Rain spattered on the empty streets. Even the main roads through that passed towering glass-faced offices and a wealth of storefront windows were deserted. The clouds weren't just a patch of another color in the sky: they bellied low and damp over the city with an almost tangible air of gloom. Even the special effects of the weather world had given up on this dismal plot of land. No thunder, no lightning, no tearing wind graced it. Just... rain. A gray, listless wetness covered everything. It was a perfect day for the type of people who like staring sadly out windows and sighing dramatically, maybe shedding an occasional tear for the look of things. The weather was summed up with skill by one simple phrase.
"Dude, this sucks!" Beast Boy scowled out at the slate-gray ocean. "I mean, come on, how long can it rain for? It's been a week already!" He turned from the huge window to a girl sitting on the semi-circle couch. The giant room dwarfed her curled-up form. She didn't look up at the green boy's outburst, just calmly turned another page in the heavy tome she held. Beast Boy trotted over and threw himself upside-down on the couch just to annoy the girl.
"Hey, Raven, have you seen Cyb-"
"No. And I like this weather, for your information," Raven cut in in a monotone, not looking up from her book.
"Well... d'you wanna watch Wicked Sca-"
"Play a video ga-"
"How about letting me finish a sentence? Geez..." Beast Boy rolled his eyes. Despite herself, Raven smiled just a little, but quickly resumed her flat expression.
"Cyborg is working on the T-Car."
"Hey, thanks!" Beast Boy looked up in surprise at the answer, then narrowed his eyes in suspicion. "How did you know that if you haven't seen him?"
"He's always working on the T-Car. I find it hard to believe you needed to ask." Raven dismissed his question scathingly. The green teenager flipped himself upright and walked off, grumbling. At the doorway, he turned around and pulled a face at Raven.
"I saw that." Beast Boy gave a squeak of surprise, clapped his hands over his mouth, and scampered out the door. Alone now, Raven shut her book and put up the hood of her dark cloak, walking to the window overlooking the bay. She always felt so guilty about blocking Beast Boy's attempts to get her to come out of herself and show emotion. But she couldn't let herself be tempted. She had no choice. Raven was startled out of her thoughtful reverie by a loud alarm. As she ran to the screen showing a map of the city, others dashed into the room. First Beast Boy returned, then a girl zipped in to come to a stop hovering feet above the ground, long red hair mussed from the rush to get to the room. A second later a boy with spiky black hair dashed in checking his belt to make sure it carried all necessary gadgets. Last of all Cyborg arrived from working on the car, just as Raven had predicted. He greeted the black haired boy and floating girl.
"Hey Robin, Starfire. Wazzup this time?" He watched the screen while wiping grease off his hands and some of the tools attached to his cybernetic arm. Robin examined the moving blip on the map.
"Trouble. Looks like it's at the park this time." He took charge of the situation instantly. "Cy, take the T-Car. The rain might damage you. Beast Boy, Star, fly ahead and do what you can. Raven, go with Cyborg. I'll take the R-cycle. Teen Titans, go!" There was a flurry of movement as everyone exited at one time. In the empty room, the lights shut off, leaving the screen to glow to itself in the dark as raindrops left silvery trails down the windows.
Starfire and a green eagle arrived at the park soaked and shivering. The eagle suddenly sprouted into a dripping Beast Boy. As he beckoned to Starfire and tromped off through the mud, the alien girl heard him muttering, "Who in their right mind would decide to be all criminal in this weather? In the park? Now I'm wet, and it's still raining, and I'm muddy, and what can they do, anyways, steal a bench, what's the point, wet, rain, mud, bleh..." His voice trailed off. "Hey Star?"
"Beast Boy, I do not see any badness here. Maybe it is wished that we should stop the rain! That is bad, is it not?"
"We can make a giant umbrella to cover the whole city! Then this wetness will-" She stopped abruptly. "I can hear something. That bubbly sound is...not...good?"
"Way not good." Beast Boy looked down at the mud he had been standing in and gave a hoarse shriek. "WA! PULL ME OUT PULL ME OUT PULL ME OUT!" He grabbed Starfire's feet and she flew upwards, hard and fast. There was a sucking sound as one of Beast Boy's boots came free, but the other one was stuck fast. Starfire kept on straining, and one last yank pulled his foot out of the shoe.
"NO, that's my SHOE!" Beast Boy didn't object, though, when Starfire didn't go back for the boot but flew over to a tree to land safely in the branches. The two stared down at the mud. It bubbled angrily in patches, and when raindrops hit, they burst into tortured clouds of steam. In other places, it looked rock hard, but was given away for the tar- like glue it was by the presence of squirrels, mice, and birds desperately trying to move off the surface without success.
"There is no way this is normal," Beast Boy said in disbelief. "At least there aren't any people here 'cuz of the rain." They looked toward the road at the sound of engines approaching. "Hey ROBIN! DON'T STEP ON THE MUD!" Beast Boy bellowed from his perch. Starfire flew around nervously.
"Come, let us warn them. I think they cannot hear us!"
"Yeah, let's go." Beast Boy shrank to falcon form and flew as fast as he could after the already departed Starfire.
At the edge of the park, Robin, Cyborg, and Raven stood staring at the granite arch that marked the entrance. At least, what had been an arch at one point. Now it was a ruin, four giant, twisted trees rooted around the base and horribly contorted around each other. The black, peeling bark and naked branches made it seem like the grotesquely formed trees had died long ago. Cyborg was the first to take action.
"Well, whatever's wrong with this baby, it's goin' down!" He charged the sonic cannon in his robotic arm, aimed, and was about to fire when Starfire streaked over the tops of the trees. Suddenly, the branches reached up and snatched at her, curling and whipping to try to trap the girl. Lightning fast, she dodged all of them and jerked to a stop in front of the three Titans, babbling about the mud as fast as she could.
"Do not enter this place, the mud boils and is sticky and I think it will try to eat you, I do not want you eaten by mud, that would be terrible!"
"Ummmm... Thanks for the tip Star." Robin looked around. "Where's Beast Boy?"
"Oh, he is coming, do not worry." Before anyone could even think another thought, a crack of maniacal laughter echoed through the empty street. Robin smiled grimly. "I think we've found our villan."
Just seconds after Starfire had flown over the tree-barrier, Beast Boy found himself hurtling toward a wall of tangled trunks without any time to bank or pull up. In a split second, he spied a tiny opening and tilted to fly through. He was just coming out the other side when a branch snapped down to grab his tail feathers. With a squawk of dismay, he was pulled up short, and turned human again. Thankfully, the tree only had him by the foot. It turned into a tug-of-war that ended when Beast Boy's foot slipped out of his remaining boot, sending him tumbling backwards.
"No WAY am I going to lose both shoes in one day!" He dove to grab his boot, and didn't even notice that the tentacle-like branches were already prepared to catch him until it was too late.