(A/N)- Hi! (waves politely)
Welcome to my dumping ground for the various one-shots, drabbles, and short stories I think up in my spare time because I'm an avid writer and I watch too much Teen Titans. This is the first fanfic I've had the boldness to post. It is not, however, the first fanfic that I've ever written. I like to write my own stories (and admittedly I have a bad habit of world-building peoples, places, and languages for those stories on my homework) but fanfiction is kind of a guilty pleasure for me, a way I can practice with writing styles and character interaction. I consider myself a fairly good writer, but comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism is always appreciated.
This chapter (and the next one) takes place after Season Five, so the Honorary Titans are all split up into individual teams across the globe. Titans Oceanic-according to my stories-is based on the North Island of New Zealand and consists of Hot Spot, Wildebeest, Herald, Jericho, and Argent. Just wanted to clear up any confusion beforehand.
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans. Obviously. Because I'm not rich and famous like any of the people at Cartoon Network.
And now with no further adieu...
Of Mistletoe and Mum's Cookies- Part One
December 19th and at the Titans Oceanic Tower the decorations were finally being put up. They might have been done sooner if not for the reluctance on the part of a certain human wildebeest-who despised bright lights of any kind. Eventually though, after much prodding and pleading from the others, he consented.
Hot Spot and Jericho were in OPS, putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree. Herald was busy stringing lights and garlands somewhere around the Tower. Argent had gone off Christmas shopping and who knew where Wildebeest was-probably off in the forest avoiding the Christmas lights.
Jericho stood on a ladder, hanging a small blue bauble on one of the upper branches. When it was in place, he snapped his fingers twice to get Hot Spot's attention. The black-skinned pyro looked up.
"Ready for another ornament?" Hot Spot guessed.
Hot Spot moved to the open boxes of ornaments scattered on the floor. Sifting through the empty ones, he located a package of shiny golden balls. He fitted one with a hook, returned to the tree, and handed it up to Jericho.
"Looks great. Keep it up Jericho."
The mute boy smiled and nodded.
Hot Spot returned to the pile of boxes and grabbed another gold ball to hang on the tree. At that moment a horn sounded a clear, mellow note, and Herald stepped through the portal that opened up in the middle of the room. He still held a few remaining light strands.
"Hey Herald!" Hot Spot greeted the newcomer. "How's the Tower look?"
"I jazzed things up a bit but didn't go overboard." Herald replied coolly, idly twirling his silver horn. "Wouldn't want to hurt WB's eyes too much." he continued, putting away the unused light strings. "By the way, there's another bunch of packages on the doorstep. Want me to bring 'em up?"
"Sure, go ahead."
Before you could say "Merry Christmas" Herald was gone again, courtesy of his portal-opening horn.
Hot Spot and Jericho continued to work on finishing the tree. In no time at all Herald had reappeared with a pile of brown packages in tow. Jericho jumped down from the ladder and hurried over to help Herald sort them. Hot Spot paused to finish hanging one more ornament on the tree, then came over as well.
"Looks like we got somethin' from Titans East." Herald announced, reading the return address on one of the boxes.
"Correction: Looks like you got something from Titans East." Hot Spot corrected, looking closer at the label. "Probably a Christmas present from your girlfriend."
Herald laughed a little sheepishly, then picked up another box. "Titans North sent us somethin' too." He pulled out his pocket knife and went to work on the masking tape. Making short work of it, he pulled open the flaps to reveal two wrapped Christmas girls and a jar of cocopolinos, a contribution from Kole no doubt.
"I call dibs on those." said Hot Spot, reaching into the box to extract the jar.
"Hey, man! Let the rest of us have some too!" Herald protested, grabbing for the fruits himself.
Jericho rolled his eyes as he maneuvered around the other two to pick up the two gifts. One was for Argent, or "Argent-chan" as the label actually said, from Bushido, who some time ago had unofficially 'adopted' all the Titan girls as his sisters and had taken to addressing them as such. The other package was addressed to him, from a certain pink-haired girl who lived near the North Pole. Jericho quickly got up and hid that one underneath the tree.
"Looks like Argent's mom sent her another Christmas present." Herald commented, looking into the package he'd just opened, having given up the wrestling match with Hot Spot.
"Another one?" Hot Spot exclaimed incredulously. "Hasn't she gotten twenty already?"
"Twenty-two. This makes twenty-three." Herald responded.
"Jeez, that girl is spoiled…"
The door opened suddenly with a loud hiss! and the topic of their conversation breezed in, shopping bags in hand and green leaves curiously woven into her hair.
"'Ello boys!" Argent greeted them. She walked over to the kitchen area, boots making a heavy clodding on the dull carpet.
"Is that…holly?" asked Herald, staring at the makeshift tiara.
"Yup. Three pounds a vine." she said, setting her bags down on the counter.
"In your hair?"
