As I have now had a Dark Lord of the Sith threaten to throw force lighting at me if I don't up date I better get on with it
Raven sat on the sofa, her knees tucked under her with the book in her hands. She'd read the first page at least a dozen times already and still couldn't tell a soul what it was about.
She had a world before her, a whole world she had no idea how to live. Maybe that was the point, without some great mission or terrible destiny she had to fight. Real people, normal people, just didn't have any of that. They didn't have responsibilities, the world didn't rest on her shoulders and thousands weren't going to die if she fouled up.
All her life she'd known what to do, what her destiny was and that she had to do do something about it. After it had all gone down she'd stayed with the Titans, nothing else seemed right. Now though the Titans were gone.
'Contemplating the future?' Alfred asked, making her jump.
Closing her book she glanced down at the cover, it was the Tale of Two Cities and for the life of her she couldn't understand why she had picked it up. 'err yeah.' Raven admitted, noticing the tray with a steaming cup of herbal tea. 'I just don't know.'
Alfred put the tray down on the low table. 'If I may make an observation; even if you embrace this new life of yours it will always feel empty.' he sighed and suddenly looked incredibly sad. 'As much as you want it Rachel Roth will only ever be a disguise. You can never change who you are deep inside.'
'But I don't know who that is anymore.' She admitted.
'Of course you do.' he smiled and for a moment Raven saw him not as a butler, but as a father. 'You keep trying to run away from who you are, Rachel is just another way of running.'
'I thought you approved…' she said in a tiny voice.
'I do, I approve very much. If anyone deserves a normal life it's you, but you can't have one without the other.' the old butler looked up and Raven realised Bruce was there, at the other side of the oversized reception room.
'Alfred is right.' Her host said in that cold voice he'd used once before. 'I think there is something you should see.' With that he turned around and walked to a grandfather clock.
As he moved the hands the clock swung open, revealing a hidden staircase. Raven stared at his back as he left. 'What's down there?' she whispered.
'He want's you to see.' The butler told her 'I suggest you do.'
Over Forty Years Later...
Tim looked up at the building, not quite sure what to say. 'Dad, what's wrong?' Sarah asked
'This used to be a pizza restaurant.' he eventually blurted out. It was the Titan's favourite, Tim remembered how he could see most of the city from the balcony, how he'd inwardly wince as Starfire drank another mustard bottle, how Cyborg and Beast Boy would argue about who got the last slice and the phantom smile Raven would try to hide.
Dashing the unshed tears from his eyes he nodded. 'Let's go inside.' Sarah gave him a brave smile and he followed. They didn't make it two steps before they were ambushed.
'Hello, and welcome to the Titans' museum.' The girl was overly chipper, very small, blond and almost quivering with excitement. 'I'm Tina. I'm a guide. There's a, there's a tour every hour and if you have any questions we're happy to help.'
Tim looked at her, closely. She was about twenty-four, thin as a rake and there was something familiar about her. Most people wouldn't recognise it, but it was hard not to with his training. He recognised Beast Boy's eyes, and Terra's jaw line, she was a bit older than they were when he knew either, but some features breed true. 'I heard that this was a Pizza joint back when the original Titans were here.'
'That's right.' Tina told her, 'It was their favourite. When it went out of business, my dad bought it and made it into this.'
'A shrine to the original Titans?' Tim asked.
Tina smiled and nodded. 'Exactly, oh the Titans we have today are awesome, but back then, well they were a league all of their own.' She pointed at a photo on the wall and Tim immediately felt like someone had punched him in the gut with a loaded glove. It was the five of them, smiling, at the Titans Tower. He recognised it instantly, it was the photo they took after defeating Trigon. They'd won what they thought was their hardest battle and come out smiling
'These days kids join the Titans to get into the Justice League.' Tina said, sounding a little bitter. 'but back then they were their own team, followed their own rules.'
'And it usually came back to bite them' Tim chuckled.
'Oh nothing.' he sighed and quickly made a decision. 'I knew a guy, good friend, a long time ago. He'd have loved this, hey you wouldn't happen to know him. His name was Garfield. Garfield Logan.'
She immediately reacted. Taking a step back before getting control. 'I… he's my dad.'
Tim let himself grin, 'Thought so.'
'How'd you know him?'
'Oh we were good friends, a long time ago. I lost contact with him though. It's been a while but he might remember me.'
Tina was still wary, 'You got a name?'
'Yes, but I'm not sure if he knows it. Tell him an old friend from Gotham is back in town and would like to see him.'
