(A/N) Hello everyone! Thanks for all the birthday wishes, it was a good birthday. I'm here with another installment of Moments, enjoy!
"I gotcha, Rae," he told her gently, betraying a bit of the panic in his voice as he scanned the area from left to right. The danger was gone for the moment. "How does something like this just happen?" he wondered aloud.
Really, the circumstances were perfect. At least, for whatever this thing was. The team was nowhere to be seen, Raven was currently incapacitated, and now there was something coming back for him and the semi-conscious girl, with him being the only one to defend them both. He didn't even know what this thing was. It came in after the crash, and all he had seen were a few dark blurs and then the team was gone. He and Raven were the only ones left.
One thing was for sure, though. He couldn't defend them if they were left in the open like this.
"I gotcha," he told her again, picking her up bridal style and beginning to run through the woods, his feet sloshing in the puddles. He barely noticed the rain pelting him or that his clothes were soaked. All that mattered was getting away from here.
"Beast Boy…" she murmured, furrowing her eyebrows at the jolting movements as he ran. Her fair skin was even paler than normal, and she looked to him like she was going to be sick.
There was a blast and crash from behind them, then a few more crashes, a little closer. Whatever this thing was, it was gaining on them… fast. He quickly realized that they wouldn't stand a chance if he remained in his human form. He just wasn't fast enough.
"Raven, can you stand?" he asked the semi-conscious girl. Her eyes weren't even open, but she gave him a shaky nod. He set her down on her feet, but not really making her stand on her own. He then proceeded to pick her up like he was going to give her a piggyback ride. She could do nothing but go along with it in her weakened state. "Okay, Raven, listen to me," he told her. "You have to hang on to me right now, because I'm going to morph. Whatever you do, just keep holding on."
She murmured something in reply, which he took for a weak yes. In less than a half-second, he changed into an Arabian horse, with Raven on his back gripping onto him weakly. He didn't waste any time, because behind him he could still hear the crashing sounds, now dangerously close. He started to run at blazing speeds, going as gently as he could for Raven's sake.
This is definitely not our lucky day, he thought as he ran. Everything seemed to be going wrong for the Titans today. He could clearly see the bitter flashes of the terrifying event that had occurred less than an hour before. They were flying through the raging storm in the T-Ship, heading back home after meeting with the Titans East in Steele City. He remembered they were going over a state or national forest when the lightning hit the T-Ship. He remembered that flash of light, and how an impenetrable darkness seemed to follow as the power on the ship went out. He remembered the horrible sensation of their vessel falling from the sky, and he remembered Robin's voice barking out commands. He remembered Cyborg's voice saying, "Prepare for impact!" He closed his eyes after that.
He wasn't sure whether he'd been unconscious at all after the crash, but he remembered that the next time he'd opened his eyes, they were on the ground, and he distinctly smelled the acrid scent of smoke in the air. His head was pounding, but he had ignored it as he crawled through the broken windshield into the small clearing they'd landed in.
The others got out soon after him, all of them seeming no worse for wear, all except for Raven. Hers was the only compartment of the T-Ship that was beyond their reach, as the opening was blocked by a crushed piece of metal. The rest of her compartment didn't look too good either. Starfire and Cyborg had pried off the metal blocking the way, and he and Robin managed to crawl in and get the unconscious girl out. She didn't show any visible injuries, but the crash had definitely done something. Robin was already on his communicator, calling the Titans East for help.
That was when it attacked, and he had no clue as to what this it was. It was fast, big, and pitch black. That was all he had gathered, because it had come in so fast. It was so fast that all he had seen were a few flashes, and then the others were all gone, disappeared into the night. The only ones left were him and Raven.
Talk about bad luck, he thought. These things come in right after we crash. I guess the odds just weren't on our side today.
He flicked his ears backwards, trying to pick up the sounds of the creature, but it was an unnecessary move. He would have had to have been deaf to not know where it was, considering the ear-splitting crashes the thing was making. If he didn't know any better, he would think the creature was tearing down the entire forest in an attempt to catch them.
