A/N: Hello anyone who happens to read this! I'm not sure if anyone actually is, so please rate and review otherwise I might put this on hiatus for a while.
Disclaimer: I don't own the teen titans
The golden beams of the sun felt good on his skin. He cherished the warmth, knowing that the days will soon be much colder and shorter. He stretched his arms along the grass, relishing the feeling of the green blades between his fingers, he breathed in deeply, and the scent of the end of summer flowers filled his lungs. The sweet sounds of laughter and bird songs drifted through the air as he rose from where he lay. All around him people were enjoying themselves, content to know that the autumn weather wasn't here just yet. He walked across the park and looked to the city. Its glass towers glittered in the sunlight its radiance almost challenging the brilliance of the late summer sun, and a feeling of joy washed over him. A new home. A new beginning. Tears of joy streamed down his face and a feeling of weightlessness overcame him and he felt his feet leave the ground. The feeling soon lessened, but did not vanish entirely, as he found himself on the shore of the bay. The cold water rolled over his toes as he stared out to sea, his deep blue eyes lingering on the magnificent form of the Titans Tower. He looked past the Tower and out to the horizon as something had drawn his attention.
Clouds, dark and foreboding were gathering. They drifted at the very edge of his vision. They seemed to be steadily approaching, and suddenly a cold gust of wind blew against him seeming to pass through his very core. Suddenly he didn't feel so warm anymore.
He opened his eyes, awakening from his deep sleep.
Gabriel shifted under the covers, forgetting his dream entirely as he looked over at the small alarm clock beside his bed. 7:45. Good. He hadn't overslept. He threw the sheets off and walked out into the hall. He ran a hand through his now clean mane of tangled brown hair. It felt softer than it had in months and he smiled at the thought of finally being able to wash the dirt away. His stomach began to growl audibly as he remembered suddenly how hungry he was, and his pace quickened. He still wore the spare clothes that Cyborg had given him the night before, and he began to wonder if he should be more worried about his appearance. He quickly dismissed this thought as the door to the Ops Center opened with a hiss.
He looked over into the kitchen to see Starfire cooking what he assumed to be breakfast as Robin and Cyborg sipped coffee, trying to wake up after a sleepless night of fruitless research into the prior night's attack at the docks. Raven was seated on the couch reading as a half-awake Beast Boy attempted to watch early morning cartoons. He began to wonder if he had overslept.
"Good morning." Said Gabriel, his voice still slightly groggy from sleep, the five Titans turning their heads at his arrival.
"Well, well, well, look who's finally decided to wake up", said Cyborg playfully.
"Uh, did I really sleep in, it's not even eight o'clock yet." Gabriel mumbled confused.
"Well I wanted everyone up early today so we could train, but I thought we'd let you sleep in until breakfast was ready" Robin said between sips of his coffee.
At the mention of breakfast Gabriel's stomach growled again.
"Good cause I can't even remember the last time I ate," Gabriel lamented.
"Well do not fret friend Gabriel, for breakfast is ready," said Starfire as she scooped what appeared to be a blob of orange potatoes covered in a thick purple sludge onto a plate.
"Before you eat there is something you should know about tameranean food…." Cyborg began to say.
Gabriel's eyes lit up and he sprinted into the kitchen.
"Oh god, Gabriel wait!" Shouted Robin as Gabriel shoved the entire plateful of food into his mouth and began to chew.
"Oh jeeze, he downed the whole thing," Cyborg said alarmed, "Robin get the stomach pump from the infirmary." His eyes widening in horror.
But to everyone's surprise, Gabriel seemed to enjoy the food, making content sighs and munching loudly on the disturbing alien cuisine, gesturing to Starfire to give him more. She happily obliged.
"This is great!"He said between mouthfuls, "I can't even remember the last time I ate this much." He said with a thick coat of purple goo plastering his face.
The Titans watched in equal disgust and fascination as Gabriel ate the entire meal Starfire had prepared. Gabriel looked up from his plate and suddenly became nervous as he caught their stares.
