Would it end up the same way if the roles were reversed?
Armando's eyes went wide and he just gaped for a second before asking in disbelief, "Garfield...these are your friends?" The Titans, save Raven, smiled awkwardly; Beast Boy just nodded. "I know what you all want! I'll cook it up for you right away!"
Cyborg looked puzzled. "How do you already know what we want?"
Armando was positively beaming. "The Teen Titans are well-known in the pizza shops! We all talk to each other so we're all prepared for you!" As he wrote the words "Teen Titans" on his pad in a vaguely comprehensible scribble, he continued with a smile, "They'll never believe this!" Hanging the order in the queue behind him, he called over his shoulder, "Free of charge, Garfield!" That made Beast Boy smile with masked embarrassment, as he had no money with him in the first place. "It'll be ready in ten minutes."
Beast Boy beckoned the other five to join him at a table to the side of the counter, but did not even wait for them all to sit down before he began asking them about the exploit in the bank with a sort of boyish excitement in his eyes and voice. "Dudes! That sounded awesome! How did you guys do it?"
The Titans gave a group chuckle before Robin said, "Well, the break didn't work, so we just all came together and...well, the usual. You know about us; you know what I mean."
The newcomer, though it was true that he knew what Robin meant, could not resist the downward slide of his eyes towards the table. "Yeah, I guess I do." Bringing his eyes back up to meet Raven, sitting across from him, he tried changing the subject. "So what's next for the Teen Titans? Control Freak? Warp? The Game Master?" Seeing their confused looks, he continued. "They were bad guys back where I'm from, in Steel City."
"No, Beast Boy, nothing like that. We have bigger things to worry about," Robin said. "Titans, Jinx doesn't normally work alone. She's up to something."
Raven rolled her eyes. "Right. And I'm sure Mumbo had something to do with Slade, too."
The table, save Beast Boy, chuckled in agreement, and Cyborg added, "Really, man. We all know Slade's a big threat - a really big threat - but not everybody's working for him."
Tired of being confused, Beast Boy cut in before Robin could say anything back to Cyborg. "Who's Slade?"
"He is a very bad man who made Robin do very bad things!" Starfire punctuated her simple statement with a nod, as if that were all that needed to be said about Slade.
"That's about right, actually. He keeps attacking the city," Robin began, "and he keeps getting away, no matter how much we fight. And we still don't know who he is or why he's after us." Everyone could hear the obsessed anger rising in his voice; it always came up when he was talking about Slade. "He's a madman and he must be sto-"
"Pizza's ready!" Armando said, preempting Robin's emotional explosion. Beast Boy turned in his seat and grabbed one his order from the counter while Armando served the rest to the Titans personally. He then left them to eat with a beaming smile on his face.
"Robin, Slade can wait for now," Terra said, taking a piece from the pan pizza Armando had brought. "For now, let's just eat. We'll worry about stopping him later." Robin sighed and mumbled something under his breath, but eventually reached for his slice and joined the others in lunch.
"So what's Slade like, anyway? Horns? Guns? Helper guys?" In the T-Car on the way back to the Tower, Beast Boy was still asking questions about Slade. "Lasers or anything?"
Turning his head behind him to look at Beast Boy from the front seat, Robin answered, "He looks...normal. Tall, fit, agile...you know. Normal for a human. No special powers; no oddities or anything." He caught himself. "Well, aside from the mask."
Robin's description, though sparing, brought flashes of earlier that day into Beast Boy's head. He had not been able to completely make out the silhouette, but he assumed now that it was taller than he, and he knew that it had worn a mask of some sort. He felt ready to say just that to his new leader. "Uhm...Robin?"
"Yeah, Beast Boy?"
And all of the sudden, he no longer felt ready. He thought it would be in everyone's best interests if he made no mention of what had happened in the vault. How would they react if they knew he didn't completely trust them, he worried. "Erm, nevermind."
Robin looked at Beast Boy, confused, but just shrugged and turned back around in his seat. "Okay." The rest of the ride went on in uneasy silence until the six teens were back at their tower once more.
"So what were you going to tell Robin earlier?" Terra asked casually, while she and Beast Boy were both in her room. The question came as a shock to the latter.
"Uhm, why? I mean, it really wasn't important or anything." He smiled nervously and placed one hand on the back of his neck. "Seriously. It was nothing."
Terra smiled back, understanding. "All right. If it's not something you want to say, you don't have to say it."
"I don't not want to say it!" Beast Boy protested, bringing his hand down hard onto his knee. "I just..."
"I just don't think I can tell you," he admitted. "I don't... I don't think I can."
"Beast Boy," Terra began with tenderness in her voice that, with how seriously Robin had been taking the team lately, she rarely had the chance to use. "You can tell me anything."
