Keith Wright had been trying to dig up dirt on the Teen Titans for months. He kept up with the local news and the national news whenever they left Jump. Keith even went so far as to getting in touch with the city's villains; he had talked to the HIVE, Johnny Rancid, Mad Mod, Dr. Light – anyone and everyone (that weren't in jail of course) that ever went up against the superheroes. He was thankful he hadn't run into Slade.
Yet. He hoped he never would.
But it was now time for his daily dose of Jump City Times' trivia quiz on the Titans:
Question 1: The Titans live in a tower shaped as which letter?
Keith looked out the window of the local coffee shop. He could see the Tower from all the way here. Too easy – C.
Question 2: Robin was once the sidekick of which Justice League member?
(C) Green Arrow
Another easy question. Whoever has a hard time with this quiz must live under a rock. Batman. Everyone recognized Robin when he first came to Jump from Gotham. It even made headline news.
Question 3: Raven has which of the following powers?
(C) The ability to project her soul self
Weird. They didn't have the right answer on there. Keith scribbled "(D) – All of the Above."
He knew he had gotten all the questions right, despite the last one without the correct answer. Now it was time for judgment. What kind of fan are you? He read the possibilities:
0 Right: Do you even live in Jump City?
1 Right: You've heard of them. Catch up by reading Jump City Times!
2 Right: You must read the Times! Keep reading!
3 Right: You're OBSESSED. Do we need to get you a restraining order?
He could agree with that last one – he was obsessed. Or what he'd rather like to call it: very thorough. Not everybody had a vendetta against the super-powered teens. But him?
Each of us has a story and it starts with a name. A name was the first thing you wore against your raw naked skin. Before anyone ever saw who he was, there were already people who knew his name. People like Slade. His last name alone brought anguish and injustice to the few who actually knew his parents. And what was his name? Keith Wright.
Keith Wright was a thief. It was a job handed down by his dear old parents. His rule of thumb was plain and simple – if he saw something he really wanted, he took it. And he wanted most things he could lay his eyes on.
That's not to say that he lived by greed instead of need. Oh no, Mr. Wright made sure he always got the necessities. Those items took first priority. But Keith would be the first to admit it: yes, he was attracted to many of the things he stole; he easily became attached and naturally drew himself closer and more involved, like an insect mesmerized by the eerie glow of a lamp. If he couldn't use what he stole, he could always sell it – which got him enough to contribute to his family's finances. They needed the money, as if that was something new. It's just that every now and then, opportunity smacks him in the face, egging him on to dare himself to know no bounds. It got his heart pumping and adrenaline rushing. He couldn't help himself – he was addicted.
That was what happened with the Red X suit. He saw the work of art's debut in Jump. Keith eventually learned that the man behind the mask was none other than the Titan leader himself, Robin. The kid had pretty impressive moves. Nothing Keith couldn't have handled, but he knew the suit was giving the teen edge. The former sidekick even had the nerve to trick his own teammates and use their weaknesses against them. He felt bad for the gullible teens who fell for the trap, leaving them immobile. But that didn't stop Keith from knowing. It was then, awing at the suit in action, that Keith heard his calling. He knew he would be inside the suit one day. Ever since then, he made sure he'd be ready for his time to come.
He always knew he could hold his own against any of the Titans, but the mask allured him to keep his identity away from their prying eyes; with the fruits from Robin's ingenuity, Keith could taunt the color-blind hero all he wanted – and get away with it. Now if that didn't sound like fun, he didn't know what did.
Keith soon noticed that the notorious Red X stopped fooling around in Jump. It wasn't Keith's fault that Robin hardly cared about using the suit anymore; it was quite a shame that the suit's creator didn't give a damn about seeking the limits of the suit's full potential. That's where Keith came in. He wasn't "stealing" – oh, no – Keith would just be borrowing the beauty. If anything, Keith would be doing Robin a favor by giving the suit a long-term test run. Yeah, that was it. At least, that's what Keith told himself.
Plus, there was the added benefit of having all those gadgets to fool around with. Some gadgets were meant to look good. But those badass babies were meant to be played with and Keith knew he had just the right kind of hands. Robin just locked those beautiful instruments up and let them rot in the deafening silence.
