A/N: So this was written several months ago, and the plot concocted several years ago. Bear with me, the story is kind of plot-intensive at first, because a lot of build-up must occur, and then gets into the more romantic bits. Also, the plot is kind of a blend of the Deep Six and Forces of Nature episodes.
Disclaimer: We don't own Teen Titans!
Leagues Under the Sea
Thunder and Lighting sat in a shack in the middle of the desert, throwing sparks up in the air while shoveling down junk food, finally glad to be away from humanity. The last time they had visited civilization, the Titans had admonished them against reckless behavior and advised them to take it somewhere else. The desert was an exceptional playground for the brothers, but they found little fun in pitching sparks into the sky without an audience.
"There must be something else we can do around here, brother," Lighting remarked. He zapped off the cap of a root beer bottle with his teeth.
Thunder grumbled under his breath. Then something caught his eye—a round object beeping and flashing red at him from beneath a pile of potato chips. He reached for it and realized that their Titan communicator had gone off for the first time.
* * *
"Titans, trouble! We have a situation in Atlantis!" Robin called out over the intercom as the alarm system blared at the Titans tower. "Cyborg, get the T-sub ready!"
The Titans scrambled off in preparation for an underwater expedition.
"Check it out guys, it's my new watersuit!" Beast Boy announced in the middle of the common room. He walked around rather precariously, his suit squishing uncomfortably. He continued beaming. "It molds to my body so I can move easier in water. Pretty cool, huh?"
"But it doesn't make it easier on the eyes, does it?" Raven deadpanned.
"Hey, hey! Can you morph into any animal in the sea? I don't think so!"
"Beast Boy, stop showing off. We don't have time to argue," Robin interrupted. "Titans, get in the sub!"
The Titans rushed into their five-person submersible, each checking their corresponding cockpits and their headset microphones, to make sure they could communicate while underwater.
"Hey y'all!" Cyborg announced. "I just renovated the sub to make our baby even faster!"
"Very good, Cyborg! We shall make this a short mission!" Starfire appraised.
"All systems engaged. Titans, launch!" Robin called out, assuming his leadership position from the front of the submersible. They sped off into the sea. "Alright, Atlantis is being terrorized by an underwater being named Pontus and we have to stop him."
"We've stopped Trident before—we can stop this guy," Cyborg said.
Robin clicked on a few switches. "That's true. But we may need Aqualad's help again."
That got Beast Boy's attention, who had been up to this point pinching his new suit to measure its elasticity. "We don't need the help of that wad of seaweed!"
"Beast Boy, this could be a dangerous mission," Robin replied. "We don't know what Pontus wants and what tricks he has up his sleeve. Besides, Aqualad has a duty to his people. We can't shut him out."
Beast Boy grumbled, but couldn't reason with the man of logic himself. The T-sub was nearing Atlantis as Robin called in Aqualad, to warn him of their approach. They burst out of the water in an immense splash, landing on the musty floor of an underwater cave. The top lifted off slowly and the five jumped out, stretching after the small confines of the sub. Not a few minutes after their arrival, there was another splash and two figures leapt before them, dripping seawater.
"Glad to see you all again," Aqualad smiled. He was followed by Tramm, the reptile-like creature that had fixed the Titans' submarine the last time they visited Atlantis to fight Trident. "I've been searching all over the sea floor for this Pontus guy, but I can't locate him. Something is still wreaking havoc on my people, so he must be hiding somewhere in Atlantis."
Beast Boy stepped forward. "Alright, everyone, this is obviously a job for someone with experience in water!"
Aqualad wasn't impressed. "Beast Boy, if this is going to be a repeat of what happened last time—"
"Hey, Aquadude, I don't think you were so hot with your telepathy last time either. At least I can change shape and sneak up on villains if I have to. You just get your animal friends to do everything for you!"
Aqualad was affronted, stepping forward. "I don't see how what you do is any different. Our ends are the same."
"The same—!" Beast Boy blustered. The two were almost nose-to-nose, hands fisted, Beast Boy standing on his tippy toes to reach Aqualad's height.
Robin immediately drew them apart. "Alright, you two. Let's settle our differences and get to work. We don't have time to argue."
Beast Boy turned away, grumbling, while Robin admonished him. "Beast Boy, stop trying to compete with Aqualad. We're here on a mission."
"I could have handled the situation myself," Beast Boy protested. "No need to involve Aquaboy here and his sidekick."
