THE GEM AND THE SWORD
A Daria/Teen Titans crossover fanfiction by Ranger Thorne
"The gem was born of evil's fire
The gem shall be his portal
He comes to claim
He comes to sire
The end of all things mortal."
She looked around as the words repeated themselves once more. "It's over," she called to the
unseen voices. "The prophecy is fulfilled. I was his portal. It's over." The voices continued,
"The gem was born of evil's fire
The gem shall be his portal . . ."
"No, no NO!" She felt her power stir within her. "I became his blasted portal! I nearly
destroyed myself opening a way for him to come to Earth! And then I DEFEATED HIM!" Her
hands were clenched at her sides, surrounded by dark energy.
"The gem was born of evil's fire
The gem shall be his portal . . ."
"Stop it, stop it, STOP IT!" She raised her hands, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Black power
sprang from her hands and into the surrounding darkness. There was a cry, then silence. After a
few seconds, there was the sound of shuffling. Finally, a figure in a white robe staggered into the
small circle of light in which the girl stood.
"Brother Myris?" She moved to catch the robed figure as he fell. "What, what are you doing
"The prophecy," he murmured.
"It's over," she assured him. "Trigon came, but he was defeated."
"No," he shook his head. "More," he held up a shaking hand. Clutched in his grip was a rolled-up sheet of parchment. Confused, she let him hand it to her. Then, he nodded, "Finished. Now I
can rest." With a final breath, he went limp in her arms.
"What?" She stood and unrolled the parchment. "Wait, this has a second part to it." Turning
back to the body, her jaw dropped, "Wait, Brother Myris?" The body of the monk was gone.
"Where did he go?" she asked no one. She could hear the voices in the darkness whispering.
"Where is he?" she demanded to know. "TELL ME!"
"He's gone away. Like they always go away." Turning, she saw a younger version of herself
enter the light. The girl was dressed in a white leotard and cloak. "Everyone who has ever meant
anything has left me alone."
"This isn't right," she shook her head. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm lost," the girl's voice stirred up echoes in the other's mind.
"This isn't right," she repeated. Looking into the darkness, she snapped, "None of this is!"
"What's the matter, gem?" an unfamiliar voice asked from the dark. "You scared without your
friends to protect you?"
"She's here," the girl said, looking nervous.
"Who? Who is here?"
"The sword by pater same is sired," the girl recited. "And blindly she will wait. In dreams
she'll learn of emerald fire, then show the gem her fate."
"That's what this says." Looking down at the parchment in her hand, she reread the words
"Fairy tales can come true," the voice said in a monotone. "They can happen to you. Of
course, the original versions of fairy tales weren't all that nice. Kinda like me."
A blast of green fire struck the younger girl in the back, causing her to scream before she
"Why don't you come out where I can see you?"
"I'm right here." As she tried to turn, she felt herself slow. She could make out a head of auburn
hair, a pair of large round glasses, and two hands holding green fire.
"Nnnnooooo!" She tried to bring up her shield, but saw the flames reach for her.
"No!" Sitting up with a start, Raven Roth looked around the familiar confines of her room.
Realizing she had been asleep, she sighed. "I hate dreams like that," she muttered. Going to the
window, she peeked out to see that it was still dark. "At least, I hope it was a dream."
A short time later, Raven looked around her darkened room as she finished dressing. I recognize
the first part, she thought to herself. It was the prophecy of me and my father. But who is the
'sword,' and what do they have to do with me? Standing, she moved toward the door. And is
there really another part to the prophecy?
As she neared it, she reached behind her and a darkness deeper than that of the room surrounded
her hand. Across the room a cloak was surrounded by the darkness and levitated to the girl. As
she stepped into the hallway, Raven fastened the cloak around herself.
The light in the hallway revealed the her features. She was in her mid-teens, with a thin build.
Her violet hair was cut short, barely reaching past her ears. The girl's eyes were a slightly darker
shade of violet. She had on a black leotard with a faux turtleneck and long sleeves that reached
to the base of her palms. The gold belt around her waist had red disks set in gold that resembled
the medallion that made up the clasp of her hooded blue cloak. A closer look at the clasp would
reveal that there was a darker shape buried within it that resembled the profile of a bird. On her
feet were blue boots that reached a third of the way up her shin.
A few minutes later, she was on the roof, looking out at the city across the water from the
building she lived in. She had been up there for several minutes watching the city lights in the
darkness when a voice came from behind her.
"Raven?" She moved her head slightly to show she had heard, but didn't reply. Finally, a boy
about her age came up beside her. He was wearing black boots with steel toes, and green tights.
A gold utility belt was around his waist, almost matching the yellow lining on the inside of his
waist-length black cape. He had on a red shirt with short green sleeves. Yellow fasteners held
the shirt closed. On his left breast was a black circle with a yellow 'R'. Green gloves that
reached almost to his elbows were on his hands. His hair was black and spiked. On his face, as
always, was his black mask.
"Hello, Robin," she said to him.
"It's not even sunrise this time," he said, trying to make it sound like a joke.
Turning, she actually managed to smirk at him, "Don't worry, I promise not to try to cook
"That's a relief," he muttered. "Uh, what I mean is, uh, I think you just need some practice."
"Robin," she said, trying not to scowl, "I heard Cyborg tell Beast Boy that he'd rather face my
father again than try to eat my cooking. And Beast Boy said that I'd make Emeril take up
"Well," he rubbed the back of his neck, "those flapjacks were pretty bad." He looked out at the
city lights, then asked, "So, what does bring you out here?"
"Just a nightmare," she said with a shrug.
"Considering all you've been through, that must be a tough nightmare."
"It was confusing," she confessed. "I saw the young me that you rescued. Then," she frowned
and looked away, "I saw her killed."
"Killed? Who did it?"
"IIII'm not familiar with that one."
Raven took a breath, then recited what she had heard.
"The sword by pater same is sired
And blindly she will wait
In dreams she'll learn
Of emerald fire
Then show the gem her fate."
"That doesn't sound good," Robin admitted.
"It's never good to learn that someone is supposed to kill you," Raven pointed out.
"But are you sure that's what it means? After all," Robin shrugged, "it doesn't say she kills you,
just shows you your fate."
"Which could be anything," Raven admitted. "But it usually means that someone is dead."
"Well, you survived the first half of this prophecy, and you'll make it through this one, too,"
"I hope so," she said in a soft voice. "For the first time, I can look forward to the rest of my life
without thinking about how I'm going to destroy the world. I don't want my life to end just as
it's really getting started."
"It won't, Raven," Robin put a hand on her shoulder. "I promise."
"Geh!" The young woman sat upright in her seat. Looking around, she saw that the rest of the
class was staring at her. While most were laughing, she could see a few nod at her in sympathy.
As she looked around, Daria Morgendorffer realized that she had fallen asleep in her 'Astronomy
of the Solar System' class. Although not a class she needed to get her degree from Raft, keeping
her GPA in the high 3+ range meant getting yet another A on the final.
"How nice of you to join us." The professor was a tall, whip-thin man with receding brown hair
and dull gray eyes. "I trust you've been sleep-learning today?" Not waiting for an answer, he
asked, "So, how many planets are in the solar system?"
"Uh," she blinked once before going on, "it depends on who you ask."
"Oh, let's say," he shrugged, "me."
"Well," she scowled slightly, "since you consider Pluto to be too small for a planet, nine."
"Nine minus one equals nine?"
"No, nine minus one plus one equals nine." She shrugged, "They found one out past Pluto. They
haven't named it yet, though."
"Very good, Miss Morgendorffer." He started to turn away, then glanced at her and smirked, "I'd
take ten points from Gryffindor, but this isn't Hogwarts."
"Lousy muggle school," a voice groused loud enough to be heard.
Another voice asked, "What makes you think she'd be in Gryffindor?"
Silencing the class with a glare, he went on, "I realize that the final class before finals can be a
trifle dull to those who have actually kept up with their studies, but please," he focused on Daria,
"pretend for the sake of the others."
"At least be awake for the final next week."
"And he just let it go? Gee, Daria, can you imagine what Mr. DeMartino would have done with
a chance like that?" Jane Lane's blue eyes glittered with mischief as her red-tinted lips curled
into a smirk. Her friend was seated next to her on a bench a short distance from a deli. She had
on tall gray boots under an ankle length violet skirt. A darker purple sweater with swirls of
yellow, red and blue covered her from her hips up to her neck. Her hair was long and pulled
back into a ponytail.
"I remember what he use to do to Kevin," Daria admitted. "It's why I learned how to sleep with
my eyes open, remember?"
"A skill one must practice to maintain," Jane reminded her. Looking around, she asked, "So, you
looking forward to getting it all over with?"
"I don't know," the reply came with a shrug. "After all, I'm still thinking about graduate
"Not deep enough in debt, yet, huh?"
"I'll still get out of it before I die, so, yeah." The two exchanged smirks. Daria sighed as she
dropped her head.
"Still not sleeping well?" Jane asked.
"Not at all," Daria replied. "Those damn nightmares are driving me crazy. Every time I close
my eyes, all I can see are those," she scowled at her loss for words, "things running around. And
then there's this big creature who keep saying he's my father."
"Flashbacks to some Halloween costume you dad wore?"
"No, this is no costume." Daria rubbed her eyes, "Jane, he keeps telling me he's my father. That
he," she paused long enough to give a sigh that was almost a snort, "possessed Dad and sired me.
And that I have this," she did the 'air quotes' maneuver, "destiny to destroy the one that
"I always said you had the strangest dreams," Jane reminded her.
"Well, with as little sleep as I've had, it's getting harder to separate what he's saying from what
"You think a change of scenery might help?"
Daria smirked at her, "You still can't keep a roommate? I thought you and Brenda were getting
along so well."
"Very funny." Jane waved a hand at her. "She was a flake, Daria. You know she thought Van
Gough was a house painter from Rhode Island? I'm just glad she finally decided to marry that
worthless boyfriend of hers."
"You really know how to pick them," Daria chuckled as she looked at the uneaten sandwich in
her hand. I miss living in the apartment, she admitted to herself. I just can't get any studying
done with Jane around any more. Between her art and her working out and her actual school
work she makes me tired. "That's too bad, Jane. Maybe the next one will be better."
"Or finally push me over the edge. Eh," she shrugged, "what doesn't kill you and all that, eh?"
"Yeah." Daria tossed the remains of her lunch into the trash can next to her. "I should go try to
get in a nap before I go to work."
"You're gonna wear out that grindstone, Morgendorffer," Jane teased.
"Not all of us are loaded, Jane," Daria said. "Besides, the more I work, the less likely it is that
I'll be able to go to Lawndale."
"Ah, a method to your madness." Jane grinned, "Or at least to your work ethic."
The things looked like being with no legs that were made of fire. Instead of hands, they had
whip-like appendages that they would use on Daria. They burned with the fire and stung with the
Daria hadn't told Jane she was feeling pain in her dream.
As she had been since the beginning, Daria found herself held in a circle of fire. The circle
crossed her wrists and her ankles, holding her spread-eagle above the ground as the creatures
rushed around her. Her breathing came in gasps as the pain of her wounds ate at her mind.
"You are strong, my daughter." The voice came from the gigantic figure sitting far enough
away for her to see all of him. As tall as a skyscraper, he was red, with cloven feet and antlers on
his head. Four red eyes gleamed down at her.
"I'm not -- AAHH!" A lash across her back cut off her rebuttal.
"You are my daughter. Say it!"
"Eat hot lead, you -- AAHH!" This time, the beating went on for a while. By the time they had
finished, her voice was gone. As Daria dropped her head, she could see a small pool of blood
"No," she could barely shake her head. Even the thrashing was unable to get her to move.
Daria's eyes opened, and she sighed. "Still living," she whispered. "I didn't think you could feel
pain in dreams." Glancing at the clock, she groaned. "I'm gonna be late." She rolled out of bed
then turned to straighten the covers, but stopped in shock.
The sheet was stained with blood.
"No," she staggered backward, tripping on the bed on the other side of the room. Rolling into the
floor, she pulled herself up enough to make sure that she hadn't bled on her roommate's bed.
"He did this," she whispered. "He did it."
Who is he? A voice in her mind demanded. Say who he is and the pain will stop.
"I won't do it," Daria shook her head. "He's not my father."
Then the pain will continue.
Crawling to the phone, she dialed a familiar number.
"Yo. Marshmallow Palace, care for something squishy?"
"Hey, amiga, what's up?"
"Help me. Please."
"I'm on my way. You stay right there."
"Right here. Gotcha." Daria hung up the phone, then sprawled into the floor. "Stay awake," she
ordered herself. "Got to stay awake. Must," her eyes started to close, "no. Awake. Stay awake.
Please stay awake." Daria rolled onto her back, then grimaced as she felt the pain from her
wounds. "That'll help," she stated, her eyes wide.
Jane had never been happier to know the back ways between her apartment and the Raft dorms
(or residence halls, as the school insisted on calling them). Her old Pinto screeched to a halt
outside of Daria's residence, with Jane throwing the door open before the motor stopped
backfiring. Ignoring the elevator, she charged up the stairs three at a time until she reached the
seventh floor. Pulling the emergency key Daria had given her from her pocket, she opened the
door, then stopped.
Daria was lying on the floor with her back toward Jane. The back of her shirt was stained with
blood. Blood was also on the floor and sheets of her bed. Her friend's voice could be heard
repeatedly saying, "Stay awake."
"Daria?" Jane asked, closing the door behind her.
"Jane?" Rolling over, Daria gasped as her back touched the floor.
"What happened?" Helping her friend to a sitting position, Jane tried to guess the extent of the
damage on Daria's back.
"The dreams," was the reply. "They did it to me in the dreams." Then, as if shaking off a fog,
she scowled, "I must have done something to myself, Jane. You don't feel pain in dreams and
you sure don't get hurt in them."
"Well," A corner of Jane's lip curled downward, "let's see what's happened, okay?"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos," Raven repeated her mantra as she floated above the floor of her
room. Her legs were crossed in the Lotus Position with her cloak almost reaching the floor. Her
eyes were closed as she meditated.
Her eyes opened, allowing Raven to see a shimmering figure in a white robe that was standing a
couple of feet in front of her. Putting her feet down onto the floor, Raven stood as she looked at
"Arella . . . Mother, what are you doing here?"
"I have come to give warning." Her mother stepped forward, and the shimmering stopped.
"That and to say how proud I am of you."
"I just learned of what you did when facing your father. It made me very proud." Quickly, she
put her arms around he daughter. "I was so scared, Raven. I couldn't think straight."
"It's over," Raven told her, giving her one good squeeze.
"No," Arella shook her head as she pulled away, "it's not. There was more to the prophecy than
we were told." She held out a sheet of rolled-up paper. "And the rest," she looked away, "the
rest involves your sister."
"I've been having visions at night. At first I thought they were nightmares, but they're too
consistent and too real. Who is she, Mother?"
"I only know she is your half-sister," her mother told her. "She has been hidden away from all
attempts to locate her. But, I do know," Arella looked almost pleased, "that she is older than
you. I guess the ceremony that bound me to him had an effect on him as well."
"You mean he's been faithful?"
"I'm as surprised as you are." Arella, shrugged, "Not that I've been any more promiscuous."
"Okay, that's more than I needed to know." Raven took the paper as Arella offered it again.
"Um," she looked at her mother, "would you like some tea?"
Arella smiled, "I'm afraid there's not much time before the spell takes me back. Next time, I'll
come to stay for a while."
"I'd like that," Raven admitted.
"Me, too." Her figure began to shimmer. "I am proud of all the good you've done, Raven.
Please be careful. If the sword destroys you, it could resurrect your father."
"Not to mention kill me," Raven observed.
"And I would hate that," her mother said. "I love you, my child." She was gone before Raven
"Yeah," Raven replied, "you too, Mother." She frowned as she looked at the paper in her hand.
With a sigh, she tossed it onto her nightstand. "I already know what you say," she told it.
