Alice: Here's Terra!
Emily: So there will be some major Beast boy x Terra for you.
Alice: I hope you guys enjoy it! Wow, after Titans Rising, there's only five episodes left.
Emily: Oh! I can't wait for Fractured!
Alice: I'm really going to change that episode around… anyways, I hope you guys like the chapter!
NOTE OF APOLOGIES: I'm just going to say now that I am terribly sorry my updating has been so bad this year. I am currently in my junior year of high school, and I am preparing to take the SATs, pass my driver's test, pass my honors/AP classes, and I have work on the weekends. Then a couple months ago my best friend since I was two years old had a panic attack which resulted her in hitting her head and losing the majority of her memory. I have been helping her out since, and it hasn't left me much time for writing. She is doing better now and can remember most of what she forgot, so I will be able to write more. I want to apologize again for taking so long to update.
There was not a single person in the Tower that was not stressed. Ever since Starfire's transformation two weeks ago, her jealousy and low self-esteem started to reduce, much to everyone's joy. The main problem was her new powers with her eyes being about to shoot starbolts and how little she could control it. This ended up wrecking more than one mission and accidentally injuring a team member. While the team encouraged that it was not her fault, she still surrounded herself with guilt and attempted to stop using the power altogether. It never worked, and it only added to her self-esteem issues.
Along with Starfire, Raven also had problems with controlling her emotions. Ever since the dance, she tried avoiding Robin at all costs to ensure he wouldn't be caught up in her twisted destiny, but it was not easy. She could practically feel the hurt and confusion coming off in waves from him and that, in turn, made her angry at herself and just overall distressed by her future. Her meditation time increased tremendously, and the team carefully treaded around what they said and did around her, in fear of how she could snap.
Robin could clearly see her in pain, and he desperately wanted to help, but she continued to push him out more so now than ever before. Somehow this caused memories of Slade's training to force themselves into his head, which has not happened for quite a long time. His hurt and confusion morphed into rage, and he tried to ignore Slade's voice in his head telling him to channel that rage into destruction. As Slade's voice grew louder and more frequent in his mind, another decided to join in, laughing freely and calling him by the name of "Junior". The team avoided him out of terror even more than Raven.
With Cyborg, his mind decided to linger on a topic that he had no time to ponder on before: his leadership. Every time the team called him the "back up leader", it translated into "second best" and "not as good as Robin". The fact that aggravated him the most was that Robin did prove to be better than him in ways Cyborg couldn't comprehend. With fighting, Robin could easily outrun or beat any opponent that presented itself to him. When it came to wits, he's proved what an amazing detective he could be and how easily he could figure out a solution or trick the villains. Not to mention, technology. It was the one thing Cyborg thought he was better at, the one thing Cyborg praised himself over and over again for fully understanding. As it turns out, Robin had secret talents with that as well that far surpassed him.
So yes, Robin was better, but did that mean he made a good leader? With Red X, the trust issues, the lingering anger, the unhealthy obsession with Slade, and various other elements, Cyborg could argue he could make a better leader. And the more the pondered it, the more he wanted to go out and prove himself. His own dilemma caused him to slowly distance himself from his team members, who he would normally be comforting at this point like the "big brother" he was.
It appeared as though Beast boy was the only one not under tremendous strain. But even he still missed Terra and expected her to contact him at any moment. He still woke up screaming from the memories of his torture, although it was starting to happen less often. Due to all of his friends falling into the abyss of despair and fury, he started to withdraw himself from interacting with them. The team was falling apart again, and Beast boy couldn't understand where all of the tension came from. That's when he proposed a plan to play volleyball on the roof. Perhaps that would release everyone's anger?
It worked a little too well. As Cyborg hit the ball over the net, it was always aimed at Robin as though he wanted the object to hit him. Luckily Robin always managed to hit it straight back which caused irritation for Cyborg, who just applied more force when he hit it at Robin. Starfire played hesitantly, as though she was scared her eyes would react from such a simple game. Beast boy was just trying to keep up, and Raven didn't bother playing. She just sat on the ledge of the building and meditated. When Beast boy accidentally hit the ball to go flying at Raven, he screamed, "Watch out!"
She merely caught it with her powers and hurled it back at him. Robin smirked when Beast boy let out a comedic gasp of breath and turned his gaze to the girl. "Come on Rae! Don't you want to play?"
