A/N: I know what you are thinking. "Wow, how cliche! Demigod is making a 'Terra comes back' fic!" You're right, it is a cliche. I haven't read many (any) of them, but I'm sure they exist. However, I want to write one too, so I am. Anyway, I hope I can do it fairly well, and in a way that does justice to the characters. Also, before you ask, I'm fully aware of basically all DC comics continuity involving Terra, Slade, and the Teen Titans. I know a lot of things I write here sort of imply that I'm confused. I'm not, trust me. Anyway, hope you enjoy the fic!
As the white light began to burn Trigon away, and as the Titans stared at the shining and astoundingly powerful incarnation of Raven, a lone figure was quickly retreating from the scene. Having only recently regained his life, Slade found that he had no desire to spend the remainder of it in prison. The wretched state of the city was changing around him as he ran. The buildings were losing the blackened coloring, the sky was changing again from blood-red to blue, and the people were changing from back from stone to flesh. Slade paused in his mad run for a moment, thinking.
Turning quickly, he covered the few short blocks to the old park in only a few moments. Trigon's death knell still rang in the air, but the city seemed to have already taken it's first breaths after the near-apocalypse. Slade lifted the small boulder that blocked the entrance to the cave complex, and slipped inside. The darkness immediately overwhelmed him, and forced him to take a more cautious advance. He pulled a small, long-living flare from a belt compartment, and lit it, letting his eyes adjust to the relative darkness.
Slade stepped forward slowly, walking through the long, empty tunnel. He still felt a twinge of antipathy for the place. It had been the scene of another confrontation, as well as another failure. He had nearly paid the ultimate price for his inability to control his former apprentice. Rusted iron doors lay twisted and ruined nearby, as Slade entered the main chamber. He continued forwards, his footsteps sounding loudly in the silent room. Finally, he found what he had hoped to see.
Unconscious, and barely breathing, Terra lay on the floor in front of the stone pedestal that had served as a monument for her. Slade stepped closer, more cautious now, knowing of the raw and dangerous power that the girl contained. The light of the flare shone on her bright blond hair, and glinted on the dangerous looking costume that he had crafted for her. Slade paused. Now that he had confirmed that Terra was alive, he suddenly realized that he had rushed here with no plan for her.
Slowly, Slade knelt, holding the low-burning flare carefully away from the girl, and lifting her gently with one arm. Carrying her limp form over his shoulder, he stood, and began to walk away from the pedestal. As he proceeded through the tunnel again, he allowed his mind to wander over possibilities for the girl. The only audible noises in the cave were his footsteps, and the girl's shallow breathing.
Slade arrived in a safehouse of his design, nearly two hours later. He'd taken care to avoid notice by citizens, knowing that Robin would be relentless in pursuing rumors of his whereabouts. Traveling through the abandoned and disused sections of the old sewer system beneath Jump City, Slade felt he'd reasonably avoided any followers. Slade laid Terra on a small table, then stepped to the side and carefully filled a small syringe with sedative. He'd need her unconscious for a while longer. He flinched slightly as he pressed the needle into the vein on her arm, not enjoying the act of sedating his former pupil. The syringe emptied, he placed it on a nearby tray.
The operation, as it were, took several hours. Terra had trusted him so completely, and had worn the costume for such a length of time, that it had nearly fully integrated with her body. It had been designed to be ultimately removable, however, and only slight scarring would remain. A few short lines, here and there, on her torso. Slade now sat, silently, watching the girl breathe. Without the metal costume, Terra lay on the table uncovered.
The remaining neural implants inside Terra had confirmed the physical signs of massive memory loss. It was quite possible that Terra would awake with absolutely no idea of who she was, or who she had been. Slade found himself once again lacking direction or a plan. Terra would be asleep for perhaps another four hours, and then she would awake. Would she awake scared and confused, seeking knowledge of her past from anyone who seemed able to provide it? Or would she awake terrified of this world she may know nothing of, and strike out with her incredible power, destroying everything she saw?
Slade stood, and walked towards a nearby armoire, quickly changing his clothing to a more normal sort. Dressed in casual wear, he pulled an overlarge shirt from the armoire, and wrapped Terra in it. Lifting her once more, he stepped out from his small safehouse, and placed her in the front seat of his civilian car. Arranging her to appear as if she was simply sleeping from a long drive, Slade pulled away from the house. A short distance away, in the city proper, was an apartment he used from time to time.