"I'm done," Daria announced as Jane opened the door for her. "I finished my last final as a
student at Raft."
"Cool," Jane replied as her friend staggered into the room. I've never seen anyone so beat, Jane
observed. "You want something to drink?"
"Hemlock," came the answer as Daria crashed on the couch.
"Out of season," Jane retorted. "Besides, it always makes you break out."
"How's your back?" Jane asked.
"How's your brain?"
"Feels like someone has taken a power sander to it." Daria pulled her head upright.
"Did those energy pills help?"
"How do you think I'm staying awake?" Daria asked.
"Are you sure you are?" Jane knelt down and picked up her friend's feet. "Daria, as much as it
scares both of us, you're gonna have to sleep sometime. Take a nap. I'll wake you in an hour.
I'll make sure Artie and his alien friends don't get you."
"Okay, but just one hour." Daria was asleep before she finished speaking, with Jane literally
"I hate this," Daria groaned as she found herself once again bound by fire.
"You are delaying the inevitable," the voice told her.
"That's what I told my teachers in high school," she told him. "It was inevitable that someone
would realize they were idiots."
"So, you've always been aware of your superiority. Good. You get that from me."
"You are not my --" A lash to her wounded back caused he to gasp, but not scream.
"The time of waiting is over. You will not awaken until you have admitted that I am your
"We're gonna be here a while."
Jane shook Daria again. "C'mon, amiga. It's been an hour." Frowning, she leaned in close,
"DARIA!" There was no response. "Hey, even Trent doesn't sleep this heavy. Wake up."
Lifting Daria's hand, she held it over her face, then let it drop. The hand landed with a 'thwap.'
"Okay, she's not faking it." Jane bit her lip as she looked at her unconscious friend.
Are you going to get hurt again? She thought as she watched her friend. Scowling, she recalled
the red gashes that looked like someone had taken a whip to her. If she hadn't been so afraid of
being sedated I would have dragged her butt to the hospital.
"Come on," she shook Daria's shoulder, "wake up."
Daria could feel the blood as it trickled down her leg. Her throat was sore from screaming, and
she could still feel the burning from of the last the monsters that had rubbed itself against her
chest. Tears had started not long ago and had not stopped. I can't win, she realized. I'm going
"Now, my daughter," the mammoth shape spoke. "Where are you smart remarks? Where is
the witty repartee you were so willing to flaunt?"
Lost in the puddle of blood, she thought to herself.
There was a chuckle from the figure. "What is my name, child?"
"Y-you are Trigon the Terrible," Daria mumbled.
"Trigon the Terrible!" she shouted without raising her head.
"And what am I to you?" Trigon leaned down expectantly. He could see the tortured form
shiver. "Speak. What am I to you? Who am I?"
"Please," Daria begged, "don't make me answer."
For a few seconds, Daria thought he'd somehow decided to show mercy. Then, as he began the
question, she began to cry.
"Who is your father?" The young woman mumbled something between sobs. Reaching out
with a massive hand, he caught her chin with the end of a fingernail the size of a truck. Tilting
her head up so that she would have to look at him, he asked again, "What is the name of your
"Trigon," she said, meekly. "My father is Trigon the Terrible."
"Very good." The ring of fire faded, dropping Daria into the pool of her own blood. "Now . . .
you will begin to fulfill the prophecy." The usual glow of his eyes was replaced by green, and
a similar light began to form in his mouth. After a few seconds, they shot forth in insane arcs
before reaching Daria's own eyes and mouth. The energy forced its way in, causing her world to
explode in emerald fire.
"Hey," Jane's face was very close to her own as Daria's eyes opened.
"Gah!" Daria flinched away. "Don't do that!"
"Sorry." Jane smirked, "You sleep okay?"
"You'd be surprised." Seeing that it was dark, she asked, "How long was I out?"
"About four hours." Jane moved to the far end of the couch, "You had me scared, Daria. I tried,
but you wouldn't wake up."
"I guess I had some catching up to do." Daria came to her feet effortlessly. "I'm sure it was just
the stress of school ending and all that."
"Yeah." Jane scowled, but hid the expression when Daria looked at her. "You up for pizza?"
"Actually," Daria stretched, "I think I'll go back to my room and pack."
"Dorms close in a few days," Jane was reminded. "I'll need to find a place to live or I'll have to
move back to Lawndale."
"Hey, I still want you here. Now that you're not having to study, you should be okay, right? I'll
try to keep the barbells to a quiet ding."
"Oh, why not." Daria smiled. The act alone sent a shill down her friend's spine. "I'll just move
back in here, then. Think about it," she raised an eyebrow, "you and me, roommates until the
end of the world."
"Any idea when that might be?" Jane asked.
"Not yet," Daria told her, "but I'm working on it."
"Friend Raven," came a familiar voice, "am I interrupting?" Glancing over her shoulder, Raven
could see Starfire gently landing on the roof of the tower.
Starfire's skin had a slightly orange hue. Her eyes were an intense green, and her red hair
reached her waist. She wore light purple boots that reached up to mid-thigh with a mini-skirt of
the same color. Her cropped top was also the same color. Around her neck and across her
shoulders rested what appeared to be some sort of metal collar/shoulder pad. At the hollow of
her throat was a medallion of some kind. Metal bands were also around her biceps. Her lower
arms were covered by epaulets that extended to cover the backs of her hands. Medallions like the
one at her throat were on the back of her hands as well. Even the belt at the top of her mini-skirt
seemed to be made of the same material and had the medallion there as well.
"I was just finishing," Raven told her, lowering her legs. "Uh, what's going on?"
"Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy are having the contest of champion on the video system," she told
her gothic friend. "So I was wondering if you would like to go to the mall of shopping."
"Not really," Raven replied. "But I do need to go into town for a few things."
"Oh?" Starfire's eyes lit up. "Where shall we be going?"
"Someplace low-key," Raven told her. "Which means," she sighed, "we have to look normal."
"Normal?" Starfire looked confused. "What is not normal about the way we look?"
"Starfire," Raven said as she slowly shook her head, "you spend too much time around Robin."
As Daria slept, she didn't notice a dark figure enter the room and stand over her. Jane watched for a few minutes before saying, "You've gone from barely sleeping to sleeping more than Trent. You say you've got a better job, but you hardly ever leave the apartment and won't tell me anything about it. I'm worried, amiga. Even how fast those cuts healed up can't hide that something's wrong." She sighed a she thought, I just wish you'd tell me what's going on.
"Very good," Trigon nodded as Daria paused to catch her breath.
"Thank you, father," she replied. Looking out, she could see the scorched remains of the minions
that had been destroyed as target practice.
"You are almost ready to kill your sister. Only one final thing needs to be done."
"I am ready for my lesson," Daria told him.
"It is not a lesson. It is a separation."
"I don't understand."
As his eyes began to glow, Daria felt a sudden pain in her chest. Then, something began to fight
its way out. "Despite the inroads I have made, you are still too weak-minded to complete
the task at hand. So, I am removing the part of me that is integral to your task and placing
it in control of your body. The husk that is your old mind will remain here to wither and
Daria began to scream as the figure of another person made its way out of her chest. Finally, she
fell to the ground as an identical figure stood over her.
"Can I destroy her, father?" As Daria looked up, she could see that her duplicate was exact, with
only one exception. Instead of brown eyes, hers were a glowing green in color.
"No. Both of you will be needed for my rebirth. Now, you will find the gem and complete
"Yes, father," the other Daria smiled as she bowed to him. "I will crush her and make her the
first sacrifice to your new reign on Earth."
Daria's mind reeled as she watched her double fade from sight.
"Unlike Robin," Raven said as they came through the doors, "not all of us have a lot of money."
She was wearing what she considered to be her 'normal' clothes. She had put on a pair of jeans
over her boots and had replaced her cloak with a denim jacket.
"Money has never been an issue before," Starfire commented. She was wearing a pair of sandals
that Raven had found, along with a knee-length gray skirt. Raven had also found a black
turtleneck for her, although the sleeves were a little short.
"Not for you. But, you have a regular influx of funds from Tamaran since you almost got
married." Raven sighed, "I just have the stipend I get for my personal needs for being a member
of the team."
"I did not realize it was a problem," the alien said.
"It's not, really," Raven shrugged. "My needs are simple."
"Like what we are searching for today?"
"Yes. Toothpaste, deodorant, and I need some more candles." She pointed, "We can start over
here in the health and beauty aisle."
"Ooh," Starfire picked up a box, "this changes the color of your hair?"
"This may take a while," Raven groused to herself.
POSTED TO HERE 7/6/6
"Wow, what's with the new duds?" Whirling, Daria scowled at Jane. Daria was wearing a high-necked and long-sleeved black leotard with her familiar boots. She was also wearing a skirt that
was the style she had worn in high school, only this one was the same color green as her favorite
jacket, and had a slit on the right side that was high and wide enough to show part of the leotard
beneath. Over this, she had on a long black hooded cloak with dark gray lining and trimmed in
the same green as her skirt.. The cloak was held closed by a red stone set in gold. Jane wasn't
sure, but it looked like the dark outline of a sword was visible in the stone. As she watched Daria
cross her arms, Jane noticed that the sleeves of the leotard came to points on the back of her
"I have to go," she said without preamble.
"Go? Where are we going?"
"We are going nowhere. I am going to find Raven so I can . . ." she paused. "I have to find my
"I thought she was at Pepperhill. And when did you start calling her 'Raven?'"
"Stop trying to confuse me!" Daria snapped. She turned and, disgusted, shoved the backpack
aside. "I don't need any of this," she grumbled.
"Daria, what's wrong?" Jane's level of concern was increasing by the second.
"Nothing that won't be fixed soon." Daria tried to walk past her, only to find Jane standing in
"You're not going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong with you," Jane told her. "You've
been acting odd since you fell asleep on the couch. For weeks you have these nightmares and
then, poof, they're gone? And what about those cuts on your back? How did they heal up so
"It's nothing you need to worry about," came a dark growl. "Now get out of my way."
"No. And I don't think you can move me."
"We'll see." Daria reached up and pulled the cloak over her head. Then, as Jane watched in
disbelief, her eyes went from dark brown to a bright, glowing green.
Crap, Jane thought.
The door to the main room opened, allowing Starfire to enter, followed closely by Raven. Raven
had one small bag, while Starfire had three large sacks.
"Robin!" she called out, "I have discovered the joy of discount shopping! Now I can . . ." her
voice dropped away as she looked around.
"What's going on?" Raven asked from behind her.
The large viewscreen/television had been busted, along with one of the windows. Burn marks
were on the walls, and the furniture had been tossed around. But it was what they saw on the far
wall that had the girls stunned. A large metal frame had been set up, with Cyborg strapped down
with his arms and legs spread-eagle. A cable had been attached to his chest, leading to a
suitcase-sized device sitting on the ground next to him.
"Friend Cyborg," Starfire stepped forward.
"Ah, good," came an unwelcome voice. "Our wayfaring students have joined us at last." A thin
figure in a robe came from the kitchen. His head had been modified with cybernetic implants
that were similar to Cyborg's, only in red instead of blue. His human eye seemed to burn a
brightly as his artificial one as he glared at them. "Welcome home," he said in a sweet tone.
"We've been waiting for you."
"Brother Blood," Raven said as she felt his power intrude upon her mind, "no."
"It's nice to be recognized," he said as he stepped closer. "Now, don't bother resisting. I've had
you in my thrall before. And this time, Cyborg will not be able to save you. Now," he turned
and walked away, "I want you two to go get changed. My students should always be
"Yes, Brother Blood," Starfire said, picking up the bags she had dropped.
"We will be right back, Brother Blood," Raven told him as she followed Starfire up the stairs.
"Good," Blood smiled, "very good."
Jane felt the breath knocked out of her as she was slammed through the door and out into the hall
by a blast of green fire. Bouncing off of the far wall, Jane gasped for air as Daria started to walk
With a grunt, Jane spun and tripped Daria with her foot. She flipped to her feet, then reached out
to restrain her friend. To her amazement, however, Daria's figure seemed to consume itself in
green fire, then slip through the floor.
"How did . . ." Jane felt of the floor, amazed at the lack of heat. "This can't be real."
"What do you know about reality?" Jane turned, trying to find the source of the voice, but didn't
look down. Another blast of green fire shot her from the floor and into the ceiling. It faded at
once, causing Jane to fall back to the floor.
"Daria," Jane wheezed, "don't . . ."
Behind her, a figure clad in glowing green slipped through the wall. Her eyes were glowing
brightly enough to reflect off of her glasses. The effect was that Daria's glasses were,
themselves, seemed to be glowing. Hearing footsteps, Jane rolled onto her back, gasping as she
saw her friend's eyes.
"Daria . . . why?"
"The Daria you knew is gone," came the expressionless voice. "She died the moment I admitted
the truth." She knelt down, "I am not the daughter of Jake Morgendorffer. My father's name is
"You've wondered if you were adopted for years," Jane pointed out. "So what if one of your
folks turns out to be someone else."
"Not some one," Daria stood, "some thing. My father is a demon, Jane."
"Mine's a photographer," Jane replied with a shrug. "Your point is?"
Glowing green eyes stared at her for a moment. "It's a shame you won't be there to see my
father's return," she said, raising a hand that was beginning to glow with green fire.
"Be where, and why can't I?"
"Because, I . . ." Daria paused. Jane could see the signs that Daria was thinking.
"Hey, don't you think I want to meet your old man?" Bluff, Jane, bluff or she's going to fry you
like a chicken leg.
"You merely wish to continue living," Daria said with a nod. "But, I believe I will bring you
along. After all," she smirked, "not everyone gets a front row seat to the end of the world."
"Uh, yeah." Jane frowned as green flames seemed to come from everywhere.
People outside the building saw green fire suddenly burst out of the roof of the building. The fire
took on the shape of a bird of some kind, then shot off to the West.
Raven and Starfire returned to the main room at almost the same time. Around them were
several of the robots that Blood had built using the schematics of Cyborg he had downloaded
some time before. Also, the rest of the team was standing next to Blood as if waiting for a
favorite teacher to begin a lecture.
"Ah," he smiled as the girls entered the room, "at last. My new students are here just in time for
me to solve a mystery." Turning to Cyborg, he went on, "We're going to have a science
experiment. A little dissection is in order, so that we can finally discover the secret of why . . ."
he blinked as the metal of Cyborg's metal parts began to reflect a green light.
Turning to look out of the windows, Blood saw a green shape heading toward the tower. As it
neared, he began to make out the bird-like image. It grew nearer, finally reaching the tower
itself. Blood could only stare as a bird made of green fire slipped into the room. The fire faded,
allowing two figures to emerge.
Jane collapsed as the fire faded from around her. Although it had not burned or harmed her, the
experience had been very disorienting. Daria calmly looked around before Blood spoke.
"Well, well, who is this?"
"I am the Sword," Daria told him.
"And I," he bowed slightly and swept his arm to the side, "am Brother Blood."
"Your identity is of no consequence," she stated.
"You will soon believe otherwise," he promised as his organic eye began to glow. "I believe you
will make an excellent addition to my school."
Daria looked bored. "I can feel you trying to worm your pathetic way into my mind. You do not
have a fraction of the power necessary to control me." Walking toward him, she made a gesture
with her hand, causing the light in Blood's eye to fade. "You are a distraction that I do not care
to have," she said.
"How did you do that?" Blood looked at her in amazement. Behind him, the Titans began to stir
slightly as Blood's power was broken. "I've lost my power."
"How sad for you," Daria told him in a monotone. "Now," she reached out and a claw of green
fire shot out to grab him, "you will leave me to my work." The green claw threw Blood out of
the window of the tower and out into the harbor.
"Nice work," Jane observed weakly.
"Distractions are not welcome." Daria's tone made it unclear if she was referring to Blood or
"Thank you," Robin said as he walked up to Daria. "You got here just in time."
"I am here for the gem."
"The gem?" Beast Boy spoke up from where he had just released Cyborg. "What gem? We've
got a gem?"
