Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ Raven's Gift ( Chapter 26 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
OOC: Man, if I ever write in italics again, it will be too soon! Anyway, I put a lot of work into this, so please, let me know what you think! You guys are awesome, hope to hear from you!
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and are owned by DC Comics.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 26: Raven's Gift
Robin—Dick Grayson: Arrogant former circus star, acrobat extraordinaire and hopeful ladies man.
Wonder Girl—Donna Troy: Adopted sister of Wonder Woman, bestowed with the powers of the Amazons.
Speed—Wally West: Chosen by the Speed Force to be the fastest teen alive!
Cyborg—Victor Stone: Half flesh, half machine—all human.
Beast Boy—Garfield Logan: Goofy, insecure animal shapeshifter and former member of the Doom Patrol.
Starfire—Princess Koriand'r: Pure-hearted alien powerhouse.
Omen—Lilith Clay: Telepath and precognitive searching for her parents.
This is the true story of seven teenaged superheroes, picked to live in a house, fight crime together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when heroes stop being polite, and start being real. The Real World: Titans Tower.
***A FEW MOMENTS AGO***
***OFF THE AIR—WITHIN THE SPEED FORCE***
This place makes no sense. There's no horizon, no ground, nothing but swirling lights giving me a headache. But if I close my eyes and ignore all that, something feels…right, as much as I hate to admit it. Like this is where I belonged all along.
I suppose that would make some sense—it's not like I've ever fit in anywhere else.
But still, to feel more at home in the Speed Force of all places? That's discouraging.
My name is Wally West.
Once, I was a monster, made up of nothing but this place's energy, and angry as hell about it.
But now? Now I just might be the fastest man alive!
Not that that'll do me any good if I can't get outta here—but I don't feel trapped, like Uncle Barry said he did when he came here. Yeah, it feels like the Speed Force wants me, but like it wants me to do something!
Barry once said something about this, about some theory he'd heard that the Speed Force chose who it granted power to. I brushed him off, but now I think that maybe he's right. It sure would explain why I got my super-speed back despite getting my body back too!
Man, but if that's true, then it means when Barry tried to save me from that bolt of lightning, it really was his fault that I lost my body! God, I should be furious, but…but, I've already wasted too much time hating him. I'm sick of it!
Hell, the only reason I even joined the Teen Titans was to trash him on TV and try to tell everybody what a jerk he was, when the only jerk around was me. Not just Barry, but everybody who ever tried to help me I put down and ignored, treated like dirt. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself.
It's pretty scary, actually, the way I acted. Did losing my body change my personality, change something important about me, or was it really just that I couldn't handle it?
God, I hope it's the first. It's pathetic to think I fold this badly under pressure.
No point dwelling in the past, though. I've got my body back, my sanity back, my family back, and apparently my powers back too!
Of course, by the time I realized this I'd beaten up some jerk at school, managing to turn the entire freaking place against me! Man, to tell the truth, I don't know if I even wanna go back to that hellhole.
All I wanted to be was normal! Go to school, get a job, have a girlfriend, get married, have a family…but why? Was it just because I couldn't at the time? Or was it Mom and Dad driving their stupid agenda into my brain over and over like pounding a nail into a wall?
The more I think about it, the more I remember a time when my only dream was to become a super-hero. I just wanted to get outta Blue Valley and have adventures and save lives…where did it all go so wrong? When Mom and Dad finally broke my spirit and convinced me that there was no such thing as dreams? Or when my dream came true and I didn't even realize it?
Seriously though, what was I thinking?! High school?! After being in the Titans, going back to high school was like leaving college to…go back to high school…
Okay, piss-poor analogy, but you get my point.
Of course, even if the Titans would take me back—and I'm not saying I'm gonna rejoin, mind you—there's still the matter of Raven.
Lord, that bitch makes my blood boil! No matter how warped my thinking was, I know she was never nothing but bad news! I never want to see her again!
Yet, scarily enough…I think a part of me still loves her…
Even if that love isn't real, even if she forced it on me, it's still there somehow, dammit. What am I supposed to do?!
There I go again. Good ol' “Waffling Wally”! I never know what to do!
But I tell you one thing: I spent my entire time in that stupid tower going back and forth and never making up my mind, and it did nothing but drive everybody, me included, up a wall! I'm gonna make a choice, and I'm gonna stick to it!
So I focus on that tower, and finally this place starts to make sense! Everything around me downshifts, and despite the fact that I never stopped running, only now can I feel something beneath my feet.
Good-bye, Speed Force—Hello, Earth!
Lightning flashes around me like I'm that stupid DeLorian from that one time travel movie. For a second I fall onto one knee, gasping for breath. Before running was effortless, but now that I have a body, this all takes some work!
It feels like an eternity as I wait to get my breath back, but I know it's only been a few seconds—time works differently when I'm using my super speed, though I think this is the first time I've ever really noticed it. I open my eyes, not knowing what to expect, or where the Speed Force decided to spit me out, but—
What—what happened to Earth? Is this even Earth at all?! The ground, the buildings…are nothing but stone. I run like hell until I reach a lake—which is nothing but a pool of lava!
Is this Hell?! Or is it something even worse? My stomach churns, and somehow I know there's more than meets the eye to all of this. As much as I'm in the dark, something feels frustratingly familiar about this whole mess.
I don't know why, but it pisses me off.
Suddenly I spy the Eiffel Tower in the distance. So I'm in France? Then is this only happening here—some forgotten Commie Tech gone wrong or something? Or does it have nothing to do with anything?!
I never thought I'd say this, but thank God I have super speed! Sonic booms explode behind me as I break the sound barrier, hitting the Atlantic Ocean before I could even begin to get my bearings.
Of course, the ocean's nothing but a sea of lava now, but by the time I realized how dangerous that was, I was already half-way across! My feet hit the magma at super speed—I'm moving so fast there isn't even time for it to burn me.
By the time I hit the beach I'm already focused on my destination—but suddenly I have to shift attention to actually watching where I'm going! Damn, running now is a lot different from before, and it's not just the actual exercise involved.
Before I was nothing but a phantom. I was barely even running—I could just shoot through anything in my way like a beam of light or something. But now I have to keep my eyes open, swerve past cars, dodge people—if there's even a point to it anymore. Everybody's statues now—are they even alive anymore? Is it even possible to turn them back?
Fortunately, I don't have time to dwell on it—Keystone's already coming into view! If anybody could survive this, Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris could! They'll know what's going on—they have to!
But then I see him…the Flash, my Uncle Barry, a statue like all the others…frozen in mid-stride. God, look at his face—he was trying to stop this. And next to him, Bart too.
Good Lord, if the Flash and Impulse weren't fast enough to stop this, what can I do?!
Suddenly I remember a trick of Uncle Barry's from back when we fought. I take off towards their house, vibrating my molecules, hoping like hell this works—cause if it doesn't, I'll be running face-first into a stone wall!
I'll still never understand exactly how that little trick works, and I bet any of my teachers' heads would explode trying to, but it sure as hell does work, as I find out when I manage to vibrate my molecules through the wall and straight into Aunt Iris's living room!
I don't know what I was expecting to find. That Aunt Iris had somehow survived when nobody else had? I know it doesn't make any sense, but I just wanted to find her alive in there! But no, dammit, no! She's a statue too!
My stomach only hurts worse, and it takes everything I have not to throw up all over the floor. Maybe I'm just delirious, going into shock, hell, maybe I'm just losing my goddamn mind—again—but only one word keeps coming into my mind.
I really am going crazy. Everything's going to Hell and all I can think of is Raven?! Dammit, am I ever gonna get that bitch outta my head?! But…no. The more I think about it, the more I realize…this isn't like before. It's like I can just feel it…
This feels like Raven!
In a flash I vibrate through the wall and back into the street. There's only one place left to go: Titans Tower!
They're probably statues too, I tell myself. If Uncle Barry couldn't survive, there's no way the Titans could have. But maybe…maybe I'm tired of putting them down. God, I can't believing I'm saying this, but I sure hope the other Titans made it! They could be our last hope!
It's ironic. It's frustrating as Hell. I finally start to get my head on straight, finally start to figure out just what I'm supposed to do, and now the entire world might just be gone!
This isn't the first time I've thought the world was out to get me, but I think it's the first time where I might just be proven right.
But despite it all, something about this…something actually feels kinda good. I might just be the last guy alive on Earth. I'm gonna find the guy who did this, and I'm gonna make him pay. Maybe I'll win…maybe I'll die.
Either way, I'll finally be a hero.
Suddenly lightning explodes around me again, the Speed Force nearly engulfing me. God, it must like the idea of me dying a hero! Figures. For a split second, it feels like my body is fading away, but that's just me being paranoid again.
Instead, it seems like the Speed Force…gave me a costume!
A costume of pure energy, covering my entire body, nothing but bright yellow. Jeez, just because I'm Speed again doesn't mean I need to look like a monster again too. So I concentrate, and, believe it or not, the suit follows my commands.
About time somebody listened to me.
The ends of the sleeves split into gloves, changing colors. My pants change colors, a belt and boots split off, and a red lighting bolt sparks across my chest. Energy shatters as eye and mouth holes form on my face. I even throw in those stupid, nerdy wingtip things on the side of my head, just for the hell of it.
After all, if the Flash is really dead, then I have to carry on his legacy somehow.
But still, something's not right. It only takes me a second to figure out. Surprising even myself, I smile as the suit again shatters, losing the energy that was covering the top of my head and letting my hair show through the top of the cowl.
If he manages to survive, Bart's gonna complain that I stole his style, but I don't care. I went too long without a body to look like a monster again!
Suddenly I see the tower, and…and…
Good lord, I was never a monster. Not compared to that thing! The thing's massive, red, horned, his eyes glowing like the freaking sun…
But just as I'm about to give up hope, I see them. Dick, Kory, Vic, Donna, Gar…they're alive? They're alive!
But where's Raven?
Don't tell me…god, why did I have to be right? Why now?
I knew Raven was a bitch. I knew she was cold, but…I never thought she would destroy the world! It hits like a punch in the gut, cause like I said…somewhere deep inside, I still love that girl. I swear, she's gonna drive me insane one day.
That's only if we survive, though, and suddenly, those odds don't look so good! The monster is firing a massive beam from his eyes, heading straight for the Titans—and suddenly I'm doing Mach 5 and counting.
I can't let the Titans die! They're the world's only hope! And, well…hell, I can't believe I'm gonna admit this…but they're my friends. Maybe the only ones I have.
So one by one I scoop them up, moving them out of the range of the monster's attack. Even with my speed, I only escape by a hair's width. Whoever this guy is, his strength is off the scale! He makes Blood look like Dr. Light!
But I turn around to face him anyway.
My name's Wally West.
For the moment, I'm the fastest man alive.
And now, my friends and I are all that stand between this monster and the end of the Earth as we know it. Those are bad odds, I know, but I'm tired of complaining, and tired of running away.
I'm gonna take this guy down…or die trying!
*** ON THE AIR—TITANS ISLAND. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA***
The Earth shook and nearly collapsed in on itself as Trigon's attack speared it, impaling the planet like a toothpick through an olive. The six remaining Teen Titans—the only surviving members of the Earth's population—were in the beam's sights, and should have been reduced to nothingness.
Instead, thanks to the sudden unexpected appearance of an old friend, they were fine, scattered only a few feet from the massive, smoking crater!
“Wally?!” exclaimed Koriand'r. “Is that really you?!”
Lightning sparked from the glowing yellow and red costume wore by the super-fast redhead. Smoke poured from the trail left in his wake. Finally looking up, the teen surprised his former teammates—he smiled!
“Sure is,” replied Wally West as he gave his friends a thumbs-up. “But, at least for today…I'm Speed again!”
