Okay, this is my first Teen Titans fic, the first chapter of three.
Oh, I should probably do the disclaimer. I don't own Teen Titans. There it is done.
Beast Boy stood up as blood ran down his skin amidst the rain, crimson was washed away as the water fell. He looked at the others, standing straight and tall, unharmed and untouched. He looked at himself in the reflection of some store front, tattered, torn, bleeding, bruised and spoiled. Robin screamed at him "Why weren't you where I told you to be! Fix it or get off the team!"
He lowered his head and said nothing. It was useless. He was useless, Cyborg patted the shape shifter on the back "it's okay, man, we know what happened wasn't your fault"
Beast Boy looked at Starfire, she refused to meet his gaze, and Raven stared at him with her blank face while dusting off the black jeans she had added to her uniform. The green man gave a dry chuckle "I guess it two against three…see ya' later Cy" he dropped his titan gear and walked into the falling rain without looking back.
Cyborg rushed Robin and grabbed the boy by his shirt and lifted him to eye level "What the HELL are you doing!? Do you know what you just did?!"
Three months and nothing on Beast Boy. It was like he disappeared. Robin scoffed at the news "He's incapable of staying under the radar, he's out there somewhere"
He turned on the TV to see a horrifying image. Hanging from a tree by a rope was a body, the twisted strands wrapped around a foot as the man's open throat faced the ground. The reporter shuddered and went on "A-as you can see, this is truly disturbing, James Luke was found this morning by police hanging from this tree with his throat torn out, the medical examiner concludes it must have been done by a large beast, Luke was the main suspect in the bank robbery a week ago here in Gotham, strangely his wallet was missing." a police man rushed her off the premises as fast as he could. The camera fell in the hustle and landed on the grass. Under the body was a word written in blood, as if the crimson liquid had spelled out the word as it had drained out of the man.
A week later the same reporter came on again, this time with two armed and scared officers with her "This is the fifteenth body attributed to the Chimera, eye witnesses say that a large shadow attacked the latest victim and dragged him into the park where they found his body, blood seeping on the ground once again hanging upside down with his throat torn out. The city of Gotham is in a state of fear as these killings continue. The last three days as the sun has started falling every person has been in their home, many businesses are closing early to let their workers go home before the sun has fallen. Batman we need your help"
Cy looked at Robin "that's creepy, I don't think that Bruce's got this one covered"
Raven went to her room and started meditating trying to calm the fear in her, whatever had done that had ripped out his throat with teeth but was smart enough to understand what fed fear. In her mind Rage grinned "I like this Chimera, he has style…in only a week he's got an entire city petrified…the city that Batman, the original hero himself protects…I really want to meet him" Rage continued to laugh as Raven pushed the emotion to the back of her mind.
Robin knocked "Bruce wants us to help him catch the Chimera…we'll meet downstairs in an hour"
Raven answered back through the door "alright, I'll be there"
Two days later when they arrived they noticed something, during the Day Gotham looked normal, but a slight tension filled the air. They all sat in Bruce's living room as he filled them in on the details "honestly, we have no leads, each scene is clean of all prints, clothes. Not even defensive wounds, it's like the dead men didn't even fight. All we know is each man was attacked by a large predatory creature, judging from the teeth marks on the throats…or what's left of them. But either it's smart or it's being lead to attack these individual by a person…I really hope it's the latter because if it's that smart than we are in for a hell of a time."
Robin looked at his mentor "is that really all you have on this thing?"
Bruce looked at him "yes, now I want Cyborg and Robin to patrol sectors 1 and 3. Starfire and I will take 2 and 5, Raven take sector 4. Be careful"
Raven nodded, she was the only going alone because she was the most able to protect herself and she was assigned the only sector where a body had not been found. She felt a small twinge of fear as she wrapped her cloak around her.
Raven floated above the city watching over her sector like a hawk, a flash of a shadow and she dove out of the sky and slammed into the person who let out a "oomph" at the hit.
Raven stared incredulously "Beast Boy? What are you doing here!? It's dangerous!"
The former Titan nodded "I know it's dangerous, that's why I'm out here, to try and help the people of this city…I didn't think Batman would call in back up"
Raven helped him up "so you live in Gotham now?"
The former clown had a hint of anger in his normally bright tone as he answered "Yeah, what about it? Can you blame me for not wanting to stay in Jump City after getting kicked off the Team?" he sighed "let's go to my house, Chimera won't attack tonight"
Raven stared at him "how do you know?"
Beast Boy pointed up and rain started to fall it started as a few drops but quickly escalated into a downpour "The only night the Chimera didn't attack was the only night it rained…now come on I don't want to get soaked"
She followed him to his home, an apartment in a decent neighborhood of Gotham. He opened the door and she looked around, they had entered the kitchen/living room, the white tiles complimented the dark carpet "Hold on Rae, I'll grab some towels" as he walked off Raven stared. He didn't look the same, he had gone through a long and painful growth spurt leaving him about four inches taller than her. His hair was shaggy and long enough to touch the tops of his eyes, and he was wearing black combat boots and loose black jeans, and a black leather jacket. As he came back he tossed her a fluffy white towel and took off his jacket "Rae, did you want to change out of those clothes?" he nodded to her soaked uniform.
"Yeah, I would." she pulled away the fabric and grimaced at the feeling of it against her.
He walked off for a minute and Raven took a closer look at the apartment. It didn't hold anything of sentimental value, not even a picture on the wall. All that was there was a sofa, a TV, a fridge and a stove, along with the cabinets. BB stepped back around the corner "I got some clothes laid out for you and a hot bath going…figured you'd want to warm up first."
She nodded and walked into his room and into the bathroom. Like the kitchen it didn't have anything to make it home, there was a toothbrush and tooth paste sitting on the counter and a bar of soap with shampoo sitting on the rim of the bath tub and a fluffy white towel on a wooden rack on the wall. She stepped into the warm water and sighed. Somehow it was the perfect temperature. She sent Robin and Bruce a text on her Titan communicator Found BB, says Chimera won't attack tonight-rain. Later.