"Just drop it, BB." Robin turned toward the rest of the team to give out instructions. Beast Boy couldn't decide if he should glare at Robin instead. He was the one who'd invited Aqualad in the first place.
* * *
Deep in Atlantis, a pair of brothers was welcomed by the inhabitants of the city. They wore unusual scuba gear, which hid the electrostatic power that swam within.
"We are brothers Thunder and Lighting, here to aid Atlantis in its fight against the tyrant," the two claimed. The inhabitants looked at them with wide eyes, unsure of how many more surprises they could handle in one day. At the top of a hillock stood Pontus, holding up a spear that glowed with blue fire, blazing despite being in the sea. Then Thunder and Lighting lit up the bottom of the sea using their powers, proving that they could be worthy opponents against Pontus. The inhabitants applauded, glad to see that their helpers were formidable.
"Who are you?" some whispered.
"We are…" each brother paused, "the Titans South. Here to save you from this danger!"
The two brothers conversed amongst themselves to formulate a plan. Thunder said, "We should use our powers to cleanse these people of their evils. Let's fight him, brother!" The two merged their thunder and lightning and struck the hillock Pontus stood upon, missing him as he dashed into the city.
"We must find him!" Lighting said and the two leapt after him, throwing thunder and lightning bolts at every flash of color that they believed to be Pontus. The Atlanteans, seeing their city become destroyed by the brothers' electrical power, which they threw without regard, hid within their buildings, suddenly unsure who the enemy was.
* * *
The Titans maneuvered their submarine to a rock formation close to Atlantis and the five, having already dressed in their scuba gear, got out of the T-sub to begin looking for Pontus.
Over their microphone system, Robin told Beast Boy to change into something that could move through crevices if necessary, so they could take Pontus by surprise. "Like a crab or an eel," he said. "But not small enough for us to lose track of you—"
"I get it," Beast Boy frowned at him. Robin never told him what to change into and the fact that he was suddenly ordering Beast Boy to do so was irking him. Beast Boy shaped into an octopus and swam in front of the team, showing off long tentacles, and blowing a raspberry at Robin. Aqualad swam next to him, raising his eyebrows at the display.
Don't think I'm through with you, Aquaman, Beast Boy told Aqualad through their shared telepathy.
These are my people who need saving. Don't even think you can best me at this. Aqualad swam forward, but the octopus blocked his path.
Listen, fishboy, I won't let my team down a second time while you're parading around and saving everybody again. This is my mission.
Aqualad looked a little infuriated. Your mission? Atlantis is my city!
I'm taking down Pontus, so just stay out of my way! Got it? Beast Boy's octopus features slipped into a snarl.
Then suddenly, Beast Boy heard Robin's enraged voice through their shared microphones. "Beast Boy, I'm ordering you to stop messing around! Just because I don't know what you two are saying, doesn't mean I don't know you're not fighting. Arguing with Aqualad isn't solving anything. If you don't stop this, I'm kicking you off the mission!"
Beast Boy swam back to where his team was still struggling to move forward in their scuba gear. "Fine," he replied with venom.
They entered Atlantis without much more argument. The city was in ruins, most buildings were charred and no civilians were out. Where the gleaming marble statues and building once stood, they were now replaced with rubble and broken rock. The salmon-colored cobblestone floor that covered the whole city was badly cracked. It looked as though a whirlwind had attacked Atlantis.
"I did not think Pontus could do so much damage," Starfire said, which transmitted to the rest of them through their interlinked microphones. Her statement made Beast Boy even more determined to defeat Pontus single-handedly. Aqualad's jaw clenched in quiet fury.
"Hey, who are those guys?" Cyborg asked suddenly, squinting at two figures that were huddled together in the middle of Atlantis. The team swam closer to the huddled figures. Sensing their presence, the two turned toward them and upon recognizing them, spread out their arms, as though in a welcoming hug.
"Teen Titans, we brothers Thunder and Lightning have been tracking Pontus to put a stop to his menace!" the two chorused.
For a moment, the team stared at them without any recognition. Their scuba gear looked very bulky and outdated, giving them no glimmer of what the two really looked like. Then suddenly, Starfire beamed at them. "Yes, you must be the brothers who brought evil to our city and would not apologize for your destruction!"
"Oh, those two," Robin remembered. Suddenly, the two didn't look quite as mysterious and threatening as they'd appeared and Robin quickly lost interest in them.
"How did they even know Atlantis was in trouble?" Raven asked.
The brothers brought out a Titan communicator akin to the kind every Titan carried.
