you read!—Physical and emotional violence ahead!
This story contains subject matter that may offend some people, such as rape, prostitution and molestation involving minors. I am thoroughly against crimes of any nature against children and this story is in no way meant to condone such acts. There may contain some explicit description of sexual acts in the future but ONLY if it will help with the plot, character, mood development. I do advise that this is adult content and language, but I also understand there are very mature people of various ages. Thus, those who feel they are mature enough for these types of content, continue if you wish. Please be responsible for yourself with any story containing difficult topics—irresponsible readers brought down the quality of what once was a flourishing FFnet. If the mentioned subject matter offends you, please do not read any further.
Beast Boy: 13 yrs old
Robin: 14 yrs old
Raven: 16 yrs old
Starfire, Cyborg: 17 yrs old
(Due to Star's alien heritage, I thought of making her older in Earth years while on Tameran she would still be considered a "young" teen like Robin and BB.)
Possible male/male relationships
Don't expect happiness to last long in this story if it ever erupts. And it's Robin-centric with much angst 'n torture for him. I may be exaggerating too much, but better to over state the warnings than be sorry.
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans and anything connected to it. The twisted plot is my own along with any original characters that may arise.
Not beta read.
Lost Never Found
1: Once I Saw a Little Bird
Robin stayed up day and night meticulously looking at the autopsies and crime scenes over and over again. Each bruise, each cut, each sign of violation fuelled his body to fight sleep and bring those responsible to justice.
A third body was found in the last two weeks totalling to seven since the first victim was discovered. Small, frail bodies thrown away like rag dolls in dumpsters or alleys, anywhere the sunlight didn't reach. Image after image of photos hacked from the city police told the story of abuse of the worse kind—violations of both body and mind. A particular detail that told even more ruthlessness was found on each victim. A tattoo of a barcode was found on the back of the neck at the base.
He could see it in the pictures. A trade was going on, and it was beyond the confines of Jump City.
Some had mutilations around their bodies, some located specifically in the most private of parts. Others were free of any bruises or cuts, and just looked as if they were simply sleeping when they were found. In most, if not all the victims, traces of drugs, most likely aphrodisiac-related chemicals were found in their blood stream but too much was naturally absorbed by the body to make an identification of the drug. The police expected even an eye drop of foreign bodily fluids to extract from the victims to be analyzed for known pedophiles but not a trace could be found.
Whoever these people were, they knew exactly how to erase evidence.
News of kidnappings from neighbouring cities made it to his ears and he knew somehow it was all connected. Five corpse that were identified had records identifying the children were born and raised outside of Jump City which made it even harder to swallow.
Not all victims were reported dead…yet. Reports of children, sixteen years or younger being abducted from school grounds to homes permeated the news and no one knew how it was being done. And Robin had the undying suspicion that an unhealthy percent of the victims that remain voiceless in the media were street children. In their current circumstances, they were the most vulnerable in these types of organized crime.
But the methods used to isolate the children tore at his heart the most.
He had difficulty reading some of the reports, with at least two children's parents killed right in their homes just…because they were there—they just got in the way. Many missing children were from divorced parents, a traumatic event in their family lives that would make them easy prey to outside influences. Some children were described as too trustful, shy or had bouts of depression. Others lead healthy lives who actively participated in sports and school clubs with popularity to fuel their egos. In short, there was no specific pattern to the kidnappings.
Reading all this reminded Robin the "teen" part of Teen Titans that he worked hard to quell beneath him in his mind. He had to if he were to continue in his line of work. The team as a whole had its more than fair share of grisly tales, but Robin's extra experience in Gotham exposed him out more to the darker side of humanity at a very early age. A part of him, the normal teenager who should be worried about dates and finals, screamed that he shouldn't be looking at such pictures. After all, he only just turned fourteen two months ago and the transition from one age to the next does not always translate to instant maturity. And indeed it was difficult to look, but too fascinating—in the worst way possible—to tear his eyes away from the images before him.
It was much too easy to get attached to victims who were the close or the same to his age and maybe that was why the others were not involved in the investigations as he was. Perhaps, that was a wise move he should heed. A case made personal forms smog around the crime causing the finding of the simplest of clues and common sense to be hindered. He shouldn't be involving himself in crimes where he saw his own parents in the place of the parents who were slain to reach these children. Or how children as young as… too young, were being abducted.
Maybe he had ignored, or distanced himself from his own feelings, but the faint tremor at the base of his spine was always present when he looked at those photos.
