(AN/ Hey guys thanks again for the awesome reviews. Here's my next chapter of Out of the Dark and into the light)
Awkward silences seemed to be the theme of the day, another one hung over the Titans in the cramped lift going up to living room of this illusion of Titans tower. Thankfully Beast Boy blurted out "This is freaking weird dudes."
"How? After the last 3 rooms is THIS weird?" Raven asked
"Well all 3 rooms then, they've all been wide open places and big building yet we're still technically in a small room." Beast Boy went on.
"Guess it is kind of strange." Ravanger commented
"Never underestimate magic." Raven added before glancing at Arella who was emanating rage and hatred through her emotions. Raven's empathy abilities was soaking up her daughter's anger like a sponge. So far Slade and the Celt guard's sick game had focused on sad memories, Robin's loss, Terra's suicide attempt and Fox's trauma. So why choose a memory that made Arella angry? Did Slade want the Titans to know her mission? Raven hungered to know but resisted to urge to ask only held Arella's hand tighter. Fox wasn't focusing on the latest memory however his mind was back in Arkham Asylum. Reliving that event had shattered him, the smell of blood, the sound of Crane's wails and the looks on his friends' faces when they saw what he had done had nearly sent him over the edge but he knew he had to soldier on they had unfinished business with Slade and the Celt guard. "So Batman knew what you did?" Robin asked in a serious tone
"You saw it for yourself." Fox replied not daring to look his leader in the eye.
"And why didn't you tell us?" Robin asked confused by his emotions was he feeling betrayed or sympathetic?
"You know why." Fox mumbled wishing Robin would focus on the mission
"That doesn't cha-" Robin started.
"Nightwing stop it," Arella interrupted in a serene yet angry tone "I know your upset but please stop interrogating my Dad."
"This has nothing to do with you." Robin answered
"It does. It has everything to do with me. I know you're going to trust my Dad again because I'm from your future remember." Arella stated
"We still need to talk about this." Robin replied getting ticked off with the future leader of the Titans.
"I hate to say this," Arella sighed "but don't act so god damn high and mighty because you're not so perfect. In my time you'll do some really bad shit that makes Dad's trip to Arkham seem like a picnic. Remember I know you Dick John Grayson."
Robin was about to answer back when the elevator came to a halt, they were at the living room floor. The doors parted and the Teen Titans stepped out met with a very familiar yet somehow different Titans tower living room, the kitchen been remodelled with a stainless steel finish, the red sofa had been replaced with a huge leather recliner sofa and a painting hung on the wall that was never there before. "Check it out." Cyborg said pointing at the picture. A beautifully detailed painting of the seven current Teen Titans in front of the tower rested on the wall with the words 'The original and the best' written in the corner. "It's us." Terra said sounding surprised.
"Crap!" Arella's voice rang out, everyone looked at her only to find she wasn't the one talking.
A past version of Arella rushed past them holding a cardboard box "I can't believe how late it's gotten." Past Arella worried, this version wasn't wearing her blue and black jumpsuit but dressed in a very pretty white summer dress.
"Will you stop worrying, we have plenty of time." A familiar voice chuckled.
"Oh my." Starfire gasped as she saw who trailing behind Arella. Star saw an older version of herself and Robin. The future Starfire was taller; her red hair was fuller and had a few curls and was dressed in a pair of denim jeans and pink blouse beside her Nightwing was in a blue shirt and three quarters shorts, he wasn't as tall as Starfire but he was bigger and his chest broader, his black hair was no longer spiky but combed long locks. "We still have two hours until the party starts." Kory reassured
"But I still got to put up the decorations, get the food ready and million other things to do." Past Arella rambled plonking the cardboard box down on the kitchen counter.
"Listen don't fret, I'll get the food started." Nightwing eased going over the fridge and getting out some ingredients.
"Thanks Nightwing." Past Arella sighed rummaging through the box.
"Arella hero names are not allowed today," Kory scolded grabbing a banner from the box "today we're Kory and Dick not Starfire and Nightwing. And you are most certainly not Eternity."
"Yes Auntie Kory." Past Arella answered mockingly
"So where are the rest of the Titans? I thought they'd be helping you out." Nightwing asked chopping some veggies.
"Routine prisoner transfer, got to make sure someone doesn't spring Plasmus on the way to maximum security." Arella explained opening up a bag of party poppers.
"Yeah that guy is a magnet for trouble." Nightwing commented.
