“Cyborg! Watch your back!”
The loud, metallic buzz of the giant cybernetic insects flew around the collection of heroes filling the air with the sizzling red beams of hot energy. The tall, black metal man sidestepped as one of the bugs tried to latch on and blew it away with his hand cannon.
The black energy of Rachel Roth complimented the green bursts from Starfire’s eyes as they cut through the swarm that seemed to grow even larger. The roar of a green bear slashed through the ones at the lower level allowing Robin to pinpoint Beast boy’s location. The team was working perfectly holding the swarm back from the Jump City citizens who were attempting to escape the turmoil.
The Kaz’Kal were not giving up, and it did not help that the portal to their dimension remained open. He had told Raven to get there, but the young sixteen-year-old with smooth grey skin, haunting dark eyes and the presenter blue cloak had not been able to cross the gap.
“Raven! I need you to get up there!” Robin shouted from his vantage point on the roof. Two of the Kaz’Kal dropped towards him but were quickly dispatched with his electrified batons.
“Working on it,” She growled back at him, cloak billowing as she attempted to fly up through the enemy lines, but they seemed to know what they were attempting.
Robin was about to redirect Starfire to assist when one of the larger insect creatures landed a massive blow to Raven’s chest causing her to plummet towards the ground. Robin could not see anymore as a Kaz’Kal struck him forcing him to the ground and into a fight.
Pain. Raven blinked as she tried to clear the tears that forced their way out due to the agonizing pulsing through her body. The ricochet from the brick wall to the trashcan had slowed her fall but not enough. She pushed herself off the ground as a few drops of blood fell from her nose.
She glared up at the Kaz’Kal as the battled the other Teen Titans and at Robin who had forced her to try to break through the primary line by herself. What did he think she was? Invincible.
“It’s not like it was the first time you’ve tried.”
Raven pushed herself to her feet and tried to stabilize herself off the wall, but a shot of agony told her that her leg its if not a hairline fracture. Concentrating, she felt her body lift off the ground and begin to glide up again, the cape wrapping her in it’s protective sheath. The young woman looked about trying to figure out the tactic.
The team had forced the intergalactic insects back towards their dimensional rift. The girl flew wobbly and landed beside Starfire who had just blasted an insect apart with the beams from her eyes.
“Friend Raven! Are you okay? I saw you make the scary fall!” her naive but perky friend asked horrified. Out of all of them, Starfire was the only one who truly cared for her, but she did that with all of them, and that was not very special.
It was a lie, but she was not going to show any weakness to them. For the last few months, the strain of the attacks had angered much of the self-proclaimed Teen Titans, and that had begun to put stress on the entire friendship.
“Then we must hurry and help the others. The Kaz’Kal continue to do the kamikaze on us as they prepare their ship for launch.”
“They’re leaving. Let them go.” Raven muttered shaking the drying mud off her dark purple cloak.
“We cannot! There are humans aboard the ship of space. We have to rescue them.”
Without waiting for a response, Starfire shot off into the sky as a purple-orange blur. Raven growled to herself trying to block out the pain. Closing her eyes, she focused on one tiny spot at the back of her eyes and willed the pain away. The minor brain trance would keep the ache away until they had finished up.
As she began to focus and levitate off the ground, she felt some soft and cool run along her back. She jolted and settled to the ground looking around her.
“I could have sworn those were fingers,”
Either the Kaz’Kal was getting to her, or something else was in the ally. Now, she didn’t care. She jetted up into the sky and made her way back to the battle.
“Did you see how I splattered that one bug with my cannon. He bounced off those two others like bowling pins!” Cyborg shouted at the top of his lungs with a laugh. The African American half-man, half-machine gave the younger green boy a high five. Beast Boy crowed with excitement.
“They didn’t expect it when I transformed into a giant eagle and threw them off the buildings.”
Raven curled up on the community couch and snuggled into the familiar red satin cloth that had been her friend for the time she had been there. She opened one of her books to read when Cyborg pulled it out of her hand.
“Where were you, Raven? I lost you when we made the second charge against their lives.” the mechanical man asked, his one brown and one red laser eye focused on her.
“Falling. Now give me back my book.”
“Falling? Didn’t see you fall. Must have been some fight.”
“Yeah. Some fight.”
She made a swipe for her book, but Cyborg had turned to yell for Robin. He changed his mind when the young man with dark black hair and cutting features strode over.
“Did the Justice League have anything to pass on to us about the Kaz’Kal?”
“No. Superman was going to investigate and to make sure they leave our star system.”
“That’s nice of him,” Raven muttered to herself. “Where were you when we needed you.”
“Raven,” Robin said matter-a-factly. “The Justice League has been dealing with the signs of Steppenwolf and have entrusted us to keep Jump City and the rest of the world safe. They have a lot on their plate, and so do we. We just need to---”
“Enough!” Raven choked out in rage. “I’m sick and tired of all the speeches and all the fighting we have to do. This is the third attack in as many weeks. We need backup.”
“We had it fine, Rae Rae.” Beast Boy cooed as he peeled himself a banana from the kitchen.
The gray-skinned woman raised her hand to smite him but thought better of it. She did not need that lecture too.
“I’m going to my room. Don’t bother me or you’ll pay.”
Not giving Robin a chance to say anything else, she strode out of the room and towards her own.
Raven made sure to slam the door hard and threw herself on her bed. As she came into contact with her pillows and comforter, the sorceress immediately regretted it. The pain and agony that had been hiding burst on her mind sending waves of nauseating misery swept over her.
The young woman was able to roll over and lay on her back to stare at the ceiling. A long fly stared back confused at the attention it was getting.
At her bidding, it quickly flew away to find another place to perch in her room. Raven closed her eyes to rest and meditate before trying to take a shower. Chanting a mantra softly in her mind, she felt the familiar sensation of the nothingness that put her mind at peace. The world around her fell away until she was alone in the blackness that insulated from everything else.
She could feel herself floating in the void, the lightless void stretching on around her. Her muscles had begun to relax as the world coaxed the stress out of her. It was at that time she sensed the presence again, in the darkness around her.
At first, Raven began to receive back to her body away from whatever it was but she hesitated. It felt familiar but not something she had felt before. Raven slowly allowed her mind to return to the void where it was waiting.
It smelled like a morning rain on a spring day. It was the same scent and feeling she picked up in the alleyway earlier that day. Raven reached out to touch it with her mind, and it shimmered surprised and pleased.
She heard her name, and she bolted back from in a panic. The sensations of her room came rushing back but not before a flash of an image hit her hard. Her eyes popped open with a gasp, sweat-drenched her body. What was that?
She sat up quickly and looked about. The clock on the wall had only shown an hour had passed, common for time to be disconcerting after meditation. The memory of the picture stuck with her. It had been the Jump City Train Station lower level. There was a big Green 13 that had been worn off by the years.
Why had it shown her that?
Raven glanced at the clock again. It was a few minutes past eleven thirty, there was enough time to look. Grabbing her cloak and ignoring the pain, she made her way for the elevator.