If I Left The Zoo

By NotReallyAnything

SUMMARY: Slight AU. RaeBB. Raven Roth has finally run away, and as cliche as it is, she's looking at an old-timey circus for help. Changeling is a central act in this one-ring shindig, and takes a liking to the spitfire (yet...cute?) mystery girl. When she can't be backstage due to a short bald man, she turns to her self-forbidden powers and becomes an overnight sensation. She didn't think she'd ever find a family in a circus...and she didn't think her blood-money Father would come looking for her...

DISCLAIMER: No, I don't own anything Teen Titans, Circus-y, or the title, which is actually the title of a Jars of Clay album. No, there is no real zoo in this story, it's a circus, but I still liked the title. I might actually change it to one of their songs on the album—TEN POINTS TO WHOEVER FIGURES IT OUT AND EMAILS ME IT!

a/n: Okay, I know, I know. What am I doing writing a new story when I have all my other ones to finish?!

The answer: I don't know what I'm thinking.

Sorry.

All I know is that this idea has been wrapped around my head for three years, and I've written two versions of it already (both of them suck, by the way), and I really wanted to see what kind of response I would get.

Keep in mind that this story is slightly AU. There is a Jump City, they do have their powers, but they will NOT seriously consider any type of hero-ship.

I'll explain more at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 1: Runaway

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Raven Roth scanned the area.

It was a circus, but an old one. Patches were obvious, and the tents that were being set up still retained that odd fascination, that creepy, excited feel. Raven liked the style of it; it was like a blast from the past. It was vintage.

Raven loved vintage. That's why for the past three years she'd shopped at various thrift stores in the city, no matter how much of her father's blood money she had.

The city. She was so sick of the city. She was sick of her unintelligent school, her hypocritical family, the hustle and bustle…

This was the outskirts of Jump City, where people still grew their own potatoes, or whatever.

She tugged at her jacket, molding it to her form, trying to keep the heat from her body and the cold autumn breeze separate as she briskly walked towards one of the smaller tents.

She shivered, but not from the cold. She was nervous. For the first time in her life, she was out on her own, no turning back, and she didn't know what would happen. Would they see through her act? Would they see "runaway" stamped all over her? Would they even give her a job?

Yes, they would. They had to. And, come on, it was a circus! They had to have needed helpsomewhere, insomething. She'd even feed the animals and do the make-up, or anything they needed! Even though she'd never worked before, but hey, she was a fast learner.

She reached the entrance, stopped, and took a deep breath. If anything, she was a freak enough to be an act…but she tried to push that thought aside.

Suddenly one of the flaps opened and something slammed into her.

"Oof!" Raven fell with a thud.

"Oh, sorry little lady! Are you okay?!" A voice echoed down to her. She could feel a shadow blocking the sun from her dizzied eyes.

When they focused, she felt cold metal on her back, helping her sit up.

"I'm alright…I think…" She muttered as the muscular African-American helped her stand. He was wearing some sort of metal…

"Nice costume." She raised an eyebrow. He grinned and flexed an arm.

"It's not a costume. Big accident a few years back. My stage name is 'the Incredible Cyborg!'"

"Oh…" Raven felt a blush creep up her cheeks. This wasn't a good start. "Sorry, I—I didn't…"

"It's okay; I get it all the time." He easily smiled. Half of his face was metal, including one of his eyes, which was a bright red, pulsating sensor, but even then he was obviously a warm person.

"Tell ya what, you just wait in my tent right there, and I'll be back in a minute. The techies in the main arena messed up the black lights again." He quickly turned and jogged to the main arena, which was a huge tent halfway put up. The other half was a confusing maze of wooden beams, metal poles, and people. She didn't want to go inside 'The Incredible Cyborg's' tent, no matter how nice he seemed, so she waited outside. Good thing, too, because as she was watching him climb around the naked ceiling, he caught her eye.

"Hey, little lady! Come on over here!" He yelled. She immediately set off towards him.

When he'd climbed down, he handed her a stray hard-hat and grinned again. "You're a runaway, aren't you?" at her nod he chuckled. "Well, the boss might not let you get a job unless you impress him with an extensive background in something constructive, so walk around a bit and see the sights. If you want a job, I can weasel my way into getting you some odds and ends, but not right now. You got a watch?" she nodded again, "Good. Meet me at the other large tent, it's the cafeteria, in about an hour. Remember, Cyborg's the name and Tetris is the game." With a final grin he scurried back up the ladder and started giving orders to the obviously lost techies accompanying him.

She took his advice and walked around.

It was amazing. She'd never seen such work being done! There were clusters of people doing acrobatic things, a fire-breather, a pair of ventriloquists having a four-person argument…everything!

She gave a small smile as she saw a pair of clowns juggling a few plates and a very expensive-looking vase. They didn't have any makeup on, but they were wearing their costumes.

Just then, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

"Excuse me," a whiny voice said. Startled, she turned, almost tripping in her haste.

A short, fat, bald man stood in front of her, eyes glaring. He looked her up and down, snarling.

"What are you doing in my circus? Can't you see the construction going on here?!"

"I-uh…" her mind went blank. His circus? Oh, boy, she'd pissed off the boss.

