Author's Note: Sorry, guys. This one was a little hard to write, not because of the OC related potion in the second half, but rather because of the slightly emotional Raven moment in the first. I've seen them done well, and I've seen them done really, really badly. So, I'd appreciate it if y'all left an opinion in your reviews as to whether or not I managed to avoid making it totally cringe worthy.
P.S. There's no Beast Boy in this one, for though I had a cameo of sorts planned, I couldn't figure out a way to fit it in that wouldn't destroy the chapter's pacing, so it was cut out entirely. I can guarantee that he'll be back by the end of the next chapter, though. But that's enough out of me; enjoy!
Dislcaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
Chapter Seven: Confrontations
Raven was lying rather uncharacteristically spread-eagled on her bed, cloak and leotard discarded in favor of a simple pair of gray sweatpants and a sleeveless black T-shirt. Certainly not something she'd be caught dead wearing in front of her friends let alone anyone else, but something she owned for the sake of comfort nonetheless. It had been a month since Beast Boy left on his training mission. There had been much fighting over whether or not he'd be allowed to go, or whether he could afford to for that matter, but considering Robin had taken the same kind of journey himself for similar reasons, he couldn't exactly refuse the changeling's request.
More importantly than that, however, were the various things that Raven discovered about herself during Beast Boy's absence. Just as she'd suspected, the first few days of peace and quiet were blissful, giving her ample time to catch up on her reading and meditate for extended periods. It wasn't before long, however, that Raven found that what she once called an ideal routine had become mind-numbingly boring.
Deep down, she knew why. It wasn't that the routine was any less enjoyable; she enjoyed a good book just as much as ever, and meditation was as integral to her day as eating or sleeping was. Rather, it was that she'd become used to so much more. Life with the Teen Titans was eventful, with a super villain popping up once a week at the least and regular patrols filling the time otherwise. When the team did have free time they were still normally together, even if that meant as little as each doing their own thing in each other's company.
This still happened, admittedly. The common room was one of Raven's favorite places to read whether Beast Boy was present or not. However, she had come to realize that the changeling was her invitation, of sorts, to the 'family outings'. It had become so normal for Beast Boy to be the one convincing her to tag along that the others rarely asked her themselves, assuming that the changeling would show up with her in tow if she planned to come at all.
The frequency with which the changeling was showing up in her thoughts alarmed the empath as well, and she was almost relieved to be shaken from her musings by a knock at her door. The voice that sounded through the barrier a moment later proved it to be Robin.
"Raven, report to the common room; we need to talk."
"Will do, Robin."
She was already stripping out of her 'comfort clothes' and into a fresh leotard. She wasn't rushing to do it; there was no reason to leave Robin thinking she'd jump at his beck and call. However, she was doing so promptly, because whatever was up seemed to be serious. That meant Titan business, and Titan business wasn't something one made a habit of showing up to late. Throwing a cloak over her shoulders, she was already phasing up through the floor of the common room while she fastened the cloak together in front.
"What's going on?"
"Funny you should ask that, Raven. I was hoping you could tell us."
Robin came in through the door just as she'd spoken, so she gave no more than a glance at the screen. However, what she saw, in tandem with what the Boy Wonder said, made her turn back. She was almost glad that she was so pale, because no one could see the blood draining from her face. Up on the big screen was a freeze-frame from one of the hallway security cameras, showing a rather good angle of Beast Boy's face attached to Raven's shoulder in all its bloody glory. On either side of the screen sat Cyborg and Starfire, looking stern and worried respectively. Cyborg spoke first.
"Found this while I was doing the scheduled monthly security footage check. Care to explain?"
"Yes, friend, tell us that the 'foot of ages' is a lie; or maybe mistaken. Please?"
Raven considered lying; she really did. Unfortunately, the picture was still up there on the screen, and she wasn't really sure how to explain it away in a believable fashion. The camera angle didn't leave much to the imagination, and even if it had she doubted it was the only camera Cyborg had access to that would have some sort of footage of the incident.
"It happened. I don't see why it's a problem, though."
"Not a problem? He attacked you, Raven!"
"Robin, please, do the calming down-"
"No. No, I won't calm down! This is serious. If Raven was attacked then we have to-"
"No, Robin. We don't have to do anything. Why do you think he left? Because he's determined to find out what's wrong, and fix it. Give him time."
Robin stopped his ranting long enough to turn and fix Raven with a hard stare. He was quiet for a while after that, to the point where she thought he might've been finished. Even Cyborg and Starfire seemed confused by his sudden full stop, though neither of them were very active participants in the conversation either. Raven had turned and was started to float away when Robin spoke again.
"Why are you so intent upon defending him, Raven?"
That caught the empath's attention, and she stopped. Without turning, she still managed to fill the room with an icy sort of feeling, as though thin ice were being tread upon.
"Why aren't you?"
"That's not good enough, Raven. Listen, I know that-"
"No, Robin, you listen; because frankly, I'm getting a little sick and tired of you harassing him. He's annoying, immature, and wouldn't know a good joke if it bit him; but when push comes to shove he's never let this team down. Never let me down. I would trust him with my life in a heartbeat. Unlike you, who can't see past his mistake; which is exactly what it was, Robin. A mistake. I would think you knew about those better than any of us. I've already forgiven him. Why can't you?"
She didn't raise her voice, though there was that tone in it that hinted at barely suppressed anger. Though, the spider web of cracks running through the common room window betrayed the emotion she was feeling. Without another word and without waiting for a reaction, she slipped through the floor. For the next few minutes, it was silent. Cyborg was the first to speak.
"You just got told."
"Shut up, Cyborg."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"How's his progress, brother? Almost halfway done? Good, good. No, keep observing for the time being. You'll have your chance soon, but I ask that you be patient. Thank you. Goodbye."
Rakuru, or Mr. Nagira, or a plethora of other names depending upon the region, hung up his phone. He truly was lucky that he and his brother had a common goal this time around; otherwise he may very well have had a dead changeling on his hands already. That certainly wouldn't have been pretty, and wasn't at all what he had planned.
Right now, the businessman was sitting at his desk, reviewing a series of monitors showing everything from security camera footage to cell phone videos of every fight the Teen Titans had been a part of in the last year. Normally, he would've gone back farther, but he was on a schedule. Beside, for all that the Titans worked exceptionally well together, most of their individual abilities were fairly simple, making his part quite a bit easier.
"Now then…It's time I gathered the rest of the players."
His eyes lowered to the letter in front of him, reviewing its contents:
I believe I have found a suitable test of strength for one as esteemed as yourself. Your opponent, should you accept, will be Starfire of the Teen Titans. There is no need to respond o this letter; simply make your way to Jump City within a fortnight. Enclosed within is a map, as well as contacts who capable of getting you where you need to go. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Short, to the point, and hopefully containing an offer that the warrior couldn't refuse. After adding his signature, he closed the letter up and promptly dropped it into a portal. That made three. Luckily, the fourth and fifth were together, so that left only one more call to make. Taking up the phone once again, he dialed in a series of numbers and waited.
"…Hello? Hello, Gwen. It is good to hear from you again. Is Vahn available? No? I see…He's doing what with a golem's...? No, never mind. I cannot say that I'm surprised. Just let him know that Nagira has a job offer for him, please? Thank you kindly, Gwen. I hope to see you both soon as well. And do try to make sure he doesn't lose his other arm; I have a feeling he's going to need it."
Hanging up the phone for the second time in the last ten minutes, the businessman leaned back in his chair with a sigh. So, they would be able to start phase two. Honestly, the things he would do for family; even if it meant going behind their backs. Still, he could say one thing for certain, so far:
All according to plan.