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Fan Fic / The Measure of a Titan

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The Measure of a Titan is an Alternate Universe that diverges not long after the Teen Titans Season 2 finale, when Cinderblock attacks a foster-care center and attempts to abduct one of the teens there. When he wakes up, he boy, David Foster, has no idea why; he dislikes using or even thinking about his powers and has kept them a secret all of his life. Raven doesn't trust him, but the Titans still take him into protective custody to keep him safe from Cinderblock, as well as help him use his abilities to defend himself. Which may be exactly what the villains want...


It would be a lie to say that the most important thing about this story is the character interactions, but only because the plot turns out to be even better. David Foster is an interesting OC who subverts the Black Hole Sue stereotype by being at the center of events as a victim, and against his will. And it's not only about him, though he does play an important part, but all the Titans get plenty of screen time and development alone and with each other. Most notable is David's refusal to believe that he is or could be a hero, regardless of how many times he ends up fighting. But in the background, shadowy figures are moving, and they will make him join the world of the capes, or else...


Examples of tropes found in the story

  • Abnormal Ammo: A rail gun is used for the below Anyone Can Die.
  • Adaptational Badass: Who would have guessed that Warp was The Dragon?
  • Anyone Can Die: Warp just shot Robin in the chest. And it sticks. Never mind what happens to the Hive Five.
  • Arc Words: "I don't have a choice!" for the latter part of the story.
  • Back from the Dead: Slade, Terra, and Cinderblock. The Hive Five Came Back Wrong because Trigon wanted to torture Jinx.
  • Batman Gambit: Warp, of all people pulls off a beautiful one that has everyone dancing on strings, even when they know what’s going on and to what purpose.
  • Berserk Button:
    • David finds out that Raven’s is her friends especially Beast Boy in chapter 9 after she punches his button about his past and threats.
    • Starfire's becomes Warp and the Hive after the latter help the former shoot Robin.
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    • Jinx's is threatening the rest of the Hive, especially Gizmo.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Starfire, so so much. And it is not Played for Laughs.
  • Big Bad: Trigon
  • Broken Bird: Every female character spends some time as this. Mostly, it only makes them more dangerous, not less.
  • Cassandra Truth: Justified. David Foster is completely honest about his abilities and backstory when he meets the Titans, but Raven doesn’t believe him for very good, logical reasons. This was planned out by Trigon and Warp.
  • Chekhov's Gun: David's safety goggles used to belong to Terra.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Carrie, who is actually Terra.
  • The Chosen One: David denies that he is this vehemently and outright mocks the possibility due to having grown up in orphanages and foster care, where everyone likes to pretend they’re special. Keyword being pretend.
  • Cool Big Sister: Jinx to Gizmo.
  • Cooldown Hug: Inverted (the person needing to cool down initiates the hug): Starfire has been put through psychological and emotional hell by Warp before violating Robin’s number one rule and killing him. She shows up to help David and Cyborg channeling her full warrior princess-ness. David sees how furious and violent she is, and realizes as she starts storming towards him that she has every reason to believe he’s an enemy, and starts begging for his life. She grabs him, and then pulls him into a hug, having already trusted he was on the right side. David describes it as the first time he felt safe in a long, long time.
  • Cruel Mercy: The Big Bad loves this.
  • Deal with the Devil: Slade. Incredibly, Warp’s doesn’t come back to bite him, and he gets exactly what he’d wanted. A broken Starfire.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Beast Boy’s arguably greatest moment has him become one of these the size of a skyscraper.
  • Eldritch Location: The haunted Library. David’s mindscape isn’t quite creepy enough, but it’s still unusual.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Terra and the fear of betrayal serve as this for a while, as does David’s past.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: A villainous example makes Slade even scarier.
  • Enemy Mine: Hive Five and the Titans.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When David reasons out why they haven’t been attacked yet in chapter 38.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Nothing the Titans can do will stop Trigon from coming.
  • Famous Last Words: Heartbreakingly, Robin does not get any.
  • A Father to His Men: Robin, in a sense.
  • Flying Brick: We get a reminder that Starfire is this when she gets really, really angry.
  • Foe Yay: Cyborg and Jinx.
  • Forced to Watch: Raven is made to watch the people fighting and dying against Trigon’s army of demons.
  • For Want of a Nail: Weaponized by Trigon and Warp to avoid the Foregone Conclusion from the first time around.
  • Freudian Excuse: Warp’s second childhood really sucked, though it doesn’t excuse becoming The Dragon
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Future Devastator went from a chemical engineer, to the man who killed all of Arkham’s inmates, to the most dangerous mercenary/assassin on the planet, to being capable of killing the Future Titans in a four-on-one battle.
  • Glass Cannon: Devastator is a superb example of this trope, as he himself discusses. He possesses the most powerful weapon on the planet but is as fragile as any normal human.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Defied and Justified. Trigon has arranged it so that the metahuman heavy-weights like the JLU are off-planet when he arrives. Similarly, Tameran is facing a Gordian invasion, and other forces have other problems.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. David works hard to keep pace with the other Titans and it shows. Lampshaded once or twice when he compares how he handles a situation/fight with what he would have done in the past.
  • Healing Hands: One of Raven’s powers, used very often.
