Title: Goodbye Past, Hello Future
Category: Cartoons » Teen Titans
Author: Amber Myst
Language: English, Rating: Fiction Rated: K+
Genre: Angst/General
Published: 08-01-06, Updated: 04-07-09
Chapters: 1, Words: 13,715

A/N: Okay everybody. This fic is for all my good buddies who have had past birthdays. I know I haven't been very on top of things lately, and I apologize so freakin' much. Recently, my computer crashed and all the files that weren't backed up were lost, including a lot of the one shots I've written. All the big stuff like Love Potion, Demon Hertiage, etc. was fortunately backed up. Thank God for small mercies. Anywho, I wrote this and instead of trying to remember of all those little one-shotsI decided to dedicate this to all of my best buds. Hell, it's long enough. I hope you guys don't mind sharing an one-shot. This is dedicated to Alena-chan, SweetNCrazieSugarMuffin andDaybreak25.

Goodbye Past, Hello Future

(Yeah, I know the title sucks. I couldn't think of what to name it.)

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The music pulsed around her; the pounding of the speakers, the sway of the multitudes of bodies moving against each other lured her to the dance floor. The seductive rhythm of the deafening roar from the speakers, the flashing, and hypnotic luminosity of the overhead strobe lights and the scream of a jubilant crowd was an addiction that drew her like no other. To be cliché, like a moth drawn irrevocably to a brilliantly flickering flame. She could feel the anticipation and adrenaline surge through her, her heartbeat seemingly racing along with the pulse of the music. The atmosphere caressed her like a long lost lover, a seducing touch that brought her careening to life and more than ready to tango. This was what she lived for, what she dreamed of. But no one knew that. She could never tell a soul. They wouldn't understand. Not a single one. Getting past the inevitable fact that she could dance and was actually good at it would be absolutely impossible. And so she never said a word, just slipped out of the tower when the fierce need gripped her relentlessly, as it tended to do often. Hooded eyes slowly scanned the crowd, glazed slightly over with the seduction of the only thing that truly made her feel alive. She needed to feel alive, craved emotions. Her hips swayed slowly with the beat, her fingers tapping lazily against her leather clad thigh. Her head tilted slightly to side, as she sized up her prospective dance partners of the night. Lilting upon a brunette in the corner, her sapphire orbs assessed his moving body, her eyes flashing briefly with appreciation as they rove over masculine, chiseled planes. However, despite how nice his body looked, he was not especially skilled at dancing and she soon dismissed him from her sight and mind. Besides, she always preferred to dance alone but tonight...

Not finding a potential dance partner right away, she straightened up from the rail she was leaning against and gracefully folded herself into a chair, throwing her head back and letting the emotions in the room sweep her away into a world that didn't exist in her normal life. Looking up into the elephantine mirrors that lined the expansive ceiling, no one would believe that the female staring back at her was the illustrious, reclusive Raven of the Teen Titans. A simple complexion spell replaced her true skin tone reminiscence of a dusky gray with a pale peach, and even simpler contacts turned her unique violet eyes a startling sapphire, framed by her natural, long, thick eyelashes, enhanced by slight strokes of eyeliner. Another spell dyed her hair a deep, jet black with a hint of purple that shone in the light and another tweaked her voice so slightly that even if you knew what she sounded like you would have trouble placing the voices as the same. Maybe she was being a bit extreme but she wanted nothing to do with "Raven". It was sort of an escape from her life, from the pressure of being an anti-social, demonic heroine.

A brush of silvery blue swept artistically across her eye lids brought out the blue of her contacts. Her eyes swept across her pert, straight nose and studied the once perfectly applied frosted lip gloss that graced her lips and frowning momentarily, dismissed the small flaw. She had a horrid habit of biting her lips when she was anxious. Brushing her eyes over her outfit, she gave a small, self-satisfied nod of approval. She had spent an entire day at the mall looking for it with Starfire---she barely suppressed a shudder---and it was the first night she had ever worn it out. A black pair of leather pants encased her legs like a second skin. The pair was slung low on her hips, exposing a fair expanse of flesh that didn't bother her as much as it would have a couple of years ago. She had almost decided against the leather pants since they were so cliché but they suited her so well. Besides, the gleaming, silver dragon artistically curled along her right leg clinched the deal for her. The dragon, which she whimsically named Arael, had a single shimmering eye that was a brilliant blue, the same color of her contacts. Bringing her eyes back up, she appraised the top she had purchased with the pants. It was made of a flowing, silvery blue material that matched her eye shadow perfectly.

The top was loose, the antithesis of her tight, leather pants, and hung from shoulders in graceful folds, leaving her back bare. It literally seemed as if someone had taken a ring of silk and hung it from her neck so that her chest was covered. Held in place by a string tied around her back and a clasp at the back of her neck, the bottom of the folds brushed just below her belly button.

A small smile assured her that she looked good and she sat up, returning her attention to the throbbing crowd. Several eyes burned into and a flicker of uncertainty flashed through her before she firmly pushed it away, self annoyance replacing it. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who thought she looked good tonight and she certainly wouldn't let any self consciousness or the need to blend in after years of trying to fade into the background mess up her night. One would think after a couple of years she would be over it, but every now and then, it would come to the surface and make itself known. The nagging thought that she wasn't as great as she thought she was and that others were secretly mocking her or thought little of her. But all in all, the only opinions that mattered to her were the opinions of her loved ones and her own. And sometimes, to hell with her team mates thought. She had her emotions and her powers under strict control although she still felt the need to meditate every now and then. Her father's death a couple of years ago not only freed of her his evil influence but gifted her with the peace of mind to control her emotions. So far, her emotional state has progressed by leaps and bounds. A brief, grim smile and a shake of her head brought her back to reality.

It was time to dance.

Slowly, she made her way unto the center of the dance floor, moving skillfully through the gyrating bodies around her. It was true that she hated being in the spotlight for any period of time but that slight phobia melted away when it came to dancing and the center of the floor was the best place for her empathy to absorbed the exhilarating emotions of the room. Besides, when she danced, she became a different person. Stopping and taking a deep, calming breath she began to move. Her hips first, slowly swaying to the rhythm of the song as it became ingrained in her conscious. It was a techno song, fast and upbeat, a song she could loose herself in.

She loved those the most.

Raven closed her eyes, willing her body to move as she imagined it to, her arms raising into the air as her body twirled around, bringing them back down to run lightly over her twisting torso. Running her hand through her dark hair, it fanned out behind her, the purple glinting brightly under the strobe lights. Her hips moved in time with the tempo and she let the music carry her away. The song slowly died out, another track replacing it instantaneously. This didn't stop her, she simply adjusted her dancing to match the tempo of the current song and continued to move undeterred. When she danced the world simply melted away and that was the way she loved it.

The time passed slowly for her. When she danced time ceased to be important and nothing else mattered but her movements. It really wasn't so much that time stopped that it was the concept of time itself didn't exist to her anymore, only the music. The passage of time was marked by the change of music and soon the songs that were played blurred together until she wasn't sure how long she had been dancing. Seconds changed into the beat of the music, minutes into the rhythm of her body, and hours…if it had been that long, transgressed into the frantic beat of her heart and the adrenaline that rushed through her.

