Would it end up the same way if the roles were reversed?
"Beast Boy isn't answering," Robin said to the others from his post at the bridge. Robin was not so interested in discovering why, but the rest of the Titans had other ideas.
"Well, let's check it out. He's at the construction site, right?" Cyborg asked without looking for an answer. "I'll check if he's okay." Starfire and Terra audibly agreed to his plan, and even though Raven said nothing, Cyborg knew she would follow through.
Robin sighed and severed his connection with the others. Beast Boy had caused him enough problems already; his heart rate, for one, was yet to return to normal after that whole fiasco with Slade. Raven had been right; there weren't any bombs at all. Slade had tricked them again and he didn't even have the guts to show his face -- such that it was -- for a fair fight. What did Slade want from them?
He sighed again and boarded the R-Cycle, then opened the communicator again and activated the map. After placing the communicator in its circular holder on the dashboard and securing it, he kicked off the ground and began his drive to the site.
The Titans, regrouped, could find no clues as to Beast Boy's whereabouts at the construction site. Robin would not dare say it out loud but he thought that could have been more a good thing than anything else.
It was no use. They had combed every last inch of the site and found nothing, not even the traces of his communicator. Terra, feeling absolutely miserable that they lost somebody she actually liked so quickly - too quickly - pressed her back against the nearest flat surface and slid down to the yellow base of the crane she stood on.
Something about it seemed...off, though. It was noticeably not flat. There was a slump about midway through; she stood up and inspected it. The metal looked crushed, and in the sort of fashion that was no accident. No stray rock could have done what happened; it was human, and very intentional. And there was only one person she knew of who was strong enough to do this.
She called Robin over. "C'mere, look at this," she indicated the dent to him. "Someone did this, and I think it's recent." She already knew the next word to part from Robin's lips; she only hoped it weren't true.
"Slade," he practically hissed. "He's got Beast Boy." He looked up from the arm of the crane and turned to Cyborg. "Is there any way you can pinpoint Slade's location?"
"Not without the Tower computer," Cyborg confessed, "and even then it would be nearly impossible. It's configured to do surface scans, but Slade's base could be underground. It might not even be in Jump City."
"Robin," Raven started, "why don't we check his old base? You know where it is--"
"Raven," Starfire tried to interject with concern in her voice, but Raven ignored her.
"--already, and maybe there will be some clues there as to where he's hiding now."
"That's a good idea, Raven, but if Slade is half as smart as I think he is, he's already destroyed his old base and relocated." Robin gave a quick apologetic glance to Terra before he continued. "So there's no way to find him. We can only wait until he attacks again." It was definitely not something he wanted to admit, but when he saw Cyborg nod in response, he left himself with no other choice. "Let's get back to the Tower. We'll work it out as soon as we can."
Terra did not need to be told twice. She was the first to leave the scene and the first to arrive back at the Tower. Nobody, not even Starfire (with whom she had the greatest rapport of all the Titans - save, of course, Beast Boy), could coax her out of her room for dinner, video games, "the mall of shopping", or anything of that sort. And for good reason.
Yes, it had only been a few hours, but it had been a busy few hours. She and Beast Boy had gotten to fight alongside once, and he had saved her once - granted it was a rather ridiculous threat she had faced, but still, it stood that he had saved her. They had talked about issues very close to him, which, as she had said, only served to strengthen their friendship. He had gotten the Titans a free lunch, though that was fairly low on her list of priorities.
And she had overheard him saying that he would do...something for her. What had he said? He had said that...that he wanted to leave, but he resolved that he would not leave, in the end. He said that he would stay for her. That only proved that he felt the same way about her as she felt about him.
She had seen what Slade did to people. She was there when Slade had taken Robin as his apprentice. If Beast Boy really were with Slade, then she knew the next time she would see him...
She swallowed hard and buried her head in her pillow, not wanting to even think of that. And yet, the harder she tried not to think about it, the more prominent it became in her mind. The next time she would see Beast Boy, he would be working for Slade. She would have to fight him.
Another reality that could not be admitted. Another truth that could not be fought. And so Terra told herself that it would not end up that way. It would be different this time. Robin was different from Beast Boy; Beast Boy would know where his loyalties really were. Beast Boy would be a survivor. He could fight Slade, and he would win. And he would come back.
It was just something beautiful to mask the ugly truth. An irresistible lie. The problem, though, was that Terra knew it was a lie, even though she sorely wanted to believe it.
