Raven blinked, trying to gain a hold of where she was. The sky was a cheery blue, contradicting the on-edge mood. The floor below her was what was left of the right wing of Titans Tower. On her left, Starfire was sprawled over the remains of Beast Boys bunk-bed. Her unconscious body laying across the burnt sheets. If she was in her own bed, she'd look like she was just taking a nap after a hard day of crime-fighting.
Robin was laying ten feet in front of her, equally unconscious, but his arm was twisted at a forty-five degree angle. Cyborg was nowhere to be seen.
Raven's breath was shuddery, her temper flaring violently at the carnage. She fell to her knees, and banged her fists on the floor.
She whipped around; the book was gone. Closing her eyes, she bit her lip, knowing the familiar sting of tears in her eyes while her anger slowly tried to consume her. To think that a minute ago she was ready to cry with joy. Raven clenched her fists, grasping the invisible control slowly slipping through her fingers. First she had to relax, then her friends needed her.
Raven took a deep breath and rose to her feet, her appearance stone while she walked to Starfire. The steps there were littered with flighty ashes crackling glass and smoldering flames. The roof was long gone, and due to a stronger wind, several personal effects were being thrown into the breeze, twirling and twisting in the gale. So few things were left. The only rooms standing were Beast Boy's and Robin's.
Raven reached out, and cupped the aliens head. She closed her eyes again, and concentrated her powers into her sense of touch; her healing touch. A pale blue aura invitingly glowed around her hands, and Raven tried to sense out what was wrong. As she sensed for the physical pain within Starfire, the emotional pain was inevitably brought to life, no matter how little there was. The loss of her parents at youth, being taken from her home, the betrayal of her sister; it amazed Raven that Starfire was such an optimist with all the tragedies her life was overwhelmed with.
Getting back to the situation at hand…
Starfire's eyes fluttered, then the bright green shined as her eyes returned to full-focus. "Raven?"
She didn't respond, but turned away and made her way to Robin.
Star rolled onto her hands and knees, looking at Raven in concern. The last thing she remembered was helping Cyborg get the book away from the Feminine Side, then a very bright flash…from there everything was blank.
Well here was Raven, but where was Beast Boy? And that ghastly Feminine Side?
She watched Raven carefully lift Robin's hands, and a blue glow was cast around the joined hands. Starfire rose from the bed, and flew over to them in apprehension.
Robin's mask adjusted, until his eyes opened. Starfire got down to her knees again while Robin blinked, trying to make sure he was seeing things right. Starfire and Raven were above him, and his arm was back in place. Cautiously he rose to his elbows, and looked at the two girls. "What happened you guys?"
Star put a hand on his shoulder. "I do not know Robin. Raven and I are the only ones here. Are you alright?"
Robin nodded. "I think so."
Her eyes watered, and she looked ready to give him one of her classic bear hugs, so he braced himself, but all she did was lean forward---and to his utter shock---kiss his cheek. He was so flustered he sat still for a second before he threw his arms around her neck, and hugged her tight.
Star gasped, then she let out a sob as she gently, but lovingly, hugged him back. Robin pulled away and before he could help himself, he cupped her face, his thumb stroking her cheekbone through his green gloves. She remained still, letting him examine her diamond shaped face. He took a deep breath. She was okay! His mouth was parted, and it occurred to him that he was leaning forward. What was he doing?!
She gasped, hoping for the real kiss she had been anticipating for so long. Instead Robin chose that one instant to come back to his senses. He let go of her face as if her skin seared his hands, cleared his throat, and stood, leaving Star on her knees; making her feel small and helpless. Gathering her dignity, Starfire stood too, noting Robin hadn't held out his hand to her like he often did. Normally as well, Star might take offense, but now she was grateful. If he was going to be polite and sweet enough to help her up, she was going to break down and cry like a Naramat Mebbleshneck.
How much longer was Robin going to deny the attraction they had? It wasn't as if he didn't know about it. Perhaps maybe if she told him how she felt first, then maybe he would feel better about opening up to her. Very well then; she could stand to tell Robin how she felt first. But now was clearly not the time to do so. She could wait to tell him as well. Curiously, her eyes followed that of her half-demon friend.
Raven was in the once center of the Tower, and her arms were out to the sides. They spun in soft circles, then clapped together in front of her chest like she was praying. Her mouth was moving in an apparent silent incantation. Mechanical parts from every which-way flew up in front of Raven. A collective gasp was heard as the other Titans discovered what those parts exactly were: Cyborg.
