A/N: Well, this is the last chapter, although it took me a very long time to write. I think it may be about time I retire from fan fiction writing, all of my stories seem to be rather similar. For those still reading this story, here's the super corny ending you've all waited for. The funny thing about this story is that I had planned on it being a quick maybe five chapter story where they run away from the institution and live happily ever after. Haha, please enjoy and review if you would like to.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything mentioned in this chapter.

Chapter Nineteen: The Happily Ever After

Richard looked like a frightened rabbit with its foot caught in a trap as he struggled to get away while gasping for breath. In a swift motion Tristan brought the blade to his throat, but a faint sound approaching from the south halted him. Every man in the yard glanced back at the street. The blaring noise grew louder as it approached, and within what had to be only seconds most of the estate was surrounded by police cars.

Seeing the boy in his arms, Tristan instantly produced a devious plan. The police had always been stupid enough to fall for hostage situations. What was it with cops and their immense consciences? None of them truly cared if one hostage died anyway, but they all think their so righteous with their fake moral codes. Tristan almost pitied their naivety. . . almost. He was clearly one of the few that was brave enough to embrace the true nature of humanity.

Tristan watched with a smirk as policemen hid behind the open doors of their cruisers with the muzzles of their guns sticking out from the top of the doors. There was a long pause as everyone seemed to be stuck at a standstill. Finally, the silence was broken. "Put your weapons down! We have you surrounded, there's no way out! Do not force us to fire!" a man yelled into a megaphone.

Another tense moment came over the crowd as the policemen shuffled nervously behind their cars. Tristan's men just stood there in shock, refusing to drops their guns, but not moving. Tristan backed up slowly, his eyes never leaving the policemen in front of him. He backed up holding Richard tightly until he felt his boot hit the bottom of Slade's boot, and stopped.

Raven looked over at her father, then at the police in disbelief. What an unexpected turn of events, maybe there was some hope after all. Although, Raven knew it was too early to tell the outcome of this standoff. In an event of a firefight, Tristan might actually win considering his firepower overpowered what the police currently had. Raven then glanced over at Danny who was frozen in place with an expression of disbelief and uncertainty that mirrored her own. Also, she noticed that Richard had gone rather limp under Tristan's arm. The poor boy had probably passed out from the lack of oxygen, but it looked like Tristan had released some of the pressure on Richard's throat. She just hoped that if a fight did break out that Richard and Danny would not be injured.

"Watch out for the kids, we don't need any civilian casualties here. Make sure your bullets will hit their intended targets before you pull that trigger. Understand?" a woman's voice came over the police intercoms on each cops chest.

"What the hell are you doing?!" Tristan shouted. "Fight back, you idiots!"

Most of the men snapped out of their trances and lifted their weapons, and began shooting wildly at the cars. Luckily for the police, the guards were far less experienced in fighting situations than Tristan's field employees that were considered the best mercenaries money could buy. In a sudden panic none of the men could hold their guns steady as all of their bullets ricocheted of the black and white cars.

"Fire at will," the voice came over their intercoms again. The police returned fire, although, their shooting didn't seem to be much better. It seemed that none of them had even heard the warnings about being careful as they fired aimlessly back.

Raven had grown up around guns, she couldn't even remember when she first learned how to shoot, but that didn't mean she liked them very much. She found that guns always had a way of falling into the wrong hands, hands like her father's. With the business her father was in firefights like this were common, and Raven had seen a few herself. This was the first time she had ever been right in the middle, and she found that she couldn't move. She watched as some of her father's men ran to take cover while squeezing off rounds, but it all seemed so surreal.

"Raven! Get down, you stupid girl!" Tristan yelled from a few feet away from her. He ran forward while still holding Richard, but slid his knife into his belt as he used the same hand to grab Raven by the wrist and yanked her around. "Come on," he hissed as he pulled her and Danny towards the entrance of the house without turning his back on the fighting. Raven tried to limp after him.

