Disclaimer: Do you honestly think I'm in any way affiliated with D.C.? I'm just playing in this fandom for a bit, that's all.
A/N: First full-fledged one-shot in... wow, a long time. I haven't posted one since I was in the Naruto fandom. Longest one I've ever done, too, and then of course there's the fact that it's my first ever Teen Titans fic. *throws confetti in self-congratulations*
I actually considered splitting this into a three-shot (which is why the quotage of her intro to the second season finale was shoved in), but eventually decided it worked better like this.
I have no idea where the 'T' theme came from, to be honest. It just happened, and I ran with it and watched it try to take over the fic.
Don't worry, if you know me from the Bleach fandom. I have way too many ideas to be leaving there anytime soon. Besides, I dug up a Bleach baby that has been napping on my hard-drive for quite a while after finishing this. It's written in a similar writing style, even if it isn't quite as long, and I'm pretty fond of it. /shameless advertising
"My name is Terra."
She pushes herself up on her palms, away from the ground. Her arms, as thin and bare as the rest of her, tremble until she manages to fold her legs beneath her. Her head comes up, and the tangled, matted curtain of hair falls slightly away from her eyes, which blink dazedly around her.
She is breathing heavily, although she cannot remember doing anything. Only breaking away—fragments of stone, sharp and jagged and painful, have trailed her for the few stumbling steps she managed. She forces her spindly, strange limbs to turn her around, following the petrified breadcrumbs back, back—
A TRUE FRIEND.
She jerks backwards, only the contortion of her body saving her from falling. The light is scant, but she can make out the letters in their bold glory. They are a part of a pedestal of some sort, a stone set above the rest. She untangles her legs and crawls towards it, ignoring the biting of stone into her skin. There is more.
A TEEN TITAN.
Titans… The word brings to mind the barest hint of bedtime stories, of massive men and steadfast gods. She knows she should understand the term, she should, she was supposed to! But she couldn't.
One last line, a single word: TERRA.
She wonders… is that her name?
But no, if it was she wouldn't want to strike it from the stone, would it? It doesn't deserve to be there, amongst 'True, Teen, Titan'. But there's something familiar about it, something that calls her closer even as it sends her mind skittering away as a frightened rabbit.
She thinks her name must start with 'T'. Or at least, she hopes it does.
The top of the stone is a pile of rubble. Terra must have stood there once, and is glad to see her gone. The world, she feels, must be a better place without someone calling themselves a name that sends her heartbeat racing.
But beneath the rubble, there is a sudden brightness. Sunshine, she would call it if she knew what it was, but all she can dredge up is warmth upon her skin and a bubbling in her throat. She crawls a little further, uncaring that the rocks have split open her skin in places, perhaps even unaware of the blood that smears her knees. She reaches one grubby hand out, carefully brushing the… whatever it was with a fingertip. It doesn't pull back and bite her, even though some part of her says it should. She isn't sure why, but maybe if she picks it up it will.
T. T, T, T. She traces out the letter with her finger so many times she loses count, thinking about the sound of it echoing in her head. Tee, tea, teetotaler.
She wants to be a T.
But T's are tall. They have strong arms raised to the wind. They are not shaking thinthinthin lumps on the ground.
So why is she?
It takes—a while. Long enough for her sight to blur and the blood on her skin to dry. And when she finally finds herself taller, she is not yet tall; leaning against the cold stone of the cave wall, hunched over against it on shaking knees and greedily sucking in air.
Oxygen is thinner in the mountains. Someone told her that once. She will have to learn to breath on this hill before she can climb any higher.
She finds clothes on the grass; jeans, a shirt. Something else she doesn't touch—she remembers enough to know that those should be her own. Someone is moaning nearby, and her fleeing footsteps are unheard beneath the noise. The feel of grass on her bare feet is… nice.
After her first sunrise, she pulls the T out of a pocket in the pants, holds it up against the new-familiar light she has barely adjusted to. She likes the way the colors match.
