"I'm in a bed... I'm home... I'm fed... and I can't feel it."

Raven lay in her bed, sheets clutched tightly as she stared up at her blank ceiling. It had been about three weeks since her escape from the nightmarish hell the Brotherhood had subjected her to. For two long months, they beat, tormented, starved, and tortured her almost to the point of no return. Sometimes, Raven wondered if they had actually pushed her beyond it. She had tried to suppress the anger, the humiliation, the pain from herself as much as her teammates... but it wasn't working. They knew something had happened to her.

And so, deep down, did she.

"I'm stronger than this. I defeated Trigon. A little abuse will not--"

The door creaked open. Raven sat up with a jerk.

"Who's there?" Raven called, trembling. No response. Unease grew in her body, and she fidgeted slightly.

"Who's there!" she repeated, more worried than angry. After a moment, a shape appeared in the gloom. The teenager squinted in an attempt to identify the invader. The silhouette solidified, and reconstituted into Madame Rouge.

"...no..." Raven whimpered.

Without a word, the Russian slowly stalked towards her. Raven's brain screamed for her to move, to attack, to do anything, but fear paralyzed every fiber of her body. Rouge's arms snagged around her, and hurled her headfirst into the waiting darkness of the shapeshifter's body...

Screaming, Raven awoke, gasping, soaked in sweat. Panting, she looked around; her room was still, secure, peaceful. Just a nightmare... the latest of Azar knows how many she'd been having. Squirming in drenched bed clothes and sheets, Raven struggled to find a drier part of her bed when a knock came at her door.

"Raven!" a voice cried. "What is it?" The girl hesitated.

"Nothing, Robin. It's nothing." A groan came from the door.

"Raven, this is the fourth time tonight! Seventeenth in the past three days! Something is wrong! Stop lying and talk to us!"

"No! Nothing is wrong!"

"Please, friend! Why do you not tell us of these mares of the night?" a second voice squeaked in concern.

"Go away..." Raven croaked, holding a pillow over her head.

"Rae, this is freakin' me out..." a heavy set voice added.

"Leave me alone..." the teenager moaned.

"Dude, have you had anything to eat or drink?" the final voice asked.

"Yes, I'm fine! Now, go away!" Raven snapped.

"No, you're not Raven," Robin replied. "You're being emotional and defensive. Talk to us. We're your friends."

"You sure showed me that..." she said to herself softly.

"What was that?" Cyborg asked.

"Nothing. Good night." There was an uncomfortable beat, then a muffled chorus of groans and mutterings that died away into the night. Grumbling, Raven turned over and managed to slip back into uneasy sleep.

"This should make them stop asking questions."

Raven fluffed her cloak and straightened her hood, watching her reflection echo her actions. The Titans had been pestering her about staying in her room for days; maybe if she came out of her own free will, they'd be satisfied. Nodding at her appearance, she opened her door and flew down the hall, touching down at the lip of the main room. The quartet of heroes was at the table, talking over the end of breakfast.

"Uh, hey. What's up," Raven called. The four looked up eagerly, then gaped in terror at what they saw. "What?" Raven asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Have you LOOKED at yourself recently?" Cyborg sputtered.

"Uh... why?"

"You've always been kinda skinny, but... damn," the boy responded.

"So I lost a little weight..." Raven shrugged.

"A little?" Robin asked skeptically.

"I haven't been hungry," she sniffed defensively. Her stomach chose that moment to sound out its disagreement, and she fought the urge to punch it.

"Raven, you're a mess," Beast Boy blurted.

"I don't need to take this!" Raven snapped back, causing the room to tremble. "You've been nagging at me to come out of my room, I finally do, and now all you're doing is nagging me that I'm out! Make up your mi--" Her rant was cut off by the Trouble Alarm. Robin wiped his mouth with a napkin as he got up then dashed to it.

"Control Freak's raiding a store downtown," he called out. "Let's go, team!" He frowned as Raven started to follow.

"Are you sure about this?" he asked, stopping her gently.

"Yes, yes, don't touch me!" Raven replied, jerking away from his contact. The leader frowned, seeing a glaze of fear at being touched.

"Raven, I'm asking you as your friend... are you sure."

"Friend..." Raven muttered, as if the word was alien to her. "Yes, I am, now get out of my way!" Sighing, Robin stepped aside, and followed after.

"What ho, Titans? Back so soon for your arch nemesis?"

"Where do you GET this stuff!" Cyborg groaned, blasting at the portly villain. He stepped out of the way, smirking.

"Nice try, Cyborg," he sniffed. "But, as you can see, I have enhanced my jumpsuit to better assess and respond to your attacks."

"Don't be too sure, Control Freak," Robin warned as he dove in, staff at the ready. The geek raised an arm, and the boy collided with it with a startled grunt.

"Robin!" Starfire squeaked, diving after him. Her back turned to their attacker, the alien never saw the blast to the back knocking her out cold. Content with the carnage he had wrought, Control Freak turned at the sound of something gliding to a stop above him. He smiled wryly.

"Well, well. The mistress of magic herself."

"...magic," Raven snarked. "Yes, I'm here to yank handkerchiefs out of my cloak and pull a... rabbit out of my hood," she continued as she brought her hands to bare. The geek smirked, and hit a button on his remote control. The teenager whirled to see tendrils of video tape sneaking out from various appliances. She froze.

"No..." she whimpered, looking around as if she were a trapped animal. She wrapped her arms around her face as if to shield it.

"Raven, get out of the way!" Beast Boy cried. But the girl was frozen.

"Don't hurt me!" Raven cried as they finally snagged her. A strangled cry of terror came from her throat as they wrapped around her. Seeing his chance, Control Freak ran past the spasming girl with a grin of victory.

"Ta ta, Titans!" he cried over his shoulder.

"Raven, stop him!" Robin cried as he struggled to his feet. But all Raven did was cower in fear of her restraints. By the time the Titan had gotten up, his quarry was gone. Anger twisted his face as he whipped out a knife from his belt and cut the tape holding Raven fast; the glare grew when it became obvious she could have broken free with moderate effort. Raven crashed to the floor in a heap, looking up at Robin's face.

"You and I are having a talk when we get back to the Tower," he assured her, a finger in her face.

"Whatever," Raven rasped as she got up.

"That attitude is part of the reason..." Robin admonished.

"Good for me," she replied. Robin growled in exasperation.

"Let's go back, Titans."

