A/N: *Boring Disclaimer about the fact that I don't own the Teen Titans*
Nivado111: Thank you. And here's a 34 for you. (Not as in that site, though).
Eris: Yeah, I figured he would have some experience from watching that whole "Enemy is knocked out but disappears minutes later" cliché. And he might do more things, but your ideas aren't all that crazy. It just sounds like divers and treasure hunters.
Sorry this chapter took so long. I got busy and also spent a bit of time starting the final arc of the story.
A short series of knocks came from the outside of Raven's door. Even before she could reach out with her empathic senses or merely ask who it was she knew who was there.
"Come in." she responded, which the changeling on the other side did. All he carried was a comic book, so he probably wouldn't hang around for too long.
Raven tucked herself into a lotus position to make room for her guest. Beast Boy laid back perpendicularly to the bed in a fashion that left his feet and head hanging off the sides.
The two read in silence for several minutes, each stealing an occasional glance at the other.
"I did not see that coming." the shapeshifter thought out loud.
"What happened?" the half demon asked.
Somewhat surprised that Raven was actually showing interest in his comics, Beast Boy figured it would be best to explain before she changed her mind.
"See, there're these two heroes named 'Constroct' and 'Krystaline'. They just fought 'Void', a recurring villain and the main antagonist of the series. At the end, Constroct gets incapacitated and begs Krystaline to help him, only for Krystaline to reveal in the last panel that he's been working for Void the entire time. It's not an entirely new idea in comic books to have a main character you thought was a good guy turn out to be a bad guy, but usually there will be hints or subtle clues. This time it came out of nowhere.".
"Interesting. So what're you going to read now?" the goth girl asked.
"Well, I was kind of hoping you would have some books on mythical or mystical animals." the teen replied. His statement almost earned a raised eyebrow, but he would have to settle for curiosity.
"Why? Can't you only turn into real animals?".
"Yeah, but I figure there would have to be cool creatures from Azarath or Hell. Or if any of the books can prove they actually existed on this planet, I might be able to turn into them." the changeling explained.
"Uh, sure. Just let me look.". At her request, Beast Boy watched as Raven levitated two books off of her shelves and scanned through piles of books that couldn't fit anywhere else but the floor. In the end, she collected four medium sized and one dictionary sized books.
"These two are more or less zoology books from Azarath..". Two were handed off to the green changeling. "...This one is based on mythical creatures...". Another book was handed to Beast Boy's ready hand. "...And these are about mystical animals.". The last two were set down by the shapeshifter, who had already started going through the first book he had been offered.
"They don't have any sort of library system in Hell. After all, it's supposed to be a place of suffering and pain, not knowledge.".
"Thanks. Is it okay if I borrow these?" he asked without looking up from the page he was skimming.
"Sure.". Raven sat back on the bed and continued her own book.
For longer than either would have guessed the only noise in the room was breathing and the sound of pages turning. Much to Beast Boy's chagrin, none of the creatures he was reading about had ever existed within Earth's Red, so they were out of the question. Neither realized exactly how much time had passed until Robin knocked on the door.
"Dinner's ready you two!" he called from the other side. Both teens did a double-take when they saw the clock. They had been reading in silence for hours.
"Well, today went by fast." Beast Boy groaned as he stretched his muscles. Laying down for so long left him more cramped than he had expected, and several jointed cracked as he flexed and stretched from the neck down.
"I didn't realize you were capable of doing so little for so long." the half demon quipped while she too stretched her limbs.
"I'm just full of surprises, aren't I?". A loud sequence of pops rang out when he interlaced his fingers and pushed his palms outward.
"Yeah, I guess so." Raven whispered.
"Hey guys. We got spaghetti again, along with regular and vegan hot dogs." Jinx stated upon the entrance of the goth and green Titans. She and Cyborg had just finished loading the used dishes into the washer and were ready to help themselves.
Raven grabbed one of the bowls that had been set out and used the provided tongs to load a generous pile of spaghetti into the bowl which was then topped with sauce and a hotdog that was ripped into bite sized bits with her powers. Beast Boy did the same, but with two hotdogs instead of one.
"So, you...uh, getting any results with this 'experiment' of yours?" Robin asked.
"Maybe. I was going to have Cyborg go through my records tonight and compare them to now. Or if he has saved footage of me or something he could use some kind of angular analysis to derive my height and measure my weight.".
"Do you think you will do the changing?" the alien teammate questioned from behind her overfilled bowl of spaghetti and mustard.
"Possibly. But the developments from my time in Africa could have also been influenced by the environment rather than my diet." he replied before stuffing a forkful of diner into his mouth.
"How so?" the empath beside him asked. They would have to wait a few seconds for Beast Boy to finish chewing and swallowing before they would get an answer.
"Well, in the jungle I just felt...different. I felt completely free. More alive than ever before. Like I was stretching out after being in a cage for a long time. You know how stress and depression can have adverse effects on physical growth and health? I think the sudden rush had the opposite result. Not that you guys are bad for my mental health or anything. Just the change to a more, I guess animalistic, environment had some benefits to it.".
