DISCLAIMER: I don't own Teen Titans. If I did, this would be on TV and not here.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: About Sanza/Red X: When he's wearing the mask, he's Red X. When he's not, he's Sanza. Simple as that.
SECOND AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fanfic was not written by me!! This was written by an author named 'oneortheother', who gave me his express permission (and in fact insisted!) that it be posted on this account. This is the fourth installment of the Sanza Salazar saga, following "A Tale of Two Apprentices". Read the last three fanfics in the series before you read this. Also, this fic COMPLETELY IGNORES the events of the fifth season (with the exception of "Go"). For the purposes of this fic, "Things Change" NEVER HAPPENED.
Nowadays, there is an understated elegance in raw hand-to hand combat. Style, grace and elegance are all but extinct, aside from being visible in the flashy karate movies of today and in the ancient training manuals emphasized by the outdated dojos, those foolish enough to believe that street thugs and violent muggers play by the laughably childish and tame rules of conduct.
The two warriors fought in a makeshift sparring field, an abandoned rec center serving as their playground whilst their punches and kicks served as their toys. It was a snowy evening, a lonely night owl lay perched on the barren leafless tree, its head turning as if enjoying the show put on by the two boys.
Sanza's bold and brutal technique with its flashy pure élan and its penumbral ferocity clashed against the striking simplicity of Rev's attack. The Hispanic teen possessed far better athleticism and perhaps even artistic technique. He was far more flexible and also far more acrobatic, but these were technicalities, nothing more, minor details that you ought to take into account if you needed to fill up space on a page. They really had little relevance in the duel aside from being background information, after all things weren't as complex as these details made it sound. It all came down to a single profoundly simple fact.
Fighting was Rev's instinct, it was human nature and he had just accepted that. Rev was a natural, a man who understood the likes of war and its repercussions. He was a meticulous tactician with his mass deceptions, steely resolve, dogged persistence, a passionate, almost bloodthirsty aggression and sneaking subtly of his plans so that people wouldn't come to their grim revelations till it was far too late. But these too were just technicalities, little details just thrown in, because what it came down to was Rev just followed something far more simple. He followed the path God had set out for him. And he followed his instincts that went with that.
That was simplicity itself.
Perhaps that was his power.
Because all these ideas, all the equations, all these ideologies, they were understood, but wordlessly so. These techniques embraced and expressed in the two warriors' battleground, there was little need for words as long as there was understanding for combat served as conversation, injuries served as inquiries and wisecracks served as wisdom. It was all understood as Rev extended a kick that sailed over the ducking head of Sanza who promptly spun and swept the floor with his feet, trying to trip the unbalanced Rev up. Rev backpedalled rapidly out of his range while Sanza leapt and pounded a sturdy palm into the ground. As a cool gale swept through the city, on the lifeless branch outside, the night owl hooted sonorously, as though it was amused by the spectacle, before flapping its feathered wings and flying off into the beyond. Across Jump City, crystallized snowflakes blossomed from the smoggy city clouds and its seedy sky, virgin snow beginning to delicately cluster on the ground in a soft layer, shortly before being soiled by the busy footsteps and the emissions of Jump City's many citizens.
A weary and bruised Sanza laid his head on the uncomfortable, raggedy mattress and tried to go to sleep. The tired Hispanic teenager struggled to find a good sleeping position as he twisted and turned on the makeshift bed, which was made out of filled cardboard boxes and a cloth that served as his blanket. It seemed Rev really was quite serious about the whole devoted religious thing, namely the difficult act of remaining celibate in such, well, 'open-minded and enticing times', a fact Sanza had unknowingly discovered the other day.
Sanza had snooped around Rev's room the day before, albeit unintentionally, as it was mainly due to the fact Sanza had gotten lost and had thought the room he was entering was the bathroom, not the private room of a sociopathic serial killer. But once the Hispanic teenager had entered, opened the door and had peered inside, he couldn't resist taking a quick peek. The room was very different from the room of the 'average citizen', whatever that was, though it wasn't actually different in a negative way, only in some regards. One of the first things Sanza noticed was a collection of several CDs that lay on top of a filing cabinet, with artists ranging from old-school bands like the Bee Gees, to more modern artists like rapper Akon and indie rock band Sherwood.
Much of the room was dedicated to books and literature. Several of the books Sanza noticed were of the kind that were to be expected, as next to a rusty weathered radio, there was a well-kept traditional bible that lay dutifully on Rev's desk, with a bookmark inserted between its pages. It seemed Rev really did pride himself on being somewhat of a polymath, a master of many, many skills. There was an extensive range of books that populated the many bookshelves in Rev's room from the ancient doctrine Sun Tzu: "The Art of War", to mind-numbing ideas and theories in "The Concept of Mind" by famous philosopher Gilbert Ryle, to even the most illuminating of literature in the form of "To kill a mockingbird" by Harper Lee, the list went on and on.
Sanza remembered an especially interesting point when he discovered the imaginatively named book "Understanding Structural Engineering", slotted next to a book on Scorpions, the engineering manual was by an engineer-turned criminal known as Scofield, and had a few quite amusing entries, which Sanza noticed as he pulled the book out and quickly flicked through it: "Consider having an escape route if you intend to use your facilities for activities of questionable legality."
Sanza smiled as when he saw the book on mechanical engineering and its surprisingly funny passages, as he recalled hearing the exciting story on the news. Rev must have appreciated the amusing irony. It seemed that despite Rev's self-professed reliance and devotion to his technology, he hadn't seen books as being obsolete just because of the arrival of such a useful device like the internet. Still, there was a fancy looking computer wired into a corner complete with what looked like a makeshift workbench complete with a functioning welder and tools. When Sanza had first seen the sharp and dangerous looking tools, the Hispanic teenager's first reaction was: I really wouldn't put something that could put a hole in me right next to the…
Sanza's mental voice stopped at the word 'bed' as it came to his realization that it was that aspect that had confused him when he had first came into the room. Reverend really did live up to his name… though amusingly enough, Rev felt having such a comfort was more of a corrupting influence that some of the music he listened to. Rev was so dedicated to staying true to his beliefs there was even a desiderata that firmly echoed his beliefs stationed on his door. It read:
Wisdom is the treasure that no thief can steal.
He had a comfortable looking office chair next to his desk, and a duvet neatly folded next to it, but the man had transcended past the need for tempting comforts such as a bed that he had chosen to sleep on a simple computer chair than on some fancy bed. Sanza wasn't even sure why, but when someone like that was around, sometimes you just couldn't help but develop and irrational urge to hate that person…
Because they were just a better person than you were. But for Sanza this wasn't the case, at least not entirely. Perhaps that's what Rev was trying to show Sanza, that despite the distressing ebbs and flows of the world, the fact was all people needed to change the world was a little faith, faith and unfaltering belief to do things for the greater good. There was no chasm between good and evil, just as there was no gulch between love and hate. It was in fact a very thin line, a blurred line between the two polar extremes. After all, despite all that people claimed, evil wasn't instinct, it wasn't teaching, it wasn't example, it was much simpler than that. It was a decision.
A decision between the easy path and the difficult path.
The darkness and the light wage a constant war within you. The balance is tipped one way now, but it can easily be tipped back.
You must always be vigilant.
Perhaps that was exactly what Rev believed…
Although it could be just that Rev just wanted to save some space, Sanza had accidentally knocked over a small pillar of CDs, sending the likes of Foo Fighters and Billy Talent spilling to the floor. Sanza casually prodded them into a corner with his foot, hoping Rev wouldn't notice. Whatever the reason for the fanaticism, if there was one thing for sure, it would take much more than a Rorschach test to figure out the complex mind and the undying beliefs of an outlier like Rev.
Sanza lifted the duvet over his head and tried to forget about all of it. His sister was one of the people his mother called 'sleepers', put her in a moving car, a uncomfortable couch or an airplane seat and within minutes she'd be out like a light, Sanza was actually quite envious of his dear sister Maddy in that aspect. Perhaps it was part of his thief-psyche, but it seemed he had been born with restlessness in his blood. Some nights he simply couldn't sleep because it seemed the wheels in his mind would just keep on turning, perhaps that was his conscious nagging him to address an issue but Sanza would never know.
But it seemed today was one of those nights, as the tired-yet-wide-awake Hispanic teenager twisted and turned to try to find a comfortable position that would lead him to the realm of sleep.
His conscience had mercy on him. For now.
In his cramped, musky room, Rev leant back in his chair, his vivid grey eyes fixed on the computer screen, his eyes rapidly darting from one block of text to another. He was tirelessly researching the CWA case, forgoing sleep not unlike the tenacious leader of the Teen Titans was currently doing so miles away in Titans Tower. But Rev didn't possess as much energy as the frenetic Robin, and so he was multitasking, earphones dipped in his ears as he listened to his trusty radio, humming along to the tune as he drank from a bottle of water that he had precariously placed right next to his keyboard. Rev yawned like a cub before gently massaging his sensitive eyes as he stood up to stretch his limbs, well aware of the health studies that had shown you ought to move your body for a few minutes after hours of just sitting there. He tugged at the collar of the white polo shirt that served as his pajamas, lopped off his headphones and prepared to unplug his computer, only then did something important catch Rev's eye.
With his pale hand on the plug Rev found exactly what he was looking for, still humming the tune of the last song he had heard on his radio he realized what he had uncovered. It was an obscure website which reported news stories largely not covered by mainstream national newspapers, and Rev felt wide awake despite his sore eyes as he promptly clicked the link to the news in question he had exactly been looking for.
Page last updated on 07:10 GMT, 3 November 03:14 JC
CWA CEO INSURED
Government officials approved of data transfer from the recovering Craig-Wilson Alliance banks in the Jump City Area to access the original back-up schemes stored in CEO Jonathan Craig's other major stake in the Jump City area, the nearby CWA Hydro-dam which Mr. Craig had allegedly used as a 'fail-safe', in event of the destruction of their facilities. This combined with the millions CWA were able to receive as a result of the generous reimbursement they received CEO Jonathan Craig had this to say: "We only intend to use this insurance claim to repay our good workers and their families for their service."
