AN: Last chapter…as promised.
Once upon a time there was a girl name Tara Markov.
She was born with tremendous power.
Nobody knows why.
Perhaps her parents had connections to ancient Earthmovers, perhaps it was a mutated gene, a disease…it was a mystery.
She was just an anomaly, a freak of nature.
Her parents were kind, plain people, who loved their daughter.
When the child was four, an avalanche crushed the family…killing the parents…the child escaped unharmed.
They said it was an accident. And it was. But the child knew she'd caused it.
She lived in a foster home, with a kind old lady for a while…until an earthquake caused the house to crumble in on them.
The woman's leg was broken…but she had seen the child's eyes glow. They carted her away while she screamed about the demon child…Tara ran away before she could be driven out.
From then on, she lived on the streets, taking on a new name, Terra. She tried to use her powers for good…
But she couldn't control them. And caused destruction wherever she went. Occasionally people tried to take her in. But they all got hurt, or killed, and Terra was forced to run away again.
How many times the people had chased her out of town…her powers were so strong, so volatile…one time she caused a big enough earthquake to catch the one eye of a masked man looking for an apprentice…
She met the Teen Titans.
She betrayed them in a desperate attempt to control her powers.
She fell in love…
She tried to kill them…
But she did not succeed, and in the end, she saved them…and the city…
She never learned how to control it…
But that doesn't really matter anymore.
That girl is dead.
She is gone forever.
In an empty classroom stands a thin blonde girl. Everyone else is leaving, but she stays, watching through the window. He always comes by at this time. Beast Boy. Her personal short green stalker. She didn't know why she felt the need to stay and watch. It was always the same, he'd be strolling casually by and then turn and stare at the school for a minute…then continue on. He hadn't bothered her since she told him to leave her alone, neither had any of the other Titans, though she swore she'd seen a girl in a blue cloak once when leaving…and a spiky head in the shadows…but she'd blinked and they'd been gone.
He was late. Maybe he'd given it up. She felt sad about this somehow.
Suddenly, a maniacally laughing blue guy gripping bags of money zoomed past the school. Then she saw him. But he was not alone. He was with the rest of the Titans, the girl in the blue cloak throwing bolts of black magic at the blue magician, a colorfully dressed boy with spiky black hair running hard, a staff extended, a half robot African American guy pounding the pavement as well, a pretty girl with orange skin dressed in a crop top and short skirt flying unaided above them, and Beast Boy, looking as scrawny and green as ever. For a full second his eyes flicked over to the school. He appeared to be looking right at her, though he couldn't possibly see her. Then he transformed into a green cheetah, and moved to the head of the pack. The alien girl picked up the caped teenage boy and threw him bodily toward the magician, the cloak and leotard girl up ended a chunk of sidewalk with her powers, and they disappeared from sight.
The blonde teenager stared out the window in wonder, before two girls came in. "Hey, it's lunch time! What are you doing staring out the window?"
She turned to her friends; shivering slightly as she felt the pangs of fear and familiarity she got randomly sometimes…she tried to snap out of it.
"Sorry, I'm coming."
She followed her friends out of the classroom.
It doesn't matter at all.
He never bothered to change his name when he went into the assassin business.
He was not a different person. Merely…better informed.
As long as he dropped the last name, nobody would connect him to the mousy looking boy that mysteriously disappeared…or the family man.
And that was their weakness.
He had learned much.
In the army.
In the strict environment he was in as a child.
Some would call it abusive.
He wasn't one to label. The line between strict and abusive was so fine.
Of course, either way, Slade wouldn't stand for being treated like that.
Which is why Mr. and Mrs. Wilson disappeared with their son.
He didn't blame them for anything.
He was better disciplined for it, at any rate.
Trained to kill.
An apprentice of sorts.
He was bound to get fed up though.
The army taught him a lot. However, he found their 'rules' too rigid. He went on his own. Became an assassin.
Assassins are just like soldiers.
Everyone knows it, but they won't admit it.
And Addie…he had truly loved her.
And the baby.
He'd wanted to teach the baby the skills he was taught.
But Addie found out about his 'secret identity'.
The woman was so enraged…
That was how he lost his eye.
She filed for divorce.
Sent the baby away.
Technically, they never got a divorce.
He killed her before that was able to come through.
He really had loved her.
Why did she have to shoot him in the eye?
He never found the baby.
But he craved an apprentice as his assassination grew to include stealing and such, and he became a feared criminal.
He wished to mold someone.
He needed the best specimen possible.
Villains had complications…hunger for power and easy backstabbers…and he wanted to 'raise' his apprentice in a way. Change them into a different person. Mold him into his own.
He needed someone highly skilled, psychically fit, determined, focused, serious, disciplined…someone…like him.
It was almost too easy.
Slade tapped his fingers against his desk. It was around midnight or something, but he was not yet tired. He turned on the tape again.
…And another crime successfully foiled by the Teen Titans!" A blonde woman chirped. "Tony Zucco, notorious gangster and blackmailer, is now behind bars mainly thanks to the Titans leader, Robin the Boy Wonder! Footage of the crime scene!"