Cyborg stared at the device. "Who thought to give these two our communicator?"
"Beats me," Robin muttered, already planning his next move to stop Pontus. The brothers beamed at him and said, "We have been on Pontus' trail since we arrived and have made some progress in halting him. He is hiding somewhere in the city right now. We thought we could—"
"That's fine," Robin interrupted. "You two can do whatever you want to try and stop him. Now Titans, we should split up and look for Pontus. He could be anywhere in Atlantis. Beast Boy, you will help Aqualad find Pontus by using your shared telepathy."
"Excuse me?" Beast Boy said. "I'm not the one helping Aqualad. What am I, his sidekick?"
Aqualad looked insulted as well. "I don't need his help, Robin. I can command my animals to scrounge every crevice of this city to find Pontus."
"See? This is what I'm talking about," Beast Boy fumed. "Those animals are the ones doing all the work, while you just order them around and get all the glory for saving everyone."
"That's right, which is why I don't need anyone's help in finding Pontus," Aqualad retorted. "This would be a piece of cake if everyone just let me do what I need to do. I know exactly how to save my people, so I don't need this octopus getting in my way."
"Hey, an octopus is just one of the many—"
Robin burst out, "Alright, enough! Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire—go look for signs of Pontus. Aqualad and Beast Boy—I've had it with your arguments. Beast Boy, I expected so much more from you, but I see you're not going to listen. So here's my orders—do whatever you want!" He turned on his heel before anyone could say anything else. He wanted to storm out of there, but the effect was somewhat ruined by his clunky scuba gear. Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg stared at each other for a moment, then shrugged and went off into the city to look for signs of Pontus. Beast Boy stared after Robin, feeling his cheeks heat with rage and humiliation. He had just wanted to impress Robin by being the hero and saving everybody. But Aqualad kept butting into the picture with his big ego and need to prove himself. Beast Boy rubbed his eyes out of frustration, before realizing that he was still an octopus and Aqualad was staring at him, arms crossed and glaring.
Good going, Aqualad said.
Beast Boy swam past him, muttering, I'm not in the mood to argue. He shaped into an eel so he could be less easily spotted and didn't linger long enough to hear Aqualad's response. Beast Boy had to find Pontus; this was his only chance to show Robin that he wasn't just trying to get in everyone's way and ruin the mission. He was sick of Robin always overlooking him, especially when he tried so hard to do his best. Beast Boy felt remorseful, thinking of Robin's disappointed frown. He reddened, knowing that it was more than getting respect from Robin that he was after. For the longest time now, Beast Boy had been trailing the leader with the hopes of finally telling him how he felt, but there was never an opportune moment, never a time when they could sit and Robin could take him seriously enough to listen.
Lost in his thoughts, Beast Boy was swimming through the caverns of Atlantis. Rounding a corner into a building, he suddenly ran into something and out of surprise, released an electrical shock on what he belatedly realized was Robin.
"Beast Boy! What the heck? You just shocked me!" He spluttered, his scuba gear sparking with electrical charge.
"Sorry!" Beast Boy squeaked, berating himself. The shock wasn't too painful, just surprising, by the look on Robin's face.
"Have you found anything?" Robin asked. The scuba gear was very bulky and only allowed his masked face to peer through the headgear's window.
"No. But Aqualad finally got out of my way, so I can—"
Robin frowned. "Beast Boy, I'm getting tired of that attitude. Would you just let the competition go?"
"I just want to prove that I can be as good as him. I don't understand why you had to call him in—"
Robin looked upward in frustration, as though asking the heavens to help him. "Have you thought that maybe I can recognize when we'll need extra help? That as the leader, I can make these decisions?"
"Need help? We're the Teen Titans. I think at least the five of us can take this Pointus guy!" Beast Boy buzzed with electricity, as the conversation angered him.
"Beast Boy, get a grip. Aqualad's here already, so no point in fighting over it." Robin folded his arms and closed the conversation. Beast Boy growled, his entire eel-body ready to discharge a not-so-accidental shock on Robin.
Before anything else could be said or done, bright white light emanated from the center of Atlantis, where a reptilian-looking humanoid rose up his spear and roared, "I am Pontus! Who dares to challenge me?"
Robin immediately spoke into the interlinked microphones. "Cyborg, Starfire, Raven—where are you? Pontus made an appearance."
A moment later, Raven's voice said through static, "I don't know. We're somewhere in the outskirts of the city. Where is Pontus?"
