Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans-never have, never will. This story, on the other hand, I do own. This story takes place following the episode entitled X. Also, like the aforementioned episode, Robin starts this story off in a voice-over.
Teen Titans: The return of Red X
Teen Titans: The return of Red X
Prologue-Coming to Terms
"The greatest test of courage on Earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." –R.G. Ingersoll
(Terminator 2: Judgment Day theme plays in background)
"They say that even the noblest person has a touch of evil in their heart. The same applies on the opposite scale as well-even the darkest person has a touch of good in their heart.
That phrase even applies to me, as much as I've denied it over and over. I find myself wondering why I do the things I do, if the same results end up happening again and again. I think back to my past, and I remember why I've chosen this path. I knew it wouldn't be an easy one, but I'm sticking on this path and haven't diverted from it once!
My dark side, you could say, has separated from me-in a sense. It wasn't that long ago that someone, dressed in the exact same costume I once wore, faced me in battle, using the same unstable element I once used in order to power my then-costume…xenthonium. To make matters worse, the professor who had given me that element had arranged for the capture of my friends, and the stealing of some very important items for finishing his "Disintegrator beam."
In the end, all was well-in one way or another. My friends had been freed, and the disaster averted-yet, the term irony comes to mind: The one who now adorned the costume I had once worn was a thief, and yet he had helped us to save the day. It isn't easy to come to terms with an issue like that, not even for the good guys.
Yet, as Starfire would put it, 'in your first encounter, he kicked the butt. In your second encounter, you kicked the butt, Robin. There is still the matter of the…rubber duck match?' For a first attempt at saying rubber match, it was pretty close. She's right, though-we still need one final confrontation between each other, to prove who is the better fighter once and for all…"
(Terminator 2 theme fades out)
The day was clear and the sun shined brightly upon the two Teen Titans. For Starfire, she was determined to keep an eye out for anyone who would dare attempt to ambush her during this mission, which was of the utmost importance. No matter what happened, she would observe and remain vigilant…
…as Robin stretched and prepared himself to go out to the pitcher's mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch for the Gotham Knights during their final home game of the season!
"Robin, you are sure we are not being invaded by any enemy forces?" Starfire asked while looking at the baseball bats that were beside her on the wall of the dugout, a concerned look on her face.
"Of course. Besides, I don't know of any species besides Earth that would use baseball bats as weapons. We don't even use bats for weapons-most of us."
Starfire nodded before replying, "On my planet, this would be viewed as sport in competition against other planets, which has been forbidden since ancient times."
The Teen Wonder raised an eyebrow in response. "Tamaranians use baseball bats and baseballs for competition?"
Before Starfire could explain, they both heard the call of the announcer through the speakers.
"And now, the Gotham Astrodome would like you to welcome, in throwing the ceremonial first pitch, Robin, the Boy Wonder! Don't forget, after the pitch, Robin will be taking part in history as he readies himself for the ceremonial first hit!"
As Robin grabbed a baseball glove, Starfire called out to him, "Robin, I thank you for allowing me to watch you up close in throwing the opposing player out of the game!"
Laughing lightly while heading out to the mound, Robin said, "Thanks, Star." He figured he would have time later to adequately explain to her what his job had been.
Starfire smiled happily as Robin stepped up to the mound and narrowed his eyes behind his mask, mentally preparing himself for this moment.
"And, there's the pitch…! There you have it folks-Robin delivers a perfect strike, right down the middle!"
Starfire clapped amidst the cheers the crowd gave her best friend, and waited as Robin then walked over to the plate and picked up a bat before getting into position.
"And, now, here comes Gotham Knights' own Jack Taylor, prepared to also take part in history as he throws the pitch against our special guest!"
Robin watched and analyzed the pitcher's movement while waiting for any kind of pitch that was thrown at him.
"There goes the pitch and…"
"…whoa! Robin sends it flying through the air while breaking the bat in two! It's going, going, going…GONE! Robin just performed the first ceremonial home run before this evening's final home game!"
Starfire cheered loudly while clapping at the same time, as Robin chose to make history of his own by rounding the bases after his home run hit.
"There's never a dull day around this city!" Robin exclaimed while rounding third base and heading to home plate, seeing Starfire head out to greet him at the plate seconds later.
When there's trouble, you know who to call…Teen Titans!
From their tower, they can see it all…Teen Titans!
When there's evil on the attack, you can rest knowing they've got your back!
'Cause when the world needs heroes on patrol…Teen Titans-GO!
With their superpowers, they unite…Teen Titans!
Never met a villain that they liked…Teen Titans!
They've got the bad guys on the run; they never stop 'till the job gets done!
'Cause when the world is losing all control…Teen Titans-GO!
1, 2, 3, 4-go! Teen Titans!
Robin made sure to take the crossroads as quick as possible in the Redbird while going down highway 37, hoping it would take himself and Starfire back to Jump City as soon as possible.
"You are sure this is a quicker route, Robin? Perhaps if I flew ahead and scouted, we might find our way back home sooner."
