Raven, her amethyst eyes watching the green child with unwavering attention, raised the remote threateningly as the boy’s head dipped forward. Starfire and Cyborg tensed as well, only for the entire group to relax as the robotic man sighed in relief. “It’s fine. He’s just asleep.”
Raven’s eyebrows rose and she leaned forward slightly. They had been battling the boy only seconds ago and now he was sleeping? It didn’t sit well. He had been so tense, so wary and… afraid of them. He’d looked like a prisoner heading to death row as he followed Cyborg to the car, and now he was relaxed enough to fall asleep? Something was off. Starfire apparently thought so too, for a deep frown graced the alien’s lips. However, being the more vocal of the two girls she was the only one to voice her concern.
“I am surprised that one as fearful as the green boy seemed to be would so readily sleep in front of his enemies.”
Raven gave a half nod, her grave eyes locked onto the shape shifter's sleeping form. Cyborg turned his eyes away from the road to study Beast as well. He winced as he saw the slash of red littering the seat behind the boy’s head, though for once he wasn’t thinking about his baby. He took in the child’s malnourished and tiny form and the various wounds littering his body from the fight and from the cruelties of his master before it. “I don’t think it was his choice Star. The kid doesn’t look healthy. He's probably exhausted.”
Star allowed a small smile to flit across her mouth. “It was a fierce battle indeed. I myself will be happy once I am in my own bed.”
Cyborg nodded. “I can’t wait till I can recharge my batteries.”
Raven nodded silently in the backseat. She was tired as well, it was one of the reasons she chose to ride in the car instead of teleporting home.
“And just think Star," Cyborg said, interrupting the empath's thoughts. "It was just him against the four of us. I think the little dude deserves a rest.”
Instead on smiling and agreeing, the alien simply cast a concerned look at the sleeping boy. “He needs nourishment as well.”
Cyborg nodded softly, sighing in relief as he saw that they were nearing the tower. “I know he does. He needs a lot of things. Trust me, I’m gonna make sure he gets them.”
Finally a full smile blossomed across the happy girls face, but Raven simply continued to watch the boy. She knew that returning the boy to full health would require a lot more than medical assistance and a good meal. The boy… Beast was broken. However, the Titans at times seemed to be masters at fixing broken things.
Finally they arrived at the tower, Cyborg glancing awkwardly at Beast as he put the car in park. Sure the kid was small enough to carry easily, but how would the jumpy boy react to that much physical contact if he woke up at the wrong time? Raven still had the small remote gripped in her hands, and kept her steely gaze on the boy as Starfire opened the door of the car, letting the cool breeze of the unheated garage sweep through the warm vehicle.
Beast’s eyes snapped open as the cool air brushed against his skin, immediately he was sitting up ramrod straight and alert. The eyes of his new Masters were on him in an instant, and a continuing feeling of dread grew in his stomach. This was not good. First he’d fought his new Masters, then he’d bled over their very fancy looking car, and finally he’d fallen asleep without permission. The list was just getting longer and longer. And that was just the stuff that he knew he’d done wrong. Who was to say that these new masters didn’t have more rules that he didn’t know about that he’d already broken?
He started shaking in his seat, and the two Masters that were still in the car exchanged a glance. The robotic one raised a hand and Beast froze at the expected blow, but the man simply lowered the hand and got out of the car. Oh, this was bad. Beast’s heart impossibly beat even harder. He had made Master upset somehow. The green creature closed his eyes and bit back a sigh of his own. He couldn’t seem to do anything right today. He opened them as the door next to him was opened, the floating alien girl smiling at him.
“Greetings, friend.” She said kindly and the boy shifted at the unfamiliar tone, his emerald eyes discretely glancing over each of the three Masters. The floating female, the female with the black powers, and the robotic male. The one with the spiky hair was gone; he had stayed at his old master’s warehouse. The child’s eye traced the small garage. This was to be his new house.
Beast felt fear trill through him as he awaited a command. He was still shaking slightly, and had to bite a whimper back to the back of his throat. He was going to be punished soon, he just knew it. Any other master probably wouldn’t have even waited this long. He didn’t know how cruel these Masters would be. The boy kept his eyes to the floor as he waited to be told what to do, he didn’t want to look his Masters in the eye and risk angering them.