She shrugged nonchalantly. "Why not? I like weaving live foliage in my 'air."
Argent smiled, a small half-smile that played at the corner of her mouth.
Hot Spot spoke up. "By the way, your mom sent you another package."
"Did she now?" Argent asked excitedly, descending upon the pile of packages and immediately identifying the ones in question. "Thank goodness it's finally here! I was beginning to think it'd never arrive."
"The keys to your Lamborghini?" Hot Spot teased.
She looked up at him with a glare. "The ingredients to make her special Christmas cookies."
"You sure there's no MasterCard hidden in there somewhere?" the pyro needled further. He was probably being a pain, but Argent just looked so cute when she was angry.
Argent dropped the box with a heavy thud! "Oh, come off it, would you!"
She knew she was spoiled. She often resented that fact, especially when her mother's over-zealous generous displays of affection prompted teasing from her male teammates, Hot Spot being the worst of the lot.
"Okay Argent, I'll stop. I was just kidding." the pyro told her, raising his hands in mock surrender and flashing her a winning grin.
Argent was decidedly unimpressed. She sighed and returned to the counter to pick up her shopping bags, leaving her mother's package where it was on the floor for the moment.
"If anyone needs me I'll be in my room wrapping presents. The tree looks great, by the way."
With that she drifted out into the hallway.
About an hour later and in a vastly improved mood, Argent reemerged from her room with a smile gracing her lips and the newly wrapped presents in her arms. Humming Christmas carols absent-mindedly, she made her way down the hallway to the main room.
The boys really did a nice job with the Tower, she thought, gazing down the hallway with delight. Someone had hung strings of tiny colored lights in the corners between the wall and the ceiling, illuminating the corridor with a faint multicolor radiance. It struck just the right balance between flashy and festive, without being too bright for Wildebeest's sensitive eyes. She'd have to ask the boys how they pulled it off.
She reached the door to the main room and it slid open automatically.
Jericho was sitting on the floor in his usual spot, picking out the notes to "What Child Is This?" (Or was it Greensleeves? She could never tell the difference) on his guitar. Wildebeest was also in habitual area-namely the kitchen-downing a large bowl of his favorite chow.
The other two boys would usually be on the couch, engaged in some kind of virtual death match on the Gamestation; however, due to the fact that the tree was now partially blocking their view, they were now seated much closer to the screen. The boys themselves were out of sight, but she could see a little of the game they were playing. It was a racing game they were particularly fond of.
Argent ambled over to the tree and bent down to place several of her Christmas presents underneath. Two she set on the table take to the post office later. There was one left, though, that required some special service.
She straightened up and walked around the tree. There were the boys, sitting Indian style in front of the screen, flicking and clicking buttons like mad. Argent looked up at the game and immediately had to lean back from the blur.
"Won't that be bad for your eyes?" she asked, craning her neck painfully to make sense of the pixels and colors.
"Nah, it's fine. We don't mind." Hot Spot answered. He was in his powered-up state, and with the way he was furiously clicking buttons Argent felt very certain the controller would soon melt in his hands. Nevertheless, she didn't comment about it and instead turned her attention to Herald.
"Yeah?" he answered, continuing to watch the game.
"When you're done, could you pop over to Steel City and deliver this to the doorstep of Titans East Tower for me?" She set the present down beside him.
"Sure thing Argent." His eyes never left the screen.
"Thanks oodles Herald."
She stood up and watched the boys continue playing for a minute.
"You're going to melt that consol Hot Spot."
Hot Spot looked up from the game, but she was already walking off. Then he looked down at his hands.
He was too late. Sure enough, the plastic had melted and dissolved in his hands and begun forming a puddle on the floor.
Hot Spot bit back a smart-aleck reply and reached for the spare control.
December 20th. Hot Spot stumbled out of his room, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. The light strings in the upper corners looked like soft colored blurs in his half-awake state. Hot Spot shuffled down the hall to the main room.
The door slid open and a pleasant cinnamon smell met his nostrils. He was fully awake in an instant. He looked around to discover the source and noticed two very important details-Argent standing in the kitchen cooking, and a plate of cookies on the counter. Hot Spot quickly decided he didn't need to know anything else and dive-bombed the cookies like a kamikaze on caffeine, devouring half the plate within the blink of an eye. He was in the middle of scarfing down the second half when he suddenly glanced up.
Argent was staring at him.
The sight halted Hot Spot mid-bite. He finished chewing what was already in his mouth, set the half-eaten cookie down on the counter, and grinned sheepishly at his female friend, trying to suppress nervous laughter.
"Heh-heh! Hi Argent!"
She said nothing, gaping at the plate that a moment ago had been quite full. Her wide eyes flicked up to him.
He started sweating. "What?"
"Those were for the Christmas party."
"Er, well… I'm sure the guests won't mind too much." Hot Spot said, a little embarrassed but trying to play it cool. "You can just whip up one of your cool New Zealand dishes and nobody will notice."