The journal which had been undoubtedly been destined to be a brief blurb in the business section had so greatly helped Rev. The smiling man had succeeded in his quest to find the information he needed. However, across Jump City, the other selfless hero wasn't having as much luck. Whilst the leader of the Titans, Robin, succumbed to sleep, Rev was in a jovial mood as quickly saved the relevant information from the site on a virtual document before scribbling it down on a piece of paper to be extra-safe. After jiggling the empty water bottle beside him, he felt like going outside and celebrating officially. Or at the least, go out to the fridge in his kitchen and grab a drink, something stronger than fruit juice would be awesome. Rev felt sure that even God would agree that this was a good situation for it and certainly a just cause for celebration.
"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works."- Old Testament - Ecclesiastes 9:7
Rev smiled as he raised a hand clasping an imaginary glass and mimed a ceremonial toast to celebrate this development. Rev raised the 'glass' till it was above his forehead, closed his grey eyes and nodded to the heavens.
All the while, he was humming along to the angelic song that sang within his mind.
"I must say… It's a nice day… With the flowers in bloom, there is so much to learn from the freeway…"
In the same musky and worn-down apartment complex, in a secluded area in Jump City's downtown Chinatown district, our Hispanic hero awoke from his brief slumber. Sanza lurched upright in bed, gasping, breathless as though he endured a marathon, staring blindly into fearful darkness. He had been jolted from his calming sleep by the torment of a terrifying nightmare. He sat up, his throat dry, cold sweat clustered along his face despite the cold winter's night.
He threw off the duvet clinging around him like a boa constrictor and slapped his hands to his face, perhaps he was trying to make sense of the disturbing visions he had just witnessed, or perhaps he was trying to burn them from his memory, trying to wipe his memory clean. Sanza shook his head, his eyes closed, remembering the distressing images he had seen in his visceral vision.
How she had screamed for him-how she had begged for him, how even all her strength had failed on that alien area, how at the last she could only whimper helplessly… "Sanza, I'm sorry. I love you. I love you"- thundered inside his head, blinding him to the contours of the room shrouded with uncertainty and night, deafening him to every sound save the drum of his thumping heart. Sanza brought his sweaty hand over to his face, rubbing his eyes gently with forefinger and thumb, the horrific sound still echoing in his mind, with the vivid images of his dream still visible in his mind's eye.
He looked up at the ceiling, an 'are you screwing with me?' expression on his face. But Sanza had already suffered from a restless and sleepless night the evening before, so he wasn't willing to concede defeat quite yet. He knelt on the makeshift bed, sending a quick prayer to God. The contents of that prayer may never be known, but most of us like to think that the prayer he sent to the benevolent and omnipotent God said something along the lines of: Can you please let me get some damn sleep now? Yeah, thanks, essa.
For Sanza was persistent in that way as he closed his eyes and tried to will his brain to drift back off to sleep. After all, just because it seemed like some spectral supernatural force seemed to trying to deny him sleep, Sanza would never be willing to admit something such as like divine intervention... Sure, he might blame God for it, but he wouldn't call it divine intervention.
But it seemed tonight that either God or Sanza's subconscious was dedicated to making sure the Hispanic teen didn't get any sleep at all… shortly after the melodrama of that first nightmare, Sanza miraculously managed to fall back asleep. Unsurprisingly, Sanza felt the jolt from sleep come again. This time his subconscious was ravaged by horribly vivid images of a fearsome nightmare. The Hispanic teen stood up, moaning and cursing as he got up from his makeshift bed, this time giving up on sleep for good. He slowly strode to the nearby windowsill and peered outside, not really admiring the scenery but taking his mind off the matter.
"God, what's the big idea… Twice in one night, I mean what are the goddamn odds…" Sanza mumbled under his breath.
Sanza closed his eyes. he could feel his heartbeat pulsing again, he could feel the cardiac muscles throb in his chest at a heckling pace… and Sanza remembered.
From the darkness spawned a dead man, the lone eye of a criminal mastermind best left forgotten, seeing right through miss soul. Ba-dum.
An angry scowl, the face of a costumed hero, the symbol of good, the leader of the Titans, towering over him, judging him. Ba-dum.
The wrinkled features of a martyr, one who had given her life for theirs, the True Master sat their beseechingly, her lips pursed, shaking her head in shame. Ba-dum.
From a tinted mirror came a sinister mask, a familiar face, the familiar skull-face of the master thief, the recognizable boy raised his hands, the man in the mirror did the same, and the dark thief's gloved hands were stained with dark blood. Ba-dum.
The Hispanic teen stepped back, the thief emerging from the mirror, his boot stepping onto the surface that had been taken up by the boy moments ago, leaving a footprint of blood, blood that dripped from all over the thief. Ba-dum.
The shocked boy gasped and the skull did the same, only it sounded far more like a cackle of glee, then a shot rang out, a bullet blasting the bloody thief back into the mirror, the silver surface shattered into pieces, blood and broken glass flew to the floor as the crash echoed soundly. Ba-dum.
The trench coat-clad shooter turned his pistol to the boy, his mask cold and emotionless, the boy tried to voice his identity, but in his voice burst forth in the cold voice of the master thief, he tried to pull of the mask that had fixed itself to his head but to no avail. Ba-dum.
A single shrill shot burst forth.
With that, Sanza opened his eyes again, brought back to the painful pangs of reality again, his breathing labored as he slicked his dark hair back with his sweaty fingers. The Hispanic teen looked up, a look of annoyed disbelief on his face.
I know I asked for some kind of sign, God, but I wish I was a bit more fucking specific…
Sanza finally conceded, sighing theatrically, slowly walking over to the door, the throat had gone dry due to all the divine hijinx he swore God was playing on him tonight.
Perhaps the only thing left today was to look for some hard liquor and repent about the past, lamenting about decisions and mistakes he had made. Milk would do as a fine substitution for tonight, it was the reminiscing and recollecting that was the important thing. Sanza couldn't really think of any other reason God would want to mess with him tonight aside from that…
If nothing more, some warm milk would do wonders for Sanza's bout of insomnia.
He groggily made his way out of his room, as despite all his claims of being a night owl, his old master thief lifestyle did require a lot of sleep. This sleep was often involuntarily taken during school hours when Sanza would end up falling asleep in his more depressingly dull classes, often dozing off and catching up on his sleep debt in the likes of American History and Pre-Calculus.
The Hispanic teen slipped his socked feet into his trainers, the only article of clothing he had here that was his own. Amidst the stolen jacket and borrowed vest and sweatpants, he turned open the bronze doorknob and walked out, the wooden floorboards creaking under his feet. Sanza didn't have a watch on, but he figured the time was a few hours past midnight and he certainly wasn't expecting anyone to be up. After all, only maniacs would forgo sleep right?
As Sanza entered the room, Rev waved cheerily at the Hispanic teen that had unkempt hair sticking up in about a dozen different directions.
"You have good timing, kid."
"No kidding…" Sanza thought as he noticed the glass in Rev's hand and colored liquid in it.
The Hispanic teen just decided to roll with the flow today, greeting Rev amiably as he sat down next to his bemused host.
"Evening Rev, celebrating something?"
"Hmm, I think it's more like morning at this hour," in his typical annoying smartass fashion, smiling toothily. "And I'm thinking you're gonna want some of this as well."
Rev gestured to the glass, unaware of perhaps how accurate he was of Sanza's original intent as he pushed forward the printed version of the online article he had uncovered. As Sanza read the article, the realization showing in his face, Rev laughed heartily.
"Am I right? I told you this was a good reason to celebrate," as the chuckling vigilante poured Sanza a drink.
"So this is our next target? We have our next clue?" Sanza asked, shuffling the piece of A4 paper.
"The reservoir is our place to go. This should be right up your alley, X. Breaking, entering and stealing. You should practically be able to write a book on this stuff," chuckled Rev, motioning to the bookshelf in the room.
"Yeah, but I don't have my tech with me, it's going to make life harder."
Rev sighed, "The qualms of mankind. But I'm sure I can rustle up some tech for you, a gun at the very least."
"Least that means I won't be wandering in their unarmed, but we should still have no problem. Okay, we're good."
"Yeah, you're welcome boy. Anyway, why were ya up in the first place? I'm pretty sure I kept the volume of my celebrations to a minimum."
Sanza hadn't first thought of opening up to Rev, but the friendly drink and good conversation had make him think that perhaps this veteran would be able to help him. After all, surely this knowledgeable ascetic knew about what he was going through thanks to his own extensive experiences.
"Do you ever feel guilty about what you've done Rev? About… about the mistakes you've made?"
Rev paused for a moment, it was a short pause, but if the scene had paused for a moment longer Sanza would have begun regretting he had asked him in the first place.
"Sanza, I remember what you said when you first met me. You said I had no qualms about killing."
Rev swallowed uncomfortable, putting his hand over his month self-consciously. This was a somewhat touchy subject, there was plenty of things, events in Rev's past that he most certainly didn't want dredged up...
"That's not true, I respect life, but the fact is if every human only took what they needed and not what they wanted, the world would be a lovely place, and we all wouldn't be trying to kill each other. What I do is give people what they deserve, I don't enjoy taking lives away but I do what I have to do for the greater good. And I pray for every life I end," Rev finished, leaning over towards Sanza from his seat opposite him, his fingers laced together before squeezing his knuckles till they cracked like background gunfire. "But we are here to celebrate, for who knows when we'll get this chance again. For this is also a goodbye and that's the thing about goodbyes, you'll never know when if you're going to get another one."
Rev inhaled deeply as he drained his glass, with Sanza following suit. He filled up both their drinking-glasses again, pouring more flowing blood-red liquid into each cup, before they both raised their glasses, toasting the unlikely pair, before Rev drained half of his before the end of his speech.
"An' if that's the cases, I wish ye well Sanza."
Rev's laid his empty glass on the table dramatically, causing loud echoes from the glass tapping the wooden table to fill the room.
"Hallelujah, May God be with us all."
