Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ The Grieving Process ( Chapter 20 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and are owned by DC Comics, and although the new interpretations and twists are all my own, I claim no credit for the characters.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 20: The Grieving Process
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.
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.
'The Real World: Titans Tower' was a reality show based around the adventures of seven super-powered teenagers, taping their lives as they attempted to get along and fight crime together. Each Titan joined for a different reason: to find fame and fortune, to use it as a platform for their own views, to gain a family, or even simply to help those in need. Some have been a little disappointed, but most of the Titans found what they were looking for. Some, however, found even more.
Up until a few moments ago, Wonder Girl was one of those few, fortunate Titans. She joined the Teen Titans to gain resources she could use to find her birth parents, as well as to help herself rise above her sister's shadow. While those efforts were met with mixed results, she instead found something she didn't even realize she was missing: love. Her relationship with the intern Terry Long started off tentatively, but soon blossomed into a love that made her realize everything she was missing in life.
Terry was not only interesting, but was interested in her, something she often doubted Kyle Rayner ever was. But, as 'perfect' as Terry seemed, he had a secret that ended up costing him dearly. He had been hired by the Titans' corrupt manager, Mr. Loren Jupiter, to cause havoc in Donna's love life. He'd succeeded beyond either of their wildest dreams, but along the way Terry fell for Donna as well. When he threatened to reveal Jupiter's treachery, the manipulative director offered the boy up as a bargaining chip to Deathstroke.
Despite the best efforts of the Teen Titans and Wonder Girl, Terry was murdered at the hands of the psychotic mercenary. Now, the young Amazon wondered if anything would ever be okay again...
***ON THE AIR—OUTSIDE DEATHSTROKE'S COMPOUND. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA***
Victor Stone, however, didn't know any of this. He had followed Dr. Light to the battle after the brain-dead villain had attacked his girlfriend, Sarah Simms. Now Light was defeated, Sarah was safe, and the half-robot was watching his battered teammate fly into the raging battle in the building above.
"What the hell is going on here?!" wondered Cyborg aloud.
"You mean you don't know? It's all over the news, man!" Turning around, Vic and Sarah were met with the sight of a red-head teenage boy, covered in crimson and black body armor and enough weaponry to fill an armory. Instead of a mask, sunglasses covered his eyes. He was Arsenal, Roy Harper, the ace archer, the weapon master, former sidekick, former member of Titans East, and currently a government agent. "Deathstroke kidnapped a bunch of your friends and family and is holding them hostage up there!"
Vic and Sarah's faces fell. "Well," mused the blond, "I suppose that's why they were after me then." Thinking for a second, she turned to her beau and asked, "So, does this mean I'm gonna constantly get kidnapped as long as I'm dating you?"
"A real man wouldn't let you get kidnapped," flirted Roy as he raised an eyebrow, unable to resist a pretty face.
Grabbing on tight to Victor's metallic arm, Sarah growled in response, "Vic didn't let me get kidnapped." The Titan couldn't help but to blush.
Cyborg: "Yeah, definitely was flattered by Sarah defending me, but I really didn't feel like breaking up any fighting, 'specially since I still thought there was a big battle goin' on upstairs. Beyond even that, I still had to figure out how Deathstroke got his hands on Dr. Light, not to mention what the hell Roy was doing there!"
"Enough, you two," grumbled the metal man. "So why're you here, Roy?"
Getting right down to business, Arsenal replied, "My bosses at the DEO want Deathstroke bad. He made a fool of them when he broke outta Belle Reve, and this time they want to make sure he never sees sunlight again."
"Yeah, 'cause they did such a great job keepin' him locked up last time." Cyborg crossed his arms.
Cyborg: "Seein' how easy it is for villains to break out of jail almost makes me wanna support Starry's view on dealin' with them. Almost..."
Sighing, Roy explained, "Yeah, well apparently we underestimated him, and it seems like you guys did too. This time we're going hard core with the security, decking it out as extreme as it gets, keeping him in the DEO headquarters itself. With somebody like Deathstroke, what the hell else is gonna keep him locked up?"
"Fine," acquiesced Victor, "We don't have time for this anyway. Let's get up there, and hash the rest out later!"
"One step ahead of ya, buddy," said Arsenal with a grin as he launched an arrow with a grappling line attached into the side of the building. "One step ahead of ya..."
The scene inside was not a pretty one. Deathstroke was hogtied in Wonder Girl's magic lasso, burnt and bruised beyond recognition. Amazingly though, he was still somehow slowly healing, and this regenerative factor was the only thing keeping him alive. His son Jericho was out cold, a small dose of spider venom coursing through his veins; the mercenary's daughter, Ravager, was just as bad off, so beat up she was literally exhausted beyond movement.
Iris Allen and Matt Logan were still chained to the wall, and between them was the body of Terry Long. His head, however, was on the floor, deep in a puddle of red. Speed was still trying to compose himself, and Beast Boy had two gashes in his shoulders to deal with. Yet, worst off was Donna Troy, not only covered in bullet wounds, but weeping profusely in the arms of her friend, Starfire.
