Teen Titans is a worldwide property of DC Comics and its associates
For someone who's not good at writing action scenes, I sure wrote many, and I guess this time, I really scared readers (or at least reviewers) off ::sigh:: So I'd like to express my deepest gratitude towards the people who've put up with my previous update a.k.a. RainAwhile, inuyasharbd15fan09, Alekin, Dancing through the Storm, 2hott4u, JenniGirl1, and pitfire52101. Also, I want to thank everyone who has reviewed, marked this story as favorite, put an alert for it, add it to community or simply stopped by to read. Have a great time ::Amaratta:::
When the words 'kill them all' were heard, Beast Boy was in a form of a ram, pushing his horn against Red X who blocked the attack with his staff as Cyborg and Starfire watched from the side, waiting for their moments to reinforce their friend while Raven hovered in the background as if she wanted no part in. Robin stood not so far aside.
Things seemed to have been frozen for a second when a sound of ammunitions piercing through the air could be heard.
The thief's and the Titans' minds went blank. In less than a second, they were about to face their not-so beautiful demise.
But nothing happened.
When they dared to pry their eyes open, they could see a dome of dark energy covering them from hails of bullets. All eyes were cast to the empath whose expression was hidden beneath the shadow of her hood.
"Way to go, Raven!" Cyborg cheered.
She simply nodded, focusing all her mind to keep the dome of energy shield up. After all, the crews were still firing at them, trying to break through the shield so they could finally hit the people inside.
At the same time, Beast Boy's continued to lunge into the thief whose defense was somewhat weaker for his attention still lingered on the empath. As a result, both the shape-shifter and the criminal fell backwards to hit Raven's energy shield.
The thief recovered fast and shoved the green ram roughly off his body before he got back up just to be on a defensive stance again as Beast Boy was about to charge in again while Cyborg and Starfire were ready to reinforce.
"Stop!" The Boy Wonder's command was heard clearly in the dome. "Save your energy. Catching him isn't our first priority right now."
With that, Robin pointed at the shield. It was then that the Titans recalled that the crews were still shooting at them. Now they were worried since they knew Raven couldn't hold on forever, especially when the sorceress herself wasn't entirely certain that she had recovered all of her power.
However, the murderous crews weren't the only thing to be worried about. There was also that strange light that seemed to grow even bigger and brighter with every second that went by, and the antiques that somehow managed to fly above the middle of the deck. Even though they had no idea what was supposed to happen to the strange light and the flying relics, their gut feelings told them that it wasn't going to be pretty for them.
"But we cannot just let him go," Starfire protested.
"Yeah, dude, did you forget what he did to Raven?"
None of the Titans could be sure if Red X really flinched at Beast Boy's question, but the thief remarked in a rather cool tone afterwards, "Well, kids, I hate to be blunt, but you need to stay alive to arrest me."
"You shut up!" Robin growled at the black-clad man before he turned to his teammate. "Team, we've just found the place where Hydra's performing their ritual. We need to stop them before they can complete it. Raven, do you think you can keep the shield up until they run out of ammos?"
Raven nodded. Her eyes glowed hot white underneath the shadow of her hood.
"Beast Boy, as soon as the shield's down, get those relics out of their positions. The rest of us will cover you. You…" Robin pointed at Red X with his masked eyes narrowed before he snarled, "Don't get in our way."
No one could tell what expression was underneath that skull mask when Red X retracted his staff, put it back in his utility belt just so he could pull some projectiles out and hold them in his hands instead. Assuming his fighting posture, he replied in a nonchalant tone, "Then stay out of mine."
Except for the soft noise of bullets hitting the black shield, everything seemed to be in grave silence. Everyone was standing in their positions, waiting quietly for the moment to launch their attacks towards their enemies.
As soon as the sound of the bullets went unheard, Robin shouted, "Titans, now!"
Right after Raven put down the shield, six projectiles and four birdarangs were thrown towards the crews, distracting them while they were trying to reload their weapons. Then the owners of those high-tech weapons jumped towards the crews, doing their best to bring their enemies down.
Taking the chance that some of Ocean's Warrior crews were still busy trying to fend against the sudden attacks from Red X and Robin, Beast Boy leapt off in a form of a green cheetah, running towards the direction of the relics. Cyborg and Starfire were right behind the changeling, firing sonic cannons and starbolts to cover him as he went.
