Author's Note: I bet y'all thought that was the end, huh?
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Teen Titans or its characters, TV show or otherwise. This story is for entertainment purposes only. It will take place within the universe of the TV series, and be after the end of said series as well as the movie Trouble in Tokyo. It will be a Raven x Jinx pairing, along with the Robin x Starfire pairing established by the series and movie. If you don't like yuri, don't read any further. Same thing if you don't like the Raven x Jinx pairing. If you don't like Teen Titans, then I have no idea how you found this story in the first place. Rated M.
Nothing Is Harder Than Love
Epilogue 2 - This End Could Be The Beginning
Ten Years Later
"Dad, do we have to be here?" Nightfire asked her father.
"It's the New Titans' reunion, Nightfire," Nightwing said, smiling at his daughter. "Besides, I thought you liked visiting your friends."
"I do," the eight-year-old grudgingly admitted, "but nothing fun ever happens at your parties."
"Hey," her father retorted playfully, enjoying his daughter's laughter. Nightwing brought his modified jet - which he called the Nighthawk - to a landing inside the hanger bay of Titan Tower. Except for Cyborg, his wife Bumblebee, and their son (who liked to call himself Stinger), none of the Titans lived at the Tower anymore.
"It will be good to see everyone again," Starfire said from the co-pilot's seat. "A year is much too long to wait for all of us to be together again."
"Do you miss being a Titan, mom?" Nightfire asked. The Tamaranian woman smiled at her daughter.
"I never stopped, Nightfire," she replied. "But I do regret the team going its seperate ways so many years ago."
"Cyborg said he had a surprise for everyone," Nightwing said as he shut the advanced aircraft down and popped the canopy. "Maybe it'll be more than a reunion."
"Yo, Nightwing!" came a familiar shout.
"Cyborg!" he returned, vaulting out of the jet even as Starfire picked up their daughter and floated out. The two men exchanged high fives and a complicated handshake of some kind.
"It's been too long, man!" the mechanical Titan said, grinning hugely.
"Starfire was just saying the same thing," he agreed, as his wife and daughter drifted down next to him.
"Star! You're lookin' good, girl!" he said, hugging her. She laughed happily and returned her friend's hug. Letting go in time to catch a leaping girl, Cyborg twirled the child around and said, "Nightfire! You're getting bigger every time I see you!"
"Uncle Cyborg!" she squealed, hugging him almost as fiercely as her mom used to.
"Hey, Cyborg," Nightwing said, looking around. "Where are Bumblebee and Stinger?"
"They're in the common room with Changling, Lavender, and Phase," he replied. Nightwing shook his head.
"I'll never understand how those two even got along, never mind how they fell in love," he said, still in disbelief almost ten years after their wedding. "A tofu-eating shape-shifter and a meat-loving plant manipulator. Who would've thought?"
Greetings were exchanged amongst all of the Titans after Cyborg led Nightwing and his family into the common room. Everybody spent the next several minutes catching up with each other over the events of the past year. The adults regaled their children with tales of their adventures as Teen Titans. Cyborg had refitted one of the old training rooms for the kids, and all three of them ran off to it, giggling and shouting; Nightfire kept trying to catch Phase, but he just kept shifting out of phase and making her pass through him.
"Hard to believe we've become parents, isn't it?" Changling said, putting an arm around his wife's shoulders.
"Sometimes," she agreed, giving her green-skinned husband a kiss on the cheek. "But it's harder to believe that there was any other possibility."
"I have to agree with you there, Lavender," Cyborg said. "Best thing that could've happened to us."
"I do wish Raven and Jinx could be here," Starfire said sadly, missing two of her closest friends.
"We all do, Star," Nightwing agreed, hugging her closely.
"I heard about all that trouble that happened ten years ago," Bumblebee said. "I wish I could've been here to help those two girls out. Maybe things could've ended differently."
"Believe me," Changling said, "we all wanted things to end differently. But the 'what ifs' and 'maybes' can't change the past."
"Though we still wish we could," Lavender added. Her skin had a faint green tint to it, kind of like a variation of the albino skin tone, and her hair was the shade of color that was her name. Everyone fell silent for a moment, thinking about their two absent friends.
"Cyborg, when you called us to make the arrangements for this year's reunion," Nightwing began," you mentioned something about having a surprise for us."
"Lavender and I were wondering about that, too," Changling agreed.
"I did, didn't I?" Cyborg mused, an enigmatic smile on his face.
"We all know it wasn't that play room you set up for our kids," the former leader of the New Titans went on. "Though that was a surprise, it's not the surprise you have for us, is it?"
"You're right about that," Bumblebee said. "It isn't."