Soon enough though, she could no longer ignore the needs of her body. Her throat burned with the need of a cool liquid and the heat from so many gyrating bodies crushed together seemed to be affecting her more and more. It was time to take a break. The time when she had collapsed from over exerting herself was not far from her mind and eventually she slowed, and opened her eyes, actually seeing all the people around her. Under any other circumstances but dancing, such a large crowd would be an aversion to her.

Smiling, she made her way to the bar and plopped down on a stool, resting her elbows and the table and in turn, her chin on the back of her hands. Waiting for the bartender, Anthony, to finally notice her, she whirled around on her bar stool, restless for some strange reason and unable to keep still. Leaning backwards to rest her forearms on the counter, she surveyed the crowd just for the hell of it. Something prickled her subconscious and she was aware of someone watching her intently. She ignored the avid attention and decided if the guy was as interested in her as the intensity of his gaze seemed to indicate, then he would have to come to her. And then she would more than likely send him away.

"You were lookin' good out there!" A gruff voice sounded from behind her and she sat up, twirling around to face the bartender.

She flashed him only a slight smile, unable to fully suppress her somewhat reclusive persona, but her eyes sparkled, belying her true enjoyment. "Don't I know it?" She mused before greeting him properly. Passing her eyes over him, she noted his usual outfit of black slacks and a white dress shirt, covered by a black vest. He was a short, scruffy looking man with dark, chocolate brown hair and gray eyes. His short frame, well, for a male, averaged 5'5, and was lean, but solid, compact muscle. She didn't let his appearance fool her for a second though, and thought that the many others who dismissed him at first glance shouldn't either. He also doubled as the backup bouncer which was a testament to the abnormal strength housed in such a small frame.

"It's been ages since you dropped by girl; I thought you wouldn't be comin' back."

It had been weeks since she last dropped by. A pick up in crime rates have left her too occupied during the day and too tired to do anything but drop at night. This was the first time she had been out. Even the team was out, although she didn't know exactly where each one was. It had been a mutual agreement between everyone that they would go their separate ways. To be completely honest with herself, if she saw one team member tonight, regardless of whether they recognized her or not, she would scream. They had seen so much of each other that they were sick of it; that was why this respite was not only from the villains but from each other. They had been fighting amongst themselves almost as much as they were the enemy. Raven blamed it on the stress, lack of sleep and more or less, Beast Boy's lame attempts at being funny. Robin felt the same, well, except for her opinion of Beast Boy's antics. Cyborg blamed it on Beast Boy, and vice versa. Starfire blamed in on the drifting of friends, the Rekmas. Her teeth gritted together. If Star said one more time in that teary, pathetic voice 'friends, you must desist! Do not bring upon us the Rekmas' she was going to knock her out and throw her in front of a speeding train.

But that was neither here nor there and now she had some time to herself for some desperately needed relaxation and 'Raven' time. And she did that the best right were she was.

"Shame on you, Anthony. You should have known better than that. As if I could stay away from you." She replied dryly, the almost sarcastic tone offset with a small smile.

Anthony grunted at her, before settling a tall, parfait glass before her and pouring a frothy, brown concoction into it. He topped it with whipped cream and added a few chocolate shavings for effect.

Her eyes lit up immediately as her almost gruff manner melted away. "Is…is that what I think it is?"

He grinned at her. "Yup. Your favorite. Death by Chocolate."

"Wow." She breathed as she pulled it closer to her, sampling the cream at the top. "What are you doing Saturday?"

He eyed her suspiciously. "Why?"

"I just wanted to know if you wanted to get married," she took a sip and sighed in delight. "No one makes 'em half as good as you. And even better you can be the bartender at our wedding."

He laughed and swatted her with the towel that was hanging from his shoulder. "Maybe I'll teach you one day." He said gruffly. He followed his own recipe for the decadent drink that he didn't share with anyone.

She sat up immediately and looked at him imploringly. "Really?"

Pausing for dramatic effect, he responded lightly. "Nope."

"Tease."

"Hell, if I told ya, you wouldn't come back."

She considered his words slowly before nodding and replying dryly, "Maybe you're right."

He swatted at her again, just glad to see her. A loud commotion for drinks at the other end of the bar made him bid her adieu as he went to serve his other customers, yelling back over his shoulder 'on the house'.

Raven shrugged her shoulders, placing her money back in her pocket and nursed her drink, savoring the rich, chocolaty taste.

She was down to the last dregs of her beverage when she felt someone sit down next to her. Ignoring him in favor of finishing her drink, she licked the last smudge of chocolate from her lips before pushing the empty glass away. With a glancing thought, Raven knew that the person sitting next to her was interested. Since coming to this place, she had seemed to develop a second sense about these things. She also knew that he was new to this place. Everyone who was a regular patron to this club knew that she was off limits and not to be bother. Every now and then she would have to shoot down admirers, the adamant and arrogant ones more harshly than others. Although dancing was a secret passion of hers and the adrenaline rush from so many surrounding her and flooding her blood made the experience all the more euphoric and heady, she would rather not talk to or interact with anyone without her expressing an acute- very acute- interest to do so. Sometimes, it struck her as ironic that she was alone even when surround by an entire nightclub.

Sighing, she turned to dismiss her newcomer as she did her thoughts and immediately closed her mouth. He was…gorgeous.

Waves of black hair barely brushed his shoulders and Raven scarcely controlled the urge to touch the silken waves to discover if they were as soft as they seemed. Piercing, ice blue eyes stared amusedly into her own and she had to remember to breath. Following the path of his face, her eyes passed over a straight nose and then finally to his lips, which were curved upwards in a genial smile.

Raven forced herself to run her eyes over him casually before turning to look at the crowd, her erratically beating heart almost drowning out the deafening roar of the music. Oh, please! Get a grip, she demanded of herself fiercely. Honestly, she was acting as if she had never before seen an attractive male before. She had seen others, perhaps even better looking than this stranger but never before had it affected her so much. She had a feeling that she knew him from somewhere. She personally blamed it on her drink. Spinning back around to glare ruefully at her empty glass, she wondered if death by chocolate was an aphrodisiac. Or maybe Anthony decided to play a prank on her and put something in her drink. Either way, she did not appreciate her body's sudden heightened awareness of this male stranger. For an odd reason, she was extremely attracted to him.

"Was it really that good?" The male asked her amusement evident in the sparkle of his eyes, the smile in his voice and the delicious quirk of his lips.

'Control, Raven!' A small, mysterious smile curved its way onto her lips. Well, if he wanted her attention, he would have it.

"Hmmm." She replied, running her tongue over her lips briefly. "You have no idea."

Noticing that his vision flitted towards her mouth briefly, she silently praised herself. Sometimes, when she had a worthy opponent with a sharp wit and humor and the odd mood struck her, she enjoyed flirting and sexual innuendos. Flirting could be fun at times.

"Really? I think I wanna try this one for myself." Motioning the bar tender over, he ordered two death by chocolate and watched with mild interest as the bartender threw in a scoop of chocolate ice cream and other various ingredients such as Vodka and a couple of others he couldn't identify. After placing it in a blender with crushed ice and hitting the button for a minute, he poured the drink into two tall glasses set in front of them, topping it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Raven smiled her thanks before snagging some whip cream with her index finger and licking it off slowly, knowing very well she had an extremely interested audience. She tilted her head, glancing at him threw a curtain of dark hair that slid across her face at the movement. "Very good."

