Chapter X: The Unbearable Chains
I don't want to spoil anything, but when(or indeed, if) you finish reading this, I want you to know that I'm sorry. I started this with the intent of writing something dark and sad, and I've accomplished that. I have never needed reviews or subscriptions to complete my work, but I would love to know what people think of the final chapter or the story in general. It's obviously not to everyone's taste, but was it worth the read? Onwards.
Edit: The second in this trilogy is up and is called 'Chains of the Sacrifice'.
Previously: "Starfire had stolen glances at both of her friends and been greatly disturbed. She was ecstatic to see her friends change from the victims of an assault to the dedicated force of justice they always were, but something was off. Raven was more isolated than ever, though she suspected that was because the empath was afraid to be in the same room as her green comrade. Beastboy was often distracted by empty spots and she heard him talking to himself whenever he thought no one was listening. He also had a harshness to him that was never present before, but it was understandable. They had all been through so much in the past two months.
Things were hopeless and dismal in the world, but the fact that they were all still alive meant everything. The Titans were all on their way to the most recent disaster point to find some way of stopping all of the destruction. All that was left was to find the dragon before he hurt anyone again."
Malchior teleported to a mansion high in the Himalayas and stepped onto a balcony overlooking a river at the bottom of a deep gorge. He was able to find the castle with little difficulty, as it was the original location of the keep he resided in before being defeated by Rorek of Nol. It had been reconstructed and improved by Ra's over the centuries that it had been in his possession, but it was still home to the dragon. He smiled at the irony of it, the place where he was defeated would become the place where he enacted his final revenge.
He heard rapid footsteps and shouted orders coming towards him, but Malchior paid no heed. He merely rolled up his sleeves and broke through the window into full view of a half dozen armed men. He would have to meditate as he had before, but first he had to rid the household of pesky rodents.
The Titans flew over the still-crumbling city of Lhasa, where the most recent earthquake had struck. They had no idea what to look for, but they searched for any sign of what could have caused it or even where it originated. As they lowered to hovering height, they saw the true scope of what was happening. Even though the quake had struck an hour ago, the state of the city was still utter panic.
The highways were blocked with crashed cars and covered with water from broken fire hydrants. People ran away from the city with whatever valuables they could grab, some of them not having the time to dress properly. Some were kneeling outside of collapsed housed and crying, as if lamenting the loss of loved ones inside. Starfire tore her gaze away to keep from crying at the immense sadness in the city.
They were drawn to a particularly large and modern building that looked like it was about to fall, so they diverted course to assist in any way they could. Just as they approached it, the structure collapsed under its own weight and crumpled down, crushing whoever and whatever was unfortunate enough to be underneath.
The T-Ship landed a safe distance away and the occupants sprung out to help any survivors inside. Starfire used her immense strength to throw large chunks of rock and wall to rescue any who might have been trapped beneath them. She had rescued two girls and an elderly man when she was distracted by the sound of breaking glass. When she looked around, she saw a few vandals running out of a store with stolen goods overflowing in their arms.
Outraged by the act of thievery, she flew towards them with star bolts in her hands and her eyes glowing with justice. "Leave now and you shall not be harmed!" She demanded. The thieves took one look at her and ran, dropping the loot in the process.
Beastboy took to the nearby roads, morphing into his abominable sasquatch form and used its size and strength to rip car doors off to free trapped passengers. Many bystanders were shocked to see such a monstrous being in their city, but relaxed when they saw him helping people.
Raven hovered to the fallen building and enveloped doors and walls with her black energy and threw them to the side, trying to save anyone left inside. She moved into a collapsed hallway and saw that the floor above had crashed through the ceiling and made a ramp to the next level. She was about to go up it when she heard a muffled cry behind it.
As she cast her magic on the floor to move it away, she heard a scream. "No, Malchior. Stay away!"
