Useless/Useful Stuff to Know:
I don't own Teen Titans or the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. Never will. Wish I did.
No Rhyme, No Rhythm
by Alba Aulbath
Chapter Two - See No Evil
The last thing he ever heard her say was,
To be truthful, See-More expected that she possibly assumed he heard nothing. But he had known, and it was from there he knew she'd go down that road and never look back, all because of a stupidly fast kid that charmed her. It was unfair, like most things in the world, and all he could do was let her go.
But he never really thought she'd attack them. He never really supposed that she was capable of it, after all her desires of becoming a supervillainess.
He remembered some better days before Kid Flash raced off with Jinx.
He remembered taking off the helmet in front of her, and she wasn't bothered in the least.
When he dreamt that night, however, she screamed.
See-More didn't get back to sleep.
"You're gettin' it all wrong, you gunkmuncher!" Gizmo pointed wildly at his blueprints, which had been pinned to the wall of the abandoned apartment they were still residing in. "Communications HERE an' living room HERE--"
Billy Numerous gave him a firm look. "Look, don't y'all get so picky, Gizmo; we're doin' all th' work here. Ain't we boys?"
"What he said!" another Billy shouted in agreement.
The Billy Numeri were organizing themselves to work underground, where they were digging out and preparing a brand new underground base as per Gizmo's instructions. The building they were in was barely livable, and there wasn't much they could do but construct a new headquarters below it. While they were all bringing materials while Gizmo planned the whole thing, Billy was primarily responsible for the construction due to his strength in numbers.
"If you wanna get it RIGHT--" Gizmo began, still complaining.
"We'll get it right, jus' quit yer naggin'!"
Stumbling out from one of the spare rooms, See-More was readjusting his helmet to fit on right; his eye blinked once, shifting and glancing to the Billies arguing with Gizmo.
"Been at it for awhile," was a familiar, mumbling voice. Glancing aside to look at Kyd Wykkyd, the pale boy was wiping sweat from his face, as he had been helping before. "We're all a little cranky..."
"Heh; can't blame 'em. We've been cooped up in here for awhile," See-More responded, smiling awkwardly. "Sorry I slept in."
Wykkyd shook his head. It was fine with him, obviously.
"I CAN'T STINKIN' WORK LIKE THIS!" Gizmo literally screamed, stomping away from the group of Billy Numeri. "If that pit-sniffer isn't going to follow the blueprints--"
"Ah'm followin' fine!" a Billy called back.
"Don't y'all get so picky!"
Mammoth grumbled. "All this work an' I'm gettin' hungry!"
See-More shouted, his voice almost echoing off the relatively empty walls, "All right already!"
Every single head turned towards the cyclops in utter silence. A Billy might have coughed.
"Look, I know we've been in here for 'bout a week workin' like dogs, but we gotta work together. We know that," See-More said a little more calmly.
"Y'know what we oughta do? Go out fer a bit," Billy Numerous suggested. "We been stuck in here like prisoners!"
"Billy's right; ah'm sick of lookin' at these walls," another Billy agreed.
"Ah think ah'm gettin' cabin fever!"
"I want pizza!" Mammoth demanded.
"Yeah, like we can go outside, snotbrains! Most of the Titans are still hanging around in Jump City," Gizmo stated with frustration, snorting at the end.
The first Billy Numerous folded his arms. "Hell, why don't we jus' go out in civvies, then?"
"Real smart idea, like we don't stick out much," Gizmo grumbled.
"Ah'm serious. We've got stolen cash, an' we could jus' grab some pizza like normal folks. No one'd be th' wiser. Most folks in Jump City're pretty danged stupid."
See-More didn't sit well with the idea. He folded his arms, shifting his weight from foot to foot uncomfortably. "You sure this is a good idea?"
"What, is that helmet o' yers glued on, See-More?" Billy smirked and started to merge with his doubles. "We'll be fine!"
Carefully, See-More weighed his options. On one hand, he really wasn't comfortable with the concept of stepping out without his helmet on. On the other hand... they all needed to step out for awhile. They'd been cooped up and were getting on each other's nerves more than usual. It'd be best for all of them if they went out for awhile.
Even if he really, really didn't want to.
"All right. But we gotta keep our cover low. Don't need twenty Titans getting on our asses," See-More reluctantly caved in to the decision.
"YEE-HOO!" Billy punched the air before running off to get changed.
Retreating back to his room as the others did similarly, See-More let out a heavy sigh.
He hadn't even heard anyone follow him, so he jerked a bit in surprise when he heard Kyd Wykkyd speak right behind him, "Okay with this?"
