Disclaimer: I don't own TT.
This is a story I've been working on for quite a while. I'm having some writer's block in Confutatis Maledictis, so it might be a while longer before you get an update. I know I wait forever to give you all updates, but if you want to read my stuff right away, it's all on my deviantART. My name's tatteredmemory on there.
Hope ya like this story! It's rated for some 'mature' elements. If you can't handle them, don't read it.
It seems we've been the Teen Titans since before I can remember. It's always been us…the five of us. Robin, the leader, the one who keeps a cool head in the worst of situations and always has a solution to the worst problem. Cyborg, the easygoing, full-of-life half-robot with the ability to make anyone see things from a calm, rational point of view. Starfire, the effervescent, tirelessly positive alien with peacemaking skills Mother Theresa would envy. Beast Boy, the joker who seems to be able to laugh his way through anything even if the world is threatening to shove him into the ground. And me, Raven, "the goth", the voice of reason in any ridiculous conversation, the one people turned to for steady realism and anything but a candy-coated version of the truth. We've always been that way, we've always had our roles, our friendship, our team. We've always been, aside from the occasional freakout or threat of all existence being wiped out, relatively normal by our own standards. And that's where we stood. That's the way things were, without change, without a hiccup in our comfort-worn grooves. Our lives grew relatively predictable, not so much a boredom as a comfort. But then, there was that summer. That summer that changed everything, starting with small, subtle changes that meant nothing at first. It was where they led us that mattered.
Up until that point, we were strictly superheroes. Five teenage, super-powered friends living together in a giant T in the middle of the bay. We were always so platonic, so concerned with our superhero duties and with staying just close enough to be comfortable with each other. And so it was needless to say that before that summer none of us were much governed by our hormones, as strange as it may sound since we are, in fact, teenagers. Well, our actions were never much governed by hormones, though I have no idea if the others' thoughts were or not. Who knows? Who cares? Myself, I was never really a fan of feeling much of anything, living in constant fear of my father's ever-present influence over me. Not until his defeat did I relax and start enjoying the fact that I could feel whatever I wanted, lust after whatever I wanted, and get used to the absence of fear thinking thoughts that even loomed close to the concept of sex, which I can admit I didn't think of much, anyway, even after I was released from my emotional 'prison', having always been relatively uncomfortable with the whole thing.
That summer was the one where things were slowly shifting back to normal. Late that autumn, my demon father, Trigon, had attempted to wipe out human existence. And then, just as things were settling down, the Brotherhood of Evil, a (very obviously) sinister organization bent on some type of world conquest, as all irritating cults of their kind are, had started up a horribly overdone plan of destruction. It took us the better part of the winter and spring to, along with the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy's (or should I say Garfield's?) former team, finally bring them to justice.
And so, as the last traces of spring faded, we had made our way back home to Jump City just before the start of summer.
It was so much different than any of us remembered. The city we knew was gone, and in its place stood a war-torn ruin. Fallen buildings, crushed like the fragile skulls of newborns, bits of debris littering the once immaculate streets. We stood in awe of the depressing sight at the heart of downtown, beside the sagging pile that had once been our favorite pizza place, none of us speaking for the first few minutes. Robin and I were safe, our reactions hidden, his behind the white-and-black spandex of his mask and mine beneath the shadows of my hood, which I pulled up immediately as we stopped to look at what had once been home. Robin just had his normal look of neutral sternness that he assumes in unpleasant situations. But the other three Titans were open books. Cyborg's face held a kind of solid, sturdy grimness and the first stages of acceptance at what had become of our city. Starfire's was one of complete and utter sadness that she did not even attempt to conceal as she took in the broken buildings. And Beast Boy's was one that I had not expected: complete disbelief. He stared around at the surroundings with such a look of incredulity that I almost felt sorry for him. He shook his head several times, blinking, mouth open a fraction as though he were whispering words that never got to the stage of making any real sound.
"This can't be Jump City," he said after we watched it in silence for a few moments.
"Well, it is, deal with it," I said, surprised at my abrupt harshness that I had grown much better at not using much lately. But it was too late to say anything about it now, and I don't really do apologies very well, so I crossed my arms and assumed a look of apathy, surveying the spider web cracks in the street around us from under my mask of shadows where I knew I was safe from him, from anyone and everyone. Under that hood I could feel what I really felt. I was getting so good at wearing my heart on my sleeve lately, expressing my emotions on any given situation freely, almost more so than the others, but with things like this I had to regress back to my old ways of hiding everything, never letting them see. What I felt at the time was a kind of strange, painful ache, that feeling you get when you've lost something very, very precious and you know that even if you get it back it just won't ever be the same, you can never quite replace that feeling it had before, and you know at that moment that you'll never get that feeling back again in quite the same way.
