Epilogue

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. After watching the last part of 'The End' I thought this would be a good way of wrapping it up. R/R please.

The sky is clear tonight. The stars are out in full force, decorating the sky with their glittering presence. It's fitting that the sky should look so festive tonight. Tomorrow is, after all, the first day of the rest of forever. Tomorrow is the new beginning for the world as I have come to know it.

I stare around my room. It is strange to see it now. This room is my room but it's also not my room. I'm not exactly the same Raven I was a few days ago. A small part of me says that my father was right and that after he came to this world the Raven everyone knew was gone. I suppose though that it doesn't exactly matter. I am the same, true, but I'm also different. I think that somehow I've matured since all this began. I suppose none of us are ever fully mature. We all grow and change, evolve through whatever life throws at us. But at our very core is who we really are and that, well, that never really changes.

The rest of the team is still mildly concerned. It's funny now that I have enough of a sense of humor to laugh a little at it. You'd think the Titans would like me to change. Certainly I've heard it before. Why can't you smile more? Why can't you be social? Why can't you take a joke? But when it came down to it, they didn't really want me to change at all, not even in the slightest bit. The first thought on everyone's mind after I banished my father was, 'Is she still the same?' There was no need to worry. Who I really am inside doesn't change.

My thoughts turn inward, my mind still piecing together memories that were taken away then returned in bits and scraps. They'll all come back one day. But what I cannot forget is them. The friends who were willing to throw their lives away for the ideals of truth, justice, and hope, the most important ideal of all. It's hard to imagine such things when one comes from a background like mine. It's hard to imagine that good will triumph over evil when the odds are so uneven and the obstacles seem unconquerable. It's easy to lose hope these days. But I've learned a lot of things this day, the supposed last day of this world. Hope is so easy to lose but so precious and valuable to have.

"You can come out now," I tell the shadow by the door as I turn from the window to face it. He's been there for a while now. I suppose if I didn't know him as well as I do I'd label it creepy. But it's just Robin being Robin: protective and concerned. I honestly wouldn't want him any other way. I watch him step forward, his form slipping from the shadows as if he was a part of them.

"I'm sorry," replies Robin, "After today, I thought you might need a guardian angel."

"I already have one," I tell him, "But I think right now I'd enjoy having a friend." I pat the spot next to me as I sit up on my bed. Robin nods and sits down in front of me. I stare into the eyes of his mask. There isn't that much that's still a secret between us now. The only thing left is the mask he still wears.

"Quite a day, huh?" asks Robin.

"Yeah," I reply quietly. My memory is still sketchy but I remember some things all too clearly. Robin walked through Hell for me. He went down into a pit of unspeakable evil just because he had the hope that maybe I could turn the tide. He gave me back my hope and made me believe in myself again. How can I repay that?

"Did you mean what you said?" I ask Robin softly, "Am I the most hopeful person you know?"

"Of course," replies Robin, "You and I both know how easy it is to lose hope, Raven. But you and I still go out and hang onto it every day. We still fight the good fight and protect the innocent all because we believe in hope." His words touch something inside me, something I thought was dead. It is hard to hang onto hope when you walk in the darkness. It's easy to forget about hope when you live in a world full or murderers, thieves, rapists, and drug-dealers. It's easy to lose hope in a world where there are parents who can't see how beautiful their own children are and where there are some children who have no parents at all.

"Thank you," I whisper to him, "It's not enough and it never will be but thank you."

"You're my friend," replies Robin simply, "You don't have to thank me for that." I watch him smile a little. It's contagious and I find myself catching it. I feel something inside me that I thought I never could feel. There is no little voice in my head telling me to restrain my emotions. The demon inside me is gone but the girl remains, the girl who has feelings for a certain mysterious, young hero.

"Will you please do something?" I ask Robin, "Will you please remove your mask for me?" His face clouds, the somber and stern countenance that I am accustomed to slipping into place.

"Why?" asks Robin.

"There shouldn't be any secrets between us," I explain, "I want to see your true face, Robin. Shouldn't I deserve to see the face of the person who saved my life?" Slowly and with great uncertainty, his hands move to the back of his head. He unties his mask and lets it fall to the bed. He looks upon me with deep, hazel eyes. I find myself gazing into them, sliding closer to him as his eyes drag me into a warm and comfortable embrace.

"Your eyes are beautiful," I whisper to him softly, "I. . .I never would've guessed."

"Beautiful things don't always come in pretty packages," replies Robin with a smile. The hint is thinly veiled and I blush at his implications. Emotions are complicated things when you're suddenly allowed to show them.

"Raven, it's true what I said," explains Robin quietly, "It is your story. Never forget that." I know it well now. Destiny and fate are great things but sometimes they can be wrong. Sometimes you can write yourself a better story.

"It's my story," I repeat quietly, "I think this is the part where the dashing hero and the fair damsel share a kiss." We're so close together now. His eyes are warm and soft, like a giant quilt I want to cover myself with. His eyes offer me security and assurance that I am safe from everything.

"That's so cliché," whispers Robin. His lips graze mine, teasing me before I press mine to his in an awkward but sincere kiss. Somewhere inside me I feel a myriad of sensations I couldn't before. I am no longer afraid of what's inside me. Everyone has already seen it.

"Doesn't matter," I tell him as our lips part, "It's my story, remember?" Robin blushes and nods. He nervously fidgets and I find myself suddenly doing the same.

"Raven, I. . .," explains Robin. I press a finger to his lips to gently silence him. Some things between people don't need words to be expressed.

"Sssh, don't spoil it," I whisper.

"I'll always protect you," vows Robin.

"And I promise you the same," I reply, "I need sleep now though."

"Of course," replies Robin as he slips his mask back on and slides back into the shadows of my room. He will be watching always. It is an act of friendship and affection. Just as braving the fires of Hell was, watching over me is an act of love. He will always be watching me, my guardian angel with hazel eyes. He will always be there when I need him most. His hand will guide me away from the darkness and into the light I was meant for. And when I lose my hope that this world can become a better place for my children than it was for me, he will be there to help restore it just as he did today. In the end, well, I guess that it's a very nice ending to a story and a very wonderful beginning for an even better one.