Chapter 22: Aftershock pt. I
Today seemed to be just another ordinary day in Jump City. Beautiful weather, warm breezes and a tranquil environment throughout the city. That wonderful picture would not last long, for beneath their very feet, a terrible storm was brewing.
Deep beneath the earth was where Slade dwelled in his new base. With him was his apprentice, dressed in grey battle armor. It was a silent moment between them. Then, Slade spoke.
"You have had doubts in the past, made mistakes," as he said those words, Terra had her head lowered, whether in shame or submission was unclear, "But all that is behind you, isn't it?"
"Yes," Terra immediately answered. This was it for her, the time to swear her allegiance to Slade had finally arrived. She had tried to coax Raven into doing the same, the answer she had received from the witty mercenary was a string of inappropriate words that should never be uttered in fanfiction.
"You belong to me now, don't you?" Slade questioned. Once again, Terra was swift to answer.
"From this day forward, will you serve me and me only?" he questioned again.
"Will you obey my every command?"
"Will you fight at my side forever?" here, Slade held out an S symbol for Terra, a badge for her to wear to show her true allegiance. She accepted it without hesitation.
"I will," she answered as she fastened the symbol to her chestplate. Here Slade turned away from Terra, his single eye looking at something far away in deep thought.
"And will you destroy the Teen Titans?" there was so much anger and malice in his voice when he spoke the name of that team of brats that constantly thwarted his plans. What he received from Terra was a truly bloodthirsty grin that would have made anyone else shit their pants.
"I thought you'd never ask," it was impossible to miss the sadistic joy that could be heard in her voice when she said those words. She had a score to settle with her former friends. A few more minutes of ceremonial stuff followed before Terra was dismissed, now a full-fledged apprentice of Slade.
As Terra left the room, she found Raven waiting just outside, one of those mischievous smiles on her face.
"Way to go, Terra. Full time baddie and second hottest enemy of the Titans," Raven announced enthusiastically as she bumped fists with Terra, who mirrored her smile.
"Right. And that makes you, what? The third hottest?" she countered teasingly. Raven just laughed at her.
"Don't even try to challenge the master here, you'll just lose," she stated, with a certain gleam in her eyes that warned Terra that she would indeed lose if she persisted. Raven suddenly slung an arm over her shoulder as she began guiding her blonde friend towards the armory.
"But enough chitchat. I think it's high time we paid the Titans a long overdue visit," she stated with a vicious grin, one that Terra instantly mirrored.
"I definitively like the sound of that,"
Unknowing of the impending disaster, the Titans were calmly cruising down the road in Cyborg's car. To them, the day was almost perfect; good weather, no crime so far and a lovely trip to the pizza parlor on the way. There was only one aspect which dampened the mood of four of the Titans…
"Okay, okay, I got one. Why are ducks so funny? Because they're always quacking jokes!" need I say more than that?
"Robin, you better start looking for a new Titan, because if that green bean doesn't stop with his jokes soon, we're gonna be one shapeshifter short," Argent grumbled, doing her best not to act on her promise. Not a threat, mind you, a promise.
"Oh I see, it is humorous because ducks lack the large brain necessary for the telling of jokes," Starfire commented, clearly having thought far too hard on the matter if she managed to find anything remotely funny about that joke.
"Actually, Starfire, it… just wasn't humorous," Robin was quick to point out, completely popping Beast Boy's short-lived bubble of happiness.
"Because Beast Boy's the one lacking a large enough brain to tell jokes," Argent stated as she glared out of the car window. Why oh why did I get stuck in the backseat next to Beast Boy?' she thought to herself in dismay.
"Come on, Argent, you know I'm hilarious! And I'm not gonna give up until I get you to laugh at my jokes," the horror of a man's wounded pride, they will not stop until they have succeeded. For a few seconds, Argent even had a look of horror on her face.
"Okay! Why did the advar (does anyone know what word he really said here?) cross the road?" by now, Argent had grown tired of being on the defense against the onslaught of jokes, so she mounted a surprise counterattack.
"To beat up the idiot telling jokes about him?" she questioned mockingly. That brought out gales of laughter from her two teammates in the front seats, bringing a victorious smirk to Argent's face. 'Counterattack successful. Enemy forces are defeated and in full retreat,'
It seemed like Beast Boy had finally given up as the team settled into a comfortable silence. That was promptly destroyed when a freaking RPG round sent the car flipping sideways and landing on its roof!
