Author's Notes: Well, it looks like you found my story here... I hope you find it a little bit scary. This is actually based on a midnight walk my dad, my brother, my cousin, and I took. My cousin had been staying with us for a few days, and he lives in a city, so he doesn't get to see much wildlife, and has a bit of a fixation with deer... my father the genius decides to go on a hike in the woods, where you're not supposed to be after dusk, and what not. His favorite hobby is bird watching, so he knows these trails very well, but we didn't. It was pitch black, and all we had were flashlights, which we were to shine around and try to find the glint of the eyes of something. We saw a fox, and two deer. However, my mind decided to be evil, and made me think of seeing a pair of eyes that weren't either of those animals... but were, in fact, something else... needless to say, I was kind of scared. Also, my father played the same prank on me that Beast Boy plays in this story... but this is all background crap, which you don't want! You want the story, I'm guessing. So here it is!
By the way, this is a one-shot.
One more thing, I've hidden the name of my town in here, since that's where we were hiking. But you'll never find it!
Starfire wrapped her jacket closer around her shoulders.
The Teen Titans were on an undercover mission, trekking through the woods at around midnight. A man in his twenties had been spotted around the forest the past few nights. He had been recognized as the son of a leading scientist, who had been previously working on a project that would enhance the strength of a normal human tenfold. It was believed that this son had stolen the technology, and possibly used it on himself, which was the reason the Titans had been brought into the picture. The police had requested that they be covert during the operation, so as not to arouse suspicion from the neighboring citizens. The police did not want a widespread panic, and knew if someone sighted the Teen Titans helping, they'd immediately assumed there was a great deal of danger. The Titans agreed with the police, so they wore their street clothes for the search.
However, that meant Cyborg had to sit this mission out, since no amount of clothing could his metallic body. So, while the four other Titans wandered through the forest, looking for a potentially dangerous criminal, Cyborg stayed at home in the Tower, watching a late night showing of an old vampire movie.
Robin, leading the group, tripped slightly, and the beam from his flashlight wavered. Starfire had to stop abruptly, causing Raven and Beast Boy, who brought up the rear, to stumble and lose their footing.
"What is it?" asked Starfire, peering over Robin's shoulder.
"Just a rock," he said. "Let's keep moving."
They moved on, training their flashlights all around them, to try and spot the madman who was running around in the woods. Robin tripped again. This time, Starfire couldn't stop herself in time, and landed on his back. She felt very awkward, and pushed herself up immediately. "Sorry," she whispered.
"That's OK, it's really dark in here," Robin said sheepishly.
Raven rolled her eyes. "That's got to be the understatement of the century." She carefully walked around her teammates so that she was in the lead. "I'll go first," she said.
The Titans continued through the woods. Starfire let out a whimper. She knew that she could very easily fend off anything that came their way, but that didn't make her any less afraid. The lack of light was certainly something she didn't like. The darkness seemed to press itself against her eyes, as they strained to pick up any feeble light. She felt almost as if they were just floating in an endless forest. When the light wasn't on a particular spot, the darkness seemed endless. It was always a bit of a surprise to wave the flashlight over what she previously thought was infinite darkness, and it was really the underbrush, much closer than she expected. The path was narrow, strewn with rocks and branches. Starfire decided to stop looking from side to side, and simply focus on what was straight ahead.
Raven, now in the lead, felt a slight chill run down her spine. She hated not being able to hear anything. Their footsteps were accompanied by the snapping of twigs, the crunching of leaves, and the occasional thump of shoe-on-rock. Since the woods were so quiet at night, they could probably be heard for quite a wide radius, which Raven didn't feel very comforted knowing. They were making so much noise, it would very difficult to hear anything approach them, until they were right on top of the teen heroes. Raven walked a little faster.
Beast Boy grabbed the back of Starfire's jacket, to keep her from moving ahead. "Wait," he called to Raven and Robin. They turned to look at him. Beast Boy closed his eyes slightly.
