Super Rainbow Monkey Ninjas
A clear, starry sky blanketed Jump City and a crescent moon reflected beautifully off the bay. The weather was pleasant on a very quiet day for the city, which presently needed no emergency response from its resident junior heroes, the Teen Titans. Quiet and crime-free it has been for the past couple of days.
Starfire, their red-haired alien princess, decided she wanted to visit places outside of the city and she wanted her team's leader, Robin, to whom she felt very close, to show her some new sights. He was hesitant about leaving in the likelihood that trouble could suddenly come up, but everyone convinced him to take a break and that they, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy, could handle any situation while he was away. Of course Robin did not escape some teasing from Beast Boy and Cyborg about alone time with Starfire.
So off they went on a Friday, Robin and Starfire, in civilian clothes and with the civilian identities Richard Grayson and Kori Anders respectively. Richard decided that they ought to visit Gotham City and lodge with his legal guardian, Bruce Wayne. Upon hearing this, the others contacted the multimillionaire, who secretly doubles as the legendary Dark Knight, Batman, and insisted he not have Robin out with him during nightly patrols. It was now Sunday night and Robin and Starfire would be returning early tomorrow morning.
Cyborg, the team's half-human tech expert, had been out since morning, so that left just Raven, the regularly self-enclosed dark sorceress, and Beast Boy, the green-skinned shape-shifter, alone in the tower.
Because it was quiet in the city and in Titans Tower, save for Beast Boy who would be up late in the tower watching television, Raven made her way to the roof for one more session of meditation before she would go to bed. She faced the direction of the moon, sat and crossed her legs, elevated her hands, and levitated from the roof surface a few feet into the air before beginning with her customary chant.
Cyborg had finally returned, ready for some shut-eye without having to worry about charging his power cell that night or for the next several nights for that matter. A call from S.T.A.R. Labs the day before informed him that some new accessories were ready. In addition to a new and improved series of power cells the lab developed with his assistance, Cyborg also received new arms he and some engineers designed that would completely redefine how his sonic cannon worked and he was very eager to show the others.
Leaving the elevator and walking down the hallway Cyborg intended to route through the main room to the kitchen for a late night bite to eat before retiring to his room. He could hear voices and sounds from the main room which meant that Beast Boy was up late as usual watching television. But he seemed to distinctly hear Beast Boy's voice also, making sounds that were nothing like animals, just his own voice. Cyborg decided to see what his little, green buddy was up to.
Cyborg could still call fifteen-year-old Beast Boy his little buddy. But very recently the grass stain seemed to undergo changes that the titans found mind-boggling. Beast Boy quickly grew to exceed the height of Robin, who now stands about two inches taller than Raven, by a couple of inches and was nearly one foot from Cyborg's own six-foot-plus height. Also, Beast Boy was still a few inches shy of Starfire's height. Not only that but the shape-shifter also gained some muscle mass. Anymore, Cyborg one day thought, and "string bean" would be one less nickname for the guy. A blood test, which Robin insisted take place and which Beast Boy did not hesitate to subject himself to, revealed that the shape-shifter had not been taking any illegal substances to enhance his growth.
There had also been a varying pattern to his eating habits. It was not that he developed a craving for meat. No he was definitely sticking to being a vegetarian. Rather, Beast Boy would occasionally eat larger than normal portions quite voraciously.
There was one thing that troubled the titans concerning Beast Boy. His sleeping in they were accustomed to. But there were several occasions in which, sometimes during training, and even on a couple of missions, he had been dealing with exhaustion. The titans knew that he had become well accustomed to his animal transformations and overcame the exhaustion those used to cause him. They wondered if it was in any way connected to Beast Boy still not being over the loss of Terra. For a while after Terra's petrifaction Raven could feel the emotional waves rolling off of him, and sometimes she felt an inexplicable surge when he was not present. The first time she experienced this surge was like feeling a shockwave stronger than cannon-fire. After that, the emotions slowly changed, feeling less like guilt and more like confidence. His friends confronted him about dealing with losing Terra. To their relief, by the time the titans had to deal with Brother Blood, Beast Boy was better. And thanks to Raven's empathy, the titans knew he was telling the truth. But he still showed signs of exhaustion from time to time, and yet he remained silent as to its cause.
The door to the main room opened just a bit. There was Beast Boy in his bed clothing, ragged shorts and a fading t-shirt. The green titan seemed not to take notice of Cyborg which the older titan did not find surprising. What did surprise Cyborg – and perplex and immediately amuse him – was what Beast Boy was doing, especially along with the movie he was watching. Cyborg knew he just had to capture this, and so with his mechanical eye he set to recording several minutes of Beast Boy's poor, but outrageous, actions.
Deciding he had enough footage, and deciding to pass on going to the kitchen so as not to "disturb" Beast Boy, Cyborg went on to his room. He could not wait until morning, when Raven would be awake, when Robin and Starfire would be back, and before Beast Boy was up, to show everyone what he recorded. His door closed before Raven appeared in the hallway, heading for her own room.
As usual he was the last to wake up. It was nearly 11:00 A.M. when Beast Boy's bedroom door opened. He walked down the hallway, dressed in a fresh pair of shorts and t-shirt, looking forward to getting something to eat.