Very fun.

With some effort, he tore his gaze away from her, uncomfortably aware on the effect that look had on him and glance down at the chocolate confection in front of him. Sipping it cautiously, he gave a surprised 'hmm' before taking a deeper quaff, drinking half the contents in one swig.

He blinked a bit and ran his tongue over his lips to rid them of the whipped cream. "Damn. You were right."

She smiled, a small lift her her lips. "You sound surprised."

"I'm not the biggest fan of vodka." He admitted grudgingly, before finishing the rest of his decadent drink. "Nor chocolate."

"Blasphemer." She accused him playfully, as she licked around the edge of her glass making sure to get the chocolate that sloshed over the sides, unaware of the effect it had on the man next to her. She did it absently.

"No, although it's understandable as to why you would think so" He smiled charmingly at her. "The name's Richard." After a hesitant breath he added, "Wayne."

Raven's lips tipped upward in greeting. "Rachael...Morgan." Outwardly she looked calm, inwardly she cursed herself viciously. Damn. She was just about to give him her alias. Thinking about the character she stole her last name from, she hoped he had never read 'Dead Witch Walking', the last book she had time to finish.

"Rachael, I like it. It almost suits you."

Her brows shot upward as she regarded him, sipping her drink. "Almost?"

"Almost. I think I'll call you Rae." He informed her, pleased.

She almost choked on her drink, nearly inhaling the whipped cream.

His brow creased with worry, as he pounded her on her bare back. "Are you okay?"

"Perfectly…fine," She smiled weakly at him. Raven did not expect that. The boys back at the tower called her that sometimes and she didn't want to have any connection with the Teen Titan, Raven.

"Could you not call me Rae? Maybe Rach?"

If he found her reaction or her request weird he didn't reveal it as he grabbed her couple of napkins and pressed them into her hand before nodding. A lot of her drink had ended on her hands and the counter. She dried off her hands and then the counter before standing up and leaning over it, tossing the soaked paper into the trash can behind the counter. She was unaware of all the male attention on her backside, although her companion was not.

"Wanna dance, Rach?" He asked her suddenly, completely throwing her off guard and she sat down abruptly.

He had said the magic words and her eyes lit up immediately. "Sure, it'll be your pleasure."

Laughing, he offered his hand for her to take. "I'm positive it will be."


Robin entered his room slowly, as he replayed the night…and early morning over in his head. Rachael was…incredible. He had never met anyone like her before, although she did remind him of someone else. She was witty, beautiful and she danced like a demon. A sensual demon that knew all the right moves and could make him melt with a glance. After she blew his mind dancing with him, they went to an all night café and shared a slice apple pie together while she nursed a cup of tea and him a cup of black coffee. They talked for nearly two hours, just about random things venturing from politics to favorites. He didn't fail to notice that they both tiptoed around the mention of family and occupations but that suited him just fine. He felt bad for calling her Rae, especially since that's what they called Raven but for a moment, it seemed right; although the two had little in common. Her reaction to the name was a bit weird, but maybe someone else called her that and she disliked the name.

He knew she could dance, he was watched riveted as she danced by herself on the dance floor. She was…exquisite for a lack of a better word and as soon as she left the dance floor he followed her over to the bar, entranced. Despite the fact that her outfit left very little to the imagination, he decided that it wasn't her outfit that attracted him to her, hell, she could have been wearing a potato sack and he still would have approached her. And it wasn't the way provocative way in which she danced, although he did agree that it certainly helped. It was simply her aura, the way she moved, the way she talked and in a strange way he couldn't understand, the way she sipped her drink. It seemed that he knew her, or he knew someone similar to her but no one came immediately to mind. A strange feeling of déjà vu, although he was sure he had never met her before, he was certain he would remember such a meeting.

Robin was glad he had gone to the club after all. At first, he was going to spend his time at the tower, monitoring the city so that if any trouble arose he could react immediately and tell the others. However, Raven quickly shot down that idea with a growl, saying that if he even dared to contact her on her night off she would do things to him that left a sour taste in his mouth, things he couldn't bring himself to repeat. The others adamantly agreed with her although they flinched.

So he decided he would go out as a normal twenty year old and hit a club or something of the like. He was tired of being Robin, needed something new…something different. He still loved to fight crime, and nothing so far could bring to him the high the accompanied kicking ass but…he needed something new, dare he say it, a challenge. Robin didn't give that to him anymore. All the serious villains were put away after their last crime fighting spree, nothing but petty thugs and criminals left. Slade and Trigon were gone for good, at least he hoped they were and no amount of unrest could possibly entice him to miss their presence, but the Teen Titans weren't all teens anymore. Cyborg was turning the 22 in a couple of weeks and him and Raven were twenty, Beast Boy eighteen, and Starfire, according to earth years, nineteen. He wasn't a child anymore, hadn't been one for awhile. Neither had the rest of them been children. Especially Raven, who had endured more than any of them could have imagined at first. They had seen things that would make grown men shriek in terror, saved the world. He sighed, running a hand over his face, unsure of how he went off on such a tangent.

Where was he? Oh yeah, Rachael. He couldn't wait to see her again. They parted ways a bit after watching the sun breach the darkness of the night and she promised to see him again, although she didn't give him a number, which aggravated him a bit. She sighed a bit after he kept pestering her but then told him she would return to the club tomorrow night.

Thinking back, he had no idea why he gave her his surrogate father's surname but it was better than the name he wanted to give her…his real name. No one in Jump City knew that Richard Grayson was there. In fact, the one who knew that was Bruce Wayne, the alias of the legendary Batman. Everyone who knew Wayne had an adoptive son thought that he was away at school and Bruce paid a lot to keep the illusions up. And he almost blew it. His next thought nearly knocked him down as he suddenly discovered how he would alleviate his problem.

He then decided that the prodigious Richard Grayson was way overdue for a return home.

Entering the living room refreshed and ready for anything the day could possibly throw at him, he was thrown completely off guard at the somber sight that met him.

The first person he took notice of was Beast Boy, silent and subdued, as he sat dejectedly on the carpeted floor. The second person was his metal companion, Cyborg who was leaning up against the wall, his arms crossed defiantly over his huge, metal chest. His face entirely void of emotion, as if the smallest ounce of anything would set him off. Raven, for some odd reason, was sitting heavily on the coffee table, her hood pulled up so it covered her face completely, effectively hiding any emotions that would be reflected on her face. Her hands clenched the table until her knuckles turned white, and he imagined her nails digging into the wood on the other side.

The only one to react to his presence was Starfire, whose back was to him. Turning around, the first thing he noticed were the tears streaming down her face. "Starfire, what's going on here?"

Instantly, she ran into his arms, burying her face in his chest as she hiccuped.

What in the world was going on? Stroking Starfire's hair as she sobbed, he looked over to Raven for answers as he repeated, "What's going on?"

Raven stood up abruptly, as she responded in such a bleak, monotone that momentarily he was afraid. Afraid that something terrible had happened, that maybe Trigon had resurfaced somewhere. What could cause Raven and everyone else such pain? As she answered, he wished that everything she said was a horrifying lie or anything but what he refused to believe. "Starfire has been summoned back to Tamarean. For good."

