Hello, and welcome to my story A New Tomorrow (new and improved - and renamed!) For those of you didn't read the first few chapters back when it was called "Rise of a New Generation", you can just skip the rest of this paragraph. For those of you who did, thank you so much for being patient with me while I got frustrated, went on a long hiatus to work on other stories, and then took even more time to re-edit this one! I worked hard on getting any kinks out of it and making it not seem to take forever to get to the real story. What you'll notice first about the new editing is that I changed how I did the chapters: Instead of three short chapters making up a long introduction, I got rid of the third chapter (it wasn't really necessary when I thought about it) and put the first two together to make a long prologue instead. Basically, what was once chapter four is now chapter one ^_^ I also did various bits of editing on the story itself; most of it is minor stuff just to make it sound a little better, but there are a few more major changes, so it would be easiest to reread the prologue and first chapter to see what's been changed.
This is the first fanfiction in a kind of next-gen series I'll be putting up. There isn't much action in this one (until the end at least), but there will be plenty in the fictions coming after! To get a pretty darn good idea of what couples I'll be putting together, getting married and having kids, etc. you can look at the list of shippings I like on my profile.
Obviously, I don't own TT. If I did, I wouldn't be putting this up on a fanfiction website, now would I? All of the next-gen characters are my own though, along with some older ones.
Nineteen Years Ago
As the young man entered the room, he could feel the tension hanging in the air. Immediately, eight pairs of eyes were on him. He quickly scanned the long table, mentally counting and naming each of the heroes seated there. Six Titans and the two partners, he thought. Good; at least they all decided to show up. After another moment, he moved to stand by one end of the table and addressed the eight before him. He began, "Well, the association has reached a consensus on what is to be done-"
"Really? What a surprise, considering you called us all here," muttered a cloaked young woman sarcastically and impatiently. "Please Alex, just tell us what we need to know."
The man nodded a little and cleared his throat anxiously. He was accustomed to Raven's occasional comments; it was what he was going to have to say next that bothered him so much. "We have reached the conclusion," he continued, "that the best course of action would be for all superheroes to step down from their positions and live like normal people until they are again needed. Essentially, you are all to 'go into hiding' under assumed identities."
A masked man pounded his fist on the table. "No, you can't do that! Don't you all understand? The most powerful supervillains in the world don't just disappear! They're planning something; they want us to go into hiding so they can make their move."
Alex sighed. "Perhaps, but it's a risk we have to take. You see, Robin, without enemies of equal strength to fight, heroes of your strength are simply too powerful. Common criminals can be stopped much more easily than those with 'super' powers or weapons, so the police force is what most often takes care of them. The police would be out of their jobs if you, whose job it normally is to stop the villains too powerful for them, were to instead handle the simpler criminals." He paused for a moment, searching for a way to explain his next argument, and then continued, "At the same time, the superhero's tactics are potentially quite destructive, causing great damage to the surrounding area. This is a negligible setback when faced against a deadly enemy who could and would wreak terrible havoc and far more destruction if not met with equally strong counterattacks, but it's simply too much when your only enemies are far less powerful. The people are frightened. I'm afraid there is nothing else we can do."
Robin relaxed slightly and shifted his gaze to the surface of the table, but he was still very tense. The person sitting next to him, a red-haired heroine, placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. There was a moment of strained silence in the small room. Everyone wanted to say something, to object to the decision; but they knew that Alex was right.
Finally, the red-haired woman looked back up at Alex. "There is more to this decision, isn't there?" she asked softly, a tone of apprehension in her voice.
Alex nodded grimly. "I'm afraid so, Starfire. I didn't agree about this, but everyone has to come to the same terms or the organization will never work. Basically, it is this: while many heroes already have 'secret identities' and will therefore have no trouble returning to their regular lives, those who have been living for years under their 'super' identities will have to move into regular houses and become new people entirely. That's where we come in – the association has the resources to help you blend into the normal world as long as necessary. But there is a catch." He took a breath. I really don't want to do this to them... "You will have to do this separate from one another. The committee has ordered a complete break of communications among team members and heroes who know one another. When you take on new identities, you will not know those of your teammates, and you will be unaware of where they come to live from then until the point when the superheroes must again come together, if that even happens."
Silence. The eight seated around the table were too stunned to be angry, or even speak. Alex knew perfectly well why: these people had worked together, been teammates and best friends, lived together for nine years, and now they had to just drop their lives and separate from one another?
Finally, after many agonized moments, Starfire looked at him and asked the inevitable question. "But… Why?"
Alex sighed. "I have to admit, the reasoning behind this decision includes some good points. The fear is that for you to still live near one another and know each other wouldn't make sense for a group of people that have just moved to the area and shouldn't know anyone. Even if you were to pretend you had just met, it would be far too easy to let something slip and reveal yourselves. Meanwhile, a group of people talking about their shared past in secret is more likely to make a mistake and spill the secret than one or two." He paused to let this explanation sink in, then decided it was high time to put some soothing balm on the stinging subject.
"Of course, there are a few exceptions. I'm afraid that only one applies to your team, though: the issue of family. The association will not be so cold as to force siblings or spouses to part, so some of you will at least have one other teammate with you.
