She had wanted to save her. That was the truth.
The ground beneath Raven's feet trembled as all around her the once rundown but peaceful landscape exploded into an out of control torrent of rock, dirt and stone. Throwing her robe up in front of her face she shielded herself from a cloud of dust and attempted to stabilize herself amidst the violent shockwaves. Stifling a cough she called to Terra as loud as she could.
"Terra," she shouted. Lowering her sleeve, she looked across the chaotic landscape to where the blonde geomancer now stood, knees jutting inward, hands over her ears, eyes glowing brightly with incredible, unrestrained power. "Terra you need to stop."
There was no response from the blonde girl. Completely lost in her own rage and sorrow, blinded by the sheer magnitude of her power, she stood frozen amidst the chaos, completely oblivious to the carnage she was reaping around her. From mere yards away there came the deafening clattering and clanging of a huge section of roller coaster as it collapsed into a mishmash of wood and metal, and yet not even the slightest fiber of muscle on the blonde flinched. It was then that Raven knew she needed to act quickly.
Hovering above the ground, removing herself from the powerful tremors, Raven swiftly covered the short distance between herself and Terra. Laying hands on her shoulders she shook the blonde girl hard and screamed her name, all the while looking for any sign of recognition; however, none was found. Thinking fast, she immediately conjured her powers. Eyes glowing white she laid a swift but gentle hand the Terra's forehead. If she could only calm her mind, maybe drain off a bit of the chaotic emotions that raged through her petite figure, perhaps she could get her under control.
Alas this would prove to be an impossible task.
No sooner had Raven entered the girl's mind than she was suddenly overcome by an unbearable burning that ran through her entire body in a heartbeat. The raw emotion, so powerful and unrestrained, it was unlike anything she'd ever felt before in a human being. It ravaged the young empath's body and sent her hurdling several feet back where she landed hard on the cracked and decimated ground. This, however, only stood to slow sorceress down; she was not yet ready to surrender. After taking a moment to sit up, she once again took to the air.
Eyes glowing white, Raven focused her mind and body and with a powerful shout of her mantra, sent the dark and ghostly image of her soulself soaring from her body. With arms outstretched the glowing image dove for Terra, passing without resistance through flesh of her body and into her mind. To Raven's lack of surprise she found that the chaos in the young woman's head was just as great if not greater than that going on around her.
It would have been difficult to describe to those who had never before beheld the sight of human thought at work, but it was suffice to say that what Raven saw in Terra's mind was nothing short of anarchy. Bright flashes like lightning strikes, noise and confusion and a terrible feeling of hopelessness and despair: this is what waited for the empath inside the geomancer's head. The state that the blonde was in caused her thoughts to be completely jumbled and erratic; the more Raven tried to steady them, get a handhold on something in order to relax her and drive out the unwanted images and emotions, the more out of control things became. Still she persevered. It was painful, like placing one's hand on a hot stove, but still she carried onward, attempting to calm the brain addled girl.
"Terra," Raven desperately shouted over the jabbering cacophony. "Listen to my voice. I swear I can help. I want to help you, but you need to calm down."
Still trying to do her own part to settle the young woman, Raven was shocked to suddenly hear a voice answer her call, though not the one she was expecting.
"We don't need your help," it said, somehow penetrating the madness without any difficulty. "We don't need anyone's help."
Instantly the thought clicked in Raven's head.
"Ima," she whispered to herself before again raising her voice. "Ima, you need to put a stop to this. Look at what's happening. Terra's mind is in chaos because of you."
"I've only ever had Terra's best interests in mind," answered the disembodied voice.
"She doesn't need you anymore."
"I think she does."
"I've revealed to her the truth. She knows you're not real."
"Knowing something and believing it are two entirely separate things."
Ima was proving to be impenetrable. The illusion was completely unwilling to allow the empath any kind of clemency. She was a being created by pride, anger, jealousy and selfishness and it showed. There was perhaps only one way to appeal to her.
"If you don't stop now we're all going to die, including Terra. And that means including you too."
For a brief moment the voice failed to offer any kind of response as Raven continued her desperate ploy to restore order to Terra's mind. She wasn't sure how much longer she could hold out as already she could feel her grip starting to slip. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Ima once again spoke. And her response was damning.
"I'm not afraid to die," she answered coldly.
"What about Terra?" shouted Raven, gritting her teeth in wavering concentration.
"If T had the strength to make her own decisions she wouldn't have created me in the first place."
It was then, before she could utter any kind of response, that Raven felt herself slip. Immediately she felt her soulself soaring backwards as she was violently thrust from Terra's mind and propelled back into her waiting body, the force of which once again knocked her backward several paces. As her eyes slowly cracked open, groggy from the dizzying side effects of mind travel, she suddenly heard a loud cracking noise coming from close behind her. Whirling around, she felt fear grip her throat at the sight of ever spreading crack in the earth's surface yawning open and the limp body of her unconscious Beast Boy rolling helplessly into the opening.
