It was a gloomy, rainy afternoon and it had been that way since the Titans returned from their extended trip to Tokyo over a week ago. The trip, which Robin extended into a full blown vacation, had been in the words of his new girlfriend "glorious". Cyborg and Beast Boy made it their mission to "eat their way" through Japan as the team conducted a whirlwind tour that concluded in Kyoto. They were of course treated like the celebrities they were: The paparazzi hounded Robin and Starfire, who indulged them with countless photo ops. Cyborg was greeted in each town by the local top chefs, who prepared him all sorts of Japanese culinary delights (except for octopus). Beast Boy tagged along with him, indulging in dishes prepared with tofu. Plus everywhere he went he was greeted by swarms of cute fan girls, which the police had to keep away from the western superheroes, otherwise they would be trampled by the fanatical girls who screamed at the mere sight of the green changeling. Raven found a bookstore in Osaka that specialized in books about the occult that were written in ancient languages and picked up several to add to her collection.
Alas, all good things come to an end. The vacation ended, as vacations are wont to do, and the Titans returned to Jump City. Other than the local press asking for interviews with the team's now official super couple, nothing had changed, except for the batch of foul weather that just didn't seem to want to go away.
The Titans were beginning to get a bad case of cabin fever. There hadn't been a mission in over a week. At first they reveled in the bad weather, which usually meant there would be no bad guys to chase down as they didn't like getting wet either. Still, it was now eight straight days of rain and even Raven was starting to feel a little antsy.
They were all in the common room when the alarm finally sounded. The changeling and the tin man were half heartedly playing Mega Monkeys on the GameStation. Raven was seated on the far end of the couch, reading a book while the team's new "dynamic duo" were busy sucking each other's faces while their three comrades, who were now more than accustomed to seeing them perform "the lip contact", simply ignored them.
They all reacted quickly to the klaxons. Cyborg was shouting 'booyah' before he even knew what the mission would be. It could have been Slade and he would still be happy. The five anxiously congregated around the operations console while Robin typed away furiously.
"It's Warp. He's robbing the Jump City Bank downtown."
The teen wonder grinned in anticipation.
-( scene break )-
The five Titans rushed down into the garage and ran to the T-Car, which was gleaming like a jewel, waiting to be taken out for a drive. As always Cyborg hopped in to the driver's seat, and Robin joined him in the front. Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven took the rear seat, with the changeling seated in the middle. As he hopped in he bumped into Raven, who had already shut her door. The witch glared at him and raised her hand to slap him. She only stopped because she noticed that Starfire was staring at her. The princess glared at her angrily and Raven looked away, as if nothing had happened.
The T-Car zoomed down the rain slick streets, skillfully driven by the bionic Titan. Soon enough, they came to a screeching halt in front of the bank, which was an imposing structure with Greek style marble columns on its façade. They emerged from the car in a downpour.
"Dude, we're getting soaked!" Beast Boy complained as he ran for cover.
Raven, who had shielded herself, gave him one of her signature glares.
"Why don't you just morph into a fish?"
"You're hilarious, Raven." He shouted back at her.
"Someone has to be funny, and it sure isn't you." She sneered at him.
The Titans gathered at the bank's entrance. Robin cleared his throat.
"Listen up everyone; we're a little rusty so we need to be extra careful. Plus this is Warp we're dealing with. He probably has new weapons from the future and he's gonna try to surprise us, so stay sharp."
Robin gestured with his arm, making an arcing motion, indicating that they should follow him. They charged through the bank's front doors, which were already open. The lobby was dark and foreboding. The lights were off and little ambient light came in from outside. They quickly dispersed; taking positions around the massive room, checking behind the teller stations and looking under the now unoccupied loan officers' desks. One the room was declared secure they tended to the security guards that were encased in Warp's signature crystalline trap. Robin nodded at Raven, who responded by gesturing with her arms, enveloping the guards in her obsidian light, crushing the crystals and freeing the guards who fell to the floor unconscious, except for one who managed to remain awake.
"He's in the basement. There was a shipment of rubies … you have to stop him." The woman moaned before she too lost consciousness.
The five teens ran down a stairwell into the bowels of the bank. Upon reaching it they found Warp inside a vault, rummaging through several cases of jewels.
"Give it up Warp, this time you won't get away!" Robin shouted.
The time travelling felon smirked when he saw who it was. Robin believed that every villain had a "look" that characterized him. Slade had an air of disinterest about him, which was reflected in his body language when he wasn't in combat mode. Dr. Light could be described as arrogant. And then there was Warp, who was the epitome of smugness.
