While this is far from my best work, I consider it my most important as of the time it was published. This one-shot is essentially meant to be a cathartic walk-through of the initial "grieving process" (if it can be called that) that may or may not have been experienced by fans who took offense to Teen Titans Go!'s "Terra-ized" or as a kindred spirit for those still trying to move past it, rather than an attempt to analyze or appreciate the episode for some deeper meaning or unseen boon as some fans are (and props to them for thinking outside the box). A very special thanks to my sister—goirkens—and to Rambo 103.7/TellatrixForever/whatever he's calling himself now for proof-reading this and to everyone on the forums and comment sections of deviantArt and YouTube whose arguments and ideas I stole while writing this :)
If there is even one reader who benefits from this story, I will consider it a success.
To anyone out there who felt hurt, angered, saddened, or betrayed by the "Terra-ized" episode, you are not alone.
Tuesday August 20, 2013, 7:30PM (Pacific Time)
The Puffy Ami Yumi theme song remixed by the Beastie Boys blared obnoxiously loud in the Tower's rec room, lit only by the giant TV screen built into the glass wall, and Beast Boy sat excitedly on the couch with a tub of popcorn waiting for his most favorite show in the world to start. His recently busy schedule prevented him from checking the TV guide for episode info, but he didn't mind. He could always count on his new treasure—Teen Titans Go! –to bring him nothing but unyielding joy and delight, a reception not many others on the team shared.
Though Cyborg and Silkie loved it as much as he, Robin and Starfire were mostly indifferent at Cartoon Network making a spoof show about them and Raven wasn't too enthusiastic about being portrayed as a closet brony (something Beast Boy long believed her to be). Titans East didn't much care for it. Speedy in particular was outraged at the image of him being nerfed into a bland Robin clone and promptly joined Control Freak's online Anti-Teen Titans Go! community, where they and many others profaned of how the program was a blatant kick in the groin to the Titans' sacred image.
Jinx was surprisingly receptive to the program despite still being portrayed as a villain and laughed uncontrollably when she saw the "Girls' Night Out" episode, where she swore they captured her character perfectly. (That, and she was immediately drawn in at seeing Raven as a closet brony.) She and Kid Flash enjoyed staying in to see the show whenever they could catch it.
But all around, the show left audiences split, Titan and civilian alike. And yet, Beast Boy loved the show to death anyways. It didn't matter what others thought so long as he had his humor fix and got to see himself played on TV by an actor who understood him so perfectly. It was a win-win for the green changeling. And so the ecstatic young Titan jittered in his seat, eyes glued to the screen with the popcorn in hand, unaware kernels were falling out of the bag every which direction because of his unease.
Finally, the theme song ended. Beast Boy sat excitedly on the sofa in the dark. The episode began in Robin's bedroom. Beast Boy sunk a hand in the bag and took his first bite of the snack. The alarm clock rang and the little cartoon Robin shut it off. As he sat up in bed and prepped himself for the day, the title appeared onscreen: "Terra-ized." Beast Boy's eyes became dinner plates and he choked on his popcorn, spastically trying to regurgitate the snack until the soggy kernels flew back into the bag and the changeling tried to catch his breath.
"Terra's in this?!" he exclaimed in exhausted delight. His energy quickly renewed, he leapt in the air, fist raised jubilantly overhead and spilling popcorn cradled in his other arm, "Aw, sweet!"
The cartoon Robin was ecstatic as well, as the opening scene consisted of him praising the morning's goodness in various over-the-top ways. He gleefully greeted Starfire and poked Silkie in the eye, overflowed and then disregarded a bowl of "Bat-O's" whilst sing-songly greeting Raven and then dance-marched over to cartoon Beast Boy and Cyborg. That's when the writer's name appeared at the bottom of the screen.
Real Beast Boy raised an eyebrow at seeing the unfamiliar name. "Oh. A new guy, huh? Why didn't they just get that Wolfram chick?—she's a well-known Terra fan and has a lot more experience. Ah well, I'm sure newbie here'll do just fine." With that, he took another bite of popcorn and resumed his attention to cartoon Robin's redundant morning song that was honestly beginning to wear on both his and his cartoon doppelgänger's nerves. Still no sign of Terra.
