Titans vs. Slade
Author's note: All Teen Titan characters are owned by DC Comics and Warner Brothers.
Remember that anything in brackets is Edward and Raven using their telepathic link.
[October 30, 2010]
I thought the nightmare was over. I thought Slade had been killed when I dumped him into the lava when that volcano started to erupt…before I was petrified.
But, over the last few weeks, the nightmares have gotten worse and it's affecting me badly. I try to put on the brave face for the team. But, Garfield's not fooled by it. He knows something's wrong.
So does Raven. She hasn't said anything, but, she can sense how mixed up I've become recently. I'm sure she's brought it up with Edward. It's not like they can hide anything from one another.
But, what the team is about to tell me…I don't know how to handle it.
[Titan Tower Common Area]
Terra walked into the general living quarters of the Titan Tower and found out that, for once, it was empty. That suited her just fine as she wasn't really in the mood to talk to anyone right away. She wanted to sit back and watch some news.
That would prove to be a mistake.
She turned on the KJMP news and saw a report that frightened her. It was a report on Slade Wilson…AKA Deathstroke. The reporter was probably aware that Slade had managed to survive his lava bath somehow as the camera showed his symbol on a building.
"This symbol, reportedly the mark of Slade," the reporter said, "Was recently discovered on the side of this building. I'm here in the northern end of Jump City where this mark has not been seen since Slade's failed attempt to take over the city.
"As viewers may remember, Slade and his then apprentice Terra Markov started a reign of terror before being ultimately stopped by the Teen Titans.
"During the fight, Ms. Markov's powers triggered a volcano that should have destroyed Jump City, however, she sacrificed herself to stop the volcano.
"Recently, we learned that Ms. Markov was freed from her stone prison by the same team that defeated her and Slade's plans. The Titans, as they prefer to be called now, had recently inducted a new member: Edward Barnes. Barnes, a shapeshifting Dragon, realized that Ms. Markov was still somehow alive and convinced the other Titans to help free her.
"Since then, Ms. Markov has rarely been seen outside of the tower. However, we have exclusive footage of her fighting the dragon known as Malchior."
The station cut to footage of the Titans fighting Malchior a month and a half prior. It ended when Terra unleashed her powers to put Malchior under hundreds of tons of rock.
"When we tried to ask about this, Robin stated that the Titans would not be commenting on that episode, and that it was an internal matter for the team.
"Edward Barnes, when asked, also said that he would have no comment on that incident."
"'I'm sorry, folks,'" Edward was saying on tape, "'I'm not going to comment on any fights in the desert. It's a non-issue with me and, I would strongly urge that this matter be dropped. As Robin said, this is a matter that the Titans had to handle.'"
By then, Terra was near tears.
The report continued on, "Reports at the time indicated that Slade had been killed during the volcanic eruption along with Ms. Markov. The reappearance of these markings, however, would cast doubt on even that."
"I killed him!" Terra said, "I saw his mask burn. He's got to be dead!" She wept bitterly, not realizing that her distress was reaching a certain empath loudly and clearly.
[Oh no!] Raven called to Edward via their link.
[I see it, dear,] Edward called out, [That damned reporter might have just told Terra that Slade's still alive. Find BB, please.]
[Will do, hon,] Raven said. In the previous weeks, she'd stopped calling him various terms of endearment out loud, but, in the privacy of the link…that was a totally different story.
Edward ran to the commons as the report was ending, to find Terra in a fetal position, sobbing her eyes out.
"It's not true! IT CAN'T BE TRUE!" she screamed.
Edward sighed as he sat down and tried to pull Terra into a hug. She latched onto him quickly.
"It's all right, Terra," Edward said quietly.
"He's dead, right?" Terra asked him, knowing that he'd tell the truth, "Please, tell me that rat bastard's dead!"
"Terra," Edward said, "I'm so sorry…"
Terra screamed, "NO! I KILLED HIM! I SAW HIM DIE!"
Edward's heart broke. He was having to quickly shore up his mental shields against the geomancer's anguish, but, in doing so, he had to shut out Raven as well.
He couldn't find the words to even begin to comfort her, so, he held her tight.
"He's gotta be dead," she said.
By then, Beast Boy and Raven had come in. Beast Boy jumped over the couch in cat form, then, switched back to human to sit next to Terra. She was sobbing wildly, her hair starting to blow in different directions.
"Her powers!" Raven realized, "We gotta calm her down!"
"Terra, I'm here," Beast Boy said, stroking her back. She released her death grip on Edward and went to her boyfriend and best friend.
