Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. Between college and work, things have been rather busy. Also had a lot of struggles writing some of this. It's a bit disjointed, but hopefully you can understand why. I spend a lot of time trying to hammer out some of the feelings of different characters, as well as spend a lot of time introducing my own character to the mix.
Also, looking for some critical people who are willing to discuss writing with me still. I try to surround myself with talent to bring up the quality of my writing. If you're interested in helping in the writing process contact me at:
Email: kodra22 (at symbol) gmail (dot) com
I don't mind being contacted, so don't hesitate.
Anyways, on to the story.
Chapter 4: What darkness lies in the hearts of man?
The sound of rain landing against a thin tin roof permeated the dark alley, only marred by the sound of metal sliding against metal. A man stood with his back against the wall, letting the rain fall on him as he loaded a gun. His face was hidden by his wet scraggly hair, except for the maniacal grin he wore on his lips. As he holstered the sidearm, he looked up to the moon. The face was not that of a man, but that of a boy, not even old enough to drink. He wore a long open overcoat over a chest piece of Kevlar armor. He blinked as the rain beat against his face. "Perfect atmosphere. Just as the rain cleans away dirt, so must I cleanse this world." An engine roared down the street as it shifted gears. The boy drew a pistol from his coat as he languidly moved to the mouth of the alley. He spotted the cyclist from a distance, and drew a bead on him with his gun. A second passed before he proceeded to unload his clip at the biker. One bullet struck the front wheel sending it end over end. The passenger reacted quickly rolling behind a parked car near where his bike crashed. Johnny Rancid swore from behind the car. Someone was looking for a fight, and he was going to show them why messing with him was a bad idea.
Johnny drew his two energy pistols and began to fire blindly in the direction of the gun fire. The blasts were effective in forcing the would-be assassin into cover, where he slid a fresh clip into his pistol. He pulled another nine millimeter from his coat and raced across the sidewalk, ducking behind a mailbox for cover. Rancid stood up from behind his cover and fired off two shots at the mailbox, reducing it to ash. From the smoke, the boy charged forward. Rancid fired off a wild shot which the boy easily avoided. Two shots from his sidearm, and the fight was over. Rancid stumbled back against the brick wall behind him, blood oozing out his back and smearing against the wall as he slid onto his rear. His vision began to fade as he saw his assailant for the first time. He was holding a revolver in one hand and a bullet in his other. The boy displayed the bullet in front of Rancid's face. "This bullet's got your name on it Rancid." He could see some scratched out letters, but he couldn't make out the writing. Not that it mattered; the kid had made his point. He heard the chamber of the six shooter snap into place.
Johnny had a smug grin on his face as he spoke. "Go on kid, finish the-" The gunshot rang throughout the block. The bullet found its mark between the eyes of the thug. The boy's dour expression widened into a maniacal smile. He turned his back on the corpse and moved back into the alley he came from. His crusade had begun.
(4:00 A.M. Titans Tower)
The klaxon blared throughout the tower, drawing the six superheroes out of their slumber. Robin made it to the terminal first, and quickly accepted the incoming message. However, instead of the normal coordinates and symbol they usually received, an image of the chief detective appeared on the screen instead. Robin raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Sergeant Terrence, what's going on?"
The Sergeant looked very down trodden as he spoke across the communicator. "We had a murder down in the warehouse district tonight. Pretty brutal, looks like a mob hit or something. Maybe the Columbians, hard to tell."
Robin listened intently to the detective before interrupting. "Umm, excuse me, but this sounds like something more in your jurisdiction. How does this apply to us?"
The detective frowned. "The body is in your jurisdiction though. Johnny Rancid, shot to hell. Any idea of who would want to kill him?"
Robin's eyes widened at the news. Johnny may have been a two bit super villain, but he was still a super villain. He wouldn't have gone down easy. "How'd he die? Did he put up a fight?"
"Wasn't quick and easy by any means. From what I can tell the assailants shot out his bike, and then there was a big ugly standoff, and it ended with Johnny as a corpse. You want the information I've got?"
