Merely came to me in the form of a rabid bunny, and I had to let it manifest itself. Apologise for any mistakes. Tell me what you think.
The city lay spread beneath him like some dark offering. Tilting his wings a little, he dived towards the street. Beast Boy transformed as he landed, shivering slightly in the cold. A light thud and Starfire was with them. "Well?" He glanced around the darkened street warily, ears pricked for any sound.
"No sign of him back there." Raven gestured towards a junction a short way away. Robin's forehead creased in determination. Smirking, Beast Boy wondered if the boy had more than three expressions. He watched as Robin glanced once more at his locator, frowning.
"Alright," the boy sighed. "We'll have to wait until he shows himself again. Any clues at the store?"
"Nada," Beast Boy replied with a shrug. "And nothing was taken."
"Then he just wanted us to know he was here," Robin mused thoughtfully. Raising an eyebrow, Beast Boy looked away as Robin rotated his shoulders, the material of his suit stretching tightly over slender muscle. "He's advertising his presence, but for what? Does he want to fight us?"
"Nah, he heard we were coming and got scared." Beast Boy puffed out his chest in a show of bravado. Grinning cockily, green eyes flitted from shadow to shadow. His casual act faded quickly; he just didn't have the heart for it today. Someone was watching them, he could feel it. Rather, someone was watching him. Like they had for the past week or so. Beast Boy looked around them nervously, ignoring Cyborg's preening strut. He was seeing shadows that weren't there, hearing a voice that couldn't exist. His imagination was working overtime. That's all it is. Just your imagination, he assured himself. The sharp cawing of a crow interrupted his thoughts, and he jumped.
"Most assuredly," Starfire piped up, floating into view with a cheerful grin. "We are exceptionally skilled warriors, after all."
"I don't think that was it." Robin's blank mask portrayed no expression but his lips were set in a contemplative pout. Beast Boy refused to analyse the shades of meaning he had attributed to Robin's mouth. "Whoever he is, he wants us to know he's here."
"Enough chatting, let's go back home." Yawning, Cyborg headed towards the car, nonchalant tone dismissing the whole incident. "We can't do anything hanging around out here." Nodding decisively, Robin climbed onto his motorcycle.
"You're right. We should all get some rest, anyway. Who knows when he'll next show up?" Beast Boy hesitated as the others retreated. That scent… The crow cawed again.
"Beast Boy?" The voice made him turn reflexively. Robin stared at him, raised an eyebrow. "Are you coming?" How many different meanings can I spin on that question? Beast Boy thought with a suppressed grin.
"Ya, ya. Your hero, at your service." Sketching a low bow, he winked at Raven as she rolled her eyes. Smirking at Robin's snort, he dismissed his own thoughts. It wasn't possible, after all. It couldn't be.
"Yes yes yes!" Beast Boy screamed, thumbs bashing at the controls as he caught up to Cyborg's ugly car.
"Oh, no you don't!" Cyborg crunched down in his seat, eyes squinting almost fully closed as he concentrated on the screen. Sighing heavily, Raven attempted to ignore their enthusiastic commentary as she flicked another page. Cheerful, tuneless humming rang in the background as Starfire once again attempted to cook. Their dysfunctional family seemed to work pretty well most of the time, Beast Boy thought as he roared towards victory. Tugging on his gauntlets, Robin strode into the room and headed for command central. One green eye followed his movements, the other wholly focussed on winning.
"Yeah! Come on!" Suddenly alarms blared at them, flashing an irritating red. "Aw man," Beast Boy groaned, tossing the console away. "Just when I was about to win."
"Dream on, Beasty," Cyborg taunted, already moving away.
"Downtown. The docks," Robin stated with furrowed brows. He had slipped into his 'mission mode'. "Titans, go!"
The place was eerily quiet by the time they got there, dark and deserted and full of moving shadows. Beast Boy shifted uncomfortably as they crept through the warehouse. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. "Fan out," Robin commanded. He eyed the darkness warily, stern and cold as ever. Beast Boy took strength from his impenetrable expression. "We'll get him this time."
"No, you won't." The voice resonated through the air, confidently mocking. Beast Boy whirled, falling easily into a combative stance. A huge, snarling mass suddenly pounced on Raven and Cyborg cried out.
"There!" Robin's shout came at the same time, and a screech filled the air as something with vicious talons flew at the masked boy. Tumbling away, Robin flung a batarang in its general direction. It cut through the shadows eagerly but the creature had disappeared. Cyborg levelled his blaster at the shapeless form atop Raven even as her kinetic power rose. A wolfish muzzle rose into the air and the beast leapt away. A hiss escaped him as Beast Boy stilled. "What is that thing?!" Robin cried in shock, staring at the creature.
The wolf's head snarled at them as the lion's lifted to roar a challenge. Crouching on the strongly muscled legs of a goat, its scaled tail hissed at them, forked tongue flicking out to taste the air. "A chimera," Raven stated with awe, eyes widening. "But they don't exist!"
