Exactly what the summary says. A few scenes detailing Terra's life back with the titans if she were to ever be resurrected. Terra/Robin - mild, but still there. Meant as a standalone but I guess you could stretch it to be a prequel for Who I Am. Maybe even a sequel. Doesn't really matter. Read and review - if the response is positive, I might consider writing out a few more sketches, but as of right now, there isn't anything in the works.
Disclaimer: No lawsuits. I don't need that kind of stress in my life.
1. I wanted to see something that's different
My name is Terra, and I'm just like any other teenage girl.
This is excluding the nomad upbringing I forced on myself and my occasional side job of mentally levitating rocks and throwing them at hardcore criminals. And I guess not everybody lives in a giant T-shaped tower, otherwise known as Titans Tower. Maybe my friends aren't so normal either.
But, of course, you know all about my friends. Who doesn't? You read all about them (and me, so weird) in Jump City's newspapers and tabloids. Together, we make up the Teen Titans, the fashionably-impaired protectors of Jump City.
Maybe I'm not so ordinary after all.
I should know this by now. It's been ingrained in me since I was a small child. My abnormalities were what forced me to run away in the first place as I was ostracized by those around me who knew just how much of a freak I was. I jumped from place to place, and I saw some pretty evil things along the way. These things would twist me from just a cute, innocent girl to someone who was dark and tainted and horribly lost. I push these experiences to the back of my mind, where they still torment me to this day, and I struggle to regain hold of the outgoing, happy girl I once was.
That's probably what had attracted me to Beast Boy. When I first arrived in Jump City, I was a little traumatized, a little torn, to be sure, but I was still me even if I only had a tenuous hold on that person. My experiences and failures hadn't yet overtaken me. It was in Jump City that I would truly lose myself, but that's another story. Back when I first came here, Beast Boy helped me with my traumas, mostly self-inflicted. He helped me hold on to myself longer. Sometimes, the roar of confusion and pain in my mind would lessen while he was around joking and having a good time. He was silly and childish and exactly what I needed. He didn't care that I couldn't control my powers. He was willing to look past the fact that I had caused catastrophes wherever I went. I'm forever grateful for that.
But now, as I sit here, legs curled beneath me while I pretend to be reading some teen magazine as Beast Boy and Cyborg battle it out on the Gamestation beside me, I find myself sneaking furtive glances not at him, but at someone to the left of me who's poring over a random file of a villain that doesn't matter anymore.
It's the third time I've looked over in his direction in the last minute, and he finally seems to notice. He raises his head to look back at me through his mask, and I feel myself freeze for a second. What am I supposed to do? How am I expected to react?
I finally settle for a wave and a playful smile, and he lifts a brow at my antics but smiles back all the same. I've been told my smile is infectious, although Beast Boy didn't know a word that scholarly so he said contagious instead. It appears that he's right.
"Whatcha doin'?" I mouth in his direction. As if I didn't know.
He lifts the case files that he had been studying and waves them in the air.
I roll my eyes and flop my head back against the couch, silently mimicking a snore. "Boring," I mouth. I can't say much more since I'm depending on Robin's ability to lip read, and I know that isn't very easy when you say a lot of things at once.
He gestures over to the magazine in my lap, currently open to the page "The Hottest Colors and Styles of the Fall Season (Guaranteed to Make Him Notice You!)" and folds his arms across his chest expectantly. I get his meaning. My magazine is even worse than his files. Touché. I really have nothing to counter with, so I settle for making a face and sticking my tongue out at him before turning back to watch Beast Boy and Cyborg's racing game. Nether seem to have noticed the exchange that just took place, and for some reason, I'm relieved.
2. Play on words you never meant
The next time I see Robin, I'm walking to my room after a long day of video-gaming. Beast Boy and Cyborg had suggested a tournament almost immediately after Robin had finished his case files and went to go train or something, and I was quick to jump in on the fun. Mindless stuff like that helps me forget what I don't want to remember, and there are a lot of things I don't want to remember.
