A Thoroughly Genteel Affliction.
I accept none of the blame for this. It is entirely Kryalla Orchid's fault. That is my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Beast Boy had a problem. It wasn't something that the other Titans liked to acknowledge. Until it flared up again, they preferred to pretend that it simply didn't exist. Not professional, certainly, but what could they do, beyond managing the symptoms? It wasn't as if there was any expert they could turn to.
Fortunately, the affliction only manifested sporadically. But whenever it did, things became...
Robin looked up as Raven stalked over to where he and Cyborg were settling yet another personal dispute through the medium of video games.
With a casual flick of the wrist, she deactivated the television, and stood in front of them. Robin had enough experience watching her moods to know when she was angry, and right at that moment she looked a hair's breadth from indiscriminate murder.
"We have a problem," she snapped. "Someone has thrown out all of my tea. And replaced it. With this."
With great economy of expression, she managed to infuse the act of throwing a small cardboard box onto the coffee table with utter disdain.
Robin peered at the offending item. On the lid, there was a simple emblem- a pair of kukris, crossed. Beneath it were the words "Finest Nepalese Darjeeling."
"Oh no," Cyborg intoned. "Not again."
"Fix this," Raven hissed, before vanishing.
Cyborg and Robin sat on the sofa, trying to talk out the tangled mess of terrible thoughts that their morning had become.
"This has to stop," Cyborg said, with complete finality. "It's only a matter of time before he does something serious."
"Remember last time?" Robin said, with a groan of remembered horror. "I think that counts as 'something serious'."
"You mean the time he told Starfire about Morris dancing?" Cyborg's face lit up. "Man, that was a hoot."
"No. It wasn't."
"Rob, I hate to break it to you, but the Morris dancer get up was a lot more dignified than green spandex tights."
"It had bells. Besides, what about the time he painted 'HMS Whobbleburton' on the side of the T-Ship?"
"Okay yeah, he must be stopped. It's for his own good."
"And our good too, Cyborg."
"Yeah. That too."
It was at that point that Beast Boy entered the common room.
Something was definitely off about him. Perhaps it was the way he had actually combed his hair. Perhaps it was the way his normally practical costume had been been redesigned to incorporate a suit shirt with cufflinks, a bow tie, and a waistcoat. In his official uniform colours, though- which Robin was both relieved (because it meant that he was still Beast Boy underneath it all- there were very few people who would attempt to pull off a purple dress shirt with a black waistcoat) and concerned (because that meant that Beast Boy had bought those clothes, which meant that he had already been out in public in his current state) to see.
Perhaps it was the way he seemed to be humming Rule Britannia under his breath.
Or perhaps it was the immaculately waxed handlebar moustache that now adorned his upper lip.
"How did he..." Cyborg began, before internally chiding himself. The dude regularly turned into a tyrannosaurus rex. A little facial hair wasn't going to present a problem for him.
"Good morning, Beast Boy," Robin said, carefully.
"Mornin' gents," he replied, cheerfully, and Robin flinched. Yep, there it was, an accent you could float rocks on.
He hated Mad Mod right now. So much.
The changeling looked up from his toast- spread thinly with something black and tarlike that Robin was in no hurry to identify- and gave a warm but not ostentatious smile. "Yes, old man? Pleasant weather we're having, isn't it?"
Robin ignored that, and soldiered on. "Why, exactly, did you throw out Raven's tea?"
"Herbal rubbish!" Beast Boy boomed. "She just needs to try some proper tea, soon cure her of all that lemon-and-ginger nonsense."
"I... see. Glad we cleared that one up."
"Glad to be of service," he replied, jovially.
Well, at least he was more polite like this.
Cyborg really didn't like this. He knew it wasn't fair to act like Beast Boy was insane- he wasn't, not really- or like he was a completely different person- again, he really wasn't; it was just that Mad Mod's mucking around had somehow managed to just find all the switches in Beast Boy's head that said 'American (kinda)' and flipped them all to... 'English'. He was still the same guy inside. More or less.
But that didn't mean he was easy to deal with. Especially since Cyborg was increasingly convinced that the little guy was loving every minute of it.
"Have a chip," Beast Boy said, proffering a package wrapped up in newspapers. Cyborg's remaining eyelid twitched. He knew they were supposed to be humouring him until he got over it, but damnit, some things would not stand.
"Beast Boy, they are fries. Say it with me, fries."
"Chips. Look, mate, 'fries' is a verb."
"Oh, for the love of... fine, give me one, then."
There were dangers to Beast Boy's condition that Robin had hitherto never imagined. Refusing to hit Jinx- he'd predicted that one. His attempt to get Mammoth to agree to the Queensbury Rules had been easily dealt with. Punk Rocket abruptly stopping his rampage to question whether or not the shapeshifter was taking the piss had been an unexpected upside, as had Red X suddenly abandoning his usual hit-on-Starfire routine to try and get Beast Boy to explain what exactly the English's deal was re. their policy of drinking room-temperature beer (the burglar had got away, of course, but he had been so distracted by the way Beast Boy flushed brown when he was exasperated that they got closer to catching him than ever before).
