Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ Astarte Of Azarath ❯ Searching For Home ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Robin sat up slowly and rubbed his head as he groaned. He'd obviously not landed on his butt. The air around him was hot and heavy, unlike the clear night air of Earth had been. He looked up to see a barren landscape stretched out before him. It was not unlike a desert in that it was deathly hot and humid. Two suns hung in the air above him and he squinted at them as he raised a hand to shield his eyes. He got to his feet shakily and took a step only to find himself face down in the hot sand. Why did his body feel so heavy? He struggled to his feet with more difficulty than he thought necessary for such a simple task. Wherever he was he had to find the others. That was his first priority.
He trudged across the dusty, desert-like terrain he had been dropped in, calling the others' names from time to time. He walked for atleast an hour before an idea suddenly struck him. He stopped and pulled his communicator out to see if he could pick up anyone else's signal. The screen wavered and filled with static from time to time but it was still working. He grinned as a red blip showed one of the others not too far from his own position. He zoomed in on the area and the blip became the shape of a girl as Star Fire's name spread across the top of the screen. He attempted to contact her but couldn't seem to get anything but static. He sighed as he snapped it shut and hoped that the others would think to check their communicators as he headed towards Star Fire.
He was worried that he couldn't pick anyone else up but all thoughts of their safety were pushed from his mind as he pressed on. As the hours wore on it became harder and harder to walk. He fell many times and almost didn't get up on several occasions. He was so hot he couldn't breath well. He didn't think a normal human could have survived the heat alone. Combined with the gravity it made traveling along the surface of the insufferable planet nearly impossible. He tripped once more and sighed as he laid face down in the hot sand for a few moments. He couldn't convince his body to move. It had decided that this was a good time for rest. He would have closed his eyes and fallen asleep if he weren't afraid that he wouldn't open them again. He sighed again, blowing sand away from his face, and pushed himself up to a sitting position. He put a hand to his head and groaned as he stood. He was suddenly very dizzy. The heat was obviously getting to him. He tried to push on but there was no convincing his body. The first heavy step he took sent him toppling over once again. He groaned as he hit the ground and his eyes slowly closed over the blurring desert sand.
"Star Fire." he whispered as his eyes slid closed and he was enveloped in darkness.
He could hear someone in the distance. He recognized that voice. She was calling him but he couldn't remember who she was. She was important. He could remember that. He could just barely feel hands on his shoulders and the heat on his skin.
"Oh, Robin. Please awaken?" she pleaded, shaking him softly. "You must."
"Starfire?" he coughed, forcing his eyes to open.
"Robin!" she cried, jerking him up and squeezing him tightly. "I was so worried for you."
He smiled despite the fact that she was squeezing what little air he had in his lungs out and returned the embrace briefly before pushing her away. He put a hand to his eyes as he gazed around. He wasn't sure if they were in the same place where he'd passd out or not. The endless miles of sand made it hard to tell one area apart from the other.
"Have you seen any of the others?"
"Unfortunately I have not." she sighed.
"Did you try your communicator?"
"Yes. That's how I was able to find you."
"You didn't pick any of the others up?"
She shook her head sadly and wrapped her fingers around the object tightly. It was obvious that she was very worried so Robin put a hand over her's and smiled softly.
"I'm sure they're fine. Have you tried contacting them?"
"That's a wonderful idea!" she cried with a giggle.
 
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Heka groaned as he rolled over and opened his eyes. He shot up in complete shock when he realized he couldn't see the sky. Snow was filling his vision. It flew off his body as he sat up and he sneezed, sending more showering down from his hair. He realized he had nearly been buried in it and rubbed his eyes in an attempt to rid his eyelashes of the frozen bits. His face was completely frozen and he couldn't feel his toes or fingers as he stood. He pulled his cloak off and shook it as hard as he could before throwing it back around himself. He took the end and tossed it over his shoulders to bring more warmth to his arms. He created a dome of energy over his head to keep the snow off. He was pretty sure that if he had been human this wheather would have killed him by now.
He sighed shakily and shivered as he began to make his way through the deep snow which was up to his shins. He could barely make out a mountain to his right through all the swirling snow and thought about flying to the top but he was sure that wouldn't do any good with the snow as heavy as it was. He turned away from it and wondered blindly into the blizzard instead. If he was lucky he'd find some kind of civilization soon so he could get warmed up.
"Then I'll search for the minds of those Titans." he muttered to himself. "They might be of some-"
He let out a cry of surprise as his foot hit something soft. He went down face first and cursed through a mouthful of snow. He sat up angrily and turned to destroy whatever had created his misfortune. He lowered his glowing hand slowly however as he caught sight of a small green boy. He was curled up into a tight ball, still unconcious but shivering violently. He was stone cold to the touch and Heka sighed.
