|Monsters in the Closet
Author: RobinRocks PM
Something is attacking ships down at the docks and it's the Titans' job to find out what. Trouble is, Robin might have found a little too much… COMPLETE.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Horror - Robin & Cyborg - Chapters: 6 - Words: 23,793 - Reviews: 95 - Favs: 61 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 08-27-06 - Published: 07-24-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3063575
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is a strange and random little idea of mine that I have been toying with for a while. Well, okay, let me clarify; mpreg is something I have been toying with for a while.
Well, for one thing, it's just plain screwy. Who actually came up with it? Secondly, there is no actual mpreg in the Teen Titans section. Or, at least, if you type "mpreg" into the summary/title search bar for the TT section, you get nothing. Actually, I lie; I found one where Cyborg was pregnant, but it was some wacky dream that either Robin or Terra had (I can't remember which it was) and it was literally a one-liner thing. I typed it in out of curiosity to see how many would come up, considering the ridiculous amount of it in both the Harry Potter and Fullmetal Alchemist sections.
But there is nada. Which surprises me, considering how popular this section is, and also the random pairings you can get (I have come across Beast BoyxJohnny Rancid, RobinxSilkie and SladexArella, to start with…), so… there being no mpreg is something I find weird. There are actually weirder things in this section (RobinxSilkie, I kid you not. Put them into the character filters and see what comes up, 'cause I'm not making it up…).
So I always thought that maybe I would give it a go, but I could never come up with anything. I can't be bothered with a stupid boyxboy love story (uh, yeah, Small Print is not a love story…), and then explaining how it happened, blahblahblah. I thought very briefly about RobinxSlade, and then got realistic and thought… nah…
Then, a little something called Batman Black and White #4, printed in September 1996, fell into my hands. In it are five tiny little "one-shots", drawn all in black and white (like you didn't see that one coming); their names are An Innocent Guy, The Third Mask, Heroes, Leavetaking, and the one that gave me the inspiration for this:
Monsters in the Closet. Written by Jan Strnad (that is spelt correctly, and it's a man) and drawn by Kevin Nowlan. It's not the greatest Batman strip ever. But I read it and was like "OMG… inspiration!". Anyone who has read it will see the distinct similarities – the comic is not mpreg, BTW, but I kinda borrowed the setting and circumstance.
This little fic – seven chapters at the most – also takes inspiration from Angel, Futurama and even my own fic, the yet-to-be-put-up Remember the Titans (plug alert; sequel to Black Magic and Asylum). It's not a direct rip-off of anything, but you may recognize a few little things.
I am afraid that it is rather predictable and won't hold very many – if any – surprises. However, I thank you for reading and hope you enjoy it anyhow. I guess it's not really mpreg, but it's close enough, I think. Like I said in the summary, there isn't a pairing.
Oh, and my "mpreg" victim?
Robin, of course.
One final note: This is set somewhere in Season Three, after X but before the whole Cyborg/Brother Blood/Titans East thing.
Monsters in the Closet – I
"You promise no more swimming in sewers?" Beast Boy spluttered, hauling himself out of the manhole with a little help from Cyborg; the green shape-shifter spat out a mouthful of sewer water and shook the excess from his hair.
"I'd have thought you'd feel at home down there, B," Cyborg grinned, "what with your room the way it is. I'm surprised you can even tell the difference…"
"Hey! I'll have you know that I've been paddling in sewers so much recently, even turpentine can't entirely get rid of the smell, never mind shower gel…"
"Aw, shut up…"
"We can't stop searching, Beast Boy," Robin cut in, not looking up from the screen of his communicator. "Not until we find what it is that's attacking the boats off the docks."
"It would help if we knew what we were looking for…" Raven muttered darkly from beneath her hood.
"Perhaps Aqualad might be able to shed some light upon this situation?" Starfire stated, her tone inquiring. "I believe that he knows these waters better than any of us may claim to, even Beast Boy…"
"I've already contacted him," Robin replied coolly. "He says he hasn't seen anything suspicious, but he'll keep a lookout."
