|Teen Titans Season Six: The Citadel Strikes
Author: shadowsong123 PM
The Citadel, the brutal alien empire that wanted Starfire as their servant, launches a full-scale attack on earth to reclaim their prize and add another planet to their collection. My version of a Teen Titans season along with a "Starfire Arc."Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Starfire & Robin - Chapters: 8 - Words: 54,311 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 25 - Updated: 03-02-13 - Published: 02-16-12 - id: 7842219
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Three balls, two strikes, bases loaded! Can he do it, ladies and gentlemen?" Cyborg announced, crouching behind home plate with his catcher's mitt.
The little boy gripped his bat, bent his knees more, and licked his lips, deep in concentration. Suddenly his eyes widened and he called for a time out.
Sarah Simms ran over to him and knelt down to his level.
"What's wrong Toby?"
"My team's gonna lose no matter what right?"
"What do you mean?"
"I can't run yet, I'm still not used to my prosthetic leg. If I hit the ball I'll get tagged out anyway. So what if I strike out?"
"You can still run! I'll just hold your hand while you do it."
Toby looked down, not knowing quite what to say. "I don't know."
Cyborg took off his mask and went over to them.
"Look, kid. Everybody needs help every now and then. It doesn't make you weak or anything like that. And you're doin' a lot better than me. For about a month after my accident and after I learned how to use all of my new parts, I was too scared to even try to go outside and live my life because I was so scared that people would think of me as a monster or a freak and that I would never be able to be happy again. But look at you, man. From what I heard from Sarah, you got back on your feet a lot faster than I did. You're a lot tougher and braver than I ever was."
"Naaah…" said Toby, turning red.
"And that doesn't mean that you're any less brave for needing help or asking for it. Not a lot of people realize this, but sometimes admitting that you need help and asking for it is the bravest thing somebody can do," Sarah added.
"She's a 100% right, kiddo. So why don't you pick up your bat and give a good try?"
Toby beamed and nodded, raising up his bat again.
"You can do it, Toby," said the pitcher, winding up, gripping the white ball with his prosthetic hand.
"Come on, Toby!"
"We did it and so can you!"
"You've got this!"
"You can do it!" Came the chorus of other children with artificial limbs and physical disabilities in Sarah and Cyborg's group. It didn't matter if they were on his team or not, everybody wanted the newest member of their club to get through the rough days that they did.
When Toby's bat came in contact with the ball, he hit way out in the gap between second and third base. He and Sarah grasped hands and started to jog all around the bases, providing him the extra support that he needed to walk on his leg, which he was not quite used to yet.
"Aaaaaand that's game!" Cyborg cried, standing. "Great job y'all, Red team, you win this week, but watch out, next week the Blue team is coming back with a vengeance, right guys?"
All the kids and their two counselors placed their hands in the center of a circle, saying good game to each other and then:
"1, 2, 3! Be positive!" that was their cheer that they said at the beginning and end of every game.
"Have a great weekend everyone!" said Sarah. "See you later, Sunrise Club!"
Cyborg and Sarah walked the kids over to the parking lot, where their parents were waiting for them and helped them get into their cars. Sarah Simms pulled her jacket more tightly around her body after she said goodbye to the last of her kids. As she did this, one of the buttons popped off.
"Hm…" she thought. "Time to either buy another jacket or slim down a bit. No wonder, with school and the kids keeping me busy all I've had time to eat is junk food.
"Mom, look, it's Miz Sarah!"
She turned around to see Toby with his mother.
"Miz Sarah, this is my Mom. Mom, this is Miz Sarah," the little boy said.
"Toby, can you go and wait in the car, I'd like to have a grown-up talk with her."
"Ms. Simms, it's wonderful to meet you. My son just adores you. I still remember the day after he woke up and realized that the doctors had amputated his leg when they had no choice. He cried so hard his face turned purple. Toby was so sure that he would never have fun again and that people would always look at him like he was a freak. But then you came and visited him after he got his new leg and you showed him that his life wasn't over when you took him around with all these other kids. There's nothing I can do to ever properly thank you, but I just have to tell you that even though the doctors were the ones who operated on him after the accident, you, Cyborg and the Sunrise club were the ones who truly saved him. Thank you."
Toby's mother shook Sarah's hand and got into the driver's seat of her car. Mother and son both waved goodbye as they drove away.
"Awwww. She really said that?" Cyborg asked as he walked Sarah back to her apartment building.
"Yes she did. It's those little moments like that that make life worth living, huh? I don't know if you realize what a great inspiration you are to all our kids, Cyborg. When something like that happens to you, it's easy to think that life is over, but you're always there to prove em' wrong."
"Whoa, wait a minute, our kids? Are we married parents now?"
Sarah blushed. "No, but c-c'mon, you know what I mean."
"Yeah, I'm just kiddin'. What are you up to tonight?"
"Sleeping. I've gotta do some catching up on that now that I've finally caught up on homework."
"All right. Goodnight, Sarah. See ya tomorrow right?"
"I hope so. Goodnight."
Cyborg got into the T-Car and drove back to the tower while Sarah climbed up to her floor and unlocked the door to her apartment, stepping inside.
"I guess I don't have much of a glamorous life," she said to herself. "Everyone else at school is probably getting ready to go out since it's Friday and here I am going to bed already. But I do need to party and go clubbing when working with those kids is giving me more than enough happiness and fulfillment to last a lifetime."
She ran a hand through her hair.
"Oh, man. I sound like Ms. Mary Sunshine, don't I? Well, maybe I am."
Sarah entered her apartment and took off her jacket, hooking it on the rack.
She took out a saucepan and a box of rice, getting ready to cook.
"Good evening Miss Simms."
Sarah turned her head.
"Huh? W-wait. Who's there?"
The light in her living room was flicked on, revealing a man in an orange and black mask, who had crouched behind her counter. She was so shocked to see Jump City's most infamous criminal that when she first tried to scream, no sound emerged from her throat. Slade placed his hands on the counter and flipped over it to her. She lifted up her saucepan in an effort to defend herself, but he was too fast and effortlessly covered her mouth with one hand and twisted her two arms behind her back.
"There. See how easy that was? And if I was able to do something like this to you with so little work on my part, you know what I would be able to do to those children that you care so deeply for. If you don't comply."
Sarah turned pale, frozen to the floor.
"I'm glad we seem to have an understanding. Now, come with me."
"Joseph, I really think that you should come home with me," Adeline said.
Jericho shook his head. "No," he signed. "I'm staying."
