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Slender green fingers reached up to brush back matching strands of long hair, tucking them behind an ear as their owner breathed out a deep breath. Emerald eyes, shadowed by a blue, brimmed cap advertising the Metropolis Meteors, stared up at the daunting 'T' perched upon the island. Constructed of glass, metal, and concrete, it was topped by the rising sun, its shadow reaching across the crystal waters to the docks of the currently slumbering city. Hiking up the heavy backpack higher onto her shoulder, she glanced towards the reaching spires, the normalcy of the cityscape, and gave a wistful sigh. Suddenly, a red and white blur surrounded, whipping up a thick cloud of dust and dirt, and she instinctively dropped her bag, summoning green energy around her fists before the voice began to barrage her.
"Heytherehihowsitgoingareyout henewgirlimImpulsewelldontju ststandtherecomeoninoooph!"
Suddenly, the wind encircling died down and the red and white blur went skidding across the dirt, revealed to be a boy in a sleek, lightly armored suit with brown hair and yellow goggles. She gaped at him for a minute before fixing her gaze on the far more recognizable face of the slightly smiling Nightwing as he telescoped his staff and slid it back into his gauntlets. He scolded, "Impulse, don't go rushing into things like that. You had no idea who she was."
There was a blur of motion and the boy was suddenly on his feet again, huffing, "Geez, I was just trying to be friendly. If you're gonna be that way, I'm gonna go kick Changeling's butt in that slowpoke racing game eighteen more times. Ciao."
He disappeared back into the tower, and the girl got the sense that the former protégé of the Batman was rolling his eyes behind his domino mask before he fixed his veiled gaze upon her. His smile softened and he offered her a hand as her constructed armaments dissipated.
"Jade, right? Jennifer-Lynn Haden?"
"Yes, sir," she nodded her head as she accepted the hand.
"Nice to meet you. We were starting to get worried. We weren't sure if you were going to make it," he said.
"Honestly? I almost didn't, sir," she admitted.
"Why's that? And you don't have to bother with the 'sir' stuff. All it'll do is inflate Gar's ego," he chuckled as he turned to head back towards the Titans' Tower, signaling for her to follow. She quickly hauled the backpack onto her shoulder and rushed after him, shaking her head when he held out an arm in an offer to carry her gear.
"It's just . . . it's not exactly something I'm used to," she mumbled.
"Crimefighting? I thought you and your brother dabbled in it."
She nodded as he entered a code into the door before it swept open, "We did. But it's not that, it's . . ."
As she sought for the way to define her unease, Nightwing gave her a break, "Being on a team?"
"Trust me, that's the way it is for everybody. Well, except Changeling. He was part of the Doom Patrol before he joined us. These other kids? They aren't used to working with anybody other than their mentors – and some of them not even that. It'll be a new experience for all of you," he assured her as they stepped into the elevator.
"Todd didn't like the idea," she muttered.
Her following silence was telling and he could see her chewing at the inside of her lip as the elevator ascended and just as they arrived, he pulled the red knob, halting the elevator, and turned to regard her. His expression was somber as he told her, "Ms. Hayden, I know your history. Kind of my job to do so. Your powers emerged as a defense mechanism after you were sexually abused. Pretty much wrecked the neighborhood. Luckily, with no fatalaties. You managed to find your brother about a year later and you guys began your crimefighting career shortly thereafter. That about right so far?"
Knowing where he was leading, she could nod in response.
"And then you two nearly got yourselves killed."
Blinking away the tears at the memory, the vision of her brother with his entrails hanging from his body swimming to the forefront of her mind, his face petrified with a stupid, shocked expression before he crumbled to the ground clear as day before her eyes. The whispers still danced in her brain, the intrusive promises that he would eat them alive as he advanced, the horrid laugh when she had been able to do nothing more but create a barrier and cry. Then there had been more green constructs and the looming Shark had turned his attention to the full-fledged Green Lantern, his excitement rising at the sight of worthy prey.
"That's we're trying to do with these new teams of Teen Titans," Nightwing explained, "We're trying to teach you how to handle yourselves. How not to make the same mistakes we did. And, hey, I know that joking is Gar's thing, but as long as you don't let the world get taken over by an inter-dimensional demon who turns the world's populace to stone, you're doing better than we were."
