Wow. Took a long time to get this chapter up and running. I blame Starfire and Robin, and maybe Cyborg and Jinx. I just can't write them as easily as I can write Beast Boy and Raven. For a heads up to all who don't know some of the Titan's names, Roy Harper was the first Speedy. He later progressed in Arsenal and then into Red Arrow. The second Speedy is a girl by the name of Mia Dearden. I don't know any others I should mention at the moment, but if you have any questions please ask.
OH! For those who don't know, Dick Grayson is the first Robin, Jason Todd is the second, and Tim Drake is the third. I won't be getting to the fourth or fifth Robin since I never really knew them but they were Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne respectively.
Beast Boy ran through the ship at full speed. The ground below him gave a lunge as another hole opened in its hull. Not knowing where he was going, he just kept running looking for survivors. He heard screams coming from his left and sped down the next turn.
The corridor opened into a large room littered with overturned tables and chairs, likely a dining hall of some sort. On the far side of the court a young woman, no more than twenty-five, stood shielding two children from the flames that had broken out. Without a thought he jumped over the banister that separated him from a two story drop. The landing was rough, his knees were on fire, but he kept going. Using his mind he threw aside part of the caved in ceiling and forced his way to the family.
The fires in the cabin were making it hard to breath and he knew the three were going to need air soon. Telekinetically picking up a chair and hurling it through a reinforced window as he reached the survivors he pushed piles of burning debris aside and made a path to the window. Once under the window he picked each of them up with his powers and carried them out of the window where other rescuers could help them.
After they were safely outside he turned and scanned the area for anyone else. That was when he saw the limp, gloved hand beneath a burning wooden beam. Rushing over to it he threw the beam aside only to find the body of Negative Man, crushed and broken. Swallowing his sorrow and knowing there was nothing he could do for his friend he continued forward. He knew Robotman had been looking in the lower decks and hadn't radioed in.
Kicking open the next door he pressed on despite the burning in his lungs. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if anyone else died here today. Hearing voices echoing up ahead, Beast Boy pressed onward and forced open a door labeled 'Engine Room'. Inside he tried to follow the voice through the winding room, but the roar of the engines and flooding waters made the distorted voice hard to follow.
Finally he rounded the next corner and was met with a large screen showing The Brain and Monsieur Mallah. Below the monitor Robotman lay in a heap in front of a cylindrical device that gave off haunting lights and deafening beeps. Standing twenty feet away, Elastigirl looked back at him as he approached. The device gave a final roaring noise as the man on the screen said, "It's over Mento."
A blinding flash lit the area and Beast Boy tried to shield his eyes with his arms. He could vaguely see Elastigirl growing in size and leaping at him. Then a huge weight crashed down on him and he felt a painful burning sensation from his left side. His last thought before he lost consciousness was, "Rita…"
Beast Boy woke with a start, almost jumping from the spot on the couch he had fallen asleep on. The dream had felt so real, so vivid. He buried his head in his hands and cried.
Raven, who had fallen asleep with her head on his shoulder, had been forced awake when Beast Boy lunged forward screaming and had immediately worked to suppress the spike of horror washing over her. "Gar?" she asked carefully, placing her hand on his back.
The terrified teen leapt at the contact, but settled back down once he recognized Raven through the blurry haze his tears made. His sobs started to slow as his dream faded from his memory, but the feelings of terror, pain, and loss stayed with him. "Sorry Rae." He said through the weeping.
The empath kept silent as she rubbed his back and waited for him to calm down. She knew the feeling of being woken by frightening nightmares. It wasn't all that long ago that she was pulled from her slumber due to dreams of the end of the world, at her hands. As his crying stopped, she felt his fear recede and almost disappear entirely; he was trying to force it away again.
"Sorry." He said in between sniffles. "Must've been that grilled onion and tofu sandwich last night. Always makes me dream it's eating me instead." He joked with a weak chuckle.
Raven stopped moving her hand and spoke quietly. "Gar, you don't have to hide your pain from me."
Beast Boy shook his head gently and his smile became a frown. "It hurts Rae. It hurts so much that I don't know what to do." His hands went back to his head as tears started to fall again. "But it's not going to get better, and I really can't deal with it now."
"Gar," she started quietly, suddenly unsure how to respond. On the one hand, she knew that he needed to deal with the deaths of his family and friends before it festered, and on the other, who was she to tell someone how to deal with emotions. "The longer you wait, the worse it will be. Trust me on this."
