Severe language warning, readers be warned. Song lyrics are from Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
I updated it (2014-08-23) to fix some of the spelling errors, and to fix Trigon's dialog. I didn't find his swearing to be natural, and it just sounded too silly now that I've read it again.
By the time she got home it was nearing nighttime, and she was exhausted. Rachel unlocked the door to her crappy apartment, her body worn from the rush of adrenaline she experienced from running from Garfield's mother. Despite all that, she still felt guilty.
"And you should." A cruel voice in her head murmured, and Rachel cringed. She didn't know why she bothered to go to Gar's house, or why she thought it would help. Her guilt was as strong as ever, if not more so.
Closing the door behind her, Rachel was glad to see that her dad wasn't home yet, and her sister was still at her after-school day care. Mel would be picked up when Trigon got home... if he remembered. With a low sigh, Raven went to her room. The tv was still broken from when Mel had dropped it, but she couldn't bring herself to get rid of it quite yet. Mind still numb, the violet haired teen dropped her grey hoodie off on the bed before turning into the kitchen and cracking open one of her father's beers, not caring if he'd notice. She had only taken a sip when the front door knocked. Putting the can down, Rachel walked slowly to the door. She didn't know anyone who would stop by; her father didn't have visitors, and the landlord had given up coming to them about complains of violence long ago.
"Gar just died, and everyone thinks he's missing. What if Victor told the cops about Gar and I in the bathroom?" Rachel thought morbidly as she moved to open the door. Taking a deep breath, the dark young woman swung the metal door open, and came face to face with a surprise. It wasn't a cop, but it was close enough: Dick Grayson.
He was a friend of Logan's, and the son of a detective. Rachel remembered her father ranting about a detective Grayson almost every night, sticking his nose in places where it didn't belong. Trigon was a bought out cop, and Mr. Grayson knew it, but he would never catch Trigon. Her father was too good at what he did, and Grayson stuck too close to the rule book. The old detective was out of his league.
"What are you doing here?" Rachel questioned, her voice as monotone as ever. Dick's expression was unreadable from behind his sunglasses, his arms crossed over his chest. If he seemed discouraged by her less-than lively greeting, he didn't show it; the dark-haired teen was familiar with her icy tone, and took no offense.
"Just thought I'd stop by. How're you and your dad doing?" Dick questioned, and Rachel nearly snarled. When she was little, and Mel was still in diapers, her mother had been close to the Grayson family. She and Dick had grown up together, and when her mother had died, his father had offered his help to them. Rachel could remember his face, and his concern, but Trigon had intervened. Rachel hadn't talked to anyone from the Grayson family since, preferring to keep the detective's son out of her family's business.
"The usual. He yells, I ignore him. Why are you here?" Her voice was like ice, and she was in no mood for games. Catching onto this, Dick cut to the chase.
"Gar's gone missing. Wondered if you've seen him." Even from behind his glasses, Rachel could feel his cold gaze, but she shrugged it off. His stares were only a pathetic imitation to hers, and she would not be intimidated.
"Why would I have?" Rachel crossed her arms and leaned on the door frame.
"Victor said you guys had a little run in. Maybe I was curious?"
"Maybe your curiosity should mind its own business?"
She was pushing her boundaries, and she knew it, but she couldn't stop. It was too soon for this, and she was unprepared for an onslaught of questions from a wannabe detective. Without another word, Rachel turned to leave, but was stopped by a firm grip on her arm, pulling her back. Suddenly Rachel found herself facing eyes of cool grey, her back being slammed into the wall by an angry Dick Grayson.
"Enough of your bullshit, Rachel. Gar's missing, and I know you had something to do with it. Nobody's seen him since last night, and his mom saw you in his room. You were seen, Rachel!" Dick growled, his fingers digging painfully into her arms, but Rachel only glared, emotion clear from her face. For what seemed like ages they stared at each other, their will never wavering.
Gar watched as his best friend and his enemy stared at each other in silence. He had followed Rachel all across town, his rage never subsiding.
"Beat it, Grayson. My father's going to be home soon, and he won't like to see you knocking on his door." Rachel snapped back, and pushed Dick away from her.
"What did you do to Gar, Rachel?" Dick glared at the gothic teen, his lips curing in his anger as the door was slammed in his face.
Body shaking in rage, the purple eyed woman marched back to the kitchen, and dumped the whole can of beer down the sink. Logan followed her, a sneer clear on his face.
"What did you do to me, Rachel? Did you hear that? He knows." Rachel sat down at the kitchen table and Gar stood across from her, leaning on the table so that his head was level to hers. "He knows, Rachel. His dad's a detective, and they're gonna catch you." Logan spat at the older teen, his hatred bubbling over the surface. In a temper, Gar flipped the table, his mind momentarily forming the image of Rachel thrown to the ground, her mouth bleeding from where her teeth gnashed into her lips, the table crashing into the fridge and kitchen sink. A second later, the kitchen was back to normal, and Rachel was back sitting at the table, her face paler than normal, and a far away look in her eyes.
