. Not having a childhood, or a mother, did that to people.
It wasn't because of her age that Koriand'r found herself here, of course. It was because she was one of the few surviving members of the old Titans. And unlike the others, like Dick, she had nothing to keep her away. No home, certainly - Raven had unwittingly caused that . . .
Koriand'r shook her head, ashamed of the uncharitable thought. Raven had nothing to do with the destruction of Tamaran, nothing really. If anyone shouldered the blame, it was her. Trigon's creation destroyed her home world in an attempt to kill her. The life of a single, unimportant Tamaranean led to snuffing out the lives of so many millions, all to destroy the real Raven, who Trigon despised so.
Perhaps that was why Koriand'r felt herself drawn here. Raven's soul, with all its goodness and warmth, had hidden inside Koriand'r's body while the "evil Raven" wreaked havoc. When Koriand'r had left Earth, seeking guidance, it had been Raven's will all along, sending her away from Earth so her doppelganger couldn't hurt her.
Those people who didn't understand Raven as Koriand'r did - they suggested Raven had only been trying to save herself when she influenced Koriand'r to depart. Koriand'r didn't believe it for an instant. For Raven to entrust Koriand'r with her life - Koriand'r had always felt honored that Raven chose her above all others. Raven didn't have a selfish bone in her body. What she did, she did for Koriand'r.
Of course, whoever was right, the irony was that leaving Earth had NOT kept Koriand'r safe. The other Raven had followed her home, taken all those lives -
Koriand'r closed her eyes and pushed those thoughts away. They had nothing to do with what was happening today.
"Would you join me?" Raven asked, startling Koriand'r. "You seem - troubled."
"X'Hal, you scared me!" Koriand'r said, stepping forward.
"I am sorry," Raven replied quietly.
"It's okay. I should have realized an empath like you would sense my presence."
"I felt your sadness, yes, but I felt - you coming even before you arrived," Raven said. She sounded a bit puzzled, although Koriand'r couldn't know for sure since Raven hadn't even turned around yet. "I suppose my meditation expanded my perceptions beyond this room."
"Or maybe it's because you no longer have all that hair getting in the way," Koriand'r said dryly.
Raven stood up and pushed her hood back, touching at her scalp in an unusual display of self-consciousness. "I do not believe having hair ever interfered with my . . . that was a joke, wasn't it?" she finished lamely.
"I'm sorry," Koriand'r said. "I wasn't trying to make fun."
"There would be little point," Raven replied. "I do not have Gar's sense of humor."
"Nobody does," Koriand'r pointed out.
"So, um, why here? Why meditate here, Raven?"
Raven had loosened up very slightly, but she became grave once more. "I - wished to say my farewells to Donna," she finally said. "I wasn't there, of course."
Koriand'r nodded bleakly. "Be glad you weren't," she said. "At least you didn't see her die. Or Lilith, for that matter."
Raven sighed. "I did not expect anyone to find me here. Indulging in my obsession with death, some would say," she said, surprising Koriand'r. She had been thinking the same thing not minutes ago. Sometimes she almost believed that Raven was a true telepath, not just an empath. "But I had to . . . apologize to her."
"I do not know," Raven said softly. "Perhaps because I was not there. Maybe I could have healed her, healed them both, saved them."
"Raven - "
"Or perhaps," Raven continued ruthlessly, "to apologize for being alive, while she is dead. If anyone belongs in the afterlife, it is I, not her."
Koriand'r stared at her, astonished. "Why would you say such a thing?"
"Have I not lived and died enough for three people?" she asked. "More, really. Some poor girl died at the hands of Brother Blood so I could live again." Her face twisted. "Brought back to life by the same kind of cult that caused my mother to be impregnated with me in the first place. It is ironic, is it not? That I should be given life not once, but twice, by such monsters, while Troia and Lilith are gone?"
"Raven," Koriand'r said, but she stopped. Raven had always been prone to guilt and doubt, but this latest "resurrection" could send her self-loathing spiraling out of control. "Fine," she went on, suspecting consoling words would not help. "I thought we could talk, but if you're going to indulge in self-pity, I will seek Victor out instead."
The petite empath turned toward her, her eyes shocked and wide. "Excuse me?" she asked.
Koriand'r grimaced. She already regretted speaking to Raven in that manner. "Sorry," she said. "I was just trying to snap you out of it. There are better ways to thwart Brother Blood than simply moaning about it, you know."
Raven blinked. "Of course," she finally said. "Yes. Koriand'r? How - do you do it?"
Koriand'r was confused. "I don't know what you mean, Raven."
"With you, I have no right to pity myself," Raven said, taking a step forward. "You have lost your childhood, your throne, your family, even your planet. And yet you still have this capacity for - joy that I have always sensed within you. How do you manage it?"
The Tamaranean woman chuckled grimly. "I'm not sure half the time," she admitted. "I guess it's my nature. We Tamaraneans are a passionate people. Besides, I don't like giving up, and if I decided to just pack it in, that would be like giving up, wouldn't it?"
Raven nodded. "I see your analogy. So reforming the Titans, that is your way of not giving up too?"
Koriand'r paused. "That's actually why I wanted to speak with you."
"I'm not sure how good I can be at this. I'm not comfortable being a mentor to these kids," Koriand'r said. "And they're so much younger than me. Donna would have been so much better at this than I."
"She was an excellent leader," Raven agreed. "She would have been a great teacher as well. But you sell yourself short. You have limitless experience they can benefit from."
"So do you."
"I doubt they trust me enough to listen to anything I might say."
Koriand'r put a hand on her shoulder. "I trust you."
Raven looked down.
"Raven, no matter how old that body is, no matter how many times you've lived or died or whatever - you were my teammate, and I was yours. We even shared a body once, didn't we?" Koriand'r reminded her.
"Of course," Raven said.
"We depended on each other back then. Let's continue to do so now."
"I just said, silly," Koriand'r said, smiling again. "By depending on each other. Maybe coming to each other to talk, instead of meditating alone in a drafty room with the statues of dead heroes?"
Raven looked at her. "Or wandering the halls without a destination?"
Koriand'r blinked. "That sounded almost witty, Raven."
"It was . . . not my intention."
"I'm sure. Raven - these heroes, they must survive when so many others have not, and we have to help them. And that scares me," Koriand'r said quietly.
Raven nodded. "I - still can feel my father. He is out there. I think he may always be out there. And THAT scares me."
"Maybe it won't be so scary if we work together like old times. Protect each other while protecting these kids," Koriand'r said.
"You kept me safe once," Raven replied. "You know I will always protect you. And I could not bear seeing the others hurt. Especially - Victor and Gar. I realize they aren't young like the others, but I have known them so long. They are - "
"I was going to say they are of my generation," Raven said, "but yes, they are friends."
"Then, as a friend to Vic and Cassie and all the rest, let's say we forget about the dead for now, and focus on the living?" Koriand'r suggested.
Raven smiled gingerly. "I cannot fault your logic."
"Ah yes, logic. The lifeblood of a Tamaranean."
"Now that I know was a joke."
"Maybe you have a sense of humor after all."