Author's Notes: I have a craving. And it's called…TEEN TITANS!

Been on a TT fanfic binge as of late, and now I can't focus on my other stories long enough to do anything over the Christmas break. THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

So I must sate the bug…WITH ANOTHER LEGENDVERSE STORY!

This story shall take place after Flashing Lights and Sounds in the canon Legendverse...to be more precise, during the fourth season after the events of The Cutting Edge. In particular, around the time the episode Stranded occurs. As for what happens...well, I'll just have to show you.

You all know about my universal disclaimer regarding Teen Titans on my profile. But Noel "Savior" Collins is property of Legend Maker, Robert "Gauntlet" Candide is property of BobCat, and Nigel "Scalpel" Hastings and Sophie "Morgue" Matthews are property of Jedi-And.

So...what shall happen this time...?

Noel: If you force me to hold hands with Robert again, I will MURDER you.

Fortunately for your sanity (and LM's), your cursed affliction in Hand-in-Hand will not be repeated.

Noel: Good.

But the events of Hand-in-Hand do have a role to play, so people will have to reread it anyway.

Noel: Damn it.

Begin!

xxxx

A golden light wandered the universe…alone…without a guiding hand.

Veering away from sentience, thought, mind…seeking nothing but an empty solitude, being without purpose and without a higher mind to control it.

A power that could rend all of existence asunder, floating about harmlessly, aimlessly…emerging as naught more than whispers and glimpses in the annals and histories of countless civilizations.

It had been that way since the beginning.

At least, the new beginning.

xxxx

In the beginning there was only one, a single black infinitude

xxxx

Oblivion's immense energies – capable of altering anything and everything – poured into the energy stream as bolts of power racketed his frame. The fusion screamed as loud as he could, his pain echoing throughout the expanse of whiteness.

xxxx

So cold and dark for so very long

xxxx

Oblivion's interference had introduced a random factor into the equation. Powers that affected magic and reality itself stormed through the pool, mixing with those of the Anti-Monitor, the Spectre, and Krona's machine.

Then the stream vanished into whiteness, as Oblivion was propelled outward through the rift that he had inadvertently created.

xxx

that even the burning light was imperceptible

xxxx

Further back into the rift, Deathstroke's eyes widened as Oblivion's body slammed into his, pushing him back. "What have you done? TELL ME!"

Slade got no answer.

xxxx

But then the light grew, and the universal infinitude shuddered

xxxx

In Jump City, sheer power – along with Oblivion and Deathstroke – erupted from the rift.

xxxx

and the darkness finally screamed, as much in pain as in relief

xxxx

All of Jump City was consumed. The white energy didn't spread any further…although invisible ripples of power did spread out, affecting everything they touched…that is, everything that had been changed.

xxxx

For in that instant a Multiverse was born

xxxx

Oblivion had altered creation.

xxxx

A Multiverse of infinite worlds, vibrating and replicating…

xxxx

Years. Decades. Centuries. Millennia. Eons.

An entire lifetime, and countless more, endlessly wandering.

No conscious. No thought. Just…meandering throughout the vastness of the Multiverse. Guided by nothing, it wandered…onward, alone, in seclusion.

It came across countless wars. Countless catastrophes.

Gods and demons, fighting and dying. Worlds split in twain as they perished…and it continued to wander, leaving the creatures to their own affairs.

Endlessly. Without pause. Without end. Stopping at random points, as if to wonder why it continued to wander. It was…utterly without purpose.

And so events continued. It wandered through universe after universe…

BOOM!

A sound, impossibly reaching through the emptiness of vacuum. For it was a sundering of dimensional boundaries, echoing across planes of reality that made themselves known despite the lack of a medium for normal sound waves to travel. A tunnel of light, stretching...

And out came a deep voice that did not make it across the bounds of space.

"It seems that the fabled…'essence' has wandered into this corner of the universe once more. To think that the legends would prove to be true."

The mass of shimmering gold did nothing as it was seized by winged fiends, bound by technological shackles and magical seals.