Breathing heavily, Logan calmed down. He couldn't really hurt her. His mind would only show him what it thought should be happening, but in the end, he was invisible, and non-existent. With a depressed sigh, Gar lowered himself into the seat across Rachel, his body slumped in defeat.
He jumped in surprise when he heard a small sob coming from opposite him. Looking up in bewilderment, Gar saw that Rachel was hunched over the table, her head cradled in her hands. Her body shook with every small sob, and the blond boy felt his heart wretch painfully at the pitiful figure before him.
"Oh God, Gar. I'm so sorry." Her voice was muffled by her hands and tears, but Logan still heard her clearly. After several more whimpers, Rachel raised her head from her hands, and Gar was surprised to see such a disheveled appearance. Her hair was a monstrosity, violet strands in every direction; her eyes were puffy and red; and her body shook with every breath. Despite his anger, Gar felt pity towards her. With a discouraged sigh, Gar moved to place his hand over hers, not knowing what good it would do, when the front door swung open.
Quicker than Logan could blink, Rachel stood up from the table, and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, trying to remove any trace of her tears. A small smile was placed on her lips as a young girl, no older than seven entered the rundown apartment.
Gar stared at the stark differences the two girls possessed. Where Rachel was dark and cold, with skin so pale it looked grey, and purple eyes, the young girl was blonde, and bright with eyes of blue. In one hand she dragged a pink backpack; in the other she held a badly-sewn teddy bear.
"Hey Mel, how was school today?" Rachel asked softly, and Gar marveled at the change in her. Her face no longer held a scowl, and her eyes seem to brighten with every word. Without a word, the blonde child dragged her pick backpack along the ground, and lifted it up onto the table.
"It was okay. Daddy was mad this morning." Mel mumbled, her eyes downcast, avoiding Rachel's. Gar looked over to the violet haired teen, and watched as her lips thinned, and her eyes flashed, suddenly washing over the younger child, searching for any sign of mistreatment.
"He just yelled?" Rachel asked, her tone icy, and with a silent nod, Mel broke down.
"I want Mama."
Gar watched as Mel cried, and the older teen silently moved, so that the younger sister could crawl into her lap for comfort. Rachel held the blonde girl close so that her face nuzzled her neck, and the gothic teen could soothe and comfort her.
"I know. I do too." Rachel whispered softly into Mel's ear, her cold hands rubbing small circles on the girl's back as she cried, oblivious to the spectral teen watching them.
The blond boy watched in amazement as the girl who killed him soothed and protected the young girl. He could see how her hands trembled as she held the crying girl. Her eyes flashed with a familiar rage, but her voice remained calm and soft as she murmured sweet comforts into the child's ear. Rachel was acting almost motherly.
The scene was ruined as the front door opened with a bang, and the reeking stench of liquor entered the small apartment. Mel's face paled as she rested in Rachel's arms, and the gothic teen lightly kissed her cheek before ushering her to her room.
"Lock the door." Logan heard her whisper as the blonde seven year old bolted from the kitchen. A moment later a heavy click was heard as a door was locked.
Hearing the sound, the biggest man Gar had ever seen stumbled into the room. The veins in his face were broken and burst from years of drinking, giving him a red complexion; his eyes were yellowed from drug abuse; and his hair was long and white, tied behind his head in a pony tail. The moment he saw the red giant, Gar felt the need to step back, run, and find a safe place to hide from his glare, but Rachel stood her ground. Without fear, the amethyst eyed woman turned her back on her father to start dinner.
"So you're back, are ya? " Trigon belched at his daughter before sitting down at his usual chair in front of the tv. Rachel didn't say a word as she began boiling water.
"You gonna burn dinner again? What's a damn useless thing of a daughter like you worth if you can't even make a decent meal." Trigon spat out as he flipped through the channels on the old, rundown tv. "Grab me a beer."
Logan watched in horror and amazement as Rachel opened the fridge and brought an entire six pack to the man without question before turning back to chop carrots. The red man took a long drink from the can, and threw the empty container at his daughter. Rachel flinched only slightly as the beer can bounced off her back.
"Don't think I don't know what you've been doing. Damn stupid girl." Trigon bellowed from the living room, his eyes never leaving the tv screen. Gar watched Rachel with wide eyes as her hands started to shake. He had never witnessed anything like that before. His adoptive parents had never treated him with anything but love. The blonde boy could remember clearly the times Steve had yelled at him for being too immature, but it was never anything like this. What Rachel had to deal with everyday was just pure abuse. The invisible boy was brought out of his inner thoughts by Trigon's voice.