See-More smiled awkwardly. "Well, I gotta be, right? Just, uh. I don't know if..."
Lightly, there was a hand to his shoulder from the pale boy. Nothing else was said; See-More knew he was worried. Glancing over his shoulder, Wykkyd frowned at him, gesturing out the door; he wanted See-More to confront them.
"Pff. Like I need them pickin' on me." See-More adjusted the switch on his helmet before he yanked it off; shaking his head, he also shook out tightly wound hair that was made into dreadlocks. He kept his eyes shut.
There was a sigh of defeat from Kyd Wykkyd.
See-More didn't have to look to know that the other boy had vanished.
Not that he could have.
The F.I.V.E. were assembled and leaving their hideout-in-progress. Truth be told, the very idea of stepping out into public without their costumes was more than odd -- just plain outspoken. Never had they ever feared being spotted by a Titan. In some ways, they dared to be in most cases -- but with so many of the Titans around, the occasion was not an option.
"Y'all know, since we joined th' Academy, ah rarely even touched civvies." Billy Numerous had quickly picked up the habit of ruffling out his own short, plain brown hair, as if it was foreign to him. "S'almost like ah almost fergot ah had hair."
"Hey!" Gizmo grumped, pointing to his own head.
Behind Billy, Mammoth, and Gizmo were the two remaining members of their group; Kyd Wykkyd was walking behind the three, See-More's hand on his shoulder as they walked. The former, without his mask, had dark violet, unruly hair framing his face and a pair of pale pointed ears poking out between strands. He wore a long dark coat, as if to make up for his missing cape. See-More, on the other hand, seemed to have dressed himself blindly, wearing a lime green shirt and a pair of shades.
As they walked, See-More chewed his lip, feeling utterly awkward in the position he was in. He was perfectly fine with trying to organize their mess after the unfortunate hand they'd been dealt with several times. He had decent skills for that, after all; better for watching than being actually involved in the action, so to speak. Positioning himself as leader was a bit discomforting, but none of the others, he supposed, were really up for the task.
And in a way, he felt responsible for Jinx leaving them. He could have stopped her...
If he had really wanted to.
There was a rumble under his feet and he stopped, frowning -- which had been good instinct; Kyd Wykkyd also paused. See-More heard the pale boy in front of him growl softly.
"So much fer pizza," Billy sighed.
"Why not?" See-More asked, puzzled.
"Well, there ain't 'xactly a place t'eat at."
There was another rumble, and See-More felt a spray of dust and gravel, throwing up an arm to defend himself from the small debris. "Wykkyd, what's--!"
There was only a grunt for a reply before Kyd Wykkyd grabbed See-More by the torso, leaping away from whatever chaos was erupting before them.
He could hear it. The crumbling of walls, almost like explosions -- but he didn't smell smoke, so that couldn't be it. Someone had to be strong enough to break through the cement. See-More tried to think of who it could be. Maybe Cinderblock -- but he was frozen and taken by the Doom Patrol. That much he knew that should have happened.
Stumbling a bit, he felt Kyd Wykkyd land. It felt windier, likely on the top of a roof.
"Hang on, I gotta get my--" See-More began, reaching for his satchel where he kept his helmet. It was Jump City; it was likely there was some kind of emergency every hour or so.
He'd been grabbed and yanked back a few feet, then pushed to crouch. Wykkyd wasn't going to waste time obviously. From the sounds of it, he had run and leapt off wherever they were.
He went to get his helmet ready.
Jump City was always in danger, even with most of its villains locked away. But the F.I.V.E. hadn't expected just one lone man to walk out from the rubble of what used to be the pizza lounge, dusting himself off as if nothing had happened. He was tall, looking to be a young African American adult. Casual clothing, nothing particularly special in appearance.
He lifted his head and grinned at them, immediately charging at the group.
Kyd Wykkyd didn't recognize him, but he knew immediately he had to take See-More to safety until he could place on his helmet. He figured a rooftop ought to keep him out of sight and safe.
Leaping down to face off with the man -- perfectly normal-looking, perfectly calm -- he didn't expect to be swatted aside so easily, so powerfully. Wykkyd slammed into the ground, shaking his head and trying to clear it.
"Hey, snotbrain! You must be pretty stupid, taking on the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E.!" Gizmo snapped, activating his backpack and taking flight, not hesitating to fire rockets at the man.
However, the unknown man just ran out of the way of the missiles, moving with insane amounts of agility and strength; he leapt up grinned at Gizmo, smug.
