Warning: This is also unedited.
Disclaimer: If you still don't know that I don't own any of this, you're delusional. And for all my delusional readers, I apologize. Oh! And I don't own Mini Weaties.
The sliding elevator doors went unnoticed and so did Nebulo as he led Chiyuki into the kitchen.
Nebulo morphed into his Titan garb with a twist of his ring, grabbed a mug off the top shelf, and started the coffee maker. "We should tell them."
"But they're having so much fun." Chiyuki watched the chess game with little interest as she poured a bowl of cereal. Suddenly she put down the box and whispered, "Do you think Fuchsia will mind us dating?"
Nebulo stood behind Chiyuki and rolled his eyes. "Why do you have to change the subject when we have something important to talk about?" Earth girls, he thought, have the strangest habits.
Chiyuki turned around and kissed Nebulo lightly on the cheek. "Because it's fun."
Nebulo tried to ignore Chiyuki and looked over her head at the meeting table. The team had taken sides and was rooting for their respective player. He couldn't tell who was winning, but Akai seemed to have more fans.
"They won't think it's fun, especially not when they hear about Jack." He took a deep breath and looked Chiyuki over. Her skirt was covered in dirt and soot and her shirt was ripped along the side.
"I know. I just want them to enjoy this." She turned back, picked up a spoonful of Mini Weaties, and shoved it in her mouth. As she finished chewing she pointed the spoon at the chess game. "You know, the calm before the storm."
"Well then get your galoshes because we're in for a big one." Nebulo walked passed the island where they had been standing and into the common room. "Guys good news and bad news." He grabbed Chiyuki's hand as she ran after him and held it up. "Good news, we're going out." Stitch looked disgusted, Nightingale smiled a bit, The Teen Avenger smirked, Akai just nodded, Fuchsia looked confused, Poseidon looked unsurely at Aqualad, and Aqualad frowned disapprovingly at their inter-Titan dating. I know, it surprised me too. Bad news, we might have discovered a local conspiracy."
Poseidon jumped out of his seat. "How could that be a bad thing?"
Nebulo counted the reasons on his fingers. "They're creating super soldiers, they test on orphans, the town board already knows, Horizon Corp. runs it, and you've heard what they say about the guy who runs Horizon, plus it's protected by your government, and we indirectly blew up their lab." Everyone gawked at the couple with wide eyes and wider mouths.
The Teen Avenger gritted his teeth. "You can't be serious."
Chiyuki stared at her feet.
"Orphans?" Stitch scowled.
Poseidon glanced back at the super computer. "We never got a call about an explosion."
Nebulo put down Chiyuki's hand. "You wouldn't. Horizon doesn't want us snooping around."
"You left, like, a bloody hour ago. How-You just had to drop off toys!" Fuchsia was still confused, but now for a totally different reason.
"Four hours ago." Nebulo pulled his communicator out of his belt and checked the time. "Four and a half hours ago to be exact." To his surprise Fuchsia didn't seem any happier. "We didn't mean to, but listen, it's about time we had a serious mission anyway."
Aqualad stood up. "I'm calling the others." He took out his communicator as well.
Chiyuki screamed, "Stop!"
Nebulo appeared beside Aqualad and snatched it away. "We can handle it alone."
He held it out of reach while Aqualad tried to grab it back.
"Give that back!" Aqualad pulled a bucket load of ice water from the sink and drenched Nebulo. Nebulo dropped the communicator and fell backwards. While the hero was trying to get warm Aqualad picked it up. Unfortunately it was soaked.
Aqualad spun around and looked at Poseidon. "I need to use yours." Poseidon walked over hesitantly with his communicator in his hand. As he handed it to Aqualad he looked down at Nebulo and immediately recoiled.
"I think we can handle it too." He clipped the communicator back on and helped Nebulo up.
Aqualad stared at him in disbelief. "You've got to be joking. The most successful missions we've had were candy store robberies; you really expect them to take down whatever this is?"
Poseidon thought for a moment. "Yea."
"Fine." Aqualad threw his hands up and left the room.
Akai left the chess board to join Poseidon. "Do we want this recorded?"
Poseidon rubbed his forehead. "If we don't put it on the Titan record they'll find out, but since 'the Titans' never actually visited the crime scene it'll be best to leave it out of the public records."
"Nebulo, Chiyuki." Akai pointed to the elevator. "We have some paperwork to fill out."
~Teen Titans Midwest!~
"So I just need you to tell me exactly what happened." Akai arranged her papers and set them on the table across from the couple. The dimly lit interrogation room made Nebulo feel like he had done something wrong.
Nebulo opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. Chiyuki took it as a sign to go first. "Like Fuchsia said, we were just dropping off toys at the boys' and girls' homes. Mrs. Rother, she runs the homes, I think she might be a robot; she took us into the boys' home and showed us the kids. They were in really bad shape."