His mother let out an exasperated sigh. "Joseph, I don't know if you saw the way that some of them looked at you, but I did. They don't trust you anymore now that they know who your father is. It would be for the best if you stay away from them for a while."
Jericho shook his head again more forcefully and signed "no" at the same time. Adeline knew that when he did this, it meant "big no" and that there was no changing his mind.
"I will stay," he signed again. "Thank you."
Adeline rubbed her forehead. "I hope you know what you are getting yourself into. Stay safe, honey. Bye now."
With that she left, and Jericho wandered down the hall, in search of his teammates. When he heard their elevated voices outside of a doorway, he sat down outside of it, hidden from sight and listening carefully.
Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy were all gathered in the main ops room of the Tower.
Beast Boy slammed his palm on the table. "I say we throw Jericho off the team! Take away his communicator, reset all the security codes, erase his name from the roster, everything!" he yelled.
"BB, we can't do that," Cyborg replied.
"We don't have any evidence that he's our enemy," Robin added.
"Guys, he's Slade's son!" Beast Boy cried. "What more evidence could we possibly need to think that he's gonna betray us? I don't want him anywhere us ever again."
"And that's exactly it, Beast Boy," said Robin. "If Jericho only joined this team just so that he could turn on us, he would have done it by now. Without him, we wouldn't have been able to defeat the Brotherhood of Evil, remember? We almost lost that battle and if he had turned on us then we probably wouldn't have ended up winning."
"That's just how messed up Slade is," said Beast Boy. "He wouldn't have wanted the Brotherhood of Evil to defeat us instead of him, so he planted his son into the group just to help us stay alive until he could get rid of us himself."
"No, Beast Boy!" Robin cried, rising to his feet. "He could have betrayed us when Slade got Red X to abduct him and bring him to his fortress, but there he stood directly against his father, acted against his wishes and saved my life. There is no way that he wants to betray us. Jericho is not getting kicked off the team, and that's final!"
Beast Boy clenched his fists as hard as he could and shook with anger. "Well you know what, Robin? I don't think we should trust your judgment anymore!"
"Man, what are you talking about?" Cyborg asked.
"Am I the only one who remembers all the mistakes he's made? And it was his horrible judgment that caused the Brotherhood of Evil to almost destroy us in the first place! So maybe we should stop listening to you so much. And maybe you shouldn't even be the leader anymore!"
Robin's mouth fell open.
"Beast Boy…" he said, completely shocked that he had just heard that.
"How dare you!" Starfire cried, eyes flashing. She slammed her fists hard on the table, causing the table to split in half and fall over. "How could you even suggest such a thing?!"
"Starfire, calm down," said Cyborg, pushing her gently but firmly back into her seat. "Look, Beast Boy, we've all made mistakes, but that is going way too far," he continued.
"Cyborg's right, Beast Boy," Raven stated. "Don't act as if you haven't made your fair share of errors. And that has nothing to do with this conversation."
Beast Boy looked at all of his teammates in disbelief. He threw his head back and yelled.
"WHY IS NOBODY EVER ON MY SIDE?!" he bellowed. "You guys are always ganging up on me and you never take me seriously. Ever!"
"Beast Boy, c'mon, you know that not true. Stop acting like a five-year-old." said Cyborg.
"See?! You just did it again! Nobody is ever on my side!" he cried. "Have you guys forgotten everything that Slade has done to us? Blackmailing and kidnapping Robin, infecting us with those probes, everything he did to Terra, working with Trigon, torturing Raven, trying to obliterate us all those times? Why would you ever want someone that closely linked with him anywhere near us?!"
"The same reason we want Raven on our team. She's related to someone evil too, but that doesn't mean anything because she's a hero, and so is Jericho," Robin barked.
"That's it!" Beast Boy screamed. "If Jericho doesn't get kicked off the team, I'm going back to the Doom Patrol. Either he goes or I do and that's final!"
Before anyone could stop him, the shapeshifter stormed off to his room and slammed the door.
Robin sat down and put his head in his hands, running them through his hair.
"Have any of you…ever felt that way?" he asked in a quavering voice.
Cyborg, Starfire and Raven just stared at him.
"Felt what way?" Raven asked.
"Have you ever thought that I shouldn't be the leader?"
Starfire sat down next to him and wrapped her arms around him. Then she placed her hand on the side of his face, tilting it upwards.
"I would never want anyone else as our leader. Robin, since the day we met you have led our team with the courage of a warrior, the steadfastness of a prince, and the heart of a hero. It is true that like all of us, you are not perfect, but you never give anything less than your best and you pour your entire soul into all that you do. And we cannot ask for anything more."
Robin felt Cyborg's large, metal hand on his shoulder. When he stared back up at him, the cybernetic teenager smiled and nodded assent, as did Raven after she placed her hand on top of Robin's. Starfire smiled at him too, her eyes clear and sincere. Robin managed a tiny, insecure smile in return.
A daddy long legs spider skittered into the room, and then Jericho emerged out of it.
"Jericho?" Robin asked. "How much of that did you hear?"
"A lot," the blonde boy signed. "I heard you fighting. This is my fault. I'm sorry."
"No. It's not. But you really should have told us yourself before we had to find out the way that we did. For you to keep it a secret like that, it almost makes it seem that you don't think that we can trust you," Cyborg said.
"So can we trust you?" Raven asked, stepping close to him.
"Yes," Jericho signed. "Yes you can."
He turned to Robin. "Can I stay? Please?"
"I honestly don't know how safe it would be for you here, what with Beast Boy being so suspicious of you and all. Maybe you should go home until he's calmed down a bit."
"No," Jericho signed, pinching his first three fingers together. "I have to stay until I know that you can all trust me."
"All right. If you're that set on it, I guess we can't really force you to leave."
"Thank you," Jericho signed. "I'm going back to the guest room now."
"His condition has stabilized, sir. But he hasn't shown any signs of coming out of his coma."
Slade did not look away from Grant's unconscious body as it lay in its tank, hooked up to various life-saving machines.
"Why didn't he tell me how severe it all was, Wintergreen? I would not have allowed this to happen if he had. And now it seems that I am going to lose both of my sons."
"I am truly sorry. You know that I truly cared for your boys as well. And Joseph may not be forever lost to us."
"I do know. But now my resolve is firmer than it ever has been. I am going to destroy the Teen Titans myself. With my own two hands. Once I relished the feeling of being able to bend others to do my own bidding, but you know how the saying goes: 'If you really want a job done right. You have to do it yourself.' The moment I put my latest and best plan into action, I will have them on their knees begging for mercy."
"I do love the way you talk."
Phobia sauntered into the room, a confident smile on her full, black-painted lips.
