Disclaimer: Teen Titans does not belong to me by any means. The majority of the characters you will see in this story are owned by DC Comics and Warner Brothers.
Author's note: This story isn't meant to be a bridge between present-day Titans and the Titans of my story Teen Titans: Future Storm. The future Titans you see will be based largely on the Titans' offspring from Kingdom Come as well as canon offspring. It's basically the Teen Titans version of Justice League Unlimited's "The Once and Future Thing Part 2: Time, Warped." Here goes nothing.
The Titans, both official and honorary members, gathered in Titans West Tower.
"So, Robin, when are you going to pop the question to Starfire?" Speedy asked.
"Pop the question?" Robin uttered. "We're not even dating yet!"
"That's what I meant," Speedy replied.
"It's not an easy thing to ask," Robin said.
"Sure, it's easy," Speedy contradicted. "Just watch how the master does it."
Speedy walked up to Wonder Girl and asked, "Hey, Wonder Girl. Would you like to check out the stars with me?"
Wonder Girl just smiled at Speedy. "Sure."
Speedy walked back to Robin. "That easy. You're just too chicken."
"I am not chicken," Robin grumbled.
"Prove it," Speedy challenged. "Ask Starfire out."
Robin looked around and saw Starfire talking with Argent, Hotspot, and Kole. With a determined expression, he began walking toward her . . . only to be halted by an alarm.
Speedy snorted derisively. "Saved by the bell."
The Titans made their way to midtown, where an army of robotic drones in black and gold were in the middle of what could be classified as simple random chaos. Bystanders ran for their lives as cars lay wrecked in the streets and small bonfires burned.
"That's enough for one day," Robin declared, the other Titans standing behind him.
The drones gazed at Robin, the leader scanning him and relaying this information to the others.
"Subject: Robin. Real name: Richard John Grayson. Our orders: Terminate."
The drones lunged at Robin, who drew and extended his Bo staff and began fighting them. The other Titans rushed to Robin's defense, projectiles of various kinds flying at the drones. One drone scanned Starfire and relayed the information to the others.
"Subject: Starfire. Real name: Koriand'r. Our orders: Terminate."
The drones turned their focus on Starfire, one of them extending a metal strip toward her as she fired her starbolts at them. The metal strip wrapped around her, binding her arms and legs. Starfire tried to break free, but the metal seemed specially designed for her in light of the fact that it actually held.
"Starfire!" Robin exclaimed, running toward her only to be halted by the drones. He struck them with his staff but that didn't seem to even slow them down.
A cryonic arrow flew at the drone advancing toward Starfire and impacted against its head, freezing it in place.
"Score!" Speedy exclaimed.
The ice around the drone suddenly began vibrating, soon cracking and breaking.
"Crap!" Speedy exclaimed.
Cyborg fired a volley of missiles at the drones, which didn't seem to be the slightest bit fazed by them.
"What are these things?" he asked.
Argent bound several drones together with silver-edged crimson plasma rings.
"That ought to stop you," she spoke.
The drones strained against the plasma rings, the aforementioned rings shattering under the strain.
"Or not," the British Goth amended as she shaped her power into knives and hurled them at the drones.
Wonder Girl pummeled and kicked the drones that were attacking her, but they proved very much resistant to her attacks, retaliating with wrist-mounted laser guns. She blocked them with her bracelets, but the lasers stung fiercely.
"Ahh!" she cried out. "Where did these drones come from?"
As the Titans soon discovered, the drones were immune to almost everything they threw at them. Hotspot's flames were useless, as were Speedy's cryonic arrows, Bumblebee's electricity, and most of the other Titans' attacks. The only ones who seemed capable of doing damage to the drones were Kid Flash and Raven. In the case of Kid Flash, it was because his vibration ability was unstable enough to cause the drones to explode when he passed through them. In the case of Raven, it was because there was little one could do to defend oneself against telekinesis.
Still, the drones seemed determined to keep fighting.
"How are we supposed to stop these things?" Hotspot asked.
Herald looked at him and raised his horn. "We do." He blew his horn, opening a dimensional portal to the sun, where the Titans began throwing the drones.
Suddenly, black holes began opening and closing all around the scene of the fight. One opened right in front of Robin as he was trying to reach Starfire and he fell through.