He scowled slightly but instantly went back to pretending it was okay. Once they started playing again, Starfire began to actually participate. She wacked the ball so hard that it nearly evaded Beast boy, who was on Robin's team. Smirking, Beast boy turned into a gorilla and smacked the volleyball so hard that it went flying towards Raven again. "Raven, watch out!"
Instead of catching it, she moved to the side causing it to fly off of the roof. "Robin," Cyborg nudged their leader. "Maybe you should go down and get that?"
Rolling his eyes, though Cyborg couldn't tell with the mask, Robin started to move towards the door that lead to the inside when the volleyball bounced back on the roof, softly rolling to Beast boy's feet. Blonde hair and a thin body sudden rose from the ceiling, steadily standing on a floating rock. Terra playfully smirked at the flabbergasted expressions of everyone on the team (minus Raven and Robin, who hid their emotions exceedingly well). "So," she teased. "Who's team am I on?"
"T-Terra!" Beast boy exclaimed, heat rising to his cheeks as he tried to control his beating heart. Starfire gasped in pure delight as she screeched her name, rushing towards the girl on foot and literally pouncing her on her in order to deliver one of her bone crushing hugs. Terra flinched as she slowly wrapped her arms around the taller girl, reluctance of her friendship entering her head. Such an innocent soul… what would she do if she found out about the little boy?
"Hey Star!" Terra interrupted Starfire's rants of how much she was missed. "I can't breathe!"
"My apologizes!" Starfire quickly released the girl just as the other titans approached, excluding Raven. Blue eyes met green as she fought back a blush when she saw the boy she connected with so easily. From the looks of it, he was trying to fight back a blush too. Rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, he stuttered out some nonsense about how the tower was lonely without her while trying to make it sound platonic.
She honestly couldn't help it; he was just too adorable. Unlike her hesitance with Starfire's hug, she leaped into Beast boy's arms, hugging him tightly and savoring the wonderful emotions of having him around for the time being. "BB!" she practically sang the nickname she gave him. He hugged her back just as tightly until Cyborg uttered a mocking "aww" that made them pull apart. "Cyborg!" She high fived him. "What's up?"
"My favorite rockin' roller came back!" He beamed. She returned the expression, glad his trust in her remained intact. The power couple was the ones she needed to be wary of, and she suspected Raven already was considering how she was still meditating on the side of the building as though nothing happened. Robin's posture was stiff as well, she noted, remembering Slade's very thorough examination of how to tell what the boy wonder was feeling.
"Robin!" She attempted to act casual and inwardly frowned when he only offered to shake hands. "It's been a while!"
"Raven!" Beast boy called out to the girl. "Terra's back! Isn't that great?"
The girl in question nearly groaned in annoyance. Yes, it's great the girl that so easily ditched them was back from seemingly out of nowhere. While before she wanted Terra to stay just to help with Beast boy's stress after the torture, now she feared the girl would do more damage. And right now the team did not need more damage. It was like all those months ago when their biggest fear seemed to be the team falling apart. Now that fear was hitting them tenfold again which meant Terra would be intruding on some very personal, emotional moments. That terrified Raven more than she would like to admit. "Great," she sarcastically replied. "You can eat from the fridge, use our baths, and sleep on the couch. Just remember to take your stuff when you leave."
"Actually," Terra sounded almost embarrassed, "I'm not planning on leaving this time. I'm ready to take up your offer! I'm ready to become a Teen Titan!"
That made Raven stand up in alarm, briefly meeting Robin's masked eyes before snapping her gaze back to the blonde, who recognized the incredulous expressions on their faces. Terra breathed in deeply, knowing fully well they might reject her. Slade warned her about this and said to play the "rejected" card as Robin had some problems with being rejected by his mentor. "Robin is the key to the Teen Titans. Break him down and get him out of the picture, and the rest will fall apart."
"Okay," she forced tears to come to her eyes and slowly turned around, slumping her shoulders. "I didn't realize the offer had an expiration date."
"Do you know who Robin is?" she remembered asking. "If you know so much about him, do you know what his real name is?"
"Yes, but you must remember dear girl that we only attack a weakness. Having a name is not a weakness. It is, instead, the emotions and experiences one harbors inside that creates weaknesses. That is your job; expose every soft spot, every weakness of each Teen Titan."
