When the Dust Clears

This fic started buzzing around in my head a few weeks ago. I wrote it out, and I'm quite pleased with what I see. Hope you like it, too.

Special thanks to The Last for help with the memorial-writing-stuff. What would I do without you?


Perhaps this was to be another "field check", as Robin calls it. That is all it is supposed to be, correct?

I am very fearful for my friends, because now there seems to be no means of escape.

I believe the term is trapped.

Slade ravages the scenes below, marking it with the mark of Scath. That mark has burns an impression in our eyes, and also in our minds. The heat from the fires is unbearable.

And I am alone.

My mission was to do the scouting, to do the act of "making sure the clear was coast". Now, all I see is fire, burning in a circle around me, flames climbing higher and the heat becomes equivalent to the fires of the planet of Ras'eed.

As children, my people told stories of the choking flames and burning smoke. This fiery place enthralled us; a world of destructive dancing light.

I do not believe those tales entertain me anymore.

My friends are in danger, and I can see 'no way out'.

I fly, the heat depleting as I gain altitude. Finally, a cool breeze ruffles my matted, damp hair. I welcome the change, as the sweat drips off of my nose and falls below.

I must return to my friends, and inform them we are in need of a "Plan B."

My eyes scan the area, searching for Raven's force field of black energy. Raven is in danger, more than any of us.

Then, I spot a green speck on the black ground. I descend quickly, knowing that I have found them.

The heat intensifies as I near the ground. They have left the original hiding spot for an abandoned building, roughly fifty yards from the fires.

I touch the ground and immediately stumble. Even though we are farther away from the fires, the heat still has much discomfort.

"Dude, Star, are you okay?" Beastboy asks, and I see his eyes are full of worry.

"I am most alright, Friend." I say, hugging him close to me.

I have almost lost my friends to fires…

"Thank X'hal you are safe!" I breathe, letting go of him.

Friend Beastboy looks at me strangely for a moment. I remember then that I have never hugged anyone before, completely sincere and afraid.

"I did not mean to offend you, Friend Beastboy." I apologize.

"Nah, it's nothing, Star." Beastboy says in a tiered voice. "C'mon, Robin is getting worried."

I nod, and he leads the way to our new "hide of out". As soon as I enter the abandoned building, Robin seems to let out a breath that he holds in his chest.

"Oh Starfire, thank God you are alright!" He says in a voice I do not recognize, pulling me close to him.

"I am unharmed, Friend Robin." I assure him.

I see Raven, huddling in a corner, trying to calm herself. Yet again, she is glowing with the mark of Scath, and much more. She draws her cloak around herself, as if she wants to shut out the offensive symbols.

"I have nothing on my scanners, except for Slade in the middle of some huge fire." Cyborg announces. "Besides that, there's not a speck of life on this damned rock."

There is silence for a moment.

"It looks like we've been beaten." Beastboy says sadly. "It looks like Slade has gotten the better of the Teen Titans."

Robin's shoulders begin to shake with emotion. "He couldn't have gotten away! No one can survive in those fires!" He shouts, slamming a fist into the decaying wall.

Chunks of plaster rain down on us, the old building shuddering from Friend Robin's blow. Raven finally speaks.

"I know how to get to him."

Robin looks at her with such intensity that she takes a step backward.

"How do you do that?" Robin asks, his tone matching his eyes.

Raven looks at him coldly.

"You act with rage." She states, "You also will attack without remorse, or if you are driven by a small amount of anger or jealousy. Your hate for Slade drives you."

Robin, his mouth open, sinks to the floor in shock.

"Therefore," Raven continues, "I cannot trust you with this. I need someone that I can totally, utterly trust."

Her gaze falls on Beastboy.

"The person who goes with me…" Raven falters, "Has been inside my mind before."

Beastboy nods understandingly, and Cyborg raises his eyes to meet hers. Robin suddenly breaks into tears.

"This means that this is the end. It's really the end." He says, his voice breaking. "I can't save us all. I can't be a goddamn superhero."