Sanza and Rev arrived at the CWA reservoir just on the outskirts of town. Previously, the area had been intended to become a bustling suburb full of upscale shops and offices, but nowadays most of the mountain town in which the reservoir was situated was just a desolate ruin. The Hispanic teenager led the way. He seemed really quite enthusiastic on the day's operation and immediately took initiative.
"I'm thinking we swim through the reservoir and cut our own way in, the security they put there should be minimal. They'll be no match for the two of us!" Sanza said, smiling lightly as the two of them looked out from their high vantage point.
They were currently on the mountaintop just opposite the freshwater reservoir. The mountain was helpfully located just in-between Jump City and their target, giving them a great view of the surroundings… from the beautiful sparkling ocean, to the dusty remains of what had been a residential district.
"I think you are overestimating the power of 'plain old you'. Humans are weak by nature, it's our tech that makes us so strong nowadays and without yours I think a more orthodox approach would work," responded a jitterier than usual Rev, who pointed at a guard's station positioned right by the gates of the CWA venture. "You know that the sun will fall apart in about five billion years, destroying the Earth and the Milky Way? I know one thing's for sure. The earth ain't going to last till then. Us humans are going to trash our planet way before then, just look at the way things are going now, be it global warming, extinction, disease or whatever. I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist."
"The guy sure does love to hear his own voice," thought Sanza, placing his hands in his pockets and looking toward Rev. "You should have more faith in us plain old humans, sometimes it's the average folk that can achieve greatness and we always find a way…"
Sanza looked back to Jump City from their vantage point, seeing a bustling metropolis full of people who just wanted to do that right thing… at least that's what he thought of them.
"Humans have done little to garner my respect. All I've seen is the darkness in people… I ask you this, we were meant to be the guardians, the stewards of the planet… have we done a good job?" Rev solemnly said, looking over the watery expanse. As they both looked down across the deep dark river, the only sound was the flapping of loose-fitting clothing that now clung to moist bodies like a spectral apparition. Rev crossed his arms, the fierce breeze sweeping his heavy trench coat back, revealing the jet black blasters he always wielded, the pair of pistols clipped on his belt alongside the flowing brown coat, which flapped wildly like a pair of streaming scaly leather wings, bursting to fly away from behind him. "The human condition has done little to reassure me. I've searched everywhere, and it's always the same."
Rev looked down at the same city that Sanza had been gazing at, only seeing a cesspool of greed and corruption, beings ruling on whims and sadistic desires, it was horrific… but Sanza couldn't believe that.
Surely the whole world wasn't that messed up!
"Have you even seen enough the world to make that judgment?" Sanza asked skeptically.
"I mean this is a lot coming from a guy who guns people down for being greedy…"
"Kid, I've journeyed across the plains, explored countries and regions you've never even heard of," Rev replied, still looking over the edge, after experiencing a brief burst of vertigo from the dizzying view.
"Hey! I've been to places like-" Protested Sanza, before Rev cut him off.
Rev cut him off midsentence, his hands on his hips, a hint of his usual humor present, clearly the altitude and the aquatic presence was bothering him. Typical Rev, he was trying to not let it show.
"Yeah, yeah, I don't want to hear about your vacation spots kid."
Sanza just smirked, he had a sneaking suspicion about what this was all about…
"What's this about, Rev? You afraid of getting your feet wet? I thought you were totally fearless!"
Rev smiled back under the mask, impressed by Sanza's acute observation skills. The Hispanic teen was right in ways he probably didn't even realize, as Rev laughed off the uncomfortably accurate remark, shaking his head to clear his mind of his bad experiences.
"Fearless is one thing, stupidity is another, and when you're touting technology worth a small fortune, ruining that priceless technology is usually a bad idea."
"I never thought you would be so materialistic, Rev… " laughed Sanza, a playful grin on his face.
"I wouldn't quite call it materialistic, I think I'd call it 'not wanting to waste the God-given gifts' I have received," giggled Rev light-humouredly, before gesturing to their assault point, the gates of the CWA reservoir, suggesting that they go back to the matter at hand. "Back to business…"
Their plan went forward without a hitch. Sanza and Rev speedily infiltrated the gates of the CWA compound and discreetly took out a few guards. Perhaps but Sanza had said earlier was in fact quite accurate, they really were no match for the two of them. The lightly armed rent-a-cops were torn apart (not quite literally) by the brutal combination of Sanza's honed moves and Rev's ruthless attacks. Both capable warriors had yet to resort to using any of their weapons or tools, though Rev was tempted to just whip out his gun and/or knife and just slaughter them all after one of the uniformed guards managed to glance a lucky blow with his baton due to Rev being swarmed by several opponents. The strong baton thrust launched Rev's skinny frame towards a ledge that leant over the vast expanse of water that was the reservoir, giving Reverend an uncomfortable rush of irrational fear, even more so when ge pushed off from the ledge, getting a good glance over the edge. The phobic Rev bit his tongue underneath the mask and was tempted to just to draw his pistol and blow his unfortunate victims away with his incredible marksmanship abilities, but thankfully a timely intervention from Sanza who came in with a powerful punch helped Rev to resist the urge. Rev had almost finished formulating his rationalizations for the guard's 'death warrant' and had a hand on his holster, but thankfully it didn't come to that.
Rev tugged at the collar of the suddenly-constricting shirt he was wearing, bearing in mind it was a frosty winter's day, and was surprised by the way his clothes were uncomfortably clinging to his lightly-tanned skin, but he figured it was due to the humidity in the area.
"There is a massive expanse of water here, the evaporation, condensation and precipitation must all be factors," Reverend reassured himself as he looked over the murky dew and ominous fog that surrounded the desolate mountain area like a menacing aura. But the scientific outlook on the matter did little to whittle the unnatural fear that was still gnawing at him. Rev steeled himself and shook it off as he beckoned to Sanza to follow.
The plan went like clockwork… after all this was on the borderline of being child's play, with a veteran master thief who proudly boasted an incredible steal-pay (in the sense of not having to go to prison) ratio before 'retirement' and a devout eccentric sociopath who touted technology that would make a playboy billionaire blush and was far from your usual brand of Christian revolutionaries. Martin Luther King had a dream, Reverend had a body count. Sentiment and symbolism aside, Rev and Sanza had stealthily infiltrated the reservoir base, aside from a few close-calls when the rent-a-cops nearly managed to find them. This was meant to be a covert mission, so avoidance was the idea.
Bu these two weren't going to fumble their missions, there was too much at stake here to fail.
"This was just way too easy."
These were the words of the insane genius Reverend, who sat in the CEO office of the building, propping his shoes on the painstakingly-crafted oak desk as a little mechanical device sat propped near his feet. A long cable was attached to the CEO's computer's USB port and was using high-speed access to decrypt and download all information on the CEO's data banks. Sanza stood next to the front door, his pistol drawn.
"Shush. This isn't over yet," Sanza stated nervously.
"Y'know something I don't understand? How could their security just let us in here, surely they'd have more defense than two dozen men..." Rev commented, scratching his head.
Rev had struck up some good points. There was some question about why a multi-million organization would drum up such shoddy defense to guard such an important area, though perhaps his meaningful comments wouldn't have been taken so lightly if he hadn't suggested them while leaning back on a ridiculously plushy chair, looking positively blasé. Sanza just sighed as he tucked his pistol back in his holster.
"They did have an automated CCTV motion tracking security system. And two dozen guards. And that annoying secretary outside. The world isn't always going to have half-a-dozen back-ups to throw at people, though I am sure they are very disappointed by the fact their security team failed to keep you entertained..." Sanza trailed off as Rev sat up suddenly; clearly the eagle-eyed maverick had come to a conclusion.
"Or… They don't intend their security to stop us, just slow us down until the real deal shows up."
Rev raced over to the nearby window and flung it open. He peeked his head outside, and sure enough, there seemed to be a mass evacuation of the employees in the building. Thanks to Rev's exceptional eyesight, he could notice a speeding jeep-like vehicle coming into the compound. It didn't take a genius to figure out who it must have been, Rev could practically hear a theme song chiming.
"See for yourself kid," Rev stated, as he went over to the computer and pulled out the info hacker, bundling it up in a small bag as he motioned to Sanza.
As Sanza was busy looking through the window for the arriving heroes, Rev discreetly slipped the information drive into the Hispanic teen's pocket, before mentioning.
"As much as I love to say I told you so, I think it's fair to say we need to get out of here ASAP."
"Oh crap! The Titans are already here! I didn't think the security forces here would be such wusses… calling the Titans on us already…"
Sanza swore as he ducked his head out quickly before ducking it back inside, hopefully before their new visitors had noticed. The two had originally planned it to be a quick 'sneak and swipe' job as the master thief had called it. As the name suggested, it involved stealthily sneaking into the facility, quickly swiping whatever you were stealing and getting out of there, hopefully before any 'enforcement' personnel arrived.
"Swearing won't change anything, Sanza," Rev,who was staying out of sight of the newcomers, stated in his typical annoying 'I am more mature than you' tone as he propped his elbow against the wall and leant on it, balancing the side of his head along the knuckles of his hand before gesturing with his free hand to the nearby monitor, which the savvy sociopath had recently hacked into.
"Yeah, but what if Terra is there! I can't see her, not like this…" The guilt-ridden Hispanic teenager exclaimed, clearly much more occupied with his personal dilemma than whatever his companion was pointing to on the monitor.
"Keep your pants on, Romeo…" Rev sighed, walking towards him before reassuringly putting a gloved hand on Sanza's shoulder. It was a nice, kind gesture, though it would have been kinder if the glove in question didn't have the capacity to incapacitate Sanza if Rev went as far to twitch a finger. But Rev was that kind of 'nice guy', because the masked man was more than willing to do Sanza 'a favor' and knock him unconscious if the situation called for it. Seeing the unsettling look in Sanza's eye, Reverend tried to look for a compromise between watching Sanza do something borderline insane and dragging his unconscious body back to Chinatown, and after a moment's pondering, he found one.
