I claim no ownership rights to any of the works of Rumiko Takahashi or Kosuke Fujishima, and certainly not anything owned by Warner Bros.
In her eternal Now, Belldandy felt the effects of the Devourer's obliteration begin to crawl around the globe, all the Earth's living multitudes released from their stony prisons in its wake as if they had never been transformed into enslaved batteries for maintaining the Devourer's life and power. On the edge of that wave she released her connection to each life as it re-awoke and released those on or under water or in the air from their timeless state, until in the end there were only her connections to her father and the Daimakaicho, into which she had funneled the strength of all that lived — the strength that they had then poured into their adopted granddaughter. Then those connections, too, were severed — from the other ends this time — and Belldandy was alone in the center of her circle. She watched as the power filling that circle slowly drain away with both relief — she was literally coated with sweat from the effort of the casting — and regret.
That casting had been complex beyond anything she had ever imagined, as had been the stress of bending power to her will — the power passing through her hands had been enough to obliterate Asgard if it had run wild, and she hadn't been sure that Kami-sama and Hild's protective circles enclosing the chamber would hold if she lost control. But she hadn't, and the connection with all that lived had been a glory like nothing she'd ever experienced, or expected to ever experience again.
Then the last of the glow vanished from the her circle, the casting was complete, and she reluctantly allowed herself to drop out of her Now into the world of time once again, to find her father and Hild waiting for her in their own circles. The happy smile on her father's face was no surprise, she had seen it times beyond counting. The happy smile on Hild's face, on the other hand, just looked wrong, in spite of what Belldandy knew of the Daimakaicho's millennia-long deception.
Then the smiles vanished as Belldandy took a step forward and felt her knees give way. Both her elders instantly stepped forward, catching her arms to give her support, easing her down onto a wood-framed, padded recliner that hadn't been there a moment before. For that matter, neither had sand underneath the couch, the tropical jungle underneath a clear, blue sky she could see over her elders' shoulders, or the surf she could hear washing up on the sand behind her.
As soon as she was comfortable, her father stepped back and lay down on his own recliner, now dressed in Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian floral print shirt. A grinning Hild, in a surprisingly tasteful one-piece swimsuit, lay down next to him and snuggled up. Belldandy felt her cheeks heat. Her father and his ex weren't doing anything ... indecorous, but she could 'feel' the heat from yards away. She was both honored and more than a little uncomfortable ... the fact that they trusted her enough — that Hild accepted her enough — to let their masks drop was gratifying, but it was her father! Then Hild winked at her and her blush turned fiery. She hastily glanced down at herself, mildly surprised to find she was still in the same light dress she had worn to the park, though the sheen of sweat that had covered her had vanished.
Hild spoke up from where she was cuddled. "I know you will want to rejoin your family as soon as you can, so you don't have time to frolic. Just rest until you've recovered."
Belldandy nodded, still keeping her eyes fixed on her dress. She asked, "How are Raven and her friends?"
Kami-sama replied, "Tired, sore, some injuries, but they'll be fine."
"I'm glad." Belldandy fidgeted where she lay, her eyes still fixed on her dress but not, now, from embarrassment. A question had come to mind when she had realized the full extent of her father's plan, but she had set aside from lack of time. Now it had returned to haunt her, and she finally sighed and lifted her gaze to the couple on the other recliner. "Father, I do not wish to question your wisdom," she said carefully, "but that was an enormous gamble to place on a single mortal girl. What if Raven had not proven as strong as she did? We would have lost everything, had to start over from the beginning!"
Kami-sama smiled fondly at his daughter as he stroked Hild's platinum blond hair. "No, Belldandy, it was no gamble at all, for two reasons," he replied. "First, because the Devourer was relentless. The cult whose slaughter you took part in was the third that had been dealt with by either my Valkyries or Hild's Furies, and it would have not been the last — sooner or later, a child of the Devourer would have grown to maturity in secret, and he would have come for our world, our people. No, the gamble would have been to continue as we were, and in a few decades ... a few centuries perhaps ... we would have inevitably lost as had all his victims before us.