BB flicked on the TV and watched as the reporters freaked out about Chimera. He didn't blink but a feral growl rumbled in the back of his throat 'idiots, if evidence was laying about that you could find the Chimera would have gotten caught already' he thought as he leaned back. He heard Raven sigh and the water lap around her skin. For a moment he wondered what would have happened if he had been in there with her, would she have pushed him out or blushed and stuttered? He shook his head, no need to pursue this line of thought. Not with the Chimera on the loose.
Raven stepped out of the shower and looked at the clothes Beast Boy had provided, a set of long black shorts and a plain black tee. She slipped them on and walked out to see him cooking dinner. She was apprehensive "Beast Boy, are you cooking tofu?"
He shook his head as he tossed the wok "No, stir fry, vegetarian yes, tofu no. and don't Call me Beast Boy. He was a Titan, now I'm just Gar."
He handed her a bowl filled of the thin noodles and vegetables and she quickly ate to sate her hunger. She sat on the couch after he took her bowl and watched as he washed them and set them on a draining rack "Beast-Gar…this place doesn't have a personal touch to it" her monotone voice lilted.
He nodded, she noticed he hadn't smiled since she had seen him "I'm not here often, I usually just come back to eat and go to bed. The past week I've been hunting the Chimera."
Raven folded her legs under her as Gar sat at the other end of the sofa "what do you do?"
He flicked a card into the air and it landed on her leg "Gar Logan, Tattoo artist" she looked up at him after reading aloud "that's…not what I expected"
His eyes were glued on the TV as he flipped through the channels "What did you expect?"
She watched as all the news channels all recapped the Twenty murders that had taken place "I don't know, just not that." he stopped on a rerun of "Monkeys and Men 4: return of the ape" they watched in silence for a while until Raven yawned and looked at him "Does Bruce know you're here?"
He shook his head "and if I have a say in it he won't…" a few minutes later Raven had fallen asleep and leaned against him. He laid her in his bed before kissing her forehead and walking out the door to continue hunting.
Raven woke up to see Gar in the bathroom, his skin pale and drawn and he tried to staunch the flow of blood from a massive gash in his arm. He chuckled dryly "s-sorry D-didn't mean to wake you up" and his legs gave out and he fell.
Raven rushed over and tied the wound as quickly as she could "What happened?" her eyes were wide with worry, the only change from her usually demeanor, her voice and tone hadn't changed.
He quietly panted out what had happened: after she had gone back to sleep the rain started to die off so he went back out. He found a body and saw the Chimera leaving the scene, as he chased it the beast broke a wall, some of the bricks landed on him and he got the gash from the rebar inside the wall. After dragging himself out of the rubble he had lost the trail.
Gar staggered to the couch and flopped down and Raven sat next to him trying to gauge if he would fall again. He flicked on the new to a clearly distressed and scared news woman "L-ladies and gentlemen, last night the Chimera claimed four victims. Jack Rodgers, Sam Jones, John Smith and Brandon Doe were all found dead this morning." after a few more details and a plea for anyone with information to call in Gar turned off the TV "Guess it's worse than I thought…Raven, you might want to go meet up with the others"
Raven nodded and changed back into her uniform, she opened the door "see you later Gar"
He shot up and grabbed her arm, startling her "Don't go out tonight…I have a bad feeling, after seeing that thing…"he shuddered "I don't think and army could take that thing down and I don't want you getting hurt…"
She nodded and left.
She explained everything that had happened the night before to the others who had stopped searching when the rain became dangerous.
Bruce looked at photos of where Gar had told them he had ran into the beast, a wall was crumbled and a number of them had long deep gouges "Did he give a description of the Chimera?"
Raven shook her head "He only said to not go out to night and that we couldn't take Chimera down…there were reports of gun shots yet no blood was found and the slugs were smashed flat…"
Robin finished the thought "so that thing must be bullet proof…" he turned to the Batman "Bruce I don't see how we can take this thing down, if it was small caliber bullets I think we could but those were armor piercing rounds for an assault rifle…"
Bruce tapped his chin and nodded "alright, tonight we all go together…Gar won't come with us, I don't even like him being in the city"
Cy stood up for his friend, with an angry huff he stuck his chin out "and why not? Just cause he's not on the team don't mean he's weak. Why don't you want him here, is Gotham too good for him or what!?"
Bruce held up his hands in surrender "I don't mean to offend you"
Cy growled and Starfire nodded "I agree with Friend Cyborg, that was not appropriate. Friend Beast Boy is strong and trying to help. He does not want to see us hurt."
Robin scowled "if he's so strong why did he leave the team"
Cy hissed "If he's so strong why didn't you stop him?"
The two stared at each other with anger until Raven stepped forward "Cyborg's right, we let him go, it's not his fault. If anything we should be grateful that he's looking out for us"
Bruce took the opening and ran with it "tonight, we all go together, Gar may think that we can't take it down, but he'll be in for a surprise…"
The five of them stayed as a group with Star and Raven doing high altitude recon and Batman, Robin and Cyborg slowly following on the ground. After three hours of searching Star's communicator buzzed, Robin's voice crackled forth "okay guys, come on down, this isn't working"
They all met on the ground and Cy rubbed the top of his head "guys, my sensors are starting to show we got another storm incoming…and why is it that when it rains in this town it freakin' pours!"
Bruce shrugged "I guess it's a good thing, if the Chimera can't hunt than it's going to be a good night, let's get back and get some sleep"
Robin, Cyborg and Batman all climbed into the bat mobile and the ground shook as the car roared to life, Star took off as soon as the others left, Raven stared at an alley, something about it scared her, it felt as if an oppressive miasma radiated forth from its dark entrance. Like Hades' gate. As she started to take a step a bolt of lightning struck right behind her throwing her into the alley. And there she got a glimpse of hell.