"Sorry", he said, laughing nervously, "did you guys want some too?"
"No, most of the time Starfire's food is completely . . ." Robin began; pausing shortly to look at Starfire, hoping what he said next didn't upset her.
"Inedible." Cyborg finished, rather bluntly.
"You kinda learn to suppress the gag reflex after living on the road for so long, it helps not to think about it." He smiled nervously, hoping desperately they wouldn't think ill of him for this.
"Well I for one am most happy to see someone other than me enjoying the cooking!" Starfire shouted gleefully, throwing herself onto Gabriel and giving him a bone crushing hug.
But luckily for Gabriel, his super strength and high pain threshold allowed him to weather it better than most. His face turned red as Robin's eyes narrowed slightly beneath his mask.
"Ok everyone, we need to get moving", Robin said looking for any excuse to get Starfire out of the hug. "Training starts in exactly thirty minutes".
"What?" Beast Boy groaned, "Only thirty minutes? I won't have time to make my tofu eggs!" he turned around and looked at Robin with pleading eyes.
"Well maybe you should of thought about that while you were sitting on your butt watching cartoons." Cyborg said sarcastically from across the room.
Beast Boy shot Cyborg an angry stare as he quickly got up and franticly started to cook his breakfast.
"I hope you're ready Gabriel," Robin said, putting a gloved hand on his shoulder, "you're up first."
The sun was rising slowly in the early morning sky as the cool breeze sent clouds of dust drifting across the bare dirt of the training field. Gabriel stood barefoot, his rapid healing and tolerance for pain completely negated the need for shoes. The five Titans looked down at Gabriel from the raised control platform as Cyborg calibrated the course to a setting he found suiting to Gabriel's abilities. Once he was satisfied he shouted to Gabriel who gave him a thumb up. On the outside he looked rather confident. But inside, he was wracked with turmoil.
You can do this, you can do this.
The words played through Gabriel's mind, looping over and over, like a scratched record. He was perspiring profusely and his hands were bunched into fists.
He breathed in deeply as Cyborg began the countdown.
What if I screw up?
What if they don't let me join the team?
What if I came here for nothing?
Gabriel tried to shut these thoughts out of his mind as two large turret guns rose from the dusty ground.
The cracking noise of non-lethal energy projectiles filled the air as Gabriel charged forward. He shrugged the laser bolts off like they were rain drops in the wind.
The objective of the test was simple. Get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible. The catch? Dozens of turrets, traps, and obstacles in-between. Gabriel was determined to get past all of them.
As he sprinted past the two turrets, he let loose a stream of fire from his palms, coating them with searing flame. They sputtered and died in a few intense moments. Gabriel continued forward at a hurried pace until a series of steel walls propped up, blocking his path. Without stopping he went around the walls only to be confronted by more turrets, which he quickly dispatched with flame and fist.
The Titans cheered as Robin watched closely, deciding it was time for more of a challenge. He motioned for Cyborg to increase the difficulty.
Gabriel halted his sprint when the ground in front of him erupted into clouds of dirt as dozens of piston-like metal pillars began shooting up and down out of the dirt. He needed to be cautious, but he wanted to impress the Titans with a fast time. He chose to run blindly ahead, hopping he'd get lucky and have an easy run. He wasn't so lucky.
A pillar shot up directly in his path faster than even his enhanced reflexes could dodge. He smacked into it at full speed bending the pillar into an awkward angle, and he landed hard on his back. He rose shakily hearing the Titans groan in sympathy. He continued forward shakily, until a pillar shot up beneath his left foot knocking onto his side. Gabriel was beginning to become frustrated. He growled in anger and tried to rise as another pillar shot up beneath him with enough force to knock the air completely out of his lungs. Now he was very frustrated.
With a mighty roar he leapt to his feet and his body erupted in a huge corona of flame. Gabriel lowered his shoulder and charged straight into the moving pistons. Every pillar that rose to block his path was smashed aside as the heat softened the metal enough be broken by Gabriel's thunderous charge.
