Before the Titans banded together, they were each their own superheroes leading double lives of normal citizens. Then a threat forced these five bantering teenagers together… what happens now?
December 9, 2004
- - -
Large, downy snowflakes floated down from the concrete sky above. The bustling metropolis felt serene and safe during the first snowfall, as if nothing could ever go wrong in Jump City. If you were a tourist or visitor on this day, you may feel as if this was how the city had always been; just a beautiful, safe haven for everyone to enjoy. A citizen of this town would tell you otherwise. They would tell you that the city was corrupt, black, and always filled with an endless supply of crime. Some cruel human was always wreaking havoc across the streets, and it all just seemed so infinite.
On the upside to the down side of Jump City, there were five superheroes that worked diligently to keep the city as safe as superhumanly possible. They fought everything from massive bank robberies, to rescuing the helpless during an accident, to the occasional mugging problem. These five heroes did anything they could to keep Jump City a happy and secure place for all of its inhabitants.
'Cyborg' took the North end of the city, where there was mostly industrial and developmental properties, which had their fair share of problems. 'Starfire' took the South end, where most of the tourism took place with attractions, shopping, and expensive living quarters. 'Beast Boy' took the East end, which was the strange conglomeration of places like 'Little Italy', 'Little Mexico', and 'Chinatown'. 'Robin', being the busiest of them all, took the West end of the city where crime was high and his work never finished.
There was, however, a new superhero who had recently emerged on the West end. The Jump City Tribune had called her "…as dark and mysterious as a raven" and henceforth, the newcomer was named 'Raven'. No one actually knew who she truly was or where she came from, but this girl was definitely a superhero and did her part.
The strangest thing about these superheroes was their desire to remain apart from one another. Except for a few instances where Robin and Beast Boy joined forces, the five heroes never made any sort of contact with one another. They each stayed within their own end of the city, rarely venturing into others territory.
No, nothing was truly wrong with this. In fact some of the smaller crimes were easier to combat if they worked individually. But every citizen of Jump City couldn't help but wonder why they refused companionship. After all, weren't things always better as a team?
On this cold day, however, an accidental meeting would put a new ball into motion that would never stop rolling…
Richard Grayson looked up as someone tapped on the bulletproof window and called his name. He smiled and waved back, motioning for the green boy outside to come and sit with him inside.
Garfield Logan trotted inside Fat-Boy's Burgers, which looked about as old as the city itself and smelt of vats of cholesterol rising, ancient grease. He walked over to the booth where his friend sat and plopped down, feeling the rusted springs prod relentlessly through the vinyl at his very delicate buttocks.
"Hey, Gar," Richard said, closing his English textbook, and motioning the waitress, who happened to be making eyes at him, to come and accommodate his friend with an order. "What brings you on this side of town?"
"I didn't tell you?" Garfield asked, raising an eyebrow in mild surprise. "I was cast as the plant in West View Theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors. It's not a great theater, but at least it pays, and it's one more title I have on my audition card."
"Um… okay. You're a plant?" Richard said skeptically, trying not to offend his friend. "Aren't you a better than that? I mean… a plant."
"Uh, hello!" Garfield rolled his eyes. "The whole play is about that plant. And besides, as a plant I get to eat people." He wagged his eyebrows comically at his companion, who laughed and shook his head.
"I don't know whether I should send you to therapy or say 'congratulations'," Richard replied, laughing. There was a slight pause as his eyes turned from jovial to suspicious, and darted around the restaurant looking for eavesdroppers. After he decided the place was secure, Richard leaned into the table looking firmly at the green boy across from him.
"Okay, BB," He whispered as Garfield leaned inward, "I know there's a reason you're here. You are never on this side of town."
"There's a new one here, on the West end," Garfield replied, his smile fading completely from his face, and his eyes showing a severity rarely seen.
"I know," Richard said coolly, green eyes never showing emotion, lest they betray something about his feelings on the subject. "She's been cutting into my missions, not that I mind or anything… but I can't find anything about her. She's a complete mystery to the entire city, including me."
Garfield's face contorted into confusion. "You know it's a she?"
"Yeah… I caught a glimpse of her once. Trust me, BB, I don't think a man can have a rack like that… even with implants."
The green one snorted with surprise. "Wow… maybe I should track her down and ask for a date." He grinned comically at his companion, who only shook his head.
"Don't count on it. The millisecond she caught sight of me, she bolted. It was like she didn't want anybody to see her," Richard appeared perplexed for a moment, then shook his head in exasperation and turned back to Garfield.
"If anything," he replied, raising an eyebrow, "it is a change from that 'Starfire' chick. She'll fly circles around you for hours, flipping her hair and giggling. It really is disgusting to watch a superheroine become one of your groupies." He laughed at the face his companion made. "You know, Dick, If I didn't know any better I'd think she had a crush on you."