"Robin!" Starfire cried out in shock.
"I'll try to get him back!" Herald shouted and was about to open another portal when he fell through another black hole.
"Herald!" Bumblebee exclaimed, soon falling into a black hole of her own.
Speedy swore loudly. "Where are these holes coming from?"
Another hole opened beneath him and he fell into it.
"Speedy!" Wonder Girl shouted, flying toward the hole, which closed just before she reached it.
"Robin . . ." Starfire murmured.
Four black holes opened and four people fell through them, landing on the street below.
One was dressed in a red-and-green costume with a yellow-lined black cape and white-eyed black mask. Another was in a hooded blue costume. The third was a girl wearing a yellow-and-black striped shirt and black leather pants. The fourth was a boy in a mostly red costume with a white-eyed black mask similar to that of the first boy.
These four were known as Robin, Herald, Bumblebee, and Speedy.
"Where are we?" Speedy asked.
Herald looked up at the skyline, seeing gutted skyscrapers and the stars and the moon obscured by blood-colored smoke.
"One thing's for sure," Bumblebee answered, "we're not in Kansas anymore."
"What happened to the others?" Robin inquired.
The four Titans had no time to ponder that question, as drones crept out of the shadows, surrounding them.
"Hell!" Speedy exclaimed. "Where did those things come from?"
Robin withdrew a pair of escrima sticks from his belt, holding both in a battle-ready pose. Bumblebee and Speedy pointed her stingers and his bow and arrow at the drones. Herald held his horn to his mouth, preparing to open a portal.
"There's a lot more of them than us," Herald observed.
"Thank you, O master of the obvious," Speedy drawled sarcastically.
"It doesn't matter," Bumblebee said. "We're still taking these things down."
With a shout of "Titans, go!" from Robin, the foursome attacked the drones. Robin struck the drones with his sticks, while Speedy fired electrified arrows in tandem with Bumblebee's stingers. Herald created portals that drew in the drones, dropping them into the nearest star.
Despite their efforts, the drones kept coming, driven by a single purpose: death.
"How do we stop these things?" Robin asked in frustration.
"Damned if I know," Speedy replied in a tone mirroring Robin's. "My arrows are useless!"
"So are my stingers," Bumblebee added.
"Whoever created these drones did their homework," Herald remarked.
Robin withdrew six disks, three in each hand, and threw them all at the drones, all six exploding with tremendous force and fury when they hit the drones. To the Teen Wonder's horror, the drones were still standing when the smoke cleared and they didn't look worse for wear.
"What does it take to make these pieces of scrap metal drop?" Robin asked.
Suddenly, one of the drones projected a lightning-like energy blade from its chest, soon falling flat on its "face." Standing behind him was a dark-haired young man who resembled Aqualad and wore a costume similar to his, only the colors were much darker and a wave-like pattern marked the dividing line between the two colors. He whirled with the lightning blade and it extended to decapitate several more drones.
Several crimson arrows impaled that same number of drones and exploded, destroying the drones.
"Was that you, Speedy?" Bumblebee asked.
"No," Speedy replied in stunned confusion.
A young man with dark hair and blue eyes, dressed in a green cloak over black clothes, fought the drones with a sword. The drones manifested sword blades from the backs of their hands to match him.
A yellow-and-red blur raced through the drones, said drones exploding as soon as the blur had exited them.
"Kid Flash!" Robin exclaimed.
"You got it!" an excited young female voice shouted in confirmation.
A purple energy whip sliced and diced a number of drones, while a sleek katana cut through a drone attacking Bumblebee multiple times before it finally fell apart.
"Who's doing this?" Robin wondered.
The Titans' mysterious rescuers finally convened, giving them a chance to get a better look at them. The arrow-slinger was a girl in a hooded short kimono-like dress with bracers under the sleeves and knee-high leather boots with a quiver attached to her thigh. "Kid Flash" was a redhead with a slim runner's figure in a black leather jacket over a modified Kid Flash outfit. The whip-wielder was a girl with black hair cascading down her back in long, wavy curls and dressed in a skimpy black top emblazoned with a purple wing emblem that doubled as around-the-shoulder straps and black hot pants with thigh-high boots and purple wrist-guards. The katana-holder was dressed mostly in black leather with armor on the knees, shins, and feet, chain mail covering the shoulders and arms, and a bisected black-and-orange mask with a red eye on the orange side.