"Wonderful!" Immediately Starfire was latched around the speedster's body, greeting him with an enthusiastic hug. "I am so happy to see you!"
Starfire: "Finally! After all the horrible things that have happened to us today, the return of a friend was just what I needed!"
"Dude," marveled Gar Logan, "Nice threads!" Patting his teammate on the back, the changeling was startled by a spark of static electricity arcing from the living costume. Yelping, he leapt backwards, only to immediately blush.
Beast Boy: "Great, a smart aleck costume. Just what I needed."
However, Victor Stone—while certainly happy to see the return of his friend—had more urgent questions. "Wally?! But I thought you lost your powers?! And how did you survive the petrification wave?!"
Wally sighed. "It's...it's a long story..."
Speed: "If you want to know the truth, I don't think my powers ever really went away. I think...I think I just thought they went away because I wanted them to so badly!"
Still, the speedster had questions of his own. "Petrification wave? Is that what happened here?! Just what exactly is going on here?! And where's Raven?!"
The Titans didn't know how to answer that. "Man, you think your story is long..." was all Cyborg could manage to answer.
"There's no time to share stories!" exclaimed Lilith as she dashed into the center of the group, moving as quickly as she could in stiletto heels. "So allow me to fill you in!"
"And who's she?!" added Wally angrily, growing frustrated at the abundance of unexplained events.
Keeping silent, Lilith Clay closed her eyes, and suddenly a vision of events was thrust into the mind's eyes of the six Teen Titans. Wally West's day in school and his subsequent trip to the Speed Force played out in the eyes of his friends, but the speedster himself saw a much bleaker story as the death of Terra and the betrayals of Mr. Jupiter and Raven unfolded inside his mind.
It took only a moment for Lilith, a telepath, to connect the Titans' minds and share their stories, and by the time that moment ended Wally had fallen to his knees.
"Good Lord!" he cried, trembling, his eyes wide in shock. "R-R...Raven?! She—she did this?!"
Wonder Girl: "That's right, I forgot that Wally was in love with her...even if he doesn't want to be, and even if he can't stand her, Hera, this must have come as a bigger blow to him than to any of us!"
Speed: "Something in my gut told me Raven was involved in this, but I didn't wanna believe it. Even when I got here, even when I saw she wasn't with the others, I didn't think it would be this bad! She—she was never on our side?! And now she's dead?! God, this just keeps getting worse..."
"Insignificant insects." The Earth shook and the deep, booming voice of Trigon the Terrible grabbed the attention of the Teen Titans — as it well should have. "My daughter's actions are irrelevant. She was never on your side. She never existed as anything but a portal allowing me to again step from dimension to dimension. She was a portal, not a person."
Seething, Speed crawled to his feet, gnashing his teeth and cursing under his breath. "Bastard."
Starfire wasn't so restrained.
"You are a monster!" cried the alien princess at the top of her lungs as she let loose with a massive Starbolt. The beam of green energy soared from her hands and detonated on Trigon's chest like a megaton bomb, but, unsurprisingly, the massive monster didn't flinch.
"Do you not understand how useless your resistance is?" Trigon's eyes began to light up crimson. "I am Trigon the Terrible, the source of all darkness, and nothing can stand up to my might. Whole worlds, whole universes crumble before me. What chance do you children think you have?"
"What the f--- is wrong with you?!"
Dick Grayson, the acrobat known as Robin, stood defiantly, squaring off eye-to-eye with the destroyer of worlds.
Beast Boy: “Did he…did he just call out Trigon?! Man…that would be so cool if it weren't so stupid!”
“Seriously, what is your deal?! What point is there in destroying the world?!”
Robin: “I mean, sure, he's a forty foot tall red guy with horns and hooves, but that doesn't mean he has to destroy the world! S---, he could be the strongest hero alive if he wanted!”
Trigon wasn't amused, and the lethal power growing in his eyes started to build, his face shining like the sun. “Your foolish mortal logic does not apply to me. I am the source of all darkness. I exist to bring everything to ruin. Creation only exists so that I can destroy it. It is the natural order of things.”
“Oh.” Dick's ego deflated like a popped balloon.
Robin: “I guess it was pretty f---ing stupid to think I could change his mind, but hell, I had to give it a shot! I didn't know he took it so personally!”
“This planet will soon collapse, and I will move on, until every speck of this universe has been annihilated. You children are the first to resist me since the Monks of Azarath. Unlike those fools, you will not survive. You must be punished for impeding my progress.
Suddenly the Teen Titans found themselves in a room of bright white. Standing in a circle, the thin form of Lilith Clay stood between them, linking their minds.
`I am a telepath, and I hate to say it, but my powers aren't going to be able to do a thing against Trigon! All I can do…is connect our minds. I'm creating a telepathic link between us, so we can strategize without that monster overhearing us!
`I'm sorry, but it's all I can do!'
Donna smiled. `That's plenty, Lilith! This'll be a huge help!'
`So how are we gonna take this guy down?!' thought Cyborg, grimacing. `Even at full power I don't think we could scratch this guy! We need some sorta strategy!'
`We are still on Titans Island!' realized Koriand'r. `I can fly, but I do not think that Trigon can! Perhaps we can knock him into the lava that surrounds us!'
`Now that sounds like a plan!' thought Robin with a smile. `Let's do this, guys!'
The psychic summit took only a second, and immediately Speed was off, a yellow streak scattering the Titans. Trigon ignored their efforts, the blast he had been readying finally peaking in pure destructive power.
Suddenly, Starfire and Wonder Girl came soaring towards his face. Flying at an even pace, they left a huge gap between the two of them. In Donna's left hand and Kory's right, each held a firm grip on the adopted Amazon's magical lasso.
Wonder Girl: “My lasso may not have all the abilities my sister's does, but it's still an artifact of the Gods! I pray it has the strength to hold up against Trigon!”
Flying past his head, the mystical rope latched into the monster's neck and snapped his head backwards—his attack was immediately released, but sent flying into the air. Although the Titans were spared, it still took its toll. The planet shook from the sheer recoil, and Trigon's hooves dug far into the island, nearly driving it under the lava ocean that surrounded it.
Robin, Cyborg and Lilith were left on the island, and they weren't liking that!
Robin: “S---, the others better act fast! If this doesn't work, we're f---ed!”
The hatches on Victor Stone's shoulders and head lit up fluorescent blue as he thrust his arms to the side, erecting a dome of solidified blue energy that surrounded much of the island, holding the gushing magma at bay.
`C'mon guys!' he screamed over the telepathic link. `I ain't got the energy to keep this up!'
`Onmyway!' Wally West circled the planet, building up momentum, with Garfield Logan, the changeling known as Beast Boy, slung over his shoulder. “Hang on tight, Gar!” cried the speedster as he ran even faster. “Almost there!”
In reply, the boy's normally green face simply turned white.
Beast Boy: “Great, the only thing worse than being lugged around at super speed is being nauseous at super speed. The last thing we need is for me to throw up at Mach 7!”
“Now!” Coming up behind Trigon, Speed hurled his passenger with all his might, straight towards the back of the monster's knee. Spinning like a well pitched fastball, Beast Boy grew into an ankylosaurous, his spine-covered armor still spiraling as he grew even closer to Trigon.
Wally again circled the planet, picking up even more speed. In less than a split-second he was back to the spot where he had launched Beast Boy, and this time he leapt, skipping off the lava and into the air. Crouching, he grabbed into his legs and took the fetal position, becoming a human cannonball aimed straight for the back of Trigon's other knee!
Speed: “Okay, this is either the best plan ever, or just plain suicide! It better be the first!”
Both targets hit their mark, knocking the massive monster even further off balance.
"All right! My turn!" cried Vic Stone, letting down his shield for a second, then placing his hands on the ground and unleashing an even louder cry. His shield now formed flat beneath Trigon's hooves, like the floor, and the half-robot thrusted his arms into the air, making his shield follow suit!
"C'mon, dammit! Fall!"
Cyborg: "That little trick pretty much did in my energy shield. With all the abuse it took today, I'm surprised it lasted this long to begin with—what with protecting me from my explodin' lab and from Jupiter's mooks and topplin' a forty foot tall monster an' all!
"Now I just gotta make sure I save enough juice to keep me goin'!"
"Tiiiiimbeeer!" cried Dick Grayson happily as his friends waited with baited breath for Trigon to fall.
And fall he did.
The evil being didn't even try to stop his fall or move his arms to regain his balance—he fell like a freshly cut tree.
Beast Boy: "Woah, we actually did it! Insane! An' here I thought we were just wastin' time!"
Unfortunately for the Titans, Trigon had more up his sleeve than any of them could even begin to comprehend. Just as he was about to hit the sea, the behemoth suddenly moved with inhuman speed and tucked his body, somersaulting and landing on his feet—in the lake of lava!
As the rest of the Titans returned to their island, magma splashed into the air like a geyser from Trigon's landing. The liquid rock trickled down the monster like sweat. Obviously, he wasn't affected by it in the least.
"This world has been remade in the image of Trigon the Terrible," he announced in his booming bass. "And nothing in Trigon's world can be used against him."
Beast Boy: "Crap! Why do I always celebrate too soon?!"
Trigon raised one of his arms, lava dripping from it into the pool beneath him, and suddenly the fiery lake shone. A split second later it seemed to explode as its contents erupted into the sky, splitting until it blocked out the horizon.
The lava had been converted into hundreds, maybe even thousands, of tiny fiery monsters, Flamelings. Each one several feet tall, they had eyes as black and soulless as coal—floating together, they filled the sky like a plague.
"Go forth, my minions," commanded Trigon. "Destroy."
The army of Flamelings swarmed forward, advancing like a tornado across the Midwest plains, chattering so loudly they were practically deafening.
'Great!' thought Gar Logan sarcastically over the telepathic link. 'What're we supposed to do now?!'
'We fight, what else?!' replied Starfire without a moment's hesitation.
Quickly, Donna chimed in. 'If nothing else, at least, with the lake of lava gone, we have a lot more land to fight on! That definitely ups our odds!'
'And those grunts're nothin'!' added Dick casually. 'The more fodder a guy has, the s---tier they are, we all know that!'
Cyborg was sweating bullets. 'It's not the grunts I'm worried 'bout, it's Trigon! The guy can stand around in a pool of lava and not even sweat! None of our attacks have the power to handle him!'
'I hate to admit it, but they've got a point!' added a stressed Speed. 'What can we possibly do?!'
'Fight, of course!' announced Robin enthusiastically. 'We've barely even begun to give that monster hell! Even if we can't win, either we just f---ing give up and let him kill us, or we go out fightin'! I know which one I'm doin'!'
Beast Boy took the form of a massive green bear and started charging for the swarm. 'He's right!' he added. 'I swore I wasn't gonna give up, so that's what I'm gonna do!'
Cyborg: "Wow, I dunno what happened to give Gar such a backbone, but I'm sure glad he's bein' so brave! It makes me feel better knowin' everybody else is willing to put so much into this!"
Speed: "I don't know what's more surprising here, Gar or Dick. When I left, wasn't Dick flaking out left and right? When did he become Mr. Inspirational Speaker?!"
Beast Boy: "Wow, I could get used to this mind-link stuff! Now I can say stuff even as an animal!'
Using the telepathic link, the Titans were able to converse much more quickly than they could out loud, but still, the massive throng of fiery creatures was descending upon them like a plague, and they weren't slowing down.
'Okay guys, here's the plan!' announced Robin, again taking the lead. 'Trigon doesn't f--- around and play by rules, we know that! Take out just enough grunts to get past `em, and send the rest my way! These guys are more my speed! The rest of you need to focus on gettin' through and attackin' Trigon, cause he sure as hell ain't gonna sit around while we fight his kids all f---ing day!'