"Raven, this is completely unacceptable. I've been trying to keep my distance about whatever happened to you, but you're becoming a major problem. You're sulking, your attitude is out of control, you aren't working with us, and this is the third time you've frozen in a fight! And you ask why I keep trying to talk you out of going..."

"Good for me," Raven snapped. Robin snarled.

"All right, that's it! Until you get that attitude fixed, Raven, you are OFF THE TEAM!" Raven's soul self flared.

"FINE!" Raven shot back, causing light bulbs to shatter. "I don't want to be on the team anymore! Why should I? You left me for dead when I needed you!"

"...excuse me?" Robin blinked in confusion than anger.

"You heard me! You let me down!"

"Raven, what are you talking about?"

"I'm not going to bother telling you. I'm done. I'm gone. Goodbye," Raven spat, throwing her hood over her head before storming out of the room. A door slam issued a minute or so later.

"Someone needs to follow her," Cyborg suggested.

"Agreed. Beast Boy, trail her," Robin ordered.

"Why me?" the boy squeaked.

"Please, friend, find Raven and bring her home safe," Starfire urged, hugging the boy tight. After a moment, he nodded and ran out of the Tower. A quick scan of the darkening Jump City skies showed a blue blur flying towards the city. Smiling slightly, he turned into a hummingbird and trailed after.

"I wonder where she's going..." he thought to himself as she dove out of sight. He sighed at seeing it was downtown; this could take a while...

"Welcome to Uncle Todd's Family Ice Cream, can I help you?"

"What can this get me," Raven said curtly, slapping a twenty on the counter.

"Anything from a two scoop cone to a Mount Freezy."

"What's a Mount Freezy?" she asked.

"An fourty scoop masterpiece covered in whipped cream, jimmies, nuts, and chocolate syrup with cones and cherries for peaks."

"I'll take it," Raven replied. The clerk blinked.

"Um, ma'am, that's more for parties than one person..."

"I said I'll take it..." Raven growled, eyes slightly white. Unnerved, the clerk stepped off to place the order. Grumbling, Raven rested her head in her hand and drummed her fingers with the other. About twenty minutes later, the door swung open.

"Uh, hey Rae..." a voice called. Raven's eyes clenched.

"...Beast Boy..." she rasped.

"Uh, why'd you run off?" he asked, sitting next to her.

"Why would you care?" Raven spat.

"...'Cause I'm worried about you?" the boy shrugged.

"Oh, I'm sure you are..." she scoffed. As she spoke, the clerk uneasily put a massive pile of ice cream before her. Raven mumbled a thank you and began shoveling it into her mouth numbly. Beast Boy blinked as tears began to well in her eyes.

"Are you okay, Raven?" he asked cautiously. The girl didn't respond expect to speed up the rate of spooning the frozen food down. The tears finally began to flow gently, leaving craters in the ice cream. Raven growled in denial of her welling emotions before giving a strangled cry and hanging her head, weeping.

"Raven, what's wrong?" the boy pleaded.

"Leave me," the miserable wretch muttered between sobs.

"No way," Beast Boy replied.

"Leave me to rot..." Raven added. Beast Boy gulped.

"Raven, talk to me..." he singsonged. "What happened?"

"What didn't..." she finally said while wiping at her eyes.

"Uh, what does that mean?"

"You weren't there. You weren't there!" she said, almost angrily.

"Calm down..." he offered, resting a hand on her shoulder. Raven squirmed away from it, as if she was fearful of being hit.

"Don't touch me!" she snapped.


"Raven's dead!" the girl blurted, suddenly looking Beast Boy in the eyes.

"Uh, no she's not. I'm talking to her..."

"No, she's dead. The Raven you're talking about was murdered slowly in cold blood. I don't know her. Maybe I never really did. What you're seeing, talking to... is an empty shell. A shell waiting to collapse under its own weight..." she trailed, again returning to the ice cream. Beast Boy caught her arm. Seeing her eyes dull in terror, he let go, blushing.

"Rae... get help. Please. I'm worried. We all are."

"I'm beyond help."

"That's not true and you know it!" Beast Boy squeaked.

"You weren't there! I already told you! You weren't there..." she mumbled.

"Dude, you undid the end of the world. You can do anything!"

"Except saving one pathetic and broken little girl..." Raven replied. Beast Boy hemmed, then groaned.

"Okay! Fine! Stay here and hope! See if I care!"

"I already did see if you cared... you don't," Raven answered as she scooped at the ice cream again. Beast Boy huffed and stormed off; the door slammed shut behind him. He smacked his head.

"I really shouldn't have done that..." he mumbled. "I gotta get the others." With that, he turned into a bird and took flight to the Tower.

Hand trembling, Raven dropped her spoon into an empty bowl.

"...done..." she managed, burping slightly. The clerk blinked.

"You actually ate the whole thing."

"Sure looks like it..." Raven replied, wavering slightly.

"How did you do that?" the stunned man asked.

"I'm an empty shell," the teenager answered. The clerk frowned.

"You don't look empty to me," he snarked. Raven looked down at a tightly stretched leotard splattered with Mount Freezy ingredients.

"Oh, right," Raven nodded, starting to clutch her painfully distended belly. "Why did I do that..." she moaned.

"How should I know. Just take it outside kid, I ain't cleanin' that up," the man warned, jabbing a finger towards the door. Raven mumbled something incoherent, then stumbled to the door, groaning.

"That was brilliant, Raven. Stunningly," she sputtered as she managed to get outside. As she wandered down the sidewalk, her ice cream fueled haze of agony was punctured by a familiar voice.

"Raven! There you are, friend... oh dear!" The girl numbly turned to see her teammates staring at her.

"Raven, what did you do to yourself...?" Robin asked, aghast.

"Go away," she mumbled, waving aimlessly at them. "Just go away."

"Not with you lookin' like that," Cyborg replied. He looked at Raven's swollen middle for a minute. "Mount Freezy on your own?"

"Yup," Beast Boy answered for her. Raven glared.

"I'm not a Titan anymore, so just leave me alone and..." The teenager trailed off as her face turned green. "Oh, Azar," she managed before stumbling down a nearby alleyway and outside.

"She is doing the up of throwing, yes?" Starfire asked. A cacophony of unpleasant noises issued forth.

"I'd take that as a yes," Cyborg sighed as the noises died away and something flowed out of the alley. The Titans ran into find Raven almost face down in an ocean of partially digested ice cream, gurgling.

"All right, Raven, you're coming back with us," Robin ordered as he gently reached for the girl's waist. She started swatting the air around her.

"Get away from me, get out of my way..." she sputtered lazily. But her former teammates ignored her, and Raven passed out as she was picked up and carried towards their car.