Beast Boy: "So, like I said, we won the battle, but we sure don't feel like winners..."
"Terry didn't deserve this Kory," sobbed Donna, "He didn't...Deathstroke did...he's a monster..."
"I know," replied the Tamaranian.
Starfire: "I prevented Donna from killing Deathstroke, but not because I did not think Deathstroke deserved it. I simply did not want Donna to do something she would later regret!"
Slowly Koriand'r pulled herself away from the adopted Amazon and rose to her feet, her look of sorrow hardening into one of pure anger. Her eyes lit up fluorescent green as a Starbolt burst to life in her palm. "Believe me, I know. And while you cannot murder him, it does not mean I cannot carry out the punishment Deathstroke deserves!"
Suddenly a red arrow flew past the alien's head, gaining all their attention. "Don't do it, Kory! I don't want to have to bring you in too!"
The Titans span to see Arsenal and Cyborg enter the room. "What is the meaning of this, Roy?!" exclaimed Starfire. "Do you mean to obstruct justice?!"
"No," replied the archer as he aimed his bow. "Simply to carry out the law. I don't like the guy any more than you do, but kill Deathstroke and I'll be forced to arrest you too."
"C'mon Starry," beseeched Victor. "There's been too much death here already."
Cyborg: "Really, I don't know if I've ever seen anything more devastating. I left Sarah downstairs 'cause I didn't want her hurt in the fight, and even though the fight was over, I'm still glad she didn't come up. She didn't need to see this—nobody should've had to see this. Hell, I wish I could erase it from my memory myself..."
"Fine," grumbled Kory as her attacks died and she crossed her arms. "You...are right, Victor. We need to focus on healing now."
"And getting everybody outta here," added the metal man as he pulled the restraints that imprisoned Matt from the wall, tossing them aside like scrap paper.
As Cyborg pulled the gag from the slacker's mouth, he gasped, "S---, you saved me?!"
"It's not like I'd just leave ya' there," replied Vic with a shrug and a smile.
Beast Boy: "Well, if there's one good thing that came outta this, it's those two getting along!"
Cyborg: "Hey, don't get the wrong idea, doesn't mean I like the guy, but he don't deserve to be tied up like that either!"
Wally, meanwhile, became a blur of gold as he lent speed to the restraints on his Aunt Iris, letting them rust away to nothing. "Aunt Iris, are you okay? Aunt Iris?!"
The fall from the wall into her nephew's arms finally awoke the reporter. "I'm fine, kiddo. Don't worry about me." Maybe Iris didn't know where she was or what happened, but she knew she was alive and unharmed, and in her line of work, she learned long ago that that was what constituted "fine".
"Great," said the speed specter as he turned towards the exit. "Then let's get you back home and away from all of this!"
Speed: "She's not going to stay in danger any longer because of me!"
But as Iris West-Allen took in the sights around her, she knew she couldn't leave, not yet. "No, Wally, wait. I'll be fine, but your teammates, your friends, they need you right now!" She was greeted with an incredulous look of disbelief, but Wally put her down anyway.
Speed: "Like hell they do. Even the Titans that I like aren't anywhere near as important to me as Aunt Iris is...but since she asked me to stay, I might as well do it.
"But I really don't want to. I don't even know what I'm doing here anymore. I put Aunt Iris in danger just by being a Titan, and I can't forgive myself for that. I know she keeps telling me over and over that being a Titan is a good thing, but not if she gets hurt because of it! For once, I'm making up my own mind! It's gonna take a miracle to make me stay with the Titans..."
"Hey," said Cyborg, suddenly realizing something, "Where're Dick and Raven, anyway?"
"I searched for them," replied Starfire, "But—"
"They didn't show up!" Suddenly Donna was on her feet, the fire within reignited.
Wonder Girl: "All this time I've been blaming myself, worried that something I did let Terry get hurt, but what about them? Dick and Raven didn't even bother to show! This is there fault, all their fault!"
"We called them but they didn't even bother to show up!" again screamed Wonder Girl as she lashed out in anger, punching the wall. Backed by her Amazonian strength, her fist went right through it, and the concrete crumbled around it. Behind the wall could now be seen an old man sitting at an amazingly complex computer terminal.
"There's the man behind the curtain!" exclaimed Victor. "That's the guy who was controlling Dr. Light!"
Springing into action, Arsenal let loose an arrow. As it drew close to Wintergreen a net exploded from the projectile's head, ensnaring Slade's right-hand man within its tangled ropes. "You're under arrest!"
"Fine, you've got me," grunted Wintergreen. "But the children, please, they're innocent! Let them go!"
"Bulls---!" called Donna. "They're Daddy's little troopers, they were the brunt of his attack! He just wants them out so they can break them out of prison again!" Wintergreen winced—it was a weak plan, but he hadn't expected to be called out that quickly.
