"We've got a lot more important things to do."
"We've got a lot of things to talk about. All of us."
Cyborg looked around to see if any of the other Titans were listening to their conversation. Then, he took in a deep breath, and let it out.
"Dude… then why the hell are we here for pizza?!"
Robin sighed and turned to the Cybernetic teen. "We're stressed, we're exhausted and we're confused about what's happening. We have three magicians under our care, two of which are sealed in a book, while the other one is still trying to adapt to our lifestyle. And above all, we know that Slade is planning something."
"So, we need to calm down. Unwind ourselves, and think of what we should do. And what better way to do that than pizza?" reasoned Robin.
Cyborg looked at Robin closely.
"Well, what I'm about to say is cliché and all… but who are you and where have you taken Robin? Y'know, the paranoid leader who could stay up for seventy-two hours tracing nonexistent clues?"
"He died a few weeks ago of suffocation. Rumor has it that he was drowned by paperwork." Robin replied dryly. "Seriously, Cyborg, I've changed. The talks helped me a bit, and I can somewhat see what I've been doing wrong in the past."
"Really?" grinned Beast Boy as he edged over towards his friend.
"Really." Answered Robin with a small smile. He then turned his gaze to the three girls across the table, talking about something supposedly more serious.
Cyborg rolled his eyes and whispered in the changeling's ear, "Yeah. But it may be due to the fact that Red X had disappeared again and he's trying to forget about his 'incompetence'."
"Hmm, Dude, you're right. He does do that sometimes."
"Hey guys? I can hear you from here, you know." Said Robin, annoyed.
Cyborg laughed. "C'mon, Rob, you know it wasn't your fault. Red X can always enter or exit a building at will. He's one of the best, after all. But what I can't forgive…" his face turned stony. "… is that he toasted my entire security system just for the fun of it!"
Robin stood up suddenly. "What? You mean that the tower security is off-line?"
Cyborg grinned. "No worries there. I patched the whole thing up this morning, and added some other gadgets. In other words, it's repaired and updated to the very edge of technology."
Robin sat down, relieved. Beast Boy chuckled.
"Robin, just trust Cy. He knows what he's doing. Most of the time."
"BB, it would have been a nice compliment if you had—"
"No! Please, not me! I'm not doing it!" shouted a panicked voiced a few tables from them.
"Come on, Jason. It's not that hard. They're just heroes!"
"I just can't! I… I…"
"Don't be scared, son. The only people who need to be scared of them are villains, eh? Besides, it's time that I give you some reward for the excellent work you do every day you're here."
The three titans turned and looked at what was happening behind them. From what they saw and heard. It seemed as if the manager was convincing one of his
workers to hand them their orders. Like any other civilian, he seemed to be frightened to have an encounter with Jump cities biggest celebrities. But due to the constantly moving throngs of people, they couldn't catch a glimpse of his face.
"Boss, I just—"
"C'mon, son." The manager laughed heartily. "It's an order."
With a groan, the reluctant employee dragged his steps as he made his way over to the Titan's table. For some reason, he was covering his face.
"Triple Meat-Lovers Delight and Vegetarian with Tofu Topping." He muttered in a muffled voice. After placing the pizzas on the table, he quickly started to shuffle away.
"Dude… I know this guy." Whispered Beast Boy. "I remember smelling him somewhere a few days ago."
Something began to beep frantically on Cyborg's arm. He frowned as he looked at the readings. "Guys, my equipment is suddenly sensing massive traces of Xenothium."
"That hunch of his shoulders… he knows us personally and is looking somewhat guilty." Robin observed.
A name "pinged!" into all of their minds.
Before the man could start running for safety, a slimy tentacle was wrapped tightly around his leg, unnoticed by the other diners. Slowly, he was dragged to the Titan's table.
"So good to see you here, X." remarked Cyborg with an evil grin. "It seems that you did a little something to my Tower last night."
"Would you mind telling us why you're here?" asked Robin with a raised eyebrow. "We went through hell to get you, and you know it. And now we find you here, in all places?"
"Hey, dude! Long time no see!" waved Beast Boy with a good natured smile, his hands now back to normal.
Red X gulped. He had known that this would happen someday, but he didn't think that it would have happened so godsdamned soon! His skin was at stake here, and if he didn't do something soon…
"It's not going to be pretty if we talk about it here." He mumbled, motioning to the female Titans, who thankfully had not noticed their little scene. It must be a very important topic for them to talk about indeed.
Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy looked at each other.
"Ah, now this is going to get interesting." A voice commented.
"More interesting than what we're doing here?" another person asked in a low voice.
"Not now, Rorek. I am interested in what that thief has to say. So let us postpone our game until later."