What was confusing him was that, if this thing was so fast, then why hadn't it caught them yet? Before, the creature had moved so fast that he couldn't even tell what it looked like. What was keeping it back now?
And suddenly he was skidding through the mud, his hooves no longer running and scrambling to cling to the ground in an attempt to stop. He went so abruptly that Raven was thrown from his back, and she went tumbling to the ground. Even before he stopped completely, even before he'd morphed back into a human, he realized he'd gotten his answer. Pairs of eyes, just triangular shapes glowing white against the darkness, were in front of them, behind them, completely surrounding them.
"There's not just one of these things," he realized. "And I just ran straight into a trap." Like a pack of wolves working together against their prey, that creature had chased them right into the rest of its pack. "Yeah, well, I don't go down without a fight!"
Even as the words left his mouth, he realized that he wasn't just fighting for himself, and he looked over to the girl laying in the grass, struggling to open her eyes. He had to protect her, too. That meant getting out of this hell hole. He morphed into a gorilla and gently picked up the semi-conscious empath, then looked around, scanning his options, if he even had any. He prayed there were still a few available options.
Just to show that he meant business, he let out a deep and massive roar towards all the creatures, one that scared even him. He roared such a loud, chilling cry from his gorilla lungs, so frightening that he could hear fearful animals scurrying for cover. Even the leaves on the trees vibrated, and a few of them fell lazily to the ground. That roar turned into something angry, something raw. It was a warning, that if any of the creatures hurt him or Raven, they would be paying for it dearly. The creatures seemed to pause at this roar, hesitating before making their move, so he made his. He saw the smallest of openings in the rows of blank white eyes, and he ran through it, back into the shadowy forest.
He scanned the area while running, listening for any change in the way the streams of water sounded, anything different from the steady downpour of rain. He listened, searching for another sound, like the sound of water running over something, then pouring onto another surface, like how water runs off the stone walls of a cave. And he found it, and he followed this sound. Then he saw it, a good sized cave surrounded by fallen trees. If he could get them in there, he only had to defend the entrance. His parents had taught him something similar when they were living in the jungle, but it was only to guard against prowling predators at night. Now, he'd adapted it to the monsters that were chasing them.
He dived inside the cave, quickly laying Raven on the stone floor and leaping back to the cave entrance. He glanced at one of the fallen trees, an idea forming. He gripped the sides of the trunk and dragged it towards the entrance using his gorilla strength, all the while hearing the approaching sounds of the mob of creatures. Their guttural cries sent chills down his spine, and he moved even faster. He pulled the tree over the cave, then grabbed a second. On the third, he pulled it over the entrance behind him, sealing them inside somewhat.
It was then that he morphed back into a human. He guessed that to Raven, it was probably pitch black in the cave. He, however, had enhanced vision due to his ability to change into animals. His senses were magnified in his human form, so he could clearly see everything around him. He walked up to the girl, kneeling beside her.
"You okay?" he asked her.
She murmured something in reply, but he could tell she was too weak to give a definite answer. With the threat of the creatures a little less apparent now, he began to feel real worry about the girl laying there in front of him. The crash had definitely taken its toll on the empath.
"Don't worry, Rae. We're all gonna be fine," he told her in a calming voice, more for his sake than hers. He wouldn't be able to do anything for anyone if he gave into the panic that was beginning to tear at him. "We're gonna be fine. As soon as these guys leave, we're gonna go find Robin and Starfire and Cyborg. Then we'll go home, and we can forget about all of this."
The only problem was that he didn't know whether the others were alive or dead, and he didn't know how he was going to find them when he had to stay and protect Raven.
"One battle at a time, I guess," he whispered to himself.
When he looked back at Raven, he realized she had begun to levitate, and she was in a rigid position with her hands at her sides and her body completely straight. Her eyes were closed, and her breathing was calm. He vaguely remembered a similar image of her like this, after the incident with the Beast and Adonis, when she was hurt and healing herself.