"The only gem I know of," Cyborg paused, then looked over, "is Raven."
"So," Raven said as she stepped away from the others, "you found me."
Ignoring everyone else, Daria moved toward Raven and said, "You killed our father."
"He was evil and was going to destroy the world, not to mention enslave the galaxy."
"Raven," Robin was scowling at Daria's back, "is this the girl you told me about?"
"I'm going to have to ask you to leave," Robin said to Daria.
"When I have fulfilled my purpose I will leave," she replied. She turned and looked at him
before adding, "Do not make me kill you, too."
"No one's getting killed here." Robin crouched as he prepared to move. Daria was faster,
however, catching him in a green claw before he could so much as twitch.
"You are wrong, child," she corrected. "There will be death here. And I am its bearer." Daria
threw the teen across the room and into Cyborg and Beast Boy, knocking all three down.
Raven watched as Starfire landed next to Robin. "Leave my friends alone," she commanded,
turning back toward Daria. "This is between you and me."
"Just the way I want it," Daria agreed, nodding. Bringing up both hands, Daria fired twin
streams of green fire toward her half-sister. Raven brought up a bubble of black energy just in
time. "You are strong," Daria commented as she kept up the flames. "But not strong enough.
After all," the flames began to wrap around the bubble and squeeze, "I was born to kill you."
Raven grimaced as she concentrated on keeping her shield up. She didn't see the tendril of green
that came up through the floor until it wrapped itself around her hands. "NO!" she cried as the
shield fell and the green fire enveloped her.
"Silly girl," Daria's voice had taken on a growling tone, "you thought you could defeat me. Now
you understand that fate is not something you --"
A muffled voice from within the flames cut her off. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Black energy
blew the ball of fire away from Raven. Raising her arms, Raven fired beams of black at Daria.
Caught by surprise, Daria was blown back into the remains of the monitor. Green flame erupted
around her as she fought off the attack. Stepping away from the destroyed screen, she shot her
own energy back at Raven. The two grimaced as they tried to overwhelm the other.
"You cannot defeat me!" Daria called out. "I was born to kill you. I am the one who show's you
your fate! I am the Sword of GUH!" the last sound came from Daria as something hard collided
with the back of her head. As the green and black energies faded, the Teen Titans saw a raven-haired woman standing over Daria's body with a piece of wood in her hand.
"Sorry, amiga," Jane said to her unconscious friend, "but the end of the world isn't something I
want to watch."
"Thank you," Raven said as she walked up.
"She's not herself." Jane knelt next to Daria, then looked up at Raven, "This Trigon guy did
something to her. Can you help her?"
"Help her?" Beast Boy asked as he walked up. "She tried to kill Raven!"
"And she'll try again if we don't do something," Robin reminded him.
Jane looked at the group and asked, "Can you do anything?"
"Let's see if she's okay, first," Cyborg said, lifting Daria in his arms. "Then we'll worry about if
she's gonna come to and blow up the tower."
The steady beeping of Daria's heart as she lay on the table was the only thing indicating that she
was alive. Her breaths were shallow and barely visible, leaving Jane with nothing to do for
several minutes but stare at the heart monitor.
"I didn't kill her, did I?" she finally asked.
"No," Cyborg replied. "But I've given her a sedative so she'll sleep until we figure out what to
do about her."
"Dude," Beast Boy asked, "if she's sedated, why are her eyes moving?"
"She's dreaming," Raven told him, her voice grim.
"That's the last thing she needs," Jane told her. "This whole thing started with dreams."
"Yes," Raven nodded slowly, "it did." In dreams to learn of emerald fire, she quoted to herself.
"Tell me what happened," she said to Jane.
"It started back before finals when she started having these weird dreams . . ."
For the next hour, Jane recounted how her friend had been having nightmares that finally began
to manifest themselves physically, only to seemingly end after she had finished finals and fallen
asleep on Jane's couch.
"She's been sleeping a lot, but I thought it was just exhaustion," Jane went on. "Since she got
into college, Daria's been the kind to keep pushing herself so she could get something finished.
That way she could really kick back and relax."
"You two sound close," Cyborg commented.
"Not as close as we were in high school," Jane told him with a shrug. "We had some problems
when we tried to share an apartment. I'm a bit of a slob and I like to work out at night."
"Sound like 'The Odd Couple,'" Beast Boy commented.
"I guess. But we're still best friends." With a sigh, she looked at Daria's figure, "I just wish I
knew what to do, now."
"I do," Raven told her. "I'm going in there."
"Raven," Robin protested, "you don't know what you'll find."
"No, but we can't keep her sedated forever." With a sigh, she moved to lie on the table next to
Daria. "And it could show us how to stop this," she answered him as she arranged herself.
"Wait," Jane was confused, "how can you go into someone's dreams?"
Beast Boy smirked, "Hey, is that any harder to believe than flying cross-country inside a giant
bird of fire?"
After thinking for a second, Jane nodded and said, "Good point."
"Robin," Raven looked at the leader of the Titans, "if I don't come back --"
"Come back," he cut her off. "That's an order."
Nodding, she smiled a little, then lay her head back and closed her eyes. "Azarath Metrion
Zinthos," she intoned a few times. Then, her body went limp as a black shape rose from it. As
Jane gave out a squeak of surprise, it moved to Daria's body, then seemed to be absorbed by it.
"Hey," Beast Boy told her, "I've seen it a bazillion times and I'm still freaked out by it."
The landscape of Daria's mind was unlike anything Raven had seen before. Her own was like a
vast universe with paths and twists and turns, while others had been everything from forests to
random thoughts in a whirlwind. This one, however, was like a cavern. As she headed down it,
Raven hoped it led to the central part of Daria's psyche. There, she knew, she'd be most likely to
find the source and perhaps the solution to the problem.
"I kissed your boyfriend." The words echoed down the tunnel Raven was cautiously walking
"I don't have a boyfriend," Raven grumbled, more to herself than to the voice.
A different voice, this one older, echoed past her. "You keep hiding your real face behind that
antisocial mask and one day the mask will be your face. I'm not letting that happen. You're
working at that camp."
As she progressed, Raven heard unconnected bits of conversations, most included Jane's voice.
"You baked this?" Daria's voice asked in one exchange.
"Baked, bought. Let's not ruin the moment with a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo," came Jane's
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Raven found herself smiling the barest of smiles.
"Hey," Jane asked as she looked up from watching over Daria's body, "you never told me who
that guy with the weird mask was?"
"Brother Blood," Cyborg answered with a scowl. "And that wasn't a mask."
"You know, it looked kinda like your, uh," Jane stumbled as she tried to be polite.
"My head. Yeah, I know."
"Cyborg and Blood go back a ways," Robin told her. "You see, Blood has the power to
manipulate the will of others. He uses it to get 'students' for his school of evil."
"Yeah," Beast Boy agreed, patting Cyborg on the back. "But he can't mess with Cyborg, here."
Looking proud, he added, "He just ain't man enough."
"Well," looking embarrassed, the tall teen rubbed the back of his head, "he can't take over my
mind, anyway. Don't really know why."
"While the situation is grim," Starfire spoke up, "it is good that the both of you arrived when you
"Oh, we in time for cookies?" Cringing, Jane said, "Sorry, sarcasm's a habit."
"No," Starfire smiled and shook her head, "the humoring is fine. But we are pleased because
Brother Blood was going to do the disassembling of friend Cyborg."
"That would have been ugly," Jane told her, "not to mention messy."
"And probably painful," Cyborg added, smirking at Jane. "Anyway, what Daria, here, did should
scare him off for a while."
"Speaking of which," Robin said, standing, "we need to get rid of those robots and find out how
he got in here."
"I already know how he got in," Cyborg told the leader. "He just waltzed in when we were off
trying to save Raven from Trigon."
"But," Beast Boy interjected, "I thought all that was a big do-over."
"I think he was already gone by the time Raven opened the portal."
"Wait a minute," Jane held up a hand, "what portal?"
Robin glanced at the still form of Raven before he looked back at Jane and explained, "Raven's,
and I guess your friend, Daria's father is a powerful demon named Trigon the Terrible. He
fathered Raven so she could serve as a portal to allow him to come to Earth. It," he dropped his
eyes for a moment. "She was almost destroyed when it happened."
"But she came back and destroyed him, instead," Beast Boy told Jane.
"We thought he was destroyed, anyway," Robin went on. "But it looks like he planned for the
"Daria was talking about having to kill her sister and the person who killed her father," Jane told
them. "You mean she's really half-demon? But what about Jake?"
"Jake?" Beast Boy, Starfire and Cyborg asked together.
"Jake Morgendorffer, Daria's dad and, I thought, father."
"I guess he just thought he was," Robin said, looking away. Narrowing his eyes, he turned to
Starfire, "Star, let's go get rid of those robots."
As the two left, Jane raised an eyebrow and turned to Cyborg. "Those two an item?" she asked.
"They are," he replied, "but they don't know it."
"Yeah, it's like something from a sitcom," Beast Boy added. "They've got it bad, but won't
"Oy," Jane grumbled, "have I seen that before." Looking at Daria, she thought, Just come back
normal, amiga, and I'll let you kiss every boyfriend I have for the rest of my life. Well, I'll let
you kiss them once.
As she continued, the voices began to become stronger and were joined by images. Raven
staggered back as the voice and image were suddenly added to by feelings of self-loathing.
"I kissed your boyfriend. I kissed Tom." An image of Tom appeared, with dark hair and a warm
smile. The feeling of loathing faded to one of happiness as images of Tom beside Daria
"I feel dirty," Raven commented as she tried to block the memories. "If she's had a sex life I'm
really going to feel dirty."
Continuing on, Raven finally had to surround herself with a thin veil of energy to keep the
memories from intruding on her own mind. Finally, she came to an opening at the end of the
corridor. As she stepped out of it, she gaped.
She could see many tunnels like the one she had just navigated opened up onto the central area.
The cavern was as large as a small city, with a few stalagmites and stalactites along the edges.
The floor was covered with fire that rose only as high as well-trimmed grass. Most of it was red,
with green patches near the tunnels and scattered amongst the red. Hordes of the flame-creatures
that served Trigon waited in rows for orders.
"You have failed to kill the gem." The booming voice of her father caused Raven to crouch as
she prepared to fight. Instead, she saw the massive shape of Trigon on the far end of the cavern.
His attention was toward two small shapes below him. Raven flew along the edges of the cavern
to avoid detection but still get close enough to find out what was going on.
"It was her," came the voice of Raven's sister. Pointing, she indicated a shape that was being
held upright by her hands and ankles by a circle of fire. "She made me take Jane with me."
Raven's eyes widened in surprise as she realized that the woman in the circle was also Daria.
This figure was dressed in a green jacket, with a black pleated skirt and yellow-T-shirt. Her
glasses were in place, but her feet were bare. Is this the real Daria? Then where did the other
"There is no excuse for failing me," Trigon stated. "I created you and I can just as easily
"Let me kill her," the robed Daria begged. "That way she can't stop me again."
Trigon seemed to consider it for a moment. "You have shown you can survive in the body.
You may kill her."
The imprisoned Daria glared at her double. "Nice of you to give me a fair trial," she grumbled.
"Oh shut up and die, already." Bringing up her hands, the free Daria fired twin streams of power
toward the Daria in the jacket. Before they could strike, a black wall appeared, blocking the
A white bird shape appeared then faded, leaving Raven. "You're not hurting her," Raven stated.
"So," Trigon said, "my lesser child has decided to interfere to save her life."
"I've come to save the real Daria," she corrected. Turning, she raised a hand and chanted,
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" The fire around the 'real' Daria faded, dropping the woman. She
tried to pull herself up, but was too weak.
"By coming here you've sentenced yourself to an early death," the 'fake' Daria told her.
"You kill me and you can't sacrifice me," Raven told her. "I have to be in my body and alive for
you to do that."
"Does she?" Raven's opponent looked toward the massive shape.
"She does," Trigon replied. "But that does not mean her soul-self must be unharmed.
Render her helpless then send her back before you awaken. She will be unable to stop
Holding onto what she was convinced was the real version of Daria Morgendorffer, Raven
considered her options. As green fire erupted around them, Raven took to the air, carrying Daria
"Listen to me," she said as she flew an evasive pattern, "this is all inside your mind. You need to
collect yourself and then take back what is yours. You've got the strength, you just need the
"I've also got scars from being tortured down here for months," Daria groaned.
"That was so you wouldn't learn how to take control," Raven told her. "You need to rest for a
little while. Just don't forget about me." Without warning, she dropped her cargo. As Daria
began to scream, Raven brought her hands together and chanted a spell.
Daria saw Raven knocked out of the sky by a ball of green flame just before blackness consumed
"She's waking up." She could hear the voices before her eyes started to work.
"Is she okay?"
"You think she was able to find out what's going on?" This voice was familiar.
"Jane?" she muttered.
"Yeah?" Opening her eyes, she could see Jane looking down at her, surprised.
"What happened?" She asked, sitting up.
Instead of Jane, the teenager with black hair and a mask answered, "You decided to go into
Daria's mind so you could see what was going on."
"Go into . . ." The rest of the sentence died as she looked over at the still figure on the other
table. "Uh," she pointed, "please tell me that's an illusion."
The group looked at the other woman, then back at her. "Raven," the boy asked, "what are you
"Raven?" Looking down at herself, she let loose with an "Eep."
"Don't tell me," Jane said. "You're Daria?"
"You said not to tell you," Daria reminded her.
"So, friend Raven is still inside your body?" The girl who spoke didn't look quite normal.
"I-I guess so." Self-conscious, she ran Raven's hands up her arms. "Um," she looked around,
"who are you people?"
"Daria Morgendorffer," Jane smirked, "let me introduce you to the Teen Titans." Quickly, she
pointed out each of the members and their names. "And you know who's body you're in."
"Yeah," Beast Boy said, "the girl you're trying to kill."
"Um, yeah." Daria looked down before speaking. "I know you don't have any reason to trust
me, but I really don't want to hurt anyone. It's, it's --"
"Something to do with Trigon," Robin said, scowling.
She nodded but didn't look up. "He's in my mind. First he forced me to admit he was my father,
then he just," she shivered, "he just seemed to take over."
"But what about Raven?" Cyborg asked.
"She was being attacked by my other self," Daria reported. "When I finished learning how to use
my powers, he created some kind of evil version of me." Looking up, she met their eyes, "That's
who was sent to kill Raven. I could barely keep her from killing Jane."
"You saved me? Thanks, amiga. I don't think I'd like being a pan fried artist."
"It would take suffering for your art to a whole new level," Daria told her with a smirk. Seeing
the serious looks on the faces around her, Daria's smirk vanished. "Look, they can't kill her.
They need her whole if they're going to resurrect Trigon to his full power."
"After a time, Raven's soul-self will die if she doesn't get back to her body," Robin told her.
"She said something once about the limit being an hour."
"And it's already been forty-five minutes!" Beast Boy called out.
"Thank you, town crier," Daria grumbled.
"Hey," Beast Boy scowled at her, "Raven's our friend."
"And we are most worried," Starfire added.
"And I'm sure you'd rather have your own body back," Robin concluded.
"I don't know," Daria said as she looked at her own body with a scowl, "it was getting a little
crowded in there."
"Daria," Jane warned.
"I know, I know," Daria replied. Then, sighing, she said, "I just don't know how she did it. I
mean, she just pointed at me and said something I couldn't hear and here I was. Besides, if I go
back, they might be able to send Raven here, then wake up and kill her."
"Sacrificing her to Trigon and bringing him back to Earth." Cyborg scowled, "Ah, man I hate
"No." Robin crossed his arms. "I'm sorry, Daria, but you're not going to kill Raven while we're
around. You took us by surprise earlier, but that won't happen again."
