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
Dick absorbed himself in harvesting the alien ship’s technology. Cyborg would have done a better job, but within a month Nightwing had a crude warning system in place.
Slowly he carved out a spot for himself in the everyday life of the castle. His friends naturally looked to him for guidance. The others residents began to do the same. By the time they had been on planet a year Dick was managing the running of the castle.
He rarely saw Raven. At meals or training. During the meals she only spoke with men at her table. An honor he had not experienced. Once a week he would see her on the training grounds. She participated in physical training as well as military strategy.
He watched her.
Here, physically exerting themselves, was the closest he came to understanding Raven. Flushed pink, sweat dripping, muscles straining. The concentration in her eyes, was a look he recognized from the mirror. She was trying to master something within herself.
All the training she did dealt with weapons of some kind. He found that for him the only way to truly become centered was through unarmed combat. So, he offered to share his skills with the confident woman on the training mat.
In his own way, he made an attempt to know this complicated person.
Bruised and tired from training, Nightwing sank down into a chair for a late dinner. The weeks of training were showing with Raven. He massaged a particularly sore bruise. Soon, he would switch techniques, then he could teach her to blend them together, giving a wider range of moves, in a smaller space.
His thoughts were interrupted by Raven’s generals charging through the room. They moved on through headed for the meditation room, where Raven could be found this time of day.
They were crowded into the room. The door hung open, they spilled out through the door.
Dick could hear them talking in the native tongue, but he had not mastered it yet. They were talking too fast for him to pick anything out.
Gar appeared at his shoulder. “What are they talking about?” Dick asked.
“Something about an attack.”
“Here?” Dick wondered why his alarm hadn’t gone off.
“No, another planet nearby. It sounds like an internal battle between different races living there.”
The crowd parted and Raven came forward, Dick noticed that she was slowly shifting into her demon form. She was taller and her skin was darkening. She stopped in front of them. “Garfield, we are going into battle. I want you with us.” Gar nodded. “Please find Flash and have him meet us in the training field with the troops, we could use his help.”
She started to move away when Nightwing called out to her. “Raven.” She turned back toward him. Four yellow eyes watched him. “I volunteer to come as well.”
“No,” she said.
Dick felt the hit to his pride. Never had he been so aware that he was human. He didn’t have any super powers to aid her.
He nodded, put into his place.
“I need you here,” she continued. “You are in charge while I’m gone. The order has already gone out. Keep my people safe.”
Smoke filled the hall and she was gone.
The remaining figures were all city leaders. They each gave a snarling yap with lots of bare teeth. Then they left. He understood they had just called him Lord or Leader. Nightwing was a little shocked at the responsibility Raven had given him. He headed outside.
Dick found Jericho on the front steps looking out over the training field. They watched the troops gather. Raven shouted, encouraging her army and they roared in response. Her soul-self rose up enveloped everyone and they were gone.
Three days later the proximity alarm when off. Nightwing rushed outside to see the disturbance. It was the army returning. Dick was pleased that the alarm worked for teleportation as well as space arrivals.
The army looked good. No major losses. He could see Changeling & Flash. Dick was relieved to see his friends were safe. Strangely Raven had what could only be described as unicorn at her side. Someone lead it away and she moved toward the castle. Flash reached him first.
“Hey Dick, it is good to be back.” Wally said. “There is a lot to tell, but I have to eat first.” With that he was gone.
Nightwing waited for Raven. She stopped at the bottom of the steps, so they were at eye level. “How are my people?”
“They are safe.”
She nodded and moved into the castle.
Gar walked up to stand next to him. He looked exhausted. Dick put an arm around his shoulders and led him inside. “Let’s get you something to eat, and you can tell me all about it.”
Changeling nodded tiredly.
Gar decided to go straight to his bed. So, Dick was sitting in the dining hall listening to Wally’s version as he inhaled food.
“Turns out two different species were relocated to this neighbor planet as Trigon wiped out their solar system. The people we arrived to defend, the Mantodea, resembled some kind of praying mantis. They are pretty peaceful and technologically close to Earth during the industrial revolution. The unicorn looking guys are Corinians and they were attacking the villages closest to their territory. They use magic and seemed to be techno phobs. Normally they are supposed to contact Raven if they have a dispute that cannot be resolved by their leaders. Unfortunately, the old king of the Corinians had been overthrown and the new king had never met Raven. He decided to take matters into his own hands.”
“Who is the prisoner?”
Flash spoke around the food in his mouth. “The new king. Apparently, the Corinians cannot breed without their king. Since Raven wiped out every creature that dared to kill one of the Mantodea, they are have a low population right now and the loss of their king will cripple them.”
“Can’t they just assign a new king?”
Flash shook his head. “It’s magic so I don’t completely understand, but apparently a new king can only be created at the death of the old one. So, as long as he is here and alive, no new king and no new unicorns.”
Nightwing wasn’t sure he wanted to ask his next question. “She had the attackers all killed?”
Wally’s nod was weary. “It wasn’t like they were lined up and executed. They put up one hell of a fight, but yeah they all died.”
Dick took a deep breath. “Did you kill them?”
He slowly shook his red covered head. “I told them where to attack. I helped track down the killers. I never ended a life myself, but I knew what was going to happen to them… and I gave them up anyway. They murdered defenseless people. I did what I thought was right, but it still hurts.” Wally’s shoulders were slumped with the weight of what he had done.