"Apparently they're having a financial issue." Nebulo added in slowly.
Akai scribble something down. "And she didn't know you were Titans?"
"No, but she was really weird. She didn't want to introduce us to the girls and she wouldn't let Nebulo drink their water." Chiyuki fished in her bag and pulled out a stack of letters. "Then I found these." She pushed the letters over to Akai. "They're all from Horizon Corp." Chiyuki tapped on the top left corner of one envelope.
"Jack A. Smith, Charity and Aid Rep., Horizon Incorporated, 305 Watson Street, Traverse City, Michigan." Akai read the return address and froze.
"See." Chiyuki smiled.
"What does this have to do with anything?" Akai spoke defensively. "Horizon is known for supporting local orphanages. Mr. Sellers is the city's biggest philanthropist."
"That's not all he's known for. You've heard what they say on the streets." Nebulo adjusted the cuffs of his red jacket. "Look inside."
Akai took one of the already open letters and slipped out a page. "Mrs. Rother, we regret to inform you…sincerely sorry…logistics…out funds are stretched far enough as it is…we will continue to pay for the heating and…for the future…hmm…but your orphanages have failed to meet the required amount of healthy specimens...Your files will be pulled and the defective subjects will be destroyed…"
They sat in silence until Akai picked up the other letters and put them in a yellow envelope. "These will have to be tested and cross-analyzed for conformation. They might help us later on. Next?"
Chiyuki folded her hands together. "Well, the time that Jack-"
"Mr. Smith." Akai interrupted.
Chiyuki grinned uncomfortably. "The time Mr. Smith was scheduled to get 'the files' was in the letter, but you probably already knew that." Akai nodded. "So we rushed over to the Archives and ran into him there. When we confronted him he went through a trap door."
"Did you attack him?" Akai voice was slightly higher than before. Nebulo and Chiyuki looked at each other.
"I did, but only after he tried to run. Chiyuki wasn't involved."
"You mentioned a lab before." Akai jotted something down as she spoke.
"It's in the girls' home, that's where the trap door led. We followed Mr. Smith there. It was incredible, in the worst sense of the word that is, all these kids were floating in gigantic tubes. I guess they fill the water with chemicals to strengthen them and prepare them for the super serums."
"That's why she didn't want him drinking the water." Chiyuki pointed out.
Nebulo nodded. "You're familiar with the Super Soldier project right?"
Akai laughed. "It's more of a Marvel thing, but I drabbled with it freshmen year. Why?"
"Like I said, they're involved with it. All the kids had powers; Mr. Smith made us fight them. Once he escaped one of them had a bit of a-"
"Break down." Chiyuki finished.
"He blew up the lab, but now that I think of it, maybe Mr. Smith knew that would happen."
Akai lowered her eyes seriously. "How could he know something like that?"
Chiyuki tried to keep smiling under her glare. "It's in the letter; he was going to destroy-"
"How many died?"
Chiyuki paused to look at Nebulo before answering. "Ten." Nebulo avoided her eye contact. "That's as far as we know, it hit the boys' home too, I doubt they all got out in time. There wasn't a warning or anything."
"God." Akai whispered as in sunk in. "That can't-" She stopped. "Did you try to save them?"
Nebulo looked up. "Yes."
"Then you did your job." Akai finished writing and attempted a reassuring smile. "Right?"
~Teen Titans Midwest!~
An hour later the team had been briefed and could only wait for the next big move.
"Check mate! And you said I didn't stand a chance. Pay up suckers." Stitch collected twenty dollars from Chiyuki and Nightingale and fifty from Nebulo. Aqualad was frozen in shock. No doubt he wished he'd stayed in his room now. "I think you owe me a little something too." Stitch reached over the table and waited for Aqualad to drop the keys to the T-car into his hand.
"How?" Was all Aqualad could say. "How, in Neptune's name, how?"
"This is insane! You cheated!" Nebulo slammed his fist into the chess board, breaking it.
Stitch pocketed the keys and smirked. "To quote Aqualad, how?"
Nebulo turned red. "I don't know, but you did! You're a total idiot. You can't be good at chess!" Chiyuki tried to calm him down with a caring look.
Stitch feigned offence. "Coming from you, that really hurts. Isn't it possible I'm smarter then I look?"
"That's a joke." Nebulo frowned. "And with and with jokes like that, no wonder the mayor likes me better."
"He likes you better because you pretend to be 'normal'. We all know you're just as freaky as me, only uglier. How much would they like you without you're jewelry?" Stitch flicked his wrist dismissively at Nebulo's ring.
Aqualad finally snapped out of his daze. "Guys!"
"This is just silly, stop being immature. It was just a game." Chiyuki wrapped her arm around Nebulo. Nebulo brushed her off and stomped into the kitchen where Akai and Poseidon were exchanging notes by the coffee maker.
