Raven's monotone voice cut through the air, waking Beast Boy from his reverie. He had been staring at her. Still in a daze, Beast Boy tried to think of something to say to avoid another dunking into the bay. He opted for the most believable thing he can think of.
"Uh, what?" said Beast Boy trying to act dumb.
"Beast Boy. You don't have to act dumb. You already are. But can you gather what few atoms of intelligence you may have in that empty space at the top of your body to explain why you have been staring at me for the last 10 minutes?" said Raven again. Her monotonous voice still remained but her eyes flickered with a slight hint of guilt. She didn't mean to sound so harsh. Her empathy detected a sliver of hurt well up in Beast Boy but the emotion disappeared as soon as it came. Instead, Beast Boy grinned widely before giving a simple shrug of the shoulders.
Raven's annoyance grew with every passing second. To think that she almost felt guilty for being so mean to this idiotic ball of fur. "Well if you're not going to answer me than so be it. You'd probably come up with some lame excuse anyway," she said before pulling down her hood. "I'm now going to my room to meditate Beast Boy. If you even think of disturbing me later on, mark my words, you'll soon learn pain in a whole new definition."
With that, Raven turned around in the opposite direction and glided away. It was only when he was sure that she was safely out of sight that he allowed a small whimper escape his mouth as the only evidence of the hurt she had just caused him.
I can't. I can't appear like this in front of the guys. They can never know this side of me. If they did, they'll start to pity me and I can't have that. I'm already low in their eyes as it is. I know the only reason I'm still a Titan is because of my humour. I'll die if they finally decide to throw me out. If that happens, where would I go? Who will take me?
Beast Boy thought to himself. He had been doing that a lot lately. And he knew why. He could sense it. He was almost an animal for crying out loud and it was obvious; he was increasingly seen as a liability to the Titans.
He was not smart like Robin, strong as Starfire, innovative as Cyborg and definitely not as powerful as Raven.
The empath was becoming a frequent intruder to his thoughts as well albeit in a pleasant sort of way. He knew she hated him, loath him, despise him. But he loved her all the same.
He loved her violet hair which swayed in the breeze every time her hood was down.
He loved her deep amethyst eyes which seemed to peer into his soul every time he looked into them.
He loved her sarcastic wit. The only thing able to stand up against his unending tirade of jokes.
He loved her for her.
And he did not care that she despised him, loathed him or even hated him because he knew that she was an angel beneath it all.
But hell, sometimes even she can make him frustrated at times.
The alarm sounded shortly after.
"Titans, we got a disturbance downtown," announced Robin.
"Great, who is it this time?" asked Cyborg wryly.
"Not sure. The police say it's nobody we've fought before," replied the Boy Wonder in a determined tone.
"Alright! A new challenge huh? C'mon, just let them bring it," shouted Beast Boy as he punched a fist into his palm. He thought that his enthusiasm would at least garner some positive reaction from the team.
He thought wrong.
"Ok easy there grass stain. We don't want so many mishaps coming from you today ok?" said Cyborg.
"Chill, Cyborg. I was just…,"
"I know Beast Boy. I know. But just don't get carried away that's all."
"I think he spoke for all of us Beast Boy," said Raven behind him as her purple eyes looked at him from beneath her dark blue cloak.
Beast Boy stared at her for a moment before forcing his hurt away and giving them one of his trademark grins.
"Well maybe I'll slow down a bit this time and finally let you all catch up with me," he said with a laugh. The rest of the Titans shook their heads in exasperation.
Only Starfire did not admonish the green changeling. As they left the tower, she glided beside him.
"Do not feel the least bit perturbed friend Beast Boy. Our friends are merely concerned for your safety and well-being."
"Thanks Star. That's very nice of you."
"You are most welcome friend Beast Boy. Now let us proceed to perform the kicking of posteriors."
It took Beast Boy a full 10 seconds to understand the Tamareanean girl. When he did, he gave his first sincere laugh for the day.