They sat quietly for a while.
“Wally.” Flash raised he head to look at his leader and friend. “What about Gar?”
He gave a heavy nod. “Dick, he was not involved in the hunts. He defended his assigned village. When they attacked, he fought back.” Wally stared off into nothing. “At first Gar held back, but I think something happened. I found him holding a dead child in his arms. There were no tears, but there were dead Corinians around him. Their blood streaked his face.” He blinked and looked at Dick. “He hasn’t spoken about it.”
For the first time Dick was glad he had been left behind. Part of him was so repulsed at the thought of taking a life, he would have been at war with himself and only gotten in the way. Better to stay behind and keep people safe, than be the avenging monster.
Wally walked down the silent corridor. Dick had headed to bed, but Wally couldn’t rest yet. The entire time off planet Raven had remained in her demon form. Amidst all the death and destruction, there she stood, tall and strong; confidently guiding her army, no weakness or hesitation to be seen. He needed to see the woman. He had to reassure himself that she still existed.
A horrible doubt began to seep into his brain. What if the woman he had held in his arms was an illusion? Had she just fooled him, so he would more easily follow her orders? Was she controlling him? Manipulating his emotions? His mind could not rest until he knew for sure.
When he came to her room the door opened easily. A single candle lit the room. The bed was empty.
“You should be resting,” came a voice from the dark. Wally entered and closed the door behind him. In the corner farthest from the light Raven sat in a large overstuffed chair. With the dark blue cloak wrapped around her, she blended with the night.
“So, should you,” he replied. The hood of her cloak covered her face. He slowly made his way toward her still form. “Are you okay?”
The voice that replied was chilling in its complete emptiness of emotion. “I’m fine, why wouldn’t I be?” she said. “The conflict is resolved. My army returned with very few casualties. In six months there will be a herd of new babies. Oh yes, and I massacred a species that I have struggled to save from extinction. Why wouldn’t I be fine?”
Wally was close enough now to see the lower half of her face and the tears dripping off her chin.
He was flooded with relief and pain. He hadn’t deceived himself, she was human and suffered from the same mental anguish that they had been experiencing.
He knelt down beside the chair and clasped her hand in his. From this angle he could see her closed eyes.
He watched her, tormented by her own self-loathing. An emotion he had felt so many times. It seemed that for his whole life he had struggled with what was needed of him and what he wanted. At those moments he envied Dick.
Doubt was something Dick didn’t understand. He was always so sure that his way was right. How much of that, was Batman’s training or just Dick himself, he didn’t know.
Wally was different from his fellow Titans. No great personal tragedy had occurred in his past guiding him down the road of justice. A freak accident had given him his powers and his mentor Barry Allen had been a pretty ordinary guy as well. They fought because they felt they had a responsibility to.
No, all the emotional trauma in his life had been a result of his powers. They constantly put him in the path of more and more pain.
Here before him sat a woman whose very birth put her on the same path. She never had an opportunity to experience a normal life and most likely never would.
Wally squeezed her hand gently.
“How can you stand to touch me? I’m a murderer, a monster. You saw how I killed the Corinians and what I did to your planet.”
She looked at him and he could see the grief in her eyes.
“Raven,” he said gently, “I care about you, let me help.”
She pulled her hand away.
“I’m an Empath. I can control emotions. What you are feeling may be exactly what I want you to feel.” Raven said trying to sound cold.
Wally stilled, hadn’t he been thinking exactly that? The sudden doubt and uncertainty, it had been pushed away when he’d seen her tears. If he let himself, he could feel the distrust push at him, but everything inside him fought against it.
It was her, Raven wanted him to reject her. She wanted him to hate her as much as she hated herself. Loathing, disgust, she was a vicious monster who did not deserve to live.
Wally grasped her wrist and pulled her toward him. “Raven, you can’t make me hate you.” He pulled her out of the chair on to the floor. Wrapping his arms around, he hugged her to him. “It’s too late for that.”
Raven laid her head on his shoulder and wept.
Gar couldn’t close his eyes. The dead child’s face would not leave his mind. His hands had seemed so large holding the broken little body. Almost more disturbing was the mostly gray memories that surrounded it. Moments of blood and screaming, but he couldn’t remember if it was from others or himself. What had he done in that pain filled haze? He was afraid to look his friends in the eye for fear of what he would see.
A small green bat fluttered about the silent halls. Eventually Gar found himself outside Raven’s doors. She would know what happened and not hate him, no matter the outcome. Using a spider form he crawled through the door crack. He needed someone to tell him he was not evil, even if it were a lie.
There was on candle flickering in the room. Shifting to a cat he dropped silently to the floor. He froze when he saw the couple embracing on the floor. Quickly, he turned to go, not acknowledging the pain in his chest.
Wally didn’t know how long they stayed like that, before Raven shifted in his arms and called out to the darkness, “Garfield, don’t go.”
He couldn’t see, but when Raven reached out a hand he followed suit. His friend needed to be held as much as they did. “Please, Gar,” Wally said. The green changeling stepped into the soft light and clasped their hands.
Through the night they took turns speaking and being comforted. They lanced the wounds on their souls, now they would no longer fester and poison them. There would always be scars, but now they were cleansed and could start healing.
When the rays of morning light illuminated the room, only then did they fall asleep clasped together.
Gar never did talk to Dick about the battle. Dick was almost relieved. What could he have said to his friend? Nothing that would have helped.