Sorry it's taken me so long to update. I've been working on a ton of oneshots and prompts and poems and other little things like that.
So, this is the last chapter. It's been a long time coming, but I feel really accomplished by this. Looking back, I kinda hate some of the earlier chapters, but I can see myself improve as it goes on. I hope you guys see that too, and don't hate me too much for not having the best beginning.
Yes, there will be an epilogue. I already know what is going to happen in it, so just be ready.
Thank you so much for everyone who has stuck through with this story since it's rocky start. I love each and every one of you who reviewed ♥
A part of me wanted to name this chapter "I'm wide awake, it's morning," after the Bright Eyes song, but I decided against it :P
Read and enjoy :)
Shooting through the sky like a lost bullet, the green hawk flew. He was desperately searching for any sign of hope, anything to keep him going. The night was beginning to silently leave the sky to make room for the sun. The sight of the moon falling low over the horizon edged him on and made him fly faster. He didn't have that much time, and he had no idea where he was going.
He wasn't following the wind or even his instinct. Trying as hard as he could, he turned off every thought and every emotion, flying without aim. It was the only plan he had thought up before he left the tower. He could only fly and hope that he found her.
Beast Boy closed his eyes and flew faster, trying to quell the frantic thoughts that kept creeping up on him. He felt himself swoop low to the ground. The wind and dust rushing past him ruffled his feathers and blocked out every other sound from his ears. The speed and the wind calmed his frenzied head as his muscles worked mechanically to carry him through the night sky.
His eyes opened to slits while he turned and twisted through forest and foliage. All of a sudden it hit him. That smell…it was rusty and putrid, almost poisonous to the senses. Hastily he changed back and stood staring at the dropping moon, focused solely on his nose. He was so engrossed in the odor of old drying blood he didn't hear anything around him. Everything was about the smell that was so strong and so out of place. If he found where it came from, he would find her, he was sure of it. Beast Boy clenched his fists and declared silently that he would find Raven and keep her safe, no matter what.
He bent to his knees and sniffed at the dirt. It was coming from somewhere close, he could tell that much. He had to be quiet. He had to be fast. He had to sneak up on the scent. He had to be…an animal. In an instant he was a fox darting through the overgrown brush, following the growing smell of blood. He ran until the soft pads of his feet were sore and dirty, and his breath came in fast gasps. But he couldn't stop.
He was lithe, and swift—powerful but silent. His feet barely made a sound as he scurried through the trees. By the time he reached a large clearing his body was covered in sweat and white foam was dripping from his mouth. Transforming back to a human he glanced around the clearing, ingraining in his mind the way it looked; the trees that looked hunched over and tired surrounding it, the flowers that seemed too happy in contrast, and the thick grass that was listlessly lying entangled with itself.
Moving a hand to wipe the foam that still fizzed on his lips, he took a weary step into the clearing. He was prepared for an attack from any side. Sebastian wouldn't let him get close without a fight. And he knew he was close. He steeped to the center of the clearing and turned in a slow circle. He took a step to where he thought the smell was strongest—
The rock crashed into his skull and sent him careening forward, falling flat onto his face. The hand that had been cleaning the foam swept to the back of his head where he felt a warm liquid dance over his fingers. He could feel the blood soaking into his hair, dying it a strange mix between red and green.
A small sharp pebble flew into his hand, digging into the skin to a frightening depth. He turned slowly over, mind sluggish and non responsive. A silhouette stood above him, shape intangible in the dim light. Pale hair…pale skin…Sebastian? No, it couldn't be. The figure was too lanky…too…feminine.
"No way… " the words drifted off his still wet lips as he stared above him, "How…why?" Without responding the figure walked over to him. Standing with her legs straddling his stomach she gently eased down, knees on the hard earth, hands on his arms. "Why?" his whisper floated to her face as it hung inches from him.
"I saw you," Terra murmured, blond hair falling like a curtain around their faces. "You had…foam…You looked…" she trailed off, glancing away from his eyes uneasily.
"Terra," Beast Boy said, his voice gaining strength from anger and agitation, "I don't have time for this." He closed his eyes and picture Raven, looking so strong but so fragile, standing up to Sebastian with no hope of winning. "I can't…do this."