"Orphan killer!" Stitch called after him.
Nebulo stopped in front of Poseidon. "What's going on?"
Poseidon flipped through the pages Akai had handed him. He finished scanning and looked up. "I'm reading your case." He inserted the files into the yellow envelope and resealed it. "Akai, get a record on Jack A. Smith. We need to know anything out there on him." Akai hesitated before taking back her papers and nodding.
She snuck between the Teen Avenger and Fuchsia who were watching the news on the supercomputer. "Guys, can I use the T-screen?"
"One second, look." The Teen Avenger pointed to the monitor. The reporter that interviewed the team was standing in front the burning orphanages. She was smiling uneasily and reading off of a card.
"According to my newest update this tragic event was caused by an electrical malfunction in the basement of the girls' home." The other titans returned from their resting places in the kitchen and meeting area and crowded around the computer. "The fire department is doing everything they can to put out the remnants of the fire, but it looks as if the boys' home will also be unsalvageable, luckily the high-tech alarm system donated by Horizon Corp. allowed everyone to get out in time."
Nebulo looked past his teammates and caught Chiyuki's eye. He shook his head sadly before looking back at the television in disgust.
"Mr. Sellers of Horizon Corp. is also personally allowing the orphans to stay in his summer mansion until the new orphanages are finished. Once again-" The Teen Avenger closed the news feed and moved out of Akai's way.
"That guy makes me sick. The sooner we bring him down the better."
Akai smiled and typed Jack Smith into the public records. "I know, we need more Bruce Waynes making headlines, not another Slade Wilson." Jack's face popped onto the screen next to a list of stats.
Poseidon rested his elbow next to the key board as Akai scrolled. "No arrests or tickets, he's entirely clean."
"Of course he is." The Teen Avenger mumbled.
Poseidon continued. "He goes to St. Rose Prep., some of you go there right? Do any of you know him?" Stitch glanced over at Akai with some concern; she eyes were glazed over as she watched the monitor. He wasn't about to rat her out, after all she had no idea he knew who she was, but that didn't mean he couldn't volunteer to keep an eye on Jack, better him then a totally bias girlfriend.
Stitch raised his hand awkwardly. "He's in-"
"I do, go there I mean, but I've never seen him. Maybe he's shy." Akai cut Stitch off.
Poseidon wrapped his fingers around his chin thoughtfully. "But you can probably find out who this Jack guy is."
"I don't think you're the only one going to St. Rose, do you want some kind of a partner or something? It could be dangerous."
"I-" Stitch tried again.
"Nope, I'll be fine."
~Teen Titan Midwest!~
Akai gripped the handles of her motorcycle and sped down the street. This would go down as one of the worst days of her life and on top of that she had no time to fix her helmet hair before her date. She was so furious that her face was redder than her bike. This was going to be the day she told Jack that she was a superhero, so much for that. She turned in to an alley, splashing mud and trash everywhere. Now she was probably going to smell.
"Just what I needed!" Akai pressed a small button on her belt as she approached her garage. The door rolled up as she skidded into her parking space and hopped off. Normally a ride was enough to cheer her up, but apparently not tonight. She left her helmet on her bike and pressed the button again as she walked out. Akai ignored the purring alley cat at her feet and ran up to her back door.
"Nanna, I'm back!" Akai let the door slam behind her as she darted into her room.
"Jack called, he'll be late!" Mary-Bess called back from the kitchen.
Akai tore off her mask and slipped a pink sweater-dress over her costume. "Perfect, Thanks Nanna!" She folded the mask and placed it at the bottom of her purse along with her daggers, hopefully she wouldn't need them, but you never know. For now she could be Ariana.
She grabbed a small bottle of perfume off of her sewing table and sprayed it all over herself before putting in the correct spot on her desk. She put on one black boot and hopped into the kitchen trying to put on the other.
Mary-Bess washed off her hands before helping Ariana balance. "You're going to tell him tonight?"
Ariana stood up and handed her a purple hoop. "Could you help me put this on?" They worked simultaneously until she had both earrings on.
"So?" Mary-Bess smiled like a school girl.
"Oh, um…" Jack is working for a crime lord who might be involved in a huge conspiracy that involves using experimental techniques on children and Jack might have indirectly, but purposefully gotten some of those kids killed, sounded a bit too blunt. "I think that will just complicate things with him right now. I don't know. It doesn't seem like such a good idea anymore."
Mary-Bess frowned but nodded understandingly. "Whatever you think is best, I suppose."
Ariana glanced at the rusty, old clock hanging over the oven and hugged Mary-Bess. "I've got to go. He'll be here any second." Mary-Bess smiled and finished taming Ariana's hair before letting her run out the door.
