Last Bell by King Cheetah

The Ending that you never saw

I cry myself to sleep each night knowing that I own none of these characters...

Rated PG-13, Robin/Raven and Beast Boy/Starfire pairings. Starfire and Wonder Girl with probably get drunk again and do something goofy at some point.

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Greetings and thanks to everyone for the kind letters and reviews; I'm glad you're all enjoying the story. At the time that I started writing Last Bell, I was a little concerned that my plots were meandering wildly about and needed a little focus (which was true), so I set a series of goals for myself concerning number of chapters, chapter length, and word count. In retrospect, this was going a little overboard, or at the very least I shouldn't have decided to do this on Last Bell. But I did, and as a result, I ended up making A LOT of compromises to the story, and whole subplots were dropped. For example, the chapter about Cyborg's party was two whole chapters, and didn't even get up to the part where Mad Mod is terrorizing Raven and Jinx in the bathroom.

At the party, you'd see that someone was masquerading as other people to stir up trouble between Robin, Raven, and Starfire which even weirds out Mad Mod (who still can't figure out who Shadow Man is). Robin would break up a fight between two drunken assholes, Cyborg would attempt another reconciliation with his Ex, Lea Camerone, and you'd learn a bit more about what Mammoth is all about. Due to the machinations of the Shadow Man, Raven becomes convinced that Robin is fooling around with Starfire, Robin becomes convinced that Raven is fooling around with another guy, and things look ugly. Suddenly, you have the phase shift, all the party goers disappear, and our heroes are snapped back to their senses.

So, will I be adding this back in? Possibly. I'll be honest with you, I'm a little bored with both Last Bell and Birds Of A Feather, and I want to finish them off, but I don't want to rush them just to get them out of my hair. Last Bell has two chapters left to finish off the storyline and Birds Of A Feather has three, and I want to do a good job on them, BUT... I'm REALLY itchy to get to my new stories. I'm currently working on one called "Man Down" about how the Titans deal with the death of Cyborg, then "Black Tower" about Robin and Raven's frightful battle with Phobia in the deserted Titans Tower.

So then, what's this all about? Wellllll... Digging through my files I came across the OLD ending to Last Bell. Guess what? It was suppose to end with chapter six (I think that kind of shows...) and this was to be the epilogue. Beast Boy gives Jinx the CD, walks off into the darkness, and Jinx returns to the H.I.V.E., and everyone reluctantly goes back to their lives. And there it ends... or does it? I caved to pressure from fans of the story to show the aftermath of our heroes time in the dream world and admittedly it did give me a chance to do some fun character stuff.

So as a little treat until I get the last real chapters of Last Bell together, here's a look at the original, not quite so unhappy ending. Enjoy!

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Last Bell by King Cheetah

Truth and Consequences

The following morning brought a somehow fittingly overcast sky and sultry humid air. The promise of rain, but real life, as in Jump Town was full of broken promises. Raven could do little more than sit at the foot of her bed staring out the window at the teasing prospect of relief, but it was only a tease. She knew deep within her that this weather would never make good on it's promise of cool showers. She sat half dressed in her costume, but then only because she'd never fully undressed the night before. She slept, but felt no rest, and worst of all she didn't dream, as evidently the Mad Hatters dream engine had used all her dreams up.

Jump Town.

The sleepy little town in which she grew up, only she never did. This somewhere else, this Brigadoon was haunting her, and she guessed, her team mates as well. Beast Boy had been right, Jump Town was a scab at which she'd pick constantly, forever remembering thing that never happened to people who never were. She fell backwards onto her bed, tears at the ready. For the first time in her life she knew genuine despair. Her life in Jump Town was everything she'd ever wanted in life. A loving family, self confidence, a good home, friends and... the perfect guy in her life. Here in this world she felt... alone. Truly alone.

Oh how she wished Jinx were here, even if only to talk to, if only to vent and get this off her chest. Jinx, her soulmate and partner in crime. Jinx, best friends forever... never to be. How could this all be a lie? Her memories of her life in Jump Town were so vivid, so REAL. More real than the world around her. How could she be expected to cope with this?

She sat bolt upright as a knock at her door jarred her from her introspection. Composing herself, she rose to answer it.

