Deep in the tower, on one hot humid night in Jump City, Raven tossed fitfully in her sleep. Cold sweat dotted her forehead. Her sheets twisted and confined her with each restless roll and stressful whimpers left her mouth.
Somewhere, deep in her mind, chaos was reigning free, melting and twisting her possessions until they were little more than gnarled shapes rising from the ground. Black tendrils of magic writhed in the air, streaming from Raven herself. They slipped out into the tower touching upon her team mates, delving into the shadows of their mind. Finally with one last flicker they swelled and energy rushed back into her mind, forcing her into a place between dreaming and waking, where nothing could be ignored.
Richard grasped the bar in two hands and pushed off the platform with both legs. He swung effortlessly through the air feeling more like he could fly, as he always did when he was performing all his acrobatics. They were called the Flying Graysons after all not the swinging Graysons.
He landed on the other side lightly and swung the bar back to his parents.
"Hurry up!" he called.
As they grasped the bar a man appeared in the shadows. It was only for a moment but his eyes glinted with malice and as he melted away there was a bloodcurdling scream. Richards head snapped up just in time to see his mother and father hurtle towards the ground, the sabotaged wire hanging limply above.
Richard launched himself after them into the yawning blackness below. His mothers' screams faded away and he soon found himself standing in a cavernous black space.
The silence stretched on, unbroken, empty. Batmans' face materialized out of the nothingness, frighteningly blank. Even as he called out the face remained silent, never speaking, and Robin had the heavy suspicion that he had done something wrong, again.
Batmans' cape suddenly unfurled and within it Robin found a city of crime and filth, where the alleys crawled with low lives and trash. He scrambled to find his bearings in this strange new city. Down the street a man was being beaten, around the corner three men held up a bank.
Robin fought long and hard until his muscles ached and his veins ran through with fire, but it was no use. For every battle won another two sprung up in place. 'I can't do this alone' he thought. But unable to find a whisper of help, he was left to struggle alone until crime consumed the city. And so Robin became only a figurehead, useless and frail. Unable to do a thing.
Tumbling through the black…
Falling, falling, falling…
"Mom, what did you do?"
Vivid colors flashed against the rooms' vast darkness. A beast of a thing, monstrous and huge, raced around and growled from deep within its chest. From the corners of the room came chilling noises.
A scream cut short.
Victor lay on a slab of cold metal, slowly coming to his senses. Above him was a light, blinding in its brightness. Its' power shone off everything around him, making the large white room seem even more clean and sterile.
His head rolled to the side and he screamed when he saw his reflection. His arms and legs were gone and in place he had cold robotic parts. His breathing quickened with the more he saw. His organs – replaced. Barely an inch of actual skin left. But the worst was his face. His left eye was removed completely and had been replaced with a mechanical one that glowed an angry red.
He was standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk, paralyzed with rust, while people walked around him. Everyone had a different reaction to him. Some stared in horror; others shot him angry glares, while others went completely out of their way to avoid him.
Cyborg walked, shamefaced, into the shadows where he disappeared and the only thing you could see was his angry glowing eye.
You're running fast and hard but you're not moving…
Reach for it…
Reach for it!
What's wrong with your arms?
Koriand'r watches her sister Komand'r train with the other children her age. Her sister is strong, beautiful, charming… everything she is not. But Koriand'r is proud to have such a sister! Komand'r has been destined for greatness since birth and jealousy was useless. Besides she had one trump card. Her sister still had difficulty flying and could barely manage to hover a few feet before falling again. It was their secret though; Komand'r had said no one could find out.
Suddenly she was pulled from out of the gardens and taken to her father. Her sister was already there, looking bold as ever.
The kind advisors conversed with each other. When they broke apart all eyes were on Komand'r. She stared back defiantly, her childhood wildness still untamed.
"Komand'r." said one. "We have learned that you are unable to fly." Kori saw her sisters' mood change. The muscles in her shoulders stiffened, and her eyes hardened. Neither of them knew what this would bring about. "Never in Tamaranian history has there been a ruler, unable to fly. As our queen, and one of our greatest warriors, being grounded is a serious disadvantage."
Kori listened on fearfully. If they said a queen without flight was never heard of, that meant-
"You're right to the throne has been revoked. It passes to the next in line." Their eyes shifted, bringing Komand'rs too. Her face was a marble mask of calm.
"Why are they doing this?"
"Sister where are you?"
The cell she was in was unbelievably small. It was tall and thin and allowed almost no movement. Her clothes were torn and dirtied almost indecently, while her hair was longer than she was tall.