Ten people whimpered in a corner and one body was strung in front of them. It was the same as all the others. Another victim of the Chimera. She looked further into the shadows and trembled. A wolf stared at her as it lapped up the blood from the throat of the dead man. As it walked over she realized how large it was, the beast's shoulders were taller than she was and it was nearly thirty feet long. It broke eye contact to look at those huddled in the corner and flicked it's nose towards the open street and they took off. Raven was alone with the one beast that scared her. As it approached her fear lessened, yet from it she felt rage and the will to kill as it stared at her with large piercing black eyes. The Chimera stood on it's hind legs and it's body morphed slightly, it shrunk just enough to not be seen over the buildings and it's legs filled out to better support itself and paws changed into hands. Raven dared not breath as it closed in, it touched it's nose to her gemmed chakra and she fell into a darkness.
She awoke to find a frightened group above her in her mind it sounded like a bad joke ' a Tamaranean princess, a cyborg, Batman and Robin walk into a bar…' she slowly sat up "what happened?"
Starfire's pale face regained a little bit of it's color "We do not know, maybe you could tell us Friend Raven?"
Raven recounted how she thought the alley was off, then the bolt, then the Chimera. Raven then looked around and asked the chilling question "how did I get here?"
Bruce answered "we found you at the door. We think the Chimera brought you back but that makes things all the scarier" he tapped lightly on his keyboard and several dozen pictures showed up. All blank but one of the Chimera in it's humanoid form cradling Raven to it's chest and staring right at the camera. Bruce looked at the teens "it's not only highly intelligent, it also knows who I am, that you guys are staying here and know where the cameras are and how to avoid them."
Raven stared at the picture "Last night it let people go…does that mean it's targeting specific people?"
The others froze at the implications before leaping into action, with several choice words Bruce and his sidekick started tapping on numerous computers as Cy and Star took a patrol route. Since he had seemed to know something about it Raven rushed back to Gar's apartment only to find it locked. She fumbled with her belt to get the card out and made her way to the shop.
Gar sat on a stool needling a design onto one of the patrons back, a young man. Gar looked up "Hey Raven, what's the matter? Give me a second and I'll be done" She let out a deep sigh and sat next to him, another worker moved to sit in the tattoo chair next to the patron watching as Gar pierced the skin with a steady hand. The artist lightly dabbed the droplets of blood away "all done Pete" soon the patron left and Raven stared at Gar. He wore the same thing as when he went hunting the Chimera "what's up?"
Raven shook her head "can we talk with him around?" she motioned towards the other man, a thirty-something with a long blond beard, black shades and a black do-rag over his long blond hair.
The stranger chuckled "I'm Dave…and I think it'd be okay" Gar nodded.
Raven started "It's about the Chimera case"
Dave shot in with a "that's the only thing interesting about this damn town"
"It's intelligent. Very intelligent, it managed to sneak past all Batman's cameras-"
Dave cut in again "You know Batman?"
Gar nodded "it kinda comes with the superhero biz" he looked back at Raven "tell us what happened"
As she recounted the event for the second time that day she was met with a low whistle from Dave and a panicked look from Gar who looked across her for any injury. She caught his gaze "I'm fine, I just need to wash up"
Dave nodded to a door behind the counter "second door on the left" and she opened the door to the back and walked in, before moving on she heard Dave continue "You didn't tell me that Raven was that hot…why haven't you tapped that yet!"
Gar sighed "Look, she doesn't feel the same about me-"
Dave had a bad habit that was going to get him punched one of these days "whoa, whoawhoawhoa, are you saying you like her?"
Gar's voice had sorrow "more than that man, I love her. That's why I left Jump. I couldn't stand to see her and not be there. I mean what if she got hurt! What if I got her hurt? I couldn't do anything when that ran though my head. So I did what I could and left. I'm only helping because she's here. We both know Bruce hates me"
Silence reigned for a moment before Dave got up "I've got to go get refills for the blues…I'm gonna grab lunch too, what do ya want?"
Gar grumbled "usual" and Dave left with the bells chiming and Raven rushed to the second door on the left and entered.
She stepped out into the main area and sat down, her eyes never leaving him as he ran an antibacterial wipe over the chair. Her words froze him "I heard what you said to Dave…" her voice was very quiet. His face was a mask as he turned, the same one he hadn't let down since she had seen him, she continued on quietly "Was it true?"
Gar stood up and walked behind the main counter "I make it a point not to lie. I know you don't feel anything like that for me but I can't help who I fall in love with" the last part was defensive. And she knew it.
But what was worse was what they both knew she was going to say "I'm sorry," her monotone didn't make it sound true "but I don't feel that way about you"
He picked up one of the needle guns and started to clean it "I know. That's why I didn't try anything."
After an awkward moment Raven handed him his old communicator "Just in case…I may not feel…that about you but I don't want you to get hurt"
Dave walked in "Hey Raven you staying for lunch?" he handed Gar a plastic bag and handed one to the Titan before taking the last one for himself and flipping the 'open' sign to 'closed' "I didn't know what to get you so I figured you'd take a K.U.B."
She looked at the box wearily "K.U.B?" the bright red letters were stamped onto the box.
Gar didn't even look up as he dunked the tips of the needles into alcohol then lit them with a match "Karoline's Ultimate Burger. They sell out everyday."
She looked at Gar with a small hint of…something in her look "what did you get?"
Dave laughed "the triple boca tofu taco burger , same as he always gets…Karoline's always trying to break the vegan thing…doesn't help that she's trying to catch him"
Raven looked at Gar who walked into the back room "catch him?"
Dave leaned back onto the tattoo chair "yeah as in get married to him, he always says no though…shame" he took a bite of the burger and some fries "Such a good cook, he feels bad every time he says no though….he might not hold out much longer…" he waggled his eyebrows.