"You will share with us this mysterious surprise, please?" Starfire asked.
"I planned on it," Cyborg told her. "But not right now. It's for later."
As usual, when it came time for supper, there was an argument about what to cook. Barbeque equipment was set up on the Tower's roof, along a force field to make sure the kids didn't get too close to the edge. This time, however, it was a two-to-one argument; Cyborg and Lavender were the two, and Changling was the one. In the end, a compromise was reached: Changling could have his tofu dishes, but everyeone else was having 'real food', as his wife and best friend put it. Cyborg's culinary skills had only improved with time, and he made a damn good barbequed steak. When desert was served after dinner, it was an expensive and imported ice cream along with a similarly imported and equally expensive brownie-type dish. As everyone finished their desert - the three kids with great reluctance - Cyborg stood up and asked for everyone's attention.
"Alright, y'all, listen up," he said, looking around. "It's time for the surprise you've been expecting all day."
"You mean it wasn't the ice cream?" Nightfire pouted. Everyone laughed at her disappointment.
"Sorry, girl, it wasn't that," Cyborg said, grinning at his 'niece'. "It's something better, though you kids might not think so."
"C'mon, Cyborg!" Changling pestered. "You're killing us with the suspense!"
"At least it would shut you up for a few blessed minutes," replied someone that neither Nightwing, Starfire, nor Changling had ever expected to hear from again. Everyone's eyes immediately snapped toward the elevator that led back down into the Tower. Eyes widened to the size of tea saucers and jaws hit the roof. Standing in front of the now closing elevator doors were two people who had disappeared ten years ago.
"RAVEN! JINX!" everyone but Cyborg and Bumblebee shouted.
"Hey, guys," Jinx said, waving at them. She and Raven headed towards the table, though Raven seemed to be having a little trouble. It wasn't until they were almost at the table that Nightwing and the others realized that there was someone with her. Raven smiled broadly and pulled her jacket aside, revealing for an instant (before she hid behind her mother) a little girl.
"Who is that, Raven?" Nightwing asked.
"Our daughter, duh!" Jinx growled playfully.
"Shadow, you don't need to hide," Raven said, gently pulling her daughter out from behind her. To say everyone was surprise would have been like saying the sun was hot; it was the truth, but it wasn't too accurate. The girl named Shadow had Raven's skin and hair color, but Jinx's eyes. "These are our friends. Say hello."
"H-hi," the nine-and-a-half-year-old stuttered shyly, not meeting anyone's gaze.
"Oh, how adorable!" Starfire exclaimed, floating over to the little girl. Shadow drew back a little, but was fascinated with the Tamaranian woman. "My name is Starfire."
"I-I'm Shadow," she replied, shyly. That broke the ice for her, and soon everyone was talking to her. Raven and Jinx looked on, beaming with pride. She was also introduced to the kids of the other Titans, and was slowly drawn out of her shell. Nightfire, especially, took a liking to the gray-skinned girl, and convinced her to come with them to the small play area Cyborg and Nightwing had set up on the Tower's roof. As the children went off to play, the adults went back to table and sat down. Everyone had lots of questions the two previously missing Titans, and no one knew where to start.
"I suppose you guys are curious about what happened to us," Raven said, breaking the silence.
"You have no idea," Nightwing said dryly.
"It's . . . a little difficult to explain," the goth girl replied. "I was dying, there was no doubt about that. I lacked the energy to use my power to heal myself, and Jinx's powers weren't any good at healing."
"So it looked like we would lose each other again," Jinx said, picking up where her wife had left off. "And then an idea hit me: I didn't have the power to heal her, and she didn't have the energy to heal herself, so why not let her use my energy?"
"So that's why the systems picked up a massive surge of unknown power," Nightwing said in understanding. Looking at the two women, he added, "But that doesn't explain what happened to the two of you. When we finally managed to break open the door to the infirmary, every single piece of equipment in there was melted or vaporized, and both of you were gone."
"That part is where things get a little fuzzy . . . for both of us," Raven answered. "There is a gap in both of our memories from the moment our powers began merging to when we found ourselves outside of a monastery of some sort."
"The monks there took us in," Jinx went on. "We were made welcome there, with nothing asked of us. We learned that a group of bandits had been plaguing the monks, stealing their hard-earned food and sometimes killing one of them."
"So we decided to protect the monastery," Raven continued. "It wasn't until a few weeks later that we realized I was somehow pregnant - and was almost five months along."
"How could you have become pregnant?" Starfire asked, confused. "You are both female, and I thought it was not possible for one woman to make another with child."
"That's something we can't explain, either," Jinx replied. "We believe it may have had something to do with that unexplainable gap in our memories."