"You're headed off to the Psions girl…
you'll have such fun … goodbye little princess…"
Koriand'r floated in a yawning empty blackness. Her joyous escape had been thwarted by the large and undeniable fact that she was lost with no planet in sight for miles and miles. She was so lost and hopeless so she closed her eyes and let her body fall.
"Welcome to Africa sweetie."
Little Gar Logan sat in a clearing playing with the other children. Not far away his mother gathered with the other women and washed laundry.
When they weren't watching Gar stood up and teetered away. He walked steadily through ferns and undergrowth until he reached a point in the jungle where the leaves blocked out the sun. The ground was cracked and dry, the plants were crispy with thirst and the animals were silent in their calls.
Gar started to panic. He was lost and the tree branches here were too high to try and climb.
Then a piece of shadow broke away and landed in front of him. It was hunched and small but its' acid green eyes shone out of the dark with powerful force. It shrieked then, a horrible scratchy noise that cut through the dead silence.
The shape launched itself and slammed into Gar. With a final hoarse roar it ran off and left Gar standing on shaky legs, stumbling through undergrowth until –
"Garfield! Where have you- Oh Gar… What's wrong?" His mother gasped. A large toothy bite mark was indented above his elbow. His whole arm was slick with blood. "Mark! Mark!" her voice was far away… so far away…
It hurt. Everything hurt. But he couldn't feel a thing. It was too hot and too cold at the same time. Too dark and too bright. Too loud and he couldn't hear a thing.
What was going on?
Where was he?
It hurt so much…
"Fly. Gar, honey you have to fly."
His mother. She was crying. She was crying so much, what was wrong?
"Gar, listen to me, you have to fly. Now."
Okay try it. Wings, feathers, a beak.
His muscles stretched and knotted and tore and burned oh god it burned. But he was flying! However unsteady, he was flying. One wing was shorter than the other, and feathers were falling out on the way to shore … and he may have given himself paws by accident instead of talons…. But he was flying!
Look Mom! I'm flying!
"What is it Gar?" Mento looked down at Beast Boy.
This isn't right. Where are my parents?
"We're right here honey." Rita came to stand beside Steve. "We're your parents."
No you're not! You're lying!
"Beast Boy, do not talk like that to your parents. Now buck up and get ready. We've got a mission."
Mento kept yelling at him. No matter what he did, or how hard he tried, he wouldn't stop yelling.
Mento began to change.
Slowly he became Robin and the yelling never stopped.
"You're an animal Beast Boy. You can't be controlled. You're dangerous. You belong in a cage."
He ran. Hard.
He ran, and ran, and ran.
He ran so hard and for so long that his knobby little human legs changed into fur-covered wolf legs. His fingernails grew into claws that bit into the ground with every pounding step. His thoughts narrowed. With the more distance between civilization and this beast his thoughts became more basic. Primal.
Like an animal.
"You belong in a cage."
"So what happened?" the Titans were all gathered in the common room, looking tired and disheveled. No lights had been turned on but the city glowed enough to light the way.
"My powers," Raven started. She looked the worst out of all of them. While they each had their own personal worst nightmare, she had experienced all four at once. "My powers …I'm not sure. All that I know is that while I sleep my powers are weaker but also less controlled."
"So … what?" Beast Boy asked. He looked just as tired as everyone else but their look of fresh haunt was absent on his face. "You had a nightmare and your powers decided to share the experience with the family?"
Robin started at that. "Family!" he said. "You could have been unconsciously seeking comfort from us. We all know how your powers and your subconscious mind are very connected."
Raven nodded along.
"Well I don't know about the rest of you, but I still need to sleep at night." Cyborg lumbered off the couch. "Sleep tight."
Slowly the other Titans made their way to bed, trialing blankets and housecoats on the floor behind them.
As Beast Boy made the last steps to his door Raven brushed against him. It was a feather light touch against their shoulders, but the result was electric.
Images flashed vividly across his mind. Fire, lightening, smoke, chains, blood, and stone all wrapped in dark and shoved against the backs of his eyes.
"Let me guess." Beast Boy gasped from the floor. "Your powers."
Raven nodded beside him. "I'm still not fully in control… or partially in control actually. Are you all right?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." He cringed away from her offered hand and sat up against the wall.
"I'm sorry about your childhood." She said seeing the wild unknown of the jungle and shivering. "It must have been very … difficult."
"I'm sorry about your childhood." He said. "It must have been very lonely."
"Not at all." Raven touched her chakra na vara. "I had constant companionship. Constant."
