Raven runs into an old friend.
I don't own Teen Titans. But I do own this idea; it's something that's been stewing in my head while I think of yet another story. A sequel, perhaps? I'll let you think on that one. In the meantime, read and review.
Teen Titans: You Idiot...
A slender schoolgirl stepped onto Murakami High School's front yard with a groan, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. There was way too much homework for it to be this early in the school year. Pushing a golden strand of hair to the side, she took a glimpse at the trees just outside the brick walls. A blend of red, orange, and green painted their leaves. For some reason, though, she felt she would miss the color green, which would fade or fall away from the foliage in a few months. Fallen leaves crunched under her oxfords as she walked, though she could barely hear it under the clamor of other leaving students.
The barred gates waited patiently, already opened since the bell. Just as the teen passed through the opening, however, a friend of hers from last year caught her attention. “Me and Larry are heading to the pizza place. Wanna come with?”
“Sorry, Stacy, can't right now. Johnson's a real slave-driver.” The girl adjusted the burden on her back for effect.
“I know, right?” The bob-haired redhead chuckled. “Why do we even have English if we know how to speak it?”
“One of life's great mysteries.” Her giggle with Stacy stopped as blue eyes noticed an unusually formed shadow behind the tree across the street... a shadow with violet eyes.
“You sure you can't come? You've been really spacey since last spring.”
The question broke the blonde's concentration. “Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm sure.” The shadow nodded, showing that it acknowledged her as well.
“There's someone I think I should see, anyway.”
Jump City Park was fairly empty, despite the warm weather. Cool winds blew the hair of two teenage girls as they inhabited the shade of a large tree, one leaning against its trunk, the other sitting with her legs folded.
Only a stone statue of John “Jump” Geoffrey, late founder of the namesake city, would quietly observe their conversation from a distance. Historians described him as a skilled writer and artist before his time as the mayor, especially fascinated with heroes in his works. No one is sure, however, why his contemporaries gave him the nickname. “I kinda like that statue,” the schoolgirl mused.
“It's okay, I suppose.” The figure of the founder did not particularly interest the violet-haired teen; she founded her interests in more ancient history, that which represented the roots of her skills.
“So,” turning blue orbs to meet purple ones, “another of the great and powerful Teen Titans tries to make my acquaintance. Raven, right?” The questioned one nodded. “I see you guys on the news sometime, and there was that one time up close. Oh, and speaking of monsters, nice job with that lion-thing a few weeks back, by the way.”
Raven was tempted to try to correct the girl on the beast's specific name, before realizing that even weeks after its defeat, it did not really have one. The... Cat-Creature, I think?... Who cares? “Thanks. It was a team effort.”
“I wasn't there to see it, but I heard from a girl in my class who was actually there. She said you guys were going nuts on that thing and couldn't keep it down, but then Beast Boy swooped in out of nowhere and bam!” Her fist landed into her palm to mimic the impact. “Right in the head! He even wrestled it down and-” Arms still in the air to imitate the grapple, the golden-locked teen realized the person to whom she reported. “Well, you were there, actually, so you kind of know.”
“Yeah, that's him, diving in head-first.” The magic-wielding Titan accidentally vocalized her thought. “Still kept your enthusiasm, I see.”
“Yeah, maybe I have.”
Raven did not expect her to answer.
“You know, it wasn't until after Beast Boy came that the memories started coming back.” The girl fiddled with the fringe of her skirt, a nervous habit. “Names, faces... bad guys...” Eyes darted downward and her grip on the end tightened as a two-toned mask came to mind. She was not exactly sure who it was, but... she shook the image off.
“These last few months have been so... crazy for me. First, when Beast Boy started going off about how he knew me, I thought that maybe all that fighting got to him, maybe I just looked a lot like this 'Terra' girl — I mean, they say there's a double for everyone, right? But then...” Blue orbs widened in recollection. “I had dreams of stuff that never happened, places I've never been, things I never did.”
She looked up at the tree, its leaves raining down as the result of a stronger breeze. “I mean, just think about it! A whole other life! And I wasn't just a nobody, I wasn't just some Jane Doe someone picked up out of the hospital and sent to school. I was... a superhero! Of all things, a superhero! With superpowers!” The schoolgirl — or, somewhat, Terra — grasped and shook Raven's shoulders, a gaze of sparkling cerulean boring into surprised amethyst. “One of you! I shouldn't even be this comfortable talking to you, but here we are, like friends who haven't talked since forever!”
Suddenly, the blonde's vision seemed to go off into the distance. “Even though your powers are all black, you wear blue instead because it's one of your favorite colors.”
She returned to reality. “It just happened again! You told me that!” A short laugh escaped upon the reveal, still right in Raven's face.
The enthusiastic teen let the other girl go and laid back against the tree with a sigh, the words finally off her chest. She held it in for so long, figuring no one in her circle would understand such a concept. However, perhaps a superhero, someone with origins as Raven, might think it was possible.
