Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans or the original storyline of "Beauty and the Beast". I do own the changes to the original plotline, which I hope you will all enjoy.
Opening Note: "Beauty and the Beast" has always been my favorite Disney movie. I guess because I could always relate to Belle, who loved books and was a brave girl in her own way. For a long while I considered writing a fic inspired by it, but didn't quite know where to start, how I would make it original. A good friend and faithful reviewer of my stories, sekai no yakusoku, recently started her take on it: "Glass" is a beautiful and interesting piece. I recommend it.
This story is dedicated to her, castle in the air, and to everyone who has made me a part of their "favorite authors" list.
"If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?"
-Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) Part One: Bargain With a Bat
Part One: Bargain With a Bat
They called it a haunted house. Even though it was more of a factory. For years Horace Wells had lived in the large penthouse above his business. The penthouse and factory had been passed down, father-to-son, for fifty years when Horace inherited it. Tragically, Horace fathered only girls, and he died before any of them married. Shareholders tried to keep it afloat, but eventually it went bankrupt and was closed down.
The place sat on the outskirts of Gotham city, huge and empty. No one dared enter, even though there was no sign of anything strange going on. But in the past two years, citizens reported piano music coming from within, and the sound of things breaking. Rumors spread, and a fence was put around the place to prevent anyone going in.
A group of teenage boys ignored the rumors and the fence, though, and wandered in. They reappeared two days later, two of them injured and all of them with a different story to tell. They all seemed to have one thing straight, though.
The place was not empty.
Breaking five ribs and his leg in two places wasn't Bruce Wayne's idea of the perfect Birthday. He was getting way too old, he concluded. But in an hour or two it wouldn't matter. He'd be dead. In the middle of his fight with the Joker, the hand that held his communicator had been crushed. Along with said communicator. After that, things went downhill quite a bit, and all Bruce could do now was wonder if Richard and Alfred would find him in time.
Luckily, he'd managed to escape into the old building. But he'd fallen down the stairs, clutching his shattered hand to two broken ribs. The long fall had earned him three more broken ribs and two fractures in his left leg. One of the breaks had punctured the skin. It didn't look good. Even if Alfred did find him and manage to pull off a medical miracle within an hour and a half, Bruce had no idea how he would explain it to the press or the people at Wayne enterprise.
Ironically, the very building where he would die was the same one Wayne enterprise had forced into bankruptcy twenty years ago.
Bruce rolled over to lie on his back, trying to breathe calmly. If he was going to die, he wanted to die in peace.
"Well now... it seems a bat has found its way into my haunt."
Bruce was relieved to hear that the voice didn't belong to the Joker, but disappointed that it wasn't Alfred either. He looked up into a dark face with glowing red eyes. For a moment, he wondered if he was in hell. The figure pulled back its hood, letting a mane of darkest violet tumble forth. Her skin was chiseled ebony, the features of her face sharp and delicate in a way that was as attractive as they were frightening. Inhuman.
He tried to say something, but the broken ribs were stabbing into his lungs. It was hard to breathe now.
"Listen to me," her voice crooned. "I will spare your life."
A gasp of surprise found its way to his mouth with a trickle of blood.
She gave a low, amused chuckle. "A demon I am, but I will save you, Master bat. However... you will be in my debt."
Bruce Wayne took a deep shuddering breath and focused his vision on the creature's glowing red eyes.
"I am in your debt," he managed before the darkness claimed him.
He awoke sometime later. It was still night. Or perhaps early morning. He knew he'd been asleep, but it felt as though he'd just slipped off for a moment. The taste of blood filled his mouth, and he felt the urge to vomit. He carefully sat up. Wells Inc. What was he doing here?
Then he remembered.
"Awake, I see."
The demoness's voice floated down to him from the top of the stair case he'd fallen down some hours ago.
"Forgive me if I could not make you as comfortable as you are accustomed to."
It was then that he realized he lay on an old mattress, covered with a worn blanket.
"What did you do to me?"
Certainly he hadn't meant to be rude, but it was the only way he knew how to ask after waking up to find himself in good health - save for the taste of blood in his mouth - after having been inches from death.
"You have been healed. And now you are in my debt, o Dark Knight," she replied.
"How would you have me repay you?"
She fixed her glowing eyes on him for a long moment.
"Do you have a son?" she asked finally.
He, in turn, fixed her with his gaze for a long moment, not knowing what to make of the question.
"I have no children of my own," he answered slowly, "But I have a ward in my care, a young man who will one day inherit all I own."
She smiled, a demon grin of white teeth against midnight skin that sent chills down his spine.
"You will bring him to me," she said, her voice a whisper of excitement and malice.
Ending Note: In my story, Raven is the beast. Like "Two Birds With One Stone", this will be only slightly AU. And as always, I have the habit of writing painfully short chapters. I do hope, however, that you'll regard the quality of my work over the quantity of words.
Reviews are greatly welcomed and appreciated.
The Writer, you fools