It only took a few seconds for them to reach the front door which Tristan practically ripped of the hinges as he opened it. Tristan had to drag Raven inside and mindlessly threw her against the wall that was at a ninety degree angle from the door as he frantically shut the door. The loud shots were muffled by the thick oak doors. "Are you brain dead? Do you want to die or something? You should know better than to just stand there during something like this! Didn't I teach you anything?" Tristan shouted angrily.

There was no reply from Raven as she leaned against the wall just staring back into his burning eyes. "You stupid bitch!" He slapped her across the face, though she could tell he was holding himself back a little. She just stared back at him silently, and finally he gaze an exasperated sigh and turned away from her.

Two men ran down the massive stair case that lead to the front door. Both of them carried loaded rifles with other guns strapped on their bodies. They halted a few feet in front of Tristan. "Sir, we assembled some teams, do you want us to go out there?"

"Don't bother," Tristan said tiredly. "Even if we kill all of them out there, there's sure to be more to come. The only thing you can do now is get as many of my best men out of here to regroup somewhere else."

Raven could feel the cold glaze of the second, silent man on her. When she looked over, she met his gaze. The look in his eye was some mix of pity and disgust that sent a shiver down her spine.

"Understood. But what about you?"

"I'm staying here. I'll figure something out. All that matters now is that not all of you get captured," Tristan replied. "If they arrest me now it will be over, and if you leave now they may think those idiots out there now are my only men. It's for the best."

"Yes, sir." The man looked like he was about to leave when he spotted Raven. Then, he looked back at Tristan and stepped in closer and spoke softly to him, although, Raven could still hear him anyway. "What about your daughter? Do you want us to take her with us?"

Tristan glanced over at Raven for a moment while he considered the proposition. "Raven? Do you want to go with them?" Tristan asked in a tone he only used when others were present.

"I will do whatever you want, father," Raven replied softly. Anyone could tell just by the tone of her voice that her spirit had been crushed, any rebellion that was once inside her had been destroyed by her father. For the first time in her life, Raven had let her father's cruel words get under her thick skin. Her insides had gone cold, and her eyes were distant. Few people have ever felt such a deep, crippling hopelessness as Raven felt now.

"Good girl," Tristan grinned with a twisted sense of pride. Tristan had lost the tiny ounce of empathy that he once possessed long ago. After all, no man that took joy out of causing pain could be burdened by such a weakness as empathy. "She'll stay here with me. I think this way be a very rewarding for her to see, and it may be more convincing if she's with me. Now get going." The men nodded tersely and ran off.

"Raven, I was wondering how long it would take you to see things my way. All it took were a few little fist fights with me, who would have guessed. Things will be so much better now, Raven. These police are just a mild set back, don't worry. Now you can work by my side, like a true father and daughter. . . Finally, I have the daughter I always wanted," Tristan ranted gleefully. "Form now on, you'll always be daddy's little girl."

Raven felt a shiver run up her spine at his words, and she felt a sudden rush of anger that she barely managed to force back down inside her. She hated him so much, and yet he seemed to be completely oblivious. Though, she hated her more for giving into him. Tear welled up in her eyes, despite her attempts at swallowing them back.

"Tristan, come out now! There's no where for you to go, so just give up already!" A voice yelled over a megaphone outside. Neither Tristan nor Raven had noticed the diminishing gunshots, although now the looming silence seemed quite conspicuous. The police had won the firefight, but that was to be expected.

"Idiots. 'No where to go,' they say," Tristan sneered. "If I didn't want them to find me they never would. . . Come, daughter, it's time to make our appearance. This is sure to be interesting, two against a small army of police," he chuckled. Tristan held out his free hand out to help Raven up from her leaning position, and she reluctantly took it.

Once to she was on her feet he dropped her hand and took out his knife once again. Poising it under the unconscious boy's throat, Tristan was ready. "Open the door for me." Raven complied.

The sudden rush of sounds and lights were overwhelming, but Tristan persisted in walking out. Raven walked slowly out behind her with her head hung slightly. It was slightly shocking just how many of Tristan's men had apparently surrendered and were now standing with their hands cuffed behind their backs, compared to the dozen or so bodies littering the floor after being gunned down.

