Hi! Sorry for the long wait.
This IS the last chapter, in case anyone was wondering and hadn't seen the 'complete' thingy. This was definitely fun to write, and I hope you guys liked it too! Thanks so much to Starsoffire, MyxWorldxRewritten, skye668, cartoonfire, cartoonstar, tennisgal456, My Dreams Are My Wings, Sta-R-obi, RavenSis, SuPeR HyPeR chick 101, Sizzlin'-Starry-Night-sky, raeXXstarry, kjesStar, BerryDrops, StarryNightT, ChristianAndGatorGal, ThEnAmEsGiGi, Alien Emerald, and writing4eva for the great reviews last chapter! And thanks to mia the anon. reviewer too!
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
"What are you going to do to me? Where are you taking me?" Starfire asked fearfully. The man gripping her wrist smiled.
"Nothing will happen to you. We are just...removing...any evidence of your mutation," he explained. Mutation...Dick never called it that. Was he okay? Would she ever see him again? The thought brought tears to her eyes. She already missed him so much.
"What do you mean, removing?"
"I mean, removing. You'll be happy about that, yes? I think you were unhappy about it at first."
Starfire gasped. "How do you know this?"
His smile grew slightly. "I have my ways."
He led her to a secluded room in the huge company. There was a small machine inside, connected to a computer by a cable. Another cable connected the object to a glass cylinder. Starfire was shoved to a corner of the room. "You might feel mildly uncomfortable. Don't worry about it. It'll pass."
He grabbed her hand. A needle glinted in his other one, and Starfire was instantly afraid, but she refused to show it. She winced as the needle pierced her skin, but the pain following it was so much worse.
Jaques slapped tape over her mouth to keep her screams from penetrating the walls.
"Kory?" Dick murmured, stirring.
"Dick, it's Gar! Where's Kory? What happened? What's going on?"
"Kory!" Dick shot up, nearly headbutting Gar. "Kory's going back! We have to get her! Move! I can't believe you--" Dick's voice faded as he jumped up and ran out the door, leaving four breathless friends in his wake.
"Follow him," Rachel ordered.
Dick, with Rachel, Gar, Vic, and Karen in the same car, had broken all speed limits to get to Roth Industries as fast as possible. Kory was the only thought on his mind. He was far too worried to even yell at the others. If Kory wasn't okay...he didn't know what he would do.
As soon as Dick slammed on the brakes, the five of them busted out of the car. Vic didn't even complain about what was happening to 'his baby.' Yeah, it was that bad.
Dick nearly fainted as he heard Kory scream. "Ko--!" Rachel slapped a hand over his mouth.
"You're lucky it's past closing time! There are people here who'll hear you, Dick, and then we'll never get to her! It came from down the hallway," she hissed at him. Dick could barely contain himself, but he couldn't afford to endanger Kory.
The five of them quietly walked farther into the building. Dick clenched his fists, trying not to notice how eerie the company looked when it was empty. Another scream echoed out, but it was muffled and quieter. Vic clasped Dick's shoulder, but the bigger teen had never felt so scared. "We'd better hurry."
Dick opened the door closest to them. Empty. Rachel, Gar, Vic, and Karen opened four more in succession, but none of them held Kory. The screams, however, were getting closer. They tore into Dick's heart like a chainsaw. He pressed his ear to the second to last door in the hallway. His eyes widened. "She's here," he whispered.
"On three," muttered Karen.
They didn't even wait until one.
The five friends charged through the door to meet one surprised middle-aged man and Kory herself. She had never looked worse. Her face was pale and sweaty, her eyes bloodshot and rolling crazily as the machine connected to her did whatever it was supposed to do. A piece of duct tape covered her mouth, but that didn't stop her shrieks of pain. A cylinder next to her was slowly filling with red liquid, not blood, but brightly glowing. The man was controlling whatever was happening to her on a computer. Dick needed to shut it off.
He and Vic immediately went for the man, punching him into the wall. Vic tried to figure out the computer, but too late they realized the man was calling security. "Mallah! Intruders! Room 219!" Rachel, Karen, and Gar each made a grab for the walkie-talkie he had. Karen wrestled it out of his hands just as a beast of a man, whom they assumed was Mallah, appeared at the door. Four surprised security guards stood at his side.
The guards stomped into the room, taking out as many people as possible. One took out a gun and pointed it at Dick, yelling a threat. Dick fended his attacker off with a well-aimed punch to the face. Surprised for a second, the guard refused to underestimate him again. He was definitely bigger than the teenager he had been facing, but Dick was well practiced in dodging fangirls, some of whom had been on the high school girl's wrestling team.
