We all knew it had to end sometime…so here is the final chapter. Hope you all enjoyed it.
The world came swimming back into focus for Raven with the throbbing pain of an intense head ache. Bile burned the back of her throat and threatened to rebel from her stomach. Wanting to be in a better position in case she ended up throwing up, she rolled onto her side, or attempted to. Both wrist and legs defied her wish, however. Trying to not open her eyes more than mere slits, as all light, even the dimness of night was excruciating, she turned her head to observe her arm. Shock stabbed through her pain as she realized her wrists were tied up next to her head with bands of steel printed in bloody runes. She was powerless to break them, she learned quickly as an experimental surge of energy flickered and sizzled out. True panic flared its ugly head as her efforts only increased her pain and proved fruitless. A laugh caught her attention, drawing her from her struggles and frantic thoughts.
"Did you think you could escape twice?" Slade strolled into sight from the shadows, his eyes locked with hers. "There are two very important things I learned from the last encounter with your father." He came closer, running his fingers in a gentle caress over the bands at her delicate wrist. Making sure he had her entire attention, he continued, "One, demons, even half demons require arcane black speech to bind them." He grinned at her look of shock and denial.
Raven increased her struggles, twisting violently in her cuffs forgoing using her powers as they were useless against the spell runes on her bonds and trying brute force. Being reduce to human, she was little threat to the steel, but it was quite a different story to her. The metal bit into her wrist and ankles, her struggles tearing open the skin and causing blood to flow freely from her wounds. Slade watched impassively, he cared little if she injured herself or not, so long as she didn't get free before he could complete his plan.
"Slade, you promised me my research." A voice thundered from the shadows. Slade turned his head slowly to meet the angered eyes of Lex Luther. Lex stormed forward, he had kept his part of the bargain and now he wanted his research back. It had taken nearly ten years to gather enough samples from Superman to biologically engineer a chromosome altering injection that would cripple the man of steel while once injected into Lex would give him all of Superman's abilities. The research had been winding to a close, precious few test remained until it was fit to be tried on a human subject when the writhing girl in front of him burst in and snatched it all out from underneath him. He didn't give a damn what Slade planned to do to the chit, but he would get his notes back.
"And you shall. Once my transformation is complete, you will be given the chip back." Slade turned from Lex, disregarding the other villain as easily as a parent to a persistent child. Lex's temper flared, his plans were far more time consuming and worthy than this freaks', he would not be put off. Gathering a knife into his palm, Lex took aim and snapped his wrist, sending the deadly honed blade to seek its target. With lightening fast reflexes, Slade jerked aside, the knife whirling harmlessly past. Raven stilled her struggles; the two villains fighting may offer her a chance at escape.
"No. I will have it now, Slade. I got you your book; you will keep your part of our bargain. I am already being lenient and letting you keep the girl." Lex growled menacingly, bloodlust burning under his skin. Slade seemed to be unperturbed by the other's feelings.
"Fine." Slade reached into the pocket of his suit and attained the chip Raven had stolen nearly three months ago. He rolled it between his fingers before flicking it at Lex, who caught it deftly. Lex smiled evilly, a predatory gleam to his dark eyes. "Leave." Slade commanded. Lex was no longer any use to him. Soon, no one would be able to stand against him. This world would be his, as would all others.
Not particularly fond of being treated like a lackey, Lex snarled. "We will be meeting again, my friend, and next time we do, you shall treat me with the respect due to someone like myself." That said, Lex turned and disappeared into the shadows, no longer concerned with Slade or the girl. Slade watched him go, tracking his departure with emotionless eyes. He would have killed the obnoxious man, but it was pointless. He had to perform his ritual or face losing his chance at total power. Turning back to Raven, he noted she was still watching him with unveiled trepidation.
"If you attempt to bring my father into this world, he will just kill everyone and everything including you." Raven tried to reason with him, after all, Slade had joined forces with them the last time he had tried this. To her surprise, Slade chuckled.