"Raven?" he said, checking to make sure that this was indeed the case. Then, suddenly, crashing sounds emitted from the cave entrance. He looked back to see the tree trunks stacked at the entrance being rattled as the creatures on the outside began to ram into them. "Not good, not good! Bad, bad, very bad!" he exclaimed as the trunks began to crack under the crushing weight of the creatures.
Clearing his mind, he quickly transformed into a grizzly bear and took his position at the cave entrance, preparing for what he knew was about to come. There was a crash, followed by silence, then another crash, and another. Then, with one final assault on the tree trunks, there was an ear-splitting crack, and the trunks broke away. At the entrance were several shining pairs of eyes. Beast Boy found himself letting out a thunderous roar as he charged the creature at the opening of the cave, raking his claws across the spot where he'd seen the black blur. It was gone by the time his claws met the mark, but there were others to fill its place.
That was when he saw them for the first time. They looked a lot like Plasmus in shape, but they were blacker than coal and each had two small triangular shaped eyes, glowing white in contrast to the dark bodies. Each was a bit larger than him in his sasquatch form. Their mouths emitted sharp hisses, hiding wicked teeth. They were in crouched positions, ready to attack.
Forest shadows, he thought, before he began to lunge at them, swiping his giant paws at the creatures. They dodged, though, every time. Each moved like lightning, darting past him. He ran back inside the cave to where they'd gone past him, charging them. One was hunched over the unmoving form of Raven, about to strike, and he barreled straight into it. He would die before they touched a single hair on her head.
That was when he realized just how much he meant those words.
The rest of the creatures, a couple dozen in number, lunged at him then, and he raked his claws through the air. He turned into an ankylosaurus, swinging his bony tail against a group of the shadowy creatures. He turned into a kangaroo and kicked a few out of his way, then into a rhino and charged the things while they continued to come back for more. He just knocked them back again.
He turned back into a human. "What are you?!" he shouted. They gathered themselves at the entrance, lurking like true shadows. He put on an unusual display of confidence. "Well, you're not getting us too! So come and get it!"
He turned into a gorilla, grabbing one of the creatures by the leg and swinging it into a few of the others, knocking them back like bowling pins. He stood between them and Raven, standing up straight and letting out a warning growl. A few of them came back, darting towards him in a blur and letting out chilling shrill screeches. He just put on a scowl and punched at them with his massive fists, leaping on top of them and kicking them away before punching another away. They simply gathered back at the entrance to the cave, like none of it even fazed them.
He was breathing harder, beginning to feel the effects the battle was having on him. He glared at the creatures, morphing into a grizzly bear again. They collected themselves and, with more ear-splitting cries, they all lunged in at once, tackling him to the ground. There were teeth trying to tear at him, claws attempting to rip him open. With all of his strength, he leaped to his feet, tossing them all off. He glared at them with fire in his eyes and opened his jaws, letting out a roar louder than thunder, and this time he could actually feel the cave shaking with it. He roared with all his voice, telling these creatures to back off, or there would be hell to pay. And they did.
Their stances became rigid, then they all abruptly ran from the cave.
He thought they were all gone, and he morphed back into a human, dropping to his knees and letting out a sigh of relief. However, when he looked up, he saw one more pair of white triangular eyes, darting towards him. He closed his eyes, preparing to feel claws dig into him, teeth ripping him apart. Nothing came, though. The pain he expected never arrived. When he looked up, the creature wasn't coming at him, but it was slowly approaching the form of the unconscious girl.
"No!" he yelled with as much force as he could, then changed into a wolf.
He ran at the thing, leaping up at its black form and clamping his jaws closed on its arm. The creature let out a pained howl and thrashed him around, and it was all he could do to just hang on while he felt the creature's blood running through his mouth. The creature slammed him into a wall of the cave again and again, each time rattling his skeleton, and then with one final thrash, he found himself tumbling through the air and connecting with a painful slam against the other wall of the cave. He collapsed to the ground, pain ripping through his front leg, along with a trickle of blood running over his green fur.