"Sorry, kiddo. I'm not after a group of you. Just one of you." The man grabbed onto Gizmo's backpack and tossed him like a football, making his rockets useless to pilote in the velocity he was going.
"CRUD! AAAGH, HELP!" the boy shrieked, trying to gain control.
Wykkyd winced and teleported from his crouched position, appearing in from of Gizmo to catch him in his coat before disappearing again.
Pulling himself out from some rubble, as he had attempted to confront the mystery man minutes before, Mammoth dusted himself off and growled. A couple of Billies, still in their casual wear, multiplied themselves.
"Who the hell does this guy think he is?" Mammoth grumbled, charging at the strange man, bringing back a fist and slamming it full forced against the man.
He went flying from the blow, smashing through another wall down the street. It didn't seem to take long for him to recover, as he was stepping out from the debris and dusting himself off as if it'd been nothing but a breeze that unsettled his appearance. There was one obvious thing about him, though: a tear in his skin on his arm revealed metal underneath.
As Kyd Wykkyd appeared beside the recovering Mammoth and group of Billy Numeri, Gizmo smirked as he hopped out from the pale boy's arms. "So the scuzzmuncher's a stinkin' robot or something."
"Right. We'll keep 'im distracted for ya, Gizmo!" Billy divided himself.
The group of Billies leapt at the man, intending to dogpile him -- but he threw off most of them off, a few managing to keep his feet connected to the ground. It was enough of a distraction to allow Mammoth to charge and lock hands with the mystery man in a competition for strength.
While this kept the man occupied, Kyd Wykkyd transported himself right behind him, helping Gizmo latch onto his back before the pale boy disappeared, out of sight.
"What're you...?" The man sounded confused, noticing something was wrong. "Get out of my circuits, you little BRAT!" No longer so calm, he threw Mammoth violently away before doing the same to the remaining Numeri.
"Heh heh heh, totally gettin' owned-- WHOA! HEY!" The man had reached back and grabbed onto the shirt of the boy before holding him up, glaring at him squarely in the eye. Gizmo struggled, flailing uselessly. "LET GO OF ME, YOU OOZE-SLURPIN', GUNKCRUNCHIN'--"
"Got a bit of a mouth on you, don't you?" the man muttered, not at all sounding amused.
Abruptly, Kyd Wykkyd appeared; the tips of his cape had noticably become more solid, sharper, as he turned and slashed into the man's arm, causing him to drop Gizmo (though the boy shouted with an indignant "HEY!"). Wykkyd knelt down to help the boy up, but noticed.
The man had sparks of electricity and blood coming out.
"I have no time for this." The man turned and leapt away, towards the rooftop of a building.
The one Kyd Wykkyd had left See-More at.
"Where the heck is he goin'!" Gizmo grumbled.
It took awhile to completely get his helmet ready -- it was a rarity as it was that he ever even took it off. He placed it on, not bothering to tuck in his dreadlocks.
Blinking his eye, See-More stood up; he had figured right. He was on a rooftop, meant to keep him out of the way until he could defend himself. Staring down, he tried to spot what was going on, finding his friends fighting with someone. He adjusted his helmet, trying to magnify his view -- but the man had run out of view.
"Where did he...?" See-More blinked his eye, trying to spot him again--
The first and last clear view of the man he saw was that he was rushing up to him and smashing a fist onto his eye, cracking it and almost shattering his helmet, giving See-More a splitting headache; he screamed at the pain alone and fell backwards.
"Been looking for you for a long time."
See-More could only groan in confusion before he felt a blow to his head, knocking him unconscious.
As soon as Kyd Wykkyd realized where the man was going, he threw his coat around himself and teleported away from the others. Once he arrived on the roof, Wykkyd didn't see a soul. The man must have moved swiftly -- not shocking, considering he had cybernetics. Maybe he was even entirely a robot in that retrospect.
Still, there was nothing left behind. Just remains of See-More's helmet.
Frowning and trembling with rage, Wykkyd tried to contain himself as he picked up a piece of the debris; softly, he let out a shaking sigh to try to calm himself. Who would have wanted to capture See-More...?
As he pondered the matter, he heard a whisper not far off.
Kyd Wykkyd jerked his head up, knowing those words far too well.
In a matter of seconds, he twirled around and saw Raven of the Teen Titans use her spell to throw a piece of concrete at him. Narrowing his red eyes furiously, Kyd Wykkyd grabbed the ends of his trenchcoat, concentrating and sharpening the ends before he swung them in arcs, slicing the slab in half.
"Crud!" Gizmo screamed, using his backpack to fly up by Kyd Wykkyd for some form of protection. "Those gunkmunching Titans are here!"
