Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans or the lyrics to Come Around.
Author's Note: This was an original submission for Nevermorepixie's R/R site back in last September but with her life being so hectic, she never had the opportunity to post. I waited as much as I could for her but I'd like this piece see the light of day. I'm sure today's date might play a little irony given Raven's satanic theme.
Beta: PureSakuraMelody. For the 666 amuses her so.
Timeline: the final 30 seconds of Stranded.
Artist: Letters to Cleo, album: Aurora Gory Alice.
Raven rose up, eyes wide, and felt her spine being twisted like a pretzel as the crunches got louder.
She relaxed and her pitch altered to one of pleasure. She laid her head down in pure contentment on her folded arms.
"Mmm…now a little to the left," she commanded to the egg shaped aliens currently bouncing on her back.
"Left! Sha La!" they all shouted in unison. 4 of the aliens jumped up and down her back while others massaged her feet and calves, along with several others stacked together before her, feeding her grapes. The experience was complete with her being fanned by a feather from a few above.
"Mmm…" she moaned.
"Mmm! Sha La!" they repeated.
'Somehow don't think God had meant for heaven to be like this—egghead aliens waiting on you, hand and foot.' "Mmm…" the empath sighed.
"Mmm! Sha La!"
'At least I can get some thinking done as I…' "Relax!" she blurted out as a wicked disc in her spine was snapped back into place.
"Relax! Sha La!"
Raven just rolled her eyes. 'Anyway, at least this respite will give me some time to think; God knows I needed it after…' She narrowed her eyes as it was only days ago when she nearly flattened Slade into the ground in the Library of Scath. Her rage spiked higher than she thought possible. Naturally she had reason for her anger: thanks to the Terminator, she was forced to reveal her darkest secret to the other Titans: her father, Trigon.
'Wretched one eyed son of a…. Why couldn't he just stay dead?' Her anger began to swell, despite being her being pampered.
She furnished a loud sigh and clapped her hands. "That's nice, but now it's time to leave Empress Raven alone."
"Alone! Sha La!" the albino eggheads exclaimed.
"Right," she said in her trademark deadpan.
"Right! Sha La!"
"Never mind," she sighed and muttered once again as they dug deeper into her spinal column.
"Never mind! Sha La!"
'I think this is the first time all year I had a chance to relax. Last time I had a chance to, was when I read the book that housed Malchior.' The dark Titan brooded as the aliens continued to massage her.
'I should have burned that book when I had the chance.' Raven massaged her temples as she heard a familiar echo in her head.
'No, it can't be. It's been too long since… no, focus. Relax. Meditate. Clear the emotions away.' She mediated with her trademark mantra.
'Azarath Metrion Zinthos.'
Her mind returned to Malchior and his revelation. '"Oh dear, you're not going to cry now, are you?"'
She recalled after she sealed the dragon away using his own spells, she found solace from one rather implausible person—Beast Boy.
'I hate irony. Smug, erudite… ' "Mmm!" The hopping aliens found a particular kink in her back.
"Mmm! Sha La!"
'Getting hard to focus. I need to go and clear my head. I already am distracted because of them. I should go out and find the others.' Her pleasure permeated her thought.
'Although... would it be a loss if I didn't? Probably, but I should get back to work. Darn it.'
She slowly got up and the aliens simply tumbled off her. "I got to go. I need to find my friends."
"Friends! Sha La!" They clutched to her cape.
"That's nice, but I must go." She tried to hover and found herself into a repeat of her first encounter with the aliens as they dragged her down via her cape.
"Must go! Sha La!"
"Quit it!" she shouted.
"Quit it! Sha La!"
"Why you must be so attached to me? Why do you care if I'm here or not? Why do you care about me? Why…?" the mysterious empath ranted.
'This emotion, this attachment, and this desire to please, I've felt this before lately but from where? Wait…'
A deluge of flashbacks flooded her mind, of when Slade first returned and she was all but powerless as he burned the birthmark runes into her tainted flesh while he torn away her clothes. Robin tried to defend her and failed, leaving burns and later choking on his failure to protect her but despite that, he still attempted to give her comfort and assurance with his vow to uncover the truth about Slade's return. When the Teen Wonder asked her about the Mark of Scath and all she could do is boldly lie to his face, evade him, and ultimately abandon him at the Library.
'The…fool, trying to meddle where he doesn't belong. Why did he care? He didn't before…but he does now, he really does, as do these aliens. I can feel it.'
She tried to pull away, but they clung tighter and tighter.
"Why? Sha La!"
"Stop it! Sha La!"
'Enough of this, I have to leave. But I can't force myself to use force on them. I have to find the path of least resistance.' She lowered herself down and tried to avoid their innocent gaze.
"Thank you for the…admiration but I have to go. Good bye." She melted into the plateau and then levitated away and flew low to the southern direction. She didn't look back.
"Good bye! Sha La!"