But that was the fuel. That was the reason to be looking at these pictures and read through the reports. If in any way he can contribute in bringing the perpetrators to justice, he would whole heartedly endure this experience.
After all, this was what he trained and prepared for.
But he too often forgot he was a child behind the mask.
"The body of eight year old victim, Sandy Huntington of Gotham City was found dead today on the outskirts of the Jump City landfill. This brings the total of seven bodies discovered within a month and the police are still baffled by these—"
Starfire drowned out the reporter, covering her mouth with her hand, looking away from the giant television screen. The rest of the Titans listened to the same story they heard before, only the names of the victims constantly changed. At first, the atrocity of the crimes froze their hearts, but as time went on and no concrete leads could be ascertained by either the police or themselves, frustration grew like a spore.
They were a group of gifted children who had the power to bring the city to its knees, but were powerless before the horrors of man. It was a vulnerability they weren't used to at all.
Beast Boy watched the entire news, not making a conscious effort to hide his emotions warping his face. He was the youngest, although merely separated by months from Robin. He was the most expressive of the group next to Starfire, and made no qualms in voicing his thoughts, "Geez," he muttered as he listened to the description of bruises and their inference, "what kind of sick mind would do all this…?" He questioned to no one, or maybe he was questioning himself.
"I…I did not believe that such…evil can occur so consecutively…" Starfire kept her gaze away from the screen only to find Raven in her line of vision. The other was floating crossed legged in the air as she meditated. How she could keep her mind calm while listening to such horrors was beyond her. But, she was also aware that the dark girl was meditating more often than usual recently. She absently turned to Cyborg, standing behind the couch with arms crossed watching the same news. A look of disgust and anger painted his face.
Once again it came to her attention that Robin was not with them as it has been for the past two weeks. It was like reliving the Red X incident again, but this time the enemy was faceless. Not even a mask to give the evil its shape. Each of them knew what he was doing behind the door of his research room and couldn't find the rights words to say to pry him from his room. Star shifted out of her seat, walking to almost stand beside Cyborg but facing the opposite direction and looking at the doors to the hallway, "Is Robin still…?"
Cyborg nodded once, "A part of me wants to do whatever it takes to find these bastards too, but he shouldn't be caught this deep in the matter." His voice was steady, feeling his role as the big brother of the group more needed than ever. And he believed what he said. Making something personal always lead to solo actions taking place and they all knew the consequences of that. He wanted to be right there with Robin and take apart each autopsy report or crime scene piece by piece but he knew he wouldn't be able to stomach those images for very long. He just didn't understand how Robin could.
Putting the television on mute, Beast Boy jumped over his seat and purposely landed with a stomp, "'Matter'! How can you say that? Robin's just working hard like any other officer to find these…these…… We should be working too! Just because they criminals don't have freakish powers doesn't mean we—"
"That's not what he meant." He was cut off by Raven. During the conversation, she silently made her way to the group unbeknownst to the others.
"Then what?" Frustration was finally reached its boiling point for the youngest Titan, "Can't we do something! I can go out to the scene and maybe sniff something out or—"
"Beast Boy." Raven curtly cut him off again. She was met with angry eyes but let it roll off her shoulder. "The question isn't if we can do anything, it's can we handle it?" She expressed the "we" as if metaphorically speaking, not daring to show that she wasn't able to handle everything. She didn't do fear…most of the time. "How did you feel when you heard about that thirteen year old boy a month ago?"
The anger subsided from the green eyes as Beast Boy contemplated her words. In his want for action, he didn't think about…didn't want to be reminded of the first time the news of corpses started. "Pretty…scared, I guess." He knew that word was an understatement. He was downright frightened of the news. For a few days after hearing about it the first time, he had nightmares of himself in the place of the drowned boy at the city's main sewage system.
Slowly Starfire turned around, looking down at her boots, "I, too, was…shaken about the news." She looked up to the group with obvious pain in her eyes, "Thus, surly Robin must have had strong feelings as well."
Raven nodded only once. She did detect something in Robin, in all her peers, each time a victim was discovered along with the report of the corpses' condition. And she was not immune to the image herself.
Cyborg nodded in agreement. "I know age shouldn't matter with the Titans, but when you can identify with a victim, some things can get clouded. I'm worried he's taking this too personally. He's been keeping to himself for too long."
