Disclaimer: This freaking story took almost two years to write. You should know the jist by now.
Chapter 8 – Off to Who Knows Where
The first thing that Rose heard was the beeping of the heart rate monitor to her left. The first thing she felt was the enormous pain resonating in her head.
She tried to sit up, but a robotic hand came into her view, gently keeping her down.
"Easy there, cowgirl. Glad you're awake."
Rose opened her eyes to see the Titans surrounding her bed. Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire were looking down at her. Cyborg was sitting to the right of them, his leg open to reveal the circuitry inside. He was busy repairing something on his leg, no doubt damaged from the night's events.
"Where am I?"
"Back at the Tower," Raven replied. She was back into a clean uniform, the damage she had sustained completely recovered. "Robin drove you back here after what happened tonight."
The blonde shifted her eyes around the room. "Where is everyone else?"
Cyborg shrugged. "Red Star, Argent, Kole, and Gnaark are recovering from tonight's shenanigans. Robin's off trying to smooth things open with Jump City PD. Turns out that losing four container warehouses in one night is a really good way for people to get mad at us."
Now it was coming back to her. "What happened? The last thing I remember was everything going to heck."
"After Slade's little speech, he tried to blow all of us up," Cyborg explained, putting the blowtorch back into his finger. "Luckily, we managed to get out, thanks to you."
"Huh?" Rose said, confused. "What'd I do?"
The Titans exchanged nervous glances between them. The silence was not lost on the blonde. "Was it bad? Did I summon a demon or something?"
"Nah, Raven would've done th—OW!"
The smack on Beast Boy's head was followed by the spellcaster stepping forward. "Robin told us about what happened with Slade and you. Based off of your account and the brain activity while you were unconscious, it sounds like...it seems to me that you had a momentary flash of precognition."
Beast Boy raised his hand. "For the ones who don't read the dictionary religiously, what does that mean?"
"She saw into the future, dummy." Cyborg straightened up, a clipboard in his hands. "Probably a side effect of stress and whatever Slade injected you with when you were younger."
"...How do you know about that?"
Now Starfire was the one to talk. "After Robin brought you back here, we tended to your injuries. Only...all of your injuries were already healed." Noting Rose's look of disbelief, she looked away. "Robin guessed that whatever made Slade what he is today is the same thing that was helping you, and friend Cyborg was able to confirm this."
Cyborg held up the clipboard. "Accelerated healing, heightened senses, above average strength. The chemical makeup isn't like anything I've ever seen before. Whatever Slade injected you with all those years ago has had a long-lasting effect. Although I don't think anything we've seen from Slade included ESP."
"Robin mentioned that you had a vision before everything went down. Do you remember any of it?" Raven asked.
"I..." Rose put her head in her hands. "I remember my head feeling like it was about to split open. I remember seeing a bunch of things. A woman. Some places in the city." She felt the pain escalating again. "Most of it was just a blur."
"Your brain's not used to that sort of strain," Raven offered. "You would need to have extremely powerful sorcery in order for visions to even manifest...or artificially, in this case."
"Perhaps it would be best that we do not bother friend Rose with this sort of thing right now."
Everyone turned to Starfire, her look of concern bringing the conversation to a halt. She cleared her throat a little more and continued. "She has had the most unpleasant day. We all have. I shall fetch Robin and we shall all catch the shut-eye."
Cyborg stifled a yawn. "Star's right. This can all wait until the morning. The important part is that we're all back here in one piece. Rose, I'll leave the comm on in case you need anything."
"Thank you, Cyborg."
"No prob." He began to usher the rest of the team out of the room, but not before Beast Boy ducked underneath his outstretched arm.
"Hey, Rose. You wouldn't happen to have tomorrow's lottery numbers in your noggin, would you?"
Her eyes narrowed.
"Or next week's. It doesn't have to beeeEEEEEPP!"
A purple talon of energy turned the corner in the doorway, grabbing Beast Boy by the back of the collar.
Surprised, Rose craned her neck to see Raven, her eyes glowing white and a slight smile on her face as the green-skinned boy was unceremoniously dragged out of the room. The spellcaster's eyes followed him down the hallway and then turned back to Rose.
"He means well."
She couldn't help but return the smile. "Yeah, I know."
Raven dimmed the lights using her magic before continuing. "You're not the only one who has the displeasure of a parent wanting to use their child for their own advancement. If you ever want to talk-"
"Not really," Rose said gently. "Not...now, anyway. But thanks, Raven."
She nodded, closing the door behind her. Rose sunk back into the bed, wishing that she was unconscious again. She rubbed her forehead in hopes that the ache would go away, but to no avail.