Danny had just barely managed to get to the police's side of the fight without being shot. Now, he stood securely behind one of the black and white cars, beside the police chief.

"You coward, stop hiding behind children!" the man shouted over the megaphone.

"It's obvious a negotiator will be completely useless in this situation. Flint, do you think you can get a good shot on him without hitting the kid?" the woman on the walkie talkie referred to the younger police officer by his last name.

"I can try," he replied confidently. "But what am I aiming for? The girl is an easy target, if we're lucky that might get him to surrender."

". . . I don't know about that," the woman spoke back.

"No," Danny blurted out to the police chief. "She's not on his side. Don't shoot her."

"Well, it doesn't exactly look like she's on our side, kid. Don't worry about it, just let us do our job," she replied sternly. "Flint, try getting a shot at him first, if you can't then tell me. I'll consider a plan B."

"Affirmative." The man lifted his pistol up, and tried to steady himself. His grip was tight, and his arms were rigid as he tried to get a good aim at any part of the man. Despite Tristan's massive size, he seemed to be covering himself very well with the limp boy. "I don't know, it's gonna be risky, chief."

"If you're not r–" she began to say, but he cut her off.

"I can do this. . . Well, here goes nothing," he whispered the last sentence to himself as his finger tightened on the trigger. Right as he squeezed off the shot something caused his aim to shift slightly to the right. A loud bang shook the silent hills as the bullet rocketed out of his barrel.

No one would ever know what exactly caused his aim to shift, forever would it be one of the great mysteries of life. Maybe the man had done it intentionally, for all they knew, but no one could do anything as the bullet soared past Tristan. It passed merely inches from his arm, and Raven was unfortunate enough to be standing behind him. The bullet lodged itself squarely into Raven's right shoulder. The sheer force knocked her small frame back a step before she came back crashing down to her knees.

Everyone stared in silent shock, as if the many injuries she sustained early weren't enough. Her body began to shudder uncontrollably from the sizzling lead now smoking from the hole in her shoulder. Now, it seemed quite obvious that the entire world was out to get her if everything else wasn't already enough proof. Her breathing became erratic as she knelt there trying to stay conscious, though, she still refused to cry–or maybe she just didn't know how anymore.

"Raven," Tristan growled. It was hard to tell if he was angry with her or the police. "Why did you just stand there? You were an easy target like that," his tone was confusing now, somewhere between angry and. . . somber?

"You idiot! Why would you take a shot if you weren't positive it would hit?" the chief yelled as she stormed towards the man who had fired. "You had your orders!" the slender, red haired woman steamed.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I just–"

"Don't give me any excuses!" Barbara Gordon grabbed the handgun away from the man and lifting it confidently, she shot only taking a moment to aim. Taking advantage of Tristan's distraction. The bullet whizzed past Tristan's ear so close that it slit the edge. Blood trickled down from the wound onto his neck. "Unlike, my cadet here, I never miss my mark, Mr. Roth. So either you put down the boy or I wedge one of these bullets between your ugly eyes," she said into the megaphone.

Realizing she wasn't joking around Tristan threw Richard onto the ground and dropped the knife beside him. Raising his hands slowly, Tristan didn't wear the satisfying look of disappointment the officers had expected and instead leered horrifying back at them as if he had just heard a joke none of them understood.

Several officers with riot helmets and thick bulletproof jackets on ran out and shoved Tristan to the ground as they shouted his rights to him hurriedly. Tristan didn't struggle as he was hoisted to his feet with his wrists now bound. His gazed back at his daughter as they shoved him along, his face was expressionless.

Everything seemed so distance and unattached as if she was merely watching and not a part of any of it. Then, Raven began to lose consciousness as the pain consumed her. The same woman that had shot her father's ear ran out, followed by a few others and Danny. The woman holstered her gun before kneeling down beside Raven. "Can you hear me?" the woman asked in a voice that sounded very far away.

