This is the last chapter for this story. It has been so much fun. But don't worry! I have the sequel's first chapter completed and will be putting that up today. Probably won't show for 3 days but when it does, I do hope you will enjoy it. It will be different and will be showing how everyone's lives changed due to this story's incidents. So without further ado, here is the last chapter. Thank you all!
Chapter 40: Replacement
The morning light brought little comfort to the inhabitants of the Titan's Tower. With Raven gone, they needed a new member on the team. The only problem was, it would be extremely hard, near impossible, to find anyone who could replace a girl like Raven. Robin standed in the doorway to an empty room, where Raven's belongings used to be. It was barren and lonely there, and still a deep shock to know that she would not be returning to them. Robin was in a state of depression and remorse for everything he said to Raven and done to her. All this time he had been right to assume Raven was mutinous and working with Slade, yet...Robin had to wonder. What had Slade done to seduce her? All those tests showed she wasn't being forced to cooperate with him. No microrobotics, no poisons, no nothing to prove he was forcing her will. All her choices since the day Slade showed up again had been of her own will and conscience.
A soft hand laid on his shoulder and Robin turned to see a large pair of green eyes staring at him with worry. Starfire was indeed worried about Robin, who had been silent ever since the events with Lex, Raven and Slade. All four of them felt deeply betrayed when Raven outright told them she was leaving the team and going with Slade. Though from what Starfire could determine was Slade showed an unusual string of emotions. There had been many tough fights with Slade in their past, and never once did they see Slade get so desperate as to turn a gun on someone. As far as they knew, Slade always stuck by technology and martial arts. The anger she felt and saw in his eye as he stared at Lex was a raw emotion and it had to have taken a lot to unravel his usual calm demeanor. A strong desire and emotion to protect something that was precious to him, and that very thing was their friend Raven.
"Star...I can't understand why she gave us up for him. I mean...I thought we were all good friends and trusted each other. We even risked our lives to fight her father. It wasn't just Slade risking himself..."
"Robin...I think I have determined the reasons for Slade's acts of unusualness. I think it is that...he loves her. And Raven has the same feelings. Never have I seen Slade use...is it called a "gun" ? Slade was there only to make sure she was safe...no matter what."
Fingers clenched tightly as Robin tried his best to see it Starfire's way but all he could think is that Raven was innocent of turning bad. There was a desire to find any way possible to exclude her willingness to run away with Slade. The more he desperately tried to find an excuse, the more sense Starfire's words made. Then in the back of his mind echoed Slade's speech to Robin before he left. How he claimed to have accepted Raven without calling her weird...of which Beast Boy has called her numerous times. Claimed that he treated her with respect and protected her with his own life. There had been a few times they failed in that perspective, especially with the respect. Slade turned on Lex, who he had stated was once a friend, in order to keep Raven safe. Could Robin say he gave up a friend to protect Raven? Robin began to realize there were things Slade had accomplished that the rest of them hadn't. All of them deep in their mind, always thought Raven as odd for the powers she had and the moodiness she expressed. It was always their excuse if talking to her didn't work.
"Star...do you think we didn't treat Raven well? That somehow...someway...Slade has treated her better than any of us had?"
"...Well...I think we have. We have been the friends of Raven for a long time. I do believe we have done much for her...though....perhaps, we could have tried much harder?"
Both of them stared at the empty room and in the end, Starfire coaxed Robin to close the door and go to bed. They all needed sleep and rest after their ordeal and the pain of losing a good friend. Robin had pretended to go to his room and rest until Starfire was gone before he ventured to the roof. The night was pulling over the sky and all day they had been lazy, still in a haze about everything that happened to them. Robin stared up at the open, vast sky, bright stars beginning to brighten one by one. A cool wind blew over Robin as he stared at the twilight and think of all the possibilities. Talking to Raven instead of attacking her like he did. Giving reassurance instead of suspicion. They had put out a search for a replacement, but everyone was reluctant to give any of them a chance.
"Hello up there!"
A faint, female voice reached up to the roof and when Robin looked down, there was a girl outside the tower. She was looking up at him and waving frantically, trying to gain his attention. Immediately Robin's defenses kicked in as no one was supposed to be able to access the island their base was on. Robin went inside and rushed down the stairs to the front doors to meet this stranger. The doors slammed shut as he approached the young girl.
"How did you get here? Who are you?"
"Um, excuse me. That isn't a way to greet a guest, right? I got here by boat. See? And well, I always wanted to be a titan. I seen you guys in the cities cleaning up the crime and I was thinking, and hoping, there might be room for another? I am really good at martial arts, and any kind of blades. Really!"
Robin took in the girl's innocent looking face. She had bright blue eyes and long, shining white hair. Her skin was pleasantly golden, and healthy. When she mentioned martial arts, Robin began to note her body and the firm shape she had. The outgoing personality and persistent attitude was also a plus. Robin folded his arms and continued to give her an judging eye.
"What do you say? Let me try out here and you'll see how good I am."
The determination in her eyes was convincing and thought that if she didn't measure up against himself or the others, then they would put her back in her little boat and send her back. There could be no harm and since she was already here, they may as well. He figured he'd have to wake everyone up so they could meet this girl and give their own opinion.
"Ok...but what's your name?"
"Oh, right! I forgot to introduce myself...my name's Rose."
Robin stared at her for a long while, knowing that somehow, and someway, that she was very familiar. That look and the very aura of her was as if he had known this person for a long time, but a person he didn't like at all. Still, her smiling face and eager attitude won Robin over as he decided to give this girl a chance. There was a lingering thought about Terra, a strange girl who turned up from nowhere just as this did, and turned to be one of their greatest enemies, but one of their best friends. Robin offered a small smile and invited the girl into the tower to introduce her...and perhaps, the sorrowful atmosphere in the tower would lift.