Atlantis was a large city. It would take them some time to make it where Robin and Beast Boy were. Robin frowned and opened his mouth several times, unsure of what to command. Then, "Beast Boy and I will do our best to distract him and try to take him down. Get here as soon as you can." Then Robin turned to Beast Boy and commanded, "Tell Aqualad to hurry over here."
Beast Boy smirked and said "Sure," fully intending to leave Aqualad in the dark about this.
Robin looked a little tense as Pontus began descending upon them, spear pointing directly at them.
Beast Boy took this moment to lean over to Robin and whisper, "I guess that's why they call him Pointus."
Robin's mouth twitched with a smile that he wouldn't show because of the sheer danger of the situation, but Beast Boy knew the joke was appreciated. Then he turned serious again and suddenly commanded, "Beast Boy, turn into a shark!"
Beast Boy threw Robin an incredulous look. As Pontus was about to pierce them with his spear, the two leapt out of the way, Beast Boy shaping into a hammerhead shark and Robin flipping over Pontus to land yards away. They turned to see him immediately attack again, his features moving so quickly that they barely had time to react. Robin and Beast Boy stood back to back—as much as is possible for a shark and a human—and watched Pontus attack them from all sides. Robin defended with his extended rod while Beast Boy snapped at Pontus' spear with his dagger-sharp teeth and averted the attack with his hammerhead, narrowly missing it. Robin felt especially vulnerable, as his movements were languid in the water.
"He's so agile," Robin muttered. "He's not attacking head-on very much though. Beast Boy, watch his attacks from the side."
Beast Boy scowled. "What do you think I'm doing?"
Then, when Pontus could not possibly move any faster, he became swifter than they could see. Suddenly, they could only glimpse his spear attack in the last second before deflecting it. The two Titans pressed even closer together, both feeling drained already from constant vigilance on all sides.
"This isn't working," Robin said, breathing unevenly.
Beast Boy wanted to roll his eyes, but couldn't afford to, as Pontus nearly slashed his underbelly in that instant. "Obviously. He's just draining us."
Beast Boy aimed his teeth in the direction he believed Pontus was about to attack, when suddenly the spear sliced the shark's pectoral fin. Beast Boy gasped in surprise, alerting Robin.
"Beast Boy!" he shouted, turning his body to face the shark's tail.
Pontus was about to take advantage of the unexpected hit to dig his spear into the shark's side, but before he could, Robin kicked the spear out of Pontus' hands and smashed his rod against Pontus' snake-like face. Beast Boy cringed as the saltwater stung his cut, but ground his teeth against the pain and growled out, "Screw this, Robin! 'Turn into a shark'?"
Immediately, Beast Boy became an eel again and in Pontus' momentary surprise, he wound his slithery body around Pontus' arm and delivered an electrical shock through his entire body. Robin, suddenly seeing a way they could finish him off, rose up his rod and eyed a spot on the cobblestone floor that was thoroughly cracked, then struck the tiles with as much force as possible, uncovering a large hole that led into the deep dark sea. Beast Boy could see the plan forming in Robin's mind. The hole was three yards in diameter and rubble that slipped into it fell a long way. While Pontus was still momentarily shocked, Beast Boy transformed into a barracuda and used his long tail to smack Pontus off his feet. Robin leapt up and, holding his rod with both hands, drove the rod into Pontus' abdomen, pushing him deep into the hole. He fell screeching and emitting a long stream of bubbles. Robin picked up his spear and threw it down the hole as well.
Beast Boy turned into a squid and before Robin could protest, wrapped all his tentacles around him and said, "Heck yeah! We just took Pointus down! Man, was that a good fight!" He released Robin a moment later, his suckers popping off loudly one by one.
Robin grinned. "Nice teamwork, Beast Boy. Sorry about your cut."
Beast Boy brushed it off, though it was still stinging strongly.
"I'm surprised Aqualad hasn't made it here yet," Robin mused. "Beast Boy, ask him where he is—"
Before Robin could finish though, Aqualad himself swam up from a distance. He looked about the area and saw the large hole and various tiles that were uncovered from the fight. He asked Robin, "What happened here?"
Robin looked at him strangely. "Well, we just took down Pontus—"
"You found him?" Aqualad asked in disbelief.
"Well, yeah, didn't Beast Boy—" Robin cut himself short before slowly turning to look at the squid that seemed to be shrinking on the spot. Robin pursed his lips and his hands fisted unconsciously. "Beast Boy, you didn't tell Aqualad that Pontus found us?"
Beast Boy didn't know what to say, so he just slowly shook his head.
