Raven wasn't sure how long she had been running. She didn't doubt it could have been hours. The Tamaranian suns that had been bearing down so unyieldingly had crept across the sky. The heat was not as bad as it had been earlier. In the back of her mind, she realized that it was almost time for her to seek some shelter. Out here in the open, with the ghulyaloks on her trail, she wouldn't survive the night.
Yet, the exhaustion was overwhelming. Unable to continue, she fell to her knees on the jungle floor. She wiped the sweat and dirt off her face. She was gasping for breath, her nails digging into the ground. There was a tightness in her chest, making it difficult to breathe. Her shoulders hunched over, and her head hung low. Unable to throw up, she simply dry heaved. She wiped the dribble from her mouth, still gasping. It took all her concentration to tame her emotions. A slight slip and the trees surrounding her would be flattened, the ground beneath her would crack, and she would lose the tenacious hold of control she had. Rage scraped at the back of her psyche, yearning...begging for release. But she mustn't, couldn't, give in for Starfire's sake.
Her best friend. Her sister.
Raven barely held back the tears. She had abandoned her. Left her to the mercy of the jungle and the ravenous ghulyaloks. Left her like a pathetic coward. Raven felt a wave of disgust wash over her. She was supposed to be the bondho, the loyal comrade. At the very thought of this, Raven could feel the bile rise in her throat. A bitter taste filled her mouth.
Raven spat on the ground.
Loyal comrade. Those words felt like a lie coming from her lips. As far as Raven was concerned, she didn't deserve that title. The feelings of guilt were mixed with fury. Raven closed her eyes, beating back the wave of anger. When she opened her eyes, she struggled not to open four. But the rage didn't die away. She looked up at the Tamaranian airship she and Starfire had been on hours before. In her current state, it seemed like an eternity ago.
'Damn you!' she cried out vehemently at the ship. She didn't care if anybody or creature heard her or not. 'Damn your insipid rules! Your outdated laws!' She pointed viciously at the ship, as if somebody was listening to her words. 'You are nothing but cowards! You hide behind your decrees and your traditions! You pick and chose to your own convenience, using your rules as excuses, never caring about the consequences! You are nothing but hypocrites!'
Raven had had enough. Her patience was withering.
'I will find her,' she said, her voice hardening with resolve. 'And when I do, you'll know what a terrible mistake you've made.' This wasn't directed at the Council of Ku'ya. This was aimed at the traitor. The one, who, for all Raven knew, was on the ship. The one who had nearly killed them both at Yavnor. The one who, right now, was plotting Starfire's downfall.
Raven stood up straight. In true testimony to her intelligence and foresight, Starfire had made a back-up plan. While they had ideally hoped to finish this part before nightfall, Starfire had still plotted ahead for extra time. Raven looked up at the unfamiliar constellation of stars. They had studied them extensively for days, and like Earth, the stars could serve as a useful tool for navigation. If Raven's memory was correct, and it almost always was, based on her current position she was probably an hour's hike away from some underground caves. They would be ideal to provide her with shelter, giving her enough time to think of her next move. She closed her eyes for a second. She was so tired. Her head lolled to the side. Body swayed...
Raven bit into a ripe red apple. Her eyes left the confusing chart of star constellations and moved onto a map of the sanctuary. She chewed slowly, mulling over Starfire's plan. They had only arrived from Yavnor the day before, but Starfire had taken the free week before the second part of the trial to jump headlong into preparations. Maps, satellite images, and the chronicles of the previous And'rs who had ventured into the sanctuary lay on the table before them.
She swallowed her mouthful before saying, 'Alright. These caves are our only hope of enduring the night, if we can't finish before dark.'
'Correct,' said Starfire. She was pouring over some notes she had taken.
'So who made those caves? Were they artificially created when the sanctuary was being constructed?'
Starfire hesitated a moment. 'Nau.'
Raven pinched the bridge of her nose. That left only one other explanation. 'So the ghulyaloks made them?'
'That is the current theory. Nobody was there to see them make the caves, but since they are the only creatures to inhabit the sanctuary, it is probably the correct assumption.'
'Azar,' Raven breathed quietly. 'So our only hope of survival is in the den of creatures we're trying to avoid.'
