Tonight Jump City's heroes, The Teen Titans, were going to suffer a great loss. Two of its team members would be taken by death.
The night was dark but pleasant. Cyborg was off tuning up the T-car. In a short while he planned to meet up with Bumblebee. Robin and Starfire were snuggling together in the TV room watching a movie. These two had recently begun dating and couldn't be happier. Raven and Beast Boy were nowhere in the tower. The others knew where these two were – out... on a date of their own.
It was nice knowing these two were finally together. At first it seemed like nonsense because these were Raven and Beast Boy after all, but they worked. Since Trigon's defeat, Raven was free of his influence and began to open up with some emotions, in spite of being hesitant about which ones she can show. Beast Boy seemed to grow up a bit since the titans brought down the Brotherhood of Evil. His need to pull pranks or tell countless jokes decreased significantly. Both seemed to match better than ever. These were just some of the changes that brought them closer together. It seemed as though love was inevitable between them and quite possibly had already blossomed.
While it seemed as though this was going to be a nice evening the alarm went off and communicator signals went active. Robin pulled his out. Seeing Cyborg in the picture let Robin know he got the notice as well. Starfire looked on at Robin's communicator. The primary image was that of Beast Boy in a garbled transmission. Something violent, the three realized, was going on in the background, but they could see no other faces than that of Beast Boy's. He appeared scathed and worn and sounded very desperate.
"Titans (broken transmission)... trouble (broken transmission)... Raven is-." The picture went blank, leaving only Cyborg's image.
"Beast Boy! Beast Boy!" shouted Robin, but the communicator never brought the green titan's image back. The team leader tried reaching Raven's communicator, but she never responded. "Cyborg, can you reach them?"
"Come in B.B.! Raven! No luck Robin."
"Get up here fast!"
"Copy," replied the hybrid.
Robin put his communicator away then went to the computer console and brought up a city map.
"Robin, what are you doing?" asked the alien princess.
"Beast Boy's and Raven's communicators aren't transmitting so we don't immediately know where they are. I'm tracking where Beast Boy's signal was last transmitted from."
Cyborg entered the room as Robin continued typing at the keyboard. Then a marker flashed.
"It's the ghetto area." Robin's brow furrowed as he was puzzled. "How did they end up there?"
"It's where one of Raven's favorite dark hangouts is located," replied Cyborg looking the map over.
"Then let's get there fast! Titans, go!"
Robin, Starfire, and Cyborg quickly departed for Cyborg's car.
At the sound of a single crack from a powerful punch delivered by Mammoth the green shape-shifting Beast Boy fell to the pavement, severely beaten. He looked up, but between the fog of dust and soot drifting across the area and his failing vision, he could no longer identify his and Raven's six assailants.
Beast Boy weakly shifted his head in an attempt to see the half demon. Turning so that he was looking to the left he could see her. Raven was dead. She lost the battle a long time ago in spite of putting up a great offensive. Raven took so many beatings from their attackers. It was only through transformations into tough skinned animals and reptiles that he was able to endure much longer than she. But these six united villains overwhelmed him and his girlfriend.
Beast Boy was so worn he could barely mouth her name. Tears fell from his eyes – not from the dusty air or from the physical agony. Beast Boy cried for failing as a titan, but worst of all for failing Raven. He couldn't protect her even though she was strong enough to protect herself. It was so unfair to lose her like this. The worst part was he never got the chance to tell her… and he was finally going to say it tonight.
"That's right, take one last look at her." The coarse male voice came from someone standing over Beast Boy. After a few seconds it continued. "I think that's enough." Johnny Rancid turned and walked away, stepping back where the others were gathered which included Jinx, Control Freak, and Killer Moth.
Beast Boy was so weak from the battle he would barely feel what happened next. Someone else approached him from his left, but he was too weak to try and look at who it was. He could hear the multiple metallic steps and that was enough for him to realize who was closing in. Beast Boy felt a thrust into his back through his heart. Before everything went black, the changeling had guessed that Gizmo impaled him with one of the spider legs from his tech pack.
The T-car pulled into the vicinity of Beast Boy's transmission. Crowds were gathered around the crime scene which was sectioned off by Jump City authorities. The paramedics had not arrived yet. News crews were in the middle of their breaking stories. The titans' view was blocked from the numbers.
After the car stopped, Robin and Starfire hurried out of their seats and out of the car. Cyborg turned off the engine and stepped out of the car as Robin and Starfire were already near the crowd. Robin had to break through the wall of people while Starfire flew over them.
Before Cyborg could even get to the crowd and before Robin could get through them, they both heard Starfire wail at what she discovered. Robin got through and crossed the line, momentarily followed by Cyborg who pushed the people aside so he could get to his teammates. Then he, as Robin did, saw what had caused Starfire to scream. It was inconceivable – to see two of their own taken from them.
"Titans, please step back," requested one of the officers. "An ambulance will be here momentarily to take them away."
"These are our friends," Starfire sobbed. "Please do not send us away from them."
Another officer attempted to escort the titans outside of the crime scene perimeter, but the first gestured for him to let them be. The second returned to his duties.
"Cyborg stay with her a moment," ordered Robin. Cyborg knelt down beside Starfire and placed a sympathetic hand on her shoulder, barely containing his own sadness.
Robin gestured for the officer to step aside with him. "Please tell me you have witnesses. Of all these people, someone had to have seen something."
"No one's talking, I'm afraid," replied the officer. "We tried to persuade them to talk, but everyone we asked said they saw nothing."
"Why, are they afraid?"
"I think so."
"What have you found out so far?"
"From what we've investigated up to now, it was a pretty nasty struggle. Whoever they tried to fight was more than they could handle."
"Or maybe they were severely outnumbered."
"Excuse me," said a voice off to the side.
The officer and Robin turned to see a reporter and cameraman.
"Would you care to comment Robin?" he asked. "Do you have anything to say to the ones who did this to your team?"
Robin, looking away, replied, "Sorry, but I don't do interviews."
"You'll have to step back," ordered the officer. "Any statements given will be done by police spokespersons."
The sound of an ambulance siren faded in from the distance. Momentarily it backed in. The authorities ordered the crowds to disperse. A gap was made and the police line was opened to let paramedics through.
Cyborg helped Starfire to stand. "Step back Star. Let these guys take care of them."
"Who could have done such a horrible thing to Raven and Beast Boy?" Starfire asked as Cyborg led her around the paramedics and outside the crime scene perimeter.
"We're going to find out one way or another," Cyborg assured her. "No matter how long it takes, we'll find whoever did this."
"Then let's get started…," they heard Robin say as he approached them, "tonight."
Raven and Beast Boy were placed in the ambulance. The paramedics departed and the crowds were dismissed. Robin, Starfire, and Cyborg returned to the T-car and left.
A few buildings away stood two men on an apartment rooftop. One looked upon the city without shame through a single eyehole in his black and orange mask. The other, wearing a white headmaster's robe stood near Slade with a similar expression.
"Quite a display," Slade remarked sounding impressed. He turned to face Brother Blood. "Your students along with some of this city's rather… unusual criminals have finally met with some success."
"Are you sure you don't want to finish the job and have them eliminate the other three?" asked Blood.
"At another time, perhaps," replied Slade coolly. "For now let's take pleasure in seeing their team crippled… and their spirits broken." Slade turned and began walking away, with Brother Blood joining him as they both left the rooftop.
(A/N: While the title suggests this is a Crow story, such a bird will not be Beast Boy's guide. You'll see next what is.)