Vic was too busy trying to not get captured, and had no time to figure out how to get Kory out of that contraption. Dick sprinted over, nearly crying at the confusing amount of controls. His guard came tackling at him, and he accidentally pressed a green button. The red substance in the cylinder began to decrease. Dick had a terrible suspicion that he'd injected it back into Kory's body.
He swore, grabbing the guard's shoulders and shoving him into Rachel's attacker. One of the guard's guns went off, blasting a hole in the wall. Rachel mouthed a "thanks" to Dick and left the room, with Jaques following her. Dick didn't even care as to where she was going. His only purpose was to stop the terrible soundtrack Kory was providing.
Vic and Mallah were in a wrestle to keep the gun pointed at a safe spot. Gar and Karen had teamed up, desperately trying to keep the security distracted enough to not shoot them. Dick hustled over to the control panel and slammed a large red button, the universal control for 'operation aborted.' Sure enough, the computer shut off, and Kory sagged, quiet. He grabbed her before she fell, wincing as he gently removed a needle from her hand. "Kory?"
"Dick?" she murmured. He didn't even get to answer before she fainted. They needed to leave, to get her to a hospital or something, but that wasn't an option right now, especially when all four guards, plus Mallah, were completely focused on keeping Kory away from Dick. They all headed towards him, guns raised, and everyone was so quiet, a dropped pin could've echoed.
"Give us the mutant," Mallah snarled, advancing slowly.
"No," Dick growled back. His eyes searched for an exit, but there was none. He hid Kory behind himself, eyes begging for Karen and VIc and Gar to save her, but they were out of reach, past the wall of armed men.
"You will hand it over NOW," Mallah ordered.
Dick saw Vic whispering to Karen and Gar, and the three of them nodded at him. "DICK, DUCK!" Vic yelled, his hands chopping down between the shoulder blades of two different security guards. Dick squatted on the floor, making sure Kory was completely covered, as gunshots rang out everywhere. Karen and Gar did the same, and within seconds, all five guards lay motionless.
"Run," Karen advised.
Dick carried Kory and bolted out of the company, with his friends following. "Vic, how'd you do that?" Gar asked in awe as they stepped into the twilight.
"Little trick I learned from Rachel's old bodyguard," Vic explained grimly.
"Rachel! We can't leave without her! Where is she?" cried Gar.
Dick frowned, trying to remember where she had gone. She hadn't told him. "Listen. Karen, you stay out here with Kory, and the rest of us'll--"
"Uh uh! What if you need me? I'm not waiting out here while y'all get your butts kicked!"
"We can't just leave Kory lying around!" Dick argued.
Vic hoisted Kory up on his shoulder. "Come on, y'all. Might as well get two rescue missions done tonight. Move!"
And they went back into the building.
Rachel hurried to an elevator, repeatedly pressing the button until the doors opened. She hit the "15th floor" button and a slow ride took her up. The elevator music seemed drastically out of place in such a situation. Her foor tapped impatiently, knowing that her friends would come looking for her sooner or later, and that would probably get them killed.
Her elevator dinged, and she raced out, towards giant oak doors. They pushed open easily, with a perfect view of the person sitting in a desk near the window of the office. "Dad," she spat. Tristan Roth looked up.
"Rachel. So. You and your friends are the intruders trying to get my experiment back, are you?" Tristan was completely calm, almost smiling.
"She is our friend."
"How does that concern me?"
"Call off your guards. We already beat four of them!" Rachel hissed angrily. She really had no idea, but it sounded more impressive than 'we're holding for off them off, but pretty close to getting beaten up.' Tristan chuckled nonetheless.
"And I thought you were smart. At this very moment I have every security guard I own within thirty miles coming to this building. In less than five minutes, about twenty of them will be here and your friends will be outnumbered. I must say, I'm very impressed with how skilled teenagers are these days. Who says America is obese and lazy?" Tristan opened a drawer in his desk. Something glinted in his hand, something black and shiny. "What a shame. You showed promise for a good CEO when I died, you know. You just made bad choices."
Rachel took a step back as her father threatened to kill her. "You wouldn't."
"Really? Do you know exactly how many people I have ordered to be murdered? Do you think it makes a difference to me whether I kill my mistake of a kid or not?" She heard a click, and her mind fuzzed with fear. As soon as her friends got here, would he do the same to them? "Good bye, Rachel."
