In each of the videos if the controller was ever set on a table the boy would avoid it like the plague. While the pet wouldn’t shy from a fist, a bat, or even a whip, just a hint of the small device sent him cowering. It had power over him unlike anything else, he feared it probably more than death. Slade knew that one of the reasons- perhaps the main reason- that the Titan’s attempt at rehabilitation had gone so successfully was that the boy had gone for months without sight of the controller. The boy would never willingly keep it close, even if it meant keeping anyone from using it against him.
That left Cyborg and Robin. Out of the two it was most likely that Robin had the remote, tucked away in one of the many pockets of his utility belt. Slade grinned as he made his way farther into the cluttered building. He’d always wanted to pick-pocket one of those.
Closing his eyes for a moment the man regained attention on the matter at hand. He was deep in the bowels of a warehouse on the outskirts of Jump City, one the police used to store old evidence. He crept along the halls, making his way deep into the back where much of the larger pieces lay. The man’s smile widened as his eyes alighted on the last piece of his puzzle. In the corner, half hidden under a cloak, sat a cramped metal cage.
Beast flopped onto the couch with a groan. He could’ve sworn that the Titans hadn’t been so busy back when he was stuck at the house. Now the alarm was raised at least once a day, if not more. He felt like he hadn’t been at the tower in ages, and he knew for a fact that Cyborg and Robin had been much too busy to make any headway in removing the collar. Oh well, he’d had plenty of hands on practice in fighting as a group, and though he knew that he hadn’t gotten a full grasp of the whole teamwork thing yet, his lone wolf fighting style was slowly morphing into the mindset of a pack.
He heard a sigh and opened his eyes just in time to see Cyborg collapse on the other half of the couch. The large metallic teen groaned. Beast Boy smiled at his friend, rolling over onto his stomach to meet the larger teen’s eyes. “I’m so tired.” The green boy groaned. Not as tired as he had been as Beast of course, but that was the past.
Cyborg moaned and nodded in agreement. “Worst part is Robin is in one of his ‘moods’ again. He’s convinced Slade is behind all this, wants us busy.”
“This psychopathic masked villain who is almost as obsessed with Robin as Robin is obsessed with him. Trust me; you’ll know him when you see him.”
“So is he behind it?”
“I dunno. Robin seems to think so though, so don’t be surprised if he acts completely crazy for the next few days.”
Beast Boy nodded but his response was interrupted by his growling stomach. The boy jumped up, yawning as he made the way to the kitchen to grab some dinner.
“Get me a ham sandwich while you’re up, grass stain.” Cyborg called from the couch.
“Make your own murder. I’m having a salad.”
“C’mon B!” Cyborg groaned, but the green boy just chuckled and the robotic Titan was forced to rise to make his own meal. Beast Boy smiled at his friend and pulled his gloves on a little tighter as he began to prepare his meal. The new uniform had come in only two days after Robin had sent the boy’s pictures and measurements to the mysterious Edna.
To the green child’s excitement she had stayed within his preferred color choices, making an amazing form-fitting uniform of dual colors, black and purple. Beast Boy had added his belt and gloves, but otherwise loved the outfit. It turned out later that the uniform had been meant for the doom patrol- the packages had gotten mixed up- but by then the uniform had seemed as much a part of Beast Boy as his green skin or his name and the boy had refused to send it back, a sentiment shared by his fellow Titans. Now the boy was working to avoid dripping dressing on his well-loved purple shirt as he devoured his meal.
The pair was just finishing their respective meals when the alarm rang once again to five collective groans. Without further complaint the teens were off again to the scene of the crime. They rushed near the outskirts of town, hurrying to a warehouse sector in the T-car. The heroes’ vehicle had to swerve out of the way of a huge van barreling down the streets. Cyborg cursed, he had just craned the wheel to follow when a Slade-bot landed on the top of the car with a thump, prompting the Titans to rush from the car to fight.