Kyd Wykkyd raised a brow at Gizmo, as if to say 'oh, really?' before he pointed at Raven. The miniature genius let out a yelp upon noticing the Titan.
Putting the piece of See-More's helmet into his coat, Wykkyd turned and snagged Gizmo by the arm before leaping off the building to the street below; he landed hard enough to cause the concrete beneath him to shudder and crack. Hurrying, he went to join Billy Numerous and Mammoth. However, they were beginning to be surrounded by the Teen Titans in all of their glory.
In lead was, of course, Robin; the dark-haired hero was in front, standing atop the remains of the restaurant before he pointed at them far too dramatically.
"H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E.!" the Teen Wonder shouted at them, voice demanding. "How'd you escape being frozen!"
"That really ain't none o' yer business, Birdboy!" Billy responded, dividing himself to try to make up for their lack of numbers.
"Y'tell 'im, Billy!" another of the Numeri hooted.
"Y'all jus' try t'catch us!"
Gizmo yanked his arm free from Kyd Wykkyd before snapping at the gathering Titans, "Besides! We didn't stinkin' do anything THIS time!"
The statement was hardly convincing for the Titans, it seemed. Rolling his eyes disbelievingly, Beast Boy thrust a thumb in the direction of the demolished pizza court. "Yeah, that looks real innocent."
While Wykkyd did well to keep silent as per usual his character, he bared his pointed teeth in frustration before tugging at a Billy's arm, revealing the piece of See-More's helmet.
The Billy was startled. "What? He's missin'?"
Kyd Wykkyd nodded.
"You can make this easy or hard, but it's not going to matter!" Robin shouted at the F.I.V.E., determined. "We'll take you all down!"
"We ain't got time t'mess round with 'em," a Billy Numerous hated to admit. "Mammoth, hold all'a 'em off; we gotta scram!"
Cracking his knuckles, Mammoth lifted up an empty card with his meaty hands before throwing it at the gathered Titans. Swooping in to catch it was Starfire, accompanied by Red Star. Using his multiplied selves to attack, the original Billy led the way down the road.
Soaring in front of them to cut them off was Argent, bringing out her hands to form a glowing red wall. Thinking quickly, Kyd Wykkyd disappeared into his trenchcoat, teleporting behind her and slamming his elbow into the back of her head sharply, bringing her down; the wall disappeared, leaving them a clear way again.
"See ya later, snotbrains!" Gizmo fired missiles into the walls, causing enough dust and destruction to cover their tracks.
Turning his head quickly, Robin looked to his half-machine friend. "Cyborg?"
"No readings. That pipsqueak's probably got 'em masked," Cyborg relayed the bad news. "What the heck were they doin' in their civvies?"
"Probably tryin' t'hide while they tear up the place," Beast Boy suggested.
"Wouldn't be too sure of that, Beast Boy." Floating down to join her teammates, Raven held out a piece of a helmet. "Something else was going on here."
As Robin took the piece, Cyborg scowled in familiarity and said, "That's See-More's, ain't it?"
"And we didn't see them carrying any loot. ...Something else is going on," Robin mumbled. "Titans, spread out and get information."
The H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. stopped around a corner into an alleyway, panting and catching their breath. Gizmo himself lowered his jets and landed in front of his friends, grumbling about the Titans interfering.
Kyd Wykkyd slowed his beating heart and looked a bit painfully at the helmet piece in his hand.
"Hey... s'okay," Billy Numerous told him as he finally caught his breath. "He's gotta be, right?"
Wykkyd closed his eyes and shrugged.
"Who th' hell was that guy earlier, anyway?" Mammoth growled. "I'll CRUSH 'im!"
However, the remaining of the F.I.V.E. only looked just as clueless as Mammoth; silence hung in the air before Wykkyd cleared his throat hesitantly, hanging his head with embarrassment and unwanted attention.
"Knows him," Wykkyd mumbled, his pale cheeks going red as the others looked to him.
"How d'ya figger?" Billy asked.
Kyd Wykkyd held up the piece from See-More's helmet, frowning to his teammates.
There was hesitation, as Wykkyd fidgetted in place and looked over the piece in his hands. Finally, he mumbled softly to make his message clear, "Blind." Quickly, he handed Billy the piece before taking a couple of steps away, his shyness getting the better of him.
"So th' guy knows 'im 'nuff t'break his helmet. How're we gonna track 'em?" Billy Numerous scowled.
"Pff, I can deal with that. When I was foolin' with the pitsniffer's wiring, I was hackin' into him. I can trail 'im," Gizmo assured. "Jus' give me awhile."