The devices spun in circles around Raven as more and more came up from inside the building, outside, and everywhere in between. Starfire released a shiver as some of his flesh areas spun in the air. Raven joined her hands, gripping so tightly her already pallid knuckles were white. All the robot and human parts suddenly started spinning like a cyclone. A bright flash, and there was Cyborg, all in one piece, and never looking better.
His red eye started glowing, and his human eye blinked. With a pained moan, he cradled his head. "Ughhh…"
Laughing, Starfire clasped Cyborg into a bear hug that almost crushed his newly-formed body. "Oh Cyborg! You are alive! And well!"
Gasping for breath, Cyborg patted Starfire's back. "i WaS," he wheezed.
Blushing a little Starfire let go abruptly, and they turned to Raven. "So Raven," Robin said, watching as the hybrid wordlessly made her way to what was left of her room. "What exactly happened in the book? We tried to keep it away from the Feminine Side as long as possible."
She didn't say anything to that. Only continued to walk to her room, cold as stone, and not saying a word. The other Titans looked at each other, knowing that when Raven got into this mood then it was important to be careful what was said. She was dead on the outside because she was entirely too alive on the inside; for better or worse. Her hood was up and her shoulders were slumped. Something that occurred only when she was upset.
Once she reached her room, her eyes glowed as her arm swept across the air, throwing all the debris off her dresser, except for her mirror. Eyes still glowing, she lifted it to her face, and blinked. Quicker than that blink, she was sucked into the mirror, leaving her friends stranded, clueless, and confused.
(In Ravens Mind.)
The Feminine Side paced, gnarling her teeth, her fists clenched until her nails cut the flesh of her palm. "She'll be back soon, the persistent wretch."
Beast Boy looked at her angrily. "Don't you dare call her a wretch."
Her brow rose in slight amusement. "You don't like the language I use for her? No problem. Demon. Wench. Witch. Monster. Ha---"
"SHUT UP!" He growled, and pounded his fists against the glass ball he was trapped in.
How lame was this? He could change into anything. Anything, and here he was stuck in a stupid ball of glass.
He'd already tried breaking it, but that didn't work out so well. The throbbing in his head proved it from when he changed to a ram. She must have had it protected by some kind of psychic shield over the whole thing.
The Feminine Raven looked at him in confusion; she didn't even know why he was angry at her. Then she burst out laughing, her head thrown back. "Well, I suppose it is wrong for me to make fun of one of your friends. I shall try to be more tactful."
Beast Boy crossed his arms. "You can try to let me out of here!"
She put her fingers to her mouth, appalled. "You don't understand! If you're free, then Raven can get to you." His brows rose and he held out his hands, his expression saying my-point-exactly. But she ignored it and continued speaking, this time walking towards him. "Otherwise you know I would gladly set you free my love. This time not being close to you is so trying…"
He leaned back in disgust. How was this part of Raven? But he tried to use the situation to his advantage and try to trick her into busting him out. "Well, you could always bring us together…"
She smiled, and he had a strong feeling he wasn't going to get the result he wanted. "True…"
A black, snake-like aura twisted sinuously in front of Beast Boy, and he backed up a little in the glass as the Feminine Side phased into the ball. Desperately trying to avoid her, he backed to the curve of the glass behind him while she stalked closer, her smile filled with devious intent. As she leaned closer and closer Beast Boy's eyes widened, and out of desperation he changed into a mosquito, flying away as fast and quietly as possible so she couldn't see. He watched her look around helplessly for him. "Oh Beast Boy! Now is not the time for games!"
Her black aura surrounded the ball entirely, making him worry slightly about her intent. Suddenly, there was nothing but noise. The glass exploded, Feminine Raven was screaming like a banshee, and he became a human again to avoid getting squished by the large shards of glass flying around the place. He watched as the glass ball was broken into hundreds of pieces and the Feminine Raven flew up from the disaster. Her hood was off so he could see a wide, bleeding cut on her cheek, there was a rip on the waist of her leotard, and there were two long slices down her right leg. She was literally dripping blood onto the dusty ground of Raven's mind, a scowl etched on her now scarred face.
Beast Boy followed the direction of her scowl, and grinned when he saw Raven, hovering high in the air, staring at the Feminine Side with a mixture of fury, jealousy, and outraged passion.
…Bad time to think about it perhaps, but he noticed how…hot she was when she was mad. Knowing that things were about to get pretty heavy, Beast Boy turned and leapt behind a rock, attempting to get a safe view of the action.
"How dare you try to take him away from me! I may be a part of you, but that does not mean I can't act on my own!"