"Um, what? Why?"
"Gar, children are emotional and impulsive. They throw tantrums. As far as powers go having them dependant on your emotional stability when you're six, or worse thirteen, well … it sucks."
Beast Boy blinked at her bluntness.
"Did you ever get so upset that you got in trouble? And then you only pretended to calm down just to sneak away to somewhere you weren't allowed to be, or go up to your room to sulk?"
Beast Boy thought of those rare rebellious days with Mento. "Yes."
"Well I would get upset … at my mother or my father. At my powers, at the people I was surrounded with, at fate and destiny…" Raven, lost in the past, didn't notice her cloak falling loosely off her shoulders or Beast Boy scooting closer. "But when I got upset I couldn't sneak off. I was always watched too closely for it and I couldn't go back to my room and sulk. My powers would shake the room to pieces and I would end up paying for it later. Once a big part of my wall fell ten stories onto the street and almost hit the high priestess. Came this close." Raven laughed and held her fingers close together. This was a nice change, he decided, from the detached bitter Raven that often thought about her past.
"It sounds like little Raven was a bit of a trouble maker." He nudged her with his shoulder. "C'mon I bet you had a few un-expected high-priestess pranks."
"Well," Raven smiled her rarely seen slow smile. This was a favorite of his; when she smiled her lashes would lower coyly and whatever she was looking at (be it the floor, out the window or her own twisting fingers) seemed to entertain her at great length. Beast Boy had often wished to be on the receiving end of one of those looks.
"Once," she admitted, "I sewed her official robe sleeves shut. I heard she tried to push her hands through for ten minutes before she figured out what was going on." Ravens laughter was quiet but infectious. It was hard to believe that Raven had ever been the vengeful prankster at any point in her life but that didn't make it any less hilarious.
She continued to reminisce about the year before she was a Titan with a little coaxing and a lot of patience from Beast Boy. They spent the hours before dawn looking back, not in anger or bitterness as more than one Titan was prone to do. She had spent so much of her own life hating it or thinking 'what if' instead of focusing on any of the good. It was a nice change. And when the sun finally broke over the windowsill down the hall and shone straight into their eyes Raven was surprised but not at all unhappy to realize she had contentedly spent more time alone with Beast Boy than she ever had before.
When they all gathered on one of the lower floors for the scheduled training session everyone looked equally exhausted in their pajamas. They had all spent the rest of the night looking back, although maybe not as cheerfully as she had.
It had been Beast Boy this time but he hadn't (and wouldn't) always be him to console her, distract her from things she needed to forget. Because if the Titans were anything they weren't a team or a business or a charity. They were a family first and foremost. A large dysfunctional, government funded family that had to work through more drama and violence than any one reality show. Ever.
Why weren't they taping any of this?
And thus marks my truimphant return. I'm moderately proud of this story, not as much as i was for 'Insane' but thats a hard one to top. I've had this kicking around unfinished for at least two years, maybe more, as it usually happens with me. I have books full of half started fanfictions but i never finish them. I'm actually already halfway through the new revision of McAdams but its been so long i have to read the whole thing again to remember what i was planning for it.
Back to the story at hand, Ravens powers have always been something not quite defined enough because something new is always happening with them. That and her character in the cartoon and her character in the comics have almost no similar powers. Seriously confusing. I dare you to wiki her right now and see what it says under powers. No one seems to go back to when she was a kid and write about it. I know that i would never, i mean writing fanfiction is a way to write without having to make something completely new up, so why would they? I know alot of people used the whole 'the kids always picked on me for being different' thing but it's AZARATH: the dimension between dimensions where priests and monks etc live on a chunk of floating rock and pray for bad things not to happen so i didn't think there would be many kids. Just because Ravens a serious person doesn't mean she can't be a kid though and do kid things like act out or trick the people who were unkind to her. I imagine whoever was in charge of that place would either not like her or at least expect her to not blow them all up with her rage tears.
I'm rambling though. I should mention here (because i hope those of you who watch cartoons about comics also read comics and thus also have read watchmen) that i saw Sucker Punch and almost died of happiness. Yeah it wasn't a movie masterpeice, but so what? Not everyone or everything needs a ridiculous amount of 'civilized plot' to satisfy. Besides i was pretty much watching it only for Zach Snyder and all the half naked ladies. To be specific: Jena Malone and Carla Gugino. Anyways Happy April Fools, the day where i wish i was clever enough to trick other people and get really confused as to why things don't count after noon (seriously though, anyone know? cause thats only like six hours of serious pranking time. Not enough in my books)