From her position up on a roof, Raven frowned at her shot, before she licked one of her fingers and held it up in the air.
"Damn wind draft. Ruining my aim," she grumbled to herself as the Titans crawled out of their wrecked car. With the element of surprise gone, she used a grapple line to swing down to street level, where she landed on a parked car.
"Yo," Raven said as she waved cheekily at them from her seated position on the car. The Titans were instantly in a battle ready formation.
"Raven. I don't know what your game is, but we're putting an end to it right here," Robin growled hatefully at the slippery mercenary in front of them. Raven just gave them a mock pout.
"Aww, don't be such a meanie to little ol' me, I'm just a girl looking to have a fun time," she defended herself, right before a menacing smirk grew on her lips, "Besides, I'm not the one you should be worrying your pretty head over. She is," her statement was followed by her pointing a finger down the road.
Against their better judgment, Robin and his teammates took their eyes off Raven and glanced the way she was indicating. They almost wished he had not done so.
"Terra?" Beast Boy questioned in disbelief. Said girl only grinned mockingly at them.
"Hey guys. Miss me?" she asked tauntingly, right before she launched a barrage on hand-sized rocks at them like a machine gun. The Titans scattered out of the way of this sudden barrage, suffering no other damage than getting their car completely wrecked.
"Titans, go!" Robin shouted as they charged straight at Terra, who cockily took them on aboard a floating rock. Multiple long ranged attacks knocked the Titans back one after the other, until only Beast Boy was able to keep up the charge.
Taking a bold risk by throwing himself at Terra's mode of transportation, he managed to get a grip on it and drag himself about halfway on board.
"Terra, stop! We're your friends!" he desperately pleaded with her. Her furious face was all the answer he should really need. But to be on the safe side, Terra felt like reminding him.
"I don't have any friends, remember?" she questioned harshly, offering up a silent apology to Raven for the inaccurate statement, before sending Beast Boy flying off her rock with an uppercut.
He went sailing straight into a car, and was left behind as Terra engaged the remaining Titans. Beast Boy took a few moments to regain his bearings, head spinning a bit from the blow, before he climbed back up with the intention of joining the fray again. He was stopped in his tracks when he heard someone tsk at him.
"You really pissed her off, didn't you?" Raven asked nonchalantly, causing Beast Boy to spin around with fury burning in his eyes.
"Shut up! It's your fault! You and Slade turned her against us!" he screamed in anger at her, but Raven was unfazed by the hostility. In truth, she had even sort of expected it.
"If I remember correctly, it was you who turned his back to her when she pleaded for your forgiveness, so you only have yourself to blame. After all, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," Raven quoted, right before she drew her twin Desert Eagles, "Which reminds me. Time to bring on the pain,"
All of a sudden, Beast Boy had this overwhelming urge to turn tail and run when he saw the bloodthirsty look in her eyes.
"W-wait a minute, don't you normally go after Robin?" he questioned meekly as he backed up a bit. Raven merely shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.
"Normally, yeah. But you broke Terra's heart that day, and you have no idea how depressed she was after that. So, as her official BFF, it's my sacred duty to exact vengeance on her behalf. In other words…" she had at first spoken with such a nonchalant voice, but her next words were spoken with a very sadistic sense of joy as she aimed her guns at him, "Run, little rabbit, run,"
True to her words, Beast Boy did indeed run. He even morphed into a rabbit as he scurried for cover from Raven's barrage of bullets. He dove for cover behind another car, morphing back to his human form.
His relief over having found cover was soon replaced with panic as a grenade landed next to him. He jumped back out onto the street just as it went off, blowing the car up and sending him flying straight into Raven's fist. A broken nose later, and Beast Boy received a knee to the stomach followed by a chop to the neck that sent him face first to the asphalt.
"Girl rule nr. 1: You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us," she stated as she drew her broadsword and made ready to decapitate the green shapeshifter. As her sword descended against him, Beast Boy fearfully closed his eyes. However, luck was on his side as Raven's blade was intercepted by Robin's.