"Who is the team leader if you're here?" Kory asked floating up to ceiling pinning one end of the banner to it.
"I'm giving Robin a chance." Arella answered scattering the party poppers around the room.
"Damian? Leading?" Nightwing questioned arching an eyebrow.
"I know, I know. But he's pestering me for a chance to take charge for a while now." Arella justified before grabbing a packet of balloons.
"Still gets me 'Mr. Anti-social' wanted to join the team. He's like his Dad, likes to alone and brooding." Nightwing joked.
"When I think about when we founded the Teen Titans we had an anti-social member, remember how bad Rachel used to be." Kory added finishing putting up the banner, it read 'Happy 15th wedding anniversary Fox & Rachel'. As soon the Team saw this they broke the silence all at once "We get married!?" Raven nearly shouted looking at Fox.
"When? How?" Fox asked flabbergasted
"Well I'm guessing you put a ring on your girlfriend's finger." Ravanger smirked
"Dudes congrats, in the future I think." Beast Boy smiled unsure of how to handle the bizarre situation.
"This is…crazy." Terra muttered.
"Who's Damian?" Robin asked
"A kid and a marriage, rough day eh Foxy." Cyborg chortled.
"Oh joy, a wedding." Starfire beamed
"Guys quiet!" Arella snapped
"Why?" Fox asked concerned about his daughter.
"Just watch, because my life is about to be ripped apart in the space of five minutes." Arella said anger lacing her words. This sentence silenced the team, all of them wondering how this perfectly happy scene could be tarnished. The answer came as the shrill ring of the video phone "Teen Titan Eternity. Computer open message." Arella said looking at the screen.
An older version of Cyborg flashed up on screen stood near a bank of computers. A small goatee beard covered his chin and his robotic exterior was bulkier and had red glass where there had been blue in the past. The human part of his brow was sweating and his one eye was wide open with terror "Uncle Vic?" Past Arella asked puzzled by her uncle's worried face.
"Eternity! Where's the rest of the team?" Vic asked in a stressed voice.
"Prisoner transfer." Past Arella answered growing more scared every second.
"Cyborg what's wrong?" Nightwing enquired.
"Slade Wilson just dropped dead from a heart attack, Belle Reve prison just confirmed it." Vic answered.
"Slade dead?" Kory whispered.
"Good." Ravanger said bluntly.
"We got a bigger problem. An automated message started broadcasting on all channels half an hour ago. Listen to this." Vic explained before typing in a few keys.
"Hello Titans," Slade's voice chilled through the recording "if you're listening to this then I'm dead. Hopefully I fell in battle with honour. However I will cut to the chase because I wish to give a fair chance at defeating me one last time. Years ago I placed 72 bombs around Jump City linked to my heartbeat."
"No." Past Arella breathed.
"All these bombs were set to activate once my heart rate flatlines. So one last battle my adversaries, the timer on each bomb is sixty minutes. Let's see if you can find them all Good luck." The recording ended and Past Arella burst into action.
"Nightwing bring up a map of the city on the computer and cross refrence Slade's old hideouts, Cyborg use the Watchtower's sensors to detect any radiation spikes, Kory alert the Justice league, Doom patrol and the national guard. I'll contact the Titans." Past Arella ordered grabbing her communicator off the dining table, the old Titans quickly followed the orders. Past Arella tuned into a frequency and a boy's face appeared on the screen on her communicator. He was no older than fourteen, his eye mask was green and is short black hair could barely be seen beneath a yellow hood "Eternity you checking up on me?" Damian asked rolling his eyes.
"Robin I need you to get the team to help evacuate the city's people." Past Arella commanded into the communicator.
Damian immediately became serious "What's the situation?" he responded
"Six dozen bombs placed around the city have just be armed, we won't have time to find them all so start evacuating." Past Arella continued.
"On it, Robin out." Damian answered before ending the transmission.
"Arella." Vic spoke through the big screen.
"Hang on I've got a call Mom and Dad." Past Arella stressed tuning her communicator to her mother's frequency.
"Arella listen." Vic pressed.
"Hold on a second!" Past Arella shouted.
"Arella Slade Wilson died an hour ago, Belle Reve just gave me the time of death." Vic said with tears in his human eye
Past Arella dropped her communicator in horror as she faced the window "No." she whimpered as explosions started one after another around the city, the shaking of the earth and deafening booms still haunting the Titans as the room went black and the final door opened.
