Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ First Love, Old Flames, and Fangirl Crushes! ( Chapter 11 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

OOC: Sorry for the huge gap between chapters here. As I said, Super Smash Brothers Brawl is the main culprit for this chapter taking longer than some of the others. The Booster Gold Showcase also had a lot to do with it. Anyway, hopefully I can churn out the next chapter a lot faster—look for the action to really pick up then, too! Enjoy, and be sure to leave me a comment so I know what you think! Thanks!
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and those characters and those in Titans East are owned by DC Comics. It is with great respect to them, as well as other Titans writers and the staff of the animated series, that I use their creations.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 11: First Love, Old Flames, and Fangirl Crushes!
THE TEEN TITANS—Teenage heroes and reality TV stars:
Robin—Dick Grayson: Arrogant former circus star, acrobat extraordinaire and hopeful ladies man.
Wonder Girl—Donna Troy: Adopted sister of Wonder Woman, bestowed with the powers of the Amazons.
Speed—Wally West: A bitter, living embodiment of the mythical Speed Force.
Cyborg—Victor Stone: Half flesh, half machine—all human.
Beast Boy—Garfield Logan: Goofy, insecure animal shapeshifter and former member of the Doom Patrol.
Raven: Cynical empath shrouded in mystery.
Starfire—Princess Koriand'r: Honest, caring newcomer to Earth capable of flight and generating energy blasts.
TITANS EAST—Teenage heroes aiming for fame, fortune, and the honor of being a true Teen Titan!:
Flamebird—Bette Kane: Spoiled rich heiress, athlete, and Robin fangirl.
Arsenal—Roy Harper: Former bad-boy sidekick and current government agent and weapon master with perfect aim.
Impulse—Bart Allen: Hyperactive super speedster from the future with no sense of danger.
Bumblebee—Karen Beecher: Cybernetic genius with an insect themed power suit.
The Herald—Malcolm Duncan: Ex-thug armed with a wormhole generating horn.
Terra—Tara Markov: Mysterious wanderer with control over the very Earth itself!
Magenta—Francis Kane: Timid girl possessing tremendous magnetic power.
This is the true story of seven teenaged superheroes, picked to live in a house, fight crime together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when heroes stop being polite, and start being real. The Real World: Titans Tower.
“Well well, I see some of you know each other,” said Mr. Loren Jupiter, director of `The Real World: Titans Tower', smiling smugly as he watched the two teams of Titans meet for the first time. To put it bluntly, he was being the same smarmy bastard he always was—he knew full and well the relationships between the members on both teams—he wouldn't have brought them onto the show if he hadn't!
“Not as well as I'd like to,” smiled Flamebird. Winding up her arms, she leapt into the air, soaring towards Robin like a cat would its prey. Landing on his chest, she knocked him flat on his back and planted her lips firmly on his—the kiss was sure to drive the episode's rating up to `TV-M.'
Robin: “Holy f---ing s---! She knows how to kiss! Seemed kinda familiar too…”
Starfire: “Amazing. The first person on Earth who is as open with their emotions as a Tamaranian goes after my boyfriend! Teamwork shall be most difficult with this one…”
Beast Boy: “Jeez, she moves faster than Wally does! Yes, that's a pun about his super speed…I thought it was funny at least…
Dick's eyes were starting to glaze over before Koriand'r pulled the girl off him. “What do you think you are doing?!”
“Saying hello,” mumbled Flamebird as she tried to pry open the Tamranian's grip, but the heiress's strength barely even began to be enough to break free. “Will you let go already?”
“You have an odd way of saying hello,” remarked Kory as she dropped the girl.
With a smirk Flamebird explained, “I just figured he'd recognize me best that way!”
Robin: “She had a point—I never forget a kiss! Just took me a second, but the strawberry lip gloss combined with that kinky little thing she does with her tongue was a dead giveaway!”
“You're that chick Deathstroke took hostage, aren't you?!” As she eagerly nodded yes, Dick further inquired, “Since when have you been a superhero?”
“Since Daddy bought me some equipment and this costume!” she exclaimed, face beaming. “Name's Flamebird, but you can call me Bette—Bette Kane!”
Confused, the object of her affection asked, “But didn't your mom—”
“Yes, mother sent me out East to `straighten up', but Daddy doesn't listen to her if he doesn't wanna—not when his baby girl needs something! And I definitely needed to see Robin again—and what better way to catch your attention than with a little super-heroics of my own?”
Clearing his throat, Jupiter added, “Indeed, it seems the Titans East was created simply as a way for these fans to meet all of you—and how could I turn a blind eye to such endeavors?!”
Wonder Girl: “Very easily. You don't become a superhero for selfish reasons like that! Fame and fortune are what the villains want!”
“You too, Speedy?” Donna Troy floated over a crimson clad archer, decked out with his bow, quiver, and over a dozen other weapons. “It's not like you haven't met heroes before.”
“Har har,” grumbled Roy Harper as he pulled a badge from his belt and slapped it onto the table for the half-Amazon to read. “Things change, and I left Speedy behind when I cleaned up my life, Donna. I'm agent Roy Harper of Checkmate now, but if you want a codename, call me Arsenal.”
Wonder Girl's eyes shot open wide. “But what about your secret identity?”
“Don't need one anymore, thanks to Deathstroke. You forget or something?”
Wonder Girl: “Hera, I did, if only for a moment! Roy was once the partner of Green Arrow, and for a time Green Arrow, in his civilian identity of Oliver Queen, operated as Mayor of Star City on the side! Political enemies of his hired Deathstroke to find dirt on Ollie, and did he ever! Deathstroke barely escaped with his life, and the IDs of both Green Arrow and Roy became public knowledge!
“I guess it's easy to forget, because Ollie operates even better now—he never was much of one for secrets. And Roy, well, he dropped off the radar not long after that—I heard he was having drug problems…”
Starting to smile just a tad bit, Roy continued. “And no, I'm not like them. I've been assigned to keep an eye on these guys.”