'There he goes again!' moaned fake Cyborg.
"'Knock it off already!'" exclaimed both Beast Boys.
And then fake Robin entered the next room and real Beast Boy sat up excitedly at the sight, his eyes gleaming like molten, burning stars that surely would've caused him severe pain if he wasn't so hyped up on psychosomatic happy meds.
'Morning, stranger going through the Titan-computer!' cartoon Robin obliviously sang to cartoon Terra, prompting real Beast Boy to crack up in loud guffaws. Then cartoon Robin realized the abnormality of the situation and flipped out. Beast Boy lost himself in laughter—nothing better than seeing the team leader spaz out like this. That is, except for seeing Terra again to finally get some long overdue props on the tube, of course.
'Slow your row, fool!' mini Beast Boy intervened and calmed Robin down. 'This isn't an unidentified female intruder; this is Terra! And you can identify her as my girlfriend.'
"Awwww yeeah! You tell 'im, mini-me!" the changeling on the couch cheered to the screen. Then his spirits sank some when a series of pictures played showing a very one-sided "romance" between he and his cartoon lover with mini Terra being less than thrilled about the idea, to put it mildly. The final picture was of her punching him out. Beast Boy tried to laugh it off as a clever reference to their actual date where he scared her in the photo-booth and she impulsively decked him out of fear. But then the Terra onscreen cut the rationalization down before it could even finish.
'"Girlfriend" isn't the word I'd use,' she said irately with her arms crossed and eyes narrowed.
'You prefer "soul-mate," huh?' pressed mini-Beast Boy, but the real changeling on the couch already knew something was wrong. His fears grew deeper when mini-Starfire asked mini-BB to recount his and mini-Terra's 'love at first visual contact' and his cartoon doppelgänger told them: 'It's a pretty typical story, though. Boy meets girl, girl asks if boy will get her access to Titans Tower, boy falls for girl, girl insists on getting a schematic of the Titans' defense capabilities.'
It was a funny joke, the real changeling had to admit and he managed a weak, bitter laugh. But a few occasional good jokes couldn't distract him from the painfully obvious overtones.
Mini-Raven popped up from behind mini-Terra and asked suspiciously, 'So, what's an attractive—' she paused to sniff her, '—decent-smelling girl doing with Beast Boy?'
'I guess I like how trusting he is. I mean he's really, really trusting.'
"No…" real Beast Boy piped in his seat, shaking his head in disbelief. "This isn't right…"
As the episode progressed—cartoon Robin amusingly continued to fly off his rocker, the newbie writer gave further blatant signs that fake Terra was pure evil, fake Raven tried to investigate, and mini-Cyborg and Starfire obliviously accused their Raven of being jealous—real Beast Boy tried to convince himself that it was all only a setup for a twist ending in where the Terra onscreen would reveal that she really was good and was only maintaining an evil cover for some kind of super-secret mission to catch a bad guy and save the world. After all, last week's episode, "Staff Meeting," was full of unexpected twists where he thought he'd see the ending coming and end up laughing his butt off at each random turn. In fact, every episode he could remember was always smart enough to have some good twists in store, so why would they dumb-down the writing now?
Because it's Terra and they want to be mean to her.
Beast Boy quickly shook the doubt from his head. "No way! They wouldn't do that! Cartoon Network even has an anti-bullying campaign for cryin' out loud, so there's no way they'd do that!"
Back on the TV screen, the little green doppelgänger pulled a lever inside a potted plant for the little Terra and an admittedly humorous sequence of numerous top-secret doors opening played out, prompting a sincere laugh from the changeling on the couch. As he wiped a joyous tear from his eye, he reasoned with himself, "You know, maybe they're just playing this out as a spoof. I mean, that's what this show is—a spoof—and they poke fun at us all the time and it's all good. I'm prob'ly just taking the Terra jokes way too seriously."