Cyborg shared a glance with the girls and fell to one knee until he was eye level with the green boy in the car.
“Calm down, kid. Don’t worry, no one is going to hurt you.”
At the first command Beast forced his shaking to stop and his pulse to steady, but it wasn’t until the second statement that he truly felt relief. So they wouldn’t hurt him yet, his punishment was to come later. Of course; the leader wasn’t there yet. The spiky-haired Master’s underlings wouldn’t do anything to Beast until the leader was there to oversee, that made sense. Still his Masters simply stood staring at him expectantly, giving no more orders.
“Get out of the car.” A low, monotone voice said as the female in the blue cloak stepped forward.
Beast hastened to obey, scrambling out of the vehicle and standing at attention. “Nice work Rae,” The Cyborg muttered before stepping closer to Beast. The green creature paid attention to the name, knowing that he was unlikely to get any introductions but that names would help keep his thoughts in order. The dark girl, Rae, glared at the metallic man.
“The name is Ra-ven, Cyborg.”
Okay, Raven was the dark female, and the robotic man was called Cyborg. That only left the spiky-haired man and his orange-skinned mate. Cyborg nodded, but didn’t seem to really have been paying attention to the girl. “Sorry. Star, can you go and get one of the containment cells ready? The one closest to the interrogation room please, I have a feeling that’s where Rob will want him when he gets back.”
Star was the female, and it would seem that the male was called Rob. Beast committed the names to memory, though he said nothing as the robot dished out commands, waiting patiently for one himself.
“Raven, grab some medical supplies and bring them to the room Star picks out. I know you can heal most of his wounds but after that battle you’re not in top form and I don’t want you to overdo yourself in case something bad happens.”
Raven nodded and the two girls disappeared through the door. Beast stood expectantly awaiting orders of his own. Cyborg sighed again before looking at the tiny boy awkwardly. “Um, follow me?”
They cyber-teen made his way through the tower to the common room, the green teen tottering at his heels. Cyborg stopped in the kitchen, and studied Beast’s skinny frame. The kid desperately needed something to eat. They had a few moments before the room would be ready anyway, and the boy looked ready to fall over at a gust of wind. The Titan turned and began scouring the kitchen for food. The fridge was off limits. The boy seemed so unhealthy it didn’t look like he had any immune system at all. Cy wasn’t sure if he would be able to survive the blue stuff in the fridge.
He looked through the cabinets, going past Star’s alien food, the boxes of waffle mix, and the crates of herbal tea before finally finding something easily to make and edible: a can of tomato soup and a sleeve of crackers. Cyborg poured soup and water into the pot, making sure the heat was on high so that it could cook as quickly as possible. The large hungry teen smiled as the scent of the soup filled the air, and he had to remind himself that he wasn’t making it for himself. That was easy to do when a low grumbling sounded behind him and he turned to see Beast starring at his thin green stomach in absolute horror.
Cyborg chuckled softly. “Hungry, huh?”
Beast began shaking again, though this time it was much less perceivable. He was messing up so much with these new Masters. He wasn’t supposed to feel weaknesses such as hunger or exhaustion. He wasn’t supposed to ruin his Master’s fancy cars, and he certainly wasn’t supposed to fight them. They weren’t doing anything about it though. They hadn’t done anything to hurt him after the initial fight. It just didn’t make any sense!
Cyborg looked back at the boy as he cooked, for the first time noticing that he hadn’t moved from his position from when he’d first entered. “Um, you can sit down if you want.” The soup started to bubble and he paid attention to stirring it, only looking back when the bubbling stopped. The cyber-teen started in surprise that instead of moving to the couch or a table, the boy had simply dropped to the floor. The Titan began to tell the green teen that he could sit in a chair if he wanted, but decided that he was fine where he was. That didn’t stop the half-robot from continuing to shoot the kid glances as he cooked.