"A vow that will not be broken?"
"Yes, a vow that will never be broken." Replied Malchior.
Inside the darkness of Beast Boys backpack, the dragon listened intently from inside his prison of parchment.
"So… you're telling us that you worked here almost since the forming of the Titans?" asked Robin, aghast.
The four of them sat in a single cubicle in the restroom, crowded around a toilet. It
was cramped, yes, but it was the best hiding place in the restaurant.
"Yeah, Boy Blunder. It was near my school, I needed a job (how else would I explain away that plasma screen television and those huge stereos?), so I worked here. Normally I keep away when you come, but today was just…" Red X sighed. "Bad luck, I guess. That and the fact that you guys saw my face a few weeks ago."
"All that time…" whispered Cyborg.
"Just right under our noses…" finished Robin in a miserable tone. It was hard to tell under that mask, but he seemed to be close to tears.
"Dude! I never knew you worked in Pizza Plaza!" Beast Boy didn't seem to notice the rapidly darkening expressions of his fellow Titans.
"Then why did you run yesterday night?" asked Cyborg, who had apparently collected himself better than Robin. Said Boy Wonder was looking into the toilet bowl as if he wanted to drown himself in it.
"I had nothing to do with you guys anymore. So I rode off into the sunset. Of course, not before I fried your entire system." Red X smirked slightly.
"Why you little punk—"
Beast Boy held back the metal teen before he could leap forward and strangle the thief. "Cy, chill!"
"Last time I checked, X, getting caught working in a pizza shop is definitely not categorized in the 'riding off into the sunset' section." Robin shifted his gaze to the thief's direction. "Now what about that assassin, Stryke?"
Red X laughed nervously. "Heh, now that's the funny part, you see. Normally I wouldn't tell anyone about this, but I'll make an exception this time with you three."
"We feel honored. So, what happened?"
"She was… is… my girlfriend."
Three pairs of eyes blinked at the same time. "After she tried to kill you or before?" asked Cyborg, disbelief in his voice.
"Before." Replied Red X, his eyes fixed onto the blue tiles on the washroom floor.
"But you said—"
"Yes, I said that I hadn't met her before!" barked out Red X. "How was I to know that my nice, sweet, gentle girlfriend in school would put on a plastic facemask at night and begin to chase ruthlessly after little old me?! Saying that they're absolutely different would be an understatement!"
"A plastic facemask? Why did we miss it?" Robin swiveled around on his teammates, eyes blazing. "Who did the checkups on her?"
Cyborg twitched slightly. Robin's eyes flared, and the cybernetic teen fought the urge to run out of the cubicle, lest he face much more training courses in the future.
Beast Boy thought back to that night X's mask broke in front of Stryke's eyes. Shock, disbelief, realization… and then, something close to admiration.
"She found about me that night, too." Muttered the thief.
"Did Slade plan this?" asked Robin.
"Even he can't be this much of a planner." Replied Cyborg hollowly.
"So, what happened next?" asked the changeling.
"After she took me back home with a dagger across my throat, she peeled the mask off and started the longest lecturing I have ever heard. About how extremely careless I was being, how much of an arrogant fool I was, about how I held knives wrong…
"I feel sorry for you, man." Cyborg patted the thief on the shoulder.
"You should. And then, after a while, you two showed up."
"Cy and Rob?"
"Yeah." Muttered Robin. "We tracked the Xenothium. Do you know how many traps we encountered before we even stepped to her door? I counted, and it was around twenty. All of them potentially deadly, and all of them crafted out of seemingly harmless objects. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out afterwards that a broom hurtling towards me was actually a bangstick in disguise?"
"So you raided her room, somehow defeated her, and took Red X away?" Beast Boy shook his head. "What a night."
Robin nodded tiredly. "She got away. Red X's right. She's a formidable opponent."
"Understatement, chuckles. She's the scariest thing I've ever seen. There's nothing like her." A flash of horror entered the thief's eyes, but was quickly replaced with something… else. "Nothing like her."
"Huh. Well, happened next was as you all know it. Red X decided, as the threat was over, that he goes away whistling from Titan's Tower as if nothing happened. And the parting gift was the various smoking consoles throughout our home."
Cyborg shot a glare at the thief. X looked back, unfazed.
"Dudes… is it just me, or have things gotten more and more insane since we began our midnight boy talks?" Said Beast Boy.
"Grass stain, it was never sane in the first place." Replied Cyborg with a groan.
And as if to confirm his words, the largest explosion they had ever heard suddenly rocked the entire building.
Nearing the last chapter! I'm trying as hard as I can to pump it out!
Please review and tell me what you think!