16. Presents and PR.
"Got a present for ya."
He said with barely concealed glee, like a child that was on the verge of receiving a welcome treat. Chris looked over the top of his paper and scanned the rest of the room, then satisfied that there was no obvious signs of Beast Boy or anything else that would suggest a prank, pulled the paper back to its previously concealing position.
He inquired with a tone that suggested he was none too concerned with whatever 'present' Cyborg could possibly deliver. The half robot in question assumed a sly grin and then said in an off hand sort of way.
"So you wouldn't be bothered in checking out the new gear we got?"
The picture of Chris with a giant question mark above his head on the front of the paper stared at Cyborg with a disapproving expression.
"I severely doubt it."
Came the curt response. Cyborg looked around the room, he couldn't see anything that would explain the sitting Englishman's apparently foul mood. It had been a week since Chris's first major incident at the mall, nothing else had happened, but simple boredom would not explain such blatantly off hand responses. Deciding to just get it over with he asked bluntly.
"What's the matter with you?"
On the inside of his paper refuge one of the pages turned loudly, in what Cyborg thought was a very dismissive gesture.
"Come on, out with it, what's got you in a mood?"
No response was forthcoming, though Cyborg was only just noticing that the paper behind which Chris chose to conceal himself was very badly crumpled, like it had been crunched up in rage. More revealingly was the fact that the picture of himself on the front page was torn in several places, and the main headline was missing.
"I see you made the front page."
Cyborg said in a good humouredly way, as he passed behind Chris and stood at the dining table. Glancing down he saw that Chris was visibly shaking.
"So you want to come and see your stuff or not?"
Chris's only response was to loudly fold his paper in half and stand up suddenly. He gave the startled Titan an angry glare and then stormed off, leaving the room and disappearing in the direction of the practice range.
Said Cyborg rubbing the back of his neck, and trying to work out just what he had said to cause the team's latest addition to leave in such a venomous fashion.
Said a disembodied female voice from the corner of the room, surprised by the voice Cyborg shot round and examined the corner. Scanning the shadows with his high tech optics he was able to see the form of Raven hovering quietly there in her meditation stance. In his eagerness to deliver his now forgotten news, he had failed to notice the dark teen's presence. Shrouded in the shadows of the gloomy morning as she was. Not quite sure just what he shouldn't be worrying about Cyborg decided to ask as much.
Raven, apparently now wishing that she had remained anonymous, sighed and without moving or even looking at him began to speak in a depressed monotone.
"He isn't angry with you, or me, just in case you think that, he wasn't pleased with today's headlines, it seems the papers are getting desperate to learn about him and his attachment to the Titans, so a fair few bogus stories have surfaced, not to mention the fact that some seem to dislike or question his nationality."
Cyborg looked to the door from which the Titan in question had left, it was a shame he thought, he, probably more than any of the other Titans had felt the bite of the publics opinions, in fact as far as he was concerned they didn't have a clue what they were talking about, and highly likely they never would.
"How'd they find out about him so fast, there hasn't even been anything big happening since he arrived?"
Raven finally looked up at him.
She said in a tone that suggested it wasn't going to be difficult, and indeed it wasn't.
Cyborg asked, he received a nod and a shrug that said it all.
"You know Beast Boy, he lives for the attention, thrives on his fan mail and media coverage, in fact any attention and he is happy, even if it isn't him they are interested in."
"Hmmm. I wouldn't like to be BB when he finally gets up and Chris finds him."
Raven grunted in the affirmative and then went silently back to her meditation, Cyborg was puzzled with what to do, he really wanted to show Chris the new stuff, and he also wanted to make him feel better, so he could do both at the same time, unless he needed space. Raven seemed to read his mind.
"Give him a while; just let him blow off some steam, preferably at an inanimate object, because if he trains with Robin or worse finds Beast Boy, well…"
She left the rest unsaid, Cyborg nodded, even though she had not opened her eyes. He looked at the door through which the angry Englishman had departed, and wondered just what he was doing now.
Robin clenched his teeth.
He scrunched his eyes closed behind his mask.
"For pity's sake."
"Right that's it."
He walked quickly to the training room door, but, much to his annoyance, the shooting stopped.