Don't stop. Don't Stop.
The thoughts repeated in his head as he charged towards the finish line.
You've come too far to stop now.
More turrets rose from the ground, these ones however threw explosive discs. They fired at the charging wall of flame.
Another piston smashed aside. Then another.
Just a few more feet.
Maintaining the swirling vortex of fire that surrounded him was beginning to take its toll and Gabriel's charge began to falter as he approached the end of the training course.
With one final burst of strength Gabriel launched himself over the finish line landing hard and kicking up a large cloud of dust. The Titans cheered and soon made their way down from the control platform. Gabriel pushed himself up, a triumphant grin on his face while he was catching his breath as the dust surrounding him dissipated. The grin faded when he heard their cheers die suddenly. He became apprehensive and quickly tired to think if he had done something wrong. Then he noticed their embarrassed expressions and Beast Boy's poorly suppressed snickers. He looked down.
He was completely naked.
In his anger Gabriel had burst into flames, and while he was immune from the effects of fire, his t-shirt and sweatpants were not.
Gabriel's cheeks became red suns and burned hotter than any flame that he could conjure as his hands shot down to preserve what little dignity he had left. Beast Boy burst into laughter and fell on the ground laughing and soon all of the Titans, aside from Raven, began to giggle and laugh.
"Uh, a little help would be appreciated guys!" Gabriel shouted, his cheeks still dominated by the blush. He jumped behind one of the many large boulders littering the edge of the course.
"Ok, dude." Beast Boy said between laughs as he stood up, "It's pretty chilly out isn't it, eh Gabriel?" he was soon rolling on the ground laughing again. As Gabriel tried to claw his way underneath the rock where he would stay forever.
"Wow, Gabriel, you are quite the male specimen." Starfire said innocently making a barely perceptible sideways glance to Robin whose blush now rivaled Gabriel's in its intensity.
"Ok! Joke time is over, let's get him some clothes." Robin was speaking very quickly and motioning the team towards the tower.
Gabriel waited behind the rock patiently waiting for the Titans to return, inwardly cursing himself for being so careless.
I screwed up big time. They think I'm a joke. Why couldn't I just do this one thing right?
Gabriel wallowed in his self doubt until the Titans returned with another pair of sweats, boxers and a t-shirt. They tossed them over the rock and he quickly got dressed. His blush had faded but he was still nervous as he waited for Robin to speak.
"Well that was probably the most. . . interesting training session we've had in a while, but. . ." Said Robin trailing off at the end.
"We were all impressed by your power, and with a little training I think you would make a good edition to the team." Robin spoke with a genuine smile on his face "That is of course if you are willing to accept such a responsibility" his voice becoming slightly more serious.
Gabriel's face brightened and all his self doubt was forgotten. He jumped in the air pumping his fist.
"Hell yes I accept!" Gabriel couldn't contain his excitement as he was congratulated by the Titans, each giving handshakes, hugs, and pats on the back.
This was the greatest moment of Gabriel's life; he had traveled so far and gone through so much just for this moment. And now he was going to be a Teen Titan. His journey was complete, he would be a hero. But unknown to him and the other titans. Artificial eyes watched them from afar.
Sitting alone in an old rusted throne sat an armored man surrounded by the thrum of machinery.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" The lone figure spoke aloud in a dry sinister voice, "A new Titan?"
"When will they ever learn?" he asked the empty room around him.
The figure zoomed in the image on the screen in front of him until Gabriel's face dominated it.
"I believe it's time for me to introduce myself to our new friend" his voice was cold and full of malice.
The figure rose from his throne and listened to the industrious noises of the room as he took a deep breath of air spoiled by the smell of burn oil and flaking rust. His eyes never left the screen as he spoke in a hushed whisper that was lost in the clanking of machinery.
"And he will learn why the Titans fear the name Slade."