Final Fight or Final Flight
Starfire flitted over to Raven, moving to help the girl out of the goo binding her mouth shut as Robin hurried to Cyborg. The boy wonder winced as he saw the enormous gouges along the elder teen’s back. However, the robotic Titan noticed nothing, his gaze locked on his arm as he fiddled with some sort of scanner. Robin eyed the damage critically before pulling a soldering gun out of his belt (always be prepared). He began pairing up like-colored wires, glancing at the metal man whose attention was still glued to his arm.
“Hey Cy, do I need to know anything befo-“
“Shh!” The robotic teen interrupted, not sparing the boy a glance.
Robin blinked in surprise. “Cyborg, what are you-”
“Quiet! Gimme a sec.” He continued fiddling with his arm. Raven and Starfire neared the pair as Starfire got rid of the last of the gunk coating the empath’s mouth.
“Friend Cyborg, what is the matter?” Starfire asked. The largest Titan didn’t look up for a moment, continuing to tap at the computer screen on his forearm until finally a grin split is face and he gave a small, victorious yell before finally turning to the Titans as far as he could go with his legs still stuck.
“Did you guys see his collar? It looked different, bigger, like it had been replaced.” The three slowly nodded as each remembered catching sight of the slightly altered neckpiece. “I thought that if it’d been replaced I might be able to hack into it, get control away from Slade. Doesn’t seem like a mistake Slade would make, but I had to see.” The robotic boy shook his head in slight amazement. “Y’all wouldn’t believe how much they tricked it out. It’s got a mic, bug, camera, the usual shock-thing, and –most importantly- a GPS.” With a grin the Cyborg revealed his arm, showing a compact computer screen bearing an overhead map and a tiny, blinking green dot.
There was a moment of stunned silence before the Titans broke out in grins, and Starfire let out a joyous yell, as they realized that their green friend was no longer lost. “What are we waiting for?” The alien cried, ready to shoot off into the sky.
“Uh, how about my legs?” Cyborg called, immediately settling the girl’s excitement as Robin hurried to begin fixing the robotic Titan’s back. As the boys worked to repair the circuits, Raven made her way to where Beast Boy had been trapped, poking lightly at the red adhesive still stuck to the ground as a worried frown creased her lips.
“Robin, what is this?” She asked and Starfire hovered near to poke at it as well.
“Yes, I have never seen this before? Is it a new weapon?”
The boy wonder shifted, his expression almost guilty. “Just… just something I was working on for… something. It doesn’t really matter now.” He grumbled, casting a glare at the empty pedestal. Raven frowned but said nothing as she dissolved the sticky substance on her fingers with a swish of black. She stood as Cyborg managed to move his legs, Robin using the small soldering gun to try and cover the gaping holes covering the robotic teen’s back. It was time to get their teammate back.
Beast shivered in fear as he landed right outside Master’s door. His heart beat a thousand times a minute, loud and pumping as blood flooded his ears. He was so scared. He didn’t want to face his Master, not yet. Not when he was still sore from his battle with the Titans, still reeling with panic from being well and truly stuck by the red bands. He trembled slightly, knowing that the bands were nothing compared to what his Master was likely to do to him. The boy reached out with trembling fingers to gently push open the door, knowing that his Master would only grow angrier if he was kept waiting.
The door slid open slowly, and Beast winced when he was able to catch sight of his Master. The man stood tall with his arms folded tensely behind his back, eyes locked onto the television screen and ignoring Beast. The green child said nothing, watching as the man stood with dissatisfaction coming off of him in waves. Beast slid lowly to the center of the room until he was a few meters behind Master Slade, his head bowed deeply in terrified submission as he waited to be acknowledged. He didn’t have to wait long.
Slade whirled on the green boy, hand flashing out to deliver a powerful backhand that sent the child reeling. Beast didn’t dare whimper as he fell to the ground, not bothering to attempt to resist the force of the blow. He gathered his arms beneath him to help him rise, only to stop at a snarled command by his Master. “Stay down.” The man commanded, punctuating his words with a sharp kick to the boy’s gut.
The shape shifter couldn’t stop the gasp as air left his body, but made no other move as blows continued to rain down on him. One falling to his face, splitting his lip. A kick to his back, making him curl into himself. A stomp on his ankles and a kick to his knee. Many, many more until he could no longer take notice of each individual blow. Finally the barrage ended. “Up.”
