This is a story I have been working on for a while. It is an Alternate Universe Teen Titans. I took every spare moment for three days and wrote the whole story out… 2 years ago. I loved it and wanted to post it online, but I needed someone to Beta it. Well, I found a volunteer and her critic shattered all my confidence and I couldn’t even look at the story again. Now, I am back to it and there are parts I really like, some areas need work. I am going to post what I have, because the blog is for my work in progress. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Recommendations and suggestions are welcome.
Prisoners of War
Character List: (The Titans have many names, so here is a list to keep them straight)
Nightwing/ Richard Grayson / Dick
Flash / Wallace West / Wally
Changeling / Beast Boy / Garfield Logan / Gar
Jericho / Joseph Wilson / Joe / Joey
Raven / Rachel Roth
Starfire / Kory Anders / Koriandr’
Cyborg / Victor Stone / Vic
Wonder Girl / Donna Troy
He came like a nightmare; Trigon, a demon from a distant dimension. He was drawn by the power and vitality of the life on Earth. He invaded Earth determined to claim it for himself. His daughter Raven led the invasion army.
The heroes and villains of earth came together to fight this war. Dick Grayson, Nightwing found himself the leader of a group of young heroes. They called themselves Titans.
Almost five years of war tore the Earth apart, especially North America which had more superheroes per capita than any other continent. Many had been lost, but they were determined to die rather than allow Trigon to enslave Earth.
They had reached an impasse. Earth would never surrender and Trigon would simply destroy the planet before losing. Raven offered a compromise; Trigon would leave Earth. In return the inhabitants would give monthly tribute in the form of power. As a safety measure, a group of heroes would leave the planet with Raven. The requested prisoners were in the form of himself and fellow Titans.
Nightwing, Flash, Jericho, and Changeling had given up their freedom to save their planet. The terms were simple. If the tithe was not paid they would die, then the Earth would be destroyed. If they attempted to escape the Earth would be destroyed.
The lost Titans took what comfort they could in that the Earth was safe.
Nightwing gripped the window sill, frustration seethed inside him. Slowly, deliberately he relaxed his fingers, while he reminded himself why he was here.
They were Raven’s prisoners, but they were given rooms in her castle. Creatures they couldn’t speak to, led them to rooms days ago and then nothing. No chains, no cells, what was her game? The detective inside him needed to figure out what was going on. How was she going to punish or use them? Did she know that this uncertainty and unbalanced feeling was the worst kind of torture for him? He could not make plans under these conditions.
Raven was an empath, maybe this was a deliberate and subtle torture.
The rooms were comfortable with a bed, a dresser, some chairs, & a desk. They had been permitted to bring some items from home, so he had street clothes and spare uniforms. He had not appeared out of uniform since arrival; even going so far as to sleep in his mask. His secret identity may not matter anymore, but he felt protected wearing it.
Flash had explored the entire building. No locks had blocked his path. Every door opened easily, even her private rooms. Wally hadn’t said what he saw, but his blush had been enough.
So far, he knew the planet was about half the size of Earth; one continent, one ocean, one city, two red suns. The natives seemed to worship Raven like a god. Their technology was very limited, with no electricity, but basic running water and they thought humans looked tasty.
Wally had almost been eaten by a group of children. He had been making a circuit of the citadel perimeter and stopped to observe what he thought was a pack of animals. They had been running around on four legs, but were about four feet tall when upright. Their bodies were covered in shaggy fur from head to tail. The faces had an elongated snout full of sharp teeth, forward set eyes had looked at him with intelligent vicious intent. He had escaped and after further exploration of the city, realized that they had been small natives. The castle was home to other humanoid species. No one appeared to speak English or any other Earth languages. He could only assume they had come here in a similar fashion to him and his friends. Perhaps there were potential allies among them, if they could find a way to communicate.
Gar’s voice disrupted his brooding. Dick looked up to see his friend standing in the door looking expectantly at him.
“Hey, Fearless Leader,” Gar said “ready to see what they are calling breakfast this morning?”
“So far everything has been edible,” Wally said behind him.
“Yeah, well some of us have to look at what we are eating,” Gar responded.
Dick joined his friends at the door. He signed /good morning\ to Joe as Wally and Gar kept up their snarky comments. It was habit to speak with Joe in sign language instead of trying to talk over their companions.