Usually when I made a comment like this at Beast Boy he would get offended and snap back, and we would get into an argument. We really got into some bad ones during the whole Brotherhood fiasco. But to my surprise, he didn't. He just moved over closer to the rubble of the pizza place, away from us, and hunched his back a little, his response to something when it didn't make him feel enough of anything to really react. And it scared me, always scared me when he got like that. I walked directly over to him and placed a hand on his small shoulder from behind. He didn't jump: he knew I was there.
"Are you okay?" I asked him, allowing my voice to show my concern, the flood of emotion actually provoking a response in him. But he didn't give me the guarded 'Leave me alone!' I expected or the fake, cheerful, 'Sure' that I half-expected. He just whirled around in a burst of spontaneity and pressed himself up against me, pressing his cheek into my chest. It wasn't even really a hug, his arms didn't go around me or anything, it was just…I don't even know what you would call it. A desperate attempt to do something, anything, cease a restless confusion he might have been feeling, I don't know. I've never been able to fathom what goes on in that boy's head. I was so shocked that I didn't know how to react, and the kid didn't move. I stood there just…waiting for him to go away, but he didn't. He just stood there, torso trying to melt into mine, wanting one of those deep, comforting hugs that I had no idea why in the world he would think that I would ever give him, and not budging. Being almost as stubborn as me. I stood there motionless as a rock but somehow that boy never could take a hint, whether it was about me not thinking his jokes were funny or about this, no matter how obvious I made it. And so I did what I always do just for him for some reason I don't even know: I gave in. I lifted my arms and hooked them around him in the most awkward hug he's probably ever gotten, clumsy from lack of practice, worse than the time I grabbed onto him in the hallway after…Malchior. But he didn't even seem to care how stupid it all was, he just started clinging onto me like a little kid, trembling, and leaving me with nothing to do but hug him ineptly and pray that he would just stop it. He didn't.
It took a few minutes of this strange, awkward hug (if you would even call it that), a few minutes of me feeling unfathomably uncomfortable with him pressing into my breasts and all, before he finally backed off. I don't remember a time when I've been more thankful to be separated from someone. It was strange, though, as I watched him retreat and look back toward the rubble of the city, how even though his actions had made me uncomfortable, was there some part of me that had enjoyed him pressed up against me, a part of me that had always liked it although I pushed him away, told him to stop, glared at him unmercifully? Was there a part of me that liked that it was always me he came to, me who he hugged for a good reason or for no reason at all, and no one else? There always had been some small pleasure in knowing that I was the only one he was comfortable embracing.
And I wondered all of it again later as we worked on repairs on the city. There hadn't been as much damage done as it had initially seemed. Several buildings were smashed beyond repair and needed to be rebuilt entirely, but others, including the pizza place, could be saved with some minor repair. Part of the ceiling of the Tower had caved, and Cyborg had it half fixed already, after only several hours of our work. We were assisting the construction crews in the city's restoration, something Robin had insisted would be good for all of us. He and I were working on patching up the west wall of a bank. I lifted a large blob of repair material with a careful cloud of black psychic energy and pushed it against the wall, and Robin smoothed it out with a flat tool and we repeated the process. Pushing a strand of violet hair behind my ear and wiping a smudge of the gooey stuff from my cheek, I watched Beast Boy painting a newly repaired post office with some cream colored paint across the street and wondered all about my earlier thoughts. I must have been drifting off, because I felt a tap on my ankle and looked down to see Robin looking up at me from a few feet below on the ground. I came back down to Earth (literally), landing on the sidewalk beside him and shading my eyes from the bright afternoon sun as we surveyed our work so far.
"Not half bad," Robin said with a nod, and I agreed. We were doing a surprisingly fast job on the repairs. We were working our backs off, after all. We'd barely had time to unpack out things from the T-ship and sit down for a few minutes in the Tower before we were off on our mission to start mending the city. I didn't mind it as much as I could have. It was a nice enough day, and I was getting to the point where I was actually starting to enjoy the sun.
"See, not everything has to change," Robin said to Beast Boy, who had come to stand beside us. "It just needs a little fixing up, and it'll be good old Jump City again."
"And anyway, it's not the city that makes a place home. It's the people. And we're all still here. We always will be," I reminded Beast Boy, offering a ghost of a smile, something not entirely common for me.
Beast Boy nodded. "Thanks guys. Uh…sorry I was being kinda cookoo earlier. I'm just kinda scared of stuff changing, ya know?" I nodded, taking in his partially relaxed, partially tense from earlier expression. It was about at that point that I realized that I couldn't stop staring at Beast Boy.
I have about 7 chapters done, so I'll update really soon. (: