In the main lounge of Titans' Tower the group of super powered teens were watching a horror movie.
"Why do they always go into the basement?" Beast Boy asked. "Nothing good ever comes of going into the basement." He gestured at the movie they were watching.
"You gotta go into the basement sometimes, there are things that need fixing," Cyborg told him.
"Not when you suspect the house is haunted," Robin argued, "and you certainly don't do it in the middle of the night."
"It might just have been a common murderer," Raven pointed out.
"Then he can climb the stairs himself, put a little effort into my murder, not be lazy and expect me to do all the work," Beast Boy said firmly.
The widescreen TV they were watching changed from the movie they were arguing about to a flashing red screen as Robin's wrist computer started buzzing.
"Titans Go!" Robin called out as the small group of super powered teens leapt into action, running and in a couple of cases flying, towards the garage.
"What's the sitch, Rob?" Cyborg asked as they piled into his car mere moments later.
"Some cult has grabbed an entire third grade class to sacrifice to their dark god," Robin growled out angrily as he read the info on the emergency. "They're down at the South docks, warehouse 31. The police have the place blocked off, but they can't move in without endangering the children."
"Those zarbnarfs must be stopped!" Starfire declared, eyes glowing bright green.
"Me and Beast Boy can sneak in and free the children," Raven suggested calmly, praying it wasn't a cult dedicated to her father.
"And the three of us will play distraction," Robin agreed as Cyborg floored it, taking a turn on two wheels.
Beast Boy shrunk down into a small green snake and slithered up Raven's side, her hand moving to divert him from hiding in her cleavage only to find it unnecessary as he coiled around her throat like a choker. She almost flinched from the animalistic rage she felt from the normally cheerful joker as it stirred her own rage in turn and… other emotions.
Cyborg flew through the streets of Jump City with a speed and precision that was superhuman, surpassing what even a cutting edge computer could have handled, sliding around curves and slipping through holes in traffic with only centimeters to spare. "I really need to add a flight mode to my baby," he muttered to himself as the vehicle's roof lowered itself and everyone was pressed low in their seats so he could slide underneath a semi trailer.
The car screeched to a halt outside a police barricade less than three minutes later, the titanium hood of the car radiating heat that made the closest police officers step back. A detective carrying a bullhorn turned and went to approach the car when a fifty foot tall, squid headed humanoid with large leathery wings breached the surface of the water with an earth shattering roar just off the pier, causing a mass of cheering from the cultists inside the warehouse who could see him through the windows.
"Move people!" Robin ordered as they leapt from the car, Raven vanishing into the shadow of her namesake with Beast Boy in tow as Starfire took to the air and Cyborg burst through the barricade as if it was made of cardboard barely a second later, Robin just a foot behind him as they rushed for the monster, having no time to talk to the officers on the scene.
Starfire threw bolts of green fire at the mammoth abomination's head, but they barely seemed to phase the monster as it ripped open the side of the warehouse, revealing over a dozen frightened children clutching each other in the center is a magic circle, surrounded by at least that many cheering black robed lunatics, and stuck it's head inside.
"Get away from them!" Raven yelled as she phased through the wall and Beast Boy leapt off her neck, transforming into a massive green rhino that charged towards the descending tentacled head.
"No!" Starfire cried out as the tentacles swept the crying children into its mouth.
Cyborg added his sonic blasts to the others' attacks as he all but exploded through the main doors, but it just caused the giant's skin to ripple like jello as it straightened up. Beast Boy transformed into a giant squid as he clung to its face, his tentacle wrestling with it as he tried to force its mouth open.
Robin entered slightly out of breath and threw a number of explosive bird shaped knives but they simply left black marks on its thick rubbery flesh as they went off, before realizing he had nothing that could handle the foe they were facing and turned to the cultists. He pulled a pair of batons off his belt and decimated the nearby cultists with a series of brutal strikes, searching for who was in charge so he could ask some pointed questions of them.
A dozen police officers rushed in, adding to the melee and quickly subdued the still standing lunatics who were laughing and chanting in some strange language, making no move to defend themselves.
"Alright, we've got them, you can release the children now," the detective called out through his bullhorn, causing the superheroes to pause for a moment, allowing the creature to lay its head down on the pier and open its enormous mouth, a bright green glow coming from the interior.
"It's like a bouncy castle in here!" a young child's voice called out amid a chorus of childrens' laughter.
Everyone paused, even the cultists.
"He's trying to lure people in?" one of the cultists asked hopefully.
A tentacle reached inside and pulled a small child out, setting her down.
"No fair!" the little girl yelled. "I wanted more time in the bouncy place!"
More tentacles dove inside, pulling out various disappointed children and setting them on the ground, the giant's body shrinking until just the massive head remained as one young boy's voice called out, "You'll never catch me!"
"Go Billy, Go!" the children started cheering on the third grader, who was apparently very talented at avoiding tentacles.
"What did we do wrong?" one of the cuffed cultists asked another, only to receive a confused shrug in reply as they were pushed into the back of a police car.
