"Darkstalker Titan: Wings of Night"
Chapter 1: "Stained-Glass Mirror"
Disclaimer: Teen Titans belongs to DC Comics and Warner Brothers. Darkstalkers belongs to Capcom. I make no money whatsoever from this story.
Author's note: It's a plotbunny that's been eating my brain for days, so I'm getting it out of my system. Darkstalkers meets Teen Titans. Yow.
On a more serious note, there is a tendency among some of us in the TT ficdom to give Robin some manner of superhuman ability. In many of those cases, the power is supernatural in origin, whether being an avatar of vengeance a la The Crow or some manner of vampire or demon. In this case, it'll be the latter, and if you're wondering just how that's going to happen, let's just say the character Demitri Maximoff has a great deal to do with it and let this story rip.
Bludhaven. Uglier twin sister of Gotham City. Wretched hive of scum and villainy. Utterly miserable wreck of a town drowning in moral filth. Mecca of criminality and corruption and vice. Babylon of the modern world. Jerusalem of sin. In spite of all those titles, there was one that was most pronounced in the mind of the silent, black-clad man perched on the church cross.
Mine. My city. My territory. My rules.
The man once known as Robin and now known as Nightwing descended from his perch, diving into the darkness. He was not quite of the darkness, though, no matter what his name would suggest. He was a child of light, whose radiance now shone brighter in the bleakness of this eternal night. He was the Lightbringer, the Morningstar, and the vice peddlers and dealers would stand abashed in the starkness of his light.
They were abashed right now, weren't they? Abashed enough to attempt to flee, to run, to even shoot at him. He dodged those bullets with a smile, delivering a quip every now and again. One notable jibe was, "Where'd you get your shooting lessons, the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy?" Another was, "Did you watch too much A-Team as a kid?" A third was, "I'd say this was just like an action movie, except it isn't. It's cooler. For me."
That last one was accented by a kick to the chest of one thug and an elbow to the nose of another. A gracefully executed back-flip seamlessly threw Nightwing out of the way of another gunshot, and he grabbed the thug that had fired by his shoulders, using the momentum from his flip to pull him down and kick him over his head. Just as another thug had him seemingly dead to rights, a vaguely birdlike shuriken struck his hand, knocking the gun out of it. Nightwing wasted no time in taking that one down.
"Now . . . you might want to do something radical," he remarked to the fallen thugs. "Something like, oh . . . how best to say this . . . reevaluate your lives. Then things like this won't have to happen to you."
He jumped into the air, kicked off against a wall, and threw out a grappling line on which to swing. As soon as the line found a secure grip, Nightwing swung into the night for more examples of scum and villainy to be brought low. While doing this, someone silently shadowed him, admiring the sleekness and grace of his form . . . for less than professional reasons.
"You could have done worse, Demitri," a sultry voice whispered in the darkness.
When Nightwing finished his patrol, he changed into civilian wear, becoming an incognito Dick Grayson. When dressed like this, he wasn't the Dark Knight of Bludhaven; he was simply a charming, somewhat scatterbrained young proto-playboy. He did his best to maintain that reputation, whether it be through flirting, acting obtuse about one subject or another, or cracking a joke here and there. The charming part came from never being perceived as deliberately obnoxious, and Dick went to great efforts not to be obnoxious.
He climbed the stairs of his apartment complex, waving a jaunty greeting to Bridget Clancy, his landlord . . . and a highly attractive woman at that. Bridget answered in her saucy Irish brogue, "Up to your usual tricks, Grayson?"
"I don't need tricks, Clancy," he replied. "I've got natural talent."
"Yeah, I can see that," she remarked. "All that 'talent' in your pants."
Dick snickered. "What can I say? I'm blessed." He sauntered off to his apartment, where he slumped onto a couch and pulled out his cell phone, checking his missed calls. Roy had called, Wally had called, Vic had called, Gar had called, Raven had called, Kory had called, and Jinx had called. Some of them had even called more than once, much to Dick's silent bemusement.
He clicked on the most recent call (Vic) and dialed him up. It didn't take him long before he answered. "Hey, Cy."
"Hey, man," Vic's baritone greeted on the other end. "How's Bludhaven doing?"
"Scared some thugs into submission. Beat the fear of God into some low-level bosses. Irritated Blockbuster. Saved a few damsels."