Before any of the team could say anything Arella cut in with an angry voice "Over four thousand dead. Including the people I loved the most. My team Robin, Fauna, Blue Beetle, Static and Bombshell…and my parents."
"We died?" Raven asked going over to her daughter and taking her hands.
"Yes and Slade's the one who killed you, Dad, my team and four thousand other souls." Arella seethed.
"That's why we need Slade alive so we can find the bombs and the deactivation codes for them." Ravanger explained not surprised that her father would steep to sickening lows.
"You should've told us on day one, when you saved Fox and Starfire at the mall." Robin pressed.
"I couldn't, future you told me specifically not to. You said it may cause a paradox or Slade might trigger the bombs if he found anyone tampering with them." Arella answered.
Robin could see the sense in Arella's explanation, this mission had become more about the Celt guard it had become a battle for the future of Jump City, the Teen Titans and four thousand lives. Robin looked towards the open door, bright strobe lighting emanating from the next room, Slade was within waiting for the physical and emotionally drained Titans just like he planned. "Let's finish this." Robin spoke to the team, all of them nodding in agreement.
They walked into the war room, Slade was standing on top of a circular table, candles circled a tall mirror which was also on the table. In the mirror's reflection everyone could see the Celt Guard's horrifying image which chilled Fox's blood. "Did you enjoy the trip down memory lane?" Slade taunted.
"Go to hell." Terra growled.
"You're a sick man, y'know that?" Beast Boy asked rhetorically.
"All's fair in love and war." Slade responded.
"Slade tell me wh-" Arella started but was halted a sharp pain in her arm. She saw a dart in her left forearm and felt instantly weak.
"Don't want you stopping the clock again Eternity." Slade said holding a tranq pistol.
"Arella!" Raven gasped catching the unconscious heroine
"Slade!" Fox barked trying to run and attack him but found the Guard's magic rooting him to the ground.
"Damn it! Not again." Beast Boy griped morphing into various animals trying to make a move on Slade.
"Amazing isn't it? That such power can exist within something like this." Slade said coldly, unsheathing the Geist sword. "Why did you never let yourself become one with the Guard Fox?"
"The Celt Guard is evil and twisted, so I guess you're in good company." Fox mocked.
Robin had enough of Slade's voice and wanted him to stop "Slade why the bombs? Why have such a failsafe?" Robin asked itching to beat seven bells out of Slade.
"Honestly I forgot about them, I set them after my failed deal with Trigon. I thought you would be the one who'd tackle the bombs but a future version of Titans? That was a surprise." Slade answered.
"But why bombs? Even for you that's…"Ravanger started but couldn't finish her mixed emotions concerning her father was clouding her mind.
Slade turned to his daughter and spoke "Rose. One of the first things I taught you was never give in."
"But killing thousands of innocents that's your version of a win!?" Ravanger screamed at her Father.
"I don't expect you to understand." Slade replied "But we're getting off topic. The Celt Guard must be awoken in my body."
"So why haven't you done it yet?" Cyborg asked his mechanical joints struggling against the Guard's magic "You have it's soul right there in that sword."
"No I only have a small portion of the Guard's spirit." Slade answered
"What?" Fox asked confused by the situation, he didn't feel the Celt Guard within him anymore he was completely gone.
"Oh don't worry Fox I'm not giving you another scar." Slade said before pointing the sword at Raven who was still cradling the knocked out Arella. "I'm going to give Raven one."
"What?" Fox repeated growing more and more confused.
"Leave her alone!" Terra spat.
"She's got nothing to do with the Guard." Beast Boy said defending his friend.
"Oh no." Starfire gasped knowing where the situation was heading.
"Ah it looks like our young Tamaranian knows Raven's little secret." Slade deduced.
"What secret?" Cyborg questioned.
"Rachel what is he talking about?" Fox asked, his confusion evolving into fear.
Raven still holding onto Arella looked up at Fox felling anger, fear and love swirling in her head before stuttering "I-I'm pregnant."
Everyone was silent as the shock sunk in until Fox blurted out "Pregnant?"
"…Yeah." Raven spoke quietly.
"What the hell Ra-" Robin started.
"Robin shut it." Fox warned before returning to Raven and pointing at the sleeping Arella "You're pregnant with her?"
"I think so." Raven responded grateful that she couldn't feel any anger coming from Fox.