"Bloody heavens Hot Spot! I spent an hour on those!" she exclaimed, exasperated. "One hour deciphering my mum's handwriting so I don't mix up the ingredients and you in'aled them in three seconds! I thought only Wildebeest could pull off a stunt like that!"
A loud grunt! met their ears. Wildebeest stood in the doorway, a little displeased and put out by that statement.
"Sorry chap, but you do eat like an animal." Argent explained apologetically, throwing her friend a small smile.
Wildebeest tried to growl discontentedly but found it hard. So he snorted instead and entered the room, reaching for the cookies-whose sweet cinnamon smell had brought him to the room in the first place.
Argent's smile disappeared. "Not you too!" she cried.
"What's all the ruckus?" asked Herald and he and Jericho entered the room. The teleporter abruptly stopped and sniffed the air. "Hey, something smells good! Is that cinnamon?"
Wildebeest grunted in the affirmative.
"Argent's mom's recipe." Hot Spot explained.
"Sweet!" Herald declared, reaching to try one.
Argent sighed, resigned to her fate. "Polish 'em off, I'll make another dish." she told them, emptying the bowl of icing batter she'd been mixing into a storage jar.
Argent? asked Jericho in sign-language, noticing the flustered demeanor of his friend.
She managed a tired smile. "I was going to serve those cookies at the Christmas party. But now…" She trailed off and waved a hand at the others, now busy stuffing their faces with cookies.
Anything I can do? asked Jericho.
Argent considered asking him to whack the other three upside the head with his guitar, but decided against it, a wicked gleam coming into her eyes as she remembered the secret of her mother's special Christmas cookies-a secret that had very much to do with the special ingredients her mum had sent her.
"It's nothing Jericho. Don't worry you'self about it." she said, an evil and slightly maniacal look in her eyes.
Jericho decided very quickly that he didn't want to know.
A while later, after the Titans had responded to an alarm and had a brief fight with a motorcycle-riding petty criminal-who had somehow gotten his hands on a high-tech laser from China-Hot Spot, Herald, and Wildebeest collapsed on the couch with a startling revelation.
They didn't feel very good.
Of course it probably had something to do with the fact that none of them had eaten anything besides the cookies that morning-and a lot of them to boot-and the inordinate amount of sugar was most likely wreaking havoc on their digestive tracts.
They still felt terrible. And they were sure it was something besides the sugar. But Argent was too busy laughing at their stupidity to tell them and Jericho didn't know anything, so…
Finally Argent decided to let them in on the secret.
"Not feeling well, are we?" she asked smugly. "Perhaps if you weren't in such a rush to eat my mum's cookies I could have warned you about how they'd make you feel later."
"Yeah, yeah, we get it. We're idiots." Hot Spot glowered.
"Glad to hear you admit it so readily." she said with a smirk.
Herald moaned. He was sitting almost doubled over with his arms wrapped around his stomach, his face having taken on a light green tint.
"What was in those cookies anyway?" he asked.
Argent began listing off ingredients nonchalantly. "Flour, eggs, cinnamon, a lot of sugar and some potent spices to cover up the taste of the main ingredient."
"Which is?" Herald asked hoarsely.
All three boys-and even Jericho-snapped up their heads to stare bug-eyed at her.
"It's a special brew that comes from Germany. Only the very wealthy can afford it. It really isn't all that bad… in small doses, that is."
The others were still getting over the fact that they had unknowingly ingested alcohol.
"You put rum in cookies?" exclaimed Hot Spot incredulously.
She scowled. "Well, we weren't supposed to eat them. It was for the adults."
"And you couldn't have at least mentioned that little detail?" Hot Spot shot back.
"It's your own fault for not asking before you ate half of 'em."
Hot Spot wanted to say something really nasty back, but decided not to, since technically it was his own fault. He settled instead for glaring at her silently.
The cocky grin returned to her face. "Hope the alarm doesn't go off again today. I think you boys would be quite out of it if it came to a fight." With that, she turned on her heel and swept out of the room.
"I'm gonna get her for this…" Hot Spot muttered.
His face turned green and his inner heat rose.
"But first I need to make a sacrifice to the porcelain god."
It was while the pyro was being sick in the bathroom that the idea for Operation: PAYBACK first began to form. Wildebeest had thought of it, and between the supplies in the kitchen and the boy's own great skills in acting, they felt like they could pull it off. But there was still something missing.
"I don't know, man." Herald confessed. "It sounds great and all, but we need something more, something really embarrassing."
Wildebeest grinned and produced from behind his back… a small sprig of mistletoe.
Herald's eyes lit up. "I like your style, man. I like your style."
Jericho just sighed. You guys are so mean to her…
(A/N)-Didn't notice how long this was until I started typing it up. Characterization was difficult. It's hard to guess at someone's personality when they're only in two episodes and they don't speak or do that much. Oh well...