Dick led the way to the dining hall. At this time of day, most of the citadel’s inhabitants had already eaten and usually only a few people were in the dining hall, but today when they entered the tables were full. Some were still making the motions of eating, but most of them were staring at the head table. There were many long tables & benches scattered around. The head table was triangular in shape with only three seats. It had been empty each morning they had been there. He had assumed that it was Raven’s, but the woman seated there looked nothing like Raven. The demon they had battled for five years was seven foot tall, red skin, four yellow eyes, claws and fangs. This woman was average human height, deep violet hair, and two blue eyes. The only resemblance he could see was the red jewel on her forehead.
“Who is she?” Gar asked.
Jericho signed /Raven\. His friends all looked at him in surprise.
“Dude, that is not Raven,” Gar replied.
/She is different here,\ Joe responded.
“How do you know?” Dick asked, watching his friend.
The look on Joseph’s face was calm and caring. He looked at Raven as though she were something special. /I have seen her look even more human,\ Joe signed.
Richard looked at the woman who was supposed to be Raven. It was difficult to reconcile the vicious demon he knew with the reserved woman eating breakfast in front of him. She spoke quietly with the two very large blue haired men in front of her giving them all of her attention. A tall slender man with long green hair came up beside her and filled her drink. She did not look at the man, but she reached out and laid a gentle touch on his hand which caused a shudder to run through him. He gave a small nod and left.
What had passed between them, Dick wondered. He turned to his friends. They were watching the woman at Raven’s table with similar looks of confusion. “Gar, Wally, keep an eye on her. Find out what you can.” They nodded. It had been the plan from the beginning. They would discover her true purpose.
It was late that evening when Gar finally found Raven in what could only be described as a dungeon. They had lost her after her meeting with some native leaders. Now he was a large green mosquito darting about deep underground. The tunnel was made of large dark stone blocks and lit by wavering torch light. She stood naked in the flickering light, in full demon form. The smell of blood filled the air. There was a whip in one of her hands and long green strands of hair in the other. She was whispering something in the ear of the man chained facing the wall. His back was crisscrossed with anger red lines, some were seeping blood. As Gar watched, she pulled the man’s head back and licked a drop of blood of his temple. Her lips moved, but Gar couldn’t hear what she said. The man shook his head in response. She let the whip fall to the ground and placed her long nails on the man’s shoulder. Slowly she drew her hand down, leaving crimson lines behind. Blood dripped down his back and Gar could hear the man’s whimpering moans. A smiled curled her lips at whatever the man had been able to gasp out. She stroked his waist, in a soothing manner, before drawing back and stabbing her nails straight in. The man screamed in pain, then moaned low in his throat.
Gar was fascinated and sickened at the same time. The smell of blood and the sound of pain were doing something to the back of his mind. Something was moving and crawling out of the hole where he buried it.
Raven pulled her hand out and brought her fingers to her mouth to lick the blood off.
“Do you want anything, Garfield?” Raven’s rumbling voice asked.
Gar shifted to his human form. “No.”
Raven gave him a knowing look with her yellow eyes. “Another part of you disagrees.”
He felt it move again; that hidden part of himself, the one that only his friends knew about, but even they didn’t understand what it really was. “I won’t let it,” Gar stated in a shaky voice.
“Of course, Beast Boy,” she replied, drawing out ‘Beast’ like it was a caress or a summons. He could feel his beast respond to that call. Quickly he shifted and fled.
Dick sought out Jericho. He found him sketching in his room. Joey had brought an array of art supplies and his guitar with him. Dick didn’t really understand Joe. He was open, sensitive, and artistic; a complete contradiction to his father and brother who had been assassins. How Joe coped with the war and maintained his gentleness eluded Dick, but he also seemed less affected by their imprisonment then anyone else.
“Hey, Joe” Dick said.
Joseph looked up from his sketch pad and smiled at him.
“I want to talk to you about Raven.”
Joe nodded and set the pad and pencil aside.
“Earlier you said you have seen Raven looking human before.”
Again Joe nodded.
“When was that?”
Joe signed, /you remember during the war when I attempted to take over Raven?\
“Yes, you were comatose for weeks.”
/During those few moments we were one, I saw her soul. I saw her in many shapes. Most people have one internal image of themselves. Raven has many.\ His eyes were sad. /She looked broken.\
Dick watched Joe with concern. Why was Joe bothered by that knowledge? Wasn’t it to their advantage if Raven had a weakness they could use? Joe was sensitive; he felt sympathy for even their enemy. Raven WAS their enemy. Dick was determined to remember that important fact.
Joseph watched his friend and leader leave. Dick didn’t understand and Joseph couldn’t explain the connection he felt. Even Raven found it difficult to describe what passed between them.
He reflected back on the first evening on planet.
