Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans. This is a work of fiction that I am not making a profit off of.
Author's Note: Okay… This is the LAST TIME I rewrite this. I know I keep working on this but I want it to be a great story for my readers. It really means a lot to me to get this thing right. So off we go, yes?
He remembered the seconds after his parents died.
It was after their screams had faded, and his small arms were wrapped around a tall jungle tree. His eyes looked back to the place he'd last seen them just before the waterfall. Just before his father told him to get away; and his mother kissed his forehead, urging him to listen to his father.
He's not sure what he morphed into. Maybe it was a little green bluebird, or a green dove. Although, he remembers seeing the shore, and the repetitive sound of his father pulling on the motor rope trying to get the engine started.
When his human feet touched the ground, the screams began.
His mother's was the loudest, the high tone mixing with the sound of rushing water. He heard his father scream for his mother, maybe trying to grab hold of her before they reached the bottom.
He ran closer to the thick jungle, arms open, eyes closed and dripping wet. When he wrapped his limbs around the tree, their screams had stopped.
There was nothing but the sound of rushing water.
An elder from the village he and his family lived near had found him hours later. He was still wrapped around the tree, eyes wide and clothing damp. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
That was when the tears fell.
Chapter One: "Beginnings"
"You don't have to say anything." She spoke softly. Her fingers drummed against the marble countertop.
The masked teen sighed. He stood in front of her, hands flat against the counter. "That doesn't mean I don't to." His jaw was tight. "Are they sure it's her?"
"The DNA came back a match." She explained, reaching across the counter. She grabbed his mug and brought it to her lips. "I didn't want to say anything until I was sure, even though it is pretty hard to mistake natural purple hair and eyes." She took a sip of coffee, frowning at the taste. "Did you put any sugar in this?"
Gently taking the mug from her hands, he placed it back on the counter. He shot her a look.
"What?" She asked, shrugging her shoulders.
He looked at her pointedly.
She sighed, looking up to the ceiling for a brief moment. "It's not a big deal, Richard. People die, it is inevitable."
"She was your mother, Raven." He countered, pouring another cup of coffee. Placing two spoonfuls of sugar in the mug, he handed it over to her.
"She gave birth to me, yes." The empath admitted. "But I would hardly classify Arella Roth as my mother."
"You should understand more than anyone why I am not exactly grieving over Arella."
"And I am not dancing on her grave." Raven informed, taking a small sip of coffee. She sighed. "I honestly don't know how I feel about it. I barely even remember her." She explained, her eyes looking past him.
"Are you going to the funeral?"
"There isn't going to be one." She decided. "I am going to have her cremated this week. It is the closest thing to Azarathian death rites." The empath chewed at her bottom lip. "And speaking of this week, I need some time off." Raven knew the Boy Wonder would have a problem with her request. Being a Teen Titan was a full time job, and Robin was sure to enforce that philosophy.
"How long?" Robin asked.
"I need a week. I have to meet with the lawyer to settle her estate and clean out her house."
"She lived in Jump?"
She shook her head. "Gotham."
"Do you want me to call Bruce?" The Boy Wonder offered, helping himself to more coffee.
"I don't think so." Raven said.
"Are you sure?" Robin offered again, looking to her eyes this time for an answer. "Cause I am sure Bruce wouldn't mind if you stayed with him, and he can get you some help with the legal stuff."
"That's not necessary." She protested. "I figured it would be easier if I stayed at Arella's. And as for the legal stuff," She paused, placing her mug on the counter. "I just need to sign a few papers, nothing big."
He nodded. "When are you leaving?"
"I was hoping to get a flight for tomorrow." The empath answered as the sound of the metal doors broke between them.
"Morning guys!" The metal man spoke, entering the kitchen. He headed straight toward the fridge.
"Morning Cyborg." Raven greeted.
"Morning Cy." Robin acknowledged.
"I need to go pack." The violet haired teen announced. She walked out of the kitchen, quickly moving through the common room.
