I do not own the Teen Titans and I am not affiliated to the TT in any way. The only original thing here is the idea which came from my own head. :D
Prologue: The Last Hour
Monday 24th September . . .
Time: 4:12:24 am
Nothing would usually bring the citizens of Jump City out from their beds, make them leave there place of residence and congregate to one specific place in the metropolitan area. Nothing accept for the daunting, unimaginable, and all together, shocking sight of the Titans Tower, billowing with the combination of thick, black smoke and raging, roaring fires.
Thousands . . . No, tens of thousands of pairs of eyes stood in awe of the Tower; a building that, to the denizens of Jump City, was a symbol of truth, righteousness, justice, security. A symbol which allowed the people to gaze on with pride and reassurance that they would be protected from the evil and malice that threatened the city on a daily occurrence. A building that offered hope to those who were; defenceless, those who were afraid to sleep at night with the trepidation that they may end up becoming (what the inhabitants of the now smouldering tower protected and aided in their times of need) victims, to those whose lives were ever in peril and whoever was threatened, no matter how big, or how small the terror was. A building that belonged to the five greatest teen superheroes that Jump City, the state, the country, the continent . . . Hell, even the whole world had ever seen or heard of; Robin, Starfire, Raven, BeastBoy and Cyborg.
Each and every single one of them had pledged their allegiance to protecting Jump City from any evil entity that threatened to corrupt, cripple or carnalise the citizens' homes, progression of the city or the citizens themselves.
The building that had been the beacon of everything that symbolised the optimum of mankind and the hope of not only of a better tomorrow or a harmonious year . . . but for an ever growing hope in all of Jump City that, the future of Jump City, would one day be glorious enough to stand up against the evil that plagued the concrete jungle, and eradicate it for good.
But now, all the hope, the positivity, the belief that the citizens could go to bed at night without having to sleep with both eyes open . . . that, had truly been eradicated.
This could not be happening . . . this has to be a dream . . . no one could be callous enough to destroy Titans Tower. But there was one person who showed that they were capable. The one person that was the true symbol of evil, the human embodiment of Beelzebub himself, the entity that whilst it was ever present in Jump City, the citizens would never rest easy, never go to sleep at night without the ever present fear, gnawing at them like rats to a blood drenched carcass.
It was The Face that was the cause of the terror that had plagued the city for as long as the Titans had been inhabiting the very building that the masses had gathered to watch crumble, disintegrate and perish right before them.
For too long now, The Face had never rested until Jump City was theirs and the Titans were no longer present; not only in Jump City itself, the state, the continent or the country for that matter of fact, even the whole world . . . but were no longer present in existence. However, no matter how hard The Face had tried to bring the Titans, and indeed the citizens of Jump City down to their knees, The Face had never succeeded.
Despite being in hiding for a brief period of time, The Face re-emerged and despite all the best efforts that the Titans had put into preventing this evil son of a bitch from taking over Jump City, they failed.
Jump City was under the thumb of The Face for a month, along with the assistance of his fellow villainous lackeys. If anything, The Faces' lackeys were the real ones who had made Jump City surrender to his will, without ever getting involved himself. But that was how The Face always operated best. He would let his companions do all the dirty work for him and reap the rewards himself. Never lifting a finger. The malice, the desire, the blood thirst, the manipulative, cold, calculating bastard he was. Not even the small times villains; Mumbo Jumbo, Mad Mod, Johnny Rancid, Adonis et cetera . . . dared to show their faces when The Face had reigned supreme over the city. The all went into recluse and dared not to re-appear until The Face had been overthrown . . . if he ever was overthrown that is.
Eventually, he was. The Teen Titans had regrouped, and together, they defeated The Face after a confrontation that occurred in an underground cave where The Face had been operating from all the time. The story had been released that during an active volcano, the evil that terrorised, that haunted Jump City for a month, had perished and would never return to plague the city again.
For the next eighteen months, every citizen of Jump City were safe, secure in the knowledge that The Face was gone from the city . . . correction, the world, and that they would never have to worry about this disease infecting the heart of the city ever again. However, this sense of security would inevitably turn out to be false.
After the Titans had returned from the arduous, torturous and laborious battle against the Brotherhood of Evil and their conflict in Tokyo with the ink-behemoth called Brushogun, which (in total) lasted a total of seven months; it was not long before denizens of Jump City began to claim that The Face has returned. The claims began first off with sightings made by people who were either; homeless, inebriated, under the influence of drugs or children. No one took these claims seriously . . . until the Titans confirmed shortly after these claims had begun to spring up, that the possibility that The Face had in fact returned, were very probable.