"The way you savor power the power you can hold over a person, making them writhe and cry and shudder in your grasp is more than slightly similar to my own."
"And I love what you can do, Phobia. Your magical ability to make a person live inside their deepest nightmares is truly tantalizing."
"Oh, I'm flattered. But I'm really in awe of you. I've heard all about you. And it seems that you can almost essentially do what I can, even without magical abilities."
"I've used magical items and talismans from time to time. But my proudest moments always come when I work without their aid. But I do still want you at my side for this next mission, Phobia."
She sighed. "It really is a pity that you didn't join the Brotherhood of Evil. If we had had you on our side, every Titan would be frozen solid by now. But I'm glad that your compatriot Wintergreen was able to convince me to leave before their ultimate downfall."
"No. The one who called himself the Brain and his associates were all such fools. They never would have won their battle, even with my assistance. The only reason Wintergreen 'joined them' was to serve as my spy into their inner operations, and to confirm that the rumors about my son becoming a Teen Titan were true. And I am glad that you came to your senses and saw how superior you are to all those that stayed behind."
Phobia was absolutely enthralled. She had been searching for someone like him all her life. No one had ever spoken to her or praised her so highly as he had.
"Why, thank you. So tell me, what exactly is this plan of yours?"
Jericho's heart jumped at the sight of Beast Boy suddenly appearing before him in the guest room, Terra's old room. He had taken on the form of a gnat but now he was in human form, glowering and teeth bared.
"You might have everyone else fooled with your little innocent act, but your dad has done way too many horrible things to us and to other people for me to trust you as easily as the others. Maybe nobody else saw it, but I did. You didn't really want to leave him last night. How are we I supposed to trust you knowing that you sympathize with one of the worst people we've ever known? Well?"
Jericho lowered his gaze shamefully, but then his resolve strengthened and he stood up, looking Beast Boy, who was glaring ferociously at him, straight in the eye. He held up his hands and made a chopping motion with one of them into his palm.
"Stop," he signed. "Please." He rubbed his chest. Jericho then started to sign: "Really, you can trust me. I'm not like him-" but he was interrupted.
Beast Boy angrily swatted his hands down. "Forget the signing. I don't understand it, remember?"
Now Jericho was mad, too. His eyes narrowed and pinched all of his fingers together on his forehead before he pulled his hand out all the way at arm's length. Then he picked up his notepad and quickly scribbled:
"That means: Go away."
"Not a chance! You get out of our house!" Beast Boy yelled, shoving him towards the door.
Jericho pushed Beast Boy back as his arms left him. He shook his head. "No!"
"Oh, so it's a fight you want? Well that's fine by me!"
Beast Boy shifted into a baboon and shrieked, leaping at Jericho again. Jericho rode with the attack and rolled backward, balancing the shapeshifter on his two legs and then flipping him off of himself and back against the door. Beast Boy growled again and became a giant gorilla. Jericho's pupils dilated and he backed away, terrified of the raging beast in front of him. Beast Boy threw his arms back and tried to smash him, but Jericho managed to jump to the side and miss him by the skin of his teeth. He tried to run for the door, but the green gorilla seized him and threw him backwards into the sofa, causing him to feel a sharp pain in his back. Jericho curled up and closed his eyes tightly, shielding his head with his arms.
"Is that all you got?!"
The gorilla charged and lifted Jericho up by his biceps, pinning him to the door again. But the mute Titan had been waiting for that. His eyes snapped open. They had turned as black as obsidian and Beast Boy was powerless to break eye contact as Jericho phased into him, taking control. Beast Boy was forced to change into a hawk, who flew up and then dove down, slamming hard into the floor on it's back.
When Beast Boy regained human form, Jericho was on top of him, glaring.
"Beast Boy, what's are you doing in-"
Raven forced open the door to see Jericho pinning a dazed Beast Boy to the ground.
Jericho immediately started to get up and release his surreptitious teammate, but Raven surrounded his form with her aura and flung him off. The shapeshifter got up and then Raven stepped back away from both of them.
"Beast Boy, get out of here. I want to talk to Jericho in private."
"No way, Raven. I'm not leaving you in here alone with him. You saw what he just did to me!"
"I can defend myself. You know that. Leave us alone. Now."
Beast Boy scowled and left the room, slamming the door.
Raven's piercing gaze focused on Jericho.
"This team has already dealt with betrayal enough before. And we could have avoided it if only I had been willing to trust my first instincts and stood my ground to not let her on the team. But because of that, we were rendered powerless while our entire city was terrorized and forced to evacuate and we almost lost everything, including our lives. I have no intention of letting that happen again. And you know that your father is a horrible, horrible person, don't you?"
Jericho looked down, filled with shame.
"I'm warning you now. If you're even thinking about betraying us and siding with your father, stop. Just get out and leave, because nothing on earth will save you from me. Understand?"
Jericho gulped and nodded several times, clearly wanting to shrink back away from her, but stayed where he was to avoid looking shifty.
The mistress of magic placed her hood back over her head and left.
Jericho collapsed on the bed. He felt like crying again.
Raven wandered back to Robin, Cyborg and Starfire.
"Raven, you look most upset. Is there anything wrong?"
Raven opened her mouth to answer, but Slade's face appeared on their communications screen, interrupting them.
"Hello again Titans. Before you say anything in return, listen closely because I won't repeat myself. At the pier, where the new amusement park now stands, I am waiting for you. And I expect you to come immediately. As entertaining as our battles have been in the past, it really is time for me to defeat you and for us to end our little rivalry for good. Especially since you "heroes" are responsible for my dear son being in the catatonic state that he is currently in. And as of now, he is unlikely to recover."
Robin winced and clenched his fists, his knuckles turning white beneath his gloves.
"So come. Do not even consider hesitating. After all, I'm not afraid to take precious things from you either, as you remember and as you can see."
Slade lifted a bound and gagged Sarah Simms up into view by her hair.
"Sarah!" Cyborg screamed. "Hang on! We're coming! I'm warning you, Slade if you've hurt her, you are gonna be in a world of pain!"
Slade just let out another cryptic laugh and said: "I'm waiting at the haunted castle," before his image disappeared.
The moment Jericho and Beast Boy had been rounded up, the Titans left for the pier as fast as they could possibly go.
Two girls walked out of a large gothic boutique in the Spring Mill shopping mall.
"Thanks for taking me shopping, Argent," said Jinx.
"No problem. You see now why it's my favorite store?" Argent replied.
"Oh yeah. You have no idea what a relief it is to finally find someone who actually has fashion sense. Those guys I used to hang around with couldn't even tell a tube top from a corset. I couldn't believe how much great stuff they had in there."