Tabitha, Tahlia, Taina: she is looking for herself.
How could someone, a whole person, an entire being, be hidden away in such fragile things as pages? The elderly woman at the front desk shoots her a suspicious look—what would a grubby-fingered girl like her be doing in a library of all places?—but lets her be, especially after she does no damage during her first few visits. In fact, the librarian begins to notice the sunken cheeks, the same clothes day after day, the bony limbs, and wonders if this is a child who needs more than most. But the girl never notices, absorbed as she is with her search: she likes these T's, knows she is among them somewhere. Even if she isn't sure where.
She doesn't recognize herself at first, seeing only one among a thousand. But it is one that sticks in her mind; and she finds herself flipping back to it every so often, remembering the curves of the other letters behind their leader. She notices it in every name book she takes from the shelves. She doesn't fall in love with it—it's too pretty, she feels, and she is sure that she was never a narcissist—but one day, when the librarian finally asks her who she is, that is what slips out. But she is not surprised when it does—hasn't she always known?
She is a hill, working her way up the mountain. She is Tara. She may not want to be, but we cannot help who we are.
The librarian bobs her head, not really caring about the name as much as everything else. "Tara, aren't your parents worried about you? You're here for hours every day."
Later, she does not remember what she said in reply, only that a month after she is calling the old woman "grandmother" and her son "dad". He is a bit on the short side, just overweight enough for it to be obvious, and he sweats when he gets excited—which is most of the time, but it's funny in a way because of how happy he is as well. "Mom" is a little wisp of a woman, and sometimes Tara thinks that a strong enough gust of wind will steal her away. If she sees the way that her new daughter insists on walking between her and open windows, the woman never says anything about it.
She has her own room, her own bathroom, a shower, a mirror. She finds herself staring at the last after she has scrubbed away what seems—and is, in a way—to be a lifetime's worth of dirt. She frowns at herself for a moment, brushing that particularly stubborn strand of hair away from her face. Nothing she sees surprises her, not really.
Her "parents" more than make up for it when they discover the state she left the bathtub in.
Tara never shows them her T. She hides it under her pillow before she closes her eyes each night, and slips it into her pocket after she opens them again.
One day, they give her a sweatshirt, telling her that the nights would soon grow colder. She nods and thanks them and offers to take out the garbage on her way to the mall. They smile and thank her, and the moment the door closes behind her she shoves the sweatshirt into the bottom of the bag, and doesn't leave until she has watched the truck come and go. The sweatshirt is—was—gray, with black lettering and the usual white tag. She never wears gray, she hates it.
Her favorite color is red, but she never wears that either. She will finger red shirts and that sequined little red dress that nobody would ever actually wear. She might have, no, would have, just for the heck of it, but something in her hurt at the thought. Someone would have thought the sight of her in it would have been amazing, she knows, but not who.
Despite daily showers, she picks up so much dirt so quickly that when the summer is over and she is signed up for school, she tries to get permission to wear a black uniform. It doesn't work, but you can't say she didn't try. She doesn't mind the white, she actually likes it almost as much as red, but she feels like she should do something. Thankfully, it only takes a week until her exasperated mother teaches her to do the laundry so that she can clean the uniform herself.
Tara actually likes the dirt. Likes the feel of it on her bare skin, the cool comfort of damp soil and the feathery softness of beach sand. She's not sure why, she just does. Sometimes she goes out at night to play in the sandbox, when nobody can tell her it's a place for little kids alone.
School starts. She meets people, and they meet her. She finds herself laughing more and more with two other girls in particular, who seek her out at lunch and walk out the doors with her after the bell. Sometimes they go shopping together, or work on homework, or just stay together and talk.
She is a good student—she has a home now, and she doesn't want anyone to try and take it away!—but everyone slips up once. Tara's misstep is forgetting to read an assignment for her world history class.
And of course, that is the day of a pop quiz.
