Sorry about the wait – Muse wasn't happy with the quality of this chapter and made me re-write it god knows how many times, not to mention as soon as I sat down to type it up, I got a phone call asking if I could go and help with an afternoon swim tour, thus I lost 5 hours of time.
I'm a Lover not a Hater:You do remember correctly :)
Whitey: No, you haven't. And yes, it will since I've already written the ending.
To lazy to login (Echo of an Idiot): My first comment was going to be 'then how am I supposed to know who you are'. Then I read your comment :P Good. I'm glad it did. There'll be more of that. Yes, I am planning on at least giving some insight into that at some point. Glad you're happy to see it's return though.
Jknight3135: Good! Glad you liked it!
TexMurphy: Glad you liked it then! I'll try and take on board that use of commas, and about the lack of detail in the first chapter I was going for it to focus more on the action and less on detail and was planning to make sure a good description was given in the second chapter, but thanks for bringing it up anyway. Although I strongly believe writers should write to please themselves, the views of the reads is also important. About the rolling eyes thing, well, to hear that you think it's below the ….quality of the rest of the chapter is well, thanks. Maybe I'll try and find another way to describe the action but it is trade mark Raven. Anyway I'm glad you enjoyed it, and look forward to receiving more reviews from you in future chapters!
Dawsen: And since I've already written the ending, maybe this time I'll finish it! :P
Silently Watches: That I am, though you'll see how I'm planning to show the prior events soon enough. Glad you liked it though.
Elemental Hybrid: Glad you did :)
TyrionGreywind: So long as it is in a good way! Heh…. You'll see. It's a bit of both – I've kept the things I liked about the original, as well as adding in new and hopefully improved parts around it. I've also planned it out better from start to finish so it has a goal – something to reach, rather than being all rambley and aimless as it was last time.
Sonicthehedgewolf: Glad you like the idea. I hope you continue to enjoy. Hopefully I didn't take too long to update.
Robin grabbed his bowl of cereal and mug of strong black coffee off the kitchen counter and moved towards the sofa where Raven was already sat, a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. Placing his breakfast on the coffee table in front of them, he snatched up the TV remote from the table before he sat down, turning the large screen on the wall off standby and flipping through the channels until he found the news. Seeing that they were currently showing weather reports he picked up his bowl of cereal before looking at Raven and studying what he could see of the cover of the book the empath was reading. Noting it was different to the one he'd seen her reading the day before, he asked, "Fact or fiction?"
"Fact." Raven answered distractedly, keeping her eyes on the pages. "And to answer your next question, yes, it is interesting." She paused, her eyes reaching the end of the page before she looked up at her leader. "It's on Tamerainian culture. Starfire read it for me and confirmed it's authentic. With the facts, that is. You're welcome to borrow it when I've finished."
"Does it make any sense out of the random traditions Star keeps throwing at us?" He asked with a smile.
"Some, although not as well as I would have liked. It is interesting though."
"I'll give it a go if I can find the time."
"Oh, I'd make the time." Raven told him. "I think you'd benefit from it. For example, did you know Tamerainians are completely monogamous? Apparently it's something to do with the strength of the chemical biology being their emotions. I'm not sure the author knows much about biology but it is a conceivable-"
"Have you got a point here?" Robin interrupted with a frown.
"You've been ignoring Starfire recently, or so I've been told." She close the book and put it down before she stared pointedly at her leader, knowing this was the only time of day she was likely to get in a full conversation without interruptions. 5am was always quiet in the tower.
"Who asked you to get involved." Robin muttered sourly.
"No one. But if Starfire comes to me one more time to worry out loud about whether or not you still enjoy her company, it'll be your head that rolls. I know you care for her deeply – I'm an empath, for Azar's sake – but sometimes you just need to remind her. My word isn't enough. Take her out on a date, or buy her something nice. It's not like we've been particularly busy at the moment. You have the time."
"And when was the last time you were in a romantic relationship with someone or went out on a date?" Robin sniffed. "I'm not sure you're really the person to be giving 'advice'."
"I don't date because I can't afford to upset my internal balance. That doesn't mean I don't know how to treat a girl," Raven said as she picked her book back up and found the page she'd been reading.
A mix of surprise and amusement made Robin choke on the spoonful of cereal he'd started to eat, the empath looking up to frown at him in a silent question. Waiting until he could speak again.