"Curse my stupid heart." he grumbled jerking his cloak off and throwing it around him.
Beast Boy contined to shiver but grabbed a handful of the cloak and pulled it tighter around him. He coughed and his eyes fluttered open. He grimaced as he looked up at Heka and sat up slowly, keeping the cloak wrapped tightly around him.
"W-what's going on?" he chattered.
"We've been sent to another planet." he explained. "Maybe another dimension. You're lucky I was dropped here as well or you probably would have died."
"Y-yeah right. I think I'd have b-been fine on m-my own."
"Then give my cloack back." he demanded, holding his hand out.
"Over my d-dead b-body!" he cried, clutching it. "It's f-freezing out here. It's like ant-antartica or s-something."
"We'd be lucky if that's all it is." he replied, crossing his arms. "We need to find some sort of shelter until the storm wears down a little."
"Find your o-own shelt-ter!" he cried, turning from him. "I'm gonna f-find a town myself and w-wait for Raven and Astarte."
"I don't think there's much chance they'll be saving us anytime soon."
"Why?" he whispered, stopping in his tracks. "Did you kill them?"
"No. Unfortunately Neith is still alive. This was probably her final change." he muttered sadly. "She's probably already eaten Raven's heart out."
"That's a lie!" Beast Boy shouted, turning around. "Astarte wouldn't do that!"
"Neith would!" he shouted back. "Besides, how would you know?! You've only known her for a day or two! Do you think you'd know more about her than someone who's spent most of his life by her side?!"
"She's Raven's sister! That's good enough for me!"
"And you don't think Raven would ever hurt anyone?"
"Of course not!
"She will." he whispered, darkly. "You'll see. She'll disappoint you one day."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"You'll see." he repeated, walking off into the storm. "There's another living creature this way."
"How do you know?" he demanded, following him.
"I can sense it. It feels half dead however. If anything atleast we'll have something to eat."
"Sick!"
"You'd rather starve?"
"Yes!"
He smirked to himself at Beast Boy's disgust and kicked through the snow, searching for the scource of the energy he felt. He was hoping to kick up an animal of some sort but when his foot finally struck something it made a loud clank. Beast Boy watched as he kneeled and wiped a thin layer of snow from the object. He gasped when he revealed a light blue shoulder and dropped to his knees to help.
"Cy! Cy, wake up man!"
"Looks like he's on." Heka muttered, standing. "It's his human parts that are out. Almost dead in fact. We should leave him."
"What?!" Beast Boy screamed, shooting up so fast the cloak flew from his shoulders and blew away in the wind. "You can't be serious!"
"I am. He'd only slow us down, leave us with less of a chance for survival."
"You can't just leave him here! You can't be that cold! You helped me!"
"And you had more life in you than he does. You woke up and you moved around on your own. We can't drag him behind us. It'd do him more harm than good anyways."
"What'd you know?!" Beast Boy cried, grabbing Cyborg's arm and trying to pull him from the snow. "You're just some jerk that can't stand to see other people happy! I bet that's why you want to kill Astarte! You couldn't stand to see her happy, could you?!"
"Shut up!" he screamed, smacking him across the back of his head and knocking him to the ground. "You have no idea what the hell you're talking about!"
Beast Boy jerked up and took the form of a polar bear, wishing he'd have done so sooner when he noticed the warmth. Heka didn't budge as he roared at him or move at all when he slammed a paw against his side. He stopped and looked a little shocked for a minute before changing back and looking at the ground. He stood there for a few seconds before trying to pull Cyborg out of the snow again. He looked really surprised when Heka reached over and took his hand. He stepped back as he jerked him from the snow with one pull. He laid him back on the ground and crossed his arms.
"So, what's your plan? How are you going to move him if you can't even lift him."
"I'll just have to be something that can." he whispered before changing.
Heka watched silently as he grabbed Cyborg with his large gorilla's hands and threw him over his shoulder. He turned and walked back into the flurry of snow, Beast Boy following close behind. He didn't know where the others were and he didn't want to have to be the only one to blame if Cyborg didn't make it. He didn't think he could handle that guilt. So his only choice at the moment seemed to be to follow Heka no matter how much he detested him.
They pushed through the thick snow for hours and Beast Boy was starting to wish he hadn't dropped Heka's cloak. The gorilla wasn't exactly indeginous to Alaska and this place was definently the equal of Alaska. He had hoped the snowfall would decrease a little atleast but it was relentless. His head and shoulders were covered in it and he wished he could shield himself like Heka.