Her eyes quickly dried as she looked up at him, her expression skeptical and he chuckled, "Hey, you think I'm kidding, but you should've been there. But it comes down to whether or not you want to be here. We aren't going to twist your arm or anything."
"No," she shook her head and took a steadying breath, "No, I'm in. Just tell me what I need to do."
"First," he said, pushing the knob back in and letting the doors open to the common room, "you need to meet your teammates. Your official designation is Titans Team 06, but Gar's dubbed you guys 'Young Justice.'"
Aside from the boy Jennifer had encountered outside, who was seated upon the circular couch and mashing furiously away at the buttons of his controller, there were six figures in the room. She immediately recognized Changeling, seated alongside the speedster and growling as he tried to combat him in whatever game they were playing. Cheering them on, blue eyes lit with excitement, was a powerfully built young man, his dark hair cut close to his head. A black shirt with the crimson brand of Superman's sigil upon it was stretched across his trunk-like torso and his jeans had a rugged cut to them.
Perched upon the stool by the kitchen's island was a curvaceous girl, her golden locks pulled into a ponytail high atop her head. Crystal blue eyes studied the others occupying the rooms, paying particular interest to the dark haired boy who stood behind the couch. She was attired in a black tanktop and sturdy red pants with silver gauntlets encasing her forearms. Hanging from her hip was a golden cord, coiled several times and ending in a large loop that dangled beyond the seat that she drummed her painted nails upon.
Hanging in the corner of the kitchen with her gloved hands clasped in front of her blue skirt was another girl, her expression somewhere between excited and nervous, a concoction that was not too far off from Jade's own emotional state. Dull red hair framed a green face, sprinkled with darker freckles. A blue cape was clasped about her slender neck and flowed down her frame, touching the floor. Her upper body was attired in a white shirt marked with a red X. She studied her new teammates eagerly, and those who paid close enough attention noted the subtle rippling of her skin, the sharpening or softening of her features as she regarded the tiothers.
Towering over many of the others in the room but looking only marginally older was a dark-skinned youth with near onyx hair gathered in dreadlocks. He was lean with corded muscles, evident under the fitting red vest he wore, and there was an obvious serenity about him. A golden belt looped about his waist, similar to the one worn by Aquaman though equipped with a pair of oddly empty, curved hilts. Dark pants flowed down his legs, but left his feet bear, revealing the slight webbing between both his toes and his fingers. Slightly separate from the others, he observed the game being played across the massive television with a passing interest.
Rounding out the team, and lurking in the shadows so that Jade nearly missed him, was a short, lithe boy with most of his face obscured by a black mask that melded with a long cape. A golden emblem was set on his chest and a pair of belts adorned with golden capsules looped around to his back while another such accoutrement was secured about his waist. His suit, the upper half red and the lower black, was clearly more armored than most of his new comrades, but did not seem to hinder his movement at all. He wore a half sort of smirk, arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the wall to observe the competition between the speedster and the shifter.
"I feel a bit overdressed," Jennifer-Lynn whispered as Nightwing ushered her into the room and chuckled. He cleared his throat and nearly all eyes in the room immediately snapped towards him and subsequently her, causing her to squirm slightly under the scrutiny.
"Everybody, I'd like you to meet the final member of your team. This is Jade," he announced.
She tried to give an easy smile that came off as nervous as she gave a wave to them, "Hey. I guess."
It was silent for an instant as they all watched her before there was a sound effect meant to mimic an explosion followed by a snicker from the second oldest inhabitant of the room as Impulse reacted.
"Oh, totally not crash! I was checking out the new chick!"
Fun Fact: Kaldur'ahm (Aqualad) was originally developed for the Young Justice cartoon. However, before it was circulated, the folks at DC added him into the general comic continuity, appearing in the Brightest Day arc with a slightly adjusted background. We're mostly drawing on this comic book counterpart.
Well, like we said in ACS, we'd be posting a new story about the other teams. So here's the formation of the team dubbed 'Young Justice.'