Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to the Teen Titans or any characters in the DC Universe.
As the elevator descended into the basement Coraline recalled the day after she vanquished Hiromi Ayase. It was in their apartment and she was clearly shaken that day. Garfield had heard the entire conversation between her and Hiromi after he had finally opened the security hatch on the roof and hurried to safe room. Hiromi had told her everything and he knew that there was no way she was ready to learn the terrible truths.
He knew that there was much to talk about with his daughter and struggled with finding the right way to broach the topics. Fortunately for him she asked first. They were sitting on the couch and had just agreed that he would start dating Power Girl.
"Dad?" She asked somberly. "Am I a murderer?"
He gasped, that was not the question he was expecting.
"No, of course not! You did what you had to do."
"Did I really? Did I really have to kill her?"
"Is that what you were trying to do?"
She nodded as tears dripped down her face. The freestanding full length mirror in the room suddenly cracked.
"I'm sorry dad."
"Well, Hiromi was trying to kill me."
"She was killing you."
"I know. Listen Coraline, you acted in self defense. If she killed me she would have gone after you next, she even said so."
The eleven year old looked away from her father.
"I enjoyed killing her dad." She sobbed. "Because I hate her! She killed mom and she was killing you. I aimed for her heart, I wanted her to die. And when the Sagitta Magica went through her I felt happy …"
Garfield bowed his head. It was unfair that an eleven year old girl should have to bear such a burden.
"I-I'm also glad she's dead." He stammered. "I hated her too. She took mom from us and she wanted to take you away from me as well."
Coraline lifted her tear stained face and looked at her father.
"Is it true … what she said about Trigon?"
"Yes." He replied in a whisper. "He is your grandfather."
Coraline began to bawl.
"Sweetie, it's OK, it's not your fault. No one holds that against you."
She pulled herself together.
"Poor mom!" She sobbed. "Her father was the most evil being in the universe."
He pulled her in and embraced her.
"It was a terrible burden for her. When we first met she even said that if we knew more about her that we wouldn't want her around, but she was wrong."
"How did she deal with it dad? I can feel the darkness lurking within me…"
"We all have our inner demons. I actually got to fight with mine once. It was tough as nails."
She pulled back and looked into her father's eyes.
"So how did you beat it?"
"Teamwork, we did a switch. Cyborg fought my demon, Starfire fought his and I fought hers. We totally kicked their butts."
"You beat Aunt Starfire's inner demon?"
"You'd better believe it!"
"Where was mom when this happened?"
Changeling recounted the entire story, starting with Slade's mysterious return from the dead up to the very end:
"We were beat, there was no way we could defeat Trigon."
"Aunt Starfire told me that mom beat him after her turned her into a little girl."
She paused and looked sad.
"Poor mom, she had to kill her own father to save the universe."
Coraline wrapped her arms around her father's waist.
"I'm lucky, I have a great dad."
He kissed the crown of her head.
"All kids should have a great dad." He replied as he ran his fingers through her hair.
She sniffled a few times before speaking again.
"She was looking for someone named Andreas."
The girl felt her father's body stiffen as well as sense his emotional discomfort.
"You don't have to tell me dad. I can sense …"
"He was the mastermind behind the curse."
Coraline felt a slight nudge in her ribs, coming from the side where Sachi was standing as the elevator continued to work its way down into the basement. She gave him a slightly irritated look that said 'what?'
He mouthed the words 'son-in-law' as he gave her a worried look. Garfield's ears twitched as he heard the gentle whisper.
"Yes Sachi, I said 'son-in-law'. I know you're still fondling her ears, so I expect that you have … long term intentions."
Sachi opened his mouth to reply, but it went dry and nothing came out.
"Dad! I asked him." She glared at her father.
"What? Coraline, you know better than that …"
"Lighten up dad! It's not like we're having sex. I like it when Sachi fondles my ears. It feels good."
The changeling frowned. Fondling his ears had always been Raven's favorite way of initiating foreplay with him, and it always worked. Always. In fact, whenever they started that way they had their best romps in the hay. It also worked that way now that he was remarried.
"I'm not a kid anymore dad. And just so you know, when we make out, I like to grab his butt, a lot."