The others were drawn to the mention of his name and soon the three Titans stood together to see who knew their enemy. Raven lifted the floor up to its original position and Starfire used a beam to weld it into place, revealing a dusty woman beneath it. She had her leg trapped beneath a large desk and had a broken phone beside her and an old-fashioned pistol a fair distance away. She stared at Raven, whose black energy receded into her hands."You... You have his powers... How?" Nyssa asked. She had no idea what was happening or who they were, but it could only be bad.
Raven narrowed her eyes at the woman. "He stole my powers."
A flash of recognition appeared to her and she whispered. "Raven."
She stepped forwards. "Where is he going? What is he planning?"
Beastboy interrupted her. "Maybe we should save her first." His doppelganger stepped into view and shook its head. He was about to inquire as to what it meant, but it raised a finger to its lips in a silencing motion. He stopped and paid attention to the woman.
"Pointless" The woman muttered. "Why live today if I'm going to die tomorrow?"
"What do you mean? Tell me!" Raven demanded.
"He plans to destroy the world. How do you deal with that?"
Raven's eyes lost their shine as her worst fears set in. She pulled up her hood and stood back. The motion went unnoticed by Beastboy, but his doppelgänger shot a suspicious look her way. A gleam shot across its face and it gave a toothy grin as it realized what she had to do.
Starfire stepped forwards to voice her concerns. "Excuse me, stranger, but we really must discover a way to rid ourselves of a troublesome dragon. We wish to know where he is going!"
"Why?" She winced as pain shot through her leg. "Your dragon left me here to die. Why should I help you if you can't stop him?"
"If this is really to be your last act on this world, do you really want it to be refusing to help the only people who can save everyone?" Starfire spoke with the clarity and wisdom of someone who held an unadulterated love of life.
Nyssa closed her eyes for a while as if trying to think about her actions. Several tears fell down her face. She was crying as she saw what she became, what he turned her into. He cared so little for the world that she shared his views. Maybe they really could do it. She brought her hand to her trapped leg, wincing as she opened a pouch strapped to her thigh. Inside was a flash drive, which she held out to them. "There are four locations on this. You will find him at the co-ordinates high in the mountains. If you hurry, you can meet him before it's too late."
A muscle spasm hit her and she contracted her chest in pain. Starfire knelt down and took the information, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Are you sure we can do nothing to assist you?"
"Leave me. Save your precious world."
Raven and Starfire turned around and briskly walked towards the T-Ship, but Beastboy remained. He walked to her left, kneeled down, and picked up the pistol that was out of her reach. They stared at each other as he moved towards her, gun in hand. He looked at the weapon with curiosity. He had been shot many times, but this was the first time he ever held the cause of so much destruction. Deciding against using it, he placed it within arm's reach of Nyssa and nodded to her.
With his business done, he started after his teammates. They walked together towards the T-Ship, but halfway there, a gunshot echoed through the streets. Raven and Starfire stopped and turned around to investigate, but Beastboy strode past of them, knowing full well what happened.
They soon joined him and entered the vehicle to head to their next and possibly final location. All they could do was sit back and contemplate their lives while the auto-pilot flew them straight to Malchior.
In mid-flight, Raven assumed a lotus position and carefully placed her mirror in a special place on her console. Her mindscape was considerably clearer, making the approaching journey to her innermost regions much easier than the last time. Comfortable and at peace with her surroundings, she calmed herself to the point of barely being considered alive. Her heart rate had slowed to a crawl and her breathing lessened, only taking enough breath in to chant her mantra repeatedly.
Her vision that was previously obstructed by her eyelids rushed deep within her and she felt her soul-self touch down on the familiar rocky walkway in the middle of nothingness. She was about to start walking to where her emotions would meet, but a voice was heard from behind her.
"Break his bones. Tear his skin. Drink his blood. Scar his face. Sever his limbs. Crush his heart."
The brown-cloaked emotion hung from one of the highest branches of the dead tree, muttering dark threats and cruel intentions that would be inflicted on Malchior should it ever get its hands on him.