With that she said she morphed into her soul self and flew through the floor.


Raven ignored the pounding on her door, tuning it out as she had been doing for the past 32 hours. She was taking this news the hardest. More than Beast Boy, Cyborg and Robin but she couldn't help it. The team was falling apart, she could feel it and she knew that this was only the beginning. She wasn't very prophetic but every now and then she would have a vision or a feeling, like she did with Terra and she couldn't shake the feeling impending dread that was nestled in the pit of her stomach. The team would cease to exist and she wasn't too sure what would become of her.

That didn't matter to her though. Her friends meant the world to her. She was sane only because she had their friendship to strengthen her through the rough times and to be her source of comfort. If the Teen Titans dispersed…there would be nothing left for her. Azarath was destroyed and she wasn't sure what she could do. Oh, she could survive, definitely but the existence would be kind of…hollow. The barest minimal required to declare that she existed.

"Raven!" The pounding on the door continued. "Everyone is meeting in the living room. We all need to talk!"

Sighing, she pulled herself dejectedly from her position on her bed and melted into the floor.

When she entered the living room everyone was there, somber expressions on each face, despair in woven in the air.

"As you all are aware of, Starfire has been summoned back to Tamaran. has died and left the planet in turmoil, she has to return and finally accept her rightful place as ruler of Tamaran." Robin stated. "The emissaries designated to come get her will arrive in two weeks. Cyborg," He paused momentarily before taking a deep, steadying breath and continuing. "Cyborg, you have news you wanted to share?"

The mechanical man nodded, and stepped forward. Raven knew what was coming. She hunched her shoulders as if preparing for a physical blow as much as for an emotional one.

"I received a internship from the CIA. I've been thinking long and hard about my future. We're no longer the Teen Titans and we all have to think about what's ahead of us. With Starfire leaving and all, I've decided to take the offer." He stopped, seemingly at a loss of words. "I love you guys, every single one of you. These past five years will stay with me as long as I live and have been the best thing that has ever happened to me but they are quickly becoming the past and I need to move on. I hope you guys can understand."

Each word was like a blow to her, as she folded inward as much as she could. She knew the Teen Titans wouldn't last forever, she didn't expect it to. But she hoped that it wouldn't end so soon, and in such a way. She wasn't prepared. God knew she wasn't prepared.

"Ehhh…funny you should mention, that. Umm…I got an invitation to an acting school. I've always wanted to act and I submitted some stuff, you know, just for the heck of it. It turns out I got accepted. Who saw that coming, right? So…I kinda said yes." He looked around nervously as he bit his lip, waiting for the uproar. He relaxed fractionally when no one said anything. (Beast Boy wanting to be an actor: fact. I found out on Titans tower.)

Raven sighed, defeated. Wasn't prepared at all. "Am I the only one without plans or is there something you need to tell us Robin?" She asked in voice as dead as she could manage, hoping they wouldn't notice the pain buried beneath the monotone.

He winced slightly, unsure as to why guilt crashed into him. Everyone was leaving; he didn't think that now would be a bad time to reveal his plan. But Raven seemed so small, standing by herself and she was the only one who wouldn't have anyone to turn to once the titans were over. Why hadn't he thought of anyone but himself when making his 'great' plans? What would happen to the city, to Raven? Everyone else was covered, had a place to return to and plans…but Raven would be alone. He had promised her that he would always be there for her. Maybe…he shook his head resolutely. He couldn't put his life on the back burner any longer. The city would be alright. With the money they would save from not having to repair the destruction created by the team and their fights and for the partial uptake of the tower, they could easily afford to strengthen and reinforce their police force.

And Raven...she could stay with him in Gotham until she pulled herself to her feet. Raven wasn't helpless in anyway and given the time, he was sure she would be successful in anything and everything she decided to do. Bruce probably wouldn't be too happy about it at first, but the mansion was so big that he didn't even have to glance at Raven unless he wanted to. And he refused to abandon her.

"I've decided to move back to Gotham." He informed the team quietly. "Raven…could I talk to you aside, please?"

She nodded mutely. What did it matter? He would say his piece and then move on with his life, just like everyone she came to care deeply about.

They entered the dark of the hallway, and Raven felt more alone than ever. Was this really going to be one of the last times she talked with Robin in these hallowed halls? The halls seemed to echo with the reminiscence of the memories that had occurred during the five years they were occupied. It seemed so unrealistic she wanted to laugh out loud and demand they stop such an elaborate joke. She wanted someone to shake her until she woke up and tell her it was just a dream. However, it wasn't and she knew she had to accept that but her mind refused to.

Maybe in the morning after she slept and the night didn't seem so dark, the world didn't seem so cold. She was probably being melodramatic but the world she knew was ending. It was in her opinion that she was allowed a bit of a meltdown.

"Raven," He started slowly. "I want you to come with me to Gotham."

Her head snapped up immediately, her mouth open, her eyes wide. "What?"

He continued quickly, mistaking the surprise in her eyes for another emotion. "Just until you've managed to find a place. I know you're proud, and you probably won't want my help but you do need help and I'm offering it. Since you're the only one of us who doesn't have plans and no one to go to that I know of, it would make me feel a lot better if I knew one of my best friends were somewhere I would know you were safe."

After a few moments of silence he prompted her for an answer. "Well?"

Raven's immediate response was to throw her arms around him, and instinctively he wrapped his arms around her back. A goofy smile replaced the apprehensive look on his face and he responded, relief swelling within him. "Well, I guess that's a yes."

Remembering herself, and who she was hugging, she drew back immediately, drawing her hood over her head. "Sorry." She grumbled slightly as a feeling of immense gratitude washed over her. She wouldn't be alone now.

"Thank you." She smiled graciously at him from within the depths of her hood. He wouldn't be able to see her smile, obviously, but she knew he heard it in her voice and if her hug wasn't indicative, then well, she was sure he was a lot stupider than he let on.

"Come on, let's get back to the team. We have a lot of loose ends to tie up before we all call it quits."

That single evoked such sorrow in Raven, her body didn't draw breathe. She didn't think she could breathe past the sadness. Once again, she was drifting in the sea of her own grief. How could this have happened?

Robin paused as he realized that Raven had stopped. He raised an eyebrow in question as he turned back around to face her. "Raven?"

Get a grip, she demanded of herself. 'No one has died.'

Except the Teen Titans…

She blocked the thought out as she gave Robin a weak smile that seemed more like a grimace, but he understood the message she was trying to convey.

She would be okay.


The pounding of the music did nothing for her that night, except give her a ferocious migraine. She really did not what to be there. Tonight, Raven was afraid dancing just wouldn't be the euphoric experience that she was accustomed to.

She didn't really feel like taking the time to dress up that night, her heart simply wasn't in it and so her outfit for the night consisted of a pair of nice jeans, a black tank top with randomly placed sequins.

However, she did promise Richard that she would be here tonight and from what she saw of him, he was a great guy. Maybe he could cheer her up. It would be nice to spend some time with someone who didn't know about her life as a teen hero…well her past life anyway.

With the thought currently swimming dimly through her mind, another came to focus. When she left for Gotham, she would have to leave him behind. She sighed deeply before shaking her head. One depressing thought at a time. She'd have plenty of time to think about her separation anxiety later. The Titans had officially agreed on ending the team the day Starfire left to go back to Tamaran, which gave them two weeks to tie together any loose ends, say things that were never said, do things that were never done...

