A/N: This is a sequal to a meeting. You don't need to read a meeting before you read this, but I would recomend it.
Raven walked up the stairs for the third time. She brushed her blue summer dress, felt over her teeth, and pulled her fingers through her hair. She was stepping from one foot to another. This was a mistake.
She turned and walked down the stairs again. They didn't need her there. She would just intrude. But on the other hand, they were expecting her. It would be rude not to show up.
She sat down on the steps with her head in her hands. She was so confused. She didn't belong. Maybe when she had been Raven, one of the titans. Then they had to indulge her, and make her feel welcome. They weren't obliged to do that now.
She turned, ran up all the steps and pressed the doorbell before she could even think about changing her mind. Then she did change her mind and started to walk down the stairs again.
"You know if you want to play that game you should run faster away."
Raven turned in surprise to look at him, and almost took a swan dive down the stars. She grabbed the railing and looked up at her old friend and host.
He was older, and more muscular. The holo ring was, of course, covering his metal parts. He looked normal, and happy.
"Nice to see you again Rae."
He went out on into the hall. She went up the stairs and gave him a big hug, and he hugged her back.
"Nice to see you too Vic."
"Come in. Gar's late, as usual. But I know Dick and Kory can't wait to see you again."
Cyborg placed a hand on her back, so she wouldn't be able to turn and run away, and together they walked into his apartment.
She had forgotten how huge it was. Raven thought she might be able to place her entire apartment into the living room, alone. She knew she couldn't, but it felt that way.
Cyborg was a very popular computer programmer, and worked with the Pentagon and the white house for starters. No wonder he could afford such a place. He took of his ring, and placed it on the table by the door.
"Friend Raven, it has been too long."
A very pregnant Kori flew over to her, and gave her a lung-crushing hug. Kory was a fashion model, and even thou she now was carrying a very big stomach she was still stunning.
"She's right Rae."
Robin bent down and gave her a warm hug. He had grown, but he still looked like her old leader Robin. He was a privet detective, and worked a bit with the police some times. He was just that good.
And then there was her. Same old, 24 Raven. Un educated, owner of a bookstore, and all alone.
"Do you need any help Vic?"
"No, you are not to help friend Victor, friend Raven. I need to talk to you about children and child clothing and such."
"Are you sure you don't need help Vic."
The two men just grinned and shook their head as they went into the kitchen. Raven was dragged over to the couch of the still strong Kory.
"So, how long?"
"Two weeks from the date of me giving birth. I am to be having a baby girl. Isn't that exiting? A tiny girl bumgorf."
Robin and Cyborg came in carrying in dinner. Steamed vegetables, fresh backed bread, potatoes, and steak made Ravens mouth water. Raven hadn't eaten anything like that in over two years.
"I see your cooking skills haven't demolished Vic."
"Nope. Beats pizza, don't you think?"
Cyborg grinned to her as he gave her a plate with food. Apparently they where going to eat in the sofas. Robin gave Starfire a plate, and kissed her before gently touching her stomach. Raven had never seen him so affectionate. She was happy he was finally letting go of the past to embrace the future.
"Gar hasn't come yet."
"No. I am wondering what is keeping friend Garfield?"
"Oh, he's just gussying up for his big love."
Dick placed an elbow in the side of Cyborg. Raven bit her lower lip.
"He's bringing a date?"
"No friend Raven. It will only be the five of us."
"By the way. Happy Birthday."
Raven wasn't surprised Robin had remembered. He knew, and remembered, everything. He reached behind the couch and pulled up a shopping bag. Cyborg got to his feet and ran out of the room. He came back, and gave her a package.
"You didn't need..."
"Yes we did."
"Happy Birthday Rae."
Raven opened the gift from Cyborg, and made a tiny gasp. It was a brand new, state of the art, laptop. This was too much.
"I designed it myself."
Raven actually had tears in her eyes as she hugged the big guy. This unfortunately made the lights flicker and the pear exploded.
"Don't be. At least I know you liked it. You did like it, right. It wasn't form anger or irritation or…"
"I loved it Vic."
It wasn't the gift particular she had loved. It was the fact he had made it just for her. She closed her eyes, and breathed in and out to calm her self down.
"It seems you can't have a birthday without anything exploding."
"Apparently not. Let me do that."
