Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Chapter Eight: Down and Dirty

Chapter Eight: Down and Dirty

Robin woke up to sounds outside his bedroom. More specifically, he woke up to Beast Boy's remarks about the skin coloring. He cracked his neck and stretched for a moment. Sighing, he got up and went to the door where it sounded like there was a Wrestle-Mania match going on outside.

"Come on, BB, you gotta use...!" Cyborg started, but Robin opened the door interrupting them, "Uh, hey Rob."

Robin folded his arms, a smile on his face, "Cyborg, that's horrible. How could you possibly do such a thing to BB?"

Beast Boy stood up, thoroughly happy that Robin was taking his side. That ended with Robin's next sentence, "That's not how you make him put it on. You remind him that it's his civic duty to do so, that chicks will find it extremely hott, and that we'll all kill him if he doesn't."

"What?" Beast Boy yelled, "First off, the ladies already think that I'm perfection. Second off, you didn't tell me that that stuff was a goopy mess!"

"Too bad," Robin answered, "You volunteered for this after all."

Beast Boy sighed, "I hate you guys."

"Come on, B," Cyborg told him, "It won't be that bad."

Whether or not Cyborg's idea of 'Not that bad' was correct or not depended on your point of view. For Robin and Cyborg, it was not that bad at all. In fact, it was hysterical. For Beast Boy, it was... well, let's just say he had to keep reminding himself why he was doing this. The job of turning Beast Boy into a bad to the bone DJ was an entertaining one. First, they had the fun job of throwing the slabs of pale color onto BB. They needed a lot of it too. Beast Boy literally could feel the sticky goop for at least a half hour.

Second, they had to find him the right clothes. They somehow managed to find a pair of tight pants, a button up T-shirt (they ripped it and scoffed it up a bit), and a vest (which they threw dirt on before hand). Robin found a dirty-brown wig in his supply of disguises. Unfortunately they couldn't convince BB to wear the fake earring, but considering the fact that by the end of it Beast Boy looked like a scruffy kid with an attitude, they thought that they did a pretty good job.

"Dudes, these pants are riding up! Why couldn't I just wear my regular pants?" Beast Boy complained.

"Because these actually make you look bad," Robin answered.

"Yeah man, stop whining about it," Cyborg told him.

"I wonder when the girls are going to be back. They've been gone for hours..." Beast Boy started, but he stopped.

The others turned around to see what he was starring at. Starfire and Raven had just entered the room. And Raven, she looked really different. Not a girly-girl. Not a Tom-Boy. Dangerous, bad, and 'whoa' were some of the silent words on all of the boys' tongues. Her hair was streaked with red and black and was up in a spiked bun. She was wearing black and silver boots up to her knees while her T-Shirt had images of demons and flames. Her skirt was a bit tight and looked like something out of Blackfire's closet. In fact, that's probably where they got it. Her belt wrapped around her waist several times and was covered in spikes. Raven's make up in itself, looked Gothic and yet, that wasn't what scared the boys.

It was the fact that she was fuming.

"Raven, you," Robin started, but stopped when she glared at him, "You ready?"

"Starfire, what did you do to her?" Cyborg asked, getting quickly to the point.

"I honestly do not know. Is it not 'bad' enough, Cyborg?" Starfire asked.

Beast Boy answered, "I'd say so."

Raven, though she had seen him before, finally acknowledged Beast Boy's presence, "They did this to you too?"

"Worse part's the skin coloring and the clay," Beast Boy said, scratching one of his now round ears.

"Yeah, well, let's just get this over with, alright?" Raven told them, walking past them and over to the monitors.

"Sure, should Cy and I go over to that Xenon place?" Beast Boy asked.

"It's 'Zenith's Fire' and yeah, go," Robin told the two, "Pay the hired DJ twice what they were going to pay him and if he has his own equipment, pay him double for it too."

"What?" Cyborg asked, "Why? We can't pay for that."

"Yes you can, here," Robin answered, giving Cyborg a pack of hundreds.

Cyborg looked at Robin, at the bills, and back at Robin again obviously stunned, "Since when do you carry around a pack of hundreds?"

"I don't," Robin answered, "I carry a debit card. But since we're not actually going to give our DJ a credit card, I think we'll have to resort to plain old cash."

"Yeah, but just how stocked up are you?" Beast Boy asked.

"I'm not," Robin answered, "My mentor however, is."

That closed the conversation. They all knew that. Robin hardly ever spoke of the Dark Knight. Revered everywhere, his mentor's reputation preceded him. Jump though, was one place where Robin didn't follow behind 'Batman and...' or was with any 'Batman' at all and all of the Titans knew that Robin wanted to keep it this way, for reasons unknown to them of course.

