Continuity-wise this works best if placed between Haunted and Birthmark.


Late evening. My favorite time for meditation. Tonight though, I am lucky. I don't necessarily need to meditate right now. Nothing happened that would warrant a need for controlled release. But… I enjoy it, I suppose, for the same reasons Cyborg enjoys 'fixing' his car when there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Is it escapist? Probably, but then, so was Robin's decision to patrol tonight, when the city is enjoying a rare lull in its usual chaos. And besides… I happen to like meditating. Am I overly dependent on it? I wouldn't say so. Or at least, not neurotically so. I'm not obsessed, and can easily go for several days without it—I know, I've tested myself. Knowing one's exact limits is strictly advantageous, or so Robin extolled to us in the very beginnings of our team. I can safely last a total of 57 hours without the need to meditate, provided that nothing overly… upsetting, happens in that time. But, why do that to myself?

I meditate most often for the simplistic pleasures of meditating. What Robin attains through controlled violence, what Cyborg gets from tinkering in his lab, what Starfire finds in unhindered flight, what Beast Boy looks for in his videogames… I achieve through the easy repetition of three seemingly meaningless words.

Azrath… Metrion… Zinthos…

There's a lot more to meditation than simple blithering, of course, but… we all choose our own path. Oh, I'm not speaking of enlightenment. If you want illumination… go stand by a lamp. I am certainly not seeking to 'know myself better,' or however the current fad defines it. I already know—have always known... exactly what I am. I don't spend hours a day meditating to uncover new truths about myself or this madcap world I exist in. What would be the point in that? It's foolish to continually ask a question you've already answered. No, I don't need clarity. Merely… acceptance. Not from the world—this wretched plane of existence isn't even home to me, and any who glance in my direction plainly see how much I value its collective opinions—but rather, of the world, in all its threadbare glory.

The rotten thing about life… is that it happens. Unapologetically. Without any distinction between good and evil, or a thought towards fairness, or equality. We created such notions. Hope, beauty, justice, innocence—all are constructs of a civilization trying its disjointed best to find sanity in the chaos that is existence, to create a balance, to find harmony with the shameless, brutal efficiency of reality. Have you ever seen an espaliered tree? Human beings thrive on order. A side effect of self-awareness is the desire to shape our own destinies, to feel that we are in control of our own lives, all to escape the fact that we are all keenly aware… that the exact opposite is true. Destiny is not ours to master. Fate does not bend to mortal will. I know this, for I am living proof.

Of course, knowing something doesn't exactly make the acceptance of it any easier, and I am living proof of that as well. All we Titans are. We do not like the truths of our lives and so we fight against them; yet how does one fight truth, exactly? Cyborg has chosen bitterness. Beast Boy shelters in humor, and Starfire clings to faith in the existence of niceness. Robin's weapon of choice is denial and for that I count him as much my equal… as my polar opposite. Cyborg and Beast Boy, what they seek to attain lies no further than their day to day existence; and Starfire would coddle them because, well, if "nice" is something relatively new to her then her life has been fraught with plenty of what is not; but Robin… His destiny lies in his own two hands, and he'll suffer no other master for it. That is the real reason why he's flown so far from his mentor's shadow, and the selfish truth that underlines his hatred of Slade.

And me? My life's path has been mapped in full since before I was born. I have no use for bitterness—or in the same measure, for humor; and I already know what Starfire refuses to believe: that niceness is a concept only, existing only in a mind that would conceive it. Denial might have served me—there are many times when I find myself wishing that it could; but when I close my overindulgently velvet curtains, no light penetrates from the outside world yet that doesn't mean that the sun isn't still there, shining brightly and in full ignorance of my feeble attempts at denying its existence. The same is true of destiny. We can't control it—though we persist under the vainglorious illusion that we can, and nothing but pain comes from denying it. Don't believe me—look at Robin. His life is a living testimony to the futility of both. Sometimes I pity his naïveté, others… I envy it, because, well, it isn't really naïveté at all. Robin fears acceptance—shuns the inner peace it brings because the minute his torment ends… well, he doesn't know anything else. It would kill him, I think, to be entirely free from pain, and from guilt. Hence the vigilantism that marks his destiny, his unending struggle against evil in its finite form. It's a battle he already knows he's lost—knows, but never accepts. So he fights on in his precious denial, a mask and cape his velvet curtain. By now, he has entirely forgotten the sun.

Did I mention that I envy him?

Acceptance is the path to the serenity I so desperately need, and meditation guides my way. Though in the end, it's not much more than a stay of execution. A futile gesture, as alike to Robin's as it is different. Perhaps that's why he sees me as more his equal than his teammate (not that he would tell me this of course, but there are advantages to being empathic). Perhaps that's why I follow him, even knowing what I know. Why I struggle anyway—why we struggle, like it all will somehow make a difference. Robin would argue that it does, claiming each life we save as evidence. And on the surface I agree with him, but I know that in the end… no amount of difference will matter. Evil is far from finite—that's the truth that he denies, each time he dons the costume. But how does one fight infinite? The answer is simple: we don't.

We accept it.