Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans or any related DC Comics characters.
Summary: Raven escaped Azarath and her past by coming to Earth. But in order to remain hidden, she must blend in with a "normal teenage life" something she wants no part in. And Ravager and Robin don't do much to lighten the load…
yesh yesh I know is this waaay overdue, and I know some of you probably abandoned this heh but here's chapter 3 at last! a bit shorter and some things not fully explained, but they will be next chapter!
Before The West Coast
By: Chi Yagami
Chapter III – Learning The Hard Way
"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire." — Fred Shero
The man sat on the couch opposite his young ward. "Any luck?"
"Let's see… I saw a very cute blonde who wanted my number…"
"Get to the point, Robin."
"No violet-haired females of any size… and I did not see anyone teleporting or levitating objects…"
"You're obviously not looking hard enough."
A scoff. "I combed that city clean!"
"Then she evaded you…"
"Like how whatever came out of that UFO escaped The Batman?"
"Worry about your own case, Robin. Let me handle that."
"Do you think the spaceship and this purple chic are related?"
"Possibly… There's a high probability that they are connected."
"Friends of hers?"
"Always thinking of the worst, aren't you?"
"Someone has to. Now, tomorrow, you are to ask around. Question if anyone has seen this girl."
"Whatever… I'm going to bed. 'Night."
"You should work on your attitude."
Sigh. "If you say so…"
"I most certainly do."
"YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?!"
Not necessarily want to… "She has to stay here!"
Starfire might have cowered at the intensity of Lena's voice, but Raven was not about to step down on such a crucial matter. Lena Roth covered her eyes with her hands, as if not being able to see the alien would make her disappear.
There is no use in talking to her when she is this upset, Raven reasoned; she would have wait until her aunt could control herself. The empath sighed and sat on the couch across from the anxious woman. The subject of the current argument, meanwhile, was happily staring around the room at the strange Earth devices, practically ignoring the other two and enjoying herself immensely.
"Explain to me again, why I have to hide an alien in my house?" Lena asked after several long minutes of silence. Raven crossed her legs politely and folded her hands on her knees.
"I… err… accidentally ran into a spaceship in the park, and then the military came—"
"The MILITARY?!" Lena interrupted, looking startled. "You have the military after you?!"
"Not the entire force I'm sure… Just a few of those black and white cars."
Lena's face relaxed immediately. "Oh. It was only the police…"
"Aren't the police force and the military the same? Don't they both protect citizens from evil?"
"Well… mostly… the police are assigned to local areas, while the military protects the whole country… but never mind that! You're going off on tangents!"
"I apologize," Raven said, continuing the previous discussion. With a thoughtful glance at Starfire, she started, "I knew that the police would want to know where the spaceship came from. Then, they'd probably find the alien that escaped from it… and I knew that they would probably find some connection to me… And so I panicked and came back here, bringing her with me." Lena opened her mouth to speak, but Raven wasn't ready to hear what she had to say just yet. "I felt bad, okay? She is just like me: new, confused… She was running away from her captors. I … I wanted to help her…" But why? Why had she been feeling guilty? She wasn't supposed to be feeling anything! "That, well, and she knows my real identity."
Her aunt looked up at this, staring into Raven's dark eyes. "Rachel… I can't… I can barely afford to house one teenager unnoticed by the government; there's no way I can manage two!"
Another sinking feeling crept into her heart; Raven should not be asking this of Lena. Her aunt had already done enough for her…
"Please, I will not be of trouble," Starfire voiced suddenly. "I want to return home now, but I am fearful of my pursuers. I can leave after I am forgotten."
"What?" Lena asked, staring at the redhead with mild interest. "'Forgotten'?"
"She means that she wants to stay here a while. She doesn't want to leave right away because her attackers are still… within the solar system, I think."
"Aliens," muttered Lena, "now I've seen everything… And she knows your secret identity?"
"Yes…" Raven's face darkened. "I'm not sure how she found out, but it could be a problem if we let her go."
Raven hesitated. "My secret identity is… not very popular to those who know of it…"
"Please," Starfire pleaded. "I shall tell you my secret identity if you let me stay."
Raven almost let out a dry laugh. As if that means anything to Lena…
"I'm sorry," Lena sighed. "I just can't deal with this right now. I need a drink…"
Blend in. Stay unnoticed. Hide out at your aunt's until your eighteenth birthday has passed. Let no one know who you really are; that is the most important thing.