It showed Robin climbing gracefully up a trapeze, throwing a birdarang down at a thug and knocking him out. The sound on the news cast was nearly non existent and no matter how he tried, Slade could not get anything beyond a faint "circus freak" to sound. "Circus freak." Odd insult. True, Robin was on a trapeze, perhaps that was all the insult was about. Slade, however, had a feeling there was more to this story. For instance, Robin attacked this criminal quite viciously, Starfire having to pull him back. The hatred on Robin's face was usually something reserved for Slade himself. Something was fishy here…
Slade knew about the young crime fighters past with Batman, more about it than Robin could ever guess. They had randomly split a few months before Robin's sixteenth birthday, Slade could not fathom why. An argument perhaps? All he knew was suddenly the Dark Knight appeared in Gotham without a sidekick and Robin formed the Teen Titans two months later.
He still felt the need to learn as much about the Titans, Robin in particular, as possible. He still thought Robin would have made a perfect apprentice…but that was lost now. Now Robin was his foe. And he knew the weaknesses. The Teen Titans were the ones who would always get in the way of his…goals. And he needed to pursue.
He ejected the tape. He could not shake the feeling there was something wrong with that particular televised encounter…something he was missing.
He would find it.
He always did.
He shoved the tape in the drawer.
Too easy, Robin. Too easy…
He struggled each and every day.
He was nothing but a shred of spirit, caught in an endless torment, wandering aimlessly.
His past flashing before him.
He was the expunged evil energies of that cursed place, Azarath. They had created them. Tried to destroy him. But nobody could.
His thirst for power drove him. From the day he was born he wreaked destruction. It had only taken him six years to gather the power to destroy his whole planet.
Millions of dimensions under his command. He wanted it. He wanted it ALL.
But he was imprisoned by the spells of that cursed place Azarath.
They had created a monster. Now they had to deal with one.
But they could not capture his demons.
The demons HE had created. The demons that existed to SERVE HIM.
They traveled to earth. And inadvertently, bought him the answer to his problems with one stupid woman.
Now he had a portal out of this fiery prison. A vast portal in a small, violet haired girl. All he needed was sixteen years. He could easily control his daughter. She was his pawn.
Or so he thought.
Inadvertently, he had given her tremendous power by siring her. And that, combined with a strong will…
He got to earth.
He thought he had conquered her.
But she rose from the ashes and defeated him in flash of white.
Trigon the Terrible defeated by a sixteen year old girl.
Now he was only a spirit.
He had underestimated her.
He would not make that mistake again.
She would PAY.
In the plain of eternal pain, he pulsed, a mere spirit, as insignificant as the dust. Striving, horribly, forward.
She may have taken his body from him, but NOBODY could destroy Trigon the Terrible. He was far too powerful.
Even now, his demons were working.
They would enact the ancient spell. He would be FREED.
In the plains of magic, anything was possible. And he had and endless supply.
She thought she had broken the connection. But he still felt her thoughts, faint, but there.
He was CONSUMED with RAGE.
His demons would be faithful.
He would endure.
He always did.
He was RAGE. He was EVIL. NOBODY COULD CONQUER THAT.
Nice guys finish last.
That had always been her motto.
Her sister was the ultimate nice guy.
That was why she was always last.
Some might disagree.
But Blackfire always won.
Starfire always behind.
The world was cruel. Rulers were cruel. Blackfire had to be cruel to keep up with this world.
She had to take care of herself.
She refused to be a victim.
Occasionally she felt pangs of guilt, like when she had left Starfire for the Gordanians.
But she had to look out for herself. Star would have to be a big girl.
She had traveled the universe, getting into trouble here and there.
So she stole some diamonds. Hurt some people. A girl had to survive.
She was only using Star as a decoy. The guards would have figured out Star wasn't her and let her out of prison soon enough, giving Blackfire time to escape. But NO. Starfire had stood by; let her sister go to jail. Wouldn't DO that ONE THING.
Then she got her BANISHED from her planet.
She had nowhere to go now.
Was she last?
She was merely coming from behind.
Blackfire looked down at Earth, a twisted smile on her face. Terra Prime. Her little kidnapping plot had failed. But somehow she didn't feel bothered. It felt nice to finally tell the secret to Starfire. The secret she had kept inside for so many years. Perhaps there was some vindictiveness in her pleasure. Okay, a lot of vindictiveness. But now she was not alone, not the only one bearing the burden. And that was what mattered to Blackfire.
But she also could not help but derive pleasure from what Kory DIDN'T know. That was that Blackfire had received a rumor that their parents might be alive.
But she wasn't bothering to check it our, nor willing to tell Starfire about it.
It was probably false.
Besides, her parents were better off dead. No more pain for her. And no more pain for Kory. Not the she really CARED about Kory's feelings.
"See you around, little sister," she said to the blue and green planet. Then she zoomed off, armored hands outstretched. The universe was a big place. Surely she could find a party SOMEWHERE.
Master of Mischief.
But mostly Juvenile Delinquent.
