A/N: Ah, it's been a long time. I went on hiatus, I guess. Anyway, here's something new. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: No ownership or making money off of Teen Titans here.
Dark, dank, and cold. Those were the best words to describe the cavern that Red X was traveling. He still wasn't sure why he had agreed to do this, but if nothing else he had a weakness when it came to large sums of money, and that was probably the reason.
The ground he walked on suddenly switched to uneven rock to solid steel, causing his heels to give off a soft click when he stepped on it. Almost immediately, the lights flickered on to reveal a huge room that had been carved out of the cavern, housing a multitude of machines and devices he'd never seen before.
"Welcome," a deep, masculine voice called into the cavern, the word echoing somewhat. Red X was immediately on guard, looking from side to side for an attack. "I've been expecting you."
"Make this quick," Red X stated curtly. "I'm a busy man, and I have things to do."
"Alright," the voice stated, still not revealing himself. "I called you here because I want you to steal something for me."
"Cut the crap," Red X hissed. "I don't know who you are, what you want, or why I'm even wasting my time here."
"I have a preference of anonymity whenever possible," the man said, finally revealing himself and stepping into the light on the other side of the room. He wore a black uniform with silver metal joint guards and a face cover that showed only one eye. "You're not wasting your time here. In fact, it is very much worth your while to stand here."
"How much worth my while?" Red X asked, crossing his arms. "It's very expensive to be me."
"The payment fee for a successful delivery is one million. Plus expenses," Slade stated, also crossing his arms. "Not to mention, a new toy."
A gray utility belt landed at Red X's feet. It looked almost identical to the one that had been picked off him by Robin several months ago. Try as he might, Red X could not produce another that worked as well as the first. But, if memory served him correctly, he remembered the kid mentioning the suit being created because of some psychopath whose name was…S-something.
"Slade," Red X murmured. The man standing opposite of him quirked his head to the side in curiosity.
"Very good," Slade applauded, watching as Red X picked up the new belt and put it on in place of the one he had. "So, do we have a deal?"
Red X leveled his gaze at the seemingly over-relaxed super villain. "You still haven't told me what I'm supposed to be stealing."
"Simple, really," Slade stated nonchalantly. "I want you to steal a Titan."
Cyborg awoke to the feeling that something was off. As he opened his human eye and looked around, he knew it to be true. It was probably mid-morning and the computer system that regulated his sleep and charged his system hadn't woken him at his normal time. As he checked the power reserve readout on his arm, he was alarmed to discover that he hadn't even been fully charged.
"That's weird," he commented to himself as he stood up from his 'bed' and moved to the main computer. His hands typed in a flurry over the keyboard as he ran a full diagnostic on the system. Foul words fell from his lips as the computer refused to obey him.
"I built you," Cyborg reminded it. "You do as I say."
The computer seemed to disagree with him as it flew up a warning to the screen that the reserve generators were about to give out. Cyborg barely resisted the urge to send a sonic blast into the computer for running on the generators all night without letting him know. It meant there was a power failure somewhere.
"Guess I'll go downstairs and see what the problem is," he decided, walking to the door. It slid open for him, though rather slowly due to the lack of power left in the Tower. He did a double take at the sight before him. All the way down the hall in either direction there was graffiti on the walls, trash strewn about everywhere, and wall panels forced open with snapped wires hanging from them.
"Robin, come in," Cyborg spoke to the communicator embedded in his mechanical arm.
"What is it, Cyborg?" Robin responded, sounding half asleep.
"We've got a problem," Cyborg told him as he made his way down the hall to the cargo elevator. "A big one."
Peacefully oblivious to the evil eyes that watched her, Raven rolled over in her sleep. The light of the sunrise peaked into her room through her slightly parted curtains, spilling over her face and announcing the morning. Raven groaned at the intrusion, cracking open one eye as she waved her hand at the curtains. A curt, black force yanked the curtains together all the way as she buried her head under her pillow.
"Way too early," she muttered, recalling that Control Freak had kept them out until two in the morning after taking over a local movie theatre. He had taken the movie-goers hostage and was forcing them to watch all eight of the movies made from the old sci-fi show The Clash of the Planets, which had people crying out in agony to be let out of the theatre.
Raven dismissed the memory and tried to get comfortable again, fully intending to sleep through breakfast and possibly lunch if her teammates let her. She doubted they would, knowing one of them would come seek her out eventually, asking her if she wanted to partake in one of their sporting rituals. Depending on her mood when they came inquiring, she may go for it. As long as it wasn't Stank Ball. Despite her best efforts to be more social with her teammates since the incident with her father, that was one social tradition she simply could not get in to.
Sleep was beckoning her senses again when she heard a loud banging on the door. She promptly ignored it, hoping the person on the other side would get the picture and go away, lest they be the victim of her early morning moodiness. With the second round of banging in commencement, Raven knew she wasn't going to get off that easily.
"Raven, get up!" Robin yelled through the door. Raven sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes.