“Doesn't look like you're doing a very good job,” replied Donna with a small chuckle as she glanced towards Robin and Flamebird.
Wonder Girl: “Not that I was complaining, mind you. Actually, I'd have paid to see Dick get a taste of his own flirtatious medicine like that—I wish I had it on tape!”
You try keeping a wild group like this in check constantly,” challenged Arsenal. “Ain't as easy as you'd think, even for a girl wonder like you.”
“Hey, just look at my team. Believe me, I know—it isn't.”
Pulling down his sunglasses slightly for a better look, Roy simply replied with a crooked smile. He'd only met Donna once or twice before he quit being Speedy, but she hadn't changed a bit—she still had the same old attitude, same arrogance…and she was still just as hot!
“I didn't do this for the fame either Wally, you know that.” Wally West, avatar of the mythical Speed Force, was stunned as he stared at the beautiful blonde in the purple costume who had spoken the words. She was the last person Speed ever thought he'd see in a superhero costume!
“Then, why did you? Fran, you hated your powers…”
Speed: “Francis Kane, Fran…was my best friend growing up. She was the first girl I ever loved—before Raven, the only. I once said that my Aunt Iris made me remember that there could be at least one good person in a world of idiot and jerks, but that wasn't really fair—there was always Fran too. She's one of the most timid, decent, kind people I know.
“That's why what happened to her just wasn't fair! Apparently she had hidden magnetic powers, that appeared when she was driving with her father and brother. They hurled their car off a cliff, and only Fran survived. Fran's mother blamed her for the accident, and was convinced she was possessed. Poor Fran, she was crushed. I tried to help her, but it was so hard. She hated her powers so much, and they drove a wedge between us.
“I wish I could've helped more, but it wasn't much longer after that I had my accident and…well, dammit, I got preoccupied with that. I should've gone an' seen her, or called, or something, but I was too freaking wrapped up in myself again! Why would she even come back to me?”
“I did, Wally,” began Fran, now also known as Magenta, “But I'm starting to get the hang of them. All I'd been doing was feeling sorry for myself, letting myself be swallowed up in my grief…but then I saw you, and the horrible things that'd happened to you, and how you still became a superhero anyway! I couldn't keep kicking myself when you were doing great things with the powers that ruined your life!”
The speed specter's energy jaw dropped.
Speed: “She…doesn't know what she's saying…I didn't want to be a hero at all, she can't look up to me like that! Aw I feel horrible!”
Wonder Girl: “Has she even been watching the show? Wally only came here in the first place to spite the Flash, and, well, I don't know why he came back, but I'm sure it wasn't altruism!”
“Wow Fran, that's…that's amazing.” Wally was truly struck, not to mention dumbfounded, but the new sensations wouldn't last for long as a black, bird shaped shadow suddenly loomed over him. Only a second later, Raven was standing in-between the two.
“Would you like to introduce me to your friend, Speed?” In response, Wally growled as he tried to compose himself.
Speed: “And then we have Raven. Some part of me loves that girl so f---ing much, yet I just want to hit her, just want to forget she exists—but I can't! I keep running back to her, and she keeps shooting me down!
“For once, I think I'm gonna take some of her advice—she said to find somebody else to love. I'm sure as hell gonna try—Fran didn't come back into my life for nothing!”
Raven: “The affection between Speed and Magenta is…palpable. They once loved each other—maybe they truly stopped, or maybe they just fooled themselves into believing that—but there is still affection there. From Speed I am sensing something I have rarely, if ever, felt from him: hope, hope that he and her can again have the relationship they once had.
“Still, he also feels fear. There is something that severed their first attempt at love—while they both seem to have hidden it deep within their psyches, it definitely was not Speed's accident—ironically, this may just be the first time he had not blamed something on his not having a body. Of course, Speed is also feeling resentment for me, and I cannot blame him, but I truthfully just hope he finds what he needs…”
“Uh, hi. I'm Fran, but the other Titans, they call me Magenta. You're?”
“She's Raven,” growled Speed, turning so he faced away from the dark empath. “She was just leaving, right?”
“WALLY!” Before the twisted love triangle could carry itself any further a tiny kid dressed in white and red, with tremendous feet and a head so full of hair it was almost a mane, tackled the speed specter, knocking him to the ground. “Boy, is it good to see you!”
Frowning, Wally West let his solidified energy body dissolve, and lightning erupted around the wild child—Impulse—hiding both within a ball of sparking power.
“What'd you do man?” Impulse looked back and forth as a whirlwind of Speed Force churned around him, like the speedster was standing in the eye of a tornado. “Whatever it is, it's totally cool!”
“I added to your speed to hide us in energy for a few seconds,” explained Wally, his voice echoing from all directions. “It'll keep the cameras in me off us long enough for me to tell you how freaking stupid you are! Do you want to blow your cover?!”
Bart Allen looked confused for a second, scratching his head until a lightbulb almost literally lit within his scattered brain. “Oh yeah, that secret identity thing!”
“Exactly. People find out you're my cousin, and it won't be long `til they realize Uncle Barry's your grandpa and the Flash—and honestly I couldn't care less `bout him anymore, but if he's outed then so's Aunt Iris, and I won't let you do that to her!”
“Woah, I love gramma!” Impulse was offended. “I'm cool, I won't blow anything! Honest!”
Things started to return to normal as Speed's body slowly began to reform itself. “Better not.”
Crossing his arms, Bart looked at his cousin out of the corner of his eye and stuck out his tongue. “Jerk.”
***ON THE AIR***
“What was that?!” Standing above the two speedsters was a man half flesh, half machinery: Victor Stone, the Teen Titan called Cyborg. “Your energy readings were off the charts!”
As they both climbed to their feet, Wally answered, “Wasn't prepared for all that speed, and my energy surged a bit. Nothing we couldn't handle.”
Cyborg: “Well, doesn't really seem like it makes any scientific sense, but then again nothin' people like Wally and the Flash and Impulse can do does, so no reason to get picky now.”
“'Kay…” Shrugging, Vic turned towards Bart. “So, you know Wally too?”
