Chapter One: Pieces
"Beastboy to Robin, I'm on my way. Over."
The green changeling lowered his communicator and took one last look down the now crowded hall with confused, pain filled eyes, making out a flash of blonde among the students. Almost stumbling in his haste to leave, he turned and sprinted down the hallway towards the light of day.
All he wanted to do was escape the agony.
He had never thought that 'heartbreak' could be so physical an experience, it felt like a great white had clamped ice cold jaws around his chest. Beastboy squinted his eyes, trying to block out the pain and focused solely on running.
Bursting out into the sunlight, he quickly crossed over to the fence of the school, vaulting over it in one smooth motion and hit the ground running. But he couldn't outrun himself.
All he could see were her baby blue eyes, wide and shining, rejecting him.
All he could smell was her earthy scent, growing fainter as his feet blindly moved.
All he could hear was her wicked words, 'Just leave me alone!'
All he could taste was his failure, bitter on the tip of his tongue.
All he could feel was pain, his heart pumping it through his body like venom, spreading over his chest to his extremities. The pain of betrayal, rejection, shame but most of all… Failure and guilt.
Beastboy's foot suddenly caught and he was thrown face first onto the cold, hard asphalt of a thankfully empty road, his natural agility and poise nowhere to be found. Hot tears ran down his cheeks as the emotional anguish inside finally became too much for him and manifested itself into the trickles of water flowing freely from his eyes as he gasped for breath.
God, it hurt.
The knowledge that it was his fault Terra had ever left for Slade in the first place. That he had been unable to save her at the end.
He had failed. Just like he always did…
"No," he gasped between sobs, "Not that."
The memories were threatening to surface, everything he had worked so hard to bury was being dug up.
Beastboy was suddenly afraid.
He needed to escape, needed to smother the growing agony in his chest and still the tide of guilt threatening to drown him. But how? How could he outrun himself? He was only human…
Beastboy's eyes widened as the thought slowly came to him, before he outright dismissed it. Then the image of a bloody Terra standing above poised to deliver his death blow came before him and he broke down sobbing again in the street, the torturous blame he placed on himself slowly suffocating him. Self-hatred gripped his mind.
He needed escape, release from this suffering. It felt like it would kill him otherwise.
Instinct kicked in.
He was in pain. He needed out. So Beastboy did something he had never done before.
He sought out his animal side, traversed the span of his spirit and gave himself over to that which he actively restrained: his inner beast.
A change started to come about Beastboy as he contorted and tensed on the cold asphalt, like a rubber band starting to stretch. It was a slow development and as much an emotional transformation as a physical one. As his fingernails lengthened into talons, his emotions seemed to dim. As his hair rapidly grew down his enlarging back, individual thoughts melded together to form general urges. As his teeth grew to fangs and muscles exploded outwards, his emotional pain and turmoil dulled and started to give way to the impulses of an animal.
Throwing its head back the creature screamed an ear-splitting roar at the sky, seeming to both curse and bless the very heavens for its existence.
Robin gasped for breath as he watched the white monstrosity take punch after punch from Cyborg on the main floor of the recycling factory, knowing it would do no good. They had been at this for the better part of an hour, though it felt like much longer.
Nothing seemed to work.
No amount of exploding discs, fiery starbolts, sonic cannon bursts or demonic energy blasts hurt it. Even freezing it hadn't worked as it had seemed to melt inside the block of ice, only to slid under the edge and reform, unharmed. As the monster dodged one of Cyborgs powerful right hooks and responded with one of it's own that sent the metallic titan flying, Robin felt fear grow in his chest.
He had tried contacting Beastboy just a moment ago, but received no answer. He had no time to time to worry about him though; Robin was too busy trying to survive. With a curse, he analysed the situation, deciding that one last full on assault was their best chance of winning. If they could put it out of action, at least temporarily, it would give them time to retreat at least.
"Titans, surround it!" He called out.
The team was quick to respond, Raven landing opposite him, Starfire to his right and Cyborg jumping with grunt to his left. Robin made sure to make eye contact with each of them, sending an inaudible message. This was it.
"Alright guys, on the count of three…" Robins voice was steady but weariness could be heard in his tone. The titans tensed, cyborg's cannon powering up, Starfire's hands glowing green and Raven's eyes turning bright white.
The four titans and even the monster flinched at the sudden explosion of sound, spinning around to face the wall from which it came. Bricks rained down around a massive dust cloud that blossomed in front of a newly formed hole in the wall. The last of the days light poured in refracting off of the airborne particles of dust, obscuring whatever was held within.