Raven's head snapped up when she heard a distant roar. Raven just barely heard quiet chirping. She cursed. The foul creatures were back on her trail, she had no choice but to continue. Since she and Starfire had been forced to separate, she had been lucky enough to face only two ghulyaloks individually. She had defeated them, but hadn't escaped unscathed. An ugly gash ran across her leg, and Raven knew it would leave a scar if she didn't heal it soon. But, right now, in the middle of the land'ha her only option had been to stop the bleeding, and ignore the pain.
Her progress had been slow. The thick jungle had made her arms grow tired from the constant slashing. The lack of water and food had started to take its toll on her strength. And it didn't help that she had to stop frequently when the pain in her leg was too hard to ignore. She tried swallowing, but her mouth was raw and dry. More than hunger, it was her thirst that bothered her the most.
Slowly, nightfall settled down on Tamaran. Raven picked up her pace as much as possible in her current condition. She was relieved when she tumbled into a small clearing. A couple of yards ahead of her, she saw the mouth of several caves. Her observant amethyst eyes quickly registered everything around her. Judging from the growth of the thick undergrowth, it was easy to see that nothing had come here in a very long time. Any creature the size of the ghulyaloks would have been unable to travel uninhibited, without leaving signs of their coming and goings. She looked at the ground, trying to see any tracks. Without any moonlight or light of any kind for that matter, it was hard to observe the ground, but Raven wasn't taking any chances.
She limped slowly over to the caves. It was so dark she could barely make out anything. Her attention went back to the jungle when she heard loud snapping of tree branches. Before she could react, a force yanked her into the cave.
Raven's hands went around immediately, clawing at her attacker. Strong arms quickly grabbed her wrists, pinning them tightly against her body. It took a second for her to register the slender hand that covered her mouth, the tanned arms that held her close, the familiar warmth of the body that pressed against her.
'Ssssh! You must be quiet!'
At the sound of the voice, Raven nearly cried in happiness. In all their years, of all the hugs she had received from the Tamaranian, Raven had never before been so relieved to be held in Starfire's arms. But, with her back pressed tightly against Starfire's chest, and judging from the Tamaranian steely grip, they were not completely out of danger.
They were close to the mouth of the cave, but deep enough to be covered by the shadows. Raven's hitched breath matched Starfire's. Leaning against her best friend, she watched as a large group of ghulyaloks tumbled ungracefully from the forest. They must have been following her trail. Yellow bulging eyes looked blindly around, clearly confused. The creatures chirped amongst themselves.
Raven stilled. Starfire's hand still pressed against her mouth, but at this moment she didn't bother saying anything. Starfire's ragged breathing filled her ears. The alien princess still gripped the empath tightly against herself. They both watched with bated breaths as it seemed the ghulyaloks could neither hear nor smell them properly. To their collective relief, they ambled back towards the jungle, making loud crashing noises, and letting lose the occasional roar.
As the last creature was enveloped by the darkness, Starfire let out a silent relieved sigh. She removed her hand from Raven's mouth, and loosened her grip a little. Raven was about to turn around, when suddenly a thick, warm gooey liquid dripped down, inches from their shoulders.
'What the hell-'
They looked up at the same time to see a ghulyalok's mandible jaw snapping in their direction.
Cyborg nearly fell from his chair.
For hours now, members of the Ku'ya, Galfore, and the Titan males had be glued to the screen watching every move of the princess and her bondho. It had been hard to completely see things due to the thick foliage, and the sound wasn't all too clear either. Yet there was no mistaking the battle cry of Starfire. Beastboy strained his eyes as he watched the video, trying his best to make out Raven among the vegetation. Watching the girls fight off the ghulyaloks all by themselves while they sat safely miles high was excruciating. It took all his will power not to jump down and help them both.
But he kept his composure to the best of his abilities. His self-control nearly broke when he saw Starfire push Raven violently away. He watched Starfire fight the ghulyaloks with a ferocity that could only be described as animalistic. She didn't escape completely unharmed, several times getting slashed at, but she held her ground, and defeated them. The camera focused only on the princess for now, so Beastboy was left in the dark for the next few hours, wondering what happened to the empath.
It was only when Cyborg reached over carefully to grip his wrist, that it distracted Beastboy's mind from going over worst case scenarios. He frowned at his best friend as Cyborg only looked down. Beastboy followed his gaze, and his eyes widened in surprise. Unconsciously, his fingers had morphed into sharp claws, and in his deep worry over Raven, he had clawed through the arms of the chair. Swallowing, he morphed his hands back to normal. He let out a deep breath and mouthed a silent thanks to his best friend. Clasping his hands tightly together, he put his attention back to the video feed.