"Well, well, if it isn't my friends the Teen Titans. I do have to thank you Starfire, had you not returned to the past and altered the future, I would still be a child in the year 2025."
The princess, who was now floating in the air, with one of her knees bent, conjured a pair of star bolts and snarled at her nemesis.
"You said that the future could not be changed. That it was set in stone."
Warp regaled her with a grin. "I did say that, didn't I?"
He chuckled. The smug look on his face intensified. His eyes twinkled with the disrespect he felt for the Fab Five.
"In case you haven't already figured it out, I lied." He concluded as he fired his shoulder mounted lasers at them. This time he had four of them, and each one could pick its own target and track it with the greatest of precision.
The Titans leaped out of harm's way and the lasers hit the heavy granite walls in the basement instead, leaving scorch marks where they hit. Starfire deftly responded with a volley of starbolts, firing them off as she performed unbelievable aerial acrobatics. As always they were deflected by a bubble shaped force field that protected Warp. She was joined by Cyborg who in addition to using his sonic cannons fired a series of miniature missiles. These, along with some of Robin's flying disks, were unable to breach the futuristic villain's defenses, who merely chuckled at them in a condescending tone.
"I am Warp, I am from the future. You are no match for me."
"Shut the hell up, dude!" The changeling howled before morphing into a green ram. He too bounced off of Warp's protective bubble. The villain laughed and picked up a sack full of rubies.
"I'd love to stay and play with you, Titans, but you know me, I have times to go and places to be." He taunted them as he reached for a white disk on his chest.
"Raven, don't let him touch that!" Robin howled.
Raven was airborne and raised her hand sideways, in front of her face, shaping it into an Azarathian mudra as she moved it in a vertical motion.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!"
A bolt of dark energy shot out of her chakra stone and flew towards Warp, who had a self satisfied grin on his face. The smile soon disappeared as the dark energy breached his shield and hit his controller, shattering it. His protective bubble popped and he fell on his butt. Robin and the Titans closed in on him. Still looking shocked, he picked himself up and slowly retreated into the vault.
"So what do you have to say now, Mr. I'm from the future?" The changeling gloated. "We just kicked your Buck Rodger's butt."
Raven was right behind him and slapped him on the back of his head.
"Ow! What was that for?" He complained.
"We haven't captured him yet, genius. Once we have him, you can gloat all you want."
Beast Boy scowled at Raven.
"He's whipped! He doesn't have his hi tech toys anymore. What could possibly happen?"
Raven scowled at him. "Don't say that." She hissed at him.
The five Titans were now assembled at the vault's entrance. Robin stepped forward and addressed the now hobbled time traveler.
"We can do this the hard way or the easy way, Warp. It's your choice."
"Please pick the hard way; I'm so in the mood to kick some bad guy butt!" The changeling chortled, earning another glare from Raven.
Warp raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. His body language was that of a defeated man, one who had been broken. The Titans approached him, Robin leading them, ready to handcuff the villain. Suddenly, with no warning, he grinned.
"How about we do it my way?"
The Titans suddenly found themselves trapped inside one of Warp's bubbles. The five of them floated around inside the trap, which apparent could also cancel the pull of gravity. Starfire pounded on the bubble.
"Dude! No fair! Let us out!" The changeling complained.
"You won't be able to keep us in here long. We know your force fields don't last very long." Raven shouted.
The smug look had once again returned to Warp's face.
"Don't worry, my little Titans, I won't keep you trapped in my little bubble. I'll let you come out."
Warp reached into a pocket and retrieved another disk controller, which he snapped into the receptacle on his chest. It lit up and began to hum.
"That's so much better … now where should I send you?"
The villain looked lost in thought.
"Of course, why didn't I think of that before!? A perfect choice."
Warp tapped the disk shaped controller. The Titans gasped as a dark portal opened below them.
"Ta ta, Titans. Have fun in the future!"
Gravity returned and the Titans were sucked into the portal beneath them, which vanished as soon as they passed through it. Warp smiled and resumed ransacking the vault.
-( scene break )-
The five Titans screamed as they fell though the void. The flying Titans could not invoke their powers and they too fell into the dark void, which was ice cold and devoid of all light, except for Starfire and Cyborg's glowng eyes. The tin man popped up his built in light, but other than their bodies there was nothing to see. After what felt like an eternity they finally saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and within a moment they passed through another portal emerging into a brightly lit room, where they crashed into the floor, ending up in a large pile.