She guesses at the answers, trying to dredge up the few months' worth of early morning news without success—and finds herself staring at red A-minus. Excellent work, the teacher praises, but please keep the tabloid theories out of my classroom.
"Honestly," she hears the girl next to her mutter, "why do we have to know about Markovia anyways? It's not like any of us will ever live in a dinky country like that."
Tara laughs. She does that a lot.
They finish the unit on Markovia a week later, and move on to Kooey Kooey Kooey. It's sentient, and therefore unanimously agreed to be more interesting than the last place. Plus, they get to read about Aqualad, who has a nice sized fanclub at their school. Nowhere near as large as Robin's, of course, but certainly not the smallest.
Her friends asked her who her favorite Titan was, once. She opened her mouth to say Robin, just like everyone else, but something else slipped out. "Raven."
They blink at her, confused. "Why?"
"Because… she's the smart one."
She cannot explain her answer, and is relieved when the bell rings for class to begin. She learns to steer the conversation away from the Titans when they come up—which is often, why is she not surprised?—not knowing entirely why she does so.
She first sees them on the news, like everyone else. They're out, she learns, they're leaving Jump City.
She doesn't know why that shocks her as much as it does. Superheroes move all the time, don't they? Besides, it's not permanent… apparently; they're tracking some major bad guys. Beast Boy can't even make a joke, he just stares at the camera with darkened eyes while Robin explains that the city will be in good hands, they've called in some friends.
Tara excuses herself from the table, telling her parents that she doesn't feel well. And she doesn't, she realizes as she wipes away the tears. She wishes she knows why that look on the green boy's face makes her feel this way. She wishes she knows why the thought of them leaving this city, their home, hits her so hard. But at the same time, something in her tells her to be happy that she doesn't, and she is. She really, truly is.
Jump City only has one T on it's own, and it's not as bold or strong as the ones that are gone. Gone like Terra and all of her T's.
The Titans East arrive. It's not the same, although Tara never actually saw the first hero team face-to-face, so she isn't sure why she feels their absence the way she does. She sees more of this team, between the news and that weird fat geek who thinks he is a supervillain. She thinks that someone once told her a funny joke about him, but she can't remember the punch line.
Then they leave, but the original Titans don't come back. Some other hero shows up, and has this major thing with the Hive Five and one of the villains that the core Titans are standing against, but all she knows for sure is that after it's over the few times that the Hive Five show up afterwards their name actually makes sense. Did he kill that pink-haired girl?
The Titans have never killed a villain, at least not that she has been told of. But something in her is chilled—something tells her that they would if they had to. If there was no other choice. She's happy, that they would go so far to keep people such as her safe, and yet… not.
They shouldn't have to, she decides. But they probably will sometime.
She takes out her T—she is beginning to have an idea of what it is, but it can't be, can it?—one night and sits outside, turning it over and over in her hands. She wishes she had more than theories and fantasies and fears. Her adoptive parents are kind, but they can only give their Tara the now, not the then.
She watches the people from a hill, the T that is supposedly she herself. It's been dark for over an hour, and she knows that Mom and Dad must be worrying. Grandmother is supposed to be coming tonight, she recalls absently. She can't seem to get herself to care, and that worries her. They deserve better than a little broken girl like her, who doesn't even know where she was made.
But T's stand alone, she realizes with a start. Their arms are outstretched, wings spread to catch the wind, but nobody takes shelter beneath them. They gather behind it, sure, but not beneath. And not close, really, come to think of it.
But what about the Titans? Teen Titans. TT. They almost touched, so maybe they weren't really isolated after all.
She likes that thought; they deserve every comfort they can get.
The blonde closes her eyes and for a moment she can see them—peering over cards that she could vaguely recall some of her classmates pulling out after nibbling lunches of greasy pizza and vending-machine candy bars, tossing them one after another into the growing pile at the center of the table. They shoot each other shifty, calculating glances, but there are smiles in the arch of an eyebrow, the overdone secretiveness of their hunched shoulders.
