AN: References used [previously]: Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited, Final Fantasy (VII: Crisis Core, X, & XII), Marvel/X-Men, Pokémon, Kids Next Door, Dragonball Z, Capcom, Naruto, WWE, TNA Impact, Family Guy, Bleach, Code Geass, Sonic Adventure 2, Xiaolin Showdown, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and One Piece.
In this chapter: nothing new.
Chapter 10 — Temerity
(Current time: 9:30 AM, Tuesday morning.)
(Background music (BGM): "The Promise" — Final Fantasy XIII.)
"A new day, a new life"... those words stayed inside the mind of Gigi, as she remained asleep in close quarters of Cheeks, the man she has chosen to be with since last night. Cheeks had just opened his eyes, waking up to the sight of his new girlfriend. He was reminded of the fact that Gigi was his first, which sprung up an internal conflict. He was trying to figure out how to be a good boyfriend, but all Gigi suggested to him was "be yourself" and keep her close as "a partner." Cheeks already knew that he had missed out on so much compared to all of his brothers, who have all at least gone out on a date with their girls. He had the power and opportunity now, but the thing he was fighting was the thought of what would happen if he chose to be himself around everyone else. How would they respond? What would they all think of not only him, but Gigi as well? He did not want to ruin either of their reputations. However, he had to consider something. Being with him is what Gigi wanted... and as of late, Gigi has gotten everything she wanted, regardless of the obstacle in front of her. She's fought her way out of practically nothing—getting away from a witless boyfriend, ending her first round losing streak in tournaments, proving her nonbelievers wrong, and even transforming her own nature both on and off the battlefield. Everything she does, she gets it done AND can back it up, if the need arises. Maybe she could make everyone understand her decision to be Cheeks's girl... but that was for a later time.
In the meantime, Cheeks would focus on the positives about this new situation. As he began to focus, he started to take in how physically beautiful she was. His attraction to her from last night was only conversational, emotional, and intellectual at the same time—that was, until the cuddling began. He realized now that he was more charmed by her than he thought. Cheeks loved her slight French accent, and how all her words like "this" and "that" had a "z"-sound at the beginning. Her black hair was very cute to him, thinking of her extra long pair of pigtails that reached down to her hips, where both ends were each decorated with a red bow. He imagined playing and teasing around with them, if she'd let him. And those cerulean blue eyes just snared him; they were full and alluring just like the pair of eyes that one of the girls on Toradora had. Finally, he acknowledged her body warmth, as her body was still a bit pressed against his.
"Wow.. I love this girl more than I thought. But is it too early to show that?" Cheeks wondered, still gazing at her closed eyes. He really wanted to see them opened again, and maybe once she was awake, he would know what to do. He then decided to lean his head in towards her left cheek.
Gigi had awoken by the time his lips were within 2 inches of her. "Good morning, you..." she said in a light, nurturing morning voice.
Cheeks was taken by surprise a little. "Oh, hey! Um, morning... beautiful."
The poodle gasped, as her mouth opened with delight. "You think I'm beautiful?"
"Of course! Everything about you... I could seal it with a kiss."
Gigi was excited to hear that, giving him an inviting look. "Well, nothing's stopping you, love-monkey."
"You mean, I can actually...?"
"I'm easy, Cheeks... I don't like to go slow or too quick either. I just want us to be happy."
Cheeks was thinking of the Bean Titans. "Oh wow, I really like that. But what about everyone else? What would happen if everyone knew about us, you especially?"
Gigi put a finger to his lips, as a sign for him to stop talking. "I know what you're worried about Cheeks, and it's okay. We will be fine because we will be there for each other, right?"
"Yeah." replied Cheeks, with reassurance.
"Like I said, I don't want to be treated as a leader... at least, not to the point where I feel like I'm above everyone else, because I don't feel that way at all. I know my place, and I will respect it accordingly. I want as many people as possible to understand that. As far as everyone else is concerned, I don't care what they think of us. There are about 25 other couples in the Bean Titans anyways, so it isn't that big of a deal. This is our design, Cheeks. If anyone threatens that, I'm willing to put up a defense, with words or none at all... even if it's the Legendary 12 themselves."
