Chapter 7 – Last Act
After kissing the clone, Raven drew back, again, sensing Robin's aura.
Yes, it sickened her to do what she did, because the body in fact did look like the ugly old nemesis of the Titans, but Raven knew it was the only way to combat the clone's control over the mind of the body.
The struggle was easier for Robin this time. He knew what he had to do. Robin directed all he had into taking over the body's power, allowing Raven's own power to supplement his own.
Robin emerged again and regained his senses, as well as his ability to move and think.
"Raven," he said, smiling weakly.
"You need to listen," Raven replied seriously, "I have a plan, but we have to act fast. Mumbo isn't going to stick around here forever, and we can be sure that he'll try to get away if he finds out about this."
Raven went through the strategy with Robin, thoroughly explaining it so he wouldn't waste his effort in asking questions. When they had finished the planning, it was time to put the idea into action. Raven assumed that Beast Boy was at least to the Police Station, if they weren't already on their way to the theater.
"You ready?" Raven asked. Robin nodded.
The secret entrance was opened swiftly, and Robin threw back the wooden trapdoor, not caring if it clattered noisily against the wall. He held Raven's forearm tightly, and shoved her in ahead of himself.
"Mumbo, I've caught the strong one," he said in monotone, walking into the musty, large room, lifting the arm he held her by as if to prove he had a firm grasp on her.
At least sixty-two eyes peered at them, from the thirty plus Mumbo clones and Mumbo Jumbo himself.
Raven struggled against his grip. "Let me go, you mindless demon!" she cried, beating him with her free arm.
Robin hit her arm swiftly and she drew it back protectively. Either he had greatly underestimated her acting skills again, or he had actually hurt her.
"Excellent," Mumbo Jumbo cackled. "Quickly, to the chamber! We're getting out of here soon. The green one is gone now, probably calling for help. It won't be long before the theater is crawling with cops."
Robin jerked Raven over to the chamber. "You'll never get away with this!" Raven promised, grimacing inwardly at sounding so clichéd.
Robin pushed his friend into the chamber. They had run into a problem. To close the door, Robin would need to let go of her arm. His control would be gone, and Raven would actually be turned into a clone. Their eyes met briefly, and they knew they were thinking of the same issue.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Mumbo asked, patience wearing thin. He tapped a black shoe on the ground. "Lock the chamber and turn it on!"
"I… can't." Robin said, trying vainly to come up with a believable excuse. He swallowed nervously. "She'll… break free if I let go."
Raven prayed that Mumbo wouldn't realize the huge blunder the Boy Wonder had made.
Mumbo scowled deeply. He walked quickly to the chamber. "Let go of her, you fool! She can't get away now," he promised.
Raven saw her chance. She broke free of Robin's grasp, shoving the door open and lunging out of the way of Mumbo. She shoved Mumbo Jumbo, sending him falling to the ground in front of the chamber. Robin picked him up and no less than threw him into the box, causing Mumbo to land hard on his head. Raven wondered if his bones were brittle like a regular old man's, but decided they were not as the impact didn't seem to have seriously injured the evil man a bit.
He scrambled to his feet, but Raven slammed the Plexiglass door, turning the locks quickly. She held a palm to them one at a time, and her hand briefly glowed a dark blue as she melted the metals together, destroying the locks and keeping Mumbo captive.
"Clones, attack!" came the muffled voice of the old magician while he pounded on the wall with his fists.
They rose obediently and ran to save their leader.
Raven was in serious trouble, to say the least. The clones loomed over her, surrounding her on every side. Robin had lost his control again, and was among the throng of clones. She no longer knew which one he was.
"What are you waiting for?" Mumbo shrieked. "Destroy her!"
Raven was never one to run from her problems, but knowing she could not win, took the opportunity to phase through the floor.
After landing outside the room, Raven sank to the ground, cradling her head in her arms. 'Could I have been any more stupid?' Raven cursed herself. She had just lost her one chance. Now she knew why she was not the leader of the Titans. A good leader needs to be able to come up with good ideas. Ideas that don't get your best friend turned back into an evil clone and alert an army of Mumbo Jumbos that you're onto their plan.
Raven refused to leave three of her friends so disabled. She decided that she had to turn back, had to fight no matter if it got her changed into a clone too.
Raven took a deep breath, collected her thoughts, and phased through the floor again.
Raven appeared through floor, this time on the opposite side of the musty room. Her eyes glowed white as she chanted her mantra, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" A dome of black energy suddenly surrounded the clones. She was relieved to find that they had still been struggling with to free their master when she returned to the room. He was still trapped in the box.
Raven would have thrown the vile creatures across the room, but remembered that the group was just a few of her friends tangled in the bunch of innocent civilians, underneath the evil facade. She pushed them to one side of the room, carefully keeping up the field around them.
"Mumbo," she snarled, eyes still glowing, ablaze with hatred and power.