Impulse's eyes bulged, and he panicked. He scratched his head, his eyes darted, and he stuttered over several words before dashing off, reappearing only a second later with a thin, blonde girl in a black T-shirt in his grip. “Say hi to everybody, Terra!”
Blushing, she timidly waved. “Um, hey?”
Wally smacked himself in the face, while Vic and the others simply looked confused. “Hi, Terra. Impulse, you didn't really answer my question…”
“She can throw rocks!” replied the boy with boundless enthusiasm, grinning nervously. It was as if he was holding an entirely separate conversation in his head.
Cyborg: “Let's just hope this kid never needs to keep a secret…”
“So,” snickered Speed, “Rock throwing is considered a super power now?”
Tara Markov rolled her eyes. “I have terrakinesis—I move rock with my mind. There's a lot more to that than just `throwing rocks.'”
“Tomato tomahtoh,” dismissed Impulse.
“Woooooooooah,” whistled Cyborg, “How'd a little girl like you come across powers like that?!”
Her smile was instantly gone, and Terra lowered her head, her long blonde hair slightly obscuring her face. “Nowhere good.” Hoping to change the subject, she quickly found something to easily distract everybody. “What's up with the green kid?”
Indeed, something was up. Beast Boy stood stiff, like he was `at attention' in the army, but his eyes were hazy, and his jaw hung limp, drool dangling from his lip. “You okay?” asked the earth-mover, poking him in the forehead.
Beast Boy: “Yeah, I'm fine…I'm just in love. Which, of course, means I'm gonna be too stupid to say anything back…”
Gar mumbled slightly, and Terra chuckled.
“So, you've got a little scientific curiosity now too?” Looking over his shoulder, Victor Stone saw that he was being addressed by a girl in a bee suit! “Nice to see a literal man of science such as yourself doesn't take it for granted.”
“Not anymore,” replied the half-robot with a small smile. “So, you're…”
A roar comparable to that of a 747 Jet filled the air as Impulse zoomed to her side. “She's Bumblebee! She shrinks down into a real bumblebee, and spreads pollen and stuff!”
“Not even close, whiz kid,” chuckled Bumblebee as she pushed the speedster to the side slightly. “I'm just wearing a suit that replicates the ability of a bee, but makes them dangerous—I can fly, and I've got enhanced strength, stinger blasts on my arms, and the ability to shrink down to bug size, but retain the same strength!”
Cyborg: “Impressive—oddly specific, but impressive. Of course, looking at this team, I can't help but wonder if she stole it from somewhere or somethin'”
“Of course, I designed it all myself from scratch,” bragged the girl as she extended her hand. “Karen Beecher, cybernetics expert at STAR Labs.”
Cyborg: “Damn. I stand corrected!”
“You know, I helped your parents create all your cybernetic body parts back when I was just an intern! It's nice to see you're putting their gift to good use!”
Vic was starting to get embarrassed. “Uh, thanks? Same to you, I guess.”
Blushing, Karen chuckled. “Thanks, but as much as I'm helping people, I'm also really hoping some companies are impressed with my work. I really want to get it out there and show people what I can do, you know?”
Wonder Girl: “Jeez, did anybody besides Magenta join this team just to help people?”
“Yo babe, you haven't introduced me!” Suddenly a young man in a blue hood and a horn in his hand stepped between the two, his arms crossed in annoyance.
“Oh, I'm sorry,” she quickly said. “Vic, this is Mal Duncan—the Herald. I created his horn, which can open teleportation rifts in space!”
Grinning from ear to ear, Malcolm grabbed Bumblebee by the shoulder and pulled her close. “She's also my girlfriend.”
Laughing slowly, uneasily, Cyborg gave them a thumbs up. “Congrats?”
Cyborg: “They're sure an…odd couple, to say the least. And what's with Mal all getting between us? It's crazy, but I think he thinks I'm after Bumblebee! What, just `cause we were talking? Or is it just cause we're all black he thinks I like her? That's just stupid. He's as jealous as Starry—and at least she has a good reason!”
“So Robin, are you impressed?!” Flamebird again got up into the acrobat's face, severely invading his personal space. “I became a super-hero just because of you!”
“Well,” stammered Dick Grayson, “I'm definitely flattered…”
Robin: “But even if I wasn't dating Kory, I'd never go after a nut-job like that! She's one of those chicks that'd go all stalkerish on ya'—I'd wake up in the middle of the night and she'd be out in the bushes, lookin' through my window with binoculars or somethin'! No way!”
“Alright!” Bette Kane nearly exploded from the excitement building up within her athletic body. “We should totally go out tonight and we can fight crime together, and you can share some tips with me, and maybe catch some dinner or—”
“Excuse me!” Suddenly Starfire had taken action, and really, who could blame her? “Dick already has a girlfriend!”
Flamebird was crestfallen, like every hope and dream she ever had had been bent over the alien's knee and snapped in half. “Dick…you're dating her?!
Raven: “My, that was certainly a strong surge of indignation coming from Flamebird. Just the sheer amount of entitlement she feels is astounding—I do not think there is anything she has ever wanted she had not gotten! Perhaps Robin is arrogant, maybe even spoiled as well, but at least he knows how to work for what he wants, such as when he fought Deathstroke. I do not think Flamebird has ever had to work for anything…ever.”
“Okay my Titans…the time for introductions has passed.” Trying his best to look serious and demand attention, Mr. Jupiter leaned over the large, round table. “You'll have plenty of time to talk when we're done, but for now I need to brief you on the mission.”
“So, there is a mission?” Donna asked. “About time you got to it.”
Wonder Girl: “If we were just here to meet these guys, I'd be pretty disappointed. I mean, it interrupted my…'lunch' with Terry, and I was actually enjoying that!”
“Of course you have a mission,” continued Jupiter. “Why just let Titans East come and meet you when they can assist you on your mission?! They get some experience and the chance to work with you, and you get some needed help!”
“Needed?!” Dick scoffed. “I dunno who you're talking about, but we don't need any help—no way.”