As the moon rose on Titans Tower, Terra was the first to cry herself to sleep.
"Wake up, Garfield."
Beast Boy groaned and clutched his forehead in his hand. Still dazed, he asked, "Wh...where am I?"
The mask glinted. "Garfield, you are where you belong."
"I belong with the Titans!" he protested with his eyes still half-closed to protect his still-adjusting eyes from the bright and flickering light coming from a large screen in front of him.
"You don't really believe that, do you?" He put one gloved hand, rough and stiff to the touch, under Beast Boy's chin and pushed his head upright. "Look how quickly they gave up searching for you." On the screen he was now forcing Beast Boy to watch was a live feed from the construction site. For a while, the image of Robin just standing there and talking was prominent.
But then the image on the screen changed to focus on Terra. Beast Boy watched in absolute disbelief as she just tore up a chunk of earth and flew off without so much as glancing back.
He stared with wide eyes even when the screen turned itself off and the image was no longer there. "You don't belong with them," he heard Slade say, but it seemed far off from his own thoughts. "Terra...she would do that? She heard me talking earlier...is it my fault? Does she still like me after she heard all that?"
"You don't belong with them, Garfield. You belong with me." Slade did not phrase it as if it were a choice, but an obligation. "I can give you everything they could not: Importance. Acceptance. Worth."
He had been searching for a place where he would be accepted; that was definitely true. And though the closest he had come to that had been the Titans, he knew that he was wrong about Terra. She did not feel the same way as he did for her; or at least, if she had once, she did no longer. And with the Titans' only saving grace gone from him...
"I'll do it," he said. Slade nodded and behind his mask, smiled.
Two weeks had passed since that night at the construction site. The other Titans had seemed to have forgotten about what happened that night completely, instead indulging in some insane events involving a double of Robin from another universe. Terra did not participate, though, because she rarely left her room aside from having to eat and thus had not been present during the entire alternate universe fiasco. From what she could tell, though, it resolved itself fairly well. Not that she cared much.
She left her room to eat breakfast on the fifteenth day since Beast Boy's disappearance. It was a late breakfast - closer to lunch than anything - but she knew Cyborg would have waffles for her anyway. He had been the most attentive to her problems over the past fortnight, with Raven in close second. Robin and Starfire were often off in their own little world, and it had been that way ever since Robin had been forced to go to prom with the human daughter of a giant moth. She was still trying to figure that out.
"The usual, Terra?" Cyborg asked, knowing the answer, as she walked into the main room. He was finishing his breakfast, which he had made only recently, so the toaster was still warmed up. He stood up with his plate, belched slightly, and walked over to the sink, where he deposited his plate and picked up a clean one, then from the sink to the freezer to grab two waffles, and from there to the toaster to prepare her food.
"You doing any better today?" he asked while he was loading up the waffles. He was not expecting a positive answer, so he was not surprised when he turned around and she was hanging her head. "It's been hard for me, too. Not as hard, obviously, but still. He was cool to have around, no matter what Robin thought about him. And I really wish I could find Slade's base, but I just don't have the equipment for it."
"It's okay, Cyborg." It was not okay and they both knew it. "You've apologized enough. It's not even your fault. Slade'll have to come back eventually, and when he does, we can track him then."
"You sure you can wait that long?" As soon as he said it, he knew it was the wrong thing to have asked. Terra stammered and he covered his tracks. "You don't have to answer that." Before she could say anything else, the toaster dinged and Terra's breakfast popped out of the slots. Cyborg turned around and put the two waffles on the plate next to the toaster, grabbed a clean knife and fork, picked up the plate, and gave the meal over to Terra.
She took the plate with a "thanks, Cyborg," and moved to the fridge looking for something suitable to drink. Cyborg left the kitchen part of the main room and walked to the large screen that was going through its daily visual scan of the city, as requested by Terra thirteen days before, and stopped. He stopped because the scan had stopped; it had stopped on a very unsettling image, at that. Cyborg's jaw dropped from the shock. "No way," he said in a more hushed voice than usual.
"'No way' what, Cyborg?" Terra asked, her head pulling out of the fridge. She would just have to drink water with her breakfast this morning.
"Uh, Terra, trust me. You don't wanna see this." He had only her interests in mind saying that.
She walked over to where he was standing and started to ask, "See wh--", but when she looked at the screen, the words just stopped. A plate shattered on the floor, but that was the only sound.