Robin strode to the squid and grabbed him by his head. "I trusted you to give our information to Aqualad. Why didn't you do what I said?"
Beast Boy was both frightened of Robin's intimidating glare and angered that this had come up to ruin their victorious moment. "Chill out, Robin. We obviously didn't need his help."
"It doesn't matter that we didn't need his help! This is about me trusting you to follow my orders and you brushing me off. And what if Pontus had almost speared you right then and there was nothing I could do because I move so slowly underwater? I called in Aqualad for a reason!"
"Dude, I think you're overreacting," Beast Boy said, glowering at him.
"We were in a dangerous situation and you didn't do what I asked. How can I know that we have each other's backs if you keep ignoring my orders? You could have gotten us killed—"
Beast Boy, unable to hold his frustration any longer, burst out, "Will you just shut up! I didn't do what you said because I'm sick of you ordering me around!"
"Ordering you around?" Robin was thunderstruck by this idea. "What are you talking about?"
"What was that back there, when you were like, 'Turn into a shark,' and I get sliced up by Pontus because I trust you? If you let me stay an eel, we could've ended Pontus a long time ago."
"Beast Boy, I'm the team leader. Giving you orders is my job. Have you been doing yours lately?" Robin demanded.
Beast Boy spluttered in disbelief. "D-doing my job! You won't even let me do my job! You pick this Aquadude over me and he's not even around to help us with Pointus—"
Aqualad suddenly butted in, "But you never wanted me there!"
The two stared at him as if suddenly realizing someone else existed in the world. Then, glowering back at one another, Robin and Beast Boy proceeded to ignore him.
"Exactly," Robin said. "You were too over-competitive to even give Aqualad a chance! Face it, Beast Boy. Aqualad was the logical choice over you, because you can't stand the competition. You're too reckless and immature. Maybe I'll have more faith in you when you grow up."
On that note, Robin compressed his rod and turned to Aqualad, "Thanks for showing up. I'm sorry that Beast Boy was a jerk to you all day." He then called in the rest of the Titans to let them know that they had defeated Pontus. "We're heading back to the submarine. We'll take the submarine and find you to pick you all up."
Robin strode toward the area they had left the submarine, leaving Beast Boy seething but grudgingly following after him. Aqualad didn't seem to pay them attention, as he was examining the large hole Pontus had been pushed into. Robin and Beast Boy made their way to the submarine silently, each furious with the other. Beast Boy felt quite hurt by Robin's words, especially after they had so skillfully taken down Pontus together. Robin wasn't sure if he had been too harsh, but felt that Beast Boy's behavior was ridiculous.
Back in Atlantis, Aqualad, peering deeply into the hole, saw a flash of reptile scales, before a clawed hand thrust out from the abyss.
* * *
Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg were hurrying to reach the submarine, glad that the Pontus problem had been dealt with, and feeling only slightly disappointed that they didn't get to fight, when an incredibly immense electrical power lit up the entire sea before them. They shielded their eyes for an entirety of five minutes before the light subsided, and with it, all light in the deep sea.
The sudden darkness consumed them in pitch blackness. Raven and Starfire immediately emitted a glow with their hands for some visibility. They all looked at each other in astonishment.
"I shall inform the others of this sudden occurrence," Starfire said, attempting to speak through the microphones. She only received static on the other end.
"What the—" Cyborg cried, realizing that his internal system was shutting down. He ran his hands over the scuba gear and couldn't understand if his gear was leaking or something was messing with his system.
Raven peered through the darkness, forming a conclusion. "Something just sucked all our electrical power. That's why our microphones aren't working and Cyborg's system is a mess."
"Well, hell," Cyborg said, "It's a good thing I keep this extra battery for these kinds of emergencies. It doesn't run on electricity, so it should work." He proceeded to fix his internal drives without much trouble.
"But what has caused our power to be extracted?" Starfire wondered.
All three of them peered into the deep darkness and Raven, able to see such things, could make out two shapes in the distance, throwing bright forms of energy amongst one another. The two figures, one very thin, and the other much bulkier, were no longer wearing scuba gear and were instead drawing power to engulf themselves in immense sparks of light.
"It can't be—" Raven had a sharp intake of breath. "It's the brothers Thunder and Lightning. They've sucked all the light out of the sea and are toying with it."
* * *
Robin and Beast Boy, still not on speaking terms with each other, were raising the submarine out of the rock formation they had hidden it behind, and were directing it through the sea, when suddenly, all systems shut down and the submarine sputtered to a stop. Everything in the sea became pitch-black. Made of heavy steel, the submarine fell deep into the sea, while Robin and Beast Boy attempted to restore power.