Like Vic Stone, Ron's parents had never cared for him. But they were busy being drug dealers, not scientists. So Ron had staked his place on the street. He wasn't a braniac, but he was clever. He used his resources to the maximum; he took advantage of every opportunity. Some called him manipulative. Some said he used people. But really, he just tried to get what he wanted.
Vic had been good for that. He was lonely, he was smart. Ron could get him to do stuff, pin stuff on him, and he was useful.
But he'd abandoned Ron when he became a giant football star. Ron felt hurt. Sure, he had used Vic but he'd never abandoned him. He had, you know, been there. But he was all jacked up on football and the popular crowd, "too good" for Ron and the gang now. All fancy, forgetting what he basically was: a ghetto kid.
Then they said Vic's dad had blown up him and his mom in an accident. Ron felt bad. Vic was always being screwed over by his dad. He felt mad that the old man had been the one to finish off Vic. Though he still hated Vic for becoming all high and mighty, he didn't want the guy to DIE. But he was…not all people believed so. Some people said his dad had rebuilt him into a Cyborg. Ron didn't believe that stuff. Nor did he believe the rumors about Vic BEING "Cyborg" on the Teen Titans. He'd never even SEEN the Teen Titans; they might be another rumor for all he knew. People said they were in the news, but he didn't have access to a newspaper or television. Besides, even if this "Cyborg" was real, who said it was Vic? The robot guy was black. Oh yeah, that meant it was Vic. After all, Vic's the only black person in the universe.
But, for the first time in his life, Ron was proven wrong.
Ron Evers kicked a beer can up the alley, his hands deep in his pockets. He couldn't believe he had just seen VIC STONE. But not Vic Stone…some…Cyborg guy. Hanging around with a short green kid, a creepy chic in a cloak, some alien babe and Robin the Boy Wonder. A superhero. And Vic had totally screwed him over! Just like the old days. Vic had BETTER friends than Ron. Ho ho. Well, screw him. Vic DESERVED to be a freakin' monster! He had thrown Ron against a wall!
Ron took a few steps up the street and suddenly came face to face with STAR Labs. It was smoking oddly. Weird.
A few news people were there. Scientific breakthrough or something. Ron turned around and walked away; just in time to miss seeing the police come out with a body bag.
"My little Robin, always bobbin' along…"
"Oh my God! Garfield!"
"Football is NOT a future, Victor."
"Kory, remember, you are a warrior…"
"H-he's inside her…Sh-she's really going to do it…destroy the world…sh-she might kill…kill us all. All…of us…in Azarath…I can't help it, Coman! I'm afraid she's just like him!"
"Hey…didn't you used to be with-?"
"The little runt was in the Doom Patrol long before you got your paws on him!"
"Go ahead. Run cryin' home to Mommy. Oh, that's right. You don't HAVE a mommy!"
"When we were little, I was always rescuing Starfire."
"You will always be Daddy's little girl."
"I already have a father."
"It was something I did once. I'm a Titan now."
"There! Take a good long look! I had an accident, and now I'm a monster, all right? A cyborg!"
"On my home planet, such explosions would mean the Gordanians were attacking. You are certain Earth is not under attack?"
"You may have created me... but you were never my father. Fathers are kind! Fathers protect you! Fathers raise you! I was protected by the monks of Azarath. I was raised by my friends. They are my family. This is my home. And you are NOT WELCOME HERE!"
Raven's eyes snapped open, her psychic energy senses on alert. She sat straight up, looking around. Had she heard something?
Raven looked around, and saw she had fallen asleep on the couch with her friends. They had been watching a late night movie. Starfire was blinking blearily up at her, she was sprawled across Robin, whose masked eyes were open as well, and he now looked very uncomfortable. Beast Boy had curled up as a cat, and was now transforming back into a tousled human form. Cyborg was sleeping on the adjacent armchair, but had been awakened as well.
"What's up?" the half robot yawned.
"Nothing…I just thought I heard something." Raven said.
"Oh…" Cyborg looked at his arm panel. "Sensors say nobody's here."
"Yeah. It was probably just a dream." Raven muttered.
"Look at us in our friendly togetherness!" Starfire exclaimed. "I am most happy to share the couch with my friends. I feel the warmth of my surrogate family!"
"Um…we're a surrogate family?" Beast Boy yawned.
"Well, let's see. We live together, we support each other, and we share the household chores. Yeah, sounds like a surrogate family to me," Raven snapped.
"Wow, Raven. That's surprisingly lovey dovey of you," Beast Boy said.
"I was merely stating a fact."
"Starfire, you're suffocating me," Robin muttered.
"I am sorry, Robin…you are very warm, you know."
"I dunno 'bout you guys, but I'm so tired I'm not even movin' from this armchair. I'm going back to sleep. 'Night surrogate family."
"Yeah, kay. 'Night, weirdest family on the planet," Beast Boy turned back into cat.
"Good night, family of surrogates!"
"Yeah, what they said," Robin was apparently very tired. He closed his masked eyes.
"Yeah…good night," Raven did not make a move to lie down, but watched all of her friends go to sleep. Then she looked up into the dark room.
Raven shook her head.
"Nah, couldn't be."
She curled up on the couch beside her friends.