Blinking lazily Raven tried to make her world stop spinning. Her stomach seemed to turn, but it was already empty anyway. "Stay with us," the woman commanded as she held Raven by her arms, though her entire right arm was throbbing. She suddenly burst into a cold sweat. "Don't worry, the paramedics will be here soon." Like she hadn't heard that a thousand times before.

"Raven, don't die," Danny whimpered.

"She's not going to die," the woman said reassuringly.

"Just think how sad Gar would be if you died," Danny spoke again.

"I told you, kid," the voices were fading away. "She isn't going to. . ." Then, Raven fainted.

Raven was suddenly thrown back into consciousness, and she found herself lying on her back. Bewildered, Raven sat up although the pain hit her like a ton of bricks. A hand quickly shoved her back down. In all the confusion only one thing came to mind– "Garfield."

"Stay still, you're in terrible shape," a voice commanded her. Raven blinked as she stared up at two strange faces that were hovering over her. They drifted down out of her sight for a moment and she found herself gazing straight up at a slowly dimming blue sky. She was still in her front yard, yet she couldn't remember how long she had been there.

The soft clank of metal on metal sounded near her ear, and she suddenly realized that most of her body was numb. "What's going on?"

"Should we put her back to sleep?"


"How's it going?" Raven recognized the voice as the police chief's, and she sounded tired.

"We had to take the bullet out. Although this isn't a very sanitary place, we had to take it out now, the infection from that could have been a lot worse if we waited to take it out back at the hospital. We just need to bandage it up for now and bring her back to the hospital."


They worked silently as they wrapped thick, white bandages intricately across her exposed shoulder. She became more aware by each passing second. Once they were down, one man leaned over her. "We'll be right back, we need to get the stretcher, okay?"

Raven nodded obediently. As they walked away she lifted her head to look around. Most of the cars had left, presumably taking her father and his minions of to jail for the night. Though, a few were left, and she saw Danny standing by one. When he met her gaze he jogged over.

"Danny? Where's Gar?" Raven asked him immediately. Danny looked around, then slapped his forehead with his palm.

"Me and Richard left him in a supply closet," Danny said kneeling down to her.

"I have to see him, Danny. Will you take me there?" Raven begged.

"If I can even remember where there is, but I'll try," Danny said with a weak smile.

"Can you help me up, we're gonna need to run if we want to ditch these guys." Danny nodded in response. While the paramedics back were turned and none of the police were watching he pulled her to her feet quickly and they jolted towards the front door.

"Hey! Wait!" the paramedics ran after them, but found they couldn't keep up with the youths. "For a girl with a broken ankle, she's pretty fast," huffed one of the men. They left the front door open, and passed a few police walking out of the building with arm fulls of evidence.

Running past the grand staircase, they entered a hall. Once they ran down a maze of halls, Raven had to stop. Despite the painkillers they had apparently loaded her full of, the pain in her shoulder and ankle was becoming unbearable. She tried to catch her breath as she leaned against the wall and held her shoulder.

Danny stopped too, and watched Raven impatiently. Voices echoed through the halls, but they sounded relatively far away. "Sorry, Danny," Raven apologized. "I just need to catch my breath."

"Are you sure you're alright?" he asked with concern. "You look hurt."

"It's nothing, really," Raven replied. "Okay, let's get moving." Pushing herself off the wall, Raven took the lead and walked quickly down the hall with Danny behind her.

"You said it was a supply closet, right?"

"Yeah," Danny mumbled.

Raven made a sharp turn down another hallway. "This way."

After, two or three long minutes of walking Raven suddenly stopped near the end of a hall that looked exactly the same as every other one. Apprehensively, Raven grabbed the door knob of a door and pulled it open forcefully.

Gar was shaken from his dreamless sleep by calling voice. First, he heard a soft gasp, then his name. "Garfield." It sounded like a soft whisper. A light hand grasped his shoulder gently as he lifted his heavy eyelids.

"Raven. So, what did I miss?" Gar asked groggily.

"Everything," Raven replied with a small smile. "Now, let's get you some help." Raven had trouble getting back onto her feet, although she barely showed it. Judging from the not very large spot of blood on Gar's shirt, Raven deduced that he would live. "Danny, can you help Gar up?"

