Erick von Long is back with a new series (and this time I'm gonna push myself darker and darker.)
Set immediately after the end of "Things Change", what if life took a different turn? What if one of the Titans' biggest falls turned out to be his biggest rise?
Disclaimer: None of the characters, locations involved in the story are property of Erick von Long, only the idea. Scarecrow and Teen Titans belong to DC Comics and Animated Series belong to Cartoon Network and the WB. Don't sue me, I'm broke as is.
"And after hours of pursuit, Titans leader Robin announced they've finally captured the mysterious, shape-shifter that was seen rampaging through Jump City today. Although the pursuit resulted in the damage of multiple public and private buildings, they say the toll was comparatively small. Titans member Beast Boy was unusually absent for the duration of the battle, to which Robin had no comment. The Mayor's office, however, has been flooded with calls from city residents demanding action over today's melee. After a lengthy tour outside of Jump City, these residents claim that the Teen Titans' return is further proof of trouble beginning to rise again. More on this and more later..."
"Well? What do you have to say for yourself?" A not-so-very happy Robin growls after switching the television off. Arms folded, his eyes narrow in a glare that appears more Dark Knight-ish by the day.
"Look, I told you already, I was following up on that girl to see if she really was Terra. She has to be linked to this if even Slade showed up..." Beast Boy tries to answer but is silenced by his four teammates staring holes into him.
"Following up?" Robin begins, teeth grinding. "We got a call from the high school that girl's attending. They say you were there for nearly two hours and you wouldn't leave despite their protests. They tell us you were STALKING her throughout the whole day. You call THAT following up?!"
"We really needed your assistance during the fight with the white creature..." Starfire adds in, just as upset as Robin.
"A lot of people almost got hurt out there!" Cyborg adds in, arms folded as well.
"And all for a girl who ISN'T Terra." Raven finishes off the series of accusations.
"Dude, I swear, that HAS to be her. Why else would her grave be.." Beast Boy tries to argue back.
"Enough!" Robin roars, silencing the green Titan. "Listen Beast Boy, we even did a background check on the girl you claim's Terra. Know what we found?! The girl's name is Tara Markov, valid birth certificate, family checks out, lived in Jump City all of her life. She's clean, Beast Boy, YOU HAVE THE WRONG PERSON!"
"NO!" Beast Boy yells back, getting into Robin's face now. "Slade changed the details, I know it!"
The death glare in Robin's eyes never fazes as this time he calmly replies. "I didn't want to do this Beast Boy but now you leave me no choice."
Taken back by the comment, BB slides away from Robin and allows a glimpse of the whole team. They seem to understand what's about to happen to him, even if he doesn't.
"Ever since we've come back, the city's been on our asses about collateral damage. Today was a mess, both for us and for the city. People want our head! They saw you weren't apart of the fight and are gonna bitch that because of you, their safety was at risk. The Mayor could shut us down right now if he had to!"
"But.." Beast Boy stammers.
"Beast Boy, shut up." Cyborg warns in a deep, powerful tone.
"I have no choice but Beast Boy, until we say so again, you're suspended from the team."
Wide-eyed, Beast Boy's mouth remains open longer than he'd expect. Words take their time before he finally roars out.
"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! You're kicking me OFF the team because of one little mishap today? THAT'S YOUR FUCKING REASON?!"
"If you just missed a mission, that'd be a smaller punishment. Stalking an innocent civilian and wrecking an abandoned amusement park on top of that, yeah you're lucky its only a suspension." Robin replies, eyes never leaving Beast Boy's green ones.
Nodding slightly in anger, BB's heads starts to bob even more while holding back his tongue. "Mm-hmm... yeah..." Turning away from his friends, he looks towards the exit to the hallway. Starting to walk away, he finds himself stopping hallway up the stairs. Without looking back, he starts calmly.