How was she supposed to remain unnoticed now? Walking around the mall, which was crawling with other people, shopping, which meant interacting, with the most unnoticeable redheaded alien girl in the universe.
"What have I gotten myself into?" she muttered as the bubbly alien bounded over.
"Friend Rae-Rae, look what I have discovered!" she called out most excitedly.
As soon as she was within reach, Raven grabbed the girl's arm and pulled her close, not because she was comfortable with the proximity (she was not!) but because she didn't want anyone to overhear what she was about to say.
"You cannot call me that in public!" she hissed. "Actually, don't ever call me that again. Just stick to 'Rachel.'"
"Oh," the other replied, looking deeply sorry, "I am truly apologizing. I am sorry, friend Rachel. But see what I have found!"
"What is it… Starfire?" Raven asked, following her to a window display with a frown; they would need a new name for Starfire. She couldn't walk around introducing herself with that name; it would just bring more unwanted attention.
"I believe I have found your store!" she exclaimed with glee, pointing.
Raven looked at the window display. "And what makes you call it 'my store'?"
"You like these do you not? You wear dark garments; I thought…"
Although she knew Starfire did not mean it that way, Raven felt somewhat insulted. So what if she grew up with gloom and despair? Did it mean she wore dark clothes and chains and nails and whatever other bizarre things were displayed in the window of Hot Topic? No it didn't (even though she wore dark colors, it was because she liked them, not because she was dark and evil. No, wait, she couldn't voice that point because it wasn't entirely true…).
"Uh, thanks but I'm not interested in things that stand out. Lena said if we want to blend in, we should stick to buying the following things," she explained, taking a list out of her pocket. "Buy only: T-shirts, sweaters, blouses, jeans, skirts, dresses, keeping mainly to plain colors or simple patterns and/or designs."
"Then should we not go to the plain store your aunt said? The mart that sells walls?" Starfire asked.
Raven crossed her arms, answering, "You wanted to come to the mall."
The redhead smiled sheepishly before walking off and continuing her mission to find the perfect clothes for school.
Raven had not anticipated this. She had not been expecting to have to interact with other people on a daily basis, at all really. She did not want to attend a school swarmed with idiot teenagers like the ones here in the mall. But it was a condition, the main condition to letting Starfire stay.
Two nights ago, after Lena had had her much needed drink, the three women sat down at the kitchen table to discuss things. Lena said that she really didn't want an alien under her roof; she was already housing an unknown person from the US government, and adding another would put too much pressure on her. She really just wanted to kick the alien out.
But she couldn't. Lena explained that she felt horrible about not being able to save her sister. She had been plagued with guilt about it ever since Arella had run away. However, now she could make up for it. By protecting her sister's child, she felt she could fight the guilt that had been haunting her for years. And if housing a dangerous alien was involved, she would do it. On several conditions.
1. Starfire had to adopt a fake name.
2. Lena would have to let the government know, so she could get funding. She could not afford to house and feed three people by herself. She would need free child aid money (when Raven had asked how she was going to explain where the girls came from and why she was housing them, Lena gave her a third condition).
3. Raven and Starfire had to go by their fake aliases at all times. Rachel was the daughter of Lena's sister, abandoned by her mother and left in a remote village in Northern Canada (Lena said they could give DNA samples for this). Starfire (who needed to pick her alias soon) was the daughter of Lena's late husband's brother's wife's cousin all the way from a deserted town in Yugoslavia (which was to explain her mixed up English).
4. The girls had to attend public school. It would be required once the government discovered them.
Which was why the two were currently shopping, mostly for Starfire who owned no Earth clothes (Raven could borrow some of her mother's old things).
"Alright, let's give you a name, Starfire," Raven said, tired using the name "Starfire" in public. Plus, sooner the better: she assumed Starfire would need some time to adjust…
"What? Oh, you mean my secret alien?" she asked, turning around to face Raven.
"Alien…? You mean alias. Yes, you need an alias, or fake name. We can't call you Starfire; it doesn't sound Yugoslavian, your supposed nationality. So, what should we call you….?"
"Well, my Tamarainian name might sound like the You Go Slobbers," Starfire suggested. "I told you my name is Starfire here, but in Tamarainian it is pronounced Koriand'r."