Oh, great. She had come full circle. Blowing out a lungful of air in disgust, she slid gracefully through the crowd, her final destination: the bar.

It was crowded that night, which was why Anthony didn't see to her as soon as she sat down. But she didn't mind.

Which brought another depressing thought to mind. "Wow, I'm just full of sunshine and daisies tonight aren't I?" She growled to herself angrily, the people to each side of her scooting further away from her nervously at the intensely dissatisfied----and just plain terrifying----look dominating her features.

This would probably be one of the last times she saw Anthony, her thoughts continued in their downward spiral, circling from bad to worse as unbeknownst to her, a small growl emanated from low in her throat and the patrons of the bar moved even farther away.

Slamming her fists down suddenly on the counter, an action that made several people around her who heard it over the pounding of the music flinch, she finally came to the conclusion that she should be at home…well, her home for the next two weeks. 'Think happy thoughts, damn it!' They had a lot of things that needed to be done, and sitting at bars fuming wasn't helping anything get done. She was angry at herself, angry at the world, just plain angry. Anything was was better than the grief that would swallow her whole if she allowed it to.

Making the move to stand up and go, she turned abruptly and collided with a person standing behind her, knocking them both to the floor in a haphazard heap.

The person let out a grunt but Raven really couldn't be too sympathetic with her hair in her face and a hand resting lightly on her backside. She wasn't sure it was a mistake or if this guy was taking advantage of the situation but her temper skyrocketed, anger dancing in her eyes.

And there was no mistaking the fact that it was a male sprawled out beneath her; the figure was too firm, too muscled to possibly be another woman. Putting more weight than necessary into his chest, she pushed herself up, the small noise he made almost making her regret her actions. Scrambling off of him, she pushed her hair out of her face impatiently, missing the days when her hair didn't reach her shoulder blades. It wasn't even very long and already it kept pissing her off.

The fingers in her hair paused, as she finally glimpsed the male's face. "Richard?"

He winced as he sat up and then pushed himself off of the floor in one fluid motion. "Yeah…surprise?" Holding out a small bouquet of crushed, colorful flowers, he smiled sheepishly. "I probably shouldn't have tried to sneak up on you like that. I apologize."

Raven huffed, swallowing her anger. Well, she guessed she could let it go this once and told him so. She had never received flowers before. They were a variety of different exotic flowers: chrysanthemums, aster, hyacinth and others she couldn't name.

"Thank you." She smiled at him, her mood improving by leaps and bounds already. The headache she was currently suffering from didn't seem quite so severe anymore but she still preferred a place a lot quieter than she was at the moment. "Do you…want to go for a walk or something? I don't feel much like dancing tonight."

Taking in her somber, somewhat sad mood, Richard nodded, offering her his arm, which she took without farther prompting. "I know where we can go."

It was a beautiful night, a night on which she would normally gazing longingly at the moon and stars above in deep contemplation. True to form, tonight she was in deep reflection but not staring up at the constellations in the heavens. Instead, her gaze was kept down as she walked in comfortable silence with Richard along the more quiet streets of Jump City, the arm around her waist guiding her. She had no idea of where Richard was leading her, but she trusted him, and she didn't know why. And the arm around her waist didn't bother her as much as it should have, his touch making butterflies erupt in her stomach. It usually took some time before she invested her trust into others. It was a gift she didn't give freely and normally, that would be something she would be thinking about but her eyes were trained on the flowers held in her fingers, a pensive look in her eyes.

It was sweet of him to bring her flowers, even though her cynical nature didn't really see the point in them. Nevertheless, she appreciated them. However, as she ran her finger tips lightly over the beautiful, bruised silky petals, she clenched them tighter with her other hand. They reminded her of her team, of her friends. They were all beautiful, each in their own way, no matter what differences they each possessed. One would think they were too different to actually work, but they worked well together, the whole more beautiful than each individual, but each special in their own right. But they were bruised, broken. They wouldn't last forever, and eventually would die. But…they would still be special to her, even if they were no longer in reach. The thought of them would still be there in her heart, and the main principle of it-them would remain.

A slight, wry smile made itself visible on her face. She wasn't sure if she was talking about the flowers, her friends or both but she suddenly realized that she had the strength needed to deal with this. They wouldn't be a team anymore but they would still be friends and when one dug down to the basics that was really all that really mattered. Her wistful smile turned into a determined curve of lips as she promised herself that she wouldn't mourn anymore. She would concentrate on the present and make the next two weeks the best of her life and show her friends a side of Raven Roth that they would have never even dreamed existed.

"Rachel?"

It took Raven a few minutes to realize that Richard was talking to her, as she rose from the depths of her thoughts.

"I'm sorry, Richard. I was just thinking."

His gaze on her intensified for a second before he shook his head. "We're here."

Looking around, she hadn't realized that they had stopped.

Looking up at the brightly lit building suspiciously, she noticed a bunch of teenagers running around. "Where in the world is 'here'?"

Taking in the look on her face, he laughed. "This wasn't what I had in mind for my original destination but I decided we needed to lighten up a bit, so I brought you here."

"Ok, that's nice and everything, but where are we?" She said, using her hand to gesture indiscriminately at everything in front of her. Her gaze flitted across the number of teens lounging in front of the building, smoking cigarettes, chatting and doing a variety of other things. She could feel the happiness, excitement, anxiousness and slight fear drifting from the very pores of the building. "And what will we do here?"

His smile broadened and she felt her stomach flutter as she reacted on impulse and brushed aside a piece of silken hair that impeded her vision of his bright, blue eyes. His eyes were truly breath-taking.

The act surprised him as much as her and it showed in his eyes before he answered her. His expression was completely transformed, a wicked smile on his lips and a childish twinkle in his eyes. "Ever play laser tag?"


"I can't believe you got us kicked out!" Raven grumbled good-naturedly, unable to keep the smile out of her voice as she turned to face him, her hands on her hips. It was close to midnight, and they had wandered around as they made their way back to the nightclub they met at, claiming their cars were still there. Now they stood in front of the nightclub and Raven didn't want the night to end.

"ME!" He smiled back incredulously, instantly trapped by the sparkle in her eyes. "If I recall correctly, and I'm never wrong, you were the one who knocked over the smoke machine and lit half of the one of the sets on fire!"

Raven sputtered. "Well, if you hadn't surprised me by leaping over that wall, I wouldn't have tripped over it." She eyed him suspiciously. "How the hell did you manage that one anyway?"

He winked at her, his hands knocking hers away so his could take their place on her hips and pull her closer to him. "Nope, don't change the subject. You shouldn't have taken your shirt off."

"I needed to distract you somehow." It was true her shirt was black but the sequins in her shirt sparkled, and that was all the distinction Richard needed. It surprised her how sharp his vision was. She had taken it off and hung it from a railing, knowing that he would probably shoot at it and reveal his position if she camouflaged it well enough. "And it worked, so don't give me that."

"Yeah, and it distracted me and every other red-blooded male in there."

