DISCLAIMER: I do not own Teen Titans or its characters, TV show or otherwise. This story is for entertainment purposes only. It will take place within the universe of the TV series (though within the alternate universe I established with Raven's Story and Nothing Is Harder Than Love), and be after the end of said series as well as the movie Trouble in Tokyo. If you don't like yuri, don't read any further. If you don't like Teen Titans, then I have no idea how you found this story in the first place. Rated M for later chapters.
DISCLAIMER II: I do not own the character named Artemis; she is a creation of Echo of an Idiot. He has given me permission to use her in this story, though I have re-imagined her for this purpose. I do, however, own the characters Shadow (daughter of Raven and Jinx), Phase (son of Changling and Lavender), Stinger (son of Cyborg and Bumblebee), Nightfire (daughter of Nightwing and Starfire), and Lavender herself.
Author's Note: This story is a direct sequel to Nothing Is Harder Than Love, and will revolve mainly around a new team of Teen Titans consisting of the previously mentioned characters. I apologize in advance; this chapter is meant to be a recap for those who read NIHTL, or a summary for those who haven't. Though I really recommend you read NIHTL first.
Chapter 1 - The New Generation
Five years after 'This End Could Be The Beginning'
"I'm not wearing a leotard," Shadow stated flatly, glaring at her best friend.
"You'd look cute in it!" Nightfire insisted, trying to give the long-sleeved swim-suit like outfit to her.
"No," she said in the same monotone one of her moms had been famous for. "You want it that much, get it yourself."
"But it's your color!" the half-alien girl insisted. Shadow didn't say a word; she just turned around and walked out of the store. Nightfire sighed, put the outfit back on the rack, and followed her friend.
"You know," she said, catching up to her, "you could show some interest in this."
"It's shopping, Nightfire," the half-demon girl replied. "I hate shopping."
"But you shop all the time!"
"Not in stores like that."
"It's a costume store, Night," Shadow said. "A Halloween costume store."
"I go there," she pouted.
"Besides, that was a costume of my mom," came the answer. "Do you know how embarrassing that is?"
"But she wore it once."
"When she was a teenager, Night."
"You're a teenager!"
Shadow rolled her eyes. Nightfire acted just like her mom more often than she was comfortable with. But she was her best friend, so some leeway had to be made for her 'quirks'. The half-alien had her mom's hair, her dad's skin color, and a disturbing blend of her parent's attitudes. She tended to wear red and white clothes more often than not, and even her training uniform was a (surprisingly tasteful) alternating pattern of red and white. Shadow, on the other hand, felt herself to be the more sensible of the two: she wore only black and dark blue, with the occassional purple thrown in. The only exception was her hair; about the time she turned twelve, her hair began getting pink in it. Now, her hair was mostly a shade of black that was almost bluish, with naturally occuring random pink highlights in it.
"I know, Night," she said, "but what she liked when she was my age is a lot different that what I like now."
"I'm sorry," her best friend said. "I just thought you'd like it." The girl sounded so sad that Shadow inwardly groaned. Now I have to think of something that'll make her happy, otherwise I'm in for a miserable day, she thought. Sighing, knowing she was going to regret saying it, Shadow said, "Nightfire? Do you want some ice cream?"
"Ice cream? Really?" the half-Tamaranian asked, immediately perking up. Shadow reluctantly nodded and braced herself. Nightfire squealed in delight and hugged her best friend, twirling them both up into the air.
"Do you think they'll be back soon?" Phase asked, sitting on the couch in the Tower's common room.
"Who?" Stinger asked, looking up from the tech manual he was reading.
"Santa and the Easter Bunny," the other boy replied sarcastically. "Who do you think?"
"Dude, they went shopping."
"Two hours ago."
"And you care . . . why?"
Phase made a frustrated noise and dropped his head into his hands. Ever since that one day five years ago, the four of them (Phase, Stinger, Nightfire, and Shadow) had spent every summer at the Tower, training in the use of their powers - as well as more conventional fighting techniques. Stinger and Shadow lived at the Tower, anyway, and had developed a brother-sister relationship. It was no secret to anyone that Phase liked Shadow - well, it was to Shadow for some reason - so Stinger knew the reason why his best bud was anxious for the two girls to come back.
"What's your plan to woo her this time?" the chocolate-skinned teen asked. "A cake with a tombstone on it? A book filled with dark romantic poetry? Singing her a song over the loudspeakers?"
"Well, how would you do it?" Phase asked.
"I wouldn't; she's like my sister, so it's not gonna happen." He looked over at his friend. "Though I wouldn't hide out in her room again."
The light-skinned teen turned red in embarrassment; he hadn't known she was going to change, and had been slammed through two walls before he phased himself and passed through the next four without getting hurt anymore. The two fell silent again, and Stinger returned his attention to the manual. Like his father, Cyborg, he was a tech-head and actually enjoyed reading the manuals.
"Do you think she likes me?" his best friend asked again. Groaning, Stinger shut his book, stood up, and left the room.
