Chapter 1: Secrets

Beast boy sat quietly on his bed in Titan's Tower. His feet swung in a slow rhythm over the edge of the mattress and he stared at his hands, worried. Today the Titans had fought against cinderblock again and, of course, won. How Cinderblock kept on managing to break out of jail, Beast Boy didn't know, but that wasn't what was bothering him. It was the pain that had come with each time he shape-shifted into a new form. Of course shape shifting had always been painful; constantly bending, stretching, and adapting your body's natural structure isn't a walk in the park, but lately the pain had been getting worse. Each time he shifted he would have to try and make his cry of pain sound more like a weird kind of animal war cry, which looks and sounds quite stupid if you change more than once within 5 minutes. He had never told his friends about the effort and pain put into shape-shifting. And why should they know? What would it do? They would only worry and get distracted from more important issues. They might even try to stop him from fighting and protecting the city, which was the last thing he wanted. Besides, they needed him to be happy to make them happy…or at least help them unwind a bit; even if it meant getting himself into trouble.

And this was how Beast Boy decided that he would just have to grin and bear it like he always had. The only problem with this was the fact that so much pain made it hard to concentrate on the animal he was turning into. He had to visualize the animal he wanted to change into and then concentrate on shifting each part of his body to fit that form and work properly. As stupid as Beast Boy appeared to other people, he knew everything about every animal down to the last atom and to gain this knowledge he had become a master of biology (with the help of his parents before they died). He had studied them for a very long time and after a while, just by looking at an animal and watching their behavior and habits, he could guess, extremely accurately, how they worked. Of course, this was very risky considering the fact that if he was wrong, he could wind up dead or, if he was lucky, in a serious medical condition (if he shifted back to human form in time). So he only did that if he was absolutely sure of what he was doing. Now that he was getting distracted by pain by just turning into his regular shapes, he doubted he would be trying anything new for quite a while. New or uncommonly used shapes were harder to do, thus, they would probably cause him more pain. In fact, now that Beast Boy thought about it, he actually had quite a few limitations. Frequent changing and drastic changes in size could easily tire him out.

He hopped of his bed and groaned; his body was still aching, the pain still lingering in his bones. He straightened his back and walked out through the sliding door of his room with a smile forced on his face. Down in the common room Robin was at the kitchen table surrounded by a mess of papers and was scribbling ferociously on one of them. Starfire and Raven were meditating in front of the large window and Cyborg was grinning at Beast Boy, holding a Game Station controller in each hand.

"Ready to eat my dust?" he said slyly

Beast Boy's smile widened, "Yeah right dude! I'll show you how it's done." He said as he walked over to the couch and flung himself over the back to sit next to Cyborg.

"Not now guys. Meet out on the training course in 5" said Robin, finally coming away from his paper.

"Aww man!" groaned a disappointed Cyborg and Beast Boy in unison.

"Let's go." Said Cyborg

"Yah…we'll burn some virtual rubber later." Beast Boy said with a small smile.

Down at the training course, Cyborg fretted with the control panel excitedly, explaining something about the new course obstacles and monitors. Robin was quick to silence him and line the team up for a pep talk.

"Ok, our times on this course are great" he said, beaming "but" he raised a finger "I KNOW we can do better."

He blathered on for another 10 minutes saying, basically, the same thing and replaying the tapes from 2 days before, pointing out their faults.

"So, now that we've got that out of the way, Starfire why don't you start us off."

She left the ground, getting ready to fly to the start of the course,

"Wait!" Cyborg exclaimed. He held up a small, black, elastic bracelet. "This will monitor…well…everything. Pulse, brainwaves, stamina, hydration," he continued until Robin put up a hand to stop him. Cyborg attached the bracelet around Starfire's upper arm and she flew off to the beginning of the course.

"3, 2, 1…GO!" Cyborg yelled.

Starfire took off down the course and almost immediately after she started, blasters came out of the rock cliffs shooting red lasers at her. She dodged them swiftly and took out one of them with a star-bolt. Further down the course, large grey walls shot out the ground and Starfire turned upward within a split-second, just making it over. She continued to swerve as pillars punctured upward through the ground and more lasers came shooting from the walls of the small cavern trail. By the end of the course, she was just barely out of breath but her hair still fell neatly in place.

"Hey, you beat your time Star!" said Cyborg, giving her a high five. "but my new system detects that you were feeling discomfort right around here" he said pointing to the screen proudly.

"oh yes, I was partaking in the eating of zorka berries today" she said happily

Everyone looked at her confused but decided to let it go.

"Wait a minute…your sensors monitor discomfort levels too? Why does that matter?" asked Beast Boy

"Not discomfort levels. Pain levels. Star only had a small percentage, which is why I said discomfort. Isn't it great?!" he said, hugging the control panel.

"Perfect." Mumbled Beast Boy.

It would take quite a bit to get out of this one. If Starfire's zorka berry discomfort could set it off, the piercing pain Beast Boy was feeling definitely would if he tried shape-shifting. He did, however, manage to leave his turn until the very end, hoping there would be some kind of emergency to interrupt them. There wasn't; and as Robin finished scanning his results, they all turned to Beast Boy.

"Hey guys y'know I'm actually not feeling that great and I'm still a little sore from that fight with Cinderblock." Beast Boy said in his most melancholy tone.

Robin raised an eyebrow.

"Beast Boy we all have our high points and our low points. Crime doesn't stop or start for any of them. We have to be ready to fight at all times." He finished.

Beast Boy sighed "Fine."

Cyborg attached the sensor to his upper arm and Beast Boy slouched over to the beginning of the course.

"Man, the little grass stain wasn't lying. According to my readings, he's pretty beat up from today…maybe we should just let him sit this one out Robin." said Cyborg, looking to his leader.

"No Cy, didn't you hear what I was saying?"

"Yah but just take a look at this…"

Robin turned around, as well as the rest of the team, to look at the computer screen. Indeed, Beast Boy's pain levels were higher than any of them had expected but the rest of his readings were relatively normal.

"That is a little strange but we all get a few bad hits every now and then. He seems fine so lets just gets this done." Robin said, and he turned around giving Beast Boy the thumbs up.

'Ok this should be easy. All I have to do is make it through the course without changing. How hard can that be? Robin does it, right?' Beast Boy thought.

With that, he ran out to start the course.