The baboon could clearly tell she cared deeply and passionately for what she believed in. It was amazing to him how much Gigi had changed since the New 12 had been announced a few months ago. It made him love and support her even more, and eliminated of some of his nervousness about this ordeal. Now he was ready, with less doubt in his mind.
"Gigi..." he called her, looking even closer into those eyes of hers, nearly hypnotized by them.
Gigi gazed back into his amber eyes, while removing her finger from his lips. She then watched him put a hand under the side of her face and leaned in towards her, lips first.
Cheeks had finally experienced his first kiss, locking together with Gigi's soft lips and closing his eyes to take in the sensation. Gigi refused to part with him, locking her arms around his body. Before all the talk, she wanted him desperately and had her doubts about him. Her affection for Cheeks has been refined, now certain that she does really care about him. The fact that she doesn't want to stop kissing him while she is still in his room confirms that.
(The music halts.)
Suddenly, there is a knock on Cheeks's door. Gigi and Cheeks both open one eye and then slowly release their smooch, which made a lasting smacking sound upon separation.
"Who is that?" Gigi whispered.
"It's probably my mom or dad... one of them usually knocks on our door trying to wake me and my bros up, if we aren't already." replied the baboon.
"Really? But how would they know?"
"If there's no answer after 2 knocks, they bust in and try to wake us up."
A second knock was heard after he said that.
"Oh my... maybe you should answer that." Gigi suggested.
"Are you sure?"
"Remember, I said I'd be ready for anyone." she said, winking at him.
Cheeks blushed a little bit, before getting up and walking to his door. "Okay, I will be too." he told her as he gripped his door handle and turned it.
Gigi got up as well, going into his bathroom. "I'll be in here for a minute." she called out.
Once Cheeks had the door half-opened, he was hit in the gut by a heavy ball of webbing, which meant only one thing... the fact that his father doesn't surprise attack his sons. It was Congo instead, catching his brother off-guard.
"Oof... you do know I have to eat breakfast, right?" Cheeks said, dropping to his knees.
"Can't take a surprise prank anymore, bro?" Congo questioned, joking around with him. He then felt a sudden shock go through his arm, grabbing it and finding a thin web line on his bicep. The line led down to the tip Cheeks's left pinky finger, where the web was shot.
Cheeks looked up with a sly smile. "Does THAT answer your question?"
Congo chuckled. "Apparently so."
"Anyways, what's up?" Cheeks asked, standing back on his feet.
The gorilla paced back and forth in the hallway. "There are two things, really. First and foremost, I need you to help me out and challenge Nibbly and Nibbler to a double duel."
Cheeks lowered his eyebrows. "You're kidding.. right?"
"Nope, I'm not. It's likely that we won't be in the tournament on Friday, and that dad will choose completely new people to be in it. Seeing as though we have great enough chemistry, I say we teach another pair of Titans some lessons, if they're okay with it."
Congo had a point. In the past, the Bean Titans would have team battle sessions while the Legendary 12 were out on official business. Cheeks and Congo were probably the most formidable duo, even before they had their new web-slinging powers.
"I understand what you're saying, but we'd be teaching to people with different powers. Wouldn't that be weird?" Cheeks questioned.
"Different strengths, different chemistry... they would have to work that out themselves, unfortunately. But we'll get to that later. Now to the second thing: how was Gigi's visit?"
Cheeks paused in nervousness, but then quickly regained his composure. "Oh um, it was great. She actually liked the show I was watching, so I decided to tell her more about it. Then we started talking more about all kinds of stuff."
Congo was surprised. "Ooh. Like what?" he wondered.
"She said a lot of things changed for her: her life, her way of fighting, people she used to know..."
"Whoa whoa, stop there—people she USED to know? What do you mean?"
"Well, it's actually just one person. Luke. Things didn't work out for them, and it's more of his fault."
Congo nodded. "Ah, so Fortune WAS right about sensing what was wrong with him."
"Yeah. Gigi said she had already moved on from him weeks ago, though. Once she told me that secret, I thought it was only fair if I told her one of mine."