"That, actually could make some sense." Cyborg offered with a thoughtful chin rub. Underneath his armor his mechanical brain was doing its best to process what he had just heard. Given his grass stain was just as much, if not more animal than human, it was probable that the chance to let his wild side out caused his subconscious to believe it was in a completely untamed environment, resulting in his system evolving itself to better his chances of survival. But there were issues with his hypothesis, like the fact that evolutionary processes take several generations and usually decades, if not scores to be noticeable in any species other than microorganisms and single celled bodies.
Even his theories about adaptability had holes. Typical adaptations to environments took just as long as evolutions. And if Beast Boy did truly bypass the standard time allotment, wouldn't there be some parts of him that devolved? Species like the star nosed mole gained unique sensory techniques with its nose, but in the process they completely lost their ability to see. Did parts of Beast Boy devolve due to another part of him becoming more useful?
But then again, his little buddy had said many times that he's every animal in existence wrapped into one. It was just as possible that he somehow inherited the rapid evolutionary abilities of viruses and bacteria and used them without knowing.
Or maybe this was a bunch of gobbledygook that he should put aside before he drove himself mad.
"CY! YO CYBORG!".
The metallic teen jumped back to awareness and was welcomed by the sight of Beast Boy snapping and waving his hands in front of his face.
"Jeez dude, you spaced out for ten minutes. What's eatin' you?".
"Sorry, I was just thinking about what you said. Did I miss anything?" the teen asked.
"Not really. Just a few brainstorms the others and I had about why what happened happened. If anything, you participated just as much. Albeit quietly." the changeling replied after a final forkful of spaghetti and hotdog was placed into his mouth. "Anyway, if you could bring up my most recent records we can update them tonight.". With that said the green teen dropped his bowl into the washer and returned to Raven's room to pick up where he left off, soon followed by the mentioned empath.
"Sounds like a plan." Cyborg replied. Then he started stuffing his face with his dinner. The others had already finished, except for Jinx.
"So, what were you thinking about?". Cyborg turned to face her, accidentally sending some loose sauce flying into her face.
"Sorry, sorry." he offered as he wiped the sauce away with a napkin. Jinx just sighed and rubbed a finger along the inside of her bowl.
"Just be careful next time." she requested before playfully flicking the sauce from her finger onto Cyborg's forehead. "Yeah yeah.".
"Like I said, I was thinking about what B said. But I don't exactly get it. Most species take a long, long time to change. Yet he did it in a matter of days. I just don't understand."
"Maybe we never will. His powers are so unique, it's almost impossible." Robin said with a shrug.
"Huh?" Jinx replied with a look of utmost confusion.
"Well, You and I rely mostly on natural strength. You and Raven both have magical abilities, but that same magic is exactly what explains how you do what you do. Cyborg's powers come from his enhancements, and Starfire's come from her biology. But when everything is put on the table, one thing sets Beast Boy apart from the rest of us. One way or another, he can completely ignore the basic laws of conservation.".
"You know, I never did figure out how he can grow into a T-rex or shrink into an amoeba. I tried hooking him up to some sensors but whenever he transformed the system crashed." Cyborg added.
"What if it is a gift of the Red?" Starfire inquired. "After all, if he must do the tapping into it to transform, perhaps it provides him with the energy to grow or a space to store his energy when he shrinks.".
"That's a potential answer, but I still feel like there would be some magic or other detectable forces at play when he uses his abilities." Cyborg responded. "Well, you three have fun. I'm going to get BB and see if I can't find anything new.".
"Hey B, you okay with updating your records now?" the metallic teen asked from outside the changeling's bedroom. Seconds passed, and not the slightest sound came in response. "BB? You in there?". Nothing. "Hmmm." Cyborg hummed. If Beast Boy wasn't in his room, then where was he? The commons room and gym were immediately crossed off his mental list, along with the laundry room and roof.
Of course, could it be anymore obvious?
Cyborg took a quick trip down the hall and found himself in front of Raven's room.
"Wait, so the sasquatch is real?" the empath asked disbelievingly from inside the room.
"Yeah. I saw a few of those Bigfoot hunting shows when I was a kid and I thought it would be funny to turn into one. I tried and next thing I know, boom! I'm a Bigfoot. Hasn't worked for any other cryptids yet though." the person he was looking for responded.
"Hey B, you want to get this over with?" Cyborg shouted from the hallway. Moments later the door opened and the shapeshifter exited the room.
"Sure. Be back soon." he replied with a turn to address Raven for the last sentence. The trip to the med bay was uneventful. Once the two had arrived Cyborg led them to a machine that resembled an open MRI scanner. The cybernetic man activated a series of controls on a side panel before giving the green teen instructions.
"Okay. I just need you to take off your uniform and lay on this slab.".
At his command, Beast Boy grew noticeably uneasy.
"Can't I keep my uniform on?" he asked, hoping for a loophole.
"I suppose you could, but the special fabric that it's made of causes some interference with the waves and won't return as good of a result." Cyborg explained.