Star recalled how she, not too long ago, found it odd that most humans put much emphasis on age. The responsibilities accorded to a certain stage in life differed from culture to culture, but still held in high regard all the same. She once found it amusing that she turned out to be the same age as Cyborg after Robin calculated her age in Earth years. She was a fierce warrior with the strength rivalling Cyborg's, yet she felt she was still a child and many times acted like one. She didn't understand why a person could not be an adult and still have the joys of a child to lighten their hearts in the time of peace. Even a Tameranian toddler, enjoying exploration and play of their surroundings, would be ready to take up arms and fight if needed. Being the heiress to her home world, she was taught and always lived by the rule that maturity was awarded to those with experience and the willingness to learn, never given freely with age.
And she could find no finer example of the proverb than her friends. "I know that we would be able to handle the matter better than others of our age, and perhaps we are right now. But we should at least aid the city guardians in their quest to solve this crime."
Cyborg softly smirked at Star's use of words, "The police do and have our cooperation, Star. The commissioner asked us in person." He scratched the back of his head letting out a sigh, "She also said she'd understand if we didn't get too close to the case." The half robot remembered how Jump City's commissioner worded her request, sounding hesitant to voice the problem at all. It wasn't resentment that children were cleaning up the streets better than the police were that held her tongue on a leash. She and the rest of the police were rather grateful for their continued service in keeping the city safe. It was more like a parent trying to protect them from the world but understanding that inevitably, children must face the harshness of life.
They just didn't want it to be known this way.
Beast Boy stood next to Starfire, visually showing his approval of the alien's suggestion, "We can't just sit and do nothing. We can… we have to handle the nature of the crime, Cyborg. Even if it's just to dust a site for clues, we should do SOMETHING to know we're helping."
The other three rested their eyes upon a determined Beast Boy. Rarely did he show this side of him, and when he did, it was hard for the rest of the team to refuse his request.
Cyborg placed a hand on the changeling's shoulder accompanied by a smile. He turned on his wrist communicator, "Robin, we're having a discussion on the current…events, and the consensus is to have a look around."
All of them were waiting for a reply, and after what seemed like minutes have passed, the half-robot's communicator crackled back, "I'll be right there."
The pungent smell of rot and decay assaulted the green bloodhound's olfactory system, but Beast Boy continued to scour the area. Smells of garbage, seagull excrement and lingering dead flesh torn off by the seagulls creeped along the ground. With such stench perpetrating from other sources, it was impossible for the hound to pinpoint any oddities from the landfill.
The others ignored the nasal unpleasantness as best as they could. None of them found any physical evidence of any markings of footprints and the like to indicate perpetrators, but something felt wrong on a different plane.
Raven floated motionless, forgetting the nauseating surroundings as her mind felt a trail of a sensation lurking in the air around her. She closed her eyes and chanted her precious words to calm her self even more. A faint residue of…something, an abnormal mind poked at her brain. "There's something here." She announced.
The rest of the team walked towards her as she floated down to the ground. Robin was the first to be by her side, "What is it?"
"I can't really describe it," she began, "it's something…abnormal."
"Well what's normal about any of this?" Beast Boy huffed, having reverted to his human form.
Robin, eager for any new information, ignored the changeling's remark, "Abnormal in what way?"
Raven shook her head, "I can't describe something I've never experienced before." She almost snapped at the young leader, the smell and the mental sensation irritating her senses. "We should try other locations where the victims were found."
With a nod, Robin ordered the Titans to head south to the slums, the last place a victim was found only three days ago.
In the other side of town, a mother lied on the kitchen floor drowning in her own pool of blood. The sound of a young girl, not passed the double digits, sat crying beside her. Tiny pyjamas soaked up a considerable amount of the now cold red liquid, and dirty blond hair stuck to her cheeks by the drying blood that splattered on her. A stuffed toy horse, still held in her tiny hand was half stained in crimson.
"Cute button nose, hazel eyes…blonde hair. I swear I don't get what people see in blondes." A man, clad in a completely black business suit, save for red gloves, shook his head to his equally black-suited partner only wearing white gloves.
"It's the client's order, and what they want, they get." White-gloves kneeled down and held the girl's chin between his fingers. She looked so small compared to his massively broad body. Even red-gloves seemed lanky next to him. Impossibly wide eyes stared up at him, frozen in her place with fear. "I know what you mean though. Give me coal black hair any day."
"The kind that just melts in your hands…" Red-gloves continued, imagining a small child's ebony hair tangled by his hand. He sifted his gloved hand through his own black hair which was the same colour as his partner's. But while his was stylized to be spiked, white-gloves had his styled smoothly back. "We need a new playmate, bro. Our current toy isn't as good as it used to be."
