AN: I had no plans to do a holiday story this year, but then I came across Nkcandygirl's holiday challenge, and I had to see what my brain would do with it. I started out with "grass" and ended up... well, with this.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Teen Titans and don't make any money off of them... but a slice of the pie would be a nice Christmas present.
Unbridled Rage and Toilet Paper
Witt's Grocery was a massive chain that stretched across the nation, and was currently putting feelers into Canada and Mexico. Word among the metahuman crowd was that Witt's had even been spotted in several alternate dimensions, but this had yet to be confirmed by any trustworthy source.
For Nicholas, though, Witt's was a meager but steady paycheck with the promise of benefits if he stuck around. That was the extent of his aspirations for the time being. Hence, he was of the opinion that his employers didn't pay him nearly enough to deal with some of the crazies who frequented his store... especially those involving the people who were supposed to be protecting Jump City.
"Nuh-uh! I only want five! There are only five butts in the Tower, see?" The green boy held out his hand, digits spread wide, then stared at his fingers and let out a giggle.
Once again, Nicholas tried to reason with the customer. "Sir, the toilet paper comes in a pack of six. You can't get just five."
"Fine, fine," he grumbled, digging in his utility belt and producing a credit card, which he then gave to Nicholas with what was probably intended to be an elaborate flourish. "Waste of money, if you ask me." Face lighting up with a sudden epiphany, he punched a hole in the package and pulled out a roll of toilet paper. "Happy Hanukah, ya putz," he said as he handed the roll to Nicholas in exchange for his card and receipt. Staggering away, he weaved a haphazard path out the door, almost ramming into the elaborate display of cake mixes in the process.
Sighing, Nicholas turned and began ringing up his next customer, only to be interrupted by a screeching Beast Boy no more than a foot behind him.
"Wait, wait!" he cried, snatching his toilet paper from atop Nicholas' register. "We need a roll for when we have company!" With that, he ran out the door in a surprisingly straight line.
If this sort of thing kept up, Nicholas was going to ask for either a raise or a transfer.
Beast Boy plodded through the park, precious cargo in hand. He couldn't remember exactly what was in the bag, but he knew it was important. The Tower wasn't far off now. If he could just get his eyes to stop blurring and his brain to stop exploding, he could fly over there.
A rock attacked his foot, and he went sprawling on the grass. It was always grass. Why did he never end up in a place where it snowed for Christmas? He would even have been happy with some dead leaves. Inhaling deeply through his nose, he breathed in the smell of...
Oh, this was bad, this was really, really bad! He couldn't be a hero if he couldn't smell! He'd get kicked off the team and then have to go back to living in the park and being cold and hungry all the time!
The bag in his hand forgotten, Garfield Logan curled into a ball on the grass and wept.
"Grass Stain, I swear, every one of us is going to beat the tofu stuffing out of you when we get our hands on you... well, we'll let Raven heal you. Then we'll beat the stuffing out of you." Cyborg was aware that he was talking to himself, but the muttered platitudes to someone who couldn't possibly hear them were keeping the frayed bits of his composure together. The blip on his radar hadn't moved in several minutes, and given the situation, that was a very bad thing.
Taking the corner at speeds usually reserved for chasing Johnny Rancid, Victor drove the T-Car up onto the nearest stretch of curb and hopped out with the engine still running. A minute's sprint later, he found his best friend sobbing, clutching two fistfuls of grass to his face.
Kneeling, Cyborg touched the green teen's shoulder, careful not to jar him. "Beast Boy, it's me. It's Cy. What's wrong, buddy?"
"I can't smell anything, Cy," he managed between sobs. "I'm gonna get kicked off the Titans! I'm not Beast Boy if I can't smell..." His words dissolved into incoherency as they were lost in a fresh wave of tears.
"It's okay, Green Bean. That's normal. You got a concussion when we were fighting Cinderblock today, remember?"
Sniffling, Beast Boy cocked his head to the side. "I what? When did that happen?"
"Never mind, man. Raven's gonna heal you, and you'll get your sense of smell back. You'll be fine." His communicator went off, and he hurried to answer it. "Rob, I found him. We're in the park, but I don't know if it's a good idea to bump him around in the T-Car right now. Will Raven have the juice for a couple teleports plus healing?"
"Negative," their leader's gruff voice responded. "Sending Starfire out to your position. She'll fly him straight back to the infirmary and Raven will heal what she can for now. Stay with him till she gets there, then get back as soon as you can. Robin out."
