I'm sorry, but I'm not very familiar with the Teen Titans television series. I only saw it once, years ago, and I didn't get to see all of the episodes or any re-runs. I did my best to concoct this story from what I remember, and in particular this one-shot is based on a scene that I'm fairly sure occurred somewhere in the series. Please forgive me if I get a lot of it wrong, especially since I really don't know or understand Raven very well. I know, I know: Why write about a character you're not familiar with? Well, I suppose that I was simultaneously bored and adventurous, and that's the excuse I'm sticking to. : )
Furthermore, this is kind of a tentative foray into a darker theme, so if it seems a little bizarre, I'm sorry. I'm trying my best here.
I do not own Teen Titans or anything associated with it.
Raven hovered in the air, legs crossed and elbows propped on her knees. Behind her, the rest of the Teen Titans were avidly engaged in a volleyball game on the roof of the T Tower. She was trying hard to meditate despite the noise, for her emotions had been a little stirred up lately, and she needed to be sure to put them down.
"Raven! Look out!"
Of course she already knew about the volleyball shooting her way. One of the side effects of meditating was being indifferently yet acutely aware of the immediate surroundings. Every little noise, every little movement, even a slight shift in the wind, it was all so clear in a meditative equilibrium, which was why it was so difficult to meditate when there was a lot going on in the environment.
Without so much as twitching, Raven stopped the volleyball inches from the back of her head and sent it shooting back to the players. She was a little irritated that the ball had come sailing her way in the first place, but she didn't allow the annoyance to develop into an emotion.
Robin caught the volleyball with an oomph! and had to ask, "You sure you don't wanna play?"
"No," Raven succinctly replied.
Thankfully the other Titans let it go, and their game quickly resumed.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos," Raven quietly said to herself. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos. Azarath..Metrion..Zinthos. Azarath…Metrion…Zinthos…"
It wasn't working this time. Repeating the mantra to herself usually helped her to focus, to shut out the distractions from the perfect stillness she was seeking, but it just wasn't working at the moment. As if already experiencing some lapsing in her control were not enough, everyone loudly having fun in the background was just too much for her to find that emotionless peace.
Sure, it had been her choice to join them on the roof of the T Tower. Despite what they might think, though, Raven didn't actually like to be alone. It should have been obvious, to tell the truth. Her room was wonderfully quiet and dark, a perfect place to meditate, yet here she was on the roof with the team, trying to find stillness while everyone was shouting and running around behind her. Didn't they notice? Raven didn't want to be alone, but nor did she want to be engaging in the same pointless interactions they were. She was content to escape her solitude merely by being around them.
Raven's eyebrow twitched in irritation. No, no one would ever notice or understand. They just didn't see things the same way she did, and she couldn't see things the way they did. Like that pointless volleyball game. Why would she want to run around in the already hot sun, smacking some white ball over a net? What did that accomplish? It was supposed to be "fun," but that was a concept Raven couldn't really understand. She could watch the others enjoy themselves playing games, but she knew from experience that it wasn't the same for her. No matter how she might try, she couldn't enjoy certain things like other people did. It was best just to watch people enjoy themselves and vicariously appreciate whatever it was that brought them happiness.
"Raven! Look out!"
This time Raven's irritation escalated to the brink of anger, so she simply slid out of the way and let the ball fly out over the tower to be lost below. It sounded like Beast Boy was about to complain, and that really pushed her tolerance.
It just wasn't fair. They got to feel things like joy, happiness, and comfort; they got to believe in things like hope and happy endings. How could they believe in such fragile, ephemeral things? Pain, sorrow, loss, hate, anger, shame, despair, these were all much stronger, were much more real than all of that pleasant stuff. It was the unpleasant things Raven believed in, the unpleasant things she knew existed and were ever present. The others might be mostly oblivious to the true, depressing nature of life, but she wasn't, and it wasn't fair that everyone pretended not to be afflicted by the very things that constantly surrounded and harried her.
Not good! Raven could feel the bitterness and resentment merge with the irritation to grow into hateful anger, and hate and anger were the most dangerous above all emotions for her to feel. Her demon heritage made hate more consuming and anger more volatile and violent than what they should be, and combined with Raven's powers, she could accidentally destroy the whole team in one cataclysmic venting. She had to calm down before even a spark ignited, or she might not be able to stop the conflagration.
At least controlling emotions was hardly anything new for Raven, so she was also hardly at a loss for what to do. A long time ago she had developed a way to keep constant control of herself even in extreme situations, and this was through creating several subordinate mental selves. By sectioning off different emotional aspects of her personality into each of these subordinate selves, she was able to simply close off a self in order to close off whatever part of her she needed to at the moment. Right now, she needed to close off the part of her that contained her anger and hate. That was the most difficult self to subdue, and for a moment she was having trouble putting it away.
"Ah Raven. Couldn't you have stopped the ball?" Beast Boy whined.
Why didn't they ever understand? Why did they sometimes act like she was one of the bad guys, only there to cause them misery?! Why couldn't anyone leave her alone and let her be?!
Raven's anger was about to burst out, and she needed an emergency fix; that violent self couldn't be simply stopped and put away when it was this excited. She had to switch to another self, give it dominance so that the anger and hate couldn't take over. She needed a self that wouldn't put anyone in danger.
Raven suddenly burst out laughing, and she could practically see everyone behind her make some reaction of shock. No, it wouldn't be normal behavior to them, but they had no idea what it was like to have to abruptly switch mindsets just to keep something buried. She had to keep the others safe—from her.
That had been close. Giving a lighter, more joyous self dominance had kept the hate and anger self in the background of her mind. The lighter self was much easier to control, too, so Raven was easily able to tuck it away again and return to her primary, indifferent self. It was safest this way.
"Are you all right?" Robin asked.
"I'm fine. I have to go," Raven briskly answered. They would never understand if she tried to explain what had just happened.
She quickly touched her feet to the ground and fled from the scene, heading towards her room. They had no idea how close she had come to killing them all, and she wanted, needed to be alone to re-establish her solid control. Raven was risky when her other selves were not docile and submissive to her primary self. Loneliness always helped. The self that felt things like pain, shame, and sorrow would easily be able to come to the forefront if Raven were alone, and she could use those undesirable feelings to augment her strength in control. After all, no one wanted to feel those things, so it made it easier to push it all away and feel nothing.
Yes, the loneliness and pain always helped, but all Raven ever wanted was to feel some kind of comfort.
A.N. All right, so it turns out I got the scene really wrong, and I would like to seriously thank Somewhere In Time for helping me out with that. THANK YOU! I think I messed it up enough that I can't easily correct it, though, so if everyone could politely turn a blind eye to my blunder, I would greatly appreciate that. : ) If there are other constructive criticisms to make, feel free to review. I'll cry, but I'll get over it. : D (I'm kidding about the crying.)