"I'll get him," Beast Boy said, transforming into a chimpanzee and climbing into its mouth.
"What just happened?" Starfire asked, confused.
"You are good," Beast Boy's admiring voice could be heard from inside the giant head, "but I'm better. Gotcha!" The green teen walked out of the mouth with a laughing eight year old boy under his arm.
The head shrunk down and shifted into a man.
"Lex Luthor!" Robin exclaimed, gripping his batons tightly.
"Thanks for your assistance Mr. Luthor," the police detective said, shaking his hand as the children gathered around Starfire who was broadly smiling and seemed as excited to meet them as they were to meet her.
"It's no problem, Detective Miller, I'm just glad I could help," Xander told him.
"How are you involved?" Robin demanded.
"I was heading for the Jump City museum of natural history and noticed the bus full of kids heading in the opposite direction. Normally I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but the guys in robes set off alarm bells and the kids looked upset," Xander explained. "So, I called the cops and followed behind, blending in with traffic."
"You noticed all of that just from a glance?" Cyborg asked with a frown.
"How smart are you?" Xander asked dryly.
"Don't like to toot my own horn, but I do happen to have a number of patents and have destroyed many IQ tests," he said smugly.
"And could you have noticed all that at a glance?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty good about these things," Cyborg agreed.
"And how smart am I?" Xander asked with a smirk.
Cyborg opened his mouth, paused and then nodded. "Yeah, point taken."
"And what were you planning to do at the museum?" Beast Boy asked suspiciously.
"They have a 'mummies from around the world' exhibit that might or might not contain a person or two suspended between life and death for a number of centuries," Xander explained.
"Excuse me," Detective Miller said, before anyone else could comment, "could you expand on that a bit?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. "Many of the cultures who practiced mummification also practiced magic, and one of their punishments for crimes was to wrap someone in bandages, cast spells so they couldn't die, and then entomb them. As long as the seals are intact they stay asleep, but you know how nosy archeologists are. I figured I'd stop by and take a look before they ended up remaking a classic monster movie."
Raven's eyes narrowed. "That's not the whole story."
"No, I am also really, really bored," Xander admitted. "It's been almost three weeks since I last harassed Superman, but since I'm trying to be a better person I need to find something else to do. I mean, seriously, why waste tens of thousands of dollars irradiating emeralds to mess with him when I can just find something more productive to do?"
Everyone just stared at him.
"What?" he asked.
"Nothing," Raven said dryly.
"Are living mummies really a serious possibility?" Detective Miller asked.
"I've seen it happen," Xander told him. "It sucks for them and everyone around them, their time is past. It's best just to put them down and let them pass into the afterlife." He clapped his hands. "Now, I would suggest taking selfies with the kids and signing autographs while playing up what an adventure it was, because we want them to look back on this as an exciting day and not something to be traumatized over."
"You can't just put people down because they are inconvenient," Robin argued.
"We can do that?" Beast Boy asked nearly at the same time. "The keeping kids from being traumatized thing, not the killing mummies thing," he quickly explained.
Xander turned to Beast Boy. "Yes, children are very resilient and take their cues from the people around them, pretend everything is exciting and they'll decide it was rather than horrifying, that's why I turned my insides into a bouncy castle," He turned back to Robin. "It's not that they're inconvenient, it's that being turned into that type of undead they usually have to drain the living to remain alive themselves."
"Is he right?" Robin and Beast Boy asked Raven in chorus.
"Yes to both," Raven replied. "At least as far as I know what he said is correct in both cases."
"Turn into a unicorn, that ponies show should make the kids excited to see you," Xander told Beast Boy.
"Magical animals are hard to control," Beast Boy said, "the instincts of even magical herbivores are worse than what I deal with turning into massive predators."
"Oh, if only you knew someone who could help you with that problem," Xander said melodramatically, "someone who knows about strengthening mental defenses and meditation." He shifted into a small purple winged pony and trotted over to the children who cheered and gathered around him, petting anywhere they could reach.
"Raven?" Beast Boy said with a sigh.
"Yes?" she asked dryly.
"Will you help me learn to control my instincts when I change into magical animals?"
"Will you actually work on it and not just goof off?" she countered, raising an eyebrow.
"I'm very serious about controlling my powers, can't afford not to be," Beast Boy said solemnly.
"I know the feeling," Raven said. "We can start work on it once we get back to the tower. Now, turn into a small pony, the fact that you're green and can talk will cover the lack of magical additions."
"I should have thought of that myself," Beast Boy realized, shaking his head before turning into a green pony, Raven floating up to land on him as he headed towards the children.
"I can't believe Lex Luthor helped us rescue a bunch of children without being paid," Robin said, deciding to join the kids getting autographs from his teammates.
"I can't believe Lex Luthor watched Pretty Pretty Pegasus," Cyborg said.
Jump City Museum of Natural History
"And my plan is foiled by not thinking things through once more," Xander said with a frown as he looked at the display of various mummies from different cultures.
"You forgot to bring someone who could detect magic," Raven said, causing him to jump.