Sachi winced as Garfield gave him a dirty look.
"Like I said, you're going to be my son-in-law someday. But until you slip a wedding band on her finger … you watch your hands. Understood?"
Coraline could sense the fear emanating from Sachi and was about to give her father a piece of her mind when Sachi spoke up.
"Mr. Logan, please believe me when I tell you this, I really respect Coraline. I mean, she's amazing. She's smart, beautiful, brave, talented and she has a good heart. I know that I'm really lucky to be her boyfriend, because she's way out of my league."
"Whoa! Stop! What did you just say? The last thing?"
Sachi looked confused at first.
"Uh, she's out of my league sir. I know that I'm not good enough for her."
Changeling looked melancholic and his attention drifted away.
"Dad, did you think you weren't good enough for mom?"
"Never mind."He replied before turning to Sachi. "I'm sorry I interrupted you Sachi."
The boy, who was now as tall as the green Titan, adjusted his eyeglasses and swallowed hard.
"Like I said, Corie is amazing, and I want to be with her forever."
Coraline's eyes grew wide upon hearing Sachi's declaration.
Changeling smiled and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder.
"You're a good kid Sachi. Look, I used to be young too, so I understand how the two of you feel. Just promise me you'll keep your hormones in check until the day arrives." He glanced over at his daughter. "That goes for you too Coraline."
She crossed her arms as the elevator doors opened.
"We're not stupid dad."
He gave his daughter a warm smile.
"No, you're not stupid. You're in love."
Garfield led them to a far corner of the basement. When she was younger Coraline often explored the basement, every excursion was a treasure hunt. Unfortunately she often got into things she shouldn't have, and the day she showed up in the common room with one of Slade's old masks was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Cyborg sealed off part of the basement with thick concrete walls that were secured with force fields. It was impossible to teleport past the barriers. Coraline had tried herself just a year ago, and failed to breach the shields. The hand reader next to the massive titanium doors would not recognize her palm.
"Go ahead." He told her. "It should open for you now. After all, you're a Titan now."
Coraline placed her palm on the reader.
"Coraline Logan … recognized. Access granted."
The massive doors groaned and slid open. The trio entered the enclosed area, which occupied half of the basement. Most of it was filled with industrial strength steel shelving. Many were filled with cardboard boxes. Other had canisters, a few of which she and Sachi recognized as containing dangerous substances such as plutonium and xenothium. Other shelves were stocked with strange looking weapons, some clearly alien in origin.
There were two vaults at the end of the room. One was labeled with a strange "X" logo that was crimson in color. The other one had no markings.
"X marks the spot?" She asked.
Changeling shook his head.
"That's were Nightwing keeps the biggest mistake he ever made. No, we want the other one." He said as he placed his palm on the reader. The vault made several loud clicking sounds after which something inside the door moaned until it stopped with loud click.
Garfield grabbed the door's heavy handle with both hands and pulled it open. As before there was a steel shelf with two books on it, one large and one small.
"It's about time somebody came by!" The large book complained in what Coraline thought was a very sensuous voice.
"Don't get your hopes up Malchior; they've only come to torment us." The small book replied with a slight Germanic accent.
Garfield picked up the small book and placed it on a small table in the vault. His expression was grim as he opened it. A full sized holographic image of the Austrian wizard appeared to rise out of the book.
"Well, if it isn't Beast Boy. You're looking a little thin on the top changeling, has it been that long since we last parlayed?"
"10 years Malchior." He replied dryly.
"10 long years Beast Boy. At least I haven't aged; I wish I could say the same for you. Oh and how is Raven doing? She's still dead I presume."
The hologram figure turned towards Coraline.
"Raven? But how?"
It was then that the sorcerer noticed the girl's green eyes.
"What have we here?" He asked in a delighted tone. "Tell me dear, who might you be and to what do I owe the honor?"
"My name is Coraline Logan, and you murdered my mother." She replied in a chilly voice that sent icicles down Sachi's spine.
Andreas grinned at her.
"Proof that crime does pay." He grinned at her. "But to be fair that honor belongs to my wife Hiromi. How is the old girl Beast Boy? Has she killed anyone else? Perhaps Cyborg or the alien princess?"