"Tell you what kid, if your girl isn't there, can you just promise that you won't do anything…" Rev paused, thinking of an appropriate word to use.
Sanza bit his lip to choke on the complaint aching to burst out of his mouth and quickly nodded his head, gathering around the monitor Rev had pointed to minutes ago. Rev's harmless looking digital watch was actually every bit as proficient as Rev had claimed, hacking and reinstalling into the old CCTV system of the one-time bustling residential district. The graphics shown on the monitor were hardly high-def, but aside from a bit of fuzziness and being in black and white, the duo could clearly see the five Titans emerging from the T-Car.
Sanza's heart skipped a beat. "Five…"
As the Titans began to alight from their vehicle, Sanza felt the wire of remorse wound around his heart fade away with each Titan that he recognized. First came the unmistakable Cyborg, his intense metallic bulk alighting from the driver's seat first, followed by the ever-radiant Starfire who gave Sanza's hormones a discomforting spike as she gracefully stepped out of the T-Car, her purple boots crunching against the dust and gravel. Thankfully the Titan who joined her promptly shook him out of the stupor, as the caped leader of the Titans came into sight, followed by the familiar green changeling and the dark hooded telepath.
"Five exactly…" Sanza said to himself, and for the first time since the duo had arrived there the Hispanic teenager found himself smiling that he finally got a lucky break. Sanza actually found the subconscious 'phew'-smiley feeling that quickly spread to his lips was quite disconcerting, after all avoiding his girlfriend was hardly a reason to be joyful…
Sanza shook his head fervently and looked out the window. It was a murky, frosty winter's day, with the clouds and the sun intertwining around one another so the sky seemed to be made up of smoldering embers and charcoal ash that tinged the picturesque sky, painting the horizon a bleak grey. The conflicted master thief paused in his train of thought, admiring the majestic landscape. It was almost a numinous experience, and in the most strangest of times, oh the irony...
"This isn't the right time, place or circumstances for this. I'll tell her when the time is right…"
"Whenever that is…"
After Sanza had come to his own personal conclusion on the bemusing matter, he was slightly surprised/relieved that Rev hadn't berated him for wasting time with that accursed 'thinking' thing, though the Hispanic teenager couldn't deny it was a bit worrying that he was having more of these moments these days. Not so long ago, things had been much simpler, protect his loved ones and look out for himself, but now it seemed he was stuck in a much trickier paradox, a bizarre mess of contradictions.
However, while Sanza was still doing that 'accursed thinking thing', Rev finally impatiently interrupted him.
"Tempus neminem manet. Time waits for no one, c'mon kid, we got places to go and things to do," Rev stated wisely, showing of his philosophical talents again before closing his eyes under his mask for a moment and brainstorming a potential plan. After a brief second Rev smiled coldly, his expression hidden by the mask, but he made up for the blankness, emotionless slates with the almost excited tone in his voice.
"We're gonna rock them like a hurricane."
Reverend grinned manically again. before turning away from the conflicted Sanza, who tried to nervously decipher Rev's intent. Rev could already hear the strumming guitar beat echoing within his mind, his grim grey eyes glinted like a swinging sword caught in the sunlight, and he inhaled deeply, savoring the moment. As the metal song rung in his head he knew this was going to be an eventful evening, and he licked his lips in anticipation. He then ushered Sanza forward so he could quietly whisper their escape plan into his ear. All the while the song rocked on within his subconscious, preparing himself for the battle that was undoubtedly going to come. He only had one perspective on the matter.
"Now, this is going to be fun."
And here came the cavalry.
As Rev quietly and quickly motioned with his hand for Sanza to escape, a Xynothium-powered pistol gripped in the masked man's other hand, it seemed the devout desecrator was taking things seriously, perhaps rightly so, as Rev peered out of the tinted window, eying his prey like a hawk. The Titans slowly fanned out, patrolling the nearby area to look for the 'common crooks' they thought they were searching for. But the swift duo that lay hidden behind closed doors, the devious pair who was preparing to implement plans of their own, were anything but common crooks.
Sanza silently crept out of the room that they had been using as their surveillance base, but instead of following Rev's plan and going to the escape route that Rev had designated, he decided to do something that was very reminiscent of his days of 'Lone wolf Red X'. After all, Red X and Sanza were one and the same. Always had been, always would be, ever since Sanza's urge for security and protection had manifested into him taking the powerful Red X suit and all it could do. Red X was part of who Sanza was, part of his personality. This was a case when the raw, selfish, perhaps sometimes not very wise instinct of the master thief had prevailed. The Hispanic teenager doubled back, going towards a high vantage point in-between the hidden Reverend and the searching Titans. Sanza was at a higher level now, and he had gone back to the entrance in which the dubious duo had first entered the facility. When the savvy teen had first accompanied Rev into the facility, unlike the rather morbid murderer, he hadn't been so transfixed about the aquatic environment and had noticed something far more interesting.
In just the next room there were the charred ashes of what looked like a wildly raucous party that had occurred long ago, something our resident master thief had some exciting experience of to say the least. There were a few grimy beer bottles and crumpled cans scattered about, covered with an inch layer of dust, as well as a large almost ornamental heap of charred timber in the center of the room, burnt a gruesome black. This combined with the faint scent of booze that still resided there, and the tell-tale dust that suggested that the rough celebrations that had occurred here were certainly in the distant past. A tiny object had caught Sanza's eye as he had past the hallways adjacent to this room, a small device which others would deem so insignificant that it would be meaningless, partygoers had simply trashed it. Sanza smiled as he picked up the useful thing from the dusty floor, brushing some dust from its smooth chrome surface.
"I have a message to send," Came the cold voice in Sanza's mind. It didn't echo Sanza's voice though, and his deep subconscious mimicked the sinister vocabulator-ed voice of selfish, human, master thief Red X. And it had one thing to say.
"Here I am."
The five Titans calmly surveyed the area for these kinds of activities. The almost recreational pursuit of criminals had almost become second nature, it was something they could do instinctively and these days their skills had been so honed they all knew the appropriate response to any action these Jump City villains would do. As far as they were concerned it was just another security breach at a facility that would deem a couple of armed hoodlums too much for their rent-a-cops to handle. Later, the unexpected consequences and events of today would leave their ideas and beliefs shaken.
Raven unenthusiastically followed her green companion while responding in her trademark 'emotionless yet conceiving crankiness' voice to Beast Boy's persistent attempts at humor. Robin was ever eager to deal with crime and criminals, a trait he had most likely inherited from Batman and from his own traumatizing experiences. Perhaps he was as eager as all humans (and Tamaranians and sentient life in general) were to want to return to normalcy, return to the comforts of routine, because perhaps every Titan there, perhaps even every person there desperately wanted 'things to just return to normal'. And there was nothing wrong with that, it was natural after all. But there was one fundamental human truth that had to be accepted at this point.
You can't always get what you want.
They all wanted for life to return to normal, where things were nice and simple, but life didn't work that way, or God, depending who you're asking. For few things were certain, few things were set in stone, and this was one of those cases. This wasn't over yet, and no matter how badly Sanza and all the others wanted the return to normalcy to arrive, it would be postponed indefinitely.
And the events that were due to unfold would only emphasize that fact.
Interestingly the philosopher Jagger, who first coined the phrase also, had this to say.
But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.
And make no mistake, the likes of Sanza and Terra were going to try.
Rev crept in the shadows, pistol drawn in his free hand as he laid his other hand on the doorknob and prepared to burst out, getting the Titans' attention in a very big way. Unknown to him, Sanza was several floors above, making his own plan.
"Something doesn't feel right," came the detective-esque voice of the leader of the Titans.
Rev couldn't see from where he was crouching, but he could imagine who the speaker was. Sanza had enlightened him… he could practically hear the 'head-scratch' in Robin's voice, even more so as the Boy Wonder continued.
"Why would they call us to deal with a bunch of average criminals? From what we've seen, these could just be a bunch of pranksters…"
Rev sniggered lightly when he heard that comment. The raised pistol wavered, just a bit. He wondered exactly how much truth there was to that statement.
"Or this could just be a prank call…" came the soft voice of someone Sanza hadn't found the time to describe. The voice was calm and delicate. Rev wondered if this girl was that Tamaranian he had heard Sanza briefly go on about.
"Yeah, some people think we have nothing to do but sit in our tower and wait for them to call us," laughed a steely voice. An interesting paradox… the voice had an unnatural quality to it, this surely would be the robot man in their group.
"Haha, good one, Cy!" came a childish voice. At first Rev thought the voice was so high-pitched it must surely be a female, but upon the snorts of laughter that followed the comment, it was clear it was just some adolescent and immature boy. Rev's grip on the pistol tightened, he did not like to hear the sound of this child's voice as Rev prepared to burst through the door and greet the Titans himself.
Then a miraculous thing happened.
Actually, several miraculous things. Later, looking back on the event, Rev would wonder if the forces of nature were conspiring with each other that fateful day. After all, how many miracles could you string in a row? During days like this, that number seemed to be upwards of infinite. It seemed the world was revolving around you, the whole universe seemed to be trying to make life easier for you. When one of these rare moments passed you by, it was best to accept it with no questions asked.
The green changeling finally shut his mouth, meaning Rev's temptation to either go out and take the gun to Beast Boy's voice box faded along with his own desire to slam his pistol into his temple just to get the chatterbox to quiet down.
Meanwhile, Sanza was busy playing parkour as he scaled upstairs until he had a very high vantage point over the whole situation. From up here, he could hear the Titans conversing casually while Rev crouched hidden in the nearby room, his heart likely beating hard as the Titans started creeping closer. But Sanza still had his message to prove, with the graffiti spray can in one hand and the pistol Rev had given him in the other.
