The sound of knuckles rapping on the wooden door echoed in the Spartan room. An old woman rolled over in her small bed, cursing silently for having her slumber interrupted. She opened her eyes and saw that it was still pitch dark and grumbled as she fidgeted in the dark, searching for the switch on the small lamp that sat on a very plain looking nightstand. After several botched attempts she was able to switch it on and her room was illuminated. The room was indeed plain: the floor was bare concrete and the walls were exposed cinderblocks. There was a tiny window and the room could have passed for a prison cell had there been bars on the windows.
"Who is it?" The old woman, who was in her nineties, called out in an annoyed voice. "What time is it anyway?"
"It's Oriana, please forgive me, Mother Superior, it's 3 AM."
The old woman frowned.
"How many times have I told you to not call me that? I might be the Abbess of the monastery, but I am not a Catholic nun … you may enter, Oriana."
Oriana cautiously entered the small room. She was a relatively young woman, still in her thirties. She was dressed in a monk's habit and she tiptoed as she entered the humble abode.
"I am so sorry to wake you, Abbess, but there is a phone call for you."
The old woman's indigo eyes grew wide with apprehension. Late night phone calls meant but one thing … bad news.
"A phone call?"
"Yes, Abbess, it is a man … he says that his name is Victor Stone … I brought a wireless handset for you."
Oriana handed the phone to the old woman and left the small room with great deference. Once the door closed the Abbess raised the handset to her face.
"Yeah, Raven, it's me. I have some bad news …"
Raven rose from her humble bed with a speed that was well beyond her years. Visually time had taken its toll on her body. Her hair was gray, thin and very brittle and she herself was wrinkled and very thin. She still had her signature chakra stone on her forehead and her indigo eyes had lost not one bit of their piercing intensity.
"I surmised as much … no one ever calls in the middle of the night with good news … so?"
Cyborg paused before answering.
"It's Garfield … it's over ... he's gone."
Raven allowed a sigh of relief to escape and Cyborg was able to hear it over the phone.
"He died in his sleep, Raven, surrounded by his children … I know it sounds wrong, but I'm glad it's over."
"I know, I know. I feel the same way … I'll be right over."
"No need to hurry, we aren't moving him until you arrive."
Raven pressed the "end call" button and placed the phone on her nightstand. She walked up to the small window in her cell. And that is what it was called: a cell.
Forty years earlier Raven founded the small monastery on top of a small mountain that overlooked Jump City. It was Azarathian, of course, which meant that it was a contemplative order, where the monks and nuns spent most of their waking hours meditating in their cells.
She looked out the window and saw the City that had been her home for over 70 years, spread before her, twinkling in the dark with its innumerable lights. The city had grown since the day she met the four teenagers who became her surrogate family and a lot had changed since that now distant day. One thing that did not change was the ubiquitous T shaped tower standing in the middle of the bay. She remembered well the day she retired from the Titans. She was the second to last to quit the team. Cyborg stayed behind to train the next generation of heroes, who in turn trained their replacements and so on. It dawned on her that she had no idea who the current Titans were and the truth was that she didn't really care. That was now someone else's problem.
Nightwing was the first to leave. His relationship with Starfire went nowhere and the couple broke up a few years after having a child out of wedlock. He went to Bludhaven and eventually replaced Bruce as Batman. Starfire returned to Tamaran with her daughter and was never heard from again. Dick didn't seem to mind that he would never see his daughter again. Perhaps it had been for the best.
But there was only one former Titan on Raven's mind at the moment: Garfield Logan, AKA Beast Boy. Hearing about his death, which came after a long and painful illness, shook her up even though she knew that it was imminent. Cyborg was taking care of him in his final days. The 'Tin man' was nearly unaffected by the ravages of time. The organic half of his mind had suffered from aging, but Victor merely transferred more and more duties to his ageless electronic brain and on the surface still seemed to be young. Raven knew that was bunk, of course, that he was beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's but would be able to hide it for a few more decades. But even in his bionic glory he was not immortal and eventually the grim reaper would come to claim him.
Raven sat down on her bed and adopting the lotus position she began to meditate. As she relaxed she entered the deepest recesses of her mind, uncovering memories from a great many years ago. They were vivid memories, which she was able to see in third person.
The first memory was the day after his 18th birthday. The two chromatically challenged Titans were walking to a local bookstore. She had given him a gift card and he asked her to accompany him to purchase something with it. He also invited her to have lunch with him. They were actually going out on a date, even though she vehemently denied it at the time.