Such was his denial, but even as he tried to justify it all, the following sequence hurt him in ways he never expected to be hurt again. After the cartoon Beast Boy and Terra walked inside the secret compartment, he attempted to kiss her and she pushed him away in disgust, saving face by claiming she wanted him to retrieve her camera so they could immortalize the moment.
Something venomous pulsed through the real Beast Boy in that moment. He clenched his teeth and clawed his fingers into the couch, unwittingly tearing through his gloves and the furniture's fabric. Hot tears began to form in his eyes. How dare they?! That was our kiss! The kiss we almost shared…that night at the carnival… She wanted it as much as I did and—and—!
The torrent of pain directed at those sensitive memories led him to outright rip off a section of the couch's fabric. He caught himself only after and saw the damage he'd done. It was a lot more than he might've guessed, but there in his partially transformed claws was a sizeable ruined chunk of the cloth speared by sharp green talons, the gash running nearly a foot down from where he initially tore. He winced in sorrow and rage at the sight and then pounded his fist hard into the cushion.
And the moment the tiny Titan onscreen left the room, little Terra flashed an evil grin to the camera and called her cohorts on an old '90s brick phone, 'I'm in. And everything is going just as planned. Soon, the Titans will be nothing more than a memory.'
"This is wrong…" Beast Boy choked out, his eyes fogging up. He clenched the sides of his head and screamed, "Why are they doing this to her?!"
There was no relief, no mercy from the electric god he was raised to worship and the show transmitting through it he thought he fell in love with, but only further brutality against the best friend he ever had. The episode progressed exactly as expected. More 'Titan Tests' from a spastic Robin. More Terra-bashing. More suspicious/jealous Raven. And a few genuinely funny moments spread far between the bitterness. But it didn't matter how much they sugarcoated it; the fact remained that this was a deliberate and childish attack on a Teen Titan and a true friend. Not a parody, not a satire—just the sad, hateful delusions of a ten year-old fan-fiction writer. No surprises, no smart or comedic twists—just every unapologetic cliché in the book made to pander the sick haters, the bullies—the very monsters Cartoon Network claimed to stand against and yet, here they allowed this one exception. This one tragic exception.
By the point fake Terra predictably sprang her trap on the Titans and fake Raven predictably spied on her from afar whilst being further accused of jealousy (a gag that was really getting old), Beast Boy was already trying to calm himself down, to accept that this unjustified hatred of his best friend had pervaded even his most favorite show on earth and all he could do was endure it. But endurance was not something he could manage at the time. Just an unending cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.
This can't really be happening!
What gives those jerks the right to insult her like this?!
There's something I'm missing—something important that'll change the whole episode when I finally see it.
No…there's nothing that can fix this now. They really do hate her and this is all just a straight-up diss. Oh, why?!
The rest of the episode was all a predictable blur. More insultingly evil moments from fake Terra. A rushed and poorly thought-out catfight between fake Raven and fake Terra that ended in fake Terra being banished to another dimension. More of that stupid and long worn-out jealousy gag. And to add insult to injury, they even insinuated that Raven was Beast Boy's ideal match. It wasn't so much the idea of hooking up with Raven that set him on edge, but the idea of pairing him with anyone at all based on such cruel contempt of the only real love he ever had.
The eleven minutes in the iron maiden finally cut to a commercial break, but the effects wouldn't be so quick to recede. The young changeling was left shaking and in tears at the experience. No logic, no reasonable or effective arguments to form in his wounded mind. Just crashing waves of raw and unchained emotion screaming within to be free. Beast Boy choked a few sobs and trembled further, failing to control his emotions. It became too much. He glared at the screen, beyond the reach of sanity or civility, and he shakily stood from his seat, shoulders bobbing and fingers contorting.
"How…dare…you…" he choked in a husky voice. Then, before he could realize what he was doing, he lost himself to fiery passion and shrieked at the top of his lungs, "SHE WAS MY FRIEND!" And in one blind moment of raw emotion, the awakened beast within transformed him and seized the crescent-shaped couch in his claws and hurled it into the TV screen. The transmission distorted into nonexistence and glass exploded from the crash as the sofa careened violently into the rocky shores below, shattering on impact. No light now but that of the full moon.
