Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
Author's Note: Just like the Titles Without Stories on my profile, if you want to borrow one of these for a story of your own, just ask.
We journalists make it a point to know very little about an extremely wide variety of topics; this is how we stay objective.
"You know," said Cyborg as he watched Beast Boy study the chess board between them, "there are easier ways of getting her to go out with you." Beast Boy looked up, blinked at his friend for a few seconds, and then returned his focus to the game… and suddenly Cyborg felt very stupid.
"Starfire!" cried Robin, gaping at the writhing mass of flesh spilling into the hallway. "I think Silkie's pregnant!"
Beast Boy sank a little into his seat when Robin asked the team why the plant outside the bathroom door was doing so poorly.
"Dude!" shouted Cyborg, holding his nose as Robin passed him in the hallway. "How long has it been since you've showered?" Robin shrugged and kept on walking, not really thinking too much of his friend's question. Several minutes later, a black tendril launched the bewildered Titan into the water surrounding the Tower, where he found a cheerful alien holding a bar of soap and a green shark standing guard.
"This isn't what it looks like!" shouted a panicking changeling as he climbed off of a furiously blushing Raven. Cyborg only grinned in response, the camera in his eye not caring in the slightest what his friend's excuse might be.
Two years after the team split apart, the five friends didn't know what surprised them more: that all five of them had opened their own restaurants, or that Beast Boy's and Starfire's eateries were by far the most successful.
Beast Boy, Cyborg, Robin… even Raven and Starfire… all of them loathed that word. Second.
Raven was teaching him how to read… still, he could have done without some of the changes she made to the books they read. "See Garfield run. Run, Garfield, run! See Raven chase…"
It soon became a well-known fact on the streets of Jump City- if you mess with the T-Car, you're going to wake up the next day with a killer headache.
"Why don't you just build a remote into your arm?" asked Raven as she watched Cyborg tear the room apart.
As he desperately held her unconscious hand in his, Robin couldn't help but feel as though he'd forgotten one of the earliest lessons Bruce had taught him. There is no such thing as acceptable.
Robin knew that it would be cheaper… and safer… to simply set fire to everything in Beast Boy's room once a year and refurnish it. Still, the little "treasures" they uncovered every March underneath the piles of dirty laundry made the endeavor worth the risk… and the medical bills. Beast Boy groaned as Cyborg picked up a thick pad of paper. "Dude, I didn't know you could draw!"
Fred wondered if the people of Jump City were becoming a little jaded- giant monsters were much more likely to appear on the traffic report than the evening news these days.
Raven blinked back her surprise at the retreating green form. When she had asked him how he could always be so damn cheerful, 'laugh and the world laughs with you' had been the last thing she expected to come out of his mouth.
It took Cyborg years to figure out how his best friend was so bad with technology. It wasn't that he was stupid, it was just that Beast Boy habitually broke every law of physics on a daily basis, and he couldn't confine himself to the strict realm of possibility that the technical required.
"Jambo. Repeat after me: JAM-bo." Raven hadn't expected Beast Boy to know a language she didn't, she certainly didn't expect him to offer to teach her, and she definitely didn't expect to accept his offer. "Jambo," she replied, blushing as he smiled at her first word of Swahili.
She thought that she was only tolerated for her powers, but when that fool boy told her that he wasn't going to give up until he got her to smile, Raven thought that maybe… just maybe… she had misjudged the situation.
In her dreams, Trigon told her that what she wanted was irrelevant; that he was the one with all the power. After the end came, however, she couldn't help but gloat at how wrong he was.
When he finally took his mask off- for her, only for her- Starfire found herself for once unable to even begin to express how she felt.
The professor had laughed at Jinx's inclusion of a bibliography- after all, it was a school for thieves. Jinx didn't care at all- she firmly believed in giving credit where credit was due, in hopes that one day karma would come through and she'd get the recognition she deserved.
He raised his hand to knock on her door, before freezing up and running away. Mentally berating himself for his cowardice, he couldn't know that she was on the other side doing the exact same thing for not just calling him in from the hallway.
22) Secret (1)
Beast Boy turned a strange shade of purple as he blushed, two of his friends helpless on the floor with laughter. "Dude!" cried Cyborg through his tears, "you've got a tail!" The furry green appendage swished angrily, and the changeling's eyes moved from the boys on the floor towards the girls on the couch. Starfire looked as though she thought it was the most adorable thing she had ever seen, and Raven had a strangely predatory look in her eyes. Beast Boy's eyes widened in shock. Did she just lick her lips?!