Despite what busybodies and the government believed, graffiti was done to create a point. More often than not, it wasn't just pointless vandalism or teenage recklessness, it was just sometimes that the point they wanted to make was emphasized through the gang signs they drew, or the vivid symbols they drew. Sanza stood on the ledge making his message. He was precariously balanced, the drafty wind making life that little bit more difficult for the rebellious teen. After the deed was done, Sanza grabbed the now-empty can and prepared to give it a good fling. This was the important part. As he flung the can high over the ledge, balancing carefully so he didn't follow it down, he drew a bead on it with his pistol, knowing in order to get the desired effect he would have to do this just right. Thankfully, Rev had forced him to take some lessons before they had set off, something about 'Make sure you don't shoot yourself in the foot' or something strangely over protective like that.
The Hispanic teen let a bullet fly from the muzzle, relieved to hear the smooshing sound of the bullet impacting the can before a much louder explosion as the flammable remnants of the spray spontaneously combusted, leading to quite the light show and the metaphorical 'oohs and ahhs' of the crowd below, and by crowd we mean Titans and by ooh and aahs we mainly mean shouts and cries of surprise.
Sanza sprinted off from the pedestrian ledge, the pistol back in its holster as he ran off to his evacuation spot, a large grin on his face as he was sure of the reception that there would be due to what he had done. Rev's face, well his mask, was right by the window, and the combustion explosion quickly caught his eyes. As Rev witnessed the bright burst of light and heat, he noticed something in the background. He could have just been imagining it, an eerie trick of the light, but Rev knew his eyesight didn't lie. Rev swore under his breath as he read the message, knowing he now had perhaps moments until he started the conflict, he would have to use this distraction to his advantage.
"But holy Mother Mary, he didn't…"
The words "RED X LIVES" were etched into the dusty concrete in large dark letters.
The five Titans looked up, dumbfounded, but thankfully before any of them had time to think about the complications about what they had just seen, they were treated to the instantaneous reaction of having someone shoot at them.
Rev burst from his hiding spot, guns-a-blazing. Rev didn't want to actually decapitate any of them, so as soon as he burst onto the scene he wasn't exactly who or where he could shoot. The scantily-clad female was an alluring target, so much bare flesh would have made life so easy if he had been out there to kill them, but that wasn't his job today… so he opted to unload his bullets on the guy with built-in armor. After all if the guy was half-metal he could probably take a fair bit of torment as Cyborg was knocked back by the hailstorm of Xynothium bullets.
Robin barely had time to issue an announcement.
Robin ran for cover, trying to make some sense of the situation before things got even more hostile. Starfire was next to him, returning fire with her thrown Starbolts which sent the surprised Rev flying backwards after a direct hit after Starfire shrugged off a slug to the abdomen.
"Damn, he said they had a few tricks up their sleeve but you could've mentioned that…" Rev coughed as he got back to his feet and sprinted off, knowing he had gotten the Titans' attention. Suddenly, the Titans realized how alone they were and Robin could recover and make some good decisions.
"Did you guys see that? That explosion up there, I swear I saw a guy up there."
Raven nodded, "Must have been an accomplice… but these guys mean business, must be why they sent for the Titans."
"But I'm sure we sure can take 'em!" added Beast Boy optimistically while Raven rolled her eyes.
"Split up, Titans! Star and Cy, you go check out the partner, see if you can find any clues. BB, Rae, you're with me! Titans! Move out!" Robin declared confidently, as he looked back up on the spray-painting again, unsettled by what was written there as the teams split up.
"This is definitely something Robin is going to want to see," murmured Cyborg as he looked over the graffiti, the ominously spray-painted comments, before snapping a picture with a handy built in camera he had installed recently.
"But the other criminal is gone… what do you think it all means?" asked Starfire.
"I don't have a clue… but Robin is going to have an idea. It could just be some prank, or those thieves are just trying to mess with our heads," Cyborg hypothesized, scratching his head as he set back down towards the ground floor.
The Titans had pursued him, just like Rev had foreseen. Amazingly, Sanza's little gambit had turned for the better, as the Titans had reduced in numbers. Rev smiled, relieved that now the odds were only three on one as he begin firing his dual Xynothium-powered pistols at the first Titan that appeared. This Titan seemed unfathomed by the flood of bullets that were about to impact her, and a moment later, Rev could see why. She had conjured up a energy shield in which the Xynothium-tipped bullets had harmlessly dissipated in, much to Rev's dismay.
But this masked warrior was good at what he did. He sent a hailstorm of bullets flying Raven's way, the initial burst aiming at Raven's face, while another cluster of bullets was aimed at her knees. The skilled telepath managed to block these as well. She instantly went from defense to offense as she fired a dark energy blast aimed at Rev's chest… she wasn't going to let this so-called protector take down her friends without some retribution,
"Nicely done, but let's see you block this," Rev murmured as he began to move, adjusting the angle of his shots.
Rev rolled out of the way and prepared for a new offensive stance by stretching his arms, so both arms were straight, setting the dial on his pistols to automatic using his thumb, and began firing one of his guns from the highest vantage point and one from the lowest. He probably looked ridiculous doing it and it did look absolutely idiotic, but it certainly did its job. The advantage of using this strange position to fire his weapons was it allowed him a pair of different vantage points, a large variety of angles to choose from. The main disadvantage of using this position was it made the person using this stance look like an absolute fool. It was also difficult for the non-dexterous to shoot well with such a bent back wrist and trigger fingers, not like that was a problem for a master marksman.
Raven had to use up her energy to guard both spots, but by doing so, had effectively blocked her view with her own shield, which was just what Rev had been hoping for. Running awkwardly due to the way his guns were positioned but still firing as he reached within striking distance of Raven, Rev charged the half-demoness. She charged up for another attack, but Rev wasn't going to let her take it, as he promptly returned his guns to their holsters and charged at Raven, hoping that her shield had been prepared only to block energy attacks, like the bullets he had been firing at her. He shoulder charged Raven, knocking her back… but only after he had rammed her did he realize what a precarious position she had been in. Raven had been dangerously close to the edge of the balcony, and due to Rev throwing all his body weight into her, the impact looked to be enough to knock her skinny and light frame off the edge.
He hadn't been aware this Titan could fly, so despite seeing an angry-looking Robin draw his bo staff and prepare to attack him, he leapt after her. It was not a very tactically sound move as his boot skimmed right on the edge of the balcony, but as luck would have it, or 'as God would have it' as Rev would have liked to call it, Rev managed to just grasp Raven's cold grey-skinned hand and haul her back in. For a moment, as the force of tugging her back up from her downfall, Raven's hood fell back, revealing her glimmering dark eyes. For just a moment, just a tiny, little moment while the pair was in the air, their eyes aligned and Raven could just make out the little wisps of Reverend's vivid eyes from that dark visor. It was an encounter not unlike Red X and Terra's during their fateful night in the sinister Sedaris' labyrinth, only with one slight difference. The savior wasn't going to get a slap on the back, or even a thank you as a present, he was going to get a bo staff to the face as his reward for diligence.
He gently placed Raven down, barely getting a second before the leader of the Titans flew in. Robin demanded Rev let her go, clearly unaware of what he had just done as the he slammed his boot into Rev's back, knocking him away. He then swung his bo staff into the stunned Rev's face, sending him hurtling away from the speechless Raven.
Raven was still in awe and shock at what had happened, and the events that were about to unfurl were going to make it even harder to comprehend as she noticed a small piano-black capsule land near her feet. She looked at it for a moment, figuring it sure didn't look like any type of rubble or other kind of debris that had come from their makeshift battleground. She was right, pity she only realized this right after the capsule exploded, knocking her-already seated body into the air and landing painfully on her back, out of the conflict.
Rev barely had time to toss the little black explosive towards the downed telepath in between parrying and dodging Robin's bo staff onslaught. He had to quickly return his pistols to his holster and draw his blades to his defense as the whirling bo staff continued to batter him. The hooded warrior knew he was on the defensive while Robin attacked relentlessly, feigning a rotation to his left, and then pivoting to the right with his bo staff raised at face level. A move Rev could appreciate, though despite being knocked back by the grievous blow, the metal of Robin's staff rang painfully with the metal of Reverend's mask. Robin's attack had been surprisingly impressive, though Rev still felt that Sanza had been overexaggerating when he spoke of Robin's might. Rev couldn't deny he was tactically losing ground, Robin's bo staff attacks were overwhelming him. Rev's drawn twin knives were lethal offensive weapons, yes, but they had the unfortunate drawback of brittleness and thin design, and they were gradually being worn down by the blocking Robin's heavy metal staff's strikes. If Robin kept up this aggressive attack, eventually Rev's trusty weapons would snap under the pressure.
Robin's staff whacked Rev backwards, dumping the hooded figure unceremoniously to the floor. Rev quickly retracted his blades before he rubbed his mask where the staff had whacked him, his face still throbbing from that Starbolt the Tamaranian girl had launched at him. The stinging smack from Robin had only compounded the pain as he tried to get back to his feet. His head fell back as he leant backwards, surprised by the metal bo staff that had materialized right in front of his face before he could blink. Robin had launched a brutally efficient attack as the metal weapon slammed into Reverend's face once again, sending him hurtling to the floor.
Rev was a master of counterattacks and defensive maneuvers, and he managed to cushion the blow by twisting his body into a backwards roll so that he would land on his feet instead of flat on his back. Robin recognized the movement and promptly swept Rev's feet away as soon as he landed, depriving him of a stable footing. With that, the mysterious masked man was dumped unceremoniously to the floor, with a stiff-lipped Robin towering over him with his weapon in hand, pausing momentarily to give his foe a moment to recover. He didn't want to kill his opponent… though he didn't know that Rev was thinking this exact same thing.
Robin showed little-to-no recognition of the fact that Rev had just aided his ally. In fact the Boy Wonder seemed to be particularly aggressive in his attacks. Perhaps Sanza's stunt had really infuriated him.... Robin knocked him down to the floor again with a powerful leaping strike that crashed past Rev's guard. Rev stood back up, groaning as another blow from Robin's metal staff smacked into his jaw, the small area that wasn't protected by the mask. This sent Rev down to the ground yet again.
"Oh well… it wouldn't have changed anything anyway," Reverend mumbled under his breath as he got to his feet, surveying the situation again.
