Disclaimer: The Teen Titans animation is the property of Glen Murakami and Warner Bros. Animation.
Chapter 3 – A Brand New Direction
The voice sounded very far away. It echoed in every direction at once.
The face on the screen seemed to silently mock him, as if to---
Cyborg's shout managed to bring the group leader back to focus.
"You all right, man?"
The Teen Titans leader said nothing, the sour look on his face increasing in intensity by the second. Suddenly, he turned toward the exit.
"Dude, where are you going?"
"I need to clear my head." With that, he walked out, leaving his team worried...
And the archer on the screen confused. "Uhhh...what's his deal?"
"Speedy, I would need an entire day to go through his deal." Cyborg set his gaze back onto the screen. "We'll go ahead and start analyzing the materials. Let us know if you find any more of it."
"Will do. Speedy out."
As the display faded back to black, Cyborg glanced over his shoulder to the rest of the team. "BB, Rae, I'm going to need your help with getting the equipment prepped."
"What about Starfire?"
"I think she already knows what she's doing," he smiled. "Star?"
"I am metaphorically and literally 'ahead of you', Cyborg," Starfire said, floating toward the door Robin had used to exit. "I shall see if he needs any consoling."
"Well, hurry up. Don't let him go into a funk if you can; we're going to need him for whatever he's planning."
Robin leaned over his desk, the papers that had Slade's last known whereabouts and activities strewn all about. He had spent countless hours in this room, looking and searching for his nemesis. Even with the threat of the Brotherhood of Evil around the globe, he would take every available moment to see if there was any clue...any hint that Slade was back.
And he had found nothing.
Now, all of a sudden, in the span of ten video frames, there he was. It was as if he never left.
Robin's rage boiled over.
He threw the mask at the door, determined to either shatter it or make a large dent in the entryway. Or both.
He had closed his eyes in rage, not knowing that a very quick-reflexed Tamaranian had entered his room, or that she had expertly caught the mask out of the air.
"I do not believe the smashing of anything is going to subside your anger."
Robin turned back toward the table, his rage barely being contained. "It won't, but it will make me feel a little better."
Starfire walked forward, gently setting the mask on the desk. She did not want to jump into the issue headlong, but she could not figure out an easier way to try to get Robin to calm down. "Robin--"
"I don't want to hear it, Star."
"Robin, we do not even know what his plan is, or even if he has a plan."
"My gut's telling me he does." Robin pounded the desk with his fist. "And my gut is almost always right."
"Well, perhaps you can tell your gut to keep the guessing to a minimum."
He turned toward her, his voice rising. "Star, we had all of the criminals in Jump City in custody. None of them have had an opportunity to get a foothold into anything these past two weeks. And Chang's not exactly smart enough to work it all out on his own. He had to have help. And he's worked with Slade before." His fists started to shake as his gaze went to the floor. "I know I never should have let him walk way from me when we had to stop Trigon."
"But we did. Because it was for the greater good."
"That doesn't make me feel any better, Star."
Starfire walked forward, placing her hand on his shoulder. "Robin, I do realize that this is your arch nemesis that we are conversing about, but it is impossible to know what he is planning at this time. All we can do is be prepared."
Robin's eyes were still on the table, so Starfire took the opportunity to continue onward.
"We are not the same team that fought him when he was working with Trigon. We are stronger. This is also not mentioning all of the new friends that we have made over the past few weeks. None of them will let us down."
"I don't want to drag anyone else into this. It's my fight."
"It is not your fight, Robin. It is ours. Cyborg's and Beast Boy's and friend Raven's as well as mine. You will not rid yourself of our companionship so easily."
Starfire, to the shock of Robin, forcibly turned him around and embraced him.
"Whatever happens, Robin, we will be with you. Together."
Robin blushed, returning her hug. "Thanks, Star."
"I really hate to break up whatever boyfriend/girlfriend consoling you guys are doing right now..."
Both Robin and Starfire jumped, the sound of Cyborg's voice booming over the loudspeaker.
"But I found something that you might want to take a look at, Robin."
Robin pressed a button on his desk. "We'll be right there, Cyborg." He turned to his alien teammate, a smile returning to his face. "Let's go catch some bad guys."
Starfire squealed as she started to hover toward the door. "Oh, I do enjoy the catching of the bad people!"
With that, they were off to rejoin their teammates, leaving the mask and their worries behind...for the meantime.