"We're getting out of here," the whip-wielder said in an authoritative voice. "Now."
"We can take these things, Nightstar," the arrow-slinger said.
Nightstar growled. "I don't recall putting it to a vote, Red Hood. We take these guys and we get out of here now." She accented the "now" by pulling out a small black rectangular device and pressing it, opening a portal.
"Where does that go?" Bumblebee asked.
"Anywhere except here," "Kid Flash" replied.
"What do you think?" Speedy asked.
"I think for now, we have no choice but to trust them," Robin answered.
The Titans and their mysterious saviors entered the portal, which closed behind them.
The ten youths reemerged in what appeared to be the halls of a school.
"Wait, I recognize this place," Robin said.
"Murakami School," the cloaked young man stated as he began walking. "It's our base now."
"Who are you people?" Herald asked.
"The Teen Titans," Nightstar replied as she opened a set of double doors and walked through them, the others following her. Past the doors was what used to be a gym but was now a war room. She turned to the present-day Titans. "I'll introduce you to my fellow Titans. This is Red Hood" – she gestured toward the arrow-slinging girl – "Cerdian" – she gestured toward the dark-haired boy who resembled Aqualad – "Kid Flash" – she gestured toward the leather-jacketed speedster – "Ibn al Xu'ffasch" – she indicated the cloaked young man – "and Ravager." The girl in the one-eyed mask nodded.
"What year is this?" Bumblebee asked.
"2032," Nightstar replied.
"That's almost thirty years from our time!" Speedy exclaimed in shock. "But on the other hand . . . it's a good thing there are still beautiful girls in the future." He grinned flirtatiously at Nightstar, which earned him a slap upside the head from Bumblebee and a sharp glare from Nightstar and Ibn.
"I suggest you keep your mind on business, Quickie," Bumblebee advised sharply.
Robin sighed. "So what happened? Where did those drones come from? Why does the city look so decrepit?"
"Warp," Ravager replied. "He's angry. Very angry. He's been angry ever since your future self and the Starfire of your time defeated him and left him stuck as a baby."
"But he grew up," Cerdian continued. "He grew up, rebuilt his technology, and started jumping around the timestream killing Titans whenever he found them. He happened to have a particular vendetta against your and Starfire's descendants."
"While killing Titans throughout the timestream, he amassed an army of robotic drones," Ibn added. "As you learned, the drones were built to be resistant to almost all of your abilities. That's why your arrows didn't work, Speedy. That's why your stingers didn't work, Bumblebee."
"That doesn't explain how we got here," Bumblebee stated.
"Warp's actions destabilized the timestream," Nightstar said. "If we were to make a map of it, it'd look like Swiss cheese. That's how you arrived in this time."
"Damn," a voice remarked. "You guys look just like I remember you from back then. Before Warp started all this."
The Titans – present and future – turned and saw what looked like a humanoid mass of digital data colored crimson with golden-white eyes.
"Cyborg?" Robin wondered.
"Sparky?" Bumblebee asked in that same tone.
The data mass chuckled. "Sparky. You have no idea how much I miss hearing you call me that."
"Man, what the hell happened to you?" Speedy asked.
"A lot of things, Speedy," the data mass replied. "And call me Cyberion."
"Ok," Speedy said.
Robin was busy surreptitiously scanning Nightstar. The first thing he noticed about her was that she bore a very close resemblance to Starfire. If not for the black hair, she could have passed for her twin sister. The second thing he noticed was that she and Ibn stayed very close together.
Speaking of Ibn, Robin had been observing him as well and he noted that the young man looked very familiar. He couldn't quite place it, but he was very familiar in terms of looks. Something about him troubled him, though.
It's the cloak, he thought. That's Ra's al Ghul's cloak. What's this guy doing wearing it?
Another future Titan he'd been observing rather closely was Ravager. Her style of dress was disturbingly familiar.
Black leather, armor, chain mail, and a black-and-orange mask split evenly in half with one eye, he thought. Slade. This girl . . . she's connected to him somehow.