"Where is she going?" The metal man asked pointing in the direction the empath had gone. He opened the fridge, pulling out the pack of bacon and carton of eggs. Next, he pulled out a large mixing bowl.
"She has to go to Gotham." Robin explained with a sigh. "Her mother died."
Cyborg put the bowl down. It was obvious he was trying to think of what to say next. "I didn't know her mother was alive."
"Neither did she." Robin confessed. "She got a phone call from a lawyer saying that her mother passed away."
"And she got a DNA test done." The masked leader explained. "Apparently, she wanted to be sure it was her mother before she told anyone. And now, she has to go to Gotham to clean out the house and stuff."
"She going alone?" Cyborg questioned. He couldn't help but think back to when he found out his mother died. He remembered sitting alone in the hospital bed, wanting nothing more than his mother's touch.
Robin nodded. "I'm surprised she even bothered to tell me."
"Are you even supposed to be telling me?"
Robin picked up his coffee mug, stopping to consider the question. Raven never said it was confidential.
"Good morning Friend and Friend-Boy." Starfire called, floating into the kitchen. The pretty alien levitated to her boyfriend, placing a kiss against his cheek.
"Morning Starfire." Robin smirked.
"Morning Star." Cyborg welcomed, cracking a few eggs into the bowl.
"What is for the breaking of the fast?" The orange skinned girl asked, taking a seat at the counter.
The metal man stirred the eggs, turning to Starfire to answer. "Eggs, bacon, and more bacon."
"Beast Boy is going to love that." Robin commented, taking the seat next to his girlfriend.
"Beast Boy is gonna love what?" The changeling spoke, entering the kitchen. He stopped, letting out a mighty yawn.
Starfire giggled, placing her hands in front of her mouth.
"The breakfast I'm preparing." Cyborg grinned showing his teeth.
Beast Boy sniffed the air. His face immediately wrinkled in disgust. "No thanks, dude."
"Aw come on, put a little meat on those bones." The metal man spoke, gesturing at his lanky frame.
"The ladies would have to disagree." The green teen spoke, flexing his arms. Granted, he wasn't as muscular as Cyborg, but puberty had given him a little muscle and a lot of height.
"Whatever you say little man." Cyborg chuckled in good humor.
The Changeling nodded, moving to the fridge. Getting a glass of soymilk, he took a seat at the counter. "Where's Raven? Don't tell me I woke up before her."
Speaking of Raven. "She won't be joining us for breakfast." Robin announced with a serious tone.
"I hope she does not have the sickness." Starfire stated green eyes filled with worry.
"No." Robin assured, placing a hand on the alien's shoulder. "Guys, Raven's mother died."
The kitchen was silent. Cyborg had already heard the news, but the new information was troubling to Beast Boy and Starfire.
"I did not know Friend Raven possessed any family on this planet." The pretty alien sighed, speaking softly. She stood. "I must go do the comforting."
"Star, wait!" Robin called, stopping the red haired teen in her tracks. "I don't think Raven wants to talk about it."
"Is she okay?" Beast Boy asked carefully, his emotions written clear on his face.
"She wasn't crying if that's what you're asking." Robin explained. "She didn't even know her mother was alive." The bond was no secret to the team. Though they had always wondered how much Raven had decided to share with the Boy Wonder.
"Come to think of it Raven never mentioned anything about her mother." Cyborg added.
"Is Raven going to the funeral?" Beast Boy asked quietly.
"There isn't going to be one." The Boy Wonder briefed. "The point is that we are going to be down a Titan for awhile. Raven has to go to Gotham to take care of a few things."
"Is anyone going with her?" The Changeling asked.
The masked leader shook his head. "No."
Beast Boy sat his glass of soymilk on the counter. With a frown wrinkling his face, he looked at Robin. "But her mother died."
Raven huffed, hands wrapped around her favorite black mug. Her elbows were pressed against the island top, and her back was hunched with little grace.