"Second was Raven herself ... and Ranma before her, and that was no gamble at all but an inevitability. The one thing certain about Raven is that she will never give up, never surrender, not when it truly matters, not even when she thinks she has ... not when Ranma faced Herb or Saffron, not during her year in Niflheim, not once as a Titan, not when she faced a hideously painful death as the Devourer's portal, never. And so thanks to that spark that would never bow to the inevitable, a spark lacked by all the hedonistic megalomaniacs raised by the Devourer's cults on all the other worlds he conquered and fed off of, she survived the dissolution that was the normal end of being subsumed into the portal and fled back to a simpler time in both lives, before everything began to go wrong, and took more strength from her memories as she recalled her lives. And her inevitable survival and just as inevitable recovery of her memories and decision to strike back at her so-called 'father', combined with her link to both the Devourer as her soul-father and Hild and I as her adopted grandparents, gave us the opportunity we needed to finally end his rampage across the multiverse."
"I see." Belldandy's eyes dropped as she blushed in shame. "I am sorry that I doubted you."
"Don't be," her father replied. "Belldandy, look at me." When his daughter raised her head he smiled encouragingly. "Others may need to take my commands on faith, but I believe that you have reached a point in power and understanding that that is no longer necessary. So please, if time and circumstances permit, feel free to ask me anything.
"And now, I believe you have recovered enough to rejoin your family. Your husband, at least, will be very happy to share his relief at the world's survival with you."
Belldandy blushed furiously at Hild's knowing grin as she rose to her feet, bowed to her elders and made her farewells, then started toward the door that had appeared on the beach some twenty yards away. By the time she reached it she was running.
Hild giggled as Belldandy vanished through the door and the door itself disappeared. She mused, "If Keiichi chooses to celebrate his family's survival in the time-honored fashion you may find yourself with another half-mortal grandchild in nine months. He's certainly still vigorous enough, and I'm not sure she's figured out that in this case 'more' isn't necessarily 'better'. Or at least that there are limits."
She felt Kami'sama's chuckle rumble through her head lying on his chest. "Oh, she understands that well enough," he disagreed, "she just doesn't think they've reached their limits, yet. Keiichi is doing well for his family, and the eldest is almost ready to leave the nest. And she loves little children."
"Perhaps she does understand, and about more than that," Hild replied, her eyes cross-eyed from watching her finger tracing lazy circles on her ex's chest through his Hawaiian shirt inches in front of her face. "Certainly she understands about us and has kept quiet — and she actually questioned your decisions with respect to Raven!"
"Yes, she did. I may not be able to play favorites, but I'm still glad that she was the first viable candidate to finally take that step — now we both have heirs, and as close sisters their level of cooperation will be very high, indeed. Our daughter did very well this time, as well. The individual initiative she displayed wasn't surprising, but it was impressive, both her ability to make decisions on the fly and delegate."
"Yes, Urd is coming along nicely," Hild agreed. "At this rate, in a thousand years or so they'll both be ready and we can retire."
For a moment the two fell silent, content to simply luxuriate in each other's presence, then Kami-sama quietly asked, "Will you be able to last that long?"
"Yes, now that I have Urd for backup and to provide a somewhat more convenient shoulder to cry on I can last as long as it takes." With a reluctant sigh, Hild levered herself up to a sitting position. "And now I'm afraid I have to take my own leave. Just because the Devourer has been defeated doesn't mean his demons rampaging through Niflheim have magically disappeared, and once they're dealt with there'll still be quite a mess to clean up. Besides, I have a very special guest to make arrangements for. The Devourer didn't really hurt us all that badly, so his soul's time with us before being passed on to the last world he emptied of life will be limited — which means I'll have to come up with something ... creative."
Kami-sama shivered at the gloating tone to Hild's voice. "Remember, Justice, not Vengeance," he warned.
"Aw, you're no fun!" Hild declared, mock-pouting, before she nodded. "Yes, I'll make sure the punishment fits the sin. Perhaps Urd would like to help, it'll further her education." After a moment's consideration, she reluctantly shook her head. "No, too soon and too personal. That'll have to wait for later."
Bending down, she kissed him firmly. "A marker for our own private celebration, once we've visited Raven and put out our fires, and won't be missed by anyone not in the know," she promised before rising to her feet and sauntering toward the again-visible door. Though gods and demons weren't as driven by sex as mortals were, it had been a long time since they had made love and almost as long since she had sought comfort in his arms. She was enjoying the feel of her ex's gaze on her back as she went ... or rather, her backside — it was good know that she could still draw his attention when she wanted.
