A.N. Alright, here it is. The last chapter. I hope you've enjoyed the story and I'm sorry it's taken to so long to write. Oh, and happy Halloween! Please review even if you haven't before, just because this is the end and I'd really like to know what you've thought of both this chapter and the story as a whole.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, including the lyrics from the song I'm Taking You With Me by Relient K, which sort of inspired this fic.
The Teen Titans were great friends. Maybe in the past they had been at a loss to know how to respond to each other's problems, but eventually they got the hang of it. The team knew exactly how to react when a member was dealing with problems from their past, or feeling like they had just left the only place they could even truly call home, or getting over a breakup. Well, if the thing that had just ended for said member could even really be called a relationship, and not just worried of an It's Complicated status on Facebook.
If she could have told them that was what was really going on, Raven told herself, the Titans would have reacted appropriately. Of course, she couldn't tell them. So the team, especially Robin, asked her about what happened, listened to her fabricated escape story, and made sure she was okay. And then threw a party celebrating her safe return. Hooray.
Raven managed to convince Starfire not to call practically everyone with a Titans communicator. Robin helped, after sending her an I-know-this-feeling-I-was-capture-by-Slade-first-remember? nod. She twitched her mouth in an upward direction at him in response.
After two hours of pizza, DDR showdowns, charades, and a strange incident involving a goose and most of the soda, Raven decided it was safe to say she was tired and leave. About halfway to her room she allowed herself to exhale; nobody was going to follow her to attempt a heart-to-heart about whatever they thought she was going through. All she wanted to do was sleep for a few days so she would have enough energy to keep up the act that she was.
"Hey, Raven, wait up."
But apparently she wasn't out of the woods yet.
"What, Beast Boy?"
Should he really be talking to her right now? She sounded kind of angry and annoyed and like she wanted to be alone - but Raven was pretty much always like that. This was probably as good a time as any.
Beast Boy jogged up next to his cloaked teammate. Yikes, she looked hostile with her hood up like that, like she was using the cloth to shield herself from him. "Um, hi."
"Hi," she replied in her usual deadpan.
"So that thing with the root beer was pretty hilarious, right? I didn't know I could sneeze myself back that-" seeing her expression, he stopped himself midsentence, "Where are you going?"
A pause, then, "The roof."
"Oh. I thought you said you were tired."
"The roof is quiet." She shot him a look. "And if you thought you already knew where I was going, why did you ask?"
"Just making conversation?" Beast Boy answered lamely, keeping his eyes on her. Maybe this wasn't the best time. "I wanted to talk to you about something."
Raven sighed. "Can it wait?"
He gulped. "Does it have to?"
When Raven was a few steps ahead of him, Beast Boy quickly fist pumped in victory. Tonight was the night.
Cantinas were good places to go when one did not want to think about anything. So he stood there, leaned up against the wall, fully armored and masked, and waited, watching the bar patrons and reading the wanted posters. Sometimes matching the bar patrons to the wanted posters and making sure to remember that for future reference.
Eventually, he would go back to his room and start training himself for this new world of opponents, when he could trust himself to concentrate.
Sitting on the edge of the roof, she couldn't help but notice how jumpy Beast Boy was. It was extremely distracting, but from what she didn't know. So Raven just looked out at the night sky, realizing how vast the void between stars was, until the boy beside her started to speak.
"Raven?" he began.
"If you have something to say to me, just say it."
"I - yeah. I just wanted to say that, um, you're really great, and smart, and could maybe probably kick my butt in a fight some of the time, and you're really hot - I mean, pretty - I mean, beautiful. Yeah. Totally. And, um, well -"
Something weird was going on here. At first Raven thought that maybe it was a Titans conspiracy, a scheme to make her feel better about herself and not focus on her capture. But that really didn't make much sense, especially since the team was virtually convinced that nothing significant had happened to her while she was gone.
"- And I just wanted to say that I like you. I really like you. And I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go out. On a date. You know, when you - when you want to leave your room sometime."
Having bravely finished his speech, Beast Boy looked at her with a mixture of fear and expectation. Raven managed to keep her jaw from dropping off the roof. He liked her? Since when? And why? And why did he have to tell her now? It's not like she could use the excuse that she didn't want him to be the rebound guy; Beast Boy didn't know that was what he was trying to be.
"I don't," she said curtly. "Like you. Not in that way. Sorry."
He nodded, turning his face to hide the extent of his disappointment. If she hadn't been so tense about the whole thing, Raven might have smiled. Beast Boy always had to act tougher than he was, even though, as the youngest of the team, he had an excuse not to. He'd come a long way since she had first met him, but that wasn't the issue.
"I thought you might say that," Beast Boy replied. "But maybe we could just try it? Just one date, no strings attached. Unless you wanted there to be."
"I'm not looking for a relationship right now," Raven said. She cringed mentally at the cliché, however true it was. Well, regarding him it was.
No. Not 'regarding him', regarding everybody. She had just been kidnapped, raped, and almost forced to marry a psychotic cult leader's son. She wasn't in a position to have a relationship with anybody, because she couldn't tell anybody. No one, no matter how great of a friend they were, would be able to look at her again without seeing damaged goods.
"Actually, I guess I'm not looking for a relationship ever," she added.
Beast Boy looked at her with confusion. "Why?" He paused, then said, "Don't say I wouldn't understand. Even if I can't, I can try."