"I've never had a girlfriend." Cheeks answered.
"Ha ha.. you aren't serious, are you?"
"If I wasn't, it wouldn't be a secret, bro."
Congo crossed his arms. "Well that explains why you never told me or any of the other bros. I mean, no girl has kissed me, but I've been on a few dates. We gotta get you hooked up, man."
"Err... that won't be necessary..." interrupted Cheeks, raising his finger to catch Congo's attention.
"Why's that? You think you can get it done yourself, or you already have someone in mind?" the gorilla guessed.
"Hmm. How can I explain this?"
"Hey guys...!" exclaimed Gigi, coming from behind Cheeks and greeting them both. She then quickly kissed Cheeks, much to the surprise of Congo. "Bye guys!" she said, as she skipped out of the hallway with her indigo nightgown still on.
Cheeks was left sprung for a short moment. "Uh yeah, I think that speaks for itself." he told Congo, looking away awkwardly.
"Dude... what the heck just happened?" asked an awestruck Congo.
"She kissed me. You saw it with your own eyes."
"And I'm DAMN proud of that! You lucky dog, you..." Congo exclaimed, patting the sides of the baboon's shoulders, ecstatic for his brother.
Cheeks was grinning modestly. "Ha ha, stop it..."
"Ahh, wait until the boys hear about this!"
"No!" Cheeks outbursted.
"Why not? This is great; this is your first girlfriend, Cheeks!"
"No. Not—a single—word. I promised her. I won't be ready to face everyone else without her being ready first. And judging from what she told me earlier, anyone who happens to get word about us had best keep their mouths under wraps."
Congo started to think about it. He witnessed what Gigi was capable of in a fight, and also recalled that she sounded differently than he previously heard. There was power behind her words now, and a tank-load of it...
"Oh man. Roger that..."
"Yeah. Another word of advice: treat her as she is, not for what she is." Cheeks told his brother, hoping he'd understand.
"What do you mean?"
"She's a new team captain now, right? Well, she doesn't want that kind of respect to be shoved down her throat, even if she hasn't made up her mind on who she wants in the team with her. So if you feel like you're about to say something about her to someone else, relay that difference in respect to them... and don't spill any information about me and her. It will be handled when the time is right."
"Wow, she really has changed, hasn't she? All right then. I swear not to say a thing—Brothers' Honor." Congo promised.
The idea of "Brothers' Honor" was a code made by Cheeks, Congo, Bongo, Mooch and Slowpoke. If this code was ever broken, it was dishonor amongst the family. Fortunately, neither of the five have done such a thing. With this in effect, Congo must honor the decision made by both Cheeks and Gigi.
"Good. Now let's get breakfast, before I lose any more space for it... ha ha." Cheeks said, shutting his door before walking out of the hallway with his brother.
"So, um, did you kiss her... like, in the room?" Congo asked after a moment of silence.
The baboon sighed, a bit concerned about Congo's reliability of keeping the secret a secret. "...Yep." he responded.
Hippie and Fortune were already in the grand living room, on the top floor of Titans Tower. They had already had breakfast, so they were found sitting on one of the couches. At first, they were talking about their own night together, until they decided to change the topic.
"So, I'm confused... since when did you start hanging out with Gigi? I mean, it's not just because she won the tournament, right?" Hippie asked his girlfriend.
Fortune gave out a sigh. "I just figured the girl needed a boost with her social life, and not just her heroic life. I kinda admire her though—she's really toughened herself up and stepped up to the plate. Hey, why not have 2 best friends? Ha ha."
"Ah, I guess I can understand that. Speaking of Lucy, isn't she and the rest of the New 12 going through some... "shenanigans" at Team Z's place?"
The panda looked confused. "Shenanigans? Where did you hear that?"
"Thunderbolt told me after last night's tourney. He said that Durango's televising everything that they're doing on the island, except for Felix and Bonnie. So I'm figuring it's something reserved for the adults, since the other ten of them are over 18. Must be some crazy stuff..." Hippie told her.
"Well, I'll be sure to find that out for myself. Finding what channel all of that is on just made my to-do list for the week." she announced.
