The team arrived in Raven's mind a moment later and as they looked around Edward transformed to his mini-Dragon form.
"OK," Edward said, "Robin, with much respect, I would ask that you allow me to be lead. Where we will have to go could be quite dangerous."
Without hesitation, Robin nodded, "You got it, Edward. You wouldn't ask to take command of the team unless it were necessary."
"We're at the 'entrance' to Nevermore. This is what makes Raven who she is," Edward explained to the others.
"Edward's right," Cyborg said, "Beast Boy and I were here about two months after the team formed by accident. Man, Raven was furious until we had to help her with one of her emotions."
"Was that when sister Raven attacked the Doctor Light?" Starfire asked.
"It was," Beast Boy replied, "Rage had gotten loose and took on the appearance of Trigon, so, we'll have to be careful."
"Robin, Terra, Cyborg, since you're non-fliers, you're on my back. Beast Boy and Starfire, since you can fly, you can flank me," Edward said.
"Excuse me," Terra said, "You know I can fly!"
"Terra, my dear," Edward said, "Like I told you, I do not know if you can manipulate the ground here."
Terra raised a hand and a boulder came up with it.
"Fine," Edward said, "If/when you feel tired, hop aboard. But, the bus is leaving!"
Edward waited for Robin and Cyborg to get on his back, Beast Boy formed an eagle and Terra got on a boulder and started hovering with it.
Edward took to the air and flew over the "Go Away" ravens. As they flew, they entered Happy's realm and that got a smile out of Edward.
In fact, Happy joined up with the crew.
"Hi, Edward!" she said with a giggle and planted a kiss on his cheek. He blushed.
"Hi, Happy," Edward said, "You want to help with the mission."
"Please, this is Raven?" Starfire said, "If so, why is she wearing pink?"
"Cause it's my favorite color," Happy said.
"This is one of Raven's emoticlones, actually," Edward explained, "This is Happy and she's one of the emotions we don't typically Raven showing…usually."
"Hey, Rae-Rae lets me have my fun more often!" Happy objected.
"We know," Cyborg replied, "Since Edward here showed up, we've seen Raven the happiest she's ever been."
"Hop on, Happy," Edward said, "I got plenty of room."
Edward felt her landing and they continued onwards.
A little bit later, they entered that area between realms, but, that passed into an area where it was dark and foreboding.
"This is Timid's area," Edward said, "Be gentle with her. It's the emotion of Raven that is, well, more easily frightened."
"You can say that again," Cyborg confirmed, "When we were here, BB and I didn't realize that there were all these emotions that looked like Raven. Timid kept apologizing for things and, well, we scared her badly later on."
"Edward!" Timid called from the ground, "HELP!"
"Hang on!" Edward said and went into a controlled dive before landing.
"I'm scared!" Timid said. Everyone got off Edward's back and he shapeshifted.
He held out his arms and Timid ran over. She almost tackled Edward in her hug and started crying.
He merely returned the hug, whispering calming words into her ear.
Beast Boy came over and put his arm around Timid as did Cyborg
"Hey, little one," Edward said, "Don't cry. We're all here this time. It'll be OK."
"Daddy's back," Timid said, trembling badly, "He hurt me!"
"We know," Edward said.
Timid cried harder and Edward's empathic sense kicked in.
He gently pushed Timid away, "Did he hit you?"
"This is the most fragile of Raven's emotions," Edward said with barely controlled rage.
Timid looked at Starfire, who looked ticked as well, but, she said, "Come here to sister Starfire."
Timid ran to Starfire and she was picked up in the gentlest hug Edward had even seen Starfire give anyone!
Timid just cried some more as Starfire started humming a strange tune. Timid calmed down after a bit and Starfire said, "The Trigon will pay for hurting sister Raven's emotions."
"You pr'mise?" Timid asked.
"I swear on the throne of Tamaran," Starfire said seriously.
"That means, little one," Edward said, "That she is giving you her royal promise. You're hugging a princess."
Timid smiled shyly at that and squirmed. Starfire let her down.
Timid said, "Thank you. It doesn't hurt as much."
"Can I see?" Edward asked.
Timid walked slowly to Edward, scared of his reaction.
"It's OK," he said, "I just want to see."
Timid lifted her left hand sleeve and there was an ugly looking bruise there.
"Not a word, Beast Boy," Terra warned him.
Beast Boy merely held his hands up, "I know this isn't a time for jokes, guys. Timid's my friend as well."
