She knew that they would come. She knew that they would fight for their precious teammate. She knew all of this. But it was futile. All of their desperate attempts to save poor, little Raven Roth would be for naught. They wouldn't succeed. They would never succeed. She would have her way. She would have her apocalypse. Her anarchy.
A cruel smile grew on her lips as she stared out the large window that overlooked Jump City. This place would go first. Under their new rule, the citizens of Jump would cower. They would bow down at her feet. They would beg for mercy that she wouldn't give. She would bathe in their blood. Dance to their screams. And all with the help of the unconscious girl in her captivity. Power unlike any other would soon be at her fingertips.
A strange glimmer flickered in her gaze as it darkened from a vivid blue into a pitch black. Turning from the window, lightning flashed ominously behind her as she made her way to her dark mistress. She took in the way the pale young demoness appeared to be sleeping restfully. She was hovering a good four feet off of the ground, dress hanging heavily midair. Christine giggled at the sight. Something so peaceful about to cause so much carnage.
Her hands hovered over her, feeling the even breath with each rise and fall of an ample chest. Her palms tingled with anticipation, and she felt magick thicken the air. Felt it lick at her, urging her on. She combed her fingers through violet locks, letting the silky feeling slip by. Raven hummed contently in her sleep, but otherwise did not stir. Finally, she let her eyes flutter shut, and she sank her fingers into Raven's psyche. Both women let out screams of pure agony, amethyst eyes shooting open as pain electrified her entire being. In an instant, she was sure that they would both be destroyed. A moment later, light erupted around them, surrounding them completely.
Lights through out the entire city shattered, leaving only darkness.
"I lost her," Slade muttered, eye wide as if he couldn't possibly fathom it. "I lost her..."
Robin had never been so petrified. Who was this person? Who was this crumbling desperate man before him? Certainly, it couldn't be the same villain who had bested him so many times. Certainly, it wasn't the same cruel, manipulative enemy he'd sought to destroy for so long. It couldn't be. That man didn't have emotion. He was a mask. A hard, sadistic mask with a mind made for controlling others. A man who couldn't possibly be affected by the loss of Raven.
But it was. It was the very same Slade who had haunted his nightmares. It was the twisted monster of a man that did nothing for anyone but himself. And there was that same man clutching his shoulders, a solemn look of defeat marring his features. Robin wanted to hit him. He wanted to yell at him and punish him for losing their best friend. His best friend. His jaw clenched, and his body shook with rage. Abruptly, everything snapped into place.
With a snarl, he wrapped his hands around Slade's colar and gave him a sharp shake. "Shut up! We didn't lose her! She isn't lost."
It was surreal to have a grey eye, so usually full of taunting, look at him with hope. "What do-"
"We're getting her back," Robin snapped, releasing his hold on the older man.
He turned away from him, facing his teammates. He was ready to give the peptalk. Ready to inspire the troops. But judging by the hard, determined looks on their faces, he didn't have to. His lips twitched up in slight amusement. Of course they were ready for action. The Titans never backed down. They never left a man behind.
He heard Slade shift behind him, and he glanced over his shoulder. He was relieved to see a familiar coolness in the man's gaze. A familiar, bone-chilling hardness that the villain had always been known for. He sidled up next to the young Titan, face resolute and assured. Robin wanted to laugh. It was good to have him back, no matter how much he hated his guts.
"Let's get moving." Slade stated, voice rich with violence to come.
His body ached with each movement. It felt as though part of him was being ripped to pieces. The feeling was ominous and unwelcome. It created an emptiness in his chest that he hadn't felt in years. Not since the loss of his late wife. And this feeling was stronger. Far more devastating.
Clenching his jaw, he spun his body, swinging out with the borrowed bowstaff Robin had lent him. His fury was boundless, and he could feel her pain. hear her screams. Rage was boiling quickly under his skin, making him move with a greater urgency. It made him fight faster and harder. It made him pray to a god he didn't believe in for her safety. To have her back in his arms.
The Titans were holding their own. Fighting the good fight was what they did, after all. Saving Raven only made them fight harder. He could see it in their movements and in the grim looks plastered to their faces. he wanted to praise them, in a way, for growing up so well. For becoming the heroes he'd always wanted them to be. For becoming the young adults he could be proud of.
The group finally made their way into the lobby where Raven was being held. It hadn't been hard to find. It was the only building in all of Jump City with the lights still on. It was the only one reeking of rotting flesh. They made it past the initial guards of undead. There were more waiting inside. The Titans charged into it headfirst, following Batman and Selena as they lead. Robin and Slade hovered at the entrance, breath short as they collected themselves.
"I hate you." The boy stated blandly, watching as his team plowed through zombie after zombie.
"I know," Slade nodded, gaze remaining forward. "I never wanted anything more then that."