"Good bye, Rachel." As soon as they burst into the room, Gar ran and tackled Tristan Roth, sending the older man flying.
"Don't you dare threaten my girlfriend!"
Tristan growled and hit a button on his desk. "Security!"
Kory groaned on Vic's shoulder. "Dick?"
Vic handed her to Dick and blocked the door so no one else could get in while Gar and Tristan wrestled for the gun. "Hey, Kory. It's okay now. We've got you."
"Phone," she muttered. He frowned, but pressed his cell into her hands. She flipped it open and dialed nine-one-one, weakly lifting the phone to her ear. "Help...Roth Industried...please..." Her voice failed her and her hand dropped. Dick caught the phone before it hit the ground and shifted Kory in his arms.
"How are you feeling?"
She nodded, unable to talk.
"Hang in there, Kory. We'll get you out of here as soon as Rachel decides she wants to leave." Dick glared at Rachel, who was too busy staring around the room to notice him. Someone banged hard on the door, and it was taking all of Vic's strength to keep the door shut. He was blasted out of the way a few seconds later and the door came down to reveal a horde of guards. Following them was a squad of policemen.
Everyone was confused.
"Hands up!" the police ordered. The security guards listened, but Tristan growled at them.
"Do not listen!"
This was going to get messy.
Shots were fired all around. Dick watched in horror as his friends were lost somewhere in the crossfire. "Kory..."
"I will be fine. Go," Kory urged him, making herself as small as possible. Dick was loathe to leave her, but he had no choice. "Dick? I am sorry."
"For what, Kory?"
She didn't have a chance to respond. Something smll and fast whizzed by his head and grazed his shoulder. Dick slapped his hand over the burning cut as Kory cried out. "It's fine, Kory, just a scratch. I have to go." They excahnged one last look and he left to bring his friends to safety.
The policemen were desperately trying to dissuade the guards from using guns, but Tristan's party wasn't about ready to give up. They got paid for keeping Tristan safe. The CEO was trying to leave the room with something in his hands. Rachel stopped him, pulling back his arm. "Give it to me!"
"Let go of me!" Tristan roared at her. He shook her off and dodged through the line of policemen. One of the cops caught him.
"Stay here, Mr. Roth. No one is cleared yet." He started speaking into his walkie-talkie, requesting for backup.
Dick saw Vic trying to protect Karen and Gar on the other side of the room. They were pressed up into a wall, where most bullets couldn't find them. For the moment, they were safe.
More police officers poured in, breaking up the fighting. Tristan was outnumbered. It was over.
"We're gonna need all of you to come to the station with us for questioning," an officer told them grimly. Two injured cops had already been carted off to the hospital, and security guards were being arrested for firing on a police officer. Tristan was waiting with Rachel, trying to convince the police that his daughter was a juvenile delinquent while Rachel heatedly argued.
"Officer, she'd hurt," Dick said, pointing at Kory. His girlfriend stood up shakily. A throbbing pain still remained, and she felt sick to her stomach. Her head hurt more than anything from the forceful purging of xenothium from her body. But it had lessened, slightly, when Dick had accidentally pressed the button that reversed the flow of xenothium back inside of her. For a few seconds while Jaques was operating the machine, it had felt like the Starfire half of her was being ripped away.
"I am fine."
The policeman stared at her. "Don't I know you?"
"Sergeant Dave!" she remembered before collapsing on to Dick.
"Kory, you're not fine. We need to get you to a hospital," Dick told her. Kory's eyes widened and she shook her head. "Kory, it's over. Mr. Roth can't hurt you anymore. Come on."
"Please, Dick...I wish to go home."
Sergeant Dave looked her over and then addressed Dick. "What happened here, son?"
Dick glanced around at Kory, ready to faint again; his friends, terrified out of their minds; and Mr. Roth, who should have gone to jail years ago. There was no point in telling a lie. He explained the whole story to Sergeant Dave, from the beginning, everything that he knew. Kory helped out where she could.
"If this is true," the sergeant said slowly, "Then Mr. Roth isn't the only one who is gonna be doing time, Miss Anders."
Kory let goof Dick and looked away, ashamed of herself, every bit of her concentration focused on standin upright. "I understand."
"You can't!" Dick burst in. "She's hurt, you have to take her to a hospital!"
"Dick, I am fine!" she interjected forcefully, trying not to sway.
The policeman's eyes softened. "If she can prove to me that this won't ever happen again--"
"What if I can prove it to you? I know Kory won't ever do this again. She wouldn't have even stolen in the first place if it hadn't been for Tristan!" Dick spat the name. Kory tried to back up, but only ended up stumbling. She didn't deserve this defense. She deserved to be locked up for ten years, and then maybe deported to some small, remote country.