Sighing heavily with a mixture of controlled rage and relief he turned and went back to his punch bag, for a moment almost wishing the Englishman he knew to be responsible would take its place.
Robin focused, drew his body into an offensive stance. He paused, making sure everything was perfect, his fist clenched, and he struck.
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!
Or at least he would have if his concentration hadn't been snatched away from him in the blink of an eye, instead making him overshoot the blow and go flying over to the side of the room. He turned and stormed to the door, there was no stopping him now. He rounded the corner at the end of the corridor and went into the room marked 'Practice Range' inside he was just in time to see Chris take aim and send another stream of practice bullets into what Robin assumed had once been a newspaper.
The room wasn't very big for its job, it was hardly used before Chris's arrival, so instead of having the targets further away they were just smaller, Robin had once spent hours practicing his throwing technique, until he had needed moving targets to increase his skill.
He was brought back suddenly from this memory.
Robin sighed as another projectile tore a small hole in what was left of the paper, this last tear was just too much and the bottom half fell away.
BANG BANG BANG BANG!
Robin was as ever amazed at the accuracy of the shots, each one struck the falling paper and may have even kept it in the air had Chris not stopped. He was just on the verge of making his presence known to the stationary Englishman when he saw that Chris was reloading the training weapon, it was out of ammunition, but the strange thing was that Chris had know it was, even though the weapon had not emitted a click or ceased fire, had Chris actually counted the rounds fired, if so, it was a skill few could boast, and only served to increase Robin's opinion of Chris as a master gunman.
Robin enquired. The Titan slipped the safety catch on and turned.
He said, his tone explaining both the mood he was in and also why the newspaper had had to die.
Robin pondered the likelihood of Chris shooting him, deciding that it was limited he began his request.
"Er Chris, look, I appreciate that you are training, and training hard, but could you possibly stop shooting that newspaper, it's kinda annoying."
There was a moment where the politeness of the coming response was in question, however common sense won through and Chris nodded.
"Sorry, just blowing off some steam."
He said unloading the fresh magazine and carefully placing the weapon and ammunition in their appropriate places. Robin smiled, not because he had gotton his own way, but because Chris had actually shown the loyalty, respect and friendship to hold back what was likely to have been a scathing remark.
"How about you and me spar for a little while, make you feel better I bet."
Chris nodded, skilfully hiding a depressed sigh as they walked out of the room together.
"Come death come."
It was a glorious day; even Raven would have to admit. It was after all, miserable looking weather.
It didn't matter to Starfire, the wet weather was a beautifully natural occurrence, and one that she loved despite the sombre attitude that others regarded such weather in. it was all natures will, and that was a special thing that this pretty little blue planet could boast, what she loved the most about such things however was the possibility of seeing a 'rainbow' such an occurrence could make her day alone, and she was looking forward to such an occasion today.
There could be nothing better in her opinion, and even Raven would be challenged to disagree.
Though Starfire somehow doubted she would. Giggling quietly to herself she continued her brisk walk towards the main room, it was always such a joy to come into that room in the morning, when the view was so special, dawn or dusk, it didn't matter view wise. But the smiles of greeting on her friends faces each morning warmed the heart of the alien princess.
Just who, she wondered would be there today, before the arrival of Chris the attendance would vary, but recently the possibility of a breakfast made for them had brought the others out earlier and at the same time.
How she loved that also, the moments of such joyful bonding when the six of them would gather around the dining table and simply, as friends, talk. The experience was nothing new, but now with the addition of the sixth Titan, it had a new flavour, so to speak. Chris was full of new stories and as yet not annoyingly repetitive conversation directions. Long had it been a custom of Starfire's to watch her team mates for possible bonding activities, and while her hair braiding suggestions with Raven had been stonewalled, she had at least found some way of spending what on this planet was called 'quality time' with each and every one of her friends.
Thus it was that much more of a tragedy that she could find no activity with which she suspected Chris would not refuse outright, and she was beginning to suspect that the Englishman was still angry about her leading him 'like a lamb to the slaughter' he had said, during his initiation.
If this was the case, then she would have to remedy the situation very quickly, for she could not bear the thought of one of her friends being displeased with her.