Snickering, Jupiter flipped a switch and an image of eight figures came to life on a display screen on the far wall of the meeting room. “Maybe, maybe not, but this will be, by far, the toughest threat you've ever faced, my Titans. The team you are going to take down has committed crimes all over the world, nuked an entire country, evaded capture by various super-hero teams for years—”
“They murdered my family.” Silence fell across the room as fourteen faces turned towards Beast Boy, who had finally roused from his hormone-induced coma. Instead of infatuation, his face showed a year's worth of pent-up anger. “The Brotherhood of Evil killed the Doom Patrol!”
Beast Boy: “I was only seven when my parents were killed while doin' some research in Africa. I already had my powers, and I still couldn't save them! Things were pretty tough then, but I managed to survive and meet up with the Doom Patrol a few years later.
“The DP was never like the League, or even the Titans now. They were really a family. The Chief was like the grandpa, he really knew what was going on and told us what to do. He was a surgeon called Niles Caulder who was paralyzed and in a wheel chair. Robot-man and Negative Man were like my uncles. Cliff was a robot, kinda like Vic `cept with no skin left, and man was he a riot. Larry was more of a downer, real negative, y'know? He had some sort of dark energy guy livin' in him he could attack with—it was totally cool.
“But I was closest to Mento and Elasti-Girl—Steve Dayton and Rita Farr. They adopted me, and raised me the best they could for bein' part of a super-hero team known for fighting the super bizarre. Steve was real strict, but hey, I'm such a goof-off I'm sure I needed it—Rita more'n made up for it anyway. They could never replace my parents, but I was more than happy to call them mom and dad.
“Of course, the Doom Patrol's arch-enemies, the Brotherhood of Evil, killed them too! Again, I couldn't do anything to stop it! I've lost two families now…and now I finally have a chance to do somethin' about it, and I'm totally going to go Rambo on these guys!”
“Exactly why I chose to target them,” explained Loren Jupiter. “If I can help a member of my team, I'm going to!”
“We'll all help,” stated Robin solemnly. “I promise you Gar: They're going down.”
Robin: “After all, I know a thing or two about losing family myself. Revenge can't being `em back, but it sure as hell helps you feel better—I know that much from experience.”
“So, do we have a battle plan?” asked Wonder Girl, frowning with her arms crossed. “Or are we just planning on running in there and beating them up?”
The manipulative director smiled. “Of course! I have faith that with your numbers alone you should be able to stop them, but they'll be very hard to contain afterwards.”
“So, handcuffs aren't going to work?” asked Dick, grinning as he dangled a pair in the air.
“Um, Dick, why are your handcuffs covered in pink fur with black spots?” As Starfire voiced her genuine confusion, Donna buried her head in the palm of her hand and Vic tried to stifle a laugh.
Not even trying to suppress his amusement, Dick just replied with, “Well, let's just say they're `multipurpose'.”
“Ooh, I have a pair just like that!” exclaimed Flamebird happily, which only made Robin blush.
“Handcuffs will be enough for some of them,” began Jupiter, “but for some you're going to need the special weapons I have my boys at the lab working on right now to restrain the rest. It'll still be a few more hours until that's done, so you guys should have plenty of time to get to know each other better—but first, let's get down to business. Here's everything you need to know about the Brotherhood of Evil…”
“So why the Titans?” Several of Robin's training dummies were placed throughout the training room, each with a target painted on its chest—as an arrow shot gracefully into a perfect bullseye, Roy Harper waited for an answer to his question.
Donna Troy wasn't impressed by his arching aptitude. “What do you mean? Why the Titans instead of the Justice League or something?” Arsenal nodded, then stuck his tongue out of the side of his mouth slightly as he let three arrows fly at once—each one struck a bullseye. “There's not much to it, really,” she explained. “The Teen Titans are a chance for me to really make a name for myself leading these guys.”
“You sure that's it?” Roy's smile just aggravated the half-Amazon. “Y'sure it's not just `cause you feel like nobody will notice you on the League because your sister's around?”
Frowning, she simply replied with a mumbled, “You think you know everything…” Suddenly she grabbed the archer's bow and several arrows from his quiver.
Wonder Girl: “Of course, he actually got that right, damn him.”
“I don't know everything, but I know you.” Taking delight in his constant trumping of Donna, Roy continued. “I mean, I was a side-kick too, remember? Of course, Ollie and I had…different problems.”
“Is that why you quit?” Finally Wonder Girl had a question of her own.
“Nah, that was the drugs,” replied Arsenal casually. “Of course, the problems Ollie and I had were half of the reason I got on them, but still…”
Wonder Girl: “Hera. I had heard the rumors about him—we all did—and honestly, I didn't really doubt that they could be true. But I never thought he would just come out and admit it!”
“Y'see, once I finally got clean, I wanted to help out other kids that had got themselves into the same messes I did, and the government helped set me up as an agent to work in the drug shelters and rehabs, plus to fight in the field against traffickers and the like. Of course, sometimes they really need an agent like myself for assignments in the meta-human community and…well, here I am, unfortunately.”
“Fascinating,” said Donna Troy. Though, for once, she actually meant it, she was paying more attention the arrow she was lining up in Roy's bow.
Crossing his arms and shifting his weight, Arsenal laughed. “You really think you can use that?”
Wonder Girl: “Cocky. Well, sometimes actions can speak louder than words!”
Letting this credo ring true, Donna released her grip on the arrow and watched it fly straight into one of the dummies—it was a perfect shot! Roy was dumbfounded.
“Why so shocked, Speedy? Archery's the most popular sport on Themyscara.”
Roy Harper was able to laugh at this, but it didn't mean he was going to be shown up so easily! The agent turned around, facing away from the targets, and pulled out a two guns, one in each hand. “Yeah, but can you do this?” Reaching both arms behind his back, Arsenal fired out several blind shots with each gun. One fired bullets, one laser shots, but it needn't matter which projectile it was—every single one split an arrow in half and landed a second bullseye!