"Thank you, Garfield, for that very disturbing thought," Richard said flatly, rolling his eyes. "I try very hard not to think of the masses of women out there who would be willing to put-out for Robin."
"Hey," Garfield replied easily, "You never know, they could be willing to put out for you as well."
"I'll pass on that," Richard said, leaning back in the booth in a relaxed manner.
"I just don't get it," Garfield said, shaking his head and grabbing his Pepsi. "You have women throwing themselves at your feet, and you could have any one of them. You could do the deed and never even take off the mask, and yet you refuse every time!" He sighed deeply. "I'm very disappointed in you."
Richard rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "Come on, Gar. Even you wouldn't stoop to such a level."
"Oh, I would," he replied, laughing at his friend's expression, "if I could. But I have the problem of the green skin. I'm surprised no one's put two and two together yet. Unless there's some other hot, green guy running around Jump City's streets."
"Green perhaps, hot no." Richard laughed, then noticed the waitress bringing their food to them. She batted her eyes at him, but he just nodded and gave a polite smile as she retreated to the kitchen.
"Even as a civilian you have women throwing themselves at you," Garfield shook his head and sighed deeply. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were gay."
Richard laughed. "You'd be the one to know."
"Yeah well," Garfield said calmly as he shrugged, "ninety percent of us thespians are gay or bi, so my gay-dar is very perceptive." He took a bite of his tofu burger as Richard just laughed at him again.
"Well, good luck with that."
Garfield grinned. "I try." He paused for a moment, swallowing his food before talking again. "Hey, you wanna drop by the theater sometime this week? We're getting close to open, and I thought you might wanna drop by and check it out."
Richard raised a skeptical eyebrow. "There's something else, isn't there?"
Garfield grinned again, more Cheshire than ever. "Of course! Our assistant stage manager is totally hot. I'd bang her, but every time I get close she threatens to drop the main rag on my head during curtain call." He winced, as if suddenly experiencing what that that would be like. "I guess that would be the end of my career."
"And your body, but who's prioritizing?" Richard supplied, raising an eyebrow. He thought for a moment, then shrugged. "I guess I can stop by sometime this week. But you better play one hell of a plant, Gar, or I won't come and see it opening."
"Thanks, Dick. It's so good to know you care."
- - -
'I want to know, whose bright idea it was to live on the tenth floor,' Richard groaned to himself as he walked up another flight of stairs in his apartment building. The steps under him squealed and whined, as if they were ready to break at any moment. The handrail shook and rattled, and the sounds and smells from other apartments infiltrated his senses and made Richard wish he wasn't noble enough to ask Bruce for some money for a better place to live.
As he climbed the last flight to his floor, he heard the sounds of heavy items trying to be dragged across a worn floor, and the groaning of someone exerting a lot of energy trying to do it. As Richard finally reached his landing, and looked at the door next to his own, he realized the sounds were originating from the tiny studio apartment to his right. Feeling a little curious, and noticing the door was open a smidgen, he poked his head inside.
The 22' by 25' studio apartment was littered with marked boxes, misplaced furniture, and a pretty, young girl who was on the floor, trying to push a desk into a corner, so it could hide a rather terrible crack in the wall. Richard couldn't help but look at the young girl with a wandering eye; she had long dark-lavender hair, deep violet eyes, light, smooth skin, and a very wild and curvaceous figure. It suddenly appeared as though a dark angel had moved next door to him.
Although Richard usually tried to avoid women at all costs, he could tell that there was something about his new neighbor that would keep him at her door for a long time to come. There was something in her air and in her mannerism that which told him that she was very different… something entirely unique.
"Bite me!" She yelled suddenly, angrily glaring at the desk that was refusing to budge from its comfy spot in the middle of the room. "Stay there and rot for all I care!"
Richard stepped forward and cleared his throat, now seemed a good a time as any to introduce himself… if he wasn't daft enough to screw it up. "Um, hi."
The girl spun around and raised an eyebrow at the strange new man that entered her domain. "Hi…? Can I help you with something?" She asked shortly, hoping this boy didn't detain her too much.
"Um, I'm your neighbor, Richard Grayson… and it sounded like you were having some trouble, so I thought I'd offer to help, or something." He suddenly felt far more idiotic as he added the 'or something' ending. How ambiguous could you get?
The woman regarded him with confusion and even slight interest for a moment, then extended her hand in greeting. "Beatrice Torres. It's nice to meet you."
Richard accepted her delicate hand and gave it a soft shake before returning it to the owner. "So, um… can I help you?"
"Oh, sure. If you want to take the left side, and I'll take this side…"
Richard took a firm hold of the desk, and together they slowly moved the heavy piece of furniture into the corner to hide the nasty gash made by aging walls and poor craftsmanship. Beatrice stood up, after making sure it was snugly placed, and smiled politely at the newcomer.