"Do what?" she asked concerned, "Beast Boy, I'm worried about you." Her sapphire eyes burned with tears that she refused to shed. "I hate seeing you like this."
"Like what? Angry?"
"Like an animal."
He sighed, fighting the mixed urges to alternately throw her off of him, and hug her. He had no idea why she still cared for him, but then again, that was probably how she had felt when he followed her to school. "Listen," he tried to calm her, "There are a lot of things you don't know about me, okay? I changed a lot when you were gone. I grew up. Just because I get mad doesn't make me a monster or anything. I know you think I hurt Raven," her bloody face flashed in his mind, "but I would never do that. To her or you or anyone."
A salty tear splashed on his cheek, "How can you say that?" She sounded like an innocent child who had been forced to grow up far too fast. "You would never hurt me?" her laugh sounded forced, "Then why did you draw me on…kiss me…make me think I meant something to you…if you really cared about Raven?" The fingers wrapped around his arms tightened and trembled from her rising emotions.
"I don't know," Beast Boy said honestly, "I really don't know." A vague thought coasted through his mind about his head injury and stopping the bleeding, but with Terra pinning him down that wasn't an option.
"You don't know?" her breath was ragged, "I realize that the things I put you through in the past were horrible, but I still can't stop thinking about you. You were always there for me when I needed someone even if I didn't want to admit it. And now…you just walk away from me."
"It's not that simple," he wished he could just turn into an animal and leave, but he couldn't do that to her. "Can we please talk about this later? I really don't have a lot of time—"
"Until what?" she cut in, "You still haven't told anyone what happened, yet you insist you didn't do anything."
"Because I didn't," Beast Boy was exasperated beyond belief, "Where're Robin and the others?"
"We split up to look for you. I found you first."
"Oh…" he needed a way to get out of this. He couldn't stay here while Sebastian was doing who knows what to Raven. "Terra, please, we have to talk about this later. There's something really important I have to do." He stared into her watery eyes that shimmered like a moonlight sea, and for the nth time tried to compose his mind. He wriggled under her grip, restless.
She closed her eyes, sending two more tears to land on either of his cheeks. "Fine," she whispered softly, "go then. Just…go." Terra rolled sideways off of him and lay in the cool grass, silent tears fighting their way out of her eyes.
He stood up shakily, hand instantly going to the back of his head where the blood had already begun to clot and dry. The words refused to come to him as he gazed at her figure, looking so weak and fragile as she lay in the grass. Even her eyes looked feeble in the dim light. The stars didn't have enough mercy to give her hope. "Terra…"
"Just fucking leave."
Everything was so red.
It was everywhere.
Her hair was clumped with the red liquid, her pale body painted. Her head hurt so much…She pushed her hands beneath her and slowly rose to her feet. She tripped and almost fell on her unstable legs. A hand to her head, she glanced around the room. Eyes freezing, she turned to where a lifeless body lay mere feet from her.
Just the sight of it made her sick. She had killed someone. The reasonable part of her said that he deserved it, but she couldn't help feeling bitter remorse. She had killed a living, breathing thing.
As she stared at its pale flesh she remembered what she had done to him. Kissed him and killed him. Even though she had tried to shield her soul from what her body done, protect it from the act, it hadn't worked. She felt scarred, dirty. She shuddered with disgust at the thought of her lips on his.
Tearing her gaze away from Sebastian's body, she took a faltering step forward. She had no idea how to get out, but there had to be a way. She wandered around the large chamber in between rocks before it hit her. She had her powers back; she could teleport. The only problem was that she knew she didn't half enough energy to go all the way back to the tower.
Raven sat down on the cold rocks and hugged her numb body. Her cloak had been lost somewhere, and her leotard was tattered and torn. Putting all that aside she closed her eyes and began to pray. "Azar," her quiet words rang like bells in the chamber, "guide me out of this hell. Take me…" her mouth stopped when she imagined falling into his arms, being safe, "to a place where I can heal."
Her soul self spun out in a wave around her and seconds later the cursed chamber was empty of everything except the corpse that no one but two people would ever remember.