So engrossed with her ponderings was she that it was only when the realisation that she had stopped dawned on her that she realised where she was.
Said Raven in a bored tone from her corner, despite her customary act of unconcern, the surprise that Starfire had entered quietly was apparent.
"Oh good morning friend Raven, is it not a most glorious day?"
'Friend Raven' opened one eye, then after a half second glance out of the windows surrounding the room simply replied.
The comment had contained no spite or anything of the sort; it was however delivered in such an extinguishing manner that even Starfire saw that there was going to be minimum jollity to be had in this room on this particular morning.
Sighing Starfire looked about the room, they were alone, and that was not a particularly uplifting state of affairs.
"Please friend, where might the others be found?"
Starfire asked, smiling in her usually whirlwind of youthful caring, love and beauty. Raven responded in the norm also, a disheartening, depressing monotone that seemed to be able to suck the very life force out of the merry Titan.
"No, but I would assume that Beast Boy is still asleep, Cyborg is probably in the workshop or lab, and Robin and Chris could be training anywhere, oh, and by the way, just so we're on the same page, Cyborg is in a mild depression because of Chris, Robin may soon be suffering from a mild concussion, because of Chris, and vive versa, Chris is in a big depression and also a bad mood, because of Beast Boy, and Beast Boy may soon be in crutches, because of Chris, but I'm fine."
Starfire absorbed the information and angled her eyebrows and lips into an expression of puzzlement.
"But why is such a chain of unrest apparent within our most friendship bound team?"
Raven looked up; the signs of annoyance were beginning to appear.
"That's the way things are, plus it all spawned from Beast Boy, so it was inevitable that everybody is down."
Starfire turned around and made her way back towards the door from whence she had come.
"Then I shall crusade until the high spirit of our beloved team is restored once more."
The door closed behind her, thus meaning she didn't hear the unconcerned comment that followed her.
"Yeah, good luck with that."
The apparently depressed Englishman was in no mood for this, it was blatant, though it certainly wasn't stopping Robin.
Cyborg had been watching for about five minuets, and he was witnessing what he could only describe as a slaughter, it was 'the charge of the light brigade' all over again. Chris was clearly outmatched, but fuel'd by the powerful rage within him, he just kept coming back for more, what had started as a fairly disciplined training match with training weapons had slowly degraded into an unruly slugging match.
Swoosh, clump, crunch, slump.
For the thirty second time Chris was pole axed by a disciplined and precise blow, he fell to the ground, muttered something impossible to hear, but highly likely impolite and then got slowly to his feet, a look of uncaring acceptance in his swampy coloured eyes.
"Chris are you sure you want to continue?"
Robin received a nod.
"Come on, your eager to train and improve I know, and this was my idea I accept but you really look like you could use a rest."
Chris assumed one of his newly learned combat stances, an offensive one Cyborg noticed with a sinking feeling, he knew what would follow shortly.
Robin sighed and nodded; he assumed a defensive stance and awaited the inevitable. However Cyborg was not destined to see this final 'charge of the light brigade' from behind him the sound of the door opening distracted his attention and he turned for a moment.
Swoosh, thwack, crunch, bang, tumble, slump.
Cyborg looked away from the entering form of Starfire and back at the two stationary forms on the floor, they had both been annihilated that time, which was an improvement, if you could call it that.
Starfire and Cyborg exchanged glances and then moved into the occupied part of the sparring room.
Chris rolled onto his back and then accepted Robin's hand, back on his feet he swayed slightly but was smiling at least now.
"You two enjoying yourselves?"
Cyborg asked of the two sweating, grinning combatants, he received a duet of nods, good enough for him, he thought.
"Yeah, having a right good rumble."
Said the now obviously far more content Englishman.
friends; I have been informed by friend Raven that our team spirit is
low and in need or replenishment."
The three male Titans exchanged glances.
"Er Star, everything's fine, just some early morning blues that's all."
The alien beauty wrinkled her pretty nose at Robin; it would seem she was unsure about what he meant.
The three male Titans once again exchanged glances, though this time they were accompanied by sighs. Cyborg grinned as he thought of the discomfort he was about to inflict on his leader, and with an evil grin he grabbed Chris by the shoulder and led him away.
