2 Years, 9 Months and 4 Days
Raven sighed as she rubbed her eyes. She had been studying with the famous Li Pai Long for just over a month. The infamous ancient Chinese sorcerer had been born in the Han Dynasty, and had survived by creating an artificial demiplane.
She had heard that Pai Long had collected texts from ancient Azarath, from a time before the Central Library had been purged of any texts deemed "evil" or "unnatural" by the administration. Her search had proven fruitful. She had found a handful of mental exercises meant to help re-enforce her emotional control. She was finally ready to return home, to Jump City to see her friends... no, her family.
"Master Pai Long, many thanks for allowing me to peruse your library. I can only hope that my own text of 'current' Azarathian history can be reasonable compensation. I now wish to return home – can you open the portal?"
"But of course, my dear. I'm surprised that you aren't staying longer, though. I have many more books, and most people tend to come here to start a new life."
"...What do you mean by that?"
"Goodness, you didn't know? I assumed everybody knew... at least, everybody who got the communication scroll."
"What are you talking about?"
"Raven, how do you think I've lived for nearly 1800 years?"
"A life-enhancing spell? Perhaps a deal with a higher power?"
"Well, a little bit of the former, admittedly. But spells of that sort cannot extend a lifespan that far beyond its limit. No, Raven, this demiplane is shifted out of the local space-time continuum."
Paling, Raven realises what the Master is trying to say. "So how long have I been here?"
"Hmmm..." Doing a series of quick calculations in his head the Master flicks his gaze to her uncertainly. "You've been here exactly 2 years, 9 months and 4 days as of two hours ago."
- - - oOo - - -
Fighting her stomach, Raven stumbled through the gate into the Commons room in the Tower. Or, rather, what had been the communal room. Looking around, Raven could see clear signs that it was no longer a public area – most notably a pink bra strewn over the couch.
"...Hello? Anyone here?"
A blast of light whipped past her and before she could even begin to focus her powers a bookshelf toppled over behind her and fell on top of her.
"Vic? We've got an intruder in the living room. The voice sounded female, and I've got her pinned under bookshelf." Hearing a muffled yell though the wood and books surrounding her, Raven managed to hear a sounding of metal against the floor and a deep voice. After a moment's hesitation, the woman answered. "Yes, the one filled with your automotive books." The man was finally close enough to Raven so she could make out what he was saying.
"Alright, you get ready to blast them again, and I'll lift the 'shelf. You ready?" A heartbeat passed before bright light blinded Raven's eyes. The bookshelf nearly dropped again, however, as her 'saviour' finally caught a look at her. "Rae?"
"Cyborg? Why'd the other person call you Vic?"
"Never mind that, you're... wow, Raven. Damn. Damn." Raven suddenly found herself wrapped in a bone-crushing metallic hug. "We missed you, girl." She could feel the shoulder of her cloak grow slightly damped with tears before a feminine voice cleared her throat.
"You going to let me through anytime soon, Sparky?"
"Bee, good to see..." Raven trailed off as she saw not a tall African American standing behind Cyborg, but a slim sorceress with shocking pink hair. "Jinx?"
"I take it that you were expecting Karen?"
"She means Bumblebee, Raven. But enough of that girl, tell us what the hell's been going on."
Cyborg gestured to the couch (after tactfully slipping Jinx's bra off the couch and onto the floor behind it), and the trio seated themselves on it, Raven to one side and Cyborg at the other, Jinx half draped over him. Raven got her first good look at the two in getting close to three years. Of their time. Azar, I'm going to give myself a headache.
Cyborg looked much the same – still bald, tall and muscular.
Jinx looked almost completely different, however. Truth be told, Raven had only recognized her because of her blaringly bright pink hair and catlike eyes. Instead of her old black and blue uniform, Jinx was wearing a long, flowing cerulean robe. Raven's eyes had barely skimmed over the ibindi/i between her eyebrows and fell straight to her protruding abdomen. "Jinx, you're-"
"Pregnant? Yeah. After a year, ol'Vic here proposed. With a little help from the scientists over at STARR Labs, we've got this little bundle of joy in the oven."