As they streamed from the car they were immediately set upon by dozens of robots, followed by Slade himself. Robin didn’t even have the time to shout out his usual rallying cry before the Titans threw themselves into the fight. Black-coated rubble flew through the air and knocked into enemies, while blue and green rays blasted through synthetic bodies. Robin ignored the swarming machines, focusing only on the person of Slade.
Beast shuddered for a moment, watching the two seasoned fighters battle. Cyborg was right, he did recognize Slade, despite having never seen him before. This man oozed power, strength, skill, and… uh, creepiness. The two-toned mask glinted cruelly in the light and Beast froze as the single eye met his with a stunningly unnerving intensity.
The boy had less than an instant to process this however, for within a second he was set upon by Slade-bots and all rational thought left him as he surged headlong into battle. The robots were durable and fought better than some villains, but slowly their numbers diminished. Beast Boy was a whirlwind, sinking razor sharp claws into metal and ripping robotic limbs off with bulging animal muscles. He flew, burrowed, charged and gorged as powerful blasts of magic, power, and energy clashed around. Finally the number of enemies diminished to such a degree that Beast was free from opponents and was able rush to Robin to aid him in his fight.
The first attack had the gift of surprise. Beast slunk up behind Slade and slashed a large claw across his back just as the villain landed a blow against Robin, batting the boy wonder away with the air of a child who had found what they thought to be an excited toy, only to be horribly disappointed. Slade cried out in anger and pain as the claw slashed through to his skin. Whirling around his eyes seemed to light up in malicious glee as he spotted the green boy.
“Well, if it isn’t the Titans’ newest little weapon.” The man purred, contempt leaking through his voice.
Beast Boy shifted to his human form. “I’m not their weapon. I’m a Titan.” His last word was distorted with a snarl as he shifted into a large feline form, leaping up and lunging for the villain. With blinding speed the man dodged, not only avoiding the boy but gripping onto the metal collar slung around his neck. Beast Boy growled and attempted to squirm away, but the grip on his collar was ironclad. He shifted, but the grip did not release as it held tight to the strip of metal, instead only accounting for the change in size. He changed forms again… and again… and again… but each had the same result. He couldn’t escape the hand on his collar.
He turned into a constrictor, attempted to wrap his coiled muscular body around his opponents arm but the man’s other hand simply grasped his tail and he was unable to move. A viper was next, but he had neither leverage nor adequate room to move his head. Finally he was a mammal again, a wolf, doing whatever he could to sink fangs into the man, but with a hand to his neck and tail the boy was trapped. Slade brought his mask down to the canine’s ear and whispered, low and deadly.
“I don’t care what the Titans told you. It’s only a matter of time before you’re a weapon once more. And this time, you will be mine.”
With a stroke of fear instinct reigned and the changeling shifted once more, becoming an elephant and pulling Slade off with a pull of his mighty trunk. The entire exchange lasted less than a minute and Robin was already upon the masked man the instant Beast Boy threw him off. Once again the masked teen fought in an obsessed frenzy, and once again he was eventually pushed away. Only this time the man did not wait for the Titans to retaliate, he ran, disappearing into the night. It wasn’t until then that the Titans realized they had let the truck get away.
Robin cursed, commanding the Titans to search the nearby warehouses, see if anything was blatantly missing. Beast Boy ran into the nearest one, trying to get the threat out of his mind. Slade had to be lying, right? That was what bad guys did. He wasn’t Beast anymore, he was a Titan. There was no way Slade could get him, right? There was no need to worry Robin, especially with how obsessive and frantic he seemed. Really if Slade had no way to carry out his threat it would be pointless to worry the Titan leader, right? Right.
Shaking his head and getting to the task at hand Beast began to survey the warehouse, taking in the loaded boxes and objects and searching for any gaps. Suddenly a familiar scent hit the boy’s nose. A scent he’d recognized since he was eight years old. His cage. The boy ran down the corridors, his heart beating wildly in his chest as he followed the scent. The boy stopped dead when the trail ended and he was left to stare in horror at a gaping hole.
