Chapter 23: Bittersweet Celebration
Starfire sat in the infirmary, next to her unconscious boyfriend. She held his gloved hand lightly in hers, gently stroking it with her thumb. Gyline sat on the bed next to Robin, also silently watching him. She appeared very mature and understanding. Starfire wondered if, perhaps, this girl has had to go through a lot in her short life.
"There's something wrong with him, right?" Starfire turned her gaze to the young female and nodded.
"In his last battle with Slade, he injured him hard enough to put him in a very deep sleep. One that... could take a long time to wake up from," she frowned at the last part of her sentence. Gyline teared up a little.
"I'm sorry Starfire! I think it's mostly my fault. If I didn't go and help him, Raven would be normal and you wouldn't have had to fight her. She'd be helping you instead." Gyline couldn't help but hold it in anymore and was crying hard now. Starfire rose from Robin's bed and walked over to the young blonde and embraced her head. She gently ran her fingers through her hair.
"You have realized your mistake, and for that I forgive you." The two remained in that embrace, and with each passing minute Gyline's crying died down until they were eventually sniffles.
"They're going to... beat up the bad guys now right?" she asked sincerely.
"Yes. There is nothing to worry about. We are all very capable." Starfire let go of Gyline once her crying stopped and sat on the bed beside her. A moment of silence passed between the two, the younger looking over to Robin.
"He's really cute," she giggled. Starfire blushed and agreed.
The two were interrupted at the opening of the door. Starfire perked up and looked as in the room came everyone that helped out. Upon seeing Raven, Starfire flew to her and hugged her tight. Raven returned her embrace.
"Hey, good to see you too," she said as she patted Starfire's back.
"You are returned to normal?" Starfire voiced her concern.
"Yeah." Starfire let her go and looked over to Robin.
"What happened? Is Slade in custody?" There was a hint of anger in her voice.
"Not exactly. More like... Slade's no longer around. He won't bug anyone ever again," Beast Boy declared half-triumphantly, half-solemnly.
"He has... died?" Starfire asked, shock now seeping into her voice.
"Let me explain. No one of us killed him. Slade had one final back-up plan. He had enough fire power on him to take out the entire city. So once he lost the fight, he activated it. Before anyone else could react, Kid Flash... he made the ultimate sacrifice. He took Slade far out into the ocean. Neither came back." Beast Boy's voice was hoarse at the end of his explanation. Starfire's eyes filled with tears and they fell freely, staining her cheeks as her body sobbed. She had been holding in her tears all this time, for everything Slade had caused, but remained strong for her team. And now...
"I do not want to lose two friends today!" She shouted loudly. "Especially since one of them is my lover!"
Her voice was erratically loud. Raven walked up to her and put her hand on her shoulder. "Starfire," she spoke quietly, Starfire's body shaking violently from the sobs. Once she stopped, Raven continued. "I'm going to do everything in my power to help Robin recover faster."
Without wasting another beat, Raven moved over to Robin and placed her hands over his mind. A white glow began emanating off them.
"Hey y'all... we need to hold a funeral for Kid Flash. Should we do it before or after Robin wakes up?"
"He could..." Beast Boy started, then looked to a hopeful Starfire and a Raven doing her best work on his mind. He was going to say he could be asleep for a very long time.
"... on behalf of the closest person to Robin here, I feel I can make a decision. We will wait a few days and if Robin has not awakened by then, we can hold a funeral for Kid Flash. Is that acceptable?" Starfire asked. They all nodded their consent.
"I'll do better alone, just so you know," Raven said, intense concentration on her face. That made Beast Boy feel just a bit sad. But then he ushered everyone else out of the infirmary, asked Raven to take a moment to heal Gyline, then brought her with him to the common room.
"Wow, it's so big!" Gyline's eyes shined as she looked all about the common room. She ran up to the giant windows and pressed her face against them, looking at the view of the setting sun over the city.
"Aqualad, Jericho, you guys have been a great help, but you should get back to your respective posts. I'll contact you with further details about the funeral." They nodded in unison and took their leave.
"You sent them off with so little," Cyborg said.
"I'm not in the mood for anything big. Except a big bowl of tofu."
"Yeah... things have been tough," Cyborg replied, him and Beast Boy both at the kitchen counter, watching Starfire talk to and play with Gyline. "What are we going to about her?"
Beast Boy thought a long moment. "Keep her here."
"You sure that's the best idea?"
"Where else does she have to go, Cy? She already got caught out who knows where by Slade, he manipulated her, and caused all this happen. I say we keep her here so we can train and teach her proper morals." Cyborg sighed.
"Alright. But you'll be helping me get her room ready for her."
"Tomorrow, we'll take care of everything."
The night at Titans tower was mostly solemn, but at least Gyline was able to be happy and some how keep the rest of the Titans minds and emotions together. Raven worked through the night, only stopping to get the occasional tea and snack and to meditate to restore her energy.
Beast Boy and Starfire couldn't sleep at all, both taking time to play with Gyline and put her to bed when the time came. He envied Cyborg and his ability to sleep at will, thinking how convenient it would be if he also had an off button. Late hours into the night, Starfire and Beast Boy stayed in the common room, watching television, exchanging small conversation topics on everything that happened, until eventually they both fell asleep, Starfire on the couch and Beast Boy at the kitchen table.
When morning finally dawned, the common room doors opening, alerting Beast Boy to the immediate presence, Raven stood there. She looked absolutely tired.
"Hey, Rae... how is he?" He kind of wanted to ask a different question, but at the same time the concern for his leader was enormous.