I kneel down, and wrap my arms around him, tears escaping my eyes also. Raven looks close to tears herself.

"I'm going, regardless of what you think." She says to the ground. "My fate was to destroy this world. The least I can do is save it before my destiny calls."

She grows quiet. "My only chance to save all of you, too."

Her voice, emotions ravaging its tone, cracks. "But someone needs to come with me. Someone who'll have to die; someone who will die. We cannot get out of this alive. Someone has to be the sacrifice."

We sit, the silence unbearable. Shock hovers in the air. The flames continue roaring outside.

Then, Beastboy speaks. "Raven, I'm coming with you."

Raven nods, tears tracking down her cheeks, making clear lines on her sooty face. Unexpectedly, she throws her arms around Beastboy, and sobs into his shoulder.

Beastboy looks taken aback, but he recovers quickly. He pasts Raven's shoulder hesitantly, and Raven backs away, her cheeks heating.

"Let's go, Beastboy." She says, her voice hoarse.

Beastboy nods and my emotions break loose. I suddenly wail, and grab on to both of them tightly. I believe that they can still breathe.

"We're gonna be okay." Robin says, though he does not sound very convincing.

I nod pathetically, sniffing away tears. Suddenly, I am in Robin's arms. He strokes my hair, as though trying to soothe me. A few more tears escape my eyes.

Beastboy offers me a small smile. "I'll tell Terra you said hi."

At the mention of her name, Raven stiffens Beastboy looks at her, pulls her closer to him, and kisses her. She pulls away, but she still seems to be caught in the kiss.

"I've always loved you." He says.

Raven puts a hand to her mouth, as if she could not believe that this has happed to her. After a moment, they join hands and rush out the door.

My friends are truly going to die. I sob into Robin. He kisses the side of my head, his arms aroundme.

Cyborg, Robin, and I watch in horror as Slade appears. Raven creates a force field around herself and Beastboy. She also holds him in a telekinetic hold, as Beastboy changes into a Tyrannosaurs Rex, charging into him.

They fight bravely, only faltering when four red eyes hover above Raven, and she glows brighter with those dreadful marks.

Someone screams, and I am not sure whether it is I or her.

Beastboy rushes in front of her, trying to shield her from Slade's fiery blow, but her force field around them holds. She kisses him again, and we see her whisper something in his ear.

A huge gust of wind whips around us, Raven's cloak flapping in the breeze. It wraps around her, hiding her from our view, only fifty yards away, and when it billows out, she is clothed in white.

A monstrous shriek rips through the air, as Beastboy and Raven hold hands again.

Timbers, flaming, fall around them. Embers dance on the ground, as Slade lies unconscious. Raven holds Beastboy close as they sink to the ground.

The red eyes that loomed above Raven dissipate.

Trees fall. The concrete cracks. Buildings all around us fall. The fires burn more than they ever had. The wind blows, almost lifting us off the ground.

A mass of chaos whirls around us, faster and faster. I whisper into Robin's ear, fearing that I may never see him again. This time, he kisses me for real. I hear a note of music, ancient and alien, building into a chord. It grows louder and louder.

But when the dust clears…

It is a clear, sunny day in the beginning of summer. The wind blows across Jump City Park, citizens laughing and eating on picnic blankets.

In a shaded corner, a statue stands. Raven is standing, her head bowed, and her eyes closed. Her hood is down, her hair seemingly blowing in the breeze. Her hand is intertwined with Beastboy's. His face is looking off to the sky, eyes searching for something.

And on the plaque, the following is inscribed.

JUMP CITY'S HEROES

On October 10th, 2005, Raven Roth and Garfield Logan, otherwise known as Raven and Beastboy, performed the ultimate act of bravery.

They passed beyond boundaries to overcome those who would destroy them; they sacrificed themselves for the people they loved, and for each other.

Teen Titans, then.

Friends and lovers, forever.

God Bless.

The dust clears away and brings new life.

Always.


Inspired by "Real Heroes" by Soragirl.

Please review.