He almost did not believe her at first. "A...anything?" She nodded. "You sure?" Again her head moved in response. He paused, a little cautious and more than a little fearful, before he said, "If...if I tell you this, you promise to still be my friend?"
"Beast Boy," she said again. She got up off her bed and walked across the room to sit next to her friend on the semicircular couch. "Beast Boy, you couldn't say anything that would make me stop being your friend."
Looking at her in surprise, he asked, "You mean it?"
She took his gloved hand in hers and looked straight into his muddled, cloudy green eyes, and she said to him, "I mean it." As if that were not enough, the way she had said those three words had made it impossible to even conceive the possibility that she could have been lying.
"Okay," he conceded, content that this was something he could confer safely to her. "Back in the bank, when I got thrown into the vault by Robin-"
"Which was an accident," she interjected.
"Yeah, an accident. Yeah, so after that...yeah. I think... I think I saw Slade in the vault with me."
"/Slade?/ Really? Are you sure?" She did not think it was possible; surely Robin would have known if Slade were there.
"I think. I mean, I don't know what he looks like, but yeah. He was, like, seriously tall and way creepy."
"Sounds like him, yeah. Wait," she decided to ask as it hit her, "why would that make me not want to be your friend any more? If anything, it just strengthens our friendship."
"Because, uhm-" Beast Boy started, but was again cut off by the dual signal of both his and Terra's communicators. Relieved to get out of the conversation, he pulled out the small beeping disc and got up off the couch. "Come on. Robin needs us." He walked out of their room and only looked back once, to make sure that Terra was following behind him.
"Hello, Titans. It's a pleasure to talk to you again," the cold, smooth voice on the monitor said.
Robin scowled and spoke the name of the person on the screen through clenched teeth. "Slade. What do you want?"
"Now, now, Robin. If I tell you that, that would ruin the fun." The man could have been laughing behind his mask, from the tone in his voice. "I have placed six bombs in specific places around the city. You have forty minutes to find them all and deactivate them. If one explodes, they all do." The man behind the mask glared at and through the Titans, and they could all tell that he was smiling a sick, twisted grin behind the orange and black. "Tick-tock, Titans." The image flickered out of existence.
The congregation was stunned.
"How are we to find these explosive weapons if he left us no indication of their locations?" Starfire asked, already knowing the answer.
"We start looking," Robin said before giving orders. "Cyborg: Run a scan of the city, and do it as quickly as you can. We don't have enough time for a fully extensive one. Search the important locations in government and for citizens. That includes the Tower and the surrounding area."
"What shall the rest of us do?"
"We wait until Cyborg finishes the scan."
"Uhm, dudes," Beast Boy tried to jump in.
"Robin," Cyborg said, "it's gonna take about ten minutes."
"Ten minutes? We don't have ten minutes!"
"Jump City's a big place with a big social scene. If you want me to hit everything you want, you gotta wait."
"Great. We've already got a time limit to worry about and now it's just going to be shorter!"
"Look, Robin, I'm sorry, but that's how it's done!"
"Dudes!" Beast Boy yelled, which did manage to get the attention he wanted.
Robin, already frustrated with Slade first and now Cyborg, ground his teeth. "What, Beast Boy?"
"What if he's not attacking the stuff you think he's attacking? What if he knows you think he's attacking the popular places and he's making you think that because he knows you'll go to the wrong places?"
After working through the phrasing, Raven said to Robin, "He has bad English, but a good point. Slade's lied to us before about bombs. Remember?"
"Please, friend Raven, do not mention that any more. We have passed those very bad times."
"No, Star, she's right," Cyborg said. "And so's BB. Robin, a full scan is going to take twenty, maybe twenty-five. It'll only give us fifteen minutes, but it'll guarantee us a result. We'll find every last one of them."
"You think we can get to and deactivate six bombs in fifteen minutes? Are you crazy? We'll never be able to do it! There's just not enough time!"
"There can be enough time," Terra said from the back of the room, next to Beast Boy. "We could split up. Six of them, six of us."
"Considering Slade was telling the truth," Raven reminded.
"It's still a risk! It's too dangerous!"
"Robin, it's a risk we have to take. Either we do the full scan of the city, or we don't find all the bombs and the city gets destroyed." Cyborg sighed. "I'm doing the full scan. It's the only thing we can do to keep the city completely safe."
"If Beast Boy had just kept his mouth shut, we could have been halfway to finding those bombs by now!" Robin's thoughts stewed in his head. He glared at Beast Boy in much the same fashion that Slade had glared at the Titans before his face had left their presence.
"Why is he so ticked at me? All I did was try to help," Beast Boy thought. And again Slade's words echoed in his head without him even calling them up.
"Does he think that you're not necessary?"
He turned away from the group, away from Robin, and walked to the door of the main room of Titans Tower. "Call me in twenty-five," he said over one shoulder and walked out the door.