Lifting an arm to her forehead, Raven peered through the dense cloud to see the outline of a large figure silhouetted against the light behind it. Brief confusion faded to understanding as the shape shrunk down into a smaller form crouched close to the ground, still shrouded by dust.
'He sure loves to make an entrance,' she thought to herself suppressing the urge to roll her eyes. 'But then again, demolishing a wall isn't really his style,' she frowned, the first seeds of concern taking root in her. As the smoke cleared, her eyes widened, her mouth opened and concern turned very quickly into astonishment.
Crouching on his haunches, leaning forwards with his hands on the ground in front of him and snarling viciously, was Beastboy.
Emphasis on 'Beast.'
He was taller, even crouching down his head looked to be about even with Raven's chest. He appeared to have burst out of his uniform, the top half hung in tatters over his torso which seemed to have doubled in size and the bottom half strained to contain the new bulk of his leg muscles. His fingernails had lengthened into talons and his feet had burst out of his shoes also bearing brand new, razor sharp claws. Veins popped out over his jade skin and tendons stood out sharply. She saw a thin line of short, very dark green fur run up his forearm onto his back.
But of all the new physical changes to him, the most dramatic one was his face. Beastboy's ragged, dark green hair now sprouted down to his shoulders, just the tips of his pointed ears visible. His lips were pulled back in a snarl, revealing fangs that looked to be serrated. As Raven's visual sweep ended on Beastboy's eyes, her breath caught, her hand flew to her mouth and astonishment gave way to something new – fear.
The wide, innocent, dark green eyes of her skinny teammate were gone. And in their place were the eyes of…
"The Beast," Raven whispered into her hand.
Vertical slit-like pupils of pitch black were framed by a vivid green that seemed to glow. They were feral, animal eyes. Intense with instinct. Bright with single-mindedness, but appearing to hold intelligence; all focused solely on the white monster, who stared back unmoving.
Raven was confused; he had the eyes of the Beast, but not the body of it. He appeared to be somewhere in between. 'How did that happen? And why?'
She had no time to ponder it however, as a low, guttural growl came from Beastboy, his throat vibrating and body tensing. His feet crushed small pieces of brick into powder as he lowered himself into what Raven thought looked like the hunting stance of a wolf.
Then he was nothing but a green blur, accelerating to sixty mph in under three seconds as a cheetah before leaping towards the white monster. The jade shape grew in size mid-air as Beastboy's form flowed into the shape of a silverback gorilla, which spun in the air before delivering a crushing airborne spinning backhand to the chest of the creature.
The shockwave of the strike was felt by all the titans as they watched, astonished, as the monster flew backwards passing through the far brick wall behind it like it was cardboard before disappearing from sight.
After delivering his strike, Beastboy reverted to his original state, sliding several meters before coming to a halt on the cement floor, back in the hunting stance he had started in. With a snarl, he leapt forwards, running on all fours, following the creature through the second newly created hole in the recycling plant.
Silence reigned for a moment in the room as each wide eyed titan processed what had just happened in the past ten seconds. It was Raven who snapped out of her stupor first. "After him!" she yelled, a faint touch of fear in her normally emotionless voice, and flew at full speed out the hole created by the monster. The other titans reacted quickly, sprinting or flying after her.
Raven quickly rose through the air, trying to find Beastboy or the monster. The recycling plant sat atop a tall hill which was surrounded by forest. Racing down the hill towards the trees, hard to make out against the green grass, was Beastboy, already some distance away. Glancing towards where he was headed, Raven saw a solid pine tree collapse to the ground, half its trunk destroyed. She guessed that was where the monster had smashed into the tree line.
'Damn, that was some hit,' she thought to herself, shaking her head, before dashing after Beastboy.
Leaping over the recently felled tree, Beastboy followed the trail of damage, dodging around fallen trees and hurdling over broken branches before his sharp, animal eyes spotted a glimpse of white against the foliage ahead. Slowing down, he stalked towards it, feet and hands making no noise on the forest floor as he made his way slowly forward, senses on high alert and nose sniffing.
It smelled…unnatural. Of chemicals and man-made materials.
The bleached monster raised itself to one knee and then used his hands to push the rest of itself off of the ground. In response, Beastboy flattened himself to floor, morphing quickly into an emerald snake and blending seamlessly into the grass around him, lying perfectly still. He watched with sharp eyes as the monster turned revealing a gaping cavity where his chest had been.