"Sure Star, let's go."
When the Titans arrive at the crime scene, what they saw astonished them.
"Erm Robin, are we at the right place?" asked Cyborg.
"Yeah we are," replied the Boy Wonder after checking the coordinates again through his communicator.
"Then, um, where are they Rob?" asked a bewildered Beast Boy as he scratched the back of his head in confusion.
"Look, whoever the perps are, they're here ok? I've double-checked the info given by the police and it says that it is here!" snarled Robin at his green teammate.
"Alright, alright. Chill man. Geez. All I did was ask a question. No need to get all jumpy," commented Beast Boy.
"Well sometimes you ask the stupidest questions. In fact, it's not sometimes, it's every time!" snapped the frustrated leader.
The remark brought a quiet gasp from the Titans and they became quiet for a few seconds before a voice rang out.
"Well, well. The famous Teen Titans here at last. Took you people long enough…or should I say, took YOU long enough,"
The Titans look up to see a man in a camouflage fatigues and a red bandanna looking down at them from the top of a traffic light particularly at Robin as he made his remark.
"See, I told you they're here," whispered Robin triumphantly.
"Hooray let's give it up for the Boy Wonder," rambled Raven sarcastically. The remark caught Beast Boy's attention and he flashed at her an appreciative grin. All he got was a glare from the girl.
"Look I'm not rooting for you or anything. Robin's just annoying me so don't get any ideas. You still ask stupid questions."
If Raven noticed the green changeling's ears drooped slightly at the hurtful remark, she didn't show it. Instead, her attention returned to the man standing on the traffic light…with a guilty look on her pale face.
"Ok, who are you and what do you want?" demanded Robin.
The man laughed in reply. His voice was rough and raspy like a stereotypical drill sergeant.
"Wouldn't you like to know? Well you gotta beat it out of me because I ain't telling you nuts, you walking traffic light!"
"Titan's go!" shouted Robin, incensed at the insult.
They were just about to reach the man when the superheroes were knocked to the side by blurs of movement.
"Oh I forgot to mention one little bit. I work in a team…and my team never lose."
The Titans recovered to see an equal number of similar dressed individuals eyeing them in a hostile manner. They were dressed like military personnel and their features were hidden beneath black coloured balaclavas.
"Hah! They don't even have powers. How do you expect to beat us?" shouted Cyborg confidently.
The man on the traffic light, now clearly identified as the leader shook his head slowly.
"Kid, from what I've seen. I don't even think powers are necessary."
"Why you?! Titans GO!" bellowed a clearly pissed off Robin.
Their opponents separated forcing the Titans to do likewise. Robin was just about to charge the leader when one of his team mates gave a spinning kick to his midsection knocking him to the ground.
"Your fight is with me Bird Boy," said the assailant, his eyes sneering.
Grunting from a mixture of hurt and anger, Robin took his Bo staff and propped himself up.
All the while, Beast Boy was about to follow one of the cronies but somehow, all of them seemed preoccupied with the rest of the Titans. It was almost as if no one wanted to fight him. He was just about to go help Raven when the leader villain jumped in front of him.
"You look lonely," he smiled.
Frowning, Beast Boy transformed into a tiger and pounced on the man. The man, however, was amazingly fast and agile despite his body size and was able to dodge all of Beast Boy's attacks. More astonishing was the fact that the man made virtually no attempt to return any attacks at Beast Boy in any way. Instead, he retreated slowly drawing Beast Boy with him until they reach an alleyway out of sight from the rest of the Titans.
Transforming back to a human, Beast Boy growled in frustration, "Dude, stay still would ya?"
He was just about to change into a gorilla when the man stopped moving and stood up straight facing him.
"I think that is quite enough."
"What are you talking about?"
The man smiled and casually put his hands into his pockets.
"Mr Logan. You do know I'm not trying to hurt you right?"
Shocked that this stranger knew his real name, Beast Boy could only give a dumbfounded stare.