Keith found purpose in the suit. Sure, it would make heists all the more easy (and a heck of a lot more fun), but it would also bring Keith hours upon hours of amusement and a taste of what he called "the real life". The life he had been burying within to blend in with everyday folk. Deep down, that's what he really wanted - to be able to live without fear of a future not held in his hands. He was a wild animal that had been in his cage for far too long. He wanted the chance to put his guard down and just BE. Even if that meant being a villain, though he wished that thieving wasn't his version of a part-time job.
This job paid pretty well, though– better than that of the local teens searching for some cash who had nothing better to do afterschool than slogging their guts out stacking supermarket shelves, or searching the streets for discarded shopping carts. Yes, crime paid all right.
Of course there were problems, as with any other job. Or as his criminal mastermind parents once called them, "occupational hazards". Not every heist ended up being what he envisioned. Keith learned early on how to make things up on the fly. He had quick reflexes for a teen his age. He could do flips, curls, and could kick or punch the lights out of anyone. And every now and then, he would find himself practicing his charms on those around him. It was in times like those that Keith wondered if he should've taken up acting…
Nevertheless, he knew it was impractical to wish for the dream of no longer thieving. It would never happen - at least not without a catch. So while the so-called "Titans" were off playing hero one day, Keith found his chance to take a good look-around of their shindig to prepare for his grand steal. He was at the front door, hockey mask on, hacking his way in. "Kids these days," Keith murmured as he shook his head. Jump City's very own Teen Titans were a conspiracy. Keith thought of them as a bunch of super-powered freaks who occasionally got off their high horses to only glorify themselves in front of the masses. Well, except for Robin of course, since he was as much of a human as Keith was, but his lack of powers seemed to definitely make him a pompous ass. The group practically had the entire city down on their hands and knees praising them. Still, Keith wondered, what did they do with the rest of their time? Were they really what they were cracked up to be, always a bunch of squeaky-clean goody-two shoes? Keith knew that no person on earth could truly live by pure goodness. The Titans would not be an exception.
Once he gained access, Keith went to see if they had any food – he was getting pretty hungry after all the breaking in. From the looks of their kitchen, it seemed that the Titans didn't always take their time in preparing their own meals. The room smelled of a mixture of sour milk and bile, and what, with the stacks of pizza boxes and mountains of blue goo – oh hey! The mountain was moving! Keith took a closer look-see only to be met with an explosion of grossness all over his mask. The culprit - the unearthing of an extremely large silkworm. Keith grimaced. That was something that Keith would not want to wake up to every morning before breakfast. "These kids are either crazy or high," he thought, flabbergasted. He looked at the blue substance further; perhaps this was a new drug out on the streets? That couldn't be – Keith would've known. He turned away from the worm and checked the fridge. Nothing but meat, tofu, and rotting pizza. He decided there was nothing left to salvage. Strangely enough, just as he was leaving the kitchen, Keith could've sworn that the gigantic insect just smiled at him. Creepy.
He walked past their messy living room, with pillows tossed everywhere, popcorn scattered across the floor, and the wires of video game controllers all tangled up. That was Keith's first sign of their normalcy. Shit. I forgot to check for cameras at the entrance. He glanced around the room; it didn't look like the Titans had any cameras inside. He could only hope there wasn't one up front. Sighing at his slip-up, Keith made his way to the hall with bedrooms.
First door belonged to Cyborg. Keith peeked in and found himself surrounded by technology. Stuff even he didn't know how to use. "This could come in handy later on," he smiled at the thought. Keith noticed a few pictures hung up on the half-human, half-machine's wall. They were of Cyborg when he was still completely human. Cyborg must've missed the old days when he was just a human, not just a tool. "So you were once human. Look at you now, you're just a hunk of metal loaded with guns. Like I should pity you! You guys never think of why people do bad things. Why should I think good of you?" Keith whispered angrily, shaking his head dismissively. He knew his words would be lost on the supersonic hearing of Cyborg, but he still thought of the Titans as egotistical youth trying to be adults despite their difficult pasts, whatever those may be. He then closed the door in search of any evidence that might be of use in battle.
AHA! A little ways down the hall was Beast Boy's room. As he opened the shapeshifter's door, he was greeted by an engulfing sea of green. "Wow, that hurts my eyes. Ugh, looks like someone puked on the entire room!" Keith almost turned away, disgusted with his oncoming nausea. "I'm gonna take a wild guess and say his favorite color isn't pink." Upon closer inspection, he found that the so-called sea of puke wasn't as nauseating as the room's color suggested. He could see the boy's sheets, walls, pillows – anything that was tangible – covered with monstrous slashes that dug in deep. "Must've had some hard nights," he murmured. He looked at the green boy's nightstand. On it was a picture frame with a photo of Beast Boy and some blonde chick with goggles smiling happily. So the boy was hormonal after all! Keith thought that the boy was too young to even know that girls exist. Guess he was proven wrong. And with that, he turned back into the hallway.