"What's going on?" she asked sleepily, getting an eerie feeling from the sense of urgency in his voice. He usually only sounded like that when they were out on patrol.
"Someone's broken into the Tower," he informed her, instantly capturing her full attention, before losing it again to a second thought.
"Why didn't the security alarm sound?" she muttered more to herself than Robin. He apparently heard her, though.
"Cyborg's checking on that right now," he told her. "The whole place is trashed. Whoever broke in didn't leave anything sacred."
"Are you sure the 'Green Wonder' didn't just destroy the place on one of his gaming binges and is trying to get out of cleaning it up by himself?" Raven asked, crawling out of bed at a pace that showed her lack of enthusiasm. She reached for the pile of clothes on the floor where she had dumped her uniform the night before in her sleep-drugged journey to bed.
"Beast Boy swears it wasn't him," Robin called through the door. Raven shot a sarcastic glare at her door as she pulled on her black body suit. "And I believe him. Whoever broke in totally demolished the gaming system, not to mention almost all of our security measures."
Raven didn't catch his last sentence, frozen in place as she reached for her cloak, knowing that it was not her shadow that had just danced across the far wall.
"I'm telling you, man," Cyborg growled, surveying the damage that had been done to the basement control room as he headed for the breaker box. "This was professional. Joe Nobody couldn't just walk in here and know how to shut down the entire system, let alone get past my security sensors."
"Beast Boy swears up and down that he didn't do it this time," Robin relayed through the communicator back to him. "And I believe him. Have you seen the observation deck?"
"No," Cyborg answered cautiously, wondering what could have taken the blame off Beast Boy so quickly. "Why? What happened?"
"The gaming center's gone. Totally obliterated," Robin replied, waiting while Cyborg said some choice words before continuing. "So is our big screen. He gets a little wild sometimes, but I don't think he'd be crazy enough to do that."
"I just installed that big screen too," Cyborg muttered as he finally reached the room that had the breaker boxes for the multiple electronics systems in the tower. "Whoever did do this is going to be lucky to make it to jail after I get through with them."
"Raven, let's go!" Robin said, sounding distant. When he responded again, he was clearer, making it obvious that he had been talking away from the communicator. "I have Beast Boy outside trying to catch a scent of any possible intruder and Starfire is going through level by level checking for further damage or intruders. As soon as Raven gets out here I'm going to have her see if she can fix any of the non-electrical damage."
"Good, because by the looks of things, I'm going to be sorting out this mess for a while," Cyborg agreed, using his shoulder flashlight to lead himself through the chaos to the proper breaker box.
"Raven, what was that?" Cyborg heard Robin ask, once again not speaking to the communicator. If Cyborg had to guess, he'd determine that Robin was standing in front of Raven's door, trying fruitlessly to rouse the girl.
Cyborg shook his head, glad it wasn't him trying to wake her up. She was definitely not a morning person, and had a habit of showing it against the poor soul that woke her. He heard a crash through the communicator and Robin shouting incomprehensively, and took a guess that Raven had lost her patience with him.
Laughing quietly to himself at the shorter hero's misfortune, he finally reached the breaker box that housed the manual reset for the power. He turned off all of the systems before initiating a restart, crossing his fingers that the breakers had simply been overloaded instead of completely blown.
With a low buzz, the electricity began flowing again, and with it the lights turned back on. Cyborg took a step back and closed the panel box, and decided that since he was already down there, he'd take a look at the other systems to see if he could determine how bad the damage truly was. He turned around and froze, blinking rapidly to make sure he was not seeing things, but his vision did not change and his eye scanner confirmed what he saw. Across the walls, everywhere, there were red, spray painted X's.
"Raven, let's go!" Robin called through the door, banging his fist on it again.
Raven slowly pulled her cloak over her shoulders, trying to sense where in the room the intruder was without letting on that she was aware of their presence. As she clasped her cloak in place she made her way to her door, her hand trembled as she reached out to the door key pad. Her senses freaked out all of a sudden and she ducked out of the way, looking up when she heard a clang against the door. Imbedded in it was a black metal shuriken.
"Raven, what was that?" Robin asked through the door.
Raven turned around to see nothing, slowly rising again and blindly reaching for the door key pad. Something on her right moved and she backed against the wall, turning back to the key pad to unlock the door. A rush of air came from her left and her hand was lassoed, pulling it and her away from the door.
She turned around to face her attacker, but found none. The rope around her hand was tied to the leg of her bed. She loosed herself quickly enough, but her attacker wasted no time throwing more shuriken her way. She dodged some and created a chakra barrier to block others, but was easily becoming overwhelmed. Robin was shouting through the door at her again to unlock it so he could get in, and she could also hear Cyborg shouting through the communicator about who had broke in.
"It's everywhere, man," Cyborg's tiny sounding voice shouted. "I told you this wasn't a rookie job."