The endless, timeless all-encompassing white ended in an eyeblink, and Starfire found herself where she had been, high in the air above the massive hole with the wide pillar supporting Trigon's throne ... and surrounding the throne, a world returned to normal, the sounds of traffic (with undoubtedly very confused drivers, suddenly finding themselves starting into motion from a dead stop), a few pigeons landing on streetlamps, the buildings on either side and road below returned to their natural state — and the pavement rapidly approaching. Raven!
Starfire pulled out of her fall and swept up, looking around frantically — there! She dove toward the limp, falling, white-caped — and considerably larger than before — form, desperately trying to cut the angle before her friend hit the ground ... and spiraled away and up as the winged platinum-blonde woman Raven had identified as her mother intercepted her falling daughter. The woman dropped several yards to kill Raven's momentum, then flew up toward Starfire as several of the other winged women — the 'Furies' — joined her. She was talking rapidly as she joined Starfire. "— those corpses off the streets and buildings. Mary, detail some of your people to help get Robin, Beast Boy and Cyborg back to the island, the rest help Miriam. Once the cleanup's done we'll coordinate with our people in Asgard and head for Niflheim. Starfire —" She focused on the princess, and her eyes widened. "Mary, a couple more of your people to escort Starfire in case she collapses on the way home. Starfire, what happened to your arm!?"
"What?" Starfire looked down to find the arm whose power amplifier had blown up mangled and dangling limp, with blood runneling off her fingers in thin streams to fall toward the street below and the pedestrians staring and pointing up toward them (many hands holding phones) ... the ones not gaping at the inhuman corpses abruptly — from their point of view — draped over cars and littering the streets and sidewalks.
"Never mind, it's obvious," Urd said with a sigh. "Raven is going to kill me for loaning you those amplifiers — or at least rant at me for awhile." Two more Furies joined them, one of them holding a small box, and Urd nodded approvingly. "Good thinking. I have a kit, but a second never hurts. Let's go."
In a small cavern deep in one of the mountains surrounding Jump City, the light bringing the Earth's salvation vanished as suddenly as it had come, leaving the cavern dark except for a faint glow radiating from the stone figure of a teenaged girl. That glow slowly brightened, bringing out the blacks and browns of the cavern walls, until it abruptly vanished as well, and the figure slowly crumpled to the ground.
Even as Terra smacked down onto the cold stone floor with a soft cry of pain fresh lights came on, lighting up the cavern with a warm, yellow light. She glanced around from where she lay, confused. Slade hadn't had any lights like that installed, and certainly not motion-sensitive.
Then a cool breeze drifted across her, and she shivered and pushed herself up off the stone floor, frowning as she glanced down at herself, and stiffened. "Hey, what happened to my clothes?" And considering how cool her head was ... a hand rubbed along her bare scalp — "My hair!" She bolted to her feet to frantically examine herself ... not a single body-hair to be found, what was going on!?
She looked around again, and frowned when she noticed the cot set up against one wall with a pile of blankets, beside a table and chair — those hadn't been around before, how long had she been unconscious? And why wasn't she waking up in jail? I suppose the Titans might have decided my turning against Slade in the end was enough to let me off with a little humiliation. More than I deserve, really, I'm getting off lightly with being stripped and shaved. But it didn't feel like she was getting off lightly, and her heart clenched as she thought of the home the Titans had given her, that she'd thrown away. And especially the green shapechanger that had always been able to make her laugh, that had so painfully obviously wanted to be more than friends, whose heart she'd abused so badly. She wiped angrily at wet eyes. Enough, it's your fault you're alone again, you were stupid, crying about it isn't going to change that. You're tough, you'll survive.
She shivered as the light breeze again brushed across her naked goosebumped body. Hurrying over, she grabbed up a folded blanket on the cot and wrapped it around herself, instantly feeling better ... both more warm and less naked. Then she saw the clock sitting on the table with a date display and dropped down onto the cot, feeling faint. It had been months! She stared at the clock with its impossible date. Okay, maybe the Titans aren't punishing me. What's going on?
Finally, as the her shock at the date eased off, she finally noticed a stack of letters sitting next to the clock. Grabbing them, she shifted to sit cross-legged on the cot, pulled another blanket around her, and started reading. The letter order was easy to figure out, each envelope had a date scrawled on it, one every one to two weeks.
The first was from Robin, and straightforward enough — a picture of her as a statue and a brief statement that she was still welcome with the Titans, and that if she was all right all she needed to do was follow the instructions to the switch for the alert and wait and they'd be over to pick her up as soon as they were free to come get her.