"How do you feel, Rae?"

"Like the T-ship crash landed on my head..." Raven grumbled, rubbing the aforementioned body part. She scowled weakly, looking around the assembled group in the infirmary. "I told you to leave me be."

"In a filthy alleyway in a lake of ice cream puke? Uh, no," Beast Boy sniffed. "We don't do that."

"You already left me in a filthy place to die, I thought you could just do it again... I guess I was wrong."

"Raven, why do you keep saying that?" Robin asked.

"Because you did!" Raven snapped back.

"Please, friend, I'm sure if you explained," Starfire begged, "we'd understand what is wrong." Raven stared at her blankly, then clutched the bedsheets tightly. Her teeth clenched, her eyes blazed, and her soul self flared, shaking the room.

"YOU CAN'T! YOU NEVER WILL! YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY DID TO ME! SO DON'T EVEN LIE!" she screamed, causing windows to shatter and cabinets to spill their contents.

"Maybe you could... try?" Cyborg shrugged.

"No. There's no point," Raven spat, flopping back down.

"Oh, for... Raven..." Beast Boy groaned.

"There's no point to me now. I'd be better off dead," the petite teen rasped. A shocked beat passed.

"...no. You did not say that. You did NOT just say that, Raven," Robin demanded, more scared than angry.

"They took it all from me. There's no more point."

"You can get it back! Just admit you need help..." Starfire pleaded.

"I'm beyond help. You can't watch me 24/7. Even if you can, I can find ways around it. That's how I destroyed the world, remember? And once your backs are turned, and you aren't watching... my suffering will end."

"I can't believe you're saying this, Rae..." Cyborg gaped.

"Of course you can't, you weren't there!"

"Raven, see someone... just get help!" Robin insisted.

"Why bother," the girl mumbled as she turned away from him and curled into a tight ball. "Why bother..." Face twisted in concern, Robin motioned the other Titans into a huddle.

"This is bad," Beast Boy breathed.

"No, really?" Cyborg snarked.

"We need to keep Raven under constant watch at all times. The way she's talking, I don't want her alone..." Robin said curtly.

"Agreed. I am quite worried about Raven..." Starfire nodded.

"Yeah. So, it's simple. We just keep an eye on her, and make sure she stays put and doesn't get away!" Beast Boy squeaked proudly. There was a pause.

"...Raven got away," Cyborg said. The others whipped their heads around to see an empty bed. Robin spat a string of curses under his breath.

"Fan out, Titans. And quick."

"So, this is how it ends. With a bang AND a whimper."

Raven looked numbly at the confiscated weapon she now held in her slender gray hand, feeling nothing. She didn't even feel the cool Jump City night air playing almost mockingly through her short violet tresses. She thought for a moment if this was really what she wanted to do to... but there didn't seem to be a voice forcefully telling her otherwise. That seemed to be her answer, then. Just one quick click from this smaller version of Chang's disintegrator, and her suffering would be over; her vaporous remains thrown to the ether. She didn't really see a downside; perhaps her friends were sincere in their concern for her, but they didn't save her from the nightmare. Raven brought her head up with a moderate breath; if they weren't going to wake her up, she would. She slowly brought the weapon to her chest and prepared to squeeze the trigger...

"...don't do it, Raven." The girl looked up to see the Titans standing outside of the stairway; the speaker was outstretching his green-gloved hand calmly.

"Just... put it down. Please," Beast Boy begged.

"No," Raven rasped.

"Please, friend... don't..." Starfire begged, tears streaming.

"You're just lying. You don't care about me."

"Where the hell did you get THAT!" Cyborg boggled.

"You left me to rot in the Brotherhood's clutches. You didn't save me. You left me for dead!" Raven croaked, blinking her eyes to clear the mist in them.

"Raven, we had everyone searching for you day and night!" Robin insisted. "We hadn't even called off the search yet."

"You're lying!" Raven said, more like a scared kid than a mature teenager.

"No, we're not. Now, put down the gun..." Cyborg added.

"It's the only way to stop it!" Raven shot back.

"Stop what!" Beast Boy cried. "You still haven't told us what!"

"Because you won't get it! They tore me apart! They practically raped me!" Raven yelled. "You just can't get it!"

"They've really ground you down..." Robin sighed sympathetically.

"Glad you noticed," Raven snarked angrily.

"Now, that's enough, Raven. We're your friends. We can help you. All you need to do... is trust us, okay?"

"Is that why you're reaching for that knockout gas, Robin?" the girl asked him with a glare. The boy's hand twitched, knowing he'd been caught. Raven scowled.

"You ask for my trust. You lost it. You ask for it again, and you're already recanting it," the teenager continued calmly. "This is what I want. I don't want help. It won't do anything. So, leave me alone. And if you don't," she added as her soul self blazed slightly, "I will make sure you do."

"You're going to hurt the people who care about you most for trying to stop you from making a terrible mistake?" Robin asked. "Raven... that's terrible." He watched the girl's pale gray face closely. She stared off at a point between the weapon and the Titans before looking up at them, as if she were but a scared little girl.

"...I just want it to stop..." she whispered to them.

"You want what to stop?" Beast Boy asked softly.

"The hurting. All I can feel is pain. I just want it to stop..." Raven continued as she dropped the weapon. "I just want it to stop!" she choked as she finally dropped to her knees and weeped. The small anthromorph quickly rushed up to her as Cyborg grabbed the gun.

"Then ask us?" the green boy shrugged. Raven looked up, eyes bloodshot and teary.

"Make it stop... please..." she managed before breaking down further. Beast Boy held her tight and rubbed her back as their teammates rushed over and joined in a group hug around the petite teenager.

"We'll do everything we can," Robin said. "I promise."

"Can I really trust you?" Raven begged.

"Of course, Rae," Cyborg nodded.

"Indeed, friend, indeed..." Starfire added.

"If you'll trust us..." Robin shrugged suggestively. Sighing, Raven nodded and motioned to be let go. The Titans gently let go and backed away as Raven cleared her throat in an effort to regain her composure.

"All right... I was hoping I'd never have to say this. It started just after I was kidnapped. Rouge dumped me in a small cell..."

"...and then, I found my way back to the Tower," Raven finished, sniffling and hanging her head. When she looked back up, she saw the others staring, aghast.

"Oh, X'hal," Starfire breathed.

"Raven... I'm sorry," Robin sputtered. "I wish I could say more, but..."

"What else can be said?" she shrugged. "Nothing I can think of."