He grinned as he stopped coughing. "There something you want to tell me?"
Her frown deepened. "What?"
"About why you know how to treat a girl?"
The frown on her face faltered slightly as her cheeks coloured. "It was a hypothetical comment! Besides, I don't need to like girls to know how they should be treated by their romantic partner."
"Defending yourself, huh? I can't remember the last time you did that."
"What's it to you? Besides, it's not me we were talking about. You need to sort things out between Starfire and yourself, or I will," Raven threatened and the smile vanished from Robin's face as his attempt to make the empath leave him alone failed.
"Fine. I'll ask her out on a date. I can even make sure you're a witness if it makes you happy."
"Don't make it sound like such a chore. I know you're a workaholic, but I also know you always enjoy your dates with Starfire."
"We're been a couple for almost three years now. We live in the same building. Doesn't that kind of change the rules? It's not like the only time I see her is when we're on a date."
"Boys." Raven muttered.
"Could you sound a little less patronising?" Robin asked.
"That depends. Do you-"
The klaxons cut through Raven's question and they both jumped to their feet, the conversation forgotten as they moved for the computer, the large screen on the wall going black before it began flashing with an alert the titans hadn't seen since the Brotherhood of Evil attacked titans worldwide.
Robin and Raven shared a glance before the leader of the titans hit the 'enter' key, accepting the call.
The load drone of background noise was immediate, both titans instantly recognising it as the sound of an engine. Their assumption was back up but the front seat of the bat-mobile, just visible either side of the Dark Knight's shoulders. He looked at the small screen on his dashboard. His cheek was bruised, the purple colouring just visible underneath his mask, a cut going across his chin, looking raw, new.
"Good. You're both here. I don't have much time to explain. Jump City should be prepared to accept refugees from western states along with the surrounding states over the next few days. I expect you will be helping the authorities organise everything."
Batman didn't give Robin time to finish his question. "You also need to prepare yourselves and your city for an attack. At the moment we're not sure how many there are or how bad this is going to get, but so far they've proved rather resistant to the standard military weapons."
"Hang on a second." Robin said with growing irritation. "Who is 'they'?"
"Haven't you seen the news? Demons." He answered curtly, evidence he was feeling similar feelings of annoyance.
Raven felt as though her heard skipped a beat, having to relearn how to speak before she could ask, "What?"
"Jason Blood confirmed it a few hours ago when the first was successfully killed and taken for study. We're not sure how they ended up here, and I don't have time to find out. I'll be leaving for the Justice League's base to discuss our next move the moment the evacuation of Gotham and the surrounding area is complete."
"Your next move should be to locate the area of-"
"New York is all but over run." Batman cut the empath short. "Right now, it would be a suicide mission. What we need to do is group up, plan… get a solid lead on where they've come from and how before we can do anything." He looked up at something, his blue eyes no longer watching the screen. "I need to go."
He didn't give the two titans any chance to reply before he cut the connection, leaving the two titans to stare at the black screen in disbelief. They heard the doors open, heard their three teammates run in.
"What's it is time?" Cyborg asked as he reached them. "Mad Mod? The H.I.V.E Five? Professor Chang?"
"Turn the news on." Raven told her leader. "If it's really as bad as Batman made out, they'll be airing something."
"That don't sound good." Beast Boy winced. "Come on guys, what's up? And why have you been speakin' to Batman?"
Raven jerked awake, her lungs greedily gasping for air while pain burned through her ribs, bringing her harshly into a state of awareness. As she began to focus more on her surroundings and less on the pain running through her body, she began to feel the sharp, gritty sensation of gravel under her left cheek and down the length of her body, the feeling dulled where her leotard covered her shoulders, torso and stomach, her legs – on the other hand – feeling as though peppered by hundreds of needles.
She remembered falling and winced, really not wanting to find out what condition her body was in after the eighteen story drop. She kept her eyes closed as she slowly relaxed every muscle and tendon in her body before tensing them all, one by one, starting with her feet, making a mental note of every twinge of pain or discomfort her body made, everything sore but unbroken as far as she could tell. Reaching her back, she pulled her arms up beside her as she decided to sit up and tried to push herself off the ground, panicking for a moment when she struggled – and failed – to rise until she realised it wasn't due to broken bones or damaged tissue, or her body at all, but due to unexpected added weight.