Raven laughed, her breath catching in her throat as she realized how close they were. At the time, she hadn't too worried about being modest, after all the vest covered more than enough and it wasn't like she wasn't wearing a bra. "You didn't have to…" Her words drifted off as she realized his face was drifting closer to her own, and she wanted nothing more than to have him complete that contact and press his lips against hers but she turned her head slightly. She didn't want to lose her heart to him, especially since she was moving in two weeks. He had to know and she wasn't looking forward to telling him.

A mask of solemnity replaced her laughing one and he immediately became intrigued as he raised an eyebrow in question. "What is it Rachel?"

"I wish it weren't so but," She took a deep breath, hoping it would calm the terrible feeling growing in the pit of her stomach and the nervousness playing havoc with her. Not able to look at him, she dropped her head and directed her vision towards his chest, her forehead meeting his chin. "I have to leave town in a little bit. I'm moving and I just…I don't know. I wanted to let you know before things moved any farther than they are now."

She felt him let out a deep sigh and his gentle fingers on her chin lifted her face so he could look into her eyes.

"How much time do we have?" His voice was a barely heard whisper that made her want to scream out at the unfairness of it all. It was silly really and it had only been two days but already she was dreading have to leave him.

Her voice was an equally soft whisper. "A week." As much as she wanted to, she couldn't spend the entire two weeks with him every night. There was way too many things that needed to be done.

He smiled almost wistfully as he replied huskily. "Well then, we better make it count."

She gave a slight nod, his hot breath sliding against her parted lips and she suppressed a shudder.

"Do you mind?" He asked his voice deep and sensuous, sending a chill tingling down her spine.

Without thinking, she knew what he was asking of her and she answered him in a breathless whisper.

"No."

Slowly, he closed the distance between their lips and gripped her closer to him as she wrapped her arms around his neck and tangled her fingers in his hair .

Sighing against his mouth, she ascended into heaven.


Watching the last minute preparations as everyone ran around nearly gave Raven a migraine.

A small groan escaped her lips as her fingers drifted upwards to smooth circles over her throbbing temples. God, what she would give for an aspirin at that moment. Somewhere in the tower, something broke with a resounding crash that made her cringe and a diminutive whimper slip through. It was as if a spike had been driven through her head. Beast Boy had better stay away from her for the rest of the damned day (because she was absolutely positive that it was his fault). She didn't care if she wouldn't see him for awhile; it was a respite she was looking forward to.

Gentle hands tilted her head forwards and disappeared briefly before Raven felt their presence at the very top of her neck. Annoyance flared up and she was just about to tell the person off when two fingers began a circular motion at the base of the skull.

Suddenly, the pressure and tension seemed to melt away as the gentle fingers worked their magic. The circular motions were soothing, as her body suddenly relaxed and the blood pounding in her head seemed to slow. "Feels good…" She murmured lowly, the words barely heard by herself as her eyes drifted close.

"Time to finish a few last minute things, Rae."

Raven suddenly lurched forward from her seat, forgetting the massage she was enjoying and for a minute her location slipped from her mind as well. The name Richard was about to slip from her mouth as she whirled around and came face to face with a smirking Robin. The words died on her lips.

She frowned at him, her mind running circles around her. Didn't she just hear Richard's voice? Was she going crazy? Maybe his ministrations had lulled her into level just below consciousness so she only imagined hearing his voice? After all, she hadn't seen Richard in a week and maybe the sound of his voice slipped her mind because she missed him. She shook her head quickly. She highly doubted that. As she replayed both voices in her head, she noticed subtle differences that informed her that the voices weren't the same.

Robin noticed her frown as she regarded him intensely, her eyes searching for something she couldn't find. He shifted his weight slightly from one foot to the other as her roving gaze made him slightly uncomfortable. "What? Do I have something on my face?" He asked her, lifting an eyebrow in question.

"No…nothing." She muttered, diverting her glance towards the nearly empty living room. The 92 inch plasma television had been disassembled by Cyborg and moved, the couch, the same, along with the coffee table in the middle. Everyone must have cleared out, her and Robin were the only ones left.

Raven sighed as she spiraled unwillingly into darker thoughts. The Titans were over. She knew that Robin had someone to turn to in Gotham. 'Probably Batman.' She thought. She knew nothing else about him but that fact and what she gleaned from him while she was in his mind. Brief flashes of his tragic past and a few other things, but that was all. While Beast Boy and Cyborg were moving on to do something they loved with their lives, Starfire was being thrust into something she did not want, on top of the death of someone so dear to her. She swallowed past the lump in her throat. She may never see Starfire again. The only true 'girlfriend' she had ever had. For some reason, life seemed so much bleaker at the thought of such a jubilant, innocent and beautiful person never coming back. Starfire's home planet was in a lot of turmoil. She would be too busy to escape from her planet, as her royal duties would weigh down upon her and prevent her from leaving Tamaran to traipse across several galaxies to visit people who would not benefit her planet.

Her thoughts then turned to herself. What would she do now that the Titans were over? She had no special skills and she had nothing that she wanted to do nor was good at. Her plans for her future never moved past the titans nor past the prophecy that was declared at her birth. She had no reason to believe she or the world would have ever surpassed that date. Most of the time, she felt useless and only being Raven the superhero gave her life meaning. What was she meant to do with the life she had left and the miraculous chance to do something with her life given to her by Robin?

She didn't know.

And she was afraid of what the future might hold.

"It's seems so hard to believe doesn't it?"

The quiet, pensively sad quality of the words jerked her once more from her melancholy and wistful thoughts.

She merely made a sound as she paced the room quietly in thought. "Robin?"

"Yeah, Raven?"

Coming to a halt, she turned her head to look at Robin, as he gazed out the windows at the beautiful cityscape of Jump City for the last time. She studied him, his profile striking something familiar within her. What did she really know about him? Yes, she spent the last five years with him. They've grown together, laughed together, suffered together and done so many other things. She was once inside his head, as well, gaining access to glimpses of his tragic past. But what did she truly know about Boy Wonder, the protege of the dark, legendary Batman.

"I-" She bit off the rest of the words, with a hiss of frustration before blurting out, "Tell me something about you."

His head whipped around to face her, bemusement written across his face as an eyebrow rose in question. "What?"

Her face tinged red slightly at the slip of her tongue but she continued resolutely. "Something I don't know."

"Only if you return the favor."

"Done."

He was surprised at her quick acquiesce but nodded anyway as he thought. What didn't she know? Thinking a bit in retrospect, she did already know a bit about him, especially from their mind meld.

"I hate the color yellow."

Surprise flitted across her face. "I can't tell from your costume."

His grimace was profound. "Br-Batman, designed this outfit, not me."

Would amazements never cease? "Tall, dark and scary?"

Robin grinned. "Don't call him that to his face. On second thought, he'd probably get a kick out of it."

"Him? Amused about anything?"

"Every now and then his humanity catches him unaware."

A moment of silence passed before Raven spoke. "I love to dance."

Robin's eyes appeared to eat his face as he gaped at her. "Seriously?"

She nodded. "Three times a week if I can help it."

He shook his head, as if to clear away the shock. "Didn't expect that one. Okay then, I love to cook."

Inwardly, Raven gagged. "I don't."

"I used to have a crush on Starfire."

Raven snorted as she rolled her eyes. "As if all of Jump City didn't already know that. You two were the only ones that didn't realize you liked each other. And what do you mean, used to?"

