Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans or any of the characters associated with them.
Author's Note: Well, it's been a pretty long time since I've update. A new record I'd say. Sorry about that. I took about a month off during May just because schoolwork was so overwhelming. It took so long after school to get this typed up simply out of lack of inspiration.
Anyway, I'm back now with another chapter. Originally, I had intended for this chapter to be the last full one, and then follow it up with the epilogue. However, since it had reached such a great word length already (and I hadn't updated in forever) I've decided to just post it now. There are more cliffhangers, sorry. That wouldn't be the case if I had finished the entire chapter as planned, but it would have turned out ridiculously long, and the wait would have gone on for a while longer.
In advance, I'd like to apologize for any spacing errors you might find. I edited this chapter in the edit/preview document part of the website. I skimmed through for any mistakes the feature might have made, but you can never be sure.
"Raven!" Beast Boy shouted, tossing a rogue Slade bot onto the floor. "Rae! Where are you?" Beast Boy scanned the area in haste, looking for any sign at all of his teammate. For all the Slade bots though, as well as the already poorly lit environment, he really couldn't see a thing. The desperate changeling tried to see if there was any particular location the robots were focusing on, hoping that Raven would be there. By now though, so many of the attackers had broken off to fight him, that such a task was nearly impossible.
Beast Boy morphed into a grizzly bear as a group of five or so robots swiftly approached him. Using a clean swipe of his gargantuan paw, he effectively knocked each one to the side. Seeing that around ten more were now rushing over to take the place of the fallen, Beast Boy changed into a hawk and rose into the air. He glided over so that he was essentially right above the oncoming attackers and took on the form of a hippopotamus, falling and crushing them all instantly. He then resumed human form.
"Raven!" Beast Boy yelled out again over all the commotion. "Rae!"
By a miracle, or simply luck, Beast Boy's animal senses picked up on a faint cry over in the distance. Instantly, he took on the form of an elephant and plowed over to its location. After knocking over quite a few robots in his way, Beast Boy resumed his human form and began surveying the environment again.
"Raven!" he called out.
"Uhn!" Raven weakly cried out. Beast Boy turned around to find her a small distance away, completely surrounded by Slade bots.
"No!" he shouted, seeing what was going on. The worried teen immediately morphed into a ram and charged at the foes. Most were either destroyed or sent flying away, while a few remained latched onto Raven. Beast Boy took the form of a giant gorilla and, massive fists tightly curled, shattered their upper torsos.
"Rae!" Beast Boy shouted as he became human again. "Are you okay? Did they hurt you?"
"No. I'm fine." Raven replied distantly, attempting to stand. She spoke more calmly than usual, though her voice was also noticeably flustered. "I'm just a little bruised up. That's all." She was holding the side of her face in her palm, and sported rips and tears down her leotard. She did seem to have gotten quite a beating, but, at least for the moment, was capable of standing.
Beast Boy look behind him and noticed another wave of Slade bots quickly approaching. He wasn't sure if Raven could physically fight hand-to-hand in this state, but figured she could perhaps use her powers from afar while he went in to attack.
"Hey, Raven," Beast Boy said. "You stay here. I'll go take care of those losers. If you think you can, try and do something from here with your powers."
"Fine." Raven grumbled. She really didn't like the idea of having to be a spectator, but simply couldn't argue that, until she had the chance to heal her newly acquired injuries, she shouldn't be doing any heavy fighting. She decided not to mention to Beast Boy that her powers weren't exactly the greatest they'd ever been at the moment. All Raven could really do was work with them the best she could and hope that Beast Boy could get by with minimal help, seeing as that was what he was about to get.
Beast Boy, having now taken the shape of a mountain lion, charged at the remaining Slade bots with incredible speed. He jumped off of the ground and, claws fully extended, shredded a few using sheer momentum. He landed back on the ground and shifted into a large grizzly bear. With only one swipe of a paw, he destroyed a robot, and with the other, obliterated two more. Lifting up the mangled remains of one and forcefully swiping it at another oncoming group, he managed to take out at least another five.