Raven shook her head "He told me he loves me…"
Dave had an unsuspecting grin on his face "AAAAND?!"
Raven shook her head "I don't feel that way about him…"
Dave suddenly had a serious look on his face "well, do you feel that way about anyone else?" she shook her head "give it a try, he's changed a lot since he got here…and not for the better. You might." suddenly his face was happy again "and someday soon I might get to play with your little kiddies" he gasped and held his hands over his heart and squealed "THEY'D BE SO DAMN CUTE!" Raven stared at the suspected bipolar man and slowly stepped backwards and tripped over something before falling into a wall, as she fell off the wall arms wrapped around her, she had tripped over his shoe as he had entered the room, the wall was his chest and he simply stopped her from falling.
She was about to speak but the Titan communicators buzzed and both Raven and Gar looked at the screen Raven rushed off with a hasty "nice to meet you and good bye, patrol's starting"
The next day Bruce looked at the Titans "I think we may have a problem"
Robin looked at the screen and saw nothing amiss "what is it?"
Bruce zoomed in, where once there was only 'Chimera' there was more
I see you Bat.
Of a hundred and four
Seventy are left
I see no Titans only children
And the Chimera sees all
Robin looked at Raven "you said Beast Boy knew something about the Chimera?" at her nod he continued "Call him and tell him we're coming over to get more information"
Raven tapped the buttons and waited "Gar, it's Raven. Robin wanted me to tell you we need to come over and get more infor-"
"But we need the infor-"
"You can come over, not the others. I don't want to deal with them"
She turned to Robin and told him before flying off to see what she could get.
She opened the door to see him sitting there with two cups of tea in front of him on the coffee table "Hey, Rae"
She sat down at the far end of the sofa "we need more information, we can't catch the Chimera without your help…like why it doesn't hunt in the rain"
He shrugged "the Chimera is a hunter, the rain is the enemy of hunters everywhere, the heavy rain wipes away smells and obscures hearing by echoing the sounds, and the rain is a curtain against it's eyes…yet it has picked up some tricks from it's time in Africa"
She stared at him "It was in Africa? How do you know?"
He lifted up the bone china and took a small sip "It was in Africa for four years, I know because I've been tracking it."
She turned to face him and stared at him "tell me what you know" her violet eyes looked at him for answers. Just a few short months ago he tried to bring a smile to them. He had failed, but he still couldn't say no to them.
"The Chimera is a creature born in Africa, on the southern coast. it was a normal creature until something happened… the next time it was seen it had changed into the beast it is now. It waited and bid it's time until it returned state side, for twelve years it hid out in different cities. Never doing anything that would put it out in the spotlight. It decided to change recently and now it's attacking prey."
She took a nervous sip and the cup shook as she set it back on the saucer "does it choose it's prey or is it an indiscriminate killer?"
He leaned back and put his arms across the back of the sofa "it chooses people, it chooses those who are living out here that had something to do with what happened to it all those years ago in Africa. But if anyone tries to capture it before then…blood will be shed. It has nothing left to loose and it knows that" he looked dead in her eyes "It's a force of nature, a hurricane of blood"
She leaned back "what do you suggest we do? Leave it to what it wants to do?"
He closed his eyes and stayed silent for a long time she thought he was asleep until he picked up the cups and cleaned them "…I suggest that you leave it, the message said seventy left. Let it do what it needs to…I really don't think it can be stopped"
Raven left feeling like she gained nothing but lost the small bit of hope she had of catching the criminal. When she got back the first thing that happened was Robin wanted a report. All she said was "Gar thinks nothing can stop it…it's lain low for years and knows how to move undetected"
Starfire tilted her head "Friend Raven? Who is Gar?"
Cy stepped up "Gar is BB's real name. but why is he using it now?"
Raven spoke again "he said that Beast Boy was a Titan so he doesn't go by it anymore…" Cyborg and Star cringed at the mention of his leaving.
Bruce walked up "No matter what I refuse to see this killer free"
Alfred walked in "Sir, you may want to see this…" the TV flicked on and one of the men that had run from the Chimera was on TV wearing a tribal outfit, a loincloth of leaves and white tattoos on his uncovered body
He looked at the camera "Awake Gotham! This creature is a God! See how it controls us with fear! See how it cannot be captured! It is a primal force here to change us! Seek us out and you shall be protected! Do not and the God made of wind and fury will claim you!"
Bruce stared at it before shaking his head "this needs to end now"
They found it after a long while, it was an accident, Cy had tried to find a bathroom and saw the body. Then the chase was on, it didn't try to fight them just run. Until Batman threw something at it, it looked just like a batarang. Until a giant gash opened up in the Chimera's side. With a roar of pain the creature turned around.
As they were chasing their target they didn't realize how large the Chimera was. Until it turned. With a growl it raised it's hackles and grew to it's true height, with the snap on sinew and rip of muscle it changed. It's fangs stretched until the jagged razor ends couldn't be contained by it's large mouth, it's paws changed until seven obsidian blades cut through the concrete and it grew until it's shoulders were level with the three story buildings . It's feral black eyes glared at each of them as the silver beast growled and Raven felt even Rage shudder at the beast they managed to anger.
They were at a stand off until Robin threw a bomb at it. As the smoke cleared the beast charged, with one swipe of a massive paw Cyborg flew into a wall hard enough to go through the bricks, through the shop, through the next wall and into the street. Just as he stood Robin and Star slammed into him and he fell again, he crouched and rubbed the non-metal part of his skull "What the hell is that thing?" after a moment Batman rushed around the corner just fast enough to avoid the snapping jaws that didn't follow him around the corner. Cy waited for a second "G-Guys, where's Rae?"