Cyborg was standing with a new pear, and with a wave of her hand the old was replaced by the new. The room was again enlightened.
"Our gift now."
Raven removed the wrapping, and a tiny smile played on her lips. A brand new dress. She could tell it was expensive, and unique. She had never felt a softer fabric.
"I one of my designer friends designed it. You like?"
"I love it Kory. Thank you. And you too Dick."
"It wasn't my idea. I paid for the necklace that went along with it."
First now did Raven see the necklace under the dress. A raven in black, it's wings out as if it was about to fly away. Raven had to close her eyes for a moment just to get her emotions under control.
"I'll put this on right away."
She got to her feet, and quickly went over to the bathroom. She pulled of her dress, and pulled on the new one. It fit her perfectly. The colour was royal blue, spaghetti strops, and it hugged her torso, letting go a bit with her legs so she could move them. She placed the raven around her neck, and it landed in the dump in her chest. Like it had been made just for her.
She looked into the mirror, and her violet eyes looked back. She had decided not to put on her contacts. She actually looked nice in the dress. Of course she never did anything that was nice enough for the dress, but it was a wonderful gesture. Closing her eyes, she tried to calm herself down. She didn't want anything to happen now, not now when she was finally content again.
She opened the door and went into the living room to show of to the others. She looked up and was a bit taken back to find Beast Boy standing in the middle of the room. Staring at her. He too had taken of his ring, and as his skin had grown darker, his hair was lighter.
"I said I would."
She smiled to him, before walking over to Kory to show of. Kory squealed and clapped her hands. She was just a big smile.
"I know it would suit you."
"You look nice Rae."
"Rae, you look wonderful."
Raven gave her friends a small smile and sat down. She turned to Garfield, who still hadn't said a word. He just stared at her, and Raven started to feel a bit unsure of her self. Maybe he actually didn't want her there, even thou he had begged her to come.
"So, what do you think Gar?"
"Is that a good dude, or a bad dude?"
She leaned over at stared up at him. Tilting her head a bit. His tongue actually fell out. Raven let out a little chuckle, before sitting strait again.
"So I guess that's a good dude."
Still amazed he reached out his hand and gave her the thing in his hand. It was a tiny present, wrapped in green and blue paper.
"Gar, you already gave me a gift."
He finally seemed to snap out of his daze. He sat down next to her, but he still had a weird look in his eyes.
"So Rae, what do you do?"
"She owns her own bookstore."
"I can speak for myself Garfield."
She wasn't angry. She was just toying with him. He looked worried, and she gave him a smile and a pat on his thigh. Then turned back to Kory and Dick.
"Wow. That must be hard."
"How do you manage going to school and having your own store?"
Her deadpan look remained unbroken, which was less than what happened to her glass. Her powers had always deceived her that way.
"I'm so sorry Vic."
"It's okay Rae."
Rae picked up the glass shards, and went into the kitchen. Stupid, stupid powers.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine Dick."
She wrapped the glass in paper and threw it in the garbage. She placed her hands on the counter, and leaned on them. Not looking at him, just concentrating on her breathing.
"I told you at the picnic that I wasn't attending collage."
"You said you hadn't decided what you wanted to study. What happened?"
"Money. I wasn't as lucky as you, Vic or Garfield. No heritage waiting for me when I turned 18."
It sounded more hurtful than she intended. It wasn't their fault. It was nobody's fault.
"What's wrong Raven?"
"I don't know. I can't sleep. I don't eat. I'm exhausted. It feels like I'm falling apart."
She turned and looked at him. He was standing there, arms crossed, looking at her. He wasn't judging her, he wasn't undermining her feelings and he didn't try to make her feel better by lying. Robin always got all the facts, before acting.
"It's like before I joined the titans, except its worse."
She started to play with the necklace. Empty your head Raven, burry your emotions.
"Why didn't you tell us?"
"I didn't want to impose. At the picnic you all seemed so happy. I hate being the one to ruin it for everyone."
She closed her eyes and leaned against the refrigerator. Her right hand was still playing with the raven around her neck. The other was hanging down her side like dead meat.
"I was scared. All I have left is the memory of you four. The memory that once there was people who loved me and cared for me. If I called to talk to you and you rejected me. I wouldn't survive."
She opened her eyes and looked at him. He was angry, upset, and irritated. She had done it again.
