One A Glimpse of the Future
A carnival had come to Jump City and at Beast Boy and Starfire's urging, they had all gone.
After Cyborg and Beast Boy made fools of themselves on a tilt-a-whirl, Starfire dragged Robin off to get their portrait done.
"So, what do you guys want to do?" Beast Boy asked. Cyborg was still clutching onto a fence to keep from falling.
"I want to go home." Raven said. "Why Starfire wanted to come here…"
"Friends, look at the image that has been made of Robin and I!" Starfire exclaimed. She was holding onto a large framed image. In it, Starfire was beaming joyously, and Robin looked more serious than he had ever before.
"Good, you've gotten a picture." Raven said. "Can we leave now?"
"But, I wanted us all to go and have our futures foretold." Starfire said. "Please, friend Raven?"
"Fine, Starfire. I'll go." Raven said. Those people are nothing but scam artists.
"Ah, the Titans. You are by far my most distinguished guests." The woman told them. She quickly brought them into her tent. The fortuneteller invited them to sit at the table, while she took her place.
"Greetings, my friends, I am Madame Rosa." She began. "Using my sight, I shall scan for the future of thy team…" She waved her hands over the crystal ball.
Raven felt a strange sensation coming from Rosa. The fortuneteller winced, and paled.
"I, I'm sorry young friends. I could not pierce the veils for you."
"You're lying." Raven said icily. "I felt it. You saw something."
Rosa sighed. "Fine. I have the Sight, and I can show you your futures. You…" Rosa looked directly at Starfire. "…You will not like what I have to show you."
Rosa directed the five young teens to lock hands, so that they all could share the vision.
Starfire and Robin stood at the top of Titan Tower. Even from way down in the lounge, Robin could hear Beast Boy and Cyborg fighting, and it brought a smile to his face.
"What did you need to tell me, Star?" Robin asked, hugging the alien princess close.
"Robin…" Starfire looked into his eyes. The sadness and pain there told Robin volumes even before she spoke. "I must return to Tamaran. I am needed by my people."
"No!" Robin exclaimed, holding the girl at arm's length. "You can't leave. We need you here. I need you here."
"My duty to my people comes before my duty to this world." Starfire explained sadly. "But I need you as well."
"Then don't go." Robin spoke, his voice choked.
"Robin, I would ask that you come with me." Smiling hopefully, Starfire took Robin's hand, and pressed it to her cheek. "Come with me to Tamaran."
Robin pulled his hand away, almost pleased at the hurt in the girl's eyes. "I can't. The Titans need me, just like they need you. My responsibility is to stay." He turned away, and walked off.
Starfire began to cry gently. She could not stay.
Robin jabbed, testing his opponent's defenses. His opponent easily blocked, and countered with a palm strike that Robin ducked under easily. He grabbed his opponent's arm and the collar of her gi, and spun, flipping her over his shoulders.
Raven grunted when she hit the floor, but lost no time regaining her feet. She lashed out with a whipping roundhouse, and this time, it was Robin who landed on his posterior.
"Are you okay?" Raven asked. "Its not often I land a blow like that."
"I'm fine." Robin said, throwing himself to his feet. Raven pushed aside his front kick, and barely managed to block the hammer blow that followed.
Raven stepped back. "You are not 'fine.' You are off-balanced, unguarded, and sloppy, Richard." She punctuated each word with a continuous attack that resulted in Robin again gazing at her from the ground. "You need to talk about whatever's bothering you. Until then, you won't be effective as a leader."
Robin sat up. "Starfire." He said as Raven sat down near him. "She got a message from a planet she's not even seen for five years, and immediately runs off."
"And?" Raven asked quietly. She didn't need empathy to tell that wasn't all.
"The night she found out, Star asked me to go with her. I told her no, that my duties here were too important." Robin continued.
"You're angry with yourself for choosing your work over Starfire." Raven spoke. It wasn't a question.
Robin nodded. "It's the kind of thing Bru…Batman would do. I left Gotham so I wouldn't turn out as obsessed as him."
"Did you stop to think, Richard, that Starfire knew you wouldn't come?" Raven suggested. "That she asked so you wouldn't follow her?"
"You aren't suggesting that she never wanted me to go with her." Robin replied flatly. "That makes no sense."
"Think what you want, Grayson." Raven said, standing. "But do think about it. Get things right in your mind." She walked off, leaving Robin to stew in his thoughts.
The vision faded, and the disoriented Titans found themselves back in the fortuneteller's tent.
"Is that all?" Beast Boy asked, first to summon enough courage to speak.
"No. That is much, much more." Rosa told them. "But I must rest. I have never sensed a vision so intense, so right as this one."
Raven, sitting next to Starfire, could feel the Tamaranian's stunned silence. "Perhaps we do not need to see the rest of it." Raven said slowly.
"No." Starfire's voice was oddly dull. "I want to see."
Rosa smiled sadly, far too sadly. Robin began to fear what she would show them. "I am now ready to start again. I am sorry for what you will see."
Richard Grayson didn't even slow down as he revved his cycle up the path to the manor. He had enough trust in Alfred that the gate would be open, waiting.
Richard pulled to a stop in front of the manor, and climbed off the motorcycle. He grabbed a case from the back, and walked toward the door.
Alfred opened to wide manor doors, and embraced the young man. "Welcome back, Master Richard." He welcomed, picking up the suitcase. Not for the first time, Richard wondered how such an old man could be so tough.
"Where's Bruce?" Richard asked.
"In the private study." Alfred replied. "He's waiting for the both of us."