Seeing as how the stunned telepath seemed to be recovering quickly, Rev opted for the running game. He scrambled to his feet, retracted his blades, and sprinted off towards the narrow pass that must have served as a alleyway in the district's golden days. He felt Robin's bo staff swing at him and miss him by a hair. Rev was deceptively quick, able to just move out of range. The tactically sound plan of Rev's was to run out the clock as he heard the echoing footsteps of his pursuer and continued running. He knew without a doubt that the Boy Wonder was right on his heels… but Rev knew the running charade could only go for so long. He tilted his head slightly, just enough so out of the corner of his eye he could see the hazy shadow of the approaching Robin, the boy's comically colorful costume making it slightly easier. Rev stifled a laugh as he wondered why on earth would these self-proclaimed protectors dress so strangely… it seemed stealth was out of the question when you dressed like a traffic light.
Rev wore a bland smile under his mask, had been wearing it since the battle begun. He was barely aware of it… the simple show of emotion showed that Rev was thoroughly enjoying this moment. After all, just because it was a matter of life and death didn't mean it couldn't be fun, right?
Breathing deeply, relishing the moment as he drank in the adrenaline, letting it fill him up like a glass, Rev's wild grey eyes twinkled as he felt the spirit of dangerous playfulness coming over him again, as he felt a techno tune began to subtly play within his mind.
I feel you creeping, I can see it from my shadow…
Reverend turned the corner of the alley, spinning on the ball of his foot as he swiftly changed direction. The alleyways of this one-time residential district seemed to have been designed like a maze, perhaps one of the reasons it eventually came to become disused. It was a fact that Rev was somewhat grateful for, because he had little doubt that he would be able to take on one Titan by himself. But it was the whole 'team thing' that made the Titans so dangerous. After all, one minute you could be fighting one clown that was laughably easy to defeat… and the next moment you'd be fighting a focused army of five that would kick your butt so quickly and thoroughly that realization would burst through your subconscious like a stinging Starbolt to the face. And before you know it, suddenly that playful comedy of yours wasn't nearly as funny! Especially when you ended up being carted off to jail…
Though the place was built like a maze, it was thankfully built like an easy maze, which made life significantly easier, as Rev had little desire to try to take on several Titans simultaneously. The brief battles with the first two Titans had already been quite tiring, and Rev was likely going to have to take the long walk home, though that was a necessary action (considering the alternative was a ride in a police van). Rev still wanted to deal with this relatively quickly. His Hispanic comrade should be long gone by now, considering Sanza wasn't foolish enough to try something else, though if that happened…
"I'll kill that kid myself, what is he doing? Trying to get us killed? Or worse, arrested?"
But Reverend pushed that thought from his mind, though that was something that certainly had to be later addressed as he looked to see if he could use the terrain to his advantage. The hooded warrior arrived at a snowy patch right on the outskirts of the district before slipping out of sight, disappearing in an attempt to ambush his pursuer-turned-prey.
As Rev felt the music pulse in his ears as he tapped his foot to the mental beat, prepared to draw his jagged twin knives and see how good the kid brandishing the bo staff was at real hand-to-hand combat.
Upfront style, ready to attack now…
"I'll give you one chance. I saw what you did to my friend. Surrender and wait for the police," Robin declared coldly. Clearly he hadn't seen the whole confrontation though.
Rev grinned, though Robin wouldn't be able to see it. He rubbed the back of the jet black beanie he was wearing over his hair with one hand while sneakily digging into his pocket with the other and replied.
"Did you see me save her? She would have been knocked over the edge if I hadn't grabbed her."
"What?" Robin muttered, he was for a moment confused, he had seen the final moments of the duel they had shared, and he had seen him clearly haul her back onto the balcony… though at the moment, he had assumed Raven had just fought back, and made her own way back up. Her stunned expression that was clearly visible after she had been dehooded made it clear perhaps it was not so, though during the battle and the rush of adrenaline, Robin had simply ignored it. Robin lowered his bo staff right in front of this mysterious marauder's face so it was less than an each apart. This was Robin's preferred form of conversation with criminals… an interrogation.
"Who are you? What are you?"
Rev just snickered despite Robin lightly tapping his mask with his metallic staff, causing an irritating ringing sensation.
"You shouldn't set so much importance into a name. After all, your name isn't really Robin, is it?"
Rev chuckled. His raised hands now each had one of his explosive micro capsules in them, both set to detonate two seconds after Rev released his grip, which he very nearly did as Robin let out an animalistic growl before painfully jabbing him with his staff again, this time quicker and harder, the metal staff clanging loudly against the stationary man's mask. The floored man replied, giving Robin the answer he required this time, his head pounding from the disorienting sensations. His gloved hands were still tightly gripped around the micro-explosives, he was tempted to toss them at this wannabe interrogator and damn the consequences, but he knew this was all part of the plan. He had to buy time for Sanza to get the information he needed. Also, he was doing his best not to kill the Titans, and a little conversation would give Sanza some more time as well as potentially help smooth things out in the future. He knew he had to hurry. The detonators had a minute until automatic detonation, which was something Rev certainly wanted to steer clear of… blowing off one's fingers was something best avoided.
"I'm Reverend, and who am I? That's a darn good question," Rev stated as he flicked the little explosive pellets at his captor. He felt them explode barely a moment after he released them. He thought he had timed it well, though it could have just been his imagination as he felt the hot burst of thermal energy that erupted from the pellet. Compressed Xynothium explosives were very handy little weapons to have, they packed an enormous punch for something so small. The capsule threw up dust and soot from the surroundings, and the red bursting flash from the capsule effectively blinded both combatants.
Despite this, Robin had endured worse. He swung his bo staff despite his foe's dastardly attack, planning to smack this villain's mask clean off, swinging his staff in a wide arc, hoping that his foe was far blinder than he appeared to be. Rev sensed the staff coming, with its wild angle and velocity he knew he couldn't get out of the way in time, so he did the only thing he could do.
He merely raised a hand and willed the unforgiving metal to stop.
To Robin's amazement, his staff stopped in mid-air. He could feel nothing pressing against it… it was as if some force of magnetism had just decided it should go no further, and despite Robin's attempts at repeated swings, the stubborn stick would not budge.
"It's a very, very good question Robin. What am I…? Am I a villain…" Rev declared coolly as he unclenched his fist, leading the sparkling sky-blue energy shield to deteriorate and disappear.
The suddenly-standing man smiled under his mask as Robin's staff sailed past his right shoulder and harmlessly thumped into the tiling. Rev took a quick step forward, leaned in and flexed his left wrist back, then drew the concealed finger-blade out again. His arm swung towards Robin, the blade slicing at his right shoulder, tearing straight through the fabric and drawing blood. Robin barely had time to adapt to the sudden onset of blood before Rev's gloved fist flew at him, this time a brutal right-handed fist that struck him painfully on the jaw, sending the leader of the Teen Titans hurtling backwards. Reverend was the kind of guy who would happily abuse any advantage he could get for the sake of victory. In the case he had abused the devastating factor that was surprise. Surprise had made the difference in that assault, which was exactly why only a fool squandered a weapon like the element of surprise. And Reverend was certainly no tactical fool.
Rev loomed over the floored Robin, wrapping his fingers and palm around the activated finger knife as he prepared his next attack. It was very much a role reversal from just minutes ago as Rev raised his arm and with one of his activated finger knives, which looked very much like makeshift daggers at this point, pointed at the stunned hero like an accusing finger.
"Or am I a vigilante?" Rev murmured, tipping his head mockingly as he stalked forwards.
"I know exactly what you are!" shouted Robin angrily, as he acrobatically sprung back to his feet and twirled his bo staff, ready to meet Reverend's attack head on. "You are going to jail!"
The two foes, both on opposites sides, both on different spectrums of good and evil… the cold and ruthless Reverend flew at the courageous leader of the Teen Tians. Robin was meeting Reverend's twin-bladed assault head on with his faithful bo staff, but just before the metal on each side connected, there was a fact that Robin had yet to realize.
Reverend wasn't the average tactical mind, let alone the average-minded being.
Just before his blades would have connected with Robin's staff, he retracted them quickly and ducked as Robin's swing sailed over his head, before he sneakily sunk a knee into the surprised Boy Wonder's stomach, knocking the air from Robin's lungs. Rev shoved his breathless foe to the floor with his now bladeless hands.
Robin quickly sprung back to his feet, barely getting enough time to get a sense of balance on the loose tiling before Reverend's blades appeared again and sliced towards him threateningly. Rev was well aware of his opponent's struggles, and it was his tactic to keep his foe as disoriented and as off-balance as he could, for that would only make his job easier. The now-not-so-bold leader of the Titans managed to catch his breath, shake of the persistant pains of the numerous bruises and cuts he had suffered in battle, and managed to clumsily block the first blade the flew his way. Pity his bo staff had a critical flaw that meant that Robin wouldn't be able to stand up against his brutally efficient foe.
The staff was long and heavy, not nearly as flexible and maneuvering as Rev's twin blades. Also, it's long length required two hands to use, and unless Rev was very cooperative in his aiming, there was no way the bo staff could be in two places at once, meaning there was one blade flying at him that Robin could not block. Simply put, the blades could swing at two places at the same time, while the less flexible bo staff could only block one at a time.
"Am I a heretic?" Rev murmured as he accelerated towards his foe, his single blade clashing against Robin's staff for a moment before he pushed back and swung his other blade downwards. This blade in question had quietly nicked at Robin while he had dropped his guard, clashing against Reverend's other weapon, the cold metal dealing a light wound in the Boy Wonder's side, cutting through the fabric and inflicting injury as the serrated blade just punctured the skin. Rev finished it off with a spinning kick that sent Robin crashing into a wall, his back bouncing painfully of the tiled surface.
As Robin was on his knees huffing and puffing for breath while clutching his hurt side, Reverend spoke again and his serrated blades retracted, his arms crossed relaxingly as he towered over his fallen enemy imposingly.