One Slade bot attacked from behind by jumping on to Beast Boy's back. To solve the problem, Beast Boy pounded backward into the nearest wall, instantly taking care of the problem. As seemed to be the norm in this fight, ten other robots arrived to take the place of the defeated one. Beast Boy was beginning to see why Raven, who normally could take care of herself, had had trouble with this. If the tables didn't turn soon, he might wind up in the same condition as she.
Raven, who had been in the background for a time now, was desperately trying to collect her thoughts and feelings in order to maximize her powers. She wasn't going to attempt anything overly strenuous, but needed to at least try to be useful. Thinking she might have finally gotten somewhat of a handle on herself, Raven raised her hands out and front of her.
"Azerath Metrion Zinthos" she said, hoping for the best.
"Come on!" Raven shouted. "I can't just stand here like an invalid. Do something!"
"Damn it!" She shouted, throwing her hands down in defeat. Apparently, her powers weren't going to do a thing, no matter what she did. At the moment, she could do nothing but simply wait and hope. She couldn't even try to heal her injuries, seeing as those also required some sort of power. Instead, Raven turned to watch Beast Boy continue to fight. Currently, he had taken on the form of a rhinoceros and was batting away Slade bots with his large, horn-laden head. Raven took note that, despite the difficulty seeing in the current environment, Beast Boy's breathing seemed to be getting rather rapid, as though he was tiring. It made sense, considering how long he had now been fighting for. She hoped desperately that something went their way soon, or else it might be over for the both of them.
The green rhinoceros swung its' head one last time and, using the precious seconds that the attack bought, changed shapes again. This time, Beast Boy was in the form of a lion; it was a significant size decrease, but a great gain in agility and movement. He dashed over to an oncoming robot and knocked it off its feet in one swift strike. Quickly turning around, he used his paw to permanently disassemble two more.
One robot rushed up from behind and tackled Beast Boy. The green lion and its' adversary promptly went tumbling across the room. Not to be so easily deterred, Beast Boy swatted away his attacker with a fatal swipe of his treacherous claws upon landing. However, the stumble had left him a bit injured, as well as in an awkward, disadvantageous position. When yet another team of Slade bots rushed to attack from behind, he barely had a chance.
Using what skill he could muster, Beast Boy managed to eliminate one of them before he was attacked full out. In a flash, the group was upon him. One by one, the robots pounced on him, each beginning their own onslaught of beatings. Occasionally, Beast Boy managed to beat one or two off. Unfortunately, so many were attacking and rushing in by now, that it made no difference; in a short amount of time, the entire horde would be upon him.
"NO!" yelled Raven, who had seen the entire scene unfold.
Instantly forgetting her slight resentment toward Beast Boy, she was filled with an ever-pervading worry. The entire room was filled with a dark energy in a split second. Every one of the Slade bots became encased in it, and ceased attacking entirely. They each began writhing and doubling over, as if in pain. After just a few moments, Raven's abilities won out, and the robots could no longer resist the pressure. Many of them imploded upon themselves, succumbing to the force, while others were merely blown to pieces. Either way, the entire room was cleared of enemies in under a minute.
Beast Boy, having gotten a bit of a beating before Raven's outbreak, returned to his human form and slowly stood up.
"Du-ude, Cool." he said, surveying the surroundings and looking at all of the quickly-beaten Slade bots. His face bore an expression of awe and astonishment. He then scowled a bit and turned to face Raven. "Don't tell me you could've done that all along. 'Cuz if I just had to―"
Raven however, wasn't listening to him. Her sudden outburst of power had cost her a great deal of energy, and had left her severely drained. Her head felt as though it was about to split in two, and her vision was getting blurry.
"Raven?" Beast Boy asked, concerned that she wasn't responding. "You okay?"
Again, Raven didn't answer. 'It happened again', she thought. Her powers had instantly activated themselves when she became worried about him. Was he talking to her now? She could definitely hear someone's voice speaking to her. 'My head…'
Raven fell over onto the floor.
"Rae!" Beast Boy called out, dashing over to help. "What is it? What's wrong?" he asked as he helped her sit up.
"Nothing." She grunted. "I think, I just…overexerted myself. That's all."