"Tell me about the damsels."
Dick groaned good-naturedly. "Come on, Vic. I don't seduce women I've rescued. That's just not right."
"Yeah, I know. Don't tell me you've never been tempted, though, or that some of them haven't wanted to demonstrate their appreciation."
"You and Roy spend far too much time together."
"What can I say? Roy's a cool guy when he's not being a jackass or pining after Cheshire."
Dick couldn't help but smile. "Yeah, he is." If there was any redeeming aspect to Roy Harper's personality, it was his loyalty. He stuck with friends, family, and other loved ones long past the point anybody else would have gotten fed up. Much of it stemmed from knowing just what it was like to be rejected, to be abandoned, and he tried oh-so-hard not to do the same to people he cared about. Sometimes, it was a good thing; other times, in the case of his ill-fated romance with Cheshire, it wasn't.
"Other than playing Dark Knight to your city, how've you been doing?" Vic asked.
"Pretty good, although everyone still thinks I'm just 'slumming it.'"
"That must suck."
"Yeah, but they're nice people once they get past that. There's this guy who lives here, John Law."
"Tarantula. Well, he used to be. Back in the day. Kind of like the Shadow with a spider motif. Been thinking about visiting him professionally."
"You mean you're going to get him to train you? Point you in some directions Batman might not have felt like having you go in?"
"Something like that. How's the team?"
"They're great. Raven and Joey really hit it off. Wally and Jinx? They have their moments, both good and bad. Gar and I are still single, and we're thinking of going off with each other."
"Serious?" Dick asked amusedly.
"No, but we put up with each other for this long. Who's to say we couldn't make a relationship work?"
"Best of luck to you, then."
"Kory misses you, you know," Vic remarked. "You might want to come over and visit soon."
Dick sighed. "I miss her, too, Vic."
"Then come over and tell her."
"Yeah. I gotta go. I'll see you guys sometime soon, ok?"
"You'd better," Vic warned good-humoredly.
Dick ended the call, and reclined in his couch. He could have gone to his bed, but he didn't really feel like it. With a small yawn, he closed his eyes and passed into the merry oblivion of sleep. As he slept, he dreamed, and his dream was occupied by visions of Koriand'r, known to the people of Earth as Starfire. As beautiful as she ever was, and definitely having filled out in all the right places with an outfit to show it off, said outfit being tight purple "space metal" pants over what probably constituted an armored sling bikini of the same color as her pants.
In his dream visions, she was gliding to him, and he was inexorably pulled toward her by some invisible force. They met midway, embracing and kissing passionately. "Welcome back," Dream-Kory whispered huskily in his ear, her hand gripping his backside firmly.
"Kory . . ." Dick murmured.
As Dick dreamed of Kory, he was completely unaware of the shadow observing him, silently drinking his passion. "You taste so good . . ." the shadow murmured. "Even better than you used to."
As the sun began to peek over Bludhaven's horizon, Dick found himself straddled by a voluptuous turquoise-haired woman. He looked up into her turquoise eyes, eyes brimming with mischief and lust, and tilted his head. "Do you mind? I'm trying to sleep."
"I know," the woman replied. "I would very much like to sleep in your company, though."
"Who are you and how did you get in here?" Dick interrogated.
The woman rose up, still straddling him but her torso upright, and smirked. "I'm Morrigan, and I have my ways."
"Morrigan. That's Scottish, right?"
"Yes." She smirked at him. "And you're wondering what I'm doing here. Simple. I've been scouting you."
"Scouting me for what?" Dick asked.
"It's a long, complex, and somewhat painful story, but let's just say you've inherited enemies less mundane than what you're used to fighting."
"Enemies? What's that supposed to mean?"
Morrigan stared into his eyes, a hardness gathering within her own. "You know what it means."
Before Dick could ask her what she meant, the ominous buzz of a chainsaw interrupted, prompting both of them to turn to see a doorway being sliced into the far wall. The section of wall that had been carved out to make that doorway was brutally kicked out, revealing a burning shadow. "Hello, King," the shadow growled.
"Let me guess, you're here to kill me," Dick deduced.
"Did the whore tell you about yourself just yet?" the shadow asked.