Her cell rang. She sighed, and answered.
The voice was young, female, and sounded familiar, but not like someone she knew.
"My name is Doctor Davidson. I work at Jump City Memorial Hospital. We have a patient her, Sophia Gregory, who says she is a friend of yours."
"The building she was working in got attacked, and she"
Raven couldn't hear the rest. Everything around her was exploding or melting. She didn't care. Sophia was hurt. She was hurt because she had been in the one place Raven had sworn was her safe heaven.
"I have to go."
Raven ran into the living room. Here too things started to fly about, melt or explode, or all three.
"I need, I need a taxi."
She was talking more to her self than to the other four.
"Dude, what happened?"
"I don't know. She got a call that really upset her."
"Raven, I can drive you in the T-car. Just tell us what happened."
Raven was having lung spasms. She bent over to help herself breath, but her knees buckled, and she would have fallen to the floor if not for Beast Boy. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, and she was clinging to Beast Boy.
The living room was totally trashed. Cyborg didn't care. His only concern was for his friend.
"Sophia. Store. Attacked. Have to go. Hospital."
Her words where short and blurry, but they got the picture. Beast Boy grabbed her to a hug, and she welcomed it. He started to rub her back to calm her down, and it helped.
"Vic, get the car ready."
With Beast Boy in one hand and Kory in the other went they down the stairs and got into the car.
"So what happened?"
Dick looked at the woman's distorted face in the mirror.
"As far as I could tell from Doctor Davidson, she was working in my shop so I could come here, and the shop was attacked."
Her voice was calmer now, since she was working hard with controlling her emotions. She buried her head in her hands, and leaned back. She had given her word to the girl. She couldn't break it.
They five of them ran into the hospital, and they got a hold of the doctor.
"How is she?"
"She's hurt. Bad. She has been to surgery, but half her skin is burnt away. She is lucky if she survives the night. How do you know her?"
"I'm her friend."
Raven looked through the window to the drugged girl in the bed.
"Do you know where we could get a hold of a parent, or a guardian?"
"Her mothers dead, and her fathers passed out somewhere probably. Drunk. Can I see her?"
"Yes. But don't be alarmed by her appearance."
Raven just walked passed the doctor, not paying attention to her. She sat down next to the sleeping girl. Half her face was in bandages, and she was breathing through a tube.
"Don't be afraid Sophia. I'll help you."
She could hear her friends come in, but didn't care. She reached out her hand and placed it on her unharmed cheek. Soon a white light made the girl glow.
"Garfield, watch the door."
Raven closed her eyes and tapped in to her emotions. Fouling her powers by the love and care she had for the girl, the girl started to levitate and glowed for almost ten minutes. It was funny, she worked so hard not having feelings, when it was her feelings that powered her powers.
Finally Raven let go of the girl. Letting her sink back down to the bed. She would still have some scars, but at least she would survive.
She started to pet the girl's hair, and she stirred.
"I'm here angle."
"I'm so sorry about the store."
Raven just shushed her, and kissed her forehead.
"Go back to sleep."
"Did you tell him?"
Raven smiled, but the girl was sleeping before she could say another word. Raven got to her feet. Sophia would be okay. All she needed now was sleep and rest. She needed to check on her store.
She went to her friends.
"I need to check on the store. Can one of you sit with her? I don't want her to be alone."
"I can sit with your friend Raven."
"And I can sit with her also."
Raven smiled shortly to both Starfire and Victor. Starfire flew over to the girl and sat down next to her.
"Vic, if by any chance her father miraculously hears about this and comes over, keep him away from her. I don't care what you do. Keep him away from Sophia."
Cyborg nodded, gave Robin the keys to the T-car, and then went over to the bed. Robin started to walk out to the car, and Raven and Beast Boy followed quietly. They sat in the car, Raven in the front with Robin, and she kept steering blankly in front of her.
"So, what is the issue with her father?"
Raven looked up and at Beast Boy, but she showed no emotions in her face.
"Her father is a drunk. He pushed her mother when she was pregnant, forcing the doctors to have to choose between Sophia and her mother. They choose Sophia, and he has used her entire life blaming her for her mothers death."
None of the men said anything. Raven just turned her face away from them. Looking out the window. She felt so empty. Which was a good thing, because she didn't have any emotions to threaten anything, but it was a weird sensation. Felling the numbness covering her. Like she had gone on an emotional shutdown.