Beast got to his feet swiftly, ignoring the throbbing of his knee where a particularly hard blow from Slade’s staff had landed. The masked man gripped the child’s uniform and lifted the boy up until terrified green eyes met an orange-black mask. Slade’s other hand rose over his wrist to rest over the button, Beast’s wide eyes following the movement. “Do I have your attention?” Slade seethed and Beast whimpered low in his throat.
“Yes Master.” He hurriedly replied and Slade dropped him.
“Good, because I obviously didn’t have it before.” He snarled. “Did I tell you to come back?”
“No Master.” Beast answered, his voice coming out rough and his head lowering in shame. There was a horrible, drawn out Zzzt and Beast yelped as painful, crippling electricity shot through him. The pain lasted only a moment before Slade released the button. For a moment there was near silence, the only sound Beast’s harsh panting as the boy struggled to remain on his feet.
“Did I tell you to run from the Titans?”
“No Master.” Zzzt.
“Did I tell you to stop fighting?”
“What was that?”
“No Master, you didn’t tell me to stop fighting.”
“Exactly.” And Beast was once more in the troughs of electricity, unable to stay on his feet as the attack lasted far longer than the others had. He fell to his knees, a scream breaking past his lips as he was given no respite. Finally, after what felt like forever Slade released the button. Beast rode out the last of the muscle spasms as he was finally released from the pain. Green eyes opened in agony as the boy slowly attempted to rise, getting to his feet as Slade eyed him as though he were a disgusting insect.
“You failed. You could barely battle them before Robin took you out of the fight, and then you ran. Pathetic.”
“I-I got the chip!” The boy attempted, struggling to pull device from his pocket. Slade knocked him to the ground with one blow, towering over the green child as he hovered his thumb over the button once more. He opened his mouth to reply, but stopped when a wall suddenly imploded, sending debris everywhere.
The dust cleared, revealing four heroically posed teenagers. Beast felt his heart jump into his throat, for one blessed moment joy filled him as he though ‘they came to save me!’, but then Slade growled low in his throat and the changeling was forced back to reality as the man issued a sharp command.
A green head snapped forward, lithe and pained body forcing itself into a defensive position before his mind was able to at all process the words. He felt his mouth go dry with terror as he realized that he was once again facing the Titans, former friends and fearsome foes. His injuries strained as he shifted to a more fearsome form, reminding him that he hadn’t been able to fully defeat them when well. What chance did he have now? If the way Slade was calmly leaning against the wall as he eyeing Beast critically was anything to go by, he wouldn’t be any help.
Starfire opened her mouth to speak, as though to call for him once more to leave Slade’s side. A single glance at the villain had her closing her lips, knowing that she would be speaking in vain. Beast closed his eyes for a single second before jumping into the attack. As usual his initial leap was dodged, but by twisting in the air as he landed and lashing out with long claws he was able to snag the end of a purple cape. Raven. Yet before Beast could move Raven turned to reveal glowing-white eyes and he heard only a light clanking of metal as warning before his black-encased cage careened towards him.
Beast yelped as he tumbled through the cage’s open door, a feeling of insatiable fear rushing through him as the black bars enclosed him, the terror so great that for a moment he found himself instinctually shifting to the form of a human and whimpering as a wave of adrenaline, pain, and instinct flooded through him in an instant and unbelievable panic. Raven put him in the cage, she put him in the cage, not Raven, not a Titan, Titans weren’t supposed to put him in the cage, door closing, no no nonono!
His arm lashed out as the door closed, and he cried out softly as his bruise wrist split and bled as it was trapped between the metal of the cage and the door. Immediately the blackness faltered and Beast was able to push out of the cage, still terrified. His limbs shook as he burst out of the metal bars, but he forced himself not to ignore the fear, to use it and his next roar was a canine snarl of terror and anger. Immediately he was avoiding and attacking the Titans, nothing more than a blur of green fur, feather, scales, set against the Titan’s various colors.
Finally, as was to be expected, Robin tore off from the main fighting group, preferring instead to attack Slade. The two fought and Beast found himself losing even more ground against the remaining three Titans as he attempted to keep watch over the two foes. Finally, with a mighty swipe of a silver bowstaff Robin was sent flying, and Beast was ready. As Slade’s boy knocked the boy wonder away, a lime housecat jumped behind his legs. As the bow forced Robin away, he stumbled even farther back over Beast until he landed dangerously close to one of the turning gears.