"I take great offense to being labeled a mere 'whore,'" Morrigan quipped, agilely springing off Dick and landing in a battle-ready crouch. "I am an elegant lady of the darkness." Beside her, Dick flipped off the couch and landed in a battle stance.
"You want me dead? Better than you have tried," Dick taunted.
The shadow charged them, only for Morrigan to unfurl bat-like wings from her head and back, her mostly unbuttoned white blouse and red vinyl pants exploding into a skintight black-and-plum (and low-cut) combat suit. Morrigan immediately put her wings to use, launching into a flying kick with her wings wrapped around her legs like a drill. The shadow was gored by her attack, but didn't seem at all disposed toward giving up. It slunk into the fading shadows of the night and a fist of solid light struck Dick before he was even aware of it, as a fist of solid darkness followed.
To Dick's bemusement, the darkness fist had a weaker hit than the light fist. The difference was academic, though, as both blows were considerably stronger than what a normal human could take and survive. Fortunately, Dick prided himself on being the best example of normal human ability to exist apart from his mentor, and was thus able to recover quickly enough to put up some resistance.
"Why do you call me King?" he asked.
"It is not you that is the King, but the you that sleeps within that weak human façade," the voice answered. "The true you that shall never awaken!"
The darkness and light fists hit Dick again, this time simultaneously, as though coming from a singular nexus. Dick flipped in midair and snapped off a blade from the ceiling fan. As he landed, he threw the blade at the reformed burning shadow, which merely caught it and tossed it aside contemptuously. "Nice try, boy."
Morrigan's wings wrapped around her arms, forming armored sleeves and gauntlets. She punched the burning shadow, knocking it back and forcing it to disperse once again into its separate components of darkness and light, from which it attempted to strike Dick. This time, Dick flipped out of the way of the light fist and grabbed one of the other blades of the ceiling fan, spinning into a swing that took him into a flying kick to the light switch.
"I figured I needed more light," Dick remarked. "You can never go wrong with more light."
The burning shadow reformed, but the burning part seemed more tangible and solid than the shadow part. In other words, Dick turning on the lights had cut the entity off from its darkness-based powers, which would certainly halve its fighting abilities. Still, it was determined to give as good as it got, attacking Dick with solid-light finger-blades. Dick dodged the swipes to the best of his ability, but the speed and intensity with which the entity attacked resulted in scalding cuts to his side and the extremities he was using to counter the entity's attacks.
Morrigan unfurled her wings from around her arms and this time they wrapped around her legs, armoring them in the same way as her arms before. She launched herself into a flying kick that struck down the burning shadow, which was already significantly weakened by not having ambient darkness to rely on. To that end, it threw solid-light knives at the light fixtures it could immediately reach, shattering them and once again darkening the room.
"Much better," the burning shadow growled.
"So?" Dick asked. "Still kicking your ass."
He jumped onto the coffee table and off it, grabbing the ceiling fan again upon scoring enough altitude on his jump. This time, he snapped off two of the fan's blades and dropped down with them, holding them almost like war fans. Beside him, Morrigan lifted an elegant eyebrow in amusement and slightly out of being impressed. Before them, the burning shadow laughed out loud.
"Do you really think such flimsy things will stop me?" it asked.
"I have my ways," Dick answered cockily, hoping he was pissing off the shadow.
His hope was rewarded in the form of a charge by the burning shadow, which sliced at Dick with its solid-light finger-blades. This time, Dick blocked them with the ceiling fan blades and used the brief occupation of the burning shadow's hands to kick and knee it in what might have passed for a midsection. Morrigan leaped over his head and kicked off his shoulders to deliver a flying kick to the burning shadow, which dispersed once more into its component elements. Fortunately, the sun was getting higher over the horizon, thus partially diluting the advantage the burning shadow had in dispersal.
A light fist moved to strike Dick again, but Dick knocked it aside with one of his ceiling fan blades. A darkness fist attempted to hit him, but he jumped out of the way and Morrigan kicked that fist aside. The light and darkness fists struck together, hoping to catch Dick by surprise, but Dick crossed the ceiling fan blades in an impromptu shield. While the fists still landed their joint blow, knocking Dick into a wall, Morrigan was able to strike their nexus, forcing the burning shadow to reform.
"I have to admit. For a human, you're good at fighting."