Koriand'r, however, wasn't exactly on the same page. "Roy," she began, "Donna is correct. However, Deathstroke's children are not responsible for their actions! Their father has them addicted to mind control serum! They will do anything he asks of them! Please, they need help, not punishment!"
Starfire: "I know Donna was not happy to hear that, but just as I believe in punishing the guilty, I will not stand by while innocents are persecuted!"
Roy Harper winced like he was in pain. Once he had been an addict, and it was the worst thing he'd ever been through. To do that to somebody against their will, especially your children, he couldn't even imagine how somebody could do something so cruel!
"I'll make sure they're well taken care of, Kory," he replied. "It may take a while, but we'll detox them and see what they're really like."
Slade Wilson was drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to even move, but he would not stand for somebody taking his children away. "Keep away from my kids," grunted the mercenary, gathering what little strength he had for speech. "Take them and I will make sure all of you pay dearly."
"You are not in the position to make threats!" exclaimed Donna, enraged. "If you ever try to hurt any of us again, I will make your life a living hell! I'll make you feel the pain I'm feeling, I swear it!"
As composed as ever, Slade simply replied by saying, "My dear, don't make promises you cannot keep."
***NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA***
High above the Big Apple's skyline dashed two costumed figures, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, concealing themselves within the city's dark shadows. One was a Teen Titan—Robin, Dick Grayson—on a mission to find out information about his teammate and prove himself a true detective. The other, a smaller boy who also called himself Robin, was the "teacher" in this lesson.
Finally both boys landed on a roof, and the smaller crime fighter signaled them to a stop, pulling a small device from his belt.
"So this is it?" asked his older counterpart. "This is the building where Wonder Woman found Donna?"
Robin: "So as kinda my big final detective lesson, the little Robin an' I are tryin' to find out who Donna's parents are, since apparently she never knew. We've already traveled across the country, so what's a few more rooftops?"
"Nope," replied the tiny detective, "But thirteen years ago that building was here. According to all the information we have, it burned down that night. Diana barely got Donna out before the whole building collapsed.
"Considering it was one of her first trips to our world, long before she became the Ambassador of the Amazons or even Wonder Woman full-time, she didn't know what to do with Donna and took her back to Themyscara to be raised as an Amazon."
Raising an eyebrow, Dick asked, "Then why the f---'re we here? There can't be any clues after this long!"
"It's as good of a place to stop as anyplace," chuckled his friend as he tossed the device to the other Robin.
"It links up with the super-computer back in our headquarters," replied the younger Robin. "If information exists in a data-base anywhere, it can get to it."
Dick's eyes grew to epic proportions. "Sweet!"
Robin: "Man, think of all the crazy porn you could get on this thing! I could have myself a helluva tiring night with this baby!”
“Mind out of the gutter,” said the Titan's friend with a knowing smirk. “You're supposed to use it on—”
“I know, I know,” interrupted Dick, waving his hand as a dismissal. “Look up the history of the old building and see what it was for. Maybe that'll give us some clues.”
The acrobat's fingers flew across the device's keypad, bringing the screen to life. His counterpart peeked over his shoulder. “Don't forget to check everything. Reference all businesses, owners, residents, known criminal activity in the building, gang or mafia use, the history behind the building, everything.”
Robin: “Geeze, uptight much? I thought this was supposed to be my job?!”
“Yeah, I got that,” said the detective in training as information scrolled across his device, “But let's skip to the important s---. The building hadn't been used for a couple've years before it burned down—damn, it was s'posed to be knocked down a few weeks later anyway!”
Frowning, the younger Robin added, “Yeah, but empty buildings don't stay empty for long in this town.”
“Got that right. Cops never figured out the cause of the fire, but the police records show a major crime syndicate was operatin' outta it at the time.”
“Wow, you saying that almost sounded like me!” exclaimed his younger partner.
Robin: “Alright, not bad! The kid's all mysterious an' stuff, like his boss the Batman, and that's how I've been aimin' to be lately. I don't wanna be the team screw up or some joke, and I can't be in the way `cause I don't have any powers, so I dunno what other choice I have.”
“Is that a bad thing?” asked Dick playfully.
Shrugging, the other Robin replied, “I dunno.” However, his expression didn't match his answer—he definitely had some opinion on the matter.
Not always one for observation, however, the older Robin failed to notice. “Alright, let me figure out the next step!” Scratching his chin for a second, he ventured, “We find out if the gang's still running an' press `em for answers?!”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Sweet,” replied Dick, a grin filling his face. Cracking his knuckles, he made a suggestion: “Let's bust some heads!”
***TITANS TOWER—SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA***
“So, that's it, that's the whole story…”
As the Teen Titans and their guests emerged from the Tower's elevator into the living room, Donna was hobbling, leaning on Starfire's shoulder. She was just finishing telling a story.
Wonder Girl: “Today was supposed to be the day I introduced Terry to the rest of the Titans. I had it all planned: it was going to be wonderful, and we were going to make it work. Now look at it—he was introduced all right, and then killed!