His keen sense of hearing picked up the sound of hysterical laughter coming from the main room. Something had Cyborg in an uproar and Beast Boy wanted to know what it was as he was always one for a good laugh himself. With an eager smile on his face, Beast Boy hurried toward the main room and opened the door.
"Hey, Cy, what's so funny?" he asked.
Everyone was there, Cyborg, Raven, and so were Robin and Starfire who had since returned from Gotham not more than an hour ago, still in their own civilian attire. Cyborg was still laughing and did not yet take notice of Beast Boy's presence. But Robin, Starfire, and Raven did. And they all wore smiles of amusement. Yes, even Raven was smiling. What could possibly get her to smile?
The sound of something familiar drew Beast Boy's attention to the television. And then he knew. His smile disappeared as his expression quickly changed to a mix of shock and embarrassment. He saw himself from last night on the television attempting to keep up with the martial arts choreography of the movie he had on, "Super Rainbow Monkey Ninjas."
"Aw, man!" said Cyborg who, still laughing hard, finally realized Beast Boy was in the room. "B, that… that is going into my archives!" he added between guffaws. The night before, he nearly gave himself away fighting an urge to laugh then. That was on account of Beast Boy's Hi-ya!'s.
Beast Boy dashed from the doorway to the sofa where Cyborg sat. He spotted the remote, but his mechanical teammate was one step ahead of him. Cyborg grabbed it and held it out of Beast Boy's reach. Eager to stop the footage, he morphed into a dog and took off for a run and a leap, but Cyborg was still faster.
Raven sat at the opposite end of the couch. When Cyborg called her she knew what he wanted when he grabbed the remote and tossed it into the air. The purple-haired girl decided, for just a bit, she would go along. The remote was near the ceiling where it was shrouded in Raven's dark energy.
The green shape-shifter changed into a bird and flew as fast as he could for the device, but he missed it. Raven had moved it. She moved it again and again a few more times, keeping it out of the bird's path. Finally, having had enough amusement to last a while, she let the remote descend until she could take it with a hand. Sparing Beast Boy further embarrassment, Raven stopped the clip and turned the television off.
Beast Boy, feeling relieved, landed, changed back to a human, and went to get the disk. Cyborg was a little disappointed that the moment had now passed. But even though his green buddy had the disk, he at least had the clip already backed up.
"Dude, what's the big idea?" Beast Boy demanded, waving the disk at Cyborg like he would a pointed finger.
"Dude, what was with the 'hokey-pokey'?" Cyborg's smile returned and he almost wanted to laugh again. Gesturing towards the television as though he was still watching the clip, he added, "I mean… that was a pretty poor imitation of martial arts, man. And why 'Super Rainbow Monkey Ninjas'?!"
Robin leaned forward. "Rather, Beast Boy, why martial arts at all?" He found himself actually curious to know.
Crossing his arms and getting a little defensive, Beast Boy turned away from the group and responded, "I… I have my reasons."
Starfire, too, wanted to know. "Please tell us, Friend Beast Boy. What is your interest in the style of hand-to-hand combat?"
Raven sat back, remaining unreadable, but internally she was also curious. When he responded to Robin's question, she could feel a small wave of emotions. These were different, in no way connected to how Beast Boy felt after Terra's supposed death. These told her that he was keeping something secret. She wondered to herself if it might relate to both the series of mysterious emotional surges and the cause of her teammate's exhaustion. Enough people had now asked him about his secret, awkward training so she decided to say nothing and waited to see if Beast Boy would answer.
Beast Boy briefly debated on whether he should answer. "Okay, fine. I just thought maybe I could bring a little more to the team."
Robin did not quite understand. "A little more what, Beast Boy? I mean, what good will martial arts do you when you're in your animal forms?"
"Look, maybe turning into animals is what I do best, but it doesn't have to be all I'm capable of," the changeling admitted. "Robin, you use martial arts and all kinds of cool weapons. Plus, you're leader. Raven, you can move objects, sense things, generate force fields, move through solid objects, and lots of other things we probably still don't know about. Starfire, you have great strength, can shoot your star bolts in different ways, from both your hands and your eyes; and, like Superman, you can fly in space without a ship or a spacesuit. And Cyborg. You're bulletproof and have a lot of internal gizmos for emergencies. You can also fight with your hands or your sonic cannon. You can even access information and analyze stuff when we need it.
"I just figured, if I can fight without becoming any sort of animal then I have an extra skill," he concluded.
Raven leaned forward on the sofa and decided to add something. "Beast Boy, you seem to have left some things out, stuff about you. Turning into animals isn't your only power. Even when you're human you have a keen sense of hearing, sight, and smell; stuff that you've been gifted with thanks to your animal DNA. Those traits have been very helpful on several occasions." Robin, Starfire, and Cyborg all agreed with that.
Beast Boy thought that was actually a nice thing she could say about him.
"But if you're seriously interested in learning martial arts," said Robin, "then I'd be glad to teach you what I know. All you had to do was ask."
"Really?" That suggestion cheered Beast Boy up. "Awesome," he said after his leader nodded. "Thanks."