"For the week? What about Friday's tournament?"
Fortune nodded negatively. "It's not likely that we'll be included in it. I think the Legendary 12 wants to see what our training has done for us, since the New 12 was picked. That being said, it'll probably be all new Bean Titans this time around."
"Well, that's good news for me!" exclaimed a voice behind them, causing them both to jump up.
Fortune did not bother to turn around because she recognized the voice. Hippie did, and saw Princess (age 22)—a purple-coated bear with an unbloomed bright white rose tattooed on the left side of her upper chest. She had violet eyes, and medium-long dark indigo hair that had one pink stripe and one purple stripe towards the middle. Some of her hair also veiled her right eye. Princess wore a forest green dress that cutoff at her knees.
"Whoa, a little privacy would be appreciated...!" Hippie complained.
"Please. Privacy isn't my heart's desire, so I expose it." Princess replied, rather rambunctiously. Evidently, she was a bit obnoxious.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means she's nosy, and she doesn't care what you think of her butting in uninvited." Fortune stated.
"That's a little extreme, dont'cha think Fortune? You're making me sound like I'm as bad as Wrinkle. Ease up a little, huh?" she said with shrugged arms, grinning mildly.
"Maybe I am, but you're still kinda absorbed in your own little world. Just because your name is Princess, doesn't mean you can use that title to belittle others." Fortune lectured, raising her voice a bit. She was starting to sound irritated of the other bear.
"And here, I thought there was peace between the Angels..." Hippie murmured as an aside, speaking of the four bears that protected all the Titans Towers with barriers a few years ago (the other two: Halo—a white bear much like an angel, with shiny wings and a halo; and Peace—a ty-dye bear with the peace symbol tattooed on her chest).
"Oh, you don't even know the story..." said Princess. "But in short, here the gist of it, Hippie: Fortune's always had a tiff with the way I handle and do things, Peace tends to be lazy and doesn't like putting herself in conflicts, and Halo is always the one trying to eliminate the issues and bring us all together... poor girl. How we even came together to put up the barriers during our little "tour" back then, now that I think of it, is beyond me... and if I remember correctly, the barrier here was breached twice—first by Burn and Bruno, and then a few of the Acolytes. I'd blame Peace, but since it was a group effort, I'd think all of us were to blame... ah, quite unfortunate, wasn't it Fortune?"
The panda hated hearing that pun, giving out a tempered growl and squinting her face to keep most of her anger in. She finally turned around and rose from the couch, moving around it and walking up to Princess, getting in her face. Using his speed, Hippie ran up and braced his girl back from getting too upset and using force against Princess.
The purple bear put her hands up and backed up a little bit. "Heh, at least your boyfriend knows how to respect someone's space."
Fortune closed her eyes while Hippie held her. "Always a prissy little bitch, aren't you?"
Princess reacted to the word "prissy", closing her eyes halfway and frowning. "What was that?"
"I'm not gonna repeat myself, since you know what you heard. You hate being called that, right?"
Hippie released Fortune. "Um, girls..."
"I got this, Hippie." Fortune retorted, moving closer to Princess again. "You're so full of yourself. Why not step off of your high horse and learn a little thing called respect?"
"Oh, I know what respect is... I just have my own way of showing it. I'd appreciate it if you'd respect that."
"Well I can't do that for such a stuck-up person..."
"Well, why the hell not? Why can't you respect me as I am?"
"Because I don't like you as you are! You have to EARN respect, not ask for it!" Fortune yelled.
Princess pushed back the hair that covered her right eye and then batted both her eyes. Suddenly, one of them turned a pale red and showed a bright wingspan-like symbol in the center. Princess also possessed a Geass.
"But I can demand it." she said.
Fortune quickly activated her Geass to counteract Princess's. "Now you know you can't use that on me."
"Who said I was using it on you?"
Hippie was slowly walking over to the purple bear in a sort of trance, being controlled all the while.
"Ugh!" Fortune uttered, jerking her head towards to the space between Hippie and Princess, breaking her hold on the bunny. She then, once again, put herself inches close to Princess. "Don't you ever do that to him again. I don't care if my seraph comes down to smite me; if you EVER use your Geass again on Hippie, I'll make you regret it."