“But, after all we just went through and everything I asked of my teammates, they still deserved to know all about Terry…”
“That is quite a story, Donna,” said Koriand'r in a comforting tone. “I wish I could have met him: he sounded wonderful.” Behind the two, however, not all of her teammates were quite as touched.
Speed: “God, it's lucky for her the guy just died, or else I'd be calling her a slut until her ears rotted! Her boyfriend's off somewhere and has no idea that she's been seeing some other guy behind his back, hell, for who knows how long! Was she expecting to hide it forever? Hell, let's see if she even owns up to it when he comes back.”
Beast Boy: “Why do I have the feeling this is gonna end up as a Lifetime original movie? I'm just gonna stay outta it—I don't wanna be caught in the middle when Kyle shows up!”
“She's a fast worker,” chuckled the shapeshifter's cousin, Matt Logan. The slacker was the only one smiling. “I'll have to get Donna to give me some tips!”
“Yeah, definitely a bad idea,” yelped Gar as he tackled his cousin, a preventative measure sure to save a lot of heartache. “You might want to hold on, oh, I dunno, a few more decades before you think about askin' that.”
“But he's right, she is a fast worker.” Lagging behind the rest of the group was Vic, Sarah, and Roy. “And this explains a lot,” continued the archer. “Now I know why she shot me down back when we fought the Brotherhood of Evil—she had two guys already!”
Rolling her eyes, Sarah interjected, “Or maybe she just wasn't into you?”
“But all girls are into me,” winked Arsenal.
“I'm not,” replied Sarah with a huff.
Shrugging, Roy suggested, “Exception to the rule.”
“'Kay guys, enough of this.” Suddenly Cyborg pushed his way into the conversation. “Whatever Donna did, it's none of our business. She's been through a lot, and she's our friend, so we should help her through it. The rest of it, her and Kyle can figure out.”
“Yeah, you're right,” admitted Arsenal. “Look, I don't have to be back in Washington any time soon—care if I stick around? She is my friend too. I'd like to help if I can.”
Vic smiled. “Of course, man.”
“Y'know,” mused Sarah, “If she was cheating on Kyle, then there had to be problems to begin with. I mean, everything that happened today was of course terrible, but maybe, at least, they'll be able to figure things out because of it…”
Cyborg: “Maybe…but I just wanna get her through this first…”
Dropping onto one knee, Starfire let her battered friend slide onto the couch. “Rest now, Donna. We shall make sure everything is okay…”
“True,” said Cyborg, “But to do that I'm gonna need to get you all down to the med-lab. Just let me call up a gurney first.”
“There is no need, Cyborg. Allow me to tend to the first aid.”
Accompanying the disembodied voice was an explosion of bright blue, flashing like a strobe light as it filled the room. It engulfed the former hostages, healing their bruises. The gashes in Beast Boy's shoulders filled in, skin and muscle reforming as good as new. The shattered remains of Ravager's blades fell from Koriand'r's arm as a new layer of orange skin formed. Bullets popped from Wonder Girl's body as her numerous wounds disappeared.
Once the Titans had been fully restored, the wondrous light took the shape of a bird spreading its wings before collapsing into the middle of the room, revealing the dark empath Raven.
“Wicked awesome,” marveled Matt.
Wonder Girl, however, wasn't as pleased. “Where were you?!” she screamed as, with her strength now back at its maximum, she shot into the air and slammed her teammate into the far wall. “Huh? Why weren't you here?!”
Raven: “It was not easy to dispel that much pain at once, and I did not even receive a thank you. Instead, I was attacked. With the pain and anger and sorrow and confusion I felt from Wonder Girl I could forgive it, but I have the feeling I would have gotten the same reception regardless…”
“You are greatly distressed, and not thinking clearly,” stated the dark Titan as black seeped from her cloak, taking grip of Donna's costume and separating the two. “Allow me to help calm your emotions so we can work this out rationally.”
Speed: “Blunt? Yeah. Creepy? Hell yeah! But she's trying to help! I think she tries to hide it and would never admit it, but Raven does care deep down…she has to. And that's what keeps drawing me back to her no matter how hard I try to stay away.”
“I will not calm down until you tell me where you were!”
Frowning, Raven replied, “I was at my birthplace, Azarath, visiting my mother. I am sorry I did not receive your alert, but it seems our communicators are unable to transmit across transdimensional barriers.”
“Visiting family?!” Donna was appalled. “Some psycho was killing my boyfriend and you couldn't help stop him because you were visiting your family?!”
“Had your signal reached me I would have immediately come,” insisted Raven curtly, “But as I said, it did not work. You cannot blame me for that.”
Seething, Donna started to grind her teeth.
“But even if I had made it, I do not know how much help I would have been. Deathstroke had weapons custom tailored for each of you. Who knows what he had in store for me?”
Raven: “The likely choice would have been an empathic stimulator, to jumble my emotions. And truthfully, that would only have made me a threat.”