Daria rolled her eyes, "Robin, I do not want to hurt anyone, much less Raven. It was Trigon's
damn psychic construct that was doing that. Hmm," she rubbed her chin in thought. "You know,
Raven said something about it all being in my control. She said I just needed to 'collect myself'
and then 'take back' what was mine." Standing, she moved next to her body. Reaching out, she
removed the glasses her body was still wearing. She put a hand on her own forehead and
Let me in! She mentally screamed. Looking up, she shook her head, "I don't know how to get in
there," she told them. "Raven might have the training to do that kind of thing, but I was just
taught how to use my powers in battle." Holding up a hand, she concentrated, causing a ball of
green fire to appear. "I'm not even sure I can do this kind of thing."
"Hey, wait a minute!" Beast Boy perked up. "I got just the thing. Be right back!" Shape
shifting into a jaguar, he sped out of the room, leaving the others to just look at each other. It
took him three minutes to return. "She moved it from last time," he explained as he held out a
"Am I supposed to check my makeup in that?" Daria asked.
"It's a portal into Raven's mind," Cyborg explained. "Beast Boy and I stumbled into it once."
"Sooo," Daria took the mirror, "what do I do?"
"Don't know," Beast Boy told her. "We did it by accident."
"But if she's in your head," Cyborg said, "then you might be able to get back by going through
"It's worth a try, anyway," Robin said.
"Hrm," was Daria's response.
"That means she'll try it," Jane interpreted.
"Let me think a minute," Daria told them as she moved to sit on the end of the table she had
awakened on. Scowling, she looked the mirror over. It was nothing fancy. In fact, her sister -
other sister, Daria reminded herself - had fancier ones. She placed a hand over the glass and
"Maybe you should try Raven's mantra," Robin suggested.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" the Titans intoned as one.
"Okay, now that's scary," Jane supplied.
Daria placed her hand on the mirror, closed her eyes and concentrated as she spoke, "Azarath
Metrion Zinthos. Azarath Metrion Zinthos." After a minute, she opened her eyes again to see
the Titans and Jane staring at her. "Crap," she muttered.
"We're running out of time," Cyborg reminded them.
No pressure here, Daria thought as she looked at the mirror. Seeing the unfamiliar reflection, she
gazed at the purple eyes that stared back at her. What happens if she doesn't come back? Will
my body die and leave me stuck in this one? God, I hope not, I've already survived being a
teenager once, I don't want to have to do it again.
Something in the reflection seemed to change. Instead of a reflection of Raven's eyes, they
seemed to become more three-dimensional. Like pools, she thought. She stared harder at them
as they seemed to take up more of her consciousness. Daria began to feel a tugging at her mind
as she continued to stare. For a moment she fought it, then changed and began to try to reach
further into it. Unaware that she was doing so, she began to chant, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos."
Then, the eyes seemed to pull her into the mirror.
With a thud, she landed on the hard ground of the massive chamber. As she stood, she realized
that the fire around her was green and didn't hurt. It's a manifestation of my power, I think,
Daria guessed. Looking down, she could see she was back in her jacket/skirt outfit, but this time
with her boots on.
She glanced into the distance and saw that Raven was now the prisoner of her evil twin and
Trigon. She was still, but even at the distance, she could see a look of defiance on the girl's face.
"Keep the faith, sister," she muttered, surprising herself. "Great, now I'm sounding like Mom
did in the sixties."
It won't be long, now, Raven thought. I've been out of my body too long. I hope Daria takes
good care of it. I just wonder if this body will die when I go?
"Father," the false Daria said to the massive shape nearby, "she grows weaker, and I can't send
her back. How can I complete my mission when she," she sent a blast of fire into Raven, causing
her to grimace with pain, "won't tell me how to fix this."
"I'm not telling you anything," Raven told her through clenched teeth. "It's worth my life to
keep him from getting free again."
"Ah, but you will fail," Trigon said. "Since you have been here I have siphoned off enough
of your power to free myself from the prison I have been in all this time. My power will be
reduced, but it will still be enough to destroy this world."
"Prison? What prison?" Raven asked, despite herself. "Wait, how did you survive our fight?"
"I had a few seconds, and to one such as I, that is enough to plan my revenge. Now,"
Trigon raised a hand toward her, "your time is at an end. While it would be entertaining to
watch you wither and die, I prefer to kill you myself."
"Nothing like the personal touch," the robed woman said, stepping back.
Raven could only watch as a hand the size of a football field moved toward her. He's just going
to crush me like a bug, she realized. "I'm not afraid of you," she said as she waited to die.
"Leave her alone!" Trigon and the false Daria turned in surprise to stare at the woman in the
jacket. She was unaware of it, but was glowing green. The green fire around her spread as she
repeated, "I said 'leave her alone!'"
"Daria?" Raven tried to turn to look at her, but couldn't. "Daria, get out of here!"
"I've come to send you home, gem. Your body is nice, but I prefer mine."
"Ah, yes," the robed Daria smiled, "of course. That would explain why I couldn't send her back
to her body. You were in it." Looking at Raven, she raised her hands and said, "Now we can
send you back, then sacrifice you as my father demands."
"Not with my body you don't." A blast of green flame blew the woman away from Raven as a
second destroyed the fiery ring.
As she pulled herself upright, Raven could see that the double was already climbing back to its
feet. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Beams of black energy blasted the woman back to the ground.
"You'll pay for that, sister," was the response.
"Raven," Daria said as she reached her, "you gotta get out of here."
"I can't leave you here with them alone," she shot back.
"You could die in here," the elder sibling pointed out.
"Better that than letting our father win."
"Good point." Daria scowled as she looked up to see Trigon's eyes were glowing even more
than usual. "This doesn't look good," she told Raven.
"It never does," was the reply.
When Daria/Raven had collapsed, the group placed the figure back onto the table. Now, they
alternated between watching the two bodies. Starfire and Beast Boy were the ones watching
Raven when her eyes shot open.
"Ah!" Beast Boy flinched back, getting everyone's attention.
"You think something happened?" Jane asked as Beast Boy waved his hands in front of Raven's
"I don't know. I just hope she wakes up soon," Robin grumbled. "I don't like feeling helpless
"Dude," Beast Boy looking at the mirror still held in hand belonging to their friend, "we're not
Following Beast Boy's gaze, Cyborg smiled and said, "Oh, yeah."
That was unpleasant, Daria thought as she landed. Throwing up her hands, she projected a
shield to protect herself from another blast from her doppelganger. As the twin blasts of flame
persisted, Daria raised herself to her knees.
"You are weak," the simulacra told her. "My father has made me strong. Stronger than you.
Stronger than anyone!"
"He made you too mouthy to pass for the real thing," Daria shot back. Scowling, she forced the
shape of her shield to change, gathering up the green flames instead of directing them away from
her. It's my power, she thought to herself, I should be able to control it. Slowly, the flame began
to fill the shield like water flowing into a basin. Almost ready. How can she not see this? Daria
waited a few seconds more, then nodded. Now.
The other figure scowled as she forced more power at the shield, trying to overpower it.
Suddenly, an entire wall of green fire was heading directly at her. Before she could escape, she
was surrounded by the fire and held in place within a bubble of force that had once been a shield.
The amount of concentration Daria needed to keep the ball intact was tremendous. The robed
figure within screamed as the fire lapped at her. You idiot, we can't burn in our own fire.
A massive shock wave knocked Daria off her feet and distracted her enough for the ball of flame
to vanish. As the shock wave traveled through the ground, it also seemed to echo inside Daria's
Putting a hand to her head as she climbed back to her feet, she looked up in time to see Raven
knocked from the air by a blast from Trigon. As she fell, Daria saw her half-sister flicker
slightly. "She's dying," Daria whispered, not seeing her evil twin rise up behind her, green fire
dancing in her hands.
A flash of motion caused Daria to turn in time to see something in red and black slam into the
robed figure behind her. The two figures rolled apart, with the evil Daria staggering to her feet in
time to have Jane Lane stand, spin, and slam the toe of her boot into her target's jaw.
Closing in to try to finish the job, Jane called back, "I got your back, amiga."
Confused, Daria looked around as she heard a familiar voice.
Robin and Beast Boy headed for Raven's fallen figure while Cyborg and Starfire moved quickly
toward Trigon. As the massive shape growled a challenge, Starfire began hurling glowing disks
of energy she called 'starbolts' as Cyborg fired his sonic cannon.
The demon was the size of a large building, meaning he was an easy target. A few of the
starbolts, however, missed and hit the walls or floor of the massive chamber. Each time one
struck, Daria grabbed her head in pain.
"Raven?" Beast Boy asked as he knelt next to her.
"You called me Garfield," he noted, "and you weren't making fun of me." He looked up at
Robin, who had knelt on Raven's other side. "This can't be good."
"Can you make it back to you body?" Robin asked.
Shaking her head, Raven closed her eyes. "No. I'm too weak. I've been gone too long." Her
voice fell to a whisper, "I guess this is my fate after all." Her figure turned black, as if
surrounded by her energy, then evaporated.
"She's," Beast Boy looked shocked, "she's gone." The shock turned to anger. "He killed her."
Beast Boy stood and glared at Trigon. "He killed his own daughter." Turning, he began to run at
"Beast Boy," Robin stood and held out a hand, "wait!"
"You're gonna pay!" Beast Boy shifted to the fastest shape he had, a jaguar. Then, as he neared,
he became a small bird. With Trigon distracted by Cyborg and Starfire, he was able to reach the
demon's ear with ease.
The scream that erupted from Trigon a few seconds later caused the attack to falter for a few seconds. "It's Beast Boy," Robin told them. "Keep up the pressure!" Starbolts and sonic blasts were now joined by the explosive ordinance carried in Robin's utility belt.
Daria collapsed to her knees as the fighting continued. "Stop it," she begged quietly. "Stop it,"
she repeated a few more times as the pain built. "Get," her fists clenched, she closed her eyes
tight, "out," Daria's hands began to glow, "of," as she raised her hands, green fire erupted around
her, "my" the flames shot up into a column reaching from floor to ceiling, "MIND!"
The green column turned into a wall of fire spreading outward. As it reached where Jane was
still hammering away at the false Daria, it picked her up and carried her along. In her confusion,
Jane still managed to notice her target evaporating.
Beast Boy was shaken from his attack on the inside of Trigon's ear and fell toward the ground
until he shifted from his monster form to a hawk. From his vantage point, he could see the fire
coming. Shifting to his real form, he pointed and yelled, "Incoming!"
Cyborg turned in time to see the fire reach him. "Oh, snap," was all he had time to say. Robin
turned and ran away from the flames, only to have them catch him before he could take more
than a few steps, also catching Starfire who had dove down to try to carry him to safety. Beast
Boy, now back in hawk form again, managed to stay ahead of it until he reached the far corner of
the chamber. Glancing back, he saw the fire reach Trigon and sweep the demon up along with
Exhausted and out of room to run, Beast Boy landed and shifted back to normal as he stepped
back against the wall. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to watch the fire as it reached him. A
green flash preceded a sense that he was falling.
Then he landed on something hard and cool.
"Okay," Cyborg's voice reached Beast Boy, "that was weird."
"You said it," Robin replied.
"Where are we?" Beast Boy asked.
"Open you eyes, B," Cyborg advised.
Following the advice, Beast boy saw the ceiling of the infirmary above him. "Oh," he sat up,
"Most of us." Jane stood next to Daria's still figure, but was looking over it at the still body of
Raven. "I don't think she's breathing."
"Friend Raven?" Starfire asked, taking one of Raven's hand in her own.
"Should we, like, do CPR or something?" Beast Boy asked.
Robin shook his head as he sadly reminded him, "She's not in there. She was inside Daria,
"Oh." Biting his lip to try to fight back tears, he added, "Yeah."
"We always knew this was dangerous," Cyborg pointed out. "Everyone of us have come close
more than once. But I always thought Raven would outlast all of us."
"As did I," Starfire said with a nod.
"Hey," Jane interrupted, "don't give up the ship yet. If she died inside Daria's head, there's still
a chance. I mean," she shrugged, "Daria's had company in her head long enough, so I don't
think she's gonna want a ghost hanging out in there." Seeing the spirits of the teens rise slightly,
Jane thought, Come on, amiga, pull out a miracle.
There was something peaceful about having your mind to yourself. Daria relished the quiet
solitude she had taken for granted for so long. I could get use to this, she thought. Not hearing
an argument brought a moment of happiness to her.
Something stirred. Daria focused her thoughts upon it and found a slight wisp of something
drifting through her mind. No, not something, someone.
"Raven?" The wisp was too weak to reply. Focusing, Daria gave it some of her own strength.
"Raven?" she tried again.
Daria? Still too weak for words, the thought passed through the sliver of the soul-self that had
not yet completely evaporated.
"You're not dying in here," Daria told it. Reaching out, she scoured her mind for other trace
remnants of her sibling's being. A few scattered pieces were brought together with the one she
was holding in her mind. Once they were together, she fed it more of her own power. Finally,
they began to take a shape.
"I need to get back to my body," the voice was still tired and weak. "But I can't make it."
"I'll take you home," Daria promised. She visualized a hand reaching out toward Raven.
Opening her eyes, Daria saw Jane and the Titans standing around her. "Did I grow another
head?" she asked softly.
"No," Jane answered, smirking, "still just the two."
"How are you feeling?" Cyborg asked.
"Tired," she answered. "But that's not important right now." Struggling to rise, she scowled at
the cybernetic hand that moved to hold her down.
"You need rest," Cyborg told her.
"I need to get to Raven," she said. "Then I'll rest. Believe me, I'm going to rest for a year."
Trying to rise, she frowned as she realized she was too weak to sit up. "A little help, here."
Instead of helping her to sit up, Cyborg lifted her in his arms. "Faster this way," he said.
"And here I thought you had a thing for me," she shot back with a smirk. Pointing, she instructed
him to set her next to Raven. "How long has she been out?" she asked.
"Unconscious or dead?" Robin asked, ignoring the sharp looks from other members of the team.
"Dead," Daria replied as she was set on the bed.
"About three minutes."
"Good, brain damage hasn't started, yet." Daria placed a hand over Raven's heart as she used
her other hand to hold one of Raven's. Closing her eyes, she muttered, "I really hope this
"You and me both," came a thought.
Daria opened her mind to the figure next to her, forcing her energy to flow down her hands and
into the body of her sister. Slowly, the sense of being in two places at once grew in her mind.
Distantly, she heard someone mention that there was a pulse. Once she was certain that Raven's
body was alive again, she took the soul-self of her sister and, after once again giving it some of
her power, released it into her body. Then, Daria withdrew back into herself once more.
Opening her eyes, Daria raised an eyebrow as she asked, "Did it work?" Before anyone could
answer, however, everything went dark again.
A rhythmic beeping noise was the first thing Daria became aware of as she woke up. A second
was the sound of someone snoring nearby. Jane, Daria realized. No one snores quite like Jane.
The final thing, and the one that brought her to full consciousness, was the feeling that someone
was holding her hand.
Opening her eyes, Daria turned her head to see that Raven was beside her and gently holding
onto one of her hands. When she saw Daria was looking at her, she quickly let go and blushed.
"Uh," she said, "I was seeing if you were warm enough."
"I'm fine," Daria said, deciding to add, "sis," to the end of her statement. The word seemed to
catch the teen hero off-guard.
"Good," Raven stood and looked over to the other bed where Jane was asleep, "that means I can
wake her up and get her to quit sounding like we're being attacked by buffalo."
"That's Jane," Daria told her. "But let me wake her up. There's a certain Lane trait that is
always so much fun." Rising slowly, Daria was careful to not go pitching onto her face as she
stood. Once she had her feet firmly beneath her, she smirked at Raven, then moved next to
"Jane," she said, sounding alarmed, "what are you doing in bed with chickens?"
Jane leaped to her feet and cried out, "No, really, they're just cold!" Realizing where she was,
she turned to see Daria and Raven smirking at her. "I hate you," Jane informed her.
"I'll have to try that with Beast Boy," Raven said. "He likes to fall asleep on the sofa and getting
him to go to bed is a pain."