Raven's voice pierced his ears and she tugged on his monstrous arm, "Beast Boy, calm down!"
The snarling beast thrust his rage-filled scowl down in her direction and she glared right back, undaunted and unafraid. She was still only half-through the portal she arrived in and it dissipated as they held each other deadlocked in the moon's rays.
"I understand that you're angry and you have every right to be, but what good will destroying our home do about it?"
The beast without swallowed heavily in bitterness and allowed Beast Boy to transform back to his human state. There, the teary-eyed changeling yanked his arm free of her grip and tried not to direct his wrath at her, with mixed results. "Well, what am I supposed to do?!—just let them up and diss our friend?! They—they don't even know what they're talking about! Sh—she was a hero! Yeah, she made some mistakes, but—"
Raven assertively seized his shoulders with both of her hands to try to restrain and empathize, to get through to him, "But she saved our lives and everyone in this city in the end. And wherever she is right now, she deserves to be far away from all this. I know. She was my friend too." Raven eased her grip as Beast Boy tried to calm himself, and then she continued. "Terra was a Teen Titan and a true friend. You know that as well as I. And no stupid little TV show is ever going to change that."
Beast Boy shook his head, still teary-eyed, and yelled back, "It's not just a TV show!"
Raven looked at him incredulously but chose to let him explain.
"This—this is what society thinks about us! This—TV—this is what's going to teach kids about who we are and what to think about us, and it's what they want them to think about Terra! …A lot of people still remember when she worked for Slade and that's all they want to remember. They're too stupid to remember that she was more than that, that she was a hero! Now, they're teaching their kids to hate her too and they're going to grow up to believe everything their parents and the stupid media tells them. This isn't just TV…this is a reflection of where society's going to end up in a few years."
Raven saw his point; since the series debuted, she'd been approached on several occasions by various pony fan-clubs offering her membership, and since "Tower Power," they'd received copious fan-mail criticizing them under the belief they didn't know what a VCR was. A lot of people were even under the impression Beast Boy could talk in his animal forms, or that Speedy was nothing more than a background Robin clone, or that Robin really was a psychotic weakling who talked to his staff. But where those old stigmas were ultimately harmless, they were nothing compared to what they did to Terra. It was a stupid and maybe even overblown point, but she knew where Beast Boy was coming from. But just because she saw his point, that didn't mean his behavior was acceptable.
She gently released his shoulders and let her arms return to her sides. She looked at him in solemn understanding, "This isn't going to be easy for you, is it?"
Beast Boy held his tongue, afraid something harsh would come out of it. Raven saw his trembling fists and tearing eyes, a clear sign that another burst of rage was about to break through, and knew a hand on the shoulder and a rational talk wouldn't settle this.
"Come on," she said to him and then opened a portal behind her. She turned and walked through, making sure at the last moment her teammate would follow. Beast Boy was still furious and desperately needed to eviscerate something, but he soon balked through the gateway after Raven.
When he'd fully stepped through, he found himself in an all too recognizable dark and desolate dimension—the shadowy plane that was in Raven's mind. Surprised, he looked around for the friend who went in before him, but she was nowhere to be seen in the hostile dimension.
"Raven, what is this?!" he shouted in confusion and panic.
Raven's voice answered from above, "A favor." Beast Boy looked up and turned around and there Raven was, hovering several yards overhead behind him. "You need to get this out of your system. Here's the one place you can rampage to your heart's content. So, go. Vent."
Before he could answer back, animate shadows of demons and fiends rose from the ground and took solid form, surrounding the astonished changeling on all sides as far as the eye could see as they bared their fangs, claws, and weapons in savage malice.
Still fighting through the hot tears, Beast Boy scowled and clenched his fists at the enemy, no longer afraid of holding back. "You punks want some of me?!" A small lion, unashamed of his pathetic façade and broken roar. In a howling rage, he transformed once again and he and the tides of bloodthirsty shadows rushed forward to tear each other apart. Such was the cathartic, victimless massacre and Raven watched on in stone-faced sympathy.
