|Love in Shades of Green and Gray
Author: LamontCranston1066 PM
This story is about the developing relationship between Beast Boy and Raven. Told chiefly from Raven's point of view, it will also address her relationships with the other members of her team, as Raven strives to grow beyond her heritage and become a fully rounded human being. Not all chapters will be suitable for minors. Rated M for adult themesRated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Raven & Beast Boy - Chapters: 61 - Words: 215,666 - Reviews: 1,070 - Favs: 257 - Follows: 317 - Updated: 05-19-13 - Published: 07-25-12 - id: 8358093
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Shadico – Glad you liked it. No, things don't go hideously wrong all the time. I like these characters, so I try not to torture them to no point.
BoutsofInsanity42 – Time to kill it, eh? I can see the end from here, true. I was afraid breaking the sexual tension as well as settling into the roles of boyfriend and girlfriend would stink the place up. Maybe it has. But I have a few more scenes that I want to write. Then we'll call it a day.
The Fat Lantern – No, no hurricane for me. At the risk of giving too much away, hurricanes are simply not a worry where I live. No, the delay was just that as I'm coming to the end, the words aren't coming as easily as they used to.
Shugokage – Always nice to hear from you. Glad you liked it.
JohnxGambit – Inner Rabbit? You've lost that me on that one.
Hairul – Yeah, well, maybe. But remember, she's a masseuse. She can probably deal with the soreness.
TW – Glad you liked it.
Lord Vukodlak – No problem. Like I said, I was all set to have Dr. Cross lean forward and get to work when I realized that girls already knew what was going to come next, and guys who want to know can google it. And yeah, you're right. And Arkham is over on the other coast.
NicoleThePenguin – Updating as fast as it comes out of the keyboard.
MyNomdeplume – The Grand-High Mistress of Tease-fu? I thought that was a little edgy for a woman as normally reserved as Raven. I only felt justified because of the amount of frivolity already in the air at the Halloween party. Would seeing that much of her be justified? On the other hand, the schadenfreude-ian humor Raven is so known for is something I've under developed. Food for thought. I suppose we're due to wander around inside Changeling's head a bit as well. I've also had some thoughts about the Return of the Ex. I found Terra's appearance in the TV show endlessly frustrating because I wanted them to focus on this pairing, and I've really enjoyed her absence. But should she actually be seen in this text, I will start with a brutal beating.
V for anonymous – Sorry, I hadn't realized that I'd only dealt with Raven's 'birthmark' in the Lemon. For the minors (and blue-nosed) in the audience, Raven has a small, Celtic-style tattoo on the small of her back. The raven is extremely well detailed in the style of Celtic knot work by a master artist. When she got it, she believed that no one would ever see it, and was trying to celebrate her alone-ness. It was sort of in an effort to become reconciled to being a filthy bird of ill-omen. "I am Raven, hear me roar." At this point in her life, she feels that it no longer fits and is embarrassed by the decision she made to get it. So she hides about it and lies about it, claiming that it's a birthmark, if people glimpse it.
Kellygirl6754 – No, an accidentally pregnant Raven would be way out of character for her. I'm going to explore her issues with her fertility before we are done, but not like that.
Nuka – Yeah. I'm doing my best, but I'm not as inspired. I kinda feel like I'm forcing it. (Except for Cold Rain. That was a lot of fun.)
Chowbo – Glad you liked it. I was afraid that "My First Trip to the Gynecologist" would be just too weird for most people's taste.
HinaLuvLuvChan – Glad you liked it. I could see the sweat-drop animation in my head as I wrote it.
Paragon the Half-Dragon – Glad you like my approach.
I' . – Hey, the pagan babes that run in my pack say that. I thought it sounded appropriately mystic-y for Raven. And she's such a private person; I can't imagine her saying "period" to her boyfriend.