"Sure." Raven moved aside as Danny hoisted the other boy off the ground by his hands. Once the rather slim boy was to his feet, Danny supported him. The two boys walked out of the supply closet.

The throbbing in her shoulder was beginning to grow more apparent, not to mention more unbearable. The last thing Raven wanted to do was make either of the boys worry about her so she did her best not to show the pain that she was feeling. When both of their backs were turned to her, Raven brushed her finger tips against the bandage across her shoulder. The cloth was damp with blood, apparently her sudden movement had reopened the wound. Pulling her shirt up higher, Raven made sure the spot was covered before hurrying her pace to catch up with the boys.

They walked as fast as they could while looking for a police officer or one of the EMT's they had out run. Gar was pursuing a pointless conversation with Danny as he tried to keep his mind off of his own injury, every so often he would glance over their shoulders back at Raven. He gave her a reassuring smile and Raven would give him a faint smile back.

Though she tried to act normal, Raven prayed that they would find someone soon because the pain was getting worse and worse by the second. The boys couldn't hear her ragged breathing over their own voices, nor did they notice when she had to lean against the wall to keep her balance. The bandage was now almost completely soaked through, and the blood loss began to make her feel light headed. Danny and Garfield did notice when she fainted for quite possibly the tenth time that day.

"Not again," Danny muttered.

"Ugh," Raven groaned as her eye fluttered open. "Please tell me that was all a dream."

"Sorry, but you weren't dreaming," Gar answered cheerfully although Raven heard a hint of something else in his voice too. He slid his hand into her's. "At least there's an upside to your being shot."

"And what is that?"

"Your father is in police custody," he replied.

'But for how long?' Raven thought to herself. "Are you alright?" she asked him.

"Am I alright. Am I alright! You're actually asking me that? You were the one with the life threatening injuries. I just got stabbed." Raven finally figured out that other tone in his voice, it was guilt. "But to answer your question, I'll be fine. Just needed a few stitches and a band-aid, and I'm as good as new. . . How are you feeling?" His voice had suddenly taken on a soft serious tone.

"I'm fine, don't worry about me," Raven said reassuringly.

"How can I not? I couldn't even do anything. I feel so useless, and stupid. . . Look at me, I got stabbed before I even reached the real fight. It's pathetic, I'm so sorry," he said dejectedly.

Raven sighed. "You're not pathetic. You've just been plunged into a completely new world, Garfield. The world I've grown up in. I don't expect you to be an excellent fighter or some gallant knight. And I don't need a hero to come rescue me. What I do need is someone who can stand on the sidelines and give me support. You're the one who helps me through things, not the one who fights my battles for me," Raven answered forcefully. Although it wasn't quite the response he had expected, it definitely made him feel better.

"Yeah, I guess so." He leaned over her and laid a soft kiss on her lips, carefully avoiding her wounded shoulder. "I don't know what I would do if I ever lost you." Gar smiled sweetly.

"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Roth. I hope your both doing well?" a man with a scruffy white beard and a bleached lab coat greeted them. Tristan gave him a brisk nod as he shook the man's hand tersely. Angela gave the man a faint, yet sincere smile as she shook his hand daintily with her thin fingers.

On the man's lab coat was a small silver named tag, it read 'Dr. Niles Caulder.' The doctor was a very crisp and professional looking older man with gray hair, and small square glasses that hung on a long, silver chain around his neck. "Please follow me. She was moved into a different room since you last came."

"We had planned on coming sooner, but it's been a challenge finding the time," Angela said apologetically. She held onto her husband's arm absentmindedly.

"I understand completely," the doctor replied. "This our high observation room, it's rather new in fact. Please step in here." He ushered them into a small room with a small desk. There was a chair facing two small television screens on the desk. A pair of headphones rested beside the sets. "Though I don't use this room much, it helps me observe everything that goes on inside the room. There are two identical monitors in the security room in this building, which are constantly monitored. . . I wanted to have a quick talk with you before you two go in there. As you know, with your permission, we put her on a new, stronger medication. Like the pills she was receiving earlier, it seems to be having no effect. You see, these medications have different effects in everyone, in cases like her's it just does not work. I believe we will just have to keep trying other medications until we find something . . . compatible with her."