"That is so unfair!" Beast Boy snapped.

"Tell me about it..." Raven mumbled, rubbing her arm.

"Well, we have to do somethin' about this..." Cyborg urged.

"But what? Traumatize someone back? That won't work," Robin insisted. "Besides, the important thing we need to do right now is getting Raven back on her feet."

"I... don't think it can be done," Raven replied, looking away as if she were guilty of a crime.

"Of course it can, Raven... it'll just take time," the lead Titan urged.

"I wouldn't even know where to begin," she sighed.

"Perhaps I can do something, friend," Starfire offered as she stood up. "On Tamaran, we have a ritual known as the m'tua. It allows us to link minds and share feelings... perhaps such a connection could help the healing?"

"I... I guess," Raven shrugged. "Do what you want."

"Then that is what I shall do," the small alien stated as she floated over to the sulking teenager. She took one of Raven's hands in her own and put the other to her friend's opposite temple. Her eyes closed in concentration, and she back to chatter away in her native tongue as her friends looked on.

"What is she doing?" Beast Boy asked.

"Chill, BB," Cyborg whispered. "She needs silence, I'm guessing." The sight continued until Starfire trailed off and fell silent. Her eyes darted under their lids, and she began to speak aloud in English.

"It's cold... lonely... darkness... Fear, much fear..." she said aloud. She suddenly contorted, as if she were being electrocuted. "They're beating her... tormenting her... she's in agony... so much agony... so--" Starfire suddenly took a deep breath as her eyes wrenched open and arched her back, as if realizing a horrible truth. She then collapsed to the cold cement below, curling up and shivering. Robin quickly separated the women's hands, and both seemed to awake. Raven frowned, hurt.

"Oh, great. I destroyed her," she sighed. "I'm a walking menace."

"Will you cut that out?" Beast Boy urged.

"I destroyed the entire world. I'm a threat to everyone," she shot back.

"Yeah, it looks real destroyed, huh?" Cyborg snarked, nodding towards the city in the distance. Before Raven could respond, Starfire sat up, groaning.

"You okay, Star?" Robin asked.

"I am fine, yes," she nodded while rubbing her head. "Raven, however, is not. There are very, very deep wounds in her soul. I doubt I can fix them."

"I told you I was beyond help..." Raven growled.

"No you aren't, Raven," Robin urged softly. "You just need to try harder. We don't know how to..."

"You're right. You don't," the gray teenager replied. "You have no idea what its like to be torn to shreds and smashed back together into something else..."

"Um, actually Raven... I beg to differ," Cyborg answered. "If you haven't noticed..." he continued, showing her his blaster cannon. "these aren't exactly for a fashion statement. And I didn't just lose limbs, organs, half of my head... I lost memories. I lost family. Most of all... I think I lost a lot of myself." Raven blushed and looked down.

"I'm a selfish pig," the teenager muttered.

"You are not," Cyborg replied.

"I am too. Look at me. I'm perfectly fine, and I'm acting like I'm the one who's suffered the most in life."

"From what you told us, 'fine' is hardly the word I'd use to describe you," the cybernetic boy insisted as he placed a heavy hand on her small shoulder. "It's okay, Rae."

"No, it's not. I need to stop sulking."

"I prefer to consider it 'getting help,'" Robin smiled. "Consider yourself more on medical than disciplinary leave. Take all the time you need."

"Thanks, but... I don't know how to start. I don't even know how to trust right now..." Raven sighed.

"It's okay. I only hope you can learn to do it again sometime," he responded with a smile and a pat on the shoulder. "Now, how can we get you started..."

"Maybe she should see someone. I know I've been seeing someone. I can give you her name right now," Cyborg replied, typing on his wrist.

"I... guess. But, I'm not exactly going to be able to disguise myself..."

"Just use your fake name... Rachel," Beast Boy smirked.

"Look who's talking... Garfield," Raven replied, the smallest smile on her lips. She sighed again, shoulders heaving slightly. "But, if you think it'll work..."

"It's worth a shot, Rae. That's all I can offer," Cyborg said. With that, he handed her a small slip of paper with a name and number on it. She read it, as if contemplating a deeper, hidden meaning. She looked up after a moment.

"All right. I'll do it."

"Rachel... Roth."

Dr. Georgia Keith scribbled the name of her newest patient on a fresh manila folder and prepared her notepad for the new arrival. Fresh out of the classroom, the young therapist had been finding modest success in her field. The teenager coming in today would be her twentieth patient. Perhaps she could do something when off work to mark the occasion. Bad taste, perhaps, but...

"Georgia, your four o'clock is here."

"Thanks, Greg. Send her in," Georgia replied, pressing the button on the speaker next to her phone. Clearing her throat, she straightened her dress and sat down in an armchair. After a moment, the door shyly opened. A girl peered in, with gray skin and short purple hair.

"Uh... hi," she said.

"Hello, Rachel. I'm Dr. Keith. Please... come in," she offered while pointing to a nearby couch. The girl hesitated.

"I don't bite," Georgia offered.

"Well... okay," Rachel said finally before stepping into the room. She was of very slim build, with jeans, a sweater, a wristwatch and sneakers, accented by a purple sweatband across her head. If Georgia didn't know any better, she'd have sworn it was hiding something more than catching sweat. Shrugging it off, she watched as the girl cautiously sat down on the couch.

"Good afternoon," the girl said simply. The woman smiled slyly.

"All business, I see," Georgia smiled. "So, tell me about yourself, Rachel?"

"Well... I guess I'm what you could call a sanitation worker," she shrugged.

"Sanitation? You're a little young..." Georgia frowned.

"Let's just say I keep the streets clean, Doctor," Rachel insisted.

"Very well," the older woman nodded as she scribbled in her notepad. Her patient frowned as she watched.

"This... doesn't leave the room, right?" Rachel asked.

"Of course not!" the therapist said, almost in offense. Her voice softened. "Is... this your first time at a therapist?"

"You could say that," the girl nodded.

"Not a problem, Rachel. Don't be afraid to tell me anything. Now, shall we begin?" the woman asked.

"Sure, why not," Rachel shrugged, sitting back.

"Very well," Georgia nodded. "Now, it says here you're seeing me about an upsetting experience recently?"

"'Upsetting' is putting it very mildly," she replied.

"Could you tell me about it?" Georgia asked.

"Well... I was abused, I guess you could say," Rachel replied, shifting nervously in her seat.

"'Abused?' Were you in a tough relationship?"


"Did you know these people?"

"Well... yes and no," the teenager replied after hemming for a moment.