"Now go, or the DJ will get there before you," Robin told the two, "Beast Boy, take an ear com-link too."

After BB put the little thing in his ears, the two boys ran down, leaving the other three Titans in their wake. Deciding to take the T-Car, the two hoped in and raced down to a more decrepit old part of Jump, mostly the old industrial center of the town. They got out about five blocks away from Zenith's Fire while Cyborg put the T-Car on autopilot. Rick didn't know what hit him when the two found him and stopped him in the middle of his way to his next gig.

"I didn't do anything, I swear!" Rick said, "I was just going to DJ a dance!"

"We know," Beast Boy sighed, "Any chance we could take over for you?"

"No way! I need the..." Rick started when Cyborg interrupted.

"How much are they paying you? We'll pay you double."

That got Rick's attention. Lying a little bit, Rick took about two thousand by the time they were done with him plus another hundred to keep quiet about it. Somehow, it didn't surprise them. As Rick ran off, Cyborg noticed the guy's outfit.

"See, he wears three earrings," Cyborg hissed.

"I'm not gonna look like a girl, Cy," Beast Boy answered back.

"So what's your name now?" Cyborg asked after rolling his eyes.

"Um, I don't know, how 'bout Greg?" Beast Boy asked back.

"Sounds good to me, Greg," Cyborg said smiling, "Now tell me, Greg, do you know how to work a DJ system?"

"Dude, are you seriously asking me that?" Beast Boy exclaimed.

"Well can you?"


"It doesn't look that hard."

Cyborg slapped his head, "Let's hope so."

They walked until they saw a blinking red neon sign that only had a arrow pointing down a set of stairs. Cyborg stopped, knowing that if he went closer, Robin would murder him for it. Pounding fists, the two Titans faced each other. It was almost an act of proving they were men and hiding the worried feelings they both were having about this mission.

"Break a leg, B," Cyborg told him.

Beast Boy barely moved forward, but he did. Creepy. That's what this place was. Why would anyone want to go down here? The place smelled bad, of sweat and smoker's cigarettes. And with his heightened sense of smell, Beast Boy could swear that something smelled dead around here. It was one of the few times that he was not okay with being alone. As he walked down the steps, he could feel the rotting substances underneath his shoes sticking to their souls. It was disgusting, but he tried to ignore it. If he blew this...

He got down to the door and knocked. At first he thought that no one had heard him, but then someone opened the door an inch. He was tall and plump, fowl smelling, and Beast Boy recognized that he was the thing that smelled like it had died. The man's lips were cracked and his teeth were mostly gold fillings.

"You the DJ?"

"Uh, yeah, name's Greg," Beast Boy answered.

"I called for Rick," The man told him.

"Uh, the dude got sick, so he asked me to cover for him," Beast Boy offered.

"He explained it to you?"


"He explained to you the specifics?"

"Uh, you mean I can't tell the cops about tonight?" Beast Boy asked.

The man shrugged, "Close enough. Are you up for it?"

Beast Boy laughed, "No problem, man. Now are you going to let me in so I can, you know, get my groove on?"

The man looked at Beast Boy oddly, but shrugged and let Beast Boy in. The place was empty, but there were plenty of wooden tables scattered across the floor, with old chairs by them. Some of them looked like they had been tore apart and put back together again roughly. There was a center section with a stage up front where Beast Boy guessed he was supposed to set up. Across from him was something like a bar, but from what Beast Boy could tell, the man didn't have any of the normal alcoholic beverages that he had expected from such a place.

The man got his gaze and told him, "Can't sell it here. I've had too much property damage by drunk super villains' hands. Name's Rudy by the way."

Beast Boy raised a brow at Rudy thinking that selling to minors would have been the first thing that he would have been worried about. Property damage would be next. Rudy motioned for him to set up on the stage. To his relief, Beast Boy found an instruction manual in Rick's equipment and most of it was already set up for him there anyway. After about half an hour of trying different wires and asking Cyborg and Robin for help when they could, Beast Boy had managed to set everything up. Now the only thing that he had to do was press the on button.

Beast Boy pulled at his already loose collar, "Well, here goes nothing."

The red button was pressed. Lights flashed reds, purples, whites, oranges, and blues. Five disco balls dropped from the ceiling, scattering diamond shaped lights across the room. Music suddenly began to pump out of the laptop. Beast Boy looked around and a smile came to his face. He hadn't blown it. Rudy looked over at him and nodded in approval.

"Oh yeah!" Beast Boy yelled, "Who's the big bad DJ? I am! That's who! I'm bad! That's right!"