"I'll give you a list Jane and I have used on her brother," Daria promised as she watched Jane
move to stand in front of her.
"You're awake," Jane said.
"Are you really you again?"
"How do I know for sure?"
"You have a point. After all, I'd really rather you didn't hit me in the back of the head again with
whatever you used the last time."
Jane gently punched Daria on the arm and said, "It's you. Welcome back."
"Uh, it's good to be back." Glancing at Raven, she added, "Right?"
"That depends on whether or not I still have to clean up after Brother Blood."
"You are sisters," Jane observed.
"Funny," Daria mused, "I always thought I got my sense of humor from the Barksdale side of the
family. After all, my Aunt Amy has it, too."
"Could she be a demon?" Jane asked.
"Mom would think so."
"I hear speaking." Starfire leaned into the room, then smiled. "Raven's sister, you are awake!"
Coming fully into the room, she clasped her hands together and smiled. "We must celebrate your
return. We will have the iced cream, and the pied pizza and . . ."
"I'm not really into celebrations," Daria said. Before she was even finished, she realized that
Starfire was oblivious to the fact she had said anything at all.
". . . and a bauchnar."
"Do I want to know what all that is?" Jane leaned over to whisper to Raven.
"I know I don't," Raven whispered back.
As they watched the alien almost skip out of the room, the siblings muttered, "I hate parties."
POSTED TO HERE 7/8/6
"Hey, Raven," Cyborg asked as she and Daria passed by the kitchen, "you mind moving the table
out by the monitor? We're just gonna put everything out there."
"Okay," Raven scowled slightly. "Why are we doing it like that?"
"Oh," he smiled, "I just thought, since you've got a new sister, we'd try something different."
"I see." Shrugging, she raised a hand toward the table. "No problem. I'll . . ." her voice trailed
off. She looked at her hand, then reached out toward the table. "Okay," she said, confused, "I
guess there is a problem after all."
"Something wrong?" Daria asked.
"Can you move the table?" Raven asked her.
"With my powers? I'll try." Daria raised a hand, then looked at it. "It's not working. My
powers are gone."
"Mine, too." Raven looked at Cyborg and said, "I think you're going to have to move the table
on your own."
"I'm really getting to hate this place," Daria grumbled as she and Raven lay on the infirmary's
"It doesn't make sense," Cyborg was saying to Robin. "Every piece of equipment I've got says
those two should be able to move mountains, much less a table."
Jane, who had stood behind Robin as they both had watched the tests, spoke up, "Did it ever
occur to you that what's wrong might be magical in nature?" She gestured toward the siblings,
"They're part demon, not part E. R. Besides, it might just be the stress of what they've been
"It could be exhaustion," Cyborg admitted, giving Jane a pained look.
"Well," Raven sat up, "whatever it is, I'm afraid it's going to have to wait until tomorrow. All
these tests are tiring me out."
"Don't even think about it," Cyborg told her. "We're still having a party. You're alive, and
that's enough of a reason for me." To prove his point, he placed a pointy party hat on Robin's
head. Smiling, he ignored the annoyed look from the Boy Wonder.
"You know," Jane told him, "you really make a lot of sense, sometimes." As Robin removed the
hat, she snatched it from his hands and slipped it onto her own head. Smirking at Cyborg, she
said, "I'd put this on Daria, but powers or not, she'd kill me."
"It's nice that she knows me so well," Daria said to Raven.
"Since you were here instead of the party, I brought you some of the bachnar." Eyes wide, the
group turned to look at Starfire. She was smiling as she handed each of them a small plate with a
Daria set the plate next to her on the examination table. "Uh," she told Starfire, "I'm still a little
frazzled from what's happened. I don't really have an appetite, yet."
"Yeah," Raven agreed, "me too."
"Ah!" Jane dropped the plate and stared at it. "It moved!"
Unconcerned, Starfire looked at Cyborg and said, "It has raisins in it."
"Great," Daria said, turning in time to see her serving slip off the end of the table, "raisins."
"Hey." Raven opened an eye to see Jane lowering herself to sit on the roof next to her.
"Hi. To what do I owe the pleasure?" Raven asked as she closed her eyes and returned to
"I just wanted to talk. If you're busy I can come back later."
Raven sighed, then opened her eyes and looked at Jane. "No, that's okay. I've been trying to
meditate, but it's like there's a brick wall in my head that I can't get through."
"Have you tried sinus medicine?" Jane offered. When a corner of Raven's mouth pulled down
and one of her eyebrows went up, Jane smirked. "You and Daria are so much alike it's creepy.
But in a cool way," she added.
"Yeah," Raven looked away, "alike." She seemed to ponder something for a moment, then
looked back at Jane and asked, "You two are friends, right?"
"She's my first and best friend in the whole world," Jane replied without hesitation.
"I've never had a sister before," the teen told her. "What's she like. When she's not trying to kill
me, I mean."
Jane grinned at her. "I'm afraid that's normal for siblings, Raven."
Daria shook her head as she watched Cyborg lovingly rubbed a coat of wax onto the shiny car.
"Men and their cars," she said aloud.
"Oh, hey, Daria," he said, turning at the sound of her voice. "What brings you down here?"
"Um," she shrugged, "no reason. Just looking around. In the neighborhood."
Leaning on the car, he smirked and said, "You bored or curious?"
"Uh," Daria looked at the floor, "curious."
"Okay." Tossing the rag in his hand on top of a small pile of them, he picked up a towel and
wiped his hands. "So, why'd you come to me?"
"It would be too awkward with Raven," Daria admitted. "Beast Boy would ramble on for hours,
Starfire would be unintelligible and Robin would act like I was trying to get state secrets."
"Amazing how well you've gotten to know us in such a short time," Cyborg told her with a grin.
"I won't betray any trusts, you know."
"No betrayals," Jane told Raven. "But because you're her new sister, I'll waive my usual three
"Does she have a lot of friends?" Daria asked. "I mean, my other sister, Quinn, is a social
goddess. She's always been popular, and now she's starting to have some success with her own
design company. But does Raven go out much?"
"Raven spends her time in her room," was the reply. "Too much to be healthy, I think. But she's
happier with books than she is with most people. Probably because we tend to think too loud."
"So she's a telepath?"
"To some degree. I think." Cyborg thought. "Maybe she's an empath. Whatever, she can get
bummed if there's too many people around too long."
"Does Daria have a lot of friends?"
"Not really." Jane placed a hand to her chest, "There's me, and a couple of people she met in
college. Oh, and Jodie, this girl we knew from high school. I'd say maybe six at most." Jane
leaned her head to one side slightly, "Daria and I have always been outcasts from the regular
pecking order. She's the unfashionable cynic and I'm the 'weird art chick.' Some people would
collapse under the stigma, but we've always thrived on it."
"What about guys?" Raven cringed, "Sorry, that's not --"
"She's had one boyfriend, Raven," Jane said, suddenly very serious. "Tom Sloane was his name.
I'd been dating him first, but we were about to break up. At first, she hated the guy, but over
time he kinda grew on her. Quite a lot in fact." Jane smirked, "You wouldn't think it, but
Daria's got hormones just like everybody else. That's why she kissed him."
"Wait," Raven's eyes widened, "you mean she kissed him before you broke up?"
"Yep. Of course, Daria being Daria, she told me about it the next day." Jane shrugged, "If
there's one thing about Daria that has not and never will change, it's her honesty. If you're
honest, no matter how bad what you have to say is, she'll respect you for it."
"Honesty." Raven nodded. Smirking slightly, she said, "So telling her I'm really a boy would be
Jane laughed, "And Beast Boy was telling me you had no sense of humor."
"Is she happy here, Cyborg?" Daria asked as they left the elevator.
"As happy as she'll let herself be," he replied. "You see, her powers work off of her emotions.
But I guess you'd know that."
"Hmm, yeah, mine are, uh, were the same way."
"So you see why she keeps them bottled up."
"Yeah, that makes sense." Daria bit her lip. As much as I've improved, I've still been keeping
myself in check emotionally my entire life. Except that one time with Tom.
"Earth to Daria," Cyborg cut into her train of thought.
"I was asking what your plans are, now?"
"Oh. Well, I guess Jane and I will had back to Boston. With my powers gone anyway, I might as
well get back to my life." She shrugged, "What there is of it, anyway."
"So you two are sharing an apartment?"
"Yeah, now that Daria's out of college." Oh, crap, I've set myself up for the question.
"So why weren't you before?"
"I hate this question," Jane admitted. "You see, Daria found the apartment before I arrived. But,
uh," she looked away, "I got really into working out and martial arts and stuff. Between my
schoolwork and me working out all the time, I was just making too much noise for Daria to
study." Jane frowned, "I ended up chasing her out of the apartment she'd found for us."
"But you're still friends," Raven observed.
"Freakin' friends," Jane corrected. "It's from a song my brother wrote. Now I have a question,
what are you going to do now?"
"Your powers are gone. At least for a while." Jane shrugged, then asked, "Why not take a
break? Come back to Boston with us."
"Leave here?" Raven looked nervous.
"Just until your powers come back. I mean, you're not like Robin, after all. You can't go out
there without your powers or you'd just be a target." Like I was, she silently added.
"I, I hadn't thought about that."
"It'd give you and Daria a chance to bond."
Scowling, the girl said, "I'll have to think about that."
"Jane, are you corrupting my sister?" The two turned to see Daria stepping onto the roof.
"Nah," Jane waved a hand as she stood, "I'll leave that to your other sister."
"Other sister?" Raven stood and looked at Daria.
"You better hope your powers come back or she'll give you a makeover you won't believe," Jane
told her, smirking. Looking at Daria, she said, "I've invited your youngest sib, here, to join us in
Boston until her powers return."
"Boston?" Behind her glasses, Daria's eyes widened. "Uh, I hadn't thought of that."
"It's okay if you don't want me to go," Raven told her. "I hadn't really decided yet, anyway."
"No," Daria shook her head, "no, that's okay. I just hadn't thought about it."
"We've got the room," Jane reminded her.
"If we can get your weights out of the way."
"Hey, I went to one of those all-in-one machines. They're a lot quieter."
"I wish I'd known about that when I wasn't sleeping," Daria said, frowning slightly.
"So you're sleeping okay, now?" Raven asked.
"As long as I don't turn my back on Jane, I'm fine." Smirking, she added, "Otherwise I wake up
with a headache and a lump on the back of my head."
"Now, now, Morgendorffer," Jane told her, "you know offing family members is bad karma."
"What about annoying best friends?" Daria asked, glancing at the edge of the roof.
"You're going where?" Beast Boy gaped at Raven.
"Boston," she calmly replied. "Daria and Jane have offered me a room so I can get to know my
sister while my powers are gone."
"But, but," Beast Boy stammered before saying, "but what if they don't come back?"
"Look," Robin cut him off, "it's Raven's decision. With her powers gone, she's not going to be
able to defend herself in the field." He looked at her, "No offense, Raven, but you've not trained
to fight like I have."
"None taken," she answered. "You're right, if I were to go with you now, I'd be a liability. And
staying here while you're out there would drive me crazy." Glancing over, she added, "And
that's Beast Boy's job."
"That's right," he said with a nod. Then, he scowled at her, "Hey, wait a minute."
"But we will miss you, friend Raven," Starfire said, sounding sad.
"Hey, it's only until my powers return. Besides," she went on, "I think I'll like having an older
sister. And I'd really like the chance to find out."
"Star's right," Cyborg said, reaching out to put a hand on her shoulder. "We'll miss you. But
you and Robin are right, too. If you can't go on missions with us, there's no reason for you to be
stuck here. Go have fun with your sister."
"Yeah," Robin added, "we'll hold down the fort until you get back."
"I'm not saying that he's not a great guy," Jane said as she opened the door to the apartment.
"I'm just saying that it's weird that he won't take his mask off long enough to see you off at the
"He's protecting his secret identity," Raven explained as she followed Jane in. The two women
each set down a suitcase as Daria brought up the rear.
"You said most of this isn't clothes?" she asked her sister, changing the subject of conversation
for the past hour.
"I don't have a lot of normal clothes," Raven replied. "Most of this is stuff I wanted to keep
Beast Boy from bothering."
"Underwear and stuff?"
"No, Jane," Raven glared at her, "he's not a pervert. He's just very curious."
"Hey, I'm just kidding." Jane scowled, "You did bring underwear, though, right?"
"Jane!" Daria and Raven snapped.
"Fine! Fine!" Jane continued with her bag, "I'll dump this in her room then I'm going to take a
"Your friend is very weird," Raven told Daria.
"I heard that!"
"Yes," Daria replied, "she is."
"I'm not deaf!"
The siblings smirked at each other.
Stepping quietly, Daria entered the living room. I was right, she thought, that was Raven I was
hearing. Raven was sitting cross-legged in the floor with her hands resting on her knees.
"Azarath, Metrion Zinthos," she repeated. As usual in the morning, Raven was wearing a black
tank top and running shorts. Hearing a sound, she opened her eyes and looked to her right where
Daria was sitting on the floor next to her. "Hey."
"Hey," Daria replied. "You had breakfast?"
"Not yet." Raising an eyebrow, Raven asked, "You want me to cook?"
"Are you kidding?" Daria looked mildly panicked. "The only person I've ever seen who was a
worse cook than you is my Dad."
"Oh?" Despite herself, Raven was intrigued by Daria's family. The fact that she had grown up
in a comparatively normal home made Raven both jealous and curious. She had already bugged
her older sister with repeated questions about Lawndale and Highland, with each tidbit of
knowledge only fueling the fire for more.
"Now don't start," Daria scowled at her.
"I was just going to ask how much of a cook your mother was," Raven admitted.
"She was okay, although she mostly did pre-cooked meals." Shrugging, she said, "There's a
reason why I don't eat lasagna."
"But she had a problem with getting the sugar and salt confused." Raising an eyebrow, she
added, "I never could figure out why."
"You think I could meet them some time?" As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Raven
wanted to take them back. How can you explain that we're sisters? 'Hi, Mom, Dad, I'd like to
introduce you to the sister you don't know about. The one the demon who possessed Dad sired
with another woman.'
"Uh," Daria removed her glasses and looked at them, "I'd like to. Just to see Quinn's reaction."
"I'm sorry I said anything," Raven told her. "There's no way to explain how we're sisters that
"I'm still not sure there's a way that I believe," Daria grumbled. "It's only been a month, after
A sound from behind them caused the siblings to look over to where Jane was stumbling into the
room. "Coffee," she droned as she continued on into the kitchen.
"I made some earlier," Raven told Daria. "It's probably too weak for her, though."
"She has ways to boost the stuff," Daria told her. "Now, I have a question I've been dying to ask
"Shoot," Raven said, rising to her feet and sitting on the couch.
As she rose to join Raven, Daria asked, "Those words, 'Azarath Metrion Zinthos," what do they
"Well," Raven told her, "Azarath is where I was born and raised. It's a place dedicated to peace
and safety. No violence or crime ever happened there. It's a city of magic. Or, it was. You see,
Trigon destroyed it and almost everyone there."
"Wonderful way he has with people," Daria commented.
"Yeah. Well, my mother and a few others are all that survived. They've been rebuilding, but the
process is slow. I use Azarath to remind me of peace and calm. Now, Zinthos," she continued,
"from what I've learned over the years, is the name of the dimension where he originated. It's a
terrible place of fire and destruction. I use it to remind myself of the consequences if I fail."
"It's my middle name," Raven admitted.
"Your name is Raven Metrion Roth?" Daria blinked. "I thought Jane Coyote Lane was odd."
"Beats Moon Unit," Raven reminded her.
"Good point. But why your middle name?"
"To remind myself that I'm stuck between the light and the dark." Raven looked down, "I've
always had that prophecy hanging over my head. That mantra was my way of reminding myself
that I'm trapped between two opposing forces and that I'm the one making the call." Looking at
Daria, she added, "I was fooling myself. I did exactly what Trigon wanted me to do."
