So this is my first attempt at a Teen Titan Fanfic, I've been toying with the idea for some time and finally have the chance to post it. I've had great inspiration from fellow writers and hope to someday entertain everyone as good as they do.
Chapter 1. Stranger
The feed on the screen was fully loaded. The picture in front of them was a blurry image of what it could be discerned as an creature with large wings. The next image, the same creature but closer to the surface as if landing at great speed. The last picture however, is what had everyone's attention. The blurry image, although unfocused, could not be mistaken, as the entity portrayed clearly showed the creature halfway turned into a human being.
The Titans stared at it for countless moments in silence, as if trying to decipher the pixilated puzzle on the huge screen in the common room.
"this was taken by mere accident by a witness that happened to be nearby when the noise of flapping wings caught his attention."
Batman said over the speaker on the computer, showing his masked face in a small square on the left side of the huge screen. Guessing that had elapsed enough time for them to get the idea of what they were looking at. But being in the stupor they were in, the sudden comment brought them back to the startled reality. Robin cleared his throat before answering.
"how did this witness came to know where to be to take these pictures?".
"He was sight seeing, taking pictures of the scenery before sundown. What he thought to be an exotic bird of sorts, resulted on something beyond his expectations. So much so, that in the surprise he dropped the camera. that's why there are only three pictures. And the images are not clear because the creature was moving uncharacteristically fast. The witness claims that after the creature touched the surface, less than 2 seconds later, it morphed into a cheetah and disappeared in the jungle."
Robin looked at his team mates and settled on Beast Boy who when noticing his leader, and everyone else looking at him, held his hand in the air and said "Dudes, I swear it wasn't me!" he said as if he had been accused.
Robin said "we never said that Beast Boy"
"yeah man, chill" said Cyborg. Batman went back to the explanation "I know for a fact that it wasn't you Beast Boy. There has been several sightings over the last few years. Sporadic occurrences in at least 3 continents. But this particular sighting is one of 3 in the last six months in North America, close to the Grand Canyon."
Robin rubbed his chin as if in deep thought but Raven beat him to the question. "Who is it? why are you telling us about this now?." said in her monotone.
"Yeah, why is so different from before" said Cyborg.
"we don't know who it is or the purpose of its travels, but gained the name of "the phantom" no one has ever had a direct look on who or what it is. Even the satellites from the space command tower have not been able to get a lock on him.
"has the unknown changeling committed a crime?" asked Starfire who had been silent the entire time. Beast Boy suddenly turned to her the moment she mentioned the word "changeling" for that is what he is.
"None that we can trace back to him, but all I can gather is that if he continues with the direction he's taken, at the speed he's been sighted, that he'll be in Jump City soon. So keep alert Titans. We don't know if the changeling is on a friendly mission. Or if he's friendly at all. Batman out.
There was silence for a few more minutes while they gathered their thoughts, and suddenly, Beast Boy turned to face his friends, with a frown on his face and said "Dudes, you know what this mean?…" then his face contorted into a huge ear-to ear grin and jumping closer to them causing them to jump back at his exuberant reaction and said "I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!"
"Calm down grass stain, we don't know that." said Cyborg looking stern at his friend.
"Are you kidding? That "… Beast Boy said pointing at the last picture… "is a bold eagle and then the other dude said that it morphed into a cheetah? What more proof do you want?". He said moving his arms in the air to make his point.
Robin came closer and put his hand on the changeling's shoulder and said "We know Beast Boy, but we need to gather more info before we fall into any conclusions."
Starfire walked closer too with a worried look "Yes friend Beast Boy, we do not know if is even human. We need to do the gathering of the info before we do the conclusion jumping. Not everyone is as friendly as you are"
As serious as she sounded, Cyborg could not contain the small smile that formed on his lips as soon as her words were heard, but stopped the moment he saw Robin glaring at him.
Starfire's way of speaking was still a wonder. She was supernaturally strong, one of Tamaran's fierce warriors, and impossibly intelligent, had learned who knows how many languages in an incredibly short time, but English, for some reason, wasn't her forte.
Raven rolled her eyes and walked to the main computer, pulling the map Batman had sent them with the locations on the sightings. Everyone else gathered around her to see what she was doing.
"These locations are near or in animal habitat…" she said before Beast Boy interrupted her. "we knooow that it morphed into animals, what's your point?" he said not containing his impatience. Not noticing the wincing expressions of the other male Titans next to him. Raven turned and glared at him, causing light bulb to explode in the distance.
"perhaps if you SHUT UP! And let me FINISH, I could get to the point"… she said in an exasperated tone, yelling every other word thru gritted teeth. He noticed to glowing of her eyes and step back a bit.
Raven continued " the wooded areas are wide, but so are the ciy areas in between, which means that is human enough to blend in."
