Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, nor am I making any money off of them... If I was, I'd have a mansion and a Cray-2, not an apartment and a HP.
Author's Notes: Raise your hands if you've read a Robin/Starfire or Nightwing/Starfire story based on "How Long Is Forever?". Almost everyone, that's what I thought. Something was bugging me about that episode, maybe the fact that if Raven is purged of Trigon's influence, why was she in an asylum (or whatever that was)?
I'm just trying to answer that question, and give my own versions of both the Starfire-less future and the 'real'' future while we hear Beast Boy/Changling and Raven answer the question How Long Is Forever? Their Answer?
"As Long As We Say It Is"
By J.T. Magnus, "Turbo"
"Don't call me 'Rae.'"
"Geez, I was just going to ask you a question."
"If the team broke up because Starfire wasn't here, but Starfire is here, what are we like in the future now?"
"Beast Boy, that was actually intelligent...:"
"Yeah, I'm full of surprises."
Twenty years later and one time warp ago...
Her father had been defeated almost fifteen years ago, with the help of both the Titans East and, surprisingly, the HIVE Five, she had been purged of his influence and had found a new fulcrum to balance her emotions, even if she never told him that he was. When she was sad, he made her happy, when she was angry his hand found its way to her shoulder to calm her down...
And she had tossed him away.
In the past, when they fought, Starfire had been there to keep their fights from escalating out of control, and when she disappeared, it was bound to happen eventually.
Now she couldn't even remember what it was about, just that it ended with her saying they were friends and him saying that if that was all they could ever be, then he didn't want to be that.
Then Starfire came back, but Starfire was still eighty years in the future, she couldn't have came back. She was wanting so much for things to be different that she was seeing things. But when her communicator sounded, she answered, and saw two sights she hadn't seen in too long; Starfire, who this time she believed was real, and...
...And him. If the truth was to be told, he was still able to make her laugh, even after years, even without realizing it...
When Warp was defeated and Starfire stepped into the portal, she could feel the timestream changing...
And Raven embraced it.
Nothing lasts forever, he thought. His parents, dead; the Titans, broken; his solo career, a joke; Hollywood, not much call for green animals; her... God, he was so stupid. If he ever saw Warp again, he'd make the time-traveler take him to the past so he could knock some sense into his younger self, as cliche as it was, because he had let the best thing in his life go.
Actually, he had left the best thing in his life, even if she didn't realize she was.
He didn't remember what had caused it to come loose, but years of tension, of unrequited love had burst when she had said that they were friends, and he had said that if that was all they would ever be, he couldn't be friends, and left.
God, he was so stupid.
Then Starfire had came back, wanting his help to change things... And he panicked like he was twenty years younger, afraid to see her again after he had hurt her, he had backed away from helping.
Until his communicator was activated.
With the Teen Titans... well, formerly Teens, but they proved they were still Titans, reunited, Warp went down and Starfire went back in the past.
After a moment, he began to feel weird, the only science he knew might have been biology, but he had read enough sci-fi to know that the future was changing to match the past...
And Beast Boy embraced it, hoping that this time he would have done things right.
The future, after Starfire's return to the past has affected the timestream...
Nightwing leveled his bo staff at the Titan's opponent and almost chuckled, "Give it up already, Warp. You failed twenty years ago and you've failed every time since then."
"Never! History said I came back to steal it, and steal it I shall!" The time-thief replied, trying again to activate his time warp device, but before he could escape, a black aura surrounded the device and took it out of his hands.
The other members of the Titans gathered in behind Nightwing;
Starfire on his immediate right, still a personality as flamboyant as the red of her hair, after being stranded together for several days on an alien planet a few years after their first encounter with Warp, the two of them had finally realized that they wanted more than friendship... Twenty years later she was his wife.
Beyond her, Cyborg, who as technology had advanced had kept up, becoming sleeker and lighter, but who was still stronger than ever. He had finally found a balance between the man and the machine, and was often found spending time with the former HIVE student and ex-villian Jinx, who loved him either way.
On Nightwing's left was the both odd and not-so-odd couple of the Titans...
Changling raised his hand to catch Warp's device as Raven pulled it to them. They had changed more than the other Titans. Changling had matured over the years, for no more important reason than to be there when Raven needed him, and without her father there to try and use her to escape, Raven was now free to express her emotions, including love for her teammate.
Changling's green skin and dark uniform stood out against the paler skin and white uniform of his fiancee as he did the one thing that after twenty years still got on Nightwing's nerves, he didn't let the leader give the command...
Author's End Notes: Some of the episodes referenced within were The End (Pts 1 - 3), Titans East (Pts 1 and 2), How Long Is Forever? (Of course.), Stranded and a loose reference to Deception. I used the name Changling for Beast Boy because it sounds more 'adult'. And yes, I know that Raven returned to her original dark blue uniform at the end of The End Pt. 3, but the white uniform was what she was shown wearing in the future in HLIF.