"Yes she's with child." Slade's voice chilled "And within her womb lies the power of the Celt Guard."
"Don't you lay a hand on her." Fox snarled
"You can't do this!" Cyborg shouted.
"Please don't do this." Starfire cried.
As Raven saw Slade stride towards her armed with the Geist sword she didn't fear for herself but the life within her. The panicked shuts of her friends didn't confuse her as she quickly meditated and ran through the various scenarios in her head. There was no exits, she and her teammates were incapacitated, Arella was knocked out. She couldn't use her powers. Think Raven. Just Focus. Azarath Metrion Zinthos Raven's mind pulsed with thoughts. She was trying to tap into her powers but she was being blocked at every attempt by the Celt Guard's spell. Then an idea struck her mind like a bolt of lightning and she let a smile cross her lips.
"What's so amusing?" Slade asked, halted by Raven's devious grin.
"You've lost." Raven grinned menacingly.
"What are you babbling on about?" Slade asked again.
Raven let out a little chuckle before carrying on "You were so sure that you were going to win that you haven't even noticed."
Slade instinctively looked around and was shocked. All the other Titans had vanished, they were no longer in the war room, they were in a desert with a scorching sun shining down on the pair.
"What is this?" Slade demanded finding he was no longer holding the Geist sword
"Just deserts." Raven smiled before waving her hand, chains sprung up from the sand and wrapped around Slade's limbs and neck.
"How!? How are you doing this?" Slade roared struggling against the chains.
"You used the Celt Guard's powers to block my abilities however you forgot about my child's." Raven explained pulling down her hood.
"You're using the Celt Guard's magic?" Slade coughed, the chains restricting his air flow.
"My baby's the next generation of McSeamus. I'm using the power of her cursed bloodline."
"How are you resisting the Guard's influence?" Slade asked angrily
"Did you forget who I am? I'm the daughter of Trigon. I have had years f practice blocking out his demonic influence, compared to my father the Celt Guard barely registers as a threat." Raven gloated.
"So now what?"
"I'm going to do you what you did to the Titans. I'm going to make you face you're past."
"Yes. After what you put the others through this is the least you deserve." With that Raven waved her hand a gain and the mental torture began. In front of Slade lay a shrivelled and rotting corpse in a uniform that closely resembled his own "Grant…my boy." Slade whispered his mind in anguish as he looked at his eldest son's lifeless body.
"Dad! Help me!" A young voice pleaded, Slade looked to his left and felt his heart skip a beat. A balaclava clad attacker was holding a squirming young boy with curly blond hair. "Joey no…not again." Slade wailed as the attacker produced a knife and slit the Joey's throat.
"Dad look what I did." A gleeful vice addressed. Slade turned his head to the right to see his daughter Rose, knife in one hand and in an outstretched palm a bloody eyeball. Blood pouring from the now vacant eye socket as she smiled "Now I'm just like you. " Rose smiled.
"Raven stop this!" Slade screamed at the young mage.
"No." Raven answered before waving her hand again and restarting the harrowing sequence again. Slade tried to block his memories out but he couldn't help but look at his mistakes, his failures, his sins. Raven repeated the sequence over and over for what seemed like hours all the while Slade begging her for mercy. Then when Slade's mental torture had reached beyond cruelty Raven stopped the sequence and released Slade from the chains. He fell to the floor exhausted from the memories. "I know you regret your actions. How you ruined your children's lives but you also hate yourself for every life you've taken." Raven said.
"Why are you saying this?" Slade asked in a tired tone lying on his side.
"Aren't you sick of all the death?" Raven asked
Slade looked up at Raven not answering.
"You can't undo what you've done but you can try and save some lives. To be the man you once were, Do you want that?" Raven asked in a solemn voice.
Slade was silent for a few moments before uttering "Yes."
Slade blinked and he was lying on the floor of the war room, the Titans surrounding him, the Celt Guard gone from the mirror. Fox was now cradling Arella and asked "What happened?"
"I'm surrendering." Slade answered standing up and presenting his wrists, Robin quickly put some secure cuffs on him. With Slade secure, Ravanger approached him unsure of what just happened. Slade just stared back at his only daughter and said "I'm sorry Rose."
(AN/ What did you guys think? Please Review. Next Chapter is Silent Night. Will Arella get back to the future? How will the Titans handle Raven's pregnancy? Will the Titans get their Xmas presents? Find out next time. See you soon)