Robin sighed as he sat down in his chair. So many thoughts were rushing through his head. "Yeah, fax it through. Thanks Louis." He rubbed his temples in frustration as the rest of the team filtered into the room. The files transferred over into a printout.
"You want this case Robin? I don't mind handing it over if it's bothering you this much."
Robin looked up from his seat and nodded sadly. "Yeah, I'll take the-"
"He's got more important things to be worrying about at this point." Cyborg interrupted Robin. Robin turned around and glared menacingly at Cyborg. "Listen Detective, keep us up to date on this, and if we find anything out, you'll be the first one we call."
The detective appeared shocked at Cyborg's words. Cyborg pressed a button on his arm cutting off the transmission as he stared down Robin. The Boy Wonder was shaking with rage as he balled his fists. "And what, may I ask, gave you right to decide what I do or don't do Cyborg?"
Cyborg glanced over his shoulder at the two girls standing next to each other, both surprised at the exchange. He looked back to Robin. "You better start acting like a leader Robin. You have more important things to do than follow up a case that rightly belongs to the Police. You just seem to be dragging your feet."
There was an awkward silence. Cyborg had voiced the feelings everyone else had been too scared to share, but everyone knew what he was talking about. Robin pushed his way past Cyborg, brushing against him as he did. "I told you I was working on it. You had no right to pull rank on me."
Cyborg narrowed his eyes at Robin, and then turned his way back to the printout on the printer. He collected the papers and placed them into a file. "Alright Titans, back to bed. We all need to be rested up for tomorrow."
Alexander Graham sat in his chair, hands folded under his chin. The monitor in front of him was the only light in the dark room. The desk he was working at was strewn with handguns and stacks of cash. The monitor's screen was cluttered with articles as a search sequence ran in the background. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair, a smile crossed his lips as he remembered the look in Rancid's eyes right before he died. He paid for his sins. They all would pay, until the world was clean of their filth again. A single .50 caliber round sat upright in front of him. He opened his eyes and picked it up. Scrawled on it was the name "Red X". He set the bullet back down and smiled. He needed to get some sleep; tomorrow was going to be another exciting day.
(9:00 A.M. Titans Tower)
Terra woke up as the sun's light filled her room. A week had passed since the Titan's had welcomed her into their home again, and this time she intended to stay there as long as she could. She quickly grabbed her shower supplies and headed out of her room to the bathroom she shared with Raven and Starfire. She passed the energetic Tamaranian on her way, and was greeted with her powerful hugs. Terra smiled in spite of her discomfort. She was definitely glad to be treated like a friend again. As she moved past the cheery teen, her own mood darkened. There was one Titan she wished she could've been more than just friends with.
Beast Boy had captured her heart so long ago and now she was feeling so rejected. She stepped into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. She leaned her back against the wall. It had been his kindness and acceptance that had attracted her to him in the first place. It had been his friendship with her that had caused her to develop these feelings. His friendship is what she valued more than anything right? It was hard to convince herself of that. She had longed for his touch so much in her prison, her dreams of him had been the hope that had kept her going. She had built herself upon that and now she felt as though she was free falling through life.
As she stripped out of her clothes, her mind shifted to the week that she'd spent. Beast Boy had made an extra effort to welcome her, and she had to admit, just being around him made her feel euphoric. He was so bright and warm to her, things felt like they did when she first met him. But it wasn't back then, and whenever Raven was around she knew it. Beast Boy changed in her presence. He wasn't the carefree joker, the bright exuberant boy he was other times. He became quiet and reserved. It hurt him, because he loved her, and she didn't even seem to notice him. Terra closed her eyes as she felt the warm water rush over her. She didn't know how long she could stand to watch Beast Boy suffer. She leaned back against the shower wall and hung her head. Not that she could do anything about it. He confused her a week ago. All his motions seemed to say that he'd been missing her, that he'd been yearning for her. Now she knew why; he'd been subjugating himself to this love of his.