"Yeah yeah," the older brother responded, "but business before pleasure." He inhaled the air saturated by the metallic stench of blood, "Smell that? She's already at her peak."
Red-gloves leaned down towards the girl, sniffing the air with his mind, red eyes devouring the child. "Very delish." He licked his lips to emphasize the point. The little girl cried even more if it were possible, and still did not dare to move.
The fear exuded from her made his stomach growl even more, and as it fuelled him, it gave him the latch to hang on to as he widened the window to fear and allow more terror into the girl's mind.
A paralyzing feeling of mortification slapped her in the face and she began to scream. "Hey hey! Don't over do it!" White-gloves chided his brother. Quickly, his gloved hand covered her mouth as he willed another door to open in her mind. A soft mist slithered its way inside and the girl stopped screaming. Eyelids felt heavier and heavier, until they felt like bricks and she fell into a deep sleep. "Don't want to break the merchandise before we get paid."
The red-gloved man just shrugged with a goofy grin on his face, "Sorry, it just tasted so good. But," he stood up, "not that good. They just give up too easily nowadays."
White-gloves quirked an eyebrow, "Is that a bad thing? We have a city full of scared-shitless kids now and demand has never been better."
"Yeah but I miss the challenge. You know, to spice up the menu."
The older brother shook his head, his silver eyes shining an amused glow, "You have a sweet tooth, ya know that Tom?" Shaking his head, he lifted the girl in his arms, leaving behind the dead mother and the stuffed horse. "How about we go for a drink and light dinner after we take this package home? My treat."
The red-gloved man grinned at the thought of wine and chardonnay, "You know you're too good to me, Jack."
"It's almost non-existent, too much time has passed." Raven floated above the water of the city's main sewage canal where the first victim was reported.
Cyborg crossed his arms, "But whatever it is, you've felt the same at the other sites?" He received a nod to answer his question.
"I try to follow the mental trail, but I keep hitting a wall. Someone is covering another's trail." Raven joined the titans on the ground still trying to penetrate whatever it was she was following.
"No foreign bodily fluids, no fingerprints or even a single hair, even psychic…whatevers being blocked…" Cyborg listed out loud, "It's obvious they don't want to be found but…"
Beast Boy was standing just behind Cyborg since they arrived to the sewers. The memory of that nightmare was still fresh in his head. "But if they're taking such measures to hide themselves, they why do they keep leaving the bodies where they can be found by anybody?"
Starfire kept her fists glowing vibrant green, lighting the tunnel as brightly as she could. She and the others were on the same line of thought that the changeling voiced out loud. "What does this all mean?"
Robin glared at the spot the child's body was found, subsided the anger and shiver that crawled at the back of his neck. "It means," he started, turning to the group, "whoever is doing this want the bodies to be found."
Just then their alarms sprang to life in unison, and they rushed off to a crime in progress.
Finishing the last drop of red wine, the brothers relaxed into their chairs with their jobs complete for the night. The Lounge, as the bar was called, catered only the finest vintages of wine to those who could afford its hefty price tag.
"'77 Fronseca," Tom savoured the last drop on his tongue, "though I still say the '94s are still better."
Jack smirked, "There's just no pleasing you is there." He laid a couple of hundred dollar bills for the wine and appetizers. Red eyes hidden behind dark shades, he nodded to their waitress to pick up the bill.
And scurried she did to their table. No more than twenty years old he thought. She was a pretty little thing, round face white as porcelain, with lips red as pomegranate juice. He was fond of that shade of red and it very well seemed the management knew his favouritism to the girl. Whenever the brothers came to the Lounge, she would be there to serve them as he would always leave an obscenely generous tip at the end of their meals for her. "Thank you again for your wonderfully kind services, my lady." He softly lifted her hand and gently kissed the back of it.
She giggled with a splash of pink decorating her cheeks and scurried off again with the money in hand.
Tom rolled his eyes with a grunt, "A real lady killer, aren't you?"
"Now now, Thomas. There's always time to be a gentleman." He used his younger brother's proper name whenever he was reprimanding him or anger flared.
The younger just shook his head with a smile, "C'mon, I need a smoke."
Both left the bar as bartenders and waitresses bowed after their valued customers. Despite their popularity at the bar the brothers did not abuse their status with ignoring the no smoking rule. They walked down the street in the cool night wearing their shades, sharing a match as both lit their cigarettes.
"So seeing as how we have the next couple of days off," Jack started, "What should we do?"