"I'm willing to bet it's that Trident guy," Beast Boy murmured, pulling off one of his shoes and turning it upside down, emptying a small river onto the sidewalk. "Sounds like the kinda stunt he'd pull. That's what he did before, right? Stealing nuclear waste from ships?"
"That's what Aqualad said too." Robin scratched his hairline thoughtfully, still with his gaze on his communicator. "But Aqualad also said that you and he, Beast Boy, shut Trident and all his clones up in an underwater cave months ago."
"Maybe he got out?"
"Maybe." Robin shrugged. "Well, Aqualad said that he and the Titans East would try to help out, but seeing as they're right over in Steel City now, I can't see them making any headway." He snapped his communicator shut like a compact mirror. "Guess it's up to us, team."
Cyborg raised an eyebrow.
"Well, it is our city…"
"Right, and that's why we can't give up and go home, not when we have a case. Let's split up and cover the city; you know what we're looking for."
"Yeah, some kind of sea monster, apparently," Raven said jadedly.
"Don't sea monsters generally live in the sea, not in the middle of a city?" Beast Boy pointed out, latching on to Raven's sarcasm.
Robin bit his lip.
"I have a weird feeling it's not a sea monster we're after. The traces that have been left behind at all of the attack scenes haven't been entirely… organic."
"You think some nutjob is playing Dr Frankenstein?" Cyborg asked, frowning.
"Not sure. That's why we have to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. We just don't know what we're up against."
The rest of the Teen Titans nodded in agreement with their leader.
"Okay, Beast Boy, check out the docks again," Robin ordered. "Cyborg, take the Upper East Side and work down. Raven, same but with the west. Star, you check out Downtown."
"'Bout you?" Cyborg asked as the other three nodded and each took to the night sky in their own way.
Robin drew his cape around his shoulders as he turned away.
"You sure, man?" Cyborg sounded worried.
Robin looked over his shoulder, smirking.
"Please, Cyborg. Remember who I am? Who I used to work with?"
He started to walk away, snapping out his staff and extending it.
"I specialize in abandoned buildings and dark back-alleys…"
Cyborg shrugged as he watched his friend go.
He couldn't really argue with Batman's sidekick.
"Diddly," Cyborg replied wearily through the speaker of the comm.
"Me neither, and neither have any of the others…"
"Should we call it a night?"
Robin ran a hand through his hair in frustration.
"I don't like to, but I suppose we'd better. Get some rest, get something to eat. We'll just have to start over in the morning."
Cyborg nodded, his image on the tiny screen flickering a little.
"Yeah, it's getting late. See you back at the tower?"
"Yeah. I shouldn't be long."
"Should I pick up some pizza?"
Robin pulled a face.
"We've had pizza three nights in a row."
"Okay. You know everyone's usual, anyway, right?"
"Uh-huh. Catch ya later then, man."
Cyborg's link was terminated and the image of the tall cybernetic teen winked out, presenting Robin with a blank screen. He snapped his comm. shut again and looked up.
If Jump City had a "bad" side, then this was that "bad" side of town. The buildings were old, crumbling, some beyond even disrepair. Crumbling, covered in moss, ivy and obscene graffiti. People stood in doorways and made little deals – exchanging paper for paper; money for drugs. Heroin in little paper packets.
It was against the law; but Robin was a little preoccupied to be chasing heroin addicts right now.
Chasing heroin addicts was something the Teen Titans did when the crime rate in Jump City temporarily plummeted.
And they shied into the shadows when they saw him; he might be small and skinny, dressed in pretty colors, but Robin was Robin.
Sidekick of Batman. Leader of the Titans.
You didn't mess with him.
Likewise, the gangs of street kids – mostly older than him – that were the kind who mugged old ladies and beat up younger kids for milk money eyed him warily. If he were dressed in civilian clothes – and maskless – they would probably jump him and attempt to mug him. Maybe beat him to a pulp.
