Chapter 12: Return
Starfire looked angrily at the dead communication consul. They had lost all contact with their friend. A loud whoosh filled the room as a time portal opened behind them. The Titans all turned and watched Warp drag Beast Boy from the opening.
Beast Boy staggered forward and dropped to his knees cradling his right arm. Starfire rushed to her fallen friend. The portal lay open behind Warp.
"You have hurt him," Starfire cried in anger after seeing the sad state Beast Boy had returned to them.
"No Star," Beast Boy quickly interrupted her. He drew fast deep breaths through his clenched his teeth fighting for consciousness. "He didn't do this to me."
Warp walked over to Cyborg. "My device please." Cyborg handed him his communicator. Warp removed his pod planted it on his suit and handed the communicator back to him.
He turned and confidently made his way back to the portal. "I will be taking my leave of you."
Beast Boy looked up as Warp strode towards the portal. He struggled to his feet as Starfire watched unsure what his intentions were. "Hey Warp," he yelled. Warp turned his head towards him and sneered. "Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.' He charged his stunned opponent and drove his left shoulder into him sending Warp unceremoniously through the portal. Beast Boy heard a soft jingling of coins hit the floor as searing pain shot through his body. The room began to spin out of control as he collapsed onto the floor in a heap.
Beast Boy felt a warm sensation flowing through his body. The pain in his shoulder had eased considerably. He opened his eyes and saw Raven and Starfire huddled over him. Raven's hands were gently pressed against his right shoulder.
"Beast Boy!" Starfire said in a light cheery voice. Cyborg and Robin stood further back behind the girls. Beast Boy reached up and pulled both girls towards him in a warm embrace. He closed his eyes and ran his hands lightly through their hair drawing a deep breath and savoring their sweet smells.
"Now I haven't seen him smile like that since he got that free five-gallon container of chocolate tofu ice cream,' Cyborg quickly commented.
Robin laughed. "Hey you three, get a room."
Beast Boy ignored his other friend's snide remarks and enjoyed the warmth of the girls' embraces. "You're just jealous because I got my hands around the two prettiest girls in the city," he replied as he slowly released his embrace. Starfire giggled slightly embarrassed upon hearing Beast Boy's comment.
Beast Boy leaned back and noticed the girls looked almost as ragged as him. He shot them a sly look. "Were you girls fighting over me while I was away?"
Starfire smiled, her eyes glistened as she fought back tears. Raven frowned briefly, "Don't flatter yourself," she dryly replied. "We were actually fighting over Warp."
Beast Boy looked disappointed. "Man, you sure know how to ruin a man's fantasy don't you." He gently touched her face with his hand and ran his finger tips along Raven's cheek and up to her swollen eye. "Thanks for fixing me up."
She looked down, "Hey, it was the least I could do for a friend."
"Ok, enough mushy stuff," Cyborg interrupted. "We're dying to find out what happened to you."
Beast Boy slowly lowered his hand as he tried to gather the thoughts that were racing through his head. "Well, after I talked with you we left the next morning and met up with another group of soldiers. I thought for sure we were going to make it. But the Dux, Alanae and Goths caught up to us. We had to turn and fight."
"So you kicked some Barbarian butt!" Cyborg said enthusiastically.
Beast Boy's eyes drifted off momentarily as the thoughts of the battle ran gloomily through his head. "No," he said then paused for a moment to reflect on what he was about to say. "Sebastian said the Scythians would carry us. They were incredible. Each of them must of killed a dozen men," his voice tailed off again after he realized the carnage they had inflicted on their enemies. "We had them on the run. But the Alanae stood firm. They killed Sebastian and threw me off my horse; that's how I hurt my shoulder."
"That's an understatement, you're collar bone was shattered." Raven interrupted. The others looked very sullen.
"When I came to there were two guys fooling around with my communicator." Beast Boy continued. "After they broke it, they were going to kill me. I was in so much pain I didn't really care. But Augustus saved me. He said I was Spectibalis. I'm not sure what that means."
"It was like a form of royalty," Raven interpreted for him. "Respectable."
"He also called me Defensor. What does that mean?"
Raven let out a short laugh, "He thought you were a public defender."
"Yea, what's so funny about that?" Beast Boy countered still not understanding why Raven was laughing at him.
"A public defender, as in lawyer," she explained. The others laughed at this absurd possibility.
"Well that is kind of funny," he admitted. "I guess it doesn't matter if it saved my life." He paused and sighed. "I wish I could have returned Augustus the favor."
"I guess it wasn't meant to be," Robin interjected.
"Yea," Cyborg continued. "I read up a little bit on this guy. Most of the historians liked him. If he had been more successful, Rome might not have fallen."
Beast Boy sat up on the sectional then slowly stood up. His shoulder felt much better and he wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower and collapse into his warm bed. The others stood back and watched him make his way out of the main room. Beast Boy paused as he spied about a dozen coins scattered on the floor. He bent over and picked one up and turned to the other Titans.
"Where did these come from?"
The others approached him to see what he had found. "Warp must have dropped them when you pushed him through the portal," Cyborg explained.
Beast Boy inspected the small gold coin. On it was a side portrait of a man with letters inscribed along the outside. He did not recognize the writing.
"Raven, what does this say?"
Raven took the coin and tried to translate the writing for him. "It says Dominus Noster Augustus, Pious Felix. That's our lord Augustus pious and happy."
Beast Boy took the coin and quietly repeated the words the soldiers had chanted to Augustus. The other Titans looked curiously at him unsure what he was referring to. Beast Boy didn't comment but turned the coin over and inspected the other side. On it he saw a horseman tumbling off his mount. Along the outside of the coin was inscribed Gloria Romanorum. Beast boy closed his eyes and clutched his hands tightly around the coin. He needed no translation for this. He whispered to himself, "To the glory of Rome." He turned from his friends and exited the room.
…There were, moreover, still other emperors in the west..., but although I know their names well, I shall make no mention of them whatsoever. For it so fell out that they lived only a short time after attaining the office and as a result of this accomplished nothing worthy of mention...
Procopius, 6th Century Byzantine Historian, from Bellum Vandalicum (the Vandal War, the History of the Wars)