"Yeah, you know, I hope to have a store just like it one day."
"Whenever I'm unable find something I like in there or when I have the time, I make my own clothes. I'm taking business, economics, and fashion design classes in school, so if I can find enough time outside of the Titans, I'd like to become a designer and have my own store."
"No way. That's so cool!"
"Thanks. By the way, would you consider being partners with me?"
"You want me to work with you?"
"Definitely. I certainly can't run it on my own and you've got a great aesthetic and sense of style, Jinx. I'd love to have you at my side designing with me."
"I'd like that, Argent. I'd really like that."
"Hi,I'mbackfromthefoodcourt,whatarewetalkingabout?" Kid Flash, asked zooming up unexpectedly behind them.
"GAH!" Argent yelped, dropping her bags.
"Oops, heh, sorry Argent, didn't mean to scare ya," the speedster said, picking up her things and helping her up before she could say: "it's fine."
"I was telling her about my plans for the future and saying that I want to start my own fashion line with her," Argent explained.
"Hey, that sounds neat. You should seriously consider her offer, Jinx. Getting a job like that might help people accept and believe the fact that you're one of the good guys now."
Jinx paused. "Me…one of the good guys. It's still so weird to think about it."
"Do you ever miss the HIVE?" Kid Flash asked her.
"I don't regret my choice one bit and I know I made the right one, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss them. We were friends who knew each other for a pretty long time. All my life I've trained to be a villain, been taught how to be bad and how to hate good. I barely even know how to be a good guy. You saw me today, Argent, I tried to steal something like eight times today."
"That's what I'm here for, gorgeous," said Kid Flash. "You made this choice and now you gotta stick with it, but you won't have to do it alone. You've got me."
"And me too," Argent assented. "And you only tried to steal something seven times."
"Attention citizens of Jump City! We interrupt this radio broadcast to bring you this emergency bulletin. The criminal known as Phobia has been spotted near the city amusement park. Please stay far away from there, but do not panic. We have notified the Teen Titans and they are headed there to deal with her as we speak. In the meantime, exercise extreme caution, remain calm, and avoid going near the park. That is all."
"Phobia…" Jinx whispered.
"What's wrong? Do you know her?" Argent asked, frowning.
"Yeah. Look, it's really personal, and I don't really wanna talk about it now, okay?"
"…All right, but I'm here for you, sweetie. You know that, don't you?" Argent put her hands on Jinx's shoulders.
Jinx offered a sad smile and hugged her back. "I know. Thanks, Arge."
"Whoa, no excluding me from the hugs," Kid Flash said, wrapping his arms around them both.
After he let them go, Jinx looked sternly up at the boy. "Kid Flash, are you doing anything tonight?"
"Not that I know of. Do you need something?"
"I need to go to the pier. I need to see Phobia. But, I want you to come with me. Will you?"
"Anything for you, pretty lady. Are you in too, Argent?"
Argent sighed. "I would come too, but with both you guys and the Titans heading for the pier, someone's got to watch their tower and the city, right? But if you do need me just call."
"Good thinking," Kid Flash stated.
"And don't worry about us. I'll tell you everything once all this over. I promise," the sorceress said, laying a hand on her arm.
Argent smiled and nodded. Jinx was picked up bridal style by the speedster.
"As ready as I'll ever be."
"Later, Argent. Back in a flash!"
And off they went to battle.
Joseph Wilson knew that this day was going to have to come eventually the moment he accepted the T-Communicator. He had hoped against hope that it never would, but here it was. He was going to fight his father. He sat on the left in the backseat of the T-Car, Raven on the right, and Robin in between them. Cyborg drove as usual, with Beast Boy sitting on Starfire's lap in the form of a cat in the passenger's seat.
Jericho wrung his hands and chewed his bottom lip. He took worried glances at the other Titans, trying to figure out what they were thinking. Robin tapped him on the arm.
"It's okay," he signed, smiling reassuringly. "No matter what the others think, I trust you. You stood up for me. It's my turn to stand up for you."
Jericho grinned back. "Thank you, R-O-B-I-N."
"…Yes. I know he's done so many horrible things, but I still can't bring myself to completely hate him. He's my Dad. And he used to be a really good Dad."
Robin looked perplexed.
"I know that's hard to believe."
"I'm not on his side, though. I'm going to fight him today. No matter how hard it's going to be."
Robin just nodded and looked back ahead. Raven leaned over and started signing, her face expressionless:
"Just do your best."
Jericho nodded. "I will."
"All right, y'all. We're here. Let's do this," Cyborg announced as they exited the vehicle.
Slade stared at a framed photograph. It was one of the last family photos that he had ever taken. He and his wife were seated on chairs, Grant stood beside Adeline and Joey was on his lap. He had been about three years old and Grant was seven when it was taken. Joey's smile was practically toothless and he looked as though he was laughing. He had always been such a happy child, and he still was. Slade remembered how when he had called the hospital and they had told him that his youngest son would never speak again, all he could think of was how he would never hear that laugh again, never hear him sing for him again, never hear him say: "I love you, Daddy," as he cuddled up to him and threw his chubby little arms around his neck. But it wasn't his fault. He hadn't done anything wrong, despite the crimes that Adeline accused him of. After that, she took them away from him. She knew that he loved them and they loved him but she separated them from their father. Did he hate her for this? No…Slade hated that she had done that, but Adeline was the only woman he had ever truly loved. The only woman whom he had ever wanted to spend the rest of his life with was her. She was strong, intelligent, fiery, independent, cunning, driven, serious, persistent, determined to get what she wanted, all qualities that he admired more than any others. He ran his thumb over her face. Try as he might to cut himself off from weak emotions like doubt and attachment…he missed her.
"What's the matter? Feeling lonely?" Phobia asked.
Slade put the photo back. "No. The past is the past. Nothing more."
"Excellent," she replied. She advanced towards him again. Slade studied her. He supposed that if someone was asked to name which woman was more beautiful, her or Adeline, Phobia would be the choice that most would make. Her skin was white, smooth and unmarred. Devoid of any scars or blemishes. She had full, luscious, elegant lips, arched, thin eyebrows, round prominent cheekbones, and an hourglass body that she always carried with perfect feminine grace on her long, slender legs. But Slade knew that he would choose Adeline, even with her scars and flaws. He respected them, knew that they showed how much she had fought and struggled through, yet come out on top of.
Phobia pushed the photo face down on the desk.