“So green genes, what’s your name?” He mentally kicked himself. Who knew if the kid could even talk, what if-
“My title is Beast.” A quiet, subdued voice sounded from the floor where the kid sat.
“Beast?” Cyborg asked, too stunned by the reply to realize that the teen could indeed talk. He had heard the villain who’d had the boy call him Beast, but he’d never guess that was the poor guy’s name. Beast nodded slightly. He had had this same conversation with multiple masters and continued as though reading a script.
“My title is Beast, but I will respond to any name my master wishes to give me.”
Cyborg gulped. “Mind if I just stick with B for now?”
Beast blinked and nodded once, committing this new name to memory. Suddenly he scented Master Raven behind him. His ears swiveled to her nearly silent form, though he didn’t make a move to turn his head. His eyes were still trained on Cyborg, and he felt a small trill of pleasure when the large man jumped at the girl’s voice.
“The room is ready.”
“Ahhhh! Raven, don’t do that.”
“I can take him to the room and start tending to his wounds.”
“Great, where’s Star?”
“I sent her into town to pick up some clothing for the boy.”
Cyborg looked down at Beast and was glad that Raven had sent for new clothes. The ones he had were in complete tatters, torn and stained in a million different ways. The shirt, with its huge gape in its side from the battle, was barely clinging to his small form. Blood, puss, and dirt covered the few parts of the garment still intact. The kid really needed some new threads. Then the words clothes and Starfire connected in his mind and the half-robot winced. “Oh great. I hope you like pink, B.”
“I told her that we could go shopping properly for clothes for him later if she promised to bring back something simple today. We’ll see how well that went in a few minutes.” She turned to meet Beast’s eyes. “Follow me.”
The green boy jumped to his feet and followed the grey girl, trying to memorize his surroundings as she led him to a sparse cell. The room held a small sink, toilet and a cot against one wall, a bare bulb hung from the ceiling. A small stool sat next to the bed, an array of medicines and bandages scattered around it. Raven nodded at the bed. “Sit.”
Beast hastened to obey. He wanted to make sure that he didn’t make any more mistakes. The female Master watched as he scrambled to the bed, her face revealing no emotion. She held up her hands as he sat, and a mysterious white light encompassed them. Beast tensed, but didn’t flinch away. He gripped the side of the bed and clenched his jaw in fear as the unfamiliar light neared him. He didn’t move though. He remained still as fear churned in his stomach.
The white-enveloped hands gently caressed the back of his head and Beast twitched slightly at the pain of the touch before the entire wound was soothed with a calming coolness. His eyes closed in relaxation as the pain went away and he sighed in relief.
Raven worked to heal the wound on the back of his head, moving past the largest burn as she realized that she had no clue what the consequences would be if she attempted to heal a wound her powers had caused. She was about to move on to the smaller wounds littering his arm and legs when she felt more of her healing power go into the boy’s head, an area she thought she had healed. She allowed the power to flow to the boy, simultaneously reading it to find out why he needed more healing. He’d had a concussion. Suddenly the girl realized that not all of his injuries would necessarily be surface wounds.
She searched though his body, a magical medicinal probe to find the injuries she could not see. The girl seethed when she found various bones that had been broken and not healed correctly, some of which that could cause major health problems if allowed to stay. She worked her magic through these hidden injuries, working away at them until his inner body was whole, even if his skin remained littered with cuts.
Beast certainly didn’t mind that she had focused on the internal injuries. He slumped in relief; even with the burn on his side, he hadn’t felt this good in forever. Raven stopped as she corrected the shape of his final rib bone, taking a few more seconds to heal the minor cuts littering his legs before deciding that it would be dangerous to do much more. She stepped back. “Cyborg will take care of the rest.”
Beast’s eyes were shining in gratitude as she stepped back. For a moment he wasn’t even worried about what these new masters were like, or when they would punish him, or how bad it would be. He couldn’t remember feeling this well in years, and according to Raven, Cyborg would work to heal the other wounds. It was incredible.
His entire mood crashed as he realized that with someone who could instantly heal him, they could beat and punish him however they wished without worrying about it affecting his performance the next day. This girl could just heal whatever wounds they inflicted as soon as they deemed that he’d suffered enough.
