It's been a long road my friends. I may take the time to edit some of the earlier chapters to make the story flow better. Otherwise, the story is finally done. So now, here it is, The Final Chapter… the final stand. I present to you, for the last time: Chapter 39
The demon pair and the Teen Titans where in a stand off. The hell born creatures observed the mortals with hungry eyes. Trying to look strong, Starfire tried to get herself to fly. When she did, though, she had to come back down from a dizzy spell. Vita chuckled deep in her throat at this. She pounced for Starfire, but was knocked aside by Nequam. Now Nequam was staring down the stumbling Titan. Starfire would not have it. She shot several star bolts into the beast's chest. He screeched as his extra limbs tried to bat away the attacks. Raven quickly aided her friend by using her powers to swing the other half of the broken table like a bat.
While the girls struggled with Nequam, Beastboy and Cyborg were keeping Vita busy. When the mother demon had recovered from her son's attack, she had gone straight for the children. A smack from a green brachiosaurus tail and a head full of sonic canon turned her attention to the more annoying mortals instead. After snapping her neck back into place, Vita slashed her remaining clawed hand at them. A flea shape Beastboy escaped with ease. Cyborg, however, was left with claw dents in his metal body.
The lightening struck, and the thunder roared as the exhausted team fought the best they could against the demon pair. Starfire was no longer able to fly, or even stand. Though she continued to fire at Nequam, her vision grew blurry. She paused to rub her sore shoulder while Raven had the beast distracted. When Starfire felt something odd over the wound, she pulled her hand to in front of her face to see what it was. Among the red coating of her own blood, was the dark ooze that Vita had vomited onto her. The dark ooze that had acted as the mother beast's blood. Realization dawned on Starfire too late as the last of her energy was sapped away from her. Her dizzy mind went black as her body slumped down onto the floor.
"Starfire?" Raven called to her in concern. Nequam took her moment of distraction to ram her like a bull. His strange finger like horns scratching at her with each nail. Raven painfully slammed against the wall. The force was more than enough to knock the wind from her lungs. Nequam was quick to capture her face leaving her without any air. "No!" Melvin screamed. Her imaginary friend kicked Nequam in the backside. One of Nequam's many arms swatted the boot away. It tumbled in the air for a moment. Then, it delivered another hefty kick to Nequam's side were Vita had tore off most of his limbs. Nequam yowled his horrible call. While trying to keep his hold on Raven, he used his extra limbs to strike out at the boot. The imaginary friend bounce about always just out of Nequam's reach. It took ever opening available to strike the creature. Growing more and more frustrated, Nequam attempted to end his first task more quickly. His grasp tightened ready to crush her skull in the palm of his hand.
Raven struggle against the hold. Her head throbbed with the pressure. Knowing the backlash effects it was going to have, she used her magic to shock the demon's grasp. Nequam's grip loosened enough to allow Raven to get her hands under the massive palm. She pushed against it finally giving enough room to breathe. It was a small victory as the backlash of using her magic against the dark creature shot pain through her system. It weakened her struggle making it all the easier for Nequam to regain his hold on her.
Melvin stared in horror as the demon suffocated her big sister figure. Her large eyes glanced to Cyborg and Beastboy's fight against Vita. Their battle had carried on to the other side of the room, away from the stairs. It had been an act to drag the demon away from the kids, but now the mother beast stood between them and Raven. They could not break away from their fight. They could not get to her. What was Melvin to do?
Gulping down her fear, Melvin set down Teether. "Hide," she told the toddler.
"Nuoh!" he cried. He tried to hold onto her, but she pushed his reaching hands away from her. She ran down the small staircase straight for the demon son. With an unspoken command, the imaginary friend floated forward for Melvin to jump into. It carried her small body above the demon's head. The child's whole body was shaking, but remembering what these creatures had done to her friends, she leaped from the boot. Her small body landed among finger like horned on Nequam's forehead directly between his eyes. "Leave her alone!" Melvin shouted. She punched her small fist into his eye. Nequam shook his head in irritation. Melvin screamed as she held onto the horns for dear life. Nequam shook his head more furiously trying to throw her off. He suddenly received a kick to his injured side once again. Nequam snarled at the boot as he slashed out at it again. As with before, he missed. Now thoroughly pissed about being toyed with by a child and her imaginary friend, he let go of Raven to fully considerate on the pair.