Starfire is out first, her gleeful declaration of "Uno!" followed by a recommendation to fold her hand of two fires and a wind. She takes it in good humor, claiming that in the next round she will bring about "the flushing of the royal", and is joined by Raven a mere two turns later. The paler girl glances up from the pair of cards she holds, staring intently at the three left to oppose her, before sighing and flipping up her hood in a clear admission of defeat. Cyborg is forced out of the game next, to sniffle in the corner over the end of what had apparently been his winning streak, while Robin gloats unabashedly. But the dramatics halt when the mechanical man looks up, the streaming tears replaced by a grin and a raised hand.
"Hey, T!" He calls. "What took you?"
"I just had to take care of something," she tells the strange object in her hands, "made with my own circuits, rock star, so take good care of it!"
She runs all the way back to the apartment, but the image of a smile set in green is never far behind.
"And I have done terrible things."
Four days later, it is night again and Tara perches on the wooden rim of the sandbox, using a single toe to dig through the clumping sediment; writing a story never told in a swirling language never written. She is almost glad; perhaps it will be for the best if only the earth knows.
Warmth on her shoulder; a breath, a body. She twists around, and isn't sure why there should be green there instead of pink.
Wait. She has seen that pink before, focused on it in more than just its absence. But those slitted eyes are not directed at Tara, rather, at the lines in the sand.
"Running away?" The newcomer asks, as if it is normal. She doesn't even really sound interested in the answer. But then again, what else would a teen in a playground at midnight be up to?
"No," Tara says, watching her foot sketch a T in the sand. "Just not chasing."
A blink, a thought, and the gaze narrows. Irritation, suspicion, the beginnings of recognition? Which would be the worst from a villainess?
"Hey," a crimson blur edged in gold, and by the time she saw it Kid Flash was already standing before them. He flashes Tara a grin before turning to the other girl. "No need to be so jealous."
"Over you?" Jinx rolls her eyes. "Please, I'd pay to have someone take you away."
"Aha!" He crows. "I knew it, I've gotten to you after all! You're paying like an honest citizen now. But…" and here he leans in, smirking beneath the mask. "It's a little late, seeing as you've stolen my heart."
Tara gapes, thinks about what she has heard, and tries very hard to disappear into thin air. Or at least not be noticed.
She feels as if she has stumbled onto something that she really shouldn't be seeing, and she should probably get out of here before they remember she is there. She stands as silently as she can, her eyes nervously tracking the pink blasts that the hero is dodging with so much ease, tossing back the occasional corny line…
Hey, wait, where'd he go?
"Leaving already?" Kid Flash chirps from behind her, a mere moment before she is swung off of her feet and into his arms. She flails desperately for something to hold, something secure and steady, stone beneath her feet and dirt under her fingernails. Strong hairs digging into her fingers; were there horses where she once was?
"What are you doing?" Jinx hisses, something sparking in the air around her.
"A girl shouldn't walk home on her own," the other metahuman explains breezily, ignoring the blonde's assurances that she would be fine, she lives just a few blocks away, and it really isn't that late, and please just put me down!
This guy, Tara realizes, is an idiot.
Translation: he keeps holding her, and teasing his girlfriend—she has to be, no matter how insane it is, then again the innocent bystander shouldn't be surprised at anything from someone who runs around in spandex—to boot. And he's still holding her, why won't he let her go, she can't—
She's not sure how it happens, but he's laughing and suddenly he stops as light flares bright and gold.
Her butt hits the ground hard. She ignores the pain and scrambles to get to her feet. She can't outrun the fastest boy alive, she knows that, but maybe that other girl will keep attacking him for a while.
…She wouldn't really hurt him, would she?
Tara finds herself turning, just a little bit, just enough to see that crimson figure waving his arms—even they move faster than her eye can follow—frantically from where the ground has swallowed his legs, waist, and half of his chest. Jinx is trying to free him, scolding but pale. The—former?—thief looks up, catching the eye of the hesitant teen, and there is a chill that runs down both their spines.