But they didn't touch him. Didn't even inch nearer to him – if anything, they moved away.
They were afraid of the uniform.
But funnier still… there were scarier things than him out there.
Scarier than Batman.
And here, on the "bad" side of town… he felt strangely at home. It reminded him of Gotham City.
The street he was on now was completely deserted. He was starting to wish he'd brought his R-cycle but the Titans had taken this venture on foot, in fear of missing anything vital they might not spot by car or motorcycle. Of course, that wasn't a problem for Beast Boy, Raven or Starfire.
It was he and Cyborg who had to traipse for miles on aching feet.
And speaking of, he started down that street, tugging his cape further around his shoulders to keep out the cold. He had long since put his staff away, knowing in his gut he wasn't going to need it tonight. He walked along, his head bowed, deep in thought; the only thing that snapped him out of his analytical reverie was sudden small splashing sound coming from behind him.
Startled, he whipped around, his fists clenched, his entire body coiled, ready to defend himself—
There was nothing behind him. He looked around warily, listening intently, but there was no evidence of anything ever being behind him at all.
Eventually he relaxed his stance, casting his eyes down to the sidewalk. It was there that he found the source of the mysterious splashing.
On the street, reflecting the dim, flickering light of a rather pathetic streetlight, was a small puddle of some kind of green-tinted liquid.
That hadn't been there when he had walked past the spot only seconds before. So what; it had just dropped out of the sky? He looked up and immediately found his source; a drainpipe suspended high above on the roof of the tall, abandoned building that stretched up into the night sky.
Or… was it so abandoned?
Abandoned buildings didn't suddenly spit drainage out onto the sidewalk.
Robin crouched down to take a better look at what had made its new home on the pavement.
He immediately wished he hadn't.
It wasn't water. Not even green-tinted water. It was… slime? Green slime, with little bits of… he couldn't identify what those little bits were, nor was he sure he even wanted to.
But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it… was that fact that there was some kind of little creature sprawled within the slime.
Some kind of little creature unlike anything he had ever seen before.
It gave a tiny weak little writhing movement within its bedding of slime and he grimaced as he put out his hand – even through gloves – to pick it up. He gingerly lifted it out of the slime between his thumb and forefinger, feeling its tiny bird-like ribcage through paper-thin skin.
He laid it out on his gloved palm and squinted at it, wiping the coating of slime away with his finger. It was hideous; alien-like, with large, filmy eyes on either side of its round head, a row of tiny pointed teeth, a minute torso, through the amphibian-like skin of which he could both see and feel the ribcage and spine. It had two long, thin, awkward little arms ending with long webbed fingers, but had no back legs – its lower body dissolved into a long, thin tail that dropped off the edge of Robin's hand with its length.
It was not a creature created by Mother Nature.
It sickened him; but what sickened him more – and this was confirmed as the wretched thing gave another weak writhe in his palm – was the fact that someone had created such a thing.
Something that had no place in this world.
He felt a tiny pang of pity for the creature too; the poor thing was obviously dying.
So it was no good to someone anymore.
So they had gotten rid of it.
Out of the drainage system.
…that someone was in the building.
Robin took another look at the tiny thing. Hooking his little finger underneath one of its webbed hands to see it better.
And it hit him.
That he had found what they were looking for.
He had suspicions that what they were looking for had been created by someone who, as Cyborg has said, was "playing Dr Frankenstein"; the thing was attacking ships off the docks, meaning it dwelled in water.
This thing had been created by someone "playing Dr Frankenstein"; and it had webbed fingers and a long tail, ideal for swimming. He wasn't blaming this particular creation – the miserable creature obviously wasn't the culprit, being too small, weak and near-dead to attack anything, never mind an entire ship – but maybe the person who had created this…
…was responsible for the creature in the marina too. Perhaps another throwaway that had not been quite as dead as its creator had first thought – perhaps it had flourished in the waters of the docks; grown; multiplied…
Robin flipped out his communicator, eyeing the dying creature in his hand warily.
