The Return of Malchior

By: Dan Trigona
November, 2011

Author's Note: This picks up shortly after the events in "The Dragon and the Titans" and is (technically) in the 6th season of "Teen Titans". Obviously, the episode "Things Change" is being disregarded. You'll have to see what I have planned for the team.

Teen Titans characters are owned by DC Comics and Cartoon Network…Edward's mine.

Prologue
[September 15, 2010]

Raven, Teen Titan, writes:

It's been an interesting couple of months for me. After the fiasco with Malchior, I never thought I could let myself love another being, not romantically at least. I do love my teammates on a family level, I suppose. But, there was no chance I'd ever fall in love again. I'd be Trigon's portal again first.

But, I was wrong! When Edward first arrived, he accidentally initiated a telepathic touch that was withdrawn immediately. But, it wasn't a day later he helped revive Terra by channeling my abilities. Since then, we've grown very close as teammates, as friends, and as a couple.

It's not every day when I allow someone into Nevermore, but, he's been there, at my invitation several times already. He's not put off by meeting my personified emotions, and after he was forced to battle Anger, there's been a grudging respect there.

However, an evil from the past is about to return that will test my resolve and Edward's as well. I don't know how he escaped, but, we're going to deal with him, once and for all.

Chapter 1
[Titans Tower – Jump City, California]

The Titans had recently returned from a minor mission in town to take down Mumbo Jumbo once again. Even Edward was affected by the magician's tricks to some degree. He had discovered that he had limited resistance to magical attacks, including Raven's. However, no one realized that there was going to be a major problem that only Raven could solve.

Raven had been having trouble meditating over the last several days and it was making the otherwise calm empath edgy enough that vital items in the Tower were sheltered away from her powers.

Luckily for the team, Edward was right there, either physically or telepathically to help calm her emotions when Raven couldn't find her center. Not to leave the others out, of course, they were extremely wary of Raven when she was in a foul mood and that was getting worse the longer it was taking her to be able to meditate. Edward was getting ready to actually ask Raven's permission to enter Nevermore and help her from there.

"Azarath Metrion Zinthos," she repeated over and over, trying to find her center during the latest attempt. Her and Edward were on the roof, lest the other Titans accuse them of hanky-panky. Robin, for the sake of the team, had banned any "Adult activities". He knew that the edict would affect most of the team, except Cyborg.

Raven frowned in concentration and squeezed her boyfriend's hand.

[Relax, dear,] Edward said via the link he shared with her.

[Easy for you to say,] Raven retorted, [You've been able to meditate, I haven't. If I can't accomplish this, my powers will escalate out of control.]

[I know,] Edward said calmly, [Focus on my vibrations. Allow yourself to drift away, as if you're on a cloud. Reach out and try to find your center.]

[I'm trying,] she said, almost "in tears."

[Rae? It's going to be OK,] Edward said, trying to reassure the trouble empath the best he could.

[I know, Ed,] she sighed.

[Is there some anniversary of yours coming up that might be disturbing you?] he asked.

[Only thing I can think of is when I was so foolish as to free Malchior,] she said, [But, that was a few years ago. I've never been so disturbed that I can't meditate.]

Edward pondered that one, leaning on his long life and experience.

[I wonder, Rae,] he said, [if maybe I'm the reason you can't meditate. You were in love with him before and he treated you well cause it served his purposes. When he was freed and the truth came out, it shattered you inside. I've been there in a way.]

[There was a female dragon?] Rae asked, opening her eyes and settling on the ground, giving up for the moment the meditation attempt.

"No, there wasn't," Edward replied verbally. He has asked Robin to keep the others off the roof for a while, so, there was no need to worry about someone interrupting.

He continued, "I'm the only one of my species for whatever reason. But, when I was much younger, I had fallen for a woman in Ancient Greece and, well, the relationship lasted a long time. Sadly, though, the child we had adopted was killed in a freak accident. When he died, her ability to love died with him. Like you, my heart was shattered into a million pieces. I had friends who supported me, but, my capacity to open up and love again didn't really recover until I met you."

"Surely, there were others in the intervening centuries!" Raven exclaimed.

"A few did come along, but, it was hard to maintain. You see, this was in the Dark Ages as well. People grew old. They died, but, the problem is that I don't age. This is the form I generally used throughout the centuries. I'd make several alterations, of course. I couldn't afford to get tied down in a figurative sense because if the locals were to suspect the truth…"

"They'd try to kill you as a sorcerer," Raven finished.

Edward nodded, "In European countries, they'd rather torture you and then, if you were lucky, behead you. If you weren't so lucky, and a lot of folks there weren't lucky, they were burnt at the stake.

"I would have been absolutely forced to fight for my freedom and that might have meant breaking the ropes or shapeshifting to a smaller form.

"Mankind, Rae, was not ready for me."

Raven nodded, "I can appreciate that, hon."

"What's the difference between now and the last few years?" Edward asked.

"You," Raven replied, "I didn't know you a year ago."

