My mom was on a cleaning spree today, and so I thought to myself: "Self, what happens when the Titans have spring cleaning?" This is my response. Hope you enjoy!
It was the usual start of a new day in Titans Tower. Raven was sipping herbal tea. Starfire was looking for the crystallized calcium nitrate for her latest bit of Tamaranean cuisine. Beast Boy and Cyborg were engaged in the typical "Meat vs. Tofu" argument. The only thing that was out of place was Robin, with coffee, newspaper, and annoyed twitch at Slade's absence from the latter. Just as Cyborg was about to unleash a PowerPoint presentation on the health benefits of fried bacon fat, the absent leader entered the ops center.
"Titans," Robin announced, "it's that time again!"
Starfire gasped in dismay. "Robin, it is your day of birth? No! I have not yet prepared a crown of meat! We must go-"
Robin cut her off. "Actually, Star, it's time for spring cleaning." It was then that the alien princess noticed the Boy Wonder was wearing an apron and a hairnet (which his spiky 'do was still managing to poke through) and was holding a number of cleaning implements and solutions.
It was now Beast Boy's turn for an expression of worry. "DUDE! You promised that was over and done with!"
"Yes, last year. During that year's spring cleaning."
"Well, this year's gonna be different!" Beast Boy jumped on to the breakfast table, upsetting the bowl that held Starfire's latest concoction. You aren't touching my room, you hear me? None of you are!" The changeling then fell of the countertop, due to its being eaten away by the spilled Tamaranean delicacy.
Cyborg picked up the vegetarian and assured him "Don't worry, BB." The changeling grinned hopefully. Cyborg's expression shifted to a sinister grin. "We'll just do your room last."
Giving a scream a six year old girl would be proud of, Beast Boy sped off to protect the moldering cesspool he called home.
Ignoring the distressed cries of his slovenly soldier, Robin handed out cleaning implements while exclaiming, "Titans, let's clean house!"
Whistling, Cyborg started to lovingly hose suds off the T-Car. The land vehicle was soon dazzlingly bright, so much so that its shininess could incapacitate villains before the Titans could.
Starfire wafted down the stairs to the garage, and spoke to the mechanoman. "Friend Cyborg, do you not wash the T-Car every day?" He nodded. "Then, on this spring day of cleaning, would not your time be better spent doing something you do not do on a daily basis?"
"You're right, Star." Cyborg rose from his focused wipedown of the automobile, and Starfire smiled hopefully. "That's why I'm giving my baby her annual 35-point checkup!"
"Oh." The ever-hopeful girl tried again. "Well, perhaps you could do something that does not involve maintenance of your 'baby'?"
"Good point." Cyborg rubbed his metallic chin, trying to think of what non-car care related activity he could do. "Ah! I should make sure the T-Ship's in top shape, too. Thanks a ton, Star!"
Starfire sighed, recognizing a lost cause when she saw one. "You are welcome, friend." She left to see if anyone else was this unhealthily focused on one thing.
Beast Boy was beginning to panic. He was starting to run out of ideas for protecting his mess. He had already sent the living bits of garbage into hiding, but most of the items in his room had yet to vivify. The space under his bed was already so stuffed, metamorphic crap was beginning to form there. His closet doors were now straining against the pressure of the detritus packed into the small space. The plan to transform into a pelican and hide some junk in his bill was discarded after he passed out from the toxins entering his system. As of now, he was removing a few ceiling panels to hide rubbish there.
His desperate attempts to detach the panels were interrupted by a knock at his door. "Beast Boy?" Only his ears could make sense of the words muffled beyond recognition by the piles of trash he'd used to prevent the door from opening. "Please unlock your door, as I wish to aid you in disposing of the many unpleasant things in your room." The diction, however, could only be Starfire's.
The shapeshifter shouted through the blockade. "It's okay, Star! I'm handling things fine on my own!"
"Very well, friend. I shall attend to my own living space." Footsteps soon faded away behind the wall of laundry, pizza boxes, and game cases.
"Phew." Beast Boy leaned against his self-made barricade. "That was close." Unfortunately, his weight brought the unstable structure down on his head. "Whaa!"
Robin loved spring cleaning (and, to a lesser extent, wearing an apron, but that's a different story.) For a time, he'd tried to implement it every week, but the rest of the team quickly rebelled. 'Oh well,' he thought, 'at least I get to tidy up every week.' Indeed, the Boy Wonder was so meticulous in his cleanliness, there was nothing in his room to attend to. Instead, he was attending to a great deal of the rest of the tower. He'd already polished and Windexed the assorted items and cases in the evidence room, and had grudgingly thrown out any Slade articles more than three years old.