"Please, friend Jinx, I do not understand- I thought only Beast Boy could be a donkey." Jinx and Cyborg froze in mid-argument and just stared at the alien for a good minute before giving in and collapsing to the floor in laughter.
Standing outside her door, he felt his heart shatter as he listened to the noises coming from within. Turning to the stricken alien princess beside him, he did his best to hide the pain. "Well," said Beast Boy, his voice slightly higher than normal. "I guess that settles that."
It had been the last and most serious of accusations against him that his mentor had made- that he couldn't be trusted to fight crime in Gotham anymore.
"Hey Cyborg, what's this button do?"
Dr. Robinson wouldn't meet anyone's eyes as he delivered the bad news. "He's got three months, at most." The Titans all reacted differently- Starfire collapsed in tears, Cyborg punched a hole in the wall, and Robin struggled to keep Raven from killing the unfortunate physician.
Aside from receiving news about someone's death, it was the call he had dreaded the most. "Hey Robin," shouted Cyborg. "Do you know this 'Lucius Fox' guy?"
"I thought you were a vegetarian!" shouted Cyborg, aghast at what he'd just seen. Beast Boy let out a ribbit before turning back into a human. "Yeah," he said, "but I really hate mosquitoes."
Starfire looked at her friends in confusion, who in turn stared back at her in shock. "Does one not wear a 'birthday suit' on the day of one's birth?" she asked. Robin gulped.
If anything made Cyborg angry at the current administration, it was the fact that he felt it to be largely responsible for driving up the cost of driving the T-Car.
"Fine, I admit it: you're amazing. Now will you please explain to me what you're doing on the ceiling before I call Raven over to squeeze it out of you?"
Raven let out a long-suffering groan at Beast Boy's latest joke. She didn't know what was worse- that he kept making them, or that it was Starfire's laughter (and not her own) that encouraged him to go on.
"So," said Robin, "who actually wants to train today?" Of the five, only his hand went up. "Well, it's a good thing this isn't a democracy, now isn't it?"
Bumblebee couldn't help but feel a little sore at her team's given name: Titans East. She knew that they were just an offshoot of the original team, but did they really have to make it so obvious?
Raven couldn't understand why Cyborg had blasted the toilet with his cannon before she could drop the green fish in. Then he explained just what would have happened if she had flushed her teammate, and she spent the next hour on the bathroom floor clinging desperately to the changeling and sobbing at the thought of what she had almost done to him.
"...and that's what happened the last time Starfire got into Beast Boy's Pixie Stix collection."
Starfire never told anyone, but because of the color of his skin and her eyes, she had a very difficult time seeing Beast Boy clearly.
Nightwing begged for her forgiveness every time he messed up, and every time she gave it to him- she knew that he had none to spare for himself.
Whenever he wanted to be left alone, he would change into an animal and hide underneath the couch. He thought that if she couldn't feel his emotions, she couldn't seek him out and comfort him. It never occurred to him that simply becoming a rat did nothing to conceal him from her empathy, just as it never occurred to him why he always found her sleeping on the couch when he was through moping.
"Well that figures," grumbled Cyborg under his breath. "Their rooms would be on opposite sides of the Tower."
She didn't know whether or not she liked it when he got that look on his face. It inevitably ended with some form of terrible mischief… but he had the most fantastic way of apologizing.
He later realized that he couldn't even remember what the name of the movie had been- once the redhead had clasped his hand in hers as they entered, he had stopped paying attention to the world around him.
He knew, with a knowledge born of knowing, that this one would make her laugh. He opened his mouth… "No." …and closed it again, going back to the drawing board once more.
Cyborg had to say, he found his friend's persistence quite admirable- in fact, he didn't think Beast Boy had ever quit anything in his entire life. As he swallowed the horrible white soy paste (a bet was a bet, after all), Cyborg looked over to see the changeling trying to get Raven to smile… and suddenly realized that if anyone could do it, it was him.
He didn't know who was more surprised- Raven and Beast Boy for being accused of acting like an 'old married couple,' or Robin for surviving the encounter.
The thought struck Robin as very odd- that by all rights, his teammates should all be dead. Sakutia should have killed Beast Boy, the Citadel should have killed Starfire, Cyborg's accident should have killed him, and becoming the portal should have claimed Raven's life. But here all they were, alive and well. He only hoped he could say the same when it came his turn to confront his mortality.
Three days after Beast Boy's eighteenth birthday, the letter came. "What is it?" asked Cyborg. Beast Boy just folded the letter up and walked off, quietly mumbling under his breath. Cyborg caught the word "inheritance," and realized with a shock that he hadn't even known his best friend's parents were dead.