Opening her eyes, she lifted her head off the ground and strained her neck to look round behind her, finding something with doughy, pale skin and –judging from it's weight – very dead. She left her head drop back to the ground before she tried to roll over onto her back, having to wriggle about as the body tried to stop her, the moment sending searing flames of pain up her ribs. On her back, she paused to catch her breath, struggling to breath around the pain, before she got her hands underneath the corpse of the demon. Wincing as her hands seemed to sink into it's spongy flesh, she pushed, struggling as her arms groaned in protest and the pain in her chest flared back, the corpse's legs fighting against her as she tried to push it to the side. The body rolled off her, hitting the ground beside the empath with a 'thud'.
She stared up at the cloudless sky for a moment, letting the pain in her chest recede slightly, tentative fingers gently pressing against each rib, three of the bones protesting, the surrounding nerves igniting the flames that licked at her ribs. Letting her hand drop, she slowly got to her feet, her sore limbs and the pain in her chest making her slow and clumsy. On her feet, amethyst eyes searched the street around her, a small, anxious voice telling her she was going to be attacked despite the lack of enemy, creature or otherwise, everything far too quiet for the titan's liking. She looked up again, this time at the roof she'd fallen from, before her eyes dropped back to the demon that had fallen with her. It was a grotesque thing, it's pale skin tinged a sickly grey and lumpy, as though the skin and grown over itself again and again too quickly. One of it's dull yellow eyes was hidden behind a lump of skin, the other staring blankly at the sky. Raven nudged it's side with the toe of her boot, wincing as it seemed to sink into it's skin, just as her hands had, before she shook her head, almost smiling as she muttered to herself,
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank Azar my father's Trigon and not some lesser being."
Looking at it from a distance – at least, without it being on top of her – it was easy to see why it had felt so heavy, the demon having to be at least six feet tall and broadly built. Feeling a twinge of familiarity, she thought back to all the books she had on demonology, trying to place it, frowning when she couldn't. Leaving the demon alone, she starting walking, quickly but stiffly, as a new question entered her mind.
'Why couldn't I levitate?'
She knew she hadn't been so heavy on her powers since Trigon came to earth, during which she'd pushed herself even harder, and sure, she'd grown tired during the fight which had undoubtedly effected her control, but losing it all together?
'You were denying your fear again.'
Raven hadn't expected an answer, and it was a rare event when Knowledge worked her way, uninvited, to be heard in the empath's conscious thoughts. She considered it though, acknowledging it wouldn't have been the first time such a thing had happened. Ignoring her original reaction, Raven admitted she'd been rather… calm about the situation right from the word 'go'. As she tried to assess what she actually felt, and if it was fear, her brow furrowed into a frown, distracting her once again as the skin on the left side of her face pulled taunt, her hand going to her face to find bits of gravel stuck to her skin by a layer of sticky blood. She explored that side of her face until she found the wound underneath her hairline, her hair matted around the area, thick with her blood. Raven quickly remedied that by pulling up the hood of her cloak before she brushed the gravel off her cheek, her mind on the injuries she'd sustained before the fall, her hand going to wipe at the skin underneath her nose before she checked out her left ear, remembering the sudden sharp pain she'd felt, finding it encrusted with blood. Raven couldn't think of a time she'd ever wanted a shower more. She started to replay the fight in her head, but came to a dead stop moments later as she realised she didn't know how long she'd been out.
She strained her ears, her panic escalating when she didn't hear the sounds of a fight, or voices, or anything human, finding the part of her mind that received the emotions of those around her – the bit that made her an empath – just as silent. She burst into a run, ignoring her injuries and the pain the sudden movement caused as she prayed to Azar her friends were safe, that she'd only been unconscious for a few minutes at most despite knowing that the only time she woke up with injuries was when her healing powers had exhausted themselves. Something that took a few hours at least.
She reached Main Street, her eyes found dozens of bodies littering the road, all the same as the one that had knocked her off the roof, all ones her and her teammates had killed, their skin – ranging from the pale white of a redhead to tones as dark as ebony – appearing to have grown in lumps over their bones. Again, she felt that twinge of familiarity burrowing away at her brain, but pushed it aside as she searched for any flashes of green, red, blue, purple, orange, or the reflective shine of metal that would pin-point the position of her friends.