He walked up to Nightstar. "Mind if I talk to you, leader to leader?"
"Does something trouble you?" Nightstar asked and her voice was yet another reminder of Starfire, carrying the same musical quality as the redhead's voice, only darker.
"Yeah," Robin replied. "It's Ravager."
"Why?" Nightstar asked.
"Slade," Robin answered. "She's connected to him somehow. I don't know how, but they're connected. Their fashion sense is certainly the same."
"I trust Ravager," Nightstar stated. "She's not the monster her father is."
"Father?" Robin nearly exploded. "You mean she's his –"
"Yes and I'd prefer if we said no more on that subject," Nightstar cut him off. "It's not important."
"What do you mean it's not important?" Robin asked belligerently.
Ibn glared coldly at Robin. "You didn't find it important that Raven, your teammate and best female friend, was the daughter of a demonic warlord. No, you kept her on your team and fought with all your might to protect her from both Slade and her father. Why? You trusted her. Didn't matter who her father was, you knew her enough to know that she was someone you'd trust with your life. It's the same with us and Ravager. Now listen to Nightstar and don't speak anymore of it."
Robin was rather flummoxed. Hearing Ibn speak was almost exactly like hearing Batman speak.
"We've been working on a way to stop Warp and restore the timeline," Cyberion said.
"Hey, wait," Herald said. "How were your Titans able to stop those drones when we couldn't?"
"We managed to get a piece of the metal of a drone Kid Flash exploded," Cyberion explained. "I examined it and used it to create arrows for Red Hood and swords for Ibn and Ravager that could pierce their armor. As for how we're going to stop Warp and restore the timeline . . ." He walked up to an object covered in blue tarp and pulled the tarp off, revealing something that looked like a torpedo with blue circuitry revealed by the transparent middle.
"What is that?" Bumblebee asked.
"It's a chronal detonator," Cyberion replied. "When it explodes, it'll send a pulse through the timeline that'll set things right. That's the simple explanation."
"Does 'set things right' mean 'send Warp back to his own time and bring back everyone he killed'?" Bumblebee inquired.
"Yeah," Cyberion answered. "It'll restore everything to the way it's supposed to be."
"That thing looks really heavy," Speedy commented.
"Don't worry," Cyberion said and his tone made Speedy think he was smiling. "It's designed to be launched remotely and detonate on impact."
"I hope you don't plan to do that here," Robin said.
"You don't need to worry about innocent people," Cyberion answered with a cold sadness in his tone. "The ones that couldn't get the hell out of Dodge were massacred. We're the only ones left here. But you might have a better chance of avoiding innocent casualties if we lure those drones to the desert."
"And there's a nice desert nearby, isn't there," Robin remarked.
"Death Valley," Ravager spoke with a dark smirk. "Rather fitting, don't you think?"
"What happens when the detonator explodes?" Speedy asked.
"There isn't an actual 'boom,' so to speak," Cyberion replied. "Upon activation, it releases a wave of chronal energy that sweeps the entire timeline. Your eyes will register it as an impossibly bright light consuming everything. You'll go blind for a bit and then you'll wake up back in your time."
"Sounds good," Speedy said. "But how are we going to lure these drones to Death Valley?"
"The drones are programmed to target Titans," Red Hood responded. "We'll make ourselves known and they'll pursue us all the way to where we want them."
Cerdian gazed at Red Hood with an imperceptible mix of emotions.
"We shouldn't waste time dawdling," he said. "If we're going to die, we might as well not wait for your Reaper to come for us."
"That's a pretty grim attitude there, buddy," Speedy spoke challengingly.
"It's reality," Cerdian stated simply. "Those machines have only one purpose: to kill Titans. Hard to get past that without at least some of us dying. Maybe all of us. I'm going for one last swim." He turned and exited the gymnasium-cum-war room, Red Hood following him.
"What an ass," Speedy grunted.
"He's like that for a reason," Kid Flash said. "He saw his parents killed right in front of him. That, combined with the crap his father's uncle put him through, messed him up real bad. The only way he could deal with it was to become the grim SOB you see before you."
"His father . . ." Speedy said. "Is he . . . ?"
"Yeah, he's Tempest's kid," Kid Flash confirmed. "Tempest being Aqualad in your time."
