Yes, this is the final chapter of this story. And about the whole Robin-killing-Raven thing... I know no one asked, but I'm going to explain it anyway. Taken from a purely logical perspective, Robin is the only Titan that could have killed Aura. I don't mean physically, but mentally. Robin was the only one who could actually make himself do it, no matter how horrible the task. That aside, the end of The Raven Cycle.
I do not own the Teen Titans.
Whiteness. She knew it well enough, though darkness was easily more familiar territory. She knew who she was and what she had done. She knew how she had died, but she did not blame the one who had killed her. He would blame himself; he did not need her blame on top of that. She knew that her death had, due to the path she had taken, had been necessary. The most recent memories weren't the ones that hurt. When Raistlin had…well, all of her memories of her brother were painful. As were many of those of Crow and Rissy, if only because they were linked to her brother. Crow's death was particularly touchy, but she didn't dwell on it. No, it wasn't thoughts of Azarath that hurt her so. Life as Aura had not been much of a life. It was when she became Raven that she had truly begun to live, and love.
Titans Tower had fallen into disrepair since the Teen Titans had disbanded. They had told each other and themselves that the separation was for the best. All of them had changed following the… incident. The door to Raven's room remained closed, though that was nothing new. But now it wasn't because the room's occupant wanted privacy. It was because the occupant was dead. They all avoided mentioning it, but facts were facts. Worse, so many things in the Tower seemed to evoke Raven's memory. Beast Boy didn't make jokes anymore, because they weren't followed by sarcastic comments that were actually funnier than the jokes. Not to mention that he wasn't in the mood to joke, and none of the Titans in the mood to hear it. Robin was moodier and broodier than usual, even worse than he'd ever been about Slade. Cyborg wandered aimlessly around the garage, picking something up and fiddling with it, only for the object to fall apart in his hands. Starfire was so out of it that her puddings were actually edible. So they decided to separate. They wanted to leave behind the painful memories, though they didn't say that. Robin headed to Gotham. Starfire went back to Tamaran. Cyborg stayed at the Tower. No one knew where Beast Boy went. With its saviors gone, Jump City also began to deteriorate.
Robin stared, unable to believe what he was seeing. "Raven…" She was alive, and whole, and… smiling?
Raven shook her head. "Don't. You have nothing to apologize for. Not to me."
"But I… I killed you."
Raven smiled softly. "You did what had to be done, Robin. You did the right thing, and I can't blame you for it. There are more important things happening right now."
Robin frowned in confusion. "What things?"
"You abandoned the people who depended on you, Robin. You left them when they needed you most."
"So you're not going to blame me for killing you, but you're going to blame me for whatever's going on in Jump City?"
"To keep things simple, yes. I don't have much time, Robin. You aren't the only one I need to talk to tonight."
Robin shook his head. "I still can't believe I'm seeing you here. Alive."
Raven laughed. "I'm not alive, Robin. This is a dream, and when you wake up, you'll be back in Gotham and I'll still be dead."
"Then what's the point of… this?"
"The point, Robin, is that the world needs you. The Titans need you."
"The Titans no longer exist. The world doesn't matter anymore. The universe doesn't matter anymore. I wanted to save you and everyone else, and all I've done is make things worse."
"Listen to me, Robin, and listen well: You did save me. I couldn't be here now if you hadn't. As for the Titans, no matter how far apart we all are, we are still the Titans. We will always be the Titans." She paused. "I have to leave now, but remember what I said. Once a Titan, always a Titan."
But Raven was already gone.
Beast Boy looked sadly at the girl holding his hand. "I hate this." She turned to him. "Why?"
"Because I know in a minute Robin will show up, and you'll die. Then I'll be standing by myself in front of the memorial the city put up for you, and it'll be raining, just like it was on the day of your funeral. And then I'll wake up and be back in hell for another day, until I fall asleep and it starts all over again."
The girl looked sad too. "Is that what you dream every night?"
Beast Boy nodded. "I miss you, Raye."
Raven leaned closer to him, and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I miss you too, Beast Boy. I only hope that you can forgive me for… for everything I did."
Beast Boy shook his head. "That wasn't you. Besides, it's myself I can't forgive."
Raven looked at him, surprised. "Why? You didn't do anything."
"Exactly. I didn't get you out of that place before Trigon emerged. I keep feeling that if I had, none of what happened would have."
Raven hugged Beast Boy. "The things that happened on Azarath were not your fault." He smiled at her, as though he didn't believe what she said. Raven made a face. "This isn't your other dream, you know. It's really me."
Beast Boy stared at her. "It's really you?"
"Then there's something I need to do."
Raven frowned at him. "What?"
Beast boy leaned even closer. "This." He kissed her on the lips, a full deep kiss. It was Raven who pulled back first. She looked at Beast Boy seriously. "I want you to go home."
He shook his head. "What home?"
Raven looked stern. "You know what I mean."
He just held her tighter. "Will I see you again?"
Raven smiled wistfully. "I don't know. I hope so."
"I love you," Beast Boy murmured as Raven faded away.
Beast Boy woke up then, and he stared at his empty arms as a single tear trailed down his face.
On a whim, or maybe something deeper calling to him, Beast Boy returned to the Tower the next morning. He was surprised to see Robin already standing at the entrance, staring at the giant T that was run down enough to be more intimidating than inspiring. "Hey," Beast Boy said softly. Robin didn't turn around. "Hey."
"She came to you too, didn't she?"
Beast Boy smiled ruefully. "I don't know how it would help, but I had to come here today. I had to see her."
Robin turned and smiled at his former teammate. "Me too."