Alex couldn't help but smile at the relieved glances the married Titans gave their spouses. How lucky to have had couples form within the team, he thought. I just hope there will be something I can do for the rest of them.
The meeting didn't last much longer. Alex outlined when and how the heroes were to prepare for "going into hiding", only interrupted by the surprising announcement that Raven would be traveling to Azarath for a few years before she could return to Earth. He then stepped back and took one last, slightly apologetic look at the eight still seated around him. "I can't imagine what it must be like for all of you to make this kind of a move, but I can only guess that there will be many changes, both good and bad, awaiting you. Prepare yourselves as much as you can, and make the most of the time you have. I wish good luck to all of you."
* * * * *
The six members of the Titans West walked silently out of the room into the adjoining hallway. They waved and mumbled their good-byes to Jinx and Flash, fellow heroes whose partnership was nearly as old as the team itself, as the two passed by and left the building. They then stood there and looked at one another wordlessly, no one sure of what to say, until Cyborg finally broke the strained silence.
"Well, I can't say we didn't see this coming."
Robin nodded and leaned back against the wall with a sigh. "Ever since the major villains began to disappear, there's been pressure on us because of our strength. I guess it was inevitable… But I can't believe they would force us to break communication with one another!" He closed his eyes, although it was nearly impossible to tell behind his mask. "Nine long years. We've been together since we were teenagers, although I guess I don't need to tell any of you that."
The others laughed a little. When the first of the Titans had turned 20, it had been pretty obvious that they couldn't call themselves the "Teen Titans" any longer, so they had chosen the team name "Titans West" because of their alliance with the Titans East and their location on the west coast of the United States.
Terra smiled as she reminisced. "Yeah. We really haven't changed too much in all that time, have we? Even I've been on the team for eight years, and no one else has come or gone."
Cyborg nodded, a playful twinkle in his eye. "Yup. And it looks like relationships haven't really changed much, either," he added, casting a teasing glance at Terra and Beast Boy, then Starfire and Robin; both couples had exchanged wedding vows within the past couple of years.
A few of the Titans smiled for a moment, but the hall fell to silence again. After a couple of moments, Beast Boy turned to Raven. "So, I'm still confused. Why exactly are you going to Azarath again?"
Raven sighed in exasperation. "Like I said before, it's still little more than ruins after the destruction Trigon caused. I decided that if I can't be Raven here any more, I should go back and help rebuild it."
Beast Boy nodded. "Okay, right, but how long does that have to take? You told Alex that you wouldn't be back for a while."
Raven shook her head sadly and shrugged. "I… don't know. So much was destroyed, with most of the inhabitants killed or chased away – I'm guessing it will be a few more years. And if Trigon begins to gain strength again, I'll have to stay even longer to make sure he is contained." She hung her head for a moment, but then looked up defiantly. "But I will return when it's over. With any luck, this 'going into hiding' business will be over by then, and I'll be able to return to the team right away."
Terra thought over what Raven had said for a moment, when she suddenly realized something. "Oh, hey! Rorek lives in Azarath now, doesn't he? You should be able to see him while you're there."
Cyborg nodded and smiled slightly. "She's right. And your mother, she'll be in Azarath too. You're lucky there, getting to see some old friends and family," he added. His voice faltered faintly as he said this; not enough for most people to notice, but a sufficient amount for his friends to understand that something was wrong.
"What is it, Cyborg?" Starfire asked gently. "Something ails you."
Cyborg leaned against the wall behind him and looked to the side. "It's just that… When we separate, you all are going to at least have someone with you. It's like Alex said, at least married couples get to remain together. And as for Raven, you won't only have Rorek to keep you company, but you'll get to actually be yourself in Azarath. But what about me? I won't have anyone."
The other Titans started at this realization, almost feeling guilty about the small bit of good fortune they had. "I didn't realize," Robin said. "I'm so sorry it has to be this way…"
Cyborg put up a hand and shook his head. "No, you don't have to be." He looked up and sighed. "It's not like it's your fault. Who knows, maybe these committee guys will help me find somebody I knew before I became a Titan, and I'll have someone to be with after all."
Robin nodded in agreement, but the hallway fell quiet yet again. It was as if there was nothing left to say – as if the six teammates and best friends could no longer put their thoughts and feelings into words. Finally, after a long moment of silent reminiscence, Raven spoke up. "Well, I guess there's nothing left to do but go home and get ready." She started for the door at the front of the hall. "Come on, let's go. I want to give everyone something before I leave."
The others quickly followed, curious as to what it was she wanted to give them. The six made their way down the hall and out the door into the sunshine. And, just like that, the Titans were gone.
Just a quick question (I'm pretty sure I know what the answer is going to be, though): Should I put Jinx and Flash (grown-up Kidflash, obviously) together as a married couple as well? It's a pretty popular cannon shipping, and one I like myself, but I want to see what you guys think. (Note: This is NOT an excuse to get into some kind of deranged couple war with my reviews as the battlefield!!!) And yes, regular reviews are very much appreciated!