Her eyes finding nothing but the bodies of the demons she turned and ran again, this time for the Town Hall, her speed faltering for a moment when she spotted for first human corpse, the blue jeans and grey t-shirt making it stand out from the rest, an eye-sore. She came across more the closer she got to the Town Hall, until she'd counted three, ten, twenty, the bright colour of their clothing making it harder for her to look for her friends until she stopped trying to look and just kept running. If the buses had gotten away, it almost guaranteed her teammates were alive and not among the bodies on the ground.
She tried not to ask herself why they hadn't come looking for her if they'd made it.
Raven was forced to slow down as the bodies, human and demon alike, grouped closer together, threatening to trip her. As she followed the bend in the road, she spotted the first bus, the back window facing her, a line of blood smeared down the otherwise spotless glass, marking where someone had slid down it, probably having hoped to use the window as a last minute escape route. She found herself running again, jumping over bodies of former citizens and demons in her rush to check for the other six buses, her amethyst eyes only finding two more. Calmed slightly by the idea of four buses getting to safety, she stopped running and began to turn back to where she'd come from, coming to a sudden stop mid motion, fear kicking in as she held her breath.
She faced the front of the first bus, her eyes on the hunched over creature in front of it, it's face smeared red and it's yellow eyes on her, hands positioned almost protectively over the corpse by it's feet, the dead man's stomach ripped open. A wave of nausea hit her as her mind put two and two together, Raven finding herself fighting the urge to throw up as she tried to keep her eyes on the demon. She wasn't sure how long they stood there like that, staring at each other, but she could feel her confusion growing as the demon didn't attack her like she'd been expecting until her nausea was forgotten. She took a cautious step forward, frowning when – although growling at her – the grotesquely humanoid demon took a step back, it's dull yellow gaze now flickering between it's meal and the empath. She narrowed her eyes and dropped into a low, offensive stance, almost smiling when with one last growl, the demon backed up, glancing around before it ran.
Until she heard a scream.
The sound snapped her back to reality, and she quickly straightened up before taking off towards the sound, opening up the empathic part of her mind in the hopes of picking up whoever she had heard. The feelings of pure terror hit her almost instantly, blinding her to all but one thought.
'Good. They're close.'
She used her empathy as a sort of radar, taking her down a side-street as she ran in the direction that made the feelings of terror stronger until she could no longer take it, her heart beating as fast as a humming bird's wings as she shut that part of her mind down and continued down the street, her ears straining for any noise as she muttered, "Come on. Make some noise."
She paused in the middle of the road, ready to use her empathy again when she heard glass smash, a demon landing in the middle of the road not two shops down from her, shards of glass embedded into it's lumpy, mocha coloured skin. It stated to climb to it's feet but Raven ignored it, running past it and to the shop it'd come from, glancing inside the broken window to find five more, all moving after something. She saw a flash of pink and knew instantly who it was before the girl screamed again. The demon closest to Raven dropped, the empath having snapped it's neck with her powers, not having time to feel relieved that she had control over them again as she saw Jinx, one of the creatures managing to sink it's claws into Jinx's arm and use it's grip to tug her closer. Acting upon impulse, she sent out a wave of obsidian energy that crashed into the lesser beings, knocking them – and Jinx – all aside. The meta-human fell with the demon attached to her arm, the claws dragging through the black material of the sleeve of her dress and the skin underneath, opening up a wound that instantly ran with blood, soaking the arm of her costume within seconds.
Unable to halt her fall, Jinx's head smacked back onto the tiled floor, the impact knocking her unconscious. Raven ran forward as the demons began to find their feet, jumping through the broken window. She grabbed the creature closest to Jinx by the back of it's neck and jerked it off the ground before throwing it at the other three demons before she dropped to her knees beside Jinx and grabbed the girl's uninjured wrist, ignoring the warm and sticky feeling of blood under her hand as she wrapped them both in her soul self and teleported to the first place that came to mind.
The black receded to reveal a room dimly lit by a single, large skylight, the centre of the room full of rubble where a large stone hand had once stood. She quickly straightened Jinx out so she was lying flat on her back, her fear fuelled panic morphing into something else as she spotted the pool of blood quickly wetting the stone around the meta-human. She ripped off the sleeve of Jinx's dress from the shoulder, revealing the deep wound on her arm. Raven had to fight feelings of nausea as she got her first proper look at the wound, able to see a white flash of bone underneath the blood.