"I see," Tristan said gruffly.

"On a good point, she has not confided in us any thoughts of suicide since her attempt last month. She seems relatively peaceful lately, and we've been trying to slowly integrate her back into her normal room. . . I must tell you, her touch to this reality seems to be fading. A few months ago she would frequently interact with those around her, you might think of these moments as. . . breaks in the fantasy, I suppose you could say. Moments when she seems rather aware of where she is. But now, she rarely even acknowledges those around her. She has been drawing into herself, and these 'breaks' are slowly becoming less frequent. . . Just a warning, when you go in she may not even notice you are there," he explained somberly.

They both nodded. "Doctor, do you know what her. . . hallucinations are about?"

"It is nearly impossible for us to know for sure. Some days she seems overwhelmingly happy or excited, then other days she won't even move from her bed or she'll begin crying, other days she will collapse on the floor screaming. Without being in her head it's hard to say. . . In my sessions with her she rarely speaks, and when she does she always speaks of a boy. Maybe he was a former friend of her's?"

"Maybe," Tristan replied with his eyes fixed on one of the television screens.

"Once you are ready you can go in and see her," the doctor explained.

"I think, we're ready now," Angela spoke for her and her husband.

"Very well."

He led them to a sturdy metal door. "Victor," Doctor Caulder called to a young staff member. "Would you please escort them inside for me."

"Sure thing," Victor replied cheerfully. Pulling out a set of keys he unlocked the heavy door, and led them inside.

The room was plain with off-white walls and a small bed with white sheets. It was kept meticulous, but for the amount of money Tristan and Angela paid it was to be expected. There on the edge of the bed sat a girl with dark hair. Her head was cocked back slightly as she stared up at the ceiling tiredly. The expression on her face seemed distant, and her eyes were partially closed.

Victor shut the door after them, and the doctor stayed out to watch from the monitor room. "Hey, Rave. You have visitors," Victor spoke pleasantly. The girl didn't move.

Though it was awkward, Victor had to stay in the room during all visits for safety reasons. Despite how much Raven had tried begging, bargaining, and threatening him when she first came. Now, she didn't seem to care anymore. He was Raven's main caretaker, so he spent a lot of time with her. They had become friends, well as close as they could in their current positions. Vic knew she was a good person, though, and he had a great respect for her. Unlike most people, Victor could look past her. . . disability.

Angela gently squeezed Raven's shoulder. Instinctively pulling away from the contact, Raven seemed startled. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come in," she said wearily.

Her mother smiled warmly at her daughters voice. "You look well. How do you feel?" Truthfully, Angela knew she was losing weight, and she looked far too thin.

"I feel. . . alright." She looked away from her mother's gaze. The concern in Angela's deep blue eyes made Raven feel so guilty and helplessly frustrated. Everyone said there was something wrong with her, but she didn't know how to fix it. She didn't want her mother to have to worry about her all of the time.

"Good. . . I'm sorry we haven't visited you lately. We've been so busy at home," Angela explained.

When they had normal conversations like this it was really impossible to tell that there was anything wrong with her. They were the moments that Angela knew were slowly fading, and she cherished every moment. But these moments were also the moments that made her feel the guiltiest for leaving her beloved daughter alone in this place. It was impossible for her not to feel responsible for what had happened to Raven. And these moments normal moments were the ones that lasted the shortest.

"I know . . . It's so boring here. They've taken all of my things from me. They even took my clothes and books away," Raven said as she wrapped her arms around herself comfortingly. She felt so vulnerable in the bleached pajama like outfit they made her wear. "There's nothing to do. I hate these walls . . . Why did they take my things and move me in here? I can hear that stupid camera buzzing and clicking all day and night," Raven rambled as she motioned to the security camera in the corner that had been built into the wall and was protected by a layer of tinted plastic. "What did I do to deserve this kind of torture," she pleaded for the answer.

