Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.
Rating: Maybe a little harsh language, certainly some violence, but nothing worse than on BtVS.
Spoilers: Up to Chosen.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: Xander finds a use for that old codename...
Author's Note: I'm sorry, but this plot bunny attacked me, and it was a lot easier to focus on it instead of dealing with some emotional issues that have come up IRL.
Note to self: Using C4 on powerful magical doohickeys is definitely a bad idea.
That was the thought running through Xander's mind as he clutched his head and waited for the kaleidoscope of colors to recede. After a moment, he blinked his eyes clear and realized someone was talking to him.
He looked up and blinked, as much in disbelief as from the sudden bright light. His eyes were still adjusting from the underground temple where he was trying to bust up some semi-apocalyptic ritual.
"Um, sorry, what?"
"Who are you, and how did you get in here?" Robin demanded impatiently.
He was still getting over that bit too, actually. Mainly because this wasn't Robin Wood either. The red and green suit sort of gave that away.
"Um, Xander Harris..." he said, looking around, "...and that's a really good question."
Because as far as he knew, the people standing around him were cartoon adaptations of comic book characters, not real people.
Oh, shit. The Teen Titans, and they think I'm a bad guy. Sooo not of the good. Waitaminute... He frowned as he noticed something.
"...why am I sixteen years old?" he asked absent-mindedly, looking down at himself. "I haven't been sixteen in ten years."
"So, what do you think, guys?" Robin asked. "Do we trust him?"
"I do not believe he is lying to us," Starfire ventured uncertainly.
Beast Boy grinned, "Hey, I like him."
"Only because he laughs at your jokes, BB," Cyborg grinned. "For what it's worth, I think he's telling the truth."
"He's hiding something," Raven said.
There was an uneasy silence as the Teen Titans looked at each other uncertainly.
"We're all hiding something, Raven," Robin said quietly. "If having secrets were enough for us to turn our backs on someone, there wouldn't be a Teen Titans."
"So, what do we do with him?" Cyborg asked. "If his story's true, it's not like he's got anywhere to go."
Xander tried to sort out his situation. This wasn't his world, which meant getting back home wasn't going to happen any time soon. Well, maybe with Raven's help...
He wondered if there even was a home left. Did he actually manage to stop the ritual?
He really, really hoped so.
Xander looked up as the door opened, revealing the Teen Titans. He took a moment to take in their expressions and decided that it was good news. Robin and Raven were as unreadable as he suspected they usually were, but the other three -- particularly Beast Boy -- seemed cheerful enough.
Well, definitely not bad news, at least. Unless he was in some bizarro world version where the Titans were evil...
Better not dwell on that.
"So..." he began, "what's the verdict?"
"We believe you," Robin replied. "We'll contact the JLA and let them know of your situation. They should be able to get you home. Until then... pick out a room. We've got plenty of space in the Tower."
"Um, thanks," Xander blinked. "So... what's the rent?"
The Titans looked at each other, then back at him. It was Beast Boy who answered, "Just chip in for pizza, okay?"
"Uhh..." Xander hesitated, "...just how am I supposed to get a job when I don't legally exist here? Look, maybe I can help around. I can do repairs in the Tower, I can sharpen stakes if you ever go vampire hunting. Swords, crossbows, bows, axes, anything like that, I can make or maintain."
They stared at him.
"And if you ever need a rocket launcher fired, I'm your man?" he added tentatively, not sure what to make of their reactions.
Still more staring.
This did not look promising.
"We'll work something out," Robin said.
Xander roundhoused the heavy punching bag, sending it rocking. He'd been in here for over an hour already, and he had worked up quite a sweat. It had been a week since he'd found himself in Titans' Tower.
"Hey, what's up?"
Xander glanced over his shoulder and noted the four arrivals, "Oh, hey, guys." He returned to mauling the heavy bag.
"Is... something wrong?" Beast Boy asked quizzically.
The Sunnydaler snorted and turned after lashing out with one final punch at the bag, "I'm going stir-crazy here, BB. I'm going nuts not doing anything."
"But you are doing many things, Xander," Starfire protested. "The dishes, the mopping, the vacuuming..."
Xander sighed, "That's not what I mean, Star. Remember, I'm a lot older than I look."
"Hey, speaking of which, how's it feel?" Cyborg asked. "To suddenly be ten years younger again?"
"It sucks," Xander scowled, then he shrugged. "On the plus side, it's nice to have my eye back..."
"Your eye back?" Cyborg sputtered. "What happened to your first one?"
"It got plucked out by a crazy preacher working for this ultimate demonic evil that wanted to destroy the world," he replied, matter-of-factly.
Raven broke the silence, "I believe him."
"I do not understand," Starfire said. "How does being much older change the fact that you are doing many things for us?"
"As I was saying," Xander said with another sigh, "I'm a lot older than I look. Back home, I guess I'd gotten used to fighting evil. Been at it for ten years. I don't think I can just sit out now."
"You want to join," Beast Boy blinked in surprise.
Xander shrugged, "I guess I do. It's not like the League's making any real headway in getting me home. I might as well get used to the idea I might not get home."
"Fine, then let's see what you've got."
The four Titans turned to find Robin standing in the doorway.
Xander grunted as he felt another half-dozen blows slam into his ribcage, and he stumbled back. I guess that on-the-job training isn't much compared to the Bat's protege, he thought. The two were sparring in private, as both had asked the other Titans to leave.
On the other hand, Robin wasn't as certain of his victory as Xander was. "What does it take to put you down?" he demanded incredulously. He'd taken down thugs twice Xander's size in half the time.
"I've spent the last ten years getting my ass kicked by vampires, demons, and a few miscellaneous other critters," Xander shrugged. "Not one of them was less than four times as strong as a human. I guess all that on-the-job conditioning stuck."
"Great," Robin muttered sourly. With another leap, he hammered Xander with another barrage. He blinked as he felt something close around his wrist. He looked up at Xander.
Xander grinned, tightening his grip on Robin's wrist, "My turn."
"..." (Random note: This note is only here as the only way Fanfiction(dot)Net won't automatically delete this line.)
"Robin?" Xander shook the Boy Wonder and lifted him up. "Robin, you okay?"
"Don't you leave me out of this, Bruce!" Robin suddenly roared furiously, not seeing his surroundings. "Zucco's mine!" He groaned, and his eyes crossed and rolled up in his head as he lost consciousness.
Xander blinked again.
Xander paced anxiously, mentally berating himself for not realizing something so incredibly obvious. Like his endurance, his strength had obviously improved over the years. He had hit Robin with the same force he would have used on a vampire or demon.
And Robin -- despite some of the things he's bounced back from -- was not that tough. Most of Robin's foes, after all, were humans used to fighting other humans.
"So, what are you going to call yourself?"
Xander turned, "Robin!"
"Hey, it'll take more than one good punch to keep me down. Two at the least. You obviously haven't been trained properly, but we can fix that. Just, uh, pull your punches from now on, okay?"
"You got it."
"Unless you're sparring with Cyborg."
This, if you were wondering, is the current cartoon version of the Teen Titans. Caught some episodes a while back just after something personal happened, so I sorta jumped at it and went with it.