"Thanks for your help," she said after a moment of silence.
"Um, sure… you know, anything to help a new neighbor," Richard felt slightly uncomfortable as they stood there without anything to talk about. He was suddenly feeling the strange effects of just barging in on her solitude; after all, it really wasn't his place to do so.
"So…" Beatrice started as she pushed a lavender braid over her shoulder, and went to move a chair under the desk. "You live in the apartment next to me?" She turned and looked at Richard, her eyes shining brightly as silver, winter sun penetrated the window and lit up her eyes. Their strange, and unusual shade drew the male deep into their depths and made him wonder if he would ever stop drowning in the color.
"Yeah. I've never had to share the bathroom… but I guess it'll have to work…" He said, trying to make light of the situation. Beatrice didn't even flinch, she just nodded politely and went to move an end table into the opposite corner of her desk.
"Well, I'll try not to take up too much of your 'primping time'," She stated sarcastically, as she decided the end table looked fine in its new spot. Beatrice stood up and looked over at her guest, then smiled a little. "Are you a student?"
"How'd you guess?" Richard asked with a slight, exasperated laugh.
"Why else would you live in a hell-hole like this?" The young woman said with the same laugh. "So, I guess you go to the western campus of JCU?"
"Yeah… it's a better commute than going all the way down to Chauton, on the South end." Richard was trying to keep conversation going, lest he suddenly feel too awkward and have to exit her presence; that was the last thing he wanted to do. "So… do you go to school?"
"Yep," Beatrice replied calmly, going to a box marked 'Dishes' and opening it. "Or something of the like…" She pulled out a few glasses and a Brita filter. "You want some water?" She asked, walking to the small kitchenette in the corner closest to the door. She turned on the water and made a funny face as it started running brown.
"Only if you filter it," Richard said, laughing slightly at the expression on her face. She looked so cute with her eyes all wide and her mouth and scrunched up in disgust. An adorable, dark, mysterious angel.
A musical beeping suddenly sounded from his back pocket, pulling his from his reverie. Richard strongly resisted the sudden urge to throw his cell phone out the window. Pulling it out he saw Bruce was calling him, and it was 'urgent'. Making a face of utter anger and frustration, he answered the call.
"Yeah?" He asked curtly, glancing a hopeful glance at Beatrice, who was preoccupied with making the water look somewhat drinkable. It wasn't an easy job.
"I need you to come here as soon as possible," The deep, mysterious voice called to him from the other line, evoking a heightened level of adrenaline. "I just received some very strange information I thought you should be aware of, Dick."
Richard rolled his eyes to the ceiling and sighed deeply, wishing his friend had picked a better time to pull him away from his crappy apartment building. For once he actually wanted to be there. "Alright, alright… I'll be at the train station in half an hour."
"I'll have Alfred come and pick you up." There was a pause. "And try to be on time, Dick. It's not very re-"
"Responsible, I know. Look, I'll be there in half an hour. I promise." He quickly hung up the phone and looked over at Beatrice, who just stood there calmly, eyes never moving from his frustrated face. The Brita filter behind her simple trickled on, working as hard as it could to get the gunk out of Jump City's water.
'That girl is so hot,' Richard thought as he pocketed his cell-phone. 'I guess I lucked out with new neighbors…'
"Looks like I'll take to take you up on that offer later. My friend just called me in for an emergency…" He smiled politely and waved as he started for the door. "It was nice to meet you Beatrice. Let me know if you need anything, okay?"
She nodded placidly. "Alright. I guess I'll see you later then."
"Yeah… bye." Richard waved one last time as he exited the studio apartment and approached the steps with her in his mind. She was definitely going to be something interesting… Richard just had the strange feeling through his whole body; and his superhero senses were rarely wrong.
'Oh, shit…' He growled inside his own mind. 'I just walked up those stairs…"
- - -
And there it was! For your viewing pleasure! I promised it would be out soon and it was. I know Raven (Beatrice) was a little OOC, but I wasn't really sure how to write her, since Raven never had a human alias. OKAY And now for a note:
Beatrice: There was a reason I called Raven 'Beatrice'. Beatrice was a smart, sharp-mouthed, beautiful woman in a Shakespeare play called Much Ado About Nothing (which is hilarious, and I highly recommend it). Originally I called her 'Elphaba' from Wicked, but then it started feeling weird, so I called her Beatrice instead… which isn't much better, but the allusion is far more believable.
And that is that. Also, in case you are wondering: YES this is a romance between Robin/Richard and Raven/Beatrice.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the story, I'll try and get the next chapter out ASAP!
PLEASE review!!! I always feel SO special when people review… ::Bats large, innocent eyes at reader:: Pweeeeeease?