Chapter 6: Concern
Beast Boy was back in his room, sitting on the edge of his bed. To an onlooker he might have seemed calm maybe even complacent, but in all actuality his mind was a complete mess. Thoughts tripping over one another, emotions running rampant; Beast Boy's head was a jumble in complete and utter chaos.
'Why couldn't they just let me be?' he thought, 'Now look at them. I could see it; I could see it in their eyes. Pity, worry, fear, everything I can't stand to see for my sake. Pity because they feel bad for me? I'm fine. Can't they see I'm fine? I act fine even when I'm not…especially when I'm not.
Worry because they think I can't handle it? Of course I can; I've been able to handle it for years. It's no different now. A little pain has never slowed me down; I proved that today. What happened to my arm means nothing. I just made a small mistake. It happens to the best of us, right?
And the fear-oh the fear in their eyes. It hurts me the most and I don't even know why they're afraid. Are they afraid of what I've been through? What I've done? Maybe they think I'm losing control. No, that can't be it. They're afraid I won't be able to stay on the team; maybe that they'll have to take me off the team. But that won't happen. I won't let it. They'll have to seal me in a cage before I stop'
Beast Boy shifted uncomfortably at the word cage.
"Augh!" he cried as a new wave of pain ripped through his arm.
'Damn it! I can't let this happen again. But what if it doesn't get better? What if the pain keeps getting worse? I can only hold out in one form for so long now, never mind morphing frequently during battle. The agony is just to distracting and…intense. And it's not like I can train anymore; that'll just speed up the process. I have to figure this out and fast. If I don't- no, I can't think about that- if I don't I'll have to tell the titans more about my past, something neither of us want to go through. Tonight's story was enough of a damper…and none of them asked. Not one person asked why I didn't do anything; why I didn't help them; why I just sat on a tree branch and watched like a coward. I should have stayed and died with them but instead I abandoned them. Maybe I would have been able to save them, and then they'd still be alive. I could pick wild flowers for mom; that always made her smile. And I could help dad in the lab; I always broke something but we would laugh in the end. Now I know they watching me…with contempt and hatred; wondering why I didn't save them; why I still get to live.'
"I don't know." Beas Boy said aloud.
'Because I'm a coward. I don't deserve to live. This pain is nothing. This pain isn't worthy of being my punishment' he thought, with loathing seething from each word.
Beast Boy continued to search frantically within himself for guidance, acceptance, anything that could tell him he was worth something, but it wasn't doing any good. Quite the contrary; the more he dared to hope, the more he would sink into self-hatred.
Around this time Raven walked past his door. A shiver ran down her spine and in a split second she was overwhelmed with emotion. Pain, anger, guilt, shame, doubt, hate, devastation, confusion, fear; in the blink of an eye emotion after emotion ran through Raven at once. She quickened her pace, putting distance between herself and Beast Boy's room. The feeling was still there but faint as she stole a last glance at his door before going back downstairs to the common room.
"Guys, we have a problem." She said calmly, once she stepped through the doors.
"Sup Rae?" Cyborg asked from he seat on the couch.
"What's wrong?" Robin asked seriously.
Then titans slowly made their way into a circle around Raven.
"I was passing by his room when this…disturbance washed over me."
"I do not understand. Perhaps you needed to use the bathroom?" Starfire inquired.
Raven's eyes flat lined, "No, not that kind of disturbance, Star. It was…panic and loathing. Sadness, fear, hatred, everything was gushing from behind his walls. I'ce never felt like that before."
"What do we do?" Robin asked
"We wait." Cyborg replied, "Wait until he's ready to tell us what's wrong."
"But friend Beast Boy, he is unhappy. Should we not be doing the helping?"
"I don't think so. Not right now anyway. Lets just give the little guy some space."
"Cy's right. We don't want to ask anymore questions for a while." Robin said, while rubbing the back of his neck guiltily.
"I understand." Starfire said sadly. "It is strange. I never knew about this sadness of Beast Boy's past."
"None of us did. I think that's the way he liked it." Raven said, flipping through random pages of her book.
"And something tells me there's more to it than that. He still hasn't mentioned what happened after his parents died. I mean before the Doom Patrol." Cyborg added, furrowing his brow in thought.
"Oh but I already know the answer to that question." said a deep, bemused voice. "Cinderblock. Plasmius. Overload. It's time to put the plan into action."