She took a tentative sip, the hot liquid hitting her taste buds.
It was her mother's favorite.
Raven remembered how her mother had a garden of tealeaves surrounding the temple they dwelled in.
Arella's cloak often smelled of the bitter leaves. She'd spend hours in the garden meditating, reading, and tending to the leaves.
Footsteps broke her thoughts.
She placed her mug on the counter, sitting still in the dark of midnight. The violet haired teen leaned over the counter to get a look at the person interrupting her thoughts.
"I don't want to talk about it." Raven announced in a dead tone.
The tall figure stopped, arm bent back to scratch his neck sheepishly. "I didn't want to talk. I just wanted a soy cheese sandwich."
Beast Boy had trudged his way out of bed for a late night snack. The sixteen-year-old stood shirtless in a pair of navy plaid pajama pants, eyes wide with shock and uncertainty.
"Can I get a sandwich?" The green teen questioned, finger pointing awkwardly at the fridge.
"Yea, sorry." Raven sighed with a nod. "I thought you were Robin."
"Naw," He started, walking to the fridge. He opened the door getting out the pack of soy cheese and tomatoes. "Robin is a couple inches shorter."
"You want a sandwich?" He asked.
Raven held her mug a few inches from her lips. "Excuse me?"
The green teen pulled the bread out the pantry. "Sandwich. Do you want me to make you one?"
She was quiet for a moment. "Sure."
He nodded, pulling out four slices of bread from the bag. "So, why did you think I was Robin?"
"I figured me being awake woke him." The violet haired teen tapped two fingers to her temple. "Sometimes when one of us can't sleep, the bond will keep the other awake. I figured he was coming in here to try to get me to talk about it." She took a gulp of tea.
"A lot on your mind?" He questioned, slicing a tomato.
"We don't have to talk about it." Beast Boy told her. "But if you want an ear, you got two big green ears right across from you ready and willing to listen."
Raven chewed her lip, placing her mug on the island counter. Her right hand snaked through her waist long tresses as she leaned back on the stool. "I watched them burn my mother's body when I was five-years-old."
The knife dropped. His face was written with horror.
"No, no, no, it's not like that." Raven quickly assured, waving her hands back and forth as she shook her head. "On Azarath, when someone dies," She started. She wasn't sure how to explain the custom to him; she never really bothered to explain anything about Azarath to anyone. "Their body is placed on the temple altar for cremation, and cremations were public in Azarath. It is part of the death rites." She continued. "It was tradition for the body to be wrapped in white linen and then burned."
"Oh." Beast Boy wasn't sure what to say. "So do you think this is a mistake?" He asked handing her, her sandwich. He took the seat next to her.
"Thanks." Raven spoke offering him a small smile. She pushed stray hairs behind her ear. "I honestly don't know what to think, really."
"Don't be. I am not even sure if I miss Arella. I mean," Raven paused trying to get her words together. "I remember so little about her."
"What do you remember about your mother?" He spoke softly.
The violet haired teen closed her eyes for a moment. "I remember the tealeaves around the temple grounds. And my mother, she always smelled like warm mint tea."
Beast Boy smiled seeing the warmth in the empath's eyes.
They were silent for a moment.
"You want some company in Gotham?"
Raven looked at him.
"I just want make sure you're okay." He admitted. "I can't imagine what its like for you. All I know is what it was like for me. And, if it is anything, even a fraction, of what it was like for me, then I want to be there."
"I'm okay, you know."
"I don't believe you." He spoke frankly. "You know, I can just change into a flea or something and latch onto your luggage, right?"
Raven chuckled and nodded. "So let's just cut the cliché, huh?"
"I think that would be appropriate."
"I never thought you would be the voice of reason."
The changeling smirked taking a big bite of his sandwich. "Me either."
The empath picked up her sandwich taking a modest bite. "Good sandwich." She complimented, moving on from their previous conversation.
Beast Boy smiled, taking another hearty bite. "Thanks."
To be Continued…