The young hero snapped him an incredulous glare. "You wanted me to hate you?"
Slade's lips curved up in amusement as he returned the glance. "Do you even see how much you've grown, Robin? How strong you've become? Your hatred- your loathing was your drive."
The hero would have gaped if he'd had the time, but there were more pressing matters. The hoards of undead had been parted like the Red Sea. The Titans were making quick work of the beasts, and Slade sprung into action with Robin not too far behind him. Their path was clear, and their gazes locked onto the elevator doors as they slid open.
Slade tumbled in first, rolling and twisting until he had his back against the far wall. Robin was next to go, diving for the waiting lift. Cold, dead hands caught him. He cried out as they pulled him back, away from Slade. Away from saving Raven. In a flash, Slade drew a gun and fired. The zombies that had had hold of Robin lay re-dead on the marble floor. Eyes widened behind a black and white mask, and this time he really did gawk at the older man. He'd just saved him.
A brow quirked up in amused impatients, and Slade tucked his gun away. "Are you coming, or not?"
The dark haired man quickly snapped out of it; moving forward into the elevator and out of the chaos. He knew his friends would be fine. He knew that they could handle anything that came their way. The doors slid shut behind him, and his gaze narrowed dangerously at the taller man in the lift with him. He shifted forward, pressing the top floor button, and then leaned back. He seemed so casual and calm, but Robin knew, now. he knew that there was a bubbling wrath underneath the nonchalant exterior. He appreciated it.
The rise to the top was long and slow. Full of tension. Robin felt like he was practically vibrating out of his own skin. He was sure that Slade was feeling much of the same thing. His jitters were justified when he caught Slade clenching and unclenching his hands in anticipation. His bowstaff was thrust into his face, and Robin's brows shot up in surprise. Did Slade mean to go in unarmed? Glancing over, he noted the other man taking out a large gun, and immediately gulped.
"That's new," he muttered, taking his bowstaff with reluctance. "What are you going to do with that?"
Seeing him without a mask was the most surreal thing he'd ever encountered. Seeing all of the expressions, instead of just the stoicism the mask had offered, was completely new. And so was the shiver of fear that ran up his spine at the dark look the older man passed him. He swallowed thickly again, and he knew that he didn't have to ask that question, again. That gun was going to be put to use. It was going to send a bullet right between Christine's eyes. Normally, he would have protested.
But the bitch deserved it.
The final ring of their arrival chimed overhead. Both men fell silent and faced forward. Ready for hell. Ready to fight for their lives, in order to save Raven's. The doors slid open as a snail's pace, and Robin found himself growing ever more anxious. he was about ready to just charge forward, when they opened all of the way to reveal absolutely nothing. The odd pair froze on the spot, searching for something- anything- but only finding empty space. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled from somewhere outside, and it lit the darkened room for an instant. Still nothing.
Robin crept forward first. Bowstaff extended, he walked past the threshold and into the large room, ears perked for any strange noises. When he saw that nothing was happening to the boy, Slade followed him out into the black. The elevator doors slid shut behind him the second he stepped off; an eerie cackle had them both cursing their own judgement. They should have known.
Then, Robin was being knocked back against the wall like he was nothing. A rag doll being tossed across the room. He let out a grunt, and he didn't move to get up. His head lolled forward as he slumped down against himself. One down. One to go. Slade tensed, eye narrowed at the slim figure that stood before him. His lip curled up into a sneer, and he pointed his automatic at her. She smiled at him, opening her mouth to say something, but he pulled the trigger before she could utter a word.
The bullet hit its mark. Her eyes went wide for a moment, pain obviously rolling through her. A snarl erupted passed her lips, and Slade unloaded his gun into her. Each step she took forward, he shot a bullet. Each time, it only seemed to make her more angry. To make her rush at him faster. The next thing he knew, his clip was empty, and he had an angry demigoddess slamming him back. Her eyes grew dangerous, and she drew her clawed hand back, ready to tear a hole in his chest.
But something stopped her.
A smirk spread across her face, and she backed off with a small giggle. "You have no idea what's coming..."
And then Raven was there. His beautiful bird, standing right next to Christine, her hair mussed and falling around her shoulders. Her pale skin looked absolutely luminescent. There was a grace he rarely saw in her as she moved forward, fingers outstretched. Soft flesh brushed over his cheek, and he felt his back hit a wall as she neared. He was so relieved to see her safe. He felt like a weight had been hefted off his chest.
Until another, far more heavy, one came crashing down on top of him. Raven's eyes glowed an evil red, and her lip curled up as that delicate hand wrapped around his neck. His eye widened in horror as the dark magick seemed to whip around her. This wasn't his girl. This wasn't the woman he-
"Silly man," She tsked with a tilt of her head.