Beast Boy and Robin stood in the basement of Titans Tower. Cyborg had let them in, but he refused to come down with them. Raven's coffin sat in front of them, largely unchanged. It was a little dusty, and when they wiped the dust away they saw that Raven's hair had grown since they'd left. Now it reached her shoulders. "I read somewhere that it does that," Beast Boy said. "That hair keeps growing, I mean."
Robin looked at the changeling. "You read?" They both smiled a bit, and it was almost like old times.
Raven struggled to open her eyes, but her lashes seemed locked together, and they just wouldn't separate. Her mouth wouldn't open to release her anguished, blissful scream. She was breathing, but her lungs ached with every tiny breath. She could feel her heart beating, and that hurt too. Her body had grown stiff in her…absence. Yes, she'd been gone, but she was back now, somehow. For the first time in almost a year, Raven was horribly, gloriously alive.
Thump. The two Titans turned back to the coffin in surprise. Raven hit the lid again, though it was harder this time. Robin's eyes, hidden as always by his mask, widened. Beast Boy rushed forward and unlocked the coffin, lifting the lid. Raven gasped and sat up. The two boys stared at her. She stared at them. Suddenly they were helping her out of the coffin. Raven turned to look at it, the metallic box that served as her only proof that she had truly died. She couldn't stand, but she found she didn't have to. Robin and Beast Boy held her up as they hugged her, and Raven found that she didn't mind being hugged.
Everything else went quickly. The next few days were a blur to Raven as Starfire was contacted and returned to the Tower immediately. The Teen Titans resumed, to all appearances, their "business" as though nothing had happened. The citizens of Jump City were certainly grateful. But every time Raven tried to talk about the events on Azarath with Robin, his face darkened and he brushed her off. Starfire and Cyborg weren't easy for Raven to confide in to begin with, and Beast Boy looked so happy every time he saw her that she couldn't bring herself to mention it around them. So Raven was forced to keep her feelings to herself. She'd always done that anyway, but it was very frustrating when she wanted to share and no one would let her. So Raven did the same thing they all were doing. She returned to her old habits and spent most of her time in her room. Only she didn't meditate so much in there.
"Are you happy, Raven? This is what you wanted, isn't it?"
Raven sighed. "I don't know, Iori. Everything you said about how I wasn't supposed to die when I did made sense, but… I don't feel like I belong here anymore."
The white-winged Angel giggled. "It isn't that you don't belong, Raven. You aren't doing what you're supposed to be doing. Or should I say who?" Raven looked shocked and scandalized, which made the Angel laugh harder. "Don't look at me like that. You didn't think you were brought back for your own virtues, did you? Your children are going to save the world someday, but you have to be here to bring them into it."
"You're insane. Psychotic, even."
Iori shrugged. "You can have that opinion, but it doesn't change the facts. If your daughters aren't born, the world will be destroyed far sooner than it needs to be."
Raven thought about this. "Wait, the world is going to be destroyed?"
The Angel, whose hair matched her wings, rolled her eyes. "Eventually, yes. Read a Bible sometime. Anyway, I'm not saying you have to go out and bang him right now. But you could at least make some effort in the relationship department."
Raven raised an eyebrow. "One: I have no intention of banging anyone. Two: I don't know who this guy I'm supposed to be with is."
Iori sighed exasperatedly. "Yes, you do."
"No, I don't, because you didn't tell me."
Iori blinked. "I didn't?" Raven shook her head. Iori looked thoughtful. "Hmm. Well, it's Beast Boy."
"You're insane. Psychotic, even," Raven repeated.
"Hey, I don't pick and choose things. You made your own destiny. Besides, I saw how you two were in that dream. I don't see what the problem is." She chose that moment to disappear, leaving Raven sitting in stunned silence. Indeed, what was the problem? Her thoughts instantly turned sarcastic. Oh, maybe it was the whole intimacy thing. Kissing, marriage, lifelong commitment… that was mostly what she had issues with. And sex. That too. Sex with Beast Boy… Raven shuddered. She was so not ready for that image.
The next day Raven called a "family" meeting. Usually it was Robin or Cyborg who called such meetings, often about something in the Tower that had been broken/disappeared/exploded. So naturally all of the Titans were confused as to why Raven would call a meeting. They assembled in silence, largely influenced by the steady almost-glare she was giving her four best friends in the whole wide world.
"We are going to talk," Raven said calmly, "and none of you are going to get out of it or try to change the subject." The others shifted uncomfortably, but Raven ignored their discomfort. "I am tired of pretending that Azarath never happened and that things can go back to exactly the way they were before. They can't. So we're going to talk about it. We're going to get all of our feelings out in the open, because I'll be damned if I'm going to go another minute trying to keep absolutely everything to myself!"
Her fellow Titans looked shocked at this mild outburst. Beast Boy pleaded with Raven with only his big green eyes. She looked calmly back at her friends. "Even if we don't talk about it, it won't go away. Isn't it better to get it over with?" She looked directly at Robin. The other Titans also turned to their leader.
Robin sighed. "Okay. Let's talk."
---End Chapter Five---
I know that seems like a cliffhanger, but it's not. That's really the end of the story. Iori seems random, huh? She was from another thing I was doing a long time ago. I was going to write her out, but I just love the conversation she and Raven had, so she stayed. …The thing with Raven and Beast Boy didn't really go anywhere, but that wasn't really the purpose of the story, so there. Thank you for reading, and thank you to those of you who reviewed. Look for my next Titans story, The Snow Queen, coming early next year. Go to my profile for the info on that, and I'll see you then!