"What if I go up and change into regular clothes?" the changeling asked while already inching towards the door. Instead of stopping him the mechanical Titan walked up and placed a giant hand on his buddy's shoulder.
"Look, I know about your scars. I've treated you enough over the years to get a few glimpses beneath your uniform. But I haven't told anyone and I won't ask how you got them. I just want you to know that I understand how you feel about being uncomfortable and ashamed about your body." he offered with a few taps to the robotic half of his head. "I would never judge them. And you shouldn't either. If I can get used to walking around public with metal sticking out of my...everything, you can get used to letting your family see your skin.".
"I guess.". After a few moments of hesitation Beast Boy returned to the scanner and stripped down to his boxers and laid onto the device. Although Cyborg had seen a few of the scars on his arms and legs after the first Beast incident, this was the first time he had seen his back and chest.
And boy was that a different story.
Doing his best not to stare, Cyborg pressed a button that started the machine. The top of the machine began to make a high pitched whine that caused Beast Boy to grimace for a few seconds until it stopped. Hatches along the sides opened to reveal smaller scanners that waved alongside his body and occasionally changed pitch. Just a few minutes later the process was finished.
"All set." Cyborg mentioned before chucking the uniform at its owner. The clothing was quickly donned and Beast Boy eagerly hopped off the scanner and grabbed his gloves and boots. A screen on a wall lit up and displayed multiple silhouettes with pointy ears.
"So the ones on top are from a year and a half ago, and the ones on the bottom are the new ones.". The displays started spinning to give a full view. Beast Boy thanked every god he had heard of when he realized Cyborg had done some appropriate censoring.
"Huh. My legs and arms have slightly extended." the scanned teen muttered while squinting at the displays.
"Yeah. But that's natural. You're still growing. But what caught my attention was this...". The skeletal system was enlarged and enhanced.
"You haven't gone through any 'Holy hell how did that happen?' changes yet. But comparatively, it's a lot for any human to go through without magic, surgical aid or superpowers at play. The biggest differences are in your bones. Not only are they slightly denser than before, but the internal structure has taken on a repeating triangular pattern in the shape of an ellipse. The best way to describe it would be a truss bridge wrapped around itself. When put together, those changes...".
"Greatly increase overall bone strength at the cost of a little extra weight. Not a bad trade off if I do say so." the changeling finished.
"Exactly. Now let's move on.". The current display disappeared and was replaced by one Beast Boy recognized as a nervous system.
"In my opinion, the most interesting feature here is the faint presence of apetum lucidum and somewhat enlarged retinas. I already know you have excellent sight, but apparently you also have night vision.".
"Yeah. It's interchangeable, which would explain why it's so faint in a brightly lit room. How else would I be getting around these early mornings without turning the lights on?" the changeling rhetorically asked.
"Fine, you make a good point. But aside from that, there's nothing too out of the ordinary for your standards. Your nasal passages have further lengthened and compressed, giving even more surface area for inner tissue, which in turn gives a drastic increase in your olfactory neurons. The points on your ears actually give them a cone shape that increase their abilities to direct sound waves into your drum, which is strengthened with a slightly more prominent curve inside. Besides that, there's nothing worth pointing out immediately. But I'll let you know if I find anything.".
"Well that was a lot to take in. I'll see you around." the changeling said as he made his way to the door. "And Cyborg?".
"Thanks for keeping a secret.". Before the discussion about his marks could restart Beast Boy left the med bay and returned to Raven's abode.
"Hey Rae, can I come in?" he asked. The door was encased in an opaque black glow and pushed open in response. But his entrance yielded something he never thought he would ever see.
Raven was reading his comic book.
"Uh, you feeing okay Raven?" the green teen asked as several theories ran through his head, ranging from mind control to a disgruntled, radioactive clone.
"Well, I heard one of the character's names was 'Constroct' so I figured if his powers are based around creating constructs I could learn a few things.".
"Makes sense." he responded as he took his place on her bed and opened the book about mystical lifeforms.
"How did your scans go?".
"Well, there have been a few changes. Bones and senses really.". Two pages flipped and silence took over again.
"It's getting late. Maybe we should call it a night." the empath suggested after a look at her clock.
"Huh, guess I've already readjusted.".
"So, what do you think will happen when you turn yourself over?" Raven questioned.
"I don't really know. Maybe I'll get a reduced sentence. Maybe I'll go free. Either way, I'll probably get it over with later tomorrow.". In truth, he had no idea what would happen. Sure, he was a hero. But he was still a murderer. Nothing besides time travel and a few paradoxes could change that. And destabilizing the existence of reality just to prevent himself from going to jail didn't have all too much of an appeal, so there weren't any real options.
The best he could do was hop into bed and hope for the best tomorrow.
A/N: Well, I guess it's about time I got this chapter out and started working on Beast Boy's "punishment". I already have a rough idea of what I'll do, but it may take awhile if my research doesn't prove conclusive. (Yes, I occasionally research topics I'm not familiar with, but not enough for this story to be an accurate representation of the real world.). Anyway, I hope you enjoyed. Leave a review and have a great day!