Joseph entered her library and found Raven slumped exhausted into her chair. He stood in the center of the room, watching her silently.
Raven raked her claws through her hair. “Why did you come here Jericho?”
He said nothing, but the emotion rolling off him was easy to discern. “You love your teammates.” She stated.
Jericho shook his head and began to sign.
She sighed in frustration.
“I don’t sign” she spoke into his mind.
“I came for Rachel. She needs me.”
“Who is Rachel?”
“I am Raven.”
“Once you were Rachel.”
“For a short time I was part of you. Rachel was the name your mother gave you. Rachel Roth.”
“That little girl died when I was thirteen; the day my father came for me and murdered my mother.”
“She is still a part of you. She needs me.”
Raven stared at him. Exhaustion ate at her. Taking a deep breath she focused. She searched inside herself. Just as he said, she found a tiny flicker. A small child came into view when she called for Rachel. Then everything faded away.
For the first time in a very long time, Raven slept deeply. While Rachel lay wrapped in Jericho’s protective arms.
There was an innocent young girl trapped in Raven’s soul and he had to protect her, before she was lost forever. No matter what his friends thought, he knew what he needed to do.
Flash zipped into Nightwing’s room. “She has headed out into the city,” he informed them.
Nightwing turned to Gar. “Okay, Gar, you have the best chance of staying near her in the city. You have a form that looks a lot like the natives. You might be able to blend in.”
“I can’t.” Gar shaking his head. It had been days since the encounter below ground, but it still haunted him.
“Why?” Nightwing asked.
“That isn’t just a shape.” Gar responded, rubbing his arms. “The Beast is alive. It has wants and needs. It will try to make me do things.” Gar kept shaking his head. “It is too close to the surface right now. I don’t trust myself.”
Nightwing and Flash just watched him. Gar had never mentioned this before.
“Guys, I’ll watch her, but I am just going to use my usual shapes.” Gar shifted into a bird and flew out the window.
“Dick, did you know anything about that?” Flash asked.
“No.” Nightwing responded, looking thoughtful.
“What are we going to do about it?”
“I don’t know that there is anything we can do about it. It’s not like we can send him to therapy. We will just have to watch him and help any way he will let us.”
Gar perched on a ceiling beam and watched Raven hold court. She was listening to and making judgments on grievances. It had been a few hours. One or two people would come forward and speak. Raven listened until they were through. Then she would speak. They bowed and moved on. Then the next would come forward. In his boredom, Gar had become a squirrel, a chipmunk, a snake, a monkey, etc. running around and exploring the ceiling. Some children in the audience watched him dart and dance. It was amusing until the kids were firmly reprimanded.
So, he sat and brooded. The Beast was awake and crawling around in his head. It was hungry. It wanted violence, aggression. Gar fought back; trying to push it back in its hole. It gnawed at him; eating away at his control.
We are a hero, not a monster. He told it.
Blood. Pain. Was what he got back.
No, he told it firmly.
Yes, it responded and pushed at him.
Gar was so wrapped up in his internal struggle he almost missed Raven leaving the room. Quickly, he flew after her. They went up a winding stair case. She stepped into a room and he followed. As he passed through the doorway, the door slammed closed behind him. He was trapped in a windowless room with full Demon Raven.
“You have been distracting Me.” her deep voice rumbled at him.
Gar shifted to his human form, keeping his distance. “Sorry about that,” he apologized, with a silly grin on his face and an exaggerated shrug.
“You should have stayed with me and Saionji.” she said stepping toward him.
He stepped back. “What you were doing was horrible!” he cried, denying the stirring inside him.
“Siaonji likes pain. I was very gentle with him that day.” She took another stalking step toward him.
He backed away. His heart pounded in fear and excitement. The air was filled with repressed violence. The Beast hummed under the surface.
“You could have bled him yourself.” Raven pinned him with her eyes, yellow irises gleaming with evil promise.
Gar tore his gaze away. He shifted into a sparrow and flew to the door. He shifted back and grabbed the handle. Raven was there. Her hands wrapped around his upper arms. She whispered in his ear. “You wanted to feel your claws slice through his soft skin, the warm blood spill over your hands.”
Changeling couldn’t stop the shudder that ran through him; Part in desire and part horror. The words were arousing feelings that disgusted him as much as they aroused him. God, he was sick.
Raven’s breath was warm in his ear. “There is nothing wrong with blood and pain. You just have to find someone who enjoys it as much as you do,” came her soft purring whisper.