"Someone is touching my grebnaks again!" Starfire shrieked.
The changeling raised his hands into the air.
"This time it wasn't me. I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Wanna bet?" A muffled voice replied. "Beast Boy, get your butt out of my face!" Raven complained.
The changeling leaped away from the pile falling face first onto floor.
"Heh heh … sorry Raven."
The green lad looked around. It was plain to see that they were in the common room in the Tower. But something seemed … off. He shook his head, figuring that it was just an after effect of the fall.
"Hey guys, I think Warp messed up. He didn't send us to the future, he sent us home."
A familiar voice called out from the crescent shaped couch.
"Actually, grass stain, I think he did both."
Cyborg, who was still in the pile, leaped to his feet and immediately looked towards the source of the voice. His human eye trembled in disbelief and he shook his head repeatedly, hoping that the vision before him would go away.
"Uh guys, we aren't in Kansas anymore."
The other four Titans rose to their feet. Robin, Raven and Beast Boy became slack jawed, while Starfire beamed happily. Raven uttered "whoa!"
"Cyborg! You have repaired Titans Tower!"
The next thing that happened caught them all by surprise. Bumblebee, who no longer was a teenager, rose to her feet.
"Why would he need to repair the tower, honey? It wasn't broken."
Robin approached the two older Titans.
"Where are we?" The befuddled boy wonder asked.
The older Cyborg snickered.
"What you want to know, gel hair, is WHEN you are. Today is November 3rd, 2031." Cyborg replied as he tapped a control on his arm. "Yo, Nighty, Star, Raven, BB you guys better get down here. We have some visitors from the past, courtesy of Warp."
The princess could no longer contain her delight.
"Glorious, we have returned to the future." Starfire squealed with delight. "But why are you here, Bumblebee? Are you no longer the leader of Titans East?"
Karen Beecher smiled at the question.
"I was, until I quit. Aqualad is in charge now. And for the record, we don't remember you ever visiting us before."
"Why did you quit?" Raven asked.
"Why? Cuz me and Sparky, we got hitched and we decided to live in Jump!"
Beast Boy's eyes boggled. "You married chrome dome?"
"You better believe it BB."
"And we aren't the only ones who got married." Cyborg added. "In fact, we all got married."
The lift doors opened and three people emerged. The younger Titans fell silent as soon as they saw who it was. Robin and Starfire approached the trio, which consisted of older versions of themselves, and a young teenage girl who looked half human and half Tamaranian. The older Dick Grayson was dressed as Nightwing, with his hair cut long just as Starfire remembered and described him to her teammates. The older Starfire was taller and more muscular than her teenaged counterpart, and she looked far fiercer. The young girl was almost as tall as young Starfire and was slightly taller than Robin.
"We wondered how long it would be until Warp pulled this off on us." Nightwing announced. "I'm not complaining though. It great to see you guys, you younger guys."
"Richard, are you not forgetting something?" Older Starfire chastised him.
"Of course. You guys probably know who I am, or who I used to be. I haven't been Robin for a long time. You can call me Nightwing. Of course, you know who Starfire is."
"You dudes got married! And that pretty girl is your daughter!" Beast Boy enthused.
The young girl had black hair like her father and blue eyes, which glowed like her mother's. She smiled at Beast Boy.
"My name is Mar'i. You were cute when you were young, Uncle Gar." She giggled. "And you used to have hair."
"Uncle Gar?" He choked. "And I'm bald? I thought Star was kidding me when she told me that."
"Don't sweat it green been. Your kids call me Uncle Vic. And you still have more hair than I do."
The changeling laughed boisterously and didn't hear the lift open its doors.
"Sweet, I'm gonna have kids! Hey chrome dome, what do my kids call Raven? Aunt Grumpy?" He snickered.
"Actually, we call her 'mom', right sis?" A young male voice interrupted.
Raven and Beast Boy spun around, their mouths agape. Standing before them were taller and older versions of themselves, and they were holding hands. The older changeling wore a red and white costume and as Starfire had predicted, was bald. He was also very muscular, rivaling Nightwing's physique. Raven too had changed. She was taller and more voluptuous than in her youth. She still wore her leotard and cape, which were now white.
But what was truly shocking were the two teenagers standing next to them. One was male. He was gray like his mother, with green hair and had a chakra stone on his forehead and wore a cape and hood like his mother, which was green. The daughter was green with violet hair and wore a tight fitting red and white spandex costume that resembled her father's. Both were taller than young Beast Boy and Raven, who stared stupefied at their future offspring. Finally, Beast Boy spoke up.