The night air rushed Ariana as soon as she stepped onto her porch and left her hugging herself for warmth. Unbeknownst to her as she watched the empty street for her boyfriend's Porsche, Stitch was sitting directly above her taking off his goggles, switching his tactical vest for a grey wool sweater, and applying a light coat of foundation. He had followed Ariana to her porch roof to keep her away from Jack, because there was no way she would do that on her own.
"Watch out!" Stitch left his bag on the roof and jumped. Ariana, unsurprisingly, screamed bloody murder.
"What the Hell!" It took all of Ariana's self control not to strangle Stitch out of reflex when he landed in front of her. Stitch took a step back when he saw the mix of utter fright and anger on her face. "K-Kevin! Is that you?"
Stitch stepped into the light again and laughed. "Don't you look nice tonight. Yea, sorry about that. I didn't think you'd freak out."
Ariana threw her arms up in frustration. "You didn't think I'd-I'd-For God's sake, you jumped off my roof! What were you expecting?"
"You're supposed to be a superhero. Remember?"
"Is every thing alright out there?" Mary-Bess called from inside.
Ariana opened the screen door and shouted back, "Yes Nanna! It's just Kevin."
"That explains it. Tell him I said hello!"
Ariana rolled her eyes and closed the door slowly before turning back to her unwanted guest. "She said hi."
Stitch bobbed his head awkwardly and avoided looking Ariana in the eye. "Well, that's very nice of her, now I have to-"
"No, you don't. You have to leave." Stitch didn't move. "Please. I have a date with Jack tonight. Why do you always show up when I have a date? Wait." Ariana squinted to get a better look at Stitch. "Are you stocking me?"
"No, I'm just-"
"Then why the hell were you up there?" She pointed angrily at the ceiling.
"You are the weirdest guy I've ever met. Did you know that?"
Stitch was so shocked that he had out done himself in that contest that he couldn't even open his mouth. He just stood there with his arms glued to his sides.
"Why are you here? I really don't need this today. Can't you come back some other night?"
The sound of a car motor brought Stitch back to his senses. He checked the reflection in the glass door to make sure it was Jack's Porsche before pulling Ariana towards him.
Stitch took a deep breath. "Okay, this is going to gross me out-way, way, way-more that it's going to gross you out. And again, sorry, but you'll thank me later." Stitch leaned his lips onto Ariana's before she could put up a struggle. He held her tightly in place until the shock kicked in. Neither of them closed their eyes, in fact they were wider than normal, and it wasn't exactly passionate, but Jack bought it. Within seconds of parking he drove away and Ariana hardly had time to see his blank expression after she got out of her own daze.
"Kevin!" Ariana wiped her mouth and spit in disgust. The thought of slapping him crossed her mind but she had more important things to deal with. She grabbed her cell phone from her bag and started to dial Jack's number.
"He'll never believe you." Ariana stopped, he was right. Stitch caught her phone as it slipped from her fingers and put it back in her purse. He tried to laugh off her glare. "Com'on. You know it's better this way."
Ariana looked a bit confused and Stitch used it as a chance to make his get away. He'd have to come back for his bag later, but for now he waved goodbye and took off running in the opposite direction that Jack had taken.
He mumbled to himself as he turned in to an alley, "I'll be scrubbing my mouth for weeks, but that should keep them apart for at least as long."
1st) I really threw you a curveball, didn't I? Was it worth the wait, because I'm as shocked as you are? I literally just wrote that last part. I was reading through the chapter and when I got to the end it felt like something was missing. Oh God, what have I done?
2nd) I used this chapter to clear up anything you might have missed in the last few, I'm sorry if it seems a tad redundant.
3rd) I find it really helps me get over writers block if I write one-shots (duh), and I also want to add more fics to my ever-so-slowly growing collection. To take care of both these problems and my total lack of creativity, I'm appealing to you guys for one-shot requests. (Almost) Any show/book/comics/movie/play/whatever will do, and if I haven't seen it I'll do my best to track it down. If you have the time just fill this out:
PM it to me or leave it in a review and I'll dedicate the story to you!
Some shows I'm familiar with include: Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, obviously Teen Titans, Danny Phantom, Pretty Little Liars, Boy Meets World, Cops, CSI (most of them), New Girl, Batman (and Superman): The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond, 1990's, Spectacular, and Unlimited Spiderman, Smallville, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Young Justice.
Wow, the amount of kid shows is a little scary. My movie taste, thankfully, is a bit more mature.
Movies: The Matrix Trilogy, Star Wars, Titanic, Saving Privet Ryan, The Godfather Trilogy, A Few Good Men, Minority Report and most other Tom Cruise movie, pretty much every superhero movie (and a shout out to Batman: Under the Red Hood, because they had the guts to do a movie with Jason in it.), Disney (Snow White through Treasure Planet).