His heart was thudding fast and hard. The Beast was right there. Ready. Anticipation seemed to hover in the air. Then…
She bit him. Her fangs sank deep into his shoulder.
He screamed. He shifted. The Beast knocked her across the room. Raven hit the far wall. Blood dripped from her mouth. Whether it was his or hers, he didn’t know or care. He attacked and she was ready.
Claws and fangs flashed.
Cloth and skin parted.
Gar didn’t know how much time had passed, but the Beast finally rolled back. Full and satiated the Beast slept. Gar’s eyes were closed and he was lying on a female body. He was afraid to look and too tired to try. The fight had been extremely violent and they could both be bleeding to death, he wasn’t sure he cared.
A deep pleased sigh rustled his hair.
“Well done,” she mumbled. She cradled his head and kissed him gently on the lips. He felt her power flow over and through him. He could feel his wounds binding together and disappearing. A moment ago he had been so exhausted he couldn’t lift his eyelids, now he was whole and energized.
He looked down as Raven pulled back. Two beautiful blue eyes met his. He felt amazing. Still inside her, he was hard and ready. This time Garfield Logan made love to her the way he wanted.
It was time for dinner and Gar still hadn’t found a way to tell his friends what had happened. Raven was supposed to be their enemy. They were her prisoners. How could he have done that? Any of it. Part of the encounter he could blame on that dark violent part of him, that which he called the Beast, but the rest… that was all him. He had enjoyed every moment. Now, he was riddled with guilt. Not because of what he had done, but with the knowledge that he was going to do it again.
He miserably slumped in his chair. His teammates would know something had happened once they entered the dining hall. He was seated at a place of honor. Raven’s table.
The other chair moved and he looked up to meet Jericho’s gentle gaze.
Gar’s eyes went wide. “Oh, my God! Joe did you fuck the demon too?”
Joe looked at him in surprise. Gar flushed and bent his head, shame washing over him anew.
Gar stared at the table unable to meet his friends gaze. “Then why are you here?” he mumbled at the table. The silence went on for a few minutes, until Gar remembered he couldn’t see Joe’s fingers.
He signed, /I found the girl.\
“Who is Rachel?” Gar asked.
“Someone I thought I lost a long time ago.” Raven responded.
Gar’s head jerked up to see her standing beside the table, her gaze on Jericho. Raven looked at Joe intently as she took her chair. “You know Rachel is falling for you?” she asked.
“Be careful. A first love can be a dangerous thing.” she said softly.
Joe’s look was very gentle as he nodded.
“Who is she?” Gar asked.
/She is part of Raven, \ Joe signed.
“If she is a part of you, why do you talk about her as if she is someone else?” Gar asked.
Raven turned her blue gaze to him. Gar suddenly remembered their afternoon together, a blush suffused his face, and he dropped his eyes to the table.
“Don’t be ashamed Garfield.”
With difficulty he met her gaze.
“We have to let each piece of ourselves breath.” Her eyes reflected calm understanding. “If we keep them locked away, when they finally break free, they are out of control. My demon must have her pound of flesh. If she is denied for too long, she will take it where she wants and those I protect will be in danger. I brought you here against your will, but you are now under my protection. You have freedom to do what ever you want, go where you want, know who you want. You may not leave the planet, but beyond that your life is up to you.”
Raven’s full attention was focused on Gar. He no longer heard the people around them. Everyone faded away and only the people at the table existed. The food came, but Gar barely noticed. He ate, but couldn’t remember what it was. He and Joe were completely taken in as Raven shared with them.
Dick and Wally watched with concern. Something was happening. Joe and Gar hadn’t looked away from Raven since she sat down. What ever magic she wove it was wrapped around her table. Nightwing knew she was speaking English, but he couldn’t hear a word and every attempt to read her lips failed. He should have been able to follow the conversation easily. That he couldn’t worried him; what was she doing to them?
Later in his room he listened to Gar talk about what he learned, his worry about his friends growing with every word.
“It is so weird. It is like she is many different people all sharing the same body.” Gar moved around the room waving his hands, so full of energy he couldn’t stay still. “There’s the Demon, the little girl Rachel, the student, the leader, the woman, the fighter, the god and who knows how many more. She was taught to separate herself by a woman named Azar. Apparently the idea was some kind of divide and conquer, because she was supposed to suppress and control every emotion. Azar did it to limit Trigon’s influence, to keep the demon from infecting the rest of Raven’s personality. I wonder if she had any idea what the side effects would be.” Gar appeared thoughtful for a moment, staring blankly out the window. Then he seemed to come back into himself and continued. “Anyway Azar died when Raven was ten and then she was raised by her Mother who started calling her Rachel. For three years she was Rachel and felt some emotion. Then when she was thirteen; Trigon came and took her. He didn’t take any interest in the other parts of her personality, just the power of her demon form. So, for ten years she has been dealing with all the pieces of her soul by herself.”