BB's victory dance was interrupted by a knock on the door and Robin's voice coming out of the com-link, "Beast Boy, why did you stop?"

"You want me to continue my dance?" Beast Boy asked, confused

"No!" Robin yelled, "What's going on?"

Beast Boy looked around to see Rudy going to the door and asking for the password, "People are coming in."

"What's the password?" Rudy asked.


"What'd he say?" Robin asked.

"Scath, the password's Scath," Beast Boy told him, "Didn't know Trigon was so popular."

"They probably rotate the password," Robin responded, "Pay attention."

Beast Boy nodded and watched as, to his dismay, several villains coming in ranging from Triton to Control Freak. The HIVE Five soon arrived with many of their fellow graduates. Kitten, Silver Swan, Mumbo, Atomic Skull, Malchior, Circe, Atlas, Toy Man, Punk Rocket, Black Mask, Katarou, Johnny Rancid, and many others that he couldn't name were there. Some of them began to sit in corner discussing anything from how they would one day take over the world to last night's episode of Gossip Girl. It was one of the weirdest spectacles that Beast Boy had ever witnessed. He didn't see Raven though, not yet anyway, and the others were quiet on the Com-Link, not wanting to risk blowing their cover.

Surprisingly, Beast Boy found being a DJ easy, but he blamed it on luck. People actually danced, mostly teens, but maybe that was a good thing. Beast Boy thought he'd puke at the site of Control Freak's dancing. He saw some people roughing around on occasion, but they normally settled it. The only real disturbance was when Kitten threw a fit and Killer Moth had to drag her out for a talk. Beast Boy himself though, was having a bit of fun. He liked the music, the loud noises, the feeling of it all. About an hour or so in, Rudy went to the door again.



Rudy let in the new arrival and when Beast Boy looked up, he saw Raven coming in, eight o'clock, right on time. She wasn't smiling, just looking around. They made eye contact and she nodded at him. He went back to DJing, but kept a careful eye on her. It was a different site. One you didn't see everyday, but in a good way... if you could call it that. It was nice to see her out of her dark corner. Not that this place was much brighter, but still, this was probably good for her, to get out, even a little bit.

Raven looked around, trying to find a group that maybe she could invite herself into. 'Great idea, Robin, sure. Send the most unsocial of all of us on this mission,' She thought to herself. She came up to a group including: Angel, Kitten, Fang, Adonis, and Johnny Rancid. She didn't go right up to them at first, but instead, ordered a drink from Rudy and sat alone at the bar.

"So my Daddy said that I could get two limos for the dance tonight," Kitten went on, "But he wouldn't let me have them both be pink! Can you believe him?"

"Yes," Adonis answered.

"You're so spoiled, you know that?" Angel told her.

"You're just jealous 'cause I'm the prettiest girl here," Kitten replied, "Isn't that right, Fang?"

Fang shook his head and looked up at the ceiling. Raven was sympathetic and gave him a smile. That caught his attention.

"Hey, new girl, what's your name?" He asked.

Raven panicked for a moment. No name. What name could she possibly use?

"Pain's Adanna, use 'Pain's Adanna'," Robin whispered in her ear through the Com-link thinking quickly.

"Uh, Pain's Adanna," Raven answered, "Uh, Adanna, for short."

Adonis had turned now too and asked, "Want to join us, Adanna?"

"Sure," She answered.

"So what's your thing?" Kitten asked.

"I, um, I create nightmares," Raven answered.

"Nightmares? Ha, what a lame power," Kitten replied back.

Raven glared, "They can be really scary though. Especially when they have your face in it."

The others all laughed, including Fang, who was personally thinking it was time to break up with her again. Raven inwardly sighed a breath of relief when the others excepted her charade.

"So where are you from? Haven't seen you around here," Angel asked.

"Uh, ways away, Steel, Steel City," Raven answered, pointing behind her.

"So that's why you don't know how things work around here," Kitten stated, "I'll inform you. My town. My rules!"

The others sighed and shook their heads, save for Johnny who told Raven, "Just ignore her. She thinks that since Blackfire's in jail she can top her as the most dangerous 'villainess' around here."

"I do not!"

"It's cool," Raven answered.

She glanced around at Beast Boy who was still DJing. Beast Boy eyed her, reminding her to keep them talking. She turned to see them in conversation, mocking Control Freak.

"It's so pathetic, you know?" Adonis added his say.

"So who isn't?" Raven asked.

The others turned to look at her as Johnny told her, almost sarcastically, "Well, most of the Hive aren't too pathetic. No offense, Angel."

