Melody: 'Ello folks! You'll probably find this update later than the other ones, since I've been preparing for a mission trip to Italy. Welcome to a turning point in this story, where the scenes aren't just a bunch of flash backs from the show tied together by my imagination.

Thanks to the following readers for their input: badkidoh

Teen Titans: Conspiracy Theory: Chapter 6: X


North America: Jump City, California, USA: Undisclosed Location: 1 Week Earlier: 9:18 p.m.

Dark warmth permeated the room, making it unbearable to anyone save one person. That person reclined slightly in a chair, with one leg balanced over the other. Only the light filtering down from the television screens revealed the outlines on his armor, not that anyone would come down here anyway. His butler made a point of avoiding him in times like these, knowing it best to leave his employer to his own thoughts and ends. In fact, Wintergreen only came into the room when summoned, and moments like those had drawn farther apart as of late.

Slade ignored the cup of tea on the stand next to him, his attention focused on the largest screen. He smirked underneath his mask, his mind already working through the ramifications of such an event. His single eye glanced up at the screen warmly, as if he saw an old friend for the first time in years. True, it had only been months, but such an amount of time spanned too long without her.

His haunting voice echoed in the near empty room. "It's been a while, hasn't it Terra?"


North America: Jump City, California, USA: Titans Tower: Present Day: 8:17 p.m.

Moonlight washed over the water in glittering waves, the sound of them lapping the rocks lulling the bay to sleep. Like a young child, the city around the bay bounced into the night, ignoring any sort of curfew. A solitary tower watched the bay rest, and the city lights dance, its stance rather unchanged on the matter. Perhaps all would be well. Too absorbed in its own homeostasis, the Tower didn't seem to notice the shadow that fuzzed in and out of existence, drawing closer and closer to its front entrance.

Pressed against the wall, the thief threw a glance at the camera, hovering in its blind spot as he planned his next move. To most he might have seemed a bit impulsive, but Red X's choreographed every move in his mind at least a few moments before he acted on it. Adrenaline buzzed through his veins along with the xinothium ions that came with his suit. Each prick of his skin seemed alive, vibrating as the hair on his arms and legs stood on end. It had been a while since X had been to the Tower, and he quickly decided it had been too long. Messing with Chuckles the Boy Wonder was too entertaining to do without.

His belt beeped faintly, sending the sound directly to his ears, instead of the microphones on the security cameras. X smirked knowing the activity on the first couple floors of Titans Tower had died down to a lull, and that the Teen Titan's founding team would all probably be in the main floor for the night. He pressed a button on his belt, and buzzed through the wall just to the right of the door, directly to the blind spot of the nearest camera. Now inside, X only had to worry about sticking to the shadows, knowing the xinothium would overload the infrared sensors on security system. Sure, it gave off quite a bit of heat, but such anomalies had been common in the Tower ever since Starfire first flew inside.

A smirk flitted across his lips as he crept towards the elevator shaft, followed by a clenching pain in his stomach. Augh…he really didn't want to think about her right now, but just about anything, including another girl, filled his mind with thoughts of her blonde hair, her blue eyes, the sweet saltiness of her voice...her everything. X regretted ever slipping into the ranks of The Brotherhood of Evil in the first place. Ever since…swaying blonde hair and glimmering pooled eyes had followed his every thought. How in the world was he supposed to pull off a heist with distractions like these?

X stepped into the elevator, pushing Terra-centric thoughts from his mind….or at least shoving them aside for later. He phased right through the roof of the elevator car, making his way up the shaft. Already, his spirits rose with his body, and X quickly realized how badly he had needed this opportunity. Sure, it wasn't a pure heist, but playing almost-nice would be too fun to pass up. Phasing up to the appropriate floor, X latched onto the door with red goo and teleported into the hall. Glancing down, he smirked. Good, he thought, the belt still worked like a charm, bending the light wave frequencies around his suit, still making him less visible than infrared light.

He crouched in the shadows out of habit, and listened. Down the hall he could hear voices, speaking to each other in normal tones. X started to turn the mic up on his suit, then changed his mind and craned his ear. Knowing Robin, the thief might need to save power for later. Step by inching step, he moved toward the kitchen/living area to hear their conversation just a bit more clearly.

"I don't that's such a good idea, Beastboy." Robin's voice stated reluctantly.

"But we have to."

"We don't have to do anything." Raven quipped, clearly losing her patience.

"She's our friend." Starfire pleaded quietly, and X had to take a quieting breath when he saw her. Despite fresh distractions, she still managed to catch him by surprise. He had heard once that men's eyes always saw red first, and thus couldn't help but be drawn toward it. If that was the case, Red X would have to start wearing grayscale filters on his mask.

"She's still dangerous, and you know it." Cyborg interjected, with a skeptical glint in his good eye.

Beastboy's eyes had been slowly sinking to the floor, along with his head. Knowing that even with Starfire on his side, the rest still outnumbered them, not to mention the fact that Robin sided against him too, and he usually had the most say. Raven as usual, wanted nothing to do with Terra, and Cyborg had even started to lean away from her. If Beastboy wanted to help Terra, he would have to do it on his own. But how could he?