Edward didn't know if his healing abilities would work, but, he was going to try.
His hands started glowing blue-green and he said, "Would you let me heal that for you?"
Timid slowly reached her arm out and as Edward made contact, the power was released. Timid's bruised arm healed quickly.
"Trigon's got something coming," Edward said.
Timid shyly gave Edward a kiss on the cheek and said, "Thank you."
"You best take cover," Robin suggested.
"OK," Timid replied and scampered off.
"Thanks, Robin," Edward said and morphed back to Dragon. He was quite angry, but, for Timid's sake, he didn't let off the ground-shaking roar he wanted.
"Friend Edward?" Starfire said.
"I'm all right, Kori," he said, "This is the last vestige of Trigon. His sons are dead and his body is gone to dust. He defeat him here, in Nevermore…"
"He's gone forevermore?" Beast Boy quipped then said, "OUCH!" as Terra smacked him upside the head.
Despite Edward's burning anger, he had to laugh, "Thanks, Terra!"
"You're welcome," Terra said.
"Bad puns and head slaps on Rae's behalf aside, Garfield's right," Edward said as the non-fliers got back on board for the trip. Luckily, Raven's mind was not erecting the normal defenses, like the maze in Timid's domain.
That fact was not lost on Beast Boy or Cyborg, either.
"Yo, dog!" Cyborg said, "Where's Raven's defenses?"
"She knows I'm here," Edward explained as they took off, "The trust level with her now is instinctual, I think. That goes for the rest of you. Rae told me that it took a long for her to trust everyone on this team."
"What about me?" Terra asked, gliding on her boulder.
"You took the longest, my dear," Edward replied, "After the unpleasantness from before, well, she didn't want to trust you for a long time. But, while you were petrified, Rae had a change of heart about you. Forgive me, Terra, for saying this. Rae actually felt bad for you. I don't think it was pity…"
Terra's face darkened and Edward said, "Easy, Terra. We know you didn't want or need our pity. There's a difference. You have to realize that the team thought you had perished. Garfield was certain of it. From what the others told me, he took it the hardest."
At that, Terra knew the depths of her shame. Even before her betrayal of the team, she had actually developed feelings for the younger shapeshifter. That's why she removed him from the Tower. She expected the Slade-Bots to kill the rest of the team and despite the risk, wanted him to survive.
In her mind, even when Slade was making love to her, she wanted Beast Boy. She never told Slade that, though. At least not directly. She still had some mental issues to deal with and those would flare up at times.
Edward had assumed the role of an unofficial counselor to the team, pretty much right after Terra had been recovered. He was the most neutral and understanding member of the team. He didn't make notes or anything else like that. He didn't need to. Each member of the team knew that he wouldn't judge the team for mistakes.
Like the times when Robin blew it in a mission, Edward would simply wait for Robin to calm down and come over for a visit.
Terra, though, was special in her own way. There were still some remnants of the distrust that existed before. But, as Terra reflected on her gliding rock…in the depth of her former arch-rival's own mind, she realized that she had been an idiot.
Her control faltered then and Edward reached over with his long neck and stabilized her platform.
"Careful," he chastised, "You get lost in here and it might not be pretty. Even I am vulnerable here. That's why Arella has strict instructions to monitor Rae. She dies…"
"I get it," Terra said as she regained her concentration, "We all die."
Edward straightened his neck out and saw that they had entered Brave's area.
"Yo, Edward!" Brave said, joining the formation.
"Hi, Brave," Edward said with a smile, "Wanna join the fun?"
"Kicking some Trigon butt? You bet!" she exclaimed, "That coward attacked my little sister emotion. He's gonna pay!"
"I know," Edward said, "I just healed Timid's arm. I had wondered why she was crying so hard."
Brave sighed, "Then, we need to return the favor."
Happy said, "Rae-Rae would like that, very much."
"Hop aboard," Edward said, "No sense in you wasting energy."
Brave complied with the request. She held onto her sister emotion's waist as they moved on.
"Where would Trigon be?" Edward mused. He was puzzled. There was no damage to the landscape and, the last time he had to rescue Raven in Nevermore, Malchior had torn through everything.
"Trigon went to Raven's emotional center," Brave said, "Raven was about to emerge from the trance and Trigon had waited until then to trap her in something we've only seen once…Terra's mind."
"Huh?" Terra said.
Edward thought back for a moment and the Titans saw his head bobbing in recognition.