Cyborg: “Wait a second, how did she know what happened? She wasn't there!”
Her point had been made, but Raven wasn't done. “I am sorry for what happened to your boyfriend, but it is not our fault and you should not be taking it out on everybody else!”
Wonder Girl: “That was the last straw! As much as I didn't want to accept it, I understood why she didn't show up. But her apology was the fakest thing I've ever had anybody say to me in my whole life!”
“Oh screw you!” exclaimed Donna. “You aren't sorry! I don't think you've ever empathized with anybody before! I don't think you can feel anything at all! So don't lecture me, b----! Just leave me alone!”
Turning and storming into the hallway, the half-Amazon shouted over her shoulder, “All of you! Just leave me alone!”
Wonder Girl: “I wanted Terry's death to be somebody else's fault, I wanted somebody to blame it on, but maybe I can't have that! Maybe it is my fault, but if it is I can't take having it thrown in my face anymore! I can't take any more lectures or fake sympathy or people who think they know what I'm going through! I've had enough of it!”
“Heh, I guess that's that,” said Gar, chuckling nervously.
“Yeah, it is,” said Vic Stone definitively, crossing his arms. “Give her some space, all of you.”
Starfire debated following anyway. “But, she is my friend, and she is hurting so…”
“She is, and you have a good heart to care about her so much.” Suddenly the alien princess found Iris Allen's hand on her shoulder. “But this is a lot to go through. I know you want to fix everything for her, but in the end, the only one who can make things right is Donna herself.”
Speed: “That's my aunt Iris…smartest person I know!”
“Maybe you're right lady, but I can't let her be alone in her room crying or something and not have somebody to talk to!” The door to the hallway slid open as Arsenal stormed through. “If she needs me, I'm gonna be there!”
Scratching his head, Beast Boy asked, “Should we try to stop him?”
“Why bother?” grunted Wally. “If he wants to get beat up that badly, let him!”
Cyborg: “Wow. For once, I agree with Wally!”
Meanwhile, Roy Harper was pounding at Wonder Girl's door. “C'mon Donna, open up! I just want to help!”
Suddenly the door slid open, and standing behind it was Donna, her eyes red, tears and make-up running down her face.
Not giving the ace archer a chance to speak, Donna grabbed him and pulled him close, pressing their lips together and lighting up Roy's world. She didn't let up, and slowly she pulled him back into her room, the door sliding shut behind them…
***THE LIVING ROOM***
While the drama that had just dropped was by now pretty routine to the Teen Titans, their guests were a little more surprised. “Wow,” said Iris Allen, “You told me things got pretty intense here, kiddo, but I didn't realize it was this bad.”
Slumping besides his aunt, Wally West sighed. “Maybe never quite this bad before, but it's pretty damn close to a normal day, yeah. I guess now you see why I want to leave…”
“You want to leave again?”
“I guess.” Wally seemed unsure of everything he was saying, like he was waging a war within his head. “I mean, I can't take the drama, and worse than anything else is that me being a Titan put you in danger! It could've been you that was killed, and it would've been my fault!”
Noticing the hesitation in her nephew's voice, Iris baited, “…But…”
“But, then there's…” Pausing, the speed specter just looked across the room to his teammate, Raven.
Speed: “Her. Dammit, it always comes back to her.”
“What is it about her that you like so much, Wally?”
Trembling, the boy wasn't sure how to reply to that.
Speed: “I've said a lot of things, a lot of reasons why I love Raven and why I hate her, and all of it, it's just been me trying to figure out the answer to that question. But honestly, I can't put words on it—it's this feeling down in my gut that won't let go no matter how much I try to forget her, no matter how much I try to hate her! So really, I guess the only real answer to the question is…”
“Everything, Aunt Iris,” replied Wally with a nervous chuckle. “Everything…and yet nothing.”
Really, there was nothing left for Iris to say. She just put her arm around her nephew and rested her head on his shoulder. If his brittle shell of a body disconcerted her, she certainly didn't let on.
“Listen kiddo, don't worry about my safety. If you leave the Titans, it can't be about me. You know I love you Wally, and you know I'll always be here for you, but I've watched you teeter back and forth on this issue for months now. Whatever you decide, don't do it for me or for anybody else: do it because it's what you want to do.”
Wally just stared at her, jaw agape.
Speed: “But the reason I've always come to her for advice…is because I never know what I want to do…”
Suddenly a bright light came to life in the middle of the room, interrupting their conversation and those of everybody else in the room. A white beam with shimmering streaks of yellow and blue appeared and then faded even faster, revealing within a boy in his very early twenties, wearing a white, black and green costume with a green mask and energy ring.
He was Kyle Rayner, a Green Lantern, a member of the Justice League, and Wonder Girl's boyfriend—whom she had cheated on by dating Terry Long. He couldn't have picked a worse time to show up if he'd tried.
Beast Boy: “Well, that seals it: the gods of karma officially hate Donna.”
