I don’t own Teen Titans, though I wish I owned Warp’s time travel machine/suit. I just want to watch cool events in history, though, along with some of my own life I can’t remember. Why instead use that kind of power just to steal a fancy clock? That’s not the best logic in my book, but hey, Warp was a super-villain. When have they been completely sane?
Enough of this, though. We can make a deal: I stop rambling, while you read and review.
Teen Titans: You Idiot…
Jacob Kane took a sip of Stardollars coffee to finish his afternoon: black, with two sugars. He skimmed the newspaper in his hands, first checking the sports section. The Jump City Jaguars were winning; good for them, he thought. As the break wore down, though, he soon found himself seemingly taking interest in the stocks as a way to glance now and then at the woman at the counter. She was dark skinned, with short hair, brown eyes, and a brilliant smile when she welcomed the customers. Her name, according to the name tag, was Ashley C; technically, her last name was Colbert, but whenever he saw her, he was too flustered to ask for anything besides his order.
Yes, Jacob had a crush. He wondered if she knew about it, as the occasion where she caught him looking was frequent for the past few weeks. At one point, he even forced himself to laugh when she caught him and he saw the comics in his peripheral vision.
“HAHAHA… heh heh… That’s a… good… one… yeah.”
Some might call that thinking on his feet; he called it being a total goof.
This was another one of those times: he looked, she turned, and both locked and averted the other person's eyes. Today was a good day for him, though; this time, he caught her smiling!
This was going on for too long, he realized. It was time to Jacob Reginald Kane to make a move! Yes, today would indeed be a good one, unlike that day a little over a month ago, when a legion of robots led by a bird-like scientist crushed his car into a pancake.
Determined, Jacob took a calming breath, folded up his paper, and stepped out of his seat, hoping to ask Ashley out when the line wore down.
The last customer cleared.
Jacob stepped up to the counter.
He saw those pearly white teeth again as the coffee shop worker opened her mouth…
…and screamed “OH MY GOD!” as a creature fell from the sky, landing with enough impact to flatten the sedan at the curb as well as shatter the café’s front window.
The last thing the young corporate flunkie remembered before blacking out from fright at the monster:
Not my car again…
The Titans entered the scene by T-Car, passing by a destroyed coffee shop where a man and woman crawled out of the wreckage. The worker consoled the suited man as he wept over the remains of his vehicle.
In the driver seat, a certain half-robot sat slightly peeved at the timing. He was this close from beating Beast Boy in the game he actually bought for his ex-patient, Ninja Monkeys VII.
“Dude, that’s impossible!”
Just minutes before, Beast Boy and Cyborg sat on the living room couch. Their bodies jerked about to the explosions on the massive screen; their calloused thumbs slammed on their GameStation 3 controllers. The human side of one competitor’s face slid from focused frown to smile at the sight of his opponent’s dwindling life bar. “Aw yeah, I got you now, I got you now! Just one banana peel-shuriken and…”
In the next three seconds, the following four events occurred:
The alarm blared.
Robin erupted into the room.
Cyborg turned away, forgetting to press the X button.
Beast Boy took advantage. “Ha! Looks like I got you!”
Cyborg turned back to see a simian skeleton on screen, the result of the changeling’s last minute combo attack. “But… that’s…” He could find no other word to describe it but one used beforehand: “Impossible!”
The masked Titan attempted to break up the game discussion: “Titans! Trouble!”
“Yeah, there’s trouble, alright. I’m having trouble getting out of dish duty!” Attempt failed.
The green teen gave off a smug fanged grin. “I believe that’s ten wins for me, which means you take the next two times at the sink.”
The loser gave a curse under his breath. “I knew I shouldn’t have gone double-or-nothing.”
“Excuse me, but I believe there is a problem in the city to deal with…” The recently arrived Starfire made a meeker second attempt.
Attempt 2 failed, shut down this time by Beast Boy. “Yeah, yeah, keep on crying. You know I rule at this game.”
“It’d be different if we were playin’ on my turf!” The resident mechanic was agitated now. “C’mon! You and me, right now in—”
“HEY!” A normally quiet Titan made her entrance by covering the arguing heroes’ mouths in black energy. “Are you deaf? We have a job to do, you know.” At the word “job”, Raven nodded her head to the TV screen, which by now changed into a map of the city area in distress. A picture within the picture displayed the soundless video from a security camera. A large mass blurred across the screen, seemingly roaring at bystanders, and finally looking into the camera before slashing it with its claws.
Cyborg gave off an impressed whistle. “We got another big one.” Mindful of a specific teammate’s condition, he raised the question. “So who’s taking him on?”