"Well, I'm the second dragon you've fallen for, even though I'm far nicer to you then he was. I know your feelings for me are genuine, though. The trips into your mind have told me that. But, something's amiss and we have to find the cause of it," Edward mused. It bothered him to know that he might be the cause of her not being able to achieve that level of peace needed for meditation.

"Let's go to my room, then," Raven said, "We need to find the answers."

They went downstairs and ran into Starfire en route.

"Good morning, Starfire," Edward said with a small grin. He had long ago "adopted" the Tamaranian princess as a sister. Then again, he felt the same towards all the Titans. They had become his family.

"Good morning, friend Edward!" she replied, giving him a quick hug. Out of all the Titans, Edward was the only one that could tolerate her hugs without fear of injury or damage to circuits. But, this time, it was very quick as Starfire couldn't miss the worried looks on their faces.

"Something troubles you?" Star asked.

"Rae still can't meditate, but, we might have found a possible reason," Edward said.

"This is most distressing!" Starfire moaned, "Friend Raven needs to do the meditation."

"We know that," Raven said patiently. Edward had been told of the time Puppet King had stolen the souls of the team and how the guys were locked into puppets, Raven and Starfire had been switched so each knew a lot about their abilities and life stories.

"Can we talk later, Star?" Raven asked.

"Certainly!" she replied and glided away without a sound.

They made it to her room without further interruptions and went in. Edward was the only Titan allowed in Raven's room, even when she wasn't there.

Raven went to the section of books she had and looked in her meditation section and finally pulled one out entitled Problems with Meditation and they started to go through it.

They came to a chapter called "Emotional Confusion and Turmoil" and started to read it. The chapter made it clear that when one's emotions were confused, it made it harder to achieve that all important center and advised the reader to examine why things were stirred up. There was a point that stood out to the couple and that was an anniversary of a major event that would make it harder to deal with.

"Sweetie," Edward said, looking at Raven, "I think it's time you told me all about Malchior. I don't think we can move on until then."

Raven looked downcast then, "It's a long story."

Edward sat down in a chair after arranging another to sit across from him. Raven got the hint and sat across from him.

He reached out and gently took her hands in his.

"We've got time," he said gently, "I know this is going to be hard for you, Rae. I'm here for you."

She sighed, "I know you are. I just didn't want you to worry."

"What, me worry?" Edward wise-cracked. Raven smiled a little. But, that quickly faded as her face fell.

A tear escaped and traveled down her cheek. Edward wiped it away and pulled her into his arms. She had learned to more than tolerate his embrace, in fact, she felt safest there.

After a moment, though, she composed herself and withdrew to her chair.

"Well," she said, "It began a couple years ago. I was feeling lonely and admittedly creepy…"

She spend the next hour and a half telling Edward the whole story of how she fell for the other dragon, but, she never knew that aspect until he turned against her and revealed that the only reason he went through the ruse was to get Raven to release him. Finally, she revealed that she learned a curse as well and the curse, combined with her powers put Malchior back in the book.

Edward sat there for the entire time, absorbing what she was saying. He wasn't liking what she said and was glad that she locked him away, hopefully forever.

Raven went over to a hidden compartment and pulled it out.

"I think you should see this," she said. She opened the compartment and gasped, "No!"

Edward jumped out of his chair and in the space of two steps was there, arm holding Raven and looking at an empty container.

Raven shuddered, hard. She was fighting off an aggressive emotion and looked at Edward with glowing red eyes.

"Where is it?" she growled at him.

"Where's what, dear?" he asked, truly at a loss.

"The book! It's GONE. Malchior's book!" she snarled.

"Easy, Rae, we'll find it," Edward said gently. He knew that Anger was in control right then and he needed to get the emotion calmed enough allow Raven to reassert control.

The glow died down a minute later and she collapsed into his arms.

He carried her over to the bed and gently placed her there.

He placed his hands on her temples and said through the telepathic link, [Rae, sweetie? I'm here.] Just a simple confirmation that he was there.

He felt a tingling in his hands that grew into a definite burning sensation until he was forced to release the hold with a barely restrained groan.

"Ouch!" he muttered, "She's gone into a very protective mode."

He opened his communicator and hit several buttons on it. He set it for Raven's biology and scanned her. Physically, she was unharmed, obviously, but, her heart rate was very high, as was her blood pressure.

"Edward to Cyborg," he said.

A moment later the face of Cyborg came on screen, "Yo, Dawg! I'm in the middle of beating BB again."

"Well, pause the game! We got problems," Edward snapped, "I'm teleporting Raven to the infirmary."

Cyborg said, "Meet you there!" and closed the connection.

Edward made sure that Raven's cloak was firmly attached and shapeshifted to different dragon form where he could pick her up in arms and still teleport.

He picked her up and focused on the infirmary and teleported. As soon as he emerged, he transformed back to human and put Raven on a bed.

A moment later, the entire team was in the room with Cyborg setting the diagnostic scanners to Raven's baseline.

"She's in a trance for some reason," he said.