“Woah,” laughed Matt, “It's the Green Lantern dude! Since when could you just `poof' in like that?!”
Kyle Rayner sighed. “It's just the Justice League teleporter…I really didn't wanna wait any longer than I had to to come see Donna.” Looking at the slacker for a second then shaking his head, the lantern continued, “Has he been staying here ever since I left? I mean, you guys gotta have the patience of saints to put up with that!”
“No he hasn't,” said Cyborg, almost laughing. “Fortunately.”
“Kyle!” Starfire shot across the room and wrapped her arms around the space cop, nearly knocking him off his feet. “It is so good to see you again! Tell me, how did things go with my sister?”
Beast Boy: “Oh yeah, that's right…last time Kyle was here was when Kory's sister tried to kill us! Man was she a witch! With what she did to Matt she almost put me off girls altogether…until Tara came around.”
“They went,” laughed Kyle. “There were so many charges up against her from so many worlds that there was no way she wasn't getting convicted.”
Princess Koriand'r looked a little sad. “Oh.”
Starfire: “Do not get me wrong, after what my sister has done she deserves her punishment. It is just…she is still my sister, and it pains me that it has come down to this…”
“Keep an eye open, though,” continued the Green Lantern. “Blackfire swore vengeance against all of you.”
Starfire: “Yes, that is my sister…I suppose she will never change.”
“Now, where's Donna?” asked Kyle, his face lighting up at the thought of the adopted Amazon. “A guy shouldn't have to go this long without seeing his girlfriend!”
Vic and Gar both immediately clamped their hands over Matt's mouth, but nobody there could really think of anything to say beyond random stuttering.
The Green Lantern didn't have the patience to wait for their answer anyway. His ring had already searched the tower and located Wonder Girl. “Eh, don't worry about it, guys! I know where her room is!” Kyle shot out the door in a blur of green.
“Okay, should we be following him,” asked Beast Boy, “Or is this another one of those `let's stay outta this' times? I really can't tell.”
“Stay out of it,” quickly answered Wally West. “Those two are going to have to sort things out sometime, so they might as well get it out of the way now.”
However, Raven had a contrary opinion. “Normally I would agree with you, Speed,” said the empath, “But from Wonder Girl's room I sense her grief and anger masked by passion and euphoria…and not just hers…”
“Oh no,” lamented Cyborg, “Roy, you idiot!”
***OUTSIDE WONDER GIRL'S BEDROOM***
Kyle was still grinning as wide as he could as he soared out of the elevator and down the hallway to Donna's room. His ring created a giant green fist that knocked on the door. “Hey Wonder Chick, guess who! I'm back!”
From behind the door, however, the boy heard nothing. Then, a few moments later, what sounded like a cry came from within the room. Then, a louder one. `She must be in trouble!' thought the Lantern frantically as his ring created a giant crowbar. “Don't worry Donna, I've got you!”
But as his construct pried open her door and Kyle dashed into her room, he realized that his girlfriend certainly wasn't in any danger.
Meanwhile the Titans and their guests stampeded into the bedroom hallway, but they were just a few seconds too late.
“DONNA, WHAT THE F--- IS GOING ON HERE?!”
The group sighed and stopped in their tracks. “And here comes the drama,” moaned Beast Boy as he dropped onto his butt.
Green light flashed from within the Titan's room, and a second later Arsenal flew through the door, buck naked, smashing into the wall and falling to the floor.
“Roy, dude,” called Gar, “Keep your arrow in its quiver! Nobody wants to see that!”
Beast Boy: “Seriously, ew!”
Another blast of green sent Arsenal's costume and weapons flying into the hallway, with Green Lantern right behind them, two futuristic gun constructs floating at his side. “What the hell is going on Harper?!” fumed Kyle. “She's my girlfriend!”
“Wasn't…my idea…” grumbled Roy as he tried to pull himself to his feet.
“Liar!” Kyle's ring lit up, but suddenly Donna was behind him, a blanket draping her naked body, grabbing his arms.
“Leave him alone, Kyle!” she frantically screamed. “He's telling the truth!”
Wonder Girl: “Sleeping with Roy was the stupidest thing I've ever done! I guess…I was tired of hurting and tired of feeling guilty and tired of trying to find people to blame. I saw Roy there at the door, and I knew he liked me, that he wouldn't put up a fight…and I just decided to let go and embrace something other than the pain of losing Terry. And it felt good…until Kyle came knocking on the door. Then what little world I had left just fell apart.
“Hera do I wish I could take it back…”
“He's telling the truth?” Green Lantern just couldn't grasp the idea. “But that means it was your idea…”
“It was, Kyle!” Tears started to leak from the corners of the adopted Amazon's eyes. “But Roy was just a rebound, he means nothing to me!”
From his spot on the floor where he'd managed to pull on his boxer-briefs and muscle shirt, Roy Harper chuckled. “Man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that…”
“Stay out of this!” roared Kyle before returning to his girlfriend. “Rebound? You're not making any sense! Last I heard we were still together!”