Now, he was making sure the main room was in peak condition, vacuuming, dusting, and otherwise fighting grime as obsessively as he fought crime. He'd already done several loads of dishes and ordered several dozen more giant window/flat screen TVs for when the current one would be inevitably melted, shattered, or otherwise destroyed. After his third sweep with the vacuum, he reluctantly removed his apron for his favorite part of spring cleaning: Cleaning out the fridge.
Opening the dreaded icebox, Robin smirked as he beheld the blue, fuzzy substance that seemed to regenerate in the back every year. It pulled itself into a vaguely facelike shape and, in a breathy voice that stunk of month-old potato salad and soy milk, groaned, "So, we meet again."
"I was thinking the same thing."
"I have missed the expression of your orange consort when she beheld me. Her energy blasts were also rather enjoyable."
Robin's face soured, remembering the last time Starfire had attacked the fungal entity. "Are we going to exchange pleasantries," the hero said, brandishing a Birdarang, "or are we going to fight?"
The expression of the goo shifted to one eager for combat. "I was hoping for both, but if you insist." With that, the substance grew to engulf the entire refrigerator, and rose to loom over the masked teen. "Come," intoned the slime, in a somewhat deeper voice. "Let us begin."
Robin jumped back into a combat stance and extended his staff. 'I love cleaning,' he happily thought, and surged forward.
Beast Boy had done all he could to conceal his mess, and he was now preparing for Phase Two: Defending his mess. He was now in full general's regalia, and paced before his answer to everything: An army of gerbils.
"Men," he began, "you are lucky, lucky gerbils." He paused, reflected on that last statement, and pressed onward. "We have assembled here for one purpose: To defend our sovereign junk."
One of the rodents before him squeaked in protest.
"True, Captain Pudgebutt," General Logan conceded, "that and eat seeds, but the seeds will come later. For now, our duty is to protect these sacred heaps of trash against those who would see them thrown out, or worse," he shuddered, "cleaned."
Another soldier interrupted.
"Lieutenant Colonel Fuzzypants, I assure you, seeds will be distributed among the ranks after this room sees another day of disorder." The general returned to his tirade. "For what would we be without this room? Nay, who would we be? No better than the tidy savages who squat on the remainder of this tower, no nobler than the meanest carnivore on this benighted consonant, no-"
Another squeak of objection was raised.
"Alright, Major Fluffenheimer, we'll see about getting some cedar chips in here after we are victorious today. Until then, we must remain vigilant for the love of bedroom, sunflower seed, and-"
Yet another squeak of dissent was, er, squeaked.
"No, Brigadier General Scampers, I will not open a window! That 'stench,' as you call it, is the smell of victory! The aroma of our divine right to run these quarters as messily as we see fit! Have you no patriotism? No love of your birthplace?"
The troops considered this, and all left through an air duct. They did indeed have a love of their birthplaces, namely, pet stores scattered throughout the city.
Beast Boy sighed. "You just can't get good help these days."
Starfire was relatively unfamiliar with the Earth concept of "spring cleaning." On Tamaran, resources were very scarce, and items were hoarded and reused until they collapsed. Throwing out a perfectly serviceable qrorgnek was practically a blasphemy against X'hal. So, to the alien princess, spring cleaning was more of a yearly maintenance appointment for assorted cooking implements, heirloom weaponry, and heirlooms for a different sort of purpose she hoped to one day share with Robin. It was also time to give Silkie a bath. Unfortunately, it was currently that part of Silkie's molting cycle when he was very large, so this was something of a titanic endeavor.
Heaving the gargantuan larva to her bathroom, Starfire dropped him into the large hot tub she had insisted on for herself, fondly remembering the geothermal vents of home. The resulting splash soaked her uniform to the point that she decided it would be better to simply strip than wear the waterlogged garments. Fetching the mutant moth larva body wash she secretly purchased from Killer Moth, she lathered her giant bumgorf and turned on the bubble function of her tub to aid with rinsing. Soon, Silkie was shiny and smelled delightfully of lavender and zorka berries. As she was drying the bug, there was a knock at her door.