"And you beat him, don't forget that." Now it was Daria's turn to look away. "You did what I
"I knew what I was from childhood. And I was never held up and flame-whipped."
"I should have found a way to stop myself from trying to kill you," Daria grumbled. "I --"
"You did," Raven reminded her. "Once you had the chance to get your bearings, you came back
and destroyed him."
Daria's head jerked around to stare at her sister. "I didn't destroy him. I just swept him out of
my mind like everyone else."
"Wait," Raven's face began to pale, "you mean Trigon wasn't destroyed?"
"That's a problem, then?"
"If he wasn't destroyed," she sat back and stared, "then he's still out there."
"Where could he go?"
"I don't know." Raven stood and moved toward the phone, "I need to tell the Titans about this."
Brother Charmis looked up when he noticed his shadow had seemed to double for a second. As
if, for a moment, the sun had been doubled. Using the distraction as an excuse to pull the cloth
from his pocket and wipe the sweat from his face, he glanced around him.
The ruins of what had once been a beautiful city looked better now that they had removed most
of the wreckage. The remains of the buildings that still stood, however, bore silent testimony to
the ravages that Trigon had heaped upon Azarath. Now, the few believers remaining were trying
to rebuild their city.
Charmis' thoughts were cut short when a scream cut through the air. Following the sound,
Charmis charged around the corner in time to see the fiery minions of Trigon carrying a figure
through a portal that had opened in the air.
"Arella!" he cried out. "Azar protect you," he whispered as he watched the portal close. So, he
thought as others ran up, Trigon has reclaimed his wife. May your death be swift, Sister Arella.
"Jake said he'd be down here," Helen Morgendorffer muttered as she came down the stairs.
Starting toward the kitchen, she stopped as the phone began to ring. Being closer to the one on
the coffee table, she reached down and picked it up. "Hello?"
"Mom?" Daria leaned back on the sofa as she said, "It's me."
"Daria!" Helen smiled as she said, "It's so nice to hear from you. How have you been?"
"Um, okay, I guess," she replied. If you don't count finding out I'm half-demon. Aloud, she
asked, "How are you and Dad?"
"Oh," Helen idly wandered over to the window, "we're fine. You coming in for a few days now
that classes are done?"
"Uh, yeah. But I need to settle things with work first."
"Well, sweety, you just let us know. We miss you, you know."
"Yeah, well I miss you, too. Um, Mom, you mind if I bring a guest home with me?"
"You know Jane is always welcome," Helen reminded her.
"Well, actually, I was referring to someone else. She's a friend who's parents don't live around
"Really?" Helen was torn between being happy that her daughter had made a new friend and
worry that it was a stranger she had never met. "What's her name?" Helen waited, but got no
"There will be no response." The smoking remains of the phone landed on the carpet next to
her. Turning, Helen could only stare at the figure now approaching.
Her scream was abruptly silenced.
"Mom?" Daria repeated into the phone. "Mom? MOM!"
Jane grabbed the frame between the living room and the hall to catch herself after racing from the
other end of the apartment. "You okay?"
"We got cut off," Daria told her, putting the phone back on its cradle. "There was a sizzling
noise, then nothing."
"Try calling them back."
"Yeah, good idea." Picking up the phone again, Daria mumbled, "Should have thought of that
"Hey," Jane wandered into the room, smirking, "I guess I learned something from all this time in
"College," Daria corrected absently. Her look of worry deepened into a scowl. "No answer."
She let it ring a few more times before shaking her head, "The machine should have picked up by
"Could it be a problem in the line?"
"I'd get a message that there was a problem or get a busy signal," Daria answered, standing.
"Your demon-sense kicking in?" Seeing the glare, Jane held up a hand and said, "Sorry, that was
over the top."
Daria frowned, then grabbed the phone again. "Who you calling now?" Jane asked.
"Quinn. I want to know if she's heard from Dad lately."
"Why? What's up with your pop?"
"Jane," Daria stopped as she heard the phone pick up. "Quinn?" Rolling her eyes, she listened
for a few seconds before grumbling, "I hate other people's answering machines. Ah," she held
the receiver up to her lips. "Quinn, this is Daria. Have you talked to Dad this week? Let me
know one way or the other, okay? I'm back in the apartment with Jane, so you have the number.
"So," Jane asked as Daria hung up the phone, "what now?"
"I'll give it an hour. Quinn told me once that she uses her cell phone to check the messages at
her apartment between classes."
"You're really worried," Jane observed, her humor gone.
"Jane, I find out I'm half-demon just in time for said demon to turn me into some kind of damn
weapon." She held out a hand in the direction of the back bedrooms. "Now I have my half-sister,
who I've already tried to kill, living with us because we've both lost our powers. Given the fact
that he's still out there," she held her hands out to her sides, "don't you think paranoia is a good
"When you put it that way, yeah." Jane was about to say more when the phone rang, startling
"Uh, hello?" Daria asked.
"Hey kiddo," Jake Morgendorffer's voice reached her ear.
"Hi, Dad." Daria nodded toward Jane.
"Yeah, your Mom wanted me to call and tell you she was sorry about cutting you off like that.
Seems she's had an upset tummy all day and she had to, uh, go do something."
Smirking, Daria said, "I understand. I'm glad you called. Look, I think we'll be able to come in
a few days earlier than I thought. Um, did Mom mention that I'm bringing someone with me?
Other than Jane, I mean."
"Oh, yeah. Hey, I'm looking forward to meeting your friend. Any idea when that'll be?"
"Hmm, about three days. I want to pick up a few things before we go." Daria relaxed as the
familiarity of Jake's voice eased her worries.
"That's great! I'll tell your mother you'll be here then. Drive carefully, okay? And tell Jane
and Raven I said hello."
"Um, okay." Daria closed her eyes tightly. "Tell Mom I hope she's okay. Bye."
"You okay?" Jane asked as Daria turned off the phone then dropped it onto the floor. "You look
white as a sheet."
"He's got Dad," Daria whispered.
"He's got Dad." Daria swallowed then looked at her friend. "Jane, he knew Raven's name. I
never told Mom. How did he know it was Raven?"
"If I was an optimist," Raven said as she stepped into the room, "I'd say he recognized something
from tv. But I'm not an optimist."
"You think Trigon has possessed your old man?" Jane looked from one half-demon to the other.
"Why would he do that?"
"He's done it before," Daria pointed out. "He needed a place to retreat to when I threw him out
of my mind."
"There may be another reason," Raven told her. "Since your mother had you, he tainted her soul
with his essence. So, he might be drawing on that to give himself power."
"Are you saying that he's sucking power out of Mom?"
Jane took Daria's arm and urged her to sit. "You look like you're going to pass out."
"I feel like it," Daria admitted. Closing her eyes, she leaned forward to put her head between her
knees. Hearing the beeping of someone dialing a phone, she looked up to see that Raven had
retrieved it from the floor. "Calling in backup?"
"Or the calvary, depending on how you look at it," Raven replied.
"Dude," Beast Boy said as Robin strode into the room, "what's up?"
"Yeah," Cyborg chimed in, "you've got that look in your eye that says we're about to load up and
head out for trouble."
"Get the T-Ship ready," Robin told Cyborg. "I just got off the phone with Raven. She and Daria
think Trigon's possessed Daria's dad."
"So," Beast Boy scratched his head, "where are we going?"
"Oh," Starfire perked up, "Jane told me that she and Daria are from a dale filled with lawns."
Despite himself, Robin almost smirked. "Not exactly, Star. It's Lawndale."
"Sounds nice and boring," Cyborg commented.
"Not if Raven's old man is there," Beast Boy told him.
"No kidding," Cyborg agreed. Moving toward the door, he said, "The T-Ship will be ready in ten
"Then we launch in twelve," Robin told his team.
"Let me get this straight," Jane said as she pulled onto the interstate, "your collective father, a
demon, has re-possessed Jake Morgendorffer." She had put on the outfit that had served her well
through high school.
"Correct," Raven said from the back seat. She had on a pair of jeans over her leotard, with the
cape folded neatly beside her.
"And you think he'd taken Daria's mom prisoner so he can suck energy from her tainted soul?"
"Something like that," Daria said with a nod. She was wearing her old high school outfit as well,
although she had on her leotard under the jacket instead of a yellow T-shirt.
"So, instead of running away from this demon, we're going after him?" Jane glanced at her
friend in the passenger seat before asking, "Doesn't that seem a little suicidal? After all, neither
of you have your powers."
"Jake Morgendorffer is my Dad. If Trigon hurts him or my mother, I swear, powers or no, I'll
tear him apart." The cold, calm way Daria spoke sent a chill down Jane's spine.
"Well, hopefully it won't come to that," Jane said, trying to sound calm.
"Well, we'll find out in a few hours," Raven observed, closing her eyes and placing her hands on
"Too bad I can't do that and drive," Jane observed.
"The way you drive you might as well," Daria commented.
"I don't see your butt over here."
"It's your car," Daria reminded her.
"Yeah," Jane smirked, "it is."
"So," Beast Boy asked as Lawndale appeared beneath them, "where do we land?"
"Good question," Cyborg replied. "I don't really see a place marked 'supersonic superhero jet
"Land in that parking lot," Robin directed, pointing. "It's next to the courthouse and --" His
next words were cut off as a blast of crimson fire sent the T-Ship spinning.
"Hang on!" Cyborg yelled. "We're going down!"
Instead of the gentle landing Cyborg had intended, the ship plowed into the surface of a small
field. As they climbed out, only Beast Boy took note of the goal posts on either end.
"Didn't see that one coming," Robin groused. Then, instinct and experience took over.
"I'm fine," Cyborg snapped. "But it'll take weeks before the T-Ship is back up and running."
"I'm good," Beast Boy added. "Glad this football field was here to catch us."
"And I am undamaged as well," Starfire said. "Were you injured, Robin?"
"I'm fine, Star," Robin told her. Looking around, he ordered, "Let's find out where that blast
"I will save you the effort, boy." Turning, they could see a figure coming out from around the
bleachers on the home team's side of the field. Crimson energy radiated around him, giving the
twisted smile on his face an even more evil appearance. His brown hair moved as if it were
being blown upward by the wind. He wore a dark dray suit with a black tie. "Somehow I knew
you would come. Somehow you and my wayward children would attempt to prevent my return."
"Jake Morgendorffer, I presume," Robin said as the Titans prepared themselves.
"Jake Morgendorffer is a tool for my use." The figure looked at a hand for a moment before
looking from it to them. "I used him to prepare the way for my revenge, and now I will use him
to exact that revenge."
"Gotta problem with that," Cyborg spoke up. "Raven and Daria have both turned against you."
"Daria's not sacrificing her sister to you. Today or ever," Robin added.
"You are not capable to understanding the level to which I am capable of controlling my
daughters," the figure of Jake Morgendorffer said as he stepped onto the edge of the field.
"They have both surprised me once, but now I possess the power to command their every
thought." He laughed, then told them, "It is time to end this charade. You have hindered my
plans once too often, and now you will die." Fire shot from his hands as he raised them.
"Titans, go!" Robin called as he dove aside to avoid the blasts of flame.
"Weird," Jane said as she gazed into the sky.
"What's weird?" Daria asked.
"Other than the fact we're both half-demons who've lost their powers and are now off to chase
down our father?" Raven intoned from the back seat.
"Well," Jane removed a hand from the steering wheel long enough to point into the sky, "I was
just noticing what looks like red streaks in the sky off to the West."
"Okay," Daria admitted as she looked out of the window, "that is weird."
Raven stared out of the windshield at the odd streaks of red. The thin tendrils seems to glisten as
if covered with glitter as they drifted toward the Southeast. "I haven't seen anything like that
before," she told the other two.
"It sorta looks like someone dropped food coloring in a stream," Jane observed. "It just goes
"Only this isn't getting diluted as it goes," Daria pointed out. "In fact," she squinted as she
looked ahead of them, "it looks like they're merging together."
A sick feeling hit Raven's stomach. "I think I know what that is," she told them.
"Well?" Jane asked as she glanced into the mirror.
"Trigon used a lot of power before he was stopped. He could be trying to draw it back to
himself." Absently, she placed a hand on her cloak. "He's recovering his power."
"Is that possible?" Jane spoke up. "I mean, wasn't that energy used up or something?"
"Mystical energy doesn't always follow the same rules as normal energy," Raven explained.
"And since everything he did was undone, a lot of that energy has probably been in a state of
"Just waiting to return to him," Daria finished. "Damn."
"Maybe I better go a little faster," Jane said to herself more than anyone else.
"Okay," Beast Boy said as he pulled himself painfully to his feet, "that could have gone better."
"At least we're not facing our evil selves this time," Cyborg told him.
"That," Trigon/Jake said as he smiled at them, "was for amusement. This," he raised a hand, "is
for your doom."
Cyborg dove to the side as Beast Boy shape shifted into a bird and flew away. The blast ripped
through the goal post and the plaque mounted on it, then into the school building across a small
Starfire fired her optic blasts, knocking the demon back a few steps before he raised a hand to
block the beams. As he did, Cyborg's sonic cannon struck, sending him flying off of his feet.
The two combined their attacks, raising a cloud of smoke as Starfire switched from her optic
blasts to her starbolts. After almost a minute, they stopped.
"Is that it?" Beast Boy asked as he shifted back to his original form and stood beside Cyborg.
"Has the Trigon been defeated?" Starfire asked as she landed on the team's largest members
"Be ready for anything," Robin ordered as he crossed in front of her.
"How do you prepare for doomsday?" The Titans had barely heard the words before a wave of
red energy roared from the smoke, sending them flying. The rip on the arm of his jacket showed
that he had been cut, but other than that and his disturbed tie, the possessed form of Jake
Morgendorffer looked none the worse for the pummeling he had received.
"This is getting really old!" Cyborg stated as he brought up his cannon again. This time,
however, the beam did not reach its target before being stopped by a shield. Starfire struck it
with several starbolts, only to see their effects negated as well.
"You see," Trigon's voice reached them, "my power grows by the instant. While you tire, I
become stronger. First I will strike you down, then I will capture and sacrifice my wayward
children. Then," he held up a hand and clenched it into a fist as he said, "I will, finally, take this
pitiful little planet for my own."
"Dude," Beast Boy asked, "if it's so pitiful, why do you want it so bad?"
"Because, gnat, it is there."
"Not on my watch!" Turning, Trigon was too late to stop the steel-toed boot that slammed into
his chin. Having slipped beneath his defenses, Robin kept up his physical attack, driving Trigon
back. Using every attack he could muster, the Boy Wonder was certain he heard ribs crack and
saw at least one tooth go flying. Finally, the body of Jake Morgendorffer fell.
"Holy cow!" Beast Boy stood with the rest of the team as they gazed down at the barely
"Is he still in there?" Cyborg asked.
"I'm afraid without Raven we have no way to know," Robin told him. "But it looks like he's out
"Then we won," Beast Boy said, unsure if the words fit. "Too bad about this poor dude, though."
"If Raven's sister was correct," Starfire said, "then this is the man she thinks of as the 'Dad.'"
"She's not going to like this when she sees him," Cyborg commented.
"Guys," Beast Boy said.
"Well," Robin said, looking at Cyborg, "I think she'll understand. We had to stop him."
"Guys," Beast Boy repeated.
"I guess," Cyborg agreed. "I mean, she is the one who called us."
"What?" Robin and Cyborg responded as they turned to face their green teammate.
"I think he's awake."
There was a bright red flash, then darkness.
"Those things are coming down like a tornado," Jane observed as they pulled onto Glen Oaks
"Yeah," Daria agreed, "and pouring right into our house."
"This can't be good," Raven added.
As Jane pulled the car to a stop, the two sisters were out of the car and running toward the door.
Raven crashed into Daria's back as she collided with the door.
"Forget to work the door knob?" Jane asked as she came running up.
"No," Daria replied as she dug into her pocket, "the door's locked." A few seconds later, the
threesome charged into the room, then stopped.