'I don't have any old friends in Gotham.' Tim wasn't surprised, but from the way the girls jumped they were. Turning around he saw his old friend for the first time in four decades.
Over Forty Years Earlier…
Raven was a black comet against the morning sky. It almost hurt to leave Gotham and Bruce's mansion. In the week she spent there it was the closest she'd felt to home since the Tower.
Now though she had another mission, for the first time since Robin she had a purpose, a clear goal. She owed Bruce and she was going to repay him, no matter what it cost.
She'd never flown this fast before, the wind whipping past her head as she shot out across the sky like a bolt from a crossbow. The only thing holding her back was the pressure from the sound barrier itself.
All too quickly she was in Metropolis and she realised she didn't have a clue where to start. Her first instinct was to find the Watchtower, but what then? Barge in and demand to see someone from the old League, blasting her way through whatever heroes got in her way? That wasn't very subtle, above all this was private. She'd need a back door, a friend of a friend. Then it came to her.
Changing course at the last minute she headed for another skyscraper. One with an immense bronze globe on the top.
Phasing through the wall she landed in what she guessed was the main offices. A big open plan floor, full of reporters and their computers. Most of them jumped back, shocked, but she wasn't interested in them. She was looking for a dark haired woman she'd only half recognise.
As she scanned the reporters one of them stood up. 'Hello, you're Raven from the Titans aren't you?'
'Yes I am.' She admitted absently. 'I'm looking for Lois Lane.'
'She's on assignment.' another reporter said
Then the first one took a few steps forward. He was tall, very tall, and wore glasses. 'What do you need to talk to Lois for?'
'You're Clark Kent, aren't you?'
'Yes.' He nodded before pushing his glasses back up. 'That's me.'
'Then I guess you'll have to do. I need to get a message to Superman. There's something I need his help with.'
'You need me to get a message to Superman for you?' He blinked, 'Okay what?'
'That I'm looking for him, there's something important he has to know about and I need his help.'
Mr Kent looked at her for a long moment. 'You're serious, aren't you.' She nodded. 'I might have a way.' he admitted carefully.
Raven nodded, 'Thank you. Tell him I'm looking for him.' With that she left.
It wasn't half an hour, and a mugging, later before Raven flew past the Daily Planet building again.
Raven span around, it was him. For a moment she was starstruck, Superman was, perhaps, the greatest hero that ever lived and in person she could see why. He was floating there, above the bronze globe, his hair and cape caught by a breeze she could have sworn wasn't there a moment ago. Still for all his imposing hight and presence she had something that felt very much like deja-vu, even though she was sure she had never met him in person. 'There was a thief…'
'I heard, I also heard you barged into the planet looking for me.' He pointed at the building below and she was certain she knew his voice from somewhere. 'What's so important that you can't just leave a message at the Watchtower.'
'Not important, private. I asked Clark… Kent' Blinking she fixed him with a stare, his identity snapping in place. 'I asked you to meet me because I need you're help.'
He floated back, eyes narrowing dangerously. 'How'd you guess?'
Raven decided to be honest, after all she needed his help. 'I'm an empath, I can read auras. I thought Mr Kent's was a little strange and now, meeting you in character, I can see why. The glasses were a nice touch.'
It was obvious he wasn't happy. 'Thanks.' he said acidly, 'Now what do you want?'
Raven realised that honesty maybe wasn't the best policy here, but she couldn't do anything about that now. 'It's about Batman. I don't know if you know…'
'You've been staying in Gotham, checking up on you're teammate.' He sighed. 'Batgirl told Supergirl, but it was too big for her. I can't imagine how it feels to lose a friend and see him like that.'
'Does everyone know?' Raven tried to keep the bitterness out of her voice.
'I haven't told a soul, neither will Kara.'
'This isn't about him, it's about Bruce and it's personal.' Raven pushed on, seeing his shock that she knew Batman's identity too. 'I need to know where Wonder Woman went.'
There was a long silence and Raven felt like she'd just been put under a microscope. After what felt like an hour he set his impressive shoulders. 'Follow me.'
Over Forty Years Later...
Tim looked at his old friend for the first time in years and slowly smiled. He didn't seem to have grown much past five foot and was almost completely bald, save for a thin line going around the back of his head. The serious look didn't quite fit on his round face but it would have been intimidating to anyone else. 'Oh I think you do, Garfield.'
Beast Boy took a step back, instantly Tim recognised the flicker of indecision as the changeling tried to chose the best form to deal with him. 'Whoa.' Tim held both hands upend backed up himself. 'Dude, I'm not here to fight.'