He shook his head again. "I have work to do. I can't let this change that." He said slowly while wiping his eyes again.
"So don't let it. But that doesn't mean you can't face it. If you don't mourn now, it could distract you on the field." She still hadn't taken her hand off of his back, a fact that he greatly appreciated. "I will be here for you, no matter what." The purple haired girl said after bringing his face around so she could look him in the eye. That had been her intent anyway, but the dark shadows that came over his face only allowed her to see a dark outline of his head.
Details or not, she watched as he slowly moved his head closer to hers and a wave of nervousness fell off the green boy. Once he tilted his head she knew what he was asking for. Leaning in the rest of the way she placed her lips gently against his in a soft kiss, but Beast Boy didn't pull away after the kiss like Raven thought he would. Without speaking a word he leaned in again, leaning further than he needed to in order to get her to lay back on the couch. Their lips met again as he laid her down and followed gently on top of her. Raven's breath hitched at their closeness, and Beast Boy immediately started to sit back up, his emotions clearly telling her that he thought he had done something wrong. Before he had made it off of her entirely she shot her hands out, tangling them behind his head, and pulled him back down with a breathy, "It's okay."
"Are you sure?" he asked meekly, fear and worry danced around his surface emotions, only hinting at the pain she knew was there. They had never been this close in this kind of situation before. Every other time they had been standing, and their mouths only met once or twice at a time. In truth, she wasn't sure. This could end badly, and she wasn't sure just what would happen. Nevertheless her response was to lean up and kiss him again.
Now a little surer of himself, he continued her kiss and took the lead from her. They continued to slowly explore the boundaries of the new experience for a time, but it wasn't long before their emotions started causing their kissing to get more impassioned.
Beast Boy's right hand, which had been placed on the couch near her head, moved down and found its way to the side of her stomach while the other continued to hold the green boy up. Raven gasped at the new contact and pressed her lips harder onto Beast Boy's. Their speed continued to pick up until they were both breathing hard and panting during the few moments their lips weren't connected.
The changeling's hand started to move up and down her side, gently caressing her through her uniform. Raven moaned and pressed her body closer to his, which egged him on more and sent shivers through the green boy. A sharp spike of lust coming from her boyfriend shocked the purple haired demoness back to reality as a sharp cracking sound came from the table next to the couch, and she laid her head back on the couch bringing her hands to his chest when he tried to follow her. "Gar, we need to stop." She said between her heavy breathing, feeling very guilty.
Beast Boy caught the growl before it left his throat, but he couldn't stop the wave of irritation that hit Raven making her feel guiltier. "Sorry," he said pushing himself up to a sitting position, "guess I got a bit carried away huh?" he said with a small smile.
Both of them were still catching their breath as Raven sat up a short distance from him. "You aren't the only one." She said sadly. "I'm sorry Gar."
"Don't be." He said quietly. "Too far is too far."
Worried that she may have made things worse for him she reached out and touched his shoulder. His hand met hers and held it in place. They sat like that for a few minutes before Raven heard crying coming from Beast Boy again. "I can't believe they're gone." He managed to say. She felt his emotional barriers start to crumble as she pulled him into an embrace. Better prepared this time, Raven didn't have trouble with her powers as he sobbed silently into her shoulder.
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Dick had gone to bed at 10:00 pm, and Starfire had joined him. After talking for more than an hour, they had finally turned in. Glancing at his alarm clock he noticed that it was only 3:17 am, but despite his tired body he just could not get to sleep. His mind raced with the events of the previous day, replaying them over and over. He questioned everything he had done, every decision he had made, examining every angle, but it all came out the same; he had failed the Titans.
Finally, he decided that laying there wasn't helping him sleep. As gently as he could he lifted Starfire's head and arm from his body and laid them down around his pillow. Moving quietly so he wouldn't wake her, he found a pair of pants and decided to work out to clear his mind.
The hallway was cold and quiet as he walked down to the elevator. The only lighting was the dim wall lights that only showed him where the walls were. The ride down was a little brighter, considering the elevator lights, but just as quiet. The lack of sound wasn't really helping his mood because it did not allow for a distraction from his thoughts, all of which told him he had failed as a leader.
Exiting into a short hallway, he punched a quick code into the wall panel by the door. It opened with a faint hiss and the lights turned on to reveal a wide open room filled with high tech work out equipment. Shaking his head in hopes of clearing it, he walked over to the punching bag that was unofficially "his". Sitting next to the punching bag was a simple radio he set to play a fast pace work out mix.