"Oh my god," Jane whispered.
"Mom?" Daria asked.
"Mother?" Raven chimed in.
Helen and a woman Daria and Jane didn't recognize were floating in familiar-looking rings of
fire in the center of the room. Both looked exhausted and unaware of their surroundings. The
red energy from the sky was coming through the house until it reached between the two. Then, it
divided itself in half and was absorbed by one or the other.
"But if they're absorbing the energy, where's it going?" Daria asked.
"He's getting it," Raven provided. "He's linked to them."
"That's your mother?" Jane asked Raven.
"Arella. That's Helen, then?"
"Yes." Daria frowned, then headed into the kitchen. A few moments later, she returned with a
fire extinguisher. "Glad we got this," she said as she aimed it at her mother. After pulling the
pin, she fired the foam at the ring holding Helen in place. For a moment the fire failed, allowing
the woman to slip from her bonds and onto the ground before it flared up again. Jane moved to
pull her away from them as Daria moved over and freed Arella.
"So," Jane wondered as Daria took her place by Helen's head, "I wonder what effect this will
have on Trigon?"
Beast Boy blinked as he rolled over onto his stomach. Glancing around quickly, he realized he
was the first one to wake up. For a change, he thought to himself. "Where's Trigon?" he asked
in a whisper. Not seeing their adversary, he turned to his teammates.
As soon as they were all awake, Robin had Cyborg begin scanning for the demon and Starfire to
"Wait, guys," Beast Boy held up a hand. "I think I might be able to do better."
"Oh?" Cyborg asked.
"Blood hound," Robin guessed with a grin.
"Watch my dust." A few seconds later, he was bounding along, following the scent that was a
combination of cologne, brimstone, and sweat.
Just over a block later, they found him. The injuries from earlier had healed, but the aura around
him had faded to almost nothing. "Lousy women," he was muttering in a normal voice, "can't
even transmit power right. Stupid broads! Almost as useless as my old man!"
"Dude's got issues," Cyborg commented to Robin.
"And now he's got a few more." Robin smacked his fist into his other palm.
"Gah!" the figure cried out when the Titans surrounded him.
"Time's up, Trigon," Robin told him.
"Not yet, it isn't." He smiled at them. "I've been trying to absorb my power slowly through this
body. But I think I've wasted enough time." The body began to glow once more, only to stall.
The smile faded.
"Didn't work, did it?" Cyborg asked, smirking.
"Looks like the jig is up," Robin told him.
Glaring at Robin, Trigon said, "I have made one critical mistake. By using this body while
absorbing my power I've become bonded to it once and for all. But," he held his hands over his
head, "that also means that I no longer need those wenches to take back what is mine!"
"Titans," Robin said, realizing something was about to happen, "hit him with everything you've
Opening her eyes brought pain, but also a fuzzy shape that looked like, "Daria?"
"I'm here, Mom."
"That thing," she waved a hand weakly, "it took over your father."
"I know all about it, Mom." Daria glanced over to where Raven's mother was coming to as well.
"It's going to be okay."
"No." Helen shook her head before trying to explain, "He was using us to get his energy back.
Daria, I'm so sorry."
"Sorry? About what?"
"It's my fault." A tear made its way from Helen's eye. "I wanted Jake to be more manly."
"You summoned Trigon?"
Helen nodded once. "I didn't think it would work. Willow and I did it as a lark. I didn't realize
something was wrong with Jake until it was too late to stop. And then I found out a few weeks
later I was pregnant. Oh, sweety," she brushed a hand over Daria's face, "I recognized his face
when he broke the phone."
"He's possessed a man," Daria heard Arella say.
"Daria's father," Raven informed her.
"He was using us as a filter to keep from absorbing power so quickly it destroyed his host before
he could sustain power on his own."
"Uh," Jane pointed, "speaking of power, that stuff is fading away." Turning, the others saw that
the fire rings had vanished, and the red energy was draining back the way it had come.
"I don't think that's a good thing," Raven said to no one.
Jane ran to the door, then into the yard. A few seconds later she was back. "It's going toward
"He must have started taking the energy in himself," Arella muttered.
Raven looked at the quickly fading energy. With a growl, she launched herself into the middle of
it. There was a mild spark before she was thrown back.
"That wasn't too smart," Daria told her as she helped Raven to her feet.
"I got what I needed, though," Raven said.
"What, shock treatment?" Jane asked her.
"No," Raven held out a hand, revealing a slight reddish haze, "a bit of power."
"What are you planning on doing with that?" Daria asked.
"We need to find out what happened to our powers," Raven replied. "This will give us the
energy to do it." Taking a deep breath, she looked at Jane. "Go ahead, we'll catch up."
Looking from one sister to the other, Jane nodded. "Okay, but you guys be careful. No getting
lost in each other's heads this time."
"There you go," Daria said with a smirk, "ruining all my fun."
The first flash of energy looked like a crimson lightning bolt. As it struck the body of Jake
Morgendorffer, the shock wave knocked the Titans backward.
"I'm getting tired of that," Beast Boy groused.
"Titans," Robin called out as he hurled explosive birdarangs at their foe, "hit him!"
Starfire and Cyborg unleashed their energy attacks as Beast Boy took to the air. When he saw
that they had stopped firing, he changed to a rhino and fell onto the surprised demon. A second
later, however, and the monster had hurled Beast Boy off of himself and into Robin's path.
Beast Boy reverted to normal, allowing Robin to leap over him without breaking stride. He then
had to leap over a fireball that was sent his way as he hurled more explosives. Cyborg closed the
distance and landed a punch to Trigon's jaw. The human head spun three times before turning to
look at the teen and winking. As he opened his eye, however, two additional eyes also opened.
"I am more powerful now than when I bested you before," the demon boasted with his renewed
"Great set of pipes," Beast Boy told him as he changed into an elephant and charged. Trigon
grabbed Cyborg and threw him at his teammate. Beast Boy became a dog for a second, then, as
Cyborg passed overhead, he changed back into an elephant.
Starfire blasted Trigon from behind with her optic blasts just before Beast Boy collided with him.
The demon grunted and fell under Beast Boy's feet, then climbed back up in time to blast Starfire
from the air.
I am about to hurt, Starfire thought in her native language as the ground rushed up at her. At the
last moment, however, someone caught her. "Robin?" she muttered.
"Nope," Jane answered, setting the alien down. "Don't blame you for wanting it to be him,
though. He's kinda cute."
"Friend Jane," Starfire sat up. "If you are here, where are Raven and Daria?"
"Trying to jump start themselves." Jane looked over to where Cyborg and Robin were trying to
hit Trigon and Beast Boy was trying to hold him still by becoming a python. Jane winced as one
of Robin's punches hit Beast Boy as Trigon moved. "That's gotta hurt," she commented.
"Thank you, friend Jane, but I must return to the battle." Starfire leaped into the air, leaving Jane
"Into the battle. Yeah, I can do that," Jane said as she ran after the Titan.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos." the sisters were seated in the floor of Daria's old room. Below them,
their mothers were resting, leaving them to their own actions. As they repeated the mantra, they
could feel something going on.
I don't know anything about this part of our powers, Daria though as the tried to concentrate.
Raven's going to have to take the lead, here.
I can hear your thoughts, she heard Raven's voice in her mind. If you want me to, I will take the
lead. But you have to trust me completely.
This is dangerous, isn't it?
There is a chance we could become one mind for good.
As long as you don't tell Jane about how much I enjoyed kissing Tom, you've got a deal.
Raven gave a slight nod, despite knowing Daria wouldn't see it with her eyes closed. Then, she
used the power she had taken earlier and used it to free her soul-self. The black shadow crossed
over and merged with Daria's body.
We have become one, Raven/Daria thought. There is no 'we' only 'I.' Now, I can look at my
souls without confusion. Two spinning lights appeared. Both were white, but each had specks of
black and green mixed in.
"This isn't right," she said. "There should only be one color. This must be what has happened.
When Raven was saved, pieces of both souls were exchanged." After a moment, the figure
nodded and said, "They must be separated once more."
Moving between them, she concentrated and pulled both of the souls into herself. This goes
here, she said, pulling a sliver free, and this goes there. As she continued, the thought arose;
This is going to take time I don't have.
I must take drastic action. If, while my minds and souls are merged together in one place, I
separate into my two selves, the souls should do the same. But it might also cause me pain and
possibly kill me.
"I hate pain." The voice of one of her selves echoed from a memory.
"But it's the only chance," she argued. With a sigh, she looked inward and began to separate her
Trigon had Cyborg by the throat and was busy trying to break his neck when a boot slammed up
between his legs. Dropping Cyborg, Trigon turned to see a familiar face frowning at him as
Robin turned slightly green.
"Well, how are you, Jane-O?" Trigon asked her. "I see you've decided to leave my errant
daughter and join in the fight."
"Dude," Beast Boy muttered to Cyborg, "he barely felt that."
"Oh, thought I'd come by and thank you for ruining our lives!" Jane brought her foot up again,
only to have it grabbed. Trigon spun once with Jane, then tossed her over the buildings. When
Starfire started to go after her, the demon blasted her into the side of a building, leaving an
indentation large enough to keep her from falling out and onto the ground.
"Starfire!" Robin turned from where she was suspended to the demon responsible. With a
growl, he threw more explosives at Trigon as he closed with the monster.
"You don't realize you're already beaten," Trigon said as he ignored the explosions. The sonic
cannon blast was also ignored. "This world is mine. And there is no room for you on it."
Sent to beta next to last.
Okay, so this is how Jane Lane buys the big one, Jane thought at the street began to rush at her. I
wonder if I'll see the light before or after the pain? Just as she was close enough to know which
yellow line she was going to meet, her world dissolved into green flame.
Starfire pulled herself from the wall and flew down to land next to the others. There, they faced
Trigon in the middle of the street.
"We've got to stop him before he gets any more powerful," Robin told his team.
"I'm open for ideas," Cyborg replied.
"All we can do is --"
"All you can do," Trigon interrupted Robin, "is die!" Four beams of energy shot from his eyes
toward the teens. Before they could reach their target, however, they struck a black shield.
"I won't let you hurt my friends!" Raven stated as she rose from the ground between the rest of
the Titans and Trigon.
"Raven!" Starfire and Robin exclaimed.
"She's back!" Beast Boy added.
"All right, Raven!" Cyborg chimed in. "Way to make an entrance!"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" the girl chanted. Black energy shot out, knocking the demon off of
"Foolish girl," Trigon told her as he held up a hand. A red bubble appeared around him,
blocking Raven's blast. "You are no more a danger to me now than your pathetic human
"I beat you before," Raven reminded him.
"I was overconfident," the demon admitted as he stood. "I will not be so foolish this time."
When he smiled, fangs were obvious. "And this time, I have full control over the situation," the
smile grew vicious, "and you."
"You don't control me," Raven growled.
"Don't I? You destroyed yourself because of me. While you were convinced it was of your own
free will, was it really? Let us see. Kneel before me."
"Kneel?" Raven looked insulted.
"Raven," Robin ordered, "don't go near him."
"You will kneel." Trigon motioned with his hand. "Now."
"I won't," Raven said, even as her knees began to bend. "I, I . . ."
"Your free will is only an illusion. Lie down." As Raven complied, Trigon looked around. "I
know you are there, girl. Come to me. I, your father, demand it!"
A green firebird appeared. As it faded, Daria and Jane were left standing next to the Titans.
With an exhausted sigh, Jane collapsed.
"You summoned me, Father," Daria said in a monotone.
"It is time to complete you destiny. You will show the gem that her fate is to be a sacrifice to my
"I don't think so," Robin said as he stepped forward. As a crimson bubble formed around them,
the Titans could only look on as Daria neared the prone Raven.
"Don't do it!" Beast Boy said, getting as close as he could to the bubble without touching it.
"Get away from her!" Cyborg called out as he raised his sonic cannon. He fired at the bubble,
then had to dive out of the way as the shot deflected back at him. As one sister neared the other,
the Titans had to scramble to avoid being hit with Cyborg's errant shot.
Once she was next to Raven, Daria knelt. As she raised her hand, she said, "The sword by pater
same is sired." Green fire appeared, then took the shape of a dagger as she continued, "And
blindly she will wait. In dreams she'll learn of emerald fire." There was a moment's pause
before she plunged the knife into Raven's chest. There was a gasp from the younger girl, then
Raven was still. "Then show the gem her fate," Daria concluded.
Starfire met the sonic beam with her optic blasts, dissipating both. As the group turned to see
what had happened, they could only stare in shock as they watched Daria pull the blade away
from their friend.
"No!" Robin moved toward the barrier, only to be held back by Cyborg.
"Dude, who knows what that thing will do to you," he admonished.
"Good," Trigon said to her. "You have been faithful. Now, as my power returns in force and
my true form returns, you will sacrifice yourself to me as well. Then, there will be no power that
can prevent my eternal rule over this world."
Facing her father, Daria raised the dagger, then drove it into her own chest. Though her eyes
widened, there was no other reaction as she collapsed. The knife dissolved into flame then into
"He has killed his own children," Starfire noted in shock. Looking at the demon, she clenched
her fists and said, "You have destroyed your own family."
There was a chuckle, which grew into laughter. "They were pawns who thought they were kings.
Their end was the only one possible. Now, with them sacrificed, my true self will return."
Raising his arms, Trigon waited for the moment when his real form would appear.
The steady stream of energy continued at the same rate as before. Confused, Trigon looked at his
hands and wiggled his fingers. "What has happened? Why have I not transformed?"
"Because," came Jane's weak voice, "you overlooked something." As if carrying a great weight,
she stood and faced the Titans. "Azarath," she began as she raised a hand, "Metrion," her hand
was surrounded with black, "Zinthos!" The beam blew open the field imprisoning the teens.
"What? How?" Robin asked.
"Raven is in there?" Cyborg asked as he looked into Jane's eyes. "Hey, your eyes keep changing
"But," Beast Boy looked from Jane to Raven's still form, "her powers . . ."
"Faked," Jane said, staggering slightly. Catching herself, she turned to face Trigon. "You seem
to like prophecy, Father," she almost spit the word. "So I've got one for you." Moving to stand
between the two bodies, Jane raised her hands to her sides. Her left began to glow with green
fire as black began to radiate from her right. The two began to swirl from her hands, leaving the
three hidden by the maelstrom. As the energies spun, three voices spoke from the midst.
"The sword and gem at last will stand
Against the tainted sire
And use the powers
At their command
To vanquish evil's fire."
The green and black swirls evaporated, leaving a very tired Jane being held up by Raven and
"Very clever," Trigon said with a nod.
"Maybe you can explain it to me," Beast Boy said as he scratched his head.
"We hid our souls in Jane's body," Raven said as she and Daria gently helped her sit on the road.
"Without the release of our souls," Daria continued as they turned to face their father, "there was
no true sacrifice."
"Too bad it will avail you nothing. Now that your souls are again in your bodies, you will still
be mine to command. Now," he instructed, "you will sacrifice each other to me."
"No." Raven stepped forward. "We knew you had some kind of hold on us, we just didn't know
what it was."
"That's why we let Jane do a little 'tweaking,'" Daria added as she, too, moved toward the
"Just wait until you see Trent again," Jane called out.
Daria turned and scowled at her. "We're having a serious moment here," she reminded her
Raven looked at her sister and asked, "Is Trent the tall man with the sexy voice?"
"Yes," Daria reported as she put a hand to her forehead, "that's Trent."
Raven glanced over her shoulder toward Jane. "When this is over we're going to talk."
"Enough!" Trigon reached his hands upward and the flow of energy increased. "I will still
destroy you both and have my revenge!"
"He's trying to draw all the power in at once," Raven said to the others. Looking at Robin, she
added, "You need to distract him while Daria and I get ready."
"You got it," Robin answered with a nod. "Titans, go!"