Lunch was at a vegetarian restaurant that was no longer around in the present and after finishing their meal they made their way to the Tattered Cover Bookstore. They made idle small talk as they walked and when they were about halfway to the bookstore he slipped his hand into hers. She recalled that she was pleasantly surprised by his action, and she accepted the gesture. Some of the pedestrians noticed they were holding hands and smiled at them. Much to her surprise, Raven didn't mind as they continued to walk to the bookstore.
As they reached their destination Beast Boy released her hand and gallantly opened the door for her. What happened next … was unexpected.
A young blond woman emerged from the open door and stopped dead in her tracks.
Beast Boy became wide eyed and grinned.
Raven watched politely as Beast Boy and Jillian exchanged a hug. The girl was simply gorgeous, nothing at all like that wretch Terra. Raven wondered who 'Jillian' was and was regaled with a second surprise. Jillian planted a kiss square on the changeling's lips. Raven kept her equanimity but she did politely clear her throat. Beast Boy blushed as he smiled nervously.
"Sorry … uh Raven, this is Jillian. Jillian this is Raven."
Raven politely extended her hand and Jillian complied with a hand shake.
"So Raven, are you Garfield's current girlfriend?"
Jillian giggled while Beast Boy nervously rubbed the back of his neck.
"Uh, Jillian was my first girlfriend, when I lived in Los Angeles … you know, when I was playing Ensign Tork in Space Trek. After the show ended I moved up here and we kind of drifted apart …"
"Technically, I never broke up with Garfield, so I guess he's still my boyfriend … unless of course you're his…"
"Beast Boy and I are not romantically involved. We are very good friends, but nothing more."
"Well that's great news, because I'm at Jump City State University!"
"No way! You mean you live here now!"
Jillian nodded enthusiastically before turning to Raven.
"You're sure that he's not your boyfriend? I mean, I wouldn't want to get a superpowered hero angry with me."
"There is nothing to be worried about." Raven reassured her.
The memories fast forwarded. In the following months Beast Boy hardly spent any time with Raven. He no longer pestered her, nor told her corny jokes. He stopped cajoling her into eating tofu. She had mixed feelings about this. She valued her quiet time but found that she missed him. He now spent all his free time with Jillian. Raven noticed that she felt a void, an emptiness within her and this disturbed her. Starfire noticed that something was amiss with her gray friend and she took Raven out to lunch one day. As they eat their lunch the two women pussyfooted around the issue until Starfire decided to be bold.
"Raven, why have you allowed the Jillian to steal Beast Boy from you?"
"Steal him? Doesn't that imply that he belonged to me?"
"Raven, he was yours."
Raven put her fork down, dropped her head and slowly shook it.
"He was never mine Starfire. And haven't you seen how happy he is with her? They adore each other …"
"Beast Boy loves you very much."
Raven stared off into the distance.
"I know he does, and I love him too."
"So why are you allowing her to steal him from you?"
Raven raised her hood, hiding her face in its dark shadow.
"It's probably better this way, Starfire. He'd be miserable with me."
"Raven, I do not agree."
The sorceress stood up from the table.
"Starfire, I don't want to talk about this anymore."
Raven came out of her trance. Her face was moist with tears.
"Why didn't I even try?" She murmured to herself as she rose and began to get dressed.
-( scene break )-
A taxi was summoned to the monastery. Raven found that flying and levitating were now too difficult for her to perform and she had to resort to more conventional modes of transportation in her old age. She dressed in her brown monk's habit as she no longer had any other clothes and many decades had passed since she last wore her leotard and cape, so many decades that those days felt as if they were not her own but rather they were someone else's life.
The taxi drove down from the mountaintop as it descended a winding road back into the city. It was now 4 AM and the streets were mostly empty as the taxi quickly made its way into town.
Cyborg owned a posh residence in the city's tony La Gemma neighborhood, located right on the coast. The cab had to cross the entire city to get there from the monastery, and as it made its way through downtown it passed the cathedral. It was there that Garfield and Jillian Logan were married, just one year after she graduated from college.
Raven remembered the wedding ceremony well. Jillian's parents were wealthy and of course Garfield's adoptive parents, Steve and Rita, were billionaires. The pomp and splendor of the entire event was mindboggling, almost comparable to a royal wedding. Jillian looked like a real princess in her splendorous wedding gown, which was ironic as both Raven and Starfire were princesses in their own realms while Jillian was a mere commoner. The Jump City media didn't seem to care about the facts and they fawned over the engaged couple and the wedding was even broadcast on local TV.