Taking his opportunity to escape with Cyborg, Chris left with the excuse 'there are important things we need to play with', and with that they left Robin to it, and 'it' was to turn out to be a very uncomfortable occurrence in deed.
"Are Robin and Starfire, you know?"
Chris asked in a slightly nervous voice, he had been wanting to ask for a long time, but had not thought it appropriate, or wise, but now just seemed the right time, especially after the merriment of Cyborg when they had seen the look on Robin's face, like a general deserted by his men in the face of the enemy.
Asked Cyborg, knowing full well what the Englishman meant but wanting to make him suffer just a tiny bit, he was cruel that way it would seem.
Said Chris, not wanting to be draw into the game, but failing anyway.
"Nope, you're going to have to spell it out to me."
Said the towering Titan, an evil grin on his face. Chris pondered for a moment as they turned a corner and headed into the elevator.
"A R E R O B I N A N D S T A R F I R E A N I T E M O R A M I M I S T A K E N I N T H A T A C C U S A T I O N."
He said in a surprisingly fast but nevertheless blatantly sarcastic manner. Cyborg actually missed the correct button on the panel and sent them up instead of down.
"F O O L."
Said Chris shaking his head. Cyborg frowned, still not sure exactly what Chris had said, though getting the second message all too clearly.
"W E L L A N S W E R M E A N D S T O P B E I N G A N O O Y I N G."
Chris said, mildly amused by Cyborg's bemused look as he finally sent the elevator in the right direction.
just stop it, no they aint, they should be, damn near are, but no,
the answer is no, ok?"
Chris nodded, it was the answer he had been expecting, or at least very close to it. He had suspected that Robin's almost coldly professional attitude would make that sort of relationship strained, but he had been in the thinking that Starfire's abundance of the opposite would have more than compensated. Chris shook his head in wonder for a second; Robin was a braver guy than him. In all likelihood if it was him in Robin's shoes then he would be a nervous wreck, or even worse, if it was Raven with Starfire's personality, then, well.
"You would crack boyo, your mind would melt leaving you completely unable to function, and I'm definitely not driving."
Said David annoyingly, but probably not far from the truth.
"What's the matter?"
Asked Cyborg, catching the rather distant but disturbed look on the Englishman's face. Chris, suitably dragged from his revile shook his head and said unconvincingly.
Cyborg looked like he was on the verge of asking a question, but at that moment the elevator came to a halt and the doors opened, apparently forgetting his motion of thought the large Titan walked out and started towards the workshop. Chris was glad, though he couldn't be sure why, the topic of Robin's and Starfire's 'relationship' if it could be called that, had made him examine, and subsequently become very depressed by his own apparently hopeless situation. Not helped at all by David's constant ridicule.
"Yep, you're screwed."
He followed Cyborg into the workshop, and was greeted by a sight he would not soon forget.
Robin was not happy, he had been abandoned, left to fend for himself in one of the most challenging engagements he had ever faced, AND HE WAS BLUSHING.
It wasn't that he couldn't act naturally around Starfire; in fact he had pretty much got that nailed down as an everyday occurrence. However, it was at times like this, times of anxiety when he was caught on the hop, these were the times when he usually found himself getting hot under the collar. Starfire wasn't the sort that he would consider devious, but if she did this sort of thing on purpose, then Robin didn't know what to call her.
It was the smile, that fatally beautiful smile, simple, but not foolish, bright, bright to the point of dazzling, unassuming, but somehow, deep down, expecting, like she was constantly waiting, longing for something. He knew why and for what she waited, though was of mixed feelings about just how that made him feel.
The problem here, was that he was now in one of those uncomfortable moments, one of those moments where he would either be forced to verbally 'break and run' or 'stand and fight', shameless as it sounded, he was not too keen on the latter.
"So Robin, what are these morning blues of which you speak?"
Internally there was a battle going on which composed of fear, bravery, willpower, strength, desire, confidence and paranoia. It was a battle of a peculiar nature, and it wasn't helping the boy wonder in question.
He paused, realising just how difficult it would be to express the concept of 'early morning blues' to someone who seemed like they had never experienced them in their entire life. While he was pondering this the 'happy' person in question tilted their head adorably and smiled that much more intensely. This was no good, Robin needed to break out of this trap, he was only going to achieve embarrassing himself if he continued like this.