He started off slowly, but quickly worked his way up to a frenzy of kicks, punches, and elbow strikes of all kinds, all the while thinking two things; what was he going to do now that he wasn't Robin, and would the Titans still consider him a capable leader. The sound of the music was drowned out by the sound of him hitting the bag as he worked out for the next hour, never once coming close to an answer to his question.
The door to the room opened as he stopped to catch his breath and Starfire walked in. The sad look in her eyes got worse when she saw him, "Richard," she said, he looked up at her when he heard his name, "why did you leave the bed?"
"I couldn't sleep Star." He walked over and refilled his water bottle again before draining it a second time. His back was to her but he could hear her walking up to him.
"I would have gladly joined you; this night was not a good one to wake up without you." Her voice remained quiet as she wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head on the back of his shoulder. She had woken from a nightmare that had all of her friends dying around her only to not find him when she opened her eyes. It had taken all of her self-control not to run through the tower screaming for him.
Dick dropped his bottle into the sink and turned around in her arms. "Star, I'm sorry." He said quietly, noticing the stains on her face from her tears. Now with her head on his chest, he pulled her closer with his arms and placed his head on hers. "I didn't think…" he stopped, unable to continue. He had been so caught up in the way he felt about everything that he hadn't thought about how she felt. For that matter, he didn't know what any of the others were going through either.
"It was quiet an unpleasant dream." Starfire said quietly. A small shiver ran through her body at the memories that forced her awake.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked softly, running his hand through her hair. He was not used to seeing the woman that was normally so strong, so fragile; it was very unsettling.
She was quiet for a short time, as if she was thinking about it, he thought. When she finally did respond, it was almost a mumble. "I was on a Gordanian ship. My hands were bound and I was strapped to a wall." Dick held her tighter as she trembled in his grasp. "Everyone was brought before me. They killed you all and I was forced to watch." Her speaking had gotten more broken up as she spoke, finally ending in a sob.
"I'm so sorry Starfire." He had her wrapped in a tight embrace and didn't think he could feel any lower. "It's okay. You're in the tower. You're home. And we're okay."
"We are not okay." She said firmly as she pushed away. "I am worried about Raven. She was most cross with Beast Boy today, and she is very concerned about the siblings." The tamaranian met the acrobats eyes, "And worst of all, you are blaming all of this tragedy on yourself."
Starfire gently placed her hand on his cheek as he lowered his eyes away from hers. "What could you have done Richard?" She asked softly.
"I don't know Star. Just knowing they were free would have made a difference." He said meekly.
"We have all underestimated them. For all we know, they could have anticipated us knowing they were free and taken steps to make that not matter." She moved her hand under his chin and brought his face up so they were eye to eye. "We still do not know why we were unable to communicate with many of the Titans."
Dick shook his head out of her grasp. "Is any of that supposed to make me feel better?"
Star gave him a weak smile, "I do not expect you to feel better. I only wish for you to see that it is not your fault."
"I just feel so helpless Star. I hate feeling like this." He admitted to her.
"Turn that feeling into something else. Turn it into righteous fury, use it to fuel our attack, and make them pay for every drop of Titan blood spilt." Starfire's face twisted in anger as she spoke and her voice rose to match it.
He himself was angry, furious even, but he hated seeing that much rage in her eyes. "I promise you, we are going to take the Brotherhood down again."
A feral smile crossed her face as she looked into his eyes. "Yes, we will. And they will pay."
He had to admit, he was worried by the intensity in her words, but her smile faded from feral to sad as she laid her head back down on his chest. A minute of silence passed before Dick spoke again. "It really will be okay, Star."
"I know." She said pulling away and looking him in the eyes again. She ran a hand down his face and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. "But right now I need to work off stress." She turned and headed further into the training room.
"Well I know of a pretty good way." He said giving her a cheeky grin he was only partially sure he could back up.
Whether or not it was lucky, she responded with a wink, "Don't think you're really up to it. I think I will simply work my frustrations out on the machines." He raised an eyebrow at her statement, a smile playing across his lips, but she didn't turn back around.
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The clock on the wall flashed a green 5:00 am as Cyborg placed the metal panel back on the wall and bolted it into place. They had arrived outside Dakota City around 2:00 am and landed on an air pad next to the complex shaped like a 'T' contained within a hexagon. The two story building had a horizontal layout, unlike Titan's Tower in the bay of Jump City or Titan's Keep built into a cliff in Steel City.