Greyshield – Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it. Gee whiz. Hardly anybody liked BB's Parade of the Blonds. And I was specifically trying to make them likeable, too. Sorry – was the 'ew' for how I handled the lemon or that it existed at all? Did I say Starfire was six feet tall somewhere? I didn't mean to. To my mind, both of the girls are relatively short, although there is more of the comic book Starfire than there is to the other characters. In the scene at the end of "Fear Itself," the Titans are all watching the sunrise, and Starfire is drawn about a head taller than Raven, and actually slightly taller than Robin. (Cy, of course, towers over all of them. But then, when you get to build your own legs, wouldn't you be taller than all the other dudes around?) You're right, 105 is way to light for her. Didn't think it through. Assuming that Tameranians share human averages, and that Starfire has reached her adult growth by this time in this story, according to livestrong dot com, she should be about 5' 3 and weigh about 130 pounds, depending on her body type. Given a heroic build, with a lot of muscle mass, (not to mention her grebnaks) we'll call it 150.
Harper – Can't write any faster unless someone can afford to pay me so that I can quit my day job. This project's already got all the creative energy and time I can afford to give it. She canna take anymore Cap'n.
From the Author:
Again, sorry the word rate has dropped so far off, but it's gotten harder. I'd like to again state how much I appreciate all of the feedback and comments that I'm getting on this project. It's the only pay I get. The more feedback I get, the more I'm encouraged to write. I'm sorry the story and the characters aren't going in a direction that pleases everybody, but I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. Thanks for sticking with me as far as you have come.
In this Chapter, we leave Jump City and go to a halfway across the continent; Midway City is in Michigan, near Sault St Marie, and the domain of the Doom Patrol. The Doom Patrol makes only a single appearance in the TV show, in "Homecoming," the two part Season Five premiere. Although the Brotherhood of Evil are the recurring villains of the season, we never see the Doom Patrol again. Accordingly, I've worked mostly from the comic book versions of the characters. Now, as my bio mentions, I'm almost certainly Older Than You, and my familiarity with the Doom Patrol comes from their original incarnation, and let me tell you something. You think the Titans have a dysfunctional background? The Doom Patrol can barely manage to exist as human beings. I really don't get how Garfield could possibly have emerged from that toxic environment as upbeat as he is. In any case, I've run into quite a few challenges integrating the comic book characters from so long ago with the far more recent Teen Titans. I think I've done a pretty good job so far.
Looking farther down the road, there's another lemon, a Flight of Romance, and a proposal. But before that, there will be Dinner with the 'Rents.
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
I do." - Lamont Cranston
It was several weeks later that Raven was awakened from a sound sleep by a persistent beeping sound. Harsh and sharp, it grated on her ears until she dragged her eyelids open and sat up, blearily propping herself up on one elbow. The mixed silver-white light of late dawn and early morning filled the room, banishing the shadows to the deep corners. Normally a morning person, Raven had intended to sleep in this morning. It had been a particularly late night last night as Control Freak and Overload had teamed up to rob, vandalize, or terrorize over a dozen different video and TV vendors in the city. Using Control Freak's super-charged remote the duo of desperadoes teleported all over town, wreaking havoc wherever they went. It had been up to Raven to gate the team back and forth whenever the bad guys were within her range. It had taken most of the night, and Raven and Garfield hadn't gotten to bed until four o'clock in the morning. She squinted at Garfield's clock.
"Six-thirty?" she grumbled. "What's that noise?"
She looked around. Garfield's belt communicator. Raven didn't have many friends outside of the Tower. This and her rather prickly personality led to some rather informal phone etiquette. Not thinking clearly, she reached across his soundly-sleeping form and grabbed the comm from the bedside, opened up and spoke.
A dulcet, cultured female voice said, "Good morning," as the video screen popped into focus.
"What do you want?" Raven asked, flatly.
"I seem to have caught you at a bad time, but I would like to speak to my son, please."
It was at this point Raven woke up enough to realize three things: First, this wasn't Garfield's round Titan communicator. This one was black, rectangular, and had a purple triangle embossed on the cover. It was his Doom Patrol comm. Two: the only woman in the Doom Patrol was Rita Farr. Rita was many things, but at the moment Raven could only think of one thing – she was Garfield's mother. And finally, three: She's just answered Garfield's video phone while wearing what was obviously her night-clothes. She was wearing a dark blue heavy cotton top, sleeveless, with spaghetti straps over white flannel pants. Her hair was frowsy and clearly sleep tousled, and her boyfriend's mother was on the other end of the line.