Mammoth sniffed the air and looked around the corner. "We don't got awhile here," he grumbled, knowing the Titans would be looking for them.
"We'll get back t'base an' get ready. Ain't nobody gonna mess with us again!" Billy Numerous said firmly.
It wouldn't have mattered if he opened his eyes or not; the moment See-More woke with the pounding ache in his skull, he shook his head and groaned softly. Much to his surprise, he hadn't been tied down or anything of the like. Still, once he stood up, he felt dizzy, falling almost immediately back to his knees.
There were the sounds of electronic beeps and the hums of machinary. More than that, as he started to feel closer to reality, he felt cold biting into him. It felt like he was in a freezer! Smelled like it, too.
Aside from all of that, he didn't know where the hell he was. Just that... that person...
He didn't get a good look at his face, but someone attacked him. Took him? That had to be it.
Shivering, See-More tried to stand himself back up, wobbling as he wandered, hands out until he touched an ice-covered wall. It stung, the chill biting his fingertips -- but he was determined. Like hell he was going to lie around like a wuss. One did NOT go to the H.I.V.E. Academy and learn nothing from it.
While he was walking and touching the wall, the tip of his shoe bumped against ... something. He reached out in front of himself, feeling around blindly until he touched a tall and wide object. Flat. It was humming loudly. A generator, maybe. For what?
"Might wanna sit down there, kiddo."
The voice bounced off the walls, and there was no way to listen for the direction at all. See-More jerked his head around a bit, but a hand grabbed the back of his shirt and threw him against the floor, knocking some of the air in his lungs out of him.
"And don't freeze to death. I kind of need you alive."
Coughing for a minute to manage the ability to suck in air again, See-More gritted his teeth and sat back up. "Where th' hell--"
"Are you? Well, it's not gonna do you any good. I already crushed your communicator so you can't call your stupid gang, and you can't see a damn thing without the helmet. Not a problem, though." There was the sound of footsteps, advancing. "You're in a meatlocker, downtown Jump City. But it's got a bit more tech than it oughta."
There was a stirring feeling of helplessness. Without his helmet, he couldn't do anything; attacking or seeing was not an option. It wasn't any wonder he wasn't tied down. He wasn't capable of anything.
But again, See-More wasn't about to let himself be helpless.
"All right, we'll start from th' beginning. Who are you an' what do you want with us?" he demanded.
The man laughed. "'Us'? Oh man, you think I want... hell, I don't care if your gang takes over the city by tonight. They can do what they want, as long as they don't find you. But me? Name's Frank."
There was a pause.
Frank spoke again, sighing, "Frank? Frank Parr? Doesn't sound familiar at all?"
See-More shook his head.
All Frank could do was grunt before muttering, "It figures. Damn it, she never..." There was a pause, then foot steps dared to come closer. Before See-More could tell what was going on, the front of his shirt was grabbed and he was lifted into the air. "Well, whatever. Not like it matters. Just know that I need you for a little operation, kiddo."
In spite of being held, See-More struggled -- but it was like trying to force a boulder to move. It was impossible for him. "What operation? What th' hell are you--!"
"Look, there's a reason you're in a freezer. Keeps you fresh. Sure, you had a little accident some odd years ago with your eyes, right?"
It wasn't due to the fact that he was cold that caused the chill to run up See-More's spine. "How the hell did you know that?"
"Hey, I've had to do my fair share of research. But as bad as that was? My accident was way worse. Mine was enough t'shatter almost everything in my body. I had all my bones replaced. Hell, my skin isn't even organic. I barely have enough organs to actually be called 'alive'."
"S'matter? Don't like bein' part machine?" See-More growled at him.
"That's not the problem, kiddo. The parts that are still all fleshy and bloody? Breaking down. I'm gonna need t'harvest. And guess who's just the PERFECT blood match for me?"
The Teen Wonder lifted his head abruptly at the sound of Cyborg's voice; Robin had been carefully looking over the data that he managed to gather on the most recent piece of destruction on Jump City. Much to his surprise, it appeared that the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. had very little to do with it, save for defending themselves against someone. The footage from the security cameras hadn't been very clear, so it was almost impossible to get a fixation for who they'd been fighting or what happened after the mystery man leapt off.
Robin nodded one, acknowledging his friend.
"Got anythin'?" Cyborg asked, glancing only briefly at the blurry still of the video on screen.
"Only a little. The most I can gather from this is that someone is after the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. I still don't know how they managed to escape from the Brotherhood of Evil's base." Robin scowled, still thinking deeply on the subject.