Beast Boy was barraged with a number of orders from Robin, ranging from, "Beast Boy, press the emergency switch!" and "Try the emergency power button!" and "That's the wrong one—it's the huge red one!" Beast Boy flipped switches on and off, pushed various buttons, but nothing happened. Robin was trying to contact the other Titans, yelling, "Hello? Can anybody hear us? We've lost all power. Our submarine is down!"
But the submarine continued to fall, its speed increasing as it fell deeper into the ocean, lower than the plateau on which Atlantis was located, into a bottomless crevice of the sea. Suddenly, the steel clanged loudly against a rock formation and the submarine tipped forward a bit, as though ready to fall again, but steadied after several seconds. After an intense few moments in which neither knew how far they had fallen, the silence suddenly spread over them. At the bottom of the ocean, nothing could be heard, especially not the electrical hums and whirs of the submarine. The bottomless darkness and silence was stilling. Robin and Beast Boy didn't move for a few moments, and only heard their own harried breathing.
Robin shifted in his seat and spoke into the microphones again, "Can anyone hear me? We've landed in a crevice at the bottom of the ocean. Our power is out. Is anyone there?" Only static responded. Robin toyed with the microphone a while longer, before frustration drove him to throw the device off his head.
"Beast Boy, could you get us out of here?" Robin finally asked.
Beast Boy followed Robin's voice and looked in that direction, despite his knowledge that he would see nothing. "I can get out, but we're in so deep that I'd have to turn into a really small fish. The pressure is too great down here for me to become anything bigger. And if I did that, I couldn't carry you all the way up to the surface, because I'd be too small."
Robin didn't reply, feeling disappointed but all the same impressed that Beast Boy had knowledge of these issues. A moment later, Beast Boy continued, "You'd also probably not have enough air to get all the way to the top."
"Alright, I get it. It's useless," Robin snapped. "We're stuck."
Beast Boy turned into an owl, hoping that his highly sensitive eyesight would be able catch some light and allow him to locate the first aid kit. But they were in so deep that even the owl's eyes didn't catch anything. He changed back to his form.
"Are you looking for the first aid kit?" Robin asked. "It's in an overhead compartment over Raven's seat."
"I know where it is, I'm just trying to change into something that might help me see. It's so dark that it makes no difference." Beast Boy felt his way to Raven's cockpit and fumbled with the overhead compartment until the kit fell out. His arm was stinging more than ever and the blood was caked, though some was still flowing from the wound. It ran the length of his forearm and in the darkness and stillness, his senses were flooded with pain. He popped open the kit and pulled out a roll of gauze, some cotton, and what he presumed to be disinfectant solution. He then ripped the fabric surrounding his left forearm to expose the wound and uncapped the disinfectant solution, immediately cringing from the smell.
"I wish Starfire was here. She could fix this up real quickly," Beast Boy muttered.
Robin shuffled forward in the darkness toward Beast Boy. "Let me help you with that. It was partly my fault."
Beast Boy didn't protest, only muttered sarcastically, "Yeah, partly." Robin made his way to Beast Boy's seat and sat down next to him, feeling for his arm. Beast Boy winced when Robin touched a part of the wound, but he appreciated Robin's help, so said nothing. Robin picked up the disinfectant solution Beast Boy handed him and poured some liquid into the cotton balls. Then carefully picking up Beast Boy's left arm, Robin daubed the entire wound with the solution, hearing Beast Boy suddenly breathe in sharply, as the solution flooded the cut. Knowing his first aid, Robin proceeded to rub away the clotted blood and debris from the sea, while Beast Boy bit his bottom lip and said nothing.
"Hand me the water bottle in the cup holder to your right," Robin said. Beast Boy did as asked and Robin poured some water into the cut to remove the irritating disinfectant. Then he wrapped the gauze around Beast Boy's arm and finished patching it up.
"Thanks," Beast Boy murmured.
There was a moment of silence between the two, before Robin finally asked, "Beast Boy, do you really think I'm ordering you around too much?"
"Well, yeah," Beast Boy said, folding his arms. "I mean, you have every right to since you're our leader, but I can't stand those orders that are obvious and just plain controlling. Like telling me what animal to turn into—do I tell you what gadgets to use and what flips to make?"
Robin pursed his lips. "No, but I only give you these orders because I think they're in your best interests. Last time we fought Trident, you turned into a shark, so I thought it would work this time."