"None taken," She answered.

"I'm not talking the HIVE," Raven inserted, "I mean, big, bad and ugly. Like who runs this place?"

"Rudy runs it," Kitten answered, "What are you talking about?"

"To really answer your question," Fang started, "Let's just say I'd be surprised if any of them were actually here. Too stuck up, except for a few."

"Yeah, man," Adonis added, "Hey have you seen...?"

There was a loud bang by the front door, where Rudy was tossed back. Emerging from the dark staircase was another costumed character. Young, that was assumed, and probably who Adonis was just asking about.
Red X.

His tattered cape billowed behind him and the X's on his suit gleamed. You could tell by his eyes that he was smiling, glad to be the center of attention here. Raven and Beast Boy both watched him walk in. Beast Boy was brought back to circumstances when the song ended and he had to pick out a new one from a new playlist.

Raven turned back when Adonis added, "Never mind."

She sneaked a glance at Red X. She was surprised. Red X seemed like a bit of a loner. And with all that he had done to help the Titans, she didn't understand why he was here and not being killed at the moment. Then again, by the way he slammed the door down, it seemed like no one really wanted to bother with him anyway. He wasn't going to turn them all in after all. She turned back at Kitten's remark.

"Isn't he hott?" Kitten asked, clasping her hands together.

"Hey, I'm your boyfriend!" Fang yelled.

"Shut up, Fang!" Kitten screamed back.

"Yes, Ma'am," Fang answered. Yeah, it was about time to break up.

"Aw, come on, Kitten, not like he's gonna actually want to date you," Angel told her.

"Ha! It would be a miracle if she and Fang stayed together for the rest of the night!" Johnny exclaimed, jokingly in a pompous manner.

"Oh! He's coming over here! He's coming over here! How do I look?" Kitten exclaimed.

"Like Fang's girlfriend," Adonis answered.

"Hey," Raven jumped and turned to find Red X behind her.

"You're new," He said, his voice smooth and rough at the same time.

"I'm Pain's Adanna, or Adanna, from Steel," Raven told him.

"What are you doing all the way over here?" He asked.

"Thought I'd take a vacation?" Raven answered, in question.

"Cool, want to dance?" He asked.

Raven's eyes enlarged and it wasn't until Robin nearly shouted in her ear, "Say 'yes'! Raven, say 'yes'!"

"Uh, sure," Raven answered, getting up and taking Red X's hand out to the dance floor.

Kitten fumed at the table, "Can't believe Andy would do that."

"Kitten," Angel said.


"First off, her name is Adanna and second, shut it, before I make it necessary for you to get plastic surgery," the HIVE graduate told her.

Kitten kept her mouth shut for a while after that. Not that that really helped Raven at all. She sneaked a glance at Beast Boy who had seen the two crossing the dance floor and had just put on Lifehouse's "First Time", now an obviously unsure look on his face. Raven apparently didn't like that though. She didn't know where anyone was in their own little minds, thinking she enjoyed this or was in some kind of constant fatal danger. In reality, she hated this and she hated people forgetting who she was and what she could do. The two got onto the dance floor, but didn't move for a moment.

"You know how to dance?" Red X asked.

"Yes, do you?" She asked back, seeing as he wasn't dancing either.

"Point taken," Red X remarked.

He started and Raven watched. No, she didn't often dance. So she didn't exactly know how to dance. Red X, to her surprise though, wasn't that bad at dancing. Far from being Control Freak, he didn't dance in a ridiculous manner, but he had a sense of rhythm. And that sense of rhythm, plus his own abilities as fighting expert, gave him a smooth and cool dance method. And she had a feeling that he knew how to dance and still look good while doing it.

"You don't know how to dance," He said.

"Yes I do," Raven answered, recognizing that she hadn't been dancing.

"Just listen, find the rhythm, the beat in the song," Red X told her, stopping, and starting slowly for her to see how he found it.

She tapped her foot and shook her head, "This was a bad idea."

Red X looked at her closely and responded, "Just, you know, find the center, the feeling. You can do that right?"

Raven's eyes opened wide for a brief second, but she nodded. Center, feeling. That was just coincidence, right? Didn't matter, she had to dance before he started thinking something was really wrong with her. Raven nodded her head and started to move her body when she heard the down beat. Red X's mask concealed his face, but through his eyes, she guessed that he 'approved' or something along those lines.

"You look tense," He told her.

"Do I?" She asked.

"Loosen up, it's easier," Red X said.

Raven rolled her eyes and as she attempting to follow his instructions answered, "Easy for you to say. Remember I create nightmares?"

"You're no nightmare," He answered.