The half-machine teen jerked a thumb at the screen. "Whoever this guy is, he ain't after the F.I.V.E. Not all of 'em. One of 'em was missing."
Robin thought about it, to catch what Cyborg had, then his eyes widened a little. "See-More. But why? They're just--"
"A bunch of thieves, I know." Cyborg shrugged awkwardly, voice forcefully remaining light on the matter. "Couldn't tell ya. But there's one thing I checked out during the mess. The guy that's after 'em isn't entirely organic."
"So he's a cyborg."
"Not like me, a'course." Pride that once would have been frustration at his own inhumanity was clearly marked on Cyborg's face, and he straightened his posture. "It's not entirely visible, but I think his structure on th' inside is mechanical. Still don't know who he is, though, but I could probably trace him. Hardware like that, he left easy t'trace. Don't think he knows his own systems very well."
There still left the question, though; Robin rubbed his chin, narrowing his eyes as he thought it over. "But why would he need See-More?"
"Dunno. Either way, we gotta go after 'em; two birds with one stone?"
It was a good opportunity. Robin nodded. "Was anyone able to get a hold of Jinx?"
Cyborg shook his head. "Bee gave it a shot; she only got Kid Flash, an' he says she's not interested in hearin' what we got t'say. I'll try t'get Kid Flash to patch some messages through t'her."
"We just need to keep an eye on her. If she's responsible for releasing the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E., she hasn't changed as much as we thought she did." Robin gestured faintly to the inside of their base. "Get the other Titans and see if you can start tracking that man. We need to settle this as soon as we can."
"Ow! Quit shovin', gunkmunchers!"
"Ah ain't shovin'; y'all are jabbin' me with yer elbows!"
"An' me, Billy!"
"Same here, Billy!"
"..." A sigh.
"Okay okay! Hold still, scuzzbrains."
Originally, in the cramped space that they had it'd been quite dark, the only glow at all the faint crimson coming off from Kyd Wykkyd's eyes. However, springing out from Gizmo's backpack was a flashlight, immediately illuminating the surrounding area.
The H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. were in what appeared to be a rather abandoned corner store at the west end of Jump City. According to Gizmo's readings, the man who snagged See-More ought to be in the location -- and hopefully See-More as well.
"Ah see a whole lotta nothin'," Billy Numerous grumbled, glancing around the store with the aid of Gizmo's light. "Y'sure we're in th' right place?"
Gizmo scoffed at Billy's doubt. "Of course we are! I scanned for him myself! We're really close now."
"Well, ah don't see a dangnabbin' thang!" the second Billy snapped back at the vertically challenged inventor.
"I'd love to see you try to find him, you sludge-slurpin', nosepickin'--!" Gizmo started to argue back; between the small group of Billies and the technologically gifted boy, Kyd Wykkyd flailed his hands a little, trying to catch their attention and calm them down.
It wasn't really working.
"All gadgets're good fer is playin' games on 'em!" Billy Numerous continued, his clones speaking right after him.
"Like Monkey Riders Pro 2000X, Billy!"
"Oh man, I'd like me some Monkey Riders Pro 2000X right 'bout now--"
Gizmo growled, "Pit-sniffin', ooze-chuggin'--"
While Wykkyd's flailings did nothing to soothe the irritated hotheads from arguing with each other, a shout from the largest member of the team silenced all of them immediately.
"KNOCK IT OFF!" Mammoth's voice boomed, almost shaking the walls. "Outta my way, I'll find 'im!" He grumbled and shoved the Billies away and marched further into the store.
"Pffah! I can't even get a definite location now!" Gizmo pointed out, skeptical of Mammoth's capability to find their lost companion.
A snort from the hulking eldest of the F.I.V.E. was all Gizmo received as a reply; Mammoth seemed to have a trail of something, as he wandered around the store. Truth be told, though Mammoth was likely Gizmo's best friend of the bunch, the big lug wasn't typically reliable when trailing much of anything. Gizmo was the brains department usually, after all.
Billy Numerous gave an exasperated sigh, putting his hand to his forehead. "Man, this is gonna take forever; he's pro'ly sniffin' out some outdated ringdings or somethin'!" Much as Gizmo wasn't bound to admit to it, he echoed Billy's thoughts quietly.
However, Mammoth simply pointed to a rusty irony door shut firmly on the wall. "Gotta be in there." He scowled faintly at his shorter friends. "I can HEAR 'em jus' fine, too. With you guys arguin', couldn't hear a damned thing."