And as it was swiftly brought towards the end of the tube – the end revealing a planet of fiery geysers and an oppressive taint to the air – its captor...the planet's dread lord…smiled out of anticipation.

"Perhaps you will be the key to the Anti-Life Equation."

xxxx

and a Multiverse that had once been one, became many once more.

xxxx

(Cue the Teen Titans opening music…)

Ultra Sonic 007 Presents

(the legendary Green Lantern emerges from the shadows…)

A Legend Maker Production

(…but then the Green Lantern dims…and suddenly, it blazes with a golden light that forms the title, its surface now pitch-black)

THE BLACK LANTERN CORPS.

Evil has a deadly imagination

xxxx

Jump City, Florida.

A city that has seen its fair share of villains and madmen. The Lord of the Night, a man that had become a god, rendering judgment upon humanity during the 'Final Night'. Whim, the almighty teenager whose powers fit his name, his mark having been left during the 'Last Wish'. The Sorceress, an unbelievable master of magic…and her deadly attack on the world had the common title 'End of Metal' (though it had another less-used, but no less accurate, name of 'End of Days'). And this wasn't countering the various other superbeings and demons that had made their presence known: Trigon the Terrible, Aberration, Brother Blood, Godsend…and of course, who could forget Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke the Terminator?

The city's resident protectors had faced so many challenges.

And they had managed to triumph. Inconceivably. Impossibly.

It's what the Titans were known for.

You've heard of the classic ones. Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven, Terra…heck, I described them plenty in the last story. Even the two new guys - Savior and Gauntlet - had plenty of description! So no retreads here.

Instead…we focus on the fellow sitting in one of the pods of the orange, manta-ray-shaped T-Ship. Bearing pale gray skin (paler than Raven!) and big, pointy elf ears…well, it wasn't a surprise to see why many people would call him a monster.

Monstrous in terms of outfit, probably. His outfit was demonstrably garish, clad in a suit of all red, complete with a stylish red cape; black and white patterns wove around the suit, like vines, somehow managing to fit in well with the white undershirt that completed the whole ensemble. A wide-brimmed red hat with a white band covered his head, which bore a crown of loose by spiky hair of pale blue (so pale that it was almost white). All in all…an eyesore, most people would initially say. Or at least in the opinion of a certain author.

The alien glanced up, his eyes – utterly black where the whites should be, bearing dark blue dots where the irises and the pupils would be on a human – glaring at the nonexistent air. "We can sort of hear you."

I've said no names.

The alien sighed, muttering to himself – "I happen to like my attire." – before speaking into the ship's com-link that was wired over his swept-back ears. As he tapped at the device, one could see his hands; two fingers and a small thumb, all three sharp and having metallic talons seemingly welded onto them (giving off the impression of blades). Those blades, coupled with the similar talons on his bare, two-toed feet, when combined with his doctoral knowledge...well, you have his codename: Scalpel. It was certainly a fair sight more appropriate than his name of Nigel Hastings (which, in itself, was a very rough approximation to his true name of Nigicalnack Hastionfarlock. Don't ask me how to pronounce it). "Are we ready to take off?"

"In a moment," remarked the stern, no-nonsense voice of Savior, his white hair visible in the right wing's pod.

Scalpel sighed as he glanced about the cockpit of his portion of the T-Ship. The seat feelsdiscomfortable. Or is it noncomfortable? Being a Blacktrinian – albeit a calm, docile one in comparison to the rest of his historically warlike race – he was well-versed in the difficulties of Earth speech and its colloquialisms, much like the team's resident Tamaranean Starfire. Nevertheless, he had adapted rather well, all things considered; he was part of team, he had a girlfriend, he had become incredibly skilled in the art of the blade (a thought that often made him grin, given how he had been considered a weakling by the Blacktrinian military prior to his arrival on Earth. Comeuppance on a galactic scale!)…life was good.

You know, save for the really irritating villains like Mumbo. And when his fellow teammates could get too ornery. And when godlike rogues showed up every now and then. And when Terra and his girlfriend Sophie got into their 'feline battles'…

"Okay everyone, we're ready for lift-off!" The boisterous voice of Cyborg boomed over the intercom, his form in the front pod.