The evil magician seemed to shrink back against one of the Plexiglass sides, suddenly grateful for the wall that separated him from the crazed girl.
"I'll give you one chance to fix my friends and all these other people before I crush you like the vermin you are."
"Never! That's not fair," he whined, "Even if I help you, you'll just turn me in to the cops anyway."
Raven smiled internally. This was good. The magician was already on the defensive. He had hopefully already given up on the notion that he would escape with the clones, much less carry out his plan for world domination.
"The theater is already surrounded with Police," Raven said. She didn't know if that was a lie or not, but she felt it was worth the possible stretch of truth. "Fix everyone, and I'll make sure you only get prison for life."
Mumbo scowled deeply. It was a lose-lose situation for him now. Escaping was the only chance he had. At least sixty of his other clones were still hidden in another location. Maybe he could take up another alias and continue the show somewhere else….
"Fine. I'll return your pathetic friends and the civilians to their normal selves." He mumbled.
Raven was surprised. She didn't expect him to give up so quickly. She expected a trick. "If you try anything funny, I'll send you to another dimension," she promised.
Mumbo gulped but agreed. Raven raised a hand and cut the box in half with a whip of dark, crackling energy, making sure it was severed enough so that the chamber could not be used again. The man jumped out, and Raven turned to him, watching his every move with scrutiny.
Keeping a close watch on the magician, she walked to where the clones were being held. A small break appeared in the force field, and she allowed one clone to walk through.
The clones looked terrified enough to obey her, but taking no risks, Raven carefully led the clone to Mumbo by the wrist.
"Well?" she asked impatiently. "Aren't you going to keep your promise?"
Mumbo tapped a key on the same panel that controlled the gas chamber. The far wall slid open to reveal a small, hidden chamber. There was the table Robin had described, with chains for securing the victims arms and legs. Keeping the magician ahead of her, Raven led the clone to the room.
The clone sat down willingly on the table and Mumbo secured its arms and legs
"You may begin," Raven said icily.
Mumbo looked a bit confused. "See, I've never actually reversed the process before…"
"You don't know how?" Raven asked, anger in her voice.
"It should just take a little tinkering," he promised, raising a skinny arm in defense.
A half hour later, the clone was still being operated on. Its body was covered with a black tarp, and its head was in a shiny metal box that hummed slightly.
"And that should do it!" Mumbo proclaimed. "Abracadabra!" he cried, pulling away the tarp with a flourish. There lay an unconscious girl, maybe eight years old, clad in a hospital-like gown.
"You kidnapped children?" Raven asked through clenched teeth.
Mumbo didn't reply, and did not meet her furious gaze.
"How did you do that?" she asked, anger still present, "How did you change her back to normal?"
Mumbo grinned. "A good magician never reveals his secrets," he said. Raven rolled her eyes. It had to be witchcraft. Nothing less than witchcraft could explain the transformation.
"When will she wake up?" Raven asked, motioning to the poor girl. In reply, Mumbo retrieved a water bottle and dumped half of its contents on the unconscious girl's face. After a moment, her eyelids began to flutter slightly and she sputtered a bit, spitting the water from her mouth. Her eyes opened groggily, and Raven bit her lip, praying everything was back to normal in the little girl's mind.
Panic set into the tiny face. Her eyes widened dramatically, and tears began to flow. "Where am I?" she cried, struggling at the chains that bound her.
Raven cast a furious look at Mumbo, who was vainly trying to hide a hint of guilt that clouded over his face. With one swift motion, Raven released the girl from the chains.
Mumbo motioned to a pile of clothes in one corner. "Look through those," he said. When the little girl found her clothing, she hastily pulled on the pants and pulled her jacket over the hospital-style gown. Raven led the poor child out from the room in her arms, walking in a second Mumbo clone.
Twenty minutes later, a man walked out from the room, looking just as dazed and confused as the little girl. Keeping Mumbo under watch, she led the two out of the basement and to the waiting police.
"This is going to be a long day," Raven thought to herself with a groan, and led the third clone to the operating room.
It wasn't until the fourteenth clone was restored to normal before her first friend returned. It was Starfire.
"Ooh, I believe I have a terrible ache of the head," the alien said, before wrapping the empath in a rib-crushing hug. "But it is so wonderful to see you again my friend!"
"I'm glad you're alright, Star," the dark girl replied.
"Oh Raven, being a clone of the Mumbo Jumbo was such a strange experience! I was not able to do any of the things that I normally can. It was like a horrible nightmare!" the alien shared, wringing her hands in front of herself in remembrance of the traumatic event.
Raven nodded. "At least it's over now, Starfire."
The alien smiled. "Yes, it is finally over."
The twentieth clone turned out to be Cyborg. He wrapped both girls in a bear hug as soon as he was able to walk out of the chamber. "Man, it's great to see you guys!" he said, and proceeded to begin relaying the experience from his perspective.