"Beast Boy! Go help the others! I'll deal with her!" he shouted at the shapeshifter, who numbly nodded his head before scrambling away from the pair. Once he was gone, Raven smiled mockingly at her adversary.
"You should have had him stick around, bird boy. You'd definitively need his help in limping away after I'm done with you," she stated, just before she sidestepped him and slashed her sword at his head as he stumbled forward. Robin turned his unexpected forward momentum into a roll and barely avoided losing his head.
The moment he had his feet under him again, he launched himself at Raven again, sword in hand. Raven easily parried the first strike, deflected the second, dodged the third and again parried the fourth before she struck back with a sudden kick.
Robin evaded the attack, but nearly got his arm chopped off as Raven came back with an overhead sword swing. He tried striking back with a sword thrust, but Raven merely sidestepped the attack before landing a slashing hit to his side.
He jumped clear when he felt cold steel slicing into his skin, but he still received a rather nasty wound, one that made him grit his teeth in pain. Raven meanwhile smiled mockingly as she lazily swung her sword back and forth.
"When will you learn, bird boy?" she asked tauntingly as she made ready to attack yet again. Robin meanwhile took that moment to hastily observe how the rest of the team was doing. If you have watched the actual episode, it should come as no surprise that they were getting their asses handed to them.
Now Robin may have been a prideful hardass with a serious case of obsessive paranoia, but even he recognized a lost battle when he saw one.
"Titans, fall back!" he shouted as he threw a trio of discs from both his hands, one group at Terra and another at Raven. Terra was caught off guard, and became completely blinded by the smoke-filled explosives.
Raven on the other hand was ready for them and used a grapple gun to get above the smoke before coming down with a two-handed sword strike on Robin.
"It'll take more than that, bird boy!" she shouted right before their blades came together, Robin having brought his own up to block. The strike drove him to his knees, where he was unable to dodge a knee to the head that knocked him on his back.
But Raven was given no chance to capitalize on that victory as both Starfire and Cyborg concentrated fire to drive her into cover. It bought enough time for Robin to get back on his feet.
"You heard me, fall back," he repeated, right before he popped another smoke bomb to cover the tam's escape. Just in time too, because Terra was just about to join the fray gain, and she was mighty pissed off.
The rest of the team was quick to retreat, but Beast Boy lingered behind for a moment. His sad and regretful eyes met those of Terra's, full of anger and resentment towards them. Finally, he too fled after his team, leaving Raven and Terra as the victors.
"Well, that went far easier than I had ever expected," Raven commented humorously as she emerged from her cover.
"Yeah. I guess killing them will be no problem then," Terra added nonchalantly, receiving a nod from Raven as the duo made ready to head over to Titans Tower.
"Not so fast, you two. You may have beaten them now, but they'll regroup and be prepared for you next time," Slade's unnaturally calm voice sounded in both their ears.
"Then what are we supposed to do?" Raven questioned irritable. She never liked it when anyone interrupted her fun like that, even if it was her boss.
"I believe that it's time to use an old favorite tactic of mine; divide and conquer," Slade answered cryptically.
They had made it safely back to Titans Tower, but none of them felt safe. No feelings of relief or desires for payback currently existed among the Titans, there was only grief. Grief and disbelief.
"I should have blasted her when I had the chance," Cyborg grumbled to himself in anger as he kept removing pieces of rock from his armor and circuitry. He was not the only one criticizing their earlier performance.
"I should have buried her six feet under," Argent added in barely restrained fury.
"Why did I permit her to fool me again?" Starfire asked herself from where she was seated in the stairs, just as Robin returned from the med bay with a bandaged midsection.
"Why couldn't we take her down, just like any other criminal?" he asked harshly, massaging the area Raven had cut him. 'And why the hell did she have to team up with that nutcase? As if Raven wasn't already hard enough to beat,' he thought privately to himself.
"Because… she's not just another criminal, she's Terra. She was a Titan. She was… our friend," Beast Boy spoke up sadly, struggling to keep his voice steady and not let it crack. Sadly, not everyone shared his sentimentality on the matter.
"She never was our friend, she just pretended to be in order to fool us into trusting her. And we fell for her friendly and cuddly charade and swallowed her lies hook, line and sinker. She's an evil manipulative bitch and our enemy," Argent furiously ranted, already wishing that she had that scheming little blonde in her hands.