'Oh please don't be hitting on me,' Raven thought. However, she couldn't have been farther from the truth. She slowly began to get the hang of it. Beast Boy watched, Red X warning signs going off in his head. If there was ever one more sneaky and sly than him it would have to be Robin or Terra... 'Don't think about her right now.' At least no one like Brother Blood or Slade was here. Now that would be bad. Raven continued dancing, talking when she could, but considering that she was having a hard enough time just keeping her dancing from looking weird, talking took to the backseat.

Beast Boy's attention was entirely focused on Raven and Red X until the music changed on the playlist to a slow mellow song. That equaled a slow dance. Beast Boy ran over to the lap top and debated. Was this a good or bad time for a slow dance? But he hesitated, so by all means, it had to be a good time because if he changed it, he was sure he'd get a black eye.

Raven glanced up with a glare and Beast Boy hid behind the tables. Red X held out a hand to her and she reluctantly took it. Out of harms way again, Beast Boy peaked above and saw Rudy looking at him confused. Smiling and laughing awkwardly, Beast Boy stood up and began to do his job again. Holding a headphone up to the ear without the Com-link in it, he listened to the music trying to keep a cool head. Raven was doing a better job at it than he was. Except for a couple things here and there, she was really quite good at this.

"So, Adanna," Red X started, "How do like Jump?"

"Same as anything else, I guess," Raven answered.

"I like your name," He told her.

"Thanks," She answered without emotion, "You know, I've heard things about you."

"Really?" He answered, amused, "And what have you heard?"

"You're on top of things, got an eye and an ear open all the time," Raven answered.

Red X looked down to the side, "Well, you gotta around here. I just tend to do a better job than most people."

"I'll bet, you stole that suit, didn't you?" She asked.

"And I openly admit it," Red X told her, bragging.

"How'd you learn to use it?"

"I know some people. Besides, the fact that Xenothium powered it was a given once I got the suit," He told her.

But his movement slowed to a halt for a second as he looked at her. Then he continued.

"And what about you?" He asked, "How did such a hott chick like you get such a power?"

"Born with it."

"What about the name?"


It was Raven's turn to pause. This made her nervous. Beast Boy froze too, seeing what Raven was doing.

"Pain's Adanna? How did you end up choosing that?" Red X asked again.


"It doesn't suit you," Red X told her and they continued to dance.

Raven's heart beat slowed a bit. Nothing dangerous yet, right?

"Then what do you think works?" She inquired.

"Nightmares, nightmares... How about? Shadow's Sleeve, or Dream's Enemy, or..." He leaned in and whispered, "Trigon's Daughter?"

Raven's eyes widened and she moved to back away, but he grabbed her arm and quickly told her, "Calm down, I'm not going to do anything."

Raven looked at him and then at Beast Boy. Red X glanced up, "Oh, this is too good."

"Let go," It wasn't a request, it was a warning.

"Chill out, Adanna. I'm guessing for the sake of you and our DJ friend, Greg, you should hear me out," Red X told her; Raven didn't even bother trying to figure out how he knew Beast Boy's code name.

"What do you want?" She asked, angrily.

"I want to know why you're here," He told her.

Raven sighed and heard in her ear Robin tell her, "Just tell him, Raven, we'll be there in five minutes to stake out the site just in case."

"Have you heard anything?" She asked.

"I've heard a lot of things. What are you looking for in particular?" He asked.

Raven looked around, realizing that this wasn't the best place to talk and pulled him off to the side near where Beast Boy was DJing away from the speakers, "You know all of those robberies lately?"

"Like Blackfire and Cheshire?" He asked.

"Yeah," She answered, "Mad Mod and the HIVE Five were also part of it. We doesn't think that it was coincidence. He thinks someone's hiring these people and doesn't particular care if these robberies are discovered, but it seems preferred if they are not. Have you heard anything?"

Red X looked across the dance floor and around, as though trying to make sure no one saw them, "I've heard some things, from Blackfire. She said that she wanted help to do this job. I said no because it was so stupid and risky. But she didn't care because she knew she'd get to fight Starfire, which, as you can probably imagine better than I can, was going to be for payback. So she went off and got Cheshire to do it instead."

"Why did she want to in the first place?" Raven questioned.

"Other than taking a shot at beating Starfire to a pulp?" Red X asked.

Raven's eyes flashed black and suddenly Red X found his throat constricting, "Answer the question."

She released him and he rubbed his neck, "Alright, sorry, didn't know you had a temper."

"I don't."

Red X raised a brow and continued anyway, "Someone was paying her. Promised an 'early bail' if she got caught. I'm guessing they were the same people who hired the others out too."