He went to find Beast Boy, who clomped down the staircase to the basement moments later. The first thing he did was change into a small green kitty and jump into Raven's arms. He purred and nuzzled stomach. "It's nice to see you too, Beast Boy," she said, tossing the cat to Starfire.
Beast Boy had to return to human form to avoid from every bone in his little body being broken by the force of the fierce embrace Star gave him. "Oh Beast Boy!" Starfire cried, "I am elated to see you again! Raven has told us that you were the one who fetched the Police!"
The changeling beamed. "Yep, I don't want to brag, but I did save the day."
An eternity seemed to pass before the second to last clone emerged from its operation. Robin stepped through the doorway with a grin. "Hey guys," he said nonchalantly, as if he had just come back from a walk in the park.
Before anything else, Robin had Raven describe her brief battle with Mumbo that convinced him to return the clones back into their normal states. Beast Boy described his trip to the Police Station, and Raven rolled her eyes, but let him soak up the praise for his 'daring mission' nevertheless.
The final clone had been in operation for a while. Nearly forty minutes had passed. Raven phased through the door for a moment, before returning with a look of alarm on her face. She opened the door and her friends followed her inside.
"He's gone," Robin said, stating the obvious.
On the operation table was the final person, returned to normal but unconscious. Mumbo was nowhere to be seen.
"The villain Mumbo Jumbo has tricked us!" the alien girl cried in anger.
"Yeah, but where did he go?" Beast Boy asked, looking under the table. They had been guarding the only door out the entire time.
"I gotta hand it to the guy," Cyborg admitted, scratching his head, "The man's got serious magic skills."
It had been a very long day. Nearly seventeen hours had passed since the Titans had eaten or been at the Tower, but the abductees were on their way home, and a statewide Police watch was set up to be on the look out for Mumbo.
"My friends," Starfire began, as soon as they had entered the Tower, "We should celebrate this joyous occasion!"
"Over sixty people are still missing, and Mumbo got away," Raven replied sadly.
"But we are safe, and thanks to you over thirty people are back to their normal lives," Robin told her, putting a gloved hand on her shoulder. "And that is a reason to celebrate."
Raven had to agree.
"Most glorious!" Starfire cried, "I propose that we order a large pizza with celery and blueberries!"
"Uh, how about I just make spare ribs instead?" Cyborg asked.
"No way dude, I'm making tofu stir fry!" the changeling insisted, crossing his arms over his chest.
"We could just go out for Chinese food," Cy offered. Star and BB agreed.
""I'll just have some tea here," Raven told them, already walking out of the room to fetch the teapot. It had been a very long day for her especially, trying to keep up a force field for multiple hours at one time in addition to all the fighting and worry and panic.
"Yeah, I should do some paperwork on this, but you guys go ahead," Robin called, walking for his room.
The remaining three Titans agreed and left for the T-Car.
Raven was sitting at a table, stirring her tea. It was dark outside, but she found herself staring out the window, looking up at the hazy stars. She sighed.
"Mind if I join you?" asked Robin walking through one of the electronic doors.
Raven accidentally stabbed her teabag with the stirring spoon, sending little brown flecks of tealeaves floating to the surface. "Sure," Raven said quietly. After she had kissed him twice over the last day, she felt a bit uncomfortable talking to him. She had not meditated since, and was feeling more than a bit unstable. "Robin, when I kissed you, you know it was because I had to, right?" Raven asked tentatively.
"I know, Raven," the Boy Wonder told her with a little smile. He sat down beside her. "I just wanted to tell you, I really appreciate all that you did. I mean, if it weren't for you, I'd still be stuck as a clone of an enemy, probably on my way to take over a city."
Raven grinned slightly. "You're welcome."
Robin looked her in the eyes, and reached out a strong hand to rest on one of her tiny pale ones. One of the kitchen lights exploded behind them.
"We'll find those missing people, Rae, I promise," Robin said seriously.
"I know, Robin."
The Boy Wonder moved close to Raven, lifting a gloved hand to brush back her hair. He leaned in close to her and kissed the surprised empath. Raven closed her eyes. The teapot began to rattle, threatening to explode and shower them with hot water. Raven broke away. "It's late. I should go," she insisted, abruptly standing and striding over to the sink to pour out her ruined tea. "Robin, I-" her voice faltered, as she searched for the right words. "When you were trapped in the body of the clone, I was so…"
Robin rose and took her hand in his. "So what?" he asked gently.
"So… scared that I would never see you again. I couldn't stand losing you," she said quietly.
Robin chuckled. "You're never going to lose me, Raven." He said softly. Raven smiled gently. She kissed him lightly on the lips before bidding him good night and leaving the room.
A.N. And that concludes my first multi-chapter story. I'll probably add an epilogue soon.
I hope you liked it!