"Or am I a hero…"
"You're no hero!" Robin yelled defiantly as he swiftly dug into his utility belt and expertly tossed a freezing gadget and his bird-a-rang at his overconfident opponent, a deadly combo that had served him well against even the trickier foes the veteran Robin had fought in his crime-fighting career, namely against the nasty Madame Rouge. Rev didn't even flinch as he drew his Xynothium pistols and blew apart those projectiles like an easy carnival game. To Rev, the difficulty was along the same level as an amusement stall. Rev chuckled lightly as the expensive technology littered the ground as worthless scrap in seconds.
"Nice try, kid."
A bold Robin hadn't given up his offense yet. He lunged with his bo staff, his brutal attack intensifying as even Rev was forced backwards by this dangerous development. Robin shocked the pistols right out of his enemy's hand as he came on relentlessly, whamming Rev backwards with his staff as Rev desperately dodged and parried, calling defensive measures again. Rev was forced to use his defensive energy shields due to the aggression of Robin's attack, and he began to lose ground… but the dedicated and undoubtedly furious Robin just kept on coming, tirelessly ferocious. That lethal staff was everywhere, flashing and whirling faster and faster until Rev saw the room through an electric haze. Even Rev and his superior eyesight was struggling to keep up with the blistering quick offensive. His body and his sight were so fatigued from fending off the other Titans…
Robin, despite being the only one without powers, had proven to be most deadly. It was a lethal and dangerous dance these two played, these two evenly matched foes, these two similar yet so contrastingly different warriors. It was in this war of attrition and precision that lives would be changed forever. These one-time ordinary boys without powers, embarking on a duel in which mistakes were made in millimeters, not inches, and mistakes were paid for with blood and pain.
Robin, with the advantage of youth and energy, began to get the upper hand as he landed a blow on Reverend's chest, knocking him back slightly as the man met this attack in kind. But Reverend, also a man without powers, wasn't going to lose to that minor attack. He wasn't without his ace in the hole, he wasn't defeated yet. After Robin's bo staff slammed hard against his energy shields once more, Rev quickly deactivated the shields and took the initiative, experimenting with a maneuver he had yet to use or even tested before this day.
Rev feigned a rotation to his left, raised his blades menacingly, and then as soon as he saw Robin raise his weapon to guard, he turned on the ball of his foot and then pivoted to the right with his blades raised at face level. Robin was a practitioner of this technique, so he managed to react in time, getting his metal staff to block the sudden attack right before Rev's blades would have sliced across his face.
Rev paused for a second, impressed that the Boy Wonder had managed to guard in time as he opened his mouth yet again with another cryptic phrase.
"Am I a scoundrel…" whispered Reverend, so only Robin who was barely an inch away from him could hear him, as he pressed on Robin's failing guard with all his body weight and momentum, forcing the Boy Wonder to give.
Robin grunted as he lost ground and prepared to shove Reverend off. At the precise moment he began to exert extra effort from his dwindling stamina levels to force his foe back, at the exact same moment Robin sent his momentum tumbling forward, Reverend retracted his dual blades and ducked, the sudden lack of effort sending Robin lunging forwards, off-balance. Reverend did what he always did in situations like these. He thoroughly and abusively took advantage of it. He promptly sent Robin stumbling back with a blitz of well armed punches, finishing it with a solid knock to the forehead that really sent the leader of the Titans flying as Robin thumped the back wall again, his head a jumble of shapes and colors and sounds.
The final impact was a burst of white fire, and there was a second stinging impact against his back that was the cold back wall, as Robin looked hazily at the figure that towered over him. He blinked rapidly, trying to clear his head. The next sensation he would feel would be twin blasts of excruciating pain as Rev raised his hands and dragged his twin blades right into Robin's shoulder blades as the proud hero screamed in agony. The boy wonder lay there in absolute anguish as stubborn blackness tempted to invade his mind with reassuring darkness.
The brutal victor of this duel loomed over him, his twin blades flashing in the light as the snow around Robin gradually began to redden ominously...
He pointed his blades at Robin's throat before whispering, "Or am I a savior…
As Robin lay there in his wounded state, back propped up against the wall, his head still spinning, Reverend spoke. It was an amiable, casual voice, as if he had just bumped into someone he knew at a party.
"I must say, Robin, your skills were quite impressive. I didn't think I'd have to go as far as to incapacitate anyone."
Robin's only response was to give an animalistic grunt in response to that statement, he wasn't in much of a condition to chit-chat.
"I wouldn't worry about you wounds Robin, I aimed well. Those wounds aren't fatal, merely rather painful," Rev continued, a gentle smile under the mask as he retracted his dual blades.
Before even contemplating the reason why this villain was still talking, Robin, who had recovered enough of his sense to be outraged and infuriated about who was talking to him but not quite enough to wonder why, spat, "I think I noticed the pain!"
"You're lucky I aimed well, if I had missed by an inch you'd be crippled for life," shrugged Rev nonchalantly as he picked up Robin's bo staff,. Rev always was the type to pick up a few mementos on his journey, and Robin was hardly in a state to do anything about it.
"Why are you doing this? You picked a fight with us, what do you want?"
"Hm… what do I want…" Rev pondered as playfully twirled Robin's staff. "How about this, then?"
The staff-wielding man bent down and took out Robin's communicator, and dumped it in Robin's hands.
"How's about, I don't want you to bleed to death, go on, call your friends. Tell them to get here as soon as possible," Rev said in a tone that seemed so casual, so peaceful, but perhaps it was that aspect of him that made him seem more the manic that he was, as he walked over, bent down and picked up the Xynothium-powered pistol that Robin had knocked away in the scuffle.
"I'm not going to let you use me as a trap to get my friends!" Robin yelled defiantly as he tried to pick himself up. The Boy Wonder failed, clearly unaware of the growing dark bloody stain on his shirt that had already stained the green forearms of his costume a much more sinister shade of green, a deep darker green, the color of gruesome gangrene and poison ivy.
"Haha, not everything's all about you, Robin…" Rev snickered as he pointed at the growing pink stain in the snow so Robin realized just how dire his predicament was. Rev laughed again as he walked away from Robin, trekking in the snow back to the entrance of the deserted housing estate, but before he left the bleeding Boy Wonder, Rev smiled and called to him one last time.
"You can be noble and bleed for a little bit longer, or you can come to your senses and call your teammates over," Rev smirked as he bid Robin adieu. He mockingly saluted Robin and then departed.
Robin growled angrily, but despite the intense smoldering sensations flooding his body and clouding his mind, he recognized that mocking salute and only then did he realize the connection. This mysterious figure was one they had fought before.
He painfully tried to use his hands to lift up his communicator, but the pain was intense as he eventually had to resort to just pressing down on Send and shouting his message… not so much because he was angry, but more so because his shoulders were so numb with pain that he could barely muster the strength (and the willpower) to lift the communicator up to his mouth.
"Titans, the villain is escaping, he's going to the entrance, stop him…!" Robin shut his eyes and tried to block out the pain as he put the communicator back down, though he was faintly reassured when he heard a familiar crackly voice over the monitor.
"Are you damaged Robin? You sound… hurt…"
Hearing the compassion evident in the Tamaranian's voice meant so much to Robin, just hearing her voice was a real morale booster as the boy wonder painfully got to his feet, ignoring the screams coming from his wounds as he painfully hobbled a few stops.
"I'm fine Star, I'm coming to meet you guys, don't wait for me, just stop the criminal."
Robin limped forward as he took his first sore step. He hobbled forwards, grasping for his discarded bo staff so he could use it as a makeshift crutch trying to get back to the others, gravely hoping that Reverend was exaggerating when he spoke about 'bleeding to death'.
Reverend left the incpaitated hero quickly, knowing that this had dragged on longer than he had expected. He knew his limits and was casually making his way to the exit when he felt about 600 pounds of mean machine ram into him, sending him flying head over heels as he landed painfully, thankfully cushioned what would have been a disabling blow by the soft snow.
"Booyah, you're gonna pay for challenging the Titans!"
The cold, wet, and fatigued man got up from the snow and rubbed his sore chest as Cyborg pressed the offensive. Clearly, seeing Robin's bo staff in his hands had given him all the incentive to be aggressive as Cyborg's metallic fist punched the floored foe squarely in the chest and sent him flying back into a tiled wall, knocking him the breath out of his lungs.
Rev groaned again as he got up, unfurling his palms as he prepared to fend off the next attack. Rev looked up, breathless as the metal man faced him, towering over him menacingly.
"Why can't anything go my way today... You just had to not get Robin's distress call..."
Reverend was a tactical mind, it was the kind of military mind that would be most comfortable sitting in a planning room, meticulously and strategically plotting planned attacks, tactically ruthless and watching as the devastating attack unfurled. He was very much like a grandmaster behind a chess board, with carefully planned attacks, predicting and anticipating his opponent's actions. In his mind, we were all players in a giant chessboard, all trying to achieve some unspeakable goal.
And he was a pure strategist at heart, so when he saw the looming metal figure over him, guessing that Cyborg was perhaps four times his weight, he realized this was really his biggest mismatch. Cyborg's mainly metallic body meant that Reverend's knife would be near-useless, not to mention that metal armor meant that even Xynothium tipped bullets would likely just harmlessly clang off him and Cyborg's immense bulk meant that the robot had the muscle to overcome his agility in a grueling head-on battle.. Or he could just keeping firing energy blasts, this was a fact Rev became painfully aware of as Cyborg shot at him with his cannon, knocking him back again.
Rev gritted his teeth and got to his feet, his mood turning quite 'lethal' as he deflected incoming another energy blast. With a clench of his fist and a flick of his wrist, the energy blast from Cyborg's cannon slammed into the structure of the abandoned residential area. Rev accelerated towards his foe, his fists clenched as he leapt over an incoming fist the size of a large wok. He pressed his palms, hands filled with explosive capsules against the robot body of Cyborg, who promptly tried to shake him off with monstrous strength. Rev met him with little resistance, quickly darting away as the capsules had a short timer.
One large explosion later, as Cyborg collapsed to the floor, the Xynothium explosion doing a good job of overloading his cybernetic joints, a very weary Rev jogged away from the scene, thankful that finally this was all over.