"She tried to kill us a few years ago." He snapped at Andreas.
"And I see she failed. Oh well, I suppose that she will get another chance…"
"She's dead." Coraline snarled. "Your minions will never hurt anyone I love ever again."
Andreas did not even look fazed by the news.
"Really? How did she die? I thought that the Titan code prohibited taking a life."
"I killed her!" She growled as her eyes split into 2 crimson pairs.
Sachi stifled a gasp upon seeing the sight. He looked at his father-in-law who did not seem surprised at all by his daughter's reconfigured face. Within moments Coraline's regular face returned.
Andreas said nothing while he pondered his next move.
"Well done, granddaughter of Trigon. Your mother resisted her father's call, but you, you have the potential to become a great demoness, even though you are only ¼ demon. Beast Boy is your father, am I correct Coraline? And what a pretty name, if I may say so."
"Shut up!" Garfield shouted as he slammed the book shut. "You can't have her, she belongs to us!"
Andreas began to laugh.
"Do not think for a minute that I am abandoned here changeling. I will be rescued, freed from this book. And once that happens I will exact my revenge on you and Raven. First I will take your daughter from you and make her mine. I will show her the true power of her demonic nature and once she assumes her grandfather's throne there will be nothing that can stop us."
"Never!" Garfield screamed. "You can't have her! I won't let you take her away from us!"
"Once I am free there will be nothing that can stop me. And I will be freed changeling, I guarantee it. It might not be tomorrow, maybe not for 20 years, but I will be rescued."
Sachi gasped as he saw Changeling baring his fangs at the book. There was murder in his eyes.
Without saying a word Garfield charged out of the vault, still clutching the book in his hands.
"Dad, wait!" Coraline shouted at him but he paid no heed to her.
The green Titan stopped in front of the Tower incinerator and pulled the small hatch door open. A fiery inferno raged inside the furnace, some of the flames would even pop out sporadically through the hatch, as if reaching for the book.
"Raven told me what would happen to you if the book was burned while you were still in it!"
"You wouldn't dare!" Andreas goaded him. "It would violate your code of ethics changeling. Besides that, you don't have the stones to do it."
Garfield glared at the book.
"But I'll bet that Raven would have. I wonder why she chose a weakling like you to be her mate …"
Garfield drew his hand back as he prepared the throw the book into the fiery holocaust. He then felt his hand was trapped and wouldn't respond to his commands. He turned his head and saw that it was trapped in obsidian light.
"Dad! Stop! There are fire demons in the furnace!"
Garfield's heart froze. Andreas had nearly tricked him into freeing him. The fire demons would have rescued the book and taken it to a Trigon loyal sorcerer who would have freed him from the paper bound prison.
A black gloved hand took the book from his hand while at the same time he shutdown the incinerator with his other hand. The flames died out and with them the fire demons disappeared.
It was Nightwing.
"Coraline, take your father back to your apartment and take care of him. I'll deal with Andreas."
The gray girl released her father's hand. He looked pale as he stared blankly at the now inert furnace.
"That bastard! He tricked me!" He moaned as Coraline and Sachidev led him to the elevator.
Nightwing watched them as the doors closed. He then turned his attention to the small book in his hands.
"I guess it's back to the vault." The book hummed at him.
"What have you got against them?" Nightwing complained. "Haven't you hurt them enough already?"
The book chuckled in reply.
"Until my master rules this universe my work is incomplete. And he demands revenge against Raven, and that includes her extended family."
Nightwing gripped the so book tightly that his fingers left marks on the paper cover.
"Raven was my dearest friend."
"Maybe you should pick new friends. This defeat is but a setback. I will personally see to it that the changeling and his daughter suffer to atone for Raven's treachery."
"Not on my watch!"
The book laughed.
"Mine is not an idle boast, Coraline will serve her grandfather, I will make sure of it even if it is the last thing that I do! There is nothing that a non magical mundane such as yourself can do to stop me!"
Nightwing frowned, as he knew that Andreas was right. He would eventually escape or be rescued. And if he did the consequences would be horrific, not just for the Titans, but for the whole world.
"You're wrong Andreas. I can stop you."