She knows, both realize.
It is only after Tara has slunk through the door to her room and huddled under the covers that it occurs to her to wonder… knows what?
A few casually dropped questions are all that are needed: Jinx's magic is pink.
The rest takes a while, days spent locked in her room—"really big essay, sorry!"—and hunched over the glowing computer screen. But then, one day, that gold again, blurred and hazed like any other paparazzi picture, but her heart pounds and she is sure it is the same. She peers closer at the caption beneath the image.
New Titan "Terra" helping to take down the notorious supervillain Slade. Full article here.
Her breath catches in her throat, and for a moment she wants nothing more than to scream or flee or break something. She shuts off the computer and stands up. Her body is stiff from sitting in one place for so many hours, but it takes every ounce of restraint she has not to run from the room, to stumble down the stairs and out the door and forget everything that ever happened in this quiet apartment.
But when she staggers into the kitchen, her adopted father looks up from the sandwich he is making and gives her a relieved smile, wide enough to make her freeze in her tracks. "Finished the essay?"
Essay. Right, that's what she'd told them, wasn't it? "Not yet… I just needed a break."
"With how long you've been up there, I can't blame you." He bobs his head in what could become understanding, before a frown is aimed at his half-finished grinder. After a moment, he pushes it away and grins at her. "Your mom's working late, so how about we make s'mores?"
A blink. "Some more what?"
Rather than tell her, he shows her. They use the microwave, and she leaves hers in too long—it burns her tongue. Funny, she was sure that she had never been a masochist before, but it only takes a few moments of her father laughing at the grimace on her face before Tara hears herself join in.
Father. Her father.
He's supposed to be taller, isn't he?
"Terra," she means to roll it around her mouth, to let it slide down her throat and into her very core, but the taste is so vile that she can do nothing but spit it out. She shakes for a moment, rubbing at her arms until the bitterness is gone; she does not wish to be a T anymore.
She manages a swallow, and something makes her try again. "Terra. Terra."
That same taste again. But she keeps going. If she is Terra, then maybe she deserves all of this. She wants to know if she does, at the least. "Terra, Terra, Terra."
That wasn't her voice. Too deep, too muffled, coming from everywhere and nowhere and it shouldn't have been there and—
"No," that sounds like her voice, but it isn't, not really, even if it comes from her throat and her mouth. She does not form the word, she does not let it loose, she does not control it because she's not the one screaming. "No, no, no!"
She runs, from the orange and black, from the gold, from Titan and Traitor and what might have been Truth. She runs, and runs, and runs until she finds her foot thudding against some small wall. She flails forwards, and her knees hit sand.
Sand. The sandbox. The T's she sketched are long since gone, replaced by what in younger eyes must have been buildings, houses—
Brion, I'm bored! Can we go back to the castle now?
Golden light, and there it is. Smaller, yes, and the colors are all wrong, but she knew that everything else was almost right; every brick, every gilded ledge, that tower with the ivy right below the window that she—
The blonde lashes out with a foot, knocking the tower down along with half of the castle. She can feel herself shaking.
"I was going to tell you nice place you got there," someone says from behind her, "but I guess I can't anymore, can I?"
She turns, and meets a feline gaze. Behind her, there is suddenly a crimson streak, and she knows that there is no escape this time. She can no longer run away. In a way, it is a relief.
"Hey," Jinx says, coming to sit next to her. "Want to talk?"
"Tara, can you help me put away the groceries?" The little woman pokes her head through the doorway, frowning slightly when only rumpled sheets and scattered books meet her gaze. "Tara?"
This is not mentioned at breakfast the next day, or the next, or the next.
"Calling all Titans." She knows that voice, knows it from more than just the occasional interview on the news or the famed battle cry. "This is a test of our communications system. Is everyone ready?"
A heartbeat of static, then—"We're ready in the north!"
"And in the south."
"Estamos listos en el este!"