"Fury." She called out to it, but it paid no heed.
"Rip his garters. Shred his entrails. Desecrate his flesh. Impale his body. Burn his hair. Roast his balls."
"Fury!" She yelled out. The emotion became silent and jumped high into the air. Raven lost track of it, but a soft thump was heard behind her. She turned around to stare at her likeness inches away from her. She didn't flinch at the close proximity, but backed away to observe what she perceived to be an appropriate distance to converse.
"We are close to him, yes? I can smell him, so revolting yet so satisfying to be at the apex of revenge."
Raven crossed her arms. "I'll have to deny you your desires. You know full well what I have to do."
"Something foolish and drastic. I do not relish the thought of meeting our father again. "
"Neither do I, but it is the only way to truly stop him"
"Are you sure? Are you that set to drag the both of you to Hell?"
"I have no choice. We aren't powerful enough to kill him and he will always try to hurt us. If I've learned anything, it's that he will do anything to get what he wants."
"You intend to perform the most forbidden magic known to our kind. It is not something to be taken lightly. "
The emotion tensed up as if becoming more serious than it previously was. "You are absolutely set on this plan?"
Raven nodded. "Completely."
Fury relaxed, but still glared at its progenitor. "I understand your position and that there aren't many options, but consider our opinions more often. We are a part of you, Raven. Think of the people you will leave behind? Do they not deserve to know your plans?"
"If I tell them, they'll stop me, and I can't allow that. I was responsible for ending the world once. I will not stand by and let it happen again!"
"You would forsake your friends to accomplish your wishes. You're finally starting to think like a demon. Good."
Raven understood her emotion's opinion, but the worst part was that she agreed with it. She had been embracing her worse half more, mainly because Fury was now the reigning force of evil and Raven didn't hold it back.
She felt terrible. Knowing that the only option for them was to sacrifice herself was bad enough as it was, but the added guilt of not telling Beastboy or Starfire was overpowering. She promised herself that if she were ever going to bring about the end of the world, she would tell her friends so they had a chance to help her.
The situation was different, it always was, but there was no way she could tell anyone. Starfire would probably tie her up to prevent her from reaching Malchior. She might even go so far as fight him herself if it kept the two of them apart, but Beastboy... He was what her Knowledge would call an 'Unknown Variable'. There was no way to predict how he would handle her decision or if he would try to prevent it. Perhaps it would be best to tell him.
It was the very least that she could do. After all, look what he had done for her. Her talk with Starfire opened her eyes to his actions and intentions. After saving her from Malchior's influence twice now, was she really going to abandon him without so much as a word?
But she couldn't tell him. There was no way that she would trouble him with such a personal vendetta or the morally terrible thing that she was going to do. It was clear to her that being human didn't work on Malchior, so she would have to think like a demon.
The only thing that would work out in every scenario she saw was an apology after the deed was done. It was a cowardly act, but it was the only way she could atone to her friends for the mass of sins she committed. As she accepted the fact that her more demonic side would be the answer to the problem, the space in her pod grew ever so darker.
She bent down to a compartment next to her knees and removed a brown parcel that still had the straps attached. After two quick swipes with her long fingernails, the bindings fell to the floor and a calligraphy set sat before her. It was one of the many gifts that Beastboy had obtained for her, but lay neglected in a box or corner somewhere. This particular one was given to her from Russia, a collection of pens, quills, and ink that was meant to be an outlet for her 'artsy' side, but since she never needed to practice her writing, it stayed forgotten in the T-Ship.
Raven had to use it now, for both the first time and the last. She took out the paper and rested it on her lap, a faint parchment smell filling the area. The ink rested to the side, vibrating slightly but never spilling, thanks to Cyborg's engineering. She brought forth the quill and began to write her final farewell.