And as Beast Boy slaughtered and bludgeoned the shadowy monsters in multitudes, Raven felt an unforeseen tear trail down her cheek. She gasped lightly and then moved to wipe it away, wondering where it came from as she studied it intently on her fingers. And then she knew—a loss she never grieved that finally caught up to her. She closed her eyes and exhaled, cursing herself for being human and further, gentle tears formed in her eyes. "You were my friend too, Terra."
They lost track of the time in all the chaos. After what felt like hours, Beast Boy reverted to his human form and fell on his hands and knees, doggedly attempting to catch his lost breath. His eyes were bloodshot and his muscles sore and yet he needed to fight. He took every ragged breath he could afford and then transformed and leapt back in the fray just moments before a fiend could crush or devour him. Such was his pattern. Transform. Claw. Gnash. Destroy. Breathe only when absolutely necessary. And then go all over again. He obliterated dozens more of the shadowy forms in his blood-rage until they finally overwhelmed him and beat him down, unconscious into the stone pavement.
He shot his darkened eyes wide apart and bolted himself upward on his sore arms, still on high alert from the fight and astonished to find himself alone in the barren dimension. Well, almost alone.
"How are you feeling?"
That was Raven's voice. Beast Boy looked to his side and saw her sitting cross-legged beside him on the pavement.
The changeling responded, still dismayed from the events of the evening, "Like I've been punching a pillow for a really long time and then the pillow finally punched me back." Beast Boy repositioned himself to sit so that his arms wouldn't be so sore from supporting him.
"Was it worth it?"
"Did it help?"
"My whole body's on fire. I don' even know if I can move."
"That's the price of letting your emotions rule you. You'll want to think more carefully next time you do that."
"It's not like I asked for them to attack Terra like that, Rae!"
"It's just words, words, words. Are you really going to let them get to you like that?"
The changeling didn't respond. He was too exhausted and knew there was no point in arguing with the voice of reason despite how badly he wanted to.
Raven continued, "I think you've had enough. Go get some sleep. We can talk more about this in the morning."
She summoned another portal and then helped her spent teammate onto his feet and through the gateway back to the Tower. They emerged in one of the hallways near their rooms and Beast Boy slumped against the wall, unable to stand by himself, fatigued but cleansed of the raw anger that overwhelmed him. In its place were aches and sleepiness, but even still, he managed a weak "Thanks, Rave," for the one who saw him through the night.
"Night." With that, Beast Boy started the long, sluggish trek back to his own room, fighting his aching, throbbing muscles every step of the way.
And so life continued. But this was far from over. Relief was only temporary and Beast Boy wouldn't be the only one outraged at the previous night's broadcast, nor would the people who despised the sixth Titan forgive and forget with this new fuel to keep their hateful fires burning. Following the episode's debut, many fans praised it as the best episode yet on various blogs, forums, and YouTube videos, primarily for the Terra-bashing and Beast Boy and Raven shipping. Meanwhile, the less hateful minority were predictably outraged at the episode's questionable writing and made their complaints known in the larger sea of fans and critics of the internet, yet were hopelessly outnumbered. Less common still were the Terra fans who amazingly claimed it was a privilege that she was even remembered at all and enforced the adage that bad press is better than no press. But regardless of who was right or if it was all for better or for worse, "Terra-ized" happened and the show that left audiences divided split them apart further still.
The choices Terra made in life would forever be controversy and spark dissent among those who remembered her, but even still, there was solace to be found in the company of the few who knew her as far more than pervasive selective memory permitted. Terra was many things not everyone could appreciate. Confused. Jaded. Self-serving. Self-hating. Openhearted. Insecure. Strong. Tough. Kind. Brave. She was a Teen Titan and a true friend, yet so few really understood that. But the Titans knew and they wanted the rest of the world to know that too.