Now completely concerned with the young man's wellbeing, Raven took to the air, flying faster and harder than she had ever gone before. In a blink she entered the ever growing chasm, soaring downward at blinding speed, past the falling boulders and debris as she peeled her eyes for any signs of her imperiled love. Finally she saw him. Going on instinct she bolted to his side and quickly wrapped her arms tightly around him. Immediately she threw up a force field around the both of them just in time to stop of a shower of fist sized rocks, soaring down from the sky, from viciously pummeling them. Gritting her teeth from the strain of supporting the green man's weight as well as multitasking her powers, she attempted to slow their decent and carry them both out of the hole. However, as she gazed up she felt dread overcome her as the image of several enormous chunks of Earth, big like automobiles and coming straight towards them, filled her sight. She was running low on strength. There was no room to maneuver and it would have been impossible for her shield to protect both her and Beast Boy from incredible impact. There was only one option and it needed to be executed quickly; she only wished she had enough strength left. Hugging Beast Boy tightly to her, Raven squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated, and soon a dark shadow overcame them.
Raven grunted as she suddenly found both herself and Beast Boy lying side by side on a soft but firm patch of grass. Gazing up she was just in time to see the black portal that had spat them out disappear into nothingness, leaving them only in the comfort of the trees and plants. Briefly she smiled to herself. She had done it; they were safe. The light tremors she felt against her body however reminded her there was still one more life to be saved. Giving her green love a quick but gentle kiss on the forehead she wished him safety before quickly taking off back into the air.
After clearing the treetops, Raven, rotated 360 degrees as she searched for the ravaged carnival grounds. It seemed she had teleported further than she thought. After a brief moment of searching, finally she was able to spot it. With no time to waste she made a beeline straight for the carnival grounds. As she got closer however she soon felt despair start to overcome her.
After finally arriving back at the grounds, the tremors had all but stopped, leaving nothing in their wake but piles of debris. Flying over the cracked and ravaged landscape, over the twisted wreckage of the carnival rides and the upturned chunks of earth, Raven searched desperately for any signs of life, but alas none could be found.
Bowing her head sadly, Raven said a short but simple prayer in her native Azerathean tongue before slowly turning and making her way back.
She had wanted to save her. That was the truth. That was real.
It was a quiet, peaceful night for those working the graveyard shift at the Jump City Police Department. As of so far there had been nothing to do but the usual paperwork and spit the usual bullshit amongst themselves. However it was somewhere around 2:30 am when several of them began to notice the sound of screaming coming from just outside the department walls, coming in through one of the slightly open windows. With weapons at their sides, several of them left the mild discomfort of their desks and office chairs to go investigate. As it turned out they didn't need to walk far. No sooner had they stepped out the door then they found the subject of their concern.
There sitting on the sidewalk, still securely bound to the same chair bound to for hours now, was Gizmo, bouncing up and down the best he could, sputtering and yelling.
"Gah-gah-gah-Goddam-m-mn it," he shouted. "Some-some-somebod-d-dy please get me m-m-m-my blocks!"
The voice was soft and sweet and very familiar.
As soon as it penetrated the fog of his throbbing head it filled him with a great despair. If he had the choice he never would have woken up again. There was no need to when the only woman he loved was gone and he was left in the hands of a lunatic. It would have been better simply to stay in the blackness of his unconsciousness
"No," he managed to choke out as he weakly turned his head to the side and pathetically put up his hands. "No. No."
"Garfield, it's okay," said the voice again. "Open your eyes."
He never would have listened if at that moment he had not suddenly felt a gentle warmth washing over his entire body, soothing his injuries, easing away his pain until it was completely gone. It was like heaven to him, this feeling. Slowly he found the blackness peeling away and a blurred and undefined image filling his gaze. Slowly but surely he found himself coming around as the image before him grew more clear, transforming into the most beautiful and wonderful woman he'd ever known. Groggily he spoke her name.
The woman said nothing, only smiled her tiny smile and nodded her head as the star filled sky looked on behind her, adding an almost heavenly quality to her visage.
It was then that reality truly set in.
Sitting up quickly Beast Boy scooted back a bit allowing himself to take in the full image of the woman in front of him. Shocked at her sudden appearance, he found himself for a brief moment unable to speak as he gazed upon her.
"Are you really here?" he finally managed to sputter when the ability to talk finally did return to him.
Again Raven said nothing, only nodded.
Overcome with joy and yearning, completely forgetting about everything else, Beast Boy quickly leaned forward snatching the woman's lips in his own, kissing her with kind of desperate passion. To his continuing elation, he soon felt her kissing him back.
Her fever equal to his own, they ensnared one another, embracing tightly, lips and tongues dancing together in the pale moonlight of the night sky. It had been far too long and neither of them at that moment could find it in themselves to hold back. It was only when the need to breath finally took precedent, as the two lay holding one another tightly in the soft grass, that they were once again able to regain control.