"That," said Beast Boy, spitting loudly, "is not real grass." Raven couldn't decide whether to roll her eyes or smack the back of his head. "Did you just have to taste it to figure that out?
"Friend Raven, do you recall how Beast Boy and Gizmo went into Cyborg's body yesterday?" The empath nodded, too absorbed in her book to give more than the simple gesture as a reply. "Whatever do you think happened to those copies of himself that he made?" Raven looked up with a thoughtful expression for a moment… and then promptly fainted.
"Beast Boy," scolded Robin, "freedom of expression does not extend to spray painting Cyborg while he's recharging." He looked around for a few seconds before discreetly slipping the changeling a twenty-dollar bill. "You win."
Robin had wondered once why so few villains actually shot at the Titans… and then he saw what his team did to a man that grazed Starfire's shoulder, and realized that most of the bad guys were too smart to risk it.
"Don't worry about me," she insisted. "I can stand on my own." Beast Boy looked down at her mangled leg. "Just because you can," he retorted, "doesn't mean you should."
It amazed him sometimes, that they- four superpowered teenagers- would listen to a guy like him.
She didn't understand it- how had a seal that had managed to keep the dragon imprisoned for one thousand years broken so easily for the Brotherhood to make use of his services?
She spoke precisely, in such a way that everything she said meant exactly what she meant it to say… until he informed her that speaking precisely was pointless if nobody could understand a word she said.
She kept it on her person at all times, magically attached to the back of the brooch that held her cloak together. Nobody knew about it, and she made sure it stayed that way- it kept the body count down to a minimum.
It wasn't long after Beast Boy fell ill with the flu that the rest of the team came down with much more severe cases. From then on, whenever the changeling as much as sniffled, he was quarantined in the medlab- after all, any bug that could get past his immune system had to be pretty nasty indeed.
Batman had taught him never to make deals with criminals. As Robin carried Raven back up to the surface, he decided that maybe his mentor didn't know everything about fighting evil.
"The forecast for tonight," growled a very angry Raven, "is screaming, with an eighty percent chance of pain." Beast Boy grinned back at her and waggled his eyebrows. "Ooh, kinky!" he said before dashing off, laughing maniacally. Raven remained motionless for a solid five minutes before heading off to her bedroom to yell at her emotions for the next hour.
"Alright Cyborg, the joke's over. WHERE IS THE GLUE SOLVENT?!"
Robin was afraid of how she would take it, but Raven was right- he had let it get this far, and to put off telling her the truth would only hurt the poor girl. It was only after he watched the sobbing alien run to her room that he realized that his girlfriend hadn't mentioned talking to Beast Boy. The next few weeks were going to suck.
Raven blinked at the vacuum salesman in confusion. "How did you even get over here?"
It was one of the most disconcerting things about visiting Terra's cave- the sound of everything coming back to you just slightly distorted, so it almost sounded as if someone was talking back to you.
Beast Boy found it hilariously funny that nobody on the team had even noticed the policeman's strike until two weeks after it was over.
The entire team thought him to be a simplistic fool… until the day came that only he was left to fight the Brotherhood. After that, he was just simple. Beast Boy could live with that- it worked for Occam, did it not?
After the Beast incident, it had taken weeks to stop craving meat. Cyborg had been unusually insightful, and had managed to go avoid putting the food in front of him until the changeling successfully shoved his predatory instincts back where they belonged.
There were few days more dreaded than the first of April. Only Raven's sixteenth birthday had even come close.
Raven found the concept of Earthly religion incredibly amusing- as far as she knew, none of them had quite gotten it right.
"Whose bright idea was it," ranted Robin, "to only include one bathroom in the entire Tower?!" Cyborg looked around and backed out the door slowly.
"These plans look good Cyborg," said Robin, looking over the Tower blueprints. "But how do you expect to get all these cranes over onto that little island?"
As the palace guards angrily advanced on him, Cyborg found himself wishing he had remembered a little bit more of Starfire's language lessons.
"If I never see a stick of gum again as long as I live, it'll be too soon."
It was one of the most harrowing experiences either of them had gone through in their lives- Mas y Menos just weren't meant to be separate.
Cheshire smiled behind her mask, adding his most recent projectiles to her growing collection.
When the team was forming, nobody understood why Beast Boy insisted on having his privacy as he had his fingerprints taken, but then again nobody understood why Robin wouldn't take off that mask or why Raven wouldn't drop her hood either.