Well, tonight did certainly explain the headaches over the past week.
The next day, after his checkup, Rose was cleared by Cyborg to leave the infirmary. Beast Boy was admitted in her place, having suffered a concussion from being thrown down six hallways before being deposited into his bedroom upside down.
After breakfast, she and Robin went off to the training grounds, where he had her give a complete recount of what was in her vision. Unfortunately, the sleep wasn't enough to jar anything else in her mind, so she wasn't able to give him much information. The Boy Wonder didn't seem too surprised, though, only nodding in response to her recollections.
Rose didn't bother asking him about his findings with the serum. She learned rather quickly that he was a very meticulous person, with a level of planning and precision that rivaled even her father. The truth was going to come out sooner or later. Luckily, Robin didn't make it a big deal.
Afterwards, she went off to relax in the common room. Upon arriving, she saw Argent exchanging goodbyes with the rest of the main team. It turned out that Robin had extended an offer for her to become the leader of a new set of Titans, consisting of their partners from the previous night. Preparations were already underway for a base of operations somewhere up north, and Argent had some loose ends to wrap up back at her home.
Rose knew this already because she had been given the same invitation.
It would be nice, he said, to be with a group of people like her, save some civilians, and gain a reputation as a hero. Argent was already established, and she would be a good leader to learn from.
Robin had left the decision up to her, and while she was flattered to be considered for a team spot, it didn't feel right somehow. She had almost gotten everyone killed, and she wanted vindication. Not as a part of a team, but on her own.
Rose held up the sword in her hand, looking at the blade. It was almost like her father was staring back at her, toying with her. The crystals that they had investigated were bad news; there was no doubt that her next move had to be important.
She smiled to herself as she slid her blade back into her sheath.
So there was only one thing to do.
Rose was standing in front of the Tower, her bag hung over her shoulder. She was in her civilian clothing as well, as trotting around with two swords on her back wasn't the most optimal way of traveling.
"Judging from her luggage, Beast Boy, I would imagine that would be a correct observation," Raven quipped.
"But who's going to help me beat Cy in Super Mega Monkeys 4?"
"...Literally anyone else?"
Ignoring the argument, Robin turned his attention back to Rose. "You sure about this? You could stay with us for a little while longer. Get your sea legs back. Even if you don't want to go with Titans North, we could use an extra set of hands around here."
"I'm honored, Robin. I really am." Rose shuffled the bag to a better position. "But I need to figure some things out on my own. Fath-" She stopped herself quickly. "Slade...coming back made me realize a lot of lies were told to me in my youth. I need to find out what I'm capable of. And I can't...really do that with a team." She looked to the ground nervously. "No offense."
"None taken, girl," Cyborg waved her off. "It's not for everyone. Heck, it took a gigantic nuclear explosion to get Red Star to come back."
"Anyways," Robin cut him off, "That doesn't matter. It's your decision. You know you're always welcome back here."
Rose looked over the water to the shoreline. "I should probably get going. My bus is going to be here soon."
"You will let us know when you arrive at your destination, correct?"
"...Star, how exactly am I going to do that? I don't have a phone."
"With this, of course."
Starfire flew over to her and held out her hands, opening them to reveal a Titans communicator. Instead of yellow, the rim was a bright orange, with a half-black cover.
"Even though you won't be with our team, Rose," Robin said, a smile on his face, "You're now officially a member of the Teen Titans. Congratulations."
"Really?" Rose sprang forward, bringing both Robin and Starfire into a hug. "Thank you guys so much!"
"Hooray! I am happy that you are happy, friend Rose!" the Tamaranian replied.
Robin would have mirrored her message had it not been for being in the middle of a superhuman hug.
"How long do you think Robin will be able to keep breathing?" Beast Boy whispered to Cyborg.
"He's still breathing?"
"Oh, I am sorry, Robin!" Starfire said, releasing Robin from her grasp. "Did I crush any of your internal organs?"
"Is he going to be OK?" Rose asked.
"Probably. He's survived through worse." Raven summoned a portal behind the blonde. "This'll take you to the bus station. Keep in touch, OK?"
"I will. Thanks, guys." With that, Rose walked through, ready to go of on her own adventure.
Starfire helped Robin up from the ground, who was busy making sure all of this intestines weren't knotted together. "What is our next course of action, Robin?
"We have a lot of work to do." Robin straightened himself up, turning to his team. "Slade is back. He's got a plan to take us down. Too bad he doesn't know what he's messing with. We have a new group, a new teammate, and each other."
He looked to the shore, the sunset spreading its light all across the island.
"The Teen Titans will bring Slade to justice."
"Right after pizza!"
"...Yes, Beast Boy. Right after pizza."