“Yeah, but you've been gone for months!” Wonder Girl's pain and regret was again quickly being lost in her unquenchable anger. “And that's just it—you're never here! You don't know what goes on in my life!”
“I know, Donna, but I'm a Green Lantern! It's kinda my job! I mean, you're a superhero too, I thought I finally found someone who understood the sacrifices she'd have to make!”
Frustrated, Donna countered, “But that's just it! I'm always the one making sacrifices! I do understand how important your job is, but you could still take a day off here or there to do something with me!”
Her boyfriend tried to interject, but Donna was on a roll now. “But you know what—I don't think you want to do things with me! You don't like me, you just like the idea of me! You like having somebody to make you look good, to boost your ego as you explain the world to her, to sit here and worry about you while you fly around the galaxy, but guess what Kyle—I'm not that person anymore!”
“Donna,” Kyle stuttered, “I…I…”
“Save it, Kyle. While you were gone I found somebody else. I didn't like him at first—in fact, I barely tolerated him—but he was interested in me, he made me feel special! We had real conversations about real subjects, not just one of us going on about nothing while the other listens and nods their head!
“His name was Terry Long and I loved him, Kyle. And today…today Deathstroke killed him.”
Wonder Girl: “When I decided to tell the Titans about Terry I knew I'd have to tell Kyle…but this is not how I planned it at all. I didn't want to hurt him, actually, I was hoping we could stay friends once it all blew over…but this? No, this isn't how I wanted to tell him at all, yet, here I am, telling him everything he did wrong and throwing Terry in his face. I feel so dumb today!”
Green Lantern's face fell, his heart sank, and color drained from his skin. “I…I didn't know you felt that way, I wish you would've told me Donna, I mean, how could you, how could it come to this…” Nearly in tears himself, he could think of nothing else to say. “I love you.”
Wonder Girl: “Great Zeus, that was definitely not what I was expecting, and I can't handle it, not now. Now when I just chewed him out so badly!”
Biting her lip the Titan sobbed, “No Kyle, please, don't say that. I can't handle it now, can't handle this discussion, can't handle you—”
“So what, I'm just supposed to let this go because you don't think you can take it?” A nerve had been struck. “Donna, I do love you, and that's why it kills me to see you hurt this bad, but you cheated on me! Twice! I'm pretty overwhelmed here too, but I can't just let this go!”
“Well you have to!”
Frowning, Kyle used his ring to signal his Justice League teammates to activate the teleporter. “Then I guess there really is nothing else left to say, is there? Over two years and it comes to this.” Wonder Girl's continued cold shoulder just caused the Green Lantern to laugh in disbelief. “Screw this, and screw you. I'd say it's over, but what's the point? Apparently you decided that months ago.”
And then the boy was gone, snatched away just as he'd arrived.
Wonder Girl: “I never thought he'd be that hurt, that he cared about me as much as he did…to say this isn't my day would be an understatement. But you want to know the worst part of it all? I'm starting to think that maybe I deserve this, that maybe it's my punishment for cheating on Kyle. I'm sure half of my teammates would probably agree with that.
“But if so…that's just worse. Terry didn't deserve to pay for my crime.”
Left alone, still covered in linen sheets and tears both dried and fresh, Donna Troy just stared at her teammates and their friends. She couldn't face them. “Leave me alone! For real this time!” she cried as her door slammed shut behind her.
“Well,” nervously cracked Arsenal as he finished putting on the last of his weaponry, “Looks like I should've listened to her the first time.”
“Yes,” sternly agreed Cyborg, “You should have. And now you should be leaving.”
Cyborg: “I don't like being leader—I already worry `bout everybody too much without havin' the extra responsibility—but I'm told I'm damn good at it. So, with Donna acting the way she is, I had to step up, at least for a little while.
“Besides, even if he was just tryin' to help, I can't say I feel bad for Roy.”
“Yeah, no disagreement here man,” sighed Roy as he walked towards the elevator. “I'll let myself out.” As the doors closed, with his head hanging low, the ace archer softly added a quick but sincere, “Sorry.”
Speed: “Eh, I don't care if he was sorry or not, or really about Roy at all at this point—hell, or Donna. This stuff with Kyle isn't like Terry getting killed—she brought this on herself! No, I was just thinking about how today Donna ruined three chances at love, three chances she might never get back.
“And that's when I made up my mind. Finally, I knew what to do!”
“Really, we should all be gettin' outta here anyway,” continued Vic. “None of us need to stay around all this grief any longer than we have to.”
“Agreed,” said Raven as her cloak started to writhe as if alive, no doubt preparing to teleport her back to her room. “After all that anger and disbelief and sadness and conflict I am nearly burnt out. I need to meditate before these emotions take a further toll.”
A stunned silence fell over the entire group as Wally stood there, arm outstretched, beseeching the dark empath.