After a short tour by Wonder Girl, Cyborg left the Titans North to choose bedrooms on their own and headed to the mainframe. For the most part the compound was in working order, but it didn't have any of the high tech security or surveillance the other Titan homes had. He knew he had his work cut out for him, and there was no time like the present to start.
Standing up from his crouched position, he walked over to the computer and turned it on. The power supply hummed to life and the screen blinked before showing the install screen. Tapping a few keys, a loading bar filled the screen. "Already done building the damn thing?" A voice behind him caused the metal man to turn on his heel in surprise. Jinx was standing in the doorway leaning against one of the sides.
"Yeah. Sorry, I didn't hear the door open." He said relaxing his stance.
Jinx walked into the room and jumped up to sit on a counter. "The door was already open. Not paying attention are we Stone?"
"Guess not." He said leaning back against the computer console. "I figured you'd be asleep."
She shook her head sadly, "With what I saw today I'm not sure I'm gonna sleep for a few days."
"That bad?" His voice was low and he watched her shiver at the memories.
"There was so much blood, and it was everywhere. I'd never even seen a dead body before today." She brought her knees up to her chest and leaned her chin on them while wrapping her arms around her legs. "I don't know why I'm the only one who freaked about it."
"Most of the Titans have seen their fair share of dead people." He said darkly. "Don't forget that we help clean up after natural disasters and super villains. Both have a tendency to cause deaths; even if most of the deaths caused by villains are unintentional."
The pink haired girl looked over at him timidly, "Did the Hive ever…" Her question fell flat as she lost her voice.
He shook his head firmly. "No, no one ever died from a Hive heist. The closest the Hive ever came to killing someone was when Brother Blood,"
"Stop." She said firmly. "I don't need a reminder. I'm still glad you guys stopped him, he was a nut case."
"You're telling me?" He asked with a funny look on his face. "I'm the one he was obsessed with."
"Yeah, that must have sucked." She said with a grim look.
The metal man shivered at the memory of the former leader of the Hive Academy. "It took me weeks to get over having him in my mind. I'm still not sure how that psycho was able to decrypt the data he took from me so easily."
"I can tell you for a fact that it wasn't easy." The pink haired witch said, leaning back and staring at the ceiling. "He had all of the tech geeks working on that for the better part of seven months."
"You mean to tell me that there are people out there that still know everything about me?" Cyborg almost shouted, his face contorted in a look of outrage. "Why didn't you say anything…" he started
"Calm down Stone." Jinx said firmly. "Do you really think he would just let everyone remember all of that? Gizmo was one of the techies working on it and he had his memory about the whole thing scooped out." Cyborg relaxed a little as she talked. "Seriously, it was weird. Blood removed so much; I thought we were going to have to re-potty train Gizmo."
Cyborg crossed his arms in front of him as he thought. "Okay, so he wiped Gizmo's memory, what about everybody else?"
Jinx shook her head, "At the time we were his top, most trusted students. If he was going to allow anybody to remember, it would have been us."
"I guess." He muttered as he rubbed his temple.
The room grew quiet as they sat in silence, both just glad to not be alone. "I can't imagine getting used to seeing so much death." She added after a while.
He shook his head slowly. "It's not something you ever get used to. You just learn to deal with it." Cyborg watched Jinx as she stared at the floor. "I'm surprised you came to talk to me."
She shrugged and pulled her knees closer to herself. "KF wanted to go for a run, so I was just sitting alone anyway."
"Wait, he what?" Cyborg asked. "Doesn't he know how dangerous going out alone is?"
"Trust me, if he's moving as fast as I think he is, they won't be able to catch him." Jinx said with a small smile.
"Still," Cyborg said, "why didn't you go with him?"
"Because getting carted around by a speed freak looking to ignore the world isn't my idea of a good time. I needed time to think, and I can't do that if I have to fight to keep my head up." She said sharply.
The metal teen shook his head, "I guess. Still, why come to me?" He asked curiously. "You haven't exactly treated me very warmly the last few times we've seen each other."
"You did kind of spy on and betray me." She said with narrowed eyes. "So sue me if I needed time to get used to the idea of trusting you again."
Cyborg wilted under her gaze, "Sorry. It really wasn't personal."
"Bullshit." Jinx spat. "It may not have started personal, but you damn well made it personal before you left."