He watched as Starfire used her training to skilfully avoid any more attacks. She arrived at a shallow stream that flowed through the depths of the jungle. She washed the dirt and grime from her face, before drinking thirstily from the stream. After satisfying her thirst, she used a green-flamed hand to pain-stakingly hollow out a large stone, before dipping it into the stream to gather the liquid. She carried it with her all the way, careful not to drop a spill, to a group of caves. Due to the angle, the camera couldn't follow her into the cave, but they watched her come out again, spear gripped tightly in hand. The worry etched on her face mirrored that of Beastboy's. The question was on both their minds.
Where is Raven?
They watched Starfire venture back into the jungle, clearly searching for a trail, for a clue, for...anything, to let her know where Raven was, but she was unsuccessful. The Beast's whining reached a frenzied peak, and it was all Beastboy could do to not fidget in his seat. None of the Titans or Galfore took any breaks as they watched Starfire. Meals were brought to them, but Beastboy had no appetite. He continued gazing as Starfire finally went back to the caves at dusk, dejection clear in her every movement.
Near nightfall, he realized there was a God that took pity on him as an exhausted Raven finally approached the cave. Starfire grabbed her into the security of the shadows, moments before a pursuing group of ghulyaloks tumbled through. Back on the ship, they could make out large segmented body shapes, but in the darkness very little details could be seen. Everybody at the viewing room watched the creatures head back into jungle, crashing and breaking trees along the way. Just then, Beastboy saw the drool fall from the cave roof, and the girls visibly stiffen before simultaneously looking up.
The thick vegetation had made it hard for the camera to get a clear shot of the ghulyaloks. From the glimpses Beastboy caught, he could tell this creature was big, but moved quite agilely when the situation demanded it. Now, an opportunity presented itself for everybody in the viewing room to get a good view of the animal. All eyes focused on the video feed. As the creature dropped down into full view of the camera, every single person leaned forward in their chair, getting a proper look at this creature of their legends.
It was at this point the cybernetic teen had nearly fallen from his chair.
'X'hal' breathed Galfore, his eyes widening.
Neither female Titan moved. Or breathed for that matter.
The ghulyalok too stopped moving. But its open mouth still dribbled the foul smelling drool near the girls. Its large head lolled from side to side. Sensing nothing the creature leaped off the roof of the cave and outside. Like the others before it, it ambled awkwardly back into the dark jungle, chirping along the way.
Starfire and Raven waited a good few minutes in their tense position before finally collapsing onto the ground. Raven lay on the floor, while Starfire leaned heavily against the cave wall. Tilting her head over to the alien princess, Raven could see the scars from her recent battles etched on her arms and stomach. She shifted over so that she too now leaned next to Starfire.
In a move that surprised her more that it did the Tamaranian, Raven placed a hand on Starfire's shoulder. Starfire said nothing, as the hand dropped down to envelope her own. Slender fingers entwined in a gesture of quiet affection. In the murky darkness of the Tamaranian night, there was no visible difference between the pale grey or orange tanned skin.
'I'm glad you're okay,' said Raven, her normally flat tone laced with emotion. She gave her friend's hand a gentle squeeze.
'The feeling is mutual,' replied Starfire, a tired smile gracing her lips.
A silence descended on them both, as they sat quietly. The only sound was of their laboured breathing. It was while before Raven said softly, 'I'm sorry Star. I'm so tired...I can barely move.'
Starfire nodded her head. 'I understand.' Her eyes feel down to the scar on Raven's inner thigh. Concern flashed across her face as she inspected the wound closer. Raven was still bleeding, which could explain why she was starting to feel exhausted. Raven cried out in pain, when Starfire gently examined the wound.
'I need to stop the bleeding,' said Starfire. She quickly moved a hand to support Raven's neck as it lolled to the side.
'How?' asked Raven weakly.
Carefully Starfire, showed Raven her other hand. Two fingers were lit up with her green energy. Raven struggled a little when she saw what Starfire was suggesting. Even in her state, Raven knew this wasn't the best idea. There was the possibility of infection setting in. She wasn't sure how long before they'd finish. Would it be enough time to heal herself afterwards?
'You'll cauterize it?'
Starfire nodded. 'It is the only way to stop the bleeding. We have no supplies. What else is there to do?'