"Used to. As in I don't anymore. Past tense, Raven."

"I once fell in love. Or at least I thought it was love." Her thoughts flashed back to Malchior and she was relieved that her heart didn't twinge in pain as it usually did at the thought of him. She wondered when it was that his name no longer brought her heartache.

"I once was apart of a life called the flying Graysons." His eyes held a faraway look in them as he relived a time long past.

Raven closed her eyes as she sighed and admitted in a barely heard whisper. "I'm afraid."

Robin focused on her, worry creasing his brow. "Of what?"

"The future." Was what she wanted to say. The thought breezed through her mind and before she could formulate them into words, Beast Boy and Cyborg entered the room with such an air of depression and solemness that, for several seconds, she couldn't breath, her lungs crushed beneath the weight of such ponderous emotions.

"What?" The birds asked simultaneously, both anxious and worried.

Beast Boy was the one to answer, with a voice steeped in such seriousness, he seemed to be a different person. "Starfire's emissaries have arrived."

Raven's heart clenched in pain as she tried to ignore the burning, stinging sensation at the back of her eyes.

"Then let's see her off, Titans."

Her feet were leaden as they lead her from the living room and through the hallowed halls of the former titans. The trip was a blank to her, her mind numb and her face frozen as she tried desperately to ignore the almost debilitating, painful ache in her chest. She blinked in surprise when she stepped outside, the bright sun reflecting off of the huge, sleek airship of Tamarian design that stood before them. And standing between the titans and the contraption that would taken away one of her dearest friends, was Starfire.

First, Starfire embraced Robin, who had been the first to emerge and spoke quiet words of goodbye to him, tears slipping down the faces of both young adults. Raven could not hear the words spoken, but Robin nodded, exchanged several more words, grabbed her into another fierce hug, and kissed her softly on the cheek. Starfire then moved on to Cyborg.

Raven lowered her head, starring at the ground with blurry eyes as she concentrated on keeping the moisture trapped within her eyes from falling free. She kept her face blank, the reflexive mechanism that kept her emotions from shining through. She didn't look up again until someone touched her shoulder. Her head shot up instantly, a sparkling arch of tears following the sharp movement as she lunged at the alien, throwing her arms around her.

"I'll miss you, Starfire." Raven mumbled through blinding tears.

"And I you, best friend Raven. You are the best girlfriend I could ask for and I wish you the best that life can offer." Starfire choked on a sob, as she returned Raven's hug. "I am glad to have seen another side of you over the past two weeks."

Pulling back, Raven wiped her arm across her face, trying to dispose of moisture gathered there. "No matter what fate may have in store for us, we will always be friends."

Starfire smiled brightly, her emerald eyes iridescent with emotion. "I could not ask for more, friend Raven. Take care of Robin for me."

Raven jerked in slight surprise. Star still loved him?

Directing her attention to the boys slightly to the left, she addressed them all. "I could not wish for better friends here on Earth then all of you. I have enjoyed my time spent with you all immensely and I...I will miss you and think of you every day. I love you all. Farewell."

With that said, they all watched as Starfire departed from their lives, pain in their hearts but also a fierce joy to have known her at all.

Raven closed her eyes as the roar of the engines lost against the loud pounding of her heart in her ears. However, a hand at her should made her open her eyes. Without looking, she knew it to be Robin and her tearful eyes lifted to the sky as she watched the spaceship become smaller and smaller, losing itself to the atmosphere. Then, in a twinkling of light, it was gone.

Several moments of stillness passed and a shudder ran through Raven, the stagnant silence heavy and filled with pain until a whirling sound sliced through it. Turning towards the direction of the Jump City, a helicopter could be seen drawing steadily closer. Soon, the winds from the blades of the propeller began to churn the water of the once quiet waves that gently ebbed against the rocky outcropping of the island. Capes and hair began to whip wildly about their owners, mainly Robin and Raven as the helicopter touched down, the engine coming to an abrupt stop as the blades slowly whirled to a stop, glinting sharply in the bright afternoon sun. Cyborg's ride had arrived.

It was time for the metal man's tearful goodbye and Raven's heart clenched again as she wondered almost absently if it were possible for her heart to implode. Once again, she had to say goodbye to one her dearest friends, but this time the pain was not as intense. She would not shed tears for her male companions. She could see Cyborg again. She would see Cyborg again. But Starfire...she did not finish the thought.

And once more, her mind became blank until it was her turn to whisper her goodbyes. Lifting her eyes up to Cyborg, she gave him a soft smile and a big hug. "You're like an older brother to me Cyborg, and I expect you to call me at least once a month."

Cyborg smiled down at her as he returned her hug. "Same at ya, Dark Girl. You'll be number one on my speed dial. I couldn't wish for a better littl' sis and try to get out more often while in Gotham. It would do ya some good to interact with other people."

Raven bit back a smile at his instructions as she thought of her frequent club outings. He had no idea. "No problem."

"And Robin," the former leader perked his head up a bit. "Keep an eye out for my lil' sis. Anything happens to her, and I'll be out for your blood."

Raven rolled her eyes at Robin's skeptical look and raised eyebrow, and Cyborg's brotherly, over protective statement.

"If anything, Raven's more capable of taking of herself than I am of myself." Robin retorted as he helped load Cyborg things onto the helicopter.

Cyborg couldn't help but chuckle. "True."

"I'll miss ya, bird brain." He said to Robin as he met up with him at the helicopter, turning to meet his gaze.

"Same, Tin man. We've had our fights," -they winced almost fondly as they remembered- "but we're closer friends because of them. It was great fighting beside you." Robin held out his hand for Cyborg to take.

Cyborg looked at it disdainfully before taking the offered hand and pulling Robin into a bear hug as he pounded his back. The surprised bird was released before he could react but a smile pulled at his lips.

The tin man snorted, as he glared down at Robin. "Ever hold your hand out to me again, and I'll break it off. I only shake hands with strangers."

Robin looked sheepish. "Fair enough."

"Hey, Beast Boy!" The metal man yelled out.


"Beast Boy."

The green changeling turned towards the sound of his name that was almost lost in the roar and bustle of the Central station. Robin had rented a car for the trip back to Gotham and dropped him off at the bus terminal to take the trip to California. It was suggested he take the plane but he wanted to see the sites along the way. Hefting his bag a bit high of his shoulder, he ignored the loud crowded around him and focused on Raven's face. He had already said his goodbyes to Robin.

"Gar." He said without thinking.

"Excuse me?"

He winced slightly, unsure as to why he blurted that out instead of saying goodbye. It was probably because he didn't want to say goodbye. "My name's Gar. Short for Garfield."

Raven blinked, taken aback. "Ok, Gar."

Nervously, he began. "I know we started off a bit rocky, but you're one of my best friends and I'll miss you. And I'll call you...if you don't mind."

She gave the anxious teen a small smile and nodded. "Same."

Beast Boy stalled slightly. "Really?"

Rolling her eyes, she pulled him into a brief hug that made his eyes pop out of his head in utter shock. "Your jokes sucked and you annoyed me most of the time, but you're genuinely my friend and I'll miss you...just a little."

He beamed and Raven couldn't help but smile just a bit wider.

"I gotta tell one more joke."