"My pleasure!" screamed Princess Koriand'r as she exploded into the sky at top speed, immersing herself in the solar energy of her Starbolts and tearing through the crowd of enemies like a green streak.
Starfire: "All day Dick has been amazing me! He is certainly not the same boy who was ignoring everybody and being dark and mean, but he is also not the same cocky boy he was when we first met!
"He is growing into a brave man, one I am proud to know! And, if he keeps this up, one I will be proud to once again call my 'boyfriend'!"
Robin: "I'm the only guy on this team without powers, but that doesn't bother me anymore. S---, it's smart to know my limits. There's nothing I can do against Trigon 'cept egg my friends on, but these s---ty goons?! I'm gonna tear them the f--- apart!"
Still, despite all of Dick's boundless confidence—whether justified or not—Trigon's minions weren't letting him get off easy—they weren't letting any of the Titans get off easy! Flames overtook Starfire, finally forcing her to slam the breaks on her assault, if only for a second.
It was more than enough time for Trigon. He didn't even waste his breath as he silently sent a beam of unparalleled malicious energy blazing towards the Tamaranian powerhouse. Her eyes grew wide as the crimson beam blocked out the blood-red sky, but suddenly she felt an impact in her stomach.
Donna Troy flew into her teammate at top speed, sending her shoulder into her gut, pushing both of them out of the path of the lethal attack. Koriand'r's eyes grew wide in horror as she watched several dozen Flamelings annihilated in the assault.
Her anger blazing out of control, the alien powerhouse threw her arms forward and unleashed a rapid fire, machine-gun-like volley of Starbolts. “Monster!” she cried as the potent blasts bounced off Trigon's chest like water balloons. “How can you destroy your own servants?!”
“Easily,” replied Trigon nonchalantly as he fired another blast, separating the two girls. “Their existence holds no meaning. No existence holds any meaning.”
Wonder Girl: “Poor Kory! She's so sweet, she just can't comprehend monsters like Trigon! Hera, I barely can myself! He's no run of the mill sociopath, that's for sure—he's not even a Deathstroke-level sociopath!
“He reminds me more of the Greek Gods of myth I spent my childhood learning about on Themyscara! Many are selfish and callous and care nothing of those supposedely `below' them—and I'm trying not to think of how much that reminds me of how I used to be, because I don't think I can stomach that right now!
“But Trigon's even worse! He doesn't care about anything or anyone, not even himself! And his power, it's unfathomable! I…I've stood before Zeus and the Greek Pantheon, but, Hera forgive me, Trigon's still the closest thing to a God I've ever met!”
As Trigon continued his attack unabated, his distractions continued to run interference with the other Titans. A patch of the Flamelings broke off and swarmed to the ground below, each breathing flames, sending a shower of fire falling towards the boys!
Pulling his staff from his belt, Robin span it like a fan above his head, deflecting as much fire as he could. Meanwhile, the swarm pulled down low, ready to launch another attack.
He never gave them the chance. Stretching one leg and spinning down low, he tossed a handful of blue disks. Exploding in a blinding flash of icy hue, a wall of thick ice formed between the Titan and the Flamelings. Of course, it took only a second for the fiery beings to melt their way through, but by then it was too late.
Robin leapt through the steamy haze of the melting ice, lashing out with his staff in all directions. Monsters were shattered, hacked into pieces left and right, as Dick followed up with a handful of disks—this time of the explosive variety, blowing their targets into embers.
Robin: "S---, this would be a lot more fun if these guys talked, or even if they could just hear my trash talk! I thought I gave up this silent act!"
However, not everybody present was quite as prepared to defend themselves from the sudden onslaught. Lilith Clay staggered backwards as an offshoot of the swarm headed in her direction.
Omen: "Its times like this I wish my powers were more offensive! I mean, a judo chop isn't going to cut it now! And these monsters, they're, they're just a hivemind! They only do what Trigon commands! I can't manipulate their thoughts if they don't have any!
"And Trigon...I can't even bring myself to try to get into his head! Just him standing there sends enough psychic feedback to give me a constant headache!
"Still, I might have one more trick up my sleeve..."
Lilith stood her ground, tumbling past a plume of fire until nearly the entire swarm surrounded her. Throwing her arms into the air, she had one thing to say:
The air around the telepath shimmered and span, creating a vortex that sucked the monsters into its center. Across the now empty bay, in the now-stone-city itself, Lilith appeared in another whirlpool of air, but back where she started at, the targeted Flamelings were destroyed in the quickly fading portal.
Omen: "I've...I've always just known that I wasn't able to teleport anybody else with me, but I've never tested it out before, for obvious reasons! Okay, now I know that teleporting others makes them explode! It was a risky venture, but it worked!
"Finally, I was beginning to think everything I did today was going to fail..."
However, Omen's thoughts were quickly overtaken by something completely different. 'Wait,' she thought, 'I'm only able to teleport to a mind I'm familiar with. Why was I brought into the city? None of the Titans are here!'
That was when she finally noticed the faint mental signatures coming from nearby. They weren't the vibrant thoughts of somebody alive, or even the fractured thoughts of one dreaming, but more of a low hum, like the mind was still functioning, but actually devoid of thought altogether.
Lilith finally pinpointed the location of the strange thought waves—though she needn't have looked far, since they were coming from a strange body lying at her feet! Lilith gasped as she recognized the corpse: a pale girl in a blue cloak, with a gem on her forehead, four eyes and long, jet black hair.
"Oh my god!" exclaimed Lilith Clay. "Raven!"
Meanwhile, back at bay, the Teen Titans had no idea of the news of their departed teammate. They were too busy fighting for their lives!
Somersaulting over another row of monsters, Dick Grayson lashed out with several razor-tipped Redbird boomerangs, which took out just as many targets in the sky. As those minions were shredded to ribbons, behind them exploded a dazzling green display of Starbolts, flying in all directions like fireworks!
The action was just as intense on the ground, as Gar Logan, in the shape of a green boar, butted fiery monster after fiery monster out of his path. A wall of them stopped in his path, but before they could barbeque the animal, he grew into a bear and sliced them into confetti with his razor sharp claws.
Beast Boy: "I'm with Dick on this one—I like fighting these goons a lot more than ol' four eyes over there! These guys may burn my claws, but at least they can't wipe me out just by lookin' at me! Seriously, what am I supposed to do against Trigon?! Even my T-Rex form is like an ant to the guy!"
Still, the tiny green changeling didn't hold back, knowing he owed it to the others to give it everything he had. Following through with his attacks, his paws reached the ground and suddenly he was a chimpanzee, doing a hand-stand—immediately he sprang into the air, somersaulting, and using the height advantage to turn into an eagle and get even higher into the sky.
Below him the flaming freaks followed, but it was just what the boy wanted. Suddenly he gained several tons as he expanded into the blue whale, falling and crushing his foes beneath his massive layer of blubber. Not to be deterred, more mindless drones flew in from above, but were suddenly tangled up in the many tentacles of a giant, green squid!
Beast Boy: "Gah, it's hot, hot, hot! Sea animals, okay, bad idea! I thought I'd be resistant to water, but they're only drying me out! That's the last time I take fightin' advice from Pokemon!"
Still, Gar kept the Flamelings in his grip just long enough to spin and toss them every which way. Using his momentum he slapped himself above a plume of flame, then grew into the beforementioned Tyrannosaurus Rex, landing with a massive thud and turning his opponents into the proverbial bubble gum on the sole of his proverbial shoe.
Meanwhile, Cyborg had propelled himself as far into the air as was possible for him with a combination of his massive leg strength and the boosters on the soles of his robotic feet. "Come'n get it, punks!" he screamed as he started his descent, pulling his arms behind his back as the right changed shape, readying his Sonic Cannon, and in their mindless stupor, the fiery monsters foolishly followed behind.
As he hit the ground with enough force to shatter steel he threw down his arms and released a massive shock wave. Exploding around him, it reduced all the fodder stupid enough to get within forty feet of him into nothing but ash.
Cyborg: "That's it, Vic, hit 'em hard and hit 'em fast! With my shield gone, I can't give 'em a chance to hit me!"
Of course, fodder being fodder for a reason, the shrieking creatures didn't even let the smoke clear as they swooped down low and charged the half-robot. Vic smirked as concussive cannons emerged around his body and fired a vicious volley of powerful shots, followed immediately by the joints on his shoulder unhinging and unleashing a pack of missiles!
Explosions filled the air as the Titan's attacks hit home, but somewhere along the line, several of the Flamelings caught on. A missile locked onto each of them, and they let it follow them until they strafed out of its path at the last second, leaving the projectiles to spin out aimlessly until finally finding a new target: Trigon the Terrible!
Victor's eyes nearly popped out of his head as he saw the missiles harmlessly detonate against the red behemoth, and could barely swallow the lump in his throat as the monster halted his assault on the girls and instead turned his way.
"You will be the first to die," announced Trigon, launching another massive beam of energy from his eyes without a moment's hesitation.
There was no time to even move—Vic only had one hope. 'Wally!'
The speedster to whom he called, however, had his mind on only one thing—slaying monsters! Moving several times faster than the speed of sound, Wally West was barely even a yellow blur as he tore through the teeming crowd of Flamelings, blowing them to bits with ultra-fast punches before they even knew he was there!
Smirking, Speed slowed down just enough to allow a good chunk of the crowd to take his tail. As soon as he was satisfied that they would follow his every move, he abruptly changed directions, heading for the city, and the sloping wall that was once its shoreline!
Speed: "Okay, I've got down running and making suits and even that vibrating business—time to retry another old trick! Let's see how those creeps handle super-speed!"
Wally's Speed Force suit lit up as the Titan strained, lending speed to each and every one of the burning monsters that were hot on his tail—and gaining! Wally felt himself starting to lag as he grew close to the shore, and that fact nearly caused him to panic—not only did he speed his opponents up, but he was slowing down!
Speed: "Okay, that would've been good to know before I tried this little stunt—if I lend somebody speed, I'm giving them my speed now! Great, Speed Force, screw me over when I need your help the most. I'm really gonna be pushing it now!"
Indeed pushing with everything he had left, Wally banked hard and fell, landing on his stomach and sliding away at Mach 2. Fortunately, it was still just what he needed—he'd gotten out of the path of his opponents! The swarm, now unable to control the prodigious speed they'd been granted, flew straight into the shore, snuffing themselves out one by one!
Dazed, it took a second for Speed to pull his head back together, and in that second he finally heard it.
Cyborg's voice sounded in the speedster's head, and with his quickened reactions, he spotted his robotic teammate almost instantly, and just as quickly he was on his feet, racing against time with everything he had!
Speed: "Great, I'm still not completely used to running in this body! My thoughts are sped up like the rest of me, but if I'm gonna hear anybody calling me, I've gotta focus more! That's tough, though, when there's a million thoughts running through my head every second!"
A supernatural force all its own, Trigon's beam moved at a speed that made even Wally sweat a little. In one clean sweep he grabbed Cyborg and pulled him to safety, just making it out of the attack's radius by a hair's width—he could still feel the heat of the beam across his back! The teen slowed for a second, trying to catch his breath.
"Sorry for the last second save," he said with a chuckle, trying to reassure himself as much as his passenger.
Unfortunately, Vic certainly wasn't feeling relieved. "We're not outta the woods yet!" he exclaimed, pointing ahead of them.
Indeed, Trigon was undeterred by their escape and had merely shifted his attention to the nearby Beast Boy. "One by one you shall fall," he prophesied in his booming bass. "No matter how many times you escape, you will only be delaying the inevitable."
The Earth shook as he launched another beam, not even giving Garfield time to react. Surrounded by Flamelings, still in mid-attack, Gar felt heat and heard a deafening roar and looked up just in time to see the attack ready to snuff out his life.
"Crap!" was all he had time to squeak out.