"Well, just trust me when I say I know what I'm doing," Beast Boy retorted. "I don't think you have enough faith in me. You just treat me like an annoying kid brother."
Robin recoiled, because that contrasted with his view of Beast Boy. "Do you really think that? I see you as my equal, Beast Boy."
Beast Boy scoffed. "And how do you see Aqualad?"
"I think Aqualad's a good fighter, and underwater missions are one of the few he can help us with. Beast Boy, I have to look at the whole picture. You're the only member of our team who can breathe and fight easily underwater and though I trust your abilities, I don't want you to get hurt. Aqualad is an extra measure."
"So much for the extra measure. I still got hurt," Beast Boy countered.
"Only because you didn't follow my orders and let him know that Pontus was attacking," Robin said, refraining from sounding biting. "That was half your mistake."
Beast Boy had nothing else to counter with, so he relented. "Well—I guess I was a little too competitive. I just didn't want you to think I was useless, especially in underwater missions where I have an advantage over most of the Titans."
Robin placed his hands on Beast Boy's shoulders, making them face each other. Beast Boy flinched and reddened, but said nothing. Robin asked, "What do you have to prove to me? I've seen you in so many fights! I know exactly what you're capable of."
Beast Boy smiled in the darkness, then tentatively placed his arms around Robin to hug him. Robin flushed but brought his arms around Beast Boy in an embrace. Beast Boy was still damp and smelled like the salty sea and Robin had the scent of cooled sweat, after spending the better part of the day in suffocating scuba gear and fighting Pontus. After a few moments of this, they released one another and sat in Beast Boy's seat. Beast Boy put away the first aid kit and Robin toyed with the microphones and a few buttons again.
Despite the shaky peace, a large question suddenly loomed above the two Titans, both unwilling to ask it.
* * *
Thunder and Lightning could not have been less aware of their surroundings. They had merged their powers, drawing light from the sea, and were watching flashes of thunder and lightning dance around them, laughing and enjoying themselves.
Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg had trekked the entire length of the city and now faced the two brothers. They were too caught up in the light effects to notice the three. Starfire cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted, "Brothers, do you not see that all light has left the ocean because of your fun?"
The two figures stopped in their maelstrom and stared at the Titans. "How has that happened?" Lightning asked. "We were not hurting anyone. We were simply amused with our powers."
"It looks like your powers are drawing all the electricity out of the ocean," Raven said. "It also looks like you've destroyed the better part of Atlantis when you were tracking down Pontus." In their long trek to reach the brothers, the three had also realized that the charred ruins of Atlantis looked more like the work of a massive thunderstorm than the product of a reptilian being with a spear. They should have worried more about their allies than their enemy, rather than brushing off the two.
The brothers looked ashamed for a moment. "We only meant to help. The beeping communicator alerted us to danger and we thought to redeem ourselves after the last incident. And after Pontus disappeared, we thought it harmless to amuse ourselves in a deserted expanse of the sea."
"Well, sorry to disappoint y'all," Cyborg began, "But you just took out all the electricity for miles. Mind giving it back?"
Thunder and Lightning bowed their heads and released their dancing sparks. Immediately, the sea lit up with light again and Cyborg's internal system returned to normal. Having nothing to say for themselves, the brothers bid farewell to the Titans and apologized for their intrusion and inconvenience. Moments later, they had rushed upward to the surface and left.
Raven tried the microphones and was able to reach Robin and Beast Boy, who had been stuck in the submarine for about an hour.
"Robin, we fixed the electrical problem," Raven announced. "I'm assuming the T-sub hasn't been working. Can you bring the sub back up now?"
Robin sounded frustrated. "No. It looks like everything's fried. Nothing's working and we're stuck deep in a crevice so we can't get out."
The Titans looked at one another, worried. "How are we gonna get them out?" Cyborg asked. "I could fix the problem, but if they're in deep, I don't think I can get down there."
Before they could think of a plan, a figure appeared from Atlantis, clutching something upon its shoulders. The blue and black suit moved lithely through the water, approaching them with speed.
The three were transfixed. Aqualad was making his way to the Titans, holding none other than Pontus upon his shoulders. Pontus was unconscious, beat-up, and his clawed feet dragged upon the sea floor, kicking up sand.
Raven broke the bewildered silence. "I thought Robin and Beast Boy took down Pontus some time ago."