Robin made a move to jerk his head away, but the fast movement brought his cape billowing up, embedding the durable fabric into the slowly moving gear. Robin cursed as he was slowly strangled, reaching desperately towards his boot where a small blade lay hidden as he was pulled closer and closer to the crushing metal.
“Robin!” Starfire cried, rushing towards the Titan leader as Raven encased the gear in black in attempt to stop it’s movement. However, before Starfire could make it to Robin’s aid Beast leaped, striking against her stomach with powerful kangaroo legs. The girl let out a slight yell as she was pushed backward, the yell becoming a cry of pain as her head was bashed against one of the gears opposite Robin, the cry becoming a slight shriek as the gear caught her hair and pulled it back. She attempted to pull out, but as she pulled back it made the gears move faster, drawing Robin closer to the metal spokes.
“Starfire!” Raven called out, encasing the entire gear work in her magic as she struggled to save her friends. The alien immediately stopped fighting, Raven holding the contraption still as Robin struggled to fight through the extremely durable fabric of his cape. Only Cyborg remained.
Beast panted as he eyed the half-robot, his injuries and exhaustion beginning to show. Cyborg shifted, his cannon reluctantly trained on his friend. The robotic teen knew that he was even more susceptible than usual, the fix on his back a hack job at best, the gashes on his back barely soldered together and the spots still incredibly weak. He kept his eyes trained on the boy, not going of the offensive but never letting green child get anywhere near his back. Suddenly he stopped, the blue power dying in his cannon as it shifted back into an arm.
“You know what? This is stupid. I’m not going to fight you, Grass Stain.”
Beast visibly flinched at the name and Slade shifted, neither speaking nor moving far, just moving enough to remind the shape shifter that he was there. Beast moved his eyes from his Master to his friend before snarling at Cyborg, an emerald lion. Cyborg didn’t even flinch.
“You’re better than this Green Genes, I know you are. You know you are.” Another snarl, almost like Beast was begging for the man to stop talking. “You aren’t a weapon, remember?” Cyborg began reaching for a compartment behind him. Slade tensed, but Beast couldn’t find it in himself to move. “You’re a Titan.” The robotic arm straightened, his fist held out in front of him, hiding his prize from view. “You aren’t Beast anymore.” His fist opened. “You’re Beast Boy.”
A blue rubber ball fell to the ground, bouncing slowly as it rolled towards Beast-Beast Boy?-Beast?- the shape shifter’s feet. The large feline’s legs were shaking, his breaths becoming desperate gasps. Suddenly a snarl sounded that was wholly un-animal. Slade. The masked villain was glaring with his one eye, his figure animating fury.
“You. Will. Fight.” He commanded. Sending just enough of a jolt of electricity up the collar to wrangle up a strangled scream from the boy. The scream ended in a snarl and growl as the electricity tapered out. Beast crouched and lunged. Cyborg yelped in fear and attempted to shield his face, cursing himself for getting rid of his cannon. A heavy weight landed on his crossed arms and the robotic Titan prepared to throw the boy off, but he was already gone. One human eye widened as the teen whirled, turning just in time to see a pit bull lock its jaws around a black and orange armored arm.
Slade flailed, striking at the boy again and again, but the lime canine held on, his jaws wrapped around the armor covering the remote. Finally the man gave up beating the boy and gripped a hold of the metal collar. A low growl emitted from a green throat, and emerald fangs sunk in farther as the villain tore him off with a resounding cry. “Off Beast.”
The green dog’s form shifted, becoming human. The slight form stood, spitting out of his mouth the remains of his remote. A black and orange mask gaped at the bare arm where the device one rested.
“The name’s Beast Boy.”
Cyborg cheered, no longer having eyes for Slade as he ran to embrace his friend. Beast Boy, however, leveled a fearsome glare at the man, a truly enraged growl coming from the bottom of his throat. A single eye shifted to where Robin was cutting through the last threads of his cape, Starfire seconds from being freed. With a single snarl and a cryptic promise to return, the man didn’t bother to take his chances, he disappeared into the night.
Finally Robin cut away the last of the fabric and rolled to his feet, eyes immediately seeking out the disappearing man. He took a single step as though to follow but hesitated for a millisecond and glanced back at his green teammate. That millisecond was all it took for the villain to disappear completely. With a sigh he turned his gaze from the empty place where the man once stood. He had teammates to watch out for. With a smile he watched as the green boy was nearly suffocated by a crushing tamaranian embrace while Raven stood idly by, her gentle smile a muted mirror of Beast Boy’s beaming grin.