Crimson energy tore into the Earth for the third time in a row, and the planet lurched like somebody had tried to knock it out of the sky. Garfield Logan opened his eyes to find himself being dragged by the collar of his costume by Wally, who was circling behind Trigon and far away from the site of the last two strikes.
"Man, Wally," exclaimed the changeling, "I know who today's MVP is!"
As he stared at the seeping holes in the ground, though, Vic didn't look quite so pleased.
Cyborg: "Trigon's attacks are tearing through the Earth like it's a tissue! Dodgin' those blasts may help us, but Earth's gonna implode into itself if this keeps up! Damn! We don't have time to play 'round with defense like this!"
Suddenly the three Titans were on the other side of Trigon, hoping to catch him off guard even for a split second. 'Get ready!' announced Wally over the telepathic link. 'I'm gonna try to steal his speed! When he stops moving, hit him with everything you've got!'
Again Speed's costume started to glow as the boy vibrated, sucking in a copious amount of golden energy from the massive crimson monster.
Speed: “Lord, this isn't as easy as it was when I didn't have my body, but if it gets this monster to hold still, it'll sure be easier than running!”
; However, not everybody was as enamored with Wally's plan as the speedster himself was. `Uh, Wally?' prodded Cyborg, `I dunno if this is the best strategy, man!'
&n bsp; `Yeah!' piped in Beast Boy. `We're sittin' ducks here!' he proclaimed as he literally shrunk into a duck, and then sat down.
; `Guys, I can handle this!' reassured Speed. `If he can't move then he definitely can't hit us!'
; But on the other side of the now-empty bay, Dick Grayson had to disagree. Spinning, he chopped an entire row of Flamelings in half with his staff, then shot a flare gun into the air, attracting more of the devilish monstrosities to him—and away from his teammates.
; Then he heard Speed's voice in his head, and immediately his heart started racing. `Wally, no!' he cried in a psychic panic. `You're our ace in the f---in' hole! Don't stop runnin'! Don't let Trigon see you!'
&n bsp; `I said I have this under control!' snapped Wally.
; “You channel the Speed Force.” Wally West's jaw practically dropped to the ground as Trigon—despite having his speed sapped by the young Titan—turned to face his attacker head-on. “Fascinating, if futile. This Speed Force has no control over my movements.
; “Yet you have inspired me as to what dimension I shall destroy after I am finished with yours,” said the monster as his signature attack again leapt from his four freakish eyes. “Let that thought comfort you in your last few moments of life.”
; “Get us outta here!” cried Gar as the now familiar sight of imminent death approached.
; Beast Boy: “I mean, I'd do it myself, but no way a cheetah's gonna be able to outrun that, not even on steroids!”
; “You don't have to tell me twice!” replied Wally as he grabbed hold of his two teammates and hightailed it outta there as fast as the Speed Force would take him!
; In response Trigon merely raised one leg, then stomped it back to the ground, shaking the entire planet beneath him. “Running,” growled the monster. “I am tired of it.” In the spot where his foot met the earth, a massive fissure cracked the ground, stretching into a deep chasm far too long for Speed to even jump across!
; Unfortunately, he didn't have time to turn either, and he was careening right towards the deadly gap! Even as he dug his feet into the ground, trying his best to swerve into a curve, time was running out—and then it was simply too late, as Speed, Beast Boy and Cyborg went hurtling into the miniature Grand Canyon!
Their screams echoed into the dark abyss, and all seemed lost—until one of the Titans came to a grand revelation.
Beast Boy: "Wait a second! I can fly!"
So without delay the tiny changeling transformed into the prehistoric pterodactyl, his claw clamped down on Wally's forearm like a vice. 'Don't let go!' he cried as he flapped his wings frantically, desperately trying to gain altitude.
"Wouldn't dream of it!" was the speedster's sarcastic reply.
Unfortunately, despite his noble intents, Gar simply couldn't fly high enough. 'I'm not used to carrying two people!' he realized. 'You guys gotta do something to give me a boost here, or something! You're too heavy!'
"No, I'm too heavy," answered Victor Stone somberly. He knew what he had to do.
'Wait, Vic, what—'
"Better one of us die than all of us," said the half-robot as he let go. Suddenly Gar and Wally snapped into the air, screaming for their friend, as the metallic Titan plummeted further into the depths.
Cyborg: "I try to be idealistic, but I think I just gotta face it, ain't no way we're all making it out of this alive. It's the end of the world, after all! An' after all Gar an' Wally've been through, I can't let them be the ones to make that sacrifice!"
However, it seemed Vic's friends were willing to risk everything to make sure his sacrifice needn't happen! "No!" cried a high pitched voice as an orange and red streak zoomed through the air and towards the half-robot. "No one shall die today!"
Suddenly Victor Stone was swept up in the strong arms of Starfire, who soared out of the canyon and back into the bleak landscape effortlessly.
"Damn," smiled Cyborg, "I've never been this happy to see you before!"
Cyborg: "And I've seen her topless, so that's sayin' something!
"....Uh-oh. I hope Sarah don't see this..."
"I am glad to see you as well," said Koriand'r as she rocketed into the sky and past another of Trigon's merciless blasts. "Please, do not try anything so reckless again!"
Starfire: "There has been too much death and destruction today already! I will do everything in my power to make sure we see no more!"
Across the bay, Robin span, karate chopping straight through one of the Flamelings and sending a grappling hook into another. Pressing a button, the line retracted and pulled the fiery monster close, as well as every one of his brethren in his path! With a vicious scream, the acrobat leapt and destroyed the entangled creatures with a well placed roundhouse kick!
Robin: "Okay, that was a better move—I gotta take down as many of these f---ers as I can at a time! I'm almost out of weapons!"
However, the Titan had many other matters on his mind as well. 'S---, Wally,' he complained over the telepathic connection, 'I told you to be careful! You can't do anything if you just attack the guy! We need you for motherf---ing defense!'
Letting go of Beast Boy's talon as they rose past the edge of the chasm, he hit the ground running, becoming a super-fast, super-angry yellow streak. 'So you're saying I can't attack this guy?! That I'm too weak?! What gives you the right?!'
Dick ignored the latter part of that question. 'You're not weak, dude! You just don't have any way to hurt Trigon. S--- man, I don't either! But you heard Gar—you're the motherf---in' VIP, man! We'd be dead if you weren't watchin' our backs! We need you outta Trigon's sight and savin' our asses!'
Wally's eyes widened in surprise.
Speed: "Wow, he's really thought this through! And he's right...I really have saved their lives today. Over and over! And they noticed! I guess I have more to offer this team than I ever realized..."
High above the action, Donna Troy span, lashing out with her electrified lasso and with powerful Amazonian martial art strikes, tearing through the angry mobs of Flamelings like butter. While her mind was focused on the battle, she couldn't help but overhear Dick and Wally's conversation.
Wonder Girl: "A few days ago I would have been furious at the way Dick has taken command of the battle—largely because it would have undermined me as leader! But honestly...I'm tired of leading the team. It's never been something I've enjoyed. I did it because I thought I was the only one qualified, and because I thought it would make me look good, but it's been one of the hardest things I've ever done! Dick's a little rough around the edges, but he's doing a better job than I ever did!"
Flanking her from each side, two Flamelings span and whipped at the adopted Amazon with long fiery tentacles, but she easily intercepted the attacks with her unbreakable bracelets. Dead ahead several more of the monsters let loose with a powerful blast of burning breath, but she crossed her arms and again blocked with her shield-like jewelry.
Wonder Girl smiled as she stopped resisting, letting the attack push her towards the city. Using the momentum as a spring, she shot backwards and, putting both arms ahead of her and gritting her teeth, plowed straight through a building!
A red, blue and gold blur, Donna shot around the building with blinding speed, tying the severed half tightly in the magical cords of her lasso. Grunting, she began to spin, swirling the demolished brownstone around her like a massive, makeshift ball and chain!
Wonder Girl: "I hate to destroy private property like this, but if we lose, it's not like anybody will know anyway! And if we win, well...I just hope the JLA or the Themyscarian embassy will help me reimburse these guys!"
Flamelings were shattered left and right, dying with blood curdling screams, not even able to get close to the super-strong Titan because of the powerful long-range weapon! She span through the sky like a massive propeller, and as the last of the Flamelings withered around her, she sounded a mighty warrior's cry and swung the building straight into Trigon's chest!
Four stories of brick and concrete collided with the indomitable wall of red, burning flesh, crushing into pulp yet causing absolutely no damage to the target. Trigon frowned, all four eyes arching.
"Your resistance is growing old," he groaned as he set his sights on Donna—only seconds before she was incinerated, Starfire shot across the sky like a comet and pulled her teammate out of harm's path!
"I guess we are now even," surmised the Tamaranian with a smile and a slight chuckle.
"I think, with it being the end of the world and everything, we don't need to keep track that sort of stuff." Still, blushing, Donna continued, "But thanks!"
And immediately she shifted her thoughts to a more serious subject, sending out a call over the telepathic link. 'Okay guys, I just threw a building at Trigon and he didn't even flinch!'
'You threw a building?' marveled Gar. 'Crowning moment of awesome, Donna! Seriously!'
'Thanks, Gar…I guess—but Trigon sure didn't think so,' lamented the adopted Amazon. 'We need teamwork! We need to hit him with everything we have, and keep him distracted so he can't fight back! Attacking him one by one isn't working!'
Cyborg smiled. 'Teamwork? I think we can do that. Right, Gar?"
Instantly a pterodactyl dove from the sky, clamping his razor-sharp talons onto the metal-man's shoulders and lifting him into the air. 'Yeah!' cheerfully replied the changeling. 'Sure can!'
Beast Boy: "See? No problem carrying Vic when it's just him!"
Dick Grayson frowned as he drove his foot through the chest of a Flameling. His frustrated expression didn't ease up as he looked to the sky and saw close to two hundred of the fiery little devils still swarming the area. It was only a fraction of the original count, but it was still far too many for comfort, especially with Trigon upping the ante!
`I can do teamwork too!' he announced as he reached for his belt. `Wally, I need you to round up the rest of these f---ers and lead `em to me! Kory, wait five seconds then get me the hell outta here!'
With complete faith in his teammates, Robin pulled what looked like a small grenade from the back of his utility belt and, pressing a button, tossed it high above his head.
Robin: “I've been holding onto this little guy for a seriously long time—with the whole `no killin'' thing, wasn't much use for it, but now, hell, these fiery s---heads won't know what hit `em!”
Thanks to his knack for theatrics and drawing attention, most of the Flamelings had already flocked to the agile acrobat, but the few that hadn't now found themselves at the Titan's mercy, dragged to his side in the slipstream of his super-fast teammate!
Reaching the apex of its throw, the grenade seemed to freeze in mid-air for only an instant before falling back to Earth. On its side, a timer slowly counted down.
Dick clenched his teeth, determined that his teammate would come through, no matter what personal problems lay between them—and his faith was rewarded as Starfire suddenly soared above him, grabbing firmly onto his wrist and pulling him from his weapon's path.
Arcing into the air, leaving a trail of fire behind her, they barely cleared the blast radius before the bomb blew, annihilating the remaining Flamelings with one blast that truly deserved the over-hyped adjective, “epic.”
“What was that?!” gasped Starfire, her eyes growing wide.
“The only useful thing Jupiter ever gave any of us,” growled Robin, eying the carnage for only a moment before pointing forward. “Now c'mon! We still got a giant red monster's ass to kick!”
As Wally zoomed across the bottom of the bay, distracting Trigon with a constant barrage of rocks but never stopping long enough to become a target, a green Pterodactyl soared above the massive monster's head, dragging below him a being half-man, half-machine!