Donna shook her head, trying to hide her smirk. “Show off.”
“C'mon, you guys!” Suddenly both Titans were pulled off in a blur of red and white, and a second later found themselves sitting in bleachers, dragged there by the fastest kid alive himself—Impulse! “The fight's about to start!”
The small bleachers faced a boxing ring—in one corner stood Dick Grayson, Robin, with his girlfriend, Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran, standing at his side. In the other stood Bette Kane, Flamebird, and though the space beside her was empty, only a moment later it was filled by Impulse, his wild mane of hair still falling into place though he'd already skidded to a stop.
“C'mon Bette, you can do it!” exclaimed the speedster.
“Of course,” smiled Flamebird, “Though I'm surprised I have to. I mean, it's me, plus I became a super-hero just to impress him! Still, if he really thinks I'm not up to it…”
“I just wanna see what she can do,” explained Robin, patting his bronze-skinned, alien girlfriend on the shoulder reassuringly. “It's nothing to get jealous about!”
Robin: “I thought it was pretty obvious you just can't say, “Hey, I should be a super hero,” and become one! Maybe everybody forgets it, but I work hard to stay in shape for this, and I worked hard even back at the circus. Sure, I love the fame and the chicks, but if that's all you care about in this line a work, you're not gonna live long…”
“I am not jealous,” insisted Starfire, crossing her arms and turning her head. “I am simply annoyed that she still wishes to pursue you!”
Starfire: “Indeed, it seems she will not take no for an answer. Even this fight is probably indulging her too much—I believe she interprets any attention at all as affection!”
Laughing, Dick nimbly jumped atop the ring's ropes and used them to propel himself into the air. “Try not to get too jealous while I'm busy, Kory!”
“I am not jealous!”
Robin: “She's so hot when she's jealous.”
“Go, not-relative!” cried Magenta from the stands—of course, for a timid girl like her, it wasn't much louder than her speaking voice. She looked over towards Wally, figuring she'd have to explain the nickname, but it looked as if he wasn't paying attention at all! “Wally, what's wrong? Why aren't you watching the fight?”
“'Cause I don't care about the fight, Fran,” sighed Speed, his head hanging low. “I still just can't believe that me and you are back together again, and you're using your powers. I never thought you'd use your powers again!”
Frances Kane chuckled, her nose scrunching as she covered her mouth. “I guess it's not like me at all, huh? But come on, I did this because of you, and for you. Let's just enjoy ourselves, okay?”
There was nothing more Wally West wanted in the world than to just enjoy himself—unfortunately, it just wouldn't work that way. “But Fran, what about…well, you know…your problem.”
Speed: “Fran's magnetic powers were a curse in more ways than one. They hurt her so bad, that when I found out that there was no cure, I just couldn't stay and watch her get hurt over and over again. Maybe I was selfish, maybe it was wrong, but I just couldn't stay with her after that. And if it's still a problem…I dunno, I'm even weaker now…I don't think I could go through it again!”
Magenta was confused. “What problem?”
“WALLY!” Before Wally could even try to figure out how Fran could have forgotten, his little cousin turned his microscopic attention span on the speed specter. “C'mon Wally, watch the fight!” As Bart Allen forcibly turned his big cousin's head towards the ring, his young face filled with a gleeful smile, Speed seethed.
Fran, however, just laughed. Her pure laughter made Wally's face soften.
Speed: “Maybe…maybe I need to stop worrying. Fran doesn't remember it, and she's here, in a costume, using her powers, and there's nothing wrong! Yeah, I definitely worry too much—but seeing her laugh like that, I can forget about out past, I can forget about Raven, I can even get over this brat up here jerkin' my head around…
“Okay, so maybe I'm still pissed at Impulse…but he deserves it!”
Somersaulting through the air, Dick Grayson only narrowly missed his first kick. His opponent rolled backwards, then leapt to her feet—she was a red blur as she threw attacks right and left, never tiring. Gritting his teeth, the acrobat slapped aside most of Flamebird's strikes before leaping over her.
Robin: “'Kay, she's definitely got enough energy, and she's fast enough, and strong enough, but where'd she learn to fight?! Her moves are strong enough by themselves, but she's got no style to them! She's got no flow!”
“Man Bette, what kinda style is that?!”
“Flamebird style!” proudly proclaimed Bette Kane, to the shock, but not surprise of the audience. Not stopping as she talked, Flamebird threw a punch and continued, “When I decided I was gonna be a superhero, I knew I'd have to fight, so I just started going out and learning how to fight stuff! Never had a single lesson!”
Robin: “Figures.”
Turning out of the way of one of her punches, Dick grabbed her arm and hurled the heiress over his shoulder—and out of the ring! “Lesson one, Bette: Don't talk too much when you're tryin' to fight!” Flamebird started to blush. “But don't worry…you have a lot of potential, and a lot of guts! You'll be fine!”
Robin: “Someday. She'll be fine someday—for now she totally doesn't have enough experience. But y'know what? She's gonna be coming on the mission no matter what, so I'm totally not going to break her heart. Piss off a girl and they'll make ya miserable for the rest of the day, right? `Sides, she's still too hot to make too mad!”
Bette's heart practically exploded from her chest. “Oh Dick, thank you! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou—”
“But perhaps you would like to fight me, Bette?” interrupted Kory as she floated into the ring. “Your enemies will not hold back in real life, and neither will I!”
“Yeeeeeeeeah,” Robin slyly slid between his two suitors. “That's probably not a good idea, Kory.” The alien warrior frowned, but didn't say anything in reply.
Starfire: “It is not like I would have hurt her…much.”
“Well, if you guys aren't gonna spar, I will!” The air around Bart Allen crackled as the wild-child zoomed to the middle of the arena, grinning from ear to ear as he smashed his fists together. “C'mon, I can fight all of ya! Free for all: MELEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
The Titans present sighed. “Impulse,” grumbled Speed, “Why don't you go bug Cyborg?”