Beast shivered to himself as he stood outside the door, knowing that the one man with the ability to control his collar waited on the other side. He allowed himself a small whimper as Cyborg clenched his shoulder reassuringly. He would have to go in alone. The old master promised release only for his freedom, if he knew the Titans were there to cart him off to jail he would refuse. Or worse, pretend to help only to tamper with it and activate it. He created it, who knew what he could make it do. That was why Beast Boy was going to go in alone, follow a lie of Robin’s creation, and get the collar off. Once it was gone the Titans would storm the room. Beast Boy felt an uncomfortable stirring in the pit of his stomach, something telling him this wasn’t completely right. However, a large part of him was simply happy that he hadn’t had to come up with a plan, and ecstatic that he was free from Slade and with the Titans again and he didn’t give it a second thought.
Casting a small grin back at the Titans he took a deep breath and went into the room, missing the worried glance that Cyborg cast Robin.
“You sure this is the best way to go about this?”
Robin sighed, disconcerted. “I don’t know. I don’t know enough about him to know what would be best. I didn’t have enough time to look through his records. But if he’s coward enough to go against his word, he’ll be coward enough for us to take him. We’re just going to have to hope that it works and be here to back him up in case it doesn’t.”
Beast Boy stood tall as he entered the small room, taking in the man’s surprised glance as he started for a moment before relaxing with an unsettling smirk. “Back already. I must admit, when I made the offer I didn’t expect you crawling back this fast. What, Slade fall asleep and you think this is your big break? I’m not an idiot, Freak.”
Beast Boy licked his lips, feeling his heart pounding as he prepared to lie. “He’s asleep, but he won’t be waking up for a while. He wanted to spar. You fight a lot harder when you can actually gain something by winning.” He words sounded dull to him, his speech choppy. He could only hope that the man attributed it to how rare it was that he got to speak and rather than anything else. The man’s eyes narrowed before he finally nodded to the table where Beast had lay before, a nearby tray still holding his tools.
Beast Boy lay on the table, his eyes closing as he felt a series of tugs and tweaks on the metal band. He heard the low voice of his old owner above him. “You sure he won’t show up here? That he’s out for good?”
“He won’t show up for a while.”
“Good.” Suddenly there was a flash of pain and the man’s grip tightened around the metallic strip. Beast screamed, the man said something about owning Beast once again, but it went unheard as he was overwhelmed by the intense pain. However, even as the pain died and the green boy regained his senses he heard a low high-pitched whining. Blearily opening eyes he caught sight of his old master, his head held precariously between Cyborg’s fully-charged cannon and Starfire’s green glowing hand. Robin stood behind him, the sharp end of a bat-arang pinning the man in place as his sharpest tools kept him frozen as they floated in front of him, cloaked in Raven’s magic.
Starfire’s clear voice rang through the small room. “I would suggest that you commence with freeing friend Beast Boy.”
“Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.” Robin replied, a hint of threat in his voice as the man whimpered and nodded slowly. Beast Boy grinned at his friends, ignoring the man as he resumed the work with trembling fingers. The green child shifted so that his arms were comfortably folded behind his head.
“So… pizza after this? I’m starving!”
Cyborg grinned, never lowering his arm. “Sure thing, B. Did you hear they added three new types of meat to the ‘he-man’ pizza?”
“Uh-huh. I’ll just stick with veggie-tofu Supreme.”
“C’mon Grass Stain, nobody likes that crap.”
“That’s okay, I can eat the whole thing.”
Cyborg scoffed with a laugh, and slight smiles began to show even on the other Titans. The villain’s hands slowed, his mouth falling open in a gape as he heard the creature- the weapon- the boy?- react with the Titans. Smiling, laughing, joking. His hands stilled completely as his surprise slowly increased. However, a sharp jab from one of the magic-held tools brought him back to the matter at hand and he snipped the last of the collar off, watching as the boy slowly pried the metal away.
Beast Boy’s eyes widened as he felt the metal split, his shaking hands rising to meet the collar. He sat up as he pried the last of the device away. Taking in a deep breath, he reveled in the feeling of his throat being bare for the first time in years. Slowly a single hand rose to touch the skin and he closed his eyes. Finally, he finally felt free.
Opening his eyes he grinned at his friends, jumping off the table with a broad smile. “So, about that pizza…”
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