Raven was silent. For a second, Starfire was worried she had become unconscious. A pained groan escaped the empath's lips. Amethyst eye that was glazed over in pain moments before suddenly focused on her own green ones.
Without further ado, Starfire pushed a piece of bark into Raven's mouth before pressing the glowing fingers onto the wound, searing the flesh shut. The smell of burning flesh filled Starfire's nostrils. Raven bit down on the piece of wood Starfire gave her, barely managing to keep herself from screaming. Within seconds, Starfire was done, and Raven opened her eyes. Starfire removed the bark from her friend's mouth. Raven spat onto the ground.
Starfire gave a small laugh. Picking Raven up in her arms she moved slightly deeper into the cave, affording them a bit more protection. Raven noted with relief a deep hollowed piece of rock that contained some sort of liquid.
'No, it is not water,' interrupted Starfire. 'But it is an acceptable substitute. Fluids are more important that solid food at the moment. At least, in terms of human physiology...am I correct?'
Azar bless her.
'Yes,' said Raven.
Starfire handed her the liquid, which Raven grabbed out of her hands. She greedily took a few deep swallows. It tasted unlike anything Raven had drank before. It was indescribable, as was the relief from her parched throat. Raven quickly controlled herself. They both needed to drink later on, so she handed back the liquid to Starfire and wiped her mouth.
'Better?' asked Starfire, taking a sip herself.
'Much. Thank you.'
Raven winched slightly, before unstrapping her swords from her back. She leaned heavily against the cave wall. She let out a deep sigh, looking out the mouth of the cave. Here in the cave's depths, she could no longer see the night sky, only the dark jungle. She rubbed her arms, and a shiver ran up her body. The coolness of the night was starting to seep in. She groaned inwardly.
Seeing her discomfort, Starfire quickly lit a pitifully small flame with a few spare twigs. They could not risk making a big fire in case it got the attention of the ghulyaloks. Raven still looked paler than usual. Seeing her best friend in discomfort wasn't easy for Starfire. She went to Raven's side, and stretched out beside her.
Starfire saw Raven watch her with wary eyes as the Tamaranian rubbed her hands together before wrapping the pale girl in an embrace. It worried Starfire how cold Raven felt. She knew it wasn't a good thing.
'What are you doing?' asked Raven. She wasn't used to such prolonged close contact with Starfire.
'Watch.' Starfire said softly. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath.
In a second, Raven felt a warm heat emanating for the Tamaranian. She couldn't control the soft moan as she snuggled closer to Starfire, resting her head on the alien princess' shoulder. 'For now,' said Starfire softly, letting her energy warm Raven, 'we shall rest. Neither of us are in any condition to continue.'
But Raven had already fallen asleep.
Starfire said nothing more. She didn't move in the slightest so as not to disturb Raven. Letting her own eyes drift close, she too succumbed to the exhaustion taking over her body.
Beastboy splashed some water onto his face. The cold water was helpful in driving away some of the sleep from his eyes. He yawned and leaned heavily against the small sink. He wiped his face tiredly. After nightfall Cyborg had been forced to leave them as he needed to charge himself. He still made Robin and Beastboy, who remained behind to continue watching over the girls, promise to wake him should anything happen.
He and Robin were both reluctant to sleep for the night least anything should happen to their girlfriends. Beastboy had agreed to take the first shift, letting his leader take a much needed break. Beastboy didn't say anything, but from Robin's stooped shoulders, and heavy voice, it was obvious that he too felt the strain of separation from Starfire. And Beastboy didn't doubt that Starfire keeping the coup a secret had dealt a harsh blow to the Boy Wonder. Theirs too was a volatile relationship, one filled with its share of ups and downs.
As his mind was preoccupied with these thoughts, he exited his bathroom and walked back to the viewing room. Beastboy's eyes fell on the figure that snored softly near the back of the room. Robin had not gone back to his chambers, but instead lay stretched out on a nearby couch, dozing lightly. Beastboy turned back to the video. With a little convincing, Galfore had agreed to lower the ship's altitude slightly. It was enough for the camera to now focus onto the two figures that now huddled together at the back of the cave.
Beastboy's gaze softened slightly as he took in the sleeping form of Raven. She leaned against Starfire, her head supported by the alien princess' shoulder. His heart had caught in his throat when he heard Raven's scream as Starfire cauterized her wound. He was worried that an infection would set in. The only way for her to get better would be for them to finish the land'ha as soon as possible so she could heal herself. But now, she was getting some well deserved rest.