As the relics were now flying high in the sky, Beast Boy transformed into an eagle so he could reach to those objects. Then when he reached to one relic, he morphed into a huge green octopus so he could use his tentacles to grasp all artifacts and move them from their positions.
However, no matter how hard he pulled, those objects didn't seem to obey. Instead, they kept flying towards one another as if to merge into one.
One crew saw what Beast Boy was doing, so he shot his laser gun towards the changeling, causing the green hero to let go of one object.
"Dudes… a little help!"
Cyborg fired his sonic cannon at the crew who was shooting at Beast Boy while Starfire threw her starbolts to different direction, keeping other crews from firing at them. Meanwhile, Raven rushed to join them, using her power to throw whatever objects she could find at the crews.
"I can't separate them!" Beast Boy yelled again.
Cyborg nodded at Starfire and Raven who both nodded back before they flew up the sky to help Beast Boy pulled the objects away from one another. The half machine then fired his sonic cannon around in circle just to keep all crews away from his teammates.
Starfire used all her alien might to pull one of the relics away from the others, yet even with her strength, she was unable to pull them apart. Raven then tried to use her magic to pull one item away, yet before she could do so, the crew fired up so she had to use her shield to block the bullets.
"Cyborg!" she yelled.
Cyborg shot at the gunman and realized that his power was running low while there seemed to be more crews coming out to the deck. "Just how many crews are there on this ship anyway?"
Meanwhile, Robin threw more birdarangs towards the crews, sending some of them off the ship into the cold ocean. While he ran out of his birdarang, Robin pulled his fighting staff out and started to use it against two other crews that were close by.
Just when he knocked one crew down and threw another towards the sea, he felt as though something had swept his feet. At the exact second he lost his balance and fell, a laser beam went past his head. It was when he hit the ground that he spotted a red cross, which probably was what knocked him off balance. So he turned swiftly towards the direction where it possibly came from.
Red X didn't spare a glance to Robin's direction when he leapt high in the sky before he delivered a roundhouse kick at the chins of the crews who were surrounding him. He couldn't see that one crew as approaching him from behind and was about to hit him with the gun in his hand. However, before that crew could strike his blow, he was knocked to the ground with Robin's solid punch.
"Consider us even," said the hero.
Red X didn't have time to reply when he shoved Robin out of his way before he trusted his feet at other crews that came out of nowhere. At the same time, Robin swung his kicks at the crews that emerged from a different direction.
Now with their backs against each other, Robin and Red X launched their attacks, sending more crews down towards the ocean. It didn't take long for them to finally clear off the deck, so the only crews remaining there ones that were unconscious.
While they were catching their breaths, a clank, a thud and a yelp could be heard from the area where other Titans were. So both Robin and Red X turned to see Cyborg fighting hand-to-hand with the ship's supposed captain while Beast Boy, Raven and Starfire struggling to stop all antiques from merging.
Before they could react, a sound of someone kicking the door open made them both turn their attentions towards that direction. More crews came up to the deck, running to their direction.
"Go stop that…thing," the thief remarked. "I'll handle those crews."
No argument came from Robin as he darted towards the ritual area. Red X wasted no time to teleport to the door before he sealed it with his sticky red mark, preventing more crews from getting out to the deck while he dealt with those who had already been up.
Cyborg had already thrown the supposed captain off the ship when Robin reached to his spot. He then looked at his leader and informed their situation, "We can't stop these things from merging."
Robin narrowed his eyes in determination as he watched his teammates trying with all their might to separate the flying objects that were about to become one.
"I have an idea," said Robin. "Cyborg, remember the sonic boom?"
Cyborg nodded as he transformed his arm. Robin pulled a few explosive discs out of his utility belt.
At the end of Robin's command, Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven flew off to different directions.
Robin threw three of his explosive discs towards the merging relics while Cyborg used his sonic cannon to heighten the devices' power.
A second later, a blast went off and brightened the night sky with its fluorescent blue light for a second before everything went dark. The Titans had to look away and covered themselves from the debris that was flying off in all directions.
The blast could be seen clearly even from the helicopter that was half a mile away, heading towards the ship's direction. The man who was sitting as a passenger on that said helicopter placed his hand on the pilot's shoulder so the pilot looked at him and asked, "What's the matter, boss?"
"Our plan has already been interrupted," said the boss.