She stood frozen by fear, yet she knew this beast would not hurt her. It limped over, the gash tipped the shoulder just enough to make movement difficult. It touched her with it's large nose and took off bounding towards the other direction. The others raced around the corner and saw she was unharmed.
Robin took a moment to catalogue his bruises "where did it go?"
Star flew up and shook her head "Nothing here Friend Robin…I am sorry"
Raven knelt down and touched the large red puddle "Blood, we can follow the blood…"
It lead them on a winding trail through all corners of Gotham. Until Raven looked around "I know this place…but that would mean…" and at his door the blood stopped.
Robin kicked the door and they fanned out, calls from each room rang the same "Clear"
"Clear" Batman looked to Raven "You said you knew this place?"
She nodded slowly "This is Gar's home…" they combed through each room and found nothing, not even a set of clothes. Her communicator rang and she held it to her ear "What the hell is going on Gar?" the others stopped at the venom in her voice.
Thunder crashed as its brother stabbed the sky, his voice was a harsh gasp "Sorry, you guys found out…The Chimera's doing what needs to be done…I'll see you when this is done" he gasped in pain
"Gar don't you dare hang up, I need answers!" she gripped the phone as she looked out a window and saw him at the edge of the roof across the street. Watching her.
His voice sounded sorry "when this is over I can tell you everything. Until then don't get in my way, I couldn't bare the thought of hurting you….but this will be finished, my feeling mean nothing if I can't do this" she stared at the phone as the dead tone carried across the air in the apartment.
Something new hit the town that night
Garfield Mark Logan, formerly Beast Boy, has been found to be the Chimera. Wanted for fifty-two counts of murder. Consider armed and dangerous. If you have any information please contact the special help line.
Bruce stared around the table to see the Titans in various states of emotion. Robin was angry, Starfire was completely stunned, Cyborg was weeping into a comically large tissue while Raven looked normal. After watching them for a moment he spoke "I know it's hard to know someone's betrayed you-"
Robin growled "He can only betray us if he was a titan. I kicked him out"
Cyborg slammed a gigantic metal fist into the table "You dick! YOU were the one who drove him to kill! YOU'RE the KILLER!"
Star just watched in detachment as Raven thought. Who could have known anything, he only had one friend in this town….she shot up and raced out of the building. Starfire raced after her while the others believed that she couldn't take their arguing.
She entered the shop and found Dave smoking a thin cigarette while working on his arm, he didn't look up "Hello Raven…" he did glace up at the sound of a second set of feet "and you must be Starfire" his needles buzzed harshly in the air "I take it you found the Chimera?"
Raven and Star sat on two stools. Raven accused "You knew and didn't tell us"
He laughed a thin harsh cackle "I couldn't…you don't really know who I am"
Raven hissed "Try me"
He looked back down to his arm and pressed the thin needle through his skin. The harsh buzz and the occasional puff of smoke were the only two sounds in the dark air. Rain started to fall, yet neither the artist nor the Titans seemed to notice.
Dave leaned back and wrapped a towel around his arm "…do you ever have regrets?"
Starfire nodded "yes, we all do"
The man shook his head "no, I mean a true regret. One that make you stay awake at night wondering if it was worth it?" the Titans were silent "I have many, for the last five years I've hunted down my greatest one. He didn't do anything to me…but the others…they don't speak anymore."
Raven's eyes narrowed "what do you mean?" a sense of dread crawled up her spine and a glance at Star confirmed the princess felt it too.
Dave sat on the tattoo chair and watched them through tinted lenses, they were too young, his crimes were before they were born. A puff of smoke curled in the air, wrapping around the fan and fading from view "I…" he closed his mouth and stared at the two girls "Have you ever done something horrendous to do something good?"
The red head looked at him "Do bad to do good? I do not understand"
Raven answered "He means to do something like steal and protect something so somebody else can't damage it"
The owner of the parlor shook his head "you're thinking something bad. I said horrendous…like genocide"
The two girls looked visibly ill at his words "now you're starting to understand" he walked to the counter and took out a small book. The two girls moved to the counter and stared as he opened the book to a picture of a family. A mother, a father and a small boy, no more than three smiling at the camera. "I killed them. Or rather the parents. Gar survived. I don't know how but I almost wish he didn't. then he wouldn't have to suffer like I will"
Raven's eyes glowed white as she hissed "Quite speaking in riddles! What do you mean!"
Dave took off his glasses and set them on the counter "I was part of a cartel in the southern part of Africa. I'm the one most responsible for killing Gar's parents"
Eyes reflected the rising moon as his jagged claws ripped into the solid stone beneath him, his blood pulsed as he lifted his head. His prey was close. A gunshot and a prick on his think hide. He turned. Others, sacks of flesh too stupid to realize what he was now. Another gunshot and he turned his massive head and growled. They didn't move anymore, like a broken doll, strings cut. But the blood he craved was in a different direction…
Dave leaned back against the wall "I lived in Africa since I was born. My parents were working at the embassy when I was born. They died in a bombing and I had no where to turn to. Then the Cartel approached me, offered me a life. As a naive ten year old I took it. As it stands now I'm wanted in almost every country for 800 crimes ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking, murder, illegal possession of a nuclear weapon and jaywalking, along with a rather unfortunate charge of prostitution, just to name a few"
He flicked a switch and the coffee machine came on and the smell of the brew started to permeate the air, Raven looked at him "But why Gar? Why not all those others?"
Dave poured three cups and Star warily looked at the brown liquid and followed her friend's lead and took a sip of the scalding liquid. Dave sighed and rubbed his eyes "Because he was the only one who mattered. Neither of you have killed someone so you wouldn't know, but at death most people resign themselves. They know their dying and they fight but they understand that it's futile…but he fought, we shot him so full of holes that he should have died of blood loss. Yet he lived. And that's when it hit me, he was here to do something. Since then I scoured every place I could think that he might be. Five years ago I heard that he was Stateside and got here as quick as I could. I got to Jump and bided my time. I nearly had all the information, I didn't want to get the wrong man, then he was gone. Then my search happened anew. Then I met him in Gotham, he was walking just across the street and I pulled him in. I told him everything.'