He was very relieved when they managed to glance a building through all the snow and Heka picked up the pace. He started running and left Beast Boy behind as he headed for the warmth of the miracle building. As they got closer more buildings appeared but instead of speeding up again Heka slowed down and suddenly stopped. Beast Boy stopped beside him and set Cyborg down before changing back into himself.
"D-dude, what's with the red light?" he demanded, wrapping his arms around himself. "That's a v-village if you didn't notice."
"Yeah." he whispered. "I noticed."
"So?! What's the problem?!"
"We'll find another one." he commanded, turning right. "Let's go around so no one sees us."
"What?! I'm sure someone here'll let us in! Come on!"
"I'd sooner freeze to death than stay here again!" he cried, continuing into the blizzard.
"Again?" Beast Boy queried, curiousity getting the best of him. "You've been here before?"
"Yes." he whispered. "And I swore I'd never come back. I can't believe she sent me here!"
He clenched his fists tightly and shook with rage. BB stepped back as black energy surrounded him and blew the snow away from his feet.
"She better still be Neith when I get back there so I can enjoy ripping her apart! I can't believe that bitch sent me home!"
"Home?!"
"That's why we're going around. I'm not staying here." he sighed, relaxing.
"I don't care what you do but I've got a friend to worry about! If you know someone who'll take us in just point me in their direction."
Heka turned and glared at him as he returned to the form of a gorilla and tossed Cyborg over his shoulder again. Neither moved for a moment until Heka sighed in defeat. He walked over to Beast Boy and stared up at him hatefully.
"I need you to get back to Astarte." he stated. "They'll be looking for you and that's how I'll find them. That's the only reason I'm going to put up with this."
Beast Boy snorted as he followed him down the barely visible path and into the heart of the village. He saw people close their curtains and heard clicks as doors were locked. He wasn't surprised. The sight of a gorilla carrying a half mechanical man was probably quite frightening. Heka made a grunting sound as he stopped in front of a small house.
"It's not you they fear." he whispered, knocking. "It's me."
He watched as the curtains parted and a small face peeked out at them. It could have been his imagination or the gorilla eyes he had at the moment but the little face seemed to be blue. Heka smiled at what was obviously a little girl and nodded. She shouted something loudly and the door flew open. A tall woman with long black hair and light blue skin stared in shock. There were two small horns protruding from her forehead and the teeth in her mouth were jagged and yellow. Yet somehow she was still very attractive.
"Heka." she whispered, barely audible. "Heka...."
Heka stiffened as the woman threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his neck eagerly. She sobbed into his shoulder but he didn't return the embrace. While the woman hadn't noticed Beast Boy, the little girl had. She giggled as she stared up at him with light blue eyes and braided pigtails. He smiled slightly and waved at her. She hid behind the woman's simple, brown dress shyly. This caught her attention and she looked over at him.
"Who is this?"
"Beast Boy and Cyborg. The other one needs help. That's why I'm here."
Beast Boy looked surprised as he shoved by her roughly and sauntered into the house. Beast Boy followed timidly and the woman shut the door behind them, watching sadly as Cyborg was placed on a small bed in the corner. The house only had one room that was divided into a kitchen and a bedroom. As soon as he had put Cyborg down he resumed his original form. This got a gasp from the little girl.
"Heh. Don't worry. I'm not gonna hurt you or anything."
"You can change your form." the woman whispered in shock. "That's amazing."
"It's nothing, really." he laughed, pulling the covers over Cyborg. "That's why they call me Beast Boy."
"Beast Boy, I am Sarvati." she whispered, bowing slightly. "And this is my daughter Ahurani. I see you know my son Heka already."
"Your son?!"
He turned to stare at Heka in shock and noticed that his skin had become the same shade of blue as his mother's. Slightly larger horns sprouted from his head and his pupils were suddenly slitted like a cat's. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and just as he was glaring at him his communicator went off.
"That's me." he explained to Sarvati as he pulled it out. "Yeah?"
"Beast Boy. This is Robin. Where are you?"
"Dude! Where are you?!" he countered. "Cyborg's half dead over here!"
"What?!"
"He'll be fine." Heka growled, walking over. "Where are you?"
"What are you doing with him?!" Robin demanded. "What's he done?!"
"I saved their lives." he stated sharply. "Now where are you?"
"I don't know." he muttered. "It's a desert or something."
"Oh." Sarvati whispered. "He must be on the other hemisphere."
"Huh?"
"Half of this planet is a frozen wasteland." Heka explained. "The other half is a blistering desert. There are no inbetweens for the people who live here."
"How're they gonna get here from that far away?"
"I have an idea." he said, snatching the communicator away completely. "Listen. I'm going to find you with my mind. When you see a shadow similiar to the one you must have been seeing Raven use follow it."
