Author's Note: So . . . hi. sorry for the wait. Good news through, I actually know how this is going to end now. After this chapter there's only four left . . .
Chapter 7: I Want To Know You
In the following days Rachel developes a routine. She rises before the sun, showers, then heads into the kitchen in time to have a light meal with her friends before they go down to the training room and spar while she meditates.
Afterwards her day varies with how often the others get sent out on an alert. Usually she will find herself wandering the halls of the tower or studying the various items on display in their evidence room.
Today she heads into the kitchen, curious about how silent it is. She reaches out her senses and finds everyone asleep in their rooms expect for Robin who she finds moving around in the kitchen with purpose.
"Where is everyone?"
Robin cuts his whistling short and says,"We don't train on Sunday. I thought Beastboy told you."
"Maybe he did," she replies, taking a seat at the breakfast counter. "I sometimes block him out."
Robin smirks at that. "That's nothing new. How are you doing? You aren't spending much time with the others."
"They treat me strangely," she confesses, omitting the way she feel their conflicting emotions about her.
Robin cracks a few eggs then looks back at her. "How do you mean?"
"They look at me and it's like they're not really seeing me. Like I'm an echo." Rachel taps her nails against the counter. "You don't though."
"That's because you're you. People change through out their lives, it's normal. The others don't see it that way though, and you can't blame them for it. They just miss you."
Rachel watches in silence as he moves around the kitchen, stirring pots and chopping vegetables. Up until now she hasn't seen anyone actually use the kitchen. They've always just ordered in or gone out.
"Do you want some help?"
"Uh, no thanks."
"I can cook," she promises, reading his unease.
"It didn't end well the last time you tried. I'm almost done anyway," he replies. "But I'll make you a deal." He wipes his hands with a dish towel and rests his elbows on the counter. "You make more of an effort with the titans and I'll let you cook lunch tomorrow. Get to know them more personally." He sticks his hand out. "Deal?"
In a routine timed to perfection the other titans stumble into the kitchen just as Robin places the last dish on the table.
No one ever talks much in the mornings before their training but today everyone is in higher spirits and happily conversing. Rachel has a hand in the conversation as well then glances at Robin, remembering their deal.
He nods his encouragement which is what leads her to awkwardly approach Beastboy after they've finished a mid-day breakfast.
"Hey," she says.
Beastboy is examining a ketchup stain on his shirt but looks up when she speaks. "Oh, hey Rae. What's up?"
"Do you want to hang out for a while?" Feeling his surprise she explains, "Robin thinks sending time with everyone individually will help jog my memory."
"Yeah, okay. Let's . . . play chess!"
She nods, glad he accepted. They could both benefit from a little relaxinh. It makes her sad to think he's always making others laugh when he's often in need of the same.
"Is that one of those you play on the tv?"
"Nah, those are video games. Chess is a board game. You'll love it. You beat me every time we play." He looks again at the stain and says, "Let me just change my shirt and I'll meet you down in the library."
She's surprised to learn the library take up a whole floor of the tower. There's entire shelves dedicated to the personal interests of each Titans and likely for their hero stuff.
Sitting on a coffee table in a cozy spot among shelves is a book she knows must be her own as it's in the language of her home.
She hears Beast boy enter and finds her way to him through the maze. He's setting up miniature statues on a checkered board. "Come on, you get the black, I get the white."
She takes a seat and they both stare expectantly at the board. Rachel smiles, realizing neither of them have any idea how to play.
She feels the trickle of surprise from Beastboy. She raises her eyebrow in question and he says, "You never used to smile so much."
Rachel shrugs. "So how do we start?"
"I have no idea," he replies with utter confidence.
After near thirty minutes of attempting the game, Rachel tries to sooth an increasingly frustrated Beastboy.
"Sorry, I don't remember all the rules."
"Really Beastboy, it's fine. Let's play a video game instead. Neither of us even know what we're doing."
"Really?" he asks, looking skeptical.
"Yeah. We both know I would've won anyway. Wanna beat me at a video game instead?" Beastboy perks up and she challenges him to a race to the couch. "Winner gets to pick the game."
"You're so on!"
Beastboy turns into a tiny bird with wings flapping so fast they're a blur. He darts to the stairs and Rachel calmly stands, creating a portal to the living room.
When he arrives she's sitting on the couch, pretending to examine her nails.
"I win," she says.
Beastboy pops back into shape and lands on the couch.
They spend the next four hours racing cars on a track rigged with explosives and traps. Beastboy beats her every time and she eventually gets tired of losing and they call it quits when Starfire calls everyone for a special lunch she made from scratch.
"Don't eat anything," Beastboy whispers to her as they take in the sight and smell. "We're having takeout after she leaves."