"I couldn't help it." He said meekly. "Things kinda got out of control. I didn't mean to hurt you." He looked up and met her eyes as he finished speaking.
Jinx gave an exasperated sigh and looked back up at the ceiling. "I know. Shit happens."
"I am sorry you know." Cyborg said after a few seconds of silence.
"Shut up Stone. It's in the past, doesn't matter anymore. I'm over it." She said letting go of her knees, one leg fell off the table while she rested an arm on the other knee.
Cyborg, deciding to drop the subject, leaned further back onto the console and stared at the ceiling with his fellow Titan. They sat in a companionable silence for a few minutes until Jinx spoke again, "Don't you have work to do or something?" She asked quietly.
"Yeah, I should probably get back to that." He sighed, picking himself up from his place on the computer. Soon the room was filled with the sound of typing, broken periodically when the mechanical teen stopped to solder or weld parts for the next project.
By the time Cyborg turned back around thirty minutes later, Jinx was fast asleep curled into a ball on the table she had been sitting on. His breath caught in his throat as he watched her sleep. Shaking his head to clear thoughts of how cute she looked out of his head, he whispered to himself, "You had your chance Cyborg. She's with someone else now." At that he turned back around and kept working long after Kid Flash showed up and carried her off to bed.
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Another hour passed before Starfire and the Titan's leader found their way to the common room. The sun was rising over the city skyline as they entered, casting a long shadow over the entire room. Beast Boy was sitting at the table eating cereal and looked up as the doors opened.
"Morning." He said with a forced grin.
"Good morning friend." Starfire said, walking behind him and hugging his shoulders before moving on to the kitchen.
Dick took a seat at the table and nodded at the green teen. "I almost expected you to be asleep on the couch." He added a smile to let him know he was kidding.
"Not gonna lie," Beast Boy started, "Rae and I fell asleep for a little bit." He lifted his bowl and began to drain the soy milk from it.
Dick's eyebrow rose at the mention of Raven. "You guys talk? She seemed kind of angry last night."
The changeling nodded while stifling a yawn. "Yeah, we talked. We're okay now."
"That is most pleasing to hear." The Tamaranian woman walked back into the room carrying bowls for her and her boyfriend. "Where has she gone to now?" she asked, sitting down next to Dick.
"She needed to meditate. Too many emotions flying around." He blushed and avoided eye contact with his friends at the memory of being that close to Raven. Neither of the other Titans missed that, but they decided not to bring it up.
"Any word from Cy?" Dick asked, changing the subject.
Beast Boy shook his head. "Nothing. I already checked, and all comms are working and online."
Dick nodded. "He may not think any of us are awake yet."
"I wonder if anyone was able to sleep well last night." Starfire commented as she poured cereal for Dick and herself.
Before either of the boys had a chance to respond, Dick's communicator went off shocking all three into jumping in their seats. The leader of the Titan's gave a sigh as he pulled his mask out of his pocket and placed it on his face. Bringing his communicator above the table, he answered the call and was surprised to see Speedy's face, not Cyborgs'.
"Speedy? What's up?" He asked, more concern in his voice then he would have liked.
"Call me Arsenal. It's about time for a name change, don't you think?" The red haired man said from the other side of the screen.
Dick shook his head with a small smile. "Funny, I was thinking the same thing." The newly named Arsenal nodded returning the smile. "Was that what you wanted?" The former Robin asked relaxing now that he was sure the world wasn't ending again.
"Actually," The former Speedy said, "I wanted to let you know you're gonna have a visitor." Beast Boy and Starfire, who had been listening in, turned to look at Dick. "He left Star City about an hour ago, so he should be there within the next hour or so. Listen to him Dick, that's all I ask." He added seeing the frown on the young Grayson's face.
"What does he want?" Dick asked grimly.
"Calm down man," Arsenal pleaded, "I don't think he had anything to do with not telling us about the Brotherhood. He spent most of last night convincing me of that. I don't know what exactly he wants to say; he just said he wanted to talk to you. I'm only calling you because I really want you to listen."
"Fine." Dick said tightly. "I'll listen. But I make no other promises."
"That's all I ask." The red haired archer said from the other side of the conversation. "I've gotta go, Bumble Bee is going to check in with you after we meet with the security agency that caused all the commotion last night." At a nod from Dick he continued, "Arsenal out."
Dick put his communicator back down on the table and pulled the mask off his face. Starfire was the first to speak, "Forgive me, but who will be visiting today?"
"Green Arrow." Dick replied simply.