Disclaimer: All characters, names, etc. of Teen Titans are the intellectual property of its respective owners. I do not own the Teen Titans or anything within it.
I am grateful for the reviewing and help that I received from Beast of Brisingr (B.O.B). It was due to Brisingr's patient assistance that this story was vastly improved and hopefully I've learned enough from the help to improve my later stories.
Thank you Beast of Brisingr.
A dull thick fog covered the graveyard. Its cool misty air quieted any sounds that might be made by chirping birds or mourning relatives.
Out of the fog, a dark hooded female figure walked slowly. She glided between the various gravestones until came before one particular large one.
Written upon the marker were the words:
A Teen Titan
Always A True Hero
Always A Friend
The woman laid a single red rose at the base of the stone. She pulled back the hood to reveal her cut short dark purplish hair and dark blue eyes: the hair and eyes that belong to Raven, a former member of the Titans.
She wore nothing that showed her prior super heroine status; in fact, she was dressed very conservatively. A long dark dress covered the now twenty-seven year-old Raven. The hood and cloak she wore were mostly meant to hide her from the rest of the world.
Raven drew in a breath of air and wait. It seem that she was waiting for the gravestone to speak to her.
Raven finally said, "Hi Beast Boy. Long time, no see...I'm sorry I haven't come here to see you for so long. In fact this is the first time I've been to see you since your death."
Raven nervously shifted her weight from foot to foot.
"There are people I don't want to see, there are people I can't see. You would tell me I was afraid and of course, I would refute that. Even if I was afraid. Sorry I had missed your funeral. I couldn't face Her. I couldn't face Them."
Raven looked out into the fog-covered sky and whispered, "I remembered our last kiss. The way you held me, and how I had clutched you. My heart soared and I was in bliss. Your jokes were even funny. You told me about the 'Nasty People', as you said it, were after you. I was just glad you were away from Terra. I should have been thinking, instead of feeling, when I'd hid you away at the back room of my bookstore. I started to wonder why you left Terra and why there were people after you, but then you looked deep into my eyes and my heart melted. I should have been thinking instead of feeling.
When I asked you about Terra, you said, 'Who is Terra?' I thought you wanted to forget her, not that you didn't remember her. I didn't know that you were dying."
Next to Raven, a small patch of the walkway between the graves exploded with dark energies.
Raven breathed heavily, trying to calm down; trying to regain control over her powers. Her eyes closed for a bit and then open with her angst diminished, but not gone.
"Beast Boy, when you kissed me and then kissed me again, my life was complete.
I had the man I wanted. The one I needed. Then you ran your fingers through my hair and that is where everything went wrong. Your fingers felt strange running down the back of my neck. When you stroked my cheek, I saw you fingers. What was left of your fingers! They were dissolving. And you didn't seem to care. I screamed and cried: 'What was happening? Beast Boy, are you hurt?'
But you seem more concerned that I had screamed than you were about melting away. Unstable DNA was what Cyborg had once said. As I held you, you just melted away, through my arms."
A couple of black orbs appeared and floated near Raven. They were crackling with dark energy. Raven concentrated to calm once again and the orbs vanished. She faced the gravestone.
"After I called them, the Titans arrived. Starfire couldn't stop wailing. Robin and Cyborg tried to calm me. Clean you off the floor and off me."
Terra was dripping with tears. She didn't make a sound. She looked at me with those eyes filled with grief and anger. She was probably wondering why her husband ended up dying in my arms instead of her."
Raven's eyes widened as she realized that she was no long alone. There were the sounds of footsteps and children talking coming closer.
Then a girls voice said, "Mom, there's the nasty lady from my dreams!"
Raven froze in shock.
Terra's voice said, "Hush Vanessa. Raven is an old friend of mommy's.
Why don't you and Johnny go and play over there. Don't use any powers, but you can turn into animals if you want."
Two children voices said, "Ok, mom."
Terra's voice continued, "And remember, we're going backpacking after this." Raven kept her eyes on the gravestone and waited, as the footsteps got closer. They stopped to Raven's right and then there was nothing. Terra finally said, "A red rose. Very nice."
Raven said as she turned away from Terra's voice, not looking at her, "I should leave now."
Terra stopped her with the sound of her voice, "No, wait, Raven. Stay here for a bit. We need to talk."
Raven surrendered by turning to look at the grave again. Not once did she look at Terra or toward the sounds of children playing.
There was the hum of a zipper being unzipped that got Raven curious. She turned to look.
Terra had grown taller since her teen years due to a very late grown spurt. She now stood five-foot ten inches tall. Raven wondered, Is she as jealous of my figure as I am of her how tall she is?
Terra was wearing a button up canvas brown shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
She had a matching pair of cutoff pants and a fedora. Her body has filled out from her thin teen years to a more healthy form for now she had the build of a hiker girl. A long scar ran down her left cheek. A long canvas tote bag with wide shoulder straps sat on the ground next to her. From it, she pulled a gold foil box filled with a dozen roses. Terra laid the roses next to the one that Raven had previously placed.
They were silent. Terra finally said, "Hey, Beast Boy, look. Raven and I aren't fighting. It's been five years since you left us. The Titans miss you. Your friends wish you were back. So do your children and I. Why, heck, even some of the villains miss you."
Raven shifted nervously.
Terra looked at Raven, even though Raven just stared at the grave. "Raven, I've asked Robin and Cyborg this question, but I need to hear the answer from you."
Raven tensed up, getting ready for a verbal fight. "What?"
Terra sighed and asked, "Was Beast Boy in any pain at the end?"
Raven studied the roses on the ground. "No, he wasn't."
"Was he happy?"
Raven whispered, "Yes, he was."
"Did he remember me at all?"
Raven felt depressed and said with morose, "No, he didn't. Terra, I didn't know that the men he was afraid of were medical doctors. I'm sorry, so sorry. If I had known, I would had called-"
Terra interrupted, "It would had made no difference. The doctors couldn't find a cure for him. They could only ease his pain."
Raven felt relief and then felt guilty for feeling the relief. She said, "Robin and Cyborg told me that, but I didn't believe them."
Terra looked back to the grave. "They're still looking for a cure."
Raven raised a questioning eyebrow and asked, "Why?"
Terra trembled as she replied. "In ten years, Johnny and Vanessa will need it."
Raven was aghast. "No." She looked at the children.
Two green birds darted through the graveyard. Both of them were chasing another bird and playing tag with the unwilling animal. One green bird noticed that he was being watched.
He landed and morphed into an eight-year old boy.
Johnny had light green skin and his hair was only slightly darker in color. An infectious smile appeared under his green eyes. The clothes he wore were a duplicate of Terra's hiking clothes, including a small fedora. He waved.
The other green bird landed on a gravestone and regarded Raven with suspicion.
Raven watched the bird with a deeply pained expression. Terra waved to the kids and the bird quickly transformed.
Eight-year old Vanessa sat on the stone and waved back. Her skin was also green, but a little darker. Vanessa's hair was a very dark green, much darker than her father ever was.
Her dark blue eyes look scanned both my mother and Raven. Finally, she stuck her tongue out at Raven, turned into a cat green and ran off.
Raven looked devastated as Terra called out, "Vanessa! Be nice to Mommy's friends! Say you're sorry right now!"
Raven mumbled. "Don't worry. I'm ok."
Vanessa's voice called out from behind a tree, "I'm not sorry! I'm not sorry! I'm not sorry!"
A tear shattered Raven's emotionless form and Terra noticed a misty dark aura started to surround Raven. Terra whispered, "Raven! Control your self!"
Terra then called out, "Vanessa, we'll talk about this later. If you misbehave again, you'll have to sit in the truck!"
"You heard me."
"Ok! I'm sorry, Miss Mommy's Friend."
Raven had her eyes closed as she calmed herself. Raven felt a tug on her cloak and opened her eyes to see Johnny holding on to it. He looked uncertain and then put on a wide smile.
Raven thought, He is so much like Beast Boy. A mini-Beast Boy.
He said, "My sister is sorry. She just gets mad sometimes. Do you know that we are twins?"
Raven sighed, "You both have the same father and were both born on the same day. You and your sister must be twins."
Johnny smiled wider, reassured.
Terra touched the top of his head. "Johnny, go and play with your sister. Raven and I are going have some girl talk. Ok?"
Johnny said uncertainty, "Girl talk?"
Terra nodded. "Yes. Girl talk."
Johnny turned and ran away in mock fear. "Ugh! Girl Talk! Run for your lives!"
Hesitantly, Vanessa peeked around the tree with some interest.
Raven said as she watched him, "Cute. He's very cute."
"Thanks. Do you mind if we talk about the past?"
"Sure. You hold so much of my life in your hands. Are you the one who bought the building my store is in? Along with my debts?"
"Yeah, but we'll talk about that later." Terra asked quietly, "Why did you let me back into the Teen Titans? I thought you hated me."
"I didn't hate you. That came later. I didn't trust you. I didn't trust you to be my friend and I didn't trust you with my friends' lives."
"Then why, Raven? I heard that everyone voted to let me back in."
"Robin talked to me. Starfire, Cyborg and Beast Boy wanted you back in. Robin didn't want an argument that could split the titans. He also thought that you had earned another chance by stopping that volcano. I finally agreed."
"You agreed even though you knew I loved Beast Boy?"
" I didn't think that I loved him then. I thought he was one of my closest friends who annoyed the hell out of me. His jokes would distract me, break my concentration, almost causing me to lose control of my powers."
Terra sighed. "I knew I had hurt you before, when I'd betrayed everyone. At first, I thought you were only mad at me for that. Then I'd noticed that you were angriest with me was when I was around Beast Boy."
"Terra, I thought-"
Terra interrupted by yelling, "Vanessa! Come over here!"
Two gravestones away, a small green ladybug transformed into Vanessa. Vanessa looked guilty and didn't come.
Terra warned, "Vanessa."
Slowly Vanessa walked over. Raven became nervous and her eyes widened.
Vanessa stopped before them and said nervously, "Yes, mom?"
Terra kneeled and placed here hands on the girls shoulders. "Vanessa, you know that mommy wanted to have a private talk with her friend Raven. It wasn't a nice thing to do to listen in."
Ashamed, Vanessa nodded while looking with her dark blue eyes into her mother's light blue eyes.
Terra smiled gently. "Ok. You can go and play, but first give me a hug and tell Raven you're sorry."
Terra hugged Vanessa and when released the girl turned to look into Raven's dark blue eyes. Raven choked.
Terra reached out with one hand and grasped Raven's shoulder. "Control", Terra said.
Vanessa looked back and forth between Raven and her mother before she said quietly, "I'm sorry, Miss Raven. Can I go now, mommy?"
A tear flowed down Raven's cheek. Raven, trying to control her emotions by thinking of something else, asked, "What were we talking about?"
"About you being angriest when I was around Beast Boy."
"Raven, are you ok?"
"I'm fine. Lets see. We were talking about... yes. Well, Terra, I thought I was protecting my friends and Beast Boy from you. I didn't want them to be hurt again."
Raven feeling a little more in control, glanced at Terra and the scar on her left cheek.
Terra said, "Are you sure you don't want to sit down and rest for a bit. That was the first time Vanessa has spoken to you."
Raven frowned, "You arranged that? Terra! You're too sneaky!"
Terra just leaned forward and smiled a wide smile. Raven thought to herself:
How many times I've hated that smile. I don't know what to make of it now.
Terra said, "As sneaky as you were when you got Beast Boy's first kiss. That as supposed to be my first kiss."
"I've told you. It wasn't my fault." Raven paused for a bit. "Maybe it was. In the fight, Cinderblock smacked me into that brick wall. I was stunned and Beast Boy jumped out to block Cinderblock from me. When a hit sent Beast Boy crashing into me, that was our lips met."
A somewhat upset Terra said, "Raven, your arms were all around him."
Raven eyes unfocused, as if she was looking something in her mind. She smiled slightly. "No, that wasn't the first kiss. When I saw you, an earth manipulator, come and squashed Cinderblock, man of earth, I sort of took advantage of the situation."
Terra said with controlled anger, "And that when our fights really got started."
Raven remarked, "Control, Terra, Control."
Terra looked surprised and then laughed, "You're right."
Raven said, "It was during that time that I started to lose some control of my powers."
"I've never understood why that happened, Raven. You've defeated your father.
"I felt that you were taking the Titans away from me. That bothered me. I have troubles controlling my powers when my mind is disturbed. Also you parading around proclaiming that you've saved my life, after that one fight with Brother Blood, didn't endear you to me."
Terra smiled nervously. "Ah. Sorry."
Raven smirked. "It's ok. Do you remember how many times you and I would each grab one of Beast Boy's arms and argue?"
Terra laughed, "And don't forget we would pull, too. You would pull in one direction, saying 'This is idiotic' and I would pull him in another. How many time did Beast Boy flee the tower?"
"More times than I can count, Terra."
Terra turned and reached into her bag. Raven watched with mild curiosity as Terra pulled out a long stem glass and a bottle of cheap champagne.
Raven remarked, "As rich as you are, you could afford something a little more expensive."
Terra smiled and held the bottle out to be examined. Raven frowned and then smirked, "It's the same brand of champagne we had on Beast Boy's eighteenth birthday."
"Yep! The night that started to change your and my lives forever. Do you care for a sip?"
"Yes. I would like that."
Terra handed Raven the glass and then started to rummage around in her bag for a bottle opener.
Raven recalled, "Robin should have known better than to leave the Titans alone on Beast Boy's birthday. Wasn't he studying with that 'The Master' person? For martial arts training?"
Terra still searched, said, "Yeah, and then Cyborg got a case of champagne to celebrate. You were trying to get Beast Boy's attention."
Raven griped, "No, you were trying to get Beast Boy's attention."
Terra victoriously pulled out the bottle opener. "We were both competing for his attention."
As Terra removed the cap from the bottle, Raven said, "Maybe you're right. I didn't want to drink any of that stuff. But, Cyborg had to insist. And you already sitting next to Beast Boy and getting ready to toast him. I had no choice."
"Glass." Terra said. Raven held out the glass and Terra pour a small amount of champagne into it. Terra grinned. "And I was a pain in the neck. I wanted to see you drunk."
"Was that why you were looking into my eyes when you drank? You were challenging me?"
"Yep. And you had to toss down that entire glass in one gulp. Beast Boy cheered you! I couldn't accept that. So, I gulped down my drink and got another. That was the start of our drinking war."
"We were so stupid, Terra." said Raven. "It was funny that Cyborg was such a cheap drunk. Drunk on only one-half a glass."
Terra remarked, "And a wasted Starfire was funny, too. There were no walls, ceiling or floor she couldn't fly into."
Raven held out the glass in salute to Beast Boy's gravestone. "Beastboy, I miss you so much. Your time on earth was too short and I'm not doing well. Keep visiting my dreams, my love."
Terra complained, "Hey! That's my husband you're talking about."
"Ah, don't be."
They were quiet as Raven sipped the last of the champagne. She handed Terra the glass.
Terra poured some more champagne into the glass.
Raven asked, "Aren't you going to clean that first?"
Terra chuckled, "I got two kids going to school. They bring back every cold, flu or whatever disease any kid has at the school. No, I'm not worried about the glass."
Terra held out the glass before the gravestone. "Beast Boy, my husband, my love, the kids are doing fine. Johnny is looking more like you every day. And Vanessa is looking more like. Well, I won't say whom she is looking more like, but you know. Raven and I were reminiscing about that wild night on your eighteenth birthday. That was a wild night for you and me. Ha! I didn't know it but it was a wild night for you and Raven, too. Then you claimed the next day that you didn't remember a thing about that night. I miss your smile. I miss your jokes. I miss your love. And stay only in my dreams! Ha, ha, ha. I'll be here next year with the kids, too. Maybe Raven can drop by as well. See you, Beast Boy."
They are quiet while Terra finished the rest of her glass. Terra poured some more champagne. Raven looked questioning, and then Terra splashed its contents on the gravestone. Terra said, "Enjoy, BB."
They are quiet again and then Raven said, "I guess it time for me to leave. It's been good seeing you. It's been very healing for me."
Terra smiled and asked, "Can you stay a bit longer? Please?"
Raven relaxed and said, "I would like nothing more than that." She again glanced at the scar on Terra's cheek, but said nothing.
Terra looking around and spotted the children playing about thirty yards away.
The fog was still thick, so Terra called, "Kids, don't go much further away. I don't want to lose you in the fog."
A pair of kid voices said, "Yes, mom."
Terra turned to Raven and asked, "When did you find out you were pregnant with
"Don't worry, I'm not angry anymore. When was it?"
"About two weeks after the birthday."
"That quickly? How?"
"I know my mind. I also know my body."
"Oh. I thought you found out about the same time as I did about my pregnancy."
"No. It came as a shock to me. I didn't want to talk about it. I only told Beast Boy about it after seeing you looking at some baby clothes while on one of Starfire's mall trips. I was certain that you were planning to get pregnant to force Beast Boy to marry you. I didn't know that you, too, were already pregnant. As he was looking shock from my news, you came into to make your victorious pregnancy announcement."
Terra chuckled. "And Beastboy ran. After that, it was all-out war between you and me. You had the north side of the tower and the south end was mine. And poor Starfire! I was mad at her for being your friend."
"And I had blew up at her for being your friend."
"I've apologize to Starfire for that and a few other things. Have you?"
"Maybe, Raven, I can apologize for you."
"Yes, please do."
"She is still your friend." Terra pointed out.
"I have no friends. Not after what I did." Raven said sullenly…
"I think, maybe, you feel you don't deserve friends, but you're wrong. You do have friends, friends who care about you."
Raven shivered. "Can we talk about something else?"
Terra switched topic. "Remember when we were both stuck in the tower while the rest of the gang did their hero bit?"
"I hated that. I really hated you at that time. I hated you and everyone else. They were always on your side."
"HA! I thought they were always on your side. I had hated everyone, too. I used to dream about the horrible things that I could do to you. But, I always ended up avoiding you. The locator in your communicator was good for that."
Raven mused,with a grim smile. "I just used my mind to locate you. I was afraid getting in a fight with and losing the baby. I didn't want to hurt your, either."
"The children were innocent, in my eyes, you were not."
"Well, Raven, you were the better heroine than I was. If we had fought, I was afraid of losing my baby and of me getting kicked out of the titans. I was pretty self-centered." Terra admitted with a wry tone, as if disapproving her past.
Raven smirked. "Was self-centered?"
Raven produced a small laugh and then Terra laughed as well.
Raven continued, "I was also losing control of my emotions, of my powers. I kept breaking things, making things explode accidentally when my emotions were negative."
"Yeah, I heard that. The tower shook quite a few times. Robin told me to stay in my half of the tower. I'm glad I did. Hey, did Beastboy used to deliver your meals to you?"
"Yes. He did that for you too, I assume. Was Beast Boy allowed to stay too long in your area?"
Terra looked to see where the kids were. Then seeing they were ok, she continued. "Yep. I guess Robin figured that if BB was with one of us too long, then the other one would march over and all hell would break loose. Get any kisses during that time?"
"That dog! So did I. Then, there was the night of the births."
Raven grimaced and started to speak when Terra quickly broke in, "What happened, Raven?"
"I don't want to talk about it: The night that destroyed my life. I lost my daughter to you."
Terra asked, "Raven?"
Raven sighed, "I was losing control of my powers. I was in so much pain. Beast Boy, Robin and Cyborg were there to help me. I wished Starfire were there. It was too embarrassing with only guys there. I was in labor. My powers were breaking things all around me. Beastboy was holding my hand and saying all the wrong things. Idiot. My idiot. As Vanessa was born, my powers, they sliced up Cyborg. My powers were totally out of control. It was a miracle that I was able transport myself to another dimension."
Tears were streaming down Raven's face. A dark aura appeared around her. A nearby tombstone shattered loudly, and branches on a tree were cut cleanly through.
"RAVEN! Get a hold of yourself. Raven!" Terra exclaimed.
The dark aura faded. Terra reached out for Raven's shoulder, but Raven said in a whisper, "Don't... Don't touch me. I might start crying again."
Terra dropped her hand and then glanced back at the kids.
Johnny stared with big eyes. "Whoa."
Vanessa started with big eyes too, but she was filled with fear.
Terra said loudly so the kids could hear, "I'm so impressed, Raven. You'll have to show me that trick again some other time. Oh, kids, don't worry. Go back and play some more."
Johnny said, "Ok, mom."
Vanessa looked uncertain. Terra smiled and slowly Vanessa turned to go with her brother.
Raven wrapped her arms around herself and shivered.
Terra said, "It's ok, Raven. The kids are off playing, again."
Raven didn't say anything.
Terra probed Raven for more. "Cyborg said he doesn't blame you for anything. He knows it was an accident. Are you ok, Raven?"
Raven nodded without looking at her.
Terra asked, "Do you want to hear my half of the story?"
Raven nodded again.
Terra looked out into foggy sky and said, "Well, I was feeling like a bloated whale with feet that I hadn't seen in months."
Raven quietly chuckled. "That was funny."
"Well, the tower shook when your powers started to go wild. I thought that the whole tower was going to collapse, I was scared."
Raven said weakly, "Sorry."
"Ah, don't worry. We're still alive and it wasn't something you could control. Let see... Oh, yeah. It was then I went into labor. Starfire was with me, but BB wasn't. He wasn't there when Johnny was born."
Terra sniffed as tears ran down her face. She wiped away her tears and put on a weak smile. "Well, shortly after that, Beast Boy came running into the room handed me Vanessa, all bundled up. I was going to show him our child, to yell at him for not being there. But when he handed me your baby, I didn't know what to do. Then he told me, about Cyborg being torn apart and how Robin was taking him to the repair shop. He told me that he had to find you, to stop you from hurting anybody and possible yourself. I begged him to stay, commanded him to not go, but he left anyway. What was supposes to be the happiest day of my life was the worst. There I was, with Beast Boy gone and holding both of his children with one of not even mine. Starfire attempt to cheer me up with her 'singing' made me cry."
They were silent. Raven finally said, "Beast Boy could never find me. I was in the wrong dimension. It took me several months to regain some control over my powers. The grief and unfairness of the situation almost killed me. You've raised my daughter."
Terra said softly, "I was mad at Vanessa at first, but the first time she opened her eyes and looked at me. I fell in love with your little girl. I love her like I love my son."
Raven asked without emotion, "When did you two get married?"
"About a month after you left. Half the town and a couple superheroes show up. Ha, it was so funny when a couple of super-villains tried to crash the wedding. I have some pictures of it. I'm no longer an active Titan member."
Raven asked, "Because of the kids?"
"Yeah... Was that you who blew up the bushes when BB, the kids and I were picnicking?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
Terra frowned. "Come on, Raven. We've both admitted things we been hiding from each other. It's time to clear the air between us."
Raven dourly said, "You won't like this."
"I think I already know some parts of it."
Raven continued, "You'll really hate me for this."
Terra replied, "And I've already guessed the other parts of it."