As she slip the bedroom door open, her room became bathed in the soft amber light of the hallway and the sweet face of Robin. Evidently, night had provided little actual rest, as he had a rough, wild look to him. But what caught her attention the most was his mask, or more precisely his lack of one. He stood there in sweat pants and t-shirt, tussled hair and that sad, puppy dog look in his eyes, and she suddenly felt her knees go weak.

"Um... hey." he said softly, seemingly not sure of what to say or how to say it. "Uh, how're you feeling? You get any sleep last night?"

His tone was flat as this was so obviously not what he wanted to ask her. Leading him into her room, she said quietly, "No... no, not really. I mean, I went to sleep, but it didn't help. Y'see I was- "

Suddenly, each realized that they'd slipped their arms around the other's waist as they walked, and with a start, parted and laughed nervously. Sighing heavily, Raven sat on her bed, subtly making sure to leave enough room the invite Robin to join her. He looked at her, and after a small eternity of internal debate, joined her.

His turn for the heavy sigh, "Well, it probably wasn't what Mad Mod was shooting for, but he REALLY screwed us up."

"What do you mean?" she asked as she debated putting her hand over his.

"I've been in the Mad Hatters simulations before, and each time there was... after effects." She cocked her head a little as he continued, "Y'see, this thing doesn't even bother with going through your normal sensory matrix, it writes directly onto your brain. That's why all our "memories" of Jump Town seem so vivid."

He paused to look at her and this seemed to derail whatever else he had to say. Returning his gaze, she slowly reached up to kiss him.

"N-no!" he gasped as he leapt off the bed. Seeing her expression, he gathered himself, "Raven, I'm sorry, but Jump Town wasn't real. You just have to keep reminding yourself of that. We're back in the real world and-"

She was on her feet in a second, "NO! No it isn't. This isn't the life I should be living, THAT was. That was the life that I deserve! I'll never stop believing that, no matter what you say. That was my REAL life. That was the person I'm suppose to be, not this!" She was almost out of breath, and Robin found it hard to give her much of a sincere debate,

"Raven, please..." he pleaded

"You said it yourself, it wasn't Mad Mod that saw how right we are together, it was the machine. You agree with me! You know how you feel." she said breathlessly.

"And what makes you think that I want to believe this?" he asked softly, a touch of longing in his voice.

For the first time that morning, she smiled, "Where's your costume? Where's your mask? You NEVER go ANYWHERE without your mask." He matched her smile as he considered saying something, but passed on the moment, letting her drive her point home, "You didn't come here as Robin, you came as Tim Drake. You can say whatever you want to, but I know how I feel when we're together, and I'm NOT giving that away. Not EVER. Face it mister, you're stuck with me."

He chuckled softly, but said nothing. Turning, he made his way to the door, a new serenity on his face, "I'm... gonna go get dressed and check on the others. I'll see you in a little while, okay?"

Just as he reached the door, she called out softly to him, "I love you Tim."

He stiffened, then seemed to sag a bit. Without looking back, he said quietly, "We'll get together this evening and talk about this. Oh, and... could you please not call me Tim in front of the others?" Giggling, she agreed and he was gone. Finally, a dim ray of hope amidst all the heartbreak of this experience. A new spring in her step, she glid and flitted about her room, straightening things not crooked and dusting things free of dust, just as her desk com trilled to life with an incoming call.

If it's him, I flash him, she grinned. Hitting accept, she was stunned to see not Robin's face on the screen... but rather that of Jinx.

"J-Jinxsie?" stammered Raven.

"Um, Hi. I-Is this a good time?" said the little witch, almost apologetically. Judging from the decor, Raven guessed that Jinx was calling from somewhere within the H.I.V.E., but seemed to be alone.

"Don't worry, this is a secure line. No one know's I'm calling. Well, I mean, Mammoth knows, but I mean that nobody else in here does-" Jinx sputtered as she constantly looked around her.

Grabbing a chair, Raven parked herself in front of the vid-phone.

"Hey Girl, slow down! Oh god, it's so good to see you. I really need- " Raven paused, realizing what she was about to say, "I really needed to... talk to my best friend."

"Your...?" Jinx said, barely above a whisper.

"Yeah," Raven grinned, "Best friends forever. Wasn't that the pledge?" Jinx was so happy, she looked on the verge of tears. Somehow, Raven thought, we'll make all this work. We were all to good together to not be friends in the real world too. One step at a time, but she'd seen what all of them were capable of, and would work to make it happen.

Fade to black...

THE END.