He looked back up at the creature, who was again approaching the unconscious girl. No, he thought. I don't give up that easily. With the last of his strength, he ran on his three functioning legs and leaping up on the black hide of the shadow again, letting out a savage growl as his teeth clamped on the back of its neck. The creature was thrown to the floor, and Beast Boy landed not so gracefully on his feet, snarling at the thing.
He let out a few furious barks, baring his sharp white teeth. The creature looked up at him with fear in its own eyes, before scrambling to its feet. It ran from the cave, and then it was just him and Raven.
He couldn't afford to morph back into a human, not with the creatures still out there. So he limped back to Raven, letting out a whimper at the pain he felt in his front leg. Raven was no longer levitating, and was now laying limply on the cold cave floor, breathing steadily as if she were asleep. She looked like she was shivering. He watched her for a minute, then laid his body against hers to keep her warm, and despite himself, he could feel himself smiling inwardly. He briefly wondered whether he should be embarrassed, but knew that it didn't matter at the moment.
That was where he stayed as he fought to keep his eyes open, desperate to keep watch over this girl, his friend. He had to stay awake, because his job wasn't over. He had to protect her. As fatigue tried to take hold of him, he kept his eyes open in alert watchfulness, long into the night. It wasn't until the first wisps of daylight crept into the cave that he finally relaxed, somehow knowing that the danger had passed. Call it instinct, but he knew that with daylight, the creatures would not be coming back. He closed his eyes, letting unconsciousness take him in its warm embrace.
Light invaded the darkness surrounding him, pulling him back into the real world. As the light came in slowly, he could feel hands shaking him gently, as well as voices in the air. They called to him, asking for him to come back, to leave behind the dreamless landscape. He wanted to stay, but it was already too late. He opened his eyes, taking in blurry images.
"Beast Boy, you okay?" came the voice. It was Aqualad.
What happened? he thought. Of course, he could hear these thoughts with his telepathy.
"The Titans East got your distress call. The others are here, and they found your team. They spent the night holed up in a ditch fighting the creatures," Aqualad said. "Everyone's okay."
He transformed back into a human, feeling an intense ache in his head and throbbing pain in his arm. "I think I sprained my arm," he told the Atlantian, also noticing the gash in the spot where his arm had hit the cave wall, as well as the trickle of blood now drying in his uniform. He looked back up at Aqualad. "You said everyone's okay?"
Aqualad nodded. "Yep, everyone's safe and sound."
"Raven, too? She was hurt in the crash," he said.
"She healed herself, Beast Boy."
"So, the creatures didn't get to her?" he asked, still unsure.
"They didn't touch her. You made sure of that," Aqualad replied, smiling. Beast Boy got shakily to his feet, walking to the entrance of the cave alongside the Atlantian.
When he got to the entrance of the cave, he saw them all there. The Titans East ship was in the clearing, and the others were crowded around it. Robin was talking with Speedy, and Starfire was with Bumblebee, while Mas y Menos were zipping around with spare parts from their ship, attempting to talk to Cyborg about the downed T-Ship, while Cyborg stood there trying to understand their Spanish. Then he saw her, sitting on the side of one of the ship's wings, looking how she looked any other day. He walked up to her, sitting down beside her.
"You okay?" he asked her.
"Yeah," she replied in her usual monotone. He caught her looking at the cut on his arm. "I know what you did for me. Thanks."
"You would've done the same thing," he replied, smiling at her. He didn't tell her, but he couldn't even describe what he felt like when he thought the creatures were going to get her. It was an intense fear, but with it were other things. She was one of his best friends, but even that couldn't describe it.
"Are you okay?" she asked, still looking at the wound.
"It's stopped bleeding," he replied, still smiling. "I'll be fine. I'm just glad that all that's over."
"Still, thanks," she said. Even though her mouth wasn't smiling, her eyes were. That was enough for him.
"No problem," he replied, brushing his good hand against hers. "No problem."
As he looked into her eyes, he suddenly knew what those feelings were.
I'm definitely in trouble, he thought as the revelation came to him. He let the feelings wash through him, and he felt himself calming. And I'm okay with that.
It was a moment of peace.
(A/N) I haven't really been into this over the past couple weeks, so don't really expect very much.