Despite the serious warning, Princess scoffed, turning around after deactivating her Geass. She started off, walking towards the elevator to the roof of the Tower. "Come back to me when you can back those words up with some action. Better yet, get back to me when I CARE!"
Fortune gritted her teeth as she watched her enter the elevator with her own self-pride. "Ugggh! That does it... that girl makes me so mad. She's gonna get hers." she thought in a mild rage.
"Ah, my head... what just happened?" Hippie openly asked.
"Hippie, if you can find out what channel the New 12 are on, then record the shows for me."
"Okay... but, I thought that you were going to handle that."
Fortune started off for the main Tower elevator. "My plans changed. I'm going to make an appeal to put myself in Friday's tournament... and 'Miss Prissy Pants' is coming with me. She needs to be put in her place. I'll make sure that I'm the one that's gonna do just that."
Hippie knew that Fortune meant business, so he let her go without a word of objection.
Waddle, the young penguin, stepped in on the bunny. "Dude... I saw the whole thing go down. Is she gonna be alright?" he asked.
"For everyone's sake, I hope so." Hippie answered.
(Time: 11:40 AM. In the Mission Room of the Facility sector of Titans Tower-Home Base...)
Sweet is alone inside of the Mission Room, awaiting the arrival of the rest of the Legendary 12 and Gigi. He paces back and forth, deep in thought of exactly what he wanted to discuss in this conference. There was so much on his mind that needed to be addressed. The UNLIMITED tournament on Friday, the advancement of the Bean Titans, Titans X's progress on the Moon Base, the absence of Wrinkle as of late, and even Bahamut Fury's attack last week. He began to wonder if he needed to prepare Gigi like he and the rest of the Legendary 12 prepared the New 12... but at the same time, he wanted to consider the things that she had in mind, if she had any ideas. It was tough to think about, but he only wants the best for not only Gigi, but for the entire Titans League.
The rest of the Legendary 12 soon entered the Mission Room and took specific places to sit or stand. Dotty and Spunky sat in chairs in front of a large computer screen, which displayed the Titans' previous successes. Hippity and Floppity stood and sat (respectively) in front of the holographic globe of Earth; it was their most "comfortable" place in the Mission Room. Mac stood alone, in one of the corners of the room, looking away from the rest. The other 6 of them took their designated seats around the conference table, to the right side of the room.
Sweet stopped pacing around and approached the table.
"Welcome everyone." he greeted, to start things off. "I take it that we all know what this meeting is for, right?"
"Um... I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel like I don't know how to sort everything out smoothly, at least not in my head." Canyon confessed.
The others sitting around the table agreed with the cougar.
Sweet snapped his fingers and gave out a sigh. "Tell me about it..." he said half-heartedly.
Mac shrugged, walking towards the table. "I had a feeling this conference would get off to a slow start, but I have a worse feeling telling me that somehow it's not going to go well for us."
"Mac... I'll admit you've been very omniscient lately, but now is NOT the time for that intuition of yours to come true. To no offense..." Dotty replied.
"Well, since Gigi isn't here yet, I guess we'll just touch on everything, one by one. This was supposed to be centered on her being a new leader and all, but for the time being, we'll save that for later. So I guess we'll start with the tournament... what did you all think of last night?" questioned Sweet.
"Oh, it was great!" Aurora exclaimed.
"And a bit surprising, to say the least... there were things I didn't think some of the Titans were capable of, and Gigi is only one of those Titans." Mystic added.
"Yeah. Scorch warned everyone from the beginning that he wasn't going to hold back, but I never knew Bronto could survive that long against him." noted Fleece.
"All of Scorch's opponents had to pull out all the stops." Spunky said.
"No kidding. Sweet, your sons sure do learn fast; Cheeks dodged through Scorch's Meteor Shower like nothing I've ever seen. Hoo-wee...!" Hippity acclaimed.
"And let's not forget about Jake. He's done things in all of his matches that... I don't think Mac could ever do." Kuku remarked.