"So wait, you're MARRIED?"
"Yes. She's my wife, Raven. Now, enough distractions. Talk. Why are you not dead right now?"
Raven gave him the blankest stare that she could muster. "Excuse me? Dead?"
- - - oOo - - -
"Raven, what did you expect? You said that you'd be gone a month, maybe a month and a half. We got concerned when you hit the two month mark. Nightwing finally admitted that he hadn't been able to sense you since you had left."
"Wait... Nightwing? Isn't that the name-"
"Yeah, it's the name he took in Warp's altered future that Star saw. Moving on... "
"Turns out that Master Pai Long's dimension, demi-plane, whatever it is, is shifted out of the normal space-time continuum."
"Umm... for the not science-y nerd type over here?"
"She means that it's slightly out of phase with our fourth dimension, while simultaneously occupying the previous three." Noticing his wife's blank look, he cringed for a second and lifted an arm to rub the back of his head while trying to look sheepish. "Sorry. It's affected by time differently than the rest of us. You imagine time as a river, right? Well, in this case, we're the river, and she was a fast current running alongside us. She got here, the same place we did, only taking a lot less time to do so."
"Thanks for that, Cyborg. But could you please catch me up on what I've missed? What did the Titans do when I never returned?"
"We basically freaked. I mean, you got Robin to call Batman. You of all people know just how peachy those two get along. Star managed to track down Herald to go looking for you, but there was something up with the dimension that you went to... he could find it, sure, but he couldn't get anything through. It must have been that time distortion that you mentioned. So about a month after that, Robin released a statement to the City about you taking a leave of absence for 'personal reasons'."
"But you assumed that I was dead."
"Well, yeah, in the Titans community, at least. But you know the public- they can't have one of their heroes dying on them. Star hated lying to the public about the truth, and I was divided. It was Robin's idea to say that you were gone for personal reasons. It was technically true, of course, but..."
"And how about Beast Boy? I'm sure that he missed his favourite target."
"...He probably took it harder than anyone else, Raven. Do you have any idea how long it took me and Star of drag him out of his funk?"
"He... he missed me? I was so sure that he didn't particularly like me."
"Missed you? Hells, Rae... you know how long it took him to get over Terra's betrayal?"
"Which one? But yes, I do. Two months or so, wasn't it? I remember you complaining for that long, anyways..."
"Let's put it this way - he didn't touch a Gamestation controller for more than isix months/i after your apparent death. IT took him even longer than that to recover into what we could recognise as our grass stain."
Raven opened her mouth to mouth to ask a question that she had wanted to ask for apparently nearly three years when she heard a pair of babies wailing through the tower.
"Dammit Vic, look what you've done. You've gone and woken up the twins." Jinx glared at her husband irately, nearly daring him to argue with her.
"Twins? But I assumed that this was your first..."
"Oh, it is our first. But we're not the first Titans to have a kid."
"So Robin... I mean Nightwing finally got up the courage to ask Starfire out? Good for him." Seeing the odd Look passing between the married couple, Raven wisely decided to let the matter rest. "So who are the parents, then?"
With a grin, Cyborg brought her towards the door. "Why don't you try and guess? If you get the answer right, I'll give you the low-down on what you've missed."
"And if I don't guess correctly?"
"Then you'll have to meet the team. Here's a hint – the twin's names are Oliver and Alice"
A/N: ...And I've returned from a stupidly long hiatus. Not actually as stupidly long as one might assume, given that I've been unfaithful (to , I mean).
Regardless, I've returned. Do not expect frequent updates, however. And I don't know if I'll even have the time to finish my A:tLA stories (though I AM trying – I just need to convince my gf to watch the series with me so I get re-inspired), considering how hard post-secondary i kicking my ass. But I'll at least TRY and make time for y'all, dammit.
As well, feel free to guess on the parents of these mysterious twins.