"Wh-" Starfire began, but Beast Boy cut her off with a raised hand. He opened his eyes.
"There's a stream ahead," said the green hero. "There should be a bridge, or something."
The rest of his team listened carefully. "I don't hear anything," Raven said.
"I'm positive there's moving water ahead."
"You're delusional," the dark Titan concluded.
"I'm not! I bet you anything!" Beast Boy shouted, indignantly. Raven folded her arms over her chest, flashlight still in hand. The beam bounced wildly, shining on the treetops, which looked very pale from underneath.
"Fine. We'll bet on it."
Robin and Starfire looked at one another, then shook their heads. Raven and Beast Boy took every opportunity to butt heads. It was often over the stupidest of things, and sometimes it seemed as if neither really cared what they were arguing about, only that they were right. Their teammates had gotten used to it, and stopped really paying attention. That is, until one day, when Cyborg pointed out something they hadn't noticed before.
"They keep looking at each other," Cyborg had commented. Robin, who'd been next to him at the time, just shrugged.
"So?" he'd asked. Beast Boy was pouting, slamming pots and pans louder than necessary, trying to make tofu-something or other and be a grouch at the same time, while Raven sat at the kitchen table, her nose in a book. Upon closer inspection, one could tell she wasn't really reading. Raven was well known around the tower for her fast reading skills, and she hadn't turned the page in five minutes.
Cyborg had shaken his head. "No, I mean looking at each other, you know what I mean?"
Robin had raised his eyebrows at that. "You think that they could really like each other?"
Cybrog had grinned. "I don't think. I know."
So here they were, on a mission, in a dark forest, debating on whether or not a river existed. The sexual tension was so thick in the air, you could cut it with a knife. Robin told Starfire so, and she blinked at him.
"Um, Robin? What does that mean?" she asked quietly, so the two feuding friends wouldn't hear.
Robin blushed and turned away, thankful for the darkness that hid is red face. "Never mind," he said. He didn't realize just how hypocritical his statement was.
Raven and Beast Boy couldn't decide what the other would do if they won, so they agreed to think of it later, and the Titans resumed their walk.
After a short time, Raven stubbed her toe on a large rock. She trailed her beam of light over the stupid boulder that had gotten in her way, and saw it was set purposefully on the path. It acted as a step, which led right up to-
"A bridge!" Beast Boy cried triumphantly. "I knew it!" Raven growled in the back of her throat.
They crossed the wood bridge, Starfire looking uneasily at it as they put all their weight on it. Although the stream was very shallow, it was fairly wide, and she didn't like the rotted look of the bridge. However, the Titans made it across without anything happening.
The team continued to move under the thick boughs of the trees, the dense overgrowth forcing them to stay in a straight line. Beast Boy was happily chattering away about what sort of punishment Raven would receive for doubting his "supreme animal hearing," as he so lovingly called it. Raven wanted to roll her eyes again, but there were only so many times she could in one night. Instead, she swung her flashlight wildly around until it shone on Beast Boy's face.
"Hey, that's bright!" he whined. "My poor eyes!" He held his hands over his face, shielding himself from the light.
"Deal with it and shut up. I don't want to hear-" Raven never finished her sentence. Over Beast Boy's shoulder was a pair of glowing green eyes, reflecting the weak outer light of Raven's flashlight. A look of horror washed over her features, and as Robin and Starfire turned around, they too grew a little frightened.
Beast Boy looked up. "What?" he asked, then swiveled to see what everyone was staring at, mouths agape. He shined his flashlight on the creature that lurked over his head. The light fell on a large pile of rocks, and a quick flash of red before the eyes turned away and their owner fled. "Guys? That was a fox. Foxes are tiny." Beast Boy looked back on his teammates, who were a bit shaken. "You guys are such wimps," he laughed.
Raven, although she had promised not to use her powers until absolutely necessary, lifted a fallen branch off the ground and whacked Beast Boy with it. Without a word, she turned around again, and resumed her pace.