There was nothing straightforward about the rest of the letters, though — they were all from Beast Boy ... Gar ... and they were love letters. Oh, not obviously love letters, they didn't have the sappy sentiments and bad poetry that too often filled such, especially from teenagers. Instead each one told what had gone on in the Titans' lives since the previous one, enemies fought, pranks pulled, grief, fear and joy ... and each one ended the same way: I miss you.
She didn't realize she was crying until her tears dropped onto the last letter, and when she wiped at her cheeks they weren't just damp, they were wet. But she didn't even try to keep the broad smile off her face as she hurried to find the alert switch and then curled up on the cot under the blankets with the letters clutched to her chest. It seemed she still had a home, after all.
Awareness of the world around her slowly seeped into Raven's consciousness — the feel of grass on her bare legs, a warm gentle breeze, the murmur of voices, someone holding her hand, all very domestic. She was still alive. She was surprised — surely the amount of pain she'd suffered in the attack on Trigon should have meant something seriously bad was happening to her? But no, she wasn't numb and she didn't hurt, not even a little.
Not physically, at least, let's see how I'm doing mentally. For the second time since Robin had found her, she allowed the world to fade away as she dove deep into her mind to survey her mental 'landscape'. And again, she was surprised — it was still whole. Oh, there were some 'blown seams' along where the various aspects of her personality had been patched back together, Anger's only holding link was to Determination (no surprise, considering the rant she'd thrown at her 'father' right before she helped kill him), but somehow she had come out of the fight still a single, unitary personality. And the constant anger and hatred 'bubbling' in the background was gone, the link she'd had to Trigon still there but broken, leading nowhere. We're gonna have to do something about that before I go back into action, she thought as she slowly 'resurfaced' into the waking world. Having an open backdoor into my mind would be a really bad thing if we run into any mentalists.
Then the emotions of the person holding her hand flowed over her: very familiar after-battle jitters, but relaxed, happy, love-filled ... and a particular 'flavor' of happy/exasperated love that she hadn't sensed in years. Her eyes flew open to find what she'd expected: Urd kneeling by her side, smiling down at her. Instantly she was sitting up, one arm around her mother and her hand being held now clutching tight. Her mother's free arm returned the one-arm hug — a hug well above what she would have been capable of when she last remembered. She was her normal size again.
Even as Raven joyfully breathed in her mother's scent (mainly sweat after the stress of the battle, but she didn't care) she had her eyes clenched shut against a cascade of memories, all as fresh as if they'd happened that morning: a huge Mama Urd rocking her to sleep while her two-toned angel World of Elegance loomed over both of them singing a wordless lullaby; a somewhat smaller (but still large) Mama Urd glaring at her grandmother, radiating angry resignation as Raven examined the racing broom Hild had given her for her birthday; Mama Urd at her proper size and in her battlesuit, hugging her and assuring her that Trigon wasn't her fault. But she also remembered nodding to Urd (not Mama Urd) from where she knelt naked on park grass a few yards away, next to an equally naked Akane lying stretched on the lawn. Raven's hands were cupped with a ball of light bobbing above them — a ball of light that within seconds would become half of her soul. This is going to take some getting used to.
Finally, she pulled back with a sigh. "I guess we won."
"No, kitling, you won," Urd corrected, smiling at her.
Raven's eyes went misty. She said, "You haven't called me that in years."
"Hey, you were the one that decided you were all grown up and we should drop the pet names," Urd reminded her with a laugh.
Raven giggled, luxuriating in the love radiating from her mother without a hint of the self-loathing guilt that had helped drive her away from her mothers four years before. But she finally sighed and broke the clinch as worries for others pushed their way to the forefront. She asked, "Where are the rest of the Titans? Are they all right?"
"Starfire's right behind you, the others are on their way."
Raven twisted around, then shot to her feet at the sight of her friend standing a few yards away ... and of one of the Furies adjusting a sling supporting an arm with a bandage wrap covering it from elbow to wrist. "Starfire, what happened to you!?" Raven demanded as she rushed over, then before Starfire had a chance to answer continued, "No, never mind, I know. I thought I told you not to use the damaged power amplifier, what were you thinking!?"
Starfire just smiled at her ranting friend. "I was thinking that such a foe required everything I had, whatever the cost. Friend Raven, did you not make the same choice?"