"One moment, Silkie," Starfire cooed, "I shall attend to my visitor, then complete your bath." The larva gurgled agreeably, and the alien went to the door, having forgotten her current state of dress while bathing her not-so-little charge. "How may I help you, friend?"
"Starfire, do you…have…any…" Robin was stunned to silence. Starfire had answered her door dripping wet and nude except for patches of purple lather strategically placed by the author to avoid an M rating.
"What is the matter, Robin?" Starfire failed to understand her teammate's silence, reddening face, and nosebleed until she followed his gaze (difficult, given the mask,) to her own form, on which the lather as beginning to drip. "Eeep!" Frantically covering herself, she slammed the "close door" button into the wall and rushed back into her bathroom.
As the door to her room slammed shut, Robin fainted, his last conscious thought, 'I really love cleaning.'
As this went on, Beast Boy was going for his Plan B in defense of his room. If he couldn't use a gerbil army, he'd have to prank people out of his room. Having set up a few buckets of particularly putrid laundry over the rebuilt barricade between his door and room, the changeling was now setting up a number of hair trigger oil balloon slingshots for anyone who penetrated the wall of filth. Pulling the last giant rubber band into place, he shifted out of musk ox form and reviewed his work.
"Hmm," he muttered, tapping his lower lip, "it's good, but it's missing something." The proverbial light bulb turned on. Digging into one of the piles, Beast Boy extracted a jam jar. Placing the receptacle carefully, he changed into a skunk, aimed, and fired into it. Quickly changing back into his vaguely elfin default state, Beast Boy slammed the lid on the jar, and then swapped it for one of the oil balloons. Chuckling to himself, he jumped on to his top bunk and went to sleep, happily awaiting anyone who would dare to invade his shrine of stink.
Raven had long since finished tidying up her room. While not as obsessed with order as Robin, the empathy was still rather clean. It was a simple matter of returning ancient texts to her shelves and sweeping out anything her powers and accidentally shattered. She was currently within her mind, making sure everything was as orderly and secure within her thoughts as it was within her living space.
"Bye-bye Rae-Rae!" called Happy, as she swam through the ball pit that had recently manifested itself in her realm. "Come back soon-soon!"
"Sure," Raven muttered, "next time I want a mouthful of cavities." Exiting her blissful persona's realm, the half-demon ran through a mental checklist of emotional avatars. 'OK, Wisdom's still on her mountaintop, Rude's area looks…slightly less like Beast Boy's room, I made sure Rage isn't abusing her bit of new freedom, Brave's still making new statues to fight, Affection and I have…' she blushed, 'reconciled our differences, Knowledge is cataloging the past year's experiences, and Happy's frolicking in her new playpen. That just leaves Timid.'
Sure enough, Raven was approaching the labyrinth of her fearful self. As the walls of self-doubt and self-pity rose around her, a gray-cloaked lookalike materialized behind her.
"Hi Raven," whispered Timid, "I knew you'd see me last."
Raven sighed. She hated dealing with her numerous complexes. Facing them personified wasn't helping. "Timid, I didn't intentionally pick you last-"
"Yes you did."
"No!" The last thing Raven needed was having to console herself. "It's just that your area is the last before the Forbidden Door, that's all."
"Why don't you ever let anyone visit us anymore?"
Raven was silent for a moment. Where did that come from? "You know that another person interacting with my emotions could wreak havoc on my mind."
"Beast Boy didn't."
"That burst of laughter the day Trigon almost took over says different."
Timid made eye contact with Raven, a rare occurrence. "He just enhanced what you were feeling already."
"You were enjoying being alone on the rooftop, even though you were worried about Fa-"
"Don't call that bastard Father."
Timid bowed her head again. "Rage makes me. She says it doesn't matter since he's gone." The walls of the maze began to react to their mistress' depression, becoming more convoluted.
Raven frantically tried to cheer up her saddest side. "Well he is gone, and that means Rage is no more powerful than any of my other emotions, including you."
Timid sniffed, and looked up at Raven again. She gave a small smile. "Thank you, Raven. I'll remember that. Do you promise to bring back Beast Boy sometime?" The maze relaxed and, unbeknownst to Raven, began to simplify.
She hesitated. "I'll think about it."
The maze resumed its convulsions. "That always means 'no.'"
Raven lifted Timid's head, forcing eye contact. "Not this time. I promise."
The small smile returned. "OK. Thank you, Raven. Let me show you the way out."