"Alright I'll explain myself. I owe you that much. My name is Corax. I'm a mercenary."
"A mercenary. It means I fight under the employ of the highest bidder for whatever reason."
"Ok…So um, what are you doing here in Jump City?"
Corax's answer almost stopped Beast Boy's heart.
"I came here for you Garfield Logan."
"Oh don't worry. Not in that way. Shit, I still prefer women you know?"
"Ok ok. Let's cut to the chase. I want you to join me and my team of mercenaries."
Beast Boy's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets and he took an involuntary step back.
"Are you crazy? I'm already in a team. The Teen Titans? Hello?"
"Oh, you mean the bunch of prebuscent adolescents whom you call your friends?"
"You know for a drill sergeant lookalike, you really know some big words."
Corax laughed at the remark. It was not a villain's laugh. More like a normal laugh that reacted from a joke well told.
"Well I have to say it was your humour that brought you to my attention Garfield."
"Ok, let's cut the crap. How do you know my real name? Only the Titans know that."
"Boy. I did my homework. Simply put. I know most of everything there is to know about you. So, how about my offer?"
"You're crazy. Why would I join you?"
At that statement, Corax's cheerful demeanor vanished and was replaced by a more serious visage. He took a step towards Beast Boy which was mirrored in the opposite direction by the changeling.
"Wrong question Garfield. What you need to ask is why not?"
"Garfield, Garfield. From the time you set foot in Titan's Tower until now. Have you ever realized that you were…sidelined?"
"What?! No! What are you talking about?"
"Anyone can tell that you were the joker. The comic relief. The one the team turn to for a laugh. Someone who could see the so-called silver lining when hope seems lost."
"Well er, I do try to be useful," muttered Beast Boy. He felt strangely comforted by the words of his supposed enemy.
Corax gave a small smile, "Of course you do. You always try to be the best you can be. Both in work and play. Especially your attempts to make that purple haired girl laugh," as he pointed at Raven still battling Corax's man. Beast Boy was just about to go help her when he felt Corax's hand on his shoulder.
"Don't worry kid. None of them will be harmed seriously. Maybe a few small bruises but that is all. I give you my word,"
"Why are you doing this anyway?"
"Oh, it's just to make this charade a bit more believable. My men have been briefed already. Trust me; they are perfectly capable of carrying out my orders."
"Why did you choose me Corax?"
When Corax spoke, the tone of his voice became gentle, "Garfield. I am a man who comes straight to the point. I chose you because you alone, among the rest have the greatest potential in my line of work. Your personality, your morals and of course your powers are huge assets that is useful as a mercenary."
"Not to burst your bubble there big guy but I'm not really the best of fighters, let alone some mercenary."
"See? That is one more reason why you garnered my attention."
"Yes Beast Boy. I have watched clips of you using your powers in combat and to be honest, you are certainly capable of doing more. In fact, I would honestly say that it is because of this that you are considered a mediocre combatant by the Titans."
At this statement, Beast Boy got a little angry.
"Alright tough guy. Listen up. The Titans are my friends. No. More than that, they are family. You don't know them like I do. And they do not think like that about me."
"Well then. Tell me the last thing any of them said to you before you met me. Or let's be fair the things they have said to you just since today."
At that, Beast Boy grew silent. Like it or not, this Corax seemed to know what he was talking about.
"Tell me now Garfield Mark Logan; are those then, the words of a team that appreciates and respects you?"
"Oh scratch that. Tell me how you feel right now to hear me say these words. If anything I have said so far is bullshit, I will leave right now and you will not see me again."
With that, Corax turned around and began walking away.
Beast Boy reached out a hand as he asked the man not to go.
"You…you're r-right. I-I have felt terrible knowing I am not as good as they think I should be. Them thinking of me only as the clown. I wish I could be more. For them. For her."
"You forgot to mention 'for me' Garfield. Remember if you have no respect for yourself; don't expect people to have respect for you. That is what's exactly happening right now."