But Beast Boy was not all that thrilled to hear those words spoken about his crush, and he was swift to jump to her defense.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Argent! She's made some serious mistakes, but she's not…"
"Hey man, the girl wrecked my car. Seems pretty evil to me," Cyborg interrupted him dejectedly. That however did not stop Beast Boy in the slightest. In fact, it seemed to only anger him as he threw the table in front of Cyborg aside before glaring at said cyborg.
"This isn't a joke. I knew her better than anyone, I know all the terrible things she's done and I know exactly how messed up she is. But she's not evil, we can't just give up on her," if that was meant to make the other Titans reconsider their standpoint, it sure as hell did not work.
"Beast Boy, she's working for Slade, and she fights alongside Raven," Robin stated. Beast Boy was instantly facing him with an accusing glare directed at him.
"When you were doing the exact same thing, did we give up on you?" he questioned in anger. Robin's face instantly hardened from those words. His time serving as Slade's apprentice was always a touchy subject, and it was rarely wise to bring it up.
"She gets one last chance, one," he finally said, before addressing the whole team, "We have to break Slade's grip on her. We have to try to get Terra back,"
It was in that moment that the alarms chose to activate, blaring away at full power as red lights blinked through the whole tower.
"Trouble!" Starfire announced worriedly.
At one of Jump City's high tech prisons for metas, the newly arrived night guards were just about settling in for what they hoped would be an eventless night. As they were about to find out, their wishes would not be granted tonight.
The first sign of trouble happened in the control room, where the two guards on duty were about to enjoy a cup of warm coffee each. The screen depicting what the security camera in the hallway outside was filming suddenly went blank, putting the two guards on high alert.
"Frank, check it," one of them ordered as he wheeled his chair over to the control board to check the rest of their security. His partner wordlessly left the room to find what went wrong with the camera. Just a few moments later, the guard heard the door open again.
"Did you find anything, Frank?" he asked without turning around in his seat. He received no reply from his partner, which worried him.
"Frank?" he asked as he finally turned around, only to get a baton to the face. As the guard fell unconscious from his chair, Raven threw aside her pilfered weapon and took the guard's seat. She swiftly went to work, her fingers flying across the keyboard.
The effects were quickly noticed, as camera after camera shut down and nearly the whole prison was plunged into darkness as its lights went out.
"Security has been disabled. Move in," Raven reported through her communicator in her ear. Soon after, Terra came floating into the courtyard on her rock. And with a mighty heave, caused three earth pillars to smash through the prison, bringing out three of the most powerful villains they had imprisoned here; Plasmus, Overload and Cinderblock.
Before the three behemoths could get their bearings, Terra threw three discs at them. They quickly attached themselves to the three monsters, placing them under the control of Slade. Something that the one eyed villain happily observed from his underground base.
"Well done, my dear apprentice. The neural remotes are online. Overload, Cinderblock and Plasmus are in my command," he announced smugly as he stood at the center of a ring of computer images of his five subordinates, "And everything is under control,"
"We've got three escaped criminals attacking three separate targets, and Raven's been spotted as well," Robin reported as he raced across a dirt road on his motorcycle, "Whatever Slade's doing, we have to split up and stop him,"
"I shall defeat Cinderblock," Starfire said as she flew through the skies.
"I'll deal with Overload," Argent stated as she hovered through a filthy alley.
"Beast Boy and I will take Plasmus," Cyborg said as he rode on Beast Boy, morphed as a horse, through the forest.
"And I'll take Raven," Robin stated with anger, already anticipating a rematch against that infuriating girl.
"Sure you want to go up alone against her? Your track record isn't the best one when it comes to her," Cyborg pointed out.
"No time to worry about that. If worse comes to worse, I'll just have to hold out until you can back me up," he announced.
"What about Terra?" Beast Boy asked, clearly worried about their former friend.
"We'll have to worry about her when this is over," Robin stated.
By now, the other Titans had reported in that they had engaged their targets, and were doing a fairly good job at taking them down. Robin, on the other hand, had still not found his target. He was at the power plant where Raven had been sighted, had scouted out the area multiple times, but there was no sign of his quarry.