"He's awake," she yawned immediately after stating that happy fact. "Well, sort of. He has no energy right now and actually has to sleep, ironically. He'll be awake in a few hours."
"That's amazing. You cured him already?" he smiled. "I never doubted you."
"Tell Starfire when she wakes up. I'm going to sleep myself. Wake me when he's up, I still have some small things I have to do on his waking mind."
"Oh... okay," Beast Boy said, his ears slightly drooping. Raven noticed it so she walked over to him and kissed his head.
"We'll talk about everything later, okay?" She smiled a small smile at him.
"Alright, get some rest then." And with that, she took her leave, unable to help the next big yawn that escaped her lips. So at least there was some good news.
"Hey, guys," Robin said to his team from the bed as they walked in. Starfire flew up to him, very excited. She cautiously hugged him, making sure not to do over do it.
"How are you feeling, Robin?" She immediately asked.
"I feel a little heavy but nothing to worry about," he assured her as he rubbed her back.
"Starfire," Raven said. Starfire nodded and broke the hug. Raven put her hands over his head again, chanted something incoherent, and light again went from her hands into his head.
"What'd you do?"
"It's a protection spell. It will allow your mind to withstand more before succumbing to another coma. It won't last forever, just long enough for it to recover."
"Recover? But it doesn't feel like I need to recover," he frowned as he spoke.
"With our life style, it's likely that another rough fight could shock your mind back into the state of a coma. So this will help prevent that from happening. Just trust me, Robin." He nodded after she said, no further arguments.
"So... what happened?" he asked, referring to Slade. So the Titans explained it to him. Slade dying in his final moments, bringing Kid Flash with him, defeating Kage and that he wasn't really a shadow but a man with some powers relating to it, and why Raven was controlled by the girl known as Gyline. She was hiding behind Cyborg then made her presence known.
"Hi," she spoke timidly to him, nervousness clearly displaying itself under his eyes.
"I think she should stay here," Beast Boy immediately said.
"I don't have a problem with it. She already got caught by Slade. We don't need any other villains getting their ideas into her head. We should all take responsibility from here on, then, to take care of her and teach her how to be a proper citizen. Or even a Titan, if it eventually comes to that," Robin smiled at his final words. Her eyes lit up and she smiled big.
"Me? A Titan?"
That night, the Titans with Gyline all had a large celebration. They had decided they'll celebrate and be happy one of the most feared villains they had ever encountered was gone, and be sad for Kid Flash when the time came.
As the celebration of the night ended, the Titans and Gyline all sleeping, Beast Boy and Raven shared a moment alone. They were together in Raven's bed, but both still fully clothed. They hadn't advanced their relationship to that level yet but Raven was comfortable (and even insisted on) him coming to lay next to him, their hands gently embracing each other.
"Never do that to me again," Beast Boy teased slightly.
"Do what? Hold your hand? I'd miss the warmth too much," she blushed as she admitted that.
"I meant almost kill me." He didn't want to ruin the mood but it was something that was bugging him.
"I... I'm sorry. I had no memories." She searched her mind for more words to say, but then he smiled and spoke again.
"It's okay. This more than makes up for it. Do you have a grudge against Gyline or anything, by the way?"
"No. It's not her fault at all. She's just a child. An easily manipulated mind. And that's exactly what Slade did to her. He's despicable, for taking advantage of someone so young."
"That's what separates us from him. And besides... we don't have to worry about it anymore. Everything's okay now," Beast Boy soothed his girlfriend as she moved closer to him, Beast Boy now putting an arm around her waist.
"Except for Kid Flash," she stated sadly.
"Things like this happen. We'll just have to be stronger from here on out. With each other." She smiled at him.
"With each other," she whispered onto his lips before the distance between them was closed.
As time went on, Kid Flash's funeral passed with Jinx and most honourary Titans showing up, things settled back into a mostly normal routine.
Starfire and Robin continued their relationship as did Beast Boy and Raven. Cyborg remained a single bachelor but wouldn't pass up on dates when the opportunity arose. Each Titan played with, took care, taught and helped Gyline each in their own personal way (her favourite was Beast Boy because he was hilarious).
But just because of that, Jump City's crime didn't cease. Just that the biggest threat they have ever faced was no longer existent. It didn't stop the city's heroes from coming to the rescue whenever it was needed. And when the alarm blared, they gathered in the common room. They received the information necessary for what's happening. And they heard that same catch phrase they all became accustomed to and loved, the statement that prepared them for action and another fight. The one that inspired them more than a speech made by important political figures. Yes, that one.
A/N: Wow! Hasn't this been one epic ride. How many years did it take me to complete this story? But I stuck through with it! And so did you! The people that started with this story and the people that ended with this story... this is for you! This is for giving me the drive and motivation to keep it around. It certainly has the most history. I could tell a story about this story if I wanted, haha. I think it's a very important piece of my writer's life and to be honest, it will always have a place in my heart, even if I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I go back and read the first handful of chapters of this. I guess I can say I love it. It was my first writing baby and I didn't stop with it. It just took me a very, very long time to conclude it. I hope the quality standard is up to par with the rest of the story, I'm not terribly good at writing conclusions. But I'm so happy it's finished and so happy you all stuck with it.
Okay, now I have something else to talk about. For those of you that hold an interest in Clannad, I'm writing a story based off that. If you are interested, I'm going to kindly ask if you'd like to read that too. I'm putting as much of myself into that story as I have with this one. So I hope you can read that too! And don't worry, if I can help it that story will not take as many years to complete as this one. Keep checking my profile as I'll update my status for my Clannad story a lot via that.
Thank you all again! Much love to those that stuck around with me 'til the end!