"I'd say yes, but as much as people from Gotham are used to seeing Batman, somewhat, I don't think they'd take too kindly to seeing a flying Tamaranian-plus, Batman doesn't know I arrived in town for that one little detail."
Starfire blinked in confusion, but nodded in agreement.
"If he doesn't know you arrived in town, won't he know it when it appears on the television?"
Robin couldn't help but laugh at that comment.
"Batman, watch baseball? That's about as crazy as Raven actually laughing at one of Beast Boy's jokes…"
That's when it hit Robin-the time Beast Boy and Cyborg had accidentally taken a trip inside Raven's mind, and he had actually made one of Raven's "sisters" laugh…
"Star, hang on!"
SCREECH!! Seconds later, Starfire found herself clutching against Robin's arm tightly as he literally put the pedal to the medal, zooming out of Gotham City as fast as the car would go.
Despite the joyful attitude he'd shown his best friend, inside, Robin was anything but joyful. His thoughts kept returning to the incident with Red X, and how evenly matched they had been.
"He even sounded similar to me-which is more shocking than how evenly matched we were. Beast Boy's theories might have made more sense than anyone of us could've understood!"
"Robin? Did you hear what I asked you?"
"Hmm?" The Teen Wonder realized he allowed his mind to drift a bit. Once he'd explained he hadn't, he made a mental note not to do that around Starfire as much.
"I asked how long it would take us to return home at our current speed."
After thinking about it for a few minutes, Robin replied to her question. "Since we aren't being stopped by Gotham police, I'd say about two days, three at the most."
"Do you think our friends will be able to handle any problems without us there to assist them?"
Robin frowned when he recalled specifically who had remained, and sped up even faster.
"Sure, they would…if Raven hasn't already caused serious damage to either of them!"
"Come on, baby, come on, come on…whoa, watch out! No! Wait…yes! That's it, keep going! YEAH!"
Cyborg cheered loudly as he forced Beast Boy's car to crash headlong into the side of the concrete, thereby giving him the win as his car zoomed past the finish line.
"Boo-yah! I'm #1! I win, you lose, celebration time in honor of me!" Cyborg raved as Beast Boy frowned on the couch beside him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah-you just wait. I'll make a comeback by the end of the week!" Beast Boy declared confidently.
Raven, who had appeared behind them during Cyborg's cheering from the darkness, chose this moment to respond.
"By that time, Robin will have beaten the both of you by at least…5 more times."
Whatever Cyborg and Beast Boy would've said was disrupted by the alarm. Instantly, the three Titans headed over to the consoles to locate the situation.
"Whoa-a tiger's loose in the city!" Beast Boy exclaimed in amazement.
"Looks like it's near the bank." Cyborg added while checking the map for a precise location.
"That location isn't anywhere near the zoo. It might be a trap." Raven noted.
"Trap or not, we gotta take special care of that tiger. The zoo might want it." Cyborg advised.
"Since when'd you become an animal lover?" Beast Boy asked, a cynical grin on his face.
"Since I had to watch out for you." Cyborg cracked, snickering as the grin faded on Beast Boy's face. Moments later, his own face grew serious.
"Since Robin and Star aren't here, we'll have to do what we can. Titans-GO!" Cyborg demanded confidently.
"So…they took the bait."
The Titans' greatest adversary ever, Slade, had survived his latest encounter with the Teen Titans, and wasn't pleased with the sacrifice his latest apprentice, Terra, had made. Since then, he made sure his actions were carried out in secret, if he made any at all. He wanted his return to be a true surprise to the team, and especially, to Robin.
"With two Titans missing, this will be painfully too easy. And, when Robin returns from Gotham City and finds his friends…he will finally see the light."
With that said, Slade pressed a button, and a dark hooded figure appeared on screen, his eyes hidden from view.
"The Titans are short only two members, but they will return, and when they do, you are to take out all of them…but one."
To ensure no mistakes were made, Slade picked up a picture of the Titans, circled one of them, placed the picture in a file, then faxed it within seconds.
"You'll receive half of your payment now, half when the four are taken out."
The masked individual watched as Slade broke the connection, then heard a quick knock at the door. He didn't even feel a need to throw a shuriken; the door was heavily protected. He would've known if it was an attempted ambush. A small box came in through the mail slot, the slot he had purposefully made bigger than normal mail slots. Seconds after that, the file arrived.
Taking out the picture, the individual noticed the words written in cursive, Take out all but this one!
Instantly, the individual tossed the picture into the air, then, without warning, pulled out two katana swords and sliced the picture four times. As the pieces ended up scattered on the ground, only one remained as a whole…
The formerly circled Teen Titan, Robin, hadn't been touched at all on what used to be a picture.
The individual knew only one thing at that precise moment-that Slade would be very impressed with his handiwork.
As for Robin, he and Starfire had finally gotten far from Gotham and was now listening to a song he considered fit for his current situation. Interestingly enough, Starfire had fallen asleep on his shoulder.
Caught off guard, Robin quickly turned off his radio and focused his attention on the Dark Knight, who apparently was in close range to be able to send a signal.
"You appeared in Gotham City for the final game of the season. Any reason why you didn't inform me you had arrived?"
