Beast Boy woke up. What greeted his eyes, however, was not the green of his room but the dull gray of the city. He blinked, bringing the scene into focus, as well as the large fist rapidly approaching his face. His neck snapped to the side, more out of reflex than anything else. The punch missed him by an inch, reducing the concrete wall behind him to rubble. With nothing supporting him, he fell back onto the wreckage. As he weakly lifted his head up, Beast Boy saw two things: Mammoth standing over him, and a large, jagged piece of metal protruding from his chest.

Suddenly, it all came back to him. The Titans had been on a routine mission to stop the Hive Five, but soon after the fight had started, a bomb had gone off; probably Gizmo's handiwork. He had gotten hit by the shrapnel. Then, while he was staring blankly at the injury, Mammoth had hit him. He couldn't remember anything after that, but he figured there probably wasn't much more to it than that, except for him passing out at some point.

But in a moment none of that was going to matter, because he was about to be turned into one of those tofu pancakes he loved to eat. As Mammoth raised his mighty fists for a final blow, a flying car entered the vicinity. Less than a second later the villain was sent sprawling.

Satisfied that Mammoth wouldn't be a problem for a while, Beast Boy's blue-cloaked savior came flying to his side. Now that he wasn't in any immediate danger, Beast Boy took a moment to examine the thing sticking out of his chest. He had many other wounds, of course, but this one was by far the most severe. The rod was long and dark, and jagged like a lightning bolt. It was also in deep, having found its mark right between his rib bones. If it had gone too much further it would probably have pierced his heart. If it wasn't hurting him so much he'd have called it a miracle.

His hand closed around the shrapnel. He was about to pull it out when a pale hand touched his.

"Don't," Raven whispered. "You'll make it worse."

He looked at her questioningly. Or at least he tried to. He probably couldn't manage an expression at this point other than sheer agony. God, did it hurt.

Raven gently moved his hand away and began trying to heal him as best she could. "There's a barb on the end. Like a hook. Or an arrow," she continued. "If you pull it out you'll hurt yourself even more."

Her expression was the same as always, but there was a hint of worry in her voice. That's when Beast Boy noticed the rod that was stuck in Raven's arm. It was identical to the one in his chest, and sure enough, there was a nasty barb on the end. It really was like an arrow. It had gone all the way through the empath's upper arm, and blood was flowing freely from the wound.

"…Ra…ven…" he choked out. After noticing his gaze, she redoubled her efforts.

"It's nothing," she assured him. "Robin's wounds were a lot worse, and yours are worse still."

"…Bu-"

Suddenly her finger was on his lips. "Don't talk," she ordered. "And don't move. I have to stop your bleeding."

At that moment Beast Boy saw it. Mammoth was up. And he was coming fast.

"R-Raven!"

"I told you, don't –"

And that was all she managed before Mammoth slammed into her. As she struck an overturned vehicle, Beast Boy's acute hearing could detect the sounds of bone snapping. It was the worst sound he'd ever heard. Her injured arm appeared to have shattered, and she was holding her ribcage with her good one. She managed to toss Mammoth aside with her powers, but it was a momentary stall. Then she was seized with a violent coughing fit, and crimson fluid issued forth from her lips. She tried to hide her shock, but her eyes gave her away. Then the vomiting came again, and the ground was stained with more red.

As if they had smelled the blood, several Billy's emerged from the main battle and converged on the injured girl, ignoring the bleeding changeling. Worse yet, Mammoth was getting back up. At this rate…

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…She would die.

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This sudden fear seized control of his mind, driving away all other thoughts. Even the searing pain was washed away in the face of this realization. They were going to kill her. Raven was going to die.

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No.

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Instantly the fear evaporated, replaced by conviction. He would not let her die.

Vaguely he could feel the arrow in his chest slip in further as he stood, but he didn't care. He didn't care about the waterfall of blood that was falling onto his shoes. He didn't care about the black veil creeping over the edges of his vision. He didn't care about the blinding pain. His mind was consumed by one all-encompassing thought:

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No.

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He knew how dangerous it was to transform when a foreign object was stuck in his body. The arrow was too close to his heart already; if it went much further it would pierce it. But he didn't care. He had told himself many times that he would die for her at any moment, for any reason. Now he would prove that he hadn't been lying to himself.

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He would die for her.

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It didn't take long to decide on his choice of form. No, "choice" was not the right word. He didn't "choose" any particular form. Instead, he called upon his body and asked. He asked for claws that could rend metal. For jaws that could crush bones. For fangs that could pierce concrete. For scales that could stop bullets. For muscles that could snap trees like twigs. For venom that could paralyze elephants. No, this was not a beast he was wishing for; it was a monster.

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And his wish was granted.

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His eyes were the first things to change. Gone were the gleeful eyes of the prankster. In their place were the dark, predatory orbs of a hunter. The green skin of the vegetarian split into scales of darkened jade barely a shade away from black. The lean musculature of the teenager expanded into the physique of a behemoth. The weak and useless pinky fingers on his hands melted into his ring fingers, and each digit sprouted a hooked claw. He had no illusions about those claws. They existed to tear. To rip. To maim. And if necessary, to kill.