It was unnatural, the way she moved. Each motion ending in a small jerk, as if her body was fighting against her. His gaze darted over to Christine, who stood back, a wicked grin on her face. She was gazing at Raven as if she were a prize. Some possession that could take over everything. She was wrong. She was so very wrong.
"Raven," Slade grit out, hand coming up to grip her wrist after he dropped his gun with a clatter to the floor. "Listen to me-"
"I will not be commanded," Raven hissed and her magick flared up before quickly settling again.
He saw her flinch. He smelled the seared flesh. His eye caught sight of the bangle still hanging around her arm. Gaze flickering back to her face, he noted the anger, the unbelievable rage that he saw there. This was still Raven. He kept having to remind himself that it was still her. That there wasn't some demon inside of her. The demon was a part of her. It always had been. And he found himself not caring in the least.
"Are you going to at least make it interesting for her?" Christine asked with a mirthful lilt to her voice. "I thought you would fight back a little."
"I'd never hurt her," he grunted out as Raven's hand tightened around his jugular. "Never."
He stated it with a purpose. If he could just reach the better part of her. He could feel the light humming just under the surface of evil. Could feel it clawing to get out. All he had to do was reach it somehow. All he had to do was wake her up from this nightmare.
"Cute, Slade." Christine hummed, but there was an odd glint in her dark gaze. "Don't you think it's cute?"
"What?" He snapped back, body going rigid as Christine floated over and draped herself across Raven's shoulders.
She bat her eyelashes innocently up at him. "That she's killing you first. The man she loves with all her heart: the first to die."
He felt a pang in his chest. She loved him? He'd suspected it, but hearing it from another was a completely different story. It made hope bubble up in his chest, completely renewed. His grip around her wrist tightened, and his eye caught deep crimson ones. The demoness was frozen. Waiting. For what, he didn't know- all he knew was that she loved him. And he would be damned if that information was going to go to waste.
"Raven," he whispered her name, watching the way her jaw clenched and ignoring the way Christine smiled. "Stop this. I know you can hear me in there. You have to-"
"Oh, do shut him up already." Christine growled, pulling away from the pair with a look of disgust on her face. "All of this... humanity is making me ill."
Raven frowned, and he suddenly found it very hard to breathe. He felt his life slipping away from him. Felt it slipping through his fingers like he was trying to catch smoke. His vision swam, and he gasped a croaking breath. Ever intent, Raven held him there, suffocating him with a single, vice-like grip. He clutched at her arm harshly, fighting for his final words. He refused to die without telling her.
"R-Raven," it was barely a whisper, but she could hear it. He knew she could. "Raven... I... I love you..."
He saw the way her red eyes widened. Saw the way they flickered. He smiled briefly. He knew she'd heard. Even if it didn't change anything, he could die knowing he'd told her. Knowing that she was alive, and that she knew that she was loved. Blackness curled around the edges of his vision before death came to welcome him into her cold embrace.
With a faint hitch in her breath, she let him fall to the floor. He wasn't breathing. There was no pulse. She heard Christine laugh from behind her. She felt the rage boil through her, just as the demigod had wanted. She wanted Raven powerful and angry. She wanted to have the demon in her rule over the world. It would be easy, too. Humanity was so easy to manipulate using the right spells. Raven knew all of them; she had the power to back them up.
Christine laughed. It was charming and mellifluous. Raven turned to face her, eyes red with wrath. Alive with want of blood and death. The other woman opened her arms, offering her a home in them. A thrown. A new world order. A chance to take over this universe and the next. Raven had never been so disgusted. Anger felt more angry towards this woman, then anything else. The desire for gore and carnage was still there- but it was to see Christine's head on a spike. Bloody, lifeless eyes staring eternally into the nothingness.
"Come, darling." Christine cooed. It was power with her. All power.
Raven felt Love bubbling up inside of her. And Anger welcomed her just as Christine was welcoming Raven. With a snarl, a burst of magick gathered around the young demoness, shattering the black cuffs that restricted her. Crimson quickly faded to white, and the shocked look on Christine's face was priceless. Black surged forward, shoving straight through the woman's chest. Gasping, blood oozed from her mouth, and she glared hotly at Raven.
"You're mine!" She hissed, voice growing deep and eyes fading black. "You work for me! You're mine!"
Raven frowned, magick swirling familiarly around her as she opened a portal to the darkest, farthest regions of the farthest universe she could find. "I was never yours."
Magick split the woman apart before shoving her through the portal. It sealed with a loud 'pop', and then Christine was no more. As soon as she was gone, Raven felt panic rush through her. Emotions fluttered about inside her head, but no glass broke around her. No random objects began to float. She hardly noticed the new, subconscious control over her powers as she rushed to Slade's side. Tears in her eyes, she slid to the floor, cradling his face in both of her hands.