He had little time to ponder this, for Cyborg quickly came in, a bowl of the soup in one of his large hands and a sleeve of crackers in the other. Beast immediately sat up straighter as the larger teen came in. He tried to keep his eyes on the floor as he had been trained, but the allure of the food was too great for the starving boy, and his eyes continually wandered to the steaming bowl which, to his surprise, was soon placed onto his lap. He looked up incredulously to the metallic teen, who had a large satisfied grin stretching across his face.
“Eat up!” He said, placing the crackers next to Beast. “Just try not to move around too much while I work on fixing up those wounds. Geeze Raven, I thought you woulda gone right for the big one.” He pulled the stool closer to the bed and picked up a roll of bandages and some gauze. Beast dug in, spooning soup into his open mouth, his ears perked as Raven spoke to the other Titan.
“I was unsure what would happen if I tried to heal a wound I’d caused. I thought it best to leave that to you. He had too many internal complications for me to heal all of his minor wounds.”
Cyborg hummed a little in understanding as he spread ointment over a large pad of gauze, gently laying along the green child’s side and using medical tape to keep it in place. Beast barely winced as the pad brushed the tender area, too concerned with his meal. It was only a little while later that Cyborg finished fixing up the injuries; Beast had been the model patient. The green boy had finished eating at around the same time, and both the bowl and cracker sleeve sat empty.
The boy blinked slowly, his tiredness renewed now that he had been sitting for a long time and his stomach was comfortably filled with food. His gaze shifted from Master to Master, unsure of what to do. The two masters seemed to be just as lost. They shared a glance and Cyborg checked his watch, muttering about how long it took to run to the store and buy something. As if conjured by his words, Beast’s final female Master burst through the room, brandishing a large bag.
“Oh friends, I am sorry that it took so long. I’m afraid that one I arrived at the store I did not know our new friends side. Then it was most difficult to match his skin color, then I-“
“Did you get the clothes?” Raven interrupted and Starfire beamed.
“Of course!” She pulled a pair of small black sweatpants and a long sleeved purple shirt from the bag. “I have purchased undergarments as well. I found these adorable ones with friend Robin’s logo on them and-“
“Woah girl, too much info.” Cyborg interrupted, handing the bag to Beast. “You get changed into those; we’ll be back in a bit.” He grabbed the empty dishes and the group left the room, leaving the stunned green shape shifter to stare at the bag in amazement. New clothes, filling and warm food, fixed wounds, and no punishment so far, it was like a dream. It was… confusing. This wasn’t how masters were supposed to act. This wasn’t how he was supposed to be treated, especially by new masters. It was wrong, it was confusing. He didn’t know what to do, how to act. His others masters were cruel, but at least they were consistent. This… he had no clue what to do. Beast slowly removed his rags and pulled on the new clothes, looking down on himself to see the fit. It was a little big, but not too bad.
Beast carefully folded his old clothes and put them in the bag, standing awkwardly in the room as he wondered what to do next. He flexed his bare hands experimentally and looked back to the stained and ripped gloves. His new Master hadn’t gotten him replacements and he wondered if this meant that they didn’t want him to wear gloves anymore, but he felt weird without them on. He’d worn them for years; he’d gotten them after his first few masters had branded the backs of his hands. He didn’t remember their names, or the names of any of his earliest masters really, but the symbols burned into his flesh, the S on his left and K on his right, made these two owners very hard to forget. He hated the precise, stark scars. The master whom bought him from master S and master K hadn’t liked the brands. He hadn’t liked that they were the permanent signs of the other masters' ownership.
That master had given him durable fabric gloves to hide the old brandings and had placed his own mark over Beast’s left shoulder blade. Beast had worn gloves ever since. He had outgrown the gloves over time and the master he’d had when the gloves became unbearably small, a man determined that he would be able to fight without powers as well as with them, had given him a new pair with padding at the knuckles to help when he fought. These gloves were made out of leather and Beast hated it, but he wouldn’t dare to argue with that master, he was one of the worst. It was those very gloves that he had now. By now the dark leather was stained and littered with holes. They looked ugly and old compared to his new clothes… but the scars looked worse. He took the gloves and tugged them on, flexing his covered fingers in the soft and well-worn leather.