Starfire's room was a little ways down the hall, but Keith didn't seem to be too much in a rush to care. He took a quick glance around the room. "AH! The pink blinds me! Beast Boy's favorite color may not be pink, but now I know whose is." The room was clean. The only things that wasn't color-coordinated were two frames by her bedside. Keith dared himself to walk-in. Inside the first frame was Starfire and another girl who looked exactly like her, except she had black hair instead of red. Sisters perhaps? He'd have to look into that later. The next frame was a nice photo of Robin in a tux and Starfire in a pink gown dancing, gazing happily into each other's eyes, with small colorful lights hanging in the background. "Who wants to bet I know who Starfire has a thing for?" Their little romance could prove to be helpful in rousing the two teenagers later on.
There were two rooms left, down a different hallway. Which bird would Keith pick first? Raven… Robin? Duck. Duck. Duck. Robin's room had the suit. He might as well save the best for last. GOOSE!
He walked up to Raven's door. Something about the atmosphere warned him not to go in. Psh. But did that scare Keith? As if. He cast away the unwelcoming feeling and took a step inside. The room was… dark. Not in a creepy way… actually, Keith kinda liked it. "I could live with this," he nodded in approval. He scanned the room for any valuables. There was a huge, dusty book that must've been prehistoric and an exceedingly grotesque-looking hand mirror. "Heh. Mirrors show the reflection of the soul, don't they?" For some reason Keith didn't think Raven could be a monster, despite her being a part of an arrogant team who thought they knew the meaning of justice. There was a frame faced-down on her shelf. Should he turn it over? Nah, too risky.
And finally, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – Robin's room. As the door opened, a small gust of wind tore through the room, causing the clippings all over the Boy Wonder's walls to rustle. There was only a lone bulb hanging from the ceiling as the only source of illumination. What were all those articles and pictures for? Upon closer inspection, he knew. "Slade," Keith seethed. Looked like the kid was neurotic when it came to the villain. Maybe a little too much like Keith himself. A copy of Slade's mask was on Robin's desk. That man was evil; who wouldn't want to bring the madman down? Maybe Keith had more in common with Robin than he originally thought. On Robin's nightstand were three photos. One of the entire team, with all but Raven smiling. She might not have been showing her pearly whites, but Keith could see that Raven was happy to be with her team. His eyes drew him to the next frame. He smirked at seeing a copy of the same picture Starfire had in her room. And finally… a picture with Raven? She was in a white cloak and her hair was long. The two were hugging. "Didn't see that one coming."
He glanced around the room once again. He saw a safe hidden in a corner in the darkness. "Million bucks says the suit and belt are in the box." The locked safe looked simple enough to crack. Keith looked at his watch. If he didn't hurry out, he might have a run-in with the Titans. "Until later, darling!" He cooed, blowing a kiss in the direction of the safe before he made a run for it.
Whudda thunk? An average civilian - okay, maybe not all too average - was able break into the Titans' Tower and get some inside scoop on those dopes. You woulda thought they'd have a better security system. But who the hell cares! Keith got a little background information on his future enemies.
The next day, Keith put on his disguise – a red-and-blue baseball cap and your average white t-shirt: only the shirt spelled PIZZA in crooked lettering. He decided that not only would he deliver the Titans an authentic non-poisoned pizza, but he'd also leave them a little message. "I can't wait," he rejoiced. "Bet they won't see THiS coming."
Now it was time to put his plan into action. He'd been studying the living habits of the Titans for weeks. He knew where everybody was going to be. Cyborg would be working on his "baby" in the garage. Beast Boy would be trying his hands on the newest version of some video game. Starfire would be concocting another wondrous surprise for her fellow friends. Raven would be at her usual spot on the roof meditating. Robin, oh Robin. The boy would be blasting music into his ears while training in the gym. If Keith's plans went smoothly, the Boy Wonder wouldn't even notice Keith's swift entrance into and exit out of the Tower.