`Thanks Gar!' thought Victor Stone as he let go, falling toward his opponent's head, all the while readying his Sonic Cannon. His right arm folded back into his signature weapon, while he steadied it with his left, aiming squarely for the monster's ear. `Now it's my turn to do some damage!'
A blast of sound so potently high it was nearly inaudible exploded from the machine man's arm, roaring into Trigon's ear and eliciting a scream from the—until now—invulnerable juggernaut!
Cyborg: “I knew it! The guy can't be completely unstoppable! He's got weak points like anyone else!”
Gliding to the other side of Trigon's head, Garfield Logan changed forms, growing and contorting until he had assumed the shape of a chartreuse-hued T-Rex—just about the only animal at his disposal capable of dealing any sort of damage to the behemoth! Falling, he aimed for the side opposite of Cyborg, and sank his sharp—and numerous—teeth right into the monster's ear!
Beast Boy: “Finally! I was just startin' to think there was no way to hurt this freak!”
`Keep it up! Don't let `im fight back!' cheered Dick as his alien chauffer soared straight towards Trigon's face before arcing upwards, letting go of her passenger. Spinning through the air, the acrobat only had a few seconds of freefall to do much of anything.
He span, tossing a flash disc that burst into a blinding flash of light only inches from Trigon's eyes. Staggering backwards the monster screamed and grabbed for his eyes, and spinning again, Dick followed up with a handful of explosive discs, which landed with similar effect.
Before the smoke from the explosions even cleared Trigon's four eyes began to glow red. `Kory, get me outta here!' desperately called the Titan—the golden-skinned alien soared past and pulled him to safety, but she needn't have bothered.
Just as the attack was ready to leap from his eyes, Trigon felt his head pulled backwards, and taken by surprise, actually staggered, nearly losing his balance!
On the ground, Donna Troy dug her heels into the dirt, her lasso tied so tight around both hands that it was leaving burns—she pulled on her mystical rope with all her might, nearly jostling her arms from their sockets. She had tied the weapon into two loops, and managed to toss each one over each of Trigon's antlers! Now she was the only thing keeping him off balance—and vulnerable!
Wonder Girl: “There may not be much we can do to hurt Trigon, but this lasso is endowed with a portion of the power of Zeus himself! If anything can hurt him, my lightning can!”
Electricity sparked down the length of the rope, striking its captive with enough juice to power San Francisco for a month! Even with that massive discharge, however, Trigon seemed nothing more than discomforted. For the adopted Amazon's teammates, though, it was a different story.
`Watch it, Donna!' cried Gar Logan as he released his grip on the monster's ear only seconds before her lightning engulfed it. Falling for a few seconds, he shrank into an eagle and caught a wind current, contemplating just how to attack next.
Beast Boy: “To tell the truth, I wouldn't of been able to hold on much longer anyway! Trigon's hot...ew, not like that, sickos! I mean bitin' into his ear was like bitin' into a pizza right outta the oven, only, like, a zillion times hotter!”
Boosters flared at full power on the bottom of Cyborg's feet as he tried to keep himself aloft as long as possible, laying it on thick with every ounce of sonic power he had. Straining, he suddenly saw Trigon frown—and he knew that wasn't good! Unfortunately, he didn't even have time to react before the monster made his move!
“Enough!” cried Trigon, finally losing his cool. The air around the behemoth erupted and exploded, blowing outwards with so much power that he sank into a crater! Circuits sparked and shattered across Cyborg's mechanical body as he was blown backwards. Beast Boy barely managed to again assume his blue whale shape before hitting the ground with a deafening thud, protected from the brunt of the impact by his layer of thick blubber.
Despite everything, even Donna couldn't keep her grip as she was sent sprawling, far away from her weapon. “My lasso!” she cried, trying desperately to fly to it, but having no luck—Trigon's attack was simply too powerful!
“The lightning of your gods is pathetic,” growled Trigon as he pulled the rope from his horns and tossed it aside like a candy wrapper. “They have no power compared to me.”
Wonder Girl: “Oh, Zeus is not going to be happy when he hears that…”
Hurtling towards the ground like a meteor, Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran only had a few seconds to stop her fall before she was crushed into paste! Throwing her hands behind her, she unleashed a massive blast of green solar energy—while the attack scorched the Earth below her, the recoil was more than sufficient to steady her!
“I am tired of this!” cried the alien as sizzling energy leaked from her expressive eyes. “Maybe I cannot hurt you, but I will no longer hold back!
“I will not quit until I am dead!”
The Starbeam exploded from her eyes, pushing the alien backwards as it sped across Trigon's body, leaving a trail of explosions in its wake. With a scream she took to the air, hurling non-stop, and progressively larger, Starbolts with unmatched intensity.
Frowning, Trigon turned. “That can be arranged.”
Starfire: “The others probably think me a fool, rushing in like this! They have preferred strategy this entire battle, and as a warrior I understand that strategy has its place, but its place in this battle has long past ended! We have proved that Trigon can be hurt, so now its time to hurt him as much as we can!”
Despite the damage to his body, Victor Stone span as he fell, hitting the ground upright, on both feet, already steadying his Sonic Cannon with his free arm. It whirred and hummed as it built up power. Taking a deep breath, the half-robot didn't waste a second as he again leapt into the air, firing his weapon with everything he had!
Cyborg: “Starry's right! It's now or never time! If I don't give this everything I've got, I prolly won't even live to regret it!”
Meanwhile, Dick Grayson still tumbled towards the ground. He tried to spin so his cape could catch the wind and slow his fall, but he was far too disoriented from Trigon's attack to make heads or tails of where he was. He pulled a grappling launcher from his belt, but there was no place to aim at!
Robin: “S---, why did we have to fight at the bottom of the f---ing bay?! There's no place to latch onto! Hell, I've gotta do somethin'! I'm not like the others! If I hit the ground like this, I'm f---ing dead!”
Suddenly, though, Dick felt himself starting to slow down! A stream of golden energy flowed from the acrobat, and by the time he reached the ground he'd slowed so much that the impact barely bruised him.
“Bet you're happy I stopped this time,” laughed Wally West as he zapped to his teammate's side. “So what now, fearless leader?” he asked, with only the slightest hint of sarcasm.
Standing up with a solemn look on his face, Robin unclipped his utility belt and dropped it to the ground.
“From me? Nothin'. I'm all outta weapons!
“We just gotta hope the others can pull this off now!”
“I grow tired of your impudence,” growled Trigon as he was bombarded by Starbolts from one side, and with supercharged sound waves from the other. He stretched his arms, but before he could do anything, a new figure appeared above his head!
Donna Troy reached the apex of her jump before diving, holding in her hands a massive pole, its end sharpened into a point! Screaming, she flipped it in her hands before driving it straight into one of Trigon's eyes!
“That's what you get for taking my lasso!” cried Wonder Girl, allowing herself for one brief second to take pride in the accomplishment!
“Die!” retaliated Trigon, instantly firing a beam from his eyes, destroying the pole and very nearly Donna herself! Of course, dodging even Trigon's deadly fire had started to feel like old hat, and Starfire easily streaked across the sky and pulled Donna to safety.
Starfire: “An easy rescue! How else would Trigon have reacted to such an injury? His predictability gave me plenty of time to react appropriately!”
Snarling savagely, Trigon didn't stop there. He span, swiping at the girls with his massive hands. This time, they only escaped by the skin of their teeth—they didn't know if they could do it again.
Fortunately for them, he wasn't their target anymore. In mid-spin the monster extended his leg, hurling a roundhouse kick straight towards his other assailant, Vic Stone!
“Vic!” Above him, Kory and Donna, in shock, called helplessly—but they had no time to even react.
However, not all the Titans were that slow. A massive sonic boom blew Robin backwards as Wally West exploded into action, racing with all his might towards his robotic teammate.
Speed: “As much as they used to piss me off, I never got a chance to know some of the Titans that well—but Vic, he's one of the good ones! It's him who helped me get my body back! I could never live with myself if I couldn't save him!”
But as he sped forward, the landscape whizzing by, doubts began to enter the speedster's mind.
Speed: “If only he was on the ground! He's in mid-air, and I don't know if I can get to him there! I mean, I know I can jump that high, but I don't know if I can do it on the first try, especially with Trigon's leg in the way! Lord, don't let me fail!”
Wally leapt, shooting into the air like he'd been launched from a catapult, but despite all his efforts, Trigon was just a tad bit faster.
Metal bent and circuits exploded as his foot collided with Victor Stone.
Cyborg: “It's funny…they say your lives s'posed to flash before your eyes before you die, yet all I can see is my friends gettin' massacred by that monster like he's doin' to me!
“I wanted to protect `em! I wanted to beat him! Damn! How could I let this happen?!”
As spare parts fell from his body, Vic was sent blasting off like a rocket. He soared across the bay, with no signs of stopping, until he collided with Titans Tower itself!
The faces of the Titans fell, one by one.
Watching from his vantage point, Dick started to tear up. “Vic…no…”
But it was his best friend, the tiny green changeling known as Beast Boy, who felt the damage the most.
***THE PETRIFIED REMAINS OF SAN FRANCISCO***
The city was practically devoid of life. Transformed by Trigon's petrification wave, its ground, buildings, parks, and, most importantly, its people, had all been turned into stone statues. Its sky above was blood red, with dark lightning crackling across with great intensity.
Only two people in the entire metropolis showed any sign of existing at all—though, with Trigon rampaging through the nearby bay, their chances for survival seemed slim. The first figure lay on the ground, motionless, like a corpse. If she was alive, it was barely.
She was Raven, the empathic daughter of Trigon himself! Once she had been a Teen Titan, though it turned out she was manipulating the entire team, twisting them to her desires in order to release her father from his captivity. She had promised that she would pay the ultimate price for her treachery.
The other was Lilith Clay, a mysterious telepath known as Omen. Several years ago, her precognitive powers first emerged, showing her that her parents were not the ones that birthed her. Filled with questions about her new abilities, she hit the road in search of her birth parents. Along the way, she became entangled in the plot of Mr. Loren Jupiter, corrupt manager of the Teen Titans.
She worked as Jupiter's secretary, hoping her manipulations behind the scenes would help stop the devious director's plans, and maybe even save the world!
Unfortunately, her actions were all for naught, as Jupiter's ace-in-the-hole, Raven herself, undid everything the secretary had ever set into motion.
Now Lilith kneeled on the ground, her hands pressed to Raven's temples. She was desperately searching for any sign of life inside the cynical empath—not because she hoped for Raven's humanity to 'return' as did Starfire, but because she knew that, if Raven had survived, she would be as large of a threat as her father!
Omen: "Raven said she would die when she became the portal for Trigon, and I suppose, in a way, she was telling the truth. Her body is alive, her brain is alive, yeah...but her soul is gone. That dark power of hers, her Soul Self, it's all gone...all her memories, her personality, all gone.
"Which, truthfully, is a good thing, considering how Raven turned out. But I guess I'm a bit disappointed, too. The Titans seemed to see something good inside of her, despite it all. I guess I was hoping, somehow, that maybe they would be right. We could certainly use her help in this battle..."
However, as Lilith pulled her hands away from the fallen Titan's head, suddenly something flashed in her brain. While Omen was a skilled telepath, able to delve nimbly into the minds of others, she was also a precognitive, able to sometimes receive small glimpses of the future.
Now was one of those times—this was one of those visions. A brief window into future events opened in her mind's eye, but in that fleeting glimpse, she saw nothing but a blinding, all consuming wall of white!
'Wait, that tells me nothing!' she thought frantically as the premonition faded away. 'Am I dead in the future?! Do we fail?! What was that?!'
Omen: "I never wanted these powers! I enjoyed my normal life before they showed up! But once I realized I had them, I went searching for my birth parents, hoping they could help me get them under control! If I could control when my visions came and how long they lasted, I could still lead a normal life! I could even use them to help people!