“Wow, this is amazing!” As Victor Stone escorted his guests—the members of Titans East known as Bumblebee and the Herald—Karen Beecher looked back and forth in awe. “I didn't think anybody outside of STAR Labs had equipment like this!”
“Eh, the credit goes to Jupiter on that one,” Vic said, wondering only for a second where in the world he got the money for it all. “He got me all this gear, I just put it all together.”
Bumblebee's eyes were growing wider and wider, much to the disdain of her boyfriend. “Still, that's pretty amazing! Ever think about patenting any of this stuff? You could probably make a bundle!”
Cyborg shrugged. “I suppose so, but most of the stuff I make is just parts to repair my body or upgrade my weapons, nothing anybody else would be interested in.”
Cyborg: “Plus, I'm not really interested in the money. This is a hobby. It's fun. I have enough money from my folks' patents as it is anyway.”
“Y'know,” continued the metal man, “I've got to make most of my gear real small so it'll fit inside me—maybe we can share some pointers, since you shrink too an' all. There's some stuff I'm workin' on up ahead.” Taking to the air, her gossamer wings buzzing, Bumblebee flew towards the Titan's works-in-progress, but before he could follow he felt his arm being tugged on.
The Herald was holding him back. “Hold it, man,” requested the ex-thug, “We need to talk.” As Vic cocked his head, confused as to what could be going on, Malcolm Duncan made his thoughts perfectly clear with one blunt, succinct sentence: “Stop hittin' on my girl.”
“What're you talking about?!” Cyborg was blown away by the implication. “Look, we're both scientists, this is just science talk. I've got my own girlfriend!”
Mal frowned, obviously not 100% convinced. “I don't deserve her, y'know. She's a genius—I'm nothin'. She shoulda left me on the street to rot, and I keep thinkin' that, any day now, she's gonna realize it and just leave. So `fore that happens, while I still got her, ain't nobody gonna take her away from me. You got that?”
“Yeah. I hear ya'.”
“Mal!” Both Titans looked up. “Come on, you've got to see this!” As Herald hurried off to his love's side, Vic was lost in his own thoughts.
Cyborg: “I want to be mad at him for jumpin' to conclusions like that, but I just can't be. I understand how he feels, and why he's that paranoid. Hell, I feel that way `bout Sarah. I mean, we haven't even had our first date yet, but I've been talkin' to her constantly, and I'm just crazy for her. I know I wouldn't want anybody to take her away from me.”
Suddenly, the machine man's thoughts were cut off by a red and white blur vibrating through the ceiling of his lab. Impulse hit the ground, and instantly was in awe of the sights he beheld. “Wicked!” he exclaimed as he zoomed through the veritable playground Cyborg's workshop provided him with reckless abandon. Vic just sighed.
Cyborg: “Wonderful. This is worse `en a bull in a china shop—hell, he's worse than having Gar in here.”
“Why t'hell're you here?!” asked Victor angrily as he finally managed to lay a hand on the whiz kid.
Bart's lip pouted out and his eyes grew big and pitiful looking, like a cartoon. “I'm booooooooooooored! Nobody'll fight with me and Wally's being all boring and just looking at Fran with that dumb look, and Beast Boy's got that same look and Terra's outside just being all emo, and Wally said to come here so…”
“Hold up,” interrupted Vic. “What's this about Gar?”
“He's just looking out the window at Terra and not movin'. He's been there forever—at least five minutes!”
Cyborg: “Heh, looks like our little Gar's got himself his first crush. I remember how that is, and Gar's already insecure enough that he'll never make the first move. Of course, he's not speaking to me right now `cause I butted into his life once already, but I guess I'm not learnin' my lesson. Seriously though, this isn't like Matt. He'll thank me for this—t'kid just needs a little push…”
Leaning on one knee, Victor made eye contact with Impulse, hoping to actually gain his attention. “Impulse, since you're bored, I've got something very important for you to do…”
Garfield Logan stood in one of the tower's numerous hallways, his face pressed against the glass. Far below him sat a girl named Terra, a girl he'd just met, yet who had totally stolen his heart. Her scrawny legs dangled over the edge of the island's dock as she casually picked up small pebbles and skipped them across the water. Gar couldn't take his eyes off her.
Beast Boy: “I wish I knew why I felt like this. Yeah I've thought girls were pretty before, but it's never made me feel so…weird, like everything's all fuzzy or something. I want to talk to her so bad, but somebody as pretty as her wouldn't have anything to say to me…”
Suddenly, Beast Boy was gone. He felt the wind in his face and saw colors blurring past him for a split second, only to find himself now standing right next to the girl! Between them was Impulse, who was just grinning devilishly. “Okay you two, enough being emo!” And then, as fast as he got there, he was gone.
“That was odd…” said Gar, marveling at how fast the kid was.
“Eh,” dismissed Tara, “Once you know `im you get used to stuff like this.” Chuckling and nodding in affirmation, the green boy hesitantly sat down next to her.
Beast Boy: “Geez, this is sure awkward. C'mon Gar, think of something!”
“So, what kind of music you like?” Much to his surprise, Terra asked the first question.
Stumbling for a second, Gar replied, “Um, pretty much just Ben Folds Five?”
“That it?” Terra raised an eyebrow in confusion. “You only like one band in the world?”
Garfield shrugged. “It's the only CD I have. I was still real little when my parents died, and then the Doom Patrol was never much on buying silly little stuff like music. And, of course, after they died, I didn't really have much of anything. The last year I've just kinda been on my own—definitely didn't have money for more CDs.”
Beast Boy: “That's half the reason I got on this show. Sure, I can be on TV and be famous and fight bad guys and help people, and all of that's really really cool! But, honestly, I just wanted a place to live, and some money to spend, and…well…I wanted some friends.”
“That's rough,” replied Tara Markov sadly. “Don't worry, we'll get those bastards.”
With a sigh Gar leaned on his back, putting his hands behind his head like a pillow. “I sure hope so. I already screwed up once. I should've been there, but… Y'see, the Brotherhood captured an entire village, and when the Doom Patrol showed up to free it, the Brotherhood jerks ambushed `em! They tied the DP up, and gave them a choice—the Brotherhood would either free them, or the village. Of course, there was no way the DP could let an entire village die, just so they could live, so, y'know…BOOM!