"That wasn't her only choice, son."
"What else, an orphanage?"
"Well, yes. Jump City has a fine--"
"Don't talk to me about that," Dick said coldly. "If it's anything like Gotham's, it's almost as bad as the streets. I think I would know."
The matter was settled soon after that. Kory was to have a trial, as was Tristan Roth. Kory would be allowed to go home, but the police department had to know exactly where she lived. Dick offered to drive her home, but Kory declined.
"I wish to be alone," she said softly to no one in particular before walking off.
Starfire wished she'd never been born. Her friends were right to be ashamed of her. She hadn't done anything right since the second she'd blown up Tristan's factory. Even there, she'd unknowingly killed so many people. Her eyes overflowed with tears.
She would wait until the day of the trial. As soon as it was over, if she wasn't found guilty, she would leave the country. And if she was, well, jail time was just as good as a punishment. She could never show her face to her friends again.
Starfire took out a pen and paper and began to write.
Dear Rachel, Karen, Vic, Gar, and Dick,
I am so, so sorry you were burdened with a criminal for a friend. You are all very kind people, and most certainly did not deserve it...
Dick sat listlessly on the edge of his bed, watching an injured turtle slowly crawl to its food bowl. "Hey, Dick. What's wrong? We're all alive!" Gar pointed out. Dick sighed and stood up.
"I'm going to go see Kory."
"Can I come?"
Dick bit back a 'no.' He wanted to be alone with her, maybe then she would truthfully answer why she was so miserable. "How about I drop you off at Rachel's?"
"Alright. I guess she's doing pretty bad, too. I mean, her dad just tried to kill her...and then he got arrested..."
The bell rang, and Kory wiped away her tears. Who else would visit her at this time of night? Reluctantly, she opened the door to find Dick standing there. "Dick, I really must ask you to--"
"Kory, hold on."
"But I wish to be alone, Dick--"
"I don't want you to be alone." He invited himself inside. "How are you?"
"Wonderful," she muttered.
Dick gathered her up in his arms, but she pulled away. "Stop! Why must you continue to believe I am innocent even after all this has happened? I should have gone to jail!" she said angrily.
"Do you honestly think I would've made them leave you alone if I thought you would steal again, Star?" he asked her quietly. "I know what happens when there are criminals on the loose, firsthand. You aren't one of those people." He caught her hand, pullin her closer to him, but she still wouldn't believe him. "I'd trust you with my life. Heck, I love you. And I need you to understand when I say that there is nothing wrong with you, at all. You won't ever steal again, if given the chance. You're too kind and caring to hurt anyone." He pressed his lips to hers, and smiled when she relaxed. "Although you pack a pretty good punch."
Kory's hands flew to her mouth. "Dick, I--"
"Hey, I'm kidding." He caressed her cheek. "No one's holding anything against you, Kory."
"But they said--"
"They didn't mean it," he interrupted, his voice firm. "Not one of them. They'd say the same thing I did, Kory. They're just waiting for the OK to get down here and tell you themselves."
Kory wasn't sure she wanted to give that OK, but she didn't really have much of a choice. "Things will not smooth over very easily..."
"I'll be here until they do, right?" He smiled at her. "I want to see you happy again, Kory..." HIs smile turned decidedly evil. "Whatever it takes..." His hand crept onto her side.
"Whatever it takes?" Kory asked fearfully. "What extent is that, exactly?"
"This!" Something Kory hadn't noticed before dropped out of his other hand as he began a full tickle attack. Kory shrieked and laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks. She collapsed on the couch, slapping his hands away, but he followed her down. There was only one way to stop him...sure enough, the minute her lips touched his, he forgot what he was supposed to be doing.
"It was there...I saw it," Dick murmured into her hair after they broke apart. Kory cuddled into his chest.
"I love you," she sighed happily. Dick stroked her hair affectionately.
"Before I forget, Kory...Rachel got something for you. She thought it might help..." Dick retrieved the heavily paper-clipped object from the floor.
It was a folder. On the front was stamped 'PROJECT STAR.'
And that's it!
I didn't really want to do the trial, 1) because you all probably know the outcome, 2) because it would take too long, and 3) because it would probably end up sounding weird because I've never been to one. So yeah...
Thanks again, you guys! And expect some story about the Titans in Egypt in the near future! (Thanks if you voted on that poll, too, it's still up there, if you want to vote.)