Raven leaned back against the chair at her desk, stretching her arms out and grumbling audibly to fight the tiredness. In all the time she spent carefully composing a civil letter of complaint to the chairman of Cartoon Network regarding the previous night's episode and how they really should've handled such a contentious subject more sensitively, she completely lost track of her surroundings and worked straight through the night. The morning sun was already peaking in through her window and she hadn't caught a wink of sleep. She groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose in her hand, hardly believing she gave up so much sleep over this.
"Time for a coffee break," she monotoned.
Beast Boy, still recovering from the aches and bruises the night before, was already talking to Cyborg via communicator when Raven entered the rec room's kitchen area to brew herself some coffee and she heard every word they said as she searched the cabinets for the ingredients.
"Don't sweat it, Cy. Believe me, I was ticked when I saw it. I still am, but Raven helped me blow off some steam. I'm feelin' a little better now."
"I'm just checkin' to make sure, man," Cyborg replied on the other end of the line, "because that was some messed up stuff. I was watching it with Sarah and her kids and I would've called last night to make sure you didn't trash the place and all…but I decided it was more important to explain things to these little guys…y'know, so they know better than to believe that garbage."
"It's cool, Cy."
"…You didn't actually trash the place, did you?"
A nervous chuckle and profuse sweating on Beast Boy's end gave Cyborg all the hints he needed. "So, ah, how's the slumber party?" Beast Boy tried to change the subject.
"Beast Boy," Cyborg's tone lowered as though he were addressing a child, "what did you break?"
The changeling tugged on his collar as he stammered out, "…I, uh…sorta went all ballistic and, uh…chucked the couch through the TV screen."
"…YOU DID WHAT?! BOY, YOU BETTER START RUNNIN' CUZ WHEN I CATCH YOU—!"
"Cyborg!" Sarah nagged him from on the same end, followed by the audible laughter of the children who overheard them. Cyborg grimaced in defeat and returned his attention to Beast Boy, "I will speak to you later, young man." And then the changeling hung up on him.
Beast Boy flashed an impish grin to Raven, who actually afforded a light smile from the exchange despite her tiredness. "I am so dead," he said, maintaining that smirk.
Raven closed the cupboards, then rose to her feet and started for the door. "We're out of coffee. I'm going out for more."
As she flew from the island and into the city, she could see Beast Boy scrambling about madly at the rocky shores trying to piece together the couch hopelessly beyond repair with a roll of duct-tape and a staple-gun.
And there was something comforting about traveling into the city at the start of the business hour; life carried on as usual with no visible hindrance from or mentioning of that one controversial episode of a silly kids' show. If Raven had to guess, most of these adults on their way to work and teenagers heading to school didn't even know or care about Teen Titans Go! And why should they?—they had a society to run, lives to live. No point in wasting their time debating a show aimed at grade-schoolers when time was money. And of those children who watched it, would most of them even care about or understand the controversy or would they rather focus on the slapstick and wackiness that all blurred together with the rest of their incomprehensible cartoons? Raven didn't know, but doubted it would be an issue for them. And if it would be, they could settle it for themselves.
There was no mention of the episode from the commuters who passed by her, nor from the traffic conductors, the garbage-men, the joggers and bicyclists, the city guards in the coffee shop, or from the cashier who sold her the usual one-pound bag of mix and hot cup of black coffee. She completed the whole transaction without ever hearing one word or thought of the show aired the night before because the simple truth was most people just didn't know or care. There were better things to spend life doing and as Raven stepped outside, she breathed a sigh of relief that there may yet be some small hope for society after all.
Life's too good to waste on a stupid children's TV show, no matter how loud and immature it gets. Whatever heated controversy's plaguing the lesser part of the internet right now, it'll pass. Whatever genuine misunderstandings society has about Terra, they can be cleared up. And everyone too blinded by hatred to separate illusion from reality, they, too, will pass. No matter what, we'll always know the truth, and even after all this time, that should be enough to keep us going.
Commerce continued even on the congested sidewalk and Raven, still exhausted from the accidental all-nighter, quickly regretted choosing not to fly back. Just what I needed. Packed into a crowd with a million passing strangers bumping against me. First chance I get, I'm flying out of here…or tele—
Another unseen shoulder bumped into hers, causing her to drop the coffee bag, but this time it was immediately followed by an all too remorseful "Sorry!" The apology of one far too experienced in penance.
