Author's Note: Teen Titans are owned by DC Comics/Warner Brothers/Cartoon Network. Justice League characters are owned by DC Comics.
[Titans Tower – Feb 29, 2012]
Edward Barnes writes…
The wedding plans between Raven and I are coming along nicely and we've even set a date for it later this year. We had coordinated with Alfred at Wayne Manor, but, barring any missions, the date is set.
But, this tale is going to be far out…of this world. Readers may recall Starfire was forced to banish Blackfire from Tamaran a few years ago after taking the crown from Blackfire in a challenge.
Turns out that Blackfire wants revenge on Starfire for that and another incident that happened here on Earth prior to that. Blackfire unsuccessfully tried to frame Starfire for stealing a valuable gem. It almost worked, too. Starfire had been arrested just prior to the truth coming out and Starfire was released with apologies and Blackfire arrested.
But, ole Blackie is back and she's not going to be here on a social visit. When will the Titans' enemies get the hint to leave us alone? Malchior tried, Trigon tried, others have tried and none have had much luck.
Guess Blackfire will need to find out that I protect my friends as others have discovered…But, as she's scheming, the Titans have some downtime to take care of some business.
[The Swamp Planet – Sometime after "Betrothed"]
Blackfire of Tamaran was angry, in fact, beyond angry. The reason why was that she burned with the desire to avenge herself on Starfire. She had been humiliated by her younger sister for the last time and this was in front of a lot of people. She had assumed the throne of Tamaran, only to lose it during a challenge. After she lost the crown, her sister immediately banished her from the planet, never to return.
However, that was Starfire's only royal decree. She had abdicated the throne and appointed Galfore in her place. To Blackfire, it proved that Starfire was far weaker than she appeared in the "morals" department.
In Blackfire's mind, the only rightful person to be on the throne from her parent's offspring was herself, so, she decided that it was best to overthrow Galfore and thus take the throne again.
"How am I going to get the crown back?" she said to her "husband", a large green gelatin like creature who name was as hard to spell as it was to pronounce!
The residents of the planet were not really a race where combat was an issue, but, that didn't stop Blackfire from keeping tabs on things back home. She was waiting to see if Galfore would trip himself up and leave himself open for a challenge. Under Tamaranian law, the crown could be challenged in honorable battle, even by someone banished. The person had to wait five years and that time was just about up.
"I'll have to challenge Galfore for the crown, but, he's far larger than I am," she said, "But, he's also getting old and clumsy. I might be able to use that to my advantage. I also know that there are others who liked my firm hand as ruler who dared not expose themselves after my dear sister banished me! If I can stir up enough unrest, even from here…Galfore would have to abdicate the throne and Tamaran will not only be mine, I will have my revenge on Koriand'r!"
Blackfire started making her plans that evening and it would take months to accomplish.
The team was actually able to enjoy some downtime and Cyborg was using that time to enhance the T-Ship. With the addition of Terra, Edward and Jericho to the team, there had to be three new pods added. While Edward had the advantage of teleportation for the team, there were places that Edward had never been to and that negated his teleportation. Also, there was the possibility that the team would have to go into space and Edward made it clear that his teleportation had limits. He wasn't sure if he could teleport between planets or, for that matter, entire solar systems.
So, Cyborg redesigned the T-Ship to work with the expanded team and started to train Terra and Jericho on flying. Oddly enough, Edward had a firm grasp of flight and in the simulator, did fairly well in his first flights, but, in fairness to the other two, Edward agreed to train with them.
Jericho's pod had to be specially designed to accommodate his inability to speak. So, Cyborg added several subroutines to the pod to allow for lip reading. Even though the nerve that controlled the vocal cord was cut, he still could move his lips as if he were talking. The pod's onboard camera would then capture those movements and the internal AI would vocalize them. Cyborg was also working on a more human sounding device for him to allow him to talk as normally as possible.
In the meantime, the rest of the team was learning sign language from Edward, Jericho and Arella. That was also coming along nicely and would give the team another tactical advantage in fights.
Edward had taken Raven to see Melvin, Timmy and Teether at the monastery to tell them that they were getting married and to explain what that meant.
Edward sensed Raven's sudden upheaval when Melvin asked, "Will that mean I have a new mommy and daddy?"
Edward said, "Do you think as Raven as your mommy?"
Melvin said, "She's been like a mommy since we met her."
[I never wanted that to happen! It was a mission, nothing more!] she objected telepathically.
[Sweetheart, might as well get used to it. I've sensed that maternal instinct within you for a long time. Recall you were willing to risk your life to save Melvin from the whale?] Edward said gently.
[True,] Raven said.
"No," Raven said aloud, "I will stay as your new mommy, if that's what you really want."
Melvin tackled Raven in a hug and started crying. Edward patted Melvin on the back and she started to calm down and said, "Will you be my dad?"
Edward said, "Yes, Melvin. As I will be with Raven for a long time, I'll be your dad."
Timmy and Teether were too young to really understand, though, but, Edward said, "Would you like Raven and me to be your mommy and daddy?"