Raven paused, mouth open for her retort, as she remembered shrieking as she fought to ignore the pain threatening to swallow her whole even as she poured Belldandy's gift through her link with her father. "I suppose —"
"Raven, are you all right? What happened to you?"
She turned at the sound of Robin's voice to find the rest of the Titans landing on the tiny beach of what she now realized was Titans Island. Robin was dropping the last few feet to the beach after being released by the Fury carrying him, Cyborg right behind being carried by two Furies on each arm (how they did that without their wings interfering with each other Raven didn't know). Then Beast Boy seemed to appear from nowhere leaping down from Cyborg as he reverted from whatever tiny creature he'd been to his human form.
She fought the urge to sweep them up in a massive group hug (or an attempt at one, considering one of them would be Cyborg's hulking form) as her boys' emotions washed over her — worry, the comedown from a big fight, happiness, but none of the markers for pain or injury. As much as she found herself thirsting for physical contact, her relationship with her boys had never been touchy-feely. If she started now, they'd think she'd lost her mind. "I'm fine ... more than fine," she reassured them.
"Are you certain?" Robin asked. "You've changed."
"Yeah!" Beast Boy exclaimed. "You're all white and red and stuff."
"What!?" Raven looked down at herself, eyes widening at the sight of white skin instead of the gray she'd seen in the mirror for all of her current life. She hastily looked over all of herself she could see — all white, her skin now in addition to her costume. She demanded, "What's red?"
Robin replied, "Your hair has some red shading mixed in with the black." He glanced over at Urd lounging on the grass, smiling at their reunion, and his body relaxed as his worry vanished. Cyborg followed his gaze and followed suit.
Now behind Raven, Starfire gently ran her fingers through her friend's hair. "It is truly lovely, we shall need to visit the shop of fashion to see what styles best bring it out," she said happily.
Reddish? Ranma! "B-but ... h-h-how ..." Raven stuttered, before breaking off, shrugging. It couldn't be genetic, there was no physical continuity from her life as Ranma, so it had to be mystical. Her mothers would have answers, but since Momma Urd wasn't freaking out it could wait until she could find a mirror (and for the first time in years, thinking of looking at herself in a mirror didn't make her flinch). Sensing the worry still coming off Beast Boy in waves, she mock-frowned at him. "You can relax, Gar, blue is still my favorite color, and you're still not funny."
"Hey!" Beast Boy exclaimed as the other Titans laughed and Starfire giggled, but Raven relaxed as she felt his relief.
Then others joined the laughter, and her head whipped around to find Mara and Lind standing a few yards away. Instantly, she threw herself across those yards into a three-way hug. And again, found herself fighting crystal clear memories — Mama Lind sitting cross-legged across from her, teaching her to meditate, to calm herself enough that she could play with the divine children in their neighborhood without being drugged; Mama Mara finding her terrified little girl trying desperately to clean up the mess she'd made of Mama Urd's potion supplies, and her resigned amusement as she'd looked down at Raven's wide, tear-filled eyes for a moment before silently (and safely) 'helping' Raven pick up the broken vials and sweep and mop up the spilled ingredients; Raven and all three of her mothers naked in a hot spring, and Raven finding out just how much her new teenage hormones were affecting her, and that like Ranma before her she was still very much attracted to girls. And even as she felt her cheeks heat up with fresh embarrassment at perving on her own mothers, another memory — the massive blade of Lind's halberd between her and Akane, blocking Raven's own blade just short of Akane's throat.
Breaking the hug, and stepping back to arm's length — measured by each of her mothers' hands she was holding — she looked up slightly into Lind's eyes and quietly said, "Mama Lind, I never did say thank you for saving Akane's life."
Lind's eyes widened for a moment, then she smiled. "It was my duty and pleasure." She paused for a few moments, drinking in her daughter's face, then looked over Raven's shoulder toward Urd for a moment, then at the rest of the Titans. She said, "Now why don't you introduce us to your friends."
"Like you don't know them almost as well as I do!" Raven said, her gaze switching between Lind and Mara. "You all have been watching me all along, haven't you?"
"Of course we have, we're your mothers," Mara replied. "Even if your grandfather told us to let you go, that didn't mean we were going to just let you disappear on us. But even if we know about them they don't know us, so let's be polite."
Raven blushed at Mara's gentle admonishment. Letting go of her mother's hands, she stepped between them and turned around, an arm going around each goddess's waist. "Titans, you've already met Mama Urd, these are the rest of my mothers, Mama Mara and Mama Lind. They took me in as a baby even knowing what I am ... what I was."