As the two navigated the maze, Raven pondered the trend of her emotions asking after Beast Boy. 'Affection pretty much spelled it out for me, but still…'
After rising out of her mirror, Raven's contemplation was interrupted by a knock at her door. "Yo, Raven!" Cyborg's voice called. "Time for that special cleaning method we talked about."
The empath grinned. This would be, dare she admit it, fun.
Robin and Starfire were already at Beast Boy's door. As Raven and Cyborg approached, Robin briefed her on the current situation. "I think he jammed the door shut. The lock override code isn't working."
Cyborg interrupted. "And I know the little grass stain can't hack my tech."
Robin nodded in agreement and continued. "He also appears to be asleep."
Raven nodded, rose into the air, and chanted. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Her soulself, manifested as the familiar black energy raven, formed behind her and extended a talon into the room. The talon easily phased through the door and the barricade, and grasped the sleeping Beast Boy almost tenderly. The claw retracted and delivered the green teen on to the floor in front of his room before dissipating.
The change of surfaces awoke the changeling. "Ugggh…sweet! I made it through spring cleaning without any cleaning!" It was then he noticed he was outside his room, surrounded by the foes of filth. "Uh oh."
Cyborg, smirkingly said, "Raven, if you please?"
Wearing a similar smirk, she replied, "With pleasure. Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Upon this iteration of her mantra, the doors of Beast Boy's room buckled and finally imploded, sending the laundry barricade crashing to the ground, absorbing the salvos of motor oil, old socks, and skunk musk with ease. Then, Raven performed a complicated series of gestures, accompanied by a strange incantation delivered under her breath. With the final syllable and motion, the unseen carpet of the changeling's room was altered into a black void.
Slowly, as though sinking into a tar pit, everything in the room sank into the void. Closets were opened and emptied telekinetically, and the living bits of trash screamed as they were pulled out of hiding places and sank into the inky black. One of them, composed of moldy tofu, an ancient glove, and bits of Silkie's old exoskeletons, looked mournfully at Beast Boy with eyes of months-old jelly and asked "Why, Daddy? Why?" before forever vanishing into the dark surface.
"Steve! NO!" Beast Boy cried, broken out of his horrified revery. Starfire and Cyborg were forced to hold him back lest he to be consumed by the eldritch plane. Soon, the room was bare, and the energy field reverted to newly cleaned carpet. Turning angrily to Raven, Beast Boy shouted "What the hell did you just do?"
Appreciating the irony of his exclamation, Raven replied, "I sent the contents of your room to another dimension."
He looked at her in shocked respect. "You can really do that? Wait, why did you do that?"
"Because your room was borderline biohazardous," she replied matter-of-factly. "And yes, I can send things to other dimensions. I don't make idle threats."
He was furious. "What gives you the right to do something like this? How do you expect me to respect your personal space if you don't respect mine?"
Raven was speechless. Beast Boy actually had a very good point. It wasn't fair to expect him to stay out of her room if she did something like this to his. "I-"
"For the record," Cyborg interceded, "it wasn't Raven's idea."
Robin nodded. "Cyborg and I discussed the matter, and we determined it would be both easier and cheaper to simply replace what was in your room rather than clean all of it."
Beast Boy continued to fume. "That still doesn't mean you guys have the right to magic my stuff into another dimension. You'd better replace it immediately."
"Actually, it's pretty late." Robin considered the situation for a moment, then said, "Why don't you just sleep in one of the guest rooms tonight?"
Beast Boy was about to tell the masked boy what he could do with his guest room when Raven, prompted by a pouting, gray-cloaked version of herself, said, "Beast Boy can sleep in my room tonight." The other Titans, the green one included, all looked at her as though she had sprouted another head. "What?" she asked, blushing. "He has a good point. I can't expect him to stay out of my room if I ruin his. However," she looked meaningfully at Beast Boy, "you only get to stay for tonight. Understood?"
He nodded, happy to get an apology. "Thanks, Rae."
"Come on," she said, walking to her room. "And my name is Raven."
"Come, friends," Starfire bubbled, "let us all strike the straw."
"It's 'hit the hay,' Star." Robin corrected her automatically.
"Oh. Thank you, Robin." Suddenly, she kissed him on the cheek. "Good night."
Cyborg grinned, laughed, and walked off to his room, saying to himself, "We should clean more often."
Thus concludes my first Titans one-shot. Please review, as I use them to grow my own mutant moth larvae. Flames are used to toast marshmallows.