The citizens were all told to be fully vigilant wherever they went and to alert the authorities immediately if they were to spot The Face, which the authorities would alert the Teen Titans immediately. Despite the pleas from the Jump City Police Department and the Titans, a large chunk of denizens refused to believe that the disease that had once roamed their metropolitan paradise, had returned. It was only until a few short hours ago that all the doubters and non-believers had finally accepted the reality . . . The Face had returned.
An ever growing gasp of shock rose throughout the night from the people who gathered along the sea bank as the top right hand side of the Titans Tower infrastructure and finally collapsed and began its descent, down to the island where it stood. The smouldering pile of metal met with the ground and released the sound of impact which echoed from the small island in the middle of the Jump City waters to the ears of the denizens. Not one peep came from anybody once impact had been made. All were too stupefied to move, make a noise, or even blink.
It was well known that twice every day, the tide would be low enough to create a small track that would allow the Titans to make their way from the small island to the city. This track would be able to allow the Jump City Fire Department to get their fire trucks from the city, to island, no qualms whatsoever. Unfortunately, the track would not be formed until six-thirty-five a.m. give or take a few minutes here or there. There was nothing that could be done to prevent the tower from burning even more until another two hours. All there was to do, was stand and gape is horror as the tower; the symbol of peace, comfort and (most importantly) hope, was left to burn.
If there was any more reason for the structure of the denizens' last fragment of hope to be crushed even more, it was that the Titans themselves were coping just as miserably as the now ruined tower was.
The local news stations had reported hours ago, the story that one of the Fearless Five had been reported missing and another had been 'incapacitated'. The reporters were not letting onto or even hinting to whom the two were, but rumours were flying around quickly after these announcements. And if the citizens of Jump City knew anything about rumours, it was that they were not to be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination . . . especially after recent rumours concerning The Face.
The citizens were thrown into another wave of shock as an explosion catapulted from the left-hand side of the tower. The sight of fire, smoke, disfigured metal and shattered glass, rained all across the sky. The moon had officially been blackened by the smoke.
The thousands, upon thousands of eyes were now fixated upon the two lone figures that stood at the foot of the tower. The denizens of the terrorised city could only begin to wonder what on earth was going through their minds at this moment in time.
Glass, debris and dust literally showered over the two heroes. The only thing protecting them from being entirely coated in this filth, were the torn remains of a navy blue cape that did its best to protect the purple haired empath and the orange tanned Tamaranian.
To accompany the sound of the shards of glass tinkering all around them and sound of metal screaming as it bent, twisted and disintegrated, were the sounds of the two heroines weeping.
The two of them no longer knew what they were weeping about. Were they weeping because their once beloved home was now a burning wreck that would be beyond all possibility to restore? Were they weeping because of the turbulence, tribulation, pain, suffering, agony and emotional scarring that they had endured within the last twenty-four hours? Were they weeping because they had not heard a peep from any of their male comrades for a worryingly long time and that they had possibly succumbed to the same devastating fate that so many other people . . . innocent people, had already suffered? Were they weeping because the looming cloud of defeat had almost certainly covered them and they could not find any source of light to pull them from their despair? Were they weeping because they felt that they had let the entire city down; failed in their duties to protect the thousands who had so willingly thrust their lives into their hands, but have let so many, if not, all of them down? Or were they weeping because of all of those things? Whatever it was, neither of the two girls could come up with an answer to their 'sixty-four thousand dollar question'.
Raven began to inch her eyes open ever so slightly. It felt like an eternity before she had opened her eyes fully, her vision blurred by her tears. Around herself and Starfire lay a great mass of ash, dust, glass and small, shattered pieces of metal. She forced her eyes from the debris that surrounded her and looked up at an even more destructive sight. Blinking away her tears, she saw the top part of the tower was no more. All that stood was a simple, vertical line that was billowing smoke and flame from both sides. It had gone from a T, to an I.
Cradled underneath her cape was a shivering, frightened wreck of a Tamaranian princess. Starfire, the fearless warrior from the planet Tamaran, soon to become the empress of her home planet one day, had been reduced to a quaking entity. All her life, straight from childhood to the blossoming young woman she was rapidly becoming, she was taught to never allow herself to succumb to such a state, to compose herself in the face of adversity no mater what, and she was to remain completely fearless, brave and true against all those who opposed her. Tonight however, she took no notice of her teachings and allowed herself to feel the sorrow that had been dwelling inside her for so long. Over the past twenty-four hours, no one could blame her. But inside, she felt the slightest tinge of disappointment . . . in herself. She was ashamed that she had allowed herself to come to this point, she was ashamed that she had not suppressed such negative emotion and held them back like the brave warrior that she was raised to be, she was ashamed that she felt so useless during a time where she had to be at her strongest.