"Yo, Robin!" Came Cyborg's disgruntled voice from the other side of the line. "If this about whether I got egg-fried rice… yes, I did! And I got-"
"Cy, forget the Chinese," Robin ordered. "I'm sending you my co-ordinates. I think I might have found our culprit. Round up the others and get here as soon as you can. I'm going in ahead."
There was the distinct sound of a dozen boxes being dropped to the floor and Cyborg's face came onto the screen.
"On it, Robin. What have you found?"
"Someone very careless."
Cyborg nodded grimly.
"Be there ASAP. Are you sure it's safe to go in alone?"
"I'll be fine. It's just until you guys get here."
Cyborg's image disappeared, leaving Robin alone on the empty street again with a near-dead hybrid creature on his palm.
He was just debating what to do with it – he felt bad about leaving it on the street to die, no matter how much it repulsed him – when the wretched creature gave up the ghost and left the mortal world into which it never should have been birthed. He pulled out a little plastic evidence bag from his belt and put the creature in, sealing it up and slipping it back into his utility belt to examine it later. He straightened up, looking up at the building.
It was boarded up, with planks nailed across the crumbling doorway and chipboard over the smashed windows.
With a well-precisioned kick, Robin snapped one of the planks blocking his way in half, then tore away the rest, throwing them to the sidewalk. They were wet and rotten, so it didn't take much strength to get them off. An explosive disk made short work of the doors, blowing them well open and then some.
He was met with darkness and a heavy musty smell as he entered; pulling out his torch, his clicked it on and shone it around.
There was a dusty chandelier up above, thick with cobwebs that hung down like old party streamers; and furniture strewn around too, covered in dusty white sheets. Spiders, woodlice and silverfish fled before the spotlight he shone on them, and he was aware of the scuffling of rats too.
But otherwise, the place was deserted. At least, down here.
His torchlight found the stairway and without further thought or caution he crossed the floor and started up them, hearing them creak and protest even under his slight weight.
He heard bats.
Again, he felt strangely at home.
He came up into a hallway and shone his trusty torch around again; doors flanked the corridor, all shut and locked up. He frowned, pausing for a second or two. It was quite obviously deserted up here too; he could tell from his training. The dust was settled from years of stagnancy and disuse – no-one had been up here for maybe even a decade or two.
He was about to go back downstairs and start over – maybe get onto the roof – when he heard a thud from the floor above; plaster and dust erupted from the ceiling in a cloud and he looked up, quirking an eyebrow. Looking around, he located another stairwell that he had initially missed and started up it, pulling out his staff with his free hand.
It was true; they just didn't know what they were dealing with.
The stairway brought him up into another corridor, but this time he could see the signs of life quite clearly. There were tracks through the dust on the floor where people had walked, and longer scrape marks on the wood where heavier objects had been dragged. There were five doors; four locked and dark.
The fifth, right at the far end of the hallway, was his destination.
There was light shining under the crack.
He made his way noiselessly over to it and then – just for the juxtaposition of it all – kicked it open, the bang echoing and shuddering throughout the entire building. He cared little for it, stepping into the brightly-lit room beyond.
One brief look around made him want to turn and just walk out again. It was utterly sickening – yet fascinating at the same time, in a strange macabre way…
It was most certainly some kind of… laboratory. Tanks and cylinders lined the walls, and in them, suspended in more of that translucent slime – green, blue, clear – were more of those hideous creatures. All varieties, each slightly different to the one next to it. They were mostly curled up in foetal-like positions, inverted in on themselves – some twisted almost completely out of natural shape. All kinds of tubes and wires and what looked like more organic umbilical cords protruded from them, hooked up to machines outside of their tanks – charts and data-collectors. Some tubes had filters; others didn't. Some had heaters; others didn't.
All of the creatures were most certainly created by man – and made to dwell in water. Some had fins; others gills; some tails; some webbed feet and hands. Some combinations, like the tiny thing Robin had found out on the street.
