Chapter Eight: Shattered
My feet became quite acquainted with the ground after that moment. I didn't even bother levitating. Not because I didn't want to, but because my mind was in such a blur at the time that I didn't even think of it. I was sprinting so quickly that I almost missed my turn at the elevator and nearly tripped trying to recover.
"Come on, come on!" I grumbled to the elevator button.
The elevator groaned into motion and music started playing from the stereo above.
"When there's trouble you know what to do! Call Cyborg! He can - "
Okay, yeah, I destroyed the speaker. Not important right now. I was frustrated and scared to death. Cyborg's self-composed theme song was not exactly what I wanted to listen to right now. What was important was that I find Robin and quick.
The elevator stopped with a ding! and let me run out onto the rooftop of Titans Headquarters, where I had presumed Robin to be.
But Raven! How did you know Robin would be there?
Pause. Remember the whole entering Robin's mind thing that took place when he was going nuts with illusions of Slade? And the mental bond that resulted? Yeah, that's how I can detect his general location. We clear? Good. Just making sure there are no unanswered questions left after wards. Play.
"Robin, I - "
The words came out before my eyes could completely process what I had found him doing ... Or rather, what I had found them doing.
They had stopped when they had heard me arrive on the scene, but you didn't have to be a genius to figure out what they were up to. With Robin's arms tied around Starfire's waist and their faces so close together, I found out that I had barged in just as they were having some major quality time together. My words got caught in my throat despite their urgency.
"Oh, Raven," Robin said, letting go of Starfire. "Is there something wrong?"
I tried to talk again. "I looked in - "
LET ME OUT!
A loud wailing was ringing in my mind, pounding at my skull, and giving me a headache that would scare away any bottle of Advil. I turned away, my hands gripping my head.
"Raven! What's wrong?"
"Are you alright?"
The pain started to die down, but only by a little. I looked at them to tell them it was okay, to tell them that we were in more danger than we thought. But as soon as I saw Robin's face drawing closer towards me, the pounding became unbearable.
LET ME OUT, RAVEN! LET ME OUT!
My mind's doors were slamming open as if they'd been kicked outwards. For one fleeting second, I couldn't control anything. I couldn't control my powers, the words I had wanted to say, my motionless body ... Everything was lost in one big explosion of agony and helplessness. I tried to tell them to run, not to get any closer, but it was too late.
At the very last minute, I made one desperate attempt to target all of it somewhere else so they wouldn't be hurt.
Luckily for us, it worked.
Every single window of the Titans Tower shattered into billions of pieces, raining out into the Jump City bay and scattering all over the island. Yes, it would be a pain in the butt to clean up, but that was hardly a major concern of mine.
Immediately following the crash was a clear-cut silence that weighed down on all of us, as we tried to make something out of what just happened. I could hear Beast Boy and Cyborg's shouts of panic from below, I could hear glass fragments dropping into the water, and I could hear the cars on the bridge rushing by as if nothing had happened.
Finally, I saw Robin's hand reach out to me.
"Raven, what - "
LET ME OUT!
I stepped away from him with my back turned to the both of them.
"I have to go meditate," I said.
"Are you - "
Before he could say anymore, I fled inside the elevator and closed the doors without looking at the two of them again. Needless to say, I was now ten times as nervous as I was before. In fact, I don't think the word "nervous" does it any justice. The term "scared beyond relief" works much better, actually.
The trip downwards was like a dream. I didn't have any rational thoughts, or any thoughts at all for that matter. Things were happening too fast. I had too much on my plate and it made me afraid for my life.
When I got to my room, I tore it upside down and inside out. Maybe it hadn't been taken at all. Maybe I just put it somewhere else and forgot about it. The idea seemed hopeless, but at this point I was ready to bank on anything besides what very well may have been the truth. But, alas, I ended up sitting in the middle of my bedroom, gaping at the mess I had made. My books were scattered across the floor, some with their spines facing up and some open and looking up at me, wondering why I was suddenly mistreating them so.
It was then that I noticed how much I was exhausting myself. The doors had closed again, but I could feel them slowly creaking agate again. There was something wrong in the deepest confines of my mind, but I felt too stressed and shocked to care about it right now.
Robin's voice traveled from down the hall and caused a great irritation of pain in my head again. I took that as my cue to be a big girl and deal with my problems.
I locked the door to my room and grabbed the hand-held mirror set on my vanity. I looked at myself, but found it to miserable to look in the eyes. I tried looking beyond it, as if the reflection was transparent, and found myself tumbling into Nevermore.
It seemed empty at first. Just the usual gaping void of space with the occasional stony platform or two. But then I felt an unwanted embrace knock me off my feet.
I shoved Happiness off of me, which is not an easy task, I assure you. She was unfazed and gleamed at me with her undying, and very irritating, smile.
"It's awesome to see you!" she squealed, trying to steal another hug.
I planted my hand on her forehead and held her back. "How you every spawned from me, I will never understand," I said, looking in disgust at her bright pink cloak. It was like watching me do all the most uncharacteristic things in the world without being able to do something about it. Probably why she occupied most of my nightmares.