"…" Silence. Robin frowns; something is strange, something is off. Mas y Menos are faster than that, there shouldn't have been time for so much static. Besides, they were supposed to start in Jump City before returning to Steel, the twins had agreed to test both since Kid Flash would be checking in from his own northwestern Keystone City. So why—
"Ready in the West."
It is only a whisper, and quickly supplanted by the others who had been waiting to report in, but the Boy Wonder just barely remembers to pull up in time to keep from crashing into the sea. He notes the rest of the locations—England, Japan, Themyscira—but it is one communicator in particular that he contacts after the test is over. "Bea—"
A red blinking dot is his only warning, and he cuts himself off just in time to hear the almost frightened voice crackle through the new network. "Argent to Titans! I'm surrounded!"
He reaches to answer, but there's another dot, and another, and another and another andanotherandanotherand—
Robin knows then, knows, that something has happened. There is no longer any time to think of anything else, not even a once and future friend, not when his Titans are being taken just as they have been gathered at long last.
All he can do is what he can. Later, maybe more. But for now…
"Calling all Titans!" She listens, white-knuckled and wide-eyed and trembling, why isn't anyone, Beast Boy, Robin, Starfire, anyone, hating her, accusing her, acknowledging her? What's going on? "Prepare for battle!"
"All Titans?" She whispers, half-hopefully and half-incredulously, before throwing herself onto the soft earth just in time to dodge… a flying pie?
"Now, now, dearie," she blinks at the hemline of the dress, hanging several inches above the ground and almost level with her eyes. Oddly enough, she can't see any feet under it. "You're so thin, aren't you? Let mother put some meat on those bones!" ideals
"Hey, aren't you the host of that weird game show?" The girl recalls, thinking back to that time she and her friends—they've been worried about her lately, she should really try to talk to them—had watched the premiere of a new game show that Teen Titans had been invited to appear on. "The one about…"
She trails off as she finally manages to raise her head enough to see behind the strange, strange being; who merely beams down at the shocked teen with snaggled-teeth and waaaaaaaay too many eyes. "Pie, dear?"
"Y-yeah…" The blonde stammers, gaping at the seventeen-story pastry floating a few feet away. "Um… is that apple?"
"Even better," the creature croons. "It's one of mother's special love pies! How does that sound, sweetie?"
"Um…" the youth rises onto her hands and knees, eying the oversized edible nervously. "I'm not really a fan of that flavor, you know? I really just like apple…"
"Don't be silly, dear! Everyone loves Mother Mae-Eye's pies! Now," crap, the pie was glowing, that was definitely not a good sign, "open wide, here comes the choo-choo!"
She tried to scramble back, but the massive desert had grown legs now, and a mouth, and hands that were reaching for her and what the heck was she thinking, she isn't a hero, she isn't a T, she hasn't even studied for her geometry test tomorrow and it's not supposed to be like this, it's supposed to be—
"I'm not some sad little girl who's waiting to be rescued!"
I'm not. I'm not.
"Huh?" The multitude of eyes blink, and Mother Mae-Eye turns around just in time to see the nearest hill twisting and forming into a tidal wave of dirt and bits of what was once painstakingly trimmed turf. The child's feet are flat against the ground, now, and she sways slightly as the rest of her body rises, rises—her head comes up, eyes narrow and furious and glowing in a far more menacing way than any pie could ever dream of.
"Sorry," she says to the pile of soil where the villain once stood. A few bits of crust stick out of the ground here and there, being happily devoured by wriggling earthworms. She turns to walk away, not sure of a where or a why, but convinced of a will. "I'm not hungry."
"Too bad!" She whirls—too late!—and steps back in shock, rocks lifting into the air around her in a futile effort to block the flying pastry missiles. "You can always make room for mother's—"
A flash of pink, a sound not unlike a squawk, and suddenly the witch is on the ground with her hat on fire. Behind her stand two teens, maybe a little older than the one that the evildoer had been about to force feed.
"That," Jinx says with a cold, cold smirk, "was for sticking me in a tutu."