Scalpel's thoughts came to the present, his mind already returning to the thought of how uncomfortable these seats were. "Perhaps we can make custom seats for future use?"

"Do not worry Friend Nigel! I will speak to Robin about this upon our return!" exclaimed Starfire, her bubbly voice ringing out from the left wing's pod.

Nigel sighed, looking at all four pods ahead of him; he was at the rear of the ship, having the most posterior of the five pods. He was the 'tail', so to speak. "It is not that much of a hassle…it's just not very pleasant to sit in."

"I still don't see why I have to come along!" moaned the voice of Gauntlet, his blonde-haired form ranting from the central pod.

"Because I'm Team Leader for this mission, and I say you're going."

"Come on Cyborg! You didn't have to pick me!"

"Yes I did."

"Why?"

"Because Robin told me to bring you."

"You didn't have to listen!"

Nigel blinked. "I thought we HAD to listen to his orders."

"Oh come on Nigel!"

Savior growled with irritation. "It's because KITTEN is finally out of jail and has started calling again."

"EXACTLY!"

"Yo. Rob." Cyborg turned a stern eye towards Gauntlet's pod. "Didn't Fearless have a talk with you about it this morning?"

"Yes he did."

"And why did he say that you had to come?"

In response to Cyborg's expectant question, Gauntlet initiated a flashback.

xxxx

/Earlier That Day/

"There's a satellite station in orbit above Jump City that's reported some trouble. I want you to be on the team that goes up."

"How come?"

"Because I said so."

"But-!"

"No buts Rob."

"Ah, Robin...please?"

"No."

"I bet this is about Kitten."

"Maybe. Maybe not."

"I heard you tell her off this morning!"

"I told her that you weren't in."

"WHY?"

"You know why."

"You're still hung up on that mission? We succeeded, didn't we? I distracted Kitten with that prom date, you guys beat Killer Moth. The dad goes to jail, the daughter is out of the way while it's all going down, all's well that ends well!"

"You succeeded. TOO well."

"Being too successful is always a personal goal of mine."

"The tabloids. The videos. The PICTURES."

"Being paid attention to in such a manner is also a personal goal of mine."

"That restraining order Killer Moth filed is STILL valid Rob. Until 2090."

"Oh come on, restraining orders are wastes of paper anyway. And I'm well aware of the irony there given the fact that I was forced onto this team by court order, thank you very much."

"No means no."

"Is this about the fact she's a villain? Cause there's that whole thing with Jinx and Cyborg-"

"NO."

"Pleeeeeeease Robin?! It's hard enough getting the attention of the opposite sex as is with SOME authors."

"No."

"Authors who shall go unnamed, if that helps you."

"I'm still saying no."

"PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE?!"

"Get going."

"I'll even return those Christmas pictures of Starfire!"

"Wait a second, I swiped those back from you...when did you-?"

"Never mind, I'll go."

/End Flashback/

xxxx

"He told me some stuff."

Cyborg did not look convinced.

"It's not my fault I managed to get to second base. Sort of."

Savior growled. Gauntlet, even after all these years, was so. Damn. Infuriating. "The news networks went on for WEEKS. Do you realize how many interviews we had to turn away? How many of the media questions after battles revolved around the stuff you and Kitten DID? My God, Robin's E-MAIL!" Truly, Noel could not otherwise recall so many successive 'DELETED!'s throughout his entire career as a Titan.

"Nothing more raunchy than anything you and Raven have done. Or Beast Boy and Terra. Or Robin and Starfire."

"What about me and Robin?" asked Starfire.

"Ya'll just chill, we're about to liftoff," grumbled Cyborg, putting an end to the shenanigans. "And Rob, do us a favor and don't talk about it anymore."

"But it's my lone moment of romantic triumph! That sort of thing's hard to come by!"

Savior resisted the urge to curse. Loudly. But alas, he had to come along on this mission. There was really no choice in the matter, as far as he was concerned.

Another flashback!

xxxx

/Earlier That Day/

"You're sure you can handle it Noel?"