"Do you have any other information?" Raven asked.

Red X thought for a moment and answered, "These people, whoever they are, they're not kidding around. They had contracts and everything, like a Black Market, but not. It didn't seem like there were a lot of people behind it. Blackfire said she'd make bail soon, like really soon, but she hasn't. And I haven't heard anything to suggest that she would. That can only mean that..."

"She messed up," Raven filled in remembering Blackfire's comment about everything being ruined over something small.

"Exactly. They mean business. They're smart. But I don't think they're operating around here. Another city..." Red X told her.

"Which city?"

Off in the corner, Kitten was fuming. She glared at Red X and Amanda in envy. She could just imagine. They were going steady now. He had actually revealed his face to her. HER! The girl from Steel! What a loser. The mask must make him blind. Now they were probably kissing and planning on running away from here to move to Metropolis or some other gold mine. Well that was that. She'd had enough of it.

"Um, I've got to use the bathroom," She told the others, but no one really paid her any attention.

Kitten walked over, looking around for someone big, ugly, and stupid. She found her match in Plasmus. Time to put on a show.

"Oh my! I can't believe what he did to me!" She cried out, bringing on the fake tears.

Plasmus turned and looked at her, glurbbering out some nonsense that somehow, everyone can understand.

"He, he, he left me for that new girl, Alexandra!" Kitten cried, the tears fake as ever, but real to the oaf in front of her.

Plasmus once again glubbed out a question and Kitten answered, "Him! Red X! Oh, he's so cruel to me!"

Plasmus's eyes raised slightly and he looked at her in question. Kitten's fake tears stopped and she yelled, "Fang and I are taking a break! I still can not believe him. The nerve! I'd kiss whoever gave him what he deserved."

Plasmus thought for a moment. He didn't want Kitten to kiss him, but maybe she wouldn't think him as much as an oaf anymore. Picking up a table and chair, Plasmus made his way over to the corner where Raven and Red X were.

"I don't remember," Red X told her. Plasmus got closer.

"Think!" She replied.

"What I am getting out of this?" Red X suddenly asked. Another step.

Raven glared at him, "You don't get to meet Trigon."

One more inch. Red X fumed for a moment and then his eyes began to widen, "They were operating out of..."

Plasmus came close enough. Beast Boy caught sight of Plasmus and yelled, "Adanna!"

He threw the tables and Raven instinctively threw up her hand, catching the table and chair in a telepathic grip. Everyone looked over. Kitten's glee was inexpressible. Everyone saw. Rudy looked over at Beast Boy. Everyone was silent. A Teen Titan. Two Teen Titans. It was Red X who was the first to react.


"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven yelled.

It was a disaster. Beast Boy transformed into a lion and began to swipe at anyone. Red X leaped away from the two Titans. His information, gone. Several of the brutes had gone first, but that had been easy. Now they had to deal with the hard stuff. The people who actually knew what they were doing. And all the while, someone was watching what would be the end of Zenith's Fire.

"Beast Boy, we have to get to the door!" Raven yelled after him.

After transforming back from a T-Rex, Beast Boy answered, "Ya think?"

Outside, Robin heard the fight break out. Starfire looked at him as Cyborg asked, "What's going on?"

"They got caught," Robin told him.

"Then let's go in there and kick some butt!" Cyborg yelled.

"No! Wait, the door, break down the door! Don't go in!" Robin ordered, "Starfire, I want you to search from the sky. We've still got questions for X. Cyborg, you and I will lure some of them outside. Titans, Go!"

And so the battle began. Raven was pushing her way forward when she saw masses of villains exiting. Beast Boy was flying above, trying to get rid of those firing on the rafters. Finally he fell to the ground and slithered as snake to the bar, for a safe haven. He took a breath, but felt someone cover his mouth.

"It's Gotham. They're operating out of Gotham," Red X's voice came.

He let go and was gone. Beast Boy's first thought was 'What is that guy's problem?' But he was brought back to the here and now when Raven was tossed back into the glass case in front of him.

"Raven, are you..."

She grabbed his wrist and closed her eyes. He felt a weird sensation and everything went black. Then he was outside in an ally way. Raven's eyes fluttered and shut as she reached up for her head. Beast Boy could still hear commotion near by and he hoped that wherever Raven had sent them, they were in no way going to be found. Then he heard a crackle. Scrunching up his face, he turned around to see Overload standing behind him. Then, by some miracle, he heard a barrage of starbolts being fired. Looking above him, he saw Starfire flying above them and hitting Overload with all of her fire power. Soon Overload got tired of it and retreated.

