Unwelcome Counterparts

Chapter 1

Cyborg clenched his teeth as he tried desperately not to laugh. Across the room, Robin and Starfire were doing their "thing". Recently, watching their fearless leader avoid and hide from their alien comrade had become one of Cyborg's favourite past-times. Robin denied it of course, but you'd have to be blind to miss it.

Beastboy wandered in and moved to sit next to Raven, who was reading on the couch. He put his arm around her and said

"Hi Raven" in a gentle voice, while leaning in to kiss her cheek. But she shrugged him off and stood up, sitting back down in one of the single chairs without even looking at him. Beastboy sighed and hung his head. This sort of thing had been happening a lot lately, which it shouldn't be between people who were supposedly dating.

"Hey, Cy, I got a big, blue, virtual car with your name on it." sang Beastboy, waving the game-controller in front of Cyborg, who pushed it away and nodded in the direction of the kitchen, where the two Titans were. Beastboy caught on immediately,

"Cool, live theatre." he said and sat back to watch with the semi-mechanical crime-fighter. " Man, I can't decide if this is a comedy, or a tragedy." said Beastboy shaking his head.

"You shouldn't make fun of them." said Raven quietly, "We were like that, remember?" Beastboy turned to his estranged girlfriend, and, giving her his best cute-face, said

"I know, and it took a little outside help to get us together, so now, I'm just repaying the favour." Raven smiled slightly and shook her head.

For the past couple of weeks, Robin and Starfire had been exceptionately shy and clumsy around each other, and so had taken to avoiding each other, except of course, when they were working. Today however, the universe seemed to have taken it upon itself to cross their paths. With hilarious consequences.

Right now, they were both in the kitchen, which was rare in itself, but today the two infatuated souls must have missed a beat, because there was no denying the current state of things. Robin seemed to want to get to the fridge, and to do that he had to get past Starfire, who wanted to get a drink from the tap. Cyborg recalled the look on Robin's face when he had looked up from his file and seen Starfire stretching to get a glass. Panic, which gave way to open longing as his eyes roamed over her. While she was reaching like that, her clothes rode up an inch or so, exposing the elegance of her back, and the alluring planes of her thighs. Cyborg appreciate a pretty girl just as much as the next red-blooded male, but he just didn't feel that way about Starfire. That didn't mean Robin didn't. Cyborg was able to see him swallow hard and close his eyes, visibly reminding himself to breath.

And then it was over as Starfire found her glass and settled back on her heels, tugging her skirt back into place. Then she turned and found herself face to face with Robin, open file held forgotten in his hands. It was too late to avert her eyes, so she gave a small smile and headed for the sink. The only problem was, Robin was standing in the way, and he hadn't yet regained control of his fogged brain.

"Um, can I just…?" mumbled Starfire.

"Huh? Oh yeah sure, sorry." was the reply. Still trying to avoid eyecontact, Robin stepped to the right, but so did Starfire, so Robin went to the left, and Starfire went with him. Eventually they got past each other, and Starfire got her drink. However, on her way back to the living room, Starfire managed to knock the file from Robin's hands.

"Sorry!" cried Starfire

"It's alright, don't worry about it." said Robin. They both bent down to collect the scattered pages, and bumped their heads as they went. This time Cyborg couldn't hold it in, and he laughed, hard and loud. Robin looked up at him, curious and half-glad for the distraction.

"What's so funny?" he asked, generally clueless. Cyborg shook his head, and held up a hand.

"Nothing, man, nothing." he said, his laughter subsiding. Robin was going to pursue the issue, but Starfire handed him the complete file. He took it, mumbling a "thanks".

It was then that the Alarm went off, driving all other things from their minds. All five of them gathered before the big screen, where a picture of the Jump City grand museum appeared.

"A robbery," said Robin, he pressed a few buttons and the image changed to a live feed from the museums security cameras. "Warp." declared Robin, as he lay eyes on the man in the golden armour.

The T-car screeched to a halt outside the Museum's famed marble steps. The Titans jumped out and raced up to the impressive, glass, revolving doors. They made their way to the west wing, leaping over barriers and flying up stairs as they went. Finally, they arrived at their destination, The Aramaic exhibit. Inside, they spotted Warp carefully unloading the display cases into foam-filled boxes.

"Alright Warp, give it up." called Robin. Warp turned to them with a smug smile on his face.

"Titans, you're late, I was expecting you." he jeered.

"Can we go quietly this time? Or are we gonna have to do this the hard way?" asked Robin, pulling out his bo-staff for emphasis, secretly wanting Warp to give him a reason to fight..

"Poor, misguided Robin. Did you know the ancient Aramaic world believed that there were many dimensions, existing alongside ours?" replied Warp.

"What's your point?"

"My point is, that I don't intend to go with you at all." Here he pulled out a circular device, that looked suspiciously like the one that had sent Starfire into the future. Aiming it at the wall behind him, Warp pressed something, and the room began to shimmer.

"What is that thing?" said Beastboy in wonder. On the other side, there seemed to be their reflections, except they were dressed differently. The figures were blurry, but undeniably there. Warp grabbed the handles of the cases, and made for the portal. Robin started after him.