“He was telling the truth. Even after all this time, I can barely believe it, but... he was telling the truth.”
Though ruffled from “Terra's” intense shaking of her form, the cloaked heroine kept her head and simply explained from experience: “Beast Boy has this way of changing your mind about things.”
Like my view about you, she kept to herself. Though the half-demoness lost her trust in the earth-moving traitor in that past life, a certain hero's refusal to give up on her and her final valiant action changed Raven's opinion. As the green teen once told them, Terra wasn't just a criminal; she was their friend. Perhaps some remnant of the bond still remained, since a familiar mixture of uneasiness and camaraderie lingered within the dark Titan's self when around her right now.
Said feeling may have driven her to say the next words to the semi-stranger. “He almost died last summer.”
“WHAT?” Raven winced, ears ringing and mind realizing her words were not the best transition. Had Terra ever screamed at that high a pitch before? “I can't believe no one told me! What happened?”
“Well... it started when these robots attacked downtown...” Raven told her the short story, from the androids to the album. The former heroine's mouth gaped at hearing her “ex”-friend's condition. The sorceress neglected to state some more... private aspects of the incident; she never told her that she cried at his bedside, and she would never tell anyone outside of the original Titan team (who already knew thanks to an emerald idiot's slip of the tongue) what happened on the roof.
“Wow. That's so...” The blonde took a moment to reflect. “Well, for one thing, it's cool.”
“Yeah, I guess it is... cool.” Even after a few years on Earth and learning seven different languages, Raven felt such slang odd on her tongue. Somehow, though, she deemed it suited the overall situation.
“But it's also so sweet! I mean, the guy literally took a bullet for you! Well, not a literal bullet, but you get what I mean...” Words poured from the faucet that was “Terra's” mouth.
Raven sighed. She should have expected this. In the moments the two spent together back then, Terra was pretty talkative.
“Soooo... Do you like him?”
The following silence was only interrupted by a bird's chirp, then a reply. “...What?”
Yes, much too talkative.
“Come on, don't lie to an 'old friend'.” The schoolgirl giggled at her own joke, not knowing the semi-irony of the last two words. “I saw that look on your face when you talked about him. You were going to pieces back then, weren't you?”
If any emotion did show on Raven's face, it vanished under the curtain of her classic stone-cold glare. “You heard the story. He is my teammate. I was mainly concerned for the team's welfare. It was different without him. Things were difficult without him.” The glare slipped for only a second as she replayed her choice of words. “The fights, I mean.”
The sorceress did not even realize that her explanation stretched on, far beyond the simple awkward, blushing yes or angry, defiant no the blonde expected. “That day showed me that he would always watch my back, and I trust him to do so in any situation. Even if he is...” The granite visage softened again with the lightest of smirks as she glanced at the afternoon sky, “strange, and annoying, and loud, I know he's there for me. And I will always be there for him.
“If anything between us right now, it's friendship.” It became easier for Raven to say to herself each time. “Yes. He's my friend.”
Raven brought herself back to look at the ex-heroine, only to find that “Terra's” face could be as hard to decipher as the other Titans often found her own. Golden locks partially draped over one side, creating even more of a veil to her reaction. Is she reliving another memory? Raven hesitated to decipher her emotions, considering the schoolgirl's feelings might fluctuate too rapidly between each vision. Fortunately, her face eventually focused on one expression: a smile. “Well, yeah, that much I can figure! These bits and pieces in my head tell me that.”
Confused blue slipped from behind two parted locks. “I'm almost... jealous?” The blonde shook her head clear, realizing her current hairstyle and setting the troublesome tresses behind her ears. “Eh, whatever. I'll figure it out later.”
The empath decided to change from such a distracting subject. “Enough about him. Why don't you tell me about your life?”
“It's definitely not as eventful as yours, but I guess it's okay. At least, school is.” With that in mind, “Terra” described some of the teachers and schoolmates she met over the last year:
Coach Menville, her PE instructor, was demanding, but respected for his athletic skills (he was an alleged Olympic candidate for the pole-vault, among other games);
Her partner in art class, Nina Walch, was always smiling, even when paint spilled off the canvas and onto her clothes (the fashion enthusiast called it a new, “spontaneous” design);
Dr. Cipes seemed more inclined to be a mad scientist than a chemistry instructor, but most of his students took the quirks as part of his teaching method;
Many in her school were afraid of the large Larry Payton, but the blonde found the football player to be a gentle soul... with a strong handshake;
Stacy Strong seemed a bit gloomy at the oddest moments, but most of the time had a fun personality, especially around the rosette's inner circle, which included Larry and the speaker.
However, the narrating student was sure one teacher had some kind of vendetta against her: Ms. Johnson, the English teacher. She marked a particular event as the origin. Turning in a quiz paper to the desk, the blonde had caught the secretive woman writing a letter, seemingly addressed to a certain strange science teacher. Upperclassmen rumored the two were close outside of school, but she would fervently deny any theory of a relationship. Now there was proof.
