Latch Key Kids

Disclaimer: BtVS, DC Comics, and Harry Potter are the property of their respective creators and not something I own.

"What's the prob Rob?" Beastboy asked as he entered the communications room where all the Titans had gathered.

"Call from the Justice League," Robin replied, opening communications.

The Martian Manhunter's face appeared on the view screen. "Greetings Titans, I have a message that may or may not be for Beast Boy."

"Huh, for me?" Beastboy asked.

"It was delivered to Superman by Mxyzptlk for 'the green guy' and it means nothing to me," Manhunter replied.

"Since when does Mxyzptlk run a postal service?" Cyborg asked.

"He said he was repaying a favor, since it wasn't out of his way," Manhunter explained. "Let me play the file and see if it makes any sense to you."

Martian Manhunter's face was replaced by a dark-haired man in a grey suit with a bowler hat that hadn't been in style for almost half a century.

"Whistler?" Beastboy whispered in shock.

"Heya kid," he replied cheerfully.

"You know him?" Robin asked.

Beastboy nodded his head. "Different life, different universe," he said his voice dropping in pitch. "Why call now?"

"Because just like last time, you're being entrusted with something," Whistler replied.

"What were you trusted with last time?" Starfire asked curiously.

"Is anyone else freaked out that B.B. and the recording can talk to one another?" Cyborg asked.

Hands were raised.

Beastboy rolled his eyes and chuckled, his posture changing from his habitual slouch. "I was trusted with the heart of a woman."

"We're not talking literal are we?" Cyborg asked with a disgusted look on his face.

"Getting poetic in your old age?" Whistler asked. He chuckled. "You were trusted with the safety of a chunk of creation."

"When did this happen?" Cyborg asked.

"Another life, another world," Whistler and Beastboy chorused.

"Now I too am feeling the freaked," Starfire said.

"Relax Star," Beastboy said, "any half-assed seer could make a tape like this."

"Or someone working in a couple extra dimensions," Whistler added.

"It's no big deal," he assured her, "OK, last time I was to stand guard over the Key and I did so quite happily, eventually marrying her and having a daughter, but that life's long past. Why me, why now?"

"Just as you were reborn so was she, and it was thought you wouldn't mind doing the duty again," the recording said.

"I wouldn't mind at all," Beastboy said with a shrug. "But this incarnation of me was an innocent-" he began.

"Was?" Raven demanded concerned, as all the Titans looked at Beastboy, who now seemed like a stranger wearing his skin.

"Yeah, was," Beastboy agreed. "Funny, optimistic, juvenile, naïve."

"And you're not anymore?" Robin asked.

"He still is, just not to the same degree," Whistler replied. "See, in his last life, and now in this one, he could be downright ruthless and uncompromising if he had to be."

"So he could destroy the Key if necessary," Raven said sadly.

Beastboy snorted. "That was probably the plan, but I don't work that way."

"He took the key and jumped blindly into infinity with her," Whistler said. "He gave up everything for her and sealed his fate."

"Sealed his fate?" Cyborg asked worried.

"She decided it equated to a marriage proposal," Beastboy said with a grin. "Struggle though I did, she had me good and married by the time we graduated med school."

"So what happened?" Cyborg asked.

"Parachuting accident took us both at once on our wedding anniversary," Beastboy said with a shrug.

"That is so sad," Starfire said hugging Beastboy so tight he couldn't breathe.

"They were in their mid-80s," Whistler said with a chuckle. "Now let him loose before he suffocates."

Beastboy gasped for breath as she released him.

"Sorry," Starfire apologized with a blush.

"No biggie," the green teen said as he caught his breath. "Hey Whistler, any chance I can recover what I had?"

"Sorry kiddo, all you get is memories from your last life, but most of it was knowledge anyway and the powers you got now should more than make up for the rest."

"You're right," Beastboy said brightening up. "OK, I'm good, catch you on the flip side."

"Later kid and good luck," Whistler said before vanishing as the tape ended and Martian Manhunter's face appeared once more.

"It was for me, thanks," Beastboy said.

"And the Key?" J'onn asked.

"Is none of your concern," Beastboy said his now slightly deeper voice holding a note of command.

"I'd think that the safety of a chunk of creation would concern us all," Superman said, appearing beside J'onn.

"Do I check Lois Lane for breast cancer?" Beastboy asked, confusing everyone. "No, that's your job. If you want a second pair of hands and eyes checking, I'll help, but I won't stick my nose where it doesn't belong otherwise."

Superman blushed and cleared his throat. "I don't mean to step on your toes, I'm just offering an additional set of hands and eyes."

"Thanks, but I have the Titans," Beastboy pointed out, "I need no other help," he said and cut the transmission.

"Batman is probably going to give me hell for that," Robin said amused.

"Tell him if he needs the Titans to help protect Gotham to feel free to ask, we have some practice," Beastboy suggested.

Robin laughed. "I'm going to hit the gym and duck his calls."

"Feel free to direct them my way," Beastboy called out as Robin left with Starfire floating behind him.

"I got some stuff to work on, I'll quiz you on that Key thing later," Cyborg said giving BB a fist bump before he left.

"So…" Raven forced out. "You know."

"Sure," Beastboy replied unconcerned.

"How can you be so blasé about what I am? How can you even bear to look at me?" Raven growled after a couple of seconds of silence. "I'm a monster, demon blood runs in my veins!"

"I've met a lot of demons in my last life and even an angel or two," Beastboy replied. "You do know they both spring from the same source, right?"

"Yeah…" she admitted slowly, not having thought about it before.

Beastboy got up put a hand on her shoulder and looked her right in the eye. "The only difference between the two groups was the decisions they made. Demons decided to spread pain, misery, and injury."

Raven found her pulse pounding and her breath quickening as he stepped in close and put his lips to her ear.

"It was the angels who chose to heal others, taking their pain into themselves," he whispered. He moved back a step as everything in the room rattled, signs of her fragile emotional state. "You ask how I can bare to look at you, but when I look at you … I don't see a demon."

"What do you see?" she almost whispered, but he simply smiled at her and left, causing her cheeks to redden, before she quickly sank into a meditative trance, ignoring the buzzing of the com.

Typing by: Bankrupt Samurai!