Raven's eyes shot open. That voice…
She quickly turned around and saw Terra stooping down to retrieve the bag for her, and as the geomancer looked up and locked eyes with Raven, the Titan and the schoolgirl lingered there in frozen shock at seeing one another after so long. The world continued around them and Terra slowly rose to return the bag, casually smiling as though they'd only seen each other yesterday, "Here you are, Rae."
Raven was slow to respond, but she soon accepted the hand and retook her coffee. She smiled lightly back at her, "Thanks, Terra."
And the greatest relief about this whole mess surrounding your name? You look like you moved on a long time ago, Terra.
I have to admit, it felt good writing that and I hope at least one other person benefited from this little one-shot as well :)
Canon check! I actually referenced a few lunar calendars to see if it really was a full moon on the night and specific time the episode aired like I wrote (and it was!) and to anyone wondering, Sarah Simms is Cyborg's...uh...girlfriendish...strongly platonic...more than friends/less than lovers...very special somepony...lady-type companion (it really all depends on your interpretation) who works with disabled kids...just to clear that up.
(8/25-26/13) A rather important edit: Terra is just one of those complex characters who is open to all sorts of interpretation and her choices and ambiguity have led different people to view her in different ways, be it as a hero, a villain, or an anti-hero. Personally, I love all three and always have. She has always trodden the vast moral grey area that lies in-between good and evil, playing both extremes when the situation called for it as part of her self-preservation and shifting morals. There were times when she was a hero, times when she was a villain, and more often than not, times when she was neither—just a morally uncertain drifter trying to find her place in the world. But then why did I even bother to write this story if I already understood all this, you may ask? Well, because I knew there would be some people out there, besides myself, who were less than pleased with Terra's frankly shallow depiction in TTGo! compared to the rest of the cast when she was so much more than that in the 2003 series and so I wrote this piece as a reminder to those readers that there are still people out there who see her as more than a one-note clichéd fanfic villain and as an opportunity to vent any and all frustration a reader might have experienced while seeing the episode.
That's what catharsis is—the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions—and that's all this one-shot is and was ever meant to be. I never expected it to be anything more than a one-time pit-stop where readers in need of one could purge the negative emotions from their systems or at least find a kindred spirit to lean on. I never expected this story to be critically well-received, praised, or even liked by the majority of those who read it (heck, I didn't even think it would be good), but I didn't write this with the majority interests or opinions in mind and I knew what I was getting myself into. It's a simple piece fueled by and dependent on the emotions of the few and the cathartic purge thereof rather than on logic or reason and there are plenty of logical and reasonable points and arguments to be made on both sides regarding the episode and Terra's character as a whole that were intentionally left out of here because they'd conflict with the whole point of this simple piece—to walk through and hopefully be relieved of the initial emotions some might have felt at a time where outrage might have been more appealing than reason. And to anyone who still thinks Terra was "pure evil" or that the Titans should all hate her, even though she did terrible things that might never be fully repaid, the Titans still chose to see the good in her and remember the friendship they shared and so laid enmity to rest, as evidenced at the end of "Aftershock pt. II" and "Metamorphosis" (the latter being a comic issue in the Teen Titans Go! comic series by J. Torres and Todd Nauck that ran as a supplement to the cartoon). Simply put, I wrote this to help myself and others get over what will soon be regarded as an infinitesimal speck not worth wasting time and energy on so we can move on with our lives and return our focus to the greater Teen Titans mythos.
Purely emotional pieces like this aren't something I often do and I hope to never have to do it again, but as the one exception made under a special condition, I sincerely hope someone out there thought it was worth it.
...And yes, you wonderful reviewers, I am aware of the Judas Contract, the adventures of the Teen Titans before The New 52, and the awesome Teen Titans Go! comic that ran from 2004-2008 (especially those issues regarding Terra). And no, I do not hate the 2013 Teen Titans Go! cartoon at all :)