“I swore after class I wouldn't tell a soul, but she's been watching over my shoulder ever since, like she doesn't want people to know about her real self or something. I don't think Cipes cares though.”
Raven chuckled lightly, imagining a particular Titan's winking face; Cyborg would have said some kind of quip right now, nudging her shoulders very conspicuously. “Hmm, a quiet girl denying her feelings for a weird guy... remind you of anyone, Raven?”
The schoolgirl did not get the real message behind the Titan's reaction, and chuckled as well. “Yeah, it is kind of funny.”
Suddenly, she knew there was something missing. “Anyway, there's one thing that's been nagging me all this time. It's kind of blunt, but...”
“It's fine, tell me.”
“Why did you decide to talk to me today?”
“Well...” Raven could have explained the situation from a few days ago. Both sitting in the living room to their own devices, she caught Beast Boy's face fall while looking at the photo album, also noticing the page on which he paused. The moment lasted only a few seconds, but the empath knew that his heart still felt the loss for quite some time. The flicker of emotion she detected from him reminded her of his attempt to convince the Titans that Terra returned. He was so sure, he even ditched the rest of the team, which was fighting some substance-absorbing creature at the time. I hated that fight...
Raven could have explained how his reaction to the face in the album convinced her to revisit the area downtown, more or less finding the school through luck and making a quick decision to talk to “Terra” upon being spotted.
Again, Raven could have explained all of this. Instead she kept it simple.
“It was sort of an accident.”
“Maybe it was. Or maybe this little get-together is part of some weird destiny.” The schoolgirl's azure gaze extended to the afternoon skies. “Maybe I'm meant to meet a few, or even all of you guys to find out about my old life.” Then her vision dove to the grass at her feet. “Maybe I'll never really know what happened.”
You used to be our comrade, the violet-topped Titan wanted to say. You used to work alongside us before you betrayed us all. Then you saved us all. Raven wanted to say it, but it was not right to deal such knowledge to her, at least not yet. No good could come knowing about such a past all at once. She could overload from long-buried feelings, hurt herself doing old actions that were easily learned during her old life, but could weaken or cripple her in her current state.
Thus, Raven merely placed a hand on the distressed girl's shoulder, causing her to raise her head. “Don't give up. You'll find out one day. When that day comes, when you've uncovered all you can about your past...”
The empath's normally still face displayed a rare, closed-lipped smile. “I know you'll be stronger for it.”
“You're right. Thanks, Raven.” The blonde straightened up. Those familiar with her in a different life would recognize the spirit in her eyes. “Hey, maybe when you retire from your superhero thing, you can work as a school counselor!”
A light laugh escaped. “You may be doing fine there, but I don't think that kind of environment is for me.” The logic was simple to Raven: a half-demoness who needs to constantly keep her emotions in check lest she annihilate her surroundings, set in a high school overcrowded with emotional young people? Such an idea was fantasy.
By the time the laughter from both girls died out, the sky was an orange hue near the horizon, with green and purple painting across the clouds as well. “Terra” noticed this and realized the time. “It's getting late, so I should probably head off now.” She reset her backpack to its rightful (and somewhat painful) place. “This homework's gonna keep me up for a while.” A smile reasserted itself on her face, draped on either side by long golden hair. “Hope to see you again one of these days... you know, when this mind-craziness is over.”
With that, the ex-heroine left off to continue her life, leaving an old friend with a bit more hope, a friend who gave a sincere “Until then.”
However, there was one last thing of note left hanging in the air. It was an easy question, one the pale Titan should have asked a long time ago. Of course! How could I have missed this before? “Wait! There's one more thing.” The schoolgirl heard and turned around.
“What is your name now? That is, I don't think I should be calling you by your old one if it doesn't apply.”
“Huh? Oh, duh, that. It's a funny thing, really. It's actually-”
A shockwave muffled out the sound from the blonde's mouth, also rumbling the earth such that Raven could not even read her lips. It did not matter much anyway, as the girl did not even finish saying the name before her thought process and her balance failed from the sound. “W-what was that?”
“Trouble.” A theme song confirmed that prediction seconds later. One hand entered into the folds of her cloak, and a goofy green hero soon displayed himself on the heroine's now open communicator. “Hey, Raven! Some spaceship just landed downtown and...” Beast Boy caught a glimpse of a different face on the edge of his screen. “Hey, is that-”
“I already know about the problem. Tell the others I'll be there.” The sorceress closed the communicator shut before the changeling could even complete a sentence, then turned to the schoolgirl. “I suppose it's my time to go too. Take care of yourself.”
“You too, Raven. Good luck.” The Titan now took to the skies, ready to face the threat...
...but not before the girl gave a last word of her own. “Oh, and Raven?”
“Tell Beast Boy... Terra says hi.”