Mac raised his eyebrow and crossed his wings. "No need to rub it in... but you're right. His Vortex Palm, the Time Warp, and that new power state of his, especially—I think that took everyone by surprise."
"Yes, all of that and more," began Sweet. "It's pleasing to hear that the Bean Titans are improving on their own more, and the results are often times staggering. Yes... but I am curious as to what some of the other Titans have found in their training."
"And that's the reasoning for the UNLIMITED Tournament on Friday, right?" Fancy figured.
"Yes. If at all possible, I would like to showcase as many new Titans that have not been in the contest as possible. And as far as the reward is concerned, I want the champion to decide that for his or herself. Of course, their decisions will have to be rationalized, if necessary."
"So what's next, Sweet?" asked Floppity, randomly flicking one of her ears.
"Gigi isn't here yet..." Sweet thought to himself, noticing that the time was 11:52 AM.
"Sweet?" called the lavender bunny again.
"Oh, right. I guess the Moon Base is next off the top of my head. Has there been any news, Dotty?"
"The last thing heard from Lucky was that there was "no need" for a Danger Room up there." replied the dalmatian.
"Okay. You're kidding, right?" Canyon uttered.
"Lucky isn't the dishonest type, Canyon. Still, we were working on that for several years... I wonder what happened, or how this project of ours got discontinued. I'm sorry to say that I don't know any more details or further reasoning for this."
"Ah I see. I'll be sure to get to that tomorrow, along with the tournament plans." Sweet said, beginning to pace around again. The changes around the Titans League were making him and the rest of the Legendary 12 nervous.
"Another thing is a bit strange. Wrinkle hasn't showed his face anywhere or initiated any kind of trouble since the Heartless invaded." Mac pointed out.
"I can understand that," began Mystic. "My guess is that he's concerned about his how much time he has left to live. Think about it: he and the Syndicate carried out a deal for immortality, but it was really smoke and mirrors—the Acolytes themselves were their lifelines. Last time I checked, Team Z had gotten rid of ALL of the Acolytes recently... so I'm sure Wrinkle and whoever is still alive with him are trying their best not to jeopardize what's left of their time to live."
"As obnoxious as he is, I don't think Wrinkle cares about what happens to himself... I think he's still plotting to end us. That fact hasn't changed for the past 30-some years." Hippity generalized, crossing his arms and shaking his head.
"I'd like to believe that, but I still want to consider that he might be really concerned about himself and the few people he has left by his side. I mean, it's his LIFE that's on the line—something that he hasn't had to worry about for almost the past 7 to 8 years. It'd be stupid of him not to care." Fleece explained.
"That doesn't mean he's going to completely let us off the hook..." Sweet interrupted grumpily, before raising the wristwatch on his left arm. "He has a major vendetta on us for something he didn't get as a child; this gadget right here is the main reason why he despises me. He doesn't have exactly what we have and to this day, he doesn't understand that his own attitudes and decisions are what defeat him, (*pounds table*) TIME after TIME again! I would've made amends too... if he wasn't so stubborn and obstinate to begin with!"
There was silence for a few moments. In that silence, Gigi finally entered the Mission Room, right at 12:00 noon, sharp. She was signaled over to the table by Mystic, telepathically. The poodle remained silent along with the Legendary 12. She was actually waiting on the right time to speak.
"And what about the other troubles?" Mac questioned, wanting to move to another topic on behalf of Sweet.
"What are you saying?" Aurora responded, putting his hands under his chin.
"Tabuu and the Acolytes aren't included because they're confirmed as dead now. However, haven't you noticed that our enemies tend to come back for more? Wrinkle and his Syndicate have always come back, the Heartless we fought before kept coming back... we might as well jot down Bahamut Fury to the list too."
"Oh my goodness, Mac..." Kuku thought, shaking her head solemnly.
"I don't even want to think about that monster." Hippity murmured.
"Mac... I swear, if you manage to jinx this sometime in the future, I withhold every right to slap you sideways." Mystic warned him, not wanting another one of his intuitions to come true.
The cardinal's eyebrows bounced, startled at the thought of that. "...Duly noted." he hesitated to say.