Only time could tell if they would finish by tomorrow.
Beastboy moved back and gently shook awake Robin. It didn't take long, and the Titan leader was quickly on his feet.
'Any problems?' he asked, as he fixed his dishevelled hair, adjusting the mask on his face.
'Nothing so far. They're still sleeping.'
Robin sighed. Beastboy laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. 'Don't worry dude. They've gotten so far solely on their skills and determination. They're gonna make it.' Robin smiled slightly. He fingered the engagement ring that still dangled around his neck. 'I don't doubt that for a second,' he said, his eyes on the video screen, watching his fiancée.
A serious expression crossed Beastboy's face. He knew what was going through Robin's mind. 'We'll find the bastards that are trying to hurt them. And we'll make them pay. Titan style.'
'I'm with you there bro,' smirked Robin.
Robin sat down at the table, signalling the beginning of his shift watching over Starfire and Raven as Beastboy took his turn to stretch on the couch. Another large yawn, a little shifting around on the couch, and it was his turn to try and get a bit of sleep.
As his body slowly gave into the clutches of slumber, his mind drifted, as it usually did onto Raven.
Beastboy really wasn't into birthdays. Growing up, there had only been a few small celebrations when his parents had been alive. And then it had been pretty much non-existent when he was with the Doom Patrol. The safety of the world mattered more that personal holidays. Villains didn't take days off, Steve had said. So why should they? Rita had tried a few times. Some cake here, a few comics there, and some amazing toys should the opportunity present itself.
So it was understandable that the desire to celebrate wasn't really something he looked forward to eagerly. Sure, he had been more than happy to hack the Titan mainframe to find out Raven's, but that had been for unselfish reasons. He found little reason to celebrate now. He had only indulged Starfire and Cyborg. She had done the decorations while Cyborg, albeit grudgingly, made predominantly vegan dishes.
'God...' said Cyborg forlornly, poking at his potato salad, 'the sacrifices I make for family,'
Beastboy rolled his eyes. 'You know, you should eat vegan food more often. It's actually pretty damn good.'
'Speak for yourself BB. I can't turn into a damn goat to live off grass.' He gestured exaggeratingly at his large physique. 'This don't come from drinking your nasty soy milk,'
Before Beastboy could answer, Cyborg's food suddenly blew right in his face, splattering only him with potato salad and tofu. He wiped the offending food, a expression of shock on his face. 4 pairs of eyes swivelled to focus on Raven.
Ignoring them, Raven took a dainty bite of her food. Chewing it carefully, she swallowed it after a length of time, before saying far too innocently, 'Wasn't me.'
Robin stifled a laugh, and Starfire giggled behind her hand. Cyborg was left spluttering like an idiot about grass stains with half-demon girlfriends as bodyguards. Beastboy grin stretched from one ear to the other. Sometimes, Raven was the best. Hands down.
Dinner was followed by presents. $300 from Robin, a beautifully hand-stitched sweater from Starfire (Where did she even learn stitching from?), the complete box set of Dexter series from Cyborg, and...nothing but silence from his girlfriend. His ears wilted slightly. Had she not gotten anything for him?
He scolded himself mentally. Raven was trying hard at their relationship as it was. This was their first birthday celebration as a couple. Surely this time, he could afford her some slack. After all, it was just his birthday. It wasn't meant to be celebrated anyway. He didn't care...right?
So why did it hurt when she did nothing but peck him on the cheek, and drone a 'Happy Birthday Gar'?
God damn complicated emotions.
He was a bit caught off guard then, when the elevator doors opened to the residence floor of the Titan's tower, and he found Raven leaning against the wall. She straightened up as soon as she saw him, and in spite of himself, Beastboy found himself smile at her.
'Gar, I have something I need to show you.'
'What is it?' he asked curiously.
'Come to my room and I'll show you,' she answered enigmatically.
He followed her without another word to her room. He was a bit worried it was something sinister, judging by the slight scent of anxiety he got from her. Maybe that was why she didn't get him anything. She had been preoccupied with more important things.
Once they reached her room, she gestured to her bed. 'Sit.'
Beastboy obeyed. 'Is everything alright Rae? You seem a bit...worried about something.'