Raven's eyes bored into Terra. "Ok. When I returned to Jump City, I wanted my baby girl back. So I came for her."
Terra said, "That part I'd guessed."
Raven sighed defeated. "I had tracked my daughter's mind to Titans Tower."
Terra interrupted, "You only knew her for a few seconds. How would you know her mind?"
"Vanessa's first cry, both vocal and mental, still echoed in my mind."
"Oh, you were outside the Tower when I was trying to get Beast Boy away from work, i.e. video games, and go on a family picnic."
"Yes. I followed you guys when you headed off to the picnic. Vanessa was crying. I thought you were neglecting her."
Terra broke in, "Neglecting her?!? I would never do that!"
"I know that now. I didn't know that then. Since it surprised me that you had took Vanessa along with your Johnny to a picnic. Still her crying was causing me agitations."
Terra remarked, "It was strange that Vanessa was so fussy that time."
Raven stared at Beast Boy's gravestone. "It could be that she was sensing me... my anger, my pain, my grief."
Terra frowned. "Then you snuck to behind that bush near our picnic."
"I didn't sneak in. I'd teleported in."
"Not that there is a big difference."
"To me there is. There was Beast Boy and you, snuggling together with the babies asleep. My anger exploded. It took everything I had within me to keep from lashing out at you. Then Vanessa woke up screaming. You picked her up and asked her what was wrong. I could feel her looking at me, screaming in fear."
Terra said thoughtfully, "I think that it was the first time that Vanessa woke up from a nightmare."
"You then picked her up, comforted her and tried to get her to laugh. You were looking at my daughter with such kindness, such love. My mind went numb. Then Vanessa squealed in delight. That hurt me. Hurt me bad. I then decided to grab Vanessa and escape with her. She just looked in my direction and screamed. You and Beast Boy looked at me. You two knew that I was hiding there."
Terra said quietly, "Well, you don't see too many crying bushes around. Then, it exploded. You scared the hell out of all of us."
"Sorry. I had just teleported away. I didn't know that my powers blew up the bush."
"Beast Boy checked the remains of the bush while I had to calm down the kids." She grinned at Raven sheepishly. "To tell you the truth, I was getting ready to fight you if you had come back. But you didn't."
Raven stared at the ground. "No, I didn't. I just wanted to curl up and die."
"Well, Beast Boy and I headed to the tower. He tried to call you on the communicator, but you didn't respond."
"My communicator was smashed in the other dimension when I was trying to control my powers."
"Oh. Well, we had a big Titan meeting to talk about you. Beast Boy wanted to find you, find out what was wrong and get you back. Starfire wanted her friend back and thought you would do better in the midst of your friends. Cyborg wanted to break out the barbeque to celebrate your return." Raven's eyes went misty again. Terra asked, "Should I stop for a bit?"
"No, go on."
"Well, Robin looked at me to see what I would say: Me, a retired Titan. Then the others looked at me, expecting me to say no. Starfire was hoping for a yes." Terra admitted with a shrug of her shoulders.
"And you said no?"
"No, I said yes."
"Do you want the good reasons, the bad one or the guilty one?"
"Terra, tell me all of them."
Terra stalled for a bit and Raven said, "Well?"
"The good reasons were that I didn't know if you were trying to snatch Vanessa or not, and you allowed me back on the team when we were still called the Teen Titans."
"The bad reason?"
"If you were a Titan again, then you would always have to carry your communicator. I could use its locator to always know were you were. You know, to make sure you didn't spend too much time with Beast Boy. If you weren't a Titan, then I would never know if you were secretly meeting BB."
Raven started to get angry. She snapped, "Your third reason?"
"Maybe, in all our fighting, and with all my anger, I did something that pushed you over the edge. Maybe I made you lose control of your powers. Maybe Cyborg getting sliced up was my fault."
Raven softened. "No. My lost of control came from my father half of me."
"Oh, thanks. Well, Robin looked surprised and Starfire jumped for joy. Cyborg slapped me on my back and Beast Boy... Beast Boy thanked me. They all wanted you back."
Raven thought for a bit, as if she was remembering things. "Thank you, Terra, for telling me that."
"Sure. You're welcome. Well, Robin said he was going to talk with you and that BB and I were to stay at the tower. Beast Boy did complain, though."
Raven nodded. "I see. Robin found me in my favorite teashop. They brew very good tea there. Robin asked me what was going on and I told him about my control problem. He wanted me to come back to the tower and I refused. I let him know that I couldn't be around you or Beast Boy. Too much emotion and too little control, too much guilt about Cyborg. Robin asked me what I was going to do and I mentioned that I would like to set up a bookstore. Robin gave me my start up money and co-signed my loans. The bookstore became my own private world, a place I could relax."
"Cool, I didn't know he did that. I know Beast Boy used to visit you over the years."
"Yes, we used to talk a lot."
"Is that all?"
"Yes it was. Beast Boy would only talk, trying to make me feel better. I tried to make the relationship more personal, more intimate. I tried several times but Beast Boy was loyal to you and your marriage."
Terra put her hand on her own chin and with her thumb, stroked the scar on her face, like a nervous habit. "We went on like that for a couple of years. Beast Boy was being the hero, coming home to a family life and visiting you. During those years I never saw you even once. Then Beast Boy's DNA started to break down. His shape changing powers started to cause him pain."
Raven sadly said, "Beast Boy never told me. He just stopped coming to see me."
Terra said, "One day I got a call from Robin. They were fighting Plamoid when Beast Boy collapsed in pain. They took him to the Tower, but they couldn't do anything for him. Doctors were called in, but all they could do was to ease Beast Boy's pain. He was finally sent home with me where I took care of him. The doctors would visit every so often with their needles and tests. BB didn't like that at all. I decided that I was going to tell you, but Beast Boy begged me not to worry you with his problems. Raven, are you alright?"