"Where did you run off to?" he asked out loud, as if he expected her to just step forward and tell him. Common sense was telling him that there was nothing to be found here, that he should move to assist his comrades and not waste time here.
Common sense took a backseat this evening, as Robin stayed. He had this feeling. He could not explain it, much less fully understand it, but something was telling him that Raven was still nearby, waiting, watching.
"I know you're out there, Raven! I'm tired of this cat and mouse game, so come out and fight me!" he screamed in anger, obviously fed up with standing around doing nothing.
"Why the sudden rush, bird boy? Not enjoying yourself on this fine evening?" Raven suddenly asked in fake concern. The thing was, her voice originated from his Titan communicator. She had hacked their frequency!
"But if you're really that bored, I suppose I can accommodate your wishes and speed things up a bit," the second she had finished her sentence, a bullet ripped through his shoulder from behind.
Caught off guard, Robin collapsed to his knees with a roar of pain. Blood freely flowed out as he tried to stem the flow with his hand.
"Oops, did I hurt you?" Raven asked mockingly, "And don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from," being prepared this time, Robin managed to dive into cover behind a rock just as a bullet whizzed past.
Gritting his teeth to ignore the pain, Robin peaked around the corner, trying to find that damnable girl. As he had expected, he saw no trace of her. Damn girl was sneaky. Before he even knew what happened, another bullet came from a completely different direction and went right through his right leg.
"Ooooh, that one had to hurt," Raven stated, making Robin wish he could just strangle her and be done with it. As it was, he popped a smoke bomb that covered his escape as he fled in amongst the power generators.
"Now where did the little bird go?" Raven wondered out loud, no doubt searching for him at that very moment. Robin knew he did not have much time to waste, so he set about bandaging his bullet wounds as fast as possible.
It was tedious work, working with whatever scraps he could use while constantly keeping his eyes peeled for danger. Adrenaline pumped through him as he wondered where that mercenary was going to strike from next.
He had to stifle a scream of pain as he tied his improvised bandages hard enough to stop the blood from flowing out. Feeling a bit drained, he slumped against a generator as he took a few moments to catch his breath.
"Ah, there you are," Raven suddenly announced cheerfully over his communicator. Robin felt his heart miss a beat as he paled in fear. Acting quickly he dived away from his earlier spot. Right in time too, because a bullet impacted against that area a second later.
Knowing he was a sitting duck, he popped another smoke grenade and made a run for it. He could hear Raven tsking at him over their frequency.
"That trick don't work twice, bird boy," she commented in a humored tone, right before Robin felt a bullet fly past his head. He took cover behind another generator, trying to calm down his racing heart. His right leg hurt like hell from the running, but he had no time to worry about that.
"Playing hide and seek, are we?" Raven asked in amusement, letting out a light chuckle. Robin growled lowly in his throat. But even with his anger at the girl, he also felt a twinge of fear.
He had been through a lot over the years, and faced terrors far worse than Raven, but this whole situation scared him. Had she been facing him openly, then there would be no problem, but this was different.
The way she kept playing with him, constantly forcing him to run, made him feel less like a human and more like a hunted animal. It was scary, because there was nothing he could do to counterattack, not without support.
If he survived this encounter, then Robin vowed to commit himself to an anti-hunting movement.
"I see you," Raven said in a sing-song voice. Robin barely got out of the way of this bullet, and he was off running again.
From his underground lair, Slade watched with satisfaction as his apprentice systematically eliminated one Titan after the other. Each vanquished Titan was seen on screen in their last moments of life, something that brought a twisted sense of happiness to the one-eyed madman.
"Excellent work, Terra. I couldn't have done it without you. But, our conquest is not yet complete," he commented with that same monotone voice of his. Though as he looked at the fifth and final screen, Slade wondered if maybe he should postpone sending Terra in.
After all, Raven was providing him with such excellent entertainment. It was not every day that he saw Robin running like a frightened rabbit from an enemy he could not see. He even chuckled cruelly to himself as Robin tripped on a root and fell flat on his face.
"You should have stayed at my side, Robin. We could have done great things together. But now, you've been replaced, and will now pay the consequences for your actions," he spoke out loud, watching as Robin's final moments in life drew nearer.