Gar was so passionate and excited, it had Dick worried.
“Gar,” Dick spoke. Changeling turned to him, Nightwing watched closely as he asked, “What happened between you two?” Whatever he had been expecting to see in Gar’s face, it wasn’t this quiet confident calm.
“She helped me tame my Beast.”
Gar’s cocky grin was back in place. “Dude, I am not going to give you the details of my sex life. Let’s just say she took it for a spin and it’s much more manageable right now.”
“Gar,” Dick ground out frustrated. “I need to know what is going on.”
Changeling was somber and serious for a moment. “She showed me that I have to embrace each part of myself. No matter how dark or horrible. Only then do I have any hope of control.”
Nightwing’s fist clenched in anger, “She is trying to bring you over Gar. Evil is not okay. Fight back, don’t give in.”
Gar sighed and shook his head. “Dick, you don’t understand. I have had the Beast with me for a long time. There have been times over the years when it took everything I had not to kill whatever bad guy we were fighting. I have gone off into the jungle and slaughtered whatever animals I found. When he escapes, I have no control over him. But today, she showed me. I can let him out and control him. If I give in to some of what he wants, he doesn’t fight so hard against what I want. It is about balance.”
“Why have you never mentioned this before?” Dick asked in suspicion. “I’ve known you since you were eight.”
“I was afraid.” Gar let him see behind the clown exterior. “There was a monster inside me and I was afraid that it made me a monster. If you ever found out, you wouldn’t trust me anymore. The Titans are the only family I have left and I didn’t want to lose you.”
Wally spoke for the first time. “I am not going to claim to understand what you are going through.” He walked over and put a hand on Gar’s shoulder. “But we ARE your family and we’ll try to help in anyway we can.”
Dick walked over and clasped his arm. The last thing Nightwing wanted to do was confirm Changeling’s fears and reject him because of something he was born with. They were in this together.
The next day there was a knock on Nightwing’s door.
He was surprised to see Raven on the other side. “Hello, Richard.” She greeted him in her calm melodious voice. “I am sorry that I have not had an opportunity to welcome you to my world.”
Nightwing stared at the woman before him. He was unsettled by Raven’s human form. She was dressed in a long sleeveless blue dress. Gloves covered her arms and she wore a large cloak around her shoulders. Her long dark hair showed highlights of deep violet in the sunlight. She watched him with calm blue eyes and her voice was soft and gentle when she spoke to him.
It had to be an illusion to keep him unbalanced.
“Welcome to my home. I am sorry that I have not greeted you earlier,” Raven said gently.
Dick resisted the calm control that seemed to radiate off of her. “Do you always welcome prisoners to their cell?”
“When that cell is my home, yes.” she responded easily.
“What do you want Raven?” Dick bit out. His intense stare implied more than just this moment. What did she want with him?
She met his stare with calm understanding. For some reason her tone and attitude irritated him. Violence, threats, anger were all things to be expected. Why this caring facade?
She continued, “You are free to come and go as you wish. If you have need of anything let me know and we will accommodate you as best we can.”
“Anything?” he asked.
The edge of her lip curled slightly, “Please give up your plans for escape.”
He went very still. For a moment he had forgotten she could read minds.
“I have not invaded your privacy,” she reassured him. “It is natural that you would make an attempt. Unfortunately, the terms of our contract were very clear. As long as you are in my care the Earth will not be destroyed. If, for any reason, you escape my control, the Earth will be eliminated. No war, no invasion, only its complete annihilation. Its safety is in your hands.”
Anger swelled in him, it vibrated off of him in waves. “You would destroy my planet just to keep me here?”
She looked back coolly, “No, you stay here to protect your planet. My desire has nothing to do with it.” She turned to leave. “The choice is yours.”
Impotent anger flared in his gut. No option for escape. To accept staying here the rest of his life; it just wasn’t possible. There had to be a way out. When he had agreed to sacrifice himself, it had been secure in the knowledge that somehow he would find a way back. As long as he was alive there was hope. He couldn’t give that up.
He stepped into the hall and shouted at her back. “What do you want from me?!”
She paused, but did not turn around. “Only what you are willing to give.”
With that obscure comment she was gone. Nightwing slumped against the doorframe, struggling with his changed reality.