Raven was shivering. She closed her eyes and slowly the shivering went away. "I'm alright."
Terra said, "Ok. Well Beast Boy started to have memory problems. I went from being his wife to being 'That Nurse' to 'Who are you again?'. He forgot his kids, but he remembered you!"
Terra was shaking as she was softly crying. Raven looked depressed, not knowing what to do.
Vanessa voice yelled in, "What are you doing to my mommy?!?"
Raven looked up shocked, "Ah-"
Terra spoke up, crying, "Vanessa. We're just remembering your father. This makes Raven sad, too. Please don't worry, my darling girl."
"Oh." said Vanessa as she looked down. "Ok, I'll go and play."
Vanessa wandered slowly off and Johnny watched from a far.
Raven waited for Terra to recover. Raven placed a hand on Terra's shoulder to comfort her. Terra started to turn to lean on Raven's shoulder, but Raven's panicked look and strange frantic 'eep' stopped Terra.
Terra said softly, "Sorry. I know you can't handle that kind of stuff.
Raven said, "Thanks."
Terra calmed down slowly, then continued, "One night, I looked for Beast Boy and I found out that he had escaped. I called Robin and they started to look for him. Robin called and told me how he passed away. I had to tell my three-year old kids that their daddy was gone."
"Terra, I should have called you. If the doctor knew-"
"Raven, there was no way you could have known. Don't blame yourself. I'm just glad he wasn't in pain when he passed away."
The two stared at Beast Boy's grave for over a minute before Terra said, "His funeral was beautiful. So many people, so much love. You could've come."
Raven shook her head, "No. Beast Boy's passing was such a shock to me that for a few weeks, I had totally lost my powers. I knew that when they came back, I could've been dangerous to everyone around me. I was an emotional wreak."
"Then why did you attack me a couple of weeks later? Why?"
Raven voice evened out, "Beastboy was gone. You had Johnny. I wanted Vanessa.
She is the only thing of Beast Boy's that I have."
"You attacked me by surprise! You had knocked me out! When I woke up, part of my living room wall was gone and Vanessa was screaming! You'd cut my face!"
Raven looked in surprise at the scar on Terra's left cheek. She said, "I was going to get my daughter. Knocking you out meant that there was no long fight and less chance of people being hurt. I didn't know about the scar. I went to Vanessa and picked her up. Vanessa was crying in total terror of me. She was scared of me, her mother! That destroyed me! My powers were uncontrolled, but there was not enough will within me to power their destructive actions. I put Vanessa down and left. I'd called Robin and told him what I had done. I went back to my store and waited for the police to come. They didn't come. Sorry."
"Robin asked me not to call the police. He said that he would make sure that you wouldn't come back. He asked me to try to understand how you would see the situation."
"Robin came to my shop and started yelling at me. I don't remember most of the words, but he did promised me that if I pulled that stunt again, he and Titans would put me in prison personally."
They were silent for a bit before Raven asked, "Can I examine that cut?"
Terra sighed, "Sure. Nothing the doctors do would make it go away. It would always come back."
Raven reached out touch Terra's scar. Raven closed eyes and concentrated. She opened her eyes and said, "Sorry."
"What are you sorry about now? We said so many 'sorry's it's getting ridiculous."
"Your cut in filled with my anger and anguish. That is why would always stay there. Let me remove it and heal your scar."
"Wait a second." Terra said, and then looked towards the playing children, frowning in thought. She finally called out, "Kids, come over here. Raven is going to show us a magic trick."
Raven said quietly as she started to stare at the ground, "Why are you doing this?"
"Well, I- Here they come."
Johnny came running up, "Magic Trick! Show me the Magic Trick!"
Vanessa walked slowly up, eyes filled with suspicion.
Terra smiled a wide smile. "Now Raven is going to make Mommy's ouchie go away."
Vanessa grumbled, "Mom, it's a scar. I'm not a baby anymore."
Terra reached out with both hands and ruffled the hair of both the kids. "You two will always be my babies."
Vanessa complained, "MOM!" and Johnny pouted, "I'm not a baby, too."
Terra laughed while Raven looked downcast.
Terra asked, "Raven? Let's do it now."
Raven reached out and touched the scar. Johnny watched with big eyes while Vanessa watched like a hawk.
Raven chanted, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos." Darkness flowed from Raven's hands and into Terra's cheek. Both kids' eyes went wide. As Raven continued to use her power, Johnny whispered to his sister, "That is black. Just like your powers."
Raven removed her hand and Terra's scar was gone.
Johnny said, "Mom's scar is gone! It's gone!"
Vanessa asked, "Mom, why is the mean lady's power black like mine?"
Raven looked hurt as Terra corrected, "Vanessa! She is not mean!"
"But MOM, she is the bad lady from my dreams. She made you cry here!"
"Vanessa, dear, you know how badly auntie Coolgirl and I argue sometimes, but she is still my friend. Raven and I are that kind of friends. Besides, Raven's power just healed me. Maybe Raven can teach you how to heal my hurts. Ok?"
Vanessa look turned from suspicion to intense interest. "Really?"
Terra looked at Raven. "Well, Raven?"
Raven looked to be in a panic. She finally said, "I would like that."
Vanessa said in a very Terra-like way, "YES!"
Terra said, "Now Raven and I have to talk some more. Go and play with your brother."
"Ok, Mommy", said Vanessa. She ran to her brother shouting, "I going to be a healer like auntie Coolgirl!"
Raven asked, "Terra, not that I'm complaining, but why are you doing this? You could have kept Vanessa away from me forever."
Terra thought for a bit. "Vanessa is a smart kid. She is definitely smarter than I am: smart as you are. She is already asking me why her powers are black and not yellow like Johnny's or mine. She had noticed that I know more about Johnny's powers than hers. She thinks that there is something wrong with her. She is having problems controlling her abilities. She is starting to accidentally break things with her power when she gets mad. I need you to help her. Vanessa needs your help."