Raven coughed as air fully returned to her lungs. She just managed to move her lower body away from the rampaging demon sparing her from being trampled. Melvin's high pitched screams for help was the first thing that regained her oxygen deprived mind to the battle at hand. "Hang on, kiddo!" Beastboy shouted from the other side of the room. His momentary distraction costing him a back hand from Vita. The force was enough to toss him part way to the window. Fortunately he landed just short of the deadly barrier. With Beastboy momentarily down, Cyborg was left to take on the full attack force that was Vita.
Raven was forcing herself to her feet despite being dizzy. She quickly assessed the situation as she made for Nequam. Melvin's grip was failing with each of the demon's thrashing movements. His attention was on the boot bouncing away from him like a rabbit from a hound. "Hold on, Melvin!" she called to the frightened child. Against her exhaustion, Raven summoned her magic once more to levitate the broken kitchen table. She forced it apart making several long sharp spear-like planks. In a swift motion, she drove each one deep into Nequam's flesh. Some made a through and through splattering dark blood everywhere. As the demon threw his head back to howl in agony, Melvin's grasp finally let go. The child screamed as she was sent flying through the air.
Vita looked up from where she was wrestling with Cyborg. Her remaining eye zoned in on the child flying not far from them. She vanished into her shadow form leaving Cyborg behind. "No!" he yelled in frustration. He vainly made to hit the moving shadow, but it vanished too quickly against the other shadows darkness had cast. Vita re-solidified just in front of Melvin's path. Her jowl opened wide welcoming her small dinner within. An instant later, her gapping mouth found itself stuffed with the cushions Raven had originally been manipulating to catch Melvin. In the seconds it took for Vita to turn her head away to try coughing out the fabric, Melvin continued past her.
Cyborg was already on his feet running to the flight arch's end. Just barely he managed to snatch her from the air with his remaining arm. "You okay?" he asked her. The small child nodded highly terrified. In the next moment, Melvin was dropped to the floor as Cyborg was hoisted up like a child's toy by Vita. Her sharp talons digging into the side of his metal body. Aggravated, Cyborg turned his sonic canon to blast Vita in her forehead. Just as his attack connected with the deformed forehead, the dark ooze already spilling out was splattered everywhere. Cyborg frantically whipped the poisonous blood from his face. His mechanical eye was uncovered in time to notice Vita's open jaws coming closer. Out of reaction, he slammed his fist into the shadow beast's snout. Vita grunted, but did not turn away. She redirected her attack to bite down on his canon arm rather than his head. Cyborg yelled out as his arm was suddenly tightly clamped into the monster's fangs. Vita's claws let go just so she could start tossing Cyborg about by his arm like a dog would it's stuffed toy.
With each shake, Vita's saliva spilled from her mouth. The acidic material burned anything organic and slightly melted anything that was not. Cyborg attempted to kick out each time a swing brought him close enough to do so. It did little more than irate Vita. "A little help here!" He called to his friends. When he looked about to see where the other two were, he found Raven attempting- and horrible loosing- a fight against Nequam. The shadow demon's multiple limbs giving him the advantage over the already exhausted heroine. Another swing forced his focus back to the mother shadow beast herself.
Delivering another kick, Cyborg's metallic foot made connection with the empty socket that had once held Vita's eye. She yelped in surprise and pain. With little more than a small yank at his arm, Cyborg was free falling to the ground. Unfortunately, he landed on a familiar green ox that had been charging at Vita. The unexpected arrival of his friend stopped Beastboy's charge and on instinct he transformed back to human. "Nice catch," Cyborg joked in pain from hitting one of Beastboy's horns before the changeling's transformation back.
"Anytime," Beastboy groaned back beneath his friend.
As the lightening flashed outside once again, a dark shadow loomed over the pair. Both scrambled to their feet adopting fighting stances. Cyborg discovered his hand would not fist like he wanted it to. The sound of sparks indicating the malfunction Vita's attack had created for his arm. "You better have this, grass stain," Cyborg hissed as he once again tried to move his arm into a fist. He side glanced down at his short comrade, but in the next instant the green changeling was thrown back as something- or more specifically, someone- was thrown into him. Cyborg stared high up into Vita's features suddenly feeling overwhelmed. "Oh boy…" he huffed. In the blink of an eye, Vita tackled Cyborg and the pair were once again locked into a one-sided wrestling match.
Meanwhile, Raven struggled to pick herself up off of Beastboy. "Sorry," she mumbled.