The boys' polite response was drowned out by Starfire's enthusiastic response, her excitement actually lifting her off the ground to hover over her teammates: "It is so marvelous to meet the mothers of Friend Raven! Thank you for raising such a wonderful daughter, she has been so good to me since helping me escape the Gordanian slavers."
Raven's blush turned fiery, and she opened her mouth to protest — she had been an angsty, depressed, withdrawn mess that Starfire had had to almost literally drag out of her shell, to the limited extent that the alien princess had managed that miracle. But she closed her mouth without saying anything. There was no point in burying the celebratory mood under a pile of lies from everyone if she denounced Starfire's statement for the blatant exaggeration it was. Besides, if her mothers' spying had been as thorough as it could have been, they already knew the truth. I'll have to find out just how they were spying on me, see how bad the damage is.
Then Urd glanced toward several helicopters approaching the island. "That will be the press, and our signal to be on our way. We can't be here when they arrive," she said with a resigned sigh. "Besides, Lind and I have responsibilities that we've ignored long enough. We both have understanding subordinates, but there are limits."
"I'm coming with you," Raven said, then hurriedly added at her friends' sudden spike of near-panic, "I'm not leaving permanently, just for a few weeks, I think." She tapped her forehead. "I'm all right, really, but ... a little fragile up here. I need some time for things to settle. Besides, I haven't done more than hug my mothers in passing for four years, we need to get reacquainted."
The rest of the Titans exchanged glances, then Robin said, "Take as long as you need, we'll be here when you're ready."
"And when you return I shall cook a celebratory feast in honor of our victory!" Starfire announced gleefully, twirling in place in sheer joy at the thought.
Raven fought not to shudder at the thought — she wouldn't have believed that there were people that deliberately cooked food worse than Akane's attempts, but Starfire's people managed it — and she wasn't as physically tough as she'd been as Ranma.
From the way Robin and Cyborg had gone a bit greenish, their thoughts had paralleled her own. Beast Boy was naturally green, but from the disgust he was radiating he agreed. Still, he rallied bravely and simply announced, "And when you get back I'll have a whole new list of jokes! I'll get you to admit I'm really funny sooner or later!"
Raven shook her head in resignation, but laughed softly as she walked over to give the startled teenager a quick hug. "I look forward to your attempt ... however lame it'll be," she said, before eyeing the rapidly approaching helicopters. She hastily hugged the rest of the team and said her farewells (being careful of Starfire's arm, and making a mental note to have Starfire kidnapped to Asgard once things had calmed down, for real medical attention) before turning to her mothers. Her, eyebrows rose at the sight of the portal Lind had opened while she'd been occupied, the Furies that had accompanied Urd and brought the Titans to the island already filing through. Of course her mothers had secretly set up a portal on Titans Island, she couldn't imagine why she hadn't expected them to.
Still she couldn't keep a beaming smile off her face as she followed Mama Mara through. She couldn't move back in with her mothers — even beyond her place on the team she had her promise to Akane she was half-eager/half-terrified to keep — but perhaps for the first time in both of her lives, she was actually going home.
And another story in the can! Yes, there will definitely be a sequel covering Raven's return to Japan to keep her promise to Akane, but it'll be awhile and it's only fair to say that it's going to have some very dark elements (let's just say that the Kuno siblings haven't gotten any saner over the past almost-two decades).
As a side note, I don't have plans to make Terra a major part of the next story, I've simply always felt that this was the perfect opportunity to bring her back and give Beast Boy a chance to shine as something beyond the team clown. And since this is my story I made use of it.
Oh, and the chapter title comes from the song of the same name by Tim McGraw:
Better than I Used to Be
I know how to hold a grudge
I can send a bridge up in smoke
And I can't count the people I've let down, the hearts I've broke
You ain't gotta dig too deep
If you wanna find some dirt on me
But I'm learning who you've been
Ain't who you've got to be
It's gonna be an uphill climb
Aww honey I won't lie
I ain't no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil
I'm cleaning up my act little by little
I'm getting there
I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain't as good as I'm gonna get
But I'm better than I used to be
I've pinned a lot of demons to the ground
I've got a few old habits left
But there's still one or two I might need you to help me with
Standing in the rain so long has left me with a little rust
But put some faith in me
And someday you'll see
There's a diamond under all this dust