"Welcome back, Dick." Bruce Wayne said. He was sitting in front of the Batcave's immensely powerful computer. "Are you sure about this?"
"Bruce, I'm twenty-one. I can't be the Boy Wonder forever, can I?" Richard replied. "Besides, I've already got a new deal lined up."
Bruce stood, and crossed the distance to a glass case. Inside was a dummy waiting for its outfit. "Then the time has finally come to retire Robin."
Nightwing, Raven, Cyborg, Changeling, and Arsenal stood outside of the lab. Inside were two really, really stupid burglars. They'd deactivated all the high-tech security alarms, but had fallen for an old fashioned silent alarm.
"These guys are dumber than Billy Numerous." Changeling whispered. "Can't we go in and take them out? I left a pizza out on the table."
"No." Nightwing replied. "I want to see the look on their faces when they come out."
Their look was priceless.
Two Things Change
Nightwing, Robin, Batman, and Alfred sat in a darkened waiting room. There came a tap at the window, and Batman hefted out the trick window, letting Catwoman inside.
"No one knows we're here. Cassie's bringing in some civvies for us."
Nightwing was too worried to say anything, but he offered Robin a weak grin when the young man offered him some encouragement.
The door opened, and a young doctor walked in. "Okay boys, suit down. Selina, I have the camera's turned off, so follow me to the ladies room." She stopped in the doorway. "Rich?" Nightwing looked up. "She's fine, all right? Calm down a bit."
Minutes later, Bruce Wayne, his wife Selina, Alfred, the family butler, Dick Grayson, the quasi son Bruce took in after the younger man's parents died, and Tim Drake, who officially was the young man hired to do the outside work, all were sitting in the maternity waiting room.
"Mr. Grayson?" a doctor asked, walking in. "Your family is fine. I must say, your son has quite a set of lungs."
The Vision blurred, and the Titans watched as the light blurred, faded, and returned, a new set of images coming with it.
A small figure slunk through the dark hallway. He almost stepped on a toy, but he managed to avoid it. He stopped outside of the open door; the light sound of dual snore's hit his ears.
The little boy slipped into his parents' room, and peeked over the edge of the bed. Daddy and Mommy were asleep, all right. The boy backed up a few steps, and with a scream, launched himself on the bed.
His parents were less than thrilled at being woken up at four in the morning.
"Daddy, when are we going to see Uncle Vic?" The boy asked for about the ninth time.
Richard Grayson grit his teeth. "We'll be at Jump City in ten minutes."
Raven laughed. "Calm down, Dick." She said. Her husband favored her with a sour glare.
Soon enough, the Grayson's arrived at the park, where an unofficial reunion of the original Titans was taking place.
Victor Stone, Cyborg, stood at the grill, his new holographic rings already at work. He appeared to be a normal thirty-year old, but the Titans, past and current, knew better.
Beast Boy, now Changeling, was showing off his own holo-ring, made by Cyborg. It projected what Changeling would look like if he had normal skin-tone. "Come on, Vic. Just one tofu dog."
"I swear by all that is meaty that if you don't take that thing elsewhere, I'm gonna hurl you into the river." Vic replied.
"Vic, Gary!" Richard called. He scooped up Jason, his son, and crossed the park with Raven at his side.
"Dick, man it is good to see you." Vic replied, shaking hands with his old friend. "How's Bludhaven treating you?"
"We're both fine." Raven replied. She smiled when young Tim Drake, alias Robin, dragged Richard off and into a football game.
Gary stuck one of his tofu dogs onto the grill. "I heard Star's back on Earth." He said carefully. "She's Tamaran's ambassador to Earth."
"Dick and I saw that in the news." Raven replied. "I would guess she won't be here."
"Yeah, it'd be hard for her to sneak away from those honor guards." Vic said, flicking the tofu dog into the grass.
"I would not be so sure." A familiar voice spoke. Starfire was standing a bit away. "They believed me to be mediating in my rooms." Her aloofness shattered, and she gathered her friends in a bone-crushing hug. Then she grabbed Raven's hand, and inspected the wedding band.
"You are married, friend Raven?" She asked, incredulous. She smiled. "To…?" Though Star left the pause intentionally pregnant, Raven knew whom Star meant. Raven nodded. "Then I am happy for you."
"Would you like to meet our son?" Raven invited. "And Richard would be glad to see you."
Another shift, this one so abrupt that it completely disoriented the Titans. There was a brief image, which would stay in the young heroes' minds, of a long brick hallway. It was decorated with glass-covered news clippings, decorations and awards, and large portraits of the Titans from the beginning of the global group, to a new present. However, this was only fleeting, and soon came a solid image again.
A young man, wearing a black uniform, stood in front of three other young heroes. His features were shockingly familiar, especially with the thin mask that guarded his eyes, and the blue-purple hair.
He raised one of the staves he held, and pointed. "Titans, go!"Epilogue
The fortuneteller, the teenaged heroes still in the thrall of the vision, wove a simple spell. When they came out of the vision, the last half-hour would be different in each of their minds, and they would not speak of it. The only vision that they would remember, if only in dreams, was the final portion, of Jason leading his team to battle.
She smiled, and waved the Titans out of her tent, each of them with a pleasant fortune to treasure.
"Why did I have to do this? Isn't your interference enough?" She asked no one visible. "Why did I need to lie? You know that if we did nothing, then Koriand'r and Grayson would join together, and be very happy."
Arella, once called Rachel, appeared. "For the death of this world to be avoided, my Daughter and the Son of the Bat must join their destinies. The vision we gave them, though they won't remember it, will become the true vision of the future."