"I have no idea if that sounds like a Slovenian name or not," Raven replied honestly. She couldn't care less what the alien was called, so long as it sounded normal and plain. However, why not let her be called something she likes? Raven had picked Rachel because it was close to her real name (probably a dangerous thing to do but the damage was already done), so why not let Starfire pick something that sounds close to her name? Come on Raven— no, Rachel… need to get used to calling myself that— you can suggest it. Be nice. Isn't that what you said you were going to do? Be nice so that evil can't triumph. Be kind so that when the time comes, your good side will not fall prey to—
"Friend Rachel, how do you know so much? About the You Go Slobbers to which I am now joining?" Starfire asked, interrupting Raven's self-peptalk.
"Yugoslavians. My mother taught me Earth geography well. Now… We could come up with a name that sounds like… Koriand'r," Raven suggested. "How about… something like… Cory Anders?"
"No! How does the Cory Anders differ from Koriand'r?"
True. Cory Anders sounded a bit too close to Koriand'r. However, Rachel sounded pretty close to Raven…
"How about… Korinne Andrews?" she tried again. "Kori for short?"
Starfire twirled around in a circle; she probably would have flown into the air if Raven hadn't caught hold of her wrist. "Oh what a joyful sound! 'Korinne… Andrews!'" she giggled. "It has a bell of nice attached. Is it a Slobber name?"
Raven shrugged. Hopefully no one would care.
"Hello! I am Korinne Andrews of the You Go Slobbers!"
Raven snapped her head over to where Starfire— Kori had gone. She was animatedly talking to a pair of teenage boys, showing them the clothes she'd already bought. Oh no, please tell me she isn't explaining why she bought them…
"Yes… that shirt matches your pretty green eyes," the orange-haired one was saying when Raven approached. "Oh and who's this?"
"This is my friend Rachel," Star— Kori cried, dragging Raven into the circle. "Friend Rachel, these mall boys were asking about my bags! See?" She shoved the bags into Raven's face for emphasis.
"Yes, I already know what you bought…"
"Ah so you two are shopping together?" the orange one continued. "Korinne and…?"
"Rachel," she supplied. "Come on, Kori, we need to keep shopping."
"We could show you around. Korinne said you two were new in town, doing a little shopping."
"No," Raven answered, so directly that the boys flinched. "I mean, no thanks. We shouldn't talk to strangers—"
"I'm Roy," the same boy interrupted, "and this is Garth. Now we aren't strangers." He smiled and held out his hand.
Raven was not comfortable touching other people. No, you're not Raven, you're Rachel! Raven stands out, Raven would not fit in here… Rachel, on the other hand, needs to fit in. Rachel should be somewhat comfortable, more so than I naturally am… even if Rachel grew up in a cult... I need to blend in!
Raven shook his hand tentatively before dropping it. Roy smiled again, and she could see a tiny spray of freckles across his nose.
"Friends, let us continue our journey through the mall of shopping!" Starfire— Kori cried, grabbing Roy's hand and pulling him after her. Raven and Garth followed, albeit more slowly.
"So, where are you from?" Garth asked suddenly, startling her.
"You're new in town, right? Where are you from?"
"Oh. Canada," she answered. Might as well tell him, and get the story straight now so she could practice what she would tell the government agents later (and anyone else she had to explain herself to).
"Cool. I'm from the Atlantic Ocean," he offered, smiling. At her look of disbelief, he laughed and explained, "I was born while my parents were cruising the Atlantic. My mom thought I wasn't due for another month!"
He laughed again, and Raven tried to smile even though his past didn't concern or interest her. Smiling was the polite thing to do… and she needed all the good in her system that she could get.
"So where's uhh Kori from? When I asked her, she just told me to 'go slobber,'" he said, looking annoyed. "Are you two related?"
"Yes, we're related, but we're nothing alike. She is my… distant cousin from Yugoslavia. Her English is a bit mixed up because they didn't have good English teachers in her town."
"But she can't even say her own country right…"
Raven answered lamely, "She thinks she is supposed to pronounce it differently…"
"I don't think it would matter if she was from Slobber Land," Garth said amusedly. "Roy seems to have taken a liking to her." He pointed to where the two were rifling through racks of clothes.
"Well, it's good to see she's making friends…" Raven offered for lack of a better response.
"Friend Rachel, Friend Garth, see what we have found! These glorious clothes for me! And these plain clothes for you, Rachel!" Kori stated, shoving a pile of clothes into Raven's unsuspecting hands. The boys snickered at her obvious discomfort, but, not wanting to make anything out of nothing, Raven ignored them and led Kori to the cash register.