She put her hand on undamaged skin of the girl's arm and closed her eyes, willing the injury to heal, almost petrified her healing abilities would still be recovering and unable to do it. Reluctantly she opened her eyes, relieved when she caught sight of the feint blue glow surrounding her hand. Her eyes moved to the wound and she watched as damaged and missing tissue grew back and knitted itself together at an incredible speed. A minute later, and all that remained from the wound was a thick, white scar that ran the length of the girl's forearm. She instantly went about looking for any other injuries Jinx had sustained, finding a cut in the dress over her stomach and a laceration underneath, a small but deep puncture wound on her right leg, just about her kneecap, and after awkwardly rolling Jinx onto her side, three long and fairly deep cuts on her back, one dangerously close to her spine.
Laying the girl back on her back, Raven quickly undressed her, ripping the dress down the front to make it easier to remove before pulling the already blood-logged material out from underneath Jinx and scrunching it up into a ball, placing it underneath Jinx's back so it covered most of the three wounds, hoping the meta-human's weight on the cloth would help slow down the flow of blood, before she went to the puncture wound in her leg, quickly ripping the striped tights away from the injury before placing her hand over it and willing it to heal, the soft blue light surrounding her hand once again. It didn't take long to heal, the scar almost unnoticeable, leaving her with the dilemma of how to roll Jinx over without laying her face down in the puddle of her own blood.
After a few moments of internal debate, she shuffled forward until her knees were touching Jinx's side. She leaned forward, ignoring the way her chest protested, and – getting a good grip on the meta-human's shoulder and waist – pulled forty-four kilograms of dead weight onto her lap. Jinx's back smeared with blood from the floor, the wounds initially appeared much more serious than they turned out to be, two of them healing within seconds, and the third – the one closest to Jinx's spine – the only one to leave a scar, the line of shiny skin longer but not quite as thick as the scar now on the thief's arm. As Raven leaned back, she felt the beginnings of a headache start, and moved to rub the side of her temple, wincing as the gritty feeling of her skin reminded her how bloody she was.
She knew that even though she was healed, Jinx wouldn't wake straight away, especially since, if she had to take a guess, blood loss would have knocked her unconscious if she hadn't hit her head. Raven could heal damaged tissue. She couldn't force blood cells – red or white – to divide and multiply faster than nature intended. Positioning Jinx so she was lying on her back, her head cradled by the empath's knees, she quickly checked the girl's pulse, smiling slightly when she found it steady if not slightly weak.
Letting out a deep breath she tried to loosen the tension in her shoulders, unable to stop her mind from running over everything again and again, struggling – refusing – to believe this was nothing more than another nightmare, waiting for the klaxons to sound and wake her up. As her eyes drifted down to her former enemy, Raven made herself focus, glancing around the dim room, mentally noting her next steps.
'Check the area is safe, and that nothing else can get in. Find blankets and some clothes for Jinx when she wakes up. Food and water would probably be a good idea too.'
Reluctant to leave the room, worried Jinx might disappear if she lost sight of her, she took her time moving the girl to a clean patch of floor, removing her cloak after a moment's hesitation and folding it up before placing it under Jinx's head.
'A torch would be good too.' Raven noted as her eyes studied the vast room once more, finding the only skylight – the only form of light – anywhere in the underground temple. 'Something's telling me Jinx isn't nocturnal.'
Hopefully there was enough description of the demons for you in this chapter (appearance wise anyway) I had originally been saving the first, proper detail for chapter two, but I know one or two mentioned it in your reviews.
For those who are interested as to why I mentioned a weight for Jinx, for starters it makes a character more real and we all like that. About deciding on a weight, she's obviously underweight. Comparing her height to the rest of the characters (taking away her platforms) we can say (by using average height charts) she's probably around 5f 6, 5f7. Now that's my height, and I'm just underweight at 50kg, trade some of my fat to muscle, and proportionally she'd probably be an inch or two skinner than me in places, and while I was weary of making her seem really small I thought it was a good…. Believable weight to go with. Especially when she's wearing those shoes, because they look like they weigh a ton xD