Raven started to shiver again. Terra asked, "Raven?"
"Yes, I would like that very much."
"Great! You don't know how much relieved I am."
"Terra, can I ask you a question?'
Terra laughed. "Yeah. When she joined the Titans (she was never a Teen Titan), she would hassle the hell out of me. I know that I'm rich, but she wanted to spend every dime I had on her current 'Good cause of the week'. I can't stand her, but the kids love her. And she is good for Cyborg, too."
"Yep, Coolgirl and Cyborg are dating now."
"I like that. The Coolgirl name?"
"She hates it. She called herself that when she was a fourteen-year old heroine. Now that she is around twenty-five, she wants to change it. But there are Coolgirl fan clubs, Coolgirl web sites and Coolgirl groupie. She is stuck with that name."
Raven chuckled. Terra continued, "After an argument I had with her and I went home, do you want to guess what Vanessa wanted for her birthday?"
Raven guessed, "A good book?"
"No. By the way, that was a bad guess. She wanted a Coolgirl action figure, a Coolgirl car, a Coolgirl Magic Pony and a Coolgirl's Titans Tower!"
Raven laughed. "It not like you couldn't afford it. The newspaper has named you as the richest blue-collar worker in the city."
"Well, since I'm digging the tunneling for the new underground trains, I've made a lot of cash. A lot of it goes into researching the kids' DNA problem. I'll find a cure before what happened to Beast Boy happens to them."
They are quiet for a bit. Raven asked, "Why did you buy the building my store is in? Why did you buy up my debts?"
"Well, Raven, you were going into bankruptcy. I heard that you kept getting mad at your customers. You even chased Jinx out of there."
"I'd never like Jinx."
"Raven, one day, I will have to tell Vanessa who gave birth to her. She is always noticing differences between her and me. If I didn't do anything to help you, then how could explain that to Vanessa? I had to do something."
"Terra, I want to see my daughter more often than I would as a visiting tutor. Starting now."
Terra looked like she was getting a headache. "You have to give her time to get use to you. Raven, you scare her. Your face appears in her nightmares. Please Raven."
Raven sighed. She started to speak again, but stopped when the sound of a horse's feet, clopping along, penetrated the mist. Raven frowned at the disturbance.
Terra angrily yelled, "Coolgirl, if you are bringing that flea-bitten horse of your into the cemetery and stepping of all the grave, I'm going to turn that pony of your into a handbag!"
The noise stopped as both the kid looked excitedly into the fog to where the sounds last came from.
A woman's voice called back, "Hey Terra, no problem. We're just here to pay a visit."
Vanessa shouted excitedly, "Coolgirl" as she ran into the fog. Her brother quickly followed.
Cyborg's voice echoed, "Hey kids. Have you missed your uncle Cy?"
Raven turned away from the voices. She said quietly, "I should be leaving now. Thank you, Terra."
Terra reached out with one hand and gripped Raven's shoulder. "Are you sure you want to leave now? It would be good for Vanessa to see you being friendly with Cyborg and Coolgirl- Hey Robin! Hey Starfire! I'm glad you could make it here."
From somewhere behind Raven, Robin's voice called out, "Great to be here, Terra. I see you have a guest here."
Starfire voice followed, "Yes it is joyous to see you once again and to celebrate the life of our friend Beast boy. Who is your friend?"
Terra said, "It's someone you both know."
Raven slowly turned. With a shocked and surprise Robin and Starfire before her, Raven looked down nervously. She weakly said, "Ah, hi guys."
Starfire, who was holding a small one-year-old child in her arms, flew up in front of Raven. The child, a boy, had dark brown hair with widen examining eyes. He wore a blue and white pin stripe jumper with a red shirt.
Starfire smile was so wide that it made Raven cringe.
Starfire burst out with, "Raven! I- Raven! It is so joyous- RAVEN!"
Raven looked in disbelief. "Starfire?"
Terra with a sneaky smile, "Starfire, will you let me hold your darling little Firebird?"
"Please do", replied Starfire quickly. Raven watched as the child was passed from Starfire to Terra. Raven upon seeing that Starfire's arms were empty, accused Terra, "You did that on purpose."
Starfire gave Raven one of her bone crushing hugs. Raven was like a rag doll in Starfire's arms as Starfire said, "RAVEN! My Friend! It is Glorious to see you again. My Friend! My Very Good Friend Raven! We must talk and shop and do the things together."
Raven groaned, "It's good to see you too, Starfire."
Robin spoke up with concern, "Gently Starfire. Not everyone is built like a Tamaranean. Hi Raven. It's good to see you. In fact, it's very good to see you. How are you doing?"
As Starfire released her, Raven said, "Better. Much Better. Ah, Robin, I'm sorry that I didn't attend Starfire and your wedding. I'd still had control problems with my powers. I thought people were still mad at me. You were angry with me the last time I saw you."
Robin pulled Raven in for a hug. He said, "Of course I was mad. You blew up part of Terra's house when you last went after Vanessa. I understand why you did it. Raven, I thought come to see us once you had calm down. You never did. I had driven you away."
A tear appeared in Raven's eyes. "No, I've been afraid of hurting people, hurting my friends."
Terra, still holding little Firebird, looked over Raven. "Raven. You're not losing control."
Raven asked confused, "What?"
Starfire quickly grabbed her son from Terra and said, "Friend Raven, please greet Robin and my son Firebird. Firebird, please greet my friend Raven."
Robin released Raven. Raven had a slight smile as another tear came. "Hello Firebird. I'm glad to meet you."
The child eyes examined Raven for a bit, before he glanced at his father and mother's smiling faces. Then he looked back to Raven and let out a delighted squeal.
With a laugh, Terra remarked, "It looks like you made another friend."
Starfire smiled, "Yes, indeed. I'm sure that he will enjoy the company of you when we make the trips to the mall of shopping."