"OK guys, this isn't funny. There's no way Raven and I are ever getting married or having kids."
"For once, I agree with him. This is preposterous!" Raven added. "Why would I ever marry an idiot like him?"
"And yet you did sweet cakes. And it was the best decision you ever made." Older Gar responded with a grin.
Beast Boy ran up to his older counterpart.
"Are you nuts!? Why did you marry her? And what happened to Terra? I know she was revived!"
Older Raven chuckled. "Terra was indeed revived. After dropping out of high school she ran off with some loser and became a stripper in Las Vegas. We haven't heard from her in years. And Garfield … you weren't nuts. I'm the best thing that ever happened to you."
Young Cyborg shook his head. "I don't believe this. Raven and the Grass Stain? No freaking way."
Raven approached the Logans. The children smiled at her. They looked amused, which was NOT how Raven was feeling.
"You were a cute teenager, mom." Her future son addressed her. "Now I know why dad fell for you."
Raven scowled at the boy.
"Don't call me that, I'm not your mother."
"Uh, yes you are, mom." The girl replied. "I'm Coraline and this is Mark."
Raven frowned. "You're not my children, not where I come from."
Mark laughed. "Oh come on mom, lighten up … isn't this cool Coraline … she's hardly any older than we are."
"And dad was right; mom had a hell of a temper when she was Teen Titan!" Coraline giggled.
Raven threw her hands in the air. "Fine, whatever. Call me what you want. I don't care. I can be your grandmother if you want."
"Mom, that's grandma Arella's job." Mark replied.
The older Raven spoke. "Don't be upset with her, kids, I was still a basket case when I was her age."
"Basket case?" Raven fumed. "You have a lot of nerve. If anyone is a basket case, it's you. You married the idiot!"
Her future offspring hooked their arms into hers. "Don't be upset mom. Come on, I'll make you some nice herbal tea." Coraline offered.
Robin cleared his throat. "This 'reunion' is nice, but why did Warp send us here?"
"It's simple really. You see, he can't strand you somewhere in time, because it could have disastrous effects on the time line. He just wanted to get you out of the way so he could steal the rubies. He knows that we'll send you back, but since he set up a time bubble we can't send you back to the scene of the crime. I'm afraid he got away this time."
"You mean you remember this?"
"Of course we do. We are your future selves, after all. And don't worry, we'll send you back."
"And what about Warp?"
"The time cops are already chasing him. He's not our problem. We don't deal with temporal criminals, it takes special training that we don't have, plus to be honest, it's a real pain in the butt."
Robin heaved an exasperated sigh.
"Then shouldn't you be sending us back now?"
"You're right. If you stay here too long, it could affect the timeline, and we don't want that, the time cops would come visit us, and that wouldn't be good. Cyborg, are you ready?"
"I was born ready."
Older Cyborg's arm reconfigured itself into something that resembled his old sonic cannon. He aimed his arm at the lift and fired. A multicolored beam emerged from his cannon and a portal opened right where the lift doors were. It hummed ominously, suggesting a finality that made the young teens feel uneasy.
"I guess we'd better go." Robin remarked as he looked at this future daughter. "It was nice to meet you Mar'i."
The girl ran up to her young and still short father and hugged him. She then placed her hand on his scalp, tousled his hair and laughed. She kissed him and hugged her young mother.
"Good bye, future daughter. We will soon meet again."
Raven and Beast Boy were also hugged by their future progeny. Raven tensed up stiff as a board, while Beast Boy, who was over the shock of the paradox before him, hugged his future kids. Older Raven drifted up behind her younger self, and slipped a small manila envelope into her hands.
"Take this. It won't change anything in the timeline. I've had this ready in case you ever came."
Raven hesitated at first, but accepted envelope and slipped it into a pocket in her cape. She knew that she could decide later whether or not to open the envelope.
"Y'all better get movin', I can't keep this open forever."
One by one the young Titans stepped into the portal. First Robin entered, who was followed by Starfire. Cyborg went next. Beast Boy was close behind him. He stopped and waved at his kids, who waved back. Raven smacked him on the backside of his head.
"Hurry up, genius. The portal won't stay open forever."
Beast Boy hurried through the portal. Raven was right behind him, but stopped before entering. She turned her head to look at the kids one last time. They waved at her and she reciprocated with a brief wave. She then hastily entered the portal, which disappeared with a loud pop.
Coraline turned to her mother. "You weren't kidding when you said you treated dad like crap back then."