A cough interrupted the tension, snapping it like a taut rubber band. They looked to find X on the opposite side of the room from the hall, leaning against the counter casually, with his left foot braced on its tip while the other bore some of his weight. His cape hung ominously about his figure, as if to remind the Titans that they still knew next to nothing about him. Though Robin couldn't see it through the mask, he sensed a smirk on Red X's face.

"Hey kiddies. Miss me?" His invisible smirk widened as he saw Robin stiffen. Oh how he missed fun like this.

"What do you want, X?" Robin grumbled less than patiently.

Red X glanced to the kitchen counter, as if undecided, or bored. "It's not really what I want, Chuckles." He glanced back at them, his eyes narrowing playfully, along with the slits in his mask. "It's what you want."

Robin's face didn't seem to change at all, but the length of that stare betrayed the rolling of his eyes. X watched him stiffen just a little bit more, and then his eyes, not his head, moved to look at the other Titan's reactions. All of them, except maybe Raven looked a bit surprised, if not shocked to see him there. Did they honestly expect their security system to keep him out?

"What do you want?" He asked tersely, losing his patience.

Red X glanced about the room, his eyes settling on a newspaper sitting on the counter behind him. Normally, newspapers didn't interest him much (the cheap paper rattled too noisily), but the headline caught his eye. Infamous Geomancer Sighted at Jump's Edge. "So you heard."

Beastboy answered with a hopeful glint in his eye that made X question his motives. "We were there."

"Not soon enough, apparently."


Undisclosed Location: Present Day: 10:59 p.m.

Everything throbbed. For a moment it seemed as if her eyes had been glued shut, they felt so heavy. At first she couldn't feel her arms, but her awareness of them came so suddenly it threw her brain against the back of her skull. Terra groaned weakly, realizing she had been chained arm and leg to a wall, her feet dangling heavily from the shackles.

Panic, as much as she could feel with this exhaustion, slid over her as she tried to remember how she ended up in an unfamiliar place. First it came back with a tinge of dust filtering the light spilling from the windows. Then it came back in a rush of awareness, painfully missing her earthen power. Terra swallowed the groan or the whimper, her brain felt too muddled to try and figure it out now. Her jaw rattled, as she bit her lips to hold it the shuddering breath.

Slade.

Terra could recognize those robots anywhere; the ones that had torn open the earth and brought her down with them. She couldn't remember much after that…just falling into darkness. Her eyes drifted aimlessly around the room, not finding much of informative value. Groaning with her mouth shut, she moved her wrists and ankles as much as she could, which didn't amount to much.

"Don't bother." A voice interrupted from across the room.

"Huh?" The geomancer asked, her eyes following the voice. She didn't see anything but a set of speakers. Figured.

"Not even your powers can break them, I'm afraid." The voice belonged to a woman, which ruled out Slade and most villains Terra knew.

"Who are you?" Terra swallowed slightly, feeling the sweat beginning to collect on the shackles around her wrists.

"Aw, Tara, don't you remember?" Her voice took a sickeningly sweet tone, which made Terra shudder.

"You." The word dropped from her mouth like a bite of a stale cookie.

She slipped out of hiding, with the limited light in the room catching her glasses. Terra swallowed, remembering how rarely she saw the woman's eyes, even in all those years they spent together in a government lab in a far-off world. The doctor's hair had gained several fresh grey hairs. Odd, for despite her gray hairs, the woman still had flawless skin.

Quirking one of her straight, thin eyebrows, the woman buttoned up her lab coat the same way a chemist would measure a solution with an eyedropper. "Of course it's me. Who else would it be?"

Surprisingly, Terra could imagine quite a few people that would want her chained up like this…or dead. Some of them good guys too. "What do you want, Jace?"

The woman's eyebrows wrinkled up, indicating that she narrowed had narrowed her eyes. "Doctor Jace."

"You still haven't answered my question."

Jace pressed her lips together glumly, and Terra could see a shadow of a smirk there.

"Revenge, child. Your accident ruined both your life and mine. I want it back."

Terra's eyes widened. "You know I can't help with that! My father hates me."

The woman in the lab coat paced around the cell, pausing as she replied. "And he's been avoiding your existence all these years. I think it's time he's come to face the consequences of his actions, face to face."

Her voice rose, more frantic by the second. "But you can't! The court—"

"Will be in shambles, I know dear. And that's exactly my point."

With that Dr. Jace moved back across the room, her shoes clicking on the metallic floor. A precaution, Terra had found metal harder to work with than concrete. At least she could break the concrete apart with the packed dirt underneath. Her eyes drifted up in time to see the last silver of light disappear when Jace closed the door from the other side.


Melody: That's it for now. Italy was great, and I'm so glad the city next door has a gelato shop now. I think I've developed a small addiction.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think about my work, so review!