"They did," Aqualad announced, throwing Pontus down at everyone's feet. "But they didn't drive him down into the ground far enough. He sprang back out of the hole and was ready to fight the first person he saw. Thankfully, I was around to take him down a second time."
The Titans all looked mildly impressed.
"Where's Robin and Beast Boy?" Aqualad inquired.
Starfire told him, "They are trapped in a crevice of the sea and their submarine will not work."
Aqualad smiled. "Well, then. I think I could help," he glanced behind him, at a fish-looking animal that was hurrying after him. "Tramm! We're going to need your expertise."
The sidekick smiled at everyone upon being called, and looked excited to unleash his technological knowledge.
"Oh man! I remember this little guy," Cyborg exclaimed. "You're an expert at fixing our sub!"
Tramm let out a squeak of excitement and spoke in Atlantean with Aqualad, getting instructions as to how to find their submarine. Before long, he scrammed in a northerly direction and was lost to sight.
An hour later, the Titans could make out their submarine speeding toward them, operating as good as new. The sub landed on the sea floor and Beast Boy swam out in the form of a flounder while Robin came out in his scuba gear. Tramm poked his head out of the submarine, grinning and looking pleased to have helped.
What happened to him? Beast Boy asked Aqualad, referring to Pontus.
Aqualad smiled in his direction. Let's just say he won't be skulking around Atlantis anymore. I'm taking him to our jail in the darkest crevices of the sea.
Beast Boy shuddered, remembering where they had just come from. I don't envy him.
"Thanks for fixing our sub, Tramm," Robin said, as the Titans began boarding the submarine. "And I appreciate all your help, Aqualad. We couldn't have done it without you."
After the other three Titans had settled in the submarine, Robin grinned at Beast Boy and without trying to provoke his competitiveness, said, "See? I did put my faith in the right guy."
Beast Boy just scoffed.
* * *
Later that day, after they had returned to the Tower and everyone had settled down and showered off the grime of the scuba gear, Robin went outside in the fading twilight. He sat by the rocks and watched the shore rise and fall. He didn't often come outside the Tower to think, but a day of confinement in the sea and in the submarine was enough to make the interior unappealing.
Only a few moments passed before someone else left the Tower and joined Robin in his reverie. Beast Boy sat at the edge of the rock Robin was occupying. Robin glanced at him and the corner of his mouth twitched into a half-smile.
"I can't believe you can make jokes about Pointus at a time when he could have killed you," Robin said.
Beast Boy grinned at Robin. "It wouldn't be me otherwise."
"I'm sorry that I ordered you around so much," Robin said, turning more serious. "I thought you understood that I was looking out for you by asking Aqualad to help and giving you orders."
Beast Boy waved it off. "We're cool, Robin."
"No, Beast Boy, I didn't treat you fairly," he insisted. "I promise to trust you the next time you want to turn into an eel and I want you to turn into a shark. That was kind of stupid of me, huh?"
"Yeah," Beast Boy smirked. "But, seriously, I shouldn't doubt your leadership skills. When Pointus sliced my arm, I thought I was gone. But you didn't panic and took charge. I'm still so amazed at how great we worked together. Up till the end, it was like we were thinking the same thing."
Robin blushed and looked pleased at the compliment. Before he could blink, Beast Boy had turned to face him and placed a hand on his shoulder, giving him a piercing look. He searched Robin's face and said, "Look, Robin. I know you always think of me as an immature guy who cracks jokes at the wrong moment, but—I can be serious too. And there's something I've been meaning to tell you."
"You know, you were right when you said we often think the same thing. Because I know what you're going to say," Robin replied, smiling. "And I'll spare you from saying it."
Before Beast Boy could interpret the meaning of that, Robin leaned in to press his lips against Beast Boy's, who flinched slightly at the contact, but made no move to turn away. Beast Boy placed his other hand on Robin's shoulder while Robin edged closer and deepened their kiss. The salty smell on Beast Boy's skin was gone and replaced with a hint of mustiness. The strongest smell on Robin was his freshly-laundered uniform and cheap hair gel.
But that was hardly of any concern at that moment.
* * *
Thunder and Lightning sat in a shack in the middle of the desert, their floor littered with chips and spilled soda, while the two made sparks dance upon their fingers.
"So brother, how shall we amuse ourselves now?" Lightning asked, lounging on a couch.
Thunder shrugged his heavy shoulders and clapped his hands to make thunder sound.
Under a coffee table, their Titan communicator beeped and flashed red, alerting them to trouble in Jump City.
The brothers glanced at each other and smiled.
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