"Could you explain that, please?" the therapist urged.

"Well, I know the people... the gang they belong to... but, I didn't know them like, say, family or friends."

"Family? What is your family like, Rachel? I ask since your info seems sketchy in that regard..."

"Well, doctor, my family... uh..."

"Yes?" the elder woman asked.

"My... mother was a cultist who was raped by my father, an other dimension demon bent on universal conquest. He got to Earth when I was turned into a vortex of energy, and he destroyed everything," Rachel said hurriedly. Georgia blinked.

"I... see..." she managed.

"But it got better," she added with a nod.

"Yes, right," the therapist nodded as she scribbled 'clear delusional fantasy' on her notepad. "So, it's not your family who was involved?"


"Your friends... what are they like?"

"Well.. they're also in the sanitation business. We're all in the sanitation business. All five of us," Rachel replied.

"Very well..." Georgia nodded. "Now, tell me Rachel... what was this event that made you seek me out?"

"Well, it was almost three months ago. I got caught by this... gang, I guess you could call them. They're like a cult," Rachel continued, leaning forward slightly to make her point slightly clearer. "They abducted me during a work session."

"Were your friends there?"

"Yes, but they all got jumped by gang members," Rachel nodded. "But, this really tall woman with a Russian accent, um," she stammered, reaching for words, "put me in some kinda sack and it made me claustrophobic. She dumped me out in this really small stone room somewhere. I still don't know where."

"And, how did this make you feel?" Georgia asked. Rachel boggled.

"What kind of question is that...?" she blinked. "It was terrible!"

"I imagine. Continue?"

"I suppose," she said warily. "Anyway, this... gang treated me very, very roughly. They didn't give me any food, or water, or sleep, and they, uh, made me watch... movies. About bad things."

"Movies... about bad things? What kind of things?" Georgia urged.

"About fear, worry, phobia..."

"So, what, Psycho? Children of the Lambs?"

"...sure..." Rachel replied with a shrug. "We'll go with that." The therapist looked up from her notes with a frown.

"Rachel, please. You need to take this seriously. I can't help you unless you help yourself and take our session seriously. Now, was it really movies like that?"

"I... guess," Rachel shrugged. "I really couldn't tell."

"Very well," Georgia nodded. "Continue?"

"Well... they started teasing me. Impersonating my friends, making me think I was about to escape, using me for dark purposes... it was terrible."

"How did you finally get away, Rachel?"

"I beat them up."

"You did?" Georgia asked, a touch surprised. "I don't mean any offense, but you don't seem to be built for fighting..."

"Yeah, well, I did. I beat them. And I ran home."

"Well, I'm relieved you managed to get away from them!"

"I would be too, if I had the chance..." Rachel said glumly. Georgia frowned, confused.

"Rachel, is there something else...?"

"It... just took a lot out of me," the younger woman shrugged.

"I would imagine," her therapist smiled supportingly. "Now, what can I do for you, Rachel? Why are you here?"

"Well... I want to forget about it and brush it off," the teenager said calmly. She squinted as Georgia hesitated. "What?"

"Rachel... that's, well, impossible, I'm afraid."

"What do you mean, 'impossible?'" Rachel scowled.

"What you experienced is what's known as 'trauma,' Rachel. It's never going to be 'brushed off' or 'forgotten.' This is going to be a part of your life forever. I'm sorry if it's not what you wanted, but it's the truth. Now, I can help you deal with the memories, and get some counciling, but..." She trailed off as she watched her patient zone out and seem to grow lax. "Rachel?"

"You're saying I'm always going to be like this?" she asked numbly.

"Well, you can in time have a semblance of a normal life again, Rachel. But, you're never really going to be the person you were before. I'm afraid this will be with you for the rest of your life." Rachel stared blankly at her, then her fists closed and her teeth grit.

"You're lying," she rasped.

"Rachel, I have a doctorate in the field. I know what I'm talking about."

"You're lying!" she spat, more forcefully.

"If I was, I wouldn't have this as a job, Rachel. I'm sorry. Now, it's not the end of the world. You can indeed have a normal life so--"

"They robbed me," Rachel snapped, more to herself.

"Excuse me?" the therapist asked, confused.

"They robbed me! They took everything that mattered from me! My control, my center... everything!" Rachel cried, jumping to her feet in anger.

"Rachel, calm down, please..." Georgia urged.

"No! You're lying! I can forget this! I'm wasting my time here!" she spat as she whirled around and stormed for the door.

"Rachel, wait!" Georgia called before her patient stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. She heaved a sigh, and scribbled some notes on the session. Hopefully, Rachel would realize the folly of her reaction and come back...

"So, Rae? How'd it go?"

"I'm fine."

"What do you mean, 'you're fine,' Raven?" Robin asked.

"I'm fine. She says there was nothing wrong with me, and I'm perfectly fine," Raven replied as she started removing the street clothes, revealing her usual leotard beneath jeans and sweater.

"That doesn't sound right..." Cyborg mused skeptically.

"Well, she said it. She said 'Rachel, you obviously have well meaning but overacting friends.' So, we're good. I can be on the team again."

"I don't know..." Robin mused with a suspicious tone.

"That's what she said!" Raven said, almost defensively.

"I dunno, Rae, you seem kinda agitate--"


"...perfectly fine, huh?" Beast Boy snarked.

"Well, her utter stupidity didn't help. She had no idea what she was talking about, you know."

"I think Georgia's pretty good," Cyborg said in confusion. "What'd she do that was so confounding?"

"She said... she actually said, believe it or not... that I'm not going to be the same person after this. Can you believe that?" Raven said with a confused shrug. Her brow furrowed as her teammates looked away shyly. "What?"

"Well, Raven... you're not," Robin confessed with a guilty sigh.

"What do you mean... I'm not," she replied with an icy calm.

"You've obviously experienced something extremely upsetting, and that's going to stay with you. It's not any fault of your own!"

"You're right, because I'm just going to get over it. And that'll be that."

"Please, friend, be reasonable..." Starfire pleaded.

"I am. And, I've reasoned that she's an utter quack and that she can't help me. So... can I come back on duty now?"

"No," Robin said unhesitatingly.

"...what do you mean, 'no,'" Raven asked, eye twitching slightly.

"I think you're in denial, Raven."

"Denial? What does... Ergh, I really don't care!" she growled, slapping her face with her hand.

"I'll compromise in that you can start training with us again. If you're back up to snuff in my eyes, I'll put you back on duty. Sound fair?"

"Whatever," Raven grunted as she yanked her hood on. "Whatever."