"It's okay. Apparently I make the best crash cushion right now," he attempted to joke. Another flash of lightening carried his attention to a bloody gash running along Raven's front. "You're hurt!" he exclaimed.
"I'm fine," she answered. The darkness suddenly gave way to the dull glow of Raven's healing abilities. "Quickly, go protect the children," she ordered him. Feeling torn, Beastboy swiftly looked around the room trying to locate the demons and the children through the darkened room. Though he found Vita battling it out with Cyborg, he could not find Nequam or either of the children. Still not leaving Raven's side, Beastboy called out, "Melvin? Teether?" Neither child answered.
At once, Raven was trying to get up before her wounds were healed. Beastboy caught her the moment she stumbled. "Melvin, Teether," she called for them.
"Raven, help!" Melvin's small voice carried from near the sink. Both heroes made their way through the darkness in search of the distressed child. "Melvin, where are you?" Raven asked when they made it to the torn apart kitchen.
" 'Aven! Mo's'er!" Teether's warning came from the opposite side of the room. Both Raven and Beastboy looked back. With the help of a flash of lightening they could see him hiding by the broken countertop. They also noticed Melvin was hiding behind broken pieces of couch near where they had been. She looked to be trying to yell to them, but no sound came. There attention shot back to where they had thought Melvin's voice had come from. Then, from the shadows of where the refrigerator use to sit Nequam formed from shadow to physical demon. He lunged at the Titans. Beastboy shoved Raven out of the way before turning into an armadillo. He then curled into a tight ball letting Nequam glided over him. The beast's new tail smacked the green shape-shifter as Nequam passed.
Raven once again forced herself to her feet despite her injuries. Her team mate turned armadillo bounced past her into the wall beyond. Nequam, however, was not turning around to re-attempt an attack on the pair. Racing past where his mother was fighting Cyborg, he made straight for Teether. "Teether!" Melvin screamed. Raven focused on the counter piece once more, but then her exhaustion finally faulted her magic ability. Without her magic to stop the attack, she tried to out run the shadow creature to get to Teether.
Teether watched Raven's approach with hope, but then Nequam blocked his view. Knowing what was to happen, the little boy screamed through frightened tears as he stared up into the monster's face. Melvin's imaginary friend started beating Nequam over the head trying to distract him. The boot found a very quick end when three sets of claws slashed it apart. Though his eyes turned to the bloody shreds momentarily, his attention was once again on the defenceless toddler in front of him. Nequam's fangs clamped down around the tiny child. "No!" Raven shouted as she made a punch toward Nequam's side. His extra arms grabbed her by her arms and legs hoisting her into the air. His deformed features curling into a smirk as he watched her struggle from the corner of his eye.
Feeding on her distress, he decided to make a display of eating the child. He tossed his massive head up and opened his jowl. The motion threw Teether screaming into the air. Raven tried to use her magic again to catch the child out of Nequam's reach, but once again her supernatural powers refused to work. She could only watch in horror as Teether was once again imprisoned in Nequam's giant jaws.
Nequam stumbled when a familiar green Iguanodon rammed into his side. The dinosaur rammed the demon again and again against the claws ripping at him. Nequam growled at having his dinner being interrupted again. He was not expecting the feel of sharp claws racking against the back of his head. He shook at the pain and then glanced up to see Vita had been the one to attack him. Her claws once again slashed across his face. The force knocked Nequam sideways some forcing Beastboy away from him. Glaring at his mother, Nequam made an exaggerated gulp. Vita yowled at the loss of prey, but she was not done yet.
With her single arm, she stabbed her claws into Nequam's chest and ripped upwards towards his neck. She also added force to knock him back that she had better access to slicing him open for the child. With his focus turned on Vita, Nequam's arms let go of Raven to attack the mother beast. Beastboy quickly transformed into a gorilla and picked up both Raven and Starfire moving them away from the battling pair.
He raced over to Cyborg's side near the window. The metallic teen was in pieces on the floor. Melvin raced out of her hiding spot to join them. "Cyborg, you okay?" she asked in a small scared voice.
"I'm alive if that's what you're asking," he commented. He tried to lift his head to see over his torn up torso. "What's happening?"
"The bad monster ate Teether!" Melvin explained.
"Looks like Vita's going to tear him out of Nequam, though," Beastboy added covering the child's eyes from the gruesome sight. His attention was turned to Raven who was looking over Starfire. "You and Star okay?"
