Yes, I know, I know. I'm am very VERY stupid for starting yet another story, when I have yet to finish the others. But this one will be up for now because I have a few of the chapters already typed. So, while people are reading this, I can type for my other stories. Thank you.
Chapter 1: Over the Edge
"CALLING ALL TITANS! CALLING ALL TITANS! THIS IS A CODE RED EMERGENCY! ARKHAM ASYLUM HAS BEEN BREACHED!" I rubbed my eyes with my hand, donned my cloak, and flew to the common room. Nightwing stood in the front of the room, facing one of the long windows that looked out over the bay, and, beyond that, Jump City. Cyborg was over in Steel helping Titans East set up their tower, so we were short a member. Starfire flew in with red bed head, Beastboy trailing tiredly behind her, complaining all the way.
"Why do the bad guys always have to break out in the middle of the night?" He whined. Outside, the night was pale, the new moon leaving darkness. The stars shed little light on the tower, the bay below cerulean, the water's shadows dancing.
"Not bad guys. Bad guy." Nightwing turned towards us, eyes narrowed, his countenance grim.
"No." The word slithered out of my mouth, I could feel my eyes widen a fraction of a centimeter, but I still held my monotone, the rest of my expression unchanging. "Not him." Nightwing nodded once, his eyes trained on each of us.
I will never forget the day that we shed the word teen from our title, the same day that Robin became Nightwing. Then again, I could feel the changes in each of us, see them, too. I thought that I still looked the same, except for my costume, which I'd had to change on account of my old one being too small. Starfire wore the same outfit, except for the fact that she had grown also, so it was now even more revealing. Beastboy was taller, and he didn't crack jokes as much, which was a blessing. He wasn't as lighthearted as he used to be, after seeing the sickening things that happened night after night in our cities, time had somewhat hardened his personality. Cyborg had become much more defined, and had upgraded his systems. Robin had changed almost entirely, his new costume, new look...
It was odd at first, be we grew used to it. He and Starfire had recently begun dating, which the rest of the team had rolled their eyes and said, "FINALLY" to. What did not change, however, was the growing rate of crime in Jump, Steel, and, finally, Gotham. We constantly got calls from Gotham and Steel. Jump, however, seemed to be the lesser of the three overrun, criminal infested towns.
"The Joker." I could see the grimace as he spat the words out of his mouth, as if they were poison on his tongue. I didn't blame him; the psychopath had drawn a jagged line through his and Batman's lives. Not to mention the incident with Barbara Gordon, which none of us could forget. How she learned to deal with it, I didn't know. But, she was now helping Batman and the League as the Oracle, even though she was confined to that wheel chair. Thinking about her really makes you look back and count your blessings. This would be the first time that our team as an, almost, whole would deal with the psychotic freak. "Gotham. Apparently he's hiding out in the dockyards. Very unlike him." He nodded once more, eyes narrowed in thought, and began moving quickly towards the door, us following in suit.
"We need to figure out an angle of attack. Starfire, Raven, I want you two to fly there, scan the perimeter, make sure he's inside the building. I'll check to see if he's rigged anything to blow, Beastboy, I need to you sniff him out. Sound good?" We all nodded in affirmation, Starfire and I taking to the skies, Beastboy morphing into a bird, Nightwing straddling his motorcycle. "We need to be as stealthy as possible; we don't want him to think that something's going on."
Then we rolled out. Starfire, Beastboy and I were the first to the scene, quietly drifting above the dockyard's warehouse. We split up, Beastboy dropping to the ground, Starfire going left, and I going right. My eyes scanned the pitch blackness; it was almost too dark to see. I caught a moving shadow in my peripheral vision, just as my pocket buzzed. I flipped open my communicator while I spun around. Nothing. I looked down at the tiny screen, Beastboy and Starfire's faces visible.
"He's in the building," Beastboy whispered, "I'm not sure what he's doing, but I think I smell Kerosene. Not a good sign." Suddenly, Nightwing's face popped onto the screen.
"Any ideas?" He asked.
"Why don't I see what he's up to?" I said, knowing that if it was dark in there, he wouldn't be able to detect my dark soul body. Nightwing grimaced.
"All right, but if you he sees you or something bad is about to happen, you need to get back to your body right away." I rolled my eyes.
"I know, I know."
"We'll wait for you to contact us."
"Copy that. Raven over and out." I signed off and clipped it back onto my belt. I levitated my body, now in the lotus position, as I chanted. "Azarath...Metrion...Zinthos..." The last word dragged as I opened my eyes, which were a bright white, and my soul-self left my body and phased through the metal wall of the warehouse. My black form glided forward, while, outside, in my floating body's mind, I took in the scene. It was quiet in there...too quiet. Then, abruptly, the Joker came into view. In his hand was a can of Kerosene, which he was dumping all over the floor.
"I'm a little teapot short and stout...here is my handle, here is my sssspout." He laughed, and, outside, the eeriness of the sound sent shivers down my spine. At nineteen years old, you would've thought that I would've grown used to that one freaky sound, considering all of the times I'd heard it. But no. I don't think that even Nightwing or Batman was used to it. As I looked closer, I saw them. A handful of crime lords sat bound and gagged on the floor. And one of them was the Black Mask, Gotham's biggest, baddest criminal since all of the others had been shipped off to wear out their welcome in Arkham.