The green superhero pondered, something that was rare and fleeting, but useful nonetheless. He had a great amount to think about, amplified by the impending Armageddon. His counterpart was surprisingly silent, but considering what was happening, he couldn't blame it. The need to survive was universal, and was even felt by clones and evil twins.
Beastboy started talking to himself. "Hey, I know you can hear me. I need your help."
A brief moment of silence filled his pod, then a green hand placed itself on the outer casing of his window. Another hand joined it and a ruggedly handsome face rose between them. Of course it could have been a monstrously hideous face to others, but he was an optimist first and foremost.
It stood up and hopped along the length of the T-Ship, seemingly impervious to the winds and gravity force that whirled around the outside. It jumped on top of the hatch of the pod in front and turned to face him. Its mouth moved, but it sounded as clear as day. "What is it that you need?"
Beastboy rested his head back and closed his eyes. "I'm kinda... stuck. I don't know what I can do. How can I compete against a dragon when I was useless the last two times?"
It gave a passing glance to where Raven was meditating and raised an eyebrow. "Are you willing to give up everything to stop him? Will you sacrifice all that you care about to save the world?"
He opened his eyes and stared at his counterpart. Beastboy thought back to his days in the Doom Patrol, when Mento would ask the same questions. His training and idealistic views both pointed to one answer. "Anything."
It gave a wide grin that showed off its pearly whites, yet considerably sharper than the average person. "Then fight tooth and claw. Use every power at your disposal. Submit to your instincts. I have a feeling someone needs a distraction."
For once, he listened to himself and resigned to the fact that he couldn't do it by himself. He was glad to have Starfire and Raven with him. With them, maybe he had a chance.
A couple of hours later, the T-Ship was flying well into the Himalayas, forced to fly close to the ground to see the mountains below the heavy cloud belt. The mountains were fairly easy to navigate, but the mist was becoming denser by the minute.
"How are supposed to see anything in this fog?" Beastboy asked with his face pressed to the window. Starfire also looked intently out of the window, hoping to see any terrain to guide with. According to the navigation screen, they were quickly closing in on their destination, but there was no indication as to where it was. A massive cliff face appeared in front of them and the proximity alert beeped rapidly, alerting them to the imminent danger.
Starfire jammed on the pitch, forcing the aircraft into a rapid incline. The cliff came within a few feet of the rising ship, but the two never collided. The gravity forces on the people inside pressed them to their seats. They quickly cleared the summit and Starfire eased back on the throttle, leaving them in a hovering position.
The sudden increase in height made all of the Titans pant with exhaustion even though they were out of danger. Raven sat with her eyes bulging, but relatively calm while Starfire and Beastboy quickly patting their bodies to check if they still had all of the moving parts. Raven calmed down when she saw them lean their heads back in relief, and blinked a few times to make sure it wasn't a dream.
The excess air that roared through the ships turbines blew some of the mist and fog away, revealing a lone mansion on the top of the cliff. Starfire yells found it. Skillfully piloting the aircraft, she maneuvered it to one of the open balconies overlooking the mountains. As they landed and disembarked, things were clearly ill at ease.
The glass windows and doors to the balcony were shattered, some by force and others by bullets. Carefully stepping around the sharp shards, the Titans saw at least a dozen men with red cloaks torn apart. The blood had clotted on the floor, making it sticky and red. Upon closer inspection, raven saw some slight depressions in the liquid as well as bloody footprints leading outside the chamber and down a corridor to the left.
Raven signaled to her friends and they all ran down the hall, following the trail of bloody footprints, desecrated bodies, and destroyed furniture. The trail went cold many times in search of the Dragon, but Beastboy was quick to help tracks scents and the electro-magnetic fields generated by every living soul.
The trail led them down a long labyrinth of passages and corridors going deeper than was expected with such an old mansion. The surroundings quickly changed and the Titans were running down tunnels gouged out of the rock in contrast to the bright and cheery hallways before.