  • Heroic BSoD: The only reasonable reaction to Robin’s murder.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Warp has been working as a partner with the Big Bad all for the purpose of revenge by breaking Starfire and taking away everything she loves. Unfortunately, when he succeeds he gets a rude reminder that Starfire isn’t a human, and she has different psychology. So when she breaks, she just burns him to a cinder and keeps going.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Slade, because he Came Back Wrong.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Trigon claims he chose Earth for his plan because of this.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: A rare non-romantic example, as David can’t believe the Titans are paying him attention, nor that he deserves it.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Nope. Especially not when the Heroes are furious enough to make them.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The background of the Devastator.
  • In Spite of a Nail: What the heroes’ plan amounts to.
  • Instant Expert: David averts this, as it takes months of practice for him to even survive a battlefield.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: This is included in Raven’s arsenal when she gets really, really mad.
  • Meaningful Name: Devastator sounds like David Foster if you slur it, doesn’t it?
    • A rare case of aversion when Terra uses a false name—Carrie—that has no connection to her.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: The Titans invoke this so that the Big Bad will have to split his attention.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Slade sets this up between David and Raven.
  • Living Weapon: Devastator, if an energy being counts as living.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Amusingly but sadly, Slade is too competent to be this, no matter how hard he tries.
  • Mirror Match or Mirror Boss: The Big Bad throws evil copies of the heroes in their path. Except Starfire has to fight an Evil Robin, instead. And David is turned into Devastator's evil copy instead.
  • More Dakka: 200 surface-to-air missiles aimed at the Titans’ ship.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: See More Dakka, fired by 256 armed war robots.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Devastator. Trigon the Terrible
  • Necessary Evil: Slade sees his attempts to save the world by ensuring David’s death as this.
  • No-Sell: Devastator is completely immune to Raven’s offensive magic.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several. The earliest when Cinderblock attacks a foster care center, and then later David has one when he wakes up in the Titans’ Tower.
    • The best one may be Jinx in the end of Chapter 29 when Starfire tears away a 12-inch thick titanium wall to get at her.
  • One-Winged Angel: Raven gets this against an army of robots.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: This happens a lot through the story as people get put in stressful situations. In fact, the drama of the story mostly runs on it.
    • At the beginning of the story Beast Boy is reeling from Terra’s betrayal. He’s quiet, isn’t eating, and has been crying. And then in Chapter 2 Cinderblock can TALK.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Big Bad doesn’t personally do much for most of the plot, but there’s no mistaking that he’s still exceptionally dangerous.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: David feels like this, and it takes the other Titans a lot to convince him otherwise.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Devastator
  • Playing with Fire: Slade.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Raven really should have been honest about what she found in David’s head.
  • Posthumous Character: The story begins not too long after Terra died.
  • Power Incontinence: The fact that David doesn’t suffer from this is considered very suspicious by Raven.
  • Properly Paranoid: Deconstructed with Raven. She’s absolutely right to be paranoid, but wrong with what she should be paranoid about, which leads to Poor Communication Kills.
  • Rape as Drama: How David meets Carrie.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Starfire to Warp when he tries messing with her head.
    • Then David gives an epic one to Future Devastator
    • And Devastator the cosmic being, not one of the David Fosters gives one to the Big Bad despite being completely helpless in his clutches. And it might have made him nervous.
  • Self-Made Orphan: David, the reason for his hesitance to use his powers.
  • Ship Tease: Robin and Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy, David and Carrie. Possibly David and Jinx or Cyborg and Jinx.
  • Stable Time Loop: Averted, which is the entire point of the bad guys’ plan. Warp in particular explains how Starfire caused this.
  • Spotting the Thread: Raven keeps thinking she’s doing this with David, but…
  • Strong, but Unskilled: Kinetics in general, like Terra and Raven.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: David’s powers and Devastator’s for obvious reasons. He can manipulate the thermo-kinetic energy of vibrating molecules to do this.
  • Take a Third Option: Brutally deconstructed. The characters’ attempts to do this cause severe pain and suffering. Shaping up a possible Decon-Recon Switch in the end.
  • Taken for Granite: Not only has Terra come back from this, but all of humanity suffers it when Trigon arrives.
  • Temporal Paradox:
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Possibly.
  • Took a Level in Badass: David, at least twice. Beast Boy in chapter 38.
  • Tsundere: Raven.
  • Walking Spoiler: It is impossible to mention that The Dragon is Warp the time-traveler without spoiling a lot of the plot.
  • Weak, but Skilled: David at the beginning of his training. He can’t do much with his power, but he never suffers Power Incontinence, either.
  • Wham Episode: Several.
    • Chapter 16 has an ambush on the Titans. Beast Boy is nearly killed before Raven goes One-Winged Angel, which nearly kills her, and David fights Cinderblock and demolishes him. Then someone later breaks into Cinderblock’s cell and kills him.
    • Chapter 29: The Man in Gold shoots Robin. It sticks.
    • Chapter 32
  • Wham Line:
    • “Demonspawn!” “Gem of Trigon!”
    • “I… think we need to talk… Terra.
    • "You’re not possessing David at all! David’s possessing you!"
    • The biggest one from Slade. "Because, it’s what you did the last time this happened."
  • You and What Army?: Said to Slade, who responds with an army of fire demons.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Several times, beginning with Raven’s chapter 1 speech to BB about Terra.
    • Chapter 38 has Beast Boy give one to David about what it means to be a hero.
    • David uses a minor subversion of this on Future Devastator to point out that the guy must want to talk, or else he (David) would be dead now.

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