"Forget that little shrew. Let me make you happy," she said, laying her hand on his mask. The villainess pressed her face closer to his, slowly puckering her lips and lifting up the mask in an attempt to expose his own. He grasped her wrists and yanked them down, squeezing as hard as a vice.
"Don't overstep your boundaries."
"Y-yes. P-please forgive me."
"You are forgiven. But the time for those things that can and will come again later. You have my word."
He drew her into his chest and his hands stroked all the way down her back. A soft moan passed from her lips.
"Well, I suppose I must be going now. Until later, love. Soon those rotten little children will be gone forever."
"And my son will rest in peace, if his time has truly come."
Slade and Phobia departed on their ways to await the Titans' arrival.
Wintergreen just remained where he was and sighed, following his usual orders to not get involved in the fighting. He did walk over to where Sarah was kept in the corner, her arms and ankles tied together, preventing her from getting up or moving. The old officer untied her blindfold and gag and removed them from her face.
"There's no reason for you to be that uncomfortable while he isn't around."
"Let me go! I don't know who you are or what you want, but if you don't release me-"
"There's nothing I can do about that, I'm afraid. But I will not allow you to be harmed, rest assured."
"Does this look unharmed to you, buster?" she asked in disbelief, showing her bound arms and legs.
"I'm sorry about that, miss. If it were up to me, this never would have happened to you."
Sarah frowned. "If you were really sorry, you wouldn't have allowed this to happen."
Wintergreen just sighed. "I could not have prevented your abduction even if I had tried. Once Slade gets an idea into his head there is no stopping him. None."
His hand rested on the tank where Grant slept. Sarah turned and raised her head.
"What is that? Is that a person in there?"
Wintergreen went over to her and helped her stand up and guided her over to the tank, giving her a clear view of the person inside.
"Is he in a coma? What happened?"
"To tell you the truth, I don't quite understand it all myself. Something to do with prolonged usage and exposure to xenothium."
Sarah gasped. "Xenothium? That's terrible!"
"Indeed. Poor boy," Wintergreen assented, his eyes shut in sorrow.
"You know, I might have a way to save him."
"…Really?" He looked at her, then back at Grant, and back at her.
"Could this really be our last battle with Slade?" Starfire asked.
"I hope so, Starfire" said Raven.
The six teenagers walked in a tightly packed group to the haunted mansion attraction in the park. There was a short little walkway leading up to the large, closed door of the mansion. Little signs that read "Beware," "Turn back," "Enter if you dare," and "Enter at your own risk," had been hammered into the ground beside the path. Cyborg grasped hold of the huge door handles and leaned back to pull, but the door opened by itself. When they walked inside, the doors swung back, pushing them all into the pitch black lobby.
"Hello, children," said a snakelike, feminine voice.
Starfire lit up a starbolt and Cyborg's shoulder light popped up, providing them with illumination.
"I can't say I'm happy to see you, but it will be fun to watch you all suffer. We will both enjoy it."
"You have been thorns in my side for too long, Titans. Tonight you aren't going to have any nightmares. You are going to live in them. And now that you are here, in this haunt, you are never. Going to leave it."
"Enough with the threats!" Beast Boy cried, searching all around for him. "Come out and fight!"
"I wouldn't be in such a rush, Beast Boy," Slade replied. "After all, these very well may be your final moments. Why not try to enjoy them? I know I will."
The room was quiet again.
"Where could he be?" Starfire wondered aloud, frantically looking around the room for them.
"And who's the weird lady who's helping him?" Cyborg asked.
"Any ideas, Jericho?" Raven asked.
The blond boy shook his head.
"Listen up, Titans," Robin began in a hushed voice. "We know that we can't take on Slade alone as individuals, but if we all take him on together, he doesn't stand a chance. So let's stay together as a group and search every inch of this place together."
"But what about Sarah?" Cyborg asked. "I want to find her and get her out of here as soon as possible. She never should've been dragged into this."
"Hmm, you're right," Robin answered. "Okay. New plan. First, rescue Sarah. Second, find Slade and…whoever-she-is and take them both down. Can you track her by her phone or her heartbeat?"
Cyborg checked his scanners and frowned, punching several buttons and growing agitated. "Something's messing with my tracking radar. It's not working right."
"All the more reason for us to stay together," said Raven. "If Slade is somehow preventing us from tracking each other with technology, he's probably going to try and separate us somehow. We can't let that happen."
"But Raven, you can sense things, right?" said Beast Boy.
"I can, but we have no idea how big this place is, and my sensing powers don't have a whole lot of range. It's still smartest if we stay together."
They could find only one real pathway inside of the haunted castle, so that was the one that they took. The Titans could hear music playing: pianos, violins, organs, celestas, bells, cellos, music boxes, flutes, harps, formed the symphony that created one spine-chilling melody after another. Mixed in with the songs was the occasional howl of a wolf, cackle of a demon, hiss of a vampire, rattle of bones, clatter of chains, or shriek of men, women, and children in pain and terror. Sometimes it was just a cry, other times they said things like: "RUN! RUN AWAY NOW! PLEASE!" "Why did you do this to me?" "Help! Somebody, anybody! NOOOOOOO!"
Starfire hugged herself and shuddered. Jericho took several deep breaths to calm himself. An animatronic hand reached out from a hole in the wall and seized Beast Boy's leg, crying: "come back with me! I don't want to be alone. Please! I can't bear to be alone anymooore!" Starfire frantically incinerated it with several mini-starbolts, taking care to avoid burning Beast Boy. After several other fake body parts appeared to grab at them and dead animals were dropped on them, a trap door opened beneath their feet. Jericho managed to grab onto the edge, Starfire caught Cyborg as he fell, Beast Boy shifted into a bird and flew up and out. Raven simply regained her focus and levitated in midair and Robin managed to shoot out a line in time. Jericho climbed out first, but when the other Titans started to follow his lead, he signed: "wait." Once he had all their attentions he signed again: "go down. I think we should go down."
"But why?" Starfire asked.
"Don't listen to him! He's leading us into a trap, he has to be!" Beast Boy exclaimed. "Why else would he be telling us to go down, while he stays up there safe and sound?"
"Beast Boy, are you even listening to yourself right now? You're being a completely-"
Jericho shook his head, turned to Robin and started signing to him.
"Is someone able to translate his hand movements?" Starfire asked.
"He's saying: 'Normal people are supposed to fall down here. This is where the path leads.' But should we even be staying on the path? Slade could have a trap laid for us either way." Robin thought aloud.
"Then let's spit up here," Raven offered. "Some stay up, some go down."
"No, we must not do the splitting up!" Starfire implored.