Tom sighed, "Well, as much as I'd love to just stay home and play this and that, I want something fresh."
The older brother was about to respond when a loud explosion caught their attention. Jack only raised an eyebrow, and tilted his head towards the noise looking at this brother, who promptly nodded.
Jack lightly held Tom's arm as an invisible air gathered beneath their feet. They catapulted to the roof of the nearest building and ran leaping from rooftop to rooftop with the same invisible power pushing them on.
Another explosion, this time right below the building they landed on forced them to a stop. They walked to the edge and looked down to the street thirty stories below. Six figures littered the road, what obviously looked like five against one—only the one seemed to have reinforcements in the form of telephone poles and street lamps come alive.
"The famous Teen Titans." Jack commented, taking a casual puff from his cigarette.
"Them?" Tom mocked whilst dropping his cigarette to focus on the battle below, "Just kids in bad costumes is all they are. They forgot Halloween ends in—" Suddenly, he felt an invisible wall surround them both. "Bro, what?"
The elder brother only tilted his chin down to the street, "See the girl wearing the hood? Empath."
Tom nodded, understanding the simple explanation. "Can I just take a peak though?"
Jack sighed, "Alright, but avoid the hooded one alright?"
Red-gloves playfully elbowed his brother, "Hey, I'm not a rookie."
Jack just smirked, and concentrated on the wall around them to allow only Tom's thoughts to permeate. The younger brother outstretched his mind, tasting the aroma of anger and frustration…and…what's this? Was this a linger of fear he smelled?
Excited, he moved farther and farther down to the scene of the battle. Avoiding Raven, he went from Titan to Titan. Yes, they all had a sliver of fear embedded into them, and he could feel that it was the natural, instinctive kind not the one brought about by battle.
He slipped his mind's fingers around Cyborg's, feeling only half of things—half of the fear, half of the aggression, half of humanity. This won't do at all, he thought to himself. Half of anything wouldn't satisfy his hunger. And it was alright with him since he preferred smaller toys and knew his brother leaned towards that taste too.
Green bolts of light caught his attention and set his sights upon a strangely pigmented girl with a nicely shaped body. He tried to slip into her mind, and although he could taste the basic emotions, her mind was too chaotic and foreign to him. Jack sensed his brother's displeasure, "That's probably the alien of the group. Don't bother."
Tom grunted in response, but found something much to his taste. He spotted a green skinned boy, with a body structure much to his liking. "The green one, Beast Boy is it?" The emotions were clearer and more abundant in this one. He felt it was obvious he was the youngest one of the group, both physically and mentally. It was vibrant raw fear that lingered in the boy and how it make red-gloves' skin tingle in delight. "Now there's something I can really sink my teeth into—GAH!"
Suddenly the sensation of an emotional cocktail was ripped from his brain like being torn from a respirator. He looked back down to the green boy and only saw an equally green lion in his place.
"Animals," Jack knelt beside his brother, "great. Just when I thought we had a new…" He didn't bother to finish his sentence as his eyes settled on a blur of red, black and green jumping from pole to pole.
"Titans! Get that remote!"
Elder brother could hear the object of his sight order the team. "Ah, now an interesting fellow. I believe they call him 'Robin.'" His eyes didn't let go of the ebony hair and the way the fabric of his costume clung to him like second skin.
Tom watched the same silently, licking his lips as he didn't feel a wall to block him, and even felt a seed of fear within the boy. Not as obvious as the green one but still there and ready to take root. "Finally, a normal human being…" He removed his shades to expose his hungry red eyes to the boy, "And a pretty one at that…" He smiled at the prospect, the ideas flowing through his brain made him salivate, "Once I saw a little bird..."
"…come hop, hop, hop." Jack finished. He could already feel his brother's eyes laying claim on the treasure below. "But he's not a push over like the others, Tom. This one…" He paused a bit as he watched the boy back kicked a monstrous pole behind him, leg outstretched revealing the length of his body. "…might be harder to crack."
"Like I said," Tom only smiled, his voice a tone of a child in a candy store where everything was free for him to take, "spice up the menu."
Since it was less than obvious, the Titans were battling Control Freak who brought the telephone and light poles to life.
Honestly, I don't know why I ended up writing this. Depression & anger & needing an outlet equals bad, bad writing I'm fully aware I'll get bombed with flames, but please, if you have the time to fuck me off for being a horrible person, then you might as well leave constructive reviews with the flame to help un-horrify myself.Till next time,
Art of Silence