She ran the rag over her skin as she cried lightly. She knew she could make him happy, he knew she could make him happy, and he wouldn't go along with it. He wouldn't go along with a lie like that. It was a level of maturity she didn't realize Beast Boy had, and right now it was beating her down. She finished washing up and turned off the shower. She quickly dried herself off and wrapped her towel around her. She proceeded to brush her teeth and hair before retreating back to her new room. She quickly dressed herself in her standard black tee shirt and yellow shorts. She opened the window and let the breeze run over her skin. No more depression, no more self doubts. She was in the company of her best friends, and she wasn't going to let herself be depressed. It was a brand new day.
Cyborg sat in front of his desk as his face fell onto the files strewn before him. He had opted to see what he could figure out about the murder that had woken them up the other night, but he wasn't getting anywhere with it. To top it off, he felt drained now, both his robot and human half required rest and sustenance, and his mind was just about cracked. From what he could determine, whoever the killer was, they were good. Possibly a professional, but that didn't make sense because Rancid was pretty small time. He wouldn't know how to piss off someone enough to warrant this type of action. It's possible that a rogue element was involved, but that wasn't reassuring either, because there was obviously a struggle, and if a rogue managed to defeat someone like Johnny, it meant they did have an issue on their hand.
He decided to shelve his investigation for awhile. Hopefully new information would arise and that would give him enough of a lead to follow. In the meantime the important issue would be keeping Robin off the subject. The leader was still waffling on the issue of Starfire and Raven, and Cyborg had already decided that if he hadn't progressed after ten days, he would be relieving the boy wonder from his post. Something had to happen or things would just fall apart. Cyborg knew all to well the pains that those emotions could cause.
He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. When he did, he could feel the touch of her fingers on his arms, the scent of her hair. The texture of her lips against his. The weight of her body pressed against his. He sighed as he opened his eyes. "It's just a pipedream Cyborg. Might as well get the thought out of your head."Try as he might though, he couldn't. There were so many things that made it wrong, he was good, she was bad, she was human, and he was only half. He knew that getting emotionally attached to a girl like her would only end up hurting him. So why did everything feel so right. He sighed as he stood up from the desk. "Maybe a recharge will do me good."
He moved over to the recharging unit and plugged himself in, his human self fell fast into a deep slumber, where visions of himself and a pink haired villain danced about in his mind.
(6:00 P.M. Elsewhere)
Alex Graham slowly opened his eyes. He was still seated in front of his computer, a map of the east side and a chemistry demonstration cluttered his desktop. He leaned forward and studied the map again, to make sure there would be no mistakes. He leisurely stood up from his seat and moved over to a work bench where a metal case sat along with his arsenal of weaponry. He opened the case and pulled out an unlabeled aerosol can. He then began to spray a blue mist all across his body, coating his clothes with it. He proceeded to coat his entire stash of weaponry in it too as he began to equip himself. Two pistols, two sawed off shotguns, two sub machine guns, four grenades, a combat knife and ammunition for all his weapons. And of course his magnum revolver and a bullet with the name "Red X" inscribed on it. Tonight he was traveling light.
He drew a cigarette from a pack and lit it up with his Zippo. He took a long drag and then exhaled the smoke. He smirked lightly at his thoughts. "They say these things will kill ya. Won't live to see sixty they say. I'll be dead before I turn twenty five if I have anything to say about it." He took another long drag off the cigarette before tossing it aside. He needed to be sharp right now. There was killing to be done.
(9:00 P.M. Titans Tower)
Robin slumped down onto the couch wearily as he turned on the news. He groaned lightly as he moved his arm to use the remote. He had pushed himself hard in training that day, probably too hard. Terra was a lot more powerful than she was when he last fought her. Now he wasn't sure he could beat her if she turned out to be tricking them. He shook his head at the thought. She wasn't going to betray them this time, and if she did, he'd find a way to beat her. That's what he did; find a way to win against anyone. Something he picked up from his mentor. He closed his eyes trying to relax. Another thing he picked up from Bruce was his way with women, or lack thereof. He spent the better half of the day sitting in his room trying to figure out what he was going to do. "Maybe that's the problem. I'm treating this like a case I would solve," he thought to himself.
At that moment Starfire moved into the room, wearing an overly cheery expression. She saw Robin sprawled out along the couch and frowned lightly. "Robin, what seems to be wrong?"