Something flickered behind him and Tim glanced at a glass case, catching a reflection. Tina had already changed, morphing into what looked like a water-sprite. 'If you don't want to fight, what do you want?'
'To mend a few broken bridges.' he admitted, nodding to the glass case. 'It's been awhile.'
The case held one of his old uniforms, hanging on a dummy. If he had time Tim would have found it ironic that his old team displayed it the same way Bruce did. Beast Boy's eyes widened, then narrowed; 'You're not the first to try that. Robin's dead, now who are you?'
'Robin might be dead, but I'm the boy he was grown up.' Tim dropped his hands. 'I wish, damn I still don't know what I wish. After the Joker…'
'After the Joker what?' Beast Boy said, his voice cracking.
Tim took the opening, he glanced at Sarah. 'He captured me, tortured me for three weeks before Batman and Batgirl found me and when they did,' He swallowed, 'When they did I wasn't me anymore, I was a monster. I killed the Joker with his own gun before they got me out. You and the guys couldn't get to Gotham fast enough, and when you did… When you saw what happened I tried to kill Star.' He could see his old friend beginning to believe him but he had to carry on. 'Raven went into my mind, hoping to snap me out of it, but I wasn't there anymore. You decided to declare me dead, rather than try to explain what really happened.'
'Yeah, its really me.' Tim knew that his old friend was fast, but he hadn't slowed down at all. Before he could really react beast boy had him in a bear hug, although thankfully without the bear part.
'You're back, what happened? How long you been you? Why didn't you call?' he asked before he started laughing.
Carefully Tim got free. 'It's a long story, my old friend, and not something I want to tell more than once. I'll explain when I've seen everyone.'
'That's great! I can't believe this, after all this time you're back!'
Tim shook his head. 'No, not back. I'm just visiting.'
'Dude, I don't care! Your timings perfect, you're just in time for the reunion!'
'I know,' Tim admitted. 'I have an, well you know who, he keeps track of that sort of thing.'
"Really?' Beast Boy looked shocked.
'Oh you have no idea.' Tim laughed lightly and tried not to see how relived his old friend was he stopped. Deciding to change the subject Tim introduced his daughter. 'This is Sarah Drake, she's my daughter.'
'Oh wow,' she whispered, 'This is just, I mean you restarted the Titans!' she turned to look at Tina, 'And she's Water-Girl, one of the triplets! Oh where are the others, are they here?'
'Sure are.' Tina nodded at the door deeper inside the museum. Two more girls flew out, one made of fire and another of what looked like fog.
'Fire and Air!' Sarah squealed in delight. Tim had deliberately avoided keeping track of the Titans, but something told him he didn't need to.
'Terra?' he asked Beast Boy knowingly and his old friend coughed. Terra could manipulate Earth and had been Beast Boy's girl friend, while she had betrayed them to Slade Tim had long since forgiven her. At the time she had been a confused and scared little girl. It was interesting to see how her elemental powers and Beast Boy's shape changing had combined. 'I know it's late, but congratulations.'
'Thanks, same to you.' Beast Boy looked at the now four teenage girls as they seemed to almost immediately hit it off. 'You know, if theres one thing I've learnt its that something like that can only be a bad thing.'
Tim frowned. 'Something like what?'
Beast Boy grinned, showing one fang like tooth, 'Let's just say I hope you've not trained you're girl, otherwise we'll never be able to get some peace!'
Over Forty Years Earlier…
Raven was faced by the remaining members of the original league and for the first time in a very long time felt like a little girl. She'd once heard Cyborg and Robin joke about being brought before the principle being the most terrifying prospect either had experienced. At the time she thought it was a strange idea. Now though she understood.
The five superheroes were all looking at one another and then back at her. 'You wish to visit Paradise Island?' The Martian asked and she felt his mind tough hers. On instinct she threw up her mental shields, shutting him out before she caught herself. Almost reluctantly she lowered them again, but he didn't probe, respecting her privacy.
'If that is where Wonder Woman is then yes. Yes I do.'
'Why, are you looking for some sort of spell to resurrect your friend?' The Green Lantern asked point blank. Raven almost forgot herself and felt her eyes flash with black soul energy when she saw the knowing glance pass between him and Hawkgirl.
Then Superman was there, a restraining hand on her shoulder. 'That's impossible Jon and she knows it.'
'Then why?' Flash asked as he leaned against the wall.
'For Bruce.' Superman said and the attitude of the whole League changed.
End Chapter Eight.