'The typical Milton or biblical story—I had paradise and I threw it away. For what? Pointless fighting and a pointless mission. I wouldn't have to worry about Trigon if I didn't have to deal with his recent attempt to encroach the dimensional plane on Earth. Here, I wouldn't have a care. Or much else, and…no one to share it with, apparently.' She felt her loneliness as she hovered by herself and glanced back to the plateau.
'However who would deserve such paradise? Starfire is the princess of her planet, so she always has that fallback if she ever goes him. Cyborg has too much pride to want to be waited on hand and foot. Beast Boy, he shouldn't have the privilege as he has no responsibilities anyway. And Robin…what about Robin?'
She reflected of his dedication and unity to the team—when the H.I.V.E. kids stormed the Tower, his deliberate infection with Slade's nanoprobes to join his teammates, his granting Terra a chance to prove herself, his bold initiative to go after Brother Blood's H.I.V.E., his remorse and bitter regret of the return of Red X, his succumbing to the Terminator's chemical reagent and the risk to herself by entering his mind, his acceptance to let go Cyborg as he became entrenched with Titans East, his vow about Slade's return and vowing her safety, and finally his questioning her about the truth of the mark of Scath.
'He's done so much for the team and now for me. He would deserve this. More than anyone else, including…me? No. I had to endure my father's specter for too long and now it finally rears its ugly head and I can't…I can't… escape. Don't I deserve this chance to relax too?'
She trudged along. 'Wonder if I can find him but I wouldn't know where to look. And is he stationary or should I be? Well, I could wait for him to find me and…I'm such a hopeless addict.' Was she crawling back on her hands and knees or her belly? She wasn't quite sure.
Raven floated back on the plateau and wanted to crawl into a hole as she peered into their glassy eyes. "Alright, boys, resume…for now." She kneeled back into position.
"Resume for now! Sha La!" The aliens quickly returned to their positions.
"Mmm…" the mystifying Titan whimpered again as they jumped back on her spine.
'I wonder if Robin would enjoy this; if he would allow himself to indulge.' She tried to refrain from moaning, lest she would hear their mantra again.
'Sometimes he would; like the picnics we used to have before he became so embedded with Slade. Did he ever have the chance when he was back in Gotham City?'
She remembered a flash of his memory, from her time inside his mind and the munificent butler from his youth.
'I wonder if…Alfred…gave him any picnics or such indulgences. Was there any time for it? Probably not, because of his training. It doesn't sound like much of a life. Like I should talk?' She reminisced her countless meditation training and her mother's distance to her.
'Appears we have something in common: a childhood that rather defeats the definition. Whereas with him, he had quite the loving parents before their deaths. What was that like?' A curiosity with an undulating current of borderline envy ran rampant within her.
'I had often wondered what he was like as a child, what formed him to be the Wonder Boy. I wish I asked before I had to enter his mind. But then would it have killed him to say anything, would it kill me to ask? I suppose another thing we have in common: both so secretive up to the point of insulting intelligence. Yet when I entered his mind, he didn't resist me or balk at my intrusion. Considering how secretive he's been in the past, I was expecting more of a resistance.
'Why didn't he? Why didn't he as I shut him out before and then recently with the Library? What does it mean? Does it mean there is more to this? Why does he and continues to trust me so implicitly? No, focus, I can't afford attachments to anyone—not with Father around. However…I always wondered if I could meet someone similar to me, and now…I have, haven't I?' The enigmatic empath's curiosity got the better of her.
'Oh, just kick the planet from under me. I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world or me if I ask him all these whys.' A sour face appeared on her visage.
'Maybe. I suppose it's the end of the illusions. Oh well.'
She grabbed a few grapes and peeled them. 'It's my own fault; that's what I get for being so attached.'
'Indeed, what would life be without those pesky attachments?' A familiar booming voice echoed in her mind.
'Now, is that a greeting to tell your father?' Trigon's voice sneered throughout the corners of Raven's mind.
'You're not my father. You're nothing. You just happened to be in the room at the time I was conceived.'
'How crass. The people of Earth certainly haven't taught you manners, did they?'
'What difference does it make to you? I'm here and you're stuck in perdition or wherever you are.'
'Not for long,' the demon evoked a dark chuckle.
'You've been sealed away for this long, haven't you? What's a few more millennium in the grand scheme of things?'
'But the time is now; you know your duty to me.'
'Hating you with every fiber of my being?'
'No, your obligation to grant me and yourself power. To do whatever you want, with whomever you want,' his voice slithered on.
'What does that mean?'
'I know you have eyes for that masked human, your leader. It's as obvious as the charka on your forehead. You want to know why he cares about you, why he is risking himself for you.'
'No, I don't.' The demoness dredged as much force she had within her to deny that statement.
'Your time on Earth has made you to be quite the liar, daughter. You can hide the truth for so long but you can't hide it from yourself.'