"THIS WASN'T PART OF THE DAMN DEAL! LET ME GO YOU PSYCHOTIC FREAK!" The Black Mask had somehow worked his gag off. I tore my eyes away from them, to realize, with a start, that the Joker was missing. My eyes darted to the left. That's when the laughing began. With dread filling my stomach with a foreboding feeling, I immediately began to fly back towards my body. The laughing grew louder.
"I see you little birdie!" The Joker laughed. He loomed in front of me, a shotgun in hand. I silently cursed myself. Why hadn't I sensed him? I reeled back, but not before he began to pull the trigger. I managed to evade many of the bullets as I streaked past him towards the wall, until one slammed into the back of my soul-self's shoulder blade. Outside, my body jerked, my face contorting in pain. That would be nothing compared to what I would feel later, when I wasn't hyped up on adrenaline. I crashed through the wall, soul-self slamming back into my body. That was when part of the pain really hit. I could feel the bullet stuck in my shoulder, and my body fell backwards as I lost momentary control. I took a few deep breaths, hoping to gain back most of my control.
Grabbing my communicator out of my belt, putting on my best monotone voice to mask the pain, I gathered my features in a plain expression, and turned it on, signaling everyone.
"Nightwing here, what'd you find? I thought I heard some shots being fired, you weren't injured, were you?" Knowing full well that if I told him, he would make me go back to the tower, I shook my head.
"Listen, I saw him in there. Beastboy was right, he had Kerosene, and he was dumping it on a ring of crime lords. I don't know what he's planning, but I think the place might blow any minute. We need a plan to get in, get the crime lords, and fast." I could feel a drop of sweat slip down my face as the bullet ground around in my shoulder. My eyebrow twitched.
"Raven, why don't you phase through the wall, and start pulling them out while we distract him?" It sounded like a crappy plan, but hey, it was all we had.
"When I give the signal you start moving."
"What's the signal?" I asked, skeptically.
"Us busting through the door." I smiled slightly.
"Got it. Raven over and out." As I slapped it shut, something pinged on the roof. I grabbed my shoulder, letting out a hiss of pain that I'd held in for far too long. My eyes roamed upwards to where the sound had come from, and froze. A white skull peered back at me, that and the trademark splatter of red that resembled an X were the only parts of him I could see. I froze as he lifted his gloved hand to place a finger directly over where his lips would be under the mask. My fingers tightened around my communicator.
"BAM!" Well, there's the signal. My head whipped to the side. I could hear the back and forth banter between Nightwing and the Joker. I looked up once again, but he was gone. At that point, I guessed that it had been a hallucination brought on by pain. I phased through the wall and sneaked behind one of the crates. I placed my fingers to my lips as all of the crime lords' eyes fit the pieces of the puzzle together. The Black Mask rolled his eyes, and I couldn't help it when I flipped him the bird. I know, I know, very hero like. My fingers curled around the rope of two of the people's backs, and I surrounded the rest with my dark energy, pushing my powers, and my shoulder to the max. Something exploded at the front of the warehouse.
"Oh bird boy, you're no fun anymore! All grown up and in your big boy pants!" I heard the Joker's trademark laughter over the sound of gunfire and starbolts. I phased through the wall, dropping the people outside, into the clutches of the police. I flew back in to help them get the Joker under control. And I flew into the room, and got exactly what I expected: chaos. Starfire was firing starbolts at the green haired maniac, weaving in-between crates to evade the bullets flying frantically through the humid night air.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zin—" A bullet clipped my shoulder, and I turned my full attention to the Joker, who, in turn, had his gaze fixed on me. That smile that he had on his face chilled me to the bone.
"Little birdie can't fly with a broken wing." He laughed maniacally and re-aimed his gun at me. I flew past, following the far wall, and saw Nightwing swinging towards him, feet out to kick him in the back. But he never got there. Instead, he was tackled by a black clad figure.
"Hey Chuckles. Is there something different about you? Because you seem different. Or maybe it's me." He flipped over Nightwing, and punched him in the jaw. Starfire switched tactics, and flew towards the masked thief while Beastboy charged the Joker. The little green armadillo sped across the concrete towards the Joker, the bullets bouncing off his armor like skin. At the last possible second, he morphed into a T-Rex crashed into him while I sent wave upon wave of dark energy flying at him. I looked over as Starfire screamed. Red X paused in his battle with Nightwing for only a moment, deftly flicking his wrist, and sent Starfire flying backwards towards the wall. She jerked against the sticky X, but it wouldn't budge. I turned my attention back to the Joker, who was now trying to shoot some type of, most likely noxious, gas at Beastboy. I flew over and once again began my chant, ignoring the pain in my shoulder. My hands glowed black as I came within close range of him. I flew up behind him while Beastboy kept him occupied.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Just as my dark energy shot out to encase him, he turned, laughing, and shot something in my face. I coughed once and dropped to the floor, unable to move. He spun moved towards me, and I saw immediately that Beastboy was also lying on the floor, but he was unconscious. The Joker grabbed my long violet hair and pulled me around the corner, behind some crates. I regretted not cutting my hair like Nightwing had told me to all those years ago as some came loose from my head, blood trickling down my pale skin. I couldn't cry out in pain, something was suppressing my voice. All I could do was look on as the Joker bent over me, grinning as he always did. But there was something different about it this time. Like it was directed specifically at me. It made my stomach churn. Why wasn't he killing me or moving on? I swallowed.