Noel Collins – Savior – sighed as he stared into the sky, at the vague point at where the communications satellite would be passing in orbit over Jump City for the next few days. His mostly-white (there was a light blue shirt to counter the whiteness…of, well everything else) form seemed tense with anxiety and…some form of grim anticipation? "I'll be fine Tim. I can handle it."

"I wouldn't be asking if I had assigned it to you. But you requested to come on this mission."

The white-haired Titan turned towards Robin, noting how tall they had both become since he had joined the team. Over the years, a number of newcomers had joined after the original five: he, Savior, had been the first. Then Gauntlet. Then Terra. Then Scalpel, and finally Sophie (most of the team was still used to thinking of her that way, as compared to her codename of 'Morgue'). With the exception of Gauntlet and Terra, all the Titans had now reached their 20s (in fact, it was getting to the point where Tim was going to make the name-change official, if only so the merchandise would finally upgrade). Through it all, they had managed to stick together through thick and thin.

Well…give or take a few…mishaps.

Which was why Robin was being so obstinate about this.

Because Robin understood why Savior had requested the mission.

"Well Tim…call it a gut feeling."

"You tend to have those a lot with regards to-"

"I know, I know…" Noel sighed, ruing the events that had caused him to register in an insane asylum. Events that had built up over a number of years, finally manifesting in a poisonous rage that had nearly ended the team…that had nearly ended him. And in the end, it had all been for nothing, due to Slade's machinations.

Those events in question…well, let's just say that the sins of the fathers pass on to the sons…and they can become something horrible. And they did, in Savior's case.

"Savior."

The Titan turned towards the team's leader, knowing the reason why he had called him by his codename. "I know. In the field, don't bring any baggage if you can help it. Not like I haven't harped on Gauntlet for being too casual with our real names before. I'll keep a check on myself. If nothing's wrong…well, then my gut will have been wrong. And we'll move on."

Robin stared, right into Savior's crystal blue eyes.

And then he nodded. "Very well then. But I'm serious about this."

"I know you are."

Potential threats to the team? Weren't going to happen. Not if Robin could help it.

/End Flashback/

xxxx

Savior merely kept a hand on the controls as the engines of the T-Ship rumbled in preparation for takeoff. I guess we'll see what happens. One way or another.

"And here we GO! Five to mark! Five, four, three, two, one...MARK!" roared Cyborg as the rocket boosters kicked into full throttle.

Twin bursts of blue erupted from the rockets linked to the underside of the T-Ship, propelling it into the air. The smoky contrails trailed the T-Ship in silence as it spiraled up into the sky with a roar, offering an intriguing and awe-inspiring view to the citizens of Jump City.

The Titans sat in silence as the clouds seemed to descend beneath them…then the sky seemed to fade in color as the stars emerged, peeking out from the empty dark. Brief flashes of colors could be seen in the fires that flared around the nose of the T-Ship, suddenly fading away as the air of the atmosphere became thinner and thinner. The fusion thrusters, bearing the distinctive white-and-blue look of Cyborg's own inventions, broke off and fell away, to be picked up later.

And then…space.

A sudden smoothness took hold of the ship as friction due to the air ceased; Cyborg smiled as he set the controls to manual. "Okay boys and girl, Air-Cyborg apologizes for the minor turbulence. We are now approaching our final destination, so please keep your seatbelts on and your trays in upright and locked positions."

Nigel quietly looked down at his controls. "What tray?"

"It is a saying regarding Earth's aerial transports, Friend Nigel."

"Ah, thank you Starfire."

"Anybody got a barf bag?"

Cyborg yelped. "Hey Robert, don't you DARE vomit on the controls! I JUST WAXED THEM!"

"I'm not! I'm just curious if you do have one. I mean, I might have a part-time job with NASA as a Flight Readiness Inspector for all you know."

Savior audibly groaned. "Just be quiet Rob. We're almost there."

'There' being, in this case, a space station.