"Tell that to him!" Beast Boy shouted as the thing leapt. Green light flared into life around Starfire's hands and she took to the air.
"Where is the other?" Red hair flying about her, she tossed a scatter of starbolts at the thing. It jumped to the side, growling lowly. Raven rose beside her and summoned her powers. Abruptly something smashed into her and she fell to the floor. "Raven!" Starfire darted away from the other creature and Beast Boy halted his charge. Part eagle and part golden lion, it turned in the air and slashed at Robin's swiftly moving figure with its talons.
"A griffon?" Beast Boy wondered softly, eyes round in wonder. How was this even possible?
He whipped around, muscles tensing as the voice whispered at him. He knew that voice. His eyes narrowed against the darkness, seeing movement among the shadows. Running forward, he followed after the distant figure as the cries of his teammates echoed behind him. Soon he was surrounded by utter darkness and the sound of the battle had faded to a distant rumble. Cautiously, he strode forward, suddenly feeling incredibly alone. But he wasn't, of course.
"Hello, kitten." Green eyes widened and his blood froze. That voice, that voice… "It is so good to see you again." The shadows coalesced before him, and a dark-haired figure stepped out.
"No," he whispered softly. No no no no no. "It can't be! It's not possible, you're not real!" He was backing away before he knew it, stumbling from that figure, head shaking in blind denial. "You're gone, you're not real. You're dead!" he cried in desperation, fear throbbing through his veins and a familiar, disgusting thirst curling in his stomach.
"You mean you're not pleased to see me?" the other replied with a mocking smirk. Dark violet eyes laughed at him. "Come, kitten, surely you've missed me? Missed the… fun, we used to have?" He shuddered, nausea rising as memories he'd struggled to suppress rose to the surface of his mind. His back connected suddenly with a stone wall, hard. Trapped.
"What are you doing here, Arran?" he asked angrily. If the other titans finished with those beasts and came after him, only to face this… He had to keep him away from them.
"I've been watching you for quite a while now, as you've noticed, I'm sure." He continued advancing slowly, stalking towards him with the air of a jungle cat. "Much more observant than those others you call friends, by the way, kitten. Even your little bird." Beast Boy's eyes narrowed warily and the man laughed. "Oh, yes, I've seen the looks you throw at him. But nothing save a gun-wielding maniac can break that mask, I'm afraid, kitten. You'd do better trying for the robot." Snarling, he remained silent. He was close now, Beast Boy could feel the trapped heat between their bodies. The scent of spice and sandalwood slithered over him. His scent.
"Get away from me," Beast Boy hissed, desperately trying to ignore the treacherous part of him that yearned to fall forward into those familiar arms. Violet eyes smouldered, tracing his form and sending shivers down his spine. He growled, baring his fangs, all thought of his own defensive abilities vanquished by the figure looming over him. He could no more fight back than the helpless citizens he was supposed to protect.
"Sheathe those claws, kitten." Long, slender fingers cupped his jaw. Struggling to pull back, Beast Boy only succeeded in banging his head against the wall vainly. Memories flashed before his eyes and he flinched away. That mocking smirk curled the man's thin lips in a familiar, hated curve. "You remember, don't you? The times we had together. Before you became a Teen Titan, before you relinquished the darkness for this fragile hope." Fingers raked through his hair as the other man pressed against his lower body in an achingly familiar gesture. Despite himself, Beast Boy leaned into it, head tilting backwards. Those lips hovered inches from his own.
"No," he protested quietly, squirming against that sickening, delicious touch. Dark eyebrows rose.
"It torments you in your nightmares, thoughts of what you did. Doesn't it, kitten? Do you remember that spot just here," he stroked a point on his lower back, over his spine, and Beast Boy arched into the caress, "that still drives you crazy? Do you remember the hunts we ran, the prey we killed?" His mouth brushed over Beast Boy's ear, voice silken and tempting and loathed. "Do you remember the taste of blood?"
"Stop it!" With supreme effort, Beast Boy pushed him away. Trembling, he leaned against the wall for support, glaring at the other man. Arran grinned smugly, stepping back.
"I will see you again, kitten. You can count on it." And with a final, eerie smile, the man disappeared back into the shadows. A sobbing breath escaped him and his legs collapsed. Beast Boy rested shaking hands on his knees, whole body trembling. His mind reeled, thrown into shocked chaos.
"Beast Boy, come in." His green eyes opened again, and he shook his head. "Beast Boy." Sighing, he unhooked the communicator from his belt.
"Yeah, I'm here. What's up, fearless leader?"
"Those creatures just left. We'll meet you outside in five."
"Got it." For a moment he just sat there, eyes staring blankly into space. Then he shook himself, rising. He couldn't let them know Arran was here. Robin would merely go running off into danger again and get himself killed. And Beast Boy couldn't let that happen, no matter that what the violet-eyed man had said was utterly true…
No, he told himself sternly. Do not go down that road again. Running an unsteady hand through his hair, he plastered a grin on his face. They wouldn't know. He would deal with Arran himself.