"And what will you use to stop me? Your bo staff, one of your boomerangs or one of your freezing or exploding disks? You can't stop me with those toys you fool! You might as well surrender now, for you are already defeated!"
Nightwing calmly reached into his utility belt and pulled out…
… a lighter, which with a single flick he ignited.
"Now wait a minute Nightwing, let's not be rash about this. Titans don't kill, we both know that …"
"We don't kill if it can be avoided." He corrected him.
"Why don't you put that lighter away and let us discuss terms of my imprisonment ..."
"There is nothing to discuss, you've made your intentions clear. You murdered Raven and now you're after Garfield and Coraline."
"Send me into exile!" The wizard pleaded. "Have the Tamaranian hide the book on a distant moon where no one will find me."
"They'd find you." He replied as he lit the book on fire.
"Please! Stop! I'll do anything. Don't send me to limbo! Anyplace but there!"
His face set in stone Nightwing held the book until it was engulfed in flames. He dropped it into a stainless steel dustbin, where it continued to burn.
"Please! Have mercy!" The book screamed one last time before falling silent.
Nightwing watched the book burn until all that was left were ashes.
3 months later …
The Titans were cleaning up after dinner. Jinx and Wally had moved out and founded Titans America, based in Central City, which suited the others fine as they took their 7 kids with them.
Coraline seemed a little nervous as she and Starfire loaded the dishwasher, which did not go unnoticed by the Tamaranian.
"Is something the matter Coraline?"
"Not really, I just have something I want to show everyone."
Starfire looked genuinely curious.
"What is it?"
"It's a surprise. And I think tonight is the night."
Coraline picked up a glass and tapped it with a spoon. She soon had everyone's attention.
"Before everyone leaves I have an announcement to make. I would like you to stay here tonight."
"What for?" Her father asked.
"It's a surprise, but I can only do it once so I need you all to be here."
"Does this involve magic?" Nightwing asked.
"It does. It's something I have been preparing for months and I'm ready to do it tonight."
The room echoed with murmurs for a minute which soon subsided.
"Well little lady, I think you have an audience!" Cyborg announced.
"I'll be right back!" She announced before phasing into the floor.
She returned the way she left, and was carrying a large box. Using her obsidian light she lifted a crystal ball out of the box and it floated to the now clean table where it landed softly.
"Everyone gather around, I'll need your help to do this."
The Titans gathered around table. Garfield was at her right and Sachi to her left. Power Girl stood next to her husband while Nightwing, Starfire and Cyborg completed the circle.
"Now everyone hold hands."
"Is this a séance?" Nightwing asked.
As soon as everyone held hands Coraline's eyes began to glow white and a cool breeze was felt around the circle. Coraline raised her head and began to chant in a strange, guttural language. As she did this a misty image began to form above the crystal ball, at first it looked like a cloud and was about 5 feet tall. As Coraline continued to chant it began to take shape, losing its amorphous form. Everyone stared, trying to discern the shape that was forming, until Starfire recognized it before the others.
At this point the image sharpened and it was evident to all that it was Raven's image they were seeing. She was wearing her signature outfit, except that it was all white. Finally the image became so sharp and lifelike that Changeling could no long contain himself.
"Rae! Is it really you?"
Raven smiled before answering. There was an aura of bliss and peace that surrounded her.
"It is I my dear Gar. How are you my beloved?"
"I-I'm fine" He stammered still unable to believe his eyes. "Are you a ghost?"
Raven let out a mirthful laugh.
"I guess you could call me that."
"Friend! You look so peaceful!" Starfire interrupted.
"When I died, my burden was lifted. I am no longer a demoness."
Raven then turned to the blond bombshell that was standing next to Garfield and smiled.
"Gar, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"
The changeling grinned sheepishly.
"Yeah, uh sure, uh Rae this is my wife Kara Zor L. Her hero name is Power Girl."
"Nice to meet you Kara. Gar's always had a soft spot for blonds."
"He's told me about Terra."
"Good, by the way Terra is here in heaven too. We're best friends. And thank you for being there for Gar. I was so worried that he would never remarry. I will admit that I am a little jealous that Gar has such a beautiful wife like you."
Power Girl smiled.
"Thank you Raven."
Raven then turned to Coraline.