The Tower was on an island. So Keith had to be careful since Raven would be on the roof. He escaped the mainland paddling in a small boat in a direction that was out of Raven's usual line of vision. Sure the trip was rather strenuous. Keith was just too pumped to steal a boat with an engine; he needed to do something to blow off some steam. He thought of it as a warm-up. Besides, they would hear him approach if he had an engine running. He quickly pulled a tarp over the skiff, ready to roll. A white mask covered his face, shielding his face from being caught on camera. He walked up the steps to the main entrance and smiled to himself. He adjusted his hat on his head. "Showtime."
Muffled voices came from behind the closed door.
"Hey Star, did the doorbell just ring?"
"I'm not sure, Friend Beast Boy, Silkie and I were having a very deep conversation."
"Friend Beast Boy! Someone is at the door!"
"Fine, fine. I'll get it."
The door swooshed open.
"Since when did we have pizza delivered?"
"It's not delivery, it's DiGiorno!"
Before the changeling could reply, Keith shoved the box into the green boy's arms only to free up an arm and
…punch the hero in the face, temporarily shutting off the lights in Beast Boy's brain. Keith started running. Next up in the ring was Starfire.
Not looking up from her cooking, she asked, "Beast Bo-"
Keith came up from behind her and blindfolded her eyes. To make sure she wouldn't become a problem later, he bashed her face into the edge of the counter, knocking her out.
He continued running. "Two down, three to go." He sped through the living room into a hallway. "Cyborg shouldn't notice because he's down in the garage." He quickened his pace. "Robin should still be in training." Keith heart rate escalated until he was right in front of Robin's bedroom door. Bingo.
He rushed in the room and headed towards the safe. Piece of cake. With a few quick turns of the lock, the safe was open. Keith stared in astonishment. The prize was right before his eyes. In shock, he slowly grabbed his share of the lottery - the suit, belt, and mask in all of their glory.
Keith made his way to the door, only for it to open to reveal Raven standing nose to nose with him. Keith gulped.
"And who might you be?"
"Sunshine, I'll be whomever you want me to be."
Raven hissed before continuing.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blast you off into oblivion right now." She glared at him, hand glowing with black energy, ready to attack.
Keith thought for a moment. What did he have on Raven? There was a book, there was a mirror… There was a picture frame. Albeit, it was faced down. But based on Boy Wonder's collection of photos, he had a feeling...
"Well, Sunshine you mi–"
"Don't call me Sunshine."
"But that's what you are. You brighten up my day."
Raven paused. Keith felt his lips turning up behind his mask.
"As I was saying, Sunshine," Keith replied, becoming more and more entertained by the minute as Raven started to blush. "Sending me off would not be in your best interest because I know your secret."
"What secret?" She asked cautiously.
"Oh, you know, the one with you falling madly in love with your leader and you feeling jealous that your best friend gets to have him all to herself."
Keith enjoyed watching Raven's eyes widen with shock. "Sunshine, you wouldn't want me to be off telling either Robin or Starfire about how you really feel, now would you?"
Raven replied by unconsciously cutting off the power with her emotions. It was dark but Keith could still see Raven standing frozen.
In the distance, Cyborg's yell ran through the tower. "RAVEN? What did you do now?"
Keith chuckled. "Yeah, I didn't think so. That's my cue. Until we meet again, Sunshine!" And with that, he ran through the darkness of the Tower and somehow managed to make it back out to his boat.
He got what he wanted. It was safe to say that the steal was Keith's moment of glory. The beginning of more moments to follow now that Keith had the ball in his court.
Not that Keith was a bad person; no, he just had a less than admiral way of doing good. Not that he'd ever admit to that out loud. Keith had a reason to steal, and that reason was Kaitlyn – his sister. She wasn't making Keith wreak havoc on the world – if anything, she'd be the absolute opposite of Slade. Her only trouble was that she just wasn't in the best of circumstances. Once again, that's where Keith came in. He did everything he could to supply his sister with what she needed. But his efforts could not have been enough. There was just ONE thing she truly needed now, something Keith had no idea where to start looking. He knew what she needed, but he didn't know what to look for and how to get it. He needed to get to things faster if he wanted to keep his side of the promise – to do his best to give his sister as best a life as she could get. Time was running out, he knew. Keith figured the only way left to help was to steal more.
A/N: I revised the story a bit. I didn't like where it was going.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me a review! Lemme know if there's anything I could do better!