“If I'd been there, maybe I coulda done something! I know I could've sneaked in or helped somehow! But Mento didn't want me in such a dangerous situation, and wouldn't let me come!”
“Then, that doesn't sound like your fault,” said the earth-mover.
Biting his lip for a second, Beast Boy added, “But if I'dve been better, maybe he would've trusted me, and I could've come!”
“And maybe you would've died there too!”
Staring off sadly, Gar simply replied, “Sometimes I think that would've been better…If I could've died a hero with them, not the wimpy kid who couldn't cut it.”
Beast Boy: “Geez, I never told anybody any of this stuff before, not even Vic! There's somethin' about Terra that, that makes me just wanna trust her. The others, they're all so powerful and confidant, I have to make them think I'm just as witty and strong and reliable as they are!”
“I was a princess, y'know,” interjected Tara abruptly.
“I'm a princess,” she expounded, “Of the country Markovia. It's in Europe, real close to Germany, but I haven't been there in ages. My brother Brion and me were part of an experiment to help design super soldiers for our army. They poked and prodded and tested us, put us under a zillion different machines until finally I got my terrakinesis.
“And as soon as I did, I got the hell outta there, and never looked back. I've been everywhere since, just doing the whole superhero thing, seeing the sights, traveling the world.”
“Why haven't ya settled down somewhere? I'm sure there're plenty of towns that would love to have their own superhero, and plenty of people who'd love you.” In reply, the tiny blonde just sighed and looked down. Surprised, Gar sat up and tried to look her in the eye. “What? What's wrong?”
Terra bit her lip and hunched down even further, her hair obscuring her face as she grappled with herself. Finally, reaching a decision, she spoke. “Gar…I can't control my powers. Not fully, anyway. I'll show up somewhere, do a lot of good, then one day it's just too much! I've caused avalanches, earthquakes, even a volcano eruption! I keep trying to do good, but it always blows up in my face!
“That's why I joined Titans East. I hoped that maybe if I have other people to help, I won't have to push my powers to the limit…but someday I'll lose control again, Gar, and then I'll have to move on again…”
Beast Boy: “Jeez. Talk about a rough life! Oprah could sell both our stories for, like, a million bucks!”
“But,” stuttered Garfield, flattered but a bit confused, “Why are you telling me all this?”
“Cause you told me your story,” replied Tara. “It's only fair. Besides…” Pausing for a second, the earth-mover smiled. “Besides, you're not like the others. Wonder Girl, Flamebird, Impulse, they don't know what problems are! But you Gar, you've been through as much hell as I have. You understand what it's like.”
“Yeah,” smiled the green kid, “I guess I do.” Suddenly his smile grew even larger as an idea sparked in his head. “I wont' let you lose control!” he exclaimed, much to his crush's confusion. “If you feel like you're gonna lose it, just holler for me! I'll be there for back-up!”
Finally, Terra smiled—in fact, she almost blushed! “Thanks, Gar. You're a good kid.”
“Yeah, Tara. You're pretty great yourself.”
Beast Boy: “And at that point, my heart could've pretty much just flown away and exploded. I don't know if I've ever felt this good!”
“It's funny,” said Terra with a laugh. “When I asked you what kind of music you like, I was just setting up a joke. You would reply with, like, hip hop or something, and I'd reply, `Oh, well I like rock and roll!'”
Gar raised one eyebrow in confusion for a second, until his brain processed the pun. “Oh, cause, like, you throw rocks!” The green Titan collapsed, laughing hysterically. “That's great!”
Beast Boy: “I mean, there's nothing I love more than a good pun!”
As Beast Boy laughed, nearing the point of convulsing, Tara just smiled at him fondly. Finally she picked up a tiny pebble and tossed it onto his lap. “Ever skipped a rock before?” she asked as she tossed another stone sideways, watching it skip four, five, six times across the water's surface.
“Nope,” replied Gar, who grinned as he got to his feet and wound up his arm, “But, y'know, beginner's luck an' all that!” Tossing the stone, it flew high into the air in an arc, and fell beneath the water with a single, pathetic sploosh.
Before he could even begin to pout, Terra placed another rock in his hand. “Try again.” Again Gar went through the same overblown wind-up, but this time, as the stone hit the surface, it shot sideways and skipped seven times!
“Alright!” exclaimed the shapeshifter, leaping into the air and rejoicing until suddenly a thought popped into his head. “Waaaaaait a second…did you just do that with your powers?”
Tara smirked. “I'll never tell.”
“Beast Boy! Terra!” And just like that their conversation was over as Raven appeared in mid-air, exploding from a bird-shaped pool of black. “Jupiter has finished his preparations, and the others are loading onto the ship. It is time to go.”
“You got it, creepy bird lady,” replied Terra, starting to regain her chipper persona after that uplifting conversation. Her eyes glew yellow as a stone carved itself out of the ground, floating the girl into the air. “Need a lift?”
“You bet!” exclaimed Gar as he hopped onto the rock. “But…can you drop me off at the confessional first?”
“The confessional?”
“Y'know, the thing where you talk to the camera and tell it what you're thinkin'. Jupiter's always saying to make sure y'hit it before leaving for a mission, cause…well, you never know if you'll make it back.”
Though morbid, Terra knew it was true. “Well, be sure to say good stuff about me!”
“Hey, there's nothing else I could say!”
Just across the ocean, along the southern side of Europe, lies the tiny country of Zandia. Though they have never officially endorsed their guests for fear of United Nations retaliation, Zandia has nevertheless long been a choice haven for terrorists, drug runners, and even the occasional super villain.
The Brain, leader of the Brotherhood of Evil, was born in Zandia—there was no place he felt more at home. Brain was placed at the front of his headquarters, along with the two top members of his Brotherhood, facing his other five agents. Though their current meeting place was located in a cave along the coast, it was lined with wall-to-wall computers, all of their leader's own design.