Though it had initially been sent up as a communications satellite (which remained its primary role for a number of telecommunications companies), the CC-HorizonA12 had had sections added onto over the years, to the point where a number of minor physical experiments were carried out in relative peace by a permanent science crew: the effects of combustion, long-term effects on growth in space, and the like. It was one of the several private satellites to do this, given that the most advanced instruments for such studies would have been on the Justice League's Watchtower…and given the extraordinary nature of its inhabitants, the data could hardly be considered 'appropriate' for ordinary humans (though that was beginning to change; ever since the League's member list had expanded rapidly, the need for a full-time staff was needed. Results on their long-term health would prove to be most illuminating). Even so, it still served as an important relay for satellite signals to and from North America and the rest of the world.

Since it was supposedly a minor mission – and due to the Titans' proximity – it had been a mission delegated to them by the Justice League (when you save the world umpteen times, the big shots tend to give you some major props), who had gotten the original request to begin with. That, and much of the Justice League were on deep-space missions. Or were busy with problems on Earth.

Nigel was still curious as to why Noel seemed so adamant about the mission.

Then the CC-HorizonA12 came into view. A wheel of white metal with four major 'spokes', serving as terminals from the core of the station to its outer ring. It was rimmed with solar panels, the large devices eagerly absorbing unhindered solar radiation.

Then he saw the logo for CollinsCorp.

And then Nigel knew why. He hadn't been here for the events resulting in Noel's brief trip to the mental asylum…but even he knew of Noel's utter distaste for his father. Now I suddenly feel even moreuncomfortable, that's how it goes!

Nigel Hastings kept to such thoughts as the T-Ship zoomed off towards the station, contrails of orange highlighting its movement. Hoping only that Noel's gut feeling was untrue, whatever it was.

Then again, nothing was ever certain regarding Noel and his father…

xxxx

/Apokolips/

A fiery pit blazed as metal boiled and simmered, the impossibly high temperatures of the planet's fire pits melting metal that not even Earth titanium could compare to.

The pots holding the metal remained stoic as Parademons, winged beasts clad in gold and green, carefully dropped slabs of gray skin in.

The flesh of Darkseid.

The aforementioned despot watched in silence from his perch above, watching the beginnings of his twelfth batch of rings.

He turned, calmly strolling along the stone pathways that led to his palace. Statues in his likeness stood tall, and the Lowlies – the planet's denizens, doomed and beaten into servitude – bowed out of reverence as he passed by. To them, he was a god.

By the end of this plan, he would be so much more.

He entered his palace, gazing up at the new addition to his throne. Perched behind it, on a slab of metal.

A Central Power Battery, its black surface in perfect contrast with the gold and white power shimmering from inside.

Darkseid chuckled as he clenched his right hand, revealing a ring. Obsidian black, embedded and embossed in the shape of an upside-down triangle with five lines pointing upward from it.

A Black Power Ring.

"The true depths of the essence are still unknown…" The mysterious golden energy that powered the Black Power Battery was still being studied. Its applications were vast, and its abilities, when harnessed via the power rings…oh, how utterly terrible their might was. Granny Goodness and Desaad had spent much of their time using Apokoliptian technologies to try and derive the origin of this essence. How it could do all the things it could do. Even the Black Power Rings that he had personally overseen the development of – crafted with portions of his skin, binding his power and being with each and every single one – could only harness so much of the essence's vast energy.

But the sheer potential…it was beyond anything that Darkseid could recall in recent memory.

"But soon, I'll have a way to harness you completely. And then…" Darkseid's Black Power Ring flickered, the dark energy it expelled glowing with gold and white lines. "…the Anti-Life Equation will be mine." The grin that came to his gray face matched the glimmer in his red eyes.

It was an expression of triumph.

An expression of glory to come.

xxxx

To be continued…

Next time…

Stranded? With You?! I THOUGHT HAND-IN-HAND WAS OVER!

xxxx

Author's Notes: Big things to come! This story shall be somewhat longer than Hand-in-Hand. And with a more well-built-up villain. And more epic. Maybe.

Noel: That next episode title brings me no comfort.

Right you are!

Noel: I hate you.

Wouldn't be the first time.

See you soon, and please review!