He didn't give him a chance to reply and hung up abruptly. Beast Boy snatched the communicator away and pocketed it. Sarvati put a hand on his shoulder softly and he looked up in suprise.
"You know Raven?"
"Uh...yeah."
"She's such a sweet girl." she replied smiling. "How has she been?"
"Oh, she's fine."
"For now." Heka muttered, levitating cross-legged.
Beast Boy made a face at him once he'd closed his eyes and Ahurani laughed. He winked at her as Heka began to glow black. A shadow shot from his body and flew through the wall. Heka's forehead scrunched up as he concentrated. He flew over miles upon miles of frozen tundra and across the snow-peaked mountains. On the other side the area changed drastically to a ceaseless desert. He knew a long time must have passed already though time didn't seem to exist to him as he was flying over the land. He was focused more on his soul than the senses of his physical body at the moment. Before he knew it he had reached the two Titans and they looked up as he stopped above them. Starfire grabbed Robin under the arms as he flew away and followed him. He didn't look back to make sure they could keep up with his speed but he was sure the Tamaran wouldn't have much of a problem.
As they rose above the mountain Robin began to grow colder. He realized why when he saw the land beyond it. He couldn't believe the sudden change in landscape as he wrapped his cape around his shoulders in a makeshift cloak. It was taking a long time to reach their destination and he wasn't sure he could make it. If they had to stay out in this cold for more than an hour or two he might freeze to death. He grew less suspicious of Heka and began to believe that it was the cold that had harmed Cyborg. He was relieved when after a few hours passed the shadow dived into a small house. Starfire landed and put Robin on his feet before knocking softly.
The door was opened by a tall woman with blue skin and she stood aside so they could enter. Robin was relieved to see that Cyborg was concious atleast and he gave them a thumbs up as he rubbed his neck with a grimace. The shadow had just shot into Heka's body when they entered and he got back to his feet, glaring at Beast Boy.
"Is everyone alright?" Robin asked immediately.
"Sure. Sarvati here fixed me up. She's as good as Raven at this healing stuff."
"Yeah. Everything'd be great if this guy wasn't such a jerk." Beast Boy huffed. "I can't believe this nice lady's his mom."
Robin and Starfire stared at him and then at Sarvati.
"Well, that'd explain the change in skin color." Robin sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Now where are we?"
"My home." Heka grunted. "The name's not important."
"Do you have an idea on how to get back?" he demanded angrily.
"Yes. I can't find Earth from this position but Raven will be looking for you if she survives Neith's attack. Once she reaches out to one of your minds I'll know. Then I can create a portal back."
"In other words, you need us." he said with a smirk.
"And you need me." he added quickly. "Don't forget that."
Robin's smirked faded and Sarvati broke the tension between them by offering to make everyone something warm to eat. Beast Boy entertained Ahurani as Sarvati cooked and Heka just sat down in a chair casually, closing his eyes as he tilted it back. He would need to keep his mind on searching for Raven's. Despite what he had told Beast Boy he was almost certain she would subdue Neith. She'd always been good at that. He'd be prepared when her mind came searching for one of the other's.
After awhile Heka felt a slight emotion from very far away. Sadness and disappointment. He shook it off. It might have been his mother's. He tried to keep his mind on recieving Raven or Astarte but there was a tug on his sleeve. He opened his eyes and let the chair fall back to all four legs as Ahurani stared up at him. She smiled softly and laughed.
"Brother. Come play with the Beast Man and me." she pleaded. "He's really funny."
"Brother isn't fond of the Beast Man." he muttered, closing his eyes again.
Ahurani frowned and her eyes watered up as he ignored her. Beast Boy stuck his tongue out at him again to make her laugh but this time Heka's eyes weren't all the way closed. He snapped them open and glared at him, causing him to jump back about five feet. Ahurani gasped and stepped back as well, never having seen that sort of look on her older brother's face. She hadn't had much time with him before he'd left anyways but he sighed and sat up again.
"Listen Ahurani. I'm just not in a good mood right now, okay?"
"Are you angry at me and Mommy still?"
"That was a long time ago."
"But are you?"
"I was never angry at you Ahurani." he whispered before his voice grew acidic. "Only Mother."
Beast Boy and the others stared at Sarvati's back in sympathy as her shoulders drooped. She turned with a small, sad smile and tried to sound cheerful.
"Well, it's done."
Starfire helped her bring the dishes over to the table and everyone sat down where they could to eat. There were only five chairs so Robin and Starfire had to sit on the bed with their's. The dinner was eerily silent and the only sound was that of the snow beating against the window like rain. Instead of the storm easing up as Heka had said it only got worse. It seemed that the horrible conditions they'd traveled there under was considered good weather here. The silence was making everyone but Heka's family uncomfortable. Beast Boy saw Sarvati and Heka brush hands accidently a few times. Each time they did Heka would immediately draw his away and Sarvati would only let her's sit there for a few moments, staring at it. Robin tried to break the tension by clearing his throat.