Beast Boy's room was much cleaner than people thought it was. Sure, it was untidy as hell, but having an actual mess in there would have overwhelmed his sensitive nose entirely.
She was well known for her brutal honesty. If you asked her a serious question, you would get an honest answer. The only person she ever lied to was herself.
Nobody asked about families. They didn't exist. There was one family only, and that was the Titans. Beyond that, there was nothing for any of them.
They didn't know which was more shocking- that Beast Boy's leg had been blown off, that Raven had almost killed the man responsible, or the fact that the changeling walked into the common room the next day to get some breakfast as though nothing had happened.
'Damn him!' she thought, as Beast Boy proudly put her king in checkmate. "So Raven… seven o'clock on Saturday work?" And even though she was angry at him for tricking her, she couldn't help but feel just a little excited inside.
Robin looked down the list of talents for the Titans Talent Show- water juggling, Tamaranean yodeling, break dancing, guitar-playing, joke-telling, changeling slaughter- and decided that he might want to switch the order of the last two.
Looking over his high school yearbook, Cyborg couldn't help but notice that his ex-girlfriend and Sarasim looked remarkably similar.
There was a comforting pattern in their behaviors, Cyborg decided. Almost everything they did, he could predict ten minutes beforehand. He looked down at the clock on his arm, and got his camera ready. Just then, Beast Boy burst through the door in a clown suit. Click.
It hurt like hell, but dropping a blue whale on the bad guy's head tended to finish the job nicely.
Jinx was sick and tired of this. As long as her partners in crime kept holding her back, she'd never get anywhere in life.
It was one of the most frightening experiences in the world, losing control. Not because of any immediate terror, but for fear of growing used to just giving in. And every time, it became just a little bit easier…
They think he has OCD, but they're joking when they say it. If they knew he counted his strokes as he brushed his teeth, or how many blows he made to each side of the punching bag, or any of the other oddities he kept hidden… he doesn't know what he'd do.
Cyborg had to be very careful with his sonic cannon, or else he could end up killing someone he shot. Someone like Gizmo couldn't take a hit like one meant for Mammoth and survive the experience. So when Slade and his demon army survived a blast at full-power, he knew they were royally screwed.
They wondered why he never seemed to think things through all the way. He couldn't tell them that if he ever did stop to think, he didn't know if he'd be able to stop… and there were plenty of things he could think about that he'd really rather not.
Cyborg knew the green guy was proud of getting the high score in every video game they owned… but there was no way in Hell that he was going to address the changeling as "Beast Boy the Great: Champion of the Universe and Master of All Things Gaming."
He had to go with the Doom Patrol- she knew it, and so did he… but so help her, if he got himself hurt, she would skin him alive.
Beast Boy knew he was adequate- the question that kept him up at night was whether or not he was adequate enough.
Nothing she does ever really hurts him, until one day she fakes a laugh at one of his jokes in an attempt to get some peace and quiet. After that, he leaves her alone... and she hates it, but doesn't know why.
He couldn't explain to himself why he was so bothered by her morphing him. It wasn't until later, when he realized that she had used his body as a plaything that he became truly angry… but by then, she needed a friend more than anything, so he bottled up his anger, put it up on the shelf where he kept the rest of his irritations and insecurities, and went to her door to play the part required of him.
He's the tough Titan, the rugged Titan. You can take him apart and he'll put himself back together. Blow him to pieces and he'll be back in the fray in minutes. Hit him with a bus, and he'll shrug it off like a slap to the shoulder. He's almost indestructible. Almost. It's not until the virus hits him that they realize how tenuous his connection to this world really is.
Robin never saw himself as a joyful person, and in truth he really wasn't. But the look on her face whenever she sees him makes him feel as though he lights up the entire room with his presence, even though it's really all her doing.
"Yeah, Japan was great and all," said Beast Boy, "but there's truly no place like home." Cyborg rolled his eye at the sentimental changeling. "Now click your heels and say that three times, grass stain."
Garfield Logan stood at the edge of the rainforest, his uniform in tatters and a tired expression on his face. Turning off his communicator for one last time and dropping it to the ground, he heaved a defeated sigh that became an angry rumble as the change came over him for good. Humanity had given up on him- and as he lumbered into the Amazon, the Beast returned the favor.
As Beast Boy watched her go back into her school, he realized how selfish he had been. She had finally found what she was looking for- normalcy- and he had no right to take it from her. Her happiness didn't include him, and he would just have to accept that fact and move on with his life. Perhaps... perhaps one day he could find his own happiness without her as well.
(1) This is totally Kryalla Orchid's fault.