Through perseverance, skill and a buckload of luck, Robin had managed to get out of the open areas and into a nearby forest. He hoped to bring an end to this cat and mouse game by limiting the line of sight for Raven and force her into close combat.
Well, he got his wish, as when he walked past yet another tree, something slammed into his head and sent him to the ground. Before he could even get up again, what felt like a boot landed on his chest and pushed him back down again.
"Cloaking technology," Robin snarled out in realization, just before Raven turned said technology off and became visible again, boot firmly placed on Robin's chest and a Sako TRG-42 sniper rifle aimed at his head.
"Right you are," Raven said cheerfully, "Unfortunately, that information will not save you now,"
She was just about to pull the trigger, ending Robin's life forever, when a rock came sailing out of nowhere and knocked her rifle aside. Stepping back in chock, Raven raised her gun again to take aim at whoever had launched that rock. She was surprised by who he found.
"Terra? What the hell do you think you're doing?" Raven questioned irritably, pissed off that someone was ruining her moment. Even Robin was surprised by the sudden save.
"He's mine;" Terra simply stated as she cracked her knuckles. Realization dawned on the duo. She had only saved Robin so he could be the one to kill him.
"You could have just asked, you know," Raven grumbled in annoyance as she checked her gun for any possible damages. Terra at least had the decency to look sheepish at that.
"Heh, sorry about that," she said apologetically. But that instantly vanished when she turned her attention back to Robin.
"Let's rock, Robin," she said cockily as she strode towards him. However, she was caught off guard when he suddenly leaped right at her and managed to tackle her to the ground.
"Do. Not. Move," he snarled out at her as he struggled to hold her down while she struggled to break free.
"What's the matter, Robin? Feeling lonely since I exterminated all your friends?" she questioned mockingly, seeking to aggravate Robin.
"They were your friends too," he countered with conviction.
"I don't need your stupid team as friends," she snapped back at him.
"What did we ever do to make you hate us so much?" he asked in return.
"You were born," she answered, right before her eyes started glowing yellow, causing the ground beneath them to erupt and sending them flying in different directions. And while they bickered and fought, Raven had taken a seat on a nearby log, checking over her sniper rifle for any further damages.
"It's like watching a frog dissection. I want to look away, yet I find myself strangely fascinated by it," she commented to herself as Robin and Terra continued to slug it out with each other.
Raven only paid half attention to whatever they were talking about, but she got the feeling that Robin was trying some boring redemption speech. Not interesting in the least. So when the two of them were locked in a temporary stalemate, Raven took her chance.
She aimed her rifle straight at Robin's undamaged leg and scored a direct hit in mid step, causing him to lose balance and fall over with a cry of pain. Terra acted quickly and slammed a rock straight into him, pinning him in place.
Though she did send an annoyed glare at Raven for interfering, she was unaffected by it as she merely shrugged her shoulders innocently. Seeing no point in making a scene with Raven now, Terra turned her attention back to Robin.
"Listen here, Robin. I'm not some sad little girl waiting to be rescued," she began as she approached him, the ground shaking with each step she took, "I wanted to be this way. I wanted to go with Slade. I wanted to annihilate you and your pathetic friends!"
There was definite anger bubbling to the surface now, as the ground was splitting apart beneath their feet, uprooting trees and sending car sized boulders into the air.
"And now, I never want to see your face again," she stated right before she caused the ground beneath Robin to split open and swallow him.
The duo's return to Slade's base was marked by Terra throwing Robin's R symbol at Slade's feet, as a testament to their victory on this day. Slade picked up the symbol from the floor, taking a moment to savor the feeling of victory.
"You see, my dear apprentice. Now that you belong to me, the city belongs to us," he said proudly before turning his attention to the second young female present, "And I won't forget your contributions either, Raven. I'm therefore tripling your payment for a job well done,"
There was a definitive feeling of victory and accomplishment in Slade's lair on that fine evening. An evening which the trio thought would mark the end of the Teen Titans.
"No more chances,"
"No more trust,"
"And no more mercy,"
"She's just another criminal,"
A green light was turned on in a cavern deep beneath the city, illuminating the five vanquished heroes. All of them baying for blood. Terra's blood, to be specific.
"And we're going to stop her. No matter what it takes,"