His eyes grew cold as he looked her up and down. He laughed mockingly. "Oh, yes, this is rich. A runaway. How…cliché."

She glared as he walked around her, inspecting her.

"I'm not--" she started, but was stopped as a green blur flew through the air and slammed into her.

"Oh, today is not my day…" she trailed off as she tried to sit up on the grass. Her eyes had clenched shut from the impact, and now she opened them, once again, to the bright sunlight overhead.

"CHANGELING!" The bald guy roared. He got caught up in the mess, as he was on the other side of Raven, also on the ground.

The green blur was a monkey, a chimpanzee to be exact. Raven blinked, for just as she'd recognized the monkey, it had…morphed…into…

Oh wow, he's hot. Raven blushed at the traitorous thought entered her mind.

She was Raven Roth. She did not think boys were hot. Simple as that. Romances and relationships were completely pointless.

The muscular green teen jumped to his feet, sheepishly helping Baldy up.

"Sorry, Mr. Cald. I promise it won't happen again." God, even his voice was sexy! It was deep, and slightly gravely…'NO. Bad Raven. Do NOT think like that.'

"It better not. Now, I have a job for you. This…runaway…" he said with disgust, "has proven herself to be useless. Get her off the premises immediately." The boy glanced at Raven, who had gotten up and was brushing herself off, then quickly looked again, this time eyes widening. About then Raven looked up and glared at Mr. Cald, then her face transformed as she chuckled lightly.

"Bald Mr. Cald…" she whispered, but apparently Mr. Cald heard her.

The Bald Cald turned red, tried to say something, and, stuttering, abruptly turned and stalked off.

She was still smiling when suddenly the boy grabbed her hand and hurriedly dragged her through the practicing circus-members.

When Raven came out of shock, she snatched her hand back and stopped. The green guy swiftly turned around, and just stared at her. Raven glared, but the glare quickly died down to embarrassment, and she started to blush again. She desperately wished the ground would swallow her. In fact…if she really concentrated…

But no. She didn't do that. She might be freak enough to join the circus, but she'd rather just work backstage on it. And she wasn't leaving until she got a freaking JOB.

But as she vehemently denied her inner strength and focused on her human ones, the guy was still staring at her. She looked at the ground and played with the fray of her jacket sleeve.

"DUDE!" She threw up her head at his outburst. "That was AWESOME! You totally pissed him off! I've never seen him so speechless! Marry me, please, before the others hear about you!" He was broadly grinning at her, a hand running through his spiky green hair.

"Err…" she blankly stared at him. "Only if you get me a job?" she asked uncertainly. He smiled.

"Hell yeah!"

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a/n: Yeah, it's really short. But hey, it's just the first chapter, and I promise I'll have more content in the next ones.

Now, I always write about Raven and Beast boy.

I probably always willwrite about Raven and Beast boy.

Raven fascinates me, to tell the truth. She is the "misunderstood" one of the group, and I have to say, Raven's season of the show was by far my favorite.

While I do hate that her name is "Raven" and her character (at least in the show) is stereotypically gothic and Poe related (because it is a stereotype and cliché and all that jazz), I still love the character herself.

She's gritty, and she has a tight control over her emotions, which is something I've never been able to contain. I admire her. Imagine living with these powers, with this identity that most people wouldn't even believe existed.Add to that the identity of her father, and you've got a certified mess.

I'm aware that she lived with Arella and the Monks of Azarath for her childhood, and her father is Trigon.

This story is AU in that Arella has distanced herself (emotionally) from Raven, and that Trigon is actually a power-hungry company owner in the city. He doesn't pay attention to Raven, and she virtually has no one but nannies to raise her.

In the show Raven controls her powers by the lessons the Azarathian monks teach her, but since she's never even heard of Azarath, or Arella's history, she has had to rely on herself, which, as you'll later see, is a flawed system.

Beast boy's real name is Garfield Logan, which stays the same in this story. Everything of Beast boy's past is the same here, except that he's never been in the Doom Patrol, he just knew about them and lived with them. Mento was WAY too strict to let him join.

Also, the characters here are much older; we're talking late teens to early twenties.

Now, I know I'm gonna get questions like "Where are Starfire and Robin?" and "Will Cyborg have his past too?" and "How will you explain why Robin is in the circus after what happened to his parents?" and "How will you explain Starfire's powers? Her powers better stay the same. SHE BETTER HAVE HER FREAKING POWERS!" etc.

And all your questions will be answered in the appropriate time. IE, not now.

For now, that's all I will say about the plotline of the story.

Now, I will be updating when I can, which can mean a day to two weeks, but at least I'll be updating.

See, I'm in my last semester of high school, and I've got this thing called "The Terrifying Senior Project" which is forced upon all seniors. Mine just happens to be a film, and I'm working extra hard on it so I get an A and graduate.

Add to that the rest of my classes and a little bit of a social life, and you have chaos. So I probably didn't pick the best time to start writing a story, but oh well. : P

The point is, I'll update, and I might even pick up working on my other very unfinished projects while I'm at it, even if it means I don't update this one as quickly.

So, this is an insanely long author's note, and I'll be stopping the talking now. Tell me what you think!