It had been a battle to the death, surprisingly uninterrupted by criminal happenings in Jump City, to see who could obtain bragging rights as the king (or queen, in my case) of the Gamestation. In the end, it had come very close, but I lost to Cyborg by two points. While I was unbeatable at the sports games, Cyborg was just as good at the wrestling games, and he had the edge on the racing games, which was ultimately my downfall. Beast Boy, much as he bragged in the beginning, had come in a distant third, though his score was considerably boosted by his prowess in the Mega Monkeys series.
As our tournament had been so intense, we hadn't seen nor heard our other teammates for quite a few hours now as they had wisely decided to steer clear of the main room. It's actually somewhat of a shock to see Robin now since it seemed like Cyborg, Beast Boy, and me were the only ones in the tower for so long.
He's stepping out of the bathroom, apparently having just finished a shower. His hair is flat without the usual gallon of gel, and it glistens in the little light there is in hallway as water droplets fall onto his shoulder. He has already changed into his pajamas, a white t-shirt with long, yellow drawstring pants decorated liberally with black bats.
"Nice PJs," I tease as I walk past.
He frowns and looks down at himself self-consciously. "What's wrong with them?" he protests.
"Nothing," I say innocently. "My four year old cousin has the exact same pair. They're cute."
He scowls, and I laugh at his expense. Truth be told, I haven't been in contact with my family ever since I ran away years ago so I don't even know if I have a cousin at all, much less if he wears batty pajamas, but Robin and the others don't know that. Really, they don't know much about me at all. I think it's better that way.
"They're comfortable," he finally grumbles.
"That's what Donny says too," I say seriously. "Except he pronounces it con-fert-ible."
"Haha," Robin deadpans.
I shoot him a smile, for the first time realizing how much fun I'm having. I'm hoping we can talk more, but at that second Starfire bounds towards us in a tiny white nightgown that reaches no longer than mid-thigh, revealing long tanned legs that I would kill for. It's funny because I don't think she even notices how sexy she is. She's just that innocent. She doesn't see the way Robin rakes a hand through his hair unsteadily as his gaze focuses on the ultra-short hem of her outfit. My legs are skinny and pale, like a chicken's, and would probably never generate that same effect on anybody.
"Hello, friends!" she greets us cheerfully.
Robin nods and I smile, despite the fact that I don't really want her to be here. I know there's no way Robin and I can pick up our conversation with her around. "What's up, Star?"
"Well," she begins, her eyes wide and imploring. She directs this perfect pout in Robin's direction, and I know that no matter what the request is, he will give in. Hell, I would give in. "I was wishing for friend Robin to come tell me a story of the time for bed."
Translation: Bedtime Story. I'm getting used to Starfire-speak.
She doesn't realize how odd her request is. Starfire has no concept of age parameters when it comes to just about everything. I'm not sure where she picked up the term bedtime story, but I'm sure once she came across it she was just dying to have somebody tell her one.
Robin scratches his head uncomfortably as she drags him away. I can hear him protesting weakly down the hall. "I don't really know any bedtime stories, Star…"
3. I swear I never watched you sleeping
It's eight o'clock in the morning, and I'm up way earlier than usual. Up until about two months ago, I didn't even know there was such a thing as eight in the morning on a Saturday. Apparently the rest of the Titans don't either. They're all still asleep. It's just as well. I've been up for about three hours now, but I still haven't bothered to change out of my pajamas or brush my hair yet, and I know I look like shit. Let's just say I've had other things on my mind.
I look in the refrigerator, and to my surprise, I actually see edible food. There's leftover pizza from last night, and while I guess having it for breakfast would gross most people out, over the years I've learned to take what I can get. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods are all interchangeable.
I heat the pizza in the microwave because it's faster than the oven and settle down to eat it. The cheese is oozing off, and I quickly take a few bites to keep it from falling on the table. When I'm about halfway through with the slice, Raven walks in the kitchen, speaking in low tones with Robin.
Robin hasn't seen me yet, but she senses my presence immediately and pauses in the doorway as she sees what I'm eating. Her hood is down, and a distasteful expression crosses her face and wrinkles her nose. She looks like she wants to say something, but she and I are still on uncertain terms, so she settles for ignoring me instead and goes about making her tea.
I decide to ignore her too and look back over at Robin to see that he has finally noticed me. I feel self-conscious in my starry tank top and shorts and tousled hair, but I offer a wink all the same. He eyes my pizza uneasily.
