AN: My first fanfic! Any and all comments are welcome. If you spot anything really wrong with my story, like formatting and such, please let me know so I can fix it. I'm still getting use to working the site. Thanks everybody, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans or anything related to the franchise. I only own the overall plot of this story.
Raven was brewing.
Sitting in her room, she could not help but despise what she was doing. Ever since this had all begun she had rarely left the confines of her sanctuary, turning instead to her steady work of brewing the drug that had poisoned them all. It was not something they liked, but they needed it. It kept away the pain, kept the screaming at bay.
Slowly rising from her bed, Raven glanced into the pot, watching as the sickly green sludge whorled around the pot, coating the spoon she had assigned to the task of stirring. Reaching in, she slid her fingers through the slime, raising her hand once it was thoroughly coated with the stuff to her lips. Quickly, her tongue flashed out, drawing with it a drop of the goo back into her mouth.
Feeling the drug begin to take effect, Raven removed the pot from the small flame that hovered in the air, pouring the batch into the series of little glass vials she had set up the day before. There should have been enough for a couple of weeks, but Raven knew otherwise. Within a few days the vials would be empty, forcing her to remake the exact same hated substance once again.
Of course, she could refuse. She could decide that this would be the last of it. That they would all have to go back to the real world and find a cure for this little habit of theirs. She could do it, she knew she could. All she had to say was "No."
Letting out a sigh, Raven once more placed the small pot over the flame, turning to her cabinet to gather the supplies. She knew she could, knew she should, but she could not. For although it pained her, Raven had also become addicted to the peace the drug brought to them.
Beast Boy was trying to sleep.
When this had all started, he had volunteered for the midnight shift, thinking that it would be great. He already stayed up until the early hours of the morning anyway, so why not be useful? He would stay awake, take his portion of the drug to the basement, then go to bed, all without the others even aware of what was going on. So, that first night he completed his mission, giving them all another six hours free from the pain.
But then the nightmares began. At first they had been nothing big, just an uneasy feeling when he awoke the next morning. Nothing particularly bad, just weird. It felt like something was watching him throughout the day, something that was waiting for him in the basement. Something that would, and could, get out.
At first he had been able to shrug it off as no big deal. He would walk into the main room, enjoy a normal argument with Cyborg about their food choices, tease Raven, and forget about the feeling within the first hour or so of being awake. As time continued on, however, that began to change as well. It started a few days after his first nightmare, right after Raven had returned from taking her vial of drug to the basement.
Raven had returned to them even paler then she normally had been, shaken up by her encounter with the drug and its effects. Without saying a word, she had retreated to her corner, the little black book sitting on her chair automatically turning to the correct page as she drew near. They had all been able to tell she was upset, and without even looking at each other they had gone into "Cheer up Raven" mode. Robin started a kettle of her favorite tea, Cyborg ran to get their stank ball, and he had wandered over and started turning into a series of cute and fluffy animals, annoying her until she had been forced back into her usual self.
The encounter had taken all of ten minutes, but it had left him with a bad taste in his mouth. Of course he did not envy the others, for going into the basement in the day was just as bad as at night, but the encounter had made him realize just how alone he was during his time. And that had just made the nightmares grow worse.
Sitting under the blankets, Beast Boy shuddered as the monsters that surrounded him growled, their voices shuttering as they spoke in their guttural language. Their snarls drove into his brain, blocking the warnings the others had given him about the monsters not being real. He forgot Cyborg's warning about sleep deprivation, Robin's suggestion of moving from his bedroom into the main center, and Raven's explanation of the monsters being a manifestation of the drug use they were all experiencing. In the fear of the moment, Beast Boy forgot everything.
Laying there under his covers, the forgotten clock flashing just before noon, Beast Boy closed his eyes. Mumbling under his breath a silent prayer for the monsters to go away, he curled into a tight little ball, and tried to sleep.
Robin was training.
Standing there in the gym, he could not help but hate what he, what they, had become. It was obvious to everyone what had happened. From Titans East to the tabloids, everyone knew that the Teen Titans had turned into junkies. And it was entirely his fault.
At first, it was to be a temporary thing. He had seen it in one of Raven's books. The recipe had seemed simple enough and, with the description of it, he had thought that, at the time, it was the best thing they could do. That it would help them all drown out the pain and screams. So, he had asked her to make it. And they had become hooked.
Of course, they had not been hooked after the first time they tried it. It took a couple of times, a while for the effects of the drug to become a need instead of a want. They had thought that they had out smarted the drug, with their six hour schedule, but the drug out smarted them.
As the days went on, their desire for the drug became stronger and stronger as the screams became louder and louder. The pain greater and greater.
As Robin lashed out at the punching bag, sending it flying to the other side of the room only to catch it on the rebound, he could not tell if the hot, salty liquid that fell from his lips and into his open mouth was sweat or tears.
Cyborg was researching.