Without any discernible effort, the monster's entire torso flowed like water restoring the creature body to its original size and shape. Satisfied, it turned and started running in the opposite direction to the plant, unaware that it was being stalked.
One moment a hare, the next a crow, Beastboy was running solely on animal instinct as he camouflaged his pursuit from the monster while observing it closely, waiting for the moment to strike.
Morphing in mid-air from a fox to an owl, he quickly sped ahead of the monster about a hundred feet, before transforming into a rabbit and landing softly in a clump of flowers, only his still vivid green eyes visible. The trees were thinner here, allowing him to watch as the monster sprinted quickly towards him. Beastboy bided his time, waiting until the creature was only ten feet away before making his move.
With a powerful push of his hind legs, Beastboy shot his small frame forward into the air. The monster had no time to react as the green rabbit quickly expanded into a 3 ton, 4 meter long rhinoceros, head lowered.
The two collided explosively.
The monster was smashed backwards with tremendous force before crashing into the trunk of a thick oak tree with an almighty crack; it's arms and legs wrapping unnaturally around it, before collapsing to the ground. With a creak and a groan, the oak slowly fell with a load cracking sound, splitting where the monster had impacted it.
Beastboy landed softly on his hands and feet, again in his original form, crouching low to ground with a snarl in the back of his throat.
The creature raised itself unsteadily to its feet once again, turning to face Beastboy who observed a horn shaped hole through the centre of its chest, giving him a view of the forest behind the monster.
Again, however, the creature's body rippled like water and the gap in its torso closed over once again. Beastboy's eyed narrowed in anger at the unnatural sight, prompting him into action. The monster tensed as Beastboy charged towards him on all fours, and pulled back a fist as the changeling leapt towards him, morphing into a tiger just before he jumped. The monster swung his arm around in a lethal haymaker catching the big cat directly in the chest.
Only it wasn't there anymore.
The monster looked around in confusion. Where was it?
It turned in full circle, eyes scanning the forest before it registered a sharp pain inside itself, somewhere above its stomach.
Little did it know that Beastboy had transformed the instant before the fist had hit him, changing into an animal known as the hookworm: a small, worm–like parasite with the unique ability to tunnel through skin. After landing on the creature's abdomen, Beastboy had burrowed into it's flesh and was now at the centre of it's body.
The monster exploded outwards as a full grown killer whale formed in a fraction of a second inside of it. A disgusting squelch accompanied the eruption of white flesh, which coated several trees. The whale shrunk down in size as Beastboy adopted his returned to his half-beast state, only this time parts of him were covered in snow coloured slime.
A final snarl left his lips as he turned and start to stalk away on all fours.
Then he stopped dead, ears twitching.
With a soft squelch the white matter slid off Beastboy's back, pulling itself towards where the rest of the monster's flesh was congregating. Beastboy spun around, back in his hunting stance as the monster slowly reformed itself. A growl grated in his throat as the monster fully reformed, albeit sagging down on one knee.
He once again charged at the monster, which responded by whipping his arms backwards before throwing them forward at Beastboy, his limbs lengthening dramatically. The green titan reacted quickly, transforming to a hummingbird to avoid the first arm and managing to duck under the second. He quickly turned to a huge gray wolf and hit the ground running before leaping up at the monster, teeth bared; going for the jugular. However, when he was mere inches away from the creature's neck, a third arm burst from its chest, the large fist colliding violently with the side of Beastboy's face with a sickening thud.
The changeling was thrown back by the force of the punch, spinning through the air before crashing into the base of a tree.
The arms of the monster retracted and it stood observing the green being before it with expressionless eyes. It watched unmoving, as Beastboy raised himself of the ground onto all fours, turning around to face him. If the white monster was capable of emotion, it would have experienced an intense fear at what he saw and most likely fled.
Beastboy's animal eyes were wide and excited with violent bloodlust, a cut on his cheek bleeding slightly over a rapidly purpling bruise. He turned his head and spat out a mouthful of scarlet blood, contrasting sharply with the blinding white of his fangs and the light jade of his skin. There was a soft splash as the liquid impacted the grassy ground. His eyes lit up at the sight and Beastboy turned back to monster with a savage grin on his face.
With a thrilled snarl, he leapt for the monster again.
He was going to enjoy this.
So, first chapter of my first fic.
Please comment - would really appreciate any feedback, criticism, observations or remarks. Feel free to flame.
What did you like? What didn't you like?
Thanks for checking it out.