Valentine Blues

Just a little thingy for Valentine's Day.

Raven despised Valentine's Day.

She loathed its fakery. Its overbearing sweetness. Its plethora of sickeningly cute gifts and card. And, if she was honest with herself, she rather disliked that none of that affection was ever aimed at her. She stalked down the corridor to the common room, hungry and scowling. She almost growled when Beast Boy blocked her way.

"Um... Hey! Raven... listen. I... I... um... see ya later!" With that he disappeared and Raven found herself unable to care where he had gone. She grumbled at the delay and marched through the door. The sight of Robin and Starfire exchanging gifts and sentiments with flushed faces and sparkling eyes soured her mood further. She had agreed to leave them to their blissful ignorance after Cyborg warned her not to ruin the day as she had last year. So she bit her tongue and continued into the kitchen. As she made herself some toast and a cup of tea, Beast Boy unexpectedly popped up again. Raven glanced at him, not even attempting to soften her scowl. He spoke, undeterred or oblivious.

"Raven! I... I just... I just wanna... wanna... just wanna... I just... I juuuusssllllggrrrroooogh..." His sentence died as a disconsolate gurgle deep in his throat. Raven growled again, this time the sound reached the changeling's ears.

"I haven't the patience for your usual, scintillating conversation today, Beast Boy," she said, brushing past him and back toward her room. Her grimace deepened. Cyborg was off somewhere with his girlfriend, Sarah Simms. All she had was her room, her tea... and the irritant known as Beast Boy somehow standing in front of her again. He held his hands out in surrender, fear in his eyes. He clenched his eyes and focused - he needed to make himself understood! His eyes opened again, full of determination and grit. He smiled, gently and opened his mouth to speak.

"Pleeeuuuuggghhh..." he said, slapping his hand to his face. Raven growled again, much more deliberately and pushed him aside with her shoulder, entering her room and closing the door. For some reason, she very nearly hurled her food at the wall but she controlled herself at the last moment, setting the plate down and sipping her tea. She grumbled quietly about the unfairness of the day. Perhaps she was being a little self-indulgent but even Raven is permitted to feel a little selfish once in a while. Her fragile restraint was almost shattered when she heard a knock at her door. She guessed it was Beast Boy with some more inane chatter or lack thereof. She stormed toward her door, eyes glittering with dangerous, red light.

The door opened.

Raven stopped.

On the floor, tiny and afraid, sat a green puppy, staring at her. In its mouth it held a piece of pink card in a classic heart shape. Raven, anger forgotten, knelt and plucked the card from its grip. It watched with trepidation as Raven opened the card, obviously homemade. She read the greeting aloud. If a dog could wince, Beast Boy was doing it.

"'I already told you you weren't alone. If I can help it, you won't be single either. Will you be my valentine?' Signed 'Beast Boy'." The line was awful. Truly awful. Hearing it aloud had apparently convinced Beast Boy of that fact as well. Raven didn't care. She stared at it dumbly, turning and walking to her bed without closing her door. She sat and glanced up at the puppy that still sat just over her threshold.

"Still afraid of me, huh? I suppose I can't blame you. I'm sorry, Beast Boy," Raven said, her voice laced with feeling. "Won't you come in?" she asked. Cautiously, the puppy stepped into her room. Her space. She patted the bed beside her and hid a smirk as the puppy joyfully bounded toward her and leapt clumsily to her side. Without a clear reason why, Raven started scratching the pup's ears, causing him to lean into her touch. This smirk broke through her control, reaching her amused eyes. Abruptly, she removed her hand, the puppy tottering without her hand to lean on. "Enough. Change back," she ordered. Glumly, Beast Boy complied and a green boy appeared sitting next to her.

"S-sorry, Rae. I tried doing it properly but I choked," he admitted.

"It's alright, Beast Boy. I didn't make it very easy," Raven responded, earning a dry chuckle from her companion and a smile of her own. Seeing this, Beast Boy grinned.

"It was worth it to see you smile like that, Raven." His words shook her up a little and the little pink scrap in her hand suddenly burned, yet she couldn't let it go.

"So... you like me?" she asked, quietly. Beast Boy's smile vanished and he stared at the wall, fidgeting.

"Yeah. Sorry." All of Raven's bottled up emotions, the stress of the day, her bitterness at Robin, Starfire and Cyborg's obvious happiness all weighed on her. The feeling she sensed now from Beast Boy - inadequacy - broke the dam. Outwardly, all that happened were watery eyes and a tremble in her voice but for Raven, and those who knew her, it showed the strength of her feelings. Her hand found his arm and squeezed desperately.

"Don't. Don't apologise for that. I know this is awkward but... could you concentrate on it? I- I want to feel it," she said. Beast Boy stared at her now, the need in her eyes almost causing him to shed tears of his own. He nodded and tried to do as she asked. He thought of her, his fondest memories, focusing on those recent occasions where he felt new and frightening feelings emerging. His eyes snapped back to Raven when he heard a quiet sob. Her hand covered her mouth and a few errant tears escaped her eyes.

"Rae?! Are you okay? Are y-" she silenced him with another squeeze in his arm, shaking her head and gazing back through her tears.

"Thank you, Beast Boy. I can feel it. It's beautiful." Beast Boy blushed again, feeling exposed.

"Y-you're welcome, Raven," he said, not sure what else he could say. Suddenly, the silence felt heavy and awkward. He hadn't gotten an answer but realised he probably wasn't going to. He smiled and patted Raven's hand before standing and making to leave.

"See you later, Rae," he said.

"Wait." Raven's command halted him, though he didn't turn around. "You didn't get an answer: 'Will I be your valentine?'" she said.

"It's okay, Raven. I know you don-"

"I will," Raven said, interrupting him. He goggled at her.

"You will?"

"Yes. For today," Raven answered. Beast Boy squashed his fear and asked another question.

"What happens tomorrow?" Raven smiled enigmatically.

"Tomorrow... we'll see," she said. That was good enough for Beast Boy and, in his joy, he darted forward and planted a quick kiss on her lips. Pulling back, they were both astonished at his act.

"Oh sh-... Raven, I'm sorry! I didn't mean... I was just... I jus-" He was interrupted yet again by Raven's calm words.

"It's alright, Beast Boy. Gar. Just... ask in future, alright?" He nodded furiously while his brain processed the possibility of a 'future'. Raven smiled again. She wasn't sure how she felt about the boy in front of her, even as he gazed back, obviously and very much in love. She snaked her arm around his and led him to the corridor, aiming to go wandering for a time. She had no inkling of what would happen between them but that tiny little pink scrap had wrought an unimaginable change. She smirked to herself as she thought of the greeting. For today, she was most certainly not alone.

As for that second part... she had a good feeling that was true as well.

There you go. Happy Valentine's Day, dudes and dudettes!

-Jack 3