"I was going to ask how my little girl is doing, but I now see you aren't so little anymore. Have I really been gone that long?"
Coraline began to weep. As she did Sachi tried to console her.
"Oh mom, I've missed you so much!"
"And I have missed you my child. I see your father has done a splendid job of raising you, and that you completed your training…"
"In just four years." Gar interrupted, the pride was clear in his voice.
"I am so sorry I could not be with you while you grew up my Coraline. But tell me, who is that handsome young man next to you?"
Coraline wiped her tears away.
"Mom, this is Sachidev Patel, he's my boyf … my fiancé. We've known each other for 5 years,"
"Nice to meet you Sachidev. Coraline, how old are you exactly?"
She smiled sheepishly.
"I'll be 16 next month mom. But don't worry, we won't marry until were both 18."
"Because Mrs. Patel and I won't give them permission to marry as minors." Garfield added.
"Dad! We've never even mentioned that!"
"Because you know I'll say no."
"Be patient Coraline. When the time is right you will wed."
Raven next turned her attention to the Graysons.
"Starfire, Richard I am so happy to see you're still happy and together."
The princess began to bawl.
"Oh my friend! I too have missed your company!" She composed herself and sniffled. "It has not been the same without you."
Nightwing also wiped a tear away.
"It's good to see you again, sis. Coraline is wonderful; you have every right to be proud of her. She's kind of out adoptive daughter."
"Thanks for being there for her in my place. I knew she was in good hands when I died."
Finally Raven turned to Cyborg.
The tin man beamed back at his long lost friend.
"Hi Raven. You look great."
"Well, this image is just for your benefit. I am pure spirit now, but I do like my mortal image, much more now than when I was alive in fact. Why is there no one at your side Victor?"
Cyborg merely shrugged.
"I just haven't found the right girl." He joked. "It's not fair! Everyone is lucky at love except for me!"
"I'm sure she's out there waiting for you."
He rubbed the back of his neck.
"I suppose you're right. You always are!" He snickered.
"I am so happy that I was allowed to see you again my beloved ones, and that goes for my new loved ones Kara and Sachi. I wish you both much happiness with my Gar and my Coraline."
Raven's image began to fade.
"My time is up dear family. Always love each other and find happiness in the little and ordinary things in life. Do not miss me, for we will be reunited someday."
"Goodbye Rae." Gar whispered as Kara wrapped an arm around his waist.
"Goodbye mom! I love you!" Coraline shouted.
As the image vanished Garfield and Coraline felt a warmth in their hearts that slowly faded away.
The Titans stood quietly for several minutes until Cyborg finally broke the silence.
"I don't know what to say."
"I, I have a strange sensation of peace." Nightwing added.
"Come Richard, let us retire to our quarters."
He nodded his agreement, and after saying good night they left. Kara and Garfield did the same within a minute.
"I'd better call it a night too." Cyborg spoke up. "I guess you kids get the common room to yourselves. Don't do anything I would do. Good Night!"
"Good night Uncle Victor." Coraline called out as he left with a wave.
Sachi took Coraline's hand and drew her into a hug. She reciprocated and the two stood together silently. After a few minutes they released each other, and she turned to the table to collect her crystal ball. It was then that she noticed there was a picture frame next to it. She picked it up and examined it.
It was a picture of her when she was one year old. Her parents were seated on the old couch they had in the apartment, and she was in Raven's arms.
"I've never seen this one before." Sachi commented.
"That's because we don't have it."
Coraline noticed an inscription on the bottom right hand corner of the picture: "Coraline, Be Happy, I Love You."
Coraline clutched the picture frame to her chest.
"Thanks Mom. I love you too."
And that's it for the original version of the story. Before I write the alternate ending (the one where Raven DOESN'T die) I need to finish Reimagined, which I have left on the back burner.
No mail bag tonight except to thank all who have followed this story so far. When Reimagined kind of flopped I thought that maybe it was time to hang up the keyboard. To be honest I am still contemplating that, but for now I will focus on finishing Reimagined, making it the best story it can be (even if almost no one reads it).
Also, thanks again to FelynxTiger for creating a cool book cover for this story. The link to it is on my profile page. If you haven't seen it yet you need to check it out.
Thanks again for your support.