"Sarah's in trouble! We've gotta cover as much ground as we can!" Cyborg cried.
The six Titans went on arguing back and forth until they were interrupted by the sound of a large grandfather clock chime.
"Times' up," came the snakelike voice again. Another trapdoor opened from the ceiling above them, and Phobia at last appeared.
"And now we all must say goodnight!" she announced, making hand signs and waving her arms as she casted her spell, lifting them all up out of the hole and placing them on the floor around her.
Suddenly, each Titan found himself or herself alone in complete darkness. No light, no scenery, nothing and no one else around. Just undiluted black everywhere they looked.
"Starfire? Raven? Robin? Beast Boy? Jericho? Sarah? Where are you?!" Cyborg called into the dark, unforgiving realm.
"Friends, where have you gone?! Please answer!" Starfire cried.
"Can anybody hear me? Is everyone okay?!" Raven asked. "I-I can't feel you anymore! Come back!"
"Guys? Guys?! GUUUUYYYYYS?!" Beast Boy howled.
Jericho ran frantically this way and that in search of any sign of anybody. His communicator was not working. He opened his mouth and the only sounds that came out, even though he felt as though he was forcing every ounce of air out of his lungs as he did this, were "He-kcgh-Wh-ahuh-I..t'…suh…" He sank to the floor, not having any idea what to do.
Robin took out his communicator. "Anyone there? Titans, can you hear me? Hello?! Anyone?"
"Hello, little bird," said Phobia, appearing before him.
"What have you done with my friends?" Robin barked. "Where are they?"
"I haven't taken your friends anywhere, darling. I've taken you away from them. Or have I?"
Robin let out a frustrated yell and ran at her, throwing a strong punch. It went right through her. Phobia smirked and laughed haughtily. Robin tried hitting her a few more times, but they all past right through her as though she was made of water vapor.
"Save your strength little bird. You cannot harm me with your abilities. Do you know what I am?"
Robin just stared at her, looking furious.
"I am a demoness. Among my magical abilities and powers, I can reach deeply inside your mind and create your very worst nightmares into reality."
"Good luck with that," Robin snapped "I'm not afraid of anything."
"Oh? Allow me to look into that myself, won't you? Hmm…Oh my. You little liar, you. You have plenty of fears, little bird. But I can only exploit one a time. But which one to choose? This one? No, far too predictable. Ahhh, yes. This one is quite delicious. I can't wait to see you suffer in it's grip and succumb to it's power."
"I won't give up! No matter what you make me see! I won't ever surrender to someone like you!"
Phobia threw her head back and cackled again before she announced: "And now, let the barrier between the mortal life and the afterlife be severed!" and faded into the blackness that surrounded them. Robin looked all around him the area again, searching desperately for the tiniest glimmer of light. When he was about to give up, he saw it. The Teen Wonder's heart leapt and he ran towards it. But something unseen caused him to trip and fall forward on his face.
"Look at him, John, he's so handsome. He looks just like his father at that age."
"Heh, I guess he does kinda look like me. But underneath that mask I know he's got his mother's beautiful eyes."
Robin's chest tightened. He hadn't heard those voices in years, but he would recognize them anywhere. He raised his head, and sure enough, there they were.
They nodded, smiling at their son. John and Mary Grayson were dressed in immaculate white clothes and their figures were glowing. Robin scrambled to his feet and they held out their arms.
"Mom! Dad! I-it's so great to see you!" Robin cried, beaming. Phobia's power was so great that she could make the person who she focused on completely forget their encounter with her and simply see and live in the worlds that she built for him or her. All that mattered to Robin was that his parents were right there in front of him and he could finally see them again. He ran towards them, ready to embrace them both and feel their arms around him once more. But his father took a step forward as his benevolent expression turned to one of malice and he backhanded Robin's jaw, dazing him.
"Did you honestly think that we would be happy to see you, you stupid, stupid boy?" John hissed.
"Wh…what? Dad, Dad it's me. It's Robin, I mean, it's Dick. Your son, remember?"
"Of course I remember that you're my son! But I wish I didn't!"
"What are you talking about? What do you-"
"We raised you to be a star. We gave up so much to raise you. I could have been an Olympian, but I knew that Mary couldn't raise you all alone so I gave up that dream, thinking that you would be worth it. Boy, was I wrong!"
John seized Robin by the front of his tunic with both hands and lifted him, making their faces almost touch.
"We raised you to be a star, Richard. And you're garbage. That's all you are, and that's all you're ever going to be! Garbage!"
Robin's father threw him to the ground.
"Dad, no. You don't mean that. Y-you can't-You can't mean that!"
"Oh I can't, can I?" John bellowed. "Look around you, kid, everyone else feels the same way about you too. Lemme show you, past, present and future."
John gestured towards several portals that formed around him.
"Well, Alfred, he's finally gone. We've made him an emancipated minor and now he never has to come back and as long as I keep helping fund him, with any luck he'll stay away forever. What a relief, huh?"
"Indeed, Master Bruce. I was beginning to think that the little nuisance would never leave. A toast, then, to our lives freshly free of that circus brat who was always getting in everyone's way!"
"NO!" Robin shouted, dashing to the portal and hammering his fists on it. "You don't mean that either! You wanted me at your side! I was like a son to you! You said so yourself!"
In the next portal, Starfire appeared, rubbing her arm.
"He hurt me. How many more times will he make me cry until he is satisfied? Why does he enjoy seeing me in such pain?"
"Starfire! I'm sorry! I never meant to hurt you or your feelings! I just-I just-I'm sorry!"
Several of the Honorary Titans appeared in another portal.
"Man, can you believe the mess that Robin got us into?"
"Yeah, and he thinks he's the leader? I can't wait until they elect a new one."
"They'd better, or we're all gonna be dragged down with him."
"He's horrible! And to think he was trained by the Batman and he's still such a complete screw-up."
"I know, right? What an idiot!"
"What a loser!" They all shared a laugh.
Raven, Cyborg and Beast Boy also appeared in that same portal.
"You know, I'm starting to think that they might be right," Raven commented.
"Yeah, Rae. Robin really is a pretty awful leader when you think about it. We really should give the reins to someone else."
"That's what I've been saying all along! Either that or one of his dumb plans is eventually gonna be the end of the Titans!"
"Yes, for the good of us, and for the world, we must remove Robin from our midst," Starfire assented. "Forever."
Robin started to hyperventilate. "I never meant for any of those things that to happen! I'm sorry! Please don't leave me!"