Slade scowled to himself as he hit a few choice buttons on his computer, the look only lessoning when the video feed slid onto screen. He’d managed to slip a camera onto the boy’s collar during the fight and was now privy to a constant stream of Titan TV. The man growled slightly, remembering how a simple grip over the piece of metal had kept the boy out of the fight. A simple magnet would render him useless. Of course, if the Titans had actually been willing to use the remote his grip on the collar would have been rendered useless as he was electrocuted along with the boy, and it was likely that the collar wasn’t magnetic.
The man scowled. He’d systematically picked every one of Robin’s belt pockets during the fight and found nothing other than some weapons, a rock of kryptonite – which he was keeping, thank you very much- sleeping pellets, and a very interesting picture of Starfire. However, the controller was infuriatingly absent. The remote could only be in the possession of Cyborg, and in that case short of tearing the teen apart piece by piece Slade had no way of knowing where the remote was.
Slade’s thoughts turned to the man who had created the collar, currently locked as a prisoner in the bowels of his lair for insubordination and constant attempts of escape. The masked villain considered for a moment discussing with his… guest the possibility of creating a second remote but knew that it was unlikely that he could create it without the collar itself and it would be a hassle to get the boy without control over him. Not impossible of course, but more trouble than was worth it at the moment.
Slade straightened in his seat as the picture changed. His soon-to-be-pet had gone with Cyborg into the lab alone. The large cybernetic teen lifted off one of the panels of his arm and drew out the remote Slade so desired. There was no sound so Slade knew not what happened in the scene, could only watch as Beast and Cyborg moved around the room, discussing who knows what. However, his grin magnified as the two left, leaving the controller alone and vulnerable.
Beast Boy wasn’t exactly sure why he reported to Robin that nothing had been taken from the warehouse. The best excuse he could come up with was that Robin was freaking him out. Obsessed was an understatement, he was completely insane when dealing with Slade, and much of the green boy’s inherent paranoia had yet to disappear. Also, he was terrified, but completely loath to say it, each of his animal instincts calling against admitting to his weakness. In the end he was able to convince himself that as long as Slade didn’t have the remote, he had nothing to fear.
That didn’t stop him from getting Cyborg to come with him into the lab the instant they got to the tower. The cybernetic teen watched his friend worriedly. The usually boisterous boy had been completely silent on the car ride home, and had jumped at nearly every shadow he’d passed.
“Okay Green Bean, what’s this all about, why are you so freaked? Was it Slade? I tried to warn you he was crazy.”
“N-no it’s not that.” Yes it was. “I-I just wanted to make sure that you still had my remote.”
Cyborg looked at him strangely but removed the remote from its compartment. His worry increased at the look of pure relief that crossed the boy’s face, like a prisoner suddenly freed from death row. “Sure I still got it. Did you change your mind about holding onto it yourself?” He offered the boy the device, but Beast Boy jumped back and laughed nervously.
“N-nah. I was just thinking though, wouldn’t it be better to leave it here, with all the security and stuff? I mean, who knows what could happen in a fight? What if Sl- someone gets a hold of it?”
Cyborg watched the shape shifter steadily, searching the boy’s eyes for an answer for the strange behavior but shrugging reluctantly when he found none. “If that’s what you want. You get to decide what to do with it. Is it okay in here?”
After a slight hesitation the green boy nodded. “As good as anywhere else. I mean, I won’t have it forever, right?”
Cyborg nodded but studied him for a moment. “You sure fighting Slade earlier didn’t shake you up or anything? You don’t seem right.”
“I’m sure. I’m fine. Fine. C’mon. Let’s go get some sleep before the stupid alarm rings again.”
Cyborg cast the boy one last glance before heading out the door. Beast Boy looked at the remote for a long while, finally picking it up gingerly and hiding it in a pile of wires before following his own advice and heading to his bunk bed for a nightmare-riddled dream.
Slade, slipping as silently as a shadow secretly sulked, searching stealthily. How foolish the boy was, believing the controller was safe so long as it was held in the Tower. Slade had learned how to bypass the security long before the boy had been brought to Jump. If only the green child knew how many times the masked man had already made his way into the tower to search for the remote.