Some were tiny, again like the miserable creature Robin had found. Some simply monstrous, curled up and twisted inside tanks that were too small for them.
He fought the urge to be sick back down and gingerly ventured further into the lab.
Oh yes, he had definitely found what they were looking for. Their suspect; their culprit.
He came to a metal desk in the middle of the lab and looked over it scrutinizingly; sheets near-black with notes and figures in smudged pen littered the surface of it – pens, wires, sealed Petri dishes, notebooks, and a wooden board, to which was nailed another of those creatures, this one too dead, and half-dissected. The sharp dissection instruments were on the board next to it; Robin picked one up and briefly examined it before slipping that into his belt too for further assessment back at the Tower.
When the Titans turned up, they would arrest the person responsible for creating these monsters – no matter which way you looked at it, there was way this wasn't breaking the law. And if the person behind this really was responsible for whatever was lurking in the marina – and Robin had a pretty good feeling that they were – then they would be going down for a good while.
They couldn't prove anything right now, of course – but that was why Robin was collecting evidence before the rest of the Teen Titans showed up and unintentionally "rearranged" the place while apprehending their suspect. Starfire and Cyborg in particular were predominantly good at blowing things up.
Which was why Robin almost always elected himself "Get-evidence-before-Star-and-Cy-trash-the-place Boy".
He picked up a sheet of notes and ran his gaze over it briefly; he didn't recognize the handwriting, but it was in black ink, smudged and spidery. In the middle of the page was a large 37 with a circle drawn around it.
Before he could even turn his mind to that, something else about the sheet of notes struck him.
The fact that they weren't in English.
He squinted at them, bringing it right up close to his face, and then taking it away to look at it at arm's length.
Some oriental language; Japanese or Chinese. Perhaps Thai or Korean. He wasn't quite sure, and he most certainly couldn't read it.
He folded it up, sticking it into his belt along with the dead creature and the dissection tool, and was about to make his way back through the lab to get back downstairs and meet the rest of the team out front.
Storming a place always looked so much more impressive with all five of them.
However, a voice that he – and perhaps only he – recognized well stopped him cold.
"Ah, the good little boy resorts to petty theft, does he?"
A quick placement of his hands on the surface of the desk and a kick upwards flipped Robin right over it and placed him on the other side, facing his addressor.
Although Robin admittedly had not suspected him, he wasn't really surprised.
"Professor," he said shortly, his voice low and venomous.
The elderly little man offered a toothy grin at the boy, his breathing slow and audible through the apparatus plugged into his nose.
"We meet again so soon, good boy?" Chang was clearly delighted by the sight of his visitor, although Robin was not sure why. Without a laser weapon in his hand, Chang was no match for him.
In fact, scratch that; even with a laser weapon in his hand, Chang was no match for him.
"You require more firepower for your little toys, yes?" The professor went on. "Or do you simply wish to prevent the other boy from attaining such things?"
Red X. A sore spot.
The Titans had never found that poser. Beast Boy had muttered "More power to him" when Robin had eventually announced the temporary closure of the case, acknowledging that he had to be pretty good if the Teen Titans couldn't catch him.
It was the "more power to him" thing that worried Robin. But X had not shown up again since his escape in that wretched suit, and X wasn't the one Robin was looking for right now anyway.
"Neither," Robin replied icily. "You landed yourself right in it this time, Chang. The authorities might have arranged a suspended sentence for you following that Zinothium cannon incident, but I don't think they're going to take very kindly to this little stunt."
"Oh?" Change rearranged his wrinkled features to carry a somewhat innocent expression. "How do you come to that conclusion, good boy? I have broken no law."
Robin allowed a tiny smirk to pull at his mouth.
"You think this is legal?" He asked mockingly, gesturing around at all of the tanks and tubes.
"I have permission," Chang replied haughtily. "I am a man of science, and this is for scientific purposes. The government is even paying for my relocation to a better laboratory."
Robin was caught out there; but did not show it. He kept his icy façade flawless, just as Batman always did.