"I'll be fine, but Starfire has been poisoned," Raven explained carefully uncovering the poisonous ooze from Starfire's shoulder wound. It had grown pus covered and purple from the venom that now infected it.
"I still have left over anti-venom from when Beastboy was covered," Cyborg explained. "It might help."
"Maybe," Raven muttered trying to draw out some of the poison with her magic. It was not much, but soon dark liquid was spilling out from the opening.
"Where's it at?" Beastboy asked.
"I put it in a compartment in my left arm," Cyborg answered.
Raven and Beastboy exchanged glances realizing just where the cure was. Glancing over to the fighting demons, they could just see Cyborg's cybernetic arm beneath Vita, who was now trying to fight her son without arms. "I'll get it," Beastboy announced leading Melvin to Raven's side.
"No!" Melvin cried clinging to the green titan. "Not again."
"Come on, kiddo, let me go," Beastboy tried to pry the child off him.
"She's right," Raven said standing. Her eyes looked into his. "We watched you die once. It's not going to happen again."
"No buts," Raven's tone was authoritative. There would be no arguing with her. "I'll get it."
"But your magic isn't…" he tried to argue.
"Beastboy," though calm, her voice said more than she actually did. She gently set her hand on a scratch Nequam had given him on the side of his face. He held her hand in place looking pleadingly into her eyes. There seemed to be an unspoken moment between them. The moment was broken by Vita's dreadful screech. They looked over at the fighting creatures. The noise was short lived as Nequam ripped out his mother's throat. Several of his claws were pierced into her chest. There was no movement from the original beast. Vita was dead.
Knowing there would not be much more time before Nequam turned his attack on them, Raven said softly, "stay with them, I will be right back." She swiftly moved to the fallen fridge using it to hide before her team mates could stop her. She observed the scene planning the best coarse of action. Nequam had his deformed head buried in Vita's corpse like the vultures on animal planet. Cyborg's arm lay forgotten just paces away. If she ran for it, she could grab it and be out of the demon's reach before he noticed she was close. That, however, was incredibly dangerous. She decided to try a weaker level of her magic. Wrapping dark energy around only the index finger she tried to inch it towards her. That's when she was reminded Nequam had more eyes than what was on his face.
An arm slammed down holding the arm to the ground. Two arms reached out to her showing the eyes located on his palms. His body looked like it had infinite bugs crawling just beneath his skin. The bugs were bulging and expanding the already massive creature. Nequam lifted his head out of the corpse to glare at her just as he grew larger. The once mammoth sized animal was now three times that size. Dark blood dripped from his now sticking out rows of fangs and open injuries making him incredibly horrific. His many arms formed together to make eight spider-like legs. From each leg was dozens of palms that bore blood shot eyes, fang filled mouths and- most importantly- blade sharp claws. Raven suddenly felt as small and helpless as she had when she first stared up at her own demon self inside her inner Hell.
Giant eyes stared down at the frightened empath. The fridge no longer provided any hiding from the shadow beast's vantage near the ceiling. Raven had to stumble back to get out of the way of Nequam's blood from Vita's final attacks. She just managed to roll herself away from one of Nequam's enormous arms from crushing her. The floor bowed and broke beneath his attack. Struggling to her feet to run, Raven found herself trapped by arms reaching out and holding her from the larger arm they were apart of.
"Raven!" Beastboy shouted. As a triceratops he charged the massive arm. It loosen the grasp some for Raven to pull away. Not without several claws marking her flesh, however. She was now bleeding profusely, and it was making Nequam's mouth water. Beastboy shifted human to check on her. She was growing dizzy very quickly. He instantly held her when it was clear she had no strength to hold herself anymore. Though lightening flashed, the light did not reach them for Nequam's shadow overpowered it. "Raven, hold on," Beastboy pleaded to her. Trying to focus, Raven could see Nequam making to attack. She pushed Beastboy back so that when Nequam's jaws clamped down, the green changeling was far enough back not to be caught. Raven, however, was now within the belly of the beast… or his mouth so far. She clamped her eyes shut hoping the others would be safe.
"Raven!" Beastboy yelled for her. Nequam rose his head in the air meaning to swallow her whole just as he had done to Teether. Just then, something strange happened. Nequam paused from devouring her. Bright light shone through the gaps of his teeth. It seemed to burn him as he opened his mouth to screech in pain. From the part in his mouth a bright winged being shot out. The ball of light landed near the window and then stood like a person.
"Your terror ends now," the voice was calm and doubled over. As two voices speaking in unison in not only words but pitch. The brilliance of the light waned some to reveal Raven standing at the center of the light. Her eyes were glowing white as the light surrounded her in warmth. Her injuries were visibly sowing themselves shut leaving only minor scars. "Titans, you need not fight any longer," she explained. Though one voice was her own, the other was not. She raised one hand forward. The light shifted with her movements radiating a power all it's own. "Mirna," Nequam growled low. He was suddenly surrounded with a dark aura that made the shadows deeper. "You've finally decided to join the fight."
Beastboy stood in surprised awe. He did not even notice he was fallowing a small pull in his mind to get out of the line of battle. He only realized he had moved away when Melvin started cheering next to him. He glanced down at the child and was surprised to see she was glowing. Yet she was not the only one; Starfire and Cyborg were as well. At the feel of a strange but warm power running through him, Beastboy looked himself over. The enchanting light was also glowing from him.
The glowing lights grew more radiant in mere seconds. It wrapped them all in warmth similar to a mother's hug. Then came sound different from the thunder. There was laughter and cheers. The Titans soon began to hear the voices of times past, and knew these were memories centered on joy and love. The shear power brought Beastboy to his knees and Melvin seeking a hug. Next to them, Starfire slowly opened her eyes. Though she looked on blindly, she could feel the peace around her. She made to speak, but found her body paralyzed. Cyborg, however, closed his eyes letting the memories flow over him like a refreshing breeze on a humid day.
Deep within Raven's mind, in a place filled with light, she found herself face to face with a beautiful being. A dark skinned woman with angelic wings resting upon her back. She recognized the other woman right away. "Mirna," Raven said.
"Hello again, Raven," her golden eyes smiling with the rest of her features.
"What's happening?" Raven asked.
"My powers are being unsealed as we speak."
"Your powers? But all this time..."
"No, Raven. I have been using yours."
"I don't understand," Raven responded perplexed.
"Allow me to explain," Mirna said with an air of all knowing. Raven felt compelled to listen and waited for Mirna to speak. "When Lily and I had first travelled to this tower, we could feel the strength within these walls. We knew the pure hearts who lived here and knew what that would mean if we were to battle Vita here. But there was a draw back. If we stayed, by the very nature of my self being disconnected from Lily and Vita, all but the soul most pure would die. None of us wanted that. Even Vita. I only wish I had foreseen her intentions. It may have made things easier.
"Lily and I thought up a plan to use my power to reach into each of you and make it that all of you were equally pure. Between that and my essence interacting within each of your souls, you would- for a time- be one. And with it, the spell would recognize you all as worth living. Vita, however, had been crafty. The moment my soul self connected each of you, she used her own powers to seal my powers within each of you. It would only be broken if each of you saw death. As long as one of you never saw the boarder, my powers would remain sealed."
"But Cyborg never…"
Mirna held up her hand, making Raven go silent. "When Vita had first attacked him, she had him run into a broken lamp that electrocuted him. He had technically died for a couple seconds."
"So attacking us was always meant to harm and scare… not kill?"
Mirna nodded. "Vita was trying to raise her power for when the seal on the tower would break. Had she not been trying to gain power, she could have realized I was weak enough to attack. Without strength, I was forced to hide inside the one with the purist soul." There was a gleam in her eyes that confirmed who she was talking about.
"You wonder this because you are a half-demon," Mirna finished. Raven nodded.
"You are much stronger than you know, child," Mirna spoke encouragingly. "Your ability to love runs deeper than I have seen in many mortals. Do you know why that is?"
"No," Raven shook her head slightly bashful with the praise.
"Because you choose to. You were born to do dark things. Instead you defy that fate. In fact, instead of taking on a life as a mortal, living well for yourself, you chose to sacrifice yourself to protect complete strangers. You fear that you would be damned for the darkness that you are not at fault for, and yet you risked death time and again for others. You crossed the very being that gave you that darkness, for the simple reason that it was the right thing to do. In a world that has 6 billion people, how many of them- let alone half-demons- would do such a thing? That is why I could act through your powers while my own were sealed. Magic is bound by the soul. And your soul is pure love. An emotion that has made the mountains move by word alone, and brings forth the existence of all things good. And don't your powers rely on your emotions?"
Raven nodded in recognition. Then, Lily's words from the other morning came back to her. "When Lily spoke to me yesterday, about angels and demons, she said she saw me as part angel. She was trying to tell me I was your host," she realized.
"Among other things," Mirna agreed.
"I am not sure what you mean."
"I mean riding yourself of your demon half." At Raven's surprised look, Mirna continued, "While you slept last night, your mind had been full of nightmares. Something Melvin had said to me had got me thinking, and so I went into your dream world. I had told you how to get rid of your darker half, and then you challenged your rage. Though I could not let you remember how you forged your inner Hell to fight in for the sake of the balance, you do remember the battle against your demon blood."
Raven suppressed a shudder as she remember the sulphur filled air and the horrific battle she had undergone within that dome. It was the first time she truly feared dying, for now she knew what would await her beyond.
Mirna's voice drew her from her musing. "I had meant to battle beside you from the start, but the moment you entered your inner Hell, I was sealed out of your mind. It took Melvin's voice to open your mind to the outside once more, and I was able to enter to help. But my presence meant leaning on your powers to fight, and that weakened you. So when I could no longer help you, your mother's spirit stepped in to aid you instead."
"So, I'm not a… not dark anymore?" Raven ventured.
"You were never the dark one, child. Just the cursed one. And now your curse has been lifted."
"And that was with my own powers?"
"Yes and no. It was from the power of your heart that allowed you to fight, not your magic."
Raven was not sure what else to say. She was a mix of emotions from happy to scared and even shocked. She was no longer half-demon. It was enough to make her want to cry. She was free. Then she thought of something else. "Is that why my powers were no longer working? Because I'm now human?"
"You're still not human," Mirna admitted sheepishly. "To do that you would need a whole different kind of rebirth and that would destroy your body. Then your soul would have been sent to purgatory. Instead, you have been reborn as a sister of the celestial beings. A half-angel, more or less." Raven suddenly had to sit down in pure astonishment.
Mirna knelt down beside her. She gently set her hand on Raven's shoulder. "I know this is a lot to take in at the moment, but right now I need your help. When I saved Beastboy from the boarder, he could not return to his old body or he would have only returned there. I had given up my physical body so that Beastboy could live again. Raven, you had leant me your powers so that I could protect your loved ones. Now, as my celestial sister, I want to give you mine. I cannot fight without you. Please allow me to work with you, through you, for the sake of all… let's kick demon ass."
"I… didn't think angel's cursed," Raven said trying to let her mind clear before answering.
"Generally we're not suppose to," Mirna smirked. "But in my defence I did spend eighteen years inside the mind of a modern mortal with a bad mouth demon as a room mate." Then she grew serious. "Raven, can I count on you?"
"Yes," Raven answered. Then trying to add some humour, she added, "let's go kick demon ass." The light around them suddenly began to twist and form. It wrapped around the highly surprised Titan.
Outside of the mindscape, time was returning. The glowing around each Titan flowed to Raven making the aura of light around her grow more amazing. Small tears spilled down her features at the feel of each wonderful, joyous, and -ultimately- most precious memories of her friends embraced her. She held each emotion close to her letting the vast energy fill her with Mirna's unearthly powers. As it did, Raven's hair turned midnight black. Some of the light twisted and extended behind her with the sudden changing of the wind to create giant golden wings. She, however, was not the only one changing.
Nequam's dark aura shielded him from such a brilliant lambent. It pressed down threatening to suffocate them and douse out the light. But Raven's will held strong, holding back the darkness from her beloved friends. Nequam roared deeper than the thunder outside. The yowl shook the tower to it's very core. The shadow demon's skin peeled away from his lower arms and head revealing bone like flesh. Black and dark green poison coated and dripped from the newly uncovered exoskeleton. His fangs lengthened and forced outward without lips to hold them back. His bloody eyes glared down at the rising light.
The wind swirled around them as the eye of the storm passed over head outside. It was like a small tornado had formed in the main room filled with shadow and light life forces. Every time one touched the other, there was a blast of friction. In the midst of it all, Raven stood tall looking up high into the face of the creature that had taken it's last life.
Raising her arms like she always did when casting, Raven concentrated on all the power around her into one force. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" The familiar incantation vibrated an energy of its own. Suddenly all the light was trying to fill the room and over power Nequam's shadows. Growling deep, Nequam hissed in tongues and his shadows clashed with the light. The air crackled with raw energy at the face off. Both side seemed trapped equally. Trying to turn things in his favour, Nequam slashed out one enormous clawed hand. The wind and light grew more intense, haulting the assault mid air. Nequam growled again and this time used four arms at once and even his tail to attack. Though there was a ripple in the force field, it held against the monster's might.