"Ah, come now Raven, you don't think I would waste all this time and effort on your father do you? This brings us to the other thing I learned from our last encounter." Tilting his head, he captured her full attention, flashing the knife he held in his hand. The wicked blade gleamed with a blue light, the black colored metal sharp; its sole purpose was rendering flesh from demonic sources. Raven eyed the blade in horror, she had heard of the Reaper Blade, but until now she had assumed it was a legend.
"Whatever you think is going to happen won't work, Slade. The Salakor ritual is a myth; there is no way to bring that kind of power into you. Don't you think if it was possible, my father would have already done it?" Slade just smiled, the knowing look sending shivers down her spine.
"You see, Raven, you father wanted into this world to search for this particular blade. Once he attained it, he planned to seek the gateway, where he would bleed a demon dry and gain his power. What your father failed to realize is the gateway is not a place, but a person. You. You are the end-all, Raven. Once I read from the Book of Condemned, you will show yourself to be the way. Then all I have to do is take your life. You're a paradox. A cosmic joke. The daughter of the most evil being to touch any galaxy, and yet so pure, you are both dark and light rolled into one. I shall activate the evil in you and kill your innocence. Do you see now?" Slade laughed again, his plans were so close to coming to conclusion. Raven froze. She couldn't be what he claimed her to be, because if she was, once he killed her she would give him the powers of hell, opening all gates from this world to the others. Chaos would reign and supreme to it all would be Slade; no one could defeat him then.
Seeing comprehension dawn, Slade laid the blade above Raven's head, the tip facing away from her. Opening the Book of Condemned, Slade began reciting the black speech ritual found within. Raven's blood lit, boiling within her veins. Her dyed black hair shifted back to its original purple, her eyes splitting and bleeding red. Her nails sharpened to claws, while her body emitted the black glow of power. Arching her body, she attempted to escape her pain caused by the low hum of arcane words. A scream ripped from her throat, it was more animal than human, a snarl of rage you would expect from a caged beast. With the final word, Raven felt her body shift once again. Light exploded from her, its brilliance stunning Slade momentarily.
From different directions, the Titans emerged from the shadows, all drawn by the mass of black clouds churning over this abandoned building. Riley and Richard pushed themselves to the extent of their ability as they heard an animalistic scream. Bursting through the door, the crime fighters and their one time enemy were engulfed by a bright white light.
Sensing the arrival of the Titans, Slade turned briefly towards them locking eyes with first Robin, then Red X. Smirking triumphantly, he snatched up the blade and drew it high over head. "You're too late."
Before them, the light receded leaving the demonic half of Raven attached to the tablet, thrashing and gnashing her fangs in anger. Her demonic power was snapping in a black veil about her body and twining with the lingering white light hovering around another figure lying unattached to the tablet. Another Raven lay arched and still, the human Raven. Black hair spilled over the edge of the tablet as human Raven relaxed, her body lying peacefully back against the cold marble. Slade brought the blade down and plunged it deep into the beating human heart of the pure Raven. Demonic Raven wailed in pain and rage, her head turning to watch the now blood slick blade jerk from the chest of her human half.
"No!" The cry came from multiple lips, two of which collapsed to the ground holding their heads while experiencing only a fraction of the pain their link offered them from human Raven. Human Raven opened her eyes for a brief moment, the neon blue irises nearly swallowed by her pupils. Blood stained her chest and ran in rivers down her pale form. Tears welled in her eyes before she too, turned her head and locked eyes with her demonic half.
"Don't." The growl from demonic Raven's throat was scratchy and fierce. Human Raven just sighed out what air she had left in her lungs and slowly closed her eyes. Her spilt blood flared with dark power, black flames trailed over the blood on the blade in Slade's hand and merrily danced along her dying body. Glimpse of other worlds were seen in those dark flames, the gates were opening as human Raven died, her pure blood the key to unlocking the power of the dimensions.
"I don't understand." Slade stared at his hands, the blade forgotten while he tried to make sense of what happened. He didn't gain any other-worldly power, he wasn't all mighty, and the innocence of Raven was dead before him. Demonic Raven screamed again, her power flaring with the death of her other half. Robin and X had regained their feet with the aid of the Titans and were racing towards Slade and the Ravens.