Within three hours, Slade had fashioned a reasonable facsimile of a teenaged girl's room in the spare bedroom of his apartment. Having purchased a few other odds and ends to toss around the apartment to create a more homey atmosphere, he laid Terra down in her new bed. He'd dressed her in a school uniform for the nearby Murakami private high school, hoping to further the illusion should it prove possible.
Just an hour later, nearly perfectly on schedule, Terra's eyes opened. Slade was there, watching her still, in his civilian clothes. Terra stared at the ceiling for a moment, then looked around the room blankly, no comprehension in her face. Finally, her eyes rested on Slade's, and her mouth moved slightly, as if she'd forgotten how to speak.
"Don't worry. I know that you do not remember me, but you are safe here." Slade kept his voice calm and deliberate. He wanted to do nothing that might cause the dangerous girl to panic.
Terra's lips moved, slowly. A few moments later, when she spoke, her voice was weak and scared. "Where? Where am I?"
Slade smiled at her, hoping to soothe her fear. "You are in your room. I am Slade Wilson, your father."
"My father?" Terra looked at Slade skeptically at first, but her expression softened quickly. "You are... my father. Who... am I?"
Slade reached out, placing the small butterfly clip again into Terra's blonder hair. "You are my daughter... Rose."
Rose smiled, happy to know her name again.
Rose sighed as she stepped through the doorway from the hallway into the apartment. It had been a long day at school, seemingly much longer than normal. Her father, Slade, was in his workout room, as he often was when she returned from classes.
Walking quickly down the hallway, and tossing her books nonchalantly on her floor, Rose fell backwards onto her bed, staring at the ceiling in exhaustion. The ceasing of the wooden knocking sounds of her father's wing chun dummy indicated that he was coming to speak to her. Rose didn't move.
Her father entered her room, and brought the scent of a heavy workout with him. "You are tired, dear child. Was your day overly taxing?" Slade sat down on a nearby chair, facing Rose.
Rose still lay on her back in her bed, talking to her father while staring at the ceiling. "Not really. It's just that Beastboy was still bothering me all day long. He followed me from class to class demanding that I 'remember' who I was."
Even without seeing him, Rose could feel her father's irritation with the Titan. She'd noticed that whenever the Titans were mentioned, her father was uneasy. "What did you say to him?"
Rose pulled herself up to a sitting position, to face her father and alleviate whatever fears he had. "I told him that whatever girl he was looking for was obviously just a memory, and that I wasn't her." Rose decided to leave out the part about the test she hadn't studied for; it didn't seem relevant at the moment anyway. "He didn't bother me after that."
Slade's voice didn't fluctuate or seem accusational as he asked his question. "Why did you arrive so late in the day? It is nearly eight o'clock."
Rose smiled. "I was out with Ashley and Jessica. They were trying to help cheer me up from all the weirdness with Beastboy. They don't like him, and I think Ashley has some kind of problem with superheroes. Still, I can't help but wonder if Beastboy might be right. Something about him does seem familiar, and I don't really remember anything beyond a few months ago."
Slade stood, a sure sign of his dismissal of the idea. "I've told you of your past. You were never a superheroine." Slade left Rose's room, calling out from the hallway. "I will prepare dinner. You need to do your homework, as it is late in the day and it must be done."
Rose stuck out her tongue at her doorway, knowing that her father couldn't see her. Sighing, she reached down and gathered her books, and began working. Two hours and a small dinner later, she was done. She placed her books back on the floor, and laid back on her bed again.
Something about Beastboy was more familiar than just another superhero. Everyone in Jump City knew who Beastboy was, but something about him just pulled a nagging feeling inside her. She couldn't place the feeling. It was somewhere between guilt, friendship, and attraction. Though she had no idea why anyone would be attracted to the awkward and somewhat pushy Beastboy, she couldn't help but wonder why he seemed important.
She closed her eyes, thinking back into the missing memories of her past. She tried to remember what it would have been like to be a Teen Titan, to fight supervillains, to move the earth as Beastboy had told her she could. Opening her eyes again, she sighed. Still, nothing came to the surface. She'd recalled plenty of academic information from her past. American and world history, mathematics, lingual skills, and similar sorts of information were all remembered without any effort. However, she couldn't remember her old friends, or anything about her family life from the period. All she had to go on were the vague stories that her father told her.
Rose sighed again, giving up on her memories and standing. She dressed for bed, still a little depressed by her failure to remember anything. She left her room, finding her father watching the late newscast in the living room. She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "Goodnight dad. Will you be here tomorrow morning?"