"No, no, I'm not that good. It's just that you're incredibly weak for a demon."
"What did you say?" the burning shadow asked, as Dick lifted himself to his feet.
"You heard me," Dick taunted. "You're weak. And that's why you didn't come after me before, if I am who you take me for. You were too weak to kill me before, and now that I'm supposedly a weak, helpless human, you figured you'd have an easier time of it. But you're still too weak."
The burning shadow let out an outraged yell. "How dare you!?"
Morrigan immediately interceded to block the burning shadow's wrathful charge at Dick, kicking it in what passed for a chest. The burning shadow was knocked back, only to disperse again into its components of light and darkness. "I'll take the dark, you take the light," Dick suggested.
When the darkness fist attacked, Dick swatted it aside with one ceiling fan blade and chopped its nexus with the other. Beside him, Morrigan unfurled her wings from around her legs and launched into a drill-enforced corkscrew kick that grinded the light fist apart. When the light half began to reform, Morrigan wrapped her wings around her arms and beat it into submission, while Dick battered the dark half again and again with the ceiling fan blades. Just as he was about to strike the final blow, a knock on the door interrupted him.
"Just a minute!" Dick shouted.
"Dick, it's Clancy!" Clancy shouted from behind the door.
Dick bounded to the door and opened it, obscuring the contents of the apartment as much as possible with his body. "Hey, Clancy. What's the sitch?"
"Since when did you start talking like Kim Possible?" Clancy asked, arching an eyebrow in amusement.
"Since now," Dick replied with a smirk. "So? What brings you to my door?"
"The noise," Clancy replied. "Are you having a party in here?"
"You could say that . . . but we have a stubborn guest, he refuses to leave."
"Is he drunk? I'm really good at handling drunk people."
Dick groaned. "Worse. PCP."
"Shouldn't you be calling an ambulance?" Clancy's tone was full of concern.
"Thanks for the concern, but you don't need to worry. We're kicking his ass right now."
"You do realize people high on PCP don't feel pain as much, if at all, right?"
"I know my drugs. I've actually tried a few." Truthfully, Dick had never tried any drugs, although Bruce had drilled into him the knowledge of pretty much every controlled substance on the planet and their effects. Sadly, he couldn't say the same for all of his friends; one had ended up in a pretty bad way, much to Dick's regret, and they'd lost touch for a time.
"Well, if you're sure you've got it handled . . ."
"Yeah, we've got it handled."
"Good," Clancy yielded. "Just keep the noise down."
As soon as he was sure Clancy was gone, Dick slammed the door and threw one of the ceiling fan blades at the burning shadow, forcing it to dissipate again, only this time there were very little shadows to hide in. Ergo, Dick and Morrigan beat the crap out of its separated components, forcing it to recompose and retreat. "Who was that?" Dick asked.
"An old rival of yours," Morrigan replied. "Or so he imagined himself to be."
"Of mine?" Dick inquired. "Are you serious? Who am I to these people?"
Morrigan whistled not-so-innocently, an amused smile on her face. "You . . . are a king. The King."
"Makai, the world of demons."
Dick narrowed his eyes at her. "How is that possible? The closest I've been to this Makai was when Trigon tried to turn the planet into his personal corner of Hell."
"Oh, it wasn't you as you are now that was in the running for king of Makai," Morrigan amended. "It was you as you once were, a powerful man named Demitri Maximoff. No, you were more than just a man . . . you were a god."
"Are you trying to seduce me? Because it's not really working, although I appreciate the effort."
Morrigan smacked his arm. "Not consciously, no, but usually my aura would make it impossible for a man to resist me."
"Fortunately for me, I am not the usual species of man," Dick half-joked.
"I think I'm going to like you."
"Thanks. But seriously, I used to be a guy named Demitri Maximoff and I ruled – or tried to rule – some kind of Hell world?"
"Yes. Emphasis on the 'tried.' My father trounced you, although you did put up a decent fight."
Dick looked at her askance. "Who's your father?"
"Belial, the former king of demons. Long live the King." Morrigan's tone was affectionately sarcastic, or sarcastically affectionate. Dick wasn't sure of the order in which it went.
"That shadow isn't going to be the last of it, is there?"