Raven groaned, cringing. "Do you have to?"

"Yep."

Sighing, she resigned herself to his final attempt at being funny and suppressed the twinge at the thought of it being the last time, at least for a long while. She should be looking at the long intermission as a reprieve but she couldn't summon any relief. She really would miss the grass stain.

Gar began his joke solemnly. "Ok, so there's this bear and rabbit taking a shit in the woods, right. And the bear says to the rabbit, 'do you ever have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?' and the rabbit replies snidely, 'no, I don't'. So the bear takes the rabbit, and wipes his ass with it."

Raven stared at him, her mouth open as she debated with herself. Maybe it was just the ridiculous picture of a rabbit and bear shitting together in the woods that did it. Maybe it was the thought of a bear using a rabbit as tissue paper. Or maybe it was his serious, solemn delivery. But the same unbelievable question just wouldn't stop revolving in her head. Did Beast Boy actually tell a good one? Her eyes widened and her hands flew to her mouth in an attempt to stifle the sound of her shock delayed laughter. She felt something something explode harmlessly next to her but she ignored it in light of this mind boggling realization.

Holy shit, he really had.

It was Garfield's turn for his jaw to hit the tiled floor of the station. Did he just make Raven laugh? His eyes seemed to devour his face as he watched the laughing woman in front of him, incredulously.

Holy shit, he really had.

When he recovered from his absolute shock, he pumped his fist into the air in excitement. "I did it! Oh yeah, I'm good."

Raven gasped for breath, her sides aching slightly. "Don't let it get to your head."

At that moment, his wrist watch began blared loudly. They both jumped as they stared at it in bemusement and he brought it towards his face to squint at it. Then the realization of why he had set the alarm hit him and he started. "Oh, shit! I'm gonna miss my ride!"

Darting in for another quick hug and yelling a loud good bye of Raven's shoulder at Robin so he could hear him, he dashed into the station so he wouldn't miss his bus. "See ya, Rae!"

She watched him disappear into the crowded, a green smear. Then, before her eyes, his skin became a light tan and his hair a dirty blond. Her eyes shot up in surprise before she remembered that Cyborg had made him a holographic transmitter to make his transition into the real world and Hollywood easier. She sincerely hoped that he would make it.

Turning away from the station, she made her way back to the car. She noticed him leaning against the roof of the luxury car he rented casually, watching her as she walked back to the car. He looked good, leaning against the car in his civ clothes as the sun beat against him. Too good. He lifted an eyebrow in question as she stopped at the passenger side of the door.

"What was that all about?" He questioned as he pressed the sunglasses covering his face up a bit more. She still hadn't seen his eyes.

Shrugging her shoulders almost delicately, she replied. "Beast Boy told a funny joke, that's all." Raven slipped into the car, leaving him gaping numbly at the space she just evacuated.

"Wait a second," he sputtered, absolute shock coloring his disbelieving tone as he slipped into the driver's seat. The ramifications of that last sentence didn't seem to exist. "You were laughing because Beast Boy told a funny joke!"

They drove in silence, the weight and realization of the last twenty four hours heavy on the occupants of the car. The Titans were over.

"Robin?"

"Richard Grayson."

Raven sighed, shaking her head as she replied dryly. "Your name, I presume?" Why did guys just blurt out their names? Couldn't they just say, by the way, my name is blah, blah, blah?

"Yep."

Tilting her head to the side, she mulled over the name in her head. "So can I call you-"

"Nope." He cut her off smoothly as he changed lanes.

"Fine. I'll call you Dick."

His obscured eyes flew to her. "I just said you couldn't."

"I was going to call you Rich, but seeing how you dislike that, I will call you Dick." She said with an air of finality, bringing the conversation to an end.

Richard sighed in annoyance as he directed his eyes back to the road. "Fine, Rae. But not in public."

"Deal, Dick."

Richard made a face and Raven smirked, the levity of the situation chasing away just a small bit of the gloom filling the car as she turned to watch the scenery stream past her window.

A few minutes of tense silence past before Richard broke it. "Raven, can I ask you a question?"

Not turning to face him, she nodded, her eyes unfocused on the images outside of the car.

"Yesterday you said you were afraid. Of what, if you don't mind telling me?"

"Of losing my friends, but mostly of the future." Raven murmured as she closed her eyes. She was not accustomed to confiding in others and the words seemed to stick in her throat as she forced them out from between her lips. "I never thought I would have a future. I was told from the moment I could comprehend the words that I would bring about the destruction of the world and doom the universe to an all consuming evil that would never cease. I was taught to fear the future, to fear what was to come and what I couldn't change. You have no idea how many times I thought to end my life, to make sure the prophecy never came about. But I guess I was too cowardly to do even that." Her lips twisted wryly as she retrospected.

"I became resigned to my fate and was no longer in abject horror of it. I mostly just loathed it with every fiber of my being. But then I met the titans and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could deny my destiny and change my fate. That I could actually determine what I did with my life. But then my birthday came with Slade along its heels delivering a message from Trigon. I knew then that the future I feared would come to past despite my convictions of self determination and leading the life I wanted to. And then the day came and I walked into my prophesied fate willingly. I knew nothing could change it and I didn't want any of my friends coming to harm. I thought my future was set in stone. But then you came for me. You wouldn't give up, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed or how hard I ran away from you. And you saved me from myself. Now I have a future...but I can't help but fear what's to come. I knew that the Titans wouldn't last forever. I just never tried to live past the present or contemplate the future. Especially since I had such a dark one and I was taught to fear it. I mean, I always knew what was going to happen to me, but now that I don't know anymore...I fear the unknown."

A small bitter laugh escaped her. "I'm not making much sense am I? Afraid of what I knew, afraid of what I don't know."

"Raven," Richard began quietly. He couldn't relieve her of her fear but maybe he could alleviate it. He never knew she felt this way. Granted, she had never opened up to him like this before, but she was one of his best friends and he was one of the greatest detectives the world had to offer. "The unknown can be terrifying, that I can understand. But you don't have to fear it, Raven. I will be there for you, and so will the others Titans. You're not alone anymore; haven't been for years. Whatever the future will bring, we'll meet it together. I promise." He smiled gently at her then, hoping it would convey the sincerity in what he told her. He meant every word of it.

Raven nodded then, a tiny smile gracing her lips as she continued to stare unseeingly at the passing foliage, her fear----which now felt unbelievably silly----seemingly vanishing. Her heart warmed considerably at the prospect of Richard being there for her. And she believed him. Now, she was even more grateful to him. A person could not ask for a better or truer friend.

As they approached the city limits of Jump City, she tamped down the anxiousness in her heart. She was leaving behind the past and entering the unknown, the future. But she wasn't doing it alone. As they passed the sign that said, 'You are leaving Jump City, we hoped you enjoyed your stay,' she felt something intangible swell within her and Raven turned her head, giving Robin -no Richard- a small smile, simply a quirk of her lips and it subsided. She had nothing to fear.

They would face the future together.


Honestly? I have no idea where the hell this came from. This ending is so vastly different from what I had originally planned when I started this fic. But I guess that's okay. Anywho, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL OF YOU GUYS! I LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU! And I hope you all enjoyed it.

Just added dividers. Honestly, I couldn't read and I even knew what it was about. 04/07/09