Raven didn't say anything to that, and Beast Boy started to get a little worried. Her eyes spoke volumes of her emotions, but she said nothing…and Raven tended to get a little dangerous when she was quiet.
The Feminine Side angrily lunged into the air, the blood from her wounds disappearing as she healed herself. Relying on pure, aggressive strength alone, Feminine Side curled her hand into a fist, and his eyes widened as she drew her fist back for an attack while Raven remained completely immobile, her body hidden away by her cloak, her hood down.
As the fist flew at Raven, one hand flew out of her robe, and blocked the punch. Another fist, another hand. With incredible speed and precision, Raven continued to stop the blows Feminine Side threw at her. Beast Boy felt his worry for her rise, realizing that this battle could turn out very dangerous for her. He jumped from behind the rock, and morphed into a pterodactyl, flying up to help.
Raven spotted him, and as another punch flew at her face, she actually grabbed this one, and after a slight pull, she angrily pushed the Side down to the ground beneath them. Swiping her hand over in Beast Boy's direction, she watched as he was enveloped in her dark powers. Confused, he struggled to get out of her telekinetic grasp. A quick glance told her where the Forbidden Door was. Comprehension dawned in his eyes, and he quickly turned back to a human. "Raven no! Let me stay and help!"
Beast Boy was so incredible to her. Trying so hard to help her whenever he felt she needed it; being so nice to her even when she was being cruel and harsh to him; practically sacrificing himself for her. All the good things she wanted in life without a family she found in him. She couldn't let him subject himself to the kind of danger she was going to face.
She tried to smile reassuringly, and without a word, she swiped her arm across the vast land of Nevermore to the Forbidden Door, and using the black telekinetic claw, she gently shoved him out of her mind. Huffing a breath of determination, she turned back to the Feminine Side, who was quickly making her way back for round two.
Beast Boy blinked, and turned back to the mirror he was transported from. He bent to pick it up, but as soon as his fingers touched the handle, the glass broke, barring his entrance back into her mind, and the Feminine Side no doubt took the book back in there with her.
His breath came out in shudders, fury boiling rapidly beneath the surface, along with a grim, familiar face. Clenching, he tried to bury the beast back deep into himself before it reared its ugly head again. "Raven…," he whispered desperately.
Gasping, he looked back behind him, and found Cyborg, and only then did it occur to Beast Boy how desolate his surroundings actually were right now. The entire roof of the Tower was gone, along with the left wing. Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire's rooms were gone, leaving his and Robin's. At least what he could see.
Cy, Star, and Rob stood in the remaining hallway of Titan's Tower, their expressions confused and desperate. Urgently hoping for an answer, Cyborg held out his hands, and said in a pleading voice, "B, what's happening here? First you guys go into the book, no worries. Raven and the Feminine Side come out, then Raven goes back in. Feminine Side rips up the Tower then hops into the book again, and Raven comes out. She fixes us up, then goes back in there, and now you come out. What is going on here Beast Boy?"
Beast Boy blinked, and with a sigh, walked over to them to explain what he could of what had happened since they were last updated. By the time he was through, Starfire looked ready to cry, Robin's mask showed what it could of the concern he was feeling, and Cyborg looked ready to kick some ass.
"We've got to find a way to get in there! Raven can't fight the Side all by herself, not when she's ready to get so mad!"
The other Titan's nodded in agreement. "Cyborg? Do you think you can fix her mirror?" Beast Boy asked, pointing to the broken glass a couple feet away.
Nodding efficiently, Cyborg said, "I'll do mah best dawg."
Quickly he made his way over to the small object, and used his electronic eye to find all the pieces while the others waited restlessly. Once he found them, it took what Beast Boy thought an hour to put them all back together.
As he slid the final piece of broken glass back into place Cyborg let out a breath of tiredness, and stood, bringing the mirror with him. They set it back on Raven's table, and watched it glow a dark gray. Once the light disappeared, the glass in the mirror was fully restored looking like it had never even broke in the first place.
Grabbing it, Beast Boy stared at his reflection, waiting for the red eyes to appear against the blackness. His face was anxious and uncertain, something he'd been feeling a lot of lately…well…more like his whole life. He couldn't help it though; he was born that way.
Pushing that thought aside, he grinned in relief as the eyes he once found frightening glowed in the mirror. He felt Cy grip his arm so he could follow him inside Nevermore.
For hopefully, the last time he'd ever have to face The Feminine Side.
Raven licked away the blood on her lip, then jumped into the air when her counterpart made a nosedive down at the ground.