Raven still had the lead. Robin kept checking his communicator. If the police had found anything, they were supposed to call them to share their information. Also, if Cyborg had gotten another call from Jump City, he was required to reach them and let them know. But Robin's communicator was fully operational. No one had tried to call. Robin slipped the device back into the pocket of his jeans, feeling very cut off from the world at that moment. It was not a good feeling. If, somehow, they were engaged in a fight and were too injured to get out themselves, they might never be found.
Suddenly, there was a crash over Raven's head, and a thump a few feet on the path in front of her as something landed there.
Raven's hand flew to her head, grabbing her hair and twisting it, a look of pure terror etched into her features. She held the flashlight with the other hand, waving it madly ahead of her, but she could see nothing. She began to back up. Robin and Starfire stood on either side of the path, looking ahead with a mixture of fear and nervousness.
A small part of Raven's mind was telling her she had nothing to be afraid of. There was nothing in these woods that could hurt her, she was a Teen Titan, she commanded the power of darkness, she was invincible, she had nothing to be afraid of. However, that tiny voice in her head was shrouded by the full weight of the terror that gripped her heart.
Raven backed in between Robin and Starfire until she hit something soft. Luckily for her, it was Beast Boy's chest. Without even thinking, she wrapped her arms around him from behind, still keeping her eyes fixed on where she'd heard the noise.
"There is something freaking there..." she whispered. Slowly, Raven looked up into Beast Boy's face. She was surprised to see him smirking evilly. "What...?" she asked, in a scared, quiet voice.
"I threw a rock," he said, his malicious grin spreading. Raven blinked at him for a second. Then-
"You WHAT!?" she screeched. Raven immediately let go of him, and pivoted so that she faced him. She smacked him, hard, on the head. Laughing, Beast Boy clutched the point of impact. Raven's face, contorted with fear, was worth all the pain. He'd even scared her so much she was looking to him for comfort. Raven raised her hand to whack Beast Boy again, but Robin grabbed her wrist, preventing her.
"Calm down. Beast Boy, that wasn't funny at all. You made Raven blow up a tree."
It was true. Leaves fluttered around the Titans, covered in black energy, and a tree off to the side looked as if someone had planted a small bomb in it.
Raven took a deep breath, and reached behind her head to pull up her hood. As she felt nothing, she remembered she wasn't wearing her blue cloak. Instead, she had on a red, long-sleeved shirt, with an oversized black T-shirt over it, bearing the image of a howling wolf against a starry night sky. (A/N: That there is my favorite shirt outfit thingy... my best friend bought the wolf for me. Yay for Kourt! Who, sadly, hates anything related to a cartoon, so she doesn't know I even like Teen Titans. Oh well, she's missing out, big time!) Raven put her arms back by her side, and brushed past Beast Boy.
"I'm keeping an eye on you," she said. She bent down and picked up a stick, poking him with it. "You better behave."
Beast Boy was still chuckling, his eyes almost tearing up, he had such a good laugh. But a sharp jab from Raven's new weapon reminded him she meant business.
Robin yet again took the lead, and they continued on for a while. They eventually came to a fork in the path. The rest of the Titans looked at their leader expectantly. They trusted his judgment, and would do as he said.
"Are we splitting up?" asked Beast Boy, after a moment of silence. Robin shook his head slowly.
"If we wanted to cover both paths, we'd have to split up, and I'm not doing that. We'll stick together, and hope we picked the right one." Although he couldn't see, his teammates nodded in agreement. Robin stood there for a few more minutes, then finally chose the path heading the straightest.
The path he decided upon soon led to a steep, rocky face. Although it wasn't very tall, it was a bit dangerous. The path had been carved into the rocky surface. Starfire noticed Robin wobbling a bit. Even with his skills in martial arts, he was as blind as a bat in the dark. Starfire reached out and steadied him. He turned around and shone the light a little below her face, so as not to hurt her eyes.
"Thanks Star," he said in a husky voice. Starfire could feel the blush creeping up her neck.