Everyone turned to the team’s leader. “Well, we might need the whole team to contain him…”
“Alright, some action!” A certain shape-shifter burst from his seat on the couch and headed to the T-Car hangar. “I call shot—”
“But,” the boy wonder continued, grabbing Beast Boy’s collar, “you haven’t fully healed yet.”
“Aww, come on! Cyborg, you’ve got my back, right?”
“Sorry BB, but he’s right,” the team medic added. “I think you still got a few weeks left before you get a clean bill of health from me.” That was true. Today marked fifteen days since Beast Boy’s reawakening, too soon to let him take down a purse-snatcher, let alone a monster.
“But I got through training just fine two days ago!” Cyborg allowed him some brief exercise so his muscles would not simply waste away indoors.
The alien princess interjected. “Actually, you were breathing quite heavily after the exercise, Beast Boy.”
“Well… uh…” He hoped no one saw that, as he did it after leaving the training room. Now the youngest Titan was running out of arguments. Therefore, he looked to the one card left to play:
The empath looked into his imploring emerald eyes, something in them almost convincing her to bring him along with the team. Maybe she could simply keep a close eye on him, a closer one if things got difficult—
Then she remembered the… interesting night on the rooftop. That day he told her why he did what he did, the reason he was off-duty now…
She did not even blink as she made her choice.
“You’re staying here.”
Because I care about you.
With the decision that Beast Boy could be okay alone for the time being, and one of them making notes to beat him at Goken 5 later, a quartet of heroes left their blue and silver super-car to see the enemy of their fair city.
The threat in question was obvious, though not exactly easy to describe in a glance. Currently making a brick wall its scratching post, the ten-foot tall figure stood on two legs, but was definitely more bestial than human. It seemed to be a mix of lion and leopard, with a shaggy mane of brown cascading down its spine and a light tan torso, but furry spotted limbs of a light yellow-orange. It even had a long spotted tail.
“So,” Raven gave the obvious question in everyone’s heads, “How do we beat this… cat-creature?”
As if that was its name, the leopard-lion ceased sharpening its claws and turned to the team. Its growl noted that the beast did not like to be disturbed. Another strong message was its roar, powerful enough to shatter the windows down the path to the Titans and knock all four off their feet.
The disheveled Cyborg, currently lifting his body off Starfire, had a suggestion:
“I say we hit it.”
“And hit it hard,” Robin added. Whipping out his titanium staff, the leader gave off his trademark cry:
It started with a coordinated aerial attack, two heroines blasting waves of green and black energy at the monster on either side. Surrounded by a dust cloud, the cat-creature's obscured vision did not foresee the metal fist heading for its gut, nor the staff to the face. However, it did manage to shake off the impacts’ effects just long enough to see the electric disk at its feet. By the time the electric current ceased flowing and the smoke cleared, the feline was breathing heavily on its paws and knees.
“That was easier than I thought! Nice job, team.” Robin began to make the cleanup call when Cyborg tapped him on the shoulder. He did not hear the technological Titan’s words (“Don’t speak so soon”) over the roar the leopard-lion released.
The boy wonder's gloved hands covered his ears, so he could not react to what was next. Fortunately, Cyborg did it for him — by tossing him out of the way. Before Robin could question that action, a brownish blur zipped by where he once stood and tackled into the metallic Titan. Once on top of him, the cat-creature proceeded to slash at its prey, ripping up any metal armor it could in its claws. A carefully aimed starbolt sent the beast into a nearby wall before it could do any more damage. Another Titan added to the attack, telepathically ramming a piece of asphalt into her opponent.
Nodding thanks to Starfire and Raven, Cyborg got up to catch his breath. He inspected his arms to find them covered in claw marks, just like his shoulders. The metallic mechanic sighed at knowing it would take days to repair. To make things worse, the cat-creature broke itself from the wall, anger still painted on its face. “Oh, come on! You’re telling me we’re just making it mad!?”
Robin struggled to make a plan. He’s strong, he’s fast, and those claws rip through metal like paper. How can we— He got no more time to think, however, as the leopard-lion released another roar. The acrobatic hero dove out of the path of a flurry of bricks propelled by the beast’s cry.
Cyborg decided to fight sound with sound by firing his sonic cannon. The sound waves collided with a boom that caused the asphalt beneath to crack and any bystanders brave enough to stay to cover their ears. The half-robot smirked as the blue blast started to gain ground, only for that same smirk to fall as his arm sparked — the attack from before indeed left some damage.
“Azarath Metrion Zinthos!” Raven shouted her mantra and supported the weakening sonic shot with a black wave of her own, but too late; the resonance of the waves reached its maximum, causing an explosion that knocked her into a street lamp. Darkness swept over her vision as she heard Robin’s voice shout.