"Oh." Beast Boy replied, not really knowing what to say. He had known Raven for quite a while, but her abilities were still a bit of a mystery to him. He had very little knowledge of how to help her when something like this happened. Meditation was the only solution he could readily come up with, but that wasn't much of an option considering the mission they were on.
"We should go find Cyborg." Raven suggested suddenly. "We might be able to help him do something."
"Yeah, okay." Beast Boy agreed. "Umm, can you stand?"
"Maybe". Raven pushed off of her hands and lifted up to her feet. When she was finally standing, she stumbled a bit and grasped her head in pain again. Beast Boy grabbed hold of her and held her steady.
"Here" he said. He looped her left arm over his neck and wrapped his right arm around her body. With his added support, she stood up quite well. Raven scowled at the arrangement, but accepted, knowing that there was no other way for both of them to get around.
"Um, my communicator says Cy's over this way." Beast Boy said.
"Fine." Raven replied, pacing along with her teammate. "What about the bomb?" she asked. "My communicator said there was one in here before it was destroyed."
Beast Boy turned to look back at the room he and Raven were leaving. Almost the entire expanse of the floor was covered with the broken, scattered remains of all the various Slade bots. Literally everything was in ruin.
"Well, you kinda blew up everything else." he chuckled. "If one was in here, it's not gonna go off now." Raven nodded in agreement, and the two continued on their way.
The two teenagers entered a tunnel that branched off from the room and continued walking. As they did so, there was a stiff silence throughout the air. It wasn't so much from the dank location, as it was the tension between the two people in it. Raven was apparently still angry and Beast Boy was too afraid to try and push a conversation. Not to mention Raven was still feeling fairly lousy. Neither of them just seemed to want to put a lot of effort into an attempt at talking.
"So, uh…" began Beast Boy, at least trying. "You feeling any better?"
"Not really." Raven responded coldly. There was a pause. "Why did you come down here, to where I was?" she asked after a minute.
"I don't know." Beast Boy replied. "Your little dot on the communicator started moving around kinda weird, so I just followed it to here."
"But why?" Raven asked again.
"Well, I thought you might be hurt or something." Beast Boy said. "I was…ya' know... worried about you."
"So... hey, you're kinda talking a lot." Beast Boy observed.
"So what?" Raven asked.
"Well, nothing." He told her. "We just haven't talked that much since…a while."
"Yeah well, don't look into it." Raven told him, cautioning the boy not to derive too much meaning from it.
As the two continued walking, Raven became increasingly aware of the presence of Beast Boy's arm around her stomach. They were both awfully fatigued from battle, and were thus worked up and conspicuously sweaty. As he had been supporting her for quite a while now, his arm around her had become increasingly warm. She could feel the heat coming off of him even more intensely around the spots where her uniform had been ripped and he was touching her bare skin.
"Hey, let me walk." Raven said, pulling away from Beast Boy. Her headache had begun to subside, and she was feeling like her energy was returning a bit. The changeling consented to her request and released Raven's arm and midsection. He only hoped nothing bad would happen once she tried standing on her own.
Amazingly, Raven was able to manage without him. Once she stood straight and planted her feet correctly, she was able to stand with virtually no problems. At this, Beast Boy nodded and turned his head to the direction the two had been going. Wordlessly, they acknowledged each other and continued walking. As Raven's thoughts wandered through the dark silence, she couldn't stop from questioning if she had shirked away from Beast Boy's touch just then because she hadn't liked it, or because she had.
"Well, Robin, the city is about to be destroyed, and so are you." Slade said. "Any last words?"
Robin lifted his head up to see his adversary, preparing for the worst. Slade's figure was towering over him, staff ready. Behind Slade though, figure towering over him, Robin saw the entrance to the room they were in now. In the darkness, he faintly noticed a small, green glow. Robin smiled. Though he could barely even see it, he already knew what it was.
"Just two." Robin replied. "Turn around."
Almost the second Slade's head was turned, he was attacked by a barrage of green energy bolts. The villain somersaulted away from the unfriendly fire, performing quick, precise maneuvers to avoid it. Starfire ceased her attack and landed on the ground next to Robin, while Slade remained on the opposite side of the room. For the moment, Robin had been saved.