"So...Ms. Sarvati. Where's Heka's father?"
"Never met him." Heka snapped.
"You've seen him in visions." Sarvati replied cooly, eyes growing cold.
"Shut up."
"What do you mean by visions?" Starfire asked softly.
"His father isn't dead, he's simply in a realm from which he can not escape. You might call it Hell."
"Hell?" Beast Boy asked, dropping his fork.
"Yes. He's an unspeakable demon."
"And you....had a son with him?" Cyborg asked slowly.
"Yes. He didn't come to me in his true form. In fact, you could say he had never been here at all. He has never left that Hell as far as I know."
"Then....how did he....ya know?" Robin asked, uncomfortably.
"I don't know how he managed it. A spell of some sort I suppose. I'm not really comfortable speaking of the actual event."
Just about everyone in the room sighed in relief at this and Beast Boy went back to eating the strange but oddly tasty food on his plate. It looked like something Starfire would cook up but definently tasted a lot better. Heka was sitting at the head of the table, tilting his chair up and down as he ate. He looked like a delinquent punk at a forced family affair though Beast Boy was sure that wasn't a bad analogy. He didn't want the heavy silence to set back in however so he attempted to continue the conversation even though it got him a glare from Heka again.
"So...why'd he want to have a kid if he was trapped in Hell?"
"Did Raven not tell you about him?" she asked, looking around at them in confusion.
They all shook their heads and she opened her mouth to explain but Heka slammed his glass to the table loudly. Everyone looked over at him in shock and Ahurani started tearing up again.
"Shut up Mother."
"Are you ashamed Heka?"
"No. It's none of their business."
"As far as I can tell none of these people are your friends. They're Raven's and Astarte's aren't they? As such they deserve to know."
"No they don't! You speak so much as another word and I'll-"
"Strike me down with your mighty powers?!" she shouted, standing as she slammed her hands on the table. "Rip me of my very soul?! Show me you really are your father's son?!"
"Shut up! Dammit, shut the hell up!"
Heka's hands shook as he gripped the table and Beast Boy was afraid he was going to send everyone's food flying against the wall. He glared into her eyes and she just stared right back until he stood suddenly. Robin stood as well, afraid he was going to hurt her, but he just knocked his bowl from the table with a crash and stormed out. Sarvati's whole body shook as she sat back down and she put her face in her hands with a choked sob. Starfire stood and walked over to place a hand on her back softly. She wiped at her tears and apologized for interrupting their meal. She went back to her own but Beast Boy drew her attention by shifting in his chair.
"Um...what does Heka's father have to do with Raven and Astarte?"
"Oh." she said with a smile. "I'm sorry. You really do deserve to know."
"So what was his name?" Cyborg asked.
"Trigon." she whispered. "His true name is Trigon. He sired two children before my Heka with two different women."
"I don't like where this is going." Beast Boy whispered to Cyborg.
"Their names were Raven and Astarte."
"I knew I wasn't going to like where that was going." he muttered, ears down. "Why is he trying to kill his sister?"
"Because she will bear his son."
Everyone dropped their forks and stared at her in shock. She looked confused again and put her fork down as well. Beast Boy looked so shocked she was afraid he would faint.
"You...did not know she and Heka were engaged?"
"No!" Beast Boy shouted. "And we didn't know they were brother and sister either! No offense Sarvati but that's just gross!"
"Beast Boy." Robin reprimends.
"What? It is."
Sarvati sighed and put her hands in her lap with a sad look. She instructed Ahurani to go out and bring Heka back in before the storm got too bad and she did as she was told. Sarvati took a sip from her cup before speaking again.
"Trigon fathered Astarte first. It was his attempt at creating a method for escape from his hell. She couldn't control the powers he gave her however so he abandoned her. And then he fathered a daughter that could control the powers he'd passed on. Raven."
"So...why did he have another kid?"
"It seems even a creature such as Trigon can feel guilt now and then. Heka is his apology to Astarte." she whispered. "I was instructed to take my son to the temple where this girl resided and give him to her. He was born to marry Astarte. That was the purpose of my son's birth. I didn't think that was quite so bad a situation at first. They got along so well. They never went anywhere without one another but one day...they both just disappeared. After that things were stolen. Priceless things that were so well gaurded it would take someone with their powers to get them. I had no doubt at the time. It was them."
"Then, Heka's influence is what made Astarte a theif?" Starfire asked gently.
"I suppose. Astarte's not the kind of girl to just go around taking things. Atleast she wasn't before. But Heka...he's never been.....very good at obeying authority."