Mary Grayson stepped forward. "We raised you to be good. To be a great person. But look at all the bad things you've done. All the people you've hurt. All the battles you've lost. All of your failed ideas. Everything that we gave you, all of our efforts, all of our teaching, all of our love has been for nothing! What did we do to deserve this, John? We worked so hard and he's such a failure!"
She turned away from him and sobbed into her husband's chest.
"Mom…Mom don't cry. Please don't cry. I'm not a failure, I-I'm not. I-"
"YES YOU ARE!" she screamed, turning back at him.
Robin sank to his knees and covered his ears, keeping his eyes shut tight even as tears trickled out of them and they kept on screaming and pointing and laughing.
"Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. I tried my best. I tried my best. I tried my best. I TRIED MY BEST!"
"What?" Cyborg was surprised to hear that his voice had become completely flat and toneless.
He found his body moving without him commanding them to. He stood up and then turned around to face his four friends. Beast Boy held a remote that was pointed at him.
"Well old buddy, you've had a good run, but we've all gotta go sometime. Especially stuff like you," he said.
"Stuff like me? What are you talking about?" he asked, his voice just as flat as before.
"Robots, machines, technology. Eventually they all become obsolete. And now, that's exactly what you are," Raven stated.
"Friend, this is goodbye. I shall truly miss you, even if you are a mere machine," said Starfire.
"Don't be sad, Star," Robin began. "He's just a robot. And he's not any use in combat anymore. It's time to just let nature run its course."
"Yep. Well ol' buddy. This is it. Goodbye."
Cyborg found himself turning away from his friends again, and this time walking down to a conveyor belt, which he lay down on top of as it creaked into motion.
Cyborg knew he should be have felt terrified. But he didn't. His pulse did not quicken, and there was not the tiniest drop of sweat on his brow.
"Why? Why? Why?" was all he could ask himself.
He finally saw where the conveyor belt was heading: to a furnace where obsolete technology gets melted and torn apart to be reused. His friends were no longer his friends. They had become his owners and they were not going to bury him. They were going to throw him away and bits and pieces of him were going to be scattered everywhere: his brain was going to be in someone's car, his heart in someone's generator, his eyes in someone's telescope. He would be quickly forgotten, and there was nothing he could do about it. All he wanted to do was scream.
But he couldn't.
And there was nothing he could do about it.
Raven didn't know what had set her off and given her demonic blood control over her, but it didn't matter. What she saw around her now wasn't the darkness that Phobia had surrounded her with. It was her darkness. The kind that she created. The kind that was an extension of her very soul.
Raven whirled around and saw that it had formed into tendrils that wrapped around each one of her friends. They struggled and squirmed as best they could to escape their grip, but the more they struggled, the harder the shadows fought back and pulled them down.
The darkness dragged Jericho all the way down. He reached out for Raven, signing: "Help! Help! Help!" and tried as best he could to free himself, but he disappeared.
"Raven what are you doing?" Cyborg cried. "Let us go or you'll kill us!"
Raven reached towards him in an attempt to stop her magic from running rampant, but doing this only caused him to sink down even deeper.
"Please, stop!" Starfire sobbed. "Please stop this, Raven!" She was doing her best to create enough light to burn away the energy that was in the process of swallowing her, but it would not release her. Raven mentally recited her mantra and tried to peel it off of her friend, but nothing happened and Starfire continued to suffer.
"Why are you letting this happen, Raven?!" Beast Boy wailed. "You can stop this! Don't let it-" He was cut off by Raven's magic covering up his mouth.
"You're our friend, Raven! You can beat your dark side! Please! Fight it! Raven, help! RAVEEEEEN!" Robin pleaded before Raven's dark, red-eyed soul-self dragged him all the way down.
When the power of Trigon's blood at last subsided and Raven regained control over herself, she frantically casted another spell and brought them back up. Their bodies were limp, lifeless, and cold, looks of agony and terror frozen on their faces for all eternity. For the first time in her life, Raven lost all control of her tears. She wept and bawled so hard that her throat burned and her face was utterly soaked. She covered her face with her hands and then felt something hard on her lips. Raven looked at her hands and found that they had become ruby red and her fingernails were now obsidian black claws. Her hair was long again and had become thin, feathery, and white.
Phobia manifested in front of Raven.
"What's the matter, dear? Need one of these?" she asked, holding up a mirror, allowing her to at last see what she had turned into. She had four blood-red eyes, red skin, antlers, pointed ears, black, flat, thin lips and prominent fangs. The demon's daughter shrieked and threw away the mirror in horror and disgust.
"Don't be so upset, precious gem. You look just fine to me. You're daddy's little princess." Trigon came in after Phobia left, staring down at his daughter. And I couldn't be more proud of you. It seems as though my legacy is in capable hands. You can never purge your blood from your veins, Raven. You are my flesh now and forever," the dread demon said with a laugh.
"We don't want you anymore, Garfield. You've shown us where your loyalties lie. You don't care about us anymore," said Mento, his back turned to his adopted son.
Beast Boy kept trying to run around him and the rest of the Doom Patrol so that he could face them, but they kept turning away from him.
"What are you guys talking about? Of course I care about you! The Titans are my best friends, and Cyborg's like the brother I never had, but you guys raised me! You took me in, and Steve, Rita, you adopted me! I-I'm your son!"
"No Beast Boy. You've never even thought about us since you quit the team and moved in with the Titans," said Elastigirl.
"She's right, kiddo," said Negative Man.
"Sorry, Gar. Steve and Rita are right," Robotman concluded. "And it's probably time for you to go."
"No!" Beast Boy stamped his foot. "I AM a part of this family, too! You know it, I know it, and there's nothing that can ever change that! Something's gotta be messing with your heads. Don't worry, I'll fix it. I'll fix it somehow, I promise!"
"I didn't want it to have to come to this, Garfield, but I'm going to have to send you away by force," said Mento, preparing his brain-enhancing helmet.
"I'm going to send you into a pocket dimension. Where you want have to be near anyone ever again."
"No!" Beast Boy cried. "Why would you do that?"
"Garfield, honey, you know that this is for the best. Look at what's happened to everyone you've ever gotten close to in the past."
Mento then used his powers to create the illusions of three headstones. They read:
"Mark Logan - Beloved Husband and Father", "Marie Logan - Beloved Wife and Mother", and "Niles Caulder – May he rest in peace"
"What are you saying…? Y-you…No. No, that can't be right!"
"And don't forget her either, boy," Mento added, causing Terra's ghostly figure to appear, her bruised body bound in Slade's apprentice uniform. "Face it, everyone you get close to either ends up dead or worse. So just cut yourself off from everyone now before it's too late and before they find out."