"No, certainly not. You're going to have a long hard road ahead of you, and as long as you're a mere human . . . it's going to be even harder."
"Just let me make a few calls," Dick said.
"Someone to watch over your city while you're away?" Morrigan surmised. "Oh, I wonder who it could be . . ."
"Helena? It's Dick."
"Hey. What do you want?"
"You. I need you to do something for me."
Helena snickered on the other end. "Like what?"
"Could you watch Bludhaven for me? I have somewhere I need to be right now."
"Sure. Am I doing this alone or do you think I need help?"
"Just to be sure . . . I'm gonna be calling Roy and sending him over."
"Not a bad choice . . ."
Dick raised his eyebrow, although Helena couldn't see it. "Is there something I need to know?"
"What can I say, Dick? You have your secrets, I have mine. And never the twain shall meet. Remember?"
"Fine. Just come to Bludhaven as quickly as you can."
"Anything for you, Dick," Helena answered in sarcastic singsong.
"Thanks," Dick answered. The click on the other end let him know that Helena had ended the call. He immediately scrolled down his contacts list and found Roy's number, quickly dialing it. It didn't take long before Roy picked up.
"Yeah, Roy. It's me. Listen, something's come up."
"And you need me to fill in for you."
"Will I have company?"
Roy whistled on the other end.
"Something I need to know?" Dick asked.
"Nah, Wingman, I'm just looking forward to this now," Roy replied.
"Fighting crime is always more fun with a kick-ass lady by your side."
Dick chuckled. "Got that right."
"You gonna go back to the Titans?"
"Yeah. This is something I'm going to need serious help with."
"Good luck, then. You'll be seeing me tonight."
"Thanks," Dick said.
"You're welcome, Wingman," Roy answered. "See ya."
After arrangements had been made for Roy and Helena, otherwise known as Arsenal and Huntress, to stay and fight crime in Bludhaven for the duration of Dick's absence, Dick was sitting on a plane that would take him to Jump City. Beside him sat Morrigan, in her "human" clothes, which were a white blouse with only the lower buttons buttoned and tight red vinyl pants. Dick himself wore an unzipped black sweatshirt over a gray T-shirt and dark blue, somewhat tight jeans.
"I'm looking forward to meeting your friends," Morrigan purred.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing them, too," Dick agreed idly.
"Especially the one you call Kory, right?" Morrigan winked mischievously at him.
Dick looked at Morrigan askance. "Exactly what do you mean by that?"
Morrigan chortled. "You know what it means."
Dick growled, only to elicit more laughter from Morrigan.
"Do that again."
"Don't play games with me," Dick warned. "We don't have time."
"You're no fun," Morrigan mock-pouted. "But that's something you and he have in common; both of you are too serious for your own good."
Dick looked away first. "I don't have time for this."
"Want me to send some good dreams your way?" Morrigan whispered sultrily.
"Just let me sleep," Dick answered.
Morrigan reclined in her seat, smirking. "You're so fun to toy with."
End Notes: That's the first chapter of this tale. If you're wondering who Clancy is, she's from Chuck Dixon's starting run on Nightwing's solo title and her role here is similar to her role there. If you're wondering about Dick's personality here, I was going for a cross between Batman and Devil May Cry's Dante. Meaning that he gets copious amounts of badass from both but also Batman's "dark knight" attitude mixed with Dante's "devil-may-care" attitude, which is kind of like Dick's personality in some comics. The named characters here are the Titans, but with their real names used instead of their superhero names; Cyborg is Vic, Beast Boy is Gar, Raven is Raven, Jericho is Joey, Starfire is Koriand'r (Kory for short), Jinx is Jinx, Arsenal (formerly Speedy) is Roy, and (Kid) Flash is Wally.
As for how this story is going to progress from here, Morrigan's going to meet the Titans, which is gonna be a hoot to write. Dick's going to be continually messed with by Morrigan (in the fun way) and enemies from his previous incarnation (in the not-fun way). And as if that weren't bad enough, he's going to start coming into his former incarnation's abilities . . . and evil nature, the latter of which he will have to struggle against.
"But wait, what about And Hell Came With Him?" you ask. My answer is that I will return to it soon enough; I'm just being eaten alive by this plot-bunny and this is my only way of exorcising it. Hope you enjoyed, and see you next chapter.