The first sense to return was pain. Slowly sitting up, the half-demoness winced as she became aware of the bruise forming on the back of her head. She spit out a bit of blood as well; the other source of pain was her tongue, the tip of which she bit on impact with the streetlight.
The next was hearing. A yell of “You get away from her!” mixed with a beast’s bellow blasted into her consciousness, causing the heroine to focus her blurred vision to her left.
Said vision was the last sense to return, images clearing into the scene before the Titan’s violet eyes. The one who cried out earlier was Robin, who at this point struggled to stand on his feet, using his staff as a crutch. His protest seemed to be unheard by the still screaming cat-creature, who held in its large paws the reason for worry, an unconscious Starfire. Raven reasoned that the monster somehow trapped Starfire, leaving her open to its attack. It would seem that even the princess powerhouse could not handle long exposure to the sonic blast at such close range.
Cyborg, in the meantime, lay buried under rubble. To be more specific, the remains of a fallen brick wall trapped him up to his waist, immobilizing him. Blue sparks crackled from his busted sonic cannon, and the one hand in its normal form slammed on the cracked sidewalk at his condition.
The cat-creature itself looked haggard, with blackened fur and a few cuts about its body; though it had not slowed considerably during the battle, it definitely received its share of attacks. Even the feline foe’s tail seemed bent out of place.
That may have been, however, because black energy twisted it and yanked it in a certain direction.
Releasing a yowl, the beast turned that way to see a pale teenager with her left hand covered in an onyx glow. The predator quickly tossed away the motionless prey in its paws; Starfire mercifully landed into her boyfriend’s open arms and fell down with him.
Standing shakily, the Azarathean heaved both hands forward and shot off a blast of the same magic as before, forcing the monster back a few inches. The feline shook it off, though seeming to huff a bit.
Raven noticed. It’s wearing us down… but maybe I can wear it down first.
She focused one last time to give all she had. “Azarath Metrion Zinthos!” The mantra accompanied a thick pillar of power, crashing into the leopard-lion that defiantly pressed back. Mental might waged a war against bestial brawn. One gave ground, only to reclaim a bit. The process repeated again, and again.
The conflict felt like hours for the magic-wielder, causing questions to form, questions that certainly went against the clear mind she needed to fight back. Was the beast’s inexplicable rage making it stronger? Why was it this angry in the first place? Was it following a master in some savage way? Was it protecting some perceived territory so fiercely?
Questions about the beast took a back seat to another, more immediate, more important question:
Will I make it out of this?
Just as the pillar of energy broke and disappeared, and the cat-creature rushed forward, the weary Titan’s question received her answer.
Rolled up into a ball, an emerald armadillo flew from the right and intercepted the speeding monster’s face before bouncing off and into a different direction. The cat-creature stumbled and fell, but dizzily recovered to see what stopped its slaughter.
Said opponent unfurled from its ball form and transformed into a gorilla in flight, using his momentum to swing around a light post and launch at the other beast. The green ape slammed hundreds of pounds into the monster in a furious tackle.
The cat-creature tried to rip its aggressor off, but the verdant mass shifted once more into a new shape, wrapping around the enemy’s neck in the form of a ten-foot python. The feline’s breath soon grew short; due to the drawn-out battle, the creature felt its lungs ache in but a few moments. One animal prepared to pry off the other with sheer strength, raising both hands, but soon found them bound by an accurately thrown titanium-fiber bola, the only one in the thrower’s possession. The acrobatic Titan gave a smirk, glad to get some revenge for hurting the loved one in his occupied arm.
Rather than its usual roar of wrath, the cat-creature could only struggle out a hoarse cry and tug against its bonds in futile resistance. A few seconds later, the only sound from the monster was that of its impact after collapsing from lack of oxygen. Sensing that its quarry was unconscious, the python released the tension in its body and changed shape into a familiar face.
Beast Boy stood over the source of the Titans’ troubles with a sigh of relief… and a fanged smirk of victory.
Raven took a moment to close her slacked jaw before calling the usual cleanup crew: the Jump City Police.
“ROBIN!” The red-haired Tameranean pressed her bandaged boyfriend into her bosom. Words flurried from her worried mouth. “Are you still hurting? Should I call the hospital? Oh, please do not leave us!”
“I’m fine, Star.” Robin stifled a groan as his super-strong loved one embraced him a little too much. It did not help that one arm was bruised along with some ribs due to a bad landing during the fight, hence the bandages’ locations on his left side.