The darkness tried to seep its way to Raven. Her empath abilities could feel it's hatred trying to corrupt her heart. She suddenly had memories of her father. She remember her anger and hatred towards him. The light shield shrunk back some. "Raven, pay attention!" Mirna's voice encouraged in her mind. Raven forced herself to focused on her friends. She remember she had to protect them. Forcing more energy into the light magic, the shield pressed against Nequam trying to knock him back. Nequam yowled in frustration. Shrinking himself some, he changed that energy to counter darkness. The darkness suddenly grew thicker and slammed against the light making Raven stumble some, but she was quick to recuperate.
"You think you can defeat me, half-breed?" Nequam mocked in a baritone voice. "Let me show you what a real demon's power looks like!" Again shrinking some to add more strength behind his attack, Nequam's shadow was beginning to over power Raven. She struggled against the sheer magnitude of power. "Hold on, Raven," Mirna encouraged. Raven could feel Mirna channelling her power through Raven into the light against Nequam. "He's an amateur. He's using everything he has all at once in hopes of ending this before he runs out of power."
"Isn't that what we're doing?" Raven questioned. She faulted some as exhaustion was quickly threatening to take her.
"No. We're more powerful. We're fighting for the right reasons. Just hold on a couple more minutes."
"You know, half-breed," Nequam cut into the mental chat. "Do you know why Mirna chose you?"
"Whatever he says, don't listen. He's trying to sway your heart to break the barrier. If you let him do that, he'll destroy everything you love. Don't let him do that," Mirna tried to drown out Nequam's words. Raven, however, still heard him speaking.
"It's because you were the only one with magic. You were the only vassal that she could use her powers through. Did you really believe you were special? A pure hearted half-demon?" He laughed bitterly. "If any one of your so-called friends had any magical abilities, she'd have used them instead. You're not worthy of the angel's power. You're not even worthy of existing."
"Is that really all you've got?" Raven countered. Nequam cocked one of his deformed eyebrows.
"You really think you're something, half-breed?" Unseen to him was how he was slightly shrinking without meaning to.
"Yeah, I do," she answered. The light shield rippled some. Nequam let out a menacing laugh.
"You're heart says otherwise," he mocked.
"No!" Raven closed her eyes. She thought of her friends. She thought of her mother and the people of Azarath. She thought of the people she saved day after day. The more she remembered, the more love she felt. She shaped that love into her magic, making the light grow. "That's it!" Mirna cheered her on while she focused on her energy.
"I have a place, here with my friends. I have a purpose, to help others. And you… will never win." With her small monologue, the light radiating closest to her body created beams that burned through the darkness. Nequam screeched as several beams pierced into him. Dark ooze spilled out but turned to sand when it made contact with the light.
Two of his arms were blasted off his body as the light cut through him. They never reached the ground as they disintegrated. He was visibly shrinking again, more rapidly. It encouraged Raven to keep up her strength through she could feel herself weakening. Nequam's shadows where disappearing and the light was almost blinding as it filled everywhere it could of the room. He roared simultaneously with the thunder. His body was beginning to smoke as extra arms fell away from the mass amounts creating his eight limbs.
Just as it appeared Raven had the upper hand, pain shot through her body. It felt like her whole body was on fire. A fierce burn that would not be cooled. The pain was enough to break her concentration. No longer struggling to hold up magic, she fell forward. "What's happening?" Even in her mind, her voice was breathless.
"I thought because you are now part-angel you would have last. It's your other side… you're still half-human," Mirna explained. "You've gone without food or water for too long. It's taxing your body. You're going to have to give yourself a moment to rest or using anymore of my power could kill you."
"Done already?" Nequam mocked. His darkness formed around him once more. By this point, he was just bigger than a small whale, but it did not last. Shrinking himself down to human size, all the excess power transferred into dark power. "My turn," he hissed.