"But then I got caught up with Jupiter, and my search...it got postponed. Even though I stopped so I could help stop Jupiter, I kinda wish I'd kept going now! Maybe if I could control these visions, I'd have some idea of how to stop Trigon!"
Lilith jumped backwards, as if she had been startled, as she abruptly snapped out of her vision. She shook for a second as she climbed to her feet. She didn't know what she had seen—she could only assume death, but it didn't feel like death. It felt...lighter. Promising, almost.
Not knowing what to do with herself, Omen sighed and took a step backwards. Despite the rows of buildings obscuring her vision, she could still see massive beams of red and streaks of lightning erupting from the bay. The battle was still raging, and there was nothing she could do to help!
That's when she felt it—six powerful beacons hailing to her from the site of the climatic final fight. Six points of energy that felt frighteningly familiar!
Focusing her mind, Lilith got to work—but it only took a second to find the source! It was an easy task, because her mind was already linked to them!
In the bay, an invisible beacon of strong power shone from Robin, the acrobat extraordinaire!
From Wonder Girl, the mighty Amazon!
From Speed, the fastest teen alive!
From Cyborg, half man, half machine!
From Beast Boy, the green changeling!
From Starfire, the alien powerhouse!
And as Lilith's mind boggled at what this power was, and why it was coming from the Teen Titans, a vision—of the past, this time—started to replay in her mind. It was a memory from only a brief time ago—but with everything that had happened, it felt like years had passed!
It was only moments before the release of Trigon. Raven had just finished telling the Teen Titans her true motives, her true view on the hopelessness of humankind. Starfire, however, didn't believe a word of it. "So, Koriand'r," asked Raven, "You truly think the humans can rise above their inherent darkness? You truly think they can fight back and prove themselves worthwhile, innocent, pure?"
"I am certain of it!" exclaimed the alien. She didn't need any time to think—she just knew!
"Then…I will give all of you one more chance." The Titans practically fainted as the words left Raven's mouth. "Prove to me that your light shines stronger than your darkness…that you can overcome the evil within you…and you will win."
A radiant smile filled Starfire's face, and she was about to hug her friend—then Raven lashed out, thrusting one arm ahead of her and sending her Soul Self exploding around the alien princess, sending her flying backwards across the sandy shore, flat on her back, unconscious, with dark electricity still sparking across her orange body.
But before they could do anything to stop her, darkness shot from the rest of the Teen Titans as well. One by one they collapsed, until only Lilith Clay was left standing.
Raven spoke on, but Lilith only had one question to ask. “Why didn't you give us a chance? Why did you lie to Starfire?"
"I did not." Raven was resolute in this. She almost seemed offended. "I told Koriand'r that if humanity could overcome the evil within them, they could still win…and I meant it. I was never going to change my actions. The fate of the world now rests in their hands…"
And then Raven released Trigon...
Lilith gasped. Suddenly all the puzzle pieces fit together in her mind, showing her the full picture! She immediately fell back to her knees, gripping Raven's temples with new resolve and closing her eyes, unleashing the full strength of her powerful mind.
Omen: “Raven's promise! Of course! This is all about the promise!”
Despite it all, Lilith smiled. She knew what to do! She knew how to win!
***SAN FRANCISCO BAY—THE TEEN TITANS VS. TRIGON***
&n bsp; Victor Stone hit the ground, surrounded by debris from the petrified tower he had just bounced off of—and from himself as well. A single kick from the dark monster Trigon had done this to him, leaving him in a state of near death—and that's if he was lucky.
; By the time he hit the ground, it seemed like he was instantaneously met by Gar Logan and Wally West. “Vic!” they cried, almost in unison, as they dashed to their friend's side.
; `Calm down, you guys,' said Cyborg over their telepathic link. `I'm alive. I'm barely alive, but that's still alive! I don't think I'm gonna be movin' anytime soon, though.'
&n bsp; `That's better than you never moving again at all!' exclaimed Gar, still in the shape of a cheetah. `Dude, do you realize how scared I was?!”
; Beast Boy: “That's twice today Vic almost bit it! It's enough to give a guy a complex—or in my case, another complex!”
&n bsp; `Well I wouldn't stop worryin' yet,' added Vic with a frown, `Not until Trigon's smashed! I gotta plan, but I'm gonna need you guys to distract `im for a bit!'
; Dust exploded into the air as Wally dashed off. `You got it!'
&n bsp; Speed: “I couldn't stop Vic from getting stomped like that—it feels like it's all my fault! A distraction's the least I can do!”
; Becoming a yellow blur, Speed zig-zagged across the barren battlefield, kicking up dust and gripping every rock he could find. He hurled the stones at Trigon, so fast they ricocheted off the monster like machine-gun fire! They didn't hurt him, of course, but they did what they were supposed to—they took his attention off Cyborg!
; Trigon frowned, and again lifted his leg, just like he did when he split the ground earlier! “For the last time,” he growled, “No running.”
; Suddenly, though, a vicious scream interrupted the monster's attack. Wonder Girl came soaring from below, a massive steel girder from the building she'd destroyed gripped in her hands like a baseball bat. Somersaulting, she smashed the girder into the bottom of Trigon's chin!
; “You'll pay for hurting Vic!” cried the adopted Amazon as she continued her assault.
; “Indeed!” echoed Starfire as she soared towards the crimson monstrosity from the other direction—but before she could attack, she was distracted by a voice sounding in her head!
; `Star! I need you!'
; Koriand'r's eyes grew wide as she recognized the voice.
; “Vic!” she cried, overflowing with happiness as she landed by the half-robot. “I am—”
; `—Too loud,' complained Vic. `Do you want Trigon to notice us again?'
; The alien princess blushed. `I am…sorry.'
; Starfire: “Despite my time on Earth, it is still my instinct, my first reaction, to think with my heart! It is even more difficult to remember to use this odd telepathic link!”
; `S'fine, Starry,' replied Cyborg, `We're all a little tense here. Anyway, I need you! You absorb energy, right?'
&n bsp; `Solar energy,' corrected the Tamaranian, `Yes. Why?'
; Victor was lost in thought for a second before continuing. `Solar energy? Yeah, I can do that, even without some of my parts.' Looking into his teammate's eyes the best he could with his limited motion, his telepathic voice became urgent. `I need you to absorb the rest of my power! It should boost you enough to do some real damage to Trigon!'
&n bsp; `But what about you?!' countered Starfire, concerned. `You need your strength to survive, do you not?!'
&n bsp; `I'll save enough to keep my vital systems runnin',' he reassured her. `I'm outta this fight anyway! It's my duty to give you guys a fightin' chance!'
; Koriand'r took hold of Cyborg's hand in a firm grip. `I will not disappoint you!'
; Suddenly both Titans lit up as Victor Stone transferred his remaining energy—transformed into solar power—into his golden-skinned teammate.
; `Y'okay, Starry?!'
&n bsp; `I will be fine! Do not worry!'
&n bsp; Cyborg: “I'm sure she's right! I've just gotta have faith in her! I've done everything I can…now I gotta leave this in the hands of my friends! I ain't gonna have enough energy to stay conscious, so, let me get this outta the way…
&n bsp; “Good luck, Star.”
; Steam floated from the link between the two Titans as their transfer of energy ended. Standing by his friends, Beast Boy looked at Cyborg solemnly. He knew he wasn't getting up again. Despite everything, he felt alone.
; `Don't let him down, Kory,' begged the changeling.
; “I will not,” stated Koriand'r confidently as she stood with her back straight. Dirt exploded from beneath her as she burst into the air, her speed doubled, leaving a flaming trail behind her. “I will not let Trigon hurt anyone else today!”
; Starfire: “I have never absorbed this much energy before! I feel like I can take on the world! I feel like I am going to explode! I have never felt this agitated, yet this powerful! Trigon will not know what hit him!”
; Speeding past Donna, the alien nearly knocked her Amazon friend out of the sky!
; `Better get outta there, Donna!' called Gar from the ground. `She means business!'
; `You don't have to tell me twice!' she replied as she dropped out of the way.
; Wonder Girl: “Kory's a dear friend, but I still know better than to get in her way when she gets like that! Let's hope Trigon learns the same lesson!”
; “This ends now, Trigon!” announced Starfire at the top of her lungs as she floated at his eye level.
; “Insect,” growled Trigon, “You—”
; “You will murder no one else today, monster!” cried the alien as she nearly exploded! Throwing both arms forward, green energy seemed to erupt from every pore of her body! The recoil sent her flying backwards nearly twelve feet as the vicious Starbolt fireball engulfed Trigon's entire head in its potent, supercharged energy!
; Robin: “Go Kory! That's my girl!”
&n bsp; Starfire: “Whatever Trigon has done to Earth has changed the sky. I can no longer feel the warm power of the sun coming through its atmosphere. Without it, I cannot recharge my energy!
&n bsp; “That means this is my last shot! I will make this count! I have given it everything I have! All my rage, my fear, my love, my happiness, my sadness, my will to live, every last bit of it has gone into this blast! Feel it, Trigon! This is the power of Starfire!”
; The Starburst's unparalleled power overwhelmed the unprepared Trigon, actually forcing him backwards! The attack might have even been able to finish the monster off—if Kory could have kept it up for another hour or two. Instead, however, her stamina started to sap. Even with the added energy Cyborg granted her she quickly began to run out.
; Finally, she'd used the last of it. Starfire had given it everything she had, and with no energy to spare, started to lose consciousness as her body began to fall from the sky.
; Growling, Trigon wiped soot from his smoking face. His four eyebrows arched, his teeth gritted—he was pissed.
; “Trigon will not be defiled like this!” screamed the monster, finally losing his cool as he span into the air, lashing out with his arm and smashing Koriand'r dead-on with his open palm.
; Purple blood spat from the bronze-skinned alien's mouth as her ribs cracked and an arm snapped out of its socket. Not letting up, Trigon drove her into the ground, only compounding the damage. As he lifted his hand, Starfire could barely be seen, most of her body buried under shattered pieces of the stone ground.
; “KORY!” cried Dick Grayson, leaping from his vantage point and running towards his downed love with all his might. He didn't have much time to make it across the battlefield. He'd probably be killed. He didn't seem to care.
; Robin: “S---, this is suicide! I can't believe I'm showin' myself to Trigon like this! But, I guess, there was never any real choice—no way in Hell could I leave Kory out there alone!
&n bsp; “They say love makes ya stupid…but I wouldn't have it any other f---in' way!”
; Trigon's legs stretched as he again stood upright. Never moving his eyes from Starfire, they began to light up a stark shade of crimson.
; “You are broken,” said the monster to his downed opponent. “That is not enough punishment for your crime!”
; The massive, signature death beam leapt from Trigon's eyes, threatening to swallow up both the battered alien and her estranged love in its deadly path! Fortunately for them, though, they had friends on the scene.
; The air snapped and crackled as Wally West blew through, grabbing Robin with one hand and Princess Koriand'r with the other, pulling them out of the blast just in the nick of time!
; “I thought we weren't supposed to show ourselves to him?” asked Speed, half-joking, but Dick didn't even seem to hear him.
; He was too busy shaking Kory, trying to get some response from her. “Kory?! Kory! Please, wake up!”
; The earth shook and buckled beneath Wally's feet as Trigon's attack hit, piercing the planet and nearly tearing it in two! Magma started to bubble beneath the cracking ground, and the speedster had to jump several times as the pavement fractured around him!
; Speed: “God, that was it! We don't have much more time! Earth's gonna fall apart! What chance do we even have anymore?!”
; “Before today, I had never felt pain,” said Trigon as he pivoted on one foot, following Speed's path. “I cannot let this injustice go so lightly!”