Nevertheless, he gave a rare smile to cheer Starfire up. “Seriously — ow! — I’ll be okay. We all will, right, guys?” He waited for an affirmation, but only got some pained muttering from his teammates.
The Titans were back in the living room, this time worse off than when they left. Fortunately, thanks to some sparse healing sessions by Raven and Cyborg’s miraculous patch-jobs on both himself and them, they would be up to full strength in a few days.
As mentioned, Raven’s healing sessions would be sparse, because she had a slight injury of her own; a welt formed since her encounter with the street lamp. The pain would assert itself from time to time, like right now, and her hand reflexively reached up.
Seeing this, Beast Boy came to her aid, handing his serious friend an icepack. “Are you okay?”
The violet-haired sorceress gave a monotone dismissal. “Like Robin said, we’ll be fine. This’ll heal.” She unwisely leaned her head back onto the couch before wincing forward. “Ow!”
“Raven!” Despite the fact he was on the other side of the couch, the changeling closed the gap immediately. He did not even realize he was holding her forward, arm on one shoulder, until he found himself unable to speak.
Raven, however, became quite aware of the sudden presence of green in her personal space. A delicate turn to her left would put their faces in line. If he leaned in a bit closer, she realized, he could… they could—
“S-so!” A green-eyed Titan reclaimed his cracking voice, backing up to the nearby cushion. The half-robot who moved over barely restrained a chuckle at the whole scene. The technological Titan took an elbow nudged into his side that did little effect.
After hearing Cyborg do a false cough to clear his throat, Beast Boy tried to piece a thought together again. “So… How’d I do for a sick guy?”
Recently pulled over her head, an indigo hood concealed Raven’s expression (and previously flushed cheeks) from the changeling. “Well… I would have to say… that was…”
The youngest Titan’s chest puffed up with pride.
“The most irresponsible, reckless — stupidest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life!”
His chest deflated. “Wha… huh?”
“What were you thinking? Did you think you could take that thing on your own? You’re still healing, in case you didn’t remember that!” Her voice kept her emotion hidden, but her eyes said something else. Angry amethyst bore into confused verdant as the half-demoness stood over him. “If the rest of us hadn’t have weakened the cat-creature before you got there, you would have gone down with us!”
The so-called daredevil finally caught on and stared right back. “What I thought was that I should help my friends!” When he stood to face her equally, Raven realized that they were actually the same height. When did he grow this much?
She broke away from this thought as the green teen continued. “In case you didn’t remember, the other security cameras were still on before you left! I saw Cyborg pounced on by that lion-thing, then that huge explosion — I don’t know how that didn’t break the cameras. Then I saw you lying there…” His eyes averted hers in recalling the image.
“The point is, I’m not gonna let some giant pussycat or anything else make a meal out of you — any of you! Not when I can do something about it!”
Eyes locked in a conflict of glares, neither backing down. Robin and the others merely watched the standoff, curious about its ending. Even the large Cyborg slid back a bit to escape some of the tension. He hoped that a certain Titan would not end up lost in a dark dimension after this.
Suddenly, it was over. The one to give ground was Raven. “Sorry. I guess I was just… concerned.” Violet orbs turned away in admittance. “And… well… Thanks.”
“Yes, we are all thankful!” The red-haired heroine burst from her seat, painfully bringing Robin up with her. “Oh! I am sorry!”
“Nice job, grass stain.” The metallic Titan patted his smaller friend on the back, almost putting his head in a collision course with Raven’s — or it would have, did she not anticipate this and put up a thin shield off which bounced his skull. “Heh. Sorry, B.” Beast Boy sniffled an “it's okay” while checking his nose for bleeding.
Helping up the poor boy off the ground, Raven expressed a passing thought. “You know, this means you saved my life twice in a row. We’re not even.”
“Don’t worry about it! With me being so reckless,” Beast Boy reused a word of hers, “you’ll probably save my butt a hundred times over. Besides, I got enough of a reward that time on the roo—”
A pale hand slapped over the shape-shifter’s mouth, but by then it was too late.
“The roof?” Cyborg raised the question with a sly grin. “Just what happened on the roof between you two?” Starfire flew over and listened closely, wondering if the relationship between her two comrades was anything like the one between her and Robin. Though one could not see his eyes, looking closely at the ex-sidekick's mask would show that one “eye” rose higher than the other one; even he was interested.
Thanks to a timely arrival, he saved a teammate from the finishing blow of a cat-creature. Thanks to a slip of the tongue, however, today’s hero faced a new enemy: the inquiring looks of his friends.
“Uh… you see…”
While Beast Boy began to crack under the pressure, Raven sighed and palmed her own face.
Only one thought came to mind: