Categories > Anime/Manga > Princess Tutu > Princess Tutu and the Madrigal III: Terra Rising (Secret Six III)
Gaia ran all the way home, now frightened over what had just happened. Where had those rocks come from? All she knew was that she saw Beast Boy in trouble and desperately wanted to help him out. What she had not realized was that, in that one moment of deep awareness, what was locked in her subconscious mind connected for the briefest moment. Both she and Terra were desperate to help him, and because she opened herself up so vulnerably, and because they both had the same mind for the briefest moment, Terra was able to surface, even for just a glimmer of a moment. She did what she knew to do and distracted his foe long enough for him to lash out. Yet, when Gaia had realized what had just happened, she came to herself, automatically pushing Terra back down. Now she was running more from herself quite literally than from that situation. One thing she feared was that Beast Boy might start to get some crazy ideas again and try to convince her that she was who she was not. However, what Gaia did not realize was that this had happened before, and it was during the first moment that Beast Boy had met Gaia. He had also been in trouble similarly, and the same thing had happened. In that same instant, Terra was able to come forth, though the connection was not quite as strong. Yet, this time, there was a stronger link, and there was later to be some repercussions.
She got home and closed the door behind her, locking the door behind her out of a matter of habit, and because she had the instinct that she was being chased, though by what she could not see. Though it was still daylight, the house had an eerie quietness to it, and the dark areas of the house seemed much darker. She instantly went to the stereo and just turned it onto her favorite radio station, just to try to drown out some of the thoughts that were coming to her at that point. She sat on her couch and looked around. She had always known that this had been her home ever since she had been sixteen. She knew that she had been put here after the inheritance came to her, with the state keeping an eye on things to be sure she was okay. However, the state lady only came by twice a year, and she wondered why they did not take more concern than that. She started to ponder things, and in truth, she had memories of her past, but they, for some reason, were vague. The psychiatrist that had dealt with her after the accident told her that it was something that happened in her mind that kept her from remembering the horrible incident. Because of that, it blocked other memories, and that was why. Yet, that was a time ago, and she should have been over things by then. She went to the shelves that held some of her keepsakes, and she saw the picture of her mother and father when they were at Happy World when she was a kid. There were faint memories of that, and a picture to substantiate it, so it had to have happened. She then went to her photo albums, suddenly realizing that she could break how she was feeling by going over them, matching memories with images. She spent a good two hours going over them, and every memory had a correlation. "No," she said, "I am Gaia, not some dead superhero."
She closed the album and cradled it to her chest. She looked around the room at the modern decorations and the off-white and grey walls with a black motif, the leather couch and chairs, the fine kitchen with the central island stove, her king sized bed with the black satin sheets and comforter. Her parents had set her up well, and she was so thankful for that. "I am Gaia," she said out loud, "This is who I am. All this is mine. Thank you, mom and dad, you took care of me, even after you had to go."
She then sat there with a smile on her face, but yet with a tear rolling down her face. She had to assure herself of these things, for this was all to which she had to cling.
Yet, all this was not unseen. Deathstroke took the time to check in on his"experiment" to see how she was doing. He was a bit disturbed when he saw her doing what she was doing. It was at that moment that the Brain came in. "Watching your ward again, I see," stated the Brain as he watched him observe.
"Her behavior is a bit disturbing," said Deathstroke in return, "She seems to be going about trying to reassure herself that all she sees is real."
"It only makes sense, Slade," responded Brain, "Her memories will always be vague, considering that they are merely planted memories."
"It appears that my idea of including photographs of friends and family was agood one. She has convinced herself once again by them that everything is as it should be."
He stroked the chin of his mask in thought, and he said, "Only, I wonder what caused her to go into this?"
The Brain went over to the control panel and pushed a switch. He then said, "I have cameras all over the city, and any activity of the day can be brought up here. I will have the computer try to filter out all images except ones that deal with her and see to what she has been exposed."
The computer did its calculations, and soon a montage of Gaia's day was coming up. Soon, it had her at a popular pizza parlor, and both of them instantly focused on the people with who she sat. It disturbed them more when Beast Boy and Gaia sat at a separate table to talk. However, they felt a bit better when they shook hands as if they had just gotten done making a business deal and return to be with the others. From there, it did not seem out of the ordinary, as if the two metahumans sitting there were normal teenagers. "I don't think anything would have caused her to act that way from this."
"We must see more," said the Brain, "There must be something to this."
It was then the bank robbery was seen, and then the emergence of Captain Marvel, and then one that Deathstroke was well familiar with, and was the last person he thought he would see in San Francisco. "Who is the ballerina?" asked the Brain, "I do not recall seeing her. That is an unusual choice for a metahuman to wear as a uniform."
"She is far more powerful than she first appears," responded Deathstroke, remembering how she had soundly defeated him. All his work to bring her down backfired on him, and seemed to have the opposite effect. Now she was here, and he knew that she would make a bee line to put him away again if she knew that he was around. Then came the incident with the rocks, the shocked look, and then the sight of Gaia fleeing the scene. "I think we have what we seek,"stated the Brain, "Apparently, something has awoken in her."
Deathstroke watched the scene for a minute or two, and then he said, "However, what disturbs me is how she knew to fling the rocks at Beast Boy's antagonist. Yes, powers may be awakening, and that should be expected at some point. However, how would she know what to do?"
"Perhaps it is time for her 'social worker' to pay her a visit," stated the Brain, "I shall send Madam Rouge to check up on her tonight. We must shore this up before it becomes a problem. If it is not as good as it could be, you may have to speed up your time table."
"Yes," said Deathstroke, "This has to be handled delicately."
All the way back to the tower, the group buzzed about the day's events, feeling the adrenaline rush that normally accompanied completing a mission. However, all Beast Boy could do was stare out the window as the craft made its way across the bay. He saw the rocks, and he had finally come to accept that Gaia was not Terra, and that Terra was gone. Then that had to happen. Now he wondered if she just may be, but she just really does not want to remember. Cyborg then said, "Okay, Beast Boy, you're awfully quiet. Now, I know that means you have a problem."
Beast Boy did not answer, not certain that Cyborg would understand, and not even confident he would take the thing seriously. Cyborg just shrugged his shoulders, knowing that Beast Boy would open up eventually.
They parked the vehicle and went up to the dayroom. It was sunset by that point, and they passed by Shadow Force as they prepared to take the night shift. However, as Beast Boy passed, Raven immediately picked up on his state at the same moment Mytho snapped his head around and said, "Garfield, what is wrong? Your sadness is so blinding right now, I feel like I need sun glasses."
He looked at Mytho and said, "It's a long story, but I don't think you would understand," and he moped back to his room. Raven looked at Ahiru and asked,"What happened at the pizza place, Duck?"
"Well, we stopped the robbery, like you alerted us to," answered Ahiru, "but agirl that seemed to be an old friend of Garfield's suddenly ran when it was all over. I don't know why."
Raven said, "Do you have your communicator?"
"Right here," she answered, and it suddenly went black and floated from her hand to Raven. She then placed it on a slot designed for such devices and started to play the events. When she saw the rocks fly the way they did, it shook her. She rewound it, and focused in on Gaia. She watched her go pale and blank, and then the rocks flew. She brought it back again, and started to reach into the ethereal plane to get a sense of things, and she looked at the image again. It seemed at that point that Gaia was silhouetted by the image of Terra, as if they were both standing there. Raven returned the communicator and said, "Let's get on patrol, but we have a stop to make tonight, first thing."
Raven materialized her two teammates into the center of the city, knowing that she said that they had a stop to make, but where that stop was she really did not know. However they were looking over the area where the fight had happened. The only hint that anything had happened was some leftover vines after Tutu had pulled them down, and the marred spot on the pavement where Beast Boy had fought. They went down, and found the rocks still there where they had landed. There was nothing special about them, no discoloration, nor anything about them that could hint on the trail upon which they sought. Then Raven remembered in which direction the girl had ran, and remembered her on the beach that one day. The way she ran headed in that direction, and she wondered if where she lived had to do anything with that. Raven took everyone back to the rooftops, and she began to triangulate. At that, she remembered that there was an area of private homes that was not too far from the beach in that direction, and she then took everyone there.
At that point, Madam Rogue was arriving in that area, and she morphed into the shape of the social worker that she normally took to keep the guise that the state was watching after her. At the moment she was knocking on the door of Gaia, Shadow Force arrived on the scene. Gaia opened the door and said,"Shirley, this is unexpected! Come in!"
Rogue looked around, seeing that the house was still in order, and she then said, "Well, as you know, there is only a month left before school, and we wanted to be sure that everything was going well. Were you able to get the tuition in for next semester?"
"Oh, it was no problem," said Gaia.
"Well, we just wanted to be sure. You know how bureaucracy goes: a young orphan girl taking care of herself, trying to pay her own way, they like to ask questions."
"Boy, don't I know it."
"Well, there were a couple of new things from the state that may have complicated things, and that's why I came to check, but it seems it all went smoothly. I see you have some of your photo albums out."
Gaia's face dropped just a touch, and she said, "Just reminiscing."
"I hope it wasn't because you were feeling sad."
"Well, not really, it's just..."
"Just what, honey?"
"Well, I remember what the doctor said, and that things were a bit too traumatic for me to remember all the things of my past, but that it would pass in time. But that was two years ago. Now, I still have sketchy memories, but I figured that it would have all come back to me now."
Rogue took on a sympathetic face and put her arm around Gaia's shoulder, giving it a little squeeze, and she said, "Aw, its okay. Sometimes it takes more time for things to settle down. Think about it: you're living on your own, trying to make it happen, and you're at an age where you are growing into a fine young lady, and you have all that to worry about. It may not be until you graduate and get all the pressure of school off you until things finally come around. Just keep giving it time. Remember, if you need someone to talk to, you still have my number. Never hesitate to call, okay?"
Gaia hugged back and thanked her with a bit of a smile, to which Rogue said,"Now that's my strong girl! I'll try to be by on your start of school to make sure that all goes smoothly."
They said their goodbyes and Rogue left. Yet, this was not without notice.
As the three moved through the neighborhood, Raven caught onto a familiar feeling, and it was not a good one. Not too far from Gaia's house, they rounded a corner and bumped into someone that looked like a social worker...for about four seconds. Right before their eyes, this woman transformed into Madame Rogue. It did not take long for Raven to figure out what was going on, and she said, "Funny, I never thought the civil service would have recruited the likes of you."
Rogue looked up, quite surprised at the sight. Magpie then chimed in and said,"It's either that, or you either want something from someone, or you are putting up a false front of deception. I can't figure out which."
"And I am wagering it has something to do with a girl named Gaia," added the Shadow.
Now Madame Rouge's face took on an appearance of both fear and shock. "What do you know about her?" she snapped in her characteristic Russian accent.
"We know that there is something special about her," said Raven, only wanting to reveal that much, "and it seems a keen interest to the Titans to figure out what that special thing is."
"Stay away from her!" snapped Rogue, now seeming to take on a fighting stance.
"Interesting," said Shadow, who had long ago learned to take on that sinister voice of her namesake, "There must be something you are interested in as well, or else you wouldn't even bother."
"You talk to much, child!" she snapped, "I warn you, you mess with her, and you may be getting into more than you want!"
"And what that is, we do wish to get into," said Raven, as her eyes now began to glow, "Now, are you going to talk, or..."
Her answer was a thrust at Raven, who quickly ascended straight up into the air at the same moment that the Shadow vanished. Magpie did not have such luxuries, but her distraction with Raven allowed him to strike. He came up with a spinning kick to her head. Her head stretched backwards as if it was attached to an elastic band, and it snapped back with her having an enraged look on her face. Then she affected a smirk and said, "It will take more than that to beat me, foolish man!"
In seconds she had intertwined her arms around Magpie tightly, but then she began to hear a voice in her head, saying, "I suggest you let my friend go, or feel my wrath."
Rogue was looking all around for the location of the voice, but it said, "It's no use, I am everywhere and nowhere."
"Show yourself, you coward!" snapped Rogue, but this was the distraction that Magpie was looking for as he dropped a magnesium flare on the ground. Rogue screamed in pain as she was blinded and released her grip to brace her eyes. That was followed by her feeling the high powered tazer in her hip as provided by the Shadow. Raven then used her telekinetic abilities to fling her across the small park in that area. She slammed into the playground equipment, stunned, and now in no mood to fight. She gathered enough of herself to say,"Only a fool fights in a burning house. I warn you: stay away from her, or you will upset a hornet's nest!"
With that, she stretched her legs to where she stood about 20 feet high, and she began to run faster than they could go to catch her. Raven could have appeared before her, but now they had more of an interest in the girl.
After that, they started to head off in the direction from where Rouge had come. Raven then caught onto Gaia's aura with her empathy, and they were able to locate the house. Shadow took the task of investigating, and when she returned, she reported that there was no evidence of there being anyone else but Gaia living there, no car, no mark of her having parents or guardians around, but she had pictures of her family all around, and noticed a photo album on the couch. While Gaia was readying herself for bed, she took the liberty of investigating the album, and found a life that led up to the time she was about thirteen or fourteen, and that is where the record ended. As they discussed what this all could mean, something interesting was taking place in the house.
While Shadow was returning to the others, Gaia had gone to bed early, having been tired from the day's events. As the team talked, she began to dream. In her dream, she saw herself standing in the Arizona desert, and standing before her, looking exactly like her, was Terra. "Well, it's about time you acknowledged me, Gaia," Terra said smiling.
"What...what's going on?" she said, all confused, "Why do you look like me?"
"That's because you are me, silly," answered Gaia, giggling.
"No, you can't be," she said, "I am who I am. The photos...and the memories..."
"They're not real," said Terra, still smiling, and as reassuringly as she could, "We are the same, and we have been reborn, except there is one thing that is right."
"What's that?" asked Gaia, all confused now.
"You don't want to remember. I've been here all this time, but you won't acknowledge it."
"No, please don't do this to me! Things are back to normal!"
"Honey, they've never been normal. I only wished that you would have listened to Garfield."
Gaia was now, in her dream, plugging her ears, saying, "Stop it! STOP IT!"
"When that thing happened today," said Terra without interruption, "you allowed me to be more one with you than before. Because of that, I now live in your subconscious. If you don't mind, I would like to borrow our body for awhile. I have someone to visit."
Outwardly, Gaia was mumbling all this, but it was all her talking, speaking for both people. She even plugged her own ears in her sleep. Then, everything went calm, and she sat up, with her eyes open, as if nothing was wrong. However, for that moment, Gaia stepped out, and Terra stepped in.
As the team talked, Raven went pale and stiffened. "No," she said, real softly, and then looked at the house. She started to move, but before she could she heard the sound of earth being broken up, and she stood in awe as she watched a blonde girl in a white nightgown rise up on a slab of rock that resembled a crude wakeboard. It spun around and Terra saw the three on the ground. She recognized Raven, waved happily, and then started to head off towards Titan Tower. "We have to get back, now!" said Raven, and she gathered everyone together as she went to take them back to the headquarters. There was a disaster that she hoped to avert.
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