"No" he called as he made a desperate grab for Warp as he disappeared through the portal. Robin was just about to call the team into action and go after him, when someone came through the portal from the other side. He looked like Warp, except he was wearing a police uniform. He glanced up at Robin for a second, before staring back at the portal. The "reflections" were lined up and looking through at them. They could just see what looked like Warp running away in the opposite direction. Robin stepped up to the shimmering border, it looked like heat rising of the road on a hot day, or water running down glass. He laid his gloved hand on the surface just as his counterpart did the same. The echo on the other side of the barrier was clearer now, and Robin saw with a sense of foreboding that it looked just like him, but villainous. They both looked back at their teams. The Titans looked blank, but their reflections looked eager. A single, black-clad, leg appeared through the barrier. Quickly followed by an arm, then the whole body.

Robin stared in amazement at, well, at himself. The person before him was completely identical, except for the outfit. He wore black with steel plates on the wrists, forearms, legs and thighs. He had a silver utility-belt, and a yellow "T" emblazoned on the right corner of his chest. He also had a certain mischievous air about him. Robin stared in shock, and his reflection grinned back at him, looking him up and down with interest. Their attentions were drawn away from each other by a noise that sounded like someone clearing their throat through a synthesizer. Both heads turned back to the source of the sound and saw that on the other side of the barrier was a girl that looked like Starfire, but again an evil one. She had her hands on her hips and was looking expectant. Robin's mind was slowly beginning to realise that whatever was going on, wasn't good. The new Robin turned and put his hand back through the portal with a smile. Robin guessed what was coming before he saw the slender fingers coming through.

The other Robin tenderly handed through Starfire's copy. She wore a black mini-skirt and crop top that matched Starfire's perfectly and shone purple as if it was coated in amethyst, with boots that were tighter, sleeker and meaner. She had the silver wrist-guards and neck-plate, except instead of a green stone, her's were black. Her hair was also darker, instead of the shimmering scarlet Robin dreamt of, this was a sinister blood-red. Her eyes still sparked the same green, though the innocence was replaced by a look that simultaneously carried a threat yet said she was thinking naughty things about you. Robin was surprised to see his alter-ego's arm snake around her waist, and she leaned into him. Robin felt like he was being evaluated as the couple continued to look at him, the dark Starfire's eyes sliding over him lazily like a cat's.

Robin looked back at the other Titans, who were looking back equally astounded. The still blurry reflections of Beastboy and Cyborg on the other side of the dimensional rift seemed to look at each other, then they took a couple of steps back. Robin only had time to get out of the way before they came thundering through. The purple on Beastboy's outfit was gone, replaced by the darkest green, and he sported the same yellow T on his chest as his leader. His hair was longer and flopped down, covering his eye on one side. He turned to the stunned Robin and crossed his arms. Instead of radiating an endearing immaturity and goofiness like the Beastboy Robin knew, this one's whole attitude seemed to be waiting to answer any challenge presented to him, to the point of agression. Cyborg's body-plates, where they used to be white, were now black, making his presence ten times more threatening. His blue circuitry stood out like lightning, and his red eye was sinister.

Last but not least, the Raven still on the other side rolled her eyes dramatically and glided through. When she arrived, Robin was taken aback by her sheer confidence. She thrust her garnet cape aside, putting her hands on hips, revealing a black leotard. Her boots came up to her knees in a diamond at the front, with inches high heels. With a practised toss of her head, her hood fell back to unleash long, volumptious, violet hair. Her eyes glittered, and she obviously expected to be admired. Robin was made uneasy as she smiled coquettishly at him with bedroom eyes.

"Raven." The new Beastboy said quietly, but with an undertone of warning. Raven spun her head and look at him.

"Yes, sugarcane?" she said. Robin almost fell over. Sugarcane? He never thought he'd see the day when Raven called Beastboy "Sugarcane". And it sounded so natural, rolling off her sultry tongue.

"Don't." he said. Was it possible that he was… jealous? Robin knew that Raven and Beastboy were dating in this dimension, was it possible they were in the next as well?

Raven pouted seductively and strolled over to him, swaying her hips and using her high heels to their full advantage. She stood facing his side and laid her hands on his shoulder. She kissed his cheek and said,

"Aw, come on baby, I was just playing, you know I only have eyes for you." She gave a coy smile. Her words seemed to carry a deeper meaning but Robin couldn't figure out how they possibly could. Her whole demeanor seemed to be about sex and lust. Beastboy put his arm around her waist, and she snuggled into his cheek. Beastboy smiled shyly, like a little boy getting teased about a crush, and Robin watched as the boy's resolve shrunk away to nothing.

In all the confusion, the policeman who had come through first had ran off. But Robin had bigger fish to fry, like who were these people in front of him? Assuming they had come from some parallel dimension, what were they like? Were they a threat? Where and for how long were they going to stay? Will the portal stay open? All these questions and more raced through his head creating a mixed atmosphere of curiosity and apprehension. Robin decided the most pressing question was whether or not they were going to stay. In his experience, portals tended to close, and they had no idea how to send them back if it did.

"Er, putting all other things aside," began Robin tentatively, shrinking as the gaze of all five of the skewed version of his team turned full-force onto him, "That portal's not gonna stay open forever." His reflection looked at the portal, then around the room, then at the Starfire at his side. They seemed to come to some sort of conclusion because he turned to Robin and said,

"That's okay, I think we'll stick around. This place has caught my interest."

"Okay" said Robin, completely at a loss. "Then I guess you'll be staying with us."

"I guess so."

Robin's mind was in turmoil and it didn't look like it would get any better. He needed time to think. Suddenly, inspiration hit.

"I'll just go and inform my team, then." He said, and before they could say anything in reply, he turned and hurried over to the Titans he knew and loved, but more importantly, knew.