"Now, before we all get off on the wrong parallel, isn't this why we're training and preparing the rest of the Titans so much? Instilling them with advice, tactics and all sorts of things that could help them?" Dotty said.
"With a being that powerful, I don't think it would make much difference, even if he never came back for another 50 years..." Spunky claimed, accepting the fact that no one stood a chance against Bahamut Fury, not even if 30 Bean Titans were allied together against him.
"But if we don't stand against him, who will?"
"We won't last though. We're getting older, and the torch is already being passed down to the younger Titans here... namely, the New 12." claimed Kuku.
"And have we done a good job of that?" Sweet asked.
"Why would you say that, Sweet? Of course we did—we spent an entire month trying to think about who were the best fit as leaders and how well those leaders could cooperate with each other!" Aurora retorted.
"If that was our best, then why did we run over milestones trying to get them all to be unified as a team?" Fancy said, standing up with her fists on the table. "It wasn't going to take a day, maybe not even a week... but for them still have problems after training down at the Antarctic Base, after saving our skins at every Tower around Earth, after finally coming together to topple Tabuu, after rising to the Heartless occasion, and after saving my son from making the biggest mistake of his life? All of those were taxing bumps in the road and they still aren't 100% ready... and they're off on an island right now, doing who-knows-what! What all have we accomplished with our progress with them? What have we done that was right?"
(BGM: "Dissolved Girl" — Massive Attack. Gigi's selected theme in the Titans.)
"Absolutely nothing." Gigi finally spoke, standing up and walking away from the table and towards the holographic globe. Those two words stopped all of the stressed worries of the 12 living legends.
"What...?" uttered Dotty, who was awestruck by her answer.
"I stand by what I said... nothing. I actually had one idea I wanted to bring to this conference, but apparently I can't get to that until I address everything I've heard since I came in. Sweet, the speech that you made before the final match last night had me thinking ever since. Yes, it was inspiring... but there were certain things that you said that presented deeper ideas—ideas that I wish to exploit because they have great impact on our future. Subject #1) We are the Bean Titans—heroes who will stop at nothing to bring peace and justice, no matter who or what we're up against. If Bahamut Fury actually is still alive somehow and he shows himself or gives us some kind of warning, we WILL be ready. Yes, it will be extremely tough, but we will be victorious at the end of the day. Subject #2) Kuku is halfway right: you 12 are getting older, even as we all encounter trouble every now and then... but you say the torch is being passed down to us. To be perfectly honest, we are already holding it. Ever since Scaly went to Wrinkle, we've had a great handle on the responsibility because you weren't there to intervene on what many of us have had to experience. Think of all the times you weren't there. Scaly's departure from us: Slowpoke had suffered dearly from very fatal wounds, Crunch endured a stab through his body, Chipper, Megan and Fortune fought being blacked out in different ways, and Sly fought his heart out for Scaly and still lived. Rescuing Durango and Tina: Scorch and the rest of Team Z didn't just take on Wrinkle's gang, but disposed of 3 Acolytes also... and they ALL survived. The New 12's 1st training session: believe it or not, I was the one that convinced them to start working as a team when I was sent there. Trust me, they were pretty dysfunctional. And I'm sure you've seen the just about everything from Subspace all the way to the encounter with Bahamut Fury, thanks to the Memory Room. We have already been through many life-and-death situations, and most of the time, we were unprepared. But through hard work, perseverance and survival, we have made everything work out... WITHOUT prior input from anyone else."
The Legendary 12 still remained silent, trying to take everything in.
"Which finally brings me to subject #3, the point I wanted to get to." Gigi started out, taking her seat again on the conference table. "Before you all decided on creating a New 12, everyone has been in the developmental stages. Some were higher up the ladder than others... and some were already there, but were not picked to be the lucky 12 Bean Titans in action today. Here's the thing I really wanted to talk about. Mooch, Sly, Hoppity, Ewey, Slowpoke, Bongo, Ears, Felix, Bonnie, Lucy, Christina and Megan... the New 12. They are the ones that are in the best position to take over when your time comes to an end, so that they will be the new leaders to carry on the Titans' legacy for the next generation. That means they have a new meaning of responsibility different from all the rest of the Bean Titans... including the Legendary 12. You can still have your judgements about them, but the fact that you have directly intervened on their own progress has ruined what they have come to be."