He was silent for a long time as thin fingers of smoke from the forgotten cig wrapped around him, Raven stared at him trying to piece together this man who seemed so kind yet professed to genocide. Starfire felt something she hadn't noticed before, Raven was more worried about this story than she should be, a friend's decent into Hell was more than she had though. But the dark girl was taking it like her own fall.
Dave took a slow sip of his coffee an refilled the mugs "He didn't say anything for a long time. I thought he was going to kill me, I could see it in his eyes."
Star's whisper were trembling words in the darkened room "saw what?"
"The capability and want for revenge. For recompense. For life. For death. He told me that the Cartel had moved here. He wanted their names. I gave them and watched as his homicidal rage changed him"
He nodded to the psychic, "The Chimera is something deeper than that though…I doubt anyone knows what really shaped it but I can tell you that he's killing each member. We deserve it, I just wish that he would kill me" he looked at the half eaten sandwich in front of him and picked at the hard stale bread.
Star tilted her head "Why do you want him to kill you?"
"My sins weigh on me like a great ocean, they crush me and grow on my tears. I cannot change what I have done and for that I am damned eternally."
This was one of them, he foolishly believed himself safe. Safe from nature. He was unaware of the reaper lurking in the shadow until long fangs sunk into his throat, the Chimera hung him before writing his message and drinking the blood. With a snarl those lurking in the shadows leapt out to kill the beast.
That morning something had changed, people had started hunting the Chimera. And they had paid the price. Two had been killed as prey. Twenty had tried to kill him and paid with their lives as a tithe on stupidity.
Bruce was very pale as he looked at the list of dead with the Titans. Starfire saw his complexion "Friend Bruce? Why are you so pale? Do you feel ill?"
He nodded "I-I can't believe he did this"
Cyborg looked at the screen "did what?"
Bruce pointed to one name "That man was a villain by the name of Pyrocircus. Even if bullets couldn't hurt The Chimera the amount of heat he used should have hurt it. And now I can't really see a way of hurting it, after I hit it with a water cutter it was hunting in less than twenty-four hours. I really can't see a-" Raven's communicator rang and she turned away to answer. Dave's voice was strained and rushed making it harder to understand the waterfall of words that had flown out of his mouth. All she got was she needed to see what Gar had wrote.
As she and Starfire rushed to his shop they stopped to stare at the wall across the street from the small tattoo parlor, written in huge bloody letters
They tried to hunt a predator
If any try to follow they too shall die
For the Chimera sees all and has no conscience
Raven whispered "'I am Death'" they looked to the forest just outside of Gotham. Where the huge prints lead.
Aqualad and the rest of Titans East looked at the original Titans is a stupor, they had just been told that one of their own had committed these killings and was prepared to kill as many as it took. Bee was the first to recover "so he's trying to kill members of the cartel that killed his parents but you can't tell us who told you?"
Raven nodded "Just know that he's done what he can to help us" and Dave really had but he was split about if he should help or not.
Aqualad looked at the others before standing from the chair in Bruce's home "If we know he's in the forest why not start there?" the others nodded and they quickly made their way to the forest.
As they went about setting up a base at the edge of the forest Cyborg tapped Robin on the shoulder and motioned him a little ways away "Dude, I don't think Aqualad should be in for this one…"
Robin looked at him like he was psycho "why? He's a good fighter and we need all the help we can get"
Cyborg shook his head "there ain't an easy way to say this…remember when we first met him?" at Robin's nod he continued "Remember how smitten Raven was?" another nod "Now picture this, Aqualad + Raven, who we know BB-Gar has feeling for + homicidal/genocidal emotions=…I really don't want to think about it but it can't be good!"
Robin shook his head, "It'll be fine, I don't think something like that will happen, we've got more than enough people to take down the craziest thing Gar can change into"
As night started to fall the heroes set up for the night, Batman spoke to the group "alright, in the week since we've called you we've had a development. The city is splintered into three factions. The smallest group is those actively hunting the Chimera-I don't want them getting hurt but they cannot, under any circumstances, find him, he will kill them. The next group is those who think the Chimera's a god, they want to find it and worship it, they won't be a problem but they might stop you from getting to Gar. Deal with them gently. The final group is the majority that just want to see this thing gone. The problem is that the two other factions are very vocal."
Mas Y Menos shot out something in Spanish until Batman lifted up his hands "Yes, I do think the hunter group is also after us, only because some body spread signs of us up, our bounties from the criminal organizations, be careful, they do have guns. But no, I don't think the worshiping group will physically stop us…think of them as peaceful protest." the twins nodded to each other and went back to roasting something on a stick…don't ask me what.
Some time later they fell asleep unaware of dozens of pairs of eyes watching them. One pair watched the other with a feral glint…
It started with a yell, a scream and the sound of gunshots, the Titans woke with a start and flashes of light from the west pulled their attention. They ran to see a group armed with guns- rifles, pistols, shotguns stare out into night from a tight circle around a campfire, they were frightened of something. A wolf howled from the darkness and dozens more lifted their heads and echoed the cry. Surrounded. The Titans watched from the trees until a large gray wolf walked alone into the light of the campfire of the hunters, it looked to the hunters then to the those hidden in the canopy of the trees before walking back into the dark.
Gar walked into the light after a moment of silence, he glanced towards the trees and scowled before looking at the hunters "Leave".
One of the hunters, seeing the thin man in front of him felt his confidence flow back "and why should we do that?" he leveled a shotgun at Gar's chest, "The way I see it we've got you out numbered by at least ten to one!"
As they cocked their guns Gar sighed and shook his head "Leave now and I won't have to kill you" they fired.