They were tearing up what there was of nothing. Several spots in Raven's mind were completely decimated, and what was left didn't have much to begin with anyway. She desperately needed help, but she knew that Rude wouldn't be of any help without her other emotions to join her.
She spun in the air, her arms out to the sides like helicopter blades, then raised them above her head. 'Apruga Moonchanté Mericulipsce.'
A blood red cloud encircled Raven's head, and she pointed down to the Side, and a bolt of lightening crackled down to her, missing her literally by inches.
The Side looked like an angry animal, baring her teeth and snarling, and her four eyes glowed a ferociously blood red.
"You refuse to speak, miss Raven?"
Raven blinked, giving away her answer. She had done very well at containing her anger, showing it only in the attacks she used, refusing to let it out otherwise for fear of destroying all her surroundings. If she ever got out, she would literally leave with brain damage.
Feminine Raven smiled, her jagged teeth baring some more. "Very well…then you wouldn't mind sitting STILL," She shot four bolts of unknown energy at Raven, and they flew at her so fast they clonked all of her limbs. "While I try to NEGOTIATE!"
She gasped, the energy twirling around Raven's wrists and ankles binding her to the ground. Twisting against her restraints, Raven tried to fight against it.
The Side slowly made her way to Raven, her anger making an apparent disappearance. "Since you choose to be silent, perhaps I can get a few words out."
A hand stuck on her hip while the normal features came back. "If you give me Beast Boy, then I'll be happy to let you go."
The only response to that was a furious glare. For that, Raven received a jolt of electric shock, but she didn't cry out her pain, refusing to give that witch the satisfaction. Growling, the Feminine Side said, "Let's try this ag---ugh!"
Straining her neck to see, Raven noticed a large, green, rhino shove the Feminine Side away from Raven. He fluidly changed back into Beast Boy, who winked, and karate kicked the Feminine Side a good fifty feet away.
Her breath was coming in little pants as she heard a familiar voice shout, "Titans, GO!"
Starfire, flying towards the Side with Starbolts at the ready; Cyborg cocking his Sonic Cannon; Robin whipping out his bo staff. They were all there.
As Beast Boy came over to her, she opened her mouth to ask him how they got there, what the hell he thought he was doing, why he came back---but he gently put his gloved finger to her lips, a smile on his. "I'm just as stubborn as you Raven. No way are you gonna fight her alone."
Stunned, overwhelmed, and touched, Raven smiled at him with teary eyes, and watched as he actually grasped the raw energy, and tossed it aside, before comfortingly bringing her into his arms.
Her arms catapulting around him, she felt ready to cry at the love she felt for him, but restrained herself, settling for the embrace. Warm, strong, intimate, and the best part, hearing his heart beat against hers, in the proof that he was safe and alive. …At least for now.
They broke apart, and he carefully helped her up. Both of them ran towards their friends, not afraid to take on the witch.
Starfire violently kicked the Side's jaw, almost breaking it with the strength behind it. Recovering quickly, Feminine Side kneed Star in the stomach, and grabbing her long red hair, flung her against Robin. With a snap of her fingers, the two were stuck in a large transparent dome. She smiled as they struggled to get out, knowing it was to no avail.
Her attention turned to Cyborg, who was charging up his sonic cannon as he ran towards her. The pure energy shot from his arm, and she put a black reflecting shield in front of her body, the blast shooting back to Cyborg and stopping him almost dead in his tracks. Not finished yet, she flew to Cyborg, and clasped her hands together, bringing them down angrily on his back while he hunched against the dirt. Next thing he knew, he was flat on his face in the same dome Star and Rob were trapped in.
Three down, and one to go.
But, as she watched Raven come back at her, she noticed Beast Boy as a wolf running at her side, and she felt the anger start to build again. Not only had the horrible sorceress stolen Beast Boy from her, she hand brainwashed him against his love for her!
She would teach that Raven!
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!"
There was no intention for her to hit Beast Boy, but somehow it ended up a joint attack as the black bolt of lightening crackled against them both. She had to deal with Beast Boy later. Using her telekinesis to encircle his body, she shoved him off to the side, the poor boy protesting all the way. He honestly didn't know that Raven had poisoned his mind. Wretched woman would pay!
The Feminine Side walked to Raven, and she tried to get up to resist her, but her foot was caught under a rather large rock. She clutched her ankle to pull it out, and after two jerks the Feminine Side was looming angrily over her.
"You destroyed him."
Raven closed her mouth, knowing the words she wasn't speaking were directly in her eyes.