"but friend Beast Boy can turn into a kind of bird that can travel great distances, I'm sure that this… stranger… knows them as well" Starfire said.
"Yes, but it would also risk to be seen. A flock of the same birds is not as prominent as a single one migrating well out of season on the wrong direction"
Beast boy said, having everyone to turn his way and stare at him as if he suddenly had grown two heads.
He looked at them sheepishly then shrugged and said "what? I like to learn about the animals I turn into."
His friends shrugged and looked back at the map on the screen.
"Can you determine at what speed The Phantom is traveling and in how long he would be arriving here?" Robin said crossing his arms and rubbing his chin at the same time.
Cyborg approached the super computer and began to type furiously on the keyboard. A line appeared on the screen, touching every point of coordinates and one last line going across the map to the Jump City destination.
"Each sighting has been between days apart, and those are pretty large wooded areas too. From the last one to here, I would say no more than two days. It looks like The Phantom travels faster as an animal than on human feet." he said, no trace of humor in his voice.
Robin walked to the other computer and sat down before he started typing away. "I'll let Titans East know to be on the look out. We need as many eyes as we can gather. For all we know The Phantom could be looking for trouble."
Cyborg and Raven turned back to the computers and regaled the same message to the honorary Titans, for they might need their help as well.
Starfire turned and went to assist Robin and Beast Boy gave a sigh and turned to the kitchen. With all the news of someone that might be just like him and perhaps not to friendly at that he retreated in silence.
After half an hour, the Titans gathered in the kitchen to prepare their dinner. Having come to the conclusion that nothing was to be found that day. Beast Boy had been quiet most of the time, but when either Robin or Cyborg addressed him a few times, he seemed to come out of his revere and fake a smile, answer whatever they had asked and went back to play with his food. This had not gone unnoticed. Raven had been observing him over the rim of her cup of tea, faking to blow the contents before drinking it.
Being an empath allowed her to sense other people's emotions, but had to concentrate harder when needed on a single target. And being as distracted as he was at the moment, she was doing just that. She sensed confusion, some excitement but most of all, guilt emanating from her green team mate. With the hood over her head, she could somewhat mask that she was staring at the changeling longer than she would on normal circumstances. But then, she not only noticed his emotions, but also his face. His expression somewhat solemn, his eyes focused on something far beyond his plate. As if lost in thought, or in memories. Her analyzing was cut short when Cyborg started to move a hand in front of her face to get her attention. All connection with the green boy's emotions were broken and she glared at the tin man.
"yo, Raven… you ok?" upon seeing her expression and seeing one of the plates covered and her dark magic, levitating over the table, he immediately removed his hand from in front of her and leaned back as if trying to get away from the stray plate in case it exploded.
That got everyone's attention for a moment. She closed her eyes, sighed deeply once and let the plate come down softly on the table before opening her eyes again.
When she did, her team mates were looking at her questioningly. Even Beast Boy turned her way but didn't comment on it. Then he got up , picked up his plate, took it to the sink, rinse it and placed it in the dishwasher.
Then he turned to his friends and said "night guys. I'm tired, I'm going to bed" without waiting for a response he walked out of the kitchen to the common room.
They heard the doors hissed to open and close. After a few seconds they stopped staring at the doors and looked at each other. Robin crossed his arms, deep in thought.
"is everything the ok Robin?" Starfire asked after seeing his expression.
"I don't know Star, he seems troubled?" answer the boy wonder.
"troubled? I think he's loosing it Rob, since when does he do his own dishes? Said Cyborg.
"not mentioning going to bed this early" said Raven in her monotone, everyone looked at the clock over the stove, it read 7:30pm.
Robin sighed deeply and said to his friends before he got up and repeat Beast Boys actions in the kitchen "Lets keep an eye on him just in case he needs to vent"
They all nodded once and finished their meal. Robin went to the computer to try to find any more clues about the so called Phantom. Starfire joined him shortly. Cyborg was in the kitchen with Raven cleaning up. While the tin man dried some of the dishes, he noticed Raven absent minded again. This time however, he asked her quietly what was going on.
"I'm not sure Cyborg. Before you interrupted me so rudely earlier, I was sensing a mix of emotions that I find no logic explanation to." the sarcasm didn't escape her comment but he ignored it.
"Maybe, that whole "I'm not the only one" comment has deeper meaning. Perhaps he is feeling lonely Raven. After Terra send him packing at the school, he hasn't been the same" said Cyborg, trying to think of a logical explanation as to their friend's mood. But upon hearing her name, a frown betrayed her for a slight second, which it didn't go unnoticed by the tin man but again, said nothing about it.
After she composed herself, Raven said "no Cyborg, this goes beyond loneliness. But I cannot be certain. I have to meditate on this." she said before phasing thru the floor, leaving the tin man standing alone in the kitchen. He turned with a smirk back to the dishes he had been working on and said to himself "if you only knew, sister".