"Titans," he said, "Then Rae and I entered Terra's mind, we encountered a similar situation as here. Terra's mind had several emoticlones as well. But, what Brave is referring to is that when Rae and I were close to Terra's primary self, we fought/swam through a substance that at first wasn't that hard to get through.
"But, as we continued, it got harder and harder to get through and I had to assume more of a swimming motion to plow through."
"Hold up!" Robin said, "If this is something we have to plow through, how do we breathe?"
"You'll be fine, Robbie," Happy said, "Y'all don't have to worry about breathing in here."
"She's right, Robin," Beast Boy said.
"Even in Terra's mind, Rae and I had no problems," Edward confirmed.
The landscape changed just then. The "sky" turned a blood red and lightning flashed.
"Get ready, Titans," Edward warned, "He knows we're here and his evil is spreading. Terra, Starfire and Beast Boy might want to hop aboard and save your energy as well."
They did and Edward continued on.
"This is not going to be pretty," he said, "If Trigon isn't stopped here and now, he could completely possess Raven and gain access to Earth once more. But, he's still vulnerable to being hurt. We will be fighting to kill, Titans. Trigon is not human and, that makes a difference. Remember to play to your strengths and cover each one's weaknesses. I haven't picked anything up from the telepathic link and that means that it's blocked."
A deep voice rumbled, "And it will stay blocked forever. You murdered my sons and for that, I will be avenged. You killed my physical body, but, you overlooked my daughter. My genes still run through her blood even though she had been cleansed of me. In fact, I have already claimed her."
NO! Edward screamed in his mind.
[RAVEN!] Edward yelled through the link.
[Get lost!] she snarled, [I never knew you! Get out of my mind!]
There was a massive blast of lightning that Edward dodged.
[Raven, come on, sweetheart. It's me, Edward,] he pleaded.
[Come on, Rae-Rae!] Happy called out, [Please, let us help you.]
[BAH! You're weak, Happy!] Raven growled.
Edward didn't realize it, but, the others were listening as well.
"Come on, Raven!" Beast Boy said, "Don't shut out your friends."
"The shapeshifter hears our thoughts?" Raven called out.
"We all do, sister Raven!" Starfire said, "We love you."
"Love?" Raven said, "I never felt love."
"Rae," Edward said, "Think, sweetheart! You and I fell in love the first day we saw each other. You've shown that you can love."
"The only one who loved me was Father!" Raven yelled.
"Raven," Robin said, "You father only loved you because you were his portal, nothing more! Soon as he was done with you, he turned you into a child of 7 years old. He cast you into HELL!"
"Raven," Cyborg said, "Robin fought for you! He brought you back to us. You defeated Trigon!"
"You saved me from being a statue!" Terra cried, "Even though I didn't deserve it."
The sky roared, "YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY DAUGHTER!"
"Trigon," Edward roared right back, "I WILL TAKE MY LOVE BACK! YOU WILL BE BANISHED TO EVERLASTING TORMENT!"
The sky rumbled as a blast of Trigon's eye beams lashed out, only to be intercepted by boulders Terra raised up.
"Look!" Starfire said.
"I see them, Kori," Edward said. There were four red eyes in the sky.
"Are they Raven's or Trigon's?" Robin asked.
"From what I know, Raven didn't have eye beams," Edward said.
After a moment, he said, "Time to fight. Titans, GO!"
Edward fired off a lightning blast, then. Starfire launched starbolts and her own eye beams, Cyborg fired off his sonic cannon. Terra heaved boulders as well. Beast Boy formed his own dragon, based on Edward's form and also grabbed boulders and threw them at Trigon.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos," Happy and Brave said at the same time and launched their own attacks. Happy was pink, of course, and Brave's attack was purple..
Robin heaved several explosive devices as well.
The combined attacks hit Trigon at the same time, pummeling him.
"The sting of a gnat," he said.
Edward said, "Try this."
His spinal ridges went bright white…the brightest the Titans had ever seen in fact. A moment later, they saw the air in front of Edward's face start glowing as the power levels built up to maximum capacity.
The air started to crackle all around Edward. Starfire's hair stood on end, as did the emoticlones and Terra.
Edward's jaw dropped and with a tremendous roar of thunder, a massive blast of lightning emerged.
Had that been unleashed in the real world, the damage would have been incredible as Edward basically drained his lightning abilities in one huge blast.
It was a solid stream of electricity with crackling side streams surrounding it.
The beam hit Trigon before he could react. He roared in agony.
The effects of the blast made Trigon visible as the raw power attacked every nerve ending.