"Looks like I gave you what you always wanted, hey Robin?". A quick, sarcastic laugh. "You finally got a "reason" to boot me off of this team. But you know something," now Beast Boy turns to stare down his "leader". "I don't know what to call you right now, "Robin" or "Red X"? I mean, because of you, we have another enemy out there stealing things and causing crime while you were doing the same thing in the first place." Balling his fists, he gets louder "I fucking warned you during our fight with the Brotherhood not to separate, I FUCKING warned you! What did you do?! You didn't listen, even though I had more experience, and we almost got killed for it. Everyone else was captured, EVEN YOU, and I helped turn the fucking tide. I saved YOUR ass Robin, YOUR ASS!"
Voice straining even louder, BB's unnaturally aggressive side echoes in the silent room. "But you wouldn't fucking have it, would you?! You couldn't have ANOTHER leader in this fucking club, could you? So, first chance you get when I fucked up, you'd kick me out. Can't have you looking bad in front of your fucking girlfriend, could I?"
"Beast Boy..." Robin warns dangerously, fingers turning into a ball of his own.
"Friends please," Starfire tries to reason.
"And you!" Beast Boy screams at Starfire, "You got here and almost took the whole city with it! First you attacked us then those fucking aliens came and nearly destroyed the city! But because Boy Blunder got a hard-on for you, what does he do? "Oh, that's ok, you wanna join the team? You wanna ride this cock too?!" Yeah, tell me there isn't a fucking double standard here!"
"C'mon B, that's enough!" Cyborg counters, not liking the direction this is all leading.
"And you, Cyborg!" BB turns now to his friend, "We're like brothers me and you... Goddamn brothers.. When you left for the Titans East, Robin was ready to write you the fuck off! Who stood up for you, huh?! ME! Despite all of his complaints, I STOOD UP FOR YOU! But now, when Robin's gonna kick me out of the group, what the hell do you do?! YOU DON'T SAY A FUCKING WORD!"
Even Cyborg, angry as he is, can't answer that charge. Neither of the three can so Raven finally tries to quiet the quarrel.
"Beast Boy, shut up! Stop being a baby and just..."
"Just WHAT?!" BB screams, perhaps the loudest (and this after yelling at Robin, its saying something). "Or else you're going to get a headache, lose your concentration, run away and go meditate or something?! Every time you ever needed a shoulder to cry, friend to listen, or a person to catch you in a fight, I've ALWAYS been there even when you didn't want me too, WHICH WAS ALWAYS! Dragon breaks your heart, I listened. Father turns you into a portal, I fought to get you back! I mean, shit, there wasn't ANYTHING I wouldn't do to help you or even just get THROUGH to you! What did all of that attempt at being your friend get? A one-way ticket out of the window, a never-ending attack of insults, and now not even ONE bit of help for me here. So yeah, what am I going to be? Just WHAT, Raven, WHAT?"
For the first time in a long time, all four Titans remain stunned by Beast Boy's violent, albeit it honest outburst. However, the lack of any defense is all Beast Boy needs to hear.
"I figured as much, the truth fucking hurts! But if you think my words hurt, THIS is going to hurt me more than you!". Taking out his communicator, he throws it at Robin. "Keep your fucking toy, keep your little fantasy world, and keep your fucking holier-than-thou self! I'm done!" Turning around now, he walks away towards his bedroom, leaving four VERY surprised, and very conflicted people behind him in his wake.
Slamming his door open, Beast Boy enters his room and spits at the sight.
"Look at what this place made me into..." he coldly whispers, looking at the trash and clothes everywhere. "I live like a pig, don't take care of myself like I used to, AND keep wearing these ridiculous clothes!".
With a swift motion, he tears off the upper-part of his jumpsuit, throwing it blindly onto the floor. Glaring at the piles on the floor, he wildly kicks and throws them around, releasing his rage. Pizza boxes and crushed cans fly, clothes are ripped up or tossed about, not even his bunk bed is safe. A well-placed punch cracks part of the support beam, causing the top-tier to drop just a small bit.