But there was one problem that Robin hadn't anticipated. After all, American English and British English shared all the same words, didn't they? It hadn't really occurred to him that they didn't quite speak the same language.
Robin flicked his communicator open. They had gotten separated while dealing with a prison break, and Beast Boy was behind schedule.
"Beast Boy, report. What's going on?" he barked.
It took several seconds to hear a reply.
"Well -things are just a bit sticky right now." Beast Boy's voice crackled through the communicator, sounding curt, but otherwise composed.
"Well, get over here as soon as you-" wait a minute.
Wait just one minute.
This was some Keep Calm And Carry On thing, wasn't it. Beast Boy was pulling some stiff-upper-lip trick. Beast Boy was attempting to out-stoic him.
And it had almost worked. That... he didn't know how to feel about that.
"Beast Boy," Robin said, teeth grinding together as he wrestled with his growing temper, "I want you tell me exactly how 'sticky' your current situation is, without any attempt to downplay anything."
There was a second's pause.
"...Well, I do seem to have gotten shot. Damn silly of me, I know. I'm alright where I am, but walking is a bit of a pain. Keeping these fellows occupied by heaving rocks at them every time they stick their heads out."
"You what" Robin said, entirely without inflection.
"It's really not as bad as all that. I didn't want to worry you."
"Terribly sorry. Really, don't change your plans on my account, I can keep this up all day."
Okay. Two could play at this game.
"Oh, it's no trouble at all. In fact it might be more convenient if we all met up at your location," Robin said, while frantically waving down Raven from her position overhead.
"...Well, if it's more convenient for you..." Beast Boy sounded wracked with indecision.
"It would be. It really would be."
Two days later, and Robin strode into the common room, brandishing a single sheet of paper with terrible purpose.
"Okay. This has to stop. Either that, or we're sticking him in a crate and shipping him to London until he gets it all out of his system."
"What is that, Robin?" Starfire asked.
"It's a copy of my latest memo. Beast Boy gave it back to me." Robin's teeth ground together audibly. "He's been correcting my spelling. Look at this- he's just search-and-replaced every single 'z' with an 's'! He's stuck 'u's into words that don't even have them in British English! "Gourilla"? How am I even supposed to pronounce that!"
Raven stepped slightly backwards from her hyperventilating leader.
"Starfire," she said, in an attempt to divert attention away from the offending missive, "you've been very quiet about this whole thing. Any thoughts?"
Starfire looked thoughtful. "...I truly do not see what you find so offensive about it. I have learned a great deal about cricket, and tea, and the spotted dick."
Robin blinked, but otherwise refrained from commenting.
"And the alterations he has made to his costume are remarkably becoming on him. Besides," she continued, with a sudden grin "his altered accent is most intriguing. We do not have such variation in elocution on Tameran. I would most enjoy hearing more of it."
"Oh," Raven replied, mildly, while Robin fought to conceal a sudden coughing fit.
Apropos of nothing at all, Raven suddenly remembered how, ever since his transatlantic shift, Beast Boy had attempted to hold doors open for herself and Starfire whenever the opportunity presented itself. Of course, he had been stymied by the fact that all the doors in the tower were automatic, but he still made the effort every time, anyway. Raven judged it was one part endearing to two parts completely hilarious.
"I see," said Robin, once he had regained his composure.
The next morning, Cyborg walked into the kitchen, to see Robin reading the newspaper. It took Cyborg three whole seconds to work out what was wrong.
Robin looked up to see a sonic cannon aimed at his head, and sighed. It was too early in the morning for this.
"Who put the bop in the bop shoo wop shoo wop," he intoned, rolling his eyes.
"Nice try, imposter. You might have gotten Robin's code phrase, but you forgot one thing- Robin always drinks black coffee. Not, I repeat, not milky tea in a china cup."
Robin glared at Cyborg. "I have an ulcer," he snapped, perhaps a little more defensively than he meant to.
"Sure you d- hang on, what's up with your voice? Are you... oh no." Cyborg's jaw dropped. "It's... it's catching?" he asked, in a horrified whisper.
"Don't be ridiculous," Robin replied, evenly.
"It is! You're sounding like someone off the BBC! I gotta get this tower in quarantine!"
"Honestly, Cyborg, is it too much to ask for a little decorum?" This final request was enough to send Cyborg running screaming from the room.
After a few moments, to ensure that Cyborg was completely out of earshot, Robin allowed himself a small chuckle, and went back to his tea.
It really wasn't that bad, once you got a taste for it.