She asked, batting her eyelashes, realising he had absolutely no chance whatsoever of winning this particular battle Robin decided it was time to run. That however, was not going to be easy.
"It's kinda hard to explain, it's like, like…"
He closed his eyes for a moment, this was a disaster, this was fates way of punishing him for taking amusement in Chris's discomfort around Starfire. It was so unfair, he was the leader, yet he was definitely on the defensive here. Clearing his throat he began what was destined to be a very long, uncomfortable, embarrassing and frustrating conversation.
With hindsight it was probably not going to be the worst part of his day, however at that moment he was not happy with the two Titans who had deserted him and caused his current discomfort.
Those particular Titan's in question were at present having a far more amusing time.
The target shuddered and the blindingly white beam of energy went through, ending up several hundred metres away in the water of the bay, startling a seagull in the progress.
Chris stood for a moment in a stunned almost respectful silence.
"Blimy, are you sure this is wise, one sneeze and I might put a whole in the sun or something, and the recoil on this thing is like a mule."
Cyborg smiled; proud with the response his creation had received.
It had been a curious ten minuets, from the moment they had entered, followed by the first glimpse of Chris's brand new equipment, to Cyborg's salesman style routine and now, finally, to them running down to the training ground on the back of the island like a pair of naughty school children, not before however blowing a hole in the indoor target ranges wall.
Chris was amazed at the sheer power his equipment seemed to encompass, and Cyborg secretly had to admit he was too, the weapon was, at least visually, the same as the average laser rifle the local police force used, however, and it was a big however, Cyborg had used a miniaturised version of his sonic cannon instead of the, as he called it, 'wimpy standard blaster'. Something that had shocked Chris was the fact that if when he set his weapons power rating to low, it still put holes in things, then what it would do when set on high, and even more disturbing, just what could Cyborg's full version do. Chris didn't even want to know what a giant sonic cannon could do, though, in time, he would.
Cyborg's cheerful voice brought the pondering Englishman back to the real world.
"Wow, that was a bull."
Chris smiled slightly.
Cyborg grinned back.
"Don't get cocky, you're not that good."
Chris raised both of his eyebrows for a second in an expression that suggested he disagreed, though he said nothing.
"Ok, let's try it again, super long range this time."
The titanium giant said to his now heavily armed companion. Chris scanned the target range for a target but saw none.
"Er, Cyborg… friend, there's nothing there."
The larger Titan tipped the barrel of Chris's weapon up several degrees and the aiming teen spotted a tiny white circle with a red dot in the middle, standing proudly on a rock several hundred meters away. Chris raised an eyebrow, that was an impossible shot, even he knew that, especially as he was not yet confident with the weapon Cyborg had created.
"No fair, I would be hard pressed to hit a tank at that range, well, maybe not, but you know what I mean."
He said unhappily, squinting down the sight and doing his best not to let the sight sway.
"Trust me, you will be able to hit far smaller targets at far greater ranges by the end of the day, have a little confidence man, remember, we believe in you, besides, this is only a test, next shot I will start showing you a few of the extras.
Chris felt a happy warm feeling deep inside himself, he was admittedly a little annoyed by the fact that once again, a member of the team had shamelessly stolen from the conversation he had had with Raven on the towers roof. It made him feel better, but he still found it annoying that a 'personal' moment for him, and indeed between himself and his beloved Raven had been violated. Either way, it was nothing he was ever likely to mention, so he simply grumbled internally.
As always helped in that department by the ever present voice of David.
"Oh cheer up, you're finally getting to shoot something, just be careful and try to avoid any friendly fire incidents, I doubt they would appreciate it."
Chris sighed and took aim, careful to adjust ever so slightly for the range and wind direction.
He squeezed the trigger.
The bright white beam darted towards the target, less than a second after he had fired, the target shuddered and fell into the water. Cyborg looked at the disappearing shape and then said.
"Er, well, er… that will do, I guess."
Chris smiled, he hadn't been expecting to hit the target, but he certainly wasn't going to miss the opportunity.