"Titans! Trouble!" Robin yelled as a red light and buzzer went off in unison.
The titans assembled quickly in the common room, where Robin was typing frantically on the computer.
"Overload, Plasmius, and Cinderblock are spread across the city causing trouble. We'll have to split up. I'll send their locations to your communicators. Raven, you're on Overload. Cyborg and Beast Boy, you take Cinderblock. Me and Starfire will follow up Plasmius. Got it? Titans, go!"
In the T-car:
"Hey B?" Cyborg asked seriously.
"I don't want to stop you from fighting but…just take it easy."
"Cy, I'm fine. It sounds worse than it is."
Cyborg mentally scoffed. His stats from the training runs had already said it all, never mind the fact that Beast Boy had said it was getting worse. Regardless, he decided to play along.
"Okay, I just …you're my buddy and…"
"Are you trying to say you care about me?" Beast Boy asked teasingly, trying to steer the conversation away from himself.
"C'mon, just say it; you love me like a brother, right?"
"Now watch it string bean."
"You can admit it."
"You love me."
"Yeah, you big chunk of metal."
"No way man. I only love my T-car. She's my baby." Cyborg said, stroking he dashboard.
"Fine. Fine. If you say so…but I know you love me."
Cyborg pulled the car to an abrupt stop.
"We're here." He said, ending their banter.
"Uh, are you sure? Why would Cinderblock attack a junkyard?"
"Maybe he needed to blow off some steam? But he did break out of jail and he is on private property, so we still have a job to do."
They walked in through the front gates and it wasn't long before they found Cinderblock considering the racket he was making. Cyborg started up his sonic cannon.
"Yo, blockhead!" he yelled as he aimed.
A blue blast of light streaked toward Cinderblock. He met it with a very crumpled car. Beast Boy morphed into a small green canary, chirping tragically as he flew overtop of Cinderblock's head. He morphed again; this time into a large whale falling directly on top of Cinderblock. For a moment it seemed like he was down for the count and Beast Boy changed back into himself but he was sadly mistaken as a large concrete hand took hold of his ankle and swung him around. Beast Boy was thrown into a car windshield which instantly gained a large spiral of cracks in the centre.
"Man I thought I told you to take it easy!" Cyborg yelled as he ran in to continue the fight.
Beast Boy sat up and rubbed his back where it had hit the car the hardest. At the same time his communicator beeped and flashed. He answered to Robin's strangled yells.
"Cyborg. Beast Boy!"
"What?" Beast Boy asked worriedly.
Robin's answer was scattered as he continued fighting with Plasmius and tried to relay the message. "There's been another alert-ERR- some loggers- Star, watch it!- were attacked in an area- oof- around you guys. Are you almost done with Cinderblock?"
Beast Boy looked back up to see Cyborg and Cinderblock, hands clasped, each trying to push the other back.
"You go B! I got this." Cyborg yelled.
Beast Boy turned his attention back to his communicator, "I'm on my way."
He morphed into a falcon and took off, doing his best to muffle the screech that escaped his beak. He knew he had failed when Cyborg craned his neck in concern.
As he neared the logging site Beast Boy descended and changed back into himself, landing safely on his feet. He groaned and crouched down, rubbing his ribs painfully. He clenched his teeth as he stood back up and rolled his shoulder to loosen it up.
When he looked around everything was quiet. It didn't seem as if there had been any kind of struggle; there weren't even suspicious looking scuff marks in the dirt. Even with his enhanced senses nothing seemed amiss. Beast Boy took out his communicator and flipped it open.
"Yeah BB, what's going on?"
"Nothing. There's nothing here. It doesn't look like anything's happened Are you sure you sent me to the right place?"
It took a minute for Robin to respond, "Alright look, we've just about wrapped things up here so just wait and we'll all be up after we put these guys back in prison. It'll only be about an hour to sort this out."
"Okay, I'll take a look around until you get here."
Robin's end cut out and Beast Boy closed his communicator. In a flash it was stripped from his hand and a small cut went through his glove and into his thumb. Beast Boy whipped his head around and saw his communicator pinned to a tree with some kind of dart sticking through the center. He walked closer and, as he realized what it was, froze in place. A sharp, orange 'S' held his communicator against the tree trunk. Beast Boy heard a soft laugh behind him and, once again, whipped his head around.
"Slade." He hissed.