Both boys nodded and got hugs. They ended up spending the day there letting the monks know what was going to be happening. But, the kids would need to stay there where it was safe for a while yet.
The monks were pleased to hear that news, though. They had a feeling that Edward and Raven would become a full time couple and the idea of them getting married was within their beliefs.
Then, Edward and Raven went to visit Kole and Gnaark in their tropical paradise hidden in the Arctic Circle.
"You're getting married?" Kole asked, not believing her ears.
"We are," Raven said deadpan.
Kole's face sort of fell and Edward remembered that the young woman did have a crush on him.
Edward felt bad as he sensed her heart breaking.
[Dammit, Kole still had a crush on me,] Edward lamented to Raven.
[You think? You want to talk to her or should I?] Raven asked.
[Both of us,] Edward replied.
Edward held his arms out and Kole fell into him.
"It's OK, Kole," Edward said, "Let it out, then, we'll talk."
"Gnaark?" he said.
"Kole is upset," Raven replied, "She had a crush on Edward for a while. She'll be fine. She needs to let go of those emotions."
Kole merely wept silently for a while.
She finally calmed down and apologized.
"No need to apologize, Kole," Edward said gently, "I had a hunch the first time you met me that you had feelings towards me. Keep those feelings of friendship close to your heart, little one. I will always consider you to be friend and family."
"Same here," Raven said, "Heck, if someone else has to have feelings for my fiancée, I would rather it be you. You're a really nice woman, and I'm glad Robin made you honorary Titans."
"You're not jealous?" Kole asked.
Raven shook her head, "Not at all. I know where Edward's heart is and you're great to be around."
"High praise," Edward said with a smile.
Well, they talked for a while longer, making sure that Kole would be OK. They also collected some of the fruits that the team enjoyed so much and returned to the Tower.
Of course, the team was happy for Edward and Raven, but, deep down, Robin worried that this would break up the team someday. It would be a strain on either the upcoming marriage and/or the team. But, for now, it was far down the road and even he had to admit that he shouldn't obsess over this problem.
Edward, for his part, had taken a slightly less active role in team matters. He realized that if he did everything, the team would fall apart, so, even in fights, he'd let the team work as it did before he joined. He'd pick up the slack, though, as he usually would.
He was even working on his other major issue and that was his over-protectiveness of Raven. He was realizing that Raven needed her space and, he had to let her deal with threats. He was starting to remember more about the teamwork needed in a marriage. He was remembering a couple, lost to the ages who had a huge impact on his life…A couple exiled from their own time and dropped practically in his lap. He learned much from them, in fact, he learned more from them than he taught them about life in the mid-18th Century. They taught him the value of family and friends as seen in this current time frame.
One secret he didn't tell the team, though, is that while his wife had died almost 200 years ago, he had a son with her who had inherited most of his abilities and traits. That meant that his son, David, was still alive and making a good living. They talked at times, though, and were still close.
He didn't even tell Raven this, though, but, he would have to soon as David deserved to be at the wedding. With him fully grown, though, it made things easier in one respect.
But, Edward had his mind on another problem regarding procreation. Raven was still half demon due to Trigon's DNA and there was the possibility that she could not get pregnant. He had a hunch, though, that problem could fix itself.
"Hey, Victor?" Edward said.
"What's up?" he said.
"I need a favor, if you have time," Edward said, "I need to know if there's any possible problems for Raven and I post-marriage regarding having kids. Is there a way to determine if our DNA is even compatible or would we have to adopt?"
"Best way to tell is to actually have sex with one another and see if she gets pregnant," Cyborg replied, "But, I know that you are being a gentleman with her and won't do that before the wedding. The computer has your DNA and hers on file, so, we might be able to run simulations instead."
"That'll work," Edward said with a smile. There was no way he was going to touch Raven sexually until after the wedding ceremony.
They headed to the lab and Cyborg set up the initial parameters after asking Edward a few questions.
A 3D hologram appeared that showed their respective DNA patterns coming together normally in the first few seconds after conception and then the two strands of DNA bounced off each other…"INCOMPATIBLE DNA" flashed as the two strands dissolved.
"Run the test with a change: My sperm morphs to match up with Raven's genome," Edward requested.
The computer was fed that information and the simulation was rerun.
This time, Edward's DNA came together and merged with Raven's! The DNA strands wrapped around each other in their own embrace before settling into a single strand of DNA…"DNA COMPATIBLE…Pregnancy of 9 months possible. Child would be a live birth with a combination of Edward's and Raven's abilities. Abilities unknown."
Edward smiled broadly, then.
"Dawg!" Cyborg said, "I'd have to run additional tests using live material. This is just a computer simulation."
"Rae would never go for that," Edward said, "She'd never sacrifice an ovum to see if my sperm would impregnate her. And, would my sperm be capable of destroying the ovum instead of just following simple biology?"
"Good points," Cyborg said. He made a few more changes to the simulation and ran it from the cellular level.
