1A/N: Here is the final chapter. I guess I'll take this opportunity to thank everyone who has read my story, especially those who have taken the time to review and let me know what they thought. I enjoyed writing this story as it was basically pieced together from random thoughts, dreams, and strange sources of inspiration and have for awhile wanted to put all that together into something constructive. I hope this final chapter goes as I hoped. I wanted to end on something profound but this is what I produced. Like the last chapter, I may rewrite some parts of it but who knows. Thanks to everyone again and I shall do my final review notes to the two people who reviewed my last chapter. Peace.
Ch. 38: Life Will Go On
To each of them it felt like they were waking up from a dream, or maybe a nightmare would be a better way to describe it though they knew it had been real. Twelve people found themselves laying on a very soft, grainy material and could feel the bright sun beating down on them. The only sound was the gentle movement of calm waves. Slowly everyone got to their feet shaking their heads slightly and waiting for their vision to clear. It only took a few seconds for each of the Titans and the members of Titans East to notice they were on the beach of the island the tower sat on and that everyone who should have been gone was standing in a group with them, seemingly in perfect condition. Cyborg was the first to speak after a short silence by twelve wide-eyed people.
"Does someone want to tell me what the hell just happened?" Instantly Cyborg found himself being tackled to the ground by a black and yellow blur. He found two slender arms wrapped around his neck and a set of full lips pushed against his own. He quickly realized that it was Bumble Bee on top of him and returned the kiss with equal enthusiasm. The rest of the Titans stared at the couple before it finally set in that everyone was alive and back together.
"Menos!" The two brothers threw themselves at each other in a tight hug as tears of happiness flowed down their cheeks. Starfire let out a high pitch squeal and pulled her sister into the tightest hug she could ever give, filled with incredible joy and happiness that Blackfire was alive. Speedy and Aqualad seemed to study each other for a second and finally decided to toss the whole 'guys don't hug thing' out the window and hugged each other. Terra stood in front of Beast Boy with her back to her as he wrapped his arms lovingly around her. They were happy to simply watch their friend's interactions.
Their eyes slowly drifted over to the only two Titans who were currently not holding someone, Robin and Raven. Robin's mask was gone and they both could see his blue eyes, the first time anyone other than Raven had ever seen them. His eyes were filled with a multitude of feelings as he looked at the small form of Raven. Raven stood about three feet in front of Robin, unmoving. Her hood was down and her face was completely emotionless yet her eyes betrayed everything that she was feeling. Her eyes looked like she was on the verge of tears, but were also filled with confusion and doubt, as if she was refusing to believe Robin was really standing in front of her.
Ever so slowly she moved forward toward Robin. Her mouth seemed to open to say something but no sound came out. She now stood inches from him yet neither of them had made any effort to reach out to the other. Very slowly, Raven raised her arm as the two stared into each other's eyes. She gently caressed the side of his face and a small smile formed on her face as she felt her lover's warmth. Tears started falling as Raven threw herself at Robin, her tiny body beginning to shake from the force of her sobs. Robin pulled her tightly to his chest as a few tears started falling from his eyes. Neither of them noticed that the rest of the Titans were now watching them as the two lovers came together. Raven's voice was quiet but could still be heard.
"Damn it Richard. Don't ever leave me again. Please don't ever leave me again. I can't live without you." Robin did not response right away put gently tilted Raven's head up so he could look her in the eyes. He held her gaze for a few seconds before speaking.
"Nothing will ever take me away from you again. I will be beside you every morning you wake up. I will be there for every good moment and every bad moment. I will love fully and completely now and forever." The two kissed for what seemed like an eternity, which in fact was a few minutes. Eventually everyone started clapping for the two young lovers which caused them to break away from their little session. A slight brush creept onto Raven's face as she saw all the eyes on her.
"I hate to interrupt you two cuz I know I want to be doing the same thing with Bee right about now but could someone tell me what the hell just happened. My sensors are telling me that today is the day we had our beach party, the day SoulBurn reappeared. How the hell did we end up back in time? And not to ruin the good feelings, but shouldn't a few of us be dead?" It was Terra who spoke though it was a gentle and quiet voice.
"It was SoulBurn or rather his true self Azrael. He wished to make everything right and he did that. He ascended back to his true immortal form only to sacrifice everything that he was to turn back time to when we were all still alive, to a time when the city was still at peace. He gave up everything to bring us all back together, to give us a chance to all live again as friends and family." A few small tears managed to fall from her eyes as she spoke.
"There's a lot more that needs explaining but now is not the time. Let us just all be happy for this moment, the moment that he gave us." Terra was now openly crying as Beast Boy hugged her.
"Thank you so much Azrael. Thank you for everything."
Everyone watched the scene with sad eyes but knew that she was right. If there ever was a moment of be happy, it was now. He would have wanted it that way.
It suddenly clicked in everyone's head that SoulBurn was gone and quickly everyone turned to Blackfire who was standing quietly next to her sister. With everything that happened, they had almost forgotten about her. Everyone had been united back together, except one. The only person who Blackfire cared as much about as her sister, was gone. Blackfire's head was tilted down and it was hard to see her eyes though everyone was a little surprised to see a small smile on her face. She slowly lifted her head and everyone could see the tears about to fall but she continued to smile.
