Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
Chapter Twenty One – Lost and Found
Robin, Starfire and Cyborg sighed as they went down their seventh block that evening. It was midnight, they were exhausted. No one had seen much rest the last few days, but the last twenty-four hours had been awful. Robin wished he could tell them to go take a little down time at the Tower. That he would finish the search on his own, but he knew they wouldn't listen. They all wanted to find her and finish this, before things got out of control again. He didn't know how Norf was keeping her there, but if he hadn't realized it yet, he was eventually going to realize how she really felt about him… Robin didn't know what Norf was going to do when that happened. Was it even possible for him to get past his own delusions? Hadn't he been watching them? Hadn't he seen her "betray" him already countless times? She'd shown them the letter, been worried about her friends…maybe he couldn't process it. Robin hoped so. Raven wasn't great at showing how much she cared about others, but she had a pretty good handle on showing her dislike of something. Beast Boy probably had the biggest experience with that side of her. It would be better if Norf didn't get that impression.
He wished they could just knock on doors and ask people if they knew anyone who might fit the profile. But that wasn't a good idea. Norf could be anyone. He could live in any of the houses. For all they knew, he didn't live alone either. A seemingly normal roommate, parent or sibling could answer the door and tell them they didn't know anything. At that point Norf would be tipped off that the Titans were close to finding him. What would he do then? Would he panic? Get desperate? As they walked the streets and profiled the houses he hoped that Norf wasn't watching…that he was sleeping or something. They were trying to be quick, despite their fatigue, but maybe they weren't being quick enough.
"I think we can cross off that house." Cyborg said pointing to a bright, almost neon yellow house with sunflowers in a small flowerbed near the porch.
"I agree, it is not the house." Starfire said. Robin crossed it off his poorly drawn map of the area. It was drawn on the back of a flyer announcing a new type of beer, with a pen they'd gotten at the mini-mart on the corner. There were too many potential places for Norf to hide. There were ten apartment complexes and several businesses in the area that Red X had pointed out. Any one of them could have housed Norf's base of operations. It was too much to remember, too much to search the inside of. They had to narrow it down. He didn't think Norf would risk Raven's feelings by decorating the outside of the house in a way that would so obviously displease her. Robin was betting that wherever he was hiding, the outside would look normal or dark. It was a risk, but they were counting on it.
"Perhaps it is that one?" Starfire asked pointing to a single story home that was painted a light gray color with a white roof. The yard was kept up, not too much decorum, a couple of wind-chimes, but nothing that was too sunny, flowery or overall cheerful.
"Could be." Robin nodded marking it as a high possibility on his map. The group continued walking.
Beast Boy's eyes fluttered open slowly. He must have fallen asleep. He noticed the respirator was gone and much of the other equipment that had surrounded his bed. He was breathing on his own, he was alive, a wave of relief swept over him. For a moment he had actually been scared. He took a deep breath if only to test his lungs. It hurt a little, but he was indeed still breathing.
His eyes glanced to a clock on the wall. It was just a moment after two in the morning. He wondered what the others were doing. Had they figured out anything yet? He needed to talk to them. He pressed the button for the nurse and one came running to the side of his bed. She breathed in a sigh of relief when she saw that he appeared to be fine.
"My…friends." Beast Boy managed to say quietly. His throat was very dry.
"They're not here." The nurse frowned. "They must have gone back to the tower. I'll go get your some water." Beast Boy was stunned. Not here? Raven told him she would stick around incase he had any complications! She wouldn't have just up and left, not without a good reason. Right? What about the others, wouldn't one of them have stayed? Had the doctor told them that he was out of the woods? Is that why they decided to leave? The nurse returned quickly with a glass of water in one hand and his communicator in the other.
"Here's some water for your throat. A doctor will be in here shortly to talk to you. The other nurse on duty told me that the Titans left, but Robin asked us to make sure you had this." The nurse explained handing him both. He took the water and gulped it down quickly.
"Did he say where?" Beast Boy asked. The nurse shook her head.
"I guess he got a phone call or something before he left though. It was kind of weird." The nurse said rubbing her chin. "After that he and Starfire sprinted out of here."
"What about Raven? She wasn't there? And Cyborg?" he asked. Now he was worried.
"No, I think she went back to the tower long before that with Cyborg." The Nurse said. "Or at least that's the gossip in the break room. Poor thing, while they were waiting in the lobby to get some news about you some old man threw up all over her…" Beast Boy had to crack up a little at that. He could see it now, some old man throwing up all over Raven. She had to have been pissed. Not only was she getting stalked, but an old man threw up on her? The nurse gave him a strange look as he got lost in a fit of giggles, only stopping because his lungs hurt.