"I had issues back then." Her mother calmly replied in her old school monotone.
-( scene break )-
"So, chrome dome, are we really home?"
The tin man grinned. "Not only are we back in the Tower, but it's October 31st, 2012. We didn't miss the Titans East Halloween Party! "
The Titans, with the exception of Raven, cheered the good news.
Beast Boy approached Raven, wagging his eyebrows.
"What's the matter, Rae-Rae? Aren't you gonna go to the party with your future hubby?"
Once again, she gave him one of her signature glares.
"One: don't call me Rae-Rae. If you do, I will inflict horrid violence upon you, and that's not threat, that's a promise. Two: You all know I don't like parties, so don't expect me to go. And Three: I am not your future wife; I don't care what we saw in the future. I would never, ever marry an idiot like you. So get it through your thick skull, that future is not going to happen!"
Raven turned and stormed out of the common room. Robin, Starfire and Cyborg frowned at their green teammate.
"Why did you do that for, B? Do you get some kind of kick out of pissing her off?" Cyborg fumed. "Or do you have some kind of stupid death wish?"
The changeling tapped his fingers together. "I was just kidding her … I mean … I know she doesn't like me … I know we won't get married, ever."
-( scene break )-
Raven charged into her room, slamming her sliding door shut with her dark energy, shaking the bookcases with the impact. She sat down on the edge of her bed and rubbed her temples. She felt overwhelmed, and was trying to process everything she had just experienced. It was bad enough that Warp had escaped with the rubies, they were worth over 10 million dollars. But why of all places did he send them there?
Raven stopped rubbing her temples and remembered the envelope in her pocket. She retrieved it and stared at it. It was no doubt a message from her future self, either advice or some sort of warning.
Rave walked over to the trash chute in her room. Anything that was tossed in there would go straight into an incinerator in the basement. She pulled the door open and prepared to toss the envelope to its doom, but she hesitated. Her future self told her that it wouldn't change anything. Surely she wouldn't have lied about that, would she?
Raven released the chute door, which closed with a dull thud, and walked back to her desk, where she sat down. Using a letter opener she opened the envelope. Three pieces of paper fell out which she caught in her hand. She examined them, looking at them over and over, until she put them down on her desktop and heaved a heavy sigh.
She rose from her chair and walked over to the magical chest where she kept the book where Malchior was imprisoned. Whispering a spell, she unlocked the chest. Malchior immediately greeted her.
"So the fair Raven has come to visit me, has she?" He taunted her. "I am deeply honored that a lovely maiden would grace me with a visit."
Raven ignored him and removed what looked like a scrapbook from the chest.
"Oh, I see, you came for him. You do know that this offends me to no end, my sweet Raven."
She continued ignoring Malchior and closed the chest. She then took the scrapbook back to her desk and opened it. It was actually a photo album, one that was dedicated entirely to a single person: Beast Boy.
Raven slowly flipped through the pages, which were in chronological order. They contained all sorts of pictures of Beast Boy. Some were official team photos. Others were pictures taken by Starfire or Cyborg. Others were clippings from newspapers and magazines.
She continued to flip through the pictures until she finally reached a blank page and she stopped. She opened a drawer in her desk and retrieved a bottle of rubber cement. Picking up the three pieces of paper from the future, she began to arrange them on the page. Moving them around, searching for the perfect spot for each one.
They were three photo prints. The first one was a shot from their wedding day. On the back side her older self had inscribed July 11, 2016. She flipped it over and looked at the image. She couldn't get over seeing herself dressed in a bridal gown, but there she was.
The other two were recent pictures of the Mark and Coraline, with their birth dates written on the back. She could see both her and Beast Boy's features in the kids. Mark had her nose while Coraline had her father's smile.
After fussing for a few minutes, rearranging the photos over and over, she finally found the arrangement she was looking for. She opened the bottle of rubber cement and glued only the top edge of the photos to the page, so that she could still flip them over and see the dates inscribed on their backs.
After she was done she retrieved a fountain pen from the drawer. With the skill and care of an artist she wrote at the top of the page with the most beautiful calligraphy. Satisfied with her work she put the pen away and admired the final product. It simply said: "The Logan Family" and she wrote their names beneath the photos.
Raven stared at the finished page for the longest time. She closed the album and placed it back into the chest, once again ignoring Malchior's sweet nothings. With a serene expression on her face she closed the chest.
"You are an idiot, Garfield Mark Logan." She whispered to herself. "But you are my idiot."