Raven forced her self to her feet, hoisting up Starfire with her, who reluctantly joined Raven on her feet. Raven began to walk towards the tower, however this time; it was Starfire who was holding her . . . holding her back.
Through her raspy voice, now layered with the choked back emotion that lingered in the back of her throat, Raven pleaded to her friend "Starfire . . . please . . . let me go".
Starfire held Raven's gaze. Her bloodshot eyes, overflowing with tears met with those of the empath, whose purple orbs imitated that of Starfire's. Starfire saw that the right side of Raven's face was lightly dusted with a coating of soot, which had one, single, solitary trace, resembling a tear, running down her face.
Starfire, responded to Raven's plea with a shake of her head.
"Star . . . please, I'm begging you" Raven begun to try and pull herself away from her alien friend. Lack of strength and all round fatigue, drained her pulling power. "I have to go inside to make sure that . . ."
"Please forgive me Raven" Starfire responded before Raven had the chance to finish. Starfire tightened her grip as best as she could. She too was suffering from extreme exhaustion and her grip was considerably weaker than it usually was. Usually, her grip would have be bone crashing, literally bone crushing, but this time, her grip resembled that of a baby holding onto its parent. Starfire concluded her sentence throughout a series of sniffles, "I . . . cannot allow you . . . to risk your life by . . ."
"STARFIRE" Raven responded forcefully, stinging the back of her throat.
Starfire was automatically rocked by Raven's sudden outburst and loosened her grip slightly. Now the tears started flowing even quicker down Starfire's cheeks.
Barely allowing herself time to feel any remorse, Raven continued with her sentence "For the last time . . . I not asking anymore. I will be going . . . into the tower. And you won't . . . stop me. Understand?"
The cold, clinical tone of Raven's voice cut through Starfire like a knife. Starfire noticed that tears were running rather rapidly down Raven's face also, maybe even quicker than Starfire's.
Starfire knew exactly why Raven wanted to go into the tower. In Raven's position, Starfire would be doing and saying exactly the same thing as Raven. But Starfire had had enough. She had enough of people dying around her, she had enough of having the heavy burden of peoples overwhelming expectations draping on her shoulders and inevitably disappointing them, she had enough of today.
Mustering everything inside her, Starfire begun "Friend Raven . . . I do understand why you wish to go into the tower. But I cannot allow you to do so.
"I have done much of the suffering today as have you. Please do not make me suffer even more"
Neither Raven nor Starfire could stop themselves.
Raven could not stop herself from inching closing towards the inferno that continued to consume the tower. Her home.
Starfire could not stop herself from her tears and persistence in restraining her friend from she believed to be certain death.
"Star, let go" Raven said as she tried to wriggle free from her friends strengthening clasp.
"I will do no such thing" Starfire retaliated, now being dragged along by Raven.
"Let . . . go . . . NOW"
The forcefulness of Raven's last word sent an almighty surge of dark energy from her body which sent Starfire flying off her.
Starfire flew through the air and eventually tumbled to the ground before colliding with the now defunct T-Ship that lay strewn across a grassy area, completely and utterly decimated.
Before she could take another step, the top half of the tower burst into flames before exploding like a firework, which caused Raven to slink down to the ground.
Disbelief, dubiety and depression had finally sunk into Raven. The top half of the tower proceeded to disintegrate and collapse. The debris and infrastructure toppled backwards, leaving the bottom half of an, almost entirely destroyed tower, erect as an ash cloud rose form behind.
All Raven could do was kneel upon the ground in, what could be best described, as . . . Defeat.
She remained on her knees. She had now completely surrendered herself to the tears. Shaking her head she whispered 'No', over and over and over.
Starfire cracked open her eyes. She looked in upmost horror as the tower was almost, completely destroyed. Her home had been reduced to half its size.
Along with the sound of the crackling fires, the remaining metal, groaning and twisting before it would eventually buckle and break, and the sobs that Starfire emitted, she heard one voice. She knew who that voice belonged to. It belonged to that of her empathetic friend. That voice said a name. A name that shattered Starfire's heart into a thousand piece, even smaller than the glass shards surrounding her. It said . . . no, more likely, screamed . . .
The bitter taste of the concrete ground, which was lathered in dust, dirt and detritus, along with the blood that was raining from his forehead, lingered all around Robin's mouth, as he lay face down; battered, bruised, bloodied and beaten.
Every breath that the hero took felt as though someone was constantly sticking a searing, red hot knife through his chest and into his lungs. His heart rate was racing so rapidly, it felt like at any second, it would explode.
His eyes glazed over towards the figure that stood ten feet away from him. Step by step, the figure inched ever so tardily towards Robin, arms behind his back and an almost silent cackle emerging from his mouth.