"Or at being a good person period." Beast Boy muttered.
"Oh, Beast Boy. Do not judge my son by his actions." she whispered, gripping her dress tightly. "He really is a very good boy. He just....doesn't like for people to know. He's determined to make me ashamed of him. He hates me so much that he doesn't want me to love him anymore. I suppose it makes him feel guilty to know that I still do."
 
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Heka stomped through the snow with his hands shoved in his pockets, scowling at the utter whiteness of the world around him. It was too white and pure for his taste and this cold was killing him. It was hard to believe he was born adapted to this tempature now. He sighed and let his anger be washed away by the clean night air. He had long since forgotten why he hated his mother so much but he didn't really need a reason anymore. Maybe he never had. Maybe he was just angry at her for bringing him into this god forsaken world. He seemed to always be angry at everything. Ever since he was a child. The only time he could remember being truly happy was when he was with Astarte in Azarath. He could be who he wanted with her and he wished they could always remain together. He still couldn't imagine doing what he knew he needed to do. He stopped and clenched his fist tightly, shaking in the snow and wishing things could return to the way they once were.
"Brother!" a childish voice cried through the sound of the wind. "Brother, come home!"
"Ahurani....." he whispered, looking up.
He had to find her and get her back inside or she could get sick. His mother must have sent her to retrieve him. He felt his anger towards her rise again. He knew it wasn't out of love and concern for his sister's health. He knew and would admit that he looked for reasons to hate her. He didn't care to know why or ponder the reason behind it. It was just there and always had been.
He sighed as he turned around and headed back in the direction of the village. Ahurani continued to call for him loudly and he considered answering but it was easier just to follow the sound of her voice. He was too tired and emotionally stressed to search for her any other way.
As he was concentrating on her growing voice it suddenly let out a shrill scream. He gasped and took off as fast as he could, sending snow flying away from his legs like waves. He slid to a stop as he saw a large figure through the flurry of snowflakes. He was leaning over the body of a tall, slender woman who resembled his mother to a frightening degree. She was dressed a small brown dress that was more like a shirt, just barely covering her backside.
"Brother!" she cried in a deep, feminine voice.
"Ahurani...?"
"Heka." the man whispered, turning to look. "I didn't know you were back in town."
"Ogdoad, get away from my sister." he whispered menacingly.
"But she just hit her growth period. She needs....tending to." he whispered, running a hand up the length of her thigh.
Heka growled and dark energy surrounded him, sending Ogdoad flying away from Ahurani. He offered her his hand and pulled her to her feet. She immediately clung to him as Ogdoad stood and brushed the snow from his pants. He was much larger than Heka and always had been. His hair was the same blue as his skin and he only had one unusually long horn, having lost the other in a fight.
"Go home Ahurani." he whispered, pushing her away softly. "Hurry up."
"I'll tell the Beast Man to come help." she replied, turning back towards home but Heka grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
"On second thought." he spit, eyes focused on Ogdoad. "Stay right here."
She nodded slightly and stepped back as he headed for Ogdoad's lumbering form. He laughed as they approached one another. Heka just bared his teeth and growled, eyes glowing dark red. Energy surrounded his hands in preperation.
"Still have to use those magic tricks to beat me, Heka?" he asked smugly. "I don't blame you. A scrawny kid like you couldn't take me on his own."
"I've been training." he whispered in a raspy voice. "You'd be surprised at just how much stronger I've become."
The energy around his hands evaporated and he shot forward suddenly. His foot made direct contact with Ogdoad's chest despite his attempts to evade. He hit the snow and slid a few feet but jumped back up immediately. He ran at him and tried to sweep Heka's feet from under him. Heka jumped into the air and kicked him in the face, sending him back to the ground. He sat up and grabbed his nose in pain, blood seeping through his fingers. He looked up as Heka loomed over him and tried to punch him in the stomach. Unfortunately for him Heka just grabbed his wrist and bent it back. He could hear the bones crack as they snapped and Ogdoad cried out in pain, begging for forgiveness and mercy. A demonic grins spread over Heka's face and he snapped it completely in half so that it hung from Ogdoad's arm limply. Ahurani gasped at the cruelity but Heka paid no attention to her. He reached down and grabbed Ogdoad's horn, snapping that off as well. Though it didn't cause him any pain it would injure his pride. He kicked him in the face again and knocked him to his back once more. He stepped over him and smirked down at his terrified and painfilled face.
"Heka, please." he begged. "I was only joking. I wasn't going to do anything, I promise."
"It seems I was away far too long. You've forgotten to fear me Ogdoad." he commented cooly. "Perhaps I should remind you why everyone else had the sense to stay inside tonight."