The reporters interviewed the other Titans as the wedding approached. When it was her turn to face the press, Raven publicly wished Garfield and Jillian all the best in her signature monotone and masterfully concealed from the media the fact that she was heartbroken.
The five years between Jillian's return and the wedding passed slowly. While Beast Boy continued spending all his free time with Jillian he also spent all his Titan time with Raven. They were always paired up for missions and on more than one occasion Jillian thanked the gray demoness for saving the Changeling's life.
As the years passed Raven saw Garfield mature into a confident young man. He never lost his child like sense of humor and Raven enjoyed the time they spent together, even if it involved fighting villains like Plasmus or even Slade. Raven noticed that in some ways she was more intimate with Beast Boy than Jillian was. Cyborg once cracked a joke that Raven was Beast Boy's "office wife", a moniker that stuck for years after the wedding.
Raven once again snapped back to reality as saw the hospital where the three Logan children were born as the taxi continued to make its way to La Gemma. The youngest Logan was a girl and Garfield insisted she be named Raven, in honor of his dearest friend. Jillian was a good sport went along with it. Garfield was still a superhero at the time, and went by the name Changeling. He and Raven continued to pair up on missions until, at Jillian's insistence; he retired from the superhero business just after his 34th birthday.
Jillian was no fool. She understood well that Raven had feelings for her husband. One day Raven surprised her. About 2 years before Beast Boy retired she invited Jillian out to lunch. It was a sunny and warm day and they met at a beachside restaurant. After ordering their meals, Raven broke the ice.
"Jill, we need to talk. We need to talk about Garfield."
The blond tensed up.
"Raven, I know that you spend as much time with my husband as I do … and you probably know that we're going through a rough time now …"
The sorceress raised her hand.
"Yes, I know. Not only am I an empath, but I have known Garfield for a very long time. But you have nothing to fear. It's true, I love Garfield, he is my dearest friend. But I also know that I could never make him happy. Only you can do that. You are his wife and the mother of his children. I could never take your place"
And yet, Raven had her chance. Jillian and Beast Boy's relationship continued to go downhill and a few months later they separated. Raven had a whole year alone with him, but never made her move. In fact, she counseled him and helped them reconcile. After that Jillian was always grateful to Raven and included her in the family events and her children called her 'Aunt Raven'.
But as the taxi sped past the hospital, Raven wondered what it would have been like to have her own children. To have had Garfield's children.
Why didn't I take that opportunity?
-( scene break )-
After what felt like an eternity, the taxi pulled up to Cyborg's house. Like Raven, Victor Stone never wed and Garfield became his roommate during his later years.
Jillian Logan died of inoperable cancer at the tender age of 46. To say that her passing was tragic would be an understatement. The Logan's three children we young adults at the time and all were attending college away from home. Jillian died just a few days after Christmas and it was with heavy hearts that Mark, Marie and Raven Logan returned to their universities the following January. They offered their father to skip the next semester to stay with him but he insisted that they return to their studies rather than stay at home to brood.
At this point in time Raven was also retired from the Titans and ran a small bookstore. She offered all the help and comfort possible before and after Jillian's passing. As the months passed by after her death Raven spent more and more time with Garfield, which his children encouraged and approved. After a few months she moved into Garfield's home, and her younger namesake told "Aunt Raven' that she could have her room.
Raven enjoyed the time she spent with Garfield. This time there were neither missions to attend nor villains to fight. They did some travelling together, sometimes to Europe or to other destinations. A year passed by quickly and one summer afternoon while they were sitting in the patio behind Garfield's suburban home, an unexpected conversation happened.
"Raven, can I ask you something?"
Raven looked up from her book and locked eyes with the now bald Garfield Logan.
"You don't need my permission, Gar. What do you want to ask?"
The green changeling fidgeted with his fingers, reminding her of when he was a teenager.
"Uh, do you like being with me?"
Raven closed her book and put it down.
"Do you even need to ask?"
He smiled sheepishly.
"But why do you stay with me?"
"Do you want me to leave?"
"No! Of course not."
"What are you trying to tell me, Garfield?"
The changeling stood up. He managed to stay fit over the years. He was dressed in shorts and a T shirt and even though he was in his late forties he still had and athletic build and lacked the beer belly that most men his age possessed.
"Raven … will you be my wife?"
Time froze for a moment as the two locked eyes.
"Garfield … I … I would be a terrible wife."