Gar leapt and became a sparrow, he flittered back into the dark, a moment later all was silent again. A breath of wind ghosted over Raven as a green own soared upwards and above the center of the circle of hunters. The leaves rustled before one of the hunters screamed and held his foot where two distinct needle like marks pierced his calf. They all turned to see their partner. A large bear appeared behind them silently and slashed another of their number to pieces and disappeared as the body slammed into another so hard it snapped his neck. They looked at the newly dead and turned back to see their bitten companion dead. In less than a minute he had died. The seven closed in on each other in a tight circle. A green wolf and the gray wolf entered the ring of light from opposite ends and with each were several dozen more wolves. The hunters died quickly with not a drop of blood from the wolves.
The heroes had sat in stunned silence as the hunters died. The wolves retreated leaving the green man staring at the group. He looked at each of them with eyes narrowed in anger. His whisper carried across the air "I told you not to try to stop me"
Bee glared at him "And you're trying to kill innocent people!"
With a short barking laugh he answered "Innocent? They didn't tell you who I was after?" the group looked to the two girls "I'm after the people who committed genocide, murder, and just about every other crime that would harm another person. None of you understand" and with that he walked to the edge of the circle. As he faded away he left with a parting shot "and none of you noticed that they walked right by your camp…"
They looked at each other with a deep sense of dread. Bee looked at the others "I'll take first watch"
The next day they started hunting in earnest. They stayed as a group after the little episode from the previous night and they had set up a large cage, 50 by 50 by 50, it was large enough that the Chimera couldn't get out but the solid walls would keep him from changing into something and sneaking out. Bee had found him and lead the others to him, he was sitting on a tree branch some thirty feet of the ground with his arms folded behind his head as he leaned against the gnarled trunk, his legs sat straight out one foot across the other as he looked down at them "Took you long enough"
Starfire floated up to him and pleaded "Beloved Friend Gar, please come with us, we can find some way out of this! Please, we do not want to see you doing these things"
Gar's eyes, a shade of green more splendid than the first growths of spring, flashed a dark and primal force "Starfire, I won't go with you till this is done. When it is I will turn myself in. but as none of you seem willing to help…" he morphed into a humming bird and raced off.
He led them on a jolly chase. As soon as they would start to fall behind he would show up, just as they raced in a circle for the sixth time Aqualad had an idea. He understood that Gar was in love with Raven, he didn't know about the changelings spark of anger at him. The water wonder screamed out "HEY BEAST BOY! WATCH THIS!" and he kissed the dark girl. She gasped, as did all the others, and he slipped his tongue into her mouth.
A green bear landed on the ground and slowly walked towards the group, rage reflected in his eyes. Aqualad pulled away with a grin as Gar rushed forward. Batman leapt in front and tossed two batarangs that were deflected by the heavy paw seconds before he himself was thrown into a tree. The hunter quickly changed into a large tiger and continued to stalk the atlantian, who taunted the morphed "come on, what's the matter, you not up for catching me?"
Gar roared. It echoed across the forest like a blazing cry of his anger. As his cry echoed Mas Y Menos slammed into his side throwing him into the cage where he turned back to his normal form and touched the glass. "Hmm, this is a big cage…"
Speedy sighed "It needs to be big for your transformations" Gar nodded.
Then Aqualad spoke "So, we've captured the Chimera!"
Gar's eyes narrowed as he glared in hate at the hero "You want the Chimera? Then you better get a bigger cage, asshole"
Aqualad smirked "I doubt you could bust out of this"
Gar laughed, not the normal happy laugh that the Titans adore, but a harsh sound as if he was tempting the world "This box can't hold a creature in a weight class with the largest of the dinosaurs" and he started to change into the Chimera.
When Gar morphed he ducked down and his body instantly changed into that of the creature. Now they watched in unholy awe. He hunched over as bones cracked and reformed, his skin stretched and split, blood ran down the wounds as the muscle beneath changed and twisted. As he changed the morphling would let out small sounds of pain as the liquid chaos rushed through his veins and broke him. His fingers curled into claws as he continued to grow. His back touched the roof of the cage and continued to strain against it until with a resounding crack the roof gave way.
Aqualad found himself staring at a creature that never existed, the gray wolf towered over the group by a hundred feet, it looked emaciated, a thinness of body that cried of chord-like muscles and whiplash brutality. The eyes were the same that had ran through Gar earlier that day, only now they had a great deal of hate and fury in them. With a growl that shook the very foundation of Gotham the Chimera spoke, a voice as timeless as the sky, rougher than the mountains and more lethal than the chill of winter "So, do you think that toy was big enough now?" and he leapt towards Aqualad. The others leapt to stop the Chimera only to be swatted away like so many flies before Raven stood in front of him. For the first time she was scared of the Chimera. She had seen the pain his body went through to transform, did the same go through his mind? Was he something else? Like a breath of wind he was above her, the blue-clad hero he was chasing. Raven's black aura covered him and pulled him behind her, the Chimera growled before turning and bounding deeper into the forest.
Batman limped by "…I hate to say it but I really can't see a way to stop him…"
All the Titans sat in Batman's mansion nursing wounds along with the great vigilante himself, save Raven. She helped Alfred get the medicines, hot pads and all the other things that could help the others. Cyborg sat in front of Robin with a scolding look on his face "I told you." Robin ducked his head as the elder Titan continued to stare at him "I told you and you blew it off. And we nearly got killed because of it."
Sufficiently chastised Robin nodded slowly and Cyborg walked away. Batman looked at the group and hobbled over, his leg had been badly bruised, he watched as the others sat still and tried to avoid moving. He knew Gar could have killed them as easily if not more so. Bruce lifted a hand "I vote we don't do that again, anyone else?" with a groan all of the present people lifted a hand.