He slammed his boot into his face again, sending blooding splattering across the snow and into his hair. Ahurani flinched at his screams and shook as she fell to her knees. She'd never seen her brother this way before. He frightened her.
"Perhaps I should decapitate you." he whispered, squatting to stare into his disfigured face. "Put your head on a pike by the road as a warning to everyone else."
"No!" Ahurani cried, tears spilling from her eyes.
Heka's eyes returned to normal as they shot over to her shivering figure. She was covered in snow, ice sticking to her legs and hair. The tears falling across her face were freezing on her cheeks. He looked down at Ogdoad and sighed as he stood.
"Sorry, Ahurani." he whispered in his normal voice. "I didn't mean to get carried away. Let's get you home before you freeze to death."
She shrunk away from him as he tried to take her hand and he turned his eyes away. She followed close by as they made their way home but was careful not to touch him. He could feel her eyes burning holes in his neck as she stared up at him. He jerked as she reached out and wrapped her fingers around his hand softly. He returned the gesture with a small smile.
"You aren't afraid of me?"
"No." she replied, leaning close to him. "You were just protecting me."
"I really didn't mean to go that far."
"I know."
They walked slowly up to the front door and Heka hesitated slightly before pushing it open. Everyone looked up at them as they came in, curiousity running over the faces of the Titans as they spotted Ahurani. He growled in the back of his throat as he noticed the change in Beast Boy's stare as he noticed her lack of proper clothing.
"Ahurani!" Sarvati cried, hugging her close. "You had your growth period!"
"Yeah. I'm big now." she said with a laugh. "I'm almost as tall as you, Mommy."
"Ahurani?" Beast Boy asked, blushing. "But-"
"Something I didn't inherit from this side of my heritage." Heka commented, sitting down at the head of the table again. "She's fifteen. The size you first saw was her ten year stage of childhood. Now she'll go through ten years of this stage, learning all she needs to know as an adult. At 20 she'll pass through her final stage and stay that way until she dies."
"Dude, that's weird."
"I agree with you on that one. It's strange to see her hit this after seeing her in the body of a five year old for about as long as I've known her."
"Let me get you a dress." Sarvati whispered, pushing her braid over her shoulder.
The ends were much longer and brushed her lower back as she waited for Sarvati to rummage around in the closet. All the boys turned as she was cut out of her old dress and changed. Afterwards she and Sarvati, along with Starfire did the dishes. Heka watched them as he tilted his chair up and down once more. He stared at his mother's back in particular, eyes clouding up with tears. He blinked them back and set his chair down on all fours once again. He suddenly got this very strange feeling the back of his mind. At first he thought it might be Raven or Astarte but he didn't feel it again so he settled back into his seat, hoping one of them would find them soon.
 
------
 
Astarte stepped out of the shower and rubbed her once again purple hair dry before changing back into the clothes Neith had stolen. She threw her cape around them as well and sighed. They were far more comfortable than Raven's tight leotard and she didn't see any harm in it. If they hadn't hindered Neith during battle she should be fine. Raven watched her as she walked into the living room and she knew she was anxious to have her friends back. She had just been so tired and after knowing her body had been killing innocent people all night she felt like she needed a bath. Besides, Raven had needed to get the glass out of her back and bathe as well. She sat down in front of her and floated as she did. She wasn't sure where to begin. She hadn't the slightest clue of how or where she had sent the Titans and Heka. She didn't even know where to start. Raven waited and when she did nothing she clenched her knees.
"Don't tell me you don't know how to find them at all!"
"...Well, I suppose I could search for Heka's energy since I'm familiar with it and see if I can't find him. The others are probably where he is."
"No! You are not bringing him back here." she whispered.
"But Raven-!"
"Don't be stupid Astarte! He's trying to kill you!"
"But maybe there's some kind of misunder-"
"He wants you dead! Can't you understand that?! I won't let you bring him back here!"
"I love him!" she shouted in reply, tears falling from her eyes.
"And you're wrong to! He's our brother!"
"I don't care!" she sobbed, wiping at her eyes. "I don't. I love him. He's only my brother because of Trigon's blood. I don't think that should count."
"It does." Raven hissed. "He's related to us by blood and it's wrong."
"I didn't know he was until after I fell in love with him. It's not my fault." she whispered, wrapping her arms around herself and avoiding Raven's glare.
"Than it's my fault." she replied, coldly. "I should have told you. And I would have if I'd known why they brought him there."
"You...knew?"
"Yes. Just like I knew you were my sister. It wasn't hard to figure out."
"He isn't bad. You know that Raven." she whispered, clenching the end of her cape in her hand. "He doesn't want to hurt anyone."
"He wants to kill you."