"Yes, bit messy but I think it was a mediocre shot, wouldn't you, eh, eh, Cyborg, eh, eh, eh, good eh, eh, Cy, that was good eh, eh, eh, eh…?"
"ALRIGHT IT WAS GOOD!"
Cyborg finally snapped and shouted waving his arms around. He wouldn't have minded, but the apparently sharp shooting Englishman has been edging his face closer throughout that very annoying statement. Chris smiled at the response.
"So, what's next?"
He queried, looking along the length of the rifle and testing its weight in either arm. Cyborg shook his head and took the weapon from Chris, taking on a stern tone.
"Now Chris, I know you're no baby. But I still want to say, this is no toy, it's a dangerous weapon, and even if I did make it, it is still just basically a gun, a super cool gun, but a gun all the same, you point, it shoots, you understand?"
"Good, this isn't just something that I have created, it's almost a part of me, it uses the same technology and that is special to me, I am trusting you with this, don't let me down."
Chris shook his head as the last part of the sentence came out with a passion that Chris, then, couldn't understand. Chris was just about to ask if something was wrong when he was convinced there wasn't.
"So, let's have some fun."
The grinning Cyborg said, throwing the weapon to be awkwardly caught by the surprised Englishman.
"If thou should wish to endanger your life, then by all means feel free to look in the fridge, HOWEVER, if you would prefer to not face the blue mess that now inhabits it, then will you please keep the door closed and not wake it up, if you fail this simple task please use the 'bludgeoner' provided."
Raven read the note aloud and followed the arrow which pointed towards a frying pan with the newly written inscription 'Bludgeoner Ben' on it. She rolled her eyes and decided that Chris, who had told her of his encounter with the repulsive pie and more recently, the dangerous blue mould that seemed to have taken up residence in its place, probably knew what he was talking about.
She sighed and went back to her book, from the sounds of the enthusiastic shooting outside she gathered that Chris was feeling better, and that he was likely to work up a reasonable appetite, that way she was likely to not have to open the fridge door herself.
She sat and folded her legs, picking up her book and once more lost herself in the intellectual writings of some long dead monk, she read the name Malchior.
A name she would remember in the not too distant future, however, this was not to be the time, for she was destined to be disturbed and not look to this particular book again for a while, with hindsight it was probably for the best.
An annoyingly cheerful voice said. She pondered the odds of successfully ignoring it and continuing this, till now, pleasantly un green day, knowing the odds were not good she sighed and slammed the book shut.
She said coolly, drawing attention to the late hour of Beast Boy's awakening. He didn't seem to notice.
He asked throwing himself onto the sofa next to her. She was tempted to say 'you' and send him flying through the ceiling, however for his sake she didn't. Instead she decided to give him some troubling thoughts to ponder.
He looked at her expectantly, like a bemused child who couldn't quite believe he was being ignored. Finally tiring of her pause he asked.
She delivered her line and opened her book once more.
"I don't speak to dead men…."
She paused and looked at him.
"Oh, pardon me, dead 'boys'."
Beast Boy looked at her for a moment, his brains working almost visible on his face.
"Only cos you can't talk to boy's, anyway, what do you mean?"
Ignoring the first comment she simply looked back at her book and though not reading pretended to be engrossed.
Beast Boy huffed and continued.
"Come on Rae, pleeeeeeeze."
Despising that particular lengthened word she decided it was wise to deliver her intended comment now before he went and deployed a significantly long one.
"You may or may not remember, but you blabbed about Chris to the media, he isn't happy and neither will Robin be when he finds out, so, it's all a question of which one finds you first, or if you annoy me significantly to warrant you demise, either way… bye bye."
The green Titan looked at her horrified for a moment, then apparently deciding he didn't quite have to worry as much as she was making out sneered and said.
"Yeah right, even if they are mad, I didn't mean to, and it's not like I told them his name, even I'm not that stupid."
Raven looked at him with a sceptical expression; she raised her eye brows briefly before shrugging and once more trying to read her book.
"Besides, it's not like Chris even has a proper super hero name yet, not like us anyway."
She paused for a moment, could it actually be that Beast Boy, of all people, had just stumbled upon something both important and interesting.
"What do you mean, like us?"