When the team had first begun, it had not taken a rocket scientist to realize that, with their clashing personalities, there were going to be problems. In fact, they were even to be expected. A bunch of teenagers, living together in close spaces with no adult supervision, were bound to face difficulties. Realizing this, Cyborg had immediately started preparing. He was prepared for everything. On the off chance that two of the members tried to beat each other to death, he had stockpiled bandages and antibiotics in every hiding place possible. None of his friends were going to die on his watch. For the girls, on the slightly higher chance that the couples he had observed forming from the first day they became a team succumbed to the teenage disease called raging hormones, he had been gathering information on adoption and abortion clinics if the girl decided they didn't want the child, while at the same time had been hording bottles, diapers, and baby clothes for the chance they did.
He had even prepared for the smaller emergencies. Unknown to the other Titans, he had filled almost every empty room they had with things he thought they would need for emergencies. From feminine products to a thousand perfect replicas of Beast Boy's favorite toy monkey, he had thought that, come what may, he would be prepared.
Never had he thought of drugs. He had thought that they were all better than that, that they would never be caught up in something so stupid. Of course, thinking back, it probably should have been one of the first things he prepared for. How many times had he seen some famous and important person turn out to be a junkie? How many times had he been patrolling the streets and seen just how easy it was for kids to get a hit these days? As the oldest, he should have been prepared.
But he had not been, and so it was up to him to fix it. Of course, he had never thought that he would be part of the problem.
At first, after their heart had been poisoned, they had all agreed it would be a temporary measure. That they would only use it to stop the first poison. That once they found a cure for it, using the drug would not be necessary. Once they had used it, however, once they had heard the blessed relief from the screams, their hope began to die.
Still they tried. None of them wanted to continue this, this addiction they had to their chosen drug. They all worked together, only leaving when the alarm sounded or Raven needed to brew their death. They had even gotten the other Teen Titans to help them with their search for a cure. For months, they had read every book they could get their hands on, combed through thousands of internet pages for a reference of the poison, and had even run hundreds of diagnostic scans on the blood they were able to obtain. But, with each empty book, with each false lead, it became that much harder to continue.
Raven was the first to give up. 'A tolerance has built up. I need to create greater doses for the same effect, which takes more time.' That had been her excuse. It was obvious she had given up, had left them for the solitude of her room. So, Raven began her brewing.
Beast Boy was next. With his midnight dosage, he found the whole situation more difficult than the rest of them. In the middle of the night, when the rest of them were asleep, he was left with his own mind. The nightmares started soon after the poison was introduced to their team. With each night, they became more and more terrifying, waking them all with his screams. He became so scared, his mind eventually refused to rest. So, Beast Boy began trying to sleep.
Robin held in for longer than they had all expected. For months, every day, he was already awake and reading their latest research material by the time the rest of them woke up. Every night, he was the last to return to bed. The only times he did not study was when he ventured down into the basement with his own portion of the drug. But, after months, even he cracked. It was both expected and caught them all completely off guard. For, when he broke, he shattered. For the first time, they saw the purely human side of him, the one that allowed him to care. The one that allowed him to cry. He did not move for a while. Just, sat there, curled into a ball on the unused circular bed. When he came out of the room, he eyes were dry, but empty. Of everything. So, pulling away from the rest of them, Robin began to train.
He was the last. If any of them had asked him if he truly hoped things could be different, Cyborg, truthfully, would have said no. But still, he continued on. For, even though he said no, there was still that dream that, one day, he would no longer be forced to travel into the basement with his part of that despised mixture, only to return to his room to continue his fruitless attempts. That, one day, he would be able to wake up excited for the day, instead of dreading the feeling of uselessness that had been filling with each passing hour. The dream that, one day, things would go back to normal.
That Raven would forsake her room and cauldron and return to her place in the living room, making snide remarks about how stupid they all were even though they amused her, all the while with a book of depressing poetry sitting in her lap because she wanted it there, not because it had to be.
That Beast Boy would be able to sleep the whole night through, no longer afraid of the monsters that lived in his mind to torment him. That they would be able to laugh together, continue their arguments over which food was better, and beat each other at video games.
That Robin would once more, even if it was only for a few moments, put down his burden as a hero and become a friend. That he would be able to laugh and smile and just live. That he would come out of that training room and be the leader they all knew he could be.
Cyborg's fingers paused in their relentless tapping. Flinching, he drew himself inwards, curling into a ball in an attempt to protect his core. His hands forced themselves over his ears, pressing closer and closer against his head in an attempt to block out the sound. But, even as he sat there, the sound grew louder and louder, echoing around the halls of the Tower into an unbearable crescendo. For what seemed like an eternity, he sat there, shuttering as the clock marked every minute past noon that she went without the drug. Eventually, the screams began to die down, and he knew that the drug, the poison, had once more been forced down her throat.
Although he knew it was selfish and horrible, Cyborg's only wish for Starfire was that she would stop screaming.