One corner of the beautiful woman's perfect lips turned up in a tiny smirk. "Yes, my son. Garfield Logan? I think you're calling him 'Changeling' these days? If his belt communicator is in your hands, I presume his belt, pants, and the contents of said pants are somewhere nearby. I'd like to speak to him, please."
Raven blinked. There was absolutely no way out of this with anything but her dignity left.
"Of course," she said, politely. "Please excuse me."
She pressed the mute button and turned the video pickup away. The she leaned over Garfield and shook his shoulder gently.
"Garfield?" She shook a little harder and spoke a little louder.
Raven took a firm grip on Changeling's shoulder, shook him like a frog in a blender, and shouted "BEAST BOY!" at not quite the top of her lungs.
His eyes opened blearily.
She handed the comm to her boyfriend, who looked at it uncomprehendingly.
"It's your mother," she said, flatly.
"Good morning, Garfield," said Rita, almost as flatly.
Changeling snapped awake, jerking the comm from Raven's hands, flinging it into the air, end-over-end.
"Gaaah," he exclaimed, diving for the comm and catching it before it hit the floor. He had slept in a wife-beater T shirt and purple boxers. He landed flat on his face on the floor, catching the comm just in time.
He rose from the floor and walked over to his desk.
"Hello, Rita," he said. "Sorry for the confusion. We were up really late last night."
"I can see that," his mother replied, arching an eyebrow.
"Not like that!" he said quickly. "We were working."
"And working hard, too I see."
"Never mind that, sweetie. I was calling to check up on you. You said you were coming out, maybe to stay for awhile, and then you cancelled without explanation, and you didn't call back. I was wondering if you were all right. Clearly I didn't need to worry."
Her eyes sparkled with merry malice.
"Well, see . . ." he started.
The older woman laughed.
"I do see, indeed. I'll let you tend to whatever it is you do in the mornings. Call me later in the day when we can talk. Bye for now."
He looked up from the comm. Raven was staring at him, brows furrowed.
"Raven? What's up?"
"Your mother just found me in your bed, and I'm working very hard to find a way to make it your fault."
"No fair! You answered the comm!"
"I know. That's why I have to work at it. Don't worry; I'll have it figured out by lunch."
Still exhausted, he slid back into bed and the two of them went back to sleep. Several hours later, they awoke again, somewhat refreshed, dressed, and headed to the common room for lunch. It was close to mid-day, and the vast windows of Titan Tower looked out on blue skies and puffy white clouds. Commercial traffic moved about the surface of the Bay. After a quick meal, Raven turned toward the roof access stair.
"I'm going to go meditate. You should call your mother."
"But . . ."
"I know. I'm embarrassed, too. Better to get it over with."
Changeling sighed, and headed back to his room. He left the comm on the charger and sat down at his desk. Opening the computer, he ran through the sequence to open the DoomNet and typed "Seek: Elastagirl."
After only a moment the screen flickered and Rita's face and upper body appeared. She smiled.
"Mom, please don't mess with me."
Rita laughed good-naturedly, and then leaned forward toward the video pickup, an intent look on her face.
About forty minutes later, Garfield approached Raven in the common room with a hangdog expression on his face.
"What?" she asked.
He heaved an epic sigh. "We have to go visit my parents. They want to meet you. Mom, especially."
"We can't just pick up and leave. That would leave the team down two people."
Robin, from his nearby workstation put in, "No way. I can't get anybody in to cover the manpower at this short a notice. Changeling, you're going to have to re-schedule."
Changeling shook his head, not looking at Raven. "Rita already thought of that. The Doom Patrol just put a big smack down on the Brotherhood of Evil last week. Madame Rouge is in an orbital prison, the Brain is in jail, and Mallah is on the run. We just cut General Immortus off at the knees, which means that the Doom Patrol is actually going through a quiet cycle. She's sending Robotman and Negative Man to cover for us. She figures an extra cyborg and Larry's dark spirit will shake things up with our enemies."
Robin blinked. "That's not a bad idea. Cyborg and Cliff could compare notes, and Larry's dark matter can fly, so he could probably cover for Raven very well."
Raven glared at him. "I'm very disappointed in you."
"Sorry," said Robin. "A good idea is a good idea."
"You only say that because we can't force you to go meet Starfire's parents."