Moving towards the dresser, he's about to forcefully clear the tabletop but stops when he sees a picture of the five of them. Taken awhile back, probably around the time of Slade's defeat, they all look so much younger than today, with half the stress he imagines. Although he feels a tremendous amount of rage, he cannot find the will to break the picture. Instead, another feeling takes over: Regret.
Never regret in the form of indecision but regret of time wasted. Many a year spent fighting, many a year spent protecting, and even more years probably taken away from years of physical and mental strain. Besides anger from regret, tears are not too far behind. Rogue droplets splash on the picture. For the first time since his leaving the Doom Patrol, the realization is hitting. The family he helped build would be losing the younger brother, the "Flash" of their group as the League would describe it.
A tiny laugh echoes from his tear-soaked face. "The Titans are no Justice League. We never were."
But, as he reflects, a new idea begins to enter his head. With all great falls, there is a new rise. For every great ending, there is an even more spectacular beginning. For this green teenager of America, a small end as a smuggler's lackey turned into a proud ride in the Patrol. A long jump out of the Patrol leaded to a spectacular rise in the Titans. So, if this is an overwhelming fall from the Titans, what kind of jaw-dropping flight waits for him now? Would there be trouble, would there be blood? Love? Normalcy? Freedom?
"Freedom?" The word is as alien to him as half the insults heard by Starfire moments earlier.
Freedom from the Titans would mean freedom from Robin's rules, freedom from putting on the happy-go-lucky face, freedom from insults of a Goth that would never like him back...
For the first time this new day, he feels a legitimate smile and laugh creep into his body.
Bounding over to his radio, he flips in a track from a CD. Within seconds, the drums and guitars echo in his room as he begins to rummage around the room.
"No time for crying! I got packing to do!" As he searches for the things' he'll need, he sings some of the words to his song, ad-libing as he does.
"YEAH YEAH NOW! I WANNA SHOOT YA REAL BAD! I WANNA.. YEAH!"
He throws some old clothes into a bag, mostly jeans and shirts however.
"Haven't seen her, in a quite awhile. I was down the hall just, killin' time. Last time we met, it was an angry room. We were as close together as a divorced bride and groom. We broke the tension, needed wine, nobody havin' a good time! Except you, Bitch, you're still talkin', at the end of the world!"
Beast Boy tears off his gloves and lower jumpsuit, slipping into a comfy pair of jeans and skin-tight black shirt.
"I took the insults, I needed a drink, you knew so much these days, did you stop and think? You led me on with those dark, purple eyes! You knew I loved the element of surprise! On the stones, I was playin' with rocks. You kissed my lips, broke my heart! But you! YOU LIKED IT, LIKE IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD!"
Feeling the music, he bounds around the room, air-guitaring a bit before going back to work with the lyrics.
"In my dreams, I'm drownin' my sorrows but my sorrows they learned to swim! Surroundin' me, goin' down on me! Spillin' over the brim!"
With a swift kick, he opens the trash-filled closet and starts digging for some hidden items. He laughs a bit at the song's irony but doesn't stop.
"Waves of regret, waves of joy.. I BROKE FREE OF THE ONE I TRIED TO ENJOY! BUT THEY, THEY LIKED IT, LIKE IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD!"
From down the hallway, the Titans can hear the music playing furiously over the radio in BB's open room. Cautiously they approach, hoping not to startle him further. However, the sound of his almost joyous singing is scarier than his loudest roars. The massive guitar solo compliments his aggressively upbeat tone. At one point, he even moon-walks out into the hallways, matching the vocals
"La-da-da-da-la-de-da-la-LA-DA-DA-DA! LA-DA-DA! SEE MY HORNS?!" He emphasizes this by lifting his two pointing fingers next to his skull, shaking his hips as the guitar riff comes to a shaking halt. All the while, he remains oblivious to the Titans watching him, instead finishing up the song's applause and packing up the last of his stuff.