Robin bent his head back over the couch to look at Starfire. "I had a rough day of training. Terra has progressed a long way since we last saw her. Right now I just feel like relaxing a bit." He leaned his head forward again, his eyes staring off into space.
Starfire moved forward towards the couch and reached over the back of it and placed her hands on his shoulder. One thing she had learned on Tamaran was how to properly relax the muscles of a warrior after battle. She just hoped humans had a similar muscular structure to her kin. Her fingers pressed hard into his flesh, causing Robin to gasp in pain. "Starfire!" She shushed him as her fingers began to move across his muscles expertly, causing them to quickly relax. Robin was soon leaning forward, giving her access to more of his back. "Oh…Starfire…that feels great," Robin spoke softly as he felt his soreness fading away.
As fates would have it, Raven was passing through the hall when she heard Robin's voice. Her eyes widened as many different possible scenarios ran through her mind. She quietly floated to the mouth of the room and peeked her head around the corner. She witnessed her rival caressing Robin and felt like screaming. She quickly composed herself, and begun to plot a way to break this up. Her plan came to a sudden crash when she saw Robin's face. He looked so happy at that moment. She closed her eyes and looked away. She couldn't bring herself to interrupt this.
Robin let out a soft sigh, his mind was racing as he felt the Tamaranian princess' fingers press deeper into his muscles. He took a deep breath and inhaled her sweet scent. His mind began to cloud a bit as he felt his body continue to relax. "Was this what it meant to be in love?" he wondered. He dwelled on the thought for a few minute before doing quite possibly the rashest thing he'd ever done. He turned his body around so he was looking up into Starfire's face, and without hesitation pressed his lips against hers.
Starfire pulled back slightly, before she realized exactly what was happening and returned his unexpected kiss. It was everything she imagined it would be and more, as she soon lost herself in the experience.
Raven closed her eyes and rushed off, feeling as though a knife had penetrated her heart. She quickly made her way to the top of the tower where she meditated, but she couldn't meditate now. Not with her heart like this. It was taking every ounce of her effort to keep from tearing the tower apart as her emotions surged through her.
Robin opened his eyes in time to see Raven's quickly retreating form, and quickly realized what she must think. He pulled away from the kiss and held his forehead in his hands. "What on earth was I thinking? That has to be the dumbest thing you've ever done Robin!" Starfire looked at him curiously and tilted her head to the side. "Robin, what is wrong? What does this mean? Are we know 'dating'?"
He breathed in long deep breaths. He closed his eyes again, realizing exactly what Starfire must've thought. "No. Yes," he sighed in frustration. "I don't know Starfire. That was rash of me."
Starfire bit her lip lightly as she looked down to the ground. "Robin, I am confused. What does this mean then?"
Robin let out an exasperated sigh. "I don't know Starfire. I'm confused too. Listen, I need to go sort things out." He stood up and turned to the door. "I'm sorry Starfire. I wish I didn't have to put you through this." He raced out of the room, hoping to catch Raven before she did anything drastic.
Robin burst through the door to the roof. Raven wavered unsteadily as she floated in the air. She kept her head bowed as she spoke. "What do you want?" she asked icily.
Robin slowly moved over to her. "I wanted to talk to you Raven," Robin explained with a gentle voice.
"What's there to explain? I saw you kiss her with my own eyes. I've always known that there was a good chance you'd chose her, but I opened my heart to you anyways. I was foolish. You've nothing to explain."
He sighed lightly. It wasn't until this moment that he realized that if he wanted to, he could just go along with this. He may not have meant to, but now he could simply choose Starfire. He knew he wouldn't though. He wasn't going to settle for the easy way out this time. He wanted to be sure that he was making the right decision. "It's not what it looked like Raven. I haven't decided anything."
"You looked pretty confident of yourself back there."
Her sarcasm was back in full force. It was one of her defense mechanisms against getting those who would try to get close. He slowly moved across the roof and placed his hand on her shoulder. Dark energy gripped at his wrist. "Raven, look at me."