Then Starfire puzzled, "Terra, the scar? It is gone?"
Terra nodded. "Yeah. It took a little high power magic to get rid of it. Right, Raven?"
Raven was about to respond when Cyborg voice rang out, "Raven? Is that really you, Raven?"
Coming toward them were Cyborg, a woman lead a horse with Vanessa and Johnny in its saddle.
The ebony skin woman was not much taller than Raven. Her hair was woven into a series of braids that were combined to form a single ponytail. The colors that dominated her pant and blouse were purple and blue with some metallic gold thrown in. She has an amused look in her eyes, like she was thinking of some unspoken joke.
Her horse was white with a black star-like patch on its forehead. It wore a bridle and saddle; both were covered in glitter and small gems. The horse studied Raven.
Robin released Raven and Raven weakly said, "Yeah. Hi Cyborg."
Cyborg grinned. "Glad to see you, Rae."
Cyborg received a poke in his side from the un-introduced woman. Cyborg said, "Oh. Raven, I want you to meet my girlfriend and soon to be my bride, Coolgirl. Coolgirl, this is Raven."
Coolgirl smiled and said warmly, "Hello, Raven. I've heard so much about you from the rest of the team."
Raven said with interest, "Hello, Coolgirl. I hope that it was not all negative."
Coolgirl laugh out aloud. "Nope. All of it was positive."
Starfire asked with concern, "Was someone saying bad things about you? May I ask who?"
Raven gave a brief laugh, "Nobody, Starfire. I was kind of joking."
The horse spotted the open bottle of champagne that was on the ground and started to head to it. Terra grabbed the bottle and griped, "Not again, you mangy plow horse. You're not going to get drunk on my booze again."
The horse gave Terra an evil stare before snorting.
Raven asked, "The horse gets drunk?"
Coolgirl responded, "Yes, Candi, my horse, here like to drink once in a while."
Terra yelled, "He got into the bar inside my house a year ago. He got wasted and made a huge mess in my entertainment room. It took months to get rid of the smell."
Vanessa said seriously, "But mom, he's a good horse. He's a magical horse that helps Coolgirl in her heroic missions."
Cyborg interrupted, "Hey, Raven. Are you back on the team? We could use your help."
Raven froze in shock. She opened her mouth but nothing came out.
Robin put his hand on Raven's shoulder. "It could be like old times. Nobody has been in your old room. You can have it back."
Raven was still trying to work out an answer when Starfire hopefully asked, "Does not saying 'no' means yes?"
Raven worried, "But my shop needs me. I've got bills to pay."
Terra said with a distant expression, "Yes, that is true. It will require you to hire two or three salesmen to manage the store: people who don't chase away the customers like the you sometimes do."
Raven frowned, "I can't afford that! My bills-"
Terra interrupted, "I own your bills. Your payments and rent are paid to me. Now, how can you pay me back?"
Raven studied Terra. "I don't see where you are going with this."
"Well, Raven, let make a deal. I'll credit against you rent and bills to me, two thousand dollars for every criminal you help catch. How is that for a deal?"
Raven complained, "At two thousand a head, it will take me forever to paid you back!"
Terra smirked, "Then you better get started, now."
Johnny asked, "Do this mean that Raven will be part of the Titans, mommy?"
Terra replied, "If she accepts, then yes, Johnny."
Raven studied the people around her and found not a single negative expression. She noticed the Vanessa waited for Raven's response with great interest. Vanessa smiled slightly.
Raven sighed, "Alright, I'll do it."
The cheer that broke out around Raven surprised her. The warmth of friendship flowed over her, around her and into her. Raven closed her eyes and smiled.
Terra asked Vanessa, "Honey, can we moved the camping trip to some other day. Mommy would like to have everyone over for dinner tonight to celebrate Raven rejoining the Titans."
Vanessa frowned and then demanded, "Coolgirl's horse will come to the party."
"What? No, the horse make a mess on my lawns."
Vanessa said in all seriousness, "No horse, no party. You promised me we would go camping."
A defeated Terra gave in. "Ok, honey. The horse can come."
Coolgirl said, "Don't worry. Candi won't mess on anything this time."
"You said that the last three times", said Terra. Then she announced, "Everyone. Meet at my place at four o'clock. The kids and I are leaving now. I got a dinner to prepare."
Terra then gave Raven a small business card. "Raven, my home address is on the back. I'm glad to see you back with the Titans. Bye."
Terra gave Raven a quick hug. It was the first one Raven ever received from Terra.
Raven said with smile, the largest one in years, "I'll see you at four. Bye."
Terra left with the kids, with a wave to everyone. Raven watched Vanessa leave. Vanessa noticed Raven watching her and gave an uncertain wave to Raven. Raven smiled and waved back. Vanessa grinned and then turned to follow Terra and Johnny into the fog.
Before the Titans left, Robin congratulated Raven once again. Raven received three more of Starfire's crushing hugs, which Raven found out that she didn't mind.
Cyborg gave her one, too, and a slap on the back. Raven almost ended up face down in the dirt.
Coolgirl also congratulated Raven and told Raven, who she described as the new kid on the team, if she need any help with the hero business to come to Coolgirl first. Raven mused at the thought of being the new kid on the team.
Then they left with smiles, goodbyes and promises to be at the party.
Raven turned her eyes back to Beast Boy's grave. A glass and the open bottle of champagne were still there.
Raven picked up the glass and poured a small splash of champagne into it.
She sipped it and then said, "Beast Boy, let me rephrase what I said earlier. I am no longer 'not doing well'. I finally found my cure. My pain and my loneliness were my curse. My friends are my cure."
Raven sipped the champagne, again. "This was a beautiful day filled with friends and my renew hope to get to know our daughter Vanessa. Please Beast Boy, watch over us and don't laugh too much at our antics. Goodbye for now, my love. I'll see you next year."
Raven turned and slowly walked out into the fog and into a bright future.