He glared back at her.
"What are you talking about? We already live like a couple, we just don't sleep together … and I'd like that to change."
Raven looked away from him.
"Why … why does it have to change?" She stammered.
"You mean … you don't want more than this?"
Raven stood and gently wrapped her arms around him, drawing him into a hug.
"I don't deserve more than this."
The taxi door opened and once again Raven snapped back to reality.
The elderly sorceress looked up into the eyes of Mark Logan. The boy, if he could be called that as he was now in his sixties, was her favorite Logan child. Other than his normal coloration he was the splitting image of his father. He also had his father's sweet disposition.
Mark Logan helped his Aunt Raven from the taxi and paid the fare, tipping the driver generously. No one, except for Garfield himself, was more disappointed when Raven turned down his father's marriage proposal than Mark. A few months later Raven announced that she was moving out to start a monastery. Garfield and his children begged her to reconsider. Garfield told her that he was fine with the current arrangement they had. Raven surprised him with her reply:
"But I'm not satisfied. I have to leave Gar. I have come to realize that I can't continue with our arrangement as it is. And I can't move forward either … my time here is over and I must move onto the next phase in my life. I'm sorry, but it can't be any other way."
The look on his face was a sight that would haunt her for the rest of her life. She hated herself for what she did to him. It didn't matter that in the long run it was the right thing to do. It also didn't matter that it broke her heart to walk away. She wanted to be his wife, to share his bed. But she was still a demoness and believed that she would make him miserable.
Back in the present Mark led her into the house. As she entered Cyborg greeted her and they went to the living room. All of Garfield's family was present: his three children, his ten grandchildren and his 3 great grandchildren, who were sleeping on the couch. Garfield's powers and his green complexion were not hereditary and his progeny were all "normals".
His daughter Raven, along with her son Leonard approached the sorceress and hugs were exchanged. The younger Raven took her hand.
"I'll take you to father."
There was an air of peace in the room where Garfield's lifeless body rested in his bed. The numerous monitors and other medical devices were all shut off and the room seemed unnaturally quiet. Raven handed her walking stick to Leonard and slowly approached the bed. Garfield looked as if he was asleep. His wrinkled face looked relaxed and peaceful. Raven stared at him for the longest time, standing as still as a statue. She then bent over and kissed him on his forehead.
"I love you, Garfield." She murmured to her now dead beloved.
Leonard pulled up a chair for her and she sat down. Young Raven and Leonard quietly left her with their father. Raven closed her eyes and fought back the tears.
Why didn't I ever tell him I loved him?
-( scene change )-
It was now two days later and Cyborg was getting ready to call it a night. I was 2 AM and he finally was able to contact and invite everyone in the greater superhero community to attend the funeral. The rest of Garfield's family had already turned in for the night and the house was silent.
Victor was beginning to experience a strange feeling of emptiness, which began after the coroner came to collect Garfield's body. He was hoping that with the funeral he would finally have a sense of closure. He and Garfield had been roommates for over 30 years and he wasn't sure how he was going to adapt to the new reality that faced him. As he headed to his room the phone rang. He was tempted to ignore it, but decided against that as he knew it might be someone calling about the funeral. He reluctantly picked up the handset.
"Mr. Stone, please forgive me for calling at this hour. I'm Oriana Chavez, from the monastery."
"Oh yeah, I recognize your voice. You answered the phone when I called the other night … what can I do for you?"
"I'm afraid that I have some bad news …"
"It's about Raven?"
"Yes sir, I'm afraid you're right. The Abbess, she passed away a few hours ago …"
A dead silence hung in the air.
"Thank you for letting me know, Miss Chavez. I'll be by in a few hours. I'm afraid that I need to recharge my batteries first."
"Thank you Mr. Stone. We'll have some breakfast for you when you arrive."
Cyborg hung up the phone. He looked out the window and saw the T shaped tower in the distance, recalling the many happy memories he shared with his friends.
He walked over to his chest of drawers, on top of which sat several portraits. He picked one up and studied it. It was photo taken on Beast Boy's birthday, the day before he bumped into Jillian at the bookstore. The green bean and Raven were standing together. He had his arm draped around her shoulder and she had her arm around his waist. He was sporting one of his goofy grins while she sported the most subtle of smiles.
"Looks like you guys are finally together." He murmured to himself while he placed the portrait back in its spot.
"It's about time."
-( scene break )-
I really have no idea where this story came from. I hope that it wasn't too depressing.