He eased his way into the lab, chuckling as he sighted his goal in the child’s makeshift hiding place. He held the small device, knowing that it was not a simple remote, but complete control over a strong and obedient Beast who knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Titans. Gripping the cool device in his hands the man slid his way up to the most recently made bedroom, the messy one he had noticed among his first few escapades searching for the remote.
The man grinned beneath his mask as he entered the room, seeing a green figure sprawled across the bed, murmuring and whimpering uncomfortably. He leaned down near the bed, whispering very lowly next to the boy’s - no, the beast’s- sensitive ear. “Wake up. Be silent.”
Beast Boy’s eyes shot open, looking up with terror at the evil eyes, cruel mask, and horrific remote pointed squarely at his neck. The shape shifter whimpered, cringing back along the bed. Slade growled, his voice never rising from its near silent timbre. “I commanded you to be silent. You will pay for that.”
Beast Boy could only stare in silent horror as he felt his freedom slipping from his grasp, he was in the hands of a Master once more. The boy’s limbs began to tremble as Beast Boy faded away, memories of harsh beatings, absolute commands, horrible crimes, and vicious Masters assaulted his mind and turned him into Beast once more. Slade nodded at the boy’s silence. “Follow me. Don’t look back. Don’t you dare make a single sound.”
As the man stood and Beast shakily rose to his feet as well, the boy pondered for a moment screaming for help. Yes, Slade would likely use the remote but then he would scream, alerting the Titans of the danger even more. But then Slade pushed the remote so that it sat against his neck and all thought left the boy as the villain pressed his face close to the shape shifter’s neck. “Don’t think about trying anything, creature.” He spat and Beast nodded numbly, following obediently as Slade led him through the silent tower and onto the mainland of Jump, where a familiar large van sat.
Beast shuddered, remembering the van that had nearly collided with the T-car earlier that day, the van fleeing the scene with Slade. He wished he wasn’t seeing it again so soon. He stood beside the masked villain, still completely silent, as the man opened the doors to the back of the vehicle, revealing the cramp metal cage that sat within. Beast shrank back from the sight but, heedful of the earlier warning, remained silent. Slade jumped onto the back of the car and Beast followed, stopping only when the villain had reached the cage.
The orange and black clothed man opened the door with a creak, beckoning with a jerk of his head for Beast to crawl in. The green boy obeyed, his heart breaking as the metal closed him in. The boy could barely move, the prison more cramped than he could remember. Slade relished closing the door on the boy, loved the hopelessness and fear crossing the child’s features. The villain turned to leave, stopping just as he reached the door and turning back towards the shape shifter. “Oh yes, I believe punishment is in order.”
Slowly and deliberately the man laid the controller onto the ground, button touching the floor. In plain view of the boy he grasped a toolbox he kept in the van and dropped it on top of the remote. Beast screamed as the weight pushed down the button, sending hundreds of volts of electricity into his body as he convulsed on the floor. With a satisfied hum the man watched the pained child suffer for a moment before closing the van’s back door and making his way to the driver’s seat, Beast’s agonized cries music to his ears as the man made his way through Jump to his lair.
Beast gasped great heaving breaths, the torture finally over. Slade stood bending over his cage, disdain somehow conveyed through his mask. “Mark my words, Freak, I don’t take well to disobedience. And that was just for a first offence. I can promise you that any further misdemeanors will be handled much more severely.”
Beast whimpered as the door to his cage was opened and Slade snarled in response, dragging the boy out forcefully and tossing him into the wall of the van before moving to loom over him. “You will not show weakness. Do you understand me?”
“Yes Master.” The boy wheezed through his raw throat.
Slade growled and whirled. “Follow!” He ordered, leaving the boy to scramble to his feet after him. Slade glanced down at his new slave.
“You would have been here months ago had the Titans not interfered.” The boy looked up incredulously as the masked man continued. “You didn’t really think you were in Jump by chance did you? And you were advertised as being so much more intelligent. How fortunate that I didn’t pay that imbecile his asking price if this was truly all that was being offered.”