She asked, surprised that she had never really taken time to ponder her friends and her own alias. It was so natural to think of them as they intended to be seen, as the Teen Titans, not people, not friends, but a legendary mix of hero, mystery, alien, cybernetics and something else, something that wasn't really either, just a mask for something else, buried deep within. She sighed and pushed that depressing thought from her mind.
"Well, I mean we all have these names that kinda define who we are, and Chris, well, he doesn't."
She looked at him, he was right, and socking as that in itself was, what was more was the strange deepness to what he was saying.
is Chris, that defines him pretty much on its own."
She said, not sure exactly why, just feeling that the point had to be made, even if Beast Boy didn't know, she did that the Englishman's identity was in his past, and that would dictate a lot of how he acted in the future.
"Yeah, I know that, but it's, it's like this, I'm Beast Boy, right?"
"Right, so that's my identity, it's who I am, and how people know and see me, it makes sense because I can change into different animals, or, beasts, so it works, yeah?"
Once more the dark teen nodded in the affirmative.
"Now, Cyborg, well, that works because, well, he's a Cyborg, that's his thing, simple."
She raised an eye brow, but still nodded, wondering just what Beast Boy was going to say about her identification.
for you and Robin, it's a little different, Robin has this whole
misdirection thing going."
She queried, actually beginning to enjoy this bizarre but definitely interesting conversation.
"Yeah, its like his name, it say sweet little bird, but when you see him beating the snot out of some bank robbers or whatever, it just kinda doesn't work."
Raven thought for a moment, she had never really thought of this, it was true that Robin's name could in a way be seen as almost 'girlish', yet it was not, he had gone beyond that, and he commanded respect from friend and foe alike. A thought came to her.
"What about Starefire then mister enlightenment?"
Beast Boy grinned, though to be perfectly honest he wasn't sure just what the word meant; it was either something about understanding, or a dimmer switch brand, one of those.
"I guess Star is sort of the same as Robin that way, she has this sweet name that says cute kind and cuddly, but seriously, would you like to have to explain to her how you'd broken Robin's arm?"
She smiled slightly, she quickly hid it, but even so, the image was amusing, though she denied it she did find Beast Boy amusing at times, and he had a habit of cheering her up and brightening her day considerably.
She answered, her voice and facial expressions now under control.
She asked after a moment of silence, now quite interested in this green Titan's view of her.
"You, well I guess yours is the most cool but still creepy of all, I mean you act like you do, and your name backs it up perfectly, gives you this whole image of darkness, can be scary, but its also good, I know I would rather have you behind me than in front of me."
She looked at him for a moment, aside from the annoying use of the word 'creepy' which she despised as much as ever, what he had said was strangely touching in its adorable naive ness.
"Er, thanks, I guess."
She said, from outside there was a sound of a mild explosion and a shout. Sighing she rolled her eyes and went back to her book, though did ask.
"So, what would you suggest we call him?"
He looked at her and pondered the question.
"I was kinda thinking something like… 'Fox'."
She put the book down for a moment.
"Yeah, I think it sort of suites him, well, from an animal point of view anyway."
She thought, then decided to just ask.
"Well, I cant help but think of people as animals as well as people, I mean you and Robin are easy, cos your names say it all, Cyborg, well I see him as some sort of bear, a grizzly, and Star, she is a cat to me, a big one, maybe a tiger, but definitely some sort of feline."
"I see, very… original way of thinking."
Raven said, personally she was unsure exactly what he was getting at, but she still liked seeing other people's points of view and ideas, bizarre and potentially frightening as they may have been.
"But why is Chris a 'Fox' then?"
"I don't know, I guess it comes from seeing the video of him, you know the one from the security camera?"
She nodded, actually putting her book down and closing it, so engrossed was she in this strange but still interesting conversation.
"Well it's just the way he moves, sort of graceful, and almost sly, like well, a fox."
She looked slightly sceptical, having not seen the video, or been part of the initiation 'hunt'.
"He is just silent and quick, and he has that sort of movement, you know, like a fox stalking some poor farm animal, plus he's English, and foxes just seem a little more English than wolfs, though that may be because I read a book called 'Fantastic Mr Fox'."
She suppressed a grin.
"Obviously a literature triumph."
He made a face but continued.