"What happened?" Robin asked.

"Well, as you know, she's had trouble meditating," Edward said, "We were researching what the problems might be and we found one major difference. In the last few years, even now, she's been able to find her center and meditate."

"Right," Beast Boy said, "But, what's wrong this year?"

"Me," Edward said, "What happened to Rae a few years ago?"

"Malchior," Robin said.

"Got it in one," Edward said, "Even after that incident, she's been able to meditate. But, with me in the picture and as her boyfriend as well, I think there are some conflicted emotions involved. I'm wondering why.

"But, that's not the biggest thing. Robin, we need to search the Tower, top to bottom. The book she imprisoned Malchior in has disappeared!"

Starfire gasped, "No! If someone has friend Raven's book of Malchior, he could be released. He could desire the vengeance!"

"Against Rae?" Edward asked.

"Against the whole team!" Cyborg said.

"Not on my watch!" Edward snarled, eyes glowing yellow, "He hurt Raven badly and if he thinks he's gonna get vengeance…I will KILL HIM!"

The ferocity of Edward's statement dropped the jaws of the rest of the team. They knew Edward was protective of the whole team, even to the same level that Robin would be.

"Dude," Beast Boy said, "I'm with you. No one gets a second chance to hurt Raven."

"Booya!" Cyborg said, "I'm in."

Terra said, "I owe Raven and you, Edward. I'm in." Since her powers had reasserted themselves, the team had kept their promise and worked with her to maintain control. Once that had been achieved, the team voted and Terra was fully reinstated to the team, with all the rights and privileges therein.

Robin said, "Star and I are in as well. The no kill rule, for this mission…is waived."

Edward was touched and the glow faded from his eyes.

"Friends…no, family. I'm honored. Make no mistake, this will be a major fight and if needed, I'll teleport that SOB outside the city. Robin, did you guys get a chance to see what Malchior is capable of?" Edward asked.

"Not really, but, since the fight happened here, the Tower's camera caught everything," Robin said.

"Soon as she wakes up, would you mind if…" Edward started to say.

"We'll have it cued up and ready for you," Robin said, "Just worry about Raven for now."

"I will," Edward said.

He placed his hands on Raven's head again and tried the link.

[Rae, honey. It's Edward. Are you OK?]

A harsh voice came back, [Get lost, interloper! Raven's mine!]

[MALCHIOR!] Edward roared through the link [YOU HURT HER AND YOU'RE A DEAD DRAGON! RAE'S MY GIRLFRIEND!]

[And who are you, little man?] Malchior demanded.

[Your worst nightmare, that's who. Obviously, you don't have Rae's memories or you'd know. Name's Barnes and I'm an IMMORTAL Dragon, not a little man. And, right now, you've got a choice. Return Raven to us, or I'll hunt you down and bury you,] Edward said.

[Bah!] Malchior said, [I challenge you to try. I will have my revenge on her!]

Edward felt an electric chock run through his hands and he let out a scream when the contact was forcibly cut off.

"Edward!" Robin said, catching Edward as he stumbled. The team saw the intense red glow showing how angry he truly was.

"That bastard! That mother f***er! That SON OF A B****H!" Edward snarled, then, proceeded to say a few choice curses in 20 different languages.

"Friend Edward, calm down!" Starfire said, grabbing Edward by the head. She was the only one that had the strength to even come close to Edward.

The glow faded to yellow as he calmed down. The strength went out of his legs and Starfire guided him to the floor, followed by the other Titans.

"He's got her," Edward cried.

"Malchior?" Robin asked.

Edward nodded, "Yeah. I don't know how, but, he's invaded. Rae's given me permission to go into her mind when needed, so, it's time for a telepathic battle."

"You're not as strong as Raven, though," Robin said.

"True, which means I have to find Raven first, then, eject that [Tamaranian curse word here] out on his ass!" Edward retorted. Starfire blushed, "I didn't think you knew Tamaranian, friend Edward."

"You speak it here, Starfire," Edward said, "One of my abilities is to learn language quickly. You spoke enough of it I was able to pick up the basics and go from there. I apologize if my use of the language offended."

Starfire said, "Not offended, friend Edward. I'm surprised."

Edward stood up and said, "Time to take this battle to him."

He left for a moment to retrieve Raven's mirror.

After he got back, he said, "I may be back shortly or it might take a while. Make sure that if Raven starts showing signs of faltering, you keep her alive. She dies with me in her mind…I die with her."

Cyborg put a hand on Edward's shoulder, "We hear ya, dawg. We'll keep an eye on things out here. Good luck."

Edward held his hand out and said, "For Raven." One by one, the other Titans added their hand to the pile and said, "For Raven."

After that, Edward said, "Everyone out for a minute. I don't know if her mirror will pull anyone else in."

After everyone left, Edward said, "I'm coming for you, Raven. He's not going to win this one!" He bent over and kissed Raven on the lips.

He put the mirror on the stand next to her bed and looked into his reflection. A moment later, he felt a familiar hard pull.