Xander spun around. "Yeah, that would be the flaw in my brilliant plan," he agreed, wondering how the entire team had snuck up behind him, "thankfully you are here."
"And you expect us to help you?" Robin asked with a glare.
"No, he expects us to help the city," she replied dryly.
"Bingo," Xander agreed, still finding the instinctive hostility he got from the more serious heroes amusing. "Figure out if any of these are going to be a problem, let the local grave robbers know not to touch them, and then call the Justice League to deal with it."
"You weren't planning on dealing with it yourself?" Cyborg asked.
Xander shook his head. "This is the kind of thing you let the professionals handle, like Dr. Fate or Zantanna."
"Dude, how did you pick up shape changing?" Beast Boy asked.
"He copied Plastic Man's powers and enhanced them somehow," Robin replied before he could answer.
"Huh, I'd have thought you'd have gone with Superman's," Cyborg said.
"I could have, but then I'd be related to Kal El and even if I'm not being a dick to him anymore… it'd be kinda uncomfortable. Plus, being a shapeshifter is awesome."
"He's not wrong," Beast Boy agreed, rapidly shifting through several forms.
"Why have you changed?" Raven asked.
"Ask the Justice League," Xander suggested, "they did an interrogation on my motives and everything to make sure I was on the up and up. I really don't like talking about it."
"They don't have any hard facts, only suppositions," Robin admitted.
"And some surveillance footage," Cyborg added, his electronic eye glowing as he looked over the footage.
Xander chuckled. "I got a chance to see reality as it really was… and I was not playing the role I thought I was."
"Supervillain?" Starfire asked.
Xander chuckled. "Everyone is a hero in their own mind, especially the villains, princess."
"Hey," Robin bristled, "don't be so disrespectful. Starfire is a valuable member of our team."
"Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran, second in line for the throne," Xander replied.
The rest of her teammates turned and stared at her.
"I did not mention that?" she asked.
"No, I think I'd remember," Cyborg said.
"Oh," Starfire replied, "well I am."
"The road between Tamaran and Earth is not an easy one," Xander said. "I wouldn't bug her about it. Anyway, I saw that I wasn't playing the role I thought I was… and I was taking life far too seriously, so I quit."
"Quit taking life so seriously or your role?" Raven asked.
"Both," Xander replied. "Feel anything from the mummies?"
Raven turned and scanned the exhibit. Her eyes widened after a moment. "I can feel that two of them are… sleeping, not quite dead."
"Which ones?" Beast Boy asked, leaning forward.
"Back up five feet," Xander ordered the green teen, moving in between him and the display.
"What gives?!" Beast Boy asked, hopping back, arms half raised in defense.
"Murphy likes to hang around you at times and we don't need any accidents waking them, both because it's likely to cause fatalities and because it's unfair to them to come back to life only to be killed hours later," Xander said. "In fact, we should all probably move back and wait for the Justice League to handle it."
"Murphy?" Cyborg asked as they all moved away, as they silently agreed he may have a point and they didn't want to start a fight in a place with historic artifacts.
"Are you saying I'm bad luck?!" Beast Boy demanded.
"No, bad luck would be predictable," Xander told him, "you go from good to bad at random times, it might be a psychic power or curse or ability. I mean, how many times have you screwed things up 'accidentally' only to somehow get lucky and save the day?"
The Titans considered that for a minute, exchanging glances and twitches that probably spoke volumes to each other, but said nothing to Xander.
"On the whole his good luck has far out weighted his bad," Cyborg said.
Xander nodded. "Yeah, that's why I said it might be a power, trading a little bad luck for more good luck later. I think Jinx may have a conscious version of that power."
"You'd think I'd notice," Beast Boy complained.
"We can all see it now," Robin told him, "there's definitely something there."
"Sometimes it takes a look from outside in to notice these things," Xander suggested with a chuckle. "Have one of you called the League? I would but I'm…"
"An ex villain?" Starfire suggested.
"Lex Luthor," Raven said.
"Kinda shady," Cyborg offered.
"I like the last one," Xander decided before anyone else could chime in, "let's go with that." He ignored the chuckles. "Anyway, one of you needs to call the League and let them know this is not an immediate emergency but it could become one, so it should be handled as quickly as possible."
"On it," Cyborg said, his electronic eye glowing.
"So what are you concentrating on these days?" Raven asked curiously.
"Yeah, you probably have a lot more free time," Beast Boy said, leaning against a pillar.
"Trying to be less of a dick, waiting for my Mercys to return from Themyscira, inventing things and then realizing they are too dangerous to release to the public," Xander said thoughtfully. "I'm also going over all the company practices and deals that have happened over the last couple of years to see where people have been acting stupidly evil and trying to fix that."
"Mercys?" Robin asked, realizing Lex was speaking of his assistant in the plural. "Did you clone her?"
"Why does everyone always ask me that?" Xander asked.
There was a flash of light as Dr. Fate appeared before he turned and with a gesture, threw golden chains of light at Xander.
Beta by: Abyssal Angel & Mist of Shadows