That was when it hit her. Somebody had already tried and succeeded, and she had left him. The only place she could ever truly belong contained the only person she could ever truly belong with. She had made a terrible mistake.
"I just want to be alone. And I'm not saying that just because I can. Earth doesn't have any people like me." She stood. "Good night, Beast Boy."
As she disappeared through the roof, Raven realized that what she had really meant to say was 'good bye.'
"Hey, Beast Boy. Wake up."
The light... so bright. The green teenager reach for his pillow to cover his head with, but it wasn't beneath his head anymore. To express his confusion, he mumbled something along the lines of, "Nnnrggle flrrckle muh."
"Oh no you don't. Up. This is important." The sternness in Cyborg's voice wavered for a moment. "This is really important, man."
Beast Boy opened his eyes and sat up. "Huh?"
The older Titan looked away. "Let's go to the kitchen."
The walk from Beast Boy's room seemed much longer than it ever at before, even that one time where he had just recovered from the flu and hadn't eaten for like two and a half days. When he saw Robin and Starfire standing by the counter, looking at a piece of paper, the ambiguity of the situation only heightened his anxiety.
"What - ?" he began.
"It's Raven," Cyborg interrupted.
"When I went to get breakfast this morning, I saw this on the counter," Robin said. He handed Beast Boy the piece of paper.
It read: Titans, if you're reading this, it means I'm far away. Don't worry; I left of my own free will. Beast Boy, you know where to find me, but please don't come looking.
"Don't come looking?" the shape-shifter exclaimed. "Why does she-"
"Keep reading," Robin said.
I want to explain my actions so you don't question the practicality of them. As you already know, I am half demon and half human. I was raised in the dimension of Azarath, with the group of humans who protected my mother after she was impregnated by Trigon. I never felt like I belonged there. The people stayed away from me because they believed that if I felt strong emotions, then Trigon would be able to use me. When I was old enough and had learned enough about my powers, I ran away to Earth, and your dimension.
At first, I was completely alone, and did not return to Azarath only because I was afraid that Trigon could reach me more easily there. When I met you, and became a member of the Teen Titans, I slowly came to realize that life was worth living. Even a cursed life like mine. Being a part of this team allowed me to feel emotions I didn't know I could feel, and to learn that even though my soul was tainted at conception, I am still capable of good.
But I still did not belong on in this planet, and did not think I could truly belong anywhere. When I was in Lamech's Realm, and visited the city of Lenore, I was proven wrong. That city, that whole dimension, is for beings who have nowhere to call home. The misfits of the multiverse and beyond live there, and I am one of them.
That is why I have left you. But I want you to know that I don't regret a single day I spent as one of your teammates, and one of your friends. Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy - you are the closest thing I've ever had to a loving family. I hope you don't resent me after what I've done, and I hope to see you in the life to come. Good bye.
Beast Boy looked up from the note in his hands to the eyes of his fellow Titans. "She's - she's really gone?"
He couldn't believe it. This wasn't supposed to happen. Raven had written it herself; they were a family. "We have to go talk her out of this. I know if we just talk to her, she'll realize how crazy she's being."
Robin opened his mouth first, but it was Starfire who spoke. "Beast Boy, you do not understand her position."
"And you do?" Beast Boy snapped.
"Yes," Starfire replied. "I am also not from this planet. It used to be sometimes hard for me to feel at home here. I do not feel that way anymore, but Raven and I are very different people. I am native to this galaxy, but she is not even native to this dimension. While I truly wish that she had said goodbye in person, I believe we should let her go."
Cyborg nodded. "I've got to agree with Star."
Robin put a hand on Beast Boy's shoulder. "As much as I hate to say it, I think Raven has a right to leave."
Beast Boy stared at the floor. He refused to admit to himself that there might be tears in his eyes. "I - okay. It's just going to take a while to - I just can't believe she's gone." He blinked a few times and raised his head to face his friends. "But yeah, I guess she'll be okay."
Once she reached Lenore, the building Slade had led her to was surprisingly easy to find. It was like the city was leading her to it. Standing outside the roofless structure, she could sense him so strongly it was almost like the city was leading her to him. Raven let this sense carry her all the way to the fourth room on the right on the second floor, but hesitated when she reached out to knock.
What if he had changed his mind about her after she had left? What if he had been planning to come after her, and now she just looked needy? Raven shook her head. There was no need to get all shallow and dramatic about this. She knocked.
Slade opened the door. His widened slightly in surprise. "Hello."
"Hello," Raven said. She took a deep breath, and added, "I decided to come back."
"I can see that." The corner of his mouth twitched into a smirk, but only for a second. "How long are you planning to stay this time?"
So this was how he was going to be. Raven wanted to glare at him, and argue that he count himself lucky that she had returned even for a second, but she knew that was what he would expect. Instead, she took a step closer and said, "How long will you have me?"
Slade, not the type to make sappy speeches about love and dedication, pulled her close and kissed her. By the time she pulled the door closed behind them, Raven had no doubt in her mind of what this answer meant.
If home is where the heart is
Then my home is where you are
It's getting oh so hard
To spend these days
Without my heart
Every second that goes by
Is one more second off my life
And it couldn't be more clear
That I'm literally dying without you here
And every second that goes by
Is one more second off my life
And it couldn't be more clear
I'm dying without you here
So I'm taking you with me
Anywhere that I
Could ever want to be
For the rest of my life
I want you there with me
And if there ever comes a time
Where I should have to leave
I hope you know that I
I'm taking you with me