Beast Boy's shoulders slumped as he pondered the words.
"Beast Boy." Corax hand returned to his shoulder. "Don't get me wrong. They are still your friends but you also have to realize that their respect for you simply is not as much as yours for them."
"Why do they think that?" asked the green changeling, sniffling.
"Because, you have not given them a strong reason to."
"Let's face it; you joke around and when you fight villains, you are always in need of help. Except for the time you became that um…creature where you lost control. No matter how long you've known them or how tight your bond with them is, I dare say they are bound to see you as a liability. I know I would."
"Um, Corax? What is 'liability'?"
Hearing that, the man had to give a smirk for the complete ruination of the moment. But he quickly returned to seriousness as he told Beast Boy the unpleasant answer.
"It means that you are a hindrance to the team. Someone better off without."
Beast Boy was shocked to his very core.
The guys think like that of me?
Fresh tears began welling up in his eyes again. It had to be true given that now it wasn't just him feeling that way. For some time, Beast Boy had tried to surpress the notion that he was not as good, not as skilled, not as dedicated a Titan than the rest. Heck, even Robin was way better than him and he didn't have super abilities!
"What do I need to do? They are the only family I have left. I'd die if they decide they don't want me anymore."
"Garfield. If you take up my offer. If you allow yourself this one chance of a lifetime, I can assure you that it will be for the better. Think of joining the Reapers as the same move you did when you left the Doom Patrol for the Titans."
By now, Beast Boy did not care how Corax knew about his time in the Doom Patrol. Hell he probably knew how he got his powers. Sakutia. His parents…
"I-I don't know Corax. I need time to think."
"Of course, you do. In fact, think as long as you want. This is a big step you're taking and I want you to be under as little pressure as possible."
"Thanks Corax," smiled Beast Boy. "You know for a villain you ain't so bad."
Corax gave a chuckle.
"That's because I ain't one kid. Well maybe not all the time."
With that, the mercenary fished out a name card and gave it to Beast Boy.
"Here, Garfield. When you have reached a decision, give me a call."
"Ok. Thanks. I will."
"You're welcome. And so you know my team and I really do need to make a believable exit. Sooo…no hard feelings, k?"
Beast Boy never got to finish his sentence as Corax's fist connected with his jaw, knocking him out. Satisfied that the changeling was not getting up, he gave a shrill whistle; the signal to retreat. One by one, the mercenaries heard the signal and relayed it before making a quick retreat.
"Hey come back here! I ain't done with you yet!" screamed Cyborg as his opponent bade a graceful retreat but not before landing one final kick at the metal teen's chest as a farewell gift.
"Let them go Cy…," sighed Robin wearily as he rubbed his sore back. "Whoever these guys are, they are good. They fighting techniques are superior to mine and that's saying something."
"Aw c'mon. Just because you got yer ass kicked this time doesn't mean anything. It only means that when we do meet these guys again, they are gonna underestimate us," said Cyborg in a confident voice.
"I hope so bud," said Robin with a smile.
They were soon joined by Starfire and Raven. Both of the girls looked worse for wear but other than a few cuts and bruises, they were otherwise unharmed.
"These villains are highly skilled in martial arts friends. If I may be so bold, I would even compare their abilities to that of Tameranian Royal Guards. Believe me when I say that this is an understatement," remarked Starfire as she wiped dirt of her uniform.
"Yeah, they were tough. I could have sworn the guy I was fighting held back most of the time. Their agenda is not to hurt us. There is more to this than meets the eye," droned Raven in her monotone.
The rest of the Titans murmured in agreement.
Suddenly, Raven's left eye twitched.
"Where is Beast Boy?"
Well that's Chapter1 for you. i apologize if the characters appear abit OOC. I hope i do justice to BBRAE fans out there. me being one myself.
if u guys have any helpful feedback pls feel free to review. Um, no flames is greatly appreciated.