"We just did," Raven announced.
"Beast Boy, how could you keep something like this a secret from us?" Robin asked, pointing at him.
"But now it is clear to us that you should not be a part of this team," Starfire stated.
"You can't save anybody. How can you even call yourself a hero? And how could keep something like this from us?" Cyborg assented, motioning towards the three graves.
"None of it was my fault! Really, guys, come on! You trust me don't you? You have to!"
"Who says?" Raven barked. "Just get out of here, go! Before one of us ends up like the rest of your families."
"Nooooo!" Beast Boy screeched.
"Cyborg!" Robin cried.
When Beast Boy opened his eyes, he saw that Cyborg was on the ground, the blue parts of his body having turned grey.
"No way…" Beast Boy quavered. "Is-is he-?"
"He's gone," said Starfire mournfully. "A virus."
"One of our enemies must have done this. But we couldn't detect in time!" Robin added.
Raven placed her hand on Cyborg and pressed her forehead to his. Then she looked back at Beast Boy.
"It's him!" she accused. "He's cursed! Everyone around him ends up like this! We have to get rid of him."
"There, now. You see, Beast Boy? It really is for the best of all of us. Now say goodbye."
Beast Boy could only scream as a black box closed around him, trapping him in and cutting him off from the rest of the world. He hammered his fists on the walls, begging and crying for help, but nobody heard him. He couldn't even hear himself or make any sound at all. Without warning, the box began to get smaller. And smaller. And smaller still. Soon, he couldn't even see himself anymore and found himself having to change into tinier and tinier forms. By the time the box stopped shrinking he couldn't move at all.
"Here she is, your imperial majesty. Isn't she everything you ever dreamed of?"
After she heard these words, Starfire felt herself being pulled forward by her wrists, which had been handcuffed together by cuffs made out a special jewel that she knew would prevent her from using starbolts. She saw that her sister was holding a chain made of that same jewel, and that Blackfire was the one who was offering her up to Citadel emperor. He rose from his garish throne and lumbered over to her, a smug, lecherous grin on his face. Starfire gasped when she saw her reflection in the emperor's armor. Blackfire had had her face made up with magenta eye shadow, black eyeliner, rouge, and violet lip paint. The colors would have looked beautiful on her face had they not been as overdone as they were, and it was clear to Starfire that she had been made to look that way because she was something to be sold. She was also wearing her silver crown on her head, and when she saw her clothes she pressed her legs and arms together, trying to cover herself and make herself look smaller as best as she could. Her chest was partially exposed and no part of her legs and stomach were covered by the too small bikini top that she wore along with a skirt that went down to her ankles and had been slit up to her waist on both sides. Her gauntlets, armband, boots, and collar had been taken from her as well and were replaced with jeweled doubloon bracelets, sandals, and a heavy diamond choker. Starfire closed her eyes as tightly as she could and turned away, never having experienced anything close to this kind of humiliation before and wishing that she could disappear.
Blackfire let out an annoyed grunt and forced her sister's eyes open with her fingers.
"Don't be difficult, little sister. Lord Damyn is your master now."
"Yesss…" he hissed, taking the chain from Blackfire and pulling it up so high that Starfire's feet were off the ground. "And you will serve me well. Won't you, princess?"
He smiled at her again, bearing all his teeth, and touched her face with his three fingers and a hand so large it could crush her skull.
"M-My friends will be here to set me free enough!" she cried. "And when they do, you will pay most severely-"
"Friends, Starfire? Aww, you poor baby. Your friends aren't coming for you. They've totally forgotten you already. We're hundreds of billions of light years away."
"That's right. And even if they did come after you in their little ship, we would be able to catch them and send you even father away long before they could even see you," said the emperor. "My empire is the farthest-reaching in the entire universe. It is mine, and now, so are you."
When he began to laugh so hard his stomach jiggled, Starfire swung her legs up and kicked him in the face, causing him to drop her. When she fell, Blackfire immediately blasted her with a purple starbolt in the chest.
"That's no way to behave, Starfire. I didn't want to have to do this, but if you're going to be this troublesome, I'm going to introduce you to the rest of the people who own you as a servant from now on."
Three more Psions came over and paced around her menacingly, whispering to each other about what experiments they had planned for her. They didn't even bother to greet her, showing how that they thought of her as a thing, not a person.
"Sister, please! Do not let them have me!"
Blackfire raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, you're asking me help from me? Well, that's smart of you. After all, I own you now too."
She took something from Lord Damyn and placed it on her head. It was a crown.
"All hail the imperial princess and heir to the throne and all I possess, Komand'r!"
The Psions, Blackfire, and the Citadel all had joint possession of her, Starfire realized. The people who hated her more than anyone she had ever known, would now own her until she died.
"Get ready to die, Slade," Adeline cried, aiming a gun. "I won't rest until you're dead!"
"Addie, don't make me do this," Slade warned.
"Don't make you do what?"
"Don't make me shove him between us again," he said, pinning Jericho to his chest again. "I don't want him to be used as a shield just for you to be willing to spare my life."
"Heh. You think I care about that wimp of a kid? He's a disgrace to our family. Hating fighting, being scared of guns and knives, being an artist instead of a soldier! He's a worthless, sniveling, little brat. You can end him yourself."
"You think I'm proud of him, either? After all, you're the one who raised him to be as pathetic as he is! Not to mention how you utterly failed as a mother to Grant."
"Oh, and I suppose you never being around and letting Joseph lose his voice and risk his life for the sake of your ego was good parenting? I don't want to hear another word out of you, so just die!"
Slade roared and threw a grenade at Adeline just as she fired her pistol. Slade tried to lift Jericho up in order to block the bullet, but it hit Slade anyway and both of his parents collapsed, having been wounded fatally.
Jericho looked around again desperately for help, but his friends seemed to have abandoned him too, and now he was an orphan. And who knew what was going to become of his poor brother? All of his family, that he had loved so much, was now gone. His love wasn't enough to safe them from their hate. He searched for his communicator, but it was gone, too, and he remembered that the Titans had chosen to expel him from the league. Jericho didn't have any friends anymore.
AN: I'm really sorry about this you guys. I know that you are probably fed up with how I keep jumping around in chronology like this. I'm trying to write out ideas as they come to me so that I can finish this story ASAP, and the idea for how I wanted to do the final battle with Slade came before how I want to finish Starfire's arc. So here is the first part of the aforementioned battle. The conclusion of that is to follow. I would have put it all in one doc, but it was just getting way too long so I decided to split it.
Despite all of that, I hope you like it anyway, and as always, please critique me! Thanks for reading-