"When I see Aqualad, I'm gonna ask him to change his name to Tempest," Speedy remarked.
"Not a good idea," Kid Flash said. "The future is too fluid for us to make decisions based on it."
Meanwhile, Cerdian was doing underwater laps in the swimming pool. The water in the pool was basically filtered ocean water, which was pretty good for his Atlantean biology.
When he finished, he rose to the surface, seeing Red Hood with her hood lowered waiting for him.
"You're scared, aren't you?" she said.
"No," Cerdian replied as he climbed out of the pool. He looked into Red Hood's crystalline green eyes and relented. "Fine. Yes."
"So am I," Red Hood admitted softly. "But we'll live. We'll live."
"Do you really believe that?" Cerdian asked, a soft challenge in his voice.
"I have to," Red Hood replied, embracing him tightly. "It's the only way I'll be able to fight those drones."
"Hold on to me, Lian," Cerdian whispered. "Hold on, and don't let go."
Meanwhile, Cyberion was talking to the present-day Titans.
"I want you four to stay here," he said.
"Why?" Speedy asked sharply.
"The chronal detonator may be able to stitch the timestream back together, but I'm not sure stitching up the timestream will save any of you if you get yourselves killed," Cyberion replied.
"It doesn't matter, Sparky," Bumblebee said. "We're still going."
Cyberion emitted a sound that seemed like a sigh. "I knew you'd say that, just as I knew I wouldn't be able to stop you. Just be careful and don't take any unnecessary risks."
"We won't," Herald said.
In Death Valley, the present and future Titans waited for the drones to arrive. True to form, multiple portals opened up like the hands of a clock turning clockwise and an veritable army of drones stepped out of them, led by . . .
"Warp," Nightstar snarled.
The French time traveler merely smirked at her and Robin. "Father and daughter together again. I will savor the looks on your faces as you die together."
Daughter? Robin thought. He looked at Nightstar. Well, now it all makes sense. The wing motif is my future self Nightwing, but her looks are mostly Starfire. So . . . holy crap.
The armed Titans drew their weapons as the drones and Warp surrounded them.
"Everybody ready?" Nightstar asked.
"Uh-huh," Ravager answered with a smirk.
"Titans, strike!" Nightstar shouted.
From then on, it was pandemonium. Explosive arrows detonated while still embedded in drones. Swords cut through drones and vibrating fists punctured the deadly machines. Razor wire made of purple energy danced in loops, slicing through multiple drones like a hot knife through butter.
Robin and Nightstar found themselves back to back.
"You think we can take them . . . Dad?" Nightstar asked.
"I don't think we can," Robin replied. He smirked. "I know we can."
"Your optimism is adorable," Warp remarked as he pointed his wrist-mounted laser gun at them. "But it's time to die."
Robin and Nightstar charged at the time traveler, only to be halted by a gaggle of drones. Nightstar's index and middle fingers glowed with purple light and she cut through the drones with them. Robin fought beside her, smashing drones with his staff.
Ravager and Ibn fought together, slicing through the drones. Ibn bent forward and Ravager rolled off his back and into an attack that literally split a drone in half. She grabbed his wrist and swung him into a kick-and-slash attack that finished another drone.
Speedy and Red Hood fired arrow after arrow at the drones, dismantling them upon impact.
"Um, you're my kid, aren't you?" Speedy deduced.
"Yeah," Red Hood replied. "Hell, you and Grandpa Ollie taught me all I know about using this."
Speedy grinned. "Uh, who's your mother?"
Red Hood sharply turned and shot a drone that was attempting a sneak attack on Speedy. "That's enough. Can't let you know too much about your future."
"Ok," Speedy said. "Thanks."
Cerdian tore through drone after drone with his lightning blade, while Bumblebee scrambled the circuitry of the drones with her stingers and Herald banished drone after drone with his horn.
"Cyberion!" Kid Flash called over her communicator. "How long is it going to take for that chrono-bomb to get here?"
"I launched it already," Cyberion replied. "It should get to your location any second now."
"Would that second be right now?" Kid Flash asked, looking up.
"Just . . . about," Cyberion replied.
The chronal detonator flew into the line of vision of the combatants.