Besides, he always had one ace hidden up his sleeve.
Just as Batman always did.
"And the creature that's been attacking cargo and passenger ships down at the docks?" He asked smoothly. "I don't suppose you'd have anything to do with that?"
"Even if I did, you couldn't prove it, good boy." He shrugged. "Perhaps there have been leaks; perhaps your creature is something of mine. I do not, however, throw away any of my creations that are healthy. I doubt that anything I have disposed of would have survived in those waters."
"Why don't I believe you?" Robin spat.
"Ah, because you are a good little boy, and I, as your pretty friend said, am a bad man." He grinned. "The two just don't go together. Now…"
Behind him, from the hallway beyond, came four of his minions, fully covered in overalls and hoods, complete with goggles and breathing apparatus similar to Chang's.
"…As you are trespassing on private property, I think you should leave," Chang went on.
Robin narrowed his masked eyes.
"This isn't over," he muttered blackly, making his way around the desk and across the room. "You won't get away with this, I'll personally make sure of it."
"Ah, so much like your mentor," Chang sighed; this again surprised Robin but his poker face remained unchanged. "I have had run-ins with your pointy-eared friend in Gotham, boy. Believe me when I say that I do not want for your kind…"
"Good guys?" Robin paused right opposite Chang, flanked on either side by his minions.
Chang gave a little nod.
"Always interfering. Batman, Superman, you and your friends… I've had it all." He flapped his gloved hands at the Boy Wonder. "Now leave. You have no right to be here interfering either…"
"It's what I do." He walked out, twirling his staff threateningly. "You'll be hearing from me as soon as I have the evidence to have your ass thrown in jail…"
Chang watched him go, detesting him. Horrible, interfering, arrogant child…
"Not if I put you on ice first, good boy…"
A grin widened on the old scientist's face. He handed something from one of the pouches on his belt to one of his minions and signaled for he and another to go after the Teen Titan—
Robin pulled out his communicator, already running over his instructions to his team in his head. They would meet here, Robin would show them what he had and what he had learned. They wouldn't storm the place tonight, he decided. They had nothing on Chang. But he would send Beast Boy (in mouse form) and Raven (in her Soul Self) back into the building to see what else they could gather and learn.
The comm. began to beep as it dialed up Cyborg's number and Robin waited for him to respond as he crossed the first room towards the doorway back out onto the street.
He never got that far.
Something grabbed his arm and whipped him roughly around, tearing his communicator from his grip and throwing it aside to bounce and roll across the room. Robin immediately went into "defense mode", working with the momentum and kicking his would-be captor away from him effortlessly with a sharply-precisioned roundhouse.
It was as he watched the white-clad minion bounce away in the same fashion as his communicator that he felt the sharp prick in his right upper arm. A back-kick made short work of the minion behind him, but he weakened immediately and didn't get his balance properly after recoiling his leg. His knees buckled and he keeled over, unconscious by the time he hit the floor on his face.
The needle was still in his arm.
What happens next? Actually, you can probably guess. I am perfectly sure that each and every one of you can see where this is going. I do not pretend that this story is in any way mysterious. I am basically just fooling about; please don't take this story seriously...
Professor Chang? Ah, I've never used him before, he has a vendetta against Robin (I should think) and he's funny, so… I decided to use him. Plus he is Professor Chang, implying some kind of scientific profession…
Uh, well, thankyou in advance to anyone who reviews. The next chapter will be up… soon… ish.
Any Black Magic readers… we're almost done with it! Just a few more chapters and then we'll be on Remember the Titans and the home stretch! It will be updated soon, too…
AutumnDynasty and Quinn and His Quill, if either of you are reading this… Have a nice summer. On the fanfiction front, this is the kind of wacked-out thing you can expect from me over the next five weeks… I don't waste any time.
Any new readers I might have picked up along the way; I'm an absolute basketcase when it comes to writing fanfiction.
Only fair to warn you now.
- RobinRocks xXx