It was dark and thunder rumbled in the black clouds overhead, the latest victim stood under a building's overhang and counted a number of bills before grinning and stuffing them in his jacket with a chuckle. Blood called to him, a scent of copper and sin. He could hear the heartbeat of every creature within a hundred feet. No other human was here. Silken pads lifted him over the concrete and into the deeper shadows. The other's heart started to beat faster as his primal body realized he was in danger. Mortal danger. He stepped out in his smaller form, here his eyes were level with the man's, with a whimper the other ran. The creature stalked slowly. He had no need to rush, the storm was hours away and the scent of fear and sweat permeated the air and led him to his target.
The large man huffed as he leaned back against the wall. A howl and he froze. The beast was in front of him. He locked eyes with the creature and slowly felt himself fall under its spell.
Its eyes swirled with every shade of green imaginable, they faded one into another until he was completely at it's mercy. He slowly padded over before turning back into himself and taking the length of rope out of his backpack. He tied the rope around his victim's feet and flung the rest over a lamp post and pulled him up before tying it around the base. Now his prey swung with the breeze before he changed back into what he needed to be.
He walked forward before he ripped the man's throat out, the crimson life rushed out only to be drunk by the creature until only enough was left to write it's identity. With another howl it walked back into the darkness.
Raven stood on the roof as Sol began its accent into the sky. Her mind whirled with the repercussions of what she was about to do. With a calming breath she sat and began to meditate.
Her mind touched Gar's and she recoiled as if stung. Her mind had seen an inscription in gray stone filled with blood-
Through me the way into the Suffering City,
Through me the way to the Eternal Pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the Primal Love.
Before me nothing but eternal things
Were made, and I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, who enter here.
She shuddered as Dante's warnings sounded in her mind. She floated off the roof to find him, she seemed to be the only one who he wouldn't hurt. She had questions, too many for her liking, like why kill these people like that, what was he doing drinking their blood. And why was Dante's inscription of the entrance to Hell inscribed in his mind. Her mind wandered as her body followed the trail to his mind. The forest. The deepest part. The darkest part. He sat in a tree with legs extended as he watched the sun rise above the branches.
She floated down to the ground, eyes drifting upwards, she focused on him. He looked relaxed even in the black clothes and so far up the tree that a squirrel would have a bout of vertigo. He knew she was there. He knew where she was and what she was doing the instant she touched his mind.
His green eyes, constantly moving from shade to shade, met her purples and he leapt down until a mere three feet from the solid ground flickered into a hummingbird then back.
He stood still as she walked closer, arm length, his voice had gotten rougher since he had left his home "What are you doing here? Aren't you afraid of getting killed?" his façade never fell.
She shook her head "No, you never hurt me…and you avoided killing. Even Aqualad" he growled and she looked into his eyes "Why are you killing them?"
With a dead tone he leaned closer to her "why don't you see for yourself?" she pressed her hand to his cheek and watched the memory
The boat wobbled as the waves dragged rough claws down the back, attempting to pry it from the rocks. The green little boy cried until his body disgorged itself over the side. The pain was unspeakable, hot lead burned through his torso and the knife had carved a picture on his chest. But the only two things that were constant in his life were gone. His father had been shot as soon as the cartel saw the boat on the river. The boy tried to cover his heaving chest and bloody back with his shredded clothes. He never knew that humans could be so cruel. His mother fought as they raped her. After she died of blood loss they turned their…aggression on him. He cried into torn hands as he tried to stand against the pain and failed. He was full of pain as light rain washed away the blood on his body. His heart was torn out and he cried for days. He walked to a village. He met others. He retreated back to the corner whenever a person looked at him. He was broken.
Raven pulled her hand away with a gasp, she grasped at her heart as she still felt the void that the man in front of her endured for years. He calmly grabbed her hand and put it back against his cheek. She found no comfort there.
He flew overhead as an owl as the man scoffed at a homeless man and kicked the victim several times before walking on. He shuffled into a dark ally to count the money he pulled off his latest mugging. The owl floated down soundlessly in front of him and large green eyes stared at him. The man didn't notice. Bones cracked and muscles tore. He looked up only to see the most disturbing eyes he would ever see. As he was tied up he couldn't move. Trapped within his own body. Then he felt the teeth sink into his flesh and his blood start to pour out onto the ground. Just as the pain was subsiding a warmth washed across the wound. He felt no more.
Raven slipped out of the memory and into the present. He stepped away from her "Don't chase me anymore. I'm not going to stop"
She waved her hand and a black hand of energy wrapped around him "I have you." her monotone giving away nothing as she brought him close to her.
He gave a harsh chuckle "You've always had me" he kissed her and her grasp faltered and he leapt back into the forest leaving her alone and with more questions than ever.
They started working in shifts. One would help Bruce while the other looked after Jump City. They never did catch him. Each time they got close he was gone. Then one day they got a call they least expected.
And here the stood looking at him.
The Chimera, Garfield Logan walked into the prison. He had given himself up. Two years of hunting. 104 counts of murder. 37 of manslaughter and 201 of self-defense.
He stood in a white jumpsuit with wrists and ankles cuffed, seven men had poles with wire around his neck, his mouth had a mask. He saw the Titans and stopped moving. His captures jerked on the wire but he did not move. Head warden Markus of Jump City's prison, known as "Hell's Waiting Room" , walked over "Would you like to speak to them?" Markus was a kind elderly man with thin framed glasses and a white suite around his tiny frame. He motioned the Titans closer and removed the mask.
Gar watched them and quietly said "Take care"
Robin nodded as his voice broke "Y-you too…"
Star hugged him.
Cyborg gave the strongest smile he could "When you get out, I'm kicking your scrawny ass as Monkey invaders!"
Gar beamed back "I look forward to it"
Raven stayed silent.
The warden put the lock back on and Gar Logan entered the prison.
Raven stood watching the gates. Something told her that life wouldn't let him rot in there, he would soon be out. And that scared her.