"Slade's dead, isn't he?" she asked.
Beast Boy had a lot more courage that moment.
"No," BB said, "He came back from hell."
Terra let off a primal scream of pain. It was so strong that both Edward and Raven were floored by the intensity. He risked opening the link for a moment.
[Damn!] Edward said, [This is a DISASTER! How can we help her?]
[It was a chance we had to take,] Raven said, a sad sigh coming through the link.
Terra was simply hysterical. All Beast Boy could do was hold her as she cried.
"What am I going to do?" she wept, "Slade knows I'm back as well now! He promised to make me keep that oath! He'll come for me. He did things to me."
"It's OK, Terra," Beast Boy said, "We won't let him near you."
"Agreed, little lady," Edward said, "You're part of the Titans now. Slade comes near you, he's going down. He also knows that there's a more powerful member of the Titans as well. I won't speak for Rae, but, I'll gladly kick his booty."
"Same goes for me," the empath said, "We failed you before. It's not happening again."
"How can you be sure?" Terra asked.
"Because you have friends who love you," Edward said, "None love you more than Garfield here. You think he wouldn't fight to the death to protect you? I know he would. Like I fought Malchior to protect Rae, he'll defend you."
She hiccuped as she started to slowly calm down. Her hair gradually fell into its usual golden locks.
By then, Robin and Cyborg had arrived to see the scene…actually, they had shown up shortly after Edward's quick conversation via the link, only Raven had motioned for them to stay silent.
Robin's face was pale as he realized that Terra discovered the truth about Slade and how Beast Boy, Edward and Raven all promised to keep Slade away. Robin knew better. Slade would make every attempt possible to re-secure his former apprentice. That made him especially dangerous.
Then again, he had seen how dangerous the dragon on the team could be when he was protecting Raven, so, protecting another team member, Robin could possibly predict what would happen.
For the first time, Robin actually had a twinge of sympathy for Slade cause his reappearance would result in him getting hurt…then, Robin crushed that feeling flat.
Cyborg didn't look so good, either, for that matter. He was sick to his stomach with utter disgust. He didn't know the reason why Terra was howling in anguish, but, figured it out quickly. He grabbed his fearless leader in one hand and Raven in the other. He was gentle about it, lest Raven accidentally call Edward.
"We need to talk, privately," he said. His tone left no room for discussion.
"Yo, Robin," he said, "What the hell is going on in there? Terra's wailing something fierce and I don't know if you felt it, but, I did: The Tower was shaking a little bit."
"Terra just found out Slade's alive," Robin said.
"Ya mean ya didn't tell her when we rescued her?" Cyborg said.
"Pin that on me," Raven said quietly, "I advised Edward to not tell Terra that. You can see why. She wasn't ready."
"When do you think she would have been ready? When Trigon returned?" Cyborg said sarcastically.
"Cyborg," Robin said.
"Don't go there, man!" Cyborg said, "We've known for how long that Slade's been back and we kept it from Terra."
"Cyborg," Raven said, "You weren't in Terra's mind. Edward and I were. It took a lot of talking and showing that we care for her to even come out that day. Her psyche had been shredded worse than mine, for Azar's sake. Slade's treatment of her, our rejection of her and the time in stone almost destroyed her."
"What do you think's happening now?" Cyborg said.
"She's hurting, but, she's stronger than she gives herself credit," Robin said. Raven nodded in agreement.
"You're not talking to Edward, right?" Cyborg said.
"No," Raven said coldly, "He's blocking everything now. He has to or her anger/hurt will trigger his anger. He'd tear Jump City apart looking for Slade. He's protecting everyone by shutting off access. The emotional tidal wave knocked both of us backwards. He'll let me know when it's safe to use the link again."
"Sorry, I had to be sure," Cyborg said, "This link is a good thing, Raven. I might not understand it fully, but, I know that it's a good thing. I'm worried about Terra. Even before she was petrified, I knew something was wrong. And, the last few weeks, since the kids were here, she's been off her game."
"We all are worried, Cy," Robin said, "Terra hasn't even been talking much with Beast Boy. Starfire tried and couldn't get her to talk either."
Starfire, luckily for her, was out getting some items from the "mall of shopping" or they'd be dealing with her wrath as well. She was overly sensitive to the people around her and the troubles now, she'd internalize for weeks.
Cyborg sighed and wondered aloud, "How are we going to help this time?"
"I don't know," Robin said, "I just don't know."