The explosives, sonic cannon fire and starbolts didn't hurt the demon, but his concentration
wavered enough to keep Trigon from being braced when a brontosaurus landed on him from
above. The massive shape drove him into the street, leaving a crater. Beast Boy shape shifted
into a dog and ran away as Starfire blazed away with starbolts.
Daria and Raven sat across from each other in the street. Holding up their hands, they kept their
palms out but not touching. As Trigon blasted Cyborg over their heads, they began to chant so
quietly it couldn't be overheard until they began to speak louder.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos
Verizek Eldorban Minrek
Carizon Sendrian Zinthos
"No!" Trigon raised his hands to send a stream of fire toward the two, only to be slammed into
by a green rhinoceros.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos
Verizek Eldorban Minrek
Carizon Sendrian Zinthos
Coming to his feet, Trigon stared at the girls and sent beams of energy from his four eyes at them.
Just before the beams arrived, Cyborg stepped in front of them while holding the hood of a car
for a shield. The concussion sent him flying over their heads again.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos
Verizek Eldorban Minrek
Carizon Sendrian Zinthos
This time, the two turned and pointed their hands toward the demon. The red energy that had
been streaming toward him turned away and began to stream into a newly-opening portal. "No, I
will not be sent back to that place!"
"It's working!" Robin called out.
"Yeah!" Beast Boy agreed.
The portal widened as Trigon clawed at the ground to resist a pull that only seemed to effect him
and the swirling red energy stream. As the group watched, the extra eyes vanished, leaving a
normal-looking man struggling to not get pulled through the portal. "Daria, help me!" Came
Jake Morgendorffer's voice as he looked at her. "Help out your old man, please!"
Daria watched in horror as the man she had once believed was her father struggled. As he
slipped backward, the possessed man grabbed onto a broken piece of the road. He looked at
Daria for a long moment, then cried out, "C'mon, it's your old man, here!"
"Old . . ." Daria blinked. Her eyes met his and she nodded. "I understand. I love you, Daddy."
Raising her hands, Daria sent twin streams of green fire into the figure, blasting him into the air
and through the portal. A few seconds later the last of the energy stream slipped through and the
The silence was sudden and deafening. "Is it over?" Beast Boy asked.
"It's over," Raven replied.
"You," Jane stood and moved to face her friend. "You sent your dad with that demon. How
could you do that?"
"He wanted me to." Daria looked at Jane and Jane noticed the tears beginning to fall. "That was
"Message?" Cyborg scratched the back of his neck. "I didn't get a message."
"He called himself my 'old man,'" Daria explained. "That was what he called his father. Mad
Dog Morgendorffer was an abusive man who scarred Dad in a lot of ways. By calling himself
my old man, Dad was telling me not to let up and send Trigon away forever. And him with
"Oh, Daria," Jane glanced to where the portal had been, "that must hurt."
"No," Daria corrected. "What hurts is the fact that I, who everyone used to say was so damn
smart, couldn't think of a better idea." Stepping back, Daria pulled up the hood of her cloak
before becoming a bird of fire and vanishing.
"She is hurting," Starfire observed.
"Yeah," Jane agreed. Then, with a glance around them, she went on, "And so will we if someone
tries to pin us with the bill for all this."
"I see you couldn't sleep, either." Looking up, Daria saw her mother coming into the kitchen.
"Yeah," she managed to say. "Um, Mom, I, uh . . ."
Helen poured a cup of coffee for herself, then waited. When Daria just frowned and looked
away, she sighed and came over to sit in the place her other daughter had occupied when living
there. "What is it, Sweety?"
"I wanted to say I'm sorry I couldn't save Dad."
"You're sorry?" Helen blinked a few times before saying, "Daria, you did the only thing you
could do. If anyone should be sorry, it's me. If I hadn't been so worried about your father being
more 'manly,'" she made the 'air quotes' gesture, "none of this would have happened."
"Hurm," was the grumbled response.
"Of course," Helen went on, "you might never have been born. And I don't think Jake would
have like that." Reaching out, she put a hand over her daughter's long enough to say, "I know I
"I'm a monster, Mom." The pain was evident in Daria's eyes, even if her face looked calm.
"There's part of me that's a demon. It's the part that wants to tear the place apart and take it for
"So why don't you?"
"You have the power," Helen pointed out. "So why not take over the world?"
"I just," Daria stopped and tried again, "I mean I don't want." She blinked, closed her mouth and
thought for a moment. "You know, I hadn't thought about why I didn't want to until now. I just
don't want to rule the world. No one person should." Looking at Helen, she smirked, "Even if
they did have two great parents."
"Thank you, dear," Helen told her.
"Mom, I need to know something." Daria toyed with her coffee cup before looking up and
asking, "You knew Dad was possessed when I was conceived, right?"
"Um," now Helen looked away, nervous. "Yes," she finally admitted. "I knew something was
different. He was more forceful . . . angry." After a shrug, she added, "But I didn't realize he
was possessed until we were already, uh . . ."
"That's all I needed to know," Daria cut her off, looking embarrassed. "Did you ever think there
was something different about me?"
"Other than how smart you were?" Shaking her head, Helen told her daughter, "No. After a
while I even managed to convince myself it was just something Jake took. Like an allergy to a
medicine or something. So," Helen said, pausing to take a sip of coffee, "what are you going to
"Go back to Boston, I guess," Daria answered as she shrugged. "I've kinda made a life for
myself there, and I need to find a job."
"Oh, that's right, we missed your commencement." Helen looked sad. "I guess you can tell
them that your father's passing was why."
"Yeah. Oh, Raven says that she knows a spell that will give us a body to bury." Daria
swallowed. "It would be better than trying to explain why he just up and vanished."
"She told me about that. You think we should make it look like a traffic accident?"
"Something to try to avoid an autopsy," Daria agreed. "A blown tire on the Lexus or
"Yeah." Helen sniffed and wiped away a tear. "I told myself I was done with crying."
"I didn't listen when I told myself that, either." Helen looked up to see her daughter smiling
through misty eyes of her own.
"You've come a long way, Sweety. I'm proud of you, and I'm sure Jake is, too. Not many
people could stand up to a major demon like that, regardless of what kind of power they had."
Lifting her cup, she added, "You did what needed to be done. What he told you to do."
"Yeah." The two were silent for a long while. Finally, Daria sighed and set down her cup. "I
need to tell Quinn the truth."
"Sweety, are you sure that's a good idea?" Helen looked worried. "You know this is going to be
hard for her to believe. I lived it and I'm not sure I believe it."
"I'll just have to prove it to her." Daria held her hand over the cup then watched as green flames
licked at the coffee. Seeing her mother looking at her, she explained, "It was getting cold."
"I guess it can wait until after the funeral. She'll have enough on her mind until then." Daria
took a long drink of her coffee, then sighed. "Raven said she'll help me learn more about my
"You sure about wanting to do that, dear?"
"I need to be ready in case this kind of thing happens to me again. Besides," she frowned, "if I
ever get the chance to free Dad, I want to know everything there is to know about magic." Her
brown eyes began to glow green. "What I can do with my powers directly is a start, but I'm
going to learn enough to put Trigon down the next time I see him."
"Hopefully that won't be for a long time." The twosome turned to see Raven entering the
"Good morning, Raven," Helen said.
"Hey," Daria added.
"Morning. Ah, coffee."
As the girl picked up a cup and began to pour, Helen asked, "Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, thank you." Raven gave the coffee a sniff. "Daria made this, then."
"How could you tell?" Helen asked.
"Actually," Daria explained, "she got use to having to sniff test the coffee in Boston."
"I think Jane's coffee could take the plating off of a battleship," Raven supplied.
"That's pretty strong coffee. Would you like some breakfast?"
"No, thank you." Raven sat to Helen's right. Seeing the look the two were giving her, she asked,
"Sorry," Daria apologized, "that's just where Dad use to sit."
"Oh, well I'll move." She started to get up until Helen placed a hand on her arm.
"It's okay, dear. Really." She smiled at her. "Besides, I'm glad you're here. I've been wanting
to tell you that you're welcome here anytime." Glancing at her daughter, she went on, "You two
are sisters. Regardless of why you're sisters, you are. Consider yourself family, Raven."
Raven looked at her for a moment, then said, "Are you sure? I mean, I feel kinda responsible for
"You did what needed to be done," Helen told her while looking at Daria. When she looked
back at Raven, she added, "You both did. And I'm proud of you both. I know your mother is."
"Yeah, she told me."
"I was asking Daria what her plans were. What are you going to do?"
"Uh," Raven's lips twitched toward a smile before settling back into her normal expression of
calm, "I'm going to go back to the tower with the Titans."
"Aren't you all a bit young to be living together like that?" Helen asked. "I'm surprised Child
Protection Services doesn't drag you all off to foster care."
"Oh, they've tried," Rave answered with a vicious smirk. "But the fact that we save the city from
people they can't stop sort of proves who's protecting whom."
"I guess there is that," Helen admitted. "Still, you should consider at least having someone there
in name to represent you."
"You have the right to an attorney," Daria muttered.
"Well, Arel, uh, Mom is wanting to come to visit for a while. So I guess we'll have an adult
there then." Raven looked over at Daria and told her, "She said she's going to spend a week or
so here with your mother."
"Yes," Helen smiled, "she is. I'm looking forward to it I've got the time coming and things are
slow. Besides, I need some time to get my head together. Arella and I are going to get to know
each other. We have some things in common, and she seems like such a nice person."
"I don't know about you," Daria said to her sister, "but this makes me very nervous."
"Yeah, me too."
As Raven placed the last of her belongings back in their familiar places, she noticed the scroll she
had placed on the nightstand. "I remember you," she told it. Curious, she unrolled it and read
what was printed. Her eyes widened at first, then her mouth dropped open as she laughed.
"If I had only read this to begin with," she told herself as she again looked over the words.
The gem was born of evil's fire
The gem shall be his portal
He comes to claim
He comes to sire
The end of all things mortal.
The sword by pater same is sired
And blindly she will wait
In dreams she'll learn
Of emerald fire
Then show the gem her fate.
The sword and gem at last will stand
Against the tainted sire
And use the powers
At their command
To vanquish evil's fire.
"I'm telling you, Dude," Beast Boy said in a calm voice, "no one is gonna beat me at Cannibal
Frag Fest VII."
"No one except me," Cyborg corrected.
"Oh, yeah?" Holding up the game, still in the shrink wrap, the green teen said, "Name the time
and place, Cy, and I'll clean your clock good. Hey, are you turning green?"
"Green?" Cyborg looked around and noticed a green light approaching the windows of the
tower. "Either I'm having a flashback or Raven's got a visitor."
A few seconds later a green firebird appeared in the room, then faded to Daria standing in her
cloak. Reaching up, she undid the cloak, revealing her outfit of jeans and a gray RAFT
UNIVERSITY APATHY DEPARTMENT sweatshirt. "Hey," she said to the two Titans.
"Hey," Beast Boy replied.
"Nice entrance, Daria," Cyborg commented.
"Trying to keep my hand in," she replied. "Raven around?"
"I thought that was you." Raven came into the room from the hall. "I was on my way to the roof
when I saw you coming. Welcome back to the tower."
"Try not to wreck it this time," Beast Boy said with a grin.
"Oh be quiet," Cyborg told him. "If you do I might even go easy on you."
"Uh-uh," the smaller boy argued. "I don't need you to take it easy on me." Holding up the
game, he said, "I'm going to clean your -- hey!" A green talon plucked the game from his hand
and carried it over to Daria.
"Hmm, the new one." Smirking, she read the package, then handed it back to Beast Boy. "I
hope it's more of a challenge than the last two."
"A challenge?" Cyborg looked at her with his organic eye wide. "Neither of us could get past
the next to last level."
"I beat it in three days. Of course," she shrugged, "I was beating Cannibal Frag Fest from the
"I think," Cyborg said, looking at Beast Boy, "we're in the presence of greatness."
"Hey, give me a little time with the little sibling here and I'll be back to turn the two of you into
digital zombies," Daria promised. Turning to her 'littlest sibling,' she said, "You were going to
To their surprise, Robin was standing on the roof, looking out at the city. Hearing their
approach, he said, "Hey, Daria. I saw you come in."
"Yeah," Raven commented, "not the most subtle way to get places."
"Not everyone has a fancy-shmancy T-ship to go everywhere in." She smirked as she added,
"Just don't tell Cyborg I said that."
"Your secret's safe," Robin told her as he turned. "Hey, Raven. Missed you at breakfast."
"Up late reading," she explained. "So, what brings you to town?"
"I had an interview yesterday," she explained. "It looks like my journalism degree might get me
a job working at the local paper."
"Here?" Raven almost smiled. "You'd be in town."
"Yeah," Daria agreed. "We could get together. Who knows, maybe I'd do a story on the cool
Goth member of the Teen Titans."
"Please spare me," Raven commented, the urge to smile gone. Hearing Robin chuckle, she
skewered him with a glare.
"Anyway, I thought I'd come by since I was in town. Email just isn't what it's cracked up to be."
"Well, we're glad you came by," Robin told her. "I'd offer you a letter of reference, but I don't
think it'd help. We kind of avoid the press."
"I can understand. But, maybe I can bridge the gap a little. After all," she continued, "you know
you can trust me."
"Maybe that would work," Robin said, rubbing his chin.
"How's your family?" Raven asked.
"Our family," Daria corrected. "It seems Arella has decided to put off going back to Azarath a
few more weeks. She and Mom have bonded, it seems."
"Should we be afraid?"
"Uh, did you talk to Quinn?"
"Yeah." Daria took a deep breath and looked out across the bay. "She took the news pretty hard.
She blamed me first, then Mom. But she's coming to terms with it. I think me explaining why I
did what I did while I had tears in my eyes made her see what it cost me to do it."
"So emotions are good for something after all," Raven commented.
"Every so often."
"Heard from Jane?"
The two looked at Robin as he chuckled. "Something funny, Robin?" Daria asked.
"No." He smiled at them and walked away. Just that I made a phone call back East. Jane is
going to have an interesting time.
"Anyway," Daria went on after giving Robin a confused look, "she got a job offer that's going to
pay for her to transfer to a different school."
"That's pretty strange."
"Tell me about it. She's going to finish her last semester at the Gotham City Art Institute and
working for Wayne Enterprises in their graphic arts department." Daria shook her head. "Seems
someone high in the company likes her work."
"Wow," Jane remarked as she stepped into the large room.
"Yeah," the small man agreed. "We like to make sure our artists have enough room to be
creative." While the room still held a cubicle farm, each cubicle was a fifteen by ten square. A
drafting/drawing table took up one end, with a state of the art computer with several peripherals
set on a desk. He led her to the one farthest from the window and right across from ladies rest
room. "This is yours, Miss Lane."
"Cool," she sat in the chair and spun. "I'm next to the bathroom."
"Yes." Smirking, he added, "I'm told Mr. Wayne himself wants to see you once you're settled
"The big guy?" Jane swallowed. Maybe now I'll find out just why I'm getting such a sweet deal.
"She's a little confused, but it was too good a deal to pass up." Daria looked back at the water
for a moment. "I kinda miss having her around. But," she looked at Raven, "I'll get to catch up
on busting on my littlest sister."
"Joy for me," Raven commented with a scowl.
A small green bird flew up to the roof then shape shifted into Beast Boy. "Hey, Daria," he asked,
"you gonna be much longer? Cyborg and I want to see if you're as good as you say you are. And
this game can handle up to four people." He looked over at Raven. "You gonna play?"
After a moment, Raven shrugged. "Why not, maybe being good at this game is genetic."
Much to Jane's surprise, the seat behind Bruce Wayne's desk was empty. They left me alone in
the boss' office on my first day? What's wrong with these people? A sudden chill up her spine,
however, told Jane that she wasn't really alone.
"Hello, Miss Lane," came a voice from the shadows cast by the sunlight through the window.
"Uh, hi." Looking closely, she made a shape in the dark corner. Just as they spoke, Jane made
out the shape of an emblem on their chest.
"I have a proposition for you," said the Batman.