“You were the buyer?” Beast blurted out, and Slade whirled on him lashing out with a fist and sending the boy to the floor across the hall. Stalking to the child he caught him in the ribs with a kick, another landing on his face. Another blow hit its mark, and another, and another until the pet was curled up in a pained fetal position, shaking as the blows continued. Finally the kicks stopped, but no relief was found for with a press of a button the boy was in the throes of electricity once again. Finally the punishment ended, and Beast found himself frozen to the ground, his breath heaving and fists clenched in pain. It was so much worse than he had remembered. Months of joy had destroyed his threshold for pain. Slade leaned down menacingly in the terrified boy.
“You do not speak unless told, understand?”
“Y-y-yes Master.” Beast groaned.
“Get up.” Slade commanded and Beast rose shakily to his feet and followed the man once more, this time keeping his head down and his lips sealed. Slade, Master, led the shape shifter deep to the bottom of the lair, leading him past a locked door and into a cell where a terrifyingly familiar man sat. Beast froze, not recognizing the face but being sure of the man’s scent, as he saw the man who had created the collar that held him captive and stymied the Titans.
The man looked up to glare at Slade, his look turning to one of interest as he spotted the green pet. “So you finally got him.”
Slade didn’t respond, shoving the terrified boy forward. Beast stumbled for half a step before regaining his footing, standing straight and bowing his head respectfully- as he was trained to do- while the man rose from his position seated beside a large table and began to circle the green boy. “Well well, you’ve certainly grown up.”
Beast bit his tongue to keep from replying as the man continued to circle him, occasionally poking or prodding him like some kind of animal for show… which he was. The man hummed appreciatively, an investor overlooking his interests. “He’s much more powerful than he was when I still had him. Granted, he was only nine when I sold him. His price has likely tripled since then.”
“More.” Slade interjected, seeming impatient. “Now, can you make the improvements we talked about?”
Reluctantly the scientist turned his eyes from the boy, he had been observing the viciously sharp fang, and looked more intently at the collar. “Of course I can. It’s already non-magnetic, the mike and bug will take seconds to install at the most, and the camera won’t take much longer. The GPS might take a bit, but everything on the collar’s end won’t be much of a problem. Mounting the remote and GPS into your armor will take the longest. Are you sure you want to do that? You’ll be pretty much foregoing any chance at selling him after that.”
“Oh I don’t intend to sell this monster. I intend to work him into the ground. I will be his only Master and he will know that.”
Beast gulped, his Adam’s apple grating painfully against the collar, but he didn’t dare say anything. The inventor hummed distractedly. “I’ll have to remove the collar to make the adjustments of course. You might want to make sure you have control over him. I don’t think he’ll be as easy to contain as he had been as a child.”
“I can assure you I have thought of that.” The masked man pulled out a syringe and approached his green pet. Beast wanted to cringe, wanted to run and avoid the sharp pang that would bring such horrendous memories to his mind- a jungle forest, a monkey’s fangs, his parents screams, a cure that turned him into a monster-, but knew that he couldn’t. He wasn’t a free Titan anymore, just Beast. The child did nothing as the sharp needle entered his skin, the plunger pressing down and drug entering the boy’s exotic bloodstream. Beast didn’t fight it as he felt unconsciousness overwhelm him and within seconds he was dead to the world.
The man lugged the boy’s dead weight over to the table, laying him down as Slade brought in an array of tools the man had cited needing. The masked man watched in interest as the inventor and arms dealer pried the metal plating off of the collar. “Tell me, what is the secret to getting past all of the… precautions you set in place?”
The man chuckled darkly. “It is extremely clever. The freak could never do it, nor could any well intending do-gooder who wanted to set the boy free.” He picked up large wire cutters. “It takes a Master’s touch. You see, Beast and the heroes will stop the instant it’s obvious that he’s in excruciating pain.” He nestled the blades of the clippers over a silver and plastic colored wire. “Whereas I don’t care.”
As the blades closed over the wire there was a zap of electricity followed almost immediately by Beast’s unconscious but tortured screams.