A cloche of shadows filled the room blocking Raven's view of her friends. It drew in close and surrounded her. It was waiting for the soft glow around her to diminish. She could not even see the lightening flashing anymore; though she heard the thunder rumble. Her breath billowed in front of her in a cold burst. Icy cold gripped her tightly, making the slight chill from the wind feel like a heated relief. It bared down on her with the shadows and only added to the pain she was already suffering from. From the darkness' influence, emotions began to stir. She felt fear and loneliness. Then a wrenching sorrow. Hatred threatened to claim her heart, but Raven quickly fought the emotion away. Voices of times past began to speak. They were soft at first, but were quickly growing into a ear pounding noise.
Creepy. Unfeeling. Half-breed. Monster. All the bad things she had ever been called started to seep into her mind. Raven tried to concentrate on something good. For a moment she remembered her mother, fighting by her side against her father's influence. The memory was soon washed away in other memories. The same woman refusing to hold her crying child. Her mother, never wanting to be apart of her life. The look in her eyes- the disappoint of creating a child of darkness.
"Don't let it get to you," Mirna warned. "Fight it!"
"I'm trying," Raven responded bitterly. She once again tried to clear her mind of dark thoughts. The glow protecting her was beginning to wane. The shadows shifted as an excited predator waiting for it's prey to be over come by it's venom. Raven tried blocking it out by closing her eyes. She fought as hard as she could to think of a happy memory. Something to strengthen the light. The more she reached into her mind, however, the less she remembered. All there was, was the deep seeded feeling of dread. "Raven, concentrate!" Mirna shouted. She tried to focus some of her power into Raven's mind to aid her against the rising evil.
The mix of emotions both influences caused started a mirage of over-lapping memories.
Meditating with Starfire
Arguing with her when their bodies had been switched.
Listening to her friends fight. Feeling their anger radiating off them and worming into her empath powers.
Arguing with Robin.
Training with her friends. Hearing them encourage her and complementing on her on her success.
Fighting villains with her friends at her side. Wins and loses. Injuries and worries. Celebrations and relief.
Having a crush.
Hugs of many sizes and strengths. Each with a unique spark of happiness shared between her and the one she was hugging.
Sunny days at the park or on the roof just enjoying being teenagers.
The gratitude of citizens after a job well done.
In the confusion, the light and dark mingled. The shadows backed away slightly in fear of the light that held her in a safe embrace. Nequam would not have it. He slinked through the darkness, circling Raven. With her mind centered on trying to focus back to reality, she did not see him lunge at her from behind. It was only after he touched the light did she sense his presence. She turned and raised her hand. Grabbing the first happy memory that came to mind, she held it close and forced it's power through her magic. Brilliant light shot Nequam mid leap, and threw him back into his shadows.
Though the darkness kept his image hidden, his glowing eyes glared at her from where he landed. Raven struggled to remain standing. It was not easy, considering the confusion she was suffering from an unbalanced mindset. Nequam watched her stumble slightly. He chuckled low in his throat and began to pace the shadows once more. Raven watched the deep red gaze until it disappeared. Fighting against the panic that she could no longer see him, she held her fighting stance.
This time Nequam tackled her to the ground from the side. Two of his arms held her wrists while the other four limbs clawed at her wherever they reached. Raven fought against him the best she could. The black and dark green liquid dripped down. It burned wherever it landed on her skin, but she continued to kick out and struggle against his hold. This was it. "I have to," Raven said within her mind.
"I know, child," Mirna's voice held a mix understanding and pride. The rising warmth of Mirna's powers travelled through Raven's self. Picking the happiest memories she had of each of her friends, Raven transferred them into the power. The potent mixture of purity mingled with the magic, and acted as a bomb. The explosion of light took Nequam by surprise. His claws barely cut into Raven's neck before he was banished for good. The demon was no more.
The shadows faded away leaving only light. "Raven!" her friends called to her. Beastboy and Melvin ran to where she lay. Raven could not see them. Here eyes glazed over as he whole body twitched in pain. The slight cut into her neck seeping away the last of her life. Raven sunk into the light field of her mind. Mirna smiled at her. She reached out her hands and set them on Raven's shoulders. "Come, sister," she spoke softly. Raven nodded with unshed tears in her eyes. In the second it took to move her foot to step, the meadow filled the whole scene and Raven's foot landed in soft greenery. Before her, waiting at the gate, her mother, Timmy, Teether, Bobby, and Robin stood smiling at her. She smiled back and continued to walk to them. Then everything faded to white.
Edit: Now has alternate ending which can be found in my story archieve. This concludes Staying Alive Til Dawn. I hope you've all enjoyed. And just remember my friends…be careful when the lights are out. You never know what might be lurking in the shadows.