"You're right Terra, he would have wanted us to be happy, to live on as the people he befriended, the people he loved." Starfire looked at Blackfire with slight confusion.
"Sister?" Blackfire turned to Starfire.
"Its back Kori. I finally feel whole again. For the first time in so long, I am complete again. It was his final gift to me, the final way he could show me he loved me." Blackfire hugged her sister as she started crying. Starfire was confused as to what her sister was talking about, but returned the hug nonetheless. Blackfire continued to speak in between sobs as she held her sister.
"That damn noble idiot. I always knew he would do something like this. I just didn't think it would be so soon." Starfire rubbed the back of her sister, trying to comfort her.
"I am so sorry sister. I know how much you wished for him to return to you. I know how you wished for him to comfort you after the great tragedy that befell you but I know that he will always be with you no matter what. He will always be somewhere, watching over you. He is and always will be your guardian angel." Blackfire hugged tighter and then slowly pulled away with a slight look of confusion in her sad eyes.
"What do you mean great tragedy sis? What are you talking about? Other than today, my life has been happiest I've ever been since I met SoulBurn and it doesn't seem like your talking about all this." Starfire returned her look of confusion but then smiled warmly.
"I am just having trouble expressing my feelings in the major language of Earth. I was talking about this. I am sorry if I confused you sister." Blackfire smiled.
"Same old Kori. X'hal how I love you." Blackfire once again hugged her sister who was fully taking in what had just occurred. The rest of the Titans were figuring it out as well.
SoulBurn have left one other gift for Blackfire, a gift hopefully she would never know about. They all remembered exactly what had transpired from this day until that fateful battle against Lucifer yet Blackfire was missing one important group of memories. She had no memory of the horror and pain she had suffered at the hands of that madman. She was free of that burden, a burden no one should ever have to carry. She would be free, free to carry on with her life uninhibited, to truly have a second chance. Of course in a way, Blackfire was the only one who truly understood just how big the second chance was that had been granted to her. Her soul had been returned to her and that was the greatest gift she could have ever had.
All the Titans looked around at each other and couldn't help but smile. None of them had ever thought this is where they would end up when the battle against Lucifer had started but they couldn't help but be happy despite being minus 1 in their numbers. Robin decided to speak.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm starving. Who's up for ordering some pizza?" His suggestion was met with cheers, followed by the infamous arguing between Beast Boy and Cyborg about meat. Even Raven felt herself grinning at their antics. Some things just never would change and everyone in their hearts knew that was the greatest thing. Beast Boy took off sprinting toward the tower yelling something about getting there first to order all vegetarian pizza with Cyborg chasing right after him screaming insults. Everyone followed the two toward the tower except Robin and Raven who stayed behind. They both turned toward the ocean, admiring the simple beauty that was there.
"So its finally over. No more prophecies or Armageddon or great demon lords trying to take over the world. I guess life is going to get a whole lot less interesting." Raven grinned at Robin's lame attempt at humor.
"My father is gone forever never to return. The mortal realm is now on its own once again. Our lives will be only what we want it to be, no greater forces pushing in one direction or another. We are free to do as we choose, to make our own mistakes, and to follow whatever path we want. ." Robin placed his arm around Raven and pulled her close.
"Is SoulBurn truly gone?" Raven felt her smile falter but knew that question would come.
"I don't know. I just don't know. He was the most powerful and unique being that probably ever existed and what he did to bring us all back was something that has never occurred before. I don't know what happened to him. He could have faded away completely like my father or something completely different. No one could possible know for sure." They were so engrossed in their conversation that they didn't even realize Blackfire was behind them until she spoke.
"But there's always hope isn't there." The two turned around to see Blackfire staring out toward the city with a small smile on her face.
"Hey Blackfire, didn't see you there." She smiled at the two.
"I just walked up to tell you two you better hurry up if you actually want to get anything that is remotely edible. The topping ideas that I heard everyone saying were pretty frightening, even for me." Robin and Raven smiled at her.
"Are you sure your going to be okay Blackfire? I know how close you and SoulBurn were, or at least were getting."
"I'll be fine…eventually. Just like you two, I have no idea what happened to him, whether he still exists in some way or another, but deep inside me, in a place I had lost for so long, I can feel him still. I can feel his love and I know that all he wants for us is to be happy with the lives he's given us a chance to live. I want nothing more than to see him again but right now, I'm content with being alive and having all of you." Robin was amazed just how much Blackfire sounded like her sister. The Universe truly was a surprising place. Robin was even more surprised when Raven walked forward and gave Blackfire a supporting hug.
"Thanks Raven…now let's all go join the others. If I know Starfire, she probably wants some type of group hug." Robin and Raven nodded with smiles and the three walked toward their home to be with their family and for the first time in such a long time, there was no shadow of some dark plot hanging over them all.
Robin's thoughts drifted slightly as he walked, simply contemplating everything that was. Life was not perfect but it wasn't really supposed to be. There would always be villains and there would always be heroes to fight them. There would always be the wicked who would try and prey on the innocent. There would always be death and tragedy, life and happiness. The most beautiful part of life is that no one ever knows what is to come, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow could be sad, tomorrow could be joyous, tomorrow could be just another pointless day, but in the end, there is always the chance anything could happen and therein lays the hope that would never fade away.