Vera Levi yawned, tapping her computer screen with a long fake fingernail. Totaling up the day's take was not exactly an enjoyable endeavor. She had always known working at the local convenience store would be tedious and boring, but she needed the money desperately if she wanted to keep attending college. If she went back to her mother and begged for cash, she'd be coming back a failure, something Vera's mother had always accused her of being. No, Vera Levi would make it on her own, without her mother's fortune, even if it killed her.

Vera Levi had no idea how right she'd be.

It was late; ten to midnight at least. God, how she hated pulling such late nights. Her calc homework was only half done, and that essay on the ethics of putting domesticated animals to sleep hadn't even been touched. It seemed that Vera's dreams of being a veterinarian would have to wait until she had enough money to pay the bills. At least there was always Bogie, the night watchman. He was posted there from ten at night till one in the morning, patrolling the rundown shop she worked at. Vera had no idea of why a convenience store needed to be guarded, but supposedly most thefts took place at stores such as these. There was low security, Bogie had explained, and a fair amount of cash. Bogie was always good for a laugh, and a laugh was exactly what Vera Levi needed right now, what with her head pounding from the day's stress. Perhaps she could call him in and see if he was up to talking for a bit…

Vera pulled open the window with her dark hands and peered out into the pitch black night.

"Bogie? Bogie, you out there?" There was no response. "Bogie?" Silence greeted the girl, and this worried her. Even if the security guard didn't feel like talking, he would usually at least tell her so. Vera's eyebrows knitted themselves together, curiosity getting the better of her. Closing the window and exiting the back room of the convenience store, she brushed her zillion braids behind her shoulder and stepped outside into the cold, early morning air. "Boge?" Vera caught a shadow moving to her left, and she followed it around the corner of the shop.

What she saw made her blood run cold.

"B…B…Bogie?" The lifeless body of the security guard lay spread eagle on the floor, the man's eyes wide and fearful. "Oh my God…BOGIE?" Vera Levi dropped to her knees beside the security guard, her heart now racing. There were no signs of a wound, yet the man was dead all the same. "…What happened to you?"

"I crushed his lungs." A monotonous voice sliced through the cold air and made a chill run down Vera's spine. "I crushed his lungs as my friend held him down, and we'll do the same to you." A giggle accompanied the alarming explanation. It was not the speaker who was laughing.

"It amuses me, how very weak you humans are." It was the voice that spoke now that had laughed so wickedly. Vera whipped around to see Bogie's attackers and nearly suffered a heart attack from shock.

"You? But…you're supposed to be the good guys!"

"Maybe…" The dark haired one whispered, her pale fists aglow with black magic. The taller girl's green eyes grew bright and a twisted smirk shadowed her tan face.

"Maybe not." The college student felt her arms being painfully twisted behind her back, and her breath came short.

"Do you feel that?" The first girl questioned, her glowing open hand slowly closing to form a fist. "That's your lungs being squeezed. Squashed. Ceasing to function."

Vera Levi closed her eyes and prayed this was a dream as her lungs burst. Sharp pain flooded her chest, and she knew from her high school human anatomy classes that she had mere seconds to live. This couldn't be happening. It just couldn't. These were two of the cities greatest protectors. They lived to defend and would never kill. It had to be a dream. It was a dream. There was no other alternative.

The end came anyway.

Raven awoke with a start. She'd just had…the most awful dream. It felt so real, though, as though she were actually there, bringing her hand together like that, with Starfire…

No. That wasn't possible. Even if Raven had somehow been possessed by Trigon and forced into doing such a terrible deed, Starfire would never do such a wickedly cruel thing. She was too innocent, too pure.

But Azar, how real that dream felt. She almost felt as though she really had

No, she didn't. She wouldn't. The possibility was too gruesome to imagine.

Sliding out of bed, Raven decided that she needed a hot shower to clear her mind. Though the steaming water that spilled from the showerhead moments later was soothing and sharpened her dull morning wits, she couldn't get the image of those two dead bodies that she had killed in her dream out of her head.

Starfire tumbled off her bed and hit the floor. Great way to start the morning, especially after a dream like the one she'd just had. It was strange, more like a vision than anything else, and a ghastly vision at that. At one moment, she had been dreaming of Tamaran and the Vegan star system, then suddenly she saw herself in the dark of the night with Raven, committing an act that Starfire didn't even want to think about. Yawning and brushing at her eyes with delicate fingertips, the alien princess picked herself up off the ground and began sifting through the contents of her closet. What the day held was beyond her, but something told Starfire that whatever happened would be exciting.

And she was right. There was just one thing she hadn't counted on. The excitement would turn to danger and evil, far surpassing her mind's comprehension at the time.