Robin stopped the car, and Raven stepped out. Staring at were her shop once had been. It had been a tiny, shop, but it had been her world. She had worked so hard to make it work, and finally she had begun to believe she might make it. She should have known better.
She stepped into what had been the store. The roof and three of the walls where gone. The last wall, the one in the back, was only half way burnt. Everything was either burnet, or had water damages.
All that hard work. All that effort. All that money. For nothing. Burnet up in flames. A cold gush of wind blew through the ruins, and she felt cold to the bone. Suddenly remembering how little she was wearing, she started to rub her arms for warmth.
"How are you feeling Rae?"
"I never thought of them. When we where fighting I just grabbed the closest thing and threw at them. I never thought about the owner of the car or about the people in the buildings. All I thought about was getting the bad guy."
"We saved lives Raven."
The two boys were standing next to her; Beast Boy placed his green and purple jacket around her shoulders. She placed her face in her hands like she was crying, but nothing came out. She was still emotional numb.
"It's all gone. My entire life was invested in the shop. And yes Dick I had insurance, but it won't be enough to get the shop running again. It will only cover the loans. I almost survived the one year rule."
"One year rule?"
"Most business tank within the first year. So if you get through the first year, it will be easier. Four years of working to get the capital, and then one year invested in the shop. All gone."
She sighed, and breathed in and out. She looked up from her hands, not at anything in particular. Just sweeping over the entire store.
"Well, I should be happy Sophia is all right. That is the important thing."
She turned to walk back to the car. The two men looked at one another.
"You do it Garfield."
Beast Boy nodded, and ran up next to Raven. Making her stop, turn, and look at him.
"We can fix this Rae."
"It's nothing to fix. I can't do that again. I can't… Five years, Garfield. Five years."
"If its about money. I have money Rae. I have more money than I know what to do with."
Raven just looked at him, and she felt her emotions suddenly thaw. Irritation, sorrow, anger. They all started to well up in her. Well, this was usual. No one could make her feel like Beast Boy.
"You really know how to kick a girl when she's down don't you Garfield."
"No. It wasn't that. I just..."
Raven turned her back to him, closed her eyes and breathed. She had to control her powers.
"You know, that you never smile the same smile twice."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Nothing. But if you want, I can invest in your bookstore or any other store you want to do or…"
She turned with her arms crossed. She was on the verge on tears, and she could sense that she almost lost control over her powers.
"You don't think I can do it on my own."
"I know you can do it on your own. You did do it on your own. What I am trying to say is that you don't need to do it on your own."
She was a bit taken back by his anger. She always was. Taken back when he raised his voice. It was so out of character.
"We are your friends Rae."
"I know that."
"Some times I don't know if you do. You pretend to be so independent and creepy. It's just a game. Pretend. You're scared. You are scared of letting me, or Dick or Kory or Vic actually care for you. Because if you did then you wouldn't have all the control. You're worse than Dick. Control freak."
It started to rain. Within seconds the rain had turned into a full storm, with lighting and thunder. The rain was shooting down like bullets.
"Raven, are you okay?"
Robin went over and placed a hand on her shoulder, knowing who was creating the storm. But the girl just looked at the blond man in front of her. Not caring about the storm, the rain, or her tears.
"You walked into my book store Garfield. You walked in to my life after two years. If you hadn't, Sophia wouldn't be in the hospital right now, and my store wouldn't have been burnt to the ground, because I would have been here to protect it. You ruined five years of hard work, just by walking into a room."
She had grabbed Robin's shirt, and has holding quit hard to him, not to fall over. She could feel Beast Boy feelings clearly. Anger, hurt, despair, and love. The panic attack came back. She bent over and tried to breath normally, but that proved difficult. She was actually happy that everything was ruined, for now that her powers were loose they couldn't do more damage.
"But do you know what Gar. I'm happy you walked into my bookstore. Even with Sophia in the hospital, and my bookstore in ruins, am I glad to see you again. Because you showed me that you four were more than memories."
She passed out. She was exhausted. In an instant the storm disappeared and the sun peeped through. Robin caught her before she fell to the ground, and picked her up. He looked over to Beast Boy who looked worried at her.
"She's lost weight."