"I'll go get the doctor." The nurse said walking out after giving him another concerned glance.
Beast Boy opened his communicator. He'd call Robin. He hoped that they had some good news. When Robin's face appeared on the screen he looked surprised.
"Beast Boy?" he asked.
"The one and only." Beast Boy smiled. "What's going on?"
"Um…shouldn't you be resting?" Robin asked as Starfire and Cyborg squeezed into the frame.
"Yeah, you okay man?" Cyborg asked.
"You are unharmed?" Starfire asked.
"I'm fine, but where are you guys? I thought Raven was going to stay and make sure I didn't have heart failure or something?" Beast Boy asked. He distinctly remembered her saying she'd stay.
"…" there was silence on the other end of the line.
"Guys." Beast Boy said. They still didn't say anything. "Guys!"
"…We lost her." Robin finally frowned.
"What?" Beast Boy said in disbelief.
"He stole Starfire's communicator. She and I went after him while Cyborg and Raven went back to the tower. Norf hired Red X to break into the tower. He knocked Cyborg out and then kidnapped Raven…" Robin sighed. "But a few hours ago Red X contacted us…he got hurt somehow and he made a deal with us to help us find her by giving us a four mile radius of where Norf's keeping her in exchange for having her heal him and a thousand dollars."
"So you didn't find her yet?" Beast Boy asked seething with rage. Not only had Norf done this to him, but he had gone after Cyborg again and actually taken Raven?
"…No." The three frowned.
"I'll be there in a second." Beast Boy said.
"Beast Boy no!" Robin yelled, but it was too late. He hung up on them and went to track their location. The nurse came in with the doctor, but he was already out of bed, ripping his IV out.
"Where are my clothes?" Beast Boy asked, his anger obvious and slightly frightening the hospital staff.
"You shouldn't be doing that. You're not quote well yet." The doctor cautioned. He was a short bald man in a white lab coat.
"I'm only going to ask you one more time." Beast Boy frowned. He didn't really need clothes. He'd just have to stay transformed until he could get back to the tower.
"…I'll get them." The nurse said running off. The doctor entered the room and tried to talk him out of leaving, but Beast Boy couldn't be stopped. When the nurse returned he put on his clothes, opened a window and turned into a hawk, rushing towards the location his friends were on.
When he arrived his friends were not happy to see him. They all yelled at him at the same time making everything jumbled together.
"Enough!" Beast Boy said. "I'll track her."
"Don't you need to smell something of hers?" Cyborg asked.
"I hang out with you guys every day, we live together. I remember how you smell." Beast Boy replied almost proudly. The truth was he'd been preparing for the day they might need his nose since the day Cyborg went missing after he was supposed to go home and recharge. He knew it was one of his assets. It had been scary to lose Cyborg for even a short period of time.
Beast Boy turned into a dog and the search began. They retraced their steps with Beast Boy always sprinting a few yards ahead and after another hour, a quarter after three a.m. they found it. Beast Boy stopped at the foot of the driveway of a house they had passed on their first sweep. It was a single story home. It looked completely normal, a slightly over grown yard complete with a little garden gnome. The exterior was a neutral dark gray with a lighter gray trim. There was nothing special about it, but something about it had struck him as off. He'd made a special check next to it on his map the first time they'd seen it, but he still couldn't figure it out. He glanced at it again and then the house next-door before finally making the connection. Kicking himself and his sleep deprivation. The house didn't have any windows. Not one. Why hadn't they noticed it before? It was obvious. Robin didn't even have to ask Beast Boy if he was sure. He just wished he'd been paying more attention early.
Beast Boy transformed back into his human form and the three titans glanced at their leader.
"What now?" Cyborg asked as Robin walked down the street and the team followed. He didn't want to be standing right outside the door if Norf had any kind of security devices.
"We need a plan…we can't just barge in." Robin said.
"We should see what's going on inside first." Cyborg agreed.
"I'll sneak in."Beast Boy suggested.
"…" Robin paused a moment. He really didn't want any of them going in alone. Norf had been dangerous in their tower and in public. He was probably more dangerous in his own home. But there wasn't really another solution. "You go in, check what's going on, where he is, where she is and you come right back out. Do not confront him."
"Roger." Beast Boy agreed.