"Just like your damn mother. That whore left you, and the other damn brat. You're just like her, and I'm sure that little brat's gonna be like her too. Selling her damn body around town." Trigon raged, his drunken mind lost in the past. Rachel trembled as she cooked, tears glistening in her eyes but never falling. The monster of a father finished two more beers, and threw the cans at his daughter. They both missed their mark, one hitting the fridge, the other the ceiling fan.
"Pick that up." Trigon grumbled as he turned his attention back to the TV. Rachel didn't move, her mind concentrating on keeping her anger in check, she never heard him. With a roar of rage, Trigon jumped up from the worn out couch, and lunged at Rachel. Grabbing a fistful of violet hair, the red man bent Rachel's head back so that she could look at him. Gar watched, his stomach sick.
"Get your hands off me." Rachel spat at her father, her tears gone, replaced with a similar rage that filled Trigon. With a drunken snarl Trigon flung his daughter across the room, her body colliding painfully with the kitchen table, before she rolled over it and fell to the floor. Gar ran over to her, unable to help. He couldn't touch her, and she was in danger.
Struggling to get up, Trigon strode over to his daughter's beaten form, and gave her side a swift kick. The blonde boy jumped back in surprise, his back reaching the wall, and he slid down to the floor, his eyes wide in fear for his murderer.
"Get up, ya damn witch." Trigon roared at Rachel, giving her ribs another kick. The purple eyed teen winced at the pain, but began to stand up, nevertheless. Growing inpatient, Rachel's father grabbed her by the hair once more, and yanked her up. Rachel grimaced at the pain, but didn't say anything more; she was subdued. Nodding at his daughter's new behavior, Trigon moved to throw her across the room once more, when a loud shriek cut through the air.
Gar looked over to the noise, surprise temporarily covering his horror at the scene before him. In the middle of the hallway Mel stood, a nearly destroyed teddy bear held close to her body. She stared at her father, her eyes full of fear and Trigon lost control.
"What do ya want?" The large man bellowed, his hands tightening their grip on Rachel's hair. "You want the same as her? Huh!" Trigon snarled. He dropped Rachel, and stepped towards Mel.
"NO!" Both Rachel and Logan screamed as the demon of a man charged towards Mel and grabbed her painfully by the arm. Mel screamed in pain, and Trigon moved to hit her, but was stopped. Something shattered on the wall beside Trigon's head, and the demon man turned to see Rachel holding two more glasses.
"Let her go!" Rachel screamed, her entire body trembling from her rage as she threw another glass. With a dark look, Trigon dropped Mel, who scrambled out of the way, face streaming with tears. Rachel's father took a step towards her, but she was ready. As he lunged, she pitched the last mug at him, and the and the cheap glass shattered in his face. The large man was slowed, but not stopped. With another cry of rage, Trigon threw a fisted punch towards the risisting Rachel. Acting quickly, the violet haired woman doged, and the beastial man in his drunken rage ran himself into the cement and tile wall of the kitchen, knocking him out cold.
Gar looked at the beast of a man, his body slumped against the wall, and a large gash bleeding profusely on his head. Not giving a second look towards her father, Rachel ran towards the bedroom, and Gar followed. Locking the door as quickly as she could, Rachel then turned her attention on her little sister. Mel ran to the older girl's arms, and cried, her tiny body jolting with every sob. Desperately, Rachel held her, her body bent over the child's; protecting her. Logan watched the two girls silently. He could have never imagined what the amethyst eyed girl was dealing with when there was no one to see. Body heavy, Gar knelt beside Rachel, his hand placed gently on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Rachel."
Rachel curled up against Mel, her arm wrapped protectively against the smaller girl's figure. They were sharing the older teen's bed since Mel was too afraid to sleep alone, and Rachel couldn't agree more. Lifting her body up only slightly, Rachel was able to see that the blond child was finally asleep. With a small smile, Rachel moved several strands of yellow hair from Mel's face, before curling up closer to the young girl. Since their mother had left them, Rachel had become Mel's mother; feeding her, dressing her, and most importantly, protecting her.
"I promise, Mel. I will always protect you." Rachel murmured into her younger sister's ear before laying back on the bed.
"I will never let you fall
I'll stand up with you forever
I'll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven."
Gar watched as Rachel sang softly to the sleeping child. Her voice wasn't angelic, or even that good, for that matter, but the words that she sang touched deep. The invisible boy curled up by himself of the smaller bed, belonging to Mel. He was in a state of inner conflict. One the one hand, Rachel had killed him. He was away from his friends and family, and he knew that they would never see him again.
But Rachel was suffering too. Every day she had to fight to survive, and protect her only family left. Staring at the troubled teen, Gar realized how peaceful she looked as she drifted to sleep. Her face lacked the annoyance that was normally so clear on her face, and for once her lips were not sneering. Distantly, the word beautiful popped into Gar's mind, but he never noticed. Steadily falling to sleep, only one thought floated through his head.
"I promise, Rachel. I'll help you get through this."