Slade nodded, then turned off the television. "I have no work in the immediate future. I will be here any time that you need me. Go to sleep, my dear. Perhaps school will be easier for you tomorrow."
Rose smiled, and left the room, heading back to her own.
Slade, sitting in the silence of his apartment, listened as his adopted daughter's breath became slow and even. Only after she was asleep did he allow himself to think over what she had revealed to him. Despite the attempted dissuasion by the robotic clone of Slade, Beastboy still seemed intent on forcing Terra to remember her past. Slade was uncertain that it was even possible for her to remember; it was possible that her brain had been physically injured enough to remove the memories entirely. Still, it was a threat. Slade did not know how to deal with it directly, without irritating the Titans enough to start a full investigation into his whereabouts.
Slade leaned forwards, thinking deeply. Beastboy, however incompetent he normally seemed, needed to be dealt with. But how?
Rose's eyes jerked open as her alarm clock sounded in all it's screeching volume. She reflexively reached over and smacked the snooze button, silencing the piercing noise. She closed her eyes again, sighing. After a moment's rest, she stretched languidly, kicking her bed covers off of her and smiling at the morning light shining against her window blinds. For a moment, none of her concerns about her past or future mattered at all.
She pulled herself up to a sitting position, and then reached over to turn off her alarm. She could hear her father in the kitchen, cooking breakfast for them. She was happy that he had said he would be home for her for a while. His work often kept him out of the house all hours of the night and day. He'd never been very forthright with answers about his work, and she'd stopped trying after a time. Sometimes he would leave, perhaps with a note for her explaining how long he would be, and then return precisely when he'd said he would.
Rose hopped down from her bed, and scratched herself groggily. She stepped out into the hallway, waving to her father as she picked up a towel from the linen closet and walked to the shower. After a refreshing shower, she pulled the towel around herself and walked quickly back to her room, drying off and donning her school uniform. She spent a few minutes brushing the knots out of her hair, before leaving her room once more and heading into the kitchen.
"G'morning dad. Thanks." Rose smiled at her father and took the plate of scrambled eggs and toast that he handed her.
"Good morning, Rose. Did you sleep well?" Slade sat down on the chair opposite his daughter, eating his food while watching her for any signs that things were not well.
Rose shrugged as she picked at her eggs, not terribly hungry. "I slept well, no interesting dreams or anything. How about you?"
"I didn't sleep. Rose, if Beastboy bothers you at school today, I want you to call me. I will see what I can do to make him stop." Slade looked across the table as he spoke, wanting her to understand that he was serious in this regard.
Slightly taken aback by the severity in her father's voice, Rose tried to alleviate his concerns. "He doesn't seem dangerous or anything. He's a superhero, dad. I'll just tell him to go away if he's still bothering me."
Slade nodded. "Very well, Rose. If he does not listen, call me. Teenaged superheroes are still human, like everyone else. Don't assume that he is a saint. I'll take your plate."
Rose handed her plate to her father, and idly moved the newspaper so that she could see the front page. It was a full-page spread on the Titans' victory over some as-yet-unnamed monster. The article was blandly written and droned on and on about the most uninteresting facts, but Rose found herself interested in one of the photos taken by a bystander.
The photo wasn't very good, but it was relatively clear and the paper had given it a fair amount of space. It depicted Beastboy, seemingly with his foot trapped in a pile of rubble. The monster was not in the photo, but somehow the picture made Rose feel very uneasy. She could almost swear that she'd seen it before, but she couldn't remember where. The lighting seemed wrong somehow. Rose reached across the table and picked up a pen that was sitting there unused. She drew on the picture, outlining the rubble and filling it in with black ink, shading the picture to look as if it was in the middle of the night.
Rose could feel that her father was watching her do this, but didn't think much of it. Finally, she put the pen down, and looked at the new image of Beastboy trapped in the dark, with his foot caught in rubble. Yes. Yes, she had seen this somewhere before. She felt uneasy, looking at the modified photo. Her body felt tense, as if she were in conflict, but she had no idea what over. She could almost hear Beastboy talking to her about something, but it was like trying to remember a dream. Suddenly, her father picked up the paper rather brusquely.
"Do not concern yourself with the Titans, Rose. They will do their job, fighting the monsters that occasionally escape, and you will do yours, going to school. You are now a few minutes late, due to your drawing." Slade rolled the paper up tightly and placed it into the trashcan.