Starfire landed beside the two Titans and said, "Are you both unharmed?"

Beast Boy stood up, slinging Raven's arm over his shoulder to help her stand, "Raven's not. Can you?"

Starfire nodded and took over. Robin and Cyborg came around the corner, Robin on the R-Cycle and Cyborg in the T-Car. Starfire brought Raven over to the car and Beast Boy went inside the car as well. The noises got louder. It took mere moments though for the Titans to get miles away from Zenith's Fire and they soon skidded to a halt inside Titans Tower. Robin barely remember to take off his helmet as he ran up to the control room. With an outbreak like that...

He checked the city scanner. Clear. Finally, Robin was able to breath a sigh of relief. They must have scattered silently to keep themselves from being caught. The others came in, Cyborg carrying Raven, who was still too weak to walk. Starfire flew in with Beast Boy moments later.

"Is everything alright? We didn't leave a mess, did we?" Cyborg asked.

"No, thankfully, but I have a feeling that we won't have a chance at going back," Robin said with a sigh.

They were all quiet for a moment as Robin rubbed his head with a sigh. Beast Boy was the first to break up the silence, "Robin?"

Robin looked over at him, ready with his answer, but it was Beast Boy who spoke first, "Red X, he ambushed me in the middle of the fight. He said that, he said that whoever was hiring people, they're operating out of Gotham."

Everyone's brows raised except for Robin, who instead, had on his mask. And his mask didn't show emotion this time. But underneath, Robin felt a knot creating itself in his stomach. On the other hand, he also was starting to take in this information on a tactical hand.

"Gotham..." He whispered.

Turning back to the computer, he pulled up on the large screen above the objects stolen. Clicking on the chemicals, the information appeared revealing that the stolen chemical was called Hexane.

"Oh man. Guys listen, Gotham's been suffering from a serial killer on the loose," He told his friends, who, save for Raven, had been unaware of news on the East Coast since none of them read the Daily Planet.

Still, none of them knew quite understood what Robin was getting at, "This killer has had a... fixation with using fire, along with other things."

"Fire?" Cyborg asked, "What are you getting at?"

Robin typed on the computer and enlarged the newly found information to reveal on an atomic level, the chemical that was stolen, "I was too wrapped up in this infiltration tonight to think twice about the chemicals they actually stole. It's called 'Hexane' and it's main use is to create cooking oil from vegetables and seeds. But it has another use. It's flash point is..."

"Negative twenty three point three degrees Celsius or seven degrees Fahrenheit," Starfire finished, her eyes suddenly wide in the same realization that Robin had just made.

"Exactly, making it extremely flammable," Robin concluded.

"Oh man, you mean that it's that some arsonist murderer out in Gotham is the one who's been hiring all of these people to steal stuff for him?" Cyborg asked.

"It makes sense though," Raven interrupted, "Think about it. If you can just order your supplies and ship them under false names, then there's less evidence to pin down a suspect."

"Dude, I don't think that helps figuring out who our bad guy is," Beast Boy said, in a surprisingly gloomy matter.

The five were quiet until Robin spoke up, "Maybe not, but it gives us a lead."

"What lead?" Cyborg asked, "It's not like Red X gave us a name."

"He didn't need to. We know their style. We know where they're located," Robin said.

"So what?" Beast Boy asked.

"Yeah, Gotham 's way over there and we're right here," Cyborg said his hand motions going everywhere at once, "And what happens if they start 'ordering' a lot of stuff. They could get it from anywhere and it's still Gotham 's problem. This guy, whoever he is, is insane."

Robin put a hand up to his head and didn't respond. He knew what this revelation meant. He knew what they would have to do. What he had to do. He knew what he didn't want them to do. The others all had some idea as to what Robin was thinking about. And they all felt awkward about it, knowing that Robin in no way really liked Gotham . So when Robin finally stood up and turned his back to them to face the screen and give them orders, they were all ready, but still off guard for his instructions.

"I'm going to Gotham ," He said.

Starfire was the first to go up to him immediately and tell him, "Robin, why do we not all go? You do not have to go alone."

He turned to her and then back to the others when Beast Boy added, "Yeah, man, we're up for it."

"I'm not though," Robin told them.

It was true. Robin didn't want his team coming there. Not now. The timing just wasn't right. He'd see all of their faults. He'd remark how they weren't like the JLA or the JSA or how they were just a bunch of kids or how they argued. He'd see the kind of imperfect job that he was doing as a leader.