She looks over at the other girl expectantly, but it is Kid Flash who makes the first move. She shouldn't be surprised, since he isn't exactly known for his patience. "Ready to go?"
The blonde feels herself grin, a fierce grin—a frightening one. For a moment, she almost says 'no', that she is not like them, not meant for this. But instead she hears "I thought you'd never ask."
"Hey, is Tara there?" A schoolgirl asks into her cell phone, somewhere on the other side of the city. "We were supposed to go shopping…"
She listens to the reply for a minute, before letting herself sigh. "No, that's okay… if you see her, tell her we'll see her at school."
She hangs up and shakes her head at her friend. Neither can say that they are surprised anymore.
Her T is gone. A crackle, a few words, an explosion, and the one constant in her life is nothing more than a few spare parts.
Kid Flash tells her she can get a new one, all three of them can. The edges are digging into her palm, but she is only dimly aware of the pain, watching a pebble follow the path she is tracing out for it in the air with her free hand.
She listens to the excitement in his voice as he says the pinkette's name, the proprietary pride as he tastes ever syllable, savors every letter. She thinks that someone once said her name the same way, and wonders if Jinx's heart is skipping a beat whenever it happens, if a sharp breath is being taken in and out in time with the rising and falling of the speedster's voice.
The enchantress herself says nothing, too focused on reviewing their crinkled, creased map and trying to narrow down their possibilities for the Brotherhood's hideout. It's in Paris, she knows, but "they moved around a lot while we were there. Almost every day."
She knows nothing about Paris, not even the whispers in her mind—memories?—that gave her that A-, a-month-a-year-a-lifetime-someone-else's-lifetime ago. Tara has never been there. Terra has never been there.
Which should be 'has', and which should be 'had'? Which is she, which was she, which should she be? Did it even matter which she wanted to be anymore, and if it did then which was it?
She is afraid. She is afraid and she is alone and he never even tried to call her, none of them did, but why should he have after everything she could and couldn't remember, and why did her heart hurt so much that they—he—hadn't?
And why, why, why, why did it have to be her T that was taken? All she has now is burnt plastic and half-melted metal, tinged with the scent of smoke. She is not a T, she is not tall or triumphant or anything. She needs help from an actual T to stand as strongly as one, and now the T that had always been with her is gone.
"No," she whispers, "not always."
Tara was born that day in the cave, so very long ago. But the girl who is left thinks she might have killed her somewhere along the way.
She is not Tara. She may want to be, but we cannot help who we are.
…Can I? And, more importantly, should she?
"Found it!" And then they are off again, leaving only footprints and a body of air behind.
She wonders… is that her name?
Maybe… maybe I'm glad it is…
And then Beast Boy is joined by Starfire—"Ack, Star! NEED AIR!"—then Cyborg, then countless others. Even Raven and Jinx are dragged—literally, due to a trio of little kids and a crimson bolt of lightning—into the crush of spandex and laughing, cheering kids; some human, some masked, some powerless, some super-strong—and how she can feel it!—most complete strangers. Not family, not friends. Just…
"Guys, guys! Look—brain freeze!"
"And I have no regrets."
A/N: I've always been a Terra fan, ever since I first watched the show as a kid. I thought it would be interesting to see how much one little change could do to her fate; specifically, the Titans leaving a communicator at her statue along with the plaque. I also wanted to see how, assuming that the girl in the series finale is Terra, she got herself enrolled at a high school despite having (if she was lucky) no record of her existence.
Originally, this was supposed to end with her listening to the communication test and wondering whether or not she should check in. But then I realized that if she was listening in on it, the Brother would probably have been able to find her anyways, and leaving it hanging would be kind of pointless since she'd get involved either way.
For anyone who doesn't know, Mother Mae-Eye does have a game show in the Teen Titans Go! comics (she wanted to do a cooking show, but the network executives told her she didn't have the right look for it). You can read the entire Go! series for free along with a ridiculous number of other comics at . But first, mind leaving a review?