; Suddenly, though, Trigon felt his neck constrict! Wonder Girl's magical lasso pulled tight around the monster's windpipe—she had tied it into a noose and was flying high into the sky, trying with every last ounce of strength she could muster to snap his neck!
; Wally skidded to a stop, placing Kory's battered body on the ground. Tears leaking from beneath his mask, Dick dropped to his knees and leaned over her, still crying for her to wake up. As much as it tore at Wally's heart, he still couldn't help but to look up at Donna and smile.
Meanwhile, in the city, Lilith only intensified her efforts. Sensing that their time was drawing short, she tapped into the minds of the Teen Titans, one by one, looking for the familiar energy she had sensed within them.
Omen: “C'mon, Cyborg, Starfire, hold on! I need to take that energy!
“Wow, it's only gotten stronger the more they've fought too…I guess it only makes sense, though. Still, I'm getting ahead of myself. I was telling you about Raven's promise…
“When Trigon's wave covered the planet, it turned every human alive into stone! But I can't sense a thing from them! They're not dead, but their mind isn't active at all!
“But the Titans, that didn't happen to them! When I connected their minds, I saw it! While their bodies were trapped as statues, they were waging a war inside their own heads! They had to fight their dark sides!
“Isn't that what Raven said? That if their light shone brighter than their darkness, that if they overcame the evil within them, they could win?!”
;Even as the telepath gathered her power, though, the battle was still raging! Trigon, nearly hung on Wonder Girl's magical noose, spread his arms to the side, obviously preparing to attack. Donna couldn't let him! Her grip tightened as small sparks of lightning crackled from her lasso—and from the sky around her. Trying her best to sound in control, the adopted Amazon taunted, “You shouldn't have let me get my lasso back, creep!”
; Then she closed her eyes.
; Wonder Girl: “I was raised on Themyscara, protected by the Greek Gods. I've seen their blessings first hand, but when it came to Zeus, there's always been something about him that's put me slightly on edge.
&n bsp; “But my lasso is blessed with his power, and I need his help if I'm to utilize its full strength! He may have little worry for modern man, but the Earth is still the Gods' dominion, and they still have stake in it! Besides—the Gods hate being mocked, and Trigon's done plenty of that!”
; Trigon's hands began to shake, summoning power, but Donna Troy paid it no mind. Instead, she prayed.
; “Zeus, I beseech thee!” Donna screamed her cries into the heavens at the top of her lungs. “As thy humble maidservant, I beseech thee, grant me thy strength! Grant me thy strength to smite this monster that hast blasphemed thy name!”
; Lightning exploded from Donna's lasso, and a single bolt fell from the sky, combining together into a massive pillar of surging electricity that lit up the landscape. Donna could barely hold onto her weapon as she screamed—not even she was safe from her own attack. Still, Trigon was taking the brunt of the damage, his entire body swallowed up by the godlike strike.
; Wonder Girl: “He came through, but the Gods do not take action without a price. Still, to save the world, my life is expendable! I only pray this was enough to do Trigon in!”
; “T-thank you…Zeus…” said Donna, her mind going fuzzy, losing energy from the attack. As her grip weakened, she lost the concentration to even speak to the god in the older dialect. “I'm…sorry…I'm sorry I couldn't…hold out…longer…”
; With that Wonder Girl lost consciousness. Her lasso fell from her hand as she plummeted to the Earth, immediately ending the prodigious electric assault. Trigon coughed and growled, wiping burnt skin from his smoking body and ripping the lasso from his neck.
; Donna hit the ground, her body bouncing before rolling to a stop. Above her, Trigon had taken to the sky, holding his elbow below him as he fell, ready to piledrive the adopted Amazon!
; “Die!” cried the monster in his overwhelmingly deep voice. Gone was his calm demeanor, gone was his elegance. The sheer impudence of the Titans had pushed him too far! This was no longer a matter of wiping out those that did not deserve to live! Now it was a matter of punishing those who dared to hurt Trigon the Terrible!
; Wally's heart fell to his knees! “Donna!” The speedster exploded forward, but despite his speed, Trigon seemed to be growing even faster. His attack landed, cracking the ground beneath the Titan and releasing a shock wave that knocked Speed off his feet, sending him tumbling across the battlefield!
; Speed: “Good Lord, he's getting faster! Has he been holding back all this time?!”
Lilith Clay felt the Earth shake. She didn't even need her powers to know what was going on. She gripped Raven's head even tighter as the corpse began to rise off the ground, both girls' eyes glowing an eerie, nearly blinding shade of white.
Omen: “But defeating their dark sides, it did a lot more than just let the Titans' survive to fight Trigon! Raven promised them that they would win!
“Right after Raven made her promise, she knocked each Titan out with a blast from her Soul Self! I thought she was just being a b---- at the time, but she was actually planting a small part of her Soul Self inside each one of them!
“When they defeated the evil within themselves, they purified this energy! Transforming it from a force of darkness to a weapon of light, its power grew a thousand fold!”
This light, however, wasn't doing the Titans much good at the moment. Donna Troy had been smashed beneath Trigon's elbow—wind from the explosion sent Robin's cape billowing over his head, but the traumatized acrobat paid it no mind. “Please Kory, you've gotta wake up!” beseeched the boy. “You can't die! I haven't told you yet!”
;Starfire's battered body didn't move. Dick bit his lip.
; “Kory, no! You can't die! I love you! I love you, Koriand'r!
; “I know I treated you like s---! I was bein' a f---ing loser! I never should've done it, and I deserved to get dumped! I know it won't make up for it, but I promise, if we survive this, I'll tell you why I did every s---ty thing I did!
; “You may've never taken me back, but I couldn't let the whole f---ing world end without telling you the truth! I love you! I love you and I'm sorry! I'm f---ing sorry for everything!”
; Dick was practically out of breath after shouting, but what little he had left immediately left his chest as he saw it. Kory moved!
; “Kory! Holy f---ing s---, you're okay!”
; Tears fell from Robin's face onto Starfire. Weak, nearly dead, the alien didn't have much energy to spare. Her good arm moved slowly, trembling as she rested her palm on the back of the acrobat's neck.
; “Dick,” she said slowly, weakly. “I…I love you too!”
; With the last of her strength she pulled her love close, and the two kissed, every intimate emotion they had for each other passing between their lips. As Dick pulled away, Kory smiled—then closed her eyes, her head falling backwards, again slipping into unconsciousness.
; Starfire: “Dick finally said everything I had ever wanted to hear! It took every last bit of my strength to return the favor, but if the last thing I ever saw was the man I love telling me he loved me too, could I ever truly wish for anything more?!”
; Dick wiped the tears from his face and stood up, staring down at his girlfriend as his cape whipped behind him in the wind.
; Robin: “Man, it's pretty crazy. I can take on my dark side without a problem, I can handle almost all my f---ing problems, but telling Kory I love her? That took everything I had!
&n bsp; “But now that I did it, I'm happy as Hell I did. I…I hate to say it, but I don't think we can win anymore. We're killin' ourselves and it's barely scratchin' Trigon! If I'm gonna die, I'm glad I told Kory everything. I have no more regrets. I'm finally the kickass guy I always thought I was!
&n bsp; “If I have to die, at least I'll die a f---ing man!”
; “Love.” Suddenly towering over the acrobat, Trigon growled the word—it left his lips as a low rumble that shook the ground below him. Robin turned and stared the monster straight in the face, showing no fear even as his eyes started to glow red. “Love is not allowed in Trigon's world!”
; Across the battlefield, Garfield Logan had been watching every punch thrown, every hit, growing tenser by the second. It's like an anvil was sitting on his chest!
; Beast Boy: “Crap! He took out Donna, Kory, Vic, and now he's gonna get Dick too?! What've I been doing?! How can I just sit here and watch him kill my friends?!”
; “Leave him alone!” cried the changeling as he charged forward. Closing his eyes, he screamed as his body began to grow.
; Beast Boy: “This whole time I've just been scared! The worst thing that even my strongest animal could do was pierce the jerk's ear, and I've been scared, and feelin' sorry for myself `cause I couldn't do anything more to hurt him! Well that's stupid! I'm tired of it!
&n bsp; “Whenever I get angry my powers've gone outta control! I've been dragons, monsters, but I could never control it before! Well, it's time to man up! If I can't fight to save my friends, then I don't deserve to be on this team!”
; Green skin stretched as Beast Boy grew larger than any form he had ever assumed before. He screamed in pain as his body assumed a humanoid form. His feet hardened into hooves, two extra eyes opened in his forehead, and a set of massive antlers grew out of the top of his head.
; Beast Boy had transformed into a perfect copy—ignoring the color—of Trigon the Terrible!
; Beast Boy: “I…I feel so dirty…”
; “I said, leave him alone!” repeated the Titan-in-monster-form as he dashed forward, throwing a right hook with his now-massive hand. The punch landed with a sick thud on the side of Trigon's head, sending red-hot spit flying from his mouth!
; Trigon slid backwards, and rubbing his jaw, he glared hatefully at Gar. “Blasphemer,” he growled, “You dare imitate Trigon the Terrible?!”
; “Yeah,” replied Gar, “Yeah, I guess I do! Are ya' gonna kick me outta the choir boys for it? `Cause that'd suck!”
; Beast Boy: “That's it Gar, keep `im distracted! Don't let `im see how much this hurts!”
; “Laugh while you can!” yelled Trigon as he burst forward, throwing an uppercut into Gar's stomach. It nearly knocked the wind out of him. “You may have imitated my body, but you do not have my dark power!”
; Garfield frowned, but, gritting his teeth, managed to catch Trigon's next punch and respond with a kick straight to Trigon's crotch! Seething, Trigon dispensed with words altogether and simply launched a powerful blast!
; Pivoting on one foot, the changeling barely span out of its deadly path!
; Beast Boy: “Maybe…maybe that last hit wasn't such a good idea…”
; Across the bay, Wally West finally found the energy to pull himself to his feet. Groggy, it took a second for his vision to return—the first sight he saw was a second Trigon, this one green, engaging the original in a heated fight!
; For a brief moment, he was afraid he'd lost his mind.
; Finally he saw Robin, again coherent and back on his feet. The speedster dashed to his side.
; “Is that Gar?!” asked Wally as he skidded to a stop. His intense gaze on the battle, Dick only nodded. “Man!” exclaimed Speed. “Who'd of thought he had it in him?!”
; Dick didn't answer, and it only brought an even more urgent question to Wally's mind. “Do…do you think he can win?”
; “Not unless Gar can use those eye beams too,” answered Robin. “An' I don't think he can. Besides that, look at him. Gar's sweatin', tired, but despite everything we've done to Trigon, he's only gotten f---ing stronger!”
; Suddenly, as Garfield threw a punch, Trigon caught it and countered, striking the changeling's chest with his open-palm. Gar's head flew backwards, all the air knocked from his lungs.
; Beast Boy: “Usin' that form, I was too big…I felt like a rubber band bein' pulled as far as it could go, and when he hit me, the rubber band broke!”
; Instantly Gar shrank, his costume ripped and torn and blood flying from his mouth, before his body exploded backwards, nearly disappearing over the horizon.
Shifting her attention at this turn of events, Lilith now focused on retrieving the rest of the energy that lay within Beast Boy. Not even realizing it, she stood—and Raven's body followed suit, floating just a few inches above the ground, overflowing with more and more power by the second.
Omen: “Starfire asked Raven to give humanity one more chance to prove their virtues, and she agreed. By defeating their dark sides, the Titans proved Raven's philosophy wrong—and keeping her promise, she granted them the power to defeat Trigon!
“In fact, the fragments of her Soul Self they purified are only growing stronger the more they fight! Every time the Titans show teamwork, sacrifice, bravery, or whatever else, this power grows! Now our only problem is that the Titans don't have access to it!