She looked back up into her eyes and sighed heavily. The cape fell from her hand and brushed the floor gently as she turned her eyes to the window beside them. The sun was shining brightly outside and casting their shadows across the floor. The silence that set in was a thick one and Astarte could feel it pressing down on her mind. She closed her eyes after awhile and turned her face back towards Raven's. She raised her hands, palms outward and Raven touched her fingers to her's gently before pressing their hands together.
"Concentrate."
"Kay."
"We'll search together."
"Okay."
"Don't look for Heka."
"I'm going to."
"Don't."
"I am."
"Fine."
Their monotoned conversation faded into silence as they both focused their minds on the task at hand. They left their physical bodies far behind as they searched the universe for any sign of their friends. Astarte searched frantically, desperate to be the frist to spot Heka. The stars and planets passed her by as she searched their surfaces for any signs of the one she loved. She was tempted to draw her hands away from Raven's and search alone but she knew the only reason she could go as fast as she was going now was thanks to Raven's help. She gasped inwardly as she touched the familiar mind she was looking for. She withdrew immediately however and hovered around it as she tried to think of a way to communicate with him without Raven finding out. She could sense that everyone was there with him and no one seemed to be injured. She agonized over what to do for a few moments then made contact with Heka as descreetly as she could.
Astarte? he gasped.
Hello Heka.
You're alright.
Were you worried?
Yes.
Raven saved me.
He was silent for a moment and Astarte could imagine him sitting in his old home, tilting back and forth in his chair the way he had the first time she'd met his mother. The last time she'd met her. She searched for words to ask the questions racing through her mind but couldn't seem to find them. Heka must have noticed because he gave her the answers anyways.
I'm sorry I have to do this to you. he started softly. I don't want to. I still love you.
I love you too.
I had a vision, the last night we were together. If that baby is born we'll all be dead. I'd rather take your life and my own now to save everyone else.
What happened in the vision?
When he turned thirteen our son killed you and ate your heart. I watched him as he massacred and destroyed. It felt like years passed but he never grew older. I saw Neith in his eyes as he killed. It was the same look she gives me.
If that's your excuse I'm not buying it. Astarte's not even pregnent. Raven cut in suddenly.
Raven.... Astarte whispered softly.
You are, aren't you? she gasped, almost pulling her hands away. You've been hiding it from me!
I had to Raven, you wouldn't have understood.
Raven's body shifted in the effort to resist pulling away from her. She knew that if she did it would send her flying back to her body but she didn't want to do that to her. The least she could do was let her talk to him while she tried to figure out how to get them back.
I'm bringing your friends back Raven. he stated, shaking her from her thoughts.
You aren't coming back here.
I have a fix on your location. You won't be able to stop me.
She gasped and pulled away from Astarte, opening her eyes quickly. She hoped she had acted fast enough but she doubted it. Astarte looked up at her as she got to her feet and walked over to the window. She stared down into the water far below, her head bowed. Astarte stood as well and put a hand on her shoulder softly. She could tell that Raven wanted to cry out of sheer frustration but she wouldn't allow herself to. She kept her emotions under control as usual and stepped away from her touch.
"I'm closing that portal when he tries to step through."
"But Raven-!"
"No buts! He's not going to kill you."
"Maybe I should die." she muttered sadly. "If that's what's going to happen-"
"You don't have to die!" she snapped. "It's the child that's going to kill those people. If you just get rid of him-"
"No!" she shouted. "If he has to die then I'll die too!"
"That's senseless, Astarte!"
Before Astarte could reply the air in front of them shimmered black. They both jumped back as a portal was formed in the window. Raven's hands glowed black as she awaited Heka's entrence but Beast Boy was the first to stumble through. Before he could pick himself up off the floor Cyborg fell on him. He glared at him as he stood but smiled when he saw Raven and Astarte.
"Hey! You're alright! And not psycho." he added with a grin.
"Did I hurt you Mr. Beast Boy?" she asked softly. "While I was Neith?"
"Nah, not really."
"She knocked your ass out!" Cyborg exclaimed.
"Shut up!"
"Where's Robin and Starfire?" Raven asked calmly.
"Still back there with Sarvati and Ahurani."
"Ahurani?" Astarte asked, happily. "How is she?"
"She's cool. She got this growth thingy earlier though. One minute she's five, the next - BAM! She's fifteen. It was weird."
"What about Heka?" Raven continued.
"Oh, that jerk." he sighed. "He's saying goodbye to his Mom I guess."
"Why is it taking them so long?"
"I dunno. I got through there as fast as I could."
Raven stared into the darkness of the portal in anticipation and left her hands spread out towards in. She had to be prepared to close the portal the minute Robin and Starfire crossed over. She couldn't allow Heka to get through.