She lowered her defenses, and slowly turned around to face him. She couldn't bring her eyes up to his though. She couldn't bear the pain. She felt his finger under her chin tilting her face up. Her eyes looked to the side. She couldn't look him in the eyes, until she felt his soft lips pressed against hers. She went from the lowest of lows, to the highest of highs, within a moment. It was everything she dreamt it would be. She returned the kiss with a fiery passion, his lips salty from the tears now flowing down her face. As Raven's emotions surged, her powers ran wild, surrounding the entire tower with her black energy. Neither of them noticed until it was too late.
(Meanwhile in Cyborg's room)
Beast Boy and Cyborg were playing Mega Monkey when the dark energy covered the window like a sheet. Cyborg stopped playing the game when he noticed the anomaly. "Ummm, what's going on?"
Beast Boy had already noticed the surging emotions of the sorceress, and instead of answering his friend, he began to focus his mind on the confused girl. His eyes glowed black as he struggled to rein in her powers. The black wall pulsed out away from the tower. He gritted his teeth as he forced all of his mental energies against the barrier, dispelling it completely. The dark glow in his eyes disappeared as he collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.
"Yo! Beast Boy! What just happened?" Cyborg stood over the changeling, offering him his robotic hand. Beast Boy let out a groan as he held his head with one hand, and accepted Cyborg's with his other.
"Dude, promise me that you will not tell anyone about this," Beast Boy demanded as he stood up.
Cyborg was very confused. "What are you talking about Bee-Bee?"
Beast Boy plead with his friend. "Please Cyborg, just promise me."
Cyborg nodded. "Alright, I promise. Care to fill me in on what's all been going on with you lately. You haven't been yourself."
Beast Boy nodded slowly. "It all started when Raven met Malchior…"
(Meanwhile on the roof of PlasmaTech)
Alex plucked the butt of a cigarette from his lips and tossed it aside. He wore a black long sleeved tee-shirt and black cargo pants. All seven weapons were easily accessible and on his face he had his infrared goggles for his target's cloaking abilities. Idly he noted the odd occurrence happening over at Titan's Tower. "Must be something going on with Robin, Raven and Starfire. Probably a lot of chaos over there. Might be a good time to strike. Maybe if I have enough ammunition after this fight." His thoughts were interrupted when he saw a figure leaping from rooftop to rooftop. That sick sadistic smile crossed his lips as he drew out his two pistols. He fired a volley of six bullets at the thief in mid-air.
Red X was blindsided as he felt searing pain rip through his left leg. He stumbled as he landed on the roof, rolling behind an air duct. He gritted his teeth as he planned his next move. "Dammit, must be some security I didn't know about. Better take him down quick before he alerts his buddies" Red X pushed himself up and fired off three of his Xs, only to watch dumbfounded as they dissolved against the assassin's clothing.
Alex leveled his gun at Red X and fired again, this time, one of his bullets scraping off of his shoulder. The thief dropped back down behind the air vent. Alex began to move towards the air vent, replacing his pistols and drawing his submachine guns. "Might as well just surrender X. Everyone's gotta die sometime, and tonight's your night. Make it easy on yourself."
Red X quickly realized this was not a fight he wanted to continue. Risk was not worth the reward. He activated the cloaking device and made a mad dash towards the roof.
Unfortunately for Red X, the infrared goggles gave him away to Alex, who fired a barrage of bullets at the fleeing villain. A bullet struck him in the foot as he leapt down the side of the building. Alex swore loudly as he raced forward. A duffle bag of supplies was laid out on the roof. He grabbed a length of rope from his and a carabiner. He attached the carabiner to his belt and quickly tied the rope around a pipe. He was probably already dead from falling from the five story building, but he had to make sure.
Red X was breathing in heavy breaths of air as he pressed himself against a window. His mind pushed the pain from his mind. Besides, he'd been worse off before. That'd been along time ago though. He gritted his teeth as he saw the rope drop down in front of him. He reached down and pulled a switchblade knife from his boot. He flicked the knife open, still tinted red from blood. He closed his eyes as memories flooded back to him. "How'd it ever come to this?" He shook his head as he heard the sound of boots hitting the wall above him. "You know how to do this X. It's just like riding a bike. You never forget how to kill a man, no matter how hard you try." He crouched down on the ledge and clutched the blade. He saw a few pebbles fall as Alex repelled off of wall right above him. Alex grew wide-eyed as he saw the thief and drew his pistol with his hand. A few seconds too late, as X leapt up with all his might, and expertly slashed with his knife.