The first test didn't look all that good, sadly. It showed the ovum being attacked normally, then, one sperm cell gets through. The egg casing hardened to prevent other cells from getting in, but, that didn't matter. Within moments, there was a fuzzy mass…"EGG DESTROYED. Pregnancy terminated after 2.5 seconds."
Edward sat down heavily and sighed.
Cyborg put his hand on Edward's shoulder. "Let me run this again with a change in the situation. This first one was run as if you and Raven were having sex. Let's see if the results are different if it's 'test tube' style instead."
He made the change and, well, it didn't matter one bit. The ovum was still torn apart.
Edward felt like screaming, but, he stayed cool.
"I don't get it," he said, "Cyborg, can you keep a secret for a little while?"
"Depends on what it is," Cyborg said.
"Look up the DNA records for a David J. Barnes," Edward said.
"It will take some time," Cyborg said, inputting the search parameters into the Tower AI.
"Searching," the AI replied.
"Wanna tell me who this guy is?" Cyborg said.
"Wait for the DNA to be found," Edward replied.
A few minutes later, a new DNA strand started rotating and Edward said, "Computer, cross-reference my DNA with that of the DNA just downloaded."
A moment later, the computer had blended Edward's DNA with the new set and the computer said, "DNA matches Edward Barnes natively. Other DNA is from a reptilian shapeshifter."
"Your son?" Cyborg exclaimed.
"That's correct, Vic," Edward said with a smile, "That's why I need you to keep quiet about this for a short while. The others will need to know soon, but, I have to tell Raven first."
"You ashamed of the kid?" Cyborg challenged.
"Not at all," Edward said, "He's my flesh and blood. I could never be ashamed of him. He's a good kid, living in Chicago."
"How old is he?" Cyborg asked.
"He was born on July 4, 1776," Edward said with a grin as Cyborg's jaw hit the floor.
"Paula knew the importance of the day from a historical point, but, she made it a rule that I was not to ask anything about the future," Edward continued.
"How would she have known the future?" Cyborg asked.
"Computer, pull all known records pertaining to Paula Nichols," Edward commanded.
A picture of a woman in her early 20s was displayed and as Cyborg read the file, he noted "Disappeared while on dig in France on July 30, 2007 and still missing."
Edward choked back a tear as he said, "Pull historical records of Paula Barnes."
The screen changed to reveal a painting of a woman in her early 30s and relevant information. The date was in 1760, though.
"They look like they are the same woman," Cyborg said.
"One and the same," Edward said sadly.
"You all right?" Cyborg asked.
Edward shook his head, unable to speak further.
Raven raced into the room then. She saw Edward fighting to keep his emotions together and looked at the screen.
So, this must be his long lost wife, the empath realized.
"I'm here, honey," Raven said, fighting off the intense waves of pain coming off him.
She risked the full brunt of his emotional state and pulled him into an embrace, trying to pour waves of calmness and happiness into the link.
Edward's control faltered then as the tears fell.
"Damn," Cyborg said, "Never thought I'd see this." He sat down as well and just put a hand on Edward.
[Shh,] Raven cooed, [It's all right, my love. I'm here.]
[Please go, Rae,] Edward begged, [I don't want you seeing me like this.]
[Not chasing me away that easily,] she said gently, [How many times have you comforted me or Terra or someone else on the team? I know you still miss her.]
[I know,] he said, [Can't help it…missing her for some reason.]
[Don't go there, dear,] Raven chided, [From what you told me, she was a great person.]
[She was a great person and a great mom,] Edward replied.
[You adopted kids?] she asked, confused.
[No,] Edward replied, [We had a child together, Rachel. His name's David.]
[Wow!] she replied, [Is he…]
[Alive and well in Chicago. He's as old as the USA is, to the day,] Edward said.
[Why didn't you tell me before?] Raven said.
[David decided long ago to not be as revealing about his abilities as I am,] Edward replied, [We are still very close, luckily. You'll meet him soon. But, it's his mom I miss more. When she died…it felt like a piece of me went with her. You have no idea how hard it was for me to sit back and not interfere with her during her childhood when she was born.]
By then, he was starting to regain control over his emotions. What he didn't know was that Raven, being an empath, was drawing out his pain a little bit, enough to allow his emotions to be controlled.
She knew that if she tried to draw it all out, it would potentially hurt her badly and Edward was adamant that she not hurt herself.
He knew that as an empath, Raven couldn't help intervening at times and with him, she had to be careful. His more intense emotions would easily overwhelm her where she to try to take them all in at once, so, she'd learned to take only a small amount to help him regain control.
But, as Raven looked at Paula, she couldn't help but wonder who she really was to affect her fiancée so intensely.
It wasn't the right time, though. Raven knew that Edward might not react well to any questions, so, she waited as he calmed himself.
Edward finally managed to calm down and said, "I think it's time that you guys met my son."
Little did they know that this meeting would have bigger implications for everyone.
OK, this sets part of the stage for this new adventure. Yeah, Edward's got a son who will make his appearance. I'm still figuring out the kid's abilities, but, he'll have most, if not all of Edward's skill set.
Also, I've noticed an uptick on folks favoriting the stories up to now. Thanks!