These were his fleeting thoughts until he bumped into a scowling bronze-skinned Tamaranian on the other side.
"You will pay for hurting my friends."
Starfire couldn't see under Rev's mask, but Rev had the look of a man who just had been politely asked to participate in an oral body cavity search. His eyes were wide and his mouth was gaping, he couldn't believe his luck.
He tried to play the diplomat one last time.
"Listen girl, your friends couldn't stop me, neither can you. It would be best for both of us if you just stepped aside," Rev asked cordially, almost praying that she wouldn't be stubborn enough to just stand in his way.
Starfire just stood there, a determined expression on her face, her hands on her hips imposingly, Rev was good at reading people, especially through their body language, he knew she wasn't going to budge.
"Well, you can't blame a guy for trying… Sorry about this red, but you just had to be all stubborn…" Rev mumbled under his breath as he dug into his pockets to his dwindling supply of explosive capsules and prepared to swing a fist at the alien girl.
The mysterious masked man sprinted away from the wake of destruction he had intentionally caused. It was a tactically-sound move, but that fact did little to reassure his overactive conscience, which was still currently berating him for smacking a girl around, as even smacking around a superhuman one, a super strong alien girl capable of shooting bolts from her hand, was a bad thing. Hopefully the next Titans would be less mentally-stressful and stressful than the bronze-skinned Tamaranian heroine. Rev had easily shoulder barged the green-faced youth out of the way, and even if it was borderline bullying, Rev was always willing to make the necessary move for the greater good. Plus, it wasn't like he was going to kill them or anything.
Rev was a fine athletic specimen, with his sharp eyes and toned muscles. He also had legs that could gallop like a horse and arms that worked like a honed karate master, in most aspects this would be most impressive. However despite these incredible human attributes, he was only human and that would be his downfall. Rev was mustering an impressive pace but the flexible, adaptable green changeling could do one better
It was while Rev was deliberating when he felt about 120 pounds of mean, green cheetah tackling him to the ground. The explosively quick mammal slammed Rev to the ground and growled menacingly, clearly not very appreciative of the shoulder barge Rev had sent his way moments ago.
The cheetah was one of the marvels of Mother Nature's creation. It could go from 0 to 110 km/h in 3 seconds, which was exactly how long a breather Rev got after smacking Beast Boy. Even the peaks of physical prowess possessed by Rev, the downright superhuman rate of forty-two kilometers per hour, a blistering pace of 11.7 meters per second, a pace that wasn't far off from Usain Bolt. Quite impressive, considering how fatigued and bogged down Rev was with his equipment. Rev was a hit-and-run guy after all, and his always had the feeling that his lack of stamina was going to be the death of him. Despite Rev's impressive performance, he still wasn't able to stand against the cheetah's 'blink and you'll mess it' speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or a whizzing speed of 33 meters per second.
Rev tasted dust in his throat as his metal mask rung painfully. He plummeted face-first into the ground, the impact rattling and almost dislodging his mask. Beast Boy was snarling savagely at Rev. The changeling wasn't actually going to rip Rev's throat out, but intimidation was always a good defense, and Beast Boy had seen what Rev had done to his teammates. Mercy was very rarely reserved for the likes of villains like Reverend.
But Rev had gone too far to be defied now, least of all by a kid he didn't even look like he had started shaving yet. The changeling had his paws pressed over Rev's back, pressing him down in the cold ground and pinning him to the floor… but Rev still had one ace up his sleeve, in both senses of the word.
Beast Boy had neglected to pin Rev's hands down, assuming he wouldn't be able to do anything aside from flail about, but his assumption would soon be proven wrong. Rev slammed the back of his hands into the gravel floor, twitching his wrist to activate his energy shields. The repulse force generated by the shields knocked Rev upright, onto his shaky feet and sent the aggressive feline flying backwards. Beast Boy detransformed, lying painfully on his back… clearly, the surprise attack his been quite effective.
The weary masked warrior wiped his face gingerly before hobbling away, digging into his deep pockets, trying to limp across the next corner, desperately hoping this gambit would day off.
The green changeling was persistent though, and he quickly retransformed into the trusty cheetah and bounded off to try to catch the fleeing villain. Despite the persistant body pains and his aching joints Rev had to adjust from a limping-crawl to a brisk jog as he saw the pursuing opponent, he had to break into a painful sprint as the feline began to draw dangerously close, Rev chanced a glance over his shoulder, dangerously decelerating, losing valuable time and speed. Rev wanted to keep a modest distance between the nasty cat, but Beast Boy was right on his heels.
Rev knew he had to improvise. He had to use the terrain to his advantage, much like he had against the physically proficient Cyborg, in order to defeat this crafty changeling.
Rev grabbed the pole with his gloved hand, while his other fist lay clenched, skirting across the corner, Cheetahs were incredible creatures, capable of astounding speed… but they were savannah creatures, animals of the open plains, who used their speed most efficiently when they could just keep on galloping without changing direction. So naturally, Rev made Beast Boy's life tougher for him as he turned sharply. The green changeling shuddered to a halt before transforming into an imposing gorilla, preparing for Rev's improvised ambush.
The gorilla stalked towards across the corner, only to be greeted by a waving Rev, who greeted the towering primate with several well aimed fists to the monkey's head region, giving Beast Boy's brain a good knocking. He finished it off with a savage kick to the face, knocking a still-transformed Beast Boy down to the ground. Rev finished off his calculated plan, shaking his wrist and fingers, thinking 'that boy sure was thick-skulled'…
Beast Boy was still disoriented, suffering from a mild concussion due to the practiced strike, but he quickly recovered and growled at his opponent, who was casually waving to him, gesturing something explicit. Only then did it hit him. Quite literally, Rev had been cockily waving the changeling farewell, as Beast Boy recognized the dark capsules that lay near his gigantic green feet, the expressive primate showed an expression that surely would be recognized across the animal kingdom, the gorilla's mouth lay gaped and the look on his face suggested exactly one thing.
A flash of crimson red and a small explosion of dust and shattered snow droplets later, a profusely sweating Reverend stepped over the detransformed unconscious body of the fallen hero. The green changeling would be fine for the most part, though there could really never be such a thing as 'a good concussion', but he'd live, no doubt about it, as Rev brushed his cloak. The Xynothium powered explosion had stained him and the neighboring area with charred snow and soot, creating an almost artistic effect, an eerie contrast from the hallow sky and the white flurry.
Rev resisted the urge to rip off his constrictively-tight mask and instead quickly hopped away from the platform in which Beast Boy's body laid, soft snow forming on his lifeless form. He knew that while things had been going according to his plan, at least for the most part, things had gone bloodier than Rev would have liked, and he would certainly have liked to do things better… but that couldn't be helped. Rev briskly jogged down the alleyways, looking to get some distance between the Titans, as the snarky inner tactician in Rev reminded him that due to his depleted stamina he would have little chance in beating them again. Moreso if that 'team' thing became a factor as well, because then it would go from 'if you get lucky' to 'throwing up a prayer'.
Time was of the essence, so the grimy, sweaty, dust-smeared man scaled down several walls quickly but carefully. Rev's high-grip hiking boots made life easier, but he still certainly didn't want to do himself an injury. Rev buried his nerves as he looked at the spinning view, then he began the descent, jumping and climbing off apartment balconies and ledges till he reached the absolute ground floor of the whole facility, right outside the district's 'official entrance' or whatever you would call it now. He had finally arrived at his destination. Rev was glad the information they needed happened to be in a place with so many places to hide and run around in. Rev was right on the outskirts of Jump City, and no doubt the Titans would be on his tail by now, so he had to divert them before escaping back to his little base in Chinatown.
There was a grimy abandoned shop across the snowy road, and Rev cautiously trekked towards it, his hand on his holster just in case. Rev gently nudged the boarded-up glass doors open with his shoulder, peeking inside for what he was looking for. The shop had clearly seen better days, the lighting was terrible and there seemed to be some kind of infestation in there, but Rev paid no heed to it as there was only thing on his mind. Rev was always focused in that regard, he had one but one mission and he was going to do everything he had to do to make sure he succeeded in his mission.
The shop was once a convenience store, it was something Rev had noted and had taken into account when he and Sanza had first arrived at the place to scout out potential escape routes, Sanza being the master thief had stated how it would likely be a good place for a hiding spot but Rev was better with improvisation and he had an even better idea. He dug around the place for a while till he found an old-school trolley in serviceable condition and promptly tossed a few random cardboard boxes, cans, expired vegetation, anything he could find till he filled the trolley up. Rev smiled as he did this, feeling oddly like an elderly grandmother going grocery shopping. Rev walked by the counter, pausing for a second as he considered paying till he remembered this wasn't technically stealing and then walked out, smiling as he did so, knowing he was almost done.
Rev inserted a handful of explosive Xynothium capsules into the hastily filled sack of garbage and gave the rusty trolley a good boot, watching as the small wheels on the trolley squealed as it was propelled down the street, the things had a brief timer so Rev set off running until soon he heard a boom that was deafening even from the generous distance that Rev had put between him and the trolley.
"That should get their attention."
As Rev jogged in the opposite direction from the improvised bomb of his, Rev slowly walked over to the bus stop and waited casually, pulling down his hood and his dusty trench coat before stripping off his mask so wouldn't look some a cross between a distinguished war veteran and a recent Halloween reject.
Rev wrapped his mask in between his jacket and closed his eyes, wiping some of the grit off his face with the back of his hand, enjoying the feeling of cool air against his face. He felt a light melody waft into his mind and within a second he was singing along, a quiet, harmonious tune. Rev was so into the relaxing soft-rock song that if the Titans had materialized right beside him he wouldn't have batted an eyelid.
alive, stayin' alive.
Feel the city breakin'
And ev'rybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive…
Wow, this was a fun
chapter to write and a really long one. This could have been easily
split in half and it still would have been okay. I like to be special
for no.7, it's a holy number and all...
Enjoy readers. No spoilers, but the next chapter is "the union."