Any other living being would have fallen over, charred past recognition. As the beam faded, Edward and the Titans were covered in Raven's dark energy.
"Raven!" Edward said, "Stop this. I do not wish to hurt you!"
"Oh, but, I want to hurt YOU!" she said angrily, "You drained your reserves. You can't fire your lightning for a while."
Edward stifled a sob, "Then, the Rachel I knew is gone!"
The rage he had held back exploded then. His eyes glowed a deadly red and had the Titans been able to see his scales, they would have retreated.
"Oh, crap!" Cyborg said.
Edward roared out his rage and he pushed against the power that was restraining him. The Titans were stunned to see cracks forming in her power and after a few long moments, he was freed from the attack, black shards going everywhere.
He screamed and the Titans all knew Edward had been pushed and shoved past his breaking point. They got off, in a hurry. The ones that could fly grabbed those that couldn't and they got to a safe distance.
"Raven!" Robin called out, "If there's any vestige of our friend in there, RUN! Edward's passed all rational thought!"
The roar that Edward loosed was one of unbridled rage…and agony that only a broken heart could create.
Starfire wept into Robin's shoulder as Edward's pain radiated outward.
Raven shuddered, "NO! I can't do this. I can't hurt him. I WON'T!"
"KILL HIM!" Trigon demanded.
"NO, TRIGON! GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" Raven screamed.
Cyborg said, "Raven's fighting back! Titans, we gotta help. Fire everything at Trigon again."
The glow in Edward's eyes was deadly as he snarled, "You took my love, you took my LIFE! NOW I END YOURS!"
He was out of electricity, but, he still had his other weapons. In his rage, Edward was able to grab Trigon and ignoring the heat, ignoring the blistering pain, knocked Trigon down and viciously attacked Trigon.
Trigon tried putting up a fight, he really did…But, Edward was a wounded creature and anyone will tell you that when an animal is wounded, that's when they are most dangerous.
The last aspect of Trigon felt Edward's hot draconic breath in his face a moment before Edward clamped his jaws into Trigon's neck and with a utterly savage snarl…ripped Trigon's throat out! He spat out the pieces of, well, everything.
This time, there would be no return for Trigon. His physical body had already been destroyed. Now, his last remaining bit of soul vanished.
Edward was still in full bloodlust as the evil that was Trigon faded away.
"OK," Beast Boy said, "Who gets to calm him down?"
"I will," Raven said, walking up to them in her White Raven form.
"Welcome back," Robin said.
"You're sweet," Raven said, "But, if we don't get him calmed down before you all leave my mind, he could still lash out. In this state…He's extremely dangerous. Please, don't kick him out of the Titans, though."
"Perish the thought, Raven," Robin said, "He will always be a Titan unless he chooses not to be."
Raven smiled before walking over to Edward.
Edward saw Raven approaching and snarled, "Do not come any closer. I do not know if you are Raven or not."
"My favorite color is blue, you're my best friend who I love very much," Raven said.
Edward snarled, "Starfire told me something earlier, something that only she knew before."
Raven levitated up to Edward's ear and said softly, "I told Starfire that I want to marry you. I love you, Edward!"
The angry glow in Edward's eyes started to fade then. A few moments later, he morphed back to human and collapsed.
The sounds of sobbing were heard as the Titans gathered around. Edward was safe to be around again.
"Let me through!" another voice called out. This was a lavender cloaked emoticlone.
She grabbed Edward and held him tight.
"Mom told me that I'd have to break through to you," she said."
"Aww!" Happy said with a giggle, "Cut it out, Love."
"I can't help it he feels lost," Love said, "He needs me."
"Guys, I have to ask you to get out of my mind," Raven said, "Edward's been tortured badly, I think. But, thank you for helping."
Terra went over to Edward and hugged him. After kissing him on the cheek she said, "I don't think Gar would mind if I told you that I love you as well."
Beast Boy said, "Dude, she's totally right. We all love you, Edward."
"You'll be OK, Edward," Robin said, "As of now, you're on a leave of absence for as long as you need."
"Throwing me off the team?" Edward asked, not understanding.
"Hell, no!" Robin exclaimed, "You're family and family sticks together. Only you can throw yourself off the Titans, got it?"
Raven pointed and said, "The exit is that way."
"Come on, Titans," Robin said, "They need time to heal."
[Raven's protection room]
Arella had been monitoring Raven for the past 8 hours when there was a series of seizures racking Raven's lithe form. Those stopped on their own and another hour later, her mirror glowed white as most of the Titans returned.