"You know," he says, "if you had waited a little longer, I could have made you waffles."
I wave him off with a laugh. "I'm fine. This pizza is great."
"For breakfast?" he says, obviously unconvinced.
"For anytime," I say. "I love pizza."
"More than any of us do, apparently," Raven says, nursing a cup of tea.
I open my mouth to reply, but she walks out of the room without sparing another word, while I'm left staring dumbfounded at her retreating back. "Gosh," I say once she's disappeared completely, "what's her problem?" Truth be told, I'm all too aware of what her problem may be, and that it is in no way her fault that it exists, but I try not to think about it. I've done enough thinking this morning already. Acting clueless is so much easier than facing the damage I've done to my relationship with my teammates.
Robin laughs. It's not a sound I hear often, so maybe I'm a little grateful to Raven now for setting up the opportunity. "Don't worry about it; she's not mad at you. That's just the way Raven is. She's going to the roof to meditate before everybody else starts waking up." I can't tell if he's just feeding me a white lie or if he actually believes Raven doesn't have her issues with me.
"You sound awful sure of yourself," I say skeptically.
His cheeks are tinged with red. "Raven and I have known each other for a long time."
For a second, I feel jealousy course through me, but I deny it as soon as it passes. I'm not jealous of Robin and Raven. I have Beast Boy. Sort of. Things between me and him have cooled off considerably. Sometimes, I see the familiar longing and admiration that slips through his eyes when he looks at me, but I do my best to ignore it. He deserves so much better. But back to the issue at hand, I try to rationalize with myself that there really isn't a Robin-and-Raven in the first place. At least, not that I've seen since my time back from…well…from that place. Still, as a girl, I feel inclined to figure out what's going on here.
"Ooh, does somebody have a crush?" I tease.
Robin shakes his head hurriedly. "No, no," he says firmly. "We're just used to each other. It's kind of hard not to memorize someone's schedule when you're living together for so long."
"So you've learned everybody's schedules around here?" I inquire.
"Basically," Robin says. "It makes being a leader a lot easier when you know where everybody is."
"Huh," I say. I lower my voice a little and lean closer towards him. "So does that mean you'll know where I'll be this morning?"
He swallows, and I can tell I've flustered him, but he's quick to return to his business-like manner, much to my disappointment. "Well, usually you hang out in the training room until Beast Boy wakes up, and then you and him start playing jokes on everybody, and when things calm down you head to the couch and start a video game marathon. He and Cyborg start out, and you play winner. Usually, you win."
"Man," I say, slightly surprised and way flattered. "You're good."
His chest puffs out slightly. "It's the detective in me."
"Uh huh," I say, rolling my eyes at him. "Well, Mr. Detective, you better not be following me around all the time. A girl likes her privacy for certain things you know? I like to know that I can sing in the shower without somebody watching me."
Robin's cheeks don't just tinge this time. They burn.
4. When you fall, everyone stands
A few hours later, I'm levitating rocks and blasting members of the HIVE with them. I've been paired against Mammoth, a boy too large for his own good. I'm a little too far away, and he's dodging my attacks too easily, so I grudgingly move closer.
As I lift a heavy slab of concrete mentally, Mammoth takes the opportunity to attack. A well-aimed punch sends me sprawling, and I'm finding it difficult to concentrate. Everything's blurry. But I see the vague shape of Mammoth advancing on me, so I force myself to scramble up. The world is swaying, and I'm still having trouble seeing, but he's a big enough target. If I just aim for the center…
Whoa. The center just moved two feet to the left in the blink of an eye. Maybe it might not be such a good idea to attack him. I could hurt somebody else. But has that ever stopped me before? He's within ten feet of me, and I don't plan on suffering another punch. In this world, you gotta look out for number one. Besides, a misaimed boulder only stings for a few weeks. The other titans will be fine.
But I won't. My boulder, though I doubt it was even close to that big, flies right past the blurry shape, and he sinks a kick into my stomach. I double over with an "oof!" as my breath rushes out. I throw my hands up in a defensive stance, blocking my head and waiting for the next blow. I blindly try to kick at him, but my foot only finds air.