"Wait.. how can you say that? We've been trying to help them, and give them any pointers or advice that is relevant at the time." Fleece questioned.
"I'm still hexed about how you told us that we've done absolutely nothing right with them. There's no way that's true!" Canyon added.
"What reason could possibly explain that answer, Gigi?" Dotty interrogated, as even she was confused with this.
"You mean you don't notice?" Gigi wondered, looking off.
"Notice what?" Mac asked.
The poodle looked back with a stern face. "You're collectively making them more and more into a replica that is the spitting image of you all... the Legendary 12."
That answer stunned everyone, even Sweet. This was their first true realization of their influence on the New 12, and it made them rethink on how they have been evaluating the young Titans.
"My God..." Sweet internally thought, with no room for words at the thought of her answer.
Gigi continued. "I'm not saying that they should forget what you've taught them or forget about the other Titans... but a designated team should have to work on their own designated problems, no matter how ample or limited their time is. Your decision to make them a team truly said that they are the best to take lead for the future of the Bean Titans. So why should you have to step in and interfere with their progress? They are already more than ready; the fact that you keep experimenting with them is getting in the way of what they can truly make of themselves. Think about it."
Expressions of confusion swept the faces of all the Legendary 12 members, leaving many of them downright speechless.
"Well... does anyone have anything to say about this? I'm lost for words here." Sweet uttered.
"No clue... I think I speak for everyone when I say that this is new to us, and I think she's on point." Dotty replied, before the other 10 answered in agreement with that statement.
"Well then, I have only one thing to ask you, Gigi. The way you've come to us and said your piece is telling me that you have definitely changed, and that you must have something to request of us—something other than asking us to take the New 12 seriously and stop directing them. So... what is it that you yourself ask of us to do?"
The poodle stood up and walked toward the door of the Mission Room, about to exit. She then turned around to assume the Titan's Salute before speaking. "I'm still deciding who I want on my team. But I ask if you would please leave my team to me and who I choose to be in it. I'm not saying that what you're doing is wrong, but it doesn't have the most positive effect on a unit that is supposed to work together. So please, when the time comes, let my team be my priority."
Sweet walked up to Gigi and then answered her Salute with his own again. "Understood... Captain Gigi Morreaux."
It was shocking to everyone how Gigi presented herself to them in the conference. She had the tenacity to lay down her OWN law, even in front of the highest authorities in the Bean Titans.
Suddenly, a beeper went off on the screen that Dotty and Spunky were looking at before.
"What's that, Dotty?" asked Spunky.
"A reminder for Sweet. (reading) "The Griffin family is coming at 2:00" this afternoon?"
"Ahh, I forgot about that! Plus I still need to plan out the tournament and get everything in order." the orangutan exclaimed.
"I think I can handle that for you." Gigi offered, wanting to take some responsibility already.
"Are you sure?"
"Sure. I don't have much to do today, other than to think about who I think would be the best teammates for me."
"All right then." Sweet responded, appreciating her humbleness.
Gigi finally took her leave.
(The music fades away.)
"Well now, it looks like we have a lot to think about..." Aurora stated.
"It appears I was right about the meeting. After listening to her, I'd say that we really are at fault for realizing this now... and not earlier." Mac summated.
"What do we do now?" questioned Mystic.
"We do what Gigi told us to do: think about it, and while we're thinking, don't interfere with the New 12's progress," began Sweet. "Keep what she said in your minds because we, the Legendary 12, will have another conference next Monday. At that time, we will have made a decision on what more we want of the New 12 before we break whatever holds we have on them. Until then, making preparations for Friday at the Titans Metropolis is our primary objective. Is that clear?"
The others understood, as this meeting came to a close.
Gigi's on a roll, isn't she? She surprises people everywhere she goes, and it seems as if she already has what it takes to take charge as a leader. How will everyone else respond to this? We just might find out.. next chapter.