Moving over to the sink, he turned on the water and tried to rub out the dark stains. He whimpered slightly when he saw it wouldn't work. Dropping his gaze he noticed his reflection in the silver of the metal handle. The boy winced slightly as he caught sight of the dried blood stuck to his face and hair. He splashed water in his face, rubbing the water in to clean it. He stuck his head under the cascading water, using his fingers to scrub out the dried blood. There was a small rag next to the sink and Beast used it to dry his face. His hair was still dripping wet and water was flowing into his eyes. The rag was too small to really be much use on his hair, but he didn’t want his master to come in with it soaking. If he were in his dog form then it would be simple to shake out his fur. He glanced around the room worriedly.
Some masters didn’t want him to change forms unless he was ordered to. Actually, make that most masters. A few of them didn’t mind so long as it didn’t affect what they planned to do. Maybe these Masters wouldn’t mind. They did seem more lenient than most but… he had given them so many other reasons to disapprove of him. He looked around once more. His masters weren’t in here now though. Maybe, if he did it quickly enough they would never know. He immediately shifted into a Chihuahua, a dog small enough to make very little splatter when he shook himself dry. His pelt vibrated and water splattered the walls. The green dog was so concentrated on drying himself off quickly that he didn’t hear the metal clanging of feet until the door swished open.
Cyborg stood in the doorframe, from the look on his face he had no clue how to react. Beast immediately shifted back to his human form, looking with absolute fear at the cyborg. The larger teen blinked twice before grinning.
“Well, those could probably fit you better, but it must be nice to be out of your old rags, huh?” Beast didn’t respond, still terrified that his master would be angry at him for shifting without permission. Cyborg noticed and softened his grin, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. “I’m glad you got yourself cleaned up. And I’ll let this stay between you and me, but I wouldn’t try shifting again for a while, not until we know Rob’s okay with it.”
Beast nodded emphatically, both ashamed and relieved. He shouldn’t have changed, but this Master would keep him from being punished for it. He flashed the Master a grateful gaze, the closest to an actual outspoken thank you that he would get. He was never supposed to speak to a Master except to answer a direct question. The perfect pet always had a muzzle.
The large teen caught the look grinned broadly back, the expression falling as he started walking out. “Follow me.” His carefree voice had grown grave and the green teen gulped before following. This was probably the punishment.
Beast was led to a large empty room with only a table and two chairs to occupy it. A lone desk lamp sat in the table, and a mirror took up an entire wall. Hand cuffs sat on the table and the floor near one of the chairs. Cyborg gently sat him down and linked the cold metal around his wrists and ankles, something Beast didn’t understand. He had the collar on which meant that he couldn’t escape and he’d been trained not to resist during the punishments. He didn’t think they needed the extra bindings but he said nothing. Pets don’t question their masters.
Cyborg pat his head, though the motion had been like his touch back at his old masters, one devoid of pain and almost friendly. “Sorry about this B, you don’t have to look so scared though. I already told you, we aren’t gonna hurt you.”
Beast made himself seem lose his tension and took the fear out of his eyes as he did what his master commanded. Of course they wouldn’t hurt him, not permanently. Master Raven would ensure that. He still feared the pain. But he’d had experience in seeming calm and camouflage, having to trick guards or Masters. He was an excellent actor. Cyborg smiled at him, though it looked strained as if it weren’t wholly convinced, and left as beeping came from a yellow device he held. Beast’s senses roamed over the room, though as always he kept his head down. He almost felt like smiling cheekily at the “mirror” but knew that he was likely in trouble enough without adding to it.
He shifted slightly in the comfortable new cloths and reveling in amazement at his full stomach and lack of pain. He had felt many things towards his old masters. He’d feared them, hated them, despised them, and been revolted by them. But this… this was totally alien to him. Even with the fear of punishment he almost… liked these Masters. At least, he did now but wait until the spiky-haired, colorful Rob-leader came back. Who knew what life would be like then?