"It's over," Robin said.
"What do you mean?" Arella said.
"Edward went ballistic," Cyborg said, "Nah, he went 100 megaton nuclear. We did find Trigon in there and he corrupted Raven. Edward thought she had quit loving him and when she attacked him, we saw how deadly he is when he gives into his nature."
Beast Boy shivered, "He tore Trigon's throat out." Arella paled visibly hearing that.
"Is she?" Arella said.
"Raven's back to normal. But, Edward's going to need time," Robin said.
Raven finally opened her eyes and sat up with a groan.
Arella gently embraced Raven, who embraced back and started crying.
"Edward's in a lot of pain, right now," she said a moment later, getting hold of her emotions before things started exploding.
A moment later, the mirror glowed once more to reveal Edward standing there.
Starfire flew over and gave him a hug that she knew he could tolerate.
"Are you all right, friend Edward?" she asked, concerned.
"No," Edward said, "It will be a long time before I'm all right."
"Let him be, guys," Robin said as Edward turned and left the room, Raven in tow.
Edward slowly walked to his room when Raven said, "No, honey." She led him to her room, pulled him in and when the door closed said, "My turn to be supportive."
She pulled his head down and kissed him passionately. Her empathic sense told her to heal his emotional pain.
"One of the things an empath can do, dear," she explained, "is heal someone's emotional state as well."
"Thank you, no," Edward said, "I love you for offering that. But, we've both been through the wringer. You're not even recovered yet and your well-being comes first, Rachel."
He realized that she still loved him and he still loved her. But, it would take a lot of time for the emotional wounds to heal…
[A week later]
Trigon is gone forever. Edward has fought the hardest battle ever and is still fighting it. Instead of his filtering out my nightmares, I'm having to block his from reaching me.
I know what his biggest fear is now. It's losing those he loves. He's been sullen this last week and while we've been meditating together, he's barely holding up.
His lightning breath still isn't fully back for some reason. I think that while in my mind, the psychological effects have carried over to reality. I don't remember much after Trigon invaded. But, from what the team told me, Edward's full rage was enough to overcome my powers.
The team won't tell Edward to his face, but, they are now deadly frightened of him, yet, glad that he's on our side. It doesn't take an empath to see that.
Starfire made him that pudding of sadness and his mood actually did improve eating it. He's the only one that can take Starfire's cooking without running for the restroom, which is saying a lot as Cyborg can eat pretty much anything, except her cooking. She's still puzzling why he couldn't stomach the Tamaranian cooking.
Robin is concerned. He doesn't want to ask Edward to leave the team and, so far, he's kept the others away when he's seen Edward's moodiness.
Robin's offered Mother a permanent place here at the Tower. It's not Azarath, but, Mother knows she has nowhere else to go right now. She's accepted.
Beast Boy is the one that really understands, I hate to say. Being a shapeshifter like Edward gives him that perspective that we Titans lack. Beast Boy even took Edward to "his spot" under the Tower to help him relax and meditate on his own.
I guess being nearly 3,000 years old will take a toll on even his mind. I just pray that he'll bounce back.
The only thing that is keeping Edward's head on straight is that Starfire told him that I would accept a marriage proposal. I should be angry at her for telling him that little piece of information, but, it came in so handy calming him down.
Nevermore was slightly damaged, thank Azar for small favors.
Terra's gone out of her way to be friendly, but, when asked why, she says, "I have a new perception of you, that's all. It's all good!"
The End…For now.
Yep, this is the end of the story. Normally, I'd write a conclusion chapter, but, I had to make an exception for several reasons.
The main one is that this will be the last story for a short while. I will be losing phone access any day now and unless my roomie wants to get high speed service here, that will end the net for a bit.
The second one is that poor Edward's been put through the wringer. I was in tears writing parts of this story because Edward is, well, a part of me. I don't like putting him or me through that. My earliest stories were "Mary Sue" type where everything was A-OK or could be set right very quickly. But, that's NOT a good story after all.
I'm working my way through the comic book version of the Teen Titans and...Holy crap! Talk about INTENSE! Even though I have an idea what happens to some of the characters (like Tara Markov killing herself) it still gets to me.
But, I'm doing that for several reasons which will be explained/made obvious ASAP. We're going to see more honorary members coming into play as hinted before, maybe a few borrowed plotlines (with due credit, of course!) and a few other things.
Standard request for reviews here!