"You've turned him against me."
Frantic, she looked around to find out where her friends were. Beast Boy was no where in sight, and she couldn't find any green animals around her. The other three were still trapped in the dome. They all tried to shoot their way out, with freeze discs, starbolts, and a sonic cannon.
"He doesn't love me anymore."
A sigh of helplessness left her lips. Obviously they weren't going to be of any help.
"You've taken his feelings and twisted them to your liking."
Where was Beast Boy?
"But I've decided to rectify that…"
Finally getting her attention, Feminine Raven grinned triumphantly down at her counterpart.
"By disposing of you,"
Her hands began to glow a deep red hue, and Raven recognized the aura from a spell book. Swords in the form of magic.
"Once, and for all."
Raven braced herself for the stab and shut her eyes tightly, but all she heard was a gasp, and all she felt was warmth on her legs. One eye opened, seeing a purple and black blur. Once both eyes opened, she crossed them to see the double-bladed magical red sword pointing right between her eyes. She looked up, and gasped in terror.
Feminine Side had stabbed Beast Boy.
Adrenaline giving her strength, Raven pushed the rock away, and swiped her hand through the red cloud to make it disappear. The sword did, but the wound bleeding profusely from Beast Boy's heart didn't.
Raven could heal almost anything. But if the wound was too severe, or done by her own magic then she couldn't heal it completely, or sometimes couldn't even heal at all. This time was a condition of the latter. But maybe she could try to help him the old fashioned way.
Her eyes foggy with what she prayed wasn't tears, she ripped off her robe, and stuffed it over his chest to stop the bleeding as he fell to the ground, his eyes wide with shock and pain. More pressure was applied to the gap that went clear through his body, making him cough up blood.
The other Titan's yelled for Beast Boy behind their prison, and now used all their strength against the dome, trying as hard as they could to get out and help their friend. But all to no avail once more.
He took shuddery pants of breath, and Raven looked up at the Feminine Side, who was slightly bent over, shell-shocked by what had happened, and was blinking constantly, trying to convince herself that it wasn't really happening.
Turning her attention back to the changeling, she watched as he smiled at her, his teeth lightly stained with blood. He panted slightly as he spoke. "Wow…this is a weird way to end things you know?"
She shook her head and pressed even harder, the deep red blood seeping through the fabric into her fingers.
"I was hoping that maybe I would have more opportunities to show you how much I love you."
Her eyes closed. No way…not now…
He gulped in pain, trying to regain the words he wanted so much to say.
"But you know…if it's gotta end it's gotta end…"
Raven's teeth gritted and she bundled up her cloak again to hopefully localize the pressure against the wound better. Not if she could help it, it wasn't.
He tried to laugh a little. "Aw, come on Rave…we've all got to leave sometime remember?"
Raven wiped her teary eye frantically, and in desperation yanked off the Feminine Side's robe and replaced hers with it, the blood spreading quickly into the fuschia fabric, completely ignoring Beast Boy's ramblings.
Until he seized her wrist.
Confused, she tried to yank it away, but he wasn't letting go. He brought his other hand up---this one slightly bloody---to stroke her hair. "Knock her out for me Raven."
Her mouth opened on a gasp, and he gulped in pain again.
"It's okay girl. You're gonna…kick her ass!"
She started panting, and this time she yanked her hand away, his dying body weakening.
Instead of reaching for the robe, she held his hand, and he gripped it as hard as he could; not very hard under the circumstances.
He gave her that toothy, crooked grin, stained with blood. "I love you Raven," he told her. Then slowly, his eyes rolled back in his head as he died.
Raven sat still, not sure what to do. Crying was out of her control, because the tears were already pouring down her cheeks. He had jumped in front of the blade to save her life. And forfeiting his own.
"Oh, Beast Boy…," a voice behind her said.
Her gaze shot up, her eyes wide and enraged. She knew what to do.
The Feminine Raven bit her lip, and felt something at her feet. She looked down, and twisted as she tried to get her feet free from the blackness.
All her movements stopped as she looked up, Raven coming to her feet, slow and shaky, her hands clenched into fists so tight her hands were bleeding.
She turned, and four, bright red eyes stared wildly angry at her.
The bloody hands came in the air.
A black glow came around them both, and Raven flew into the air.
The black aura writhed and licked around Raven like a flame.
The black essence grew and grew into a large black bird, letting out it's sorrowful caw at the sky.
The bird whirled into a large black ball.
Raven rose her hands above her, and threw them down in front of her.
And the ball flew down at the Feminine Side.