Clearing his throat, Robin replied, "I wasn't sure you were into baseball games. Nightwing once told me you and he watched a football game. And, besides, I had Starfire with me."
"That was during an incident with the Scarecrow. And, I see. Anyway, I just wanted to wish you well on your trip back."
A faint smile crossed Robin's face, even as the connection was cut. "Thanks, Batman."
Deciding not to turn back on the radio, Robin found himself pleased that he hadn't, because Starfire woke up a few moments later.
"Robin? Where are we?" Starfire asked while yawning a bit loudly.
"Hmm…I think we're somewhere near Kansas."
As Starfire stared at Robin, his mind seemed to wander as his thoughts returned to Red X once again.
"Robin? What is on your mind?"
Sighing lightly, Robin forced himself to calm down while looking at Starfire.
"Not much, Star. Just…wondering how it would go if I faced Red X again. You said it yourself-in our first encounter, he beat me. In our second encounter, I beat him. All that's left is the final bout-the rubber match."
Starfire looked at Robin while deciding on how to choose her next words carefully.
"Robin, I am sure that you will be victorious against Red X in your next encounter, but you shouldn't focus entirely on this when other more dangerous villains are still out there."
The Teen Wonder smiled at his best friend, pleased she was concerned about his well-being.
"Thanks. Wanna shave some time off our trip back, Star?" Robin suddenly asked, a light smirk replacing his gentle smile.
Blinking in confusion, Starfire replied, "Sure, Robin, but how do you shave some-?"
WHOOSH!! Before Starfire could finish her question, Robin had pressed a button and his car instantly changed into a plane that shot them both high into the sky seconds later!
As for Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven, the three of them had finally arrived at the location that the tiger was supposed to be in.
"There it is!" Beast Boy yelled out, running toward the tiger from the side while transforming at the same time.
"What do you need to beat back a tiger? Another tiger!"
Seconds later, a green tiger collided against the tiger and both were sent tumbling down to the ground, and right into the path of a Sonic Boom!
"Boo-yah! There goes one naughty kitty!" Cyborg declared as his blast sent the tiger backwards and caused the tiger to hit Beast Boy again, which resulted in him returning to normal!
"Ouch! Anyone get the number of that orange, striped fat cat?"
Half a second later, a deep growl from the tiger caused a chibified Beast Boy to run away, screaming loudly as the tiger gave chase!
Rolling her eyes in irritation, Raven gave chase after the tiger and chanted, "Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!"
A few moments afterward, the tiger growled loudly as it found itself trapped inside a cage! Beast Boy sighed in relief before confronting the tiger while wearing a Sherlock Holmes-like hat.
"Alright-where were you on the night of…just now, actually?"
Raven pushed Beast Boy out of the way, responding almost immediately, "This isn't a real tiger."
"What?! Haven't you been fighting the same battle as Cy and me? That thing is definitely a real tiger!" Beast Boy protested.
Pointing out the smoked side of the tiger, Raven snapped in a collected, but cold voice, "Think about it. Once Cyborg's attack hit that tiger, if it was real, it would've instantly started bleeding. Since its side is damaged and singed, it must be a robot, sent by Slade to distract us."
"Why would Slade send us a robot tiger?" Cyborg asked in amazement. "Normally, he attacks us with his Sladebots, or whatever he's calling them now."
"I know why!" Beast Boy announced, his hat still on his head, to the chagrin of Raven, as he started pacing back and forth. "Because Slade's mind has been corrupted by a tiger! Since losing Terra as his apprentice…" Beast Boy chose this moment to clear his throat and focus a bit before returning to his explanation-one that Raven had already deemed as ludicrous. "…Slade's decided to turn to the animal kingdom for recruits!"
Cyborg groaned to himself, even as he noticed the tiger was actually shorting out. Making sure Beast Boy was staring right at her, Raven responded, "That would be one of the most ridiculous reasons ever. We have stopped this threat, and Slade was undoubtedly prepared for it. We should go home and prepare for an ambush, as well as Robin and Starfire's return home."
"Oh, yeah?!" Beast Boy snapped impatiently, not noticing a glint of light out of the corner of his eye. "Why do you think Slade sent out this tiger, then? Huh?! Let's hear your big explanation-!"
Whatever Beast Boy was going to say was cut short as, only a second later, a cut was revealed right across his side! Raven gasped lightly while Cyborg stood there in shock.
"Dude…" Beast Boy managed to say while holding onto his stomach as tightly as possible. "…what just happened?"
Raven was close enough to catch the falling body of her comrade as Beast Boy lost consciousness. Shock turning into anger, Cyborg looked upward to see someone clad entirely in black, holding onto two curved katana swords, one with a shred of clothing on the tip.
"WHO ARE YOU, YOU JERK?!" Cyborg yelled loudly while preparing his Sonic Cannon for attack.
Leaping from his position, Cyborg and Raven caught a glimpse of his mask before he vanished! A few seconds later, Cyborg felt a katana pressed against the right side of his neck.
At that moment, only two words were uttered from the voice of Beast Boy's attacker: "The Carver…!"