"Oh, by the way," she said, taking a step back to give me my space, "Nevermore is on the brink of total destruction!"
She said it as if she were announcing that she had just won the lottery.
"Super," I said. "Mind telling me what's been going on, then?"
"You're so silly, Raven!" she giggled. "You know perfectly well what's wrong! You just won't admit it."
"I tend to do that a lot. Why is it becoming a nuisance now?"
She looked as if she was about to say something, but changed her mind and beckoned me with a wave of her hand.
"If you do the airplane thing again - "
Crud, too late. She ran forward with her arms spread out while replicating the sputter of a very annoying plane engine.
"Where have you been?"
Intelligence was looking at me the way a worried mother does when her adolescent offspring comes home an hour after curfew.
"Um, busy?" I said.
"Too busy to take notice to your emotions?!"
" ... Yes."
Happiness held Intelligence back before she could throw the book at me ... Literally. She had come prepared with a hardcover that I assumed was intended to become good friends with my head.
Happiness had led me to the entrance of a cavern I hadn't seen before, though it must have traveled on for a while, because I could just barely hear panicked voices inside.
"Where's everyone else?" I asked.
"Trying to keep you from imploding," Intelligence said.
"I'll have to send them thank you cards. Can I see them, please?"
Intelligence was about to say something, but Happiness had already grabbed my wrist.
"Of course you can!" she laughed, pulling me into the cave.
It was pitch dark at first, though I could see the occasional red glimmer of painted spells on the walls. A scarlet light started to fade into view as we ran in deeper, and the source was close. Before I could ask where exactly we were, I caught a glimpse of Bravery's back turned to me, straining to hold back something that she was blocking from my view.
"Hey, everyone! Raven's here!" Happiness called.
"Good, she can take my place," I heard Sloth say.
Happiness had led me to the end of the cave, a round room glowing red from all the activated spells on the walls. Bravery, Sloth, and Timidity were standing around three other Ravens that had been placed upon a higher leveled spot of ground. The emotions in the middle of the room were being held in by a black box of telekinetic power and wore cloaks of purple, red, and ... bright green?
I nudged Happiness in the arm. "Hey. I haven't met that one," I said, pointing to the emotion in the louder shade of green.
"Well, duh, silly! You never used her until now!"
"Who is she, then?"
I looked back at the trapped Ravens and tried to put things together.
"It's not that hard to figure out, rocks for brains!" Anger shouted.
Okay, so the ones encased against their will were Anger, Envy, and Love ... Dang it.
"This is the worst possible time for this, you know," I said, addressing no one in particular.
"Sorry you can't control your adolescent hormones," Anger snapped, red eyes aglow.
Intelligence appeared next to me. "These three specifically have been the cause of your problems. They've been trying to break free for a while now, but after that long period of lack of sleep the other day, the force keeping them here has weakened."
"Is that why I got into a fight with Robin?" I asked.
Intelligence nodded. "We tried to hold Anger back, but you didn't. It's a good thing you didn't give in completely, though. You might have gone so far as to hurt him.
We've been working in shifts to hold them back, and we also covered this cave in enchantments, but all the stress that's been building up within you has been worsening situation."
"Well, that last part isn't exactly my fault."
"What can I do?"
She sighed and shook her head. "The only thing you can do right now is to meditate as much as possible. Try to put your mind at ease whenever possible. It'll give us more strength to keep them contained until we have more time to try and solve this directly."
"But how can I tell Robin what's happened when I can't even come within twenty feet of him?"
"Send a messenger. Just don't come too close to him. Every time you do, Nevermore weakens."
"I can't avoid him forever."
"We'll let you know when it's safe. For now, meditate. It's all that you can do."
We watched in silence as Anger, Envy, and Love struggled to break free. I walked closer to get a better look at them.
"This ain't a zoo, ogle-eyes," Anger growled.
"Don't be so mean," whined Love.
Envy looked me up and down. "I wish I had a blue cloak."
I sighed and turned to Intelligence. "I'll leave now."
She nodded and restrained Happiness when she tried to hug me. I closed my eyes and muttered under my breath, "Azerath, Metrion, Zinthos."
I envisioned my bedroom and felt myself being sucked in closer. When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on the floor with the mirror in my hands. I placed it back on the vanity, and stood up. I walked to the door, but didn't open it. Robin was long gone, but I did hear someone's footsteps coming closer.
"Hello?" I called.
The footsteps stopped. "Raven?"
It was Cyborg.
"Hey," I said through the door. "I need you to do me a favor."
"What's been going on, Rae?"
"I don't have time to explain. I need you to give Robin two messages for me."
" ... Okay."
"First, tell him that until I say so, he has to stay as far away from me as possible."
"It's for his own good."
"Alright, if you say so. What's the second message?"
"Tell him ... "
I bit my lip, still so hesitant to admit that almost everything that could go wrong was laughing in my face.
"Tell him ... That Malchior's book is gone."