"It's not that," Robin placed a hand on her shoulder, his voice oddly soft. It worked! The rejected puppy act actually worked! If Terra had any doubts about Slade's information on Robin, they were gone now. So she turned around and stared at him in pretend confusion. Beast boy looked like he wanted to cut in, but Raven sent him a meaningful glare before he could. Terra took another mental note; if Robin was to be compared to the "king" of the team, then Raven was the "queen".
"Then what is it?" She already knew the answer of course. As she watched Robin try to give a speech about her lack of control without being offensive, her mind flashed to Slade's almost eagerness to defeat this boy. They were far too alike, she deducted after a moment's thought. Perhaps, if Robin truly wanted to, he could become an apprentice of Slade. When he ceased his explanation, she faked a wide grin. "Yeah, that's why I left! Now I have complete control. Watch!"
Raising a couple boulders to the top of the tower, she leaped off the roof and landed right on it. She flew off, focusing on the technique she perfected just for this moment. Slade had been extremely impressed the first time she allowed him to see it, so she predicted it would at least impress Robin as well. They were, after all, very alike in some aspects. As she flew around, she could hear the cheers of the majority of the Teen Titans, save for Raven. Even Robin was smiling just a bit. Deciding to make sure he was definitely impressed, she took all the rocks and made them fly towards the tower all at once.
"What is she doing?" Beast boy whispered with awe as the others flinched back with slight fear. Terra had to hold back a smile at the amount of trust in Beast boy's expression and words. Leaping off the rock and onto the roof, she sent the boulders above the tower and had them smash into each other creating sparks that almost appeared to be fireworks.
"That was…" Cyborg started.
"AMAZING!" Beast boy exclaimed, blushing slightly. "You're great! I mean you've always been great but now you're even better than great which is why you're amazing and-"
"Beast boy!" Terra laughed, placing a friendly hand on his shoulder and beaming at him. He instantly ceased talking and smiled back, making her blush. "Thank you."
Their moment was interrupted by the earth shaking for just a split second in what appeared to be a small earthquake. Terra had to force her expression to remain confused although part of her wanted to call Slade and yell at him. Really? That's the moment he decided to start his earthquake plan? As the titans, save for Beast boy, stared at her suspiciously, she shrugged her shoulders in an innocent manner. "Wasn't me."
It was Slade.
"Earthquakes," Cyborg pointed to the giant computer screen that pointed out every small movement in the city. "Tons of them."
"Too many to be natural," Terra commented, one of her hands clenched into a fist. Every time she heard earthquake, she couldn't help but flinch at all the memories that came with it. If anyone noticed, they didn't say anything although she was sure at least Raven did. From the moment they started walking down to the main room, the girl wouldn't stop glaring at her.
Robin narrowed his masked eyes. "That's because it's not natural. Something's moving underground, and we need to figure out what. Titans, move out!"
As the team dashed out of the room, Terra lingered behind. Did that mean her to? Was she accepted on the team? Robin and Raven appeared to notice her hesitation and turned to her. "Are you coming?" Robin asked.
"Does this mean I'm on the team?"
"It means we could use your help," Robin claimed, but Terra just translated this as him giving her a chance to prove herself. Raven still glared at her suspiciously, but the blonde was too happy to care. Without truly thinking of her actions and Slade's warnings, she dashed out of the room and accidentally brushed Raven's shoulder. The darkly dressed girl gasped at the touch as all sorts of strange emotions filled her: pain, fear, insecurity, a little boy, and a form of darkness swirling in the pit of her stomach. Terra's emotions.
"Hey?" Robin's gloved hand touched her shoulder, bringing her back to reality. "You okay?"
It was the first time they truly spoke for two weeks. "Not sure." She confessed. "Are you sure we can trust her?"
"No, but everyone deserves a second chance," he stated rather confidently. Raven reluctantly nodded and followed him out the door. Something was wrong; she could sense it from the moment Terra randomly appeared. The problem was she couldn't put her finger on it. For now, she would just listen to Robin's words, and if Terra was a threat, they would make sure to treat her as such.
Alice: The next chapter will have more of the fights and confrontations.
Emily: If nothing happens, I should be able to update it sooner, but I can't make any promises at this point.
Alice: Just know that I will not abandon this story! I may have long periods of not updating, but I will not abandon it.
Emily: Thanks for being so patient with me. Truly, I love you guys.