The night air hit her skin like a train. When was the last time she had been outside? It felt like she had been Sebastian's prisoner for an eternity. The world tilted around her and she fell to her knees. She told herself she wouldn't fall over, she had faced so much, she wasn't going to fall now when she was so close to getting home. Even as her mind protested she collapsed onto the earth that felt so soft after the rock she had fainted on.
Her hair was splayed over her eyes like a waterfall. All she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and fall asleep. She wanted to wake up and be next to him. As hard as she wished for it she knew it wouldn't happen if she just lay here. She didn't even know where she was.
Brushing her hair from her eyes with a tired hand she stared at her surrounding from where she lay. Trees. A lot of them. She must be in the forest outside town. Not that far to get back. But before she could get back she would have to get up.
The prospect was less than appealing.
Still the tress around her stood like sentries, the wind moving through their leaves as if to tell her, "You're almost there little raven. Fly home little bird. The sun will rise soon, the chill will break soon."
A delicate green leaf floated down to her in the grass, reminding her of a little child so full of hope that it couldn't help but tell her to keep going. Just keep going and she would be alright. Just look up and eventually all of this would disappear.
Weakly she clambered to her feet, eyes glued to the optimistic little leaf. She smiled at it, reassuring its innocence that she would fly home like a good girl. As soon as her foot left the ground she was propelled nearby tree with a sudden crash. While her vision returned she could hear muffled tears mixed with familiar laughs.
"Raven!" the red head exclaimed from where she clutched her ribs and pressed her to the tree. "I was so…so worried!" Raven's breathing was irregular as she softly pushed the friendly alien away.
"Good to see you too," her voice came out hoarse and frail. She could see the worried look in her friend's eyes grow as she tried to calm her. "I'm fine," she smiled feebly before stumbling forward into Starfire's arms. "Sorry," she muttered, "I guess I'm still weak."
"That is alright!" it seemed like Starfire could not figure out how to make her voice any quieter, "After what Beast Boy did to you…"
The sentence floated through the air, unfinished and icy. Raven watched absentmindedly as a simple leaf that had been spinning on the ground fall flat upon it. Something was wrong with that sentence. Very wrong.
The nausea that she had thought she dispelled came rushing back as her stomach plummeted. "No, no that's not right," through the peace around them the words echoed, with ever repeat sounding stronger. "No," disentangling herself from her friend her cold eyes glared at Starfire's, a green so deep it was just a reflection of the forest. "Take me to Beast Boy."
The look in her eyes said that if she didn't get her friend's assistance she would crawl through the trees on her bloody hands and knees. The alien carefully picked up her wounded friend, acting like she hadn't just pinned her to a tree moments before in a crushing hug. She shot up into the air with a graceful leap, soaring low in the sky. She didn't know where Beast Boy was, but she certainly wasn't going to tell Raven that. Surely they would come across him eventually.
She was sinking. She didn't mean to. Really. It was just sort of happening. She was hardly even aware of the substance that was beginning to hug her close. A far off part of her mind hugged it back, just wanting to be held.
Everything was falling apart. The things she used to believe in above anything else had dissolved in a flash of tears and circumstance. She was falling apart. She could feel it from the soles of her feet to the roots of her hair. This was so wrong. It felt like a high school play where the lead was killed in a drive by shooting. A lead that everyone loved to watch. An actress that made everyone forget the real world and disappear in hers. But she was gone now. Gone like the breath of a child born premature to the world of pain.
Her arms wouldn't move. Her eyes didn't see anything. The only sign of life was her stomach rising up and down. Up. Down. Up…
With a snap the world came springing back like a wound up rubber band. She coughed once, twice. There was something on her stomach. Leaning her head up as much as she could, the dirt began to pour off. Before she knew it her face was turned in a different direction and a red mark was forming on her cheek. Somewhere in the distance she heard a gasp, but she had no idea where it came from.
Someone was holding her head between two sticky hands.
It was someone she knew.
Who was it?
Her head shook back and forth, forced by the humid fingers.
"Don't do this."
Why did it look so red?
A different voice. Kinder, pleading. Far away.
"Get a hold on yourself."
The first voice again. She should know them.
"Take a deep breath."
Her body tried, but the thing on her chest prevented her. Why couldn't she recognize the voices? She knew that she knew them.
The hands wrapped around her neck and shoulders like a blanket. Something heavy leaned on her shoulder. A strand of something tickled her back.