'I felt how blank you were when the machine man brandied about the term of girlfriend to the masked one and the alien. You may have looked bored but you and I know the real truth behind that look.'
Raven brought to mind her numbness when she heard that and Starfire's selfish pronouncements. 'That was because she was so self-absorbed, like she would appreciate Robin in that…'
'But you would. You know you would appreciate him in time, yes?'
'I…' She harked back to the time of her malfunctioning powers because of Beast Boy's horror movie and the mystery of Robin's knowledge of the truth and would later be the birth of the constant protection the two have projected to each other ever since. His concern amplified with his understanding; his never questioning her prior Trigon's ascent and his frustration when she couldn't reveal to him the horrible truth.
'You were happy when you thought the alien was going to leave your team for her obligations to her world, obligations that he fought, just as he is fighting your obligation to me in his insignificant way.'
'He does it because he cares,' she mused, forlornly.
'Yes, he is quite obvious when he wants to be. He might be useful for future children.'
"No!" She exploded in a rage of energy, injuring many of the aliens on her.
"No! Sha La!" they weakly responded.
'You won't convert him, he won't turn.'
'I don't have to. If you stop resisting your duties and fulfill your destiny to me, I will spare him and you can have him however you please.'
'What? Me and…Robin?' The concept almost sounded appealing to her.
'You can't escape from your destiny, but I'll certainly sweeten it—you two together for eternity. The hour is soon approaching, think about it.' Trigon's voice quieted down and Raven's eyes fluttered and surveyed how the aliens were trying to tend to the ones injured.
"No! This is…this is…"
"This is! Sha La!"
"No, no, no!" She used her empathy to absorb the pain of the fallen eggheads that were still alive.
"No, no, no! Sha La!"
"I'm sorry," she stated with remorse as their pain instilled into her being.
"Sorry! Sha La!" they parroted with a near mockery.
She allotted a hard sigh, finished up with the rest of the injuries, and levitated away from them.
"I'm sorry." She flew away; the aliens stared into her with absolute fear.
'So much for paradise. I really am a pip. Why would Robin waste his time with someone like me? I'm too far gone. Yet why does he care about me? I have to know.' She pondered as she elevated above the clouds.
'Maybe when we get back, I can find the courage to ask. If I wasn't such a secretive, moody…I wish he was here now.'
She heard a humming noise; the T-Ship appeared from the far horizon intact.
'Now that's service.' She was never more grateful for the sight before her.
"Hey, Raven. Need a lift?" Beast Boy asked through the loudspeaker.
"Sure, why not?" she deadpanned as she floated the vermillion machine.
"So Raven, I hope things were alright down there. What happened?" Robin's concerned voice came through the loudspeaker as the demoness morphed into her section of the ship. She picked up the headset and got comfortable.
"Let's just say I found paradise down there," she said in her usual self depreciation.
"I wish I had that. I plummeted to my death a few times and was almost eaten by a slug myself," he jibed.
"Indeed, Robin," Raven inquired when Cyborg interrupted the banter.
"Oh please, can I interject? From what I saw when we found you, sounds like you had quite the paradise yourself with your girlfriend," Cyborg teased as the T-Ship flew higher and higher from the atmosphere.
Raven was ready to shrivel up and die in the chair. Starfire, in turn, gave a subdued smile. The Teen Wonder simply sighed.
"Before I would rebut that, I think Raven had something to ask me. Raven?"
"Never mind, it can keep," she replied in her infamous emotionless voice.
"Are you sure?"
"Alright. You know, Cyborg…" Robin resumed with Cyborg while Raven stared out into the planet as it was fading from view. A voice interrupted her daydreaming.
"Raven?" Beast Boy patched in her headset.
"You look like you're in a daze, that's not like you. What are you daydreaming about?"
She was silent for a few minutes as she searched for a fitting answer. "Just thinking how much I'll miss this place. That's all."
Beast Boy dumbly responded with "oh," while the dismal Titan recommenced her daydreaming. The egghead aliens tended on her while Robin laid right next to her, basking in the finer things as well.
'I suppose I have a thing or two to think about.'
Don't feel small when I'm looking down.
Don't get too high if I'm looking up at you.
And if the answer looks at me, I'll still say I don't know it, not that I could come around anyway.
Look your dreams
walk away with mine.
Stumble and cry, but I'm clapping on the inside.
I'm clapping on the inside.
So what your answer comes to me. I'm not saying I don't know it but it's not likely that I'll come around anyway.
If I should say something like "no, please don't go", I am in a bind as much as I am saying good-bye.
Don't feel small when I'm looking down.
Don't get too high if you're looking up at me.
And if the answer looks at me, I'll still say I don't know it, not that I could come around anyway.
If I should say something like "no, please don't go", I am in a bind as much as I am telling you; I am telling you a lie.
Leave a review if you wish. See you in the funny papers.