Gizmo and the Billy Numeri exchanged sheepish looks.
Kyd Wykkyd just grinned to himself and his own quiet nature.
Much as he tried, he struggled. The lack of sight was more than a depravation; it was a handicap. It took away far too much, and he was absolutely helpless. That, and he wasn't physically powerful enough. As much as See-More kicked at Frank, it only hurt his feet more than it did any damage whatsoever to the cyborg. Eventually, the blind teen was strapped down to a cold metal table, unable to move at all.
"Don't freak out too much. If you stress your organs out, you're just gonna be useless to me, y'know," Frank told him.
See-More gritted his teeth angrily, but didn't respond.
Something burst and a slab of metal slammed against the floor; he heard Frank whirl around to see what was the matter.
"Well, well! Lookie what we got here!"
It was definitely hard to not recognize that Southern drawl. See-More jerked his head instinctively to look, but saw nothing.
"Hmm? All of you again? I'm surprised. You actually found me? You lousy punks?" Frank didn't sound particularly impressed with them.
"Learn how to cover your trail, gunkmuncher!" Gizmo snapped at him.
It was an incredibly quiet sound, but it was there -- he could hear Kyd Wykkyd's teleportation, and feel the brief black mist what whisped in and disappeared so quickly. He felt a piece of his helmet placed over his forehead, the eyeball blinking and activating; See-More stared at the ceiling, then glanced over to Wykkyd.
The quiet boy smiled faintly at him in reassurance.
See-More's eye flicked over to look at Frank Parr finally, getting a good look at him. He was older, in his later teens -- maybe eighteen, from what he could tell. Something was terribly familiar about him, though -- but hell if See-More could place what it was.
There was a roar that shook the freezing cold room and Mammoth charged, fist colliding with Frank's chest; the bionic man crashed against the opposing wall, jerking a little. The outer layer pretending to be skin was tearing, more metal than flesh revealing itself from the violent blow. However, sparks were flying from his joints as he moved to pick himself up, his jaw off a hinge.
This seemed humorous to Gizmo as the boy broke out laughing. "Th' guy's fallin' apart!"
"HA!" one of the Billies slapped his knee. "Fallapart! Ain't that fittin'!"
Frank growled; his jaw wasn't able to function properly, but his voicebox worked all the same without the movement from his mouth. "Your little gang isn't going to protect you, See-More! Watch closely!"
Moving swiftly with the help of his mechanical parts, Frank swatted a Billy aside and swung at Mammoth; however, the much huskier man caught the fist and threw Frank over his shoulder. The bionic man landed against the wall, springing off and slamming a shoulder into Mammoth's back, knocking the larger teen over for the moment before moving on.
"Wykkyd, hurry up!" Gizmo snapped at the pale boy, his spider legs transforming and unfolding from his backpack; he began to move around to temporarily grab Fallapart's attention from the rest of the group while the Billies attempted to dogpile the part-machine man.
The quiet boy nodded once, turning back to look at See-More. Kyd Wykkyd held up his gloved hand, the tips of his dark, covered fingers extending and sharpening with his shadow-based gifts; he gave two swift movements with his arm, slashing and clawing away See-More's restraints.
See-More slowly sat up, holding onto the remains of his helmet that was barely holding together and granting him sight. Turning, he smiled faintly his thanks to his friend, then his eye blinked to form an exclamation point. "Wykkyd!" he shouted, pointing over the other boy's shoulder.
Kyd Wykkyd turned around, his eyes widened as he was confronted with Frank's fist in his face; the boy landed and skidded across the cold floor, wincing.
"You're all useless little kids!" Fallapart sneered. "Got no where to turn, so you go ahead and join whatever biggest, toughest group you can find, isn't that right?"
"Bubba, y'all got it wrong!" Billy Numerous called over the scuffle as a couple of his duplicates helped See-More off the table.
Mammoth stampeded towards Frank, swinging a fist; though he missed Fallapart, as the bionic man dodged his attack, the larger teen snarled all the same -- no different than an animal. "Nobody messes with us anymore!"
"We're the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E., ya stinkin' junkpile!" Gizmo shouted angrily, his face going a fierce red. "It's all about us! NOBODY ELSE!"
Fallapart threw off a few more Billies, turning and leaping at Gizmo. However, Kyd Wykkyd teleported in front of the shortest of their group, utter fury sketched into his face.
"Family!" Wykkyd yelled firmly, as if the one word alone explained everything.