After a long path through crypts and caves, they came across a large cavern that glowed with a sickly hue. A bright light was seen in the distance, illuminating a bubbling green pool with jagged rocks forming a ceiling around it. The ground was disturbed with heavy bootprints and more dried blood.
"I have killed everyone in this house. How is it that I can sense life?" A figure rose as the light emitting from his body dimmed. A terribly familiar body was seen, a flowing mane of purest white, a muscular form that looked like it could easily rip through a brick wall, a smile that could haunt a man for the rest of his life, and sapphire eyes that looked past the body and stared at the deepest darkest secrets.
"Malchior." Raven said his name with as much courage as she could manage, but she could already feel her Fury creeping through her body.
"Raven, my dear. Have you come back for another night of passion?"
Starfire summoned up a large star bolt and threw it at him, hitting him directly in the face. The smoke from the blast cleared, giving way to Malchior's unscathed face.
Malchior gave a deadpan look at the action. "That's a yes then?"
The second he finished, Raven couldn't contain her Fury any longer and it completely took over her body. Her hair bristled as if alive, her cloak flowed as if hurtling through the sky, her arms outstretched as if they would tear him to pieces if they came close to him, and four pure violet eyes that burned so bright that it was almost blinding.
Instead of cowering in fear, Malchior's eyes flashed, reveling in the power he was witnessing. "No matter what powers you have obtained, you will all fall here."
Starfire flew to his left and Beastboy dashed off to his right while Raven slowly rose, summoning dark energy that surrounded everything around her. Possessed with the essence of Fury, Raven advanced to meet the waiting dragon. Knowing that her powers were useless on him, she instead used them to augment her physical prowess and affect the terrain in the hopes that she would get the upper hand. She enveloped several surrounding boulders with magic and tore them from the ground, jumping on one of them as they flew through the air above. Both Starfire and Beastboy entered the fray in order to catch him unawares.
Unaffected by the awesome display of power before him, Malchior merely stood his ground, waiting for anything to get close enough for him to destroy. Raven sent a sizable chunk of rock flying at Malchior's head, which crumbled to dust inches before impact. Not waiting for a reaction, Starfire and Raven started flinging every projectile they could summon or control at him, hoping to break through whatever was shielding him.
He skillfully evaded all of the attacks with breathtaking accuracy and started his own, creating intensely burning fireballs and flinging them back towards his enemies. Beastboy slithered up from behind him as a cobra and lunged, latching onto the pulsing leg in front of him and attempted to poison the dragon. His fangs couldn't even break the skin and Beastboy had to detach in order to avoid the sweeping hand that was descending to rip him off.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Starfire swooped into position directly above the albino and loosed a steady stream of energy from her eyes, singeing the ground around him, but still not affecting Malchior. He shifted targets to the Tamaranian, but she had already moved out of range by that time, allowing Beastboy to try his hand again.
He unleashed the most complicated combination of attacks he could think of. He used a cheetah's speed to get the initial momentum he needed, the jaw power of a crocodile to clamp down on the dragon, and the size and flexibility of an anaconda to restrain Malchior as best as he could. Unable to do anything more than turn his head, the dragon gritted his teeth. This was getting out of hand.
He concentrated all of his energy inwards, collecting an inordinate amount of heat inside of his body and allowing it to fester. The snake held on as valiantly as it could, but loosened when the risk of irreparable harm was too great. Now unhindered by the reptile, Malchior threw his limbs outwards, throwing Beastboy high into the air. The changeling shifted into a falcon to control the rapid ascent and landed safely on the ceiling.
Raven jumped across the still-hovering rocks to avoid detection, but the movement only served to alert Malchior to her position. "Play-time's over, little girl." He muttered. The dragon raised closed fists in the air and slammed them down on the ground, forcing numerous black spikes to emerge from the surrounding area. One of them directly impaled the rock Raven resided on, making her lose her balance and fall.