"No!" Warp shouted. "I will not allow another defeat!" He activated his shoulder lasers and fired upon the detonator, only for the blasts to be deflected from it.
"Face it, Warp," Nightstar said, "you're finished."
The detonator impacted, with a bright flash of white and then . . .
Robin, Speedy, Bumblebee, and Herald found themselves back in Titans Tower surrounded by the other Titans, who were chattering amongst themselves as though nothing had happened.
"Whoa, we're back," Speedy uttered.
"Back from where?" Wonder Girl asked.
"Uh, nowhere," Speedy replied. "Still on for some stargazing tonight?"
"Sure," Wonder Girl answered.
Robin stood apart from the others, staring out the window.
I saw the future, he thought. No. Not the future, a future. A future where Starfire and I had a daughter, with her beauty, soul, and courage. Would it be such a bad thing if Starfire and I ended up together, if it meant that such a beautiful woman would come into this world? He shook his head. There's no such thing as destiny. We make our own path and I'm not going to let a future that might not even exist anymore dictate what I do with my life.
"Is something troubling you?" Raven asked, her reflection appearing beside his in the glass.
"No, Raven, it's nothing," Robin replied.
"I won't force you to tell me what's wrong, but if you ever want to talk, I'll be there," Raven said. "In the meantime, go talk to Starfire."
Robin turned, only to find Raven gone and Starfire waiting for him.
"Robin?" the redhead wondered.
"Starfire," the Teen Wonder spoke. "It's time we cleared the air between us. . . ."
In the restored 2032, a robed Nightstar gazed at a framed picture in her room.
"Everything's back to the way it should be," she said.
"Yes," Ibn al Xu'ffasch, covered only by the sheets of Nightstar's bed, agreed. "What did you think of seeing your father as he was?"
"Still can't believe he ever wore something that garish," Nightstar remarked. "But I can see . . . why my mother loved him so much."
Ibn rose from the bed and walked over to Nightstar, embracing her from behind. Nightstar leaned into his broad chest and smiled.
"It's a good thing we didn't tell him everything," the dark-haired young man mused. "If your father in this time didn't react well to discovering my lineage, imagine how a younger, more hot-blooded version would have been."
Nightstar snickered. "Considering that my father nearly had a heart attack when he found out about you . . ."
Ibn smiled. "I love hearing you laugh, Mar'i."
"I know," Nightstar answered with a smirk. "Now why don't we go back to bed?"
Ibn turned her around so that she was facing him and undid the ties of her robe, exposing her lissome body to him. She placed the framed picture down on her dresser and kissed Ibn, the robe falling away as they descended onto the bed.
End Notes: There, another one-shot done by yours truly. As I mentioned in the beginning, this was inspired by the episode of Justice League Unlimited in which several Leaguers pursued a time-traveling criminal and ended up meeting the Batman of the future (Terry McGinnis) and that era's Justice League. Other than that, there are a few key differences between this story and that episode, one difference being that this story expands more on the future characters than the inspiring episode did. Then again, JLU has a 20-to-24-minute framework and thus there isn't enough time sometimes to deeply examine all the characters.
Some explanations are in order.
First, Cyborg actually did become Cyberion for a while in the 90's Titan comics. That was later undone and currently he appears in his original man-machine form.
Second, Red Hood/Lian, Cerdian, Ravager, and (female) Kid Flash are all canon offspring of Titans and Titans-related characters in the comics, although female Kid Flash wasn't born in DCU canon until very recently. Nightstar and Ibn al Xu'ffasch are the non-canon offspring of Nightwing (Robin)/Starfire and Batman, respectively.
Now I know what you're going to ask: "Isn't that last scene between them kinda incestuous? After all, Robin is like Batman's son!" Technically, it isn't. Since Dick Grayson and Batman are not biologically related, a romantic/sexual relationship between their respective offspring is not incestuous. It's probably incest in the social context, since Dick and Bruce have had a familial relationship since Dick was young, but it is not literal incest.
Third, the relationship between Red Hood and Cerdian is inspired by the number of Speedy/Aqualad stories I've seen in the Teen Titans section. Hey, if people can put those two together, why can't I put their children together?
That's enough out of me. Feel free to review.