Red X dangled from the rope he'd just cut. "Couldn't do it. Couldn't even kill a man when my life was on the line. Have I become that pampered that I can't stand to get blood on my hands anymore?"
Alex on the other hand, saw the approaching pavement as he plummeted to his death. He noticed an open dumpster filled with trash about twenty feet to the right. "Only get one shot, better make it count." He aimed his gun to the side and fired, the reaction propelling his body into the trash. He groaned from the dumpster. The fall might not have killed him, but it left him with a dislocated arm and gimp leg. Good thing he knew a doctor that would fix him up for the wad of bills he kept on him. He just had to make it there before he died.
(Meanwhile in Robin's room)
Robin sat on his bed and hung his head. He'd successfully hurt and confused the two girls who where chasing after him, and he'd found out nothing other than Starfire wore strawberry lip gloss and Raven wore blueberry. He flopped back onto his bed. He needed a new approach to this. Maybe some time away would help him. He shook his head at the thought. He couldn't afford any vacation time right now. He closed his eyes and sighed in frustration. This was proving to be more complicated and dangerous than any villain they'd ever faced. Could the Teen Titans be broken from the inside?
(An hour later, John Maxwell's flat)
"Shit Alex, you gotta be more careful." John Maxwell, a balding white middle aged man, was standing over Alex Graham, who was laid out on his kitchen table. The look on the young warriors face was cold. No evil smirk, no amiable smile. He let that bastard get away, and now he might be out of commission for a bit. "What happened out there Alex?"
Alex looked over to John. The old man did good work for the amount he asked for, but that was probably because he was a bit sympathetic to Alex. He lost his firm when a bunch of supers duked it out, never really bounced back from that. "I lost X. He had a low-tech alternative I wasn't aware of. Next time I meet him, I'll be more prepared."
John continued to treat his injuries as he spoke. "Be careful Alex. He's seen you fight. He'll be better prepared for you next time." He pulled on his arm, eliciting a grunt of pain from the assassin.
"I'll keep that in mind doc. Don't worry, the next one shouldn't be that much of a problem. She's not much of a threat if I neutralize her powers." He said quietly.
"Remember inertia Alex. She can toss items at her. Removing her control from an item about to crush you still means it crushes you. Don't want to see you coming in like this in a week." The doctor said as he handed him his shirt. Alex tossed the tee on and shakily moved off the table.
"Thanks doc. Don't worry, I'll get those bastards for you." Alex said as he made his way out the door.
John Maxwell shook his head lightly. "Thanks Alex. Never lose sight of the goal. It's a noble one." Alex let a smirk cross his lips. Noble? Hardly. Killing every superhuman character that lived was hardly noble. It was probably pure evil to most people. But in the end it was the only way to save this world. And he was more than willing to take on all the evils necessary to accomplish this task.
To Be Continued…
Payie: Don't worry, answers are coming…eventually
Dark Phantom: Well, love's generally not quite as straightforward as TV would have us believe.
Neko 1392: I try to make sensible decisions for most of my characters, using knowledge I have gathered from watching the show. Especially in The End, it seemed like both Raven and Starfire were quite enamored with Robin. Thus this fic.
WickedWitchoftheSE: Even more trouble a brewin' now.
Kali Donovan: I'm sorry it took so long to update. Hopefully with the new season starting, you'll find inspiration to write some more. I know I have some new insight Beast Boy, which will probably make it's way into the fic.
Raven42431: Here's that update.
Please leave a review. Let's me know this work actually gets read. Also, if you have any gripes as you read this fic, please let me know. If it's a flame about pairings (which I can't imagine since there are none yet) if you want to sit down and have a civilized discussion about pairings, you have my AIM SN. I'd love to chat about them. If you just want to bitch about your favorite pairing not showing up, I reserve the right to mock you in my review reply. Thankfully though, this hasn't happened yet. Anyways, thanks for reading.