She didn't reply. Opening her chest of drawers she took out a carefully wrapped parcel. She took a deep breath before walking over and handing it to him. 'Happy birthday Gar. I hope you like it.'
Beastboy beamed a happy smile. So, she hadn't forgotten after all.
She seemed to have read his mind. 'Did you really think I'd forget?'
'No...I just thought, you had...I dunno...something better...to do...' he said quietly. He felt a little guilty now.
'Not when you're concerned Gar,' she said softly but firmly. Her tone changed to one of lightness. 'Well? Open it.'
Beastboy didn't need to be told twice. He eagerly ripped open the wrapping paper, and his eyes widened just a little bit.
Raven scuffed her boot self consciously on the carpet. 'I heard you talking about it a few days back with Cyborg. You mentioned you hadn't read Watchmen yet, and wanted to before seeing the movie. You sounded pretty excited so I thought...what the hell? I needed some help in the gift buying department anyway, and wasn't sure Starfire would be the best source.'
Beastboy flipped a page as Raven continued. 'It's a rare edition. One of the first that was actually published in the 80's. Took a bit of work and lots of emails to random people around the world, but I found it. And in mint condition too.'
'I can see that. Babe this is awesome! I-'
Suddenly Beastboy stopped speaking as he looked at the inscription on the inner cover of the comic. Hadn't Raven seen this? Somebody scammed her into thinking it was in excellent condition. But then, he took a second to read what was written, and his mouth fell open.
To Garfield Logan,
Hope you have many hours of happy reading.
He looked up Raven, who had a bland expression on her face.
'How did you get this?'
She shrugged her shoulders. 'I have my ways.'
'Wait a sec...he's not even in town for Comic-con. He's in...'
'London? Yes...yes he is.'
A look of confusion etched across the green boy's face. 'You didn't take any days off. So how did you get...?'
'What's the distance when you can conjure transatlantic portals?' she said nonchalantly.
He got up from the bed and grabbed Raven's waist pulling her in for a tight hug. 'You are something else babe,' he whispered as he kissed along her neck.
Raven wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling them close together. 'Damn right I am. And don't you forget it,' she teased him.
'Never,' he breathed, as he continued kissing his way to her lips. But before he could give her a blistering kiss, she pulled out of his arms. There was sly look in her eyes. 'That was actually only one part.'
With a flick of her wrist, Raven used her powers to throw the changeling onto the bed. He landed with a grunt, and was about to sit back up, when he saw her unclasp her cloak. He swallowed when she bent at the hip, slowly unzipping her boots. When she stepped out of them, Beastboy realized how much he missed her old costume. At least he got to see more of her long legs then. Except he had been too ignorant to appreciate it them then. Oh well...better late than never.
'I don't know about you,' she said in that sexy low voice of hers, 'but I still have some space for...dessert.'
He didn't answer immediately. He was too occupied enjoying her crawl up slowly and seductively over his body. She straddled him, her hands splaying across his muscular chest. No doubt she could feel his heart beating madly in his chest.
'Now by dessert, do you mean...' he waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.
She rolled her eyes in true Raven fashion. She spoke her spell under her breath to conjure a bowl of vanilla ice-cream in one hand and sliced red apples in the other.
He mind scrambled to fix his error. 'Right...that type of dessert. That's what I was talking about too...'
'Of course you were.'
Robin attention was distracted from the video as he heard Beastboy snort and mumble something incorrigible in his sleep. Beastboy grumbled groggily, a frown creasing his brow. Still sleeping, he rolled over on the couch.
Robin turned back to the screen.
'Wonder what's eating him?' he thought quietly.
Author's Note: Ha...messed with you all and had my AN at the END of the story!
WHAT MADNESS WILL I COME UP WITH NEXT?!
On a side note, cauterization used to be a heavily debated subject in the past. Modern medicine as well as clinical doctors and practitioners have all agreed that cauterization is actually a bad thing. It doesn't assist in any way, but rather destroys otherwise healthy tissue, making the healing time longer. It also makes the area perfect for bacterial growth, thereby increasing the risk of infection setting in. It is only used as a last ditch effort to staunch the flow of blood, but even then, only medical professionals do it, and that to, under selective situations. Someone smart like Raven would know that...so that's why she wasn't really keen on Starfire doing it. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Sorry about the ending if it seems a bit meh. It's 3am right now, and I'm running outta steam.
Until next chapter...please review folks! I'd love to hear your thoughts.