"Okay, Titans, let's do Exercise 9B..."

Watching his teammates nod in acknowledgment, Robin strolled over to a console and typed his selection into the training computer. 9B involved the evasion or destruction of incoming projectiles; it was considered a warm up program.

"Ready?" Robin asked as he unfolded his staff. "Go!"

With a hum, various projectiles began to fly free of the machine. With clockwork grace, the five heroes blasted, dodged, or deflected the incoming projectiles. Out of the corner of his eye, Robin watched Raven's performance. The girl seemed somewhat more aggressive, even edgier, than usual but she was keeping up the pace. However, a spinning blade snuck up from her right, and slashed along her arm. The girl hissed in pain, clutching her torn sleeve. Robin frowned and clicked the emergency stop on his belt buckle.

"You alright, Raven?" he asked as he ran over.

"Yes, I'm fine!" she called. "Let's keep going."

"You sure? Let me see..." he urged, reaching for her arm.

"Robin, it's not necessary. I'm fine," Raven replied. "Really."

"Still..." Robin countered, taking it. "Hmmm, I guess you're right," he continued as he glanced over Raven's arm. "You look okay. All right, let's..." Robin trailed off as he looked at her arm closer. "Raven... what are these?" he asked, running a finger along a scar partially covered by her sleeve.

"Nothing. They're nothing," Raven answered. Her eyes and voice had a touch of worry to them.

"Raven, roll up your sleeves," Robin ordered curtly.

"No!" she yelped. "It's, uh, cold..."

"Cold?" Beast Boy squeaked. "It's freakin' May, Rae..."

"For me, it's cold," Raven sniffed.

"Roll them up, Raven," Robin repeated.

"I told you, I'm cold!" Raven shot back.

"Roll them up, or I will do it for you..." Robin said with an icy calm. Raven bit her lip, then rolled them up, looking away sheepishly as she did so. The boy gaped at the network of angry to calmer scars criss-crossing Raven's arms.

"...Raven, how could you..."

"I wanted to feel again, all right?" she said defensively as she ripped her sleeves back down. "I've felt nothing but cold numbness for months..."

"So you're mutilating yourself!" Robin gaped. "Oh, Raven..." he added with a hurt sigh.

"You don't know what it feels like, you can't complain!" she shot back.

"No, I don't know what it feels like, and I'm not going to try. But, Raven... you've spent the past month feeling like we showed that you couldn't trust us. You just showed me we can't trust you," Robin replied gently. Raven opened her mouth, but words didn't come. Her angry expression softened to sheepish guilt and embarrassment.

"I... I know, Robin," she stammered. The hint of tears glistened below her violet eyes, dull in shame.

"Raven..." Robin started before falling quiet. He sighed, then looked her in the eyes. "Raven, I'm really sorry about this, but... if you're hurting yourself and hiding it, it shows we can't trust you on your own anymore."

"What are you saying..." Raven said, discomforted confusion in her voice.

"I'm saying that until you get everything back in order... we're going to be keep an eye on you 24/7." The girl boggled.

"Robin, you can't do that..." Raven sputtered, a note of fear in her voice.

"Raven, you're a danger to yourself. I don't want to, but..."

"But... my meditations, my solitude, my... I can't have you watching me, that's all I have left!" she begged.

"I'm sorry, Raven. It's either you start seeing Dr. Keith in her office, or one of us in your room. It's up to you. I don't think we need to do anymore practice today," he continued, shutting down the machine.

"You're ashamed of me, aren't you," Raven said softly, rubbing her arm.

"I'm not ashamed, Raven. I'm worried. Very, very worried."

"We all are, Rae," Cyborg nodded.

"Please, friend... see the doctor of therapy?" Starfire begged.

"It won't help!" Raven cried. "I couldn't give her a convincing story, and--"

"'Story?'" Beast Boy asked, confused. "Dude, you were making stuff up?"

"I wasn't going to tell her what happened! I already mentioned my father..."

"Raven, you didn't even give therapy a chance..." Robin groaned. "Why? Why didn't you?"

"Because..." the teenager replied, looking at the floor.

"Because why?"

"Because it'd make me look weak..."

"Look weak? But, Raven, y--"

"Robin," Raven interrupted briskly, "you need to understand something. All my life, I have handled my emotions without letting them spill over. It's something I've taken a small amount of pride in. Sobbing on someone's shoulder is a sign of weakness. I'm admitting I'm not strong enough to do the job if I'm doing that. I've already slipped enough as it is."

"I've always thought sobbing on someone's shoulder meant you're admitting you need help and want it. That's not weak at all," Robin countered. Raven fell quiet, thinking about what he said. She stiffened with a deep breath.

"I need time to think. Alone. If it still means anything, I... I promise I won't do anything stupid."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Robin answered slyly. A small flicker of a smile played on Raven's lips. She nodded a thanks, and walked back inside the Tower.

"Well, hello Rachel!" Georgia trilled as her patient returned. "I was afraid you weren't going to come back."

"Doctor," the girl nodded briefly as she moved to sit down. She hesitated, then turned to face the elder woman. "Doctor Keith..."

"Please, Rachel, call me 'Georgia.'"

"Very well. Georgia, I... haven't been completely honest with you."

"What do you mean, Rachel?"

"See, that's just it," the teenager nodded. "I'm not Rachel Roth of Jump City Sanitation." With that, "Rachel" raised her arms as a black flash expanded out from her body. When it contracted, the girl before the therapist now wore a long black leotard and a flowing blue cloak with a peaked hood. "I'm... Raven of the Teen Titans," she added briskly as she pulled her hood on, as if to hide a dark secret. Georgia smiled.

"So you really are Victor's friend. I had a feeling," she nodded.


"Yes, Victor. He still sees me. He talks about you four a lot. In fact," she continued, "he called me before you came in to tell me to break the doctor/patient rule. He's very worried about you, Raven. He's never seen you this bad, even during the scare with your father..."

"But, if you had a feeling..." the girl started.

"I wasn't sure, and I felt you needed to tell me when you were ready. Now that we're all in the open, Raven, perhaps we should try again?"

"Sure, why not," Raven shrugged as she sat down. She stared off in thought, hands folded on her lap.

"Whenever you're ready..." Georgia reminded her.

"I am ready," Raven nodded. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes. "It was three months ago," the teenager started softly. "We were fighting a group I'm guessing Vic-- I mean, Cyborg, has told you about, the Brotherhood of Evil..."