The loss of concentration on Raven's end caused the floating rocks to drop, making the ground tremble with every impact. Starfire had to move quickly to dodge the falling rocks while Raven merely hit the ground directly, hair mixing with the dust as she collided. Beastboy say it all with his enhanced vision and a strong sense of animalistic instinct rumbled within him. He heard a faint voice say something before his vision dimmed. "My turn."
A ferocious roar echoed through the chamber, and when Malchior looked up to see, all he could catch was a green blur. A soft impact was heard behind him, but by the time he turned around, only a small cloud of dust remained. Malchior looked around furiously, trying to track the source of the sound and movement quickly jumping its way through the maze of fallen rocks. Starfire used this time to make sure Raven was uninjured. With both of them conscious and aware, they stared at the battle of monsters occurring before them.
The dragon's body was faced forwards when a powerful force hit him in the back of the head, making him stumble forwards. He turned around only to have another hit come at him from above him.
Malchior grew angrier as the same monster that got the better of him before gave him an even harder time now. Unable to anticipate its movements, he was forced to swing his arms randomly and lash out with tendrils of energy on places where the Beast was already long gone. Hit upon hit rained down on The dragon, who was still incapable of tracking his enemy, closed his eyes to shut out as many distractions as possible. A loud bang came from the distance and Malchior turned to face it, finally confident that this was it. He was mistaken.
The Beast jumped down directly in front of the ancient sorcerer and punched him directly upwards, an uppercut that sent him flying through the air. Instead of falling back to the ground, Malchior hovered in mid-air and smirked. "Gotcha." He laughed.
It tried to jump up after him, but several tendrils of energy bound its feet, rendering it impossible to move. Malchior flew down to it and tried to overcome and kill the green annoyance with his bare hands, but the creature was unwilling to submit, using every muscle and bone structure to beat the dragon off. The previous bout had worn down Malchior's shield to negligible strength, making their duel one of pure brute power.
A flurry of head butts and primal slashes ripped at his skin, drawing blood and denting bones with every hit. He retaliated by parrying the blows with his physical presence and attacking with his metaphysical. The green fur became matted with blood and the liquid transferred between them, slowly turning the two distinct figures into identical red beings fueled by their own pain. Every injury that it received made its attacks stronger and more ferocious while Malchior's face grew more contorted with anger for every second that the Beast remained a threat.
Feeling enraged and furious, he grabbed both of the Beast's arms and held them down while a spear of black energy shot into its shoulder with such force that it was catapulted far away, into the direction of the two spectators.
"Hurts, doesn't it?" Malchior yelled as the monster shrunk back to the human boy, clutching his shoulder in pain.
"Beastboy!" Raven yelled. She ran forwards and knelt down in front of him, putting pressure on the newly formed wound. She glared at Malchior, who was currently evading a flurry of star bolts from the Tamaranian. She looked back to Beastboy whose eyes were shut from the agony. She cupped his face with her hands and brought his forehead to hers. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She whispered while slipping a neatly folded envelope into his pocket. "Don't follow me."
Raven stood up, chest heaving from the guilt and anticipation of the moment she had vowed never to see since she could remember. She used her final reserves of power to open up a black portal and disappeared inside. Malchior, who had successfully beaten Starfire off with a massive gust of wind felt a collection of energy behind him. He smirked when he realized who was behind him.
He whirled around with his arm outstretched and grabbed the newcomer directly on the throat. He raised his chin in arrogance and pleasure at the knowledge that he had finally won. "You never should have come, Raven. The only pity is that I will have to send you to Hell before you can witness this world's final moment."
Beastboy sat up and stared at the sight before his eyes. He had her and Raven was scared. The only problem was that she wasn't scared of him. She was scared of herself.
Raven's eyes split into four and an otherworldly and guttural voice roared from deep within her. "If I go to Hell, I'm taking you with me!"
Beastboy shot up and sprinted towards Raven, ignoring the intense pain in his shoulder. He watched in horror as she dug her fingers into Malchior's arm. He gave a silent roar of pain, completely unaware that the demoness had created a red portal directly underneath their feet.