"YOU BASTARD! YOU BETTER HOPE SHE ISN'T DEAD!" Cyborg startled them all with his outburst, drawing the stunned Slade's attention to the advancing Titans. Sneering, he eyed the group closing ranks about him. Behind him, demonic Raven reached out to human Raven, their hands touching briefly before the bonds on her wrist halted her. Snarling, she curled her hands into fist and sliced at the skin on her palms till blood lathered her hands. Jerking her arms, she let her own blood wet the cuffs. Narrowing her eyes, she pulled as hard as she could, gaining her freedom from the slightly too large bands.
Slade had engaged the Titans in battle, finding it more difficult than the last time he had fought them with the added advantage of age and Red X fighting with them. Gritting his teeth, he maneuvered his way to the tablet as an attempt to keep his back free from Titans. Little did he notice Raven's escape from her prison. Seeing Slade approach, demonic Raven snarled, the sound drawing Slade up short. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the crouched form and angry red eyes of the demoness. Too late, he attempted to turn and block the rapid strike. Raven caught him in the back with her elongated razor claws, shredding through his ribs and piercing his heart. Her blow was so powerful, she almost slammed out through the front of his body, and instead she twisted her hand, rending Slade's heart into ribbons. Slade slumped to the ground, pausing briefly as Raven pulled her fist from his body. Blood and darker thicker stuff clung to her hand, oozing sedately to the tablet beneath her.
The Titans stared in shock at the abrupt end of their worse nemesis. Richard and Riley both eyed Raven, their link was weak now that the part of Raven that was good lay dead in front of them, but it was still strong enough for them to feel the hate and sheer power fluxing through the demon's veins.
"Raven, please, you know us." Richard pleaded with the creature before him, fearing he would have to try to kill her if he couldn't reach some part of her that was still human enough to listen. She snarled at him, lifting her hand and licking a swatch of blood off her index finger.
"God, please don't do this Raven." Riley pleaded, his eyes, just like the others, kept flashing to the too still and pale form of human Raven. He had seen first hand how callous and violent demonic Raven could be and he didn't relish fighting the woman he loved like that again. Seeing they didn't intend to attack her, demonic Raven tilted her head, a sound catching her attention. As they had been fighting, the gates had widened and a dull roar had become an insistent clamor. The creatures previously locked in other dimensions were attempting to tear into this world, their burning eyes and clawed hands shoving at the ever widening tears in their world. The promise of conquest and fresh blood made them mad, their mouths foaming over with greed.
"This has to be stopped!" Starfire cried desperately as a ghoul raked its claws very near her thigh. Everyone knew Raven was the key, but none of them wanted to have to try to kill her. Demonic Raven continued to ignore the Titans, her focus on the masses squirming and shoving ever closer to freedom. A frown appeared on her face, before her lips pulled back into a snarl. Suddenly, her head swiveled and she stared intently at the prone form of her human half. Sliding closer, Raven touched the curled fingers of her other half, a look of bewilderment crossing her features. She glanced back at the opening portals, before leaping gracefully from the tablet and coming to rest on the balls of her feet next to Slade's body. Eyeing the Titan's wearily, she scooped up the blade Slade had dropped and studied the stained weapon.
"It won't stop. Only death of both shall bring power to one." At first the growled words didn't register for the stunned Titans. Then all too quickly they realized what demonic Raven was trying to tell them. Slade had failed because he had only killed her human half, to gain full power he had to kill the key and the vessel. Demonic Raven was the vessel of power, the other part of the riddle. As long as she lived the gates would remain open and sooner or later someone would figure it out and kill her gaining all the demonic powers of hell and dominion over everything. Her friends instantly rebelled against the conclusion Raven had come to. They protested and railed against the logic presented to them.
"I won't let them kill you! There has to be another way! Raven, don't you dare!" The last was shouted as the demonic girl clasped hands with her human half and raised the blade above her head. She smirked at the people standing before her as she lowered the blade into her own chest.
"Forgive me." The words were gurgled and hard to comprehend, but not nearly as hard as the act Raven had just committed. Riley caught her before she hit the floor, cradling her to his chest and staring intently into her red eyes. Raven stared back, until Richard took her hand and held it to his face. Looking between the two, she sighed and let her self succumb to the dark embrace of death.