Started: 03/07/2007

Finished: 03/07/2007

Author's Note: A one-shot thing, so don't expect anymore y'all.

Summary: Raven wasn't always a Goth… scary thought, eh? And the way he was calling her Rae wasn't helping matters.

Raven: A Diluted Ray's Tale

Raven hated how he called her Rae.

She knew it was unintentional this way he called her Rae. It had to be on the subconscious level. It had to be. No one in their right minds should ever call her that like that. She was the Goth of their little quintet, not the sprightly sunbeam that brought oodles of joy and warm fuzzy feelings to all.

No, she was supposed to be the Goth: the dark creepy one, the black sorceress, the vile half demon- not some cheery beam of diluted radiance.

But the way he said it… it brought back all the memories of what she once was. It brought back to the fore all the cheeriness that was Rachel before she truly understood her role as the Gem, the Portal, the Gate from which the End will Walk the World.

Raven is not a Goth by choice. It is a difficult concept to wrap one's mind about but ultimately true. She was not and is not a Goth by choice. She is a Goth because she needs to be a Goth. She needs the cynicism to be detached; a pessimist doesn't care about feelings so she won't either.

But the way he says Rae, that soft caress, the wild, unbridled joy that he puts into that one syllable… it was enchanting, powerful, moving. It brought back all of that optimistically daft happiness that was Rachel Roth. And it scares the hell out of her.

How can one syllable do that? How can one arbitrary syllable articulate all that happiness in the world and imply that she was its source, its harbinger?

Sure, Cyborg calls her Rae. But Cyborg is laughing at the idea of Rae being a ray of sunshine. Him, he laughs because he's greeting her, greeting gladness with pleasure. That wild little bark of bliss at her presence is befuddling.

She was- no, is marginally a die-hard optimist. Happy-go-lucky was the best term to describe little Rachel and, to some extent, Raven. How can you not be happy-go-lucky when you're told that you will destroy the world on your sixteenth birthday (hell, she'd be hard pressed to lose her virginity at that rate! … that thought did not occur to her until she was fourteen…) and not seriously consider suicide? No, Rachel and Raven were die-hard optimists. That was not to say she hadn't contemplated suicide. She had, once or twice, but never too seriously. That was how optimistic she was. In fact she was too optimistic and her powers fair destroyed Azarath with the hope that filled her little heart. So she had to find a way to dampen that happiness- that hope. She had to find a balance.

So when she came to the world that she was supposed to destroy, providence must have been on her side to put her in the path of a pair of Goths. They oohed and ahhed at her pale skin and the violet pigmentation of her hair and eyes. She asked these funny people with white face paint and dark clothes what exactly a Goth was. They enthusiastically explained what Gothic culture was like (well as enthusiastic as a Goth can get). It was perfect.

There had been little need for her to alter her wardrobe: the monks (and nuns) of Azarath had tried to induce gravity into little Raven (they even changed her name) to try to calm her overflowing cheeriness. It did little good. Gothic culture held a flare of something to young Raven that drew her to it, though she had no notion of what it was exactly. The whole horror novels' bit, the black clothing (humor and all), the morbid fascination with death: it was everything that the monks of Azarath needed to calm her giddiness. It dulled the sharp feelings of joy that pierced her solemnity at every turn. And it was everything she wasn't.

So, slowly, she adopted the dark demeanor (she even had a book to help: How To Be A Cynic For Dummies… god, she'd die if he ever found that under her bed; she still needed it for reference and it was another reason why she didn't want anyone snooping around her room. The sarcasm, surprisingly, came naturally.). She was still adopting this persona when she met the rest of them and him, and it was also why she had laughed with him that one time. It was hard holding back her laughter; it was hard being around him and being unable to join in the fun. But she had to, had to maintain that balancing act. Had to throw him in the wall (though he does make a most delicious thump[1…), had to cut him down, had to, had to control herself. It was the only way.

And he just kept calling her that- Rae. Gods it ripped each one of her carefully entrenched defenses, eroded every chasm that she buried her joy in. Rae. Rae, Rae, Rae. Happy, peppy little Rae, cheerful Rae, hopeful Rae. He summoned all of that, through miles of barricade to the ever glowing delight that resided within her. And then she'd have to reel it all back, re-erect all of the ramparts that he so heedlessly trampled and summon anger to the fore to balance that thrice damned glee that bubbled to the surface whenever he showed that damnable grinning face of his. Weren't demons supposed to be predisposed toward anger and violence? Where'd all this capricious joy come from?

Gods she hated the way he called her Rae.

"Hey Rae!"

No, really, she did.

Gods she hoped no one saw the blush painting her face.


[1 Heads up, kiddies! A reference! Dedicated Hero07's wonderfully delicious one-shot 'Thump'. Remove the quotations (and the apostrophe s in Hero07's name) and you'll get, the, er, thing to put in the search engine, um, thing[I'm not very bright in the morning...

Author's Note: Man, I'm in kind of a rut here, can't concentrate on Old Magicks. Robin's hard to write, I don't want to spread myself so darn thin over all the characters. Cyborg deserves love and I have no idea what to do with the alien (gods damn it all! She's too cheerful, needs bitterness…). If any of you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Though trust me, I have plans of my own but I'll use what I like. And no, I won't steal your ideas… (eyes turn about shiftily)