"Robin!" Starfire called. She lifted up the battered boy next to her as he was trying to stand. "Robin, are you alright?"
"How sweet." Slade spoke. "Your girlfriend came as well."
"Don't worry Starfire." Robin said. "I'll be okay."
"Are you sure?" she asked again. Starfire was no idiot. Though Robin was at least standing on his own, she could all too clearly tell that he was not in optimal condition. He seemed quite out of breath, and looked generally battered.
"Pity I'll have to take her down too." Slade interjected once more.
"You most certainly will not!" Starfire spoke out angrily, preparing her starbolts to finish what she had started upon entering the room. She moved as though getting ready to attack.
"Starfire!" Robin shouted. "He already set off the—"
But it was too late. Starfire had already darted into the air, shooting green orbs down onto Slade. The mercenary was down below on the ground, acrobatically dodging the rain of starbolts that was falling upon him. Starfire put her hands together and shot down a single larger ray of energy toward Slade. He back flipped away in order to dodge it, and Starfire moved her hands to make the beam follow him. Eventually, Slade reached the back wall of the room and the computer. Starfire ceased her assault after having damaged the floor and part of the computer system. Slade was still undamaged.
Seeing that she was getting absolutely nowhere with this approach, Starfire decided to fly down and try a more direct approach. She sped up, hoping to crash into Slade at such a speed as to significantly damage him. Nearing ever closer to him, she gave herself one final burst of speed to maximize the attack's effectiveness. Slade saw her oncoming offense, and immediately knew how to counter it. He raised the bo-staff he was holding, almost as if preparing for baseball. As the already speeding Starfire came pummeling toward him, he swung the staff as hard as he could and batted her away.
Starfire yelled and went toppling across the room. She landed on the other side, clutching the location on her head that had been struck. However, she was nowhere near finished; the Tameranian had taken much worse beatings before. Starfire rose off the floor, ignoring her pain, and charged at Slade, this time on foot. As she was dashing toward him, she prepared her starbolts once more. Once she was close enough to Slade to ensure a decent amount of accuracy, she fired at him. Slade managed to get out of the way quick enough to avoid serious injury, though he was still grazed by one of them and now sported a slight burn on his midsection.
Still speeding toward Slade, Starfire curled her fists and prepared for a hand-to-hand assault. She threw her fist toward the villain's face, but was blocked by the staff he was holding. Not even skipping a beat, Starfire aimed for Slade's head with her other fist. Again though, he moved his bo-staff to block her. Slade shoved the staff onto her, hoping to provide time get a hit or two in. Starfire, quick on her feet, then ducked and attempted to punch into Slade's abdomen. She just barely made contact, until he forcefully brought the staff down upon her vulnerable hands. Starfire yelped in pain and shirked her hurt limbs away from their attacker.
Using this moment, Slade took advantage of the opportunity to strike his adversary with the staff again. He swung it at the unsuspecting Starfire and watched as she was knocked across the room. Hoping that after such an attack she would still be distracted, Slade raised the staff and charged toward her.
Starfire realized at this point, that she was only going to continue getting beaten if she didn't do something about that stupid staff Slade was attacking with. She looked up and noticed that he was charging toward her, poised to kill. Making a split second decision, she prepared her starbolts around her fists again. Slade finally approached her and swung his staff once more. This time however, Starfire raised her hands and caught the object. Now, both of the super-humans had their hands on the treacherous weapon, locked in a power struggle to see who could hold out longer. However, it was not Starfire's intention to take the staff or beat Slade out. Heating the starbolts around her hands to an incredibly hot temperature, she melted right through the staff, breaking it into three, small, useless pieces.
Taking advantage of what she hoped was a look of surprise on Slade's face, Starfire lifted her foot and jabbed it into his stomach. The three metal pieces fell to the ground as Slade stumbled backward. The mercenary was far from finished though. Raising his fist, he ran at Starfire. She managed to block his punch using her own arm, but was taken by surprise when Slade used his other fist to punch her midsection. She jumped back in pain, and threw another starbolt in Slade's direction. He darted sideways to avoid it, and flipped over again and again to dodge as Starfire flung more and more starbolts at him.