"We'll cut loose a linked pair of Shards of the T-ship for you. Robotman and Negative Man will probably be bringing a verti-jet we can use if we need to leave town. You guys try to relax and have a good time. You can take off Friday morning," Robin finished.
And that was that. The rest of the week flew by at a disturbing pace and before Raven and Garfield could turn around, they found themselves staring at the linked Shards of the T-ship, getting ready to board. Each of them stowed a small overnight bag in the small cargo area of their Shard. They hugged and boarded the independent cockpits. Each pilot strapped themselves into a five point retraining harness and started the pre-flight check. Both put on headphones and began to exchange commentary.
Eventually, Raven said, "That's it. Igniting the primaries."
The T-ship shook as the main engines came on-line and the bird began to move. The two worked closely, Changeling as acting as pilot and Raven as flight engineer, until they were east bound and clear of the Jump City traffic.
Changeling engaged the autopilot saying, "Well, that's it, until we get near the Midway City approach."
"Midway City? Michigan? Isn't that like, only an hour from Steel City?"
"So, why is the Doom Patrol based so close in to the Titan's East? I mean, didn't Robin and Cyborg put Titan's East in a region that's not got superhero coverage?"
"Eh, the Doom Patrol doesn't stay around Midway City, or Michigan enough for them to do much good. I mean, sure, if a giant mole machine bursts up in the middle of the park and starts spewing soldiers out, and they're in town they jump in, but they don't run regular patrols like we do. They're always jetting off somewhere, chasing the Brotherhood of Evil, or assorted other bad guys that put in the miles."
"Makes sense, I guess," Raven said, and the two fell silent.
A couple of minutes later, Raven could make out the tell-tale beeps over the comm system that indicated that Changeling had broken out his pocket Gameboy and started playing. Raven sighed and kept an eye on the active radar. There was not supposed to be anything on their flight path.
"But somebody should be watching where we're going," she thought.
The young people cruised in companionable silence for a while before Raven heard a snort over the comm.
"What's so funny?" she asked.
"Oh, I was just thinking about stereotypes and how we're backwards."
"Well, I don't know if 'backwards' is the right word. But I'm pinned in place with no way to escape. Most girls would take advantage of the opportunity to force me to talk about our relationship."
"I wasn't aware that our relationship needed talking about," Raven replied.
"I don't think it does. But the stereotype of 'woman' is that they always think relationships need to be talked about. And if either of us is a 'relationship talker,' it's me. And I'm the guy," he went on. "This would normally be the time for you to pin me down and talk about stuff I don't want to discuss, because I can't get away."
Raven was silent. Too silent.
"I'm trying to decide if you're saying I'm a 'bad girlfriend,' we're in a 'bad relationship,' or I'm 'bad at being a woman."
"WHAT? No! Wait! Back up! I didn't say any of those things! I was talking about 'stereotypes.'"
Raven gave a quiet laugh. "Calm down. I'm 'doing the teasing,' as Starfire would say. I'm new at it. Like it?"
"Not really," he grumbled.
They flew along a little longer.
"I've decided that I don't like this," Raven said.
"Yes. The next time we road trip, I want to fly commercial, if it's too far to fly ourselves."
"Why, Raven?" asked Changeling.
"In these single cockpits, I can't reach out and touch you," she answered.
Changeling thought about that for a moment. Since they'd starting dating, she always seemed to be nearby. Usually sitting near him with a book in her hand and earplugs jammed in her ears.
"Um, Raven? You don't really, you know, reach out and touch me that often. I do most of our touching."
"I know. I just like to be able to."
The two young people flew into the Midway City traffic pattern and then landed at a small, non-descript field just outside of town. There were only two hangers, a large one and a smaller one, and what appeared to be a well-used rocket gantry.
"We're not landing at headquarters?" Raven asked.
"That's right, this is your first trip to Midway city. Doom Patrol HQ doesn't have off-street parking."
We're downtown, not on a private island like Titan Tower. It's more like the Fantastic Four or Dr. Strange."
The T-ship landed and Changeling drove it into an open hangar. The fluorescent lights gleamed on the polished concrete floor. There sat a scorched verti-jet, still needing a paint job from the business with general Immortus. He shut down the engines and unbelted. Grabbing his overnight bag, he said, "C'mon. I like showing this to people. It's pretty cool and I don't get to show it off very often."