"After watching you fight, I've gotta say, you must be the toughest girl I've ever seen. But part of me has been wondering... What would have to happen to break you?" Where was he going with this?
"You know," His creepy voice made my skin crawl, "I never repeat a crime. But this time I may have to make an exception. For a girl much better looking than Barbara Gordon. It's a shame I don't have a camera this time. This time it would've been worth it." My eyes widened in fear. No. I wasn't scared. I tried to move my lips to recite my mantra. It was only three simple words! Why couldn't I say them? My breathing quickened as he ripped my cloak off. His yellowish teeth showed even more as his grin widened. My pulse was spiking, my vision blurring as tears squeezed themselves from my tear-ducts. No, I couldn't let him see my fear. That would only satisfy his sick, twisted mind. He grabbed the zipper to the front of my cobalt leotard, grinning as it slowly slipped down. My mind was going to go over the edge. He was going to push me past my breaking point.
Something sounded off to the left of him. My eyes moved in time to see Red X step from the shadows, and sock the green haired freak in the jaw, making him stagger away from me.
"Hello." The synthesized voice did nothing to hide the cold tone in his voice. I was shocked when his fingers slid underneath the black fabric, after I heard his next words. "Good to finally reunite."
"Reunite?" The Joker seemed as shocked as I was, but not about the same thing. The voice that came from beneath the mask was now his own, untouched by technology. "Do I know you? We double at the prom, or maybe blow up a school bus together?" I felt like throwing up at his crude humor.
"No. I'm just something you helped create." If my eyes could've widened, they would've. In fact, whatever he had sprayed on me seemed to be wearing off a little. The sick, twisted man laughed.
"That's pretty cryptic. Tell me more." Blood dripped down his white chin, and he wiped a hand across his mouth. Red X cocked his head to the side.
"Sure." Without hesitation, Red X swung his foot around, slamming the Joker in the chest so that he stumbled back. He was wearing a purple suit with a green daisy. Presumably what he'd shot the gas out of earlier. Red X looked down at me, and he was so close that I could feel his aura twinge with some concern. Quite frankly, I didn't care. He was a criminal, and if he took the Joker out, I had a pretty good idea of what would be going on in his head. Especially if I was lying on the floor and couldn't move. I blinked and my fingers twitched. It was slow going, but it was starting to wear off. The Joker aimed his flower at Red X. Before the psycho could blink, X had grabbed the flower, ripped it off of his purple suit jacket, and aimed it back at him. Gas shot out, and the Joker fell to the floor the same way me and Beastboy had. My eyes slowly widened as Red X pulled out a gun and trained it on the Joker's head.
"I'm gonna blow you're deranged brains out." X's voice held no remorse as his finger tightened around the trigger. I could see the blood from my wound crawling along the floor towards them, and I felt faint. He looked over at me, then back at the Joker. His other hand tightened into a fist as he re-tucked the gun into the back of his belt. He stepped back, shaking his head, and made his way over to me. That was about the time that I realized I was shaking. He knelt down in front of me, and I squeezed my eyes shut, prepared for the worst. Instead, I heard the sound of my zipper being pulled back up. I opened my eyes, and swallowed.
"I may be a thief, Angel, but I'm not that sick. I'm hurt that you would think such horrible things of me." He put a hand to his chest in mock hurt. He grabbed my cloak and draped it over me, ripping a long strand off of the bottom, and turning me over.
"W-why?" I mentally cursed. Why was my voice shaking? It was over, wasn't it? But the memory of what could've happened had X not been there plagued my thoughts.
"Why did I help you, or why didn't I kill him?"
"Both." The room was beginning to spin uncontrollably by now, and I grimaced as he applied pressure to my shoulder blade.
"Well, like I said earlier, I may be a thief, but I'm not that sick. You and Barbara don't deserve that. She didn't." He paused for a moment, and I thought about how odd it was that he was helping someone else. I mean, he'd helped Robin twice, and claimed to be on 'his' side, but I still didn't get it. "As to why I didn't kill him, I've waited this long, I can wait a little longer. You needed my help. Now, before you ask, once again, why exactly did I help you, I must say, I'm on my own side, so, I can do whatever I want." He gently set me back down, leaning his arm on his knee.
"Thank you." He did a double take, then looked me right in the eye.
"Don't mention it Sunshine. I mean it. Don't." Part of my lip quirked up, and I couldn't believe that I was smiling. At a stupid thief nonetheless. "It would ruin my reputation. And I need my reputation."
"It's all part of the plan." He tapped his temple once with his finger, and the last thing I remember before blacking out, was his voice, telling me that it was okay to let go.
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