"Garfield," whispered Raven. "There are a lot things we need to talk about."
Swallowing, Beast Boy nodded.
"Yeah," he said. "I know."
With fingers intertwined the whole story about what had happened was told. Nothing was held back. The events, the words that were said, both what and why, thoughts and feelings, everything was laid out in the open. All the while the two remained ever close, holding on to one another, not once letting go even for a moment. It wasn't until the sun was just starting to peek through the trees that the story reached its finish.
"I can't believe it," said Beast Boy after Raven finally finished telling him of her experience at the carnival. Feeling a deep mixture of guilt and regret he brought a hand to his forehead. "All this time..How could I have not noticed something was wrong."
Grasping Beast Boy's other hand Raven brought it to rest gently in his lap.
"There was no way you could have," she said, her voice comforting.
"I should have done something... I shouldn't have..."
"There was no way anyone could have known. Terra was sick. She was sick long before any of us even met her." Grasping the young man's chin in her thumb in index finger Raven gently raised his chin until his eyes rested on hers. "Nothing that happened was in anyway your fault."
Taking Raven's hand Beast Boy held it firmly in his grasp as the beautiful woman before him continued.
"You did far more for that girl than anyone else would have," she said. "You're a sweet, wonderful, selfless man..." Tears filled her eyes and her voice started to tremble. "And I love you, Garfield. I love you so much."
Feeling tears making their way to his eyes as well, Beast Boy once again reached out his arms and brought Raven into a deep and loving embrace.
"I love you too," he whispered.
For several minutes more the two of them remained like that, completely immersed in one another. It was almost as if their love had been reborn, the strength and warmth, the calm and comforting effect, it was all far greater than it had ever been before. However, each of them knew there was still one thing left to do before they could truly start again. Their story needed to be told one more time.
From the beginning...
No more secrets...
No more whispers...
Just simple and honest truth.
The dull roar of an engine alerted the blonde to the bus's approach as it gradually made its way down the cracked and sunburned desert highway: her ride, coming to take her far away.
It was always easiest to run.
As the vehicle traveled ever closer towards her, the young blonde turned her attention back to the still image she had carved into the dirt with her finger, the image of a girl about her own age, a girl with shaggy brown hair. Immediately she was overcome with the urge to erase the amateurish etching; however, she hesitated and before she knew it the bus had pulled up alongside her and opened its doors. Looking towards the driver's dead and uninterested face she realized it was time to go. Snatching up her meager backpack, slinging it over her shoulder, she forgot about everything else and quickly boarded the bus. After handing over the appropriate funds, she sat herself down in an empty seat a few rows from the back. From across the aisle an elderly woman with silver hair offered her a kind smile and a simple nod which she returned before turning her attention to the window and allowing her mind to wander.
She wasn't certain how long it was after she'd sat down that she suddenly felt a pressure on the seat beside her.
"So here we are again," said an all too familiar voice.
The girl didn't need to look up to know who it was. Turning her head slightly she gazed down at the dirty and tattered sneakers that now rested beside her own. They were just like she remembered save for one small difference: Where there had once been bright neon green laces only days before now there were instead bright yellow ones.
It was after a brief pause that the girl beside her continued.
"It's better this way, T," she said, brushing a bit of straggly brown hair out of her eyes. "And don't worry, I'm in it for the long haul this time. I'll never leave you alone again."
Breathing another sigh the blonde girl again turned her attention to the window and the racing desert landscape. Regardless of what the girl beside her had said, she knew it wasn't true. It couldn't have been. After all there was nobody there. There never had been. She had tried to convince herself of this over and over again: There was no one there; Ima wasn't real. Yet still the thought persisted. Because the truth was she still believed.
"It's a hot one today isn't it?" came a sudden voice from the seat across the aisle.
And sometimes that's all it takes...
Turning the blonde looked past the brunette to her left to see the silver haired woman from before smiling warmly.
"It sure is," answered the blonde with a small smile in return.
...sometimes that's all it takes to make something real.
"Tell me," said the woman. "Are you two young ladies going on a trip?"
A/N: Wow. This one felt like it took a long time. Did it take a long time? Well, regardless it's done and I really hope you all liked it. I'm always looking to improve upon myself with each story I write and while I don't really think I did so with this piece (I still feel my best is To Reflect Perfection) I guess it could have come out far worse. Anyway thanks for reading. As far as for what's next I'm thinking about continuing "Bleep" and I'm also considering starting a new AU story with kind of a fantasy setting. Well, that's all for now. Thanks again to everyone who read and to all those who left a review. I'll see you next time. - Sir Alwick
P.S. Recently a wonderful film called "The Secret of Kells" was released on DVD. If you're a lover of animation and want to see something truly beautiful I deeply encourage that you give this movie a go. You will not be disappointed.