"...and then I finally flew home," Raven finished, flicking a tear from her still closed eyes. Georgia blinked, struggling for words. "I know, I know," Raven said suddenly. "You don't know what to say. I know. Everyone says it."

"No, Raven... I was going to say what a strong young woman you are for experiencing that and trying to come to grips with it." Raven's eyes opened, scowling.

"'Strong,'" she scoffed in disgust. "I'm not strong. I let them rape me."

"You didn't let them to anything, Raven."

"They caught me, didn't they?"

"Yes, they did," Georgia agreed. "But, they obviously weren't, for lack of a better word, playing fair. You couldn't have known."

"I guess," she growled. "But, still..."

"Raven, this is what I'm seeing as the major obstacle to your recovery: You're blaming yourself for what happened. You did not ask to be a victim."

"Of course I didn't! But... I hate that word," Raven sighed.

"What word is that, Raven?" Georgia asked.

"'Victim,'" the girl replied, looking away from her. "I'm not a victim. I hate being a victim."

"Well, you are. And it's not your fault."

"I wasn't strong enough to fight them, Georgia."

"Raven, I understand how you feel about your emotions, but I must insist that you drop this. There is no way your could have prepared yourself for what the Brotherhood did to you. It's that simple."

"I... guess. But, still..."

"But nothing, Raven. It's true."

"If you say so," Raven replied with a sigh.

"I do. Now, I'm afraid we're out of time... I'd like to see you again soon... how would next week be?"

"Unless there's a crime wave, it should be okay," Raven shrugged.

"Excellent. I'll put you down for next Tuesday at 2:30 PM. In the meantime, I want you to think about all that happened, and pick one or two things you wish to focus on. I'll see you then, Raven."

"So... how'd it go?"

"Well, I don't know, VICTOR... what do you think?" Raven snarked as she entered the Tower.

"Jus' tryin' to help," the larger Titan mumbled in embarrassment.

"I know. And it was very nice. But, since you asked... I got the feeling I have a lot of work ahead of me," Raven sighed.

"I don't doubt it," Robin nodded.

"I... just hope I can handle it," the girl responded wistfully.

"Dude, if you can handle what the Brotherhood threw at you, you can handle anything!" Beast Boy urged, mimicking a fight.

"That's just it, Beast Boy... I don't know if I really handled it."

"You're pushing yourself too hard, Raven," Robin insisted. "If you keep that up, you'll be miserable."

"I already am miserable, Robin."

"Okay, fine... if you keep it up, you'll continue to be miserable.

"That's better... I guess," Raven replied. "I'll be in my room if you need me," she added before floating out of the room. A distant thud indicated she had closed herself in. Her fellow Titans exchanged glances.

"Is Raven... on a road to recovery?" Starfire asked.

"I think she is, Star," Cyborg nodded. "But, it's going to be a really bumpy one. And, well, I guess all we can do is try to be there for her."

"Agreed," Robin nodded. "Her whole world's been torn apart. She's still struggling to locate the pieces, let alone reassemble them."

"She'll do it," Beast Boy nodded. "I know she can."

"Me too," Robin nodded.

"As do I!" Starfire trilled.

"Yeah," Cyborg added. "Just don't push her. She's kinda fragile right now. I know I was after the accident at Star Labs. Keep your distance unless she asks, and we should be alright."

"Good afternoon, Raven. I see you have a list?"

"Yes, I do actually," Raven nodded as she unfolded a slightly wrinkled sheet of paper. "I tried to think of what bothers me most about what happened... I couldn't really pick one or two things, though..."

"That's okay. Let's see what you have," the therapist asked, extending her hand. Raven nodded, and she handed the woman the paper. Georgia looked at it, nodding as she did so.

"I'm noticing you dwell a lot on emotions here..."

"Yes, that's a part of it, I guess..."

"Why is that, Raven? How did this make you feel?"

"I thought I answered that," the patient frowned. "It felt like I was being raped. Abused. Invaded..."

"Why, though? Emotion is a natural thing..."

"Not for me. I'm not an emotional person... well, I try not to be."

"Why, though?"

"It's... linked to my powers," Raven shrugged in an attempt to explain. "My mood regulates my powers. The more angry I am, the harder they are to control. If I'm scared or sad, they're harder to summon. I'm having trouble doing things I considered parlor tricks before I got kidnapped..."

"And, I take it you've been very scared or sad since, obviously..."

"Let alone during the time I was held captive," Raven nodded. "It's as if something's, well... blocking my abilities. And I just don't know how to break it."

"So, you feel it's your emotions that are robbing you of your powers?"

"Not just my powers," the teen replied with a shake of her head. "My confidence."

"Confidence, Raven?"

"I've lost it. I... just don't have any in myself anymore."

"How does it make you feel?"

"Useless," Raven said numbly. "Just... useless."

"That's not very good," Georgia frowned. "How bad as this gotten, Raven?"

"I was suicidal and, well, this speaks for itself..." the teenager continued, showing the therapist a gouged arm. "I don't do it anymore, though. I promise."

"That's still very worrisome..." Georgia replied.

"Look, if you're about to have me committed or something..."

"No, I'm not worried for your life, Raven. I'm just worried that your ability to inflate your feelings of self worth is so low."

"Can you blame me?"

"Of course not. But, if you want to continue your healing, you have to. Raven, there really isn't much more work I can do with you until you can get your confidence in yourself back. It's that simple."

"I know..." Raven nodded with a sigh.

"Well, I'm glad we can agree on that..." Georgia smiled.

"It's just that... I kinda feel ashamed," Raven hemmed, rubbing an arm.

"Why, Raven?"

"I've cried a lot."

"You consider crying shameful?"

"You don't understand, Georgia. Controlling my emotions is such a big thing in my life... I feel like I've been gutted. And that every time I cry, I acknowledge it."

"Or that your body's still trying to work out how it should respond, Raven. You're still expecting a quick perma-fix solution where one is, I'm sorry to say, impossible. I wish you could understand that..."

"Oh, I know Georgia. But... still..."

"I think you'll find your way, Raven. And it will be in due time. But only when you're ready for it."

"I understand," Raven nodded. "Um, Georgia?"
"Yes, Raven?"

"Just how... changed am I going to be?"

"Well, I can't really answer that," the woman admitted. "It all depends on the kind of person you are, and how quickly you can bounce back from upsets. But, if I were to venture a guess... I would say you'll probably have nightmares from time to time. Also, certain experiences or sensations may trigger memories. But, nothing too horrible for you to face. All it takes is accepting they'll happen, and learning how to deal with them. You can do both very easily once your confidence is regained."