I think that this next punch might knock me out completely, and I wait unflinchingly. But the hit never comes. A bright figure rushes in front of me, launching itself at Mammoth. My head is a-whirl with colors, and I shut my eyes to lessen the headache. When I open them again, my vision has righted itself somewhat, and I can tell that the person who saved me was Robin. Strange. I would have suspected Beast Boy or Starfire.
"You okay, Terra?" he pants as he pummels Mammoth into submission. He's graceful and agile, and I can't help but admire his fighting style.
"Yeah," I say, shaking my head to clear my mind of the taut, lean muscles before me, "I'm cool. Thanks."
He finally wrestles Mammoth into some sort of choke hold, and Raven is quick to wrap a telephone pole around him using her black energy. "Good," he says as he walks towards me, "You had us worried there. I saw you take the hit, but Jinx was a handful, and Gizmo had just completely shut down Cyborg."
I wave him off. I'm used to having my own back. "No problem. I was taking care of it."
Robin quirks an eyebrow. I laugh. "Okay, maybe I could have used a hand earlier back there. But, whatever, you came in and saved the day. It's all good again."
Robin shakes his head and hauls me up by the arm. "Don't be afraid to yell for help. We all need it sometimes."
"Gotcha," I say flippantly and move to go elsewhere, but he still has a hold on me.
"I'm serious," he says sternly. "You're a hindrance to this team if you don't let us know what's going on."
I won't deny it. I'm getting frustrated. "I know, okay? I'm sorry. I'll do better next time," I say, tugging myself out of his grasp.
"You did fine," Robin protests, "You just need to trust us to help you."
I swallow hard and walk away without answering.
5. Build God, then we'll talk
Jump City appreciates the people who work so hard day in and day out to keep its citizens safe. So much so, that they've sent us something monumental, something expensive, something…
"Maybe it comes with a receipt," Raven says wryly as we stand in the middle of the main room, gawking at it.
"Oh, shut up," Robin says sourly.
Cyborg and Beast Boy snigger. "They even got the crazed I'm-on-a-Slade-hunt look down," my ex-boyfriend says.
"Glorious!" Starfire proclaims. Out of all of us, she's the only one who truly seems to appreciate the gift.
I pat Robin on the back sympathetically. "It's not so bad. Flattering, really." I glance back at the thing and frown. "It's also kind of creepy. To think somebody spent hours and hours staring at you and memorizing you and probably obsessing over you…Okay, I'm really creeped out now."
"Haha," Robin deadpans.
"Now, tell me Robin," Raven says, "To worship this so-called shrine do we give it cute, furry things, or do we sacrifice the cute, furry things?"
We all burst out into raucous laughter with the exception of Starfire who cocks her head and pleads for an explanation, and Robin who glares darkly and mutters, "I hate you all," before stomping off in the direction of the training room.
"Well, really," I say, a hand on my hip as I study the larger-than-life stone Robin statue in the middle of the room. "He should have at least written a thank you note or something."
6. Leave it to me to burden you again
My past with the Titans is something nobody likes to talk about. It involves Slade, betrayal, and a whole lot of rocks. I did some horrible things. But I redeemed myself by doing a few heroic things as well, including a sacrifice that overshadowed everything. My sacrifice should have killed me, but instead, it saved me.
To this day, I'm unclear on the full details of how the Titans broke through the stone that trapped my soul. Cyborg tried to explain it to me once, but it involved a lot of technical terms and electrons and fusion and apparently, a little bit of Raven's magic, and I was so lost by the end of it. I'm just happy that I'm back.
I still go through the same insecurities that plagued me then. Without Slade's suit, I don't have as much control. On days like this, I'm painfully aware. Today is Training Day. Initiated by Robin, every Wednesday, eight hours out of the day are devoted to training of all kinds, mind and body. We even did meditation with Raven once. However, Beast Boy finding his center did not work, and we all only succeeded in thoroughly pissing Raven off with our 'incompetence.' Needless to say, that exercise did not stick.
I'm the last to arrive outside.