He led her to an elevator with only two buttons. He hit the lower one and the two teens rode the car down to what looked for all the world like a private subway station. The light was softer and warmed here than in the hanger above. The tile-lined room was illuminated with bare incandescent bulbs. The subway car in from of them had a gull-wing hatch, and the exterior was made of brass.
"Very steampunk," said Raven. "What the next step, Captain Nemo?"
Changeling gave a self-deprecating laugh. "Yeah, I guess it's pretty old. Cliff wanted to install mag-lev years ago, but Steve likes the old gear, and keeps it maintained. It's not very energy efficient, though."
The couple sat down in heavily padded leather seats, and Changeling buckled a five point harness. When she saw the heavy-duty harness, Raven began to get a little concerned.
"So, this 'Steve,' he's pretty safety- minded, is he?"
"Sort of. But that's mostly Rita."
Raven buckled her harness.
"Ready?" asked Changeling.
"I guess," replied Raven.
"I love this part."
Changeling reached up and snapped four red toggle switches labeled "Engines" to the "go" position. Then he reached over and set two more dials. Then he checked to gauges.
"Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!"
The car began to vibrate in time with a low-frequency hum. The internal lights dimmed, and Raven could see some kind of garage door coming down outside the closed hatch, blocking off the subway station.
"Let's hit it!"
Changeling slapped a large, bright red button labeled "Ignition" in the center of the console, and the car was filled with a shattering roar. The interior lights went out as the car shuddered and leapt from its position at the station.
"Gaaaah!" shouted Raven, startled.
Illuminated only by the light from the console, she was pressed back into the heavily padded seat by the force of the acceleration.
"Wooooo-hoooo!" shouted Changeling, his hands gripping the armrests.
"What! Are! You! Doing?" Raven shouted.
"4.8 G's baby! Welcome to the Doom Patrol's rocket-sled subway! Hang on! The retro-rockets are gonna fire any second."
"Retro-?" Raven began, but the roar of powerful engines drowned her out as she and Changeling were thrown forward against their restraining straps as the car decelerated sharply.
Raven leaned forward, her hair concealing her face. Her hands shook slightly from the sudden adrenaline dump and her stomach heaved.
"What. The. Hell. Was. That?"
"Um, the Rocket Sled? Wasn't it cool?"
Just then the door to the car hissed as it opened up on a second station. This one was elegantly finished with hand fitted tiles and hardwood detailing. Gas lamps cast a golden light through the fog and mist that filled the air. Raven pulled her hair back behind one ear at looked up. There, silhouetted in the doorway was a woman. The first thing Raven noticed about her was her high, prominent bust-line and narrow waist. Her hips flared, finishing the hourglass shape of vintage feminine beauty. There was a sharp click, and the lights in the interior of the car came back on. Rita Farr wore a simple, white tea-length dress. It was strapless and flowed around her mid-calves. She wore low heels and her wavy brown hair was pulled back from her face with a simple black band. Her eyes were deep green, and twinkled.
"Welcome to Midway City, and our home."
Raven sat for a moment in the seat. Her hood was askew and her hair tousled from the quick acceleration. Her hands shook from the sudden adrenaline dump and her eyes were bloodshot from the negative G's of the sudden stop. She'd been nervous enough about meeting Garfield's mother, but now the rocket-sled had her stomach trying to escape through her mouth. She took a deep breath and while she released the restraints and rose shakily to her feet. As she stepped out of the car, she grasped Rita's extended hand firmly.
"Thank you. This was not the way I'd hoped to meet you."
"I know dear. Don't worry."
Rita's eyes moved to Changeling, who was untangling the over-night bags from the safety nettings.
"Garfield, why didn't you take the car?"
"There was a car?" asked Raven.
"Yes, dear. Parking is limited downtown, but we have a small garage that will hold two cars we use for city driving. I left one at the airfield for you."
Raven turned her head to glare at Garfield. "There was a car."
"But – but the rocket-sled is cool. Right? Right? Hey guys, wait up!"