"I know…" the whispered words brushed against her skin, "I know we've never been that close…and you probably hate me now…"
A wet drop of something slithered down her arm.
"But please…" the arms tightened, "I can't…you can't…just…please." More drops. The arms began to tremble. "Damn me…this is all my fault." It began to rain on her arm. "You have to be okay…" Wait. It sounded so familiar. If she only had a second to think. "Please be okay."
There was red. And…purple? Yes. Of course. Purple.
Carefully and painfully she brought her arms up around the other's waist. She could feel the surprise as the other's face shot up from where it rested. "Can you…get off?" she whispered.
Without a word Raven fell off of her and sat on her knees. "Are you alright?" her voice cracked.
"Yeah," Terra said, brushing stray locks of hair from her face. "What happened?" Looking up she saw Starfire standing a few feet away, wringing her hands together nervously.
"I'm guessing it was just a little PTSD," Raven said, wiping her eyes nonchalantly, "Post Traumatic Stress. You had me worried." Her laugh was forced and full of dissipating fear.
"But," she was still confused, "I don't understand. One second Beast Boy is here, the next you land on my stomach."
"Beast Boy was here?" Raven cut in, hands clenching.
Starfire walked up and put a comforting hand on Raven's shoulder. "We will find him," she said. Turning her attention to Terra she explained, "We were searching for Beast Boy, when we saw you. You were lying on the ground and…" she searched for words, "um…there was dirt all over you."
"It was burying you," Raven interjected. "You were burying you."
"What?" her delicate eyebrows knit together, "I would never do that."
"I think it was subconscious," the empath continued, "Not your fault."
"Oh…" she started at the pale blood stained girl. How had she gotten so torn up? She couldn't decide what to feel about her. A part of her wanted to hate her, but holding grudges had never gotten her anywhere. "Thanks," her eyes ran away to watch trees swaying around her, "for waking me up."
They sat in silence as the wind rustled past their chilled bodies. "I can't believe," Terra's laugh was cold, "that I tried to bury myself."
"I've done worse," Raven tried her best to comfort her, remembering the feel of Sebastian against her. Terra looked at her curiously but didn't ask.
"I…" Terra closed her eyes and wondered if she was doing the right thing, "I can get Beast Boy." When she cracked open her eye the light in Raven's made it almost worth it. They'd never been that close…but still. The girl looked like she had been through enough tonight. Bending her head she placed her palms on the ground. She felt the dirt beneath her fingers, and sent veins through the earth. She could feel his footsteps as the landed on the ground. "Okay," she whispered, molding a part of the rocks into the shape of a beckoning hand. Capturing his attention he ran along behind it, confused but worried. "He'll be here soon."
"Thank you." A hand covered hers. It shook from something she couldn't decipher. "Thank you so much."
Her smile was warmer than she felt. "I…" sudden tears rushed to her eyes, "I've been holding on to him for too long." A piece of her past that was too painful to rip away. But it was time to tear off the snare that had been holding her back. She was sad; she was crushed. Except it felt good. It felt like healing.
With hurried feet he stumbled back to the clearing where he had left Terra. He crashed through the trees and brushes. He was sure that his blood was mostly adrenalin by now. But when he came out of the forest, following the rock hand dutifully, all he could do was stop and stare.
Terra was lost in a massive embrace from Starfire, who was silently crying. By their feet she sat, bloody and torn, yet so serene and strong.
He stood gaping as she leisurely turned her head to look at him. Her eyes shone with a kind of restrained happiness, while the tear streaks on her face stuck out like a screaming baby. Her cloak was gone. Her clothes were torn. She was covered in blood. But she was so beautiful, drenched in the fading moonlight.
Starfire spun when she heard him, and glanced between the two of them. "I will take Terra home," she said, picking up the fragile looking earth shaker and drifting off into the sky. "Please be back soon," she waved as she flew off.
A voice so faint that almost no one heard it sang out in the wind, "I will be okay Raven."
"Raven," the words that he had been thinking for so long refused to come out of his dry mouth.
She stood up slowly, looking like a moving piece of art. "Hi," she smiled calmly. As she waited for him to reach her as ran across the grass, an image flashed through her mind. White skin against hers. Fangs pressing into her.