"And also when we were looking for him during his initiation, the thing I thought was that it was just like fox hunting, awful and cruel English sport as that used to be, it was still the same, you know, us, hunting him, and him being English, like the foxes would be, I even spent most of the time doing my bloodhound impression, and he still made it difficult. Fought to the end, just like a fox would have. Well that's my opinion anyway."
She looked at him, it was rare for her to feel un-irritated in this particular Titan's presence, even more so for her to feel enlightened into his strange take on things. Put simply, she was now just confused, but not in the annoying way he usually made her. This train of thought was disturbed by the arrival of two Titan's, both looking mildly angry, and slightly worse for ware.
"I can't believe you shot me Chris."
Said the towering form of Cyborg, his right hand clutching an almost invisible dent in the dead centre of his chest plate.
"Well you shot me first."
The English Titan responded, not looking over to the two sitting figures but instead placing his equipment onto the counter and collapsing into a chair.
"Yeah, but we had to test your new gear out, I did say we were doing that."
Countered Cyborg, heading to the fridge, but stopping as he saw the note.
"Yes, but you could have given me a little warning before shooting me in the chest."
Chris said, his tone getting ever so slightly more angry.
"I did not shoot you in the chest; I shot you very gently in the toughest point of the body armor."
Said Cyborg, his own tone matching the sitting Englishman's.
"Exactly how do you shoot someone 'gently' and I can still feel it, its warm, and I think you broke a rib, if so, Raven wont be happy…."
Said Chris finally looking round and noticing the pair of Titan's looking over the back of the sofa.
Said he and Cyborg together, far too loudly and quickly to be natural.
Raven rolled her eyes and went back to her book. Cyborg Chris and Beast Boy exchanged looks and then went about their business, their apparent hostility now forgotten.
It was dark outside, night was fast approaching, as the city wound down the noise of the population decreased… though that wasn't true in at least one front room.
"But why Fox?"
Chris… or now apparently 'Fox' asked.
Said Beast Boy, now seeming a lot less sure of his apparently profound suggestion.
"Er… well I guess there are some other possible, like…"
"Fox held up a finger and silenced him with.
"Call me 'Super Limey' and I swear I will do something unpleasant."
Beast Boy shrugged and sat back a bit further into the couch, deeply frightened by the fact that Fox had guessed perfectly what he had been about to say.
"Look man, can you think of anything better?"
Said Cyborg, Fox turned and looked at him, he shrugged and sat down heavily next to Raven.
They were all there, and it was proving an interesting conversation.
Listen… Fox, you could have picked your own one… but you didn't, so either do so, or use this one."
Said Robin, still in slight ill humour after his earlier desertion. Fox sighed and nodded, he gave a hopeless look at Raven, which she ignored, and that was that.
For about twelve seconds.
The main alarm screamed at them, Robin with speed that suggested this was not the first time, flew over the back of the sofa and ran to the main console.
He looked back with a grim expression.
"Time to do our job guys."
He said already making a move for the door.
"Ugh, never a moments peace."
Said Beast Boy morphing into a hawk and reappearing as himself by the door.
"What is it this time?"
Cyborg asked, pulling 'Fox' up and handing him his gear, which had been sitting where he had dropped it earlier.
"Cinderblock, at the prison, he's breached the perimeter defences, we need to stop him before he does whatever he is planning."
The Titans ran out of the main room and headed for the elevator.
Fox asked. The others save Raven grinned.
"Yeah, your in for a treat tonight, its going to be a rocky evening."
All the Titans, except this time Fox sighed. The elevator halted on the ground floor and they poured out, all except for Fox, who was having a minor panic attack about facing his first real enemy… and something about the name and Beast Boy's questionable humour suggested he was not going to find them facing a pushover.
"Hey Foxy, you coming or what!"
He looked up from his revile and ran after his team mates pulling on his equipment as he went.
"Don't call me Foxy!"
There, sorry it took longer than time itself, but a combination of being busy, several strange and frightening events , writers block, a severe head injury... and just generally being lazy has slowed me down considerably.
Anyway, thanks to all those who have reviewed and of course to my wisest counsel.
Please continue to do so, or start… please… go on.
Anyway, thanks for reading, hope I won't be as slow in the future, but no promises.