Within twenty seconds, a purple and red dot appeared above the tower and began streaking toward them. Scooping Beast Boy up as gently as possible, Starfire uttered a quick thanks to Cyborg and took off towards the Tower as fast as she could without risking further damage to their teammate.
After watching them disappear into the Tower, Cyborg looked down at the grocery bag on the ground where his little buddy had lain. Picking it up, he trudged back to the T-Car, only to find its windshield wipers working furiously as a mariachi band blared out of the speakers.
Victor massaged just above his human eye with one knuckle. It was better than finding his baby up on blocks, but really, couldn't Jump's kids resist the temptation just once?
The first thing Garfield was aware of was the horrible pain in his head that somehow managed to be both dull and piercing at the same time. The second was the infirmary lights, which at the moment felt more like someone had pointed the Bat Signal straight at his brain and lit it up. Really, then, he couldn't be blamed for the decidedly un-masculine sound that escaped his mouth.
In a flash, the lights were dimmed to a more manageable level, and Raven stood at his bedside, concern deepening the already pronounced circles around her eyes. "It's all right, Beast Boy," she said. "Hold still and I'll try to fix the worst of that."
A blue glow surrounded his head, and within seconds, the vast majority of his pain melted away.
"Thanks, Rae," he said as he rubbed his still-tender skull. "What happened? I remember bits and pieces, but they don't make much sense."
"We got in a fight with Cinderblock. You got the bright idea of putting yourself in the way of a fist that was meant for me— which I was perfectly capable of shielding myself against, let me add— and earned yourself a lovely concussion, complete with loss of consciousness. We couldn't have Cinderblock stepping on you while you were out, so I teleported you back here to the infirmary, then went back to the fight. When we got back, we found your little note." Raven gestured to the wall.
Sure enough, written all over the wall in what appeared to be melted candy bar— complete with almonds and caramel— were the words, "Gone Xmas shoping".
"I'd blame your poor spelling on the concussion, but I think it actually improved it." He recognized the tiny inflections in her monotone— she was making a joke to diffuse some of her own worry over the situation. Maybe he was rubbing off on her after all.
"So, uh, what'd I get? I mean, I've had my presents for you guys since like November, so... what Christmas shopping?"
She held a plastic bag out to him. As he grabbed it and looked inside, his eyebrows shot up. "Toilet paper? You gotta be kidding me."
"Unfortunately not," she said, tiny twitches at the corners of her mouth giving away her desire to smile. "The great Garfield Logan, Master of Holiday Gift Giving, decided we each needed a roll of toilet paper for Christmas."
He smacked himself in the forehead, then instantly regretted it. "Owwwww."
"Careful, you idiot. I didn't have enough energy to heal everything." Raven's voice had lost its cheer, something he regretted far more than the pain. Still, something didn't make sense...
"What do you mean? Earlier today, you were just fine. Teleporting doesn't take that much, does it?"
Raven's cheeks turned pink, and she started to lift her hood up, but the opening door of the infirmary made them both jump.
"There you are, Grass Stain! Good as new? Good. Cause you have a lot of explaining to do... but first, you gotta see this!" Punching a button on his arm, Cyborg conjured up a projector and pointed it at the wall.
A four-eyed Raven shrieked as she pummeled Cinderblock with what appeared to be its own right arm. "You will never lay a finger on him again if you wish to live!" Even coming from Cyborg's speakers, the voice was impossibly deep and intimidating.
It was the first time Beast Boy had ever seen Cinderblock scared. The behemoth was legitimately cowering, using its remaining arm to protect itself from a sorceress who barely topped five feet.
Sparks flew along the length of Cyborg's circuits, and the projection shorted out. "Oops," a red-faced Raven said in a voice that left no doubt as to just how accidental it had been.
"Aww, come on, Raven, that was brilliant! You took down Cinderblock in all of thirty seconds, and twenty of those were the tongue lashing!"
A growl better suited to Beast Boy rumbled out of the purple-haired girl, and Cyborg, displaying a modicum of wisdom, shut his mouth.
Beast Boy nodded slowly. "Ah. So that's where the energy went. Good to know."
AN: I'm not too terribly happy with where this ended, but the characters packed up and left after that line, saying something about unionizing if I'm going to keep working them so much without breaks...
And for those of you who read it, Nicholas has hopped universes from A Bottle Can't Hold You. I told you Witt's was a big chain... they're everywhere.