Rose, sensing her father's obvious distrust of the Titans, simply sighed and left the table. After picking up her books from her room, she continued to the doorway. Her father was waiting for her there. "Bye dad, I'll call you if he's still around."
Her father halted her for a moment, looking at her silently. When he spoke, the irritation and severity of his previous statement was gone. "Rose, I apologize for being blunt. I just don't want you to be manipulated by the Titans. They have a certain type of celebrity in this city, and I don't want you to be hurt. Just be cautious."
Rose smiled as her father hugged her to him briefly. She nodded as he broke the hug. "Don't worry dad, I'll be careful. See you when I get home."
"Goodbye, my child."
Rose spent a thoroughly uninteresting day at school, filled with normal classes and normal teachers. Her friends teased her about Beastboy following her around all day, but were obviously just trying to make sure she wasn't falling for the weird boy. She laughed with them and assuaged their fears as best she could.
As the school day ended, Terra began the relatively short walk home, with her friends. As they passed by a police line, the girls stopped to look at the damage from the monster's rampage. Rose couldn't help but remember the photograph from the morning as she looked out over all the rubble. Ashley pushed back an errant red hair from her face, and gestured at all the damage.
"This wouldn't even have happened if the Titans weren't here. My dad says that ever since they moved in, there have been more and more supervillain attacks every year."
Shawna looked to be irritated with Ashley's distaste for the Titans. "Well it's not like they made the monster attack. If they hadn't been here, who knows how long it would have run around destroying things?"
"I heard that the witch, Raven or whatever, caused that memory blackout for everyone last year. You know, when everyone suddenly got sore, like we'd been standing up for days, but didn't know why?"
Shawna rolled her eyes, crossing her arms on her chest. "Whatever. Why would she do that? People don't just make a city sore for no reason. What do you think, Rose?"
Rose shrugged. She was watching a construction worker struggle with a load of bricks, trying to patch a damaged wall. She could tell that the rigging for the bricks had been shoddily constructed, it looked like it was about to fall. "I don't know. Beastboy was nice enough, but I guess they did chase the monster through town. It might have just left the city alone if they hadn't bothered it. Does that look safe, over there?"
Ashley looked over at the construction work. "Not really, but I don't know anything about construction. I'm sure he knows what he's doing, Rose. Why do you even care?"
It seemed to Rose that time slowed down, as the heavy stone bricks began to collapse. The workman was standing directly underneath the falling debris, as old and stressed mortar failed. Instinctively, she reached out her hand as if to catch the bricks, even though she was nearly forty yards away. As she did so, her hand suddenly glowed, and the bricks changed direction in mid air, falling twenty feet away from where they should have. Rose gasped, pulling her hand back and staring at it. Her friends looked at her, mouths agape.
"Rose... what was that? Did you just... what was that?" Shawna had taken a step away from Rose, seemingly suspicious of her.
"I don't know! I just... I didn't want him to get hit by the bricks, and they moved!" Terra felt panicked. There was no way she could have done that. It was impossible.
"Oh my God, you are one of them, aren't you? That green jerk was right, you're a metahuman!" Ashley looked angry. Rose knew that Ashley didn't like superheroes, but Rose was not a heroine.
"Ashley, Shawna, please! Please don't tell anyone! Promise me you won't tell anyone! Swear it!" Rose sounded more angry than she intended, but for some reason she was horrified that anyone might find out that this had happened.
Shawna nodded nervously. "Of course not, you're my friend. I won't tell anyone. Maybe it was just like a one-time thing."
Ashley shrugged. "Fine, I won't tell either, but go get a blood test for being a metahuman. Maybe they can fix you or something."
Rose forced a smile. "Thanks guys, I'll get it figured out. Nothing like this has ever happened before, I hope it's a one time thing too."
After a silent and awkward walk home, Rose left her friends and walked into her apartment building. She stepped over to the elevator, and got in, starting the ride to her apartment on the eighteenth floor. In the quiet of the elevator, Rose finally let herself think about what had happened. She'd moved earth. She wanted the bricks to move, and the bricks moved. What had happened?
What was she?
A/N: Ok, I know this chapter was fairly short, but I'm fine with it overall. Please review and tell me what you think, it's been a long time since I've written much of anything and I feel uncertain about the quality. I don't know how much time I'll have to write, but I'll try to keep the updates relatively frequent. Thanks for reading!