"You were supposed to be out here seven minutes ago," Robin reprimands when I finally join Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire in front of the obstacle course. Robin and Raven are working the controls, as usual. His cordial tone takes me by surprise as I thought we had been getting along rather well lately. I push back the thought that I more than deserve such an icy greeting, especially when it comes to training, and try in vain to reassure myself that he'd be just as annoyed with any other teammate if they had been late. Somehow, the picture of him fixing the same glare on Starfire that he has on me right now isn't easy to conjure in my mind.
"I know, I'm sorry," I apologize. "I couldn't find my sneakers."
Robin shakes his head. "Get your stuff together, and don't let it happen again."
I'm well-aware that my face is bright red, ashamed. I know I'm messy. Everybody knows I'm messy. I just didn't expect a scolding from Robin for it to embarrass me so much. "I'm sorry," I repeat.
He gives me a brisk nod and turns to Beast Boy. "You're first up. Ready?"
Beast Boy nods. "Lay it on me," he says with a confident swagger.
Raven messes around with the controls and punches in a few buttons. "If you insist," she says, and there's something about the way that her lips are twitching that makes me suspicious. "Go."
Normally, we have to run forward about ten feet to cross the invisible boundary line of the obstacle course to set it off, but before Beast Boy can even blink, a boulder comes at him from out of nowhere. He yelps and changes into a cheetah to dodge it last second, and it flies harmlessly by. He shifts back into human form and glares at Raven. "That was so not cool!"
Raven smirks. "You said you were ready."
After that mishap, Beast Boy seemed to handle the rest of the obstacle course easily enough, though he definitely fell into trouble with a few flying spikes. "Ouch," he whimpers grumpily as Cyborg wraps some gauze around a wrist that refuses to stop bleeding. I pale at the sight of so much blood. It's not that I'm not used to it, but I can't help but be a little squeamish.
"Your turn, Terra."
I try to keep a grimace off my face and nod quickly in Robin's direction before I can respond with anything else. I hate the obstacle course.
"Go," Raven says impassively.
And so it begins.
Boulder from above! I flick it away from me with my wrist. Boulder from my left! Boulder from my right! I duck, and they crash into each other, and then I roll away before I'm pelted with broken pieces of stone. "Good, Terra!" Robin yells. Last week, I had gotten a pretty nasty gash on the head from a jagged piece when I failed to move quickly enough.
The lasers! I need to focus. My hands glow, and walls of rock fly up on both sides of me, so I'm not burned. The laser slices through one of my walls, and I dive away just in time to avoid being crushed. I then use the broken rock as a sort of hover-board to sail me through the rest of the laser guns.
There are the flying spikes. Damn things catch my hair every time and get tangled. Not today. I duck and swerve, and yes! They're gone! The end is near.
I'm ready to sail through with a big smile on my face, but I forgot about the last obstacle. The discs: sharp and armed with mini lasers. "Aggh!" I scream with indignation as one slices my cheek. Another burns my heel, and I fall off my rock.
They're coming in for the kill, and I do what I do best: I freak.
My eyes glow yellow, and I let out an unearthly shriek. Vaguely, I'm aware of the ground shaking beneath me. Stones fly from all around to pelt the discs into submission. Somewhere in the background, my teammates are yelling.
One voice finally cuts through the haze of fury in my mind.
"Terra!" It says sharply. "Terra, stop it!"
I'm trying, okay? Why can't you see that I'm trying?
Leave me alone!
I gasp, and everything around me halts for a few agonizing seconds. The haze in my mind lifts and as I come to I can feel myself being pelted with little hard things. They're stones falling from the air, vestiges of my mini-freak out. The blurred faces of my teammates come into focus around me.
Robin offers me a hand, but I ignore it and get up myself, slowly, checking for anything broken as I do.
"I thought you were getting past this," Robin says, almost accusatorily.
"I am," I snap. "Or I was, I don't know. This was one little slip-up."
"Hardly," Raven deadpans. "We're going to need a new obstacle course again."
I look around and am horrified to see the destruction I caused. The boulders have been blasted apart, the guns are warped and dented, and the ground beneath me is rocky and torn. Avoiding the gaze of my teammates, I slowly make my way back up to the Tower, and nobody stops me.
Author's Note: Well, this was written a while ago, and I just realized the last scene didn't leave much by way of a resolution, so it kind of begs to be continued...but I don't know. Worth it, or no?