First Date

She sat with her menu before her eyes but her gaze was elsewhere. She scanned the room but thus far found nothing amiss. She folded the bound catalog and took a sip from her iced water, her bracelet clinking against the glass. An echo of her lipstick remained on the rim and she wiped it away with her napkin. She couldn't understand how other women could live with paint on their face at all times. She looked across the table and found her 'date' looking at the menu as well, his brow furrowed.

"I don't think there's anything vegetarian friendly here," he said.

"Does it really matter? We're supposed to be undercover," she replied quietly. "Just order something and don't make a fuss."

"Well I'm starving so I wanna at least get something I can eat."

"I'm sure they have a house salad."

"A grown man can't live on lettuce alone."

She sighed and decided to carefully look around the room again. The team had received a hot tip that there was going to be a robbery committed at one of two very nice restaurants in the city. They were disguised as a couple on a date at this establishment while Nightwing and Starfire were at the other. Cyborg was monitoring both buildings from a secure location.

"Ooh, they have tomato soup. I think I'll have that. What about you?"

"House salad."

"Nice, we can share."

"Yes, that should definitely make people believe we're really on a date. Just don't feed me anything like that sickening couple in the corner."

He looked and spotted a man and women who were putting forkfuls of their dinners into each other's mouths. "Yeah, I draw the line there, too."

Their waiter came over and asked, "Are we ready to order?"

"Yes, I believe so," said Beast Boy. "I'm going to have the tomato soup with a side salad with French dressing and this lovely lady will have the house salad with the vinaigrette dressing."

"Wonderful, I'll put those right in for you," said the waiter and off he went.

"Well that was unnecessary," she frowned. "I'm capable of ordering for myself. And how did you know what type of salad dressing I prefer?"

"This isn't the first time I've dined with you, you know," he chuckled. "And I just thought it would be romantic to show off how well I know you."

"There's no need to show off, we just need to act natural," she reminded him.

"I am acting natural!" he laughed. "This is how I act on a date."

"You should be focusing on the mission part of this evening and not this charade of date," she all but scolded him.

"Trust me, I'm keeping my ears open," he said and made his ears wiggle. "Everything seems fine to me."

"It always does until it's too late," she said wisely.

"Calm down and think of how nice it'll be to have dinner in this classy place," he suggested. "I bet the plates will be all shiny and expensive looking."

"After all these years you still can't get your priorities in order when on a mission," she huffed.

"Raven, there's a good chance that this isn't gonna be the restaurant that's gonna get robbed tonight," he pointed out.

"Garfield, if this restaurant isn't attacked then the one Dick and Kori are at will be," she informed him. "And that'll mean we'll need to vacate this building as quickly as possible to go to their aid. Therefore, the last thing we should be worrying about is our soup and salad."

He sighed and scratched his jawline with a finger. "Okay, I think it's time I came clean about something."

She gave him an uncertain look. "Okay, I'm listening."

"Well you see… this whole 'going on a date for a mission' thing is only half true," he winced. "Cuz… there actually is no mission."

She stared at him for a moment. "Excuse me?"

"So we can totally worry about our soup and salad," he said with a nervous grin.

"You cannot be serious," she shook her head in disbelief and shock.

"Yeah, I kinda am," he said with a frightened chuckle.

It took all of her inner strength to keep herself from releasing a lethal amount of energy. "You mean to tell me that I let Kori squeeze me into this godforsaken piece of fabric and slather my face in makeup and knot my hair for nothing?!"

"Well not for nothing," he said. "I mean, we are on a date."

"Why the hell did you put me through this?" she frowned, grabbing her napkin off of her lap and slamming it on the table. "For a laugh? As a prank?"

"No, no! Not a prank," he assured her. "It's just… well how the hell else was I gonna get you to go on a date with me?"

"You did this because-" she began but paused as his words sunk in. She looked at him a bit perplexed. "You did this to get a date out of me?"

"Well it's not like you would've agreed if I'd gone about it any other way," he defended himself, bashfully. "And I'm not the only one who came up with this idea. Kori and Vic did most of the scheming, er, planning. I just wanted to go out with you, they're the ones who came up with the whole undercover ploy."

She wasn't quite sure what to think, let alone what to say. "You went through all that trouble just to go on a date with me? Me? Why?"

"Cuz you're… I mean I… we've always sorta… Jeez, do you really need me to say it?" he rubbed the back of his neck and shifted in his seat. "Raven, I think you're amazing and that I'd be damn lucky if you and me could, you know, do the whole 'being more than friends' thing. And I thought that maybe if we went on a date you could see that I can be good boyfriend material. I was kinda hoping you'd see me as more than just a jokester with a killer smile."

She hadn't noticed her jaw was slightly agape until that very moment and she quickly forced it shut. She hadn't seen this coming at all, which was what really shocked her. She could always sense how people were feeling and so she was rarely surprised. But this seemed to come completely out of left field? Or… had it? Now that she thought about it he was always in a good mood when they were near each other, especially when they were alone. And the conversations he'd been starting with her as of late had become increasingly less asinine. He sometimes stumbled on his words but she'd chalked that up to a bumbling personality. Could it be that all this time she'd been blind to an affection he'd been growing for her?

She suddenly found herself blushing at the idea. He had gone through all of this trouble just to go out on a date with her. How could she not be flattered? She was still angry, of course, but at the same time she felt the core of her heart flutter. She reached for her glass and took a sip to coat her dry throat. She cleared it then sat up straight, retaining her dignity. "This scheme of yours to get me on a date was not well thought out."

"Yeah, I realize that now," he admitted, feeling foolish.

"You are in big trouble, as are Kori and Victor," she continued. "I don't appreciate feeling deceived. Nor do I enjoy the thought of being so threatening that when a wonderful man like you likes me he can't even summon up the courage to ask me out like he would any other woman."

"I'm a wonderful man?" he asked, a bit shocked.

"Yes, despite your utter lack of common sense," she said. "And when we get home you're going to deservedly feel my wrath."

"Guess that means the date's over?" he asked in defeat.

"On the contrary," she replied. "You went through all of this effort to acquire a date with me and seeing as we've already put our dinner order in I think we should see this through."

He blinked and just about squeaked, "Really?"

"Yes, really," she said and placed her napkin back in her lap gracefully. "And, for the record, I wouldn't call that grin of yours a killer smile. But… it does have a certain charm."

The End