As Frank aimed his fist to strike Kyd Wykkyd again, the pale boy opened his mouth; a drastically inhuman roar that no animal nor Mammoth's angered booms could match was heard tearing out from Kyd Wykkyd's throat, as well as a burst of pitch charcoal black flames, engulfing the bionic man. Frank screamed, landing in a slump in the corner of the room, his mechanical body barely holding itself together, most of the rubber outerlayer that pretended to be skin melted off, clothes hanging off of him like rags.
Curious glances were granted towards the dark clothed boy, who ducked his head sheepishly, granting no explanation to the odd power he'd presented.
"Five for one, and all for five, huh?" See-More remarked, grinning wryly.
"Y-yeah, well!" Gizmo stammered, then snorted angrily. "Wykkyd would just mope around if you weren't with us!" The boy turned around in a huff, not saying anything else on the subject.
Shrugging, See-More turned to Fallapart; the bionic man was barely awake, struggling to lift his head and look at the cycloptic boy. See-More brushed off the help of the Numeri, walking to Frank.
"Why was I the perfect match?" See-More asked in a low voice.
Fallapart twitched, sparks flying from his circuits. "She-- She nev. Never. Told. Told." Another twitch and Frank spoke normally finally. "She never told you," he sneered.
His head slumped as he went temporarily offline.
As See-More scowled at the absolutely unhelpful answer, a Billy placed his hand to the shorter boy.
"Hey, c'mon. We can go home, y'all tell us what happened, an' then we have a movie night, aw right?"
See-More nodded numbly. He turned the only remaining switch on his helmet, forming out an eye-shaped cage to keep Fallapart trapped.
There was a terrible amount of questions to be asked. See-More simply knew that was part of life. Questions and no answers, sadly. He shouldn't have expected any. Why was it that he had to go blind? Why was it he decided the H.I.V.E. Academy had been a good idea? Why did they ever trust the new kid named Stone who was suspiciously familiar? Why did Jinx have to leave?
Why had he, of everyone, been the perfect match for Frank Park, the man falling apart?
"I get to pick the movie," See-More told them.
"Guess we got here too late," Beast Boy announced sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head.
The Teen Titans looked at the scenario. A busted freezer with an elaborate set up. An abandoned operating table, damages all around -- Raven even mentioned a magical residue, suggesting the presence of Kyd Wykkyd -- and the cyborg left behind.
"It's him all right," Cyborg confirmed. "Guess th' H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. got here quick for See-More."
Robin, still back at the base, nodded as he watched the transmission with his teammates. "I don't doubt that for a second, Cyborg. I traced over some leads and the sample you gave me. I have a conclusion -- one I don't think even the F.I.V.E. know about, or things would have gone differently I bet."
Cyborg motioned for Robin to continue; Beast Boy jumped up and down, trying to be seen in the transmission as curiosity got the best of him. "What!" the green shapeshifter called out. "What is it? C'moooon!"
"Frank Parr is the son of Brea Trowbridge -- but her name before that was Brea Parr," Robin began.
"So what?" Beast Boy demanded before Cyborg shoved him out of the way to look at their leader through the comlink much more clearly.
Robin patiently continued, "See-More's full name is Seymour Trowbridge. Brea Trowbridge is his mother, but she was married before she met See-More's father. They're half-brothers. Cyborg, you said that Frank probably didn't know how to work his body right, so that's why it keeps malfunctioning and his organic parts were failing. That's why he kidnapped See-More -- he was going to harvest him, but his team got there in time."
"Guess things kind of worked out," Cyborg responded, raising a brow.
However, the Teen Wonder shook his head in disagreement. "We still need to locate the H.I.V.E. F.I.V.E. They're at large still. I can't blame them for saving themselves this time, but they're still a group to look out for. If you come by anything else, let me know immediately."
Skepticism was marked on Cyborg's face, but he nodded. "Right. Later, man."
It was easier to do things with sight. That was always the presumption. It was easier to see things, and let it plainly tell you what was going on. That was the belief for so long. That was the thing See-More relied on.
However, in a way, it made him blind, to not see Jinx's intentions, her abandonment, her choice. It was his ears that told him, but he blatantly ignored it.
It was the sensation of knowing she was gone that made him realize that.
He did have a passing fancy on her -- nothing more than that, he knew. Still, she was one to be admired, and not just by sight. Her strong determination. That was it -- her mental strength, he'd always envied and admired. Never once jealous. No, he like many adored her for that.
But strength matched strength. She found the road to heroes, and he was still learning how blind he really was.
See-More smiled grimly to himself. Not all questions had answers. But he knew it was time to just let it go.
Family bonds were in place, and he'd be a fool to ignore them.
See-More wouldn't be blind again.