Putting on an extra burst of speed, Beastboy quickly closed the distance between them, but as he reached the portal, both Raven and Malchior had already disappeared through it. He slid on his knees to the area where the portal was still closing, hoping to go after them.
The portal closed just as he reached it, but Beastboy was determined to go through, resorting to pounding the rough ground with nothing but bloody fists in an attempt to break through.
"No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No..."
He muttered to himself, as if the repeated denial would magically reverse time and bring her back to him. Starfire slowly walked up beside him and placed a sorrowful hand on his shoulder.
The letter that Raven had given him dropped onto the ground beside the weeping Titan and Starfire knelt down to pick it up. She broke the seal and read the inscription inside.
I'm sorry for everything
He will pay for his sins
I will miss you both
This is goodbye, forever
Inside the letter was a smaller folded paper with the letters 'BB' inscribed on it. Not even considering opening something that wasn't addressed to her, she knelt down beside her friend and gently handed him the envelope.
He took it in his hands and read the short goodbye, shutting his eyes tightly after every line as if to burn her words into his very soul. Noticing the extra letter, he took it in his hands and delicately opened each fold like it was a fragile flower. Inside was art in the form of calligraphy. Each ink stroke was beautiful to behold and the script was flawless. The parchment was purple and his enhanced senses picked up the faint smell of lavender.
It was written with the gift he had given her many years ago, the nostalgia tearing a piece of him away.
You've helped me more than you can know.
You've been there for me whenever I wanted it.
You've been there for me whenever I didn't.
You've saved my life when others would harm me.
You've saved my life when I would harm myself.
You've given me attention when I didn't deserve it.
You've given me hope when I didn't have any.
You mean everything to me and that's why I have to do this.
Even if the whole world were to fall apart, it would kill me to see you get hurt.
I've never asked you for anything, but I need you to do something for me.
Don't be trapped trying to make me open up for the rest of your life.
Live for yourself and that others will live too.
This is my gift to you.
It's all I can give.
It was obvious that a great amount of care went into writing it and every word hit Beastboy with increasing force. However meaningful and insightful the message was, there was no way that it could fill the abyss that was ripped into his very existence.
Every single thing in his life had been taken away. His family, his childhood, his dignity, his teammates, and now his love. He did what he always did when everything that he cared about was lost. He cried.
Beastboy sat with a sorrowful Starfire at his side, leaning against each other for support. The tears that fell through the air glinted with the light of the Lazarus Pit, still active in the background. The world had teetered close to the edge of oblivion, all because of an eclipse and the chains that were borne from it.
"Please do not fret, Friend Gar. Malchior is gone and the world is saved. There is nothing left for us to do." Starfire's voice was soft with a hint of sadness and her face held a modicum of understanding.
He wiped his tears away, smearing his face with earth and blood. "No." He said for the final time. He opened his eyes to see his doppelganger, its teeth gleaming with a new purpose and its eyes burning with the intensity of a thousand suns. His claws grew more fierce and he slowly gouged out lines in the dirt. "I will sunder the dimensions to find her again."
A source of indescribable heat. A sound of screams in the distance. The feel of rock that had been long since scorched by fire and ice. The raging emotions of thousands of tortured souls. The smell of charred flesh and fresh blood. An increase in pressure so intense it felt like the gravity was raised tenfold. A part of her dreaded the surroundings, but another part of her knew it felt familiar. To her, this was the home she hoped never to go to.
She opened her eyes to take in the sight she already knew from her most terrible nightmares. A desolate valley of hellfire and brimstone. A swarm of demons and lost souls writhing together in agony. A cacophony of evil chanting. Four blood-red eyes that watched all from on high.
She sank to her knees as the consequences of her actions set in. A single tear fell down her alabaster skin as she whispered the only words that mattered to her.
"One... Two... Three..."