"You don't remember . . . ?" Angela asked softly. Raven stared back at her blankly. What was she supposed to tell her? The truth? "Um . . . You tried to kill yourself, Raven." She tried to say it as gently as she could.

"Oh," Raven answered with little shock. "Why don't I remember that?" She placed her head in her hands. "Mother, I'm so confused. What's wrong with me?" It was difficult holding back the tears, but she still did.

All Raven wanted was to be normal, but everyone kept telling her she had a problem. They said she was trapped between reality and fantasy. Which left one question: was this the reality . . . or just the dream? They both seemed so real to her. How was she supposed to know which reality to stay in? If she even had a choice between the two. It seemed that some other force had been dragging her between the two worlds for so long.

"Raven," Angela murmured broken heartedly as she placed her hand on Raven's knee. "There's nothing wrong with you. It's not your fault, none of this is."

Tristan hadn't said a word the entire time. It was too difficult to speak, what was he supposed to say? He still remembered when his daughter used to sit on his knee while he read the newspaper. Looking back, Tristan even missed their many arguments. Now, she wouldn't even look him in the eye, and half of the time she wouldn't even acknowledge his presence. Like Angela, Tristan felt that he was solely responsible for all of this. And he felt so helpless seeing her breakdown like this.

"Maybe going home will help me clear my mind," Raven spoke softly into her hands.

"Going home?" Angela asked with confusion.

Lifting her head out of her hands, Raven looked at her mother like she was stupid. "You're taking me home today, remember?" she insisted.

"Who told you that, sweetheart?" Angela tried to talk as gently as possible. It was obvious that Raven's mind had become very fragile.

Furrowing her brows, Raven replied, "You did."

"No, Raven. I'm so sorry, honey, but we can't give you the attention that you need. You're going to have to stay here for awhile longer." Angela squeezed her knee lightly in a comforting gesture.

"But . . ." Staring down at the ground with frustration, Raven tried to remember the past conversation with her mother for hard evidence of her promise. "You told me . . ."

Tristan stepped forward and rested his hand on his kneeling wife's shoulder. "Angela, maybe we should–" He was interrupted half way through his sentence by his daughter.

"Wait. . . It's your fault, isn't it. You don't want me around, do you?" Raven spat as she pointed an accusing finger at her father. "You're worried that I'll get in the way again. . . You think you're the one pulling all of the strings, don't you?"

Tristan was taken aback by his daughter's insane outburst. "I–"

"Why do you always do this? Why do you always want to control me?" Raven asked as her eyes began to get watery, and she stood up from the bed.

"Raven, please. . ." Angela had no clue what was going on now, but she could see the rage burning in her daughter's eyes.

"And don't you ever touch my mother," Raven growled as she brushed his hand off her mother's shoulder. "You always have to ruin everything good in my life! You tried to kill me!" She pounced on her father. Hitting him, Raven pushed her father against the wall.

"You tried to kill my friends!" The tears began to fall as she punched at him frantically. Luckily, her father was a large man, so he could take a few hits. Anyway, he was too dumbstruck to stop her. "You tried to kill Garfield!" Raven got in one last punch before Vic grabbed her from behind.

"What's gotten into Raven?" the young man questioned. "Calm down. No one's trying to hurt you Raven." She thrashed in his arms violently, and he struggled to keep his hold on her.

"So you're on his side now too, Victor? I'll kill him for what he did to me!" Raven shouted as she struggled with renewed strength. Vic held her tighter as she kicked, punched, and screamed.

"Mr. And Mrs. Roth, will you please wait outside for a moment as I calm her down." Victor asked politely. They complied and exited the room without question.

The doctor walked out of the surveillance room. "I'm so very sorry about that. She's so unpredictable right now, there was no one of knowing how she would react to your visit. . . Come please." They followed him back into the room with the television monitors.

Victor took Raven's abuse silently as she began to ware down, and it helped having her parents out of the room. Once the worst of her struggling died down, Victor took out a syringe from his back pocket that the doctor had given him for such an occasion. Vic tore the cap off the needle with his teeth.