When his arms enveloped her the only thing she could do was hug him back. Beast Boy kept saying her name over and over like an already answered prayer. After so much had happened, they were finally safe. "How…" he held her at arms length and looked her up and down, "How did you get away?"
"I explained to Starfire that it wasn't you," she said, avoiding his question.
"Okay," he sounded plaintive, "but how did you get away from Sebastian?"
Instead of answering she buried her head in his shoulder and let his arms fold around her. "I'll tell you later. Maybe," she smiled into his chest. It felt so nice just to be here, just to be held by him.
"I'm so glad you're okay," she felt his arms tighten on her grimy skin. "We should get you back to the tower soon. You have to wash this blood off."
"I know." She did know. She knew something that she couldn't bear to tell him now. "And we will go back. Just…not yet." Sliding her arms around his skinny waist she pulled him closer, making his heart beat faster.
Easing his arm out from his grasp of her, he tilted her head up gently. Her eyes were deep orbs that rivaled the moon for beauty. Before he could say her name again, she put a thin finger up to his lips. Her hand gracefully swept to the back of his head where her fingers danced in his hair.
It was just the two of them. No evil demons, no girl from the past, no friends, no reality. As he let gravity pull his head gently down to hers, the moon fell, as if to give them privacy in the tranquil early morning. The sun hadn't risen yet, leaving the sky an empty abyss where emotions could rise shamelessly into the heavens with no fear of being stopped.
When his lips met hers he could feel his heart beating faster than ever. His blood was warm as it raced through his veins. He had never felt this way before. It was like a fairy tale. It was a kiss so pure that neither of them could hold it for long for fear of tainting it with anything.
She gently pulled away and smiled at him beneath her long eye lashes. "It's not really morning yet, is it?" Raven asked playfully, a lush tress of hair falling in her face. When his hand was poised to sweep it to the side, she jumped. Laughing hard, she half tackled him to the ground where she lay on top of him. He laughed and grasped hold of her, rolling around the clearing. She squeaked in mischievous displeasure, but that only made him laugh harder.
When she was lying on the ground, tired from her fit of laughter, he was balanced on his palms above her, legs straddling her angled figure. She giggled in an extremely un-Raven like way, which might have bothered Beast Boy had he not been busy kissing her neck tenderly. His touch was so sweet, so innocent, that while he kissed her she couldn't even remember what that demon's name was.
He held himself back up, trying in vain to restrain from tiring her too much. Her hair was splayed about her in the grass, making her look, if possible, even more striking. Deciding there was no real reason to hold back, Beast Boy quickly attached his mouth to hers. Her arms were on his neck, pulling him closer. She never wanted to let go. She never wanted the sun to rise and go back to the real world.
For a few minutes both of them could pretend that there was nothing else. That it really was just the two of them, and that was all they needed. Beast Boy had almost no idea what he was doing, but his instincts screamed that this was a time to take risks.
Tenderly he opened her mouth further, and gradually slid his tongue to meet hers. Her fingers clutched at his skin as he tried to relieve the fire in his blood. She was nervous, and he could tell. He was too, but he hoped she didn't know that. He was afraid she would push him away, tell him he was crossing a line. People don't do that to Raven, people don't even touch her without consent.
His anxiety lasted for a mere nanosecond before he felt her tongue dance with his. He ran a hand through her feathery hair, as her hands kept bringing him closer. Their skin burned at one another's touch, neither getting enough. It was such sweet release after the horror they had endured.
Raven, feeling the first of the sun's rays on her skin, pushed him over so they were lying next to each other on the ground. Disconnecting their mouths, Beast Boy leaned his forehead to hers. Her hands traced the skin of his face, while his were wrapped around her lithe waist. "I—"
Before he could finish what she knew he would say, she kissed him softly, lips just brushing his. "Good morning," she murmured, snuggling into him, "no more nightmares."
"Good morning, Raven," Beast Boy whispered, glancing up at the sun still low on the horizon. It smiled down at them, promising that the night really was over, and with it the prowling demons. As the two lay, intertwined in the grass and calm in each others arms, their trust soared high in morning light, shedding all doubt in their blissful embrace.
A leaf skittered across the clearing, dancing in air that was thick with love and hope.