Her attacker took advantage of the distraction to throw a length of chain that was weighted at both ends at her. It wrapped around her torso and one arm, but the sheer force at which it was thrown was enough to knock her to the ground. She hit the carpet less than gracefully, receiving a rug burn on her chin and knocking the wind from her for a moment. She pushed herself onto her back, struggling to pull air back into her lungs. Above her, the intruder loomed.
"It's you," she hissed, recognizing the skull mask with the jagged, red x across the forehead.
"None other," he admitted, then made a grab at her. She ducked and narrowly missed being clipped by the x-shaped blade attached to his hand. She quickly spelled a barrier between her and Red X as she phased through the chains that bound her, then turned and ran for the door.
"Robin!" she called, hearing the shattering of her border behind her. "He's in here!"
"That was unnecessary," Red X told her as he tackled her, within mere inches of reaching the door key pad. Before she could conjure up another defense, he slapped a flat, red X over the jewel on her forehead. She cried out in pain as a small electric current sprung forth from the X, then fell limp in his grip, unconscious.
He draped her over his shoulder and made his way to the window, sticking a concussion bomb to the glass and stepped out of the way. The glass shattered a few seconds later, almost simultaneously with Raven's door buckling against the battering ram that was Starfire. Red X jumped out the window without hesitation, with Beast Boy hot on his tail and Robin and Starfire not far behind.
Red X made an attempt to swat the green hummingbird that was quickly catching him in decent, but only caused the changeling to morph into a pterodactyl and take a bite at him. With the ground fast approaching, Red X pulled a tether line from his belt and fired, catching the dinosaur's foot and using the startled beast as a means of slowing down. Once close enough to the ground, he let go of the tether and landed somewhat gracefully, but a sonic blast knocked Raven from his grasp. Just a few feet away stood Cyborg.
"Booyah," the half machine, half man cried, already aiming his next shot. Red X was not about to be taken by surprise again and began his own assault against the four functional members of the Titans, making sure that he was between them and Raven as he threw just about everything he had against them.
"Raven, wake up!" Robin yelled as he barely dodged a mini bomb. Three shuriken followed, giving him no time to reach his friend. Much to his pleasure, though, Raven began moving. She was slowly picking herself up off the ground, looking disoriented and disgruntled. She rubbed her head gingerly, running her fingers over the X that was still attached to her forehead.
A shadow passed over her, causing Raven to look up at the person standing next to her. Red X appeared in her vision and reached for her. She waved a hand in front of herself, attempting to create a barrier but found that nothing happened. He caught her other wrist in mid-swing, her poor attempt at physical defense easily thwarted.
Red X used the arm he had a hold on to turn her around and pull her back into his grip. She kicked and struggled against him to no avail as he ran a path through the stunned and unmoving figures of her friends.
"Let me go!" she demanded as she attempted to trip him by entangling her legs with his. Red X stopped only long enough to toss her over his shoulder again, then began running down the hallways of the Tower towards the sub basement. She could hear her friends shouting a long ways down the hall.
"Cyborg! Starfire!" Raven yelled down the hall as they retreated. "This way! The sub-basement!"
"You need to be quiet," Red X told her as he made it to the garage that housed the Titan's vehicles. He made a bee-line for the red motorcycle on the far side of the room, the only vehicle that didn't look like it had been junked for parts.
"Robin! Beast Boy! Hurry!" Raven yelled again before being set back down on her feet. She was roughly pushed against a wall as Red X held one hand against her back and bound her wrists behind her. She was whipped around and held against the wall again, this time by her throat.
"I told you to be quiet. You didn't listen. Now I have to make you be quiet," Red X told her, sounding somewhat annoyed. She was about to tell him where to stick his holier-than-thou attitude when she felt a fist connect with her stomach, knocking the wind from her lungs for the second time in less than fifteen minutes. Her knees buckled and she saw stars in her vision as she was dragged over to the motorcycle and tied to it.
Red X had just sat down on the bike when the Titans burst into the sub-basement as well, but they were treated to the sound of a motorcycle engine revving and tires squealing. The last thing they saw before he disappeared down the subterranean tunnel to the city was a smug wave from Red X and the tail light of the motorcycle. Beast Boy made like a cheetah after him down the tunnel, but could not keep the speed up long enough to catch up.
"My car," Cyborg growled, staring at the parts that were strewn about the basement in a random mess. Beast Boy returned looking disappointed and distressed.
"Dude, we just got our butts kicked by that punk," Beast Boy complained in between pants. "And it was like nothing to him. Either we're slipping, or that dude's gotten way better since the last time we saw him."
No one chose to respond to Beast Boy's observation, each to deep in thought over just how the thieving ninja had managed to thwart them so easily. A loud crash near Starfire brought their attention to her. She had picked up one of Cyborg's toolboxes and chucked it into the wall in frustration.
"Our friend is gone," Starfire stated, her voice shaking in anger. "She was taken from us. Again."
"We will find her," Robin reassured her. "We have to."
A/N: Feedback desired. Especially if I screwed something up. P.S. I promise to finish this fic (and for all who care, am in the process of finishing the others that have been sitting idle for over a year now…)