"Let. . . me. . . go!" Raven demanded.

Quickly, he spun her around and pushed her back onto her bed. Managing to pin her there for a moment, he grabbed her onto her elbow and held out her arm. With a quick stab he emptied the syringe into her forearm. Then, he let go of her completely and withdrew to avoid being hit as she writhed on her bed.

The small scene made Angela gasp. "He's just giving her a sedative to calm her down. There's nothing to worry about, she's perfectly fine," the doctor explained to Tristan and Angela.

Raven began to throw a hysterical temper tantrum like a child. Within moments, though, she began to calm down as the drugs took effect. The syringe had contained only a small dosage of the drug. It was just enough to keep her from harming anyone, including herself.

"I can assure you, Mr. Roth, that she did not intend on hurting you. Going back and forth between hallucinations and reality have her confused. I believe it is becoming rather difficult for her to separate fact from fiction," the doctor said.

"I understand," Tristan replied. He looked down at his hands shamefully. Tristan could never blame his daughter for any of this. "But, why did she attack me? And who's Garfield?"

"It's all from her fantasy, Mr. Roth. I can't say exactly why she went after you, but I appears she believes you to have done something terrible to her. As for your other question, Garfield is the boy I told you about. . . I really don't know much more, as I said before she doesn't speak much."

"Very well," Tristan replied.

"I must tell you. . . If she continues on the path that she's on now, she may be completely absorbed into her fantasy. . . Within less than a year her already fraying tether to this reality may be completely broken. . . And all of this has put a fantastic strain on her already fragile mind. . . Which means that if this disease consumes your daughter. . ." The doctor hesitated before delivering the news. "She may only not live to see her 25 birthday. . . I'm sorry to have to tell you this. None of this means we're giving up on Raven, but I must warn you now. We'll do everything we can."

Suddenly, Tristan felt ice water run through his veins as the terrible news hit him. Glancing at the monitor, Tristan saw Raven lying on her bed facing up to the ceiling. She was crying into her hands.

Angela the same cold rush over her entire body as her husband. A numbness went through her mind. Looking up into her husband's eyes, she say a glassy, distant look in them. Following his gaze to the monitor, Angela stared at the image of her tormented daughter with helpless anguish.

"We would just like to have our daughter back, doctor," Tristan finally spoke up.

"We'll be back in a few days, doctor," Tristan said as he shook the man's hand.

"I look forward to seeing you again," Doctor Caulder responded. The walked down the hall and out of the hospital, leaving Victor and the doctor standing side by side outside of Raven's room.

"I don't see how they can do it," Vic commented.

"Do what?"

"Live with so little hope. . . How they can just sit around and watch their only daughter deteriorate like that. How they can keep coming back," he answered.

"She's all they have. In a situation like this all they can do is find the tinniest spark of hope and try to nurture it into a flame. You obviously don't have any kids to be asking a question like that."

"Yeah. . . So do you think you'll be able to snap her out of this fantasy she's been living in?" Victor asked curiously.

"Who are we to determine if her visions, or whatever you want to call them, aren't real? Maybe she's developed some divine power to see into other dimensions or something. Or maybe that reality is the only real one. Who's to say this is all real? It's really impossible to know. . . Anyway, who are we to deny her happiness, after all, we live in a crappy world."

"Why don't you tell any of this to her parents?" Vic asked.

"Do you really think they want to hear this? Do you think they could ever understand? All they see is their only daughter drifting away from them. She may be completely unreachable in a matter of weeks, and they aren't ready to give her up. You have no idea what they're going through, and neither do I. . . They'll do anything to get her back, even if that means that they'll have to attempt to rip her out of paradise. . . I don't know if it's right or wrong. I guess, that's really not up to me to decide anyway. But I do know, that if Raven doesn't want to leave that reality, she won't. . . ever."

Raven looked up into Garfield's dark emerald eyes. "I'll never leave you, Garfield, I promise. . . Not for anything."

He smiled down at her warmly as he gripped her hand tightly, never wanting to let go. "I know."