"Are we still heading there?"
"No, but don't head back just yet," the boss noted grimly. "I'll give them my little parting gift first."
With that said, the boss pulled a metallic box that had a red button on it out of his pocket, and with a vicious gleam in his eyes, he pressed the button.
A deafening boom was clearly heard before a reddish orange light brightened up the night sky. The passenger smirked sadistically as the last scene he saw before everything was consumed by the darkness was the picture of a huge freighter that was once known as Ocean's Warrior blowing up in the sky.
He patted the pilot on his shoulder, "Let's go."
"… from Atlantic Ocean. After eight hours of searching for survivors, the search was stopped. Coastguards have rescued at least thirty crews from the water after the Ocean's Warrior sank last night, but it is believed that there were approximately one hundred crews on board of the ship. Police said the cause of the accident is still under investigation…"
A door was knocked before it was opened in a creek, so a long finger moved to press a button on a TV remote to mute the sound but didn't turn it off when the screen displayed a picture of several rescue boats, surrounding the remains of the sunken ship.
"Mr. Cardozo, your guest has arrived."
The owner of the said finger nodded, "Let him in."
A second later, his guest walked quietly in, turning his attention towards the TV for a second while Cardozo stood up from his seat.
"Mr. Wilson," the crime lord greeted. "I'm glad you decide to come. Please, have a seat."
With that said, Cardozo gestured his guest to a chair across to his own seat. As Mr. Wilson walked in and took the seat offered, Cardozo sat down.
"I assume that you have considered my proposal," Cardozo began.
"I won't be here if I haven't, and from what I saw, there's no reason why I should say no to your offer."
Cardozo's face broke off into a grim grin. "Then I'm glad to have you on board, Mr. Wilson."
Cardozo stood up and proffered his hand for a handshake, so Wilson, too, stood up. A bare hand met a grey gauntlet as they shook their hands.
"Call me Slade," said the man. "After all, from now on, we'll be working together."
With that said, both men glanced viciously at the television screen that was now displaying the picture of five superheroes standing on a rescue boat. A yellowish orange ship that was known as the T-ship and a white speedboat could be seen floating in the background.
"Alright, man, that's it," Cyborg announced after he put the last patch over a wound on Robin's upper arm, so the masked hero rolled down his sleeve. "Now, guys, any of you hungry?"
When they heard no response, Robin and Cyborg glanced towards the sofa, which the shape-shifter, the empath and the alien princess had occupied after Cyborg had checked up on them, just to see that Beast Boy and Starfire had already dozed off while Raven was sipping her tea quietly.
"I guess they just want to sleep," Robin noted with a soft expression.
"Yeah, I'll need to re…"
Before Cyborg finished his line, some static appeared on the huge TV screen that was used as a TV and a transmitter. The static soon disappeared just to be replaced by a picture of a room with seven figures sitting at an oval table. At the head of the table sat a green-alien-looking figure. To his right sat a man in a black with pointy-ear cowl, a black-haired woman in red strapless top and a red-clad masked man. To his left were a man clad in a blue shirt and a red cape, a man in a black and green suit and a redheaded woman who had a pair of wings behind her back.
"Greeting, Teen Titans," spoke a green-skinned alien-looking figure.
The waking Titans glanced up and jumped quickly to their feet as soon as they realized the people in the screen were founding members of the Justice League, the Martian Manhunter, the Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Superman, Green Lantern and Hawk Girl.
"J'onn," Robin replied. "To what do we owe this honor?"
"This is about the incident this morning," said the Martian. "We wish to know all details that are omitted from the media."
Robin nodded before he began to tell the Justice League about how they got on board of that ship from the start, including Red X's involvement in the mission. He then told them about how the ship was exploded right after the ritual was stopped and how they only survived because Raven managed to use her power to teleport them away just in time. Then he noted about how one crew mentioned about their boss coming to the ship, yet no one else showed up after the Titans.
"I'm sorry, but I don't think we have any evidence to connect this ship to Hydra," Robin concluded.
"It's not your fault. What about the survivors? Can we link them back to Hydra or Michael Cardozo?"
"If my suspicion is correct and Cardozo is really the man behind the ship's explosion, I highly doubt any crews would talk even if they did know something."
"And the criminal who was the reason you were there in the first place? Red X?"