Between laboured breaths and moments of near unconsciousness, Robin's ears picked up on a sound. It was the sound that Robin (though he would never admit it), the intimidated him more than anything in world.
The same evocative sound that echoed in Robin's mind whenever he slept . . . or shut his eyes from a nanosecond. The same cackle that he grew accustomed to . . . no matter much it sickened him. The cackle that poisoned his every sense, sent icy cold chills down his spine whenever he heard that toxic laughter, that haunted him night and day . . . and maybe, (though he prayed it would never reach that stage) into The Beyond.
The figures footsteps protruded all throughout the walls of the cave and now he was five feet away . . . four feet away . . . three feet away . . .
Robin's heartbeat (somehow) intensified. Now thrashing against his ribcage, he thought that it would explode within any second now.
Desperately, oh so desperately, Robin tried his damndest to crawl away from his maltreater; whilst at the same time, he tried to do something that he had not done in years, something that he felt ashamed of doing, something that was almost as good as saying 'I surrender'. Something that would show his abuser that Robin was virtually broken . . . he tried to plead for his life.
Despite his efforts to both crawl and plead; his limbs would not respond to the thoughts in his head and his voice box simply refused to allow him to utter anything . . . only to allow the painstaking breaths to escape his mouth.
Two hands grasped Robin by the scruff of his neck and turned him over, violently slamming his back on the unforgiving concrete.
And there he was. The owner of That Cackle, the person who would almost certainly take Robin to his grave . . .
Needless to say, The Face was tremendously satisfied with what he saw. The Boy Wonder; his arch-nemesis, tears in his eyes, a river of blood simply gushing from his forehead, his battered body with a multitudinal amount of gashes, bruises, cuts, burns et cetera . . ., his colourful costume virtually torn to shreds . . . despite being a relentless little fighter, the kid had not created a single scratch or wound on The Face. The Face was . . . disappointed?
Yes, disappointed. The Face knew the kid had a lot of potential . . . Hell, at one put during his lifetime; the Boy Wonder had been The Faces' apprentice.
But now, here he lies . . . inches from his demise. Well, that thought at least gave The Face some satisfaction.
Cracking his mouth open slightly, The Face began to speak, his clinical voice filling up the cave "You have failed Robin".
It may have only been four words, but those four words were enough to cause the tears that had been building up in Robin's eyes to fall down his face. The tears travelled down his cheeks, forming two small pathways down his bloodied, dust covered face. One word continued to echo through Robin's head . . .
"You've failed your friends, you've failed your city, you've failed the citizens" The Face continued to provoke the Boy Wonder. Wanting him to react, wanting the young hero to give The Face a reason to strike again. "But most importantly . . ."
The Face came in closer and closer towards Robin's face. Almost coming nose to nose. His last words rang through Robin's mind.
"You've failed yourself"
Mustering the every last piece of energy that was confined inside of him, Robin conjured up a ball of saliva, bile and blood at the back of his throat and hurled it right into the eye of The Face. The Face hardly reacted.
The Face took one hand off of Robin's costume and wiped the throat concoction from his face, wiped it on Robin and resumed his grip on Robin. Beneath The Faces' mask, he smirked. Now he had it. Now Robin had given The Face a reason to react. This was Robin's fault for what was about to happen.
The Face drew Robin up a little more from the ground, inch by inch. He tightened his grip of the superhero before slamming the back of his head on the unforgiving concrete.
The sudden impact of skull meeting concrete sent a sickening thud all throughout the cave, rebounding off the walls, back into the ears of Robin and The Face (whose smirk of pure satisfaction had increased).
The echo continued to ring in Robin's ears as he began to lose consciousness. Second by second, his eyes were closing, and he began to drift away. His breaths were now getting shorter with every passing moment and his vision was fading from blurriness, to darkness.
You've failed your friends.
Before losing complete consciousness, that noise filled his ears.
You've failed your city.
The noise that never left Robin when he slept.
You've failed yourself.
His fears were confirmed. The noise was going to follow him . . . follow him into the beyond.
The cackle stayed with Robin, even when he finally lost all consciousness.
END OF PROLOGUE . . .
And there we are people. One page down, another God knows how many left to come.
I'd really appreciate the reviews and positive feedback. And please do not send any unnecessary flames. If there are any criticisms to be handed out, they would be more appreciated if they are constructive or if they offer any helpful, useful advice.
I've written a few chapters already and am in the process of proof-reading them, re-reading, re-writing and changing parts in the chapters that are a bit rubbish.
I can reveal that this will be a very lengthy piece with all that I have planned or unplanned at this stage.
Hope you all enjoyed this introduction and I hope that you enjoy all that's left to come.
Watch this space, there is more left to come.