"Wow.. he's losing it..." Cyborg whispers, seeing the sight again on his DVR.
"Well we're gonna find it for him." Robin announces, walking towards the doorway. Starfire stops him with a firm grip on his shoulder. "Starfire?"
"Let him go, Robin. He is under stress from all of this. Let him calm down."
"Oh don't worry about me!" Beast Boy answers, stepping out into the hallway with a large travel bag slung on his shoulder. "I'm on my way out, remember?"
"C'mon BB, don't do this." Cyborg pleads as the green teen approaches the group.
"Don't let me change your minds, guys. I wasn't telling you all of that for sympathy, I was being honest."
"And you're honestly being a jerk." Raven answers, arms crossed.
Stopping, he looks her straight in the eye. Nothing need be spoken as he gazes into shadowed eyes.
"Please, Beast Boy, reconsider? I do not wish to see you go." Starfire asks on the verge of crying.
"Me neither bro, please?" Cyborg adds in, almost desperate as well.
Beast Boy looks at his friend, then at both Raven and Robin who both share the same look of disdain and... dare he say... disappointment at his action. Nodding at both, he fishes something out of his pocket.
"Here, for good luck." BB swiftly quips, flipping a familiar penny into Raven's hands. "I won't be needing it where I'm going."
"And just where is that exactly?" Robin asks coldly and with little intention at attempting to ask him to stay.
"I've been a fly on the wall before, Robin!" Beast Boy emphasizes his former leader's name. "Except now I have a much bigger wall. One without an egotist maniac in a domino mask."
Robin grabs Beast Boy by the neck of his shirt and growls into his face "Like you're a model citizen yourself, Logan! If you think I'm going to just let you walk out into the city and do things YOUR way in MY town, you've got a wake up call coming across your face!"
Beast Boy's face never changes into anger. In fact, it becomes more confident. "Who watches the Watchmen, Robin?"
An evil whisper now passes from Robin to Beast Boy "You cross the line yourself, I'll watch your ass land in jail. Count on it."
"You going to let go of me so I can leave or do you plan on giving me a goodbye kiss?"
The insult forces Cyborg and Starfire to restrain Robin while BB looks on with a smile full of pity. Shaking his head, he walks away from the trio.
"So this is how it's gonna be?" Raven asks, each word frosty like the cold arctic snow blowing in your face. "You're going to walk away from us?"
Looking at the empathic Titan from the side of his eye, Beast Boy replies with as much confidence as he can. "I was unconscious, half-asleep. The water was warm til I discovered how deep." Her expression of confusion is compounded as he finishes "I'm not jumping, for me it's a fall, it's a long way down to nothing*."
With that final statement, he walks away from his would-be family, towards an empty doorway and an even more unsure future. As the four watch the green ex-Titan leave, not a single one can imagine what the future will bring. They too aren't jumping, it's a long fall... But is it one that the proud Teen Titans can climb back from?
On the outside of the Tower, Beast Boy takes in the cool, September air. The bay breeze blows through his green hair before he slips a black skully-hat over his emerald locks. "Well, Gar, we got a whole world out there waiting for us. Lets go make some noise, shall we?!"
Time Since Garfield Logan's Departure: .01 Seconds.
Yes, I know, I overkilled the "Fuck" word, but that's life.
I'm treating Beast Boy's "joker" personality in this story as mainly a farce, something to keep himself and the others sane. Without that mask, what will happen to the man in green?
- I borrowed the title (and quote) from the VERY EXCELLENT Graphic Novel "The Watchmen" by Alan Moore. READ IT!
- The song Beast Boy sings is lifted from U2's Live 2001 version of "Until The End of the World" from Slane Castle, Ireland. (It was either that or Sunday Bloody Sunday)
- The quote BB tells Raven at the end is another U2 lyric, this time "Stuck In A Moment And You Can't Get Out Of It".