"Oh, joy," Raven croaked.

"You doubt me now, Raven, but I speak the truth," Georgia insisted.

"I... I know," Raven sighed.

"Well, that's good that you do," Georgia smiled. "Now, since you seem a little overwhelmed at the moment, we can call it a day, as long as you promise to think over what we've talked about, okay?"

"Uh, sure..." Raven shrugged. "Same date and time, I guess?"

"Tuesday at 2:30," Georgia nodded. "Have a good week."

"Yeah... same to you," Raven nodded as she left. "Same to you."

"Oh, hey Raven... you're back early..."

"Yeah, she decided I needed some more time to think," Raven nodded as she closed her book. "Where've you been?"

"Just some Mad Mod trouble," Robin shrugged. "How are you?"

"I'm... getting there," she shrugged as well.

"Are you getting there well enough, friend?" Starfire asked.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Raven nodded. "Just, you know... some dealings, is all."

"All right," Robin said. "Well, if you need anything, just..." The boy was cut off as the Trouble Alarm blared. He bolted up to the console.

"What is it, Robin?" Beast Boy asked.

"It's the, uh, Brotherhood..." he hemmed. He saw Raven stiffen as if her blood had turned to ice water. "Stay here, Raven. We got this one."



"I have to, Cyborg. I can't just... abandon you," Raven insisted, pulling on her hood. "Let's go."

"Are you SURE..." Robin said.

"I am. Now, let's go before I change my mind." With that, the team burst through the door to battle, a whole for the first time in months.

"Ze Titans are back, oui?"

"Save it, Magilla," Cyborg snarked as he blasted Mallah off the ground.

"A poor attack if I may say so," Immortius frowned as his colleague's smoldering form fell behind. "Rommel was an expert at holding back. You, however, are not." With that, he reached for his remote when a slender gray hand ripped it away.

"I don't think so, Father Time," Raven growled as she crushed the device. The now unarmed old man fled to regroup.

"We have triumphed!" Starfire squeaked gleefully.

"No, but I do get to see an old friend, it seems," a voice called. Raven's heart ground to a halt. Breath caught in her throat, she slowly turned to face the woman.

"Hello again, Raven," Rouge trilled. The teenager stared, eyes widened in dull terror, arms stiffly to her sides. The shapeshifter frowned, looking her up and down.

"Oh, I see. You're not Raven. You're the pathetic little child I so easily destroyed. Still playing superhero? A pity. You really must grow up," she continued as she slowly walked towards her. Raven could only whimper softly as she backed away, but her confronter was relentless.

"It seems I was hasty. I am no longer tired of our games. It was a... thrill to see you so miserable and broken. I want to see how much further I can break you. Doesn't that sound fun?"

"...no..." Raven managed to squeak.

"Too bad, darling," Rouge sniffed as she lashed out her arms.

"Get out of there, Raven!" Robin cried as the lethal limbs ripped through the air towards their victim. Frozen, the girl was ensnared easily around the waist and dragged forward, eventually vanishing under the putty-like flesh of the woman.

"And, here we are again, friends," Rouge smirked, one hand on the swollen form in her middle. "Poor little Raven's too scared to save herself once again."

"You MONSTER..." Robin hissed as he unclipped something from his belt. Rouge sniffed, aiming her middle at him.

"It appears you will have to go through your little friend if you wish to get at me. However, I find being a human shield isn't stressful enough... perhaps she'd also like to feel like she's being crushed alive..." Rouge mused aloud as her midsection began to clench over the prisoner within...

"Not again... oh, Azar, please, not again!"

Sweating in fear and stress, Raven hugged her knees and clenched her eyes shut in terror. An overwhelming stream of images flowed through her head; memories of what had happened, visions of what could. She couldn't take it again. She'd rather die than let them reduce her to that... creature that escaped from their clutches last time. This realization caused her head to clear momentarily. She was still being rational. They hadn't overwhelmed her yet. Raven grabbed hold of that small spark and began to focus everything she could on it.

"No. I won't let them do it again. I won't let them... I won't!"

"Goodbye, Titans. This time, you will not see your little friend again," Rouge sniffed victoriously. "Until we meet..." The woman trailed off, confused. She looked down at her midsection, placing her hand upon it as if she were having a cramp. The Russian blinked as a black energy began to emanate from her center outwards, causing her body to puff like a balloon. A muffled voice began to come forth.

"Azarath, Metrion..."

"...oh..." Rouge managed. With that, she exploded in a flash of soul energy, reduced to a small rainstorm of putty-like droplets. Where she stood was Raven, hovering with her head slightly hung, and eyes closed.

"...zinthos," she added softly with a slight smile and opening eyes. She settled to the ground and stumbled, exhausted. Her friends steadied her.

"Raven!" Beast Boy squeaked. "That was..."
"I know," she nodded.

"How do you feel?" Robin asked. The teenager hung her head once more.

"Depressed. Miserable. Weak. Violated. Scared." She looked up. "Hopeful."

"That's really good to hear," Cyborg nodded with a smile.

"Thanks," Raven blushed. She turned, eyes narrowed, towards the shivering puddle below her. "You even think of pulling me into you again, and you'll WISH this was all I'd done. And you two," she added, looking up at the uneasy Mallah and Immortius, "if you think of hooking me up to one of your little toys again, you'll make the good madame here look good. SCRAM," she finished, eyes and soul self blazing. Whimpering, the Brotherhood retreated.

"That must have felt pretty good, Raven..." Robin observed.

"You have no idea," she replied as she turned back to them with a smile. "You have no idea."

Raven watched the sunset a few hours later from atop the Tower. It was perhaps one of the most important ones in her life; it marked a beginning and an end. The end it marked was that of perhaps the most agonizing period of her entire life; the only one that could pass it, obviously, was her decisive battle against Trigon. However, it was the beginning of her life after that. She mulled this as the fading beams of sunlight played on her calm face.

She was under no delusions. She knew she faced months of therapy and wounds that would never heal, no matter much she wanted them to. But, the hump had finally been crossed. She was on her way back to as close to normal as she would be. Of course, what was really normal for her, a half-demon Teen Titan...

Smiling, Raven stretched and yawned softly, feeling the exhaustion of restless nights building on her petite frame. She phased through the ceiling to her room, kicked off her boots, and crawled into bed. As the welcoming sheets and pillows enfolded her body, Raven smiled again, feeling for the first time in months that seeing the Sun tomorrow would have meaning again. With that thought, she sank quickly and peacefully into a long, restful and well deserved night of sleep.