"It was no trouble." Starfire swiveled the beam of her flashlight so that it illuminated the top of the rocky incline. It was still a ways off. Robin looked there too.
"You know, it'll be even harder for me to get up there. Will you help me again?" He turned to look at her, his mask (which he had refused to remove) looking eerie. His light had not left her face.
"Of course!" said Starfire, regaining her posture. For a moment, Robin's voice had had a different edge to it, a very... interesting one. But his voice had now returned to its usual pitch. Starfire knew that this wasn't the place or time to wonder about his momentary lapse. Few people understood her way of thinking, she had learned throughout the years. If something happened to her, she would log it away quickly, to be analyzed later. She reacted to what had to be done first, then later, often when she was alone and trying to sleep, she would revisit whatever she had been thinking of before. She liked to take her time to mull over things, and truly understand them, before she would make any assumptions.
However, Robin surprised her again by slipping his hand into hers. Starfire found herself thinking how warm and comforting his hands were. He rarely took his gloves off, occasionally to wash the dishes, and obviously when he showered (although, Starfire was not present when that happened).
Starfire let a wide smile spread across her face as Robin turned again and headed up the rocks. In the dark, he couldn't see it.
As they continued up the rocks, Raven began to lag a bit behind. Although she could have easily levitated to the top, she decided against it. They didn't know who could be watching. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt something wrap around her arm.
"Are you coming, or what?" asked Beast Boy. He had looped his arm around Raven's, pulling at her. "They're getting too far ahead!" He was right. Robin and Starfire were almost at the top of the steep incline.
"Yeah, I'm coming," Raven said quietly. "But maybe we ought to give them their space."
Beast Boy laughed, but quietly, getting the drift. "Think it'll finally happen?"
"It better. I'm getting tired of seeing them run circles around each other."
So Beast Boy and Raven allowed the not-quite-official couple to get ahead of them by a bit before trailing after them. The path widened at the top of the ridge, so there was room for Robin and Starfire to keep holding hands. Neither wanted to be the first to let go, so neither did.
Beast Boy walked next to Raven, their hands occasionally brushing, but they didn't mind. In unspoken agreement, they would allow each other to be there, for simply the comfort of knowing someone else was there. The forest was a deep black hole surrounding them, and it was natural just to be a little nervous.
"How are you doing, friends?" called Starfire from up ahead.
"We're doing just fine Star. It looks like you're doing pretty well yourself," Beast Boy said cheekily.
"Don't start," Raven warned, but it was too late.
"What's that supposed to mean?" demanded Robin, stopping short. He still hadn't released his grip on Starfire's hand. He turned his flashlight to shine on Beast Boy's face.
"What do you think, Robin?" Beast Boy said. The smirk on his face was unbearable for Robin.
"I know what I think you're talking about, but if that's really what you're thinking about, you better-"
"Look everyone!" cried Starfire. She had her light ahead of them, off to the right. A pair of eyes stared back at them. They were low to the ground, and glinted red.
"Another fox?" asked Raven. Beast Boy nodded, and was about to retort when the eyes suddenly rose up to about six feet. The eyes continued to stare straight ahead at them, and as the creature moved forward, it did so at its full height. The snapping and crunching of sticks and leaves told the Titans that whatever was heading right for them was huge. The teens were paralyzed with fear at... whatever it was that was fast approaching. They heard a low growl as the creature got even closer.
Starfire squeaked and grabbed Robin's other hand. She flew straight up through the trees, bursting through the leaves and sending them showering down behind her. Beast Boy flung his arms around Raven's neck, to scared to change shapes, and Raven quickly followed Starfire's lead. Everyone except Robin had dropped their flashlights, so he used his to look down from where they hovered in midair, trying to peer through the dense canopy of leaves below them.
Starfire was shaking with fear, whimpering every so often. Robin began to whisper to her reassuringly. Raven's breath was shallow, and Beast Boy had buried his face in her hair, finally looking up at her, his eyes shining with fright. He spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear, in a shaky voice, "What was that?"
They never knew.
Please tell me what you think!