Come to think of it, he didn't want to go there anyway himself. Up for evaluation again. It would be an outright confrontation to something that he felt that he could never live up too. And he could already hear the corrections on how to do this or how to do that. He could feel the humiliated blush already threatening to come to his cheeks. And worse yet, the knot in his stomach was growing, dread, worry, a nervous butterfly. But he wasn't about to tell his friends that.

"You need to stay here. Like Cyborg said, Jump still needs protection," Robin told them, "And I know Gotham , inside and out. I can go in and get out faster than any of us. If you go with me, it will only slow us down. I'll go call and say that I'm coming and then I'll call the police department about Zenith's so we can shut it down before I go. It'll be a piece of cake. Alright?"

None of them seemed reassured, but this really wasn't open for discussion, "Cyborg, you're in charge, alright?"

"No man, come on, let's just all go," Cyborg said.

"Guys," Robin sighed and continued, "I'm not arguing about this. I promise, it'll just be a quick visit like a couple weeks ago, okay?"

They all looked at their shoes and muttered, "Sure, yeah, alright."

"I'm leaving tomorrow," The Titan told his teammates, "The sooner I get going, the sooner it gets done."

They all looked up sadly as Robin walked up the stairs and left the room. Glancing at each other, the Titans all knew that they really didn't know what they wanted to do or could say. Robin's word was almost always final. And this time was one of those times. Then there was that feeling where they all wanted to say something, but wouldn't. Starfire was the first to not put up with it.

"He can not go," Starfire stated, "He does not want to. Surely friends that you see this?"

"What can we do, Star?" Raven asked, in a gloomy tone as always, but even more so after the disaster at Zenith's.

Starfire's shoulders scrunched up while her nose wrinkled up and she flew off in the direction that Robin had headed. She flew down the corridors. It was deserted, not that she expected otherwise. Then, she heard Robin talking, most likely on the phone to someone.

"Thanks Alfred, I appreciate it, considering that it's such short notice... No don't bother telling him. He'll probably figure it out anyway... Alright, fine... Thanks again... Bye," He ended.

She knocked on his door and then heard him walk over. Upon seeing her, Robin gave a half-hearted smile, stepped aside and let her come in, closing the door behind her.

"Yeah, Star?" He asked, "Are you alright?"

Starfire held her arm, like it had been hurt, but only because she could think of nothing else to do with herself. How could she possibly argue with him? Now that she was here, it was hard to think logically. She wanted to, but at the same time, she knew that he would win. But this just worried her, made her concerned.

"Robin, I..." She started, finally looking at him, "I do not want you to go."

Robin looked off to the side and then back at her, "Star, you know that I have to..."

"I know that. It does not mean that I must like it," She answered.

Robin walked forward and put a hand on her shoulder, "Hey, it's not like I'm going to be gone forever. Just a week or two. Maybe less."

"But maybe more," Starfire added, knowing as well as he did that he had no answer for how long his stay would be, "And you do not like Gotham . You barely ever talk about it. And the look on your face when it is brought up... I do not know why, but I know that you do not want to go."

"That's 'cause I'd rather be here with you guys, but Starfire…" He looked her in the eye, "I promise, I'll be okay."

She looked back up at him, "You promise?"

"Yeah," He answered, "I promise."

He pulled her in close for a warm hug and she could smell the gel in his hair and the cologne he was wearing. On the flip side, he could smell the jasmine shampoo that she had used that morning and the sweet smell of raspberries and coconuts that made up her lotion. As she stood there, Starfire could feel his heart beat, calm and smooth. There was this reassurance she got from it. What he said... She knew that, with total confidence in him, he'd use all of his abilities to keep that promise because it was for her.

"I... I will miss you," She said.

"I'll miss you too," He said, "I'll be back before you know it."

Leaving, it was the last thing that he wanted to do right now. Just the last thing. He could feel a warmth coming from her, but it burned within him as he held her close. It was recognizable, but at the same time, new, exciting, and wonderful. He sneaked a glance at her face, her sweet and amazing face. She was looking behind him and didn't notice. He rested his chin on her shoulder, fighting to keep his face straight and not becoming something, what was the word, weak? Emotional. That was it.

There was just this feeling that was so soft and quiet that he felt eating him up inside. It came from the thought of leaving... But he'd be back, right? This was just because he wanted to stay and he didn't really want to go to Gotham because of Bruce, right? He couldn't answer that question, so he just let it go so that he could live in the moment.

The two Titans stayed in each others' arms for a couple minutes, neither speaking, neither daring to end the peaceful feeling that they were having together. Early tomorrow morning, Robin would leave to fly and across the country over to a dark city on the East Coast hundreds of miles away. But that was tomorrow and this was now. And at that moment, now was all that mattered.

End of Part Two

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