"However it happened doesn't really matter," Lavender said. "What matters is that you two have a daughter, a hope for the future."
"Cyborg, how did you know they were alive?" Nightwing asked, with Changling nodding in agreement.
"They contacted me about six or so months ago," the cybernetic Titan responded. "Almost passed out because I thought I was getting a comm from beyond the grave." Everyone had a good laugh at that.
"How come you two didn't tell us you were alive before now?" Changling asked them.
"We wanted to get ourselves straightened out first," Raven said. "After all, we did screw everything up between us pretty badly."
"But almost ten years?"
"Well, after Shadow was born, we were kind of occupied the first five years," Jinx said dryly. "And after that, we learned that you four had gone your seperate ways. Things were going great for us, and all of you seemed to be doing fine, so we just decided to wait. Then, about six months ago like Cyborg said, we decided to let you all know we were still alive."
"Between the two of us, we managed to get my old communicator working again," Raven said, "and called the Tower. I was thankful that the computer still recognized my communicator's signal, even though the codes and all were ten years out of date."
"Well, enough with the 'interrogation'," Nightwing said with a grin. "As was said before, it's good to have you two back."
"It's good to be back," Raven and Jinx said in unison. They looked at each other in surprise, then burst out laughing.
"Do you two have a place to stay now?" Lavender asked. They shook their heads.
"Not really," Raven said. "We decided not to stay at the monastery any longer when we decided to come here."
"We were thinking about renting an apartment here in Jump City for the short term," Jinx explained.
"I don't think so," Bumblebee told them. "We kept y'all's rooms cleaned and all that, so why don't you three live here in the Tower?"
"Really?" Raven asked, surprised and touched by the offer.
"Sure," Cyborg said. "You and Jinx can move back into your old room, and we can set up Jinx's old room for Shadow."
"I . . . We . . . don't know what to say," Jinx said, moved by their friends' offer.
"You'll say 'yes' if you know what's good for you," Nightwing said with mock severity. Everyone laughed again.
"We'd be glad to come back."
Meanwhile, miles and miles away in an unassuming apartment in Gotham City, a blond-haired woman with bright blue eyes was smiling as she watched her daughter playing. The nine-and-a-half-year-old girl had unknowingly saved her mother's life before she had even been born. Once she'd found out she was pregnant, she knew she couldn't continue the life she'd been living up to that point. And so she'd simply left. She'd managed to get a decent job in spite of her pregnancy, and her new boss had given her maternity leave - with pay - even though she'd worked there for less than a year.
Now, she was the happiest - and sanest - she'd ever been in her life.
The next day, in the afternoon edition of the Gotham Gazette, the front page showed an article about a single mother that had been found dead in her apartment by a neighbor coming to see about borrowing some laundry detergent. According to the article, the woman had been identified as Harley Quinn, who had been a former psychiatric specialist at Arkham Asylum. She had been working at a subsidiary company of Wayne Enterprises for almost ten years, and had been a single mother. Her only child, Hayley Quinn, was reported missing. The Gotham City Police Department found no trace of her in the apartment, and has issued a missing persons report for the nine-year-old.
Author's Note 2: Now how's them apples? (lol) I figured y'all would want a better conclusion to the story than what I put in the first epilogue - since I did intentionally end it with that cliffhanger ending. This chapter is the end of Nothing Is Harder Than Love, so I hope everyone enjoyed it.
Disclaimer 2: The characters of Nightfire, Stinger, Phase, and Shadow are my own original characters for this (so far as I know). The last mentioned child, Hayley Quinn, is the 'real name' or 'alias' that I came up with for Artemis, the character created by Echo of an Idiot for his story Second Chances (which I recommend reading, by the way, if you haven't already). I will be using a reinterpretation of Artemis, with permission from Echo, in a direct sequel to Nothing Is Harder Than Love.
Author's Note 3: Once again, let me thank everyone who reviewed this story as it was being posted. Your reviews helped keep this story going, and got me past a couple of rough spots. I'd like to thank Echo of an Idiot not only giving it its first review, but for giving such a dramatic first review. LilithRyoka, thanks for the insightful review. It helped somewhat to shape this second epilogue. Aslan Leon, your reviews were fun to read. Eagle wolf05, it's not how often you review, but what you put when you do; and your reviews were appreciated. RosettaStone123, thanks for being the second person to review this story. ElDragonRojoX, I'm glad you liked that first chapter enough to say it impressed you and drew you in right away. JDT Productions, I hope the rest of it met with your approval. I hope all of you enjoyed reading Nothing Is Harder Than Love as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Until the next time . . . . . . . . . . . . . .