Rita sighed and led Raven into the elevator, leaving Garfield to wrestle with the overnight bags. This first thing Raven noticed about the Doom Patrol based once the adrenaline-filled arrival was over, was a murmuring voice. It was low, and masculine. It had an interrogative tone, but she couldn't make out any words.
"Come on upstairs," said Rita. "I'll show you to your rooms. Garfield? I'm putting her in the Blue Room. When you get those bags untangled, you can drop hers in the Blue Room. You're in your room of course."
Garfield sighed and shook his head. He didn't say anything aloud, but thought, "The Blue Room is on the first floor, and at the other end of the house from my room."
Rita spoke as she walked. "I should have warned you, or at least been more specific to Garfield. Back in the day, we did a lot of work in space. Sometimes we had to get into action very quickly. We kept a rocket on the gantry at all times, and the rocket sled was put in so that we could be in orbit within forty minutes of an alert. With the Watchtower in orbit now, the Justice League handles all of that work, and our rocket is no longer necessary. But Steve keeps the rocket sled maintained for emergency use when we need to get to the airfield in a tearing hurry."
"And Garfield," Raven replied, "Likes to play with it."
Rita laughed warmly. "So he does."
Raven walked quietly beside Rita as the older woman led her though the mansion. The Doom Patrol Headquarters was either a very large house or a small mansion. Three stories tall and eight or ten rooms to a floor, it occupied a respectable chunk of the downtown city block where it stood. The building was designed in a post-colonial style with a red tile roof, dormer windows and cupola. The main body of the house was whitewashed in the old style, and there was a heavy porch with a shaded widow's walk and peaked roof over the front door. Weathered brick chimneys protruded here and there from the rooftop, indicating that some rooms had fireplaces below.
The young girl looked around. The walls were white, with a wooden wainscot at the bottom. The hallway was richly detailed with heavy crown molding and other wooden federalist-style details around each door and window. The windows were tall and relatively narrow, while the hallway itself was broad and well lit. Every ten feet or so, a brass sconce protruded from the wall, providing warm light, filling in the shadows where the daylight from the windows was insufficient. The only thing really odd about the place was that low, murmuring voice.
"Nice place," said Raven, sincerely. "After our experience with your verti-jet, I was expecting something a little more . . . austere."
Rita laughed warmly. "That would be Steve's influence. I have to live here. There is no way I'm going to live like that all the time. I have my own money, and I'll spend it how I please."
Raven smiled back tentatively. They soon arrived at the door to Raven's room. Rita opened it and the two women stepped into bedroom. The plaster walls were painted a rich sky-blue and all of the trim work was in white. On the wall opposite the door was a fireplace with a black iron insert and white wooden surround. In the center of one wall was a four poster bed with navy blue curtains. There was an electric wall sconce, and the side table held a small candelabrum with three candles. The floor was richly carpeted with an antique Persian rug with blue highlights.
Raven blinked. "Um. Wow."
"It's okay then?" asked Rita.
"Sure. It's very nice, thanks."
"Garfield will be along with your bag shortly. I'll leave you to settle in. Dinner's at six. It's informal, just the four of us. Steve was supposed to meet you with me, but, as usual, his head was buried in his work and he couldn't stop when we needed him to. You'll meet him at dinner."
Rita departed, leaving the door open behind her. Raven wandered the room, opening drawers and cabinet doors.
"Hey," said a voice from the door. It was Garfield, still burdened with the two overnight bags. "Sorry for the rocket ride. I really did think you'd like it."
She smiled, "It was exciting all right. Next time give me a heads-up."
"Room okay?" he asked, tossing her bag on the bed.
"It's great. I mean dust-ruffles are never going to be my thing, but most of it suits me. You?"
"She put me in my old room. Heh. I left the when I was fourteen. Apparently, she treated my room as a shrine. Nothing, and I mean nothing's, has been touched since I left to head out on my own."
"I'm looking forward to seeing the haven of the junior you."
"You already have. It's almost identical to the room I used to have in Titan Tower. Bunk Beds and all." He laughed.
"That's going to be awkward," Raven replied.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm going to have a hard time sleeping in your bed if it's a single."
"Raven, my room is three floors above this one, and on the other side of the building. I think Mom is trying to tell us something."
"I see," she said.
Raven was quieter than usual as she unpacked.