Rachel takes her ques from the others and takes bites only when Starfire is looking and spits it into her napkin when she looks away.
After their meal Starfire leaves to donate the leftovers to local establishments while Cyborg insists they do the cleaning up for her.
As soon as she gone Cyborg goes to a cabinet and pulls out two greasy bags with an 'M' printed on them.
"Good thing her cooking masked the smell," Cyborg comments, distributing the food to everyone.
They go amout stuffing fries into their mouth and taking large bites if their burgers in between the hurried task of cleaning everything up. Once they're finished Beastboy collects everyone's trash and hurries to hide the evidence.
"Rav-chel, will you come to the security room?" Cyborg asks, "Robin and I put together some footage we think might help jog your memory."
She nods and follows them to a large room with a control panel stretching from wall to wall and coated with buttons in different sizes shapes and colors. There is also a giant screen not unlike the one in their living room except this one is divided into a grid with different views of inside and outside the tower.
"How many cameras do you have?" she wonders. There's got to be over a hundred of them!
Cyborg shrugs modestly but she can feel his pride rise up. "As many as we need."
Robin pulls out the chair and gestures for her to sit while Cyborg starts fiddling with the controls until one by one the screens change.
They show her how to switch the audio to whichever video she wants and then leave to let her begin.
Taking it all in is overwhelming so she clicks on the first video the catches her eye and enlarges it. She's fighting a dragon. Fascinated, she let's the video loop through twice before shaking her head. She doesn't remember a dragon.
Video after video of strange faces and strange places. In some if them she is battling side by side with her friends and doesn't even recognize herself.
She can barely sleep without shattering windows but on screen she's powerful and confident, wielding the shadow like they belong to her.
When she sees herself lift a trash can and hurl it at man dressed in spandex, Rachel flinches.
"Azar forgive me," she whispers.
Then there is the video of the day she lost her memories. It's shot from a ways away but she can make out exactly what seems to happen. For her the most unnerving part is when the children pour out of the bus as if sleepwalking.
Robin explained to her how Mind Bender messed with their heads too. Like her, they haven't returned to their normal selves but Robin has assured her that no one Bender messed with was back to normal until days later.
It's been eight days already. She's afraid to ask how much longer until they should really start to worry.
Leaning back in the chair, she forces herself to watch every video at least once. After a while her mind starts to wander a bit and in the videos the innocent bystanders running scared are replaced with men and women in white cloaks.
The shadows in the room quiver but when she imagines these people as her own it's easier to comprehend why Raven would fight to protect them. She can almost reconcile with how much she's changed, how far she has strayed from the pacifist teachings of the monks.
Finally finished, she stumbles out of the security room to find Robin leaning against the wall.
He looks up and smiles. She shakes her head wordlessly and he tilts his head in acknowledgment.
He told her yesterday about the bond they have, a psychic link of their minds brought about when she saved his life. It makes it easy for them to know what the other is feeling.
He's afraid for her.
"Do you know where Cyborg is? I haven't gotten the chance to hang out with him one on one yet."
"In the garage, he's doing some modifications to the T-Car."
Thanks to Robin insisting she memorize the layout of the tower she finds her way easily. Robin was probably thinking more on the larger scale of things-like if there was an intruder and she needed to hide-but so far it had just been helping her find the nearest bathrooms.
The garage is bigger than she expected. Besides an extensive collection of motorcycles, there's an actual spaceship, an airplane, and . . . is that a submarine?
The clatter of something falling to the ground and the curses that follow lead her around to a disassemble car where Cyborg is picking up the tools he dropped.
She helps him pick everything up. He thanks her for her help and then continues his work pausing only to asks, "Is anything coming back to you? Did anything in the videos tickling your memory?"
She shakes her head. "Not exactly."
"Want to elaborate on that?"
"No, I didn't Rembrandt anything. It's more like . . .When I'm with each of you, my heart settles. I feel like I want to know you."
"But you don't."
"But I don't."
She pretends not to notice the disappointment he's emitting. Then ask quickly as it comes, it's washed away by a different sort of pain.
Cyborg grabs a tool off the hood and ducks under the car.
Shadows quiver as a reaction to her feeling his emotions and Rachel tries figuring out how to make him feel better. She's making him feel like this. She makes them all feel terrible.
"I'll start training tomorrow."
Cyborg slides out of under the car. "Really?"
"Yes," she decides, nodding firmly. "It's bound to bring something back. We fight crime so it must tie into a lot of my memories."
A trickle of hope enters Cyborg's emotions and Rachel smiles, pushing away her uncertainty. Pacifism has always been one of the pillars in her teachings but so is helping people, putting them in front of herself.