“That's where I come in! By connecting to the Titans' minds, I've been able to channel this energy and route it through my body into the only place capable of handling it—Raven's body! With her mind now a blank slate, I can take control of Raven and use her to unleash the finishing blow!
“The Teen Titans, through their courage and heart, have forged a weapon actually capable of destroying Trigon! Now it's up to me to fire that weapon! Hold on, guys! I'll only be…a few…moments…more!”
If only Robin and Speed could have heard her. They watched with heavy hearts as Gar was sent flying. They could barely believe what was happening. “We're—we're the last ones left!” despaired Wally West.
; And suddenly he was gone, exploding into a yellow streak speeding in the opposite direction.
; As he circled the globe, Wally found himself nearly back to where he started, watching Beast Boy fall from the sky. Squinting, the Titan stole his teammate's speed—Gar barely even displaced any dust as he hit the ground, while Speed absorbed the stolen momentum and blasted off even faster!
; Speed: “When I came here today, I said that I was either gonna take down this monster, or die trying! Well, it looks like its all come down to this moment!
&n bsp; “Hell, if you'd told me a few days ago I would die saving the world with the Teen Titans I'd have thought you were crazy, but here I am…
&n bsp; “I only wish Barry and Iris could see me now…”
; Wally circled the Earth thirty times in a second, and with every passing lap he grew faster. Just like earlier, when he had ran into the Speed Force, the environment around the speedster began to warp. As he approached the speed of light, colors started to change. The landscape started to stretch. Lightning started to flash around him, a sure sign he was about to enter the Force. Petering out, he leveled his speed at just under the speed of light.
; This time, he didn't want to go into the Speed Force.
; It's a fact of science: as a body approaches the speed of light, relativistic effects begin to take over. As Wally had already experienced, visual input begins to change, undergoing something called a Blueshift. However, a more subtle effect also takes place—the body's mass begins to increase toward infinity.
; Of course, Wally West could never have explained any of this. All he knew was that the faster he ran, the more wallop his punches packed!
;Maintaining this unfathomable velocity, Speed finally deviated from his path and headed straight for Trigon's right leg. Winding up, Wally screamed as he threw a fist of nearly infinite mass straight toward the monster!
; The result was probably the closest the world will ever come to seeing what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object.
Speed's fist collided with Trigon's leg—the impact unleashed a backlash of energy that made the atomic bomb pale in comparison. The speedster's fist actually left an indent in the monster's leg, making him hiss in pain as he slid backwards.
Despite that, however, Trigon definitely made out better.
The second Wally's punch landed, the sheer force of the blow shattered every bone in the Titan's hand to dust. The bone that ran from his wrist to his elbow, the ulna, stabbed through the back of his arm. Wally screamed in pain—and then the backlash hit. Speed was sent spiraling like a poorly thrown football.
As he hit the ground his Speed Force suit shattered, leaving poor Wally West nothing but a red-headed kid in an oversized jersey with a devastatingly broken arm.
Dick Grayson's eyes were wide as he watched his friend flail into the distance like a discarded ragdoll. One by one he had watched his friends fall. They had given everything they had to stop Trigon, but it simply wasn't enough!
In fact, much to Robin's horror, he could see the monster's wounds starting to heal, to regenerate! The Titans had sacrificed everything to stop Trigon! Dick wanted to scream! They had sacrificed everything, yet it wasn't enough!
Lava burst through the ground like geysers. Dick could feel the planet shifting wildly under his feet. There was no more denying it, no more delaying it.
Time had run out.
Trigon actually smiled. He had begun this battle with a cold detachment, a general disdain for everything and everyone not himself, but the more the Teen Titans defied him, the more he began to hate. For the first time in his long and destructive life, his job had become personal.
“Well?” asked the monster, his voice echoing across the ravished landscape. “Do you intend to fight me too?”
Dick didn't answer.
“How does it feel to know that all your efforts have been pointless? How does it feel to know that I have been correct all along?”
Dick bit his lip.
Robin: “Ever since I joined this team I've been arrogant. I told my dark side that I can do anything! Hell, I believed it too.
“I'm a f---ing moron.
“I hoped like hell we could take down Trigon. I gave it everything I f---ing had! I tried to inspire everyone else to fight too! We did everything we could, but it just wasn't f---ing enough!
“I'm pissed, angry as s---! But…but I'm not mad cause we weren't strong enough! Hell, I've never been prouder of us! I mean, look at us! We used to be a team of f--- ups and losers! But today we fought the strongest villain ever! We didn't whine or hold back or fight with each other—we kicked ass!
“No, I'm pissed cause it took Trigon for us to get our act together! I'm pissed cause I've finally got Kory back, cause I'm finally the man I wanna be, and he's gonna take it away from us!
“I guess I could be pissed that Trigon's stronger than us, that all our work was pointless, but why should I be? We did our best! Before today I never coulda admitted it, but there's always gonna be some asshole out there stronger than us! I'm just pissed that we had to face the guy now!
“But I'm not gonna be a f---ing baby `bout it! That'd only make the douche happy! We fought like heroes—that's how we're gonna die!”
“Well?” beckoned Trigon, beginning to grow impatient. “When Trigon the Terrible asks you a question, you answer, insect!”
Dick frowned, and raised his head, staring Trigon dead in the eye.
“Go to Hell.”
Trigon wasn't pleased. “Hell is a paradise compared to Trigon's world,” growled the monster as his eyes lit up crimson for what would be the final time. “I am done with you. Earth's time has ended!”
`Robin! Look up!'
The acrobat gasped as the voice sounded in his head. Suddenly he saw the red sky behind Trigon begin to glow white. He couldn't believe it!
“Holy f---ing s---!” exclaimed Robin. Behind Trigon floated Raven! Her arms outstretched to her sides, her head cocked back, her cloak billowing behind her, Raven levitated behind her father's head! Her eyes glowed white as energy of the same color radiated around her. She shone like a star!
Trigon was just as surprised. He didn't even need to see her—he could feel her.
Spinning, the monster instantly pulled an about-face and launched his attack. The powerful beam, capable of shattering planets at its weakest, seemed to stop only a few feet from Raven. As it met with the white light, the beam disintegrated, dissolving into nothingness!
Despite himself, Trigon's jaw nearly dropped to the ground. Sure the Titans had managed to hurt him, sure they managed to dodge his beams, but never before had an attack of his been so effortlessly neutralized!
“This is madness!” cried the monster. “I am Trigon the Terrible! I am the source of all darkness! I will not be stopped! I cannot be defeated!”
“God you're stupid!” laughed Robin in sheer disbelief. “I can't believe I figured it out and you didn't!
“No matter who you are, there's always someone stronger than you, f---head!”
The second the words left the acrobat's mouth Raven's body shot forward, stopping within inches of Trigon. Her arms rose into the air, and Raven's Soul Self emerged. Taking the form of a massive white bird, the blinding light sucked in Trigon and tore him into pieces, scattering his dismembered molecules into the sky.
After all, as the source of all darkness, Trigon never had a chance against so much light and virtue!
As the monster's last agonizing screams echoed, the pillar of power rose into the sky, parting the clouds. Robin watched in awe as it paused for a second, pulsing with blinding light, before shooting in all directions!
Trigon's petrification wave decimated the Earth in one swift motion—this wave of purified power undid all that damage just as effortlessly.
Titans Tower was completely repaired, and its island restored to its natural beauty. The bay was again full of water. The city was once again lively and robust, with its inhabitants no longer stone statues, now free to continue their day as if nothing had ever happened!
The gaping holes Trigon had punched through the planet were instantly filled, stabilizing Earth's condition. Across the globe, life returned to exactly how it had been in the moments before Trigon was released.
Even the Titans were better than ever! As the light faded, its work done, the seven teenagers found themselves all standing together, reunited on Titans Island!
“Hold on,” said Robin, “Weren't we all fighting where the water is? How the f--- did we get here?”
“My arm!” Wally West's thoughts were on other matters. “My arm's healed!”
“All our injuries are!” exclaimed Vic Stone happily as he gave his newly repaired body a once over.
“But what happened?!” asked Starfire. “How did we get back? How was Trigon defeated?!”
“I can explain that.” All heads turned as Lilith Clay stepped forward. The Titans listened intently as she explained everything to them. She told them of finding Raven's corpse, of realizing what her promise meant, and of how the Titan's bravery and determination had won the day!
Wally West sighed. “So we won `cause we fought our dark sides. Guess I didn't help at all then…”
Speed: “Since I wasn't with the team then, I never had one of those fights!”
“Actually,” replied Lilith, “When Raven manipulated your emotions and made you fall in love with her, it left a small amount of her Soul Self inside of you. By deciding to come here today and fight despite your doubts, you purified that energy as well! You were just as much a part of the final attack as any of the Titans!”
“So we all saved the day?” asked Beast Boy, despite knowing the answer. “We all saved the world?!
“I am just overjoyed that Raven came through for us!” exclaimed Princess Koriand'r happily.
Starfire: “Indeed, I am so relieved that my faith in Raven was not a waste!”
“Seriously,” smiled Cyborg. “Who'd of thought it?”
“Why are we letting her off the hook so easily?!” snapped Wally. “Raven gave us the power to win, but Trigon was her fault in the first place! She hated us, she manipulated us! I don't know if I can forgive her that easily!”
An awkward pause hung in the air for a second before Gar Logan spoke. “Dude, you're right. Raven hated our guts enough to destroy the whole freaking world, but she gave us a chance to change her mind anyway! That's…that's pretty cool, actually.”
Speed: “I guess I never thought of it that way. We managed to convince the most cynical girl on Earth to give us a second chance to prove her wrong…that's actually pretty huge!”
“I have to admit, I'm still a little mad at Raven myself,” said Donna Troy. “But still, today we saved the world. The last thing I want to do is be mad at anyone. I'm just happy to be alive!”
Her teammates shared her sentiments, each one having come to a new appreciation of life after coming so close to losing it all. Still, Wonder Girl wasn't finished.
“But before we move on, I just wanted to tell you guys that I'm really proud of you. We came through today in a way I never thought we could. I may have complained about you guys in the past, or put this team down in comparison to the Justice League, but I was wrong about everything. I could not be prouder to be a Teen Titan!”
Starfire: “And I could not be prouder of Donna for opening up to us like that!”
Speed: “And after everything that happened today, I thought I couldn't be surprised anymore! God, that's…that's actually pretty touching. Donna, of all people…I guess anyone can become a good person. I sure hope I've become one too…”
Wonder Girl: “Seriously, though, had you told me when I first joined the team that the Teen Titans would save the world, I'd never have believed it! But I underestimated us. I underestimated myself!”
“You know, I still have one regret,” said Kory sadly. “Raven died still thinking that all people were evil! I wish she could have lived to see us prove her wrong! I wish she could have lived to see how wonderful people really are!”
Suddenly smiling, Lilith Clay pointed to the sky. “Starfire…you may just get your wish after all.”
All eyes looked to the sky, where a small pinpoint of white light twinkled like a star—just as Raven's body had before annihilating Trigon. Floating in front of Titans Tower, it slowly lowered until it touched down, and the light faded away.
Standing there before the Titans was a girl, about thirteen years old. She had short violet hair that fell to her shoulders, and a red jewel in the center of her forehead—just like Raven had. She wore a leotard covered in a flowing cloak, with a hood hanging from its back—while almost identical to the garments Raven had worn, they differed in one important area. They were white.
She was pale, but not the sickly shade of gray that Raven had been—also, unlike the empath, she had only two eyes, and they reflected, not evil, but confusion.
Still, despite any differences, the similarities were uncanny.
“Raven?” tentatively asked Starfire. “Raven? Is that you?”
The girl looked at the Titans with her mouth agape, her confusion only growing.
“I…I don't know…”
Next time: Series Finale!