As for the Brain himself, he was exactly what he sounded like: a lone brain kept alive in a clear jar. The danger Brain posed lied with his prodigious IQ, which allowed him to outthink, outplan, or outlead his opponents. Of course, the five foot tall case that housed the jar that kept him alive was also armed to the teeth—just because one could never be too careful.
“My Brotherhood,” began the Brain, his monotone, computerized voice produced by a voice box within his metallic shell, “Today we lie on the verge of a new beginning! As all of you well know, one year ago we achieved the mission on which I founded the Brotherhood of Evil: the destruction of the Doom Patrol! Since then, I have longed for only one other thing: to be together with my beloved Mallah!”
On the Brain's right stood Monsieur Mallah, a massive gorilla wearing a beret and decked out with an ammo belt and several weapons. Mallah was an experiment of the Brain's from when he was still human—he had increased the ape's intelligence to far beyond that of normal humans, which, among other things, allowed him to speak! After the `incident' where Brain lost his body, Mallah returned the favor by building the jar that keeps him alive! After that, a mutual affection grew between the two that today finds itself evident in a sorta sick, definitely bizarre, romance between the two.
“And now,” picked up Mallah, “Our dream can finally come true. We have completed the cloning machine, and soon, our glorious master will finally once again have a body to call his own!”
“But then who's going to lead us?” asked a man in a gold and silver metallic suit, its helmet sloping into a cone, like the Pope's hat. He was Warp, and his suit had the ability to teleport anything, anywhere. “Is this the end of the Brotherhood?”
Snickering, a woman standing to the Brain's left—the only other general facing the Brotherhood—answered the frenchman's question. “Of course not, my friend. Don't worry, you're not out of work yet.”
“Madame Rouge will be taking over as leader of the Brotherhood,” announced the Brain, referring to the woman who had just spoken. “I am sure you will all agree that she will be quite an adequate leader.”
Indeed, none of the Brotherhood could object. Rouge had been there from the beginning, and had learned to lead well from the Brain's example. She was vicious, ruthless, and hated the Doom Patrol as much as—maybe even more—than her leader ever did. For both of them, it was personal. Worst of all, she was also all but nigh invincible—she possessed elastic shapeshifting abilities that let her become anything she wanted!
“Wi,” nodded Warp, but not all of his teammates were as pleased.
“Bah, a woman as leader,” grumbled Plasmus, a giant pink pile of living goo—sure, it's a crude description, but Plasmus himself was plenty crude. “I'd be stupid not to trust Rouge, but we could not find a man capable of it?”
“What, you wanted Hitler or something?” It was a logical question, as Plasmus had once been a Neo-Nazi skinhead whose body was turned into a protoplasm mess during a protest gone wrong. The teammate that span the smart remark his way was named Houngan, and he was the grandchild of a prominent African voodoo priest. Raised in the United States, Houngan didn't believe in the so-called `nonsense', but coached on by his grandfather, found his own form of voodoo through DNA based nano-technology.
Never the best person to begin with, he used this newfound power to gain riches as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil. He wore a high collared jacket and a face mask with a skull painted on it, with his voodoo tech and dolls strapped across his body. Considering his heritage, it was no wonder he and Plasmus didn't get along. “You're lucky you're in the Brotherhood or I'd—”
“Calm yourself, Plasmus,” commanded a woman in a green and black leotard. She was gaunt, wore too much make-up, and held herself with an air of nobility. She was Phobia, and she had the intimidating ability to bring someone's fears to life. “He simply fears what he does not understand,” she continued, turning towards Houngan, “And there is so much Plasmus does not understand.” The protoplasm man growled, but didn't dare open his mouth—nobody messed with Phobia.
Beside them all, a young girl in a frilly pink dress with long, curled blond hair chuckled innocently. “It's so cute when they fight!” This girl was Goldilocks—yes, like the fairy tale. In fact, she thought she was from the story, though—taking a little creative license—she could do something the storybook character never could: control her hair as a weapon!
“Enough!” exclaimed the Brain. “If you want to argue with Madame Rouge—which I would not recommend—do so later, but for now we still have one more matter to deal with before I receive my prize: the Teen Titans!”
“Who?” The Brotherhood of Evil wasn't exactly up on their pop culture, save maybe for one member…
“Oh, I know them!” exclaimed Goldilocks with a smile. “They're that superhero team on MTV! That Robin is so dreamy…”
“They are on their way here now, seemingly on a mission of revenge,” continued the Brain, unconcerned with his minion's opinion on Robin's looks—though, incidentally, he agreed. “It seems our mistakes have caught up with us: when we decimated the Doom Patrol, we missed one member—”
Snarling, Rouge knew exactly who it was. “Beast Boy.” She was practically seething. “He is all that is left of that rotten team—he cannot be allowed to live!”
Warp, however, looked uneasy. “I…do not want to fight children.”
“Then feel free to hand yourself over to them when they arrive,” snapped Brain. This shut the teleporter up. Meanwhile pictures of Wonder Girl, Speed and Raven appeared on a computer monitor behind the Brain. “The rest of you, listen: The team is rather strong, but relatively new, and still not well coordinated. Take out their leader, Wonder Girl, first, and they shall crumble. Second, focus on their powerhouses—Phobia, Houngan, you will be most effective in this regard. In fact, Houngan, I've already taken the liberty of lifting all seven of their genetic signatures and loading them into your fetishes.”
“How long `til they get here?” inquired Plasmus. “I've been dying to melt somebody for weeks now.”
As if in answer to their question, their entire compound rumbled as the hull of the T-Ship broke through the cave wall like a battering ram.
“That answer your question?” grumbled Houngan. As a ramp extended from the ship's door, the Teen Titans and Titans East emerged, fourteen strong!
“Master, that is twice as many as we expected!” exclaimed Monsieur Mallah.
If Brain could have smiled, he would have. “That just makes it more fun, Mallah!”
Next Time: The Teen Titans and Titans East vs. The Brotherhood of Evil!