Speed: “Usually I've always cornered Raven when I tried to win her over, but this time I don't care. If she shoots me down I won't have any reason to stick around anyway, so I might as well let the others be witnesses, y'know?”
“What is it, Speed?”
Raven: “I could sense a resolute confidence from Speed, yet, at the same time, I still felt his usual misplaced affection for me, so although I asked, I was nearly certain of what he wanted anyway…”
“It's everything, Raven,” replied the speed specter, “So I'm just gonna lay it all out. I love you, and you know it. For months I've been trying to make it work, trying to convince you to just give me a chance, and you've done nothing but shoot me down. So I've tried to hate you, but that's just the thing—I have to try to hate you, but I never have to try to love you. Hell, I can't stop doing that!
“So please Raven, just hear me out. I have no reason to stay here now. My Aunt Iris nearly died today because I'm a Teen Titan, and being a Titan isn't worth losing her! So please, give me a g--damn reason to stay here! Don't let us end up like Donna! Don't let us lose this opportunity, `cause we could be so great together if you'd just give me a chance for once!”
Beast Boy: “Wait a second—Wally loves Raven?! Double ew!”
Raven: “Within Speed was a desperation stronger than any I had ever sensed from him before. It made me realize that his feelings were not going to subside—they would only get worse. So, I was forced to reveal a truth I would have much preferred to let remain hidden…”
“Speed, I…I have a confession to make.” Raven could feel Wally growing optimistic, only making what she had to say harder to say—but she carried on anyway. “You do love me, but not because of who I am. You love me…because I made you love me.”
The speedster's face fell. “Wait…what?!”
Cyborg: “And that was the first sign things were about to get bad…again. I wasn't taking any chances with Wally anyway, so fast as I could I sent out a message. It was time to go ahead with our plan for Wally…'cause otherwise we may never get another chance.”
Starfire: “I consider Raven my friend, and I often see that what she does, she does with good intentions even when others are blind to that, but in this situation…she has really crossed a line. I am not sure what to think of this…”
“It was after your confrontation with Flash and the Justice League, the first time you quit the team,” explained the empath. “I was afraid that you would not return, that you would let your anger consume you. I could not think of another way to attract you to the team, except to make you love me.”
“Really? You're serious?” Wally was dumbfounded. “I can think of a few dozen!”
“I thought being with the Titans would help you reach out and love other people, to overcome the romantic attachment to me I created, and to help you overcome your rage, but I suppose I was wrong on both of those.”
“Oh, you have no idea!” shouted Speed. “All you've done is make my life a living hell, made me question everything I did and felt and now you tell me none of it was ever even real?!”
“It was real, Speed,” claimed Raven, “I just created the emotions. If you wish, I can remove them, return you to normal—”
“NO!” Before anybody could stop him the speed specter charged into a punch that knocked Raven into a wall. “Stay out of my head! I don't need you screwing up my life anymore than you already have!”
Fuming, looking around the room, he continued, “Hell, that goes for all of you, for this whole f---ing team! It's over!”
“Wally, hold on!”
This time it was Cyborg doing the beseeching, and Speed was much more reluctant to wait. “What, is this gonna be some crap about how I have to stay with the team so I can learn to live with this, so I can be a hero and help people or something? It sure as hell better not be!”
Speed: “Those lines are the most frustrating things I've ever had to sit through, so of course everybody and their freaking mother uses them!”
“No, it's not,” insisted Victor, “In fact, it's the opposite. We never should've pushed you the way we did, man. I was hoping you could learn to live with your new body like I did mine, but everybody's different, and I should've respected your limit—we all should've.”
Crossing his arms, Wally wasn't convinced. “What are you trying to say?”
Suddenly a breeze blew through the tower, nearly knocking the Titans and their guests off their feet. It was accompanied by a red and gold blur, and when it finally came to a stop, it revealed itself to be the man Vic had summoned: the Flash, the fastest man alive!
Of course, the Flash wasn't Wally's favorite person. “YOU?!”
Flash, however, took it all in stride. “What Cyborg's driving at, Wally, is that we've figured out how to get your body back!”
Wally was speechless.
Speed: “Finally, just when I thought this day couldn't get any worse, it gets better!”
***NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA***
Two figures stood on an empty rooftop, their capes flapping in the wind as they cautiously peeked through a skylight. Inside the building was nearly a dozen men in suits carrying semi-automatics, gathered around a table.
“So, you sure this is the place?” asked Dick Grayson, the Teen Titan known as Robin. “This is where your super-special computer says they're at?”
“Yup,” replied his friend, a younger boy also called Robin. “That's the gang that used to operate out of the building Donna was found in. Now we just have to hope one of them was still part of the mob that long ago.”
Smiling, Dick said, “Well, we ain't gonna find out if we don't get in there and start kicking some ass an' asking some questions, right?” Several disks of explosives fell from his belt into his hand. “Let's solve this mystery! It's time to find out who Donna Troy's parents are!”
Next time: Who I Am