Raven, meanwhile, was meditating on the roof of the Tower. In the past, back when she was a Teen Titan, it would've been done to keep her emotions (and powers) under control; this time, like every time she'd meditated for the last fifteen years, it was to find her center and embrace her emotions. By accepting and embracing her emotions, she'd managed a degree of control - and a profound sense of peace - that she'd been seeking for a long time. She'd never forgotten what it had almost cost her to realize her problem; after all, even all these years later, she still had some problems seeing out of her left eye. Not blindness, but more of a blurring of that eye's vision. Jinx still felt a little guilty about that, though Raven never had and never would blame her (even though her wife had been the one to cause the injury). Right now, Jinx and Bumblebee were out shopping for anniversary gifts, and Cyborg had gone to get some parts to fix the T-Jet, so it was just Raven at the Tower with Phase and Stinger. She didn't mind, though; maybe it had to do with becoming a real parent (she still remembered those three kids who considered her their 'mama'), or maybe it was all that she'd gone through the past decade-and-a-half, but she'd gained a lot more patience and peace of mind. Besides, those two had learned that it was very difficult to keep things hidden from her; she smiled as she recalled how many times she'd snuck up on them setting up pranks for one of the grown-ups, or sensed them about to commit one and tripped it on them.
She didn't used to enjoy doing that as a Teen Titan; back then, it just happened. Thinking back on those days caused her to remember the others, and she smiled again. Nightwing and Starfire had decided to go grocery shopping, and Changling had tagged along to make sure they got tofu (Lavender had followed him to make sure he didn't put any of the meat back). While everyone was all doing legitmate things, Raven wasn't stupid; she knew her birthday was coming up, and she had a feeling that that was the real reason all of the adults but her were gone today. It's ironic, she thought, that Jinx and I got married at that monastery on the same day as my birthday. The only regret about that day that she had was that her friends hadn't been able to be there.
"Um, Miss Raven?" came a tentative voice from behind her. Because she was levitating, Raven merely rotated around.
"Hello, Phase," she said warmly. "What's the matter?" She smiled slyly. "Still pinning after my daughter?" She was rewarded with an immediate blush.
"Y-ye-yeah," he stammered, finding his shoes extremely interesting. She smothered a laugh.
"Well, she's a little like I was at that age, I suppose," the goth-like woman said. "Not very good at picking up subtle cues - at least as far as attraction and all that goes."
"But I really, really like her," the fourteen-year-old said.
"I know," Raven replied, sympathetic. "But you have to understand that she may or may not share your feelings." She watched the boy's shoulders slump. "I'm sorry, Phase. But you can't make her like you; if she does like you, she'll let you know. If not, that's okay. Remember, you're just fourteen years old; there's plenty of time for you to find that special someone."
"I suppose," he replied morosely.
"It took me a couple of tries to find the love of my life," she told him, coming out of her floating lotus position. "My first love died saving the city, though I'm sure you've heard the story before." Walking over to the boy, she put her hands on his shoulders. "Maybe things will work out between you and Shadow; maybe not. All you can do is take it one step at a time, and hope for the best."
Back at the mall, Shadow was staring at Nightfire in undisguised awe; she'd never seen anyone eat that much ice cream . . . at once. Her own ice cream, a dark chocoloate fudge cone, was forgotten in her hand. When the half-Tamaranian had seen that the ice cream shop offered 23 flavors, she had to try them all. So she got an extra-extra-large bowl that had twenty-three scoops in it. And now she was on her second bowl. The girl noticed she was being stared at, and looked over at her best friend.
"What?" she asked, the question muffled by the double-spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. The question snapped the pink-/black-haired girl out of her daze, and she shook her head.
"It's just ice cream, Night," Shadow said.
"But it is so delicious," Nightfire moaned, somehow managing to swallow everything without choking. Sighing, Shadow decided to concentrate on her own ice cream, and looked around at the mall. She began wondering if she'd ever find anything for her parents; after all, their anniversary - and her mom's birthday - was coming up. As she was wondering if the mall would have anything that she felt would be good for them, she caught a flash of blue out of the corner of her eye. Looking, she was stopped as she watched a girl with blue hair walking. Something about her arrested Shadow's attention; her hair may have caught her attention, but something else kept it. Even from this far away, Shadow could sense the girl's aura; she exuded confidence, danger, even a little insanity. Not really a good combination, especially as the goth teen could also sense other, darker, things lurking beneath the surface of the girl's emotional state.
"Shadow? Are you okay?"
"Huh? What?" Shadow asked, snapping out of her daze.
"Are you okay?" Nightfire asked.
"Oh, yeah. I'm fine," she answered, smiling at her friend.
"Were you looking at something?"
"Not . . . really. But I . . . did see a store that I want to check out."
"Okay. Um, can I have some more ice cream?"
Artemis watched as the girl with the black-and-pink hair turned back to the other girl at the table with her. She had no idea how long that girl had been staring at her, nor did she know why. It was strange. But what was stranger was that now Artemis couldn't stop staring at her. I wonder who she is? she asked herself, then shrugged. Doesn't really matter, except that there's something about her that's . . . I don't know. Just . . . somthing. Artemis was like a cat; once curiosity got ahold of her, it wouldn't let go until she'd solved the puzzle. And that girl looked like a very interesting puzzle. Pursing her lips in a manner similar to way her deceased (but forgotten) mother did, Artemis knew that things in Jump City would get very interesting from this day forward.
Author's Note: Well, there it is. The first chapter of the new story. Technically it's the second, but the prologue was merely a recap. This chapter may not be as 'exciting' as the first one or two of Nothing Is Harder Than Love, but I thought it turned out rather well considering it was merely to set the stage for the characters. Please review. Please? And let me know what you think of the characters.