"No," she whispered desperately, and she gathered all the magick she had within her before pushing it forcefully into his system.
Black lightning flashed from within the room as Robin finally came to. He watched as Raven sobbed over Slade's body, and wondered what horrors he'd missed. He hesitantly got to his feet, edging towards the couple with a wariness. Violet eyes glanced up and locked with his, and his breath caught at the sight. She looked so broken.
"He's not breathing." Her voice cracked. "He's not-"
Slade's eye shot open and he gasped deeply, ending it with a massive coughing fit. Raven trembled, eyes wide as she stared down at her formerly deceased lover. As soon as he had finished hacking, he looked up at her with a smile curling softly on his lips. Reaching up, he brushed a tear from her cheek. She shook, her own delicate hand cupping his. Robin felt like he was intruding.
"You're alive." She whispered, completely elated.
"Only for you," he replied, sitting up slowly, but never letting his gaze leave hers. "Raven, I-"
"I know," she nodded, cutting him off. "Me too."
Chuckling, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. "I'm never losing you again."
She sniffled pitifully, but there was such a blinding smile on her face. Robin felt uncomfortable. But he couldn't help the small grin growing into existence on his lips. He also couldn't help but suddenly hide it when Slade stood, Raven still in his arms, and faced the young man. They nodded to each other, a silent understanding passing between the two of them. Robin limped over to the elevator, and Slade followed with his fingers intwined in Raven's.
Brow furrowed, the doors slid shut in front of them as they got on and hit the lobby button, and Robin looked at the two questioningly. "What happened to Christine?"
The Titans had been fighting for what felt like forever. They were tired, and the zombies just kept coming. Even Batman and Selena looked a little worse for wear. Cyborg grimaced, charging up his sonic cannon again. They had to keep it up. They had to keep the goons distracted while Slade and Robin saved his lil' Rae.
It was a pleasant surprise when the undead froze and slumped to the floor with a harsh thud.
Confusion flickered over BeastBoy's face as he morphed back into his human form. "What happened, dude?"
"Hell if I know," Cyborg shrugged, cannon still at the ready.
When he heard the chime of an elevator arriving, he whipped around sonic cannon ready to blow the crazy woman's head off. He blinked owlishly as Robin came limping in, a smile on his face with Slade and Raven behind him. The Titans stood frozen for a long moment before they cheered excitedly and rushed forward. They were so happy, that even their ex-foe got caught up in the massive group hug around Raven. Batman and Selena hung back, smiling softly at the sight.
As they all pulled away, Slade dusted himself off before pulling Raven closer to himself. "Now, that this is all over, I'm taking Raven home."
"What?" Robin snapped irritably, tossing his hands up. "She was only staying with you to keep her safe- she's not going back!"
Cyborg rolled his eyes, wapping Robin upside the head. "Shuddap, dude."
Raven giggled, smiling at her would-be-brother gratefully. "Thanks, Vik."
Beast Boy blanched. "Dude... Did she just giggle?"
Tara elbowed him. "C'mon, BB. You're ruining the mood."
"Mood?" Starfire tilted her head in puzzlement. "What mood?"
The entire group raised their eyebrows at her. How had she not-
"Do you mean the fact that friend Raven and her male companion wish to embark on romantic endeavours in the bedroom?" Starfire blinked innocently.
Beast Boy turned more green. Tara blushed alongside Cyborg, who awkwardly scratched the back of his head. Robin simply looked like he was about to pass out. Raven let a bemused smile take over her face, and she looked up at Slade. He grinned wolfishly back. Starfire smiled brightly.
"She makes a good point," Slade muttered. "Want to get out of her, pretty bird?"
The rosy flush that spread across her cheeks was almost as satisfying as seeing Robin sway on his feet before falling to the ground, unconscious once more. Raven leaned up, pressing a sweet kiss to his cheek before she turned to her friends. There was a twinkle in her eyes, and Starfire was delighted that her friend had found such a man to love and adore.
"See you guys later," Raven stated bluntly before black magick enveloped her and Slade, taking them away from prying eyes.
Silence rained over the remaining group until Beast Boy spoke up once more. "That did not just happen."
Tara hummed in the same delight Starfire was stewing in. "It totally did."
Across town, Raven snuggled against Slade in his bed. She hummed in content, and he smiled down at her tenderly. She didn't dream of death or fear. Wrapped in Slade's protective hold, she could finally sleep at night.
A.N.: No joke. It's over. That's it. Christine is gone forever. Raven and Slade are a happy couple. Same with BB and Tara. Raven still fights crime during her free time. Slade is just awesome off on the sidelines. Sometimes he breaks into T-Tower just to bother Robin. But besides that? It's over.
I hope you guys enjoyed this journey with me. I've grown so much as a writer since I began this nightmare of a story. I've grown as a person. I hope you have grown some, too.