"He was still on board when the ship exploded," said Robin. "His body, like of many crews, remains missing. From all circumstances, we're now performing on the assumption that he was killed in that explosion."
"Then we have to work on other leads to bring down this whole organization," the Martian stated. "We'll need all the help we could get, and last night's mission has proved that your team would be a great addition to the League. So, what do you think about being members of Justice League?"
"We'll have to discuss it before we can give you our answer," Robin replied.
J'onn nodded. "In that case, contact us when you reach your decision. Watchtower, out."
And with that, the transmission ended.
"So what do you guys think?" Robin asked.
When he turned around for an answer, Robin had to scratch his head as he realized Cyborg had already stopped functioning due to the fact that he ran out of battery while Raven was no longer in that room.
Robin narrowed his eyes as he was greeted with a bright morning light as soon as he opened the door to the rooftop and made his way out.
Although his vision wasn't in its best quality due to the bright light and his lack of sleep, the Boy Wonder still searched the area with his eyes then he had to sigh softly as he spotted the empath standing by the edge of the roof, looking out into the ocean.
If she had acknowledged his presence, she had made no indication. Yet, Robin knew that she was able to sense him coming even when he was halfway there. They had a mental bond, and sometimes they used it to find each other while some other times, like in the past couple of months, they used it to avoid one another.
"I thought I might find you here," he declared as he approached to her side.
Since she didn't respond, Robin continued in a more accusing tone, "You left while I was talking to the Justice League. Is there something I should worry about?"
She shook her head but made no attempt to explain why she left without a word, knowing all too well that Robin wouldn't press her for something she wasn't ready to say. They stood quietly for a moment before the empath broke the silence.
"Do you really believe he's gone?"
There was no need for the masked hero to ask who 'he' was, so he turned to watch the side of the empath's face.
"Does it matter?" he asked. "Whether he is or he's not."
"No," she said with finality. "It doesn't."
Although Raven appeared to have recovered fast, Robin couldn't help wondering if it was just her façade. So he looked at her more closely, trying to evaluate her true feelings, yet the indifferent mask she had keenly put on was barely readable. So he simply asked, "Are you okay?"
"I am," she claimed, giving him a small reassuring smile. "It's just hard when you're manipulated by someone you thought you could love. He made me feel so loved and needed, Robin, and for a moment there, I really thought that I was special, that I've found something true. Then it all turned out to be a lie."
"You still love him."
It was a statement, not a question or an accusation.
Raven closed her eyes, and instead of confirming or denying Robin's statement, she simply noted in an even voice, "If there's ever a chance between me and him at all, there's none now. Who knows? Maybe it ended even before it had started. It rooted in a lie and no matter what it had twisted itself into, it is and it'll always be a lie. Nothing can change that."
Raven paused for a moment to take a deep breath. Once again, staring into the ocean, she continued, "I can't trust him, and there's no room for love without it. I just wish it didn't hurt so much."
After she finished her line, Raven closed her eyes and hung her head.
While his heart was supposed to ache when she still appeared to care about the man who was supposed to just a history, Robin didn't feel any pain. All he felt at that point was a sense of understanding.
Taking a long look at the sorceress, he observed, "If true love was so easy to find, then it wouldn't be so precious."
Still having her eyes closed, Raven mumbled, "Maybe I was never made for love."
Robin shook his head although he knew she wouldn't see it.
"Everybody is made for love," he countered softly. "You just haven't found the right man yet."
To that, Raven chuckled dryly.
"I can assure you, Raven, if that right man hasn't already been in your life, someday he will come along," Robin continued with a tender smile. "Then he will love you, cherish you, make you happy and wipe away all the tears that you cry."
With that said, Robin reached his hand out to wipe a lone tear Raven didn't realize she had shed. Raven didn't flinch from his tender gesture but simply looked up to meet his masked eyes.
Keeping his hand on Raven's cheek, Robin continued softly, "All you need to do is giving him a chance."
Understanding his insinuation, Raven placed her hand on Robin's wrist and squeezed it lightly before she let go.
"Maybe someday," she promised. "But I just don't think I'm ready to let anyone in right now."
Letting his hand fall to his side, Robin nodded with an understanding smile.
"I'm not going anywhere."
Raven's lips curved into a soft smile as she moved a little closer to the masked man, and no other words needed to be said. In the end, they stood side by side, watching as the sun rose higher above the horizon as if to promise them a better and brighter new day.