As he changed, he could feel the arrow slipping in further. But he wasn't done yet. His limbs thickened to the size of tree trunks. His face elongated into a wolf's snout, complete with fangs and teeth. A single straight horn grew out of the top of his skull. Poisonous spines sprouted along his backbone, extending all the way down to the end of the reptilian tail he had grown. His human feet morphed into those of a hawk, with curved talons adorning each toe. And from his waist grew two extra arms. They were long and fluid like a snake, and each ended in a single, claw-like stinger reminiscent of a scorpion's tail. And like a scorpion's tail, the stingers were dripping with venom.

The arrow slipped in further, but Beast Boy made no sound. There was no hiss of anger, no bark of warning, no roar of challenge. There was no verbal communication of any kind. There was only action.

The first Billy was run through from behind and only had time to look down in horror at the stinger protruding from his stomach before disappearing back into another Billy. Since they were all one person who existed simultaneously in multiple bodies, they all knew what had happened. Beast Boy saw the second Billy turn and catch a glimpse of him. He promptly removed that Billy's head and let it drop from his clawed hand. Before it even hit the ground, two more Billy's were neutralized. Beast Boy swung his claws wildly, ripping through skin and flesh like paper. Fountains of blood spewed scarlet liquid into the night, mixing and mingling with the almost constant spurts and flows from his own still-open wounds.

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And the arrow slipped in further.

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Billy's were falling as quickly as their bodies were being reabsorbed. Beast Boy vaguely noted that more were coming, diverted from the main battle. It made no difference. His claws raked across the face of another Billy, tearing it off and revealing bloody bone beneath. The Billy's swarmed around him, but like every Billy before them they were either batted away harmlessly or savaged by claw, stinger, tooth, spine, horn, and talon. They simply could not be reabsorbed into one another quickly enough.

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And the arrow slipped in further.

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More Billy's arrived; these ones brandishing whatever makeshift weapons they could get their hands on. Poles, pieces of rubble, and even arrows like the one still in Beast Boy's chest had all found their way into the hands of the Billy's. With these objects they descended upon him, swinging, throwing, stabbing. With a swish of his tail several flying pieces of pavement were deflected to the ground. A lamp pole wielded by several Billy's was caught mid-swing, yanked from their grasp, and thrown back at them. Most of the arrows bounced harmlessly off of Beast Boy's scaled hide. But each one that found purchase drew more blood. Now the black veil obscured the majority of his vision. His movements were becoming sloppy and balance was getting harder to maintain. But his ears were still sharp. He could hear Raven struggling against Mammoth. But her injuries were too great. Her mind was too distracted. She was losing. She needed him. He had to push on.

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And through it all, the arrow slipped in further.

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With one final mighty swing, the last of the Billy's were sent flying into the wall of a nearby building. Now there was only one Billy left, and this one was cowering against a wall. He didn't have the strength left to split any more, and if his body were destroyed like the others, there would be no one to be reabsorbed into. Billy Numerous would be dead. This prospect seemed to terrify the villain. Good.

"Hey, hey! You're the good guy, remember?" the final Billy pleaded as Beast Boy half-walked half-hobbled towards him. "Y-you can't kill me! It's against the…r-rules…Please! I'll do anything! J-just don't kill me!"

The Billy continued to plead until one of Beast Boy's stingers punctured his foot and injected just enough venom to paralyze him for the next hour. Even as a monster, Beast Boy would not kill. Not if he didn't have to.

Now there was only Mammoth. By now Raven could no longer levitate. All the healing she had done earlier must have drained the majority of her power. She was at Mammoth's mercy.

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No.

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Beast Boy forced his legs to move and threw himself against Mammoth. The villain stumbled, but didn't move. Blood loss had finally taken it's toll on Beast Boy. He had no strength left.

Good thing venom didn't rely on strength.

The stinger struck true, pumping paralyzing venom into Mammoth's side. The villain's fist came crashing into Beast Boy's face, but the deed was already done. Beast Boy was smiling in triumph even as he hit the wall. His grin refused to leave even when Mammoth dragged him to his feet by the throat. He was pulling back his fist for a punch now. Then in a dark flash, a black line appeared on the arm choking the changeling. A second later thick red fluid spurted from the new wound. His tendons torn, Mammoth's hand released Beast Boy and he howled in pain before turning to the attacker. But as he stepped towards Raven, the villain's movements became sluggish. Mammoth made it only a few more steps before his legs failed.

Beast Boy was satisfied. The venom had finally done it's job. As his eyes met Raven's, he knew his sacrifice had been worth it. She slowly rose to her feet on shaky legs. His eyes never once left her as he began his final transformation; back to himself. She was approaching him now. He had never known her eyes were capable of expressing such worry.

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And the arrow slipped in further.

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Her footsteps stopped. He could no longer make out how close she was. Her voice sounded far away and was barely above a whisper, but still it betrayed the concern beneath.

"…Beast…Boy?"

Even now, as his senses continued to fail him, the smile had never left his face.

"Raven…"

He took a step forward.

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And the arrow hit home.

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"BEAST BOY!!!"

And he saw no more.


I hate using those stupid periods like that, but there's apparently no way to add extra spaces. Sorry. The spacing is important to the flow of the story, so nyah.