Having finally recovered from the previous blow, Starfire charged toward Slade again. Fists ready, she thrust herself at him. Again, Slade blocked her punches, this time by catching her fists in his own. The two were again locked in a "struggle", seeing who could force the other down. However, Starfire had another idea up her sleeve. Making sure Slade was preoccupied trying to overcome her fists, she shot the green beams from her eyes that she had acquired not too long ago. Slade shirked back yelling, clutching his face where the beam had made contact. As he did, Starfire briefly heard the sound of metal striking the floor.
A part of Slade's mask had chipped off; now he was mad.
He charged at Starfire once again, this time with newfound fury. The girl raised her arms to block the attack, but was struck down by an extremely hard beating from Slade. An immense, throbbing pain shot through her arms as she cringed and quickly brought them down. Using the same fists that he had just used to pound Starfire's arms with, he vigorously punched her face and sent her reeling to the floor.
"My my," Slade spoke, breathing rapidly and glaring down at her. "I must say, that was quite exhilarating. I didn't know you had so much fight in you."
Starfire's eyes started glowing green as she prepared to shoot Slade down with another beam attack. She was stopped however when his foot made direct contact with her face, kicking it in the opposite direction. Starfire was now on the ground, eyes facing away from Slade so that she couldn't see or attack him, his foot pressing down on her head harder and harder with every second.
"I can't wait to see you defeated."
Cyborg picked up the cube and began going to work. He had no idea how much (or how little) time he would have to work with the explosive before the detonation sequence started. Every solitary second could be the difference between the well-being or destruction of the city, as well as his own life or death.
Cyborg turned one of his robotic fingers into a screwdriver and started dismantling the outer covering of the bomb before him. After undoing four screws, he lifted the plate off and looked at the bomb's inner working. Inside was a quite complex collection of wires, circuits, and of course, some mass of cyclonite hidden in the core.
"Oh man." Cyborg groaned out loud. "This ain't gonna be easy."
In his mind, though Cyborg was quickly picking out a course of action. The best way he could think of to stop the bomb from going of was to disarm the radio receiver so, even if Slade did activate the detonator, the bomb wouldn't be capable of receiving the signal. He had come to this decision based on where his knowledge was most thorough. Though Cyborg knew a great deal more than the average person on explosives, he had a far greater feel for working with more everyday items, such as radios. It was his hope that by working with the receiver, he would be more aware of what he was doing, and thus, be able to work in a more time-efficient manner.
Cyborg didn't know exactly where this particular bomb was located in the explosives chain; he had deliberately searched in places closer to Slade's hideout in order to optimize his chances of finding the first one, though it was still unsure. Hopefully, if this bomb wasn't the very first one, then it was at least far up enough so that there was only a small amount that would detonate in front of it. At this point, Cyborg wasn't sure if there was really enough time to attempt searching for another bomb in hopes that he might find a better one.
Reaching into the explosive, Cyborg located a piece of circuitry. He observed the patterns on it, and the wires protruding from it. He was attempting to locate the main radio adaptor, and hoped to do so by finding and following any wires that might lead to it. Once he found the component, it would be a fairly simple matter to disengage it.
Cyborg tried wire after wire that flowed out from the circuit board. He would choose one and tug along its' path until reaching its end. Finally, he located something that seemed like the radio adaptor; it certainly had the appearance of one.
"Found ya'." He spoke triumphantly, grasping the item firmly in his hand. Ever so gently, so as not to perturb some other part of the bomb, Cyborg began tugging it out of its place. As he began removing the adaptor, he whispered to himself, "Hope this works."
Author's Note: Okay, hope the spacing didn't disturb your reading too much. I'll see what I can do about that next time.
Like last chapter, I realize I got a little "science-y" in Cyborg's part, though to a lesser extent this time. Apologies if I royally screwed anything up.
Keep a look out for the next chapter (13). For the BB/Rae fans (i.e. mostly everyone reading this), it'll be the one you DON'T want to miss. Also, it'll be the last full chapter, followed by a short, (and fluffy) epilogue.
'Til next time. GoldenBlade416