Ladies, gentlemen, or whatever noun/pronoun you identify with, I thank you for the first chapter's review. Fourteen may not seem like much to some, but for me, especially since most of them came during the first day after publishing what was supposed to be a one-shot, it is astonishing. The only other work I've had come close to this number of reviews is Almost.
After six chapters.
And over a year.
This is basically my most popular work to date, and because of that, I have been inspired. I present to you a nice, fat-ass update. (I'd also like you to know this is the last time I'll put a massive author's note before it.)
Obviously, I do not own Teen Titans. They were born and raised by DC Comics and played around with by Cartoon Network.
Beast Boy woke slowly, feeling like even his eyelids were reluctant to move. Obviously, moving the rest of his body was not an option. He was far too comfortable in his bed. Once his eyes were open though, and his brain was functioning on a slightly higher level, he realized he felt strange. He shifted his hips, and it felt like his body did it of its own volition. He also noticed that his sheet was rubbing against some pretty private places. Was he wearing pants? He didn't think he was. He could tell that he wasn't wearing a shirt, but he never slept naked. What's going on? He wanted to lift his head, but he couldn't move. He actually consciously ordered his head to move, but he remained still. He felt himself start to panic, at least emotionally, but physically, his body didn't react like he was panicking. His breathing stayed the same. His heartbeat remained calm and slow. His own scent didn't change to reflect his fear. His body, and most of his mind actually, was perfectly calm. Still very concerned, but now very curious, he focused on what was going on in his head.
At any given time, he felt three things in his head. He called them presences, because he couldn't think of a better word. The first and usually dominant part was, well, him. His thoughts, his feelings, his desires, and his memories were what ruled. It was the part of him that refused to eat meat, even though most of his animal forms didn't have a problem with it, and the part that could remember the order and title of every episode of Clash of the Planets ever made. He liked to think this part of him was in the center of his brain. Around the large, HIM part of his head, he could feel brushes of his animal forms and what they wanted or felt instinctively. It was this part that he tapped into when he morphed. This part of him became more dominant when he was an animal, but it didn't completely take over. At the back his mind was the newest presence, the one he didn't like to think about too much. It was the Beast, and in his head, he felt like a strange and... uncomfortable combination of both his and his animal forms' most basic instincts. The Beast whispered temptingly to him, not exactly in real words, but whispered either way, to surrender to his more primal instincts; to hunt and run and kill and fuck. He stayed at the back corners of his mind, a small presence, but there nonetheless. It was the only part of himself that could overtake HIM completely and force that part to the back of his mind, where he was aware but not in control of his actions, much like he was feeling right now.
Wishing he could close his eyes but not even in control enough to do that, he focused on what was going on in his head. What he found surprised him. It felt completely normal, or at least it didn't feel like the Beast or any of his animal forms had taken him for a joyride. In fact, both of those parts of him felt strangely content. It even felt like the Beast was... sleeping for lack of a better word, and that only happened when he was let out, or if the team had had a really intense battle, or if he'd jacked off and come so hard that the Beast wasn't sneering about how he wanted an actual girl. All in all, everything felt pretty normal. It felt like the HIM part of his brain was still in charge, but it was blocked for some reason. Suddenly, without any prompting from Beast Boy himself, whoever was in charge spoke.
"On a scale of one to ten, one being getting yelled at and ten being getting our asses kicked, how bad are we gonna get it once we get back to the tower?"
Who's we? Beast Boy wondered. Why are we in trouble?
He was surprised when he felt something move at his side, but whoever was in charge (he decided to call him Bob) wasn't. He felt someone's head lay on his shoulder beneath his collarbone, and he caught a whiff of a flowery and vaguely familiar scent before he felt a body press against his side. A naked body. A naked, female body.
BOOBS! OH MY GOD, THERE ARE BOOBS! THEY'RE TOUCHING ME! I CAN FEEL THEM! was his reaction, but Bob seemed calm. Content, a little smug, and mildly turned on, but calm.
The body next to him threw its—her, Beast Boy corrected, still unable to believe he was naked in bed with a naked girl—leg over his hip, and he felt another, really soft and kind of damp, part of her pressing against his hip bone. Beast Boy stopped breathing, or would have if he was in charge, and he felt Bob's arousal go up a notch, but his body remained calm. The girl laid her hand on his chest, stroking slightly, and Beast Boy wanted to shudder at the soft touch. Though his body didn't move, both Bob and the Beast purred at the contact. He felt his arm move, and for once, he agreed completely with the motion. His hand began to stroke the unbelievably soft skin of the girl's back and side, and he couldn't help but notice very pronounced curves.
Taking stock of the situation, Beast Boy noted that, besides having no control over his own body, this was kind of the best day ever. A soft and curvy naked girl who smelled pretty had her boobs and pussy pressed against him, which was one thing he'd wanted since learning to jack himself off when he was thirteen. He tried to move again, maybe to get a good look at the girl with him, but he stopped when the girl began to speak.
"On a scale of one to ten..."
Scale of one to ten? he wondered for a second before he remembered Bob's previous question.
"I'd say eleven." the girl finished. Her voice was raspy, probably from sleep, soft, and kind of low-pitched. The voice also rung a bell, but he was distracted again when Bob made him lift his head. At his side, he could see a head of purple hair lying on his shoulder—purple hair? Beast Boy thought incredulously—and skin so pale it was nearly gray pressed against his body.
No. Fucking. Way. Beast Boy thought. He only knew one girl with purple hair, grayish skin, and a raspy voice, and she would never sleep with him.
Bob made him speak. "What does an eleven mean?"
The girl next to him gave a tiny yawn, and Bob bit back a smile. Beast Boy could feel that Bob found her adorable but knew not to say so.
"It means," the girl said in her increasingly (and uncomfortably) familiar voice, "that Dick will use our contingency plans on us, and he and Kori will take turns kicking our asses."
Dick? Kori? Who are they? And what does she mean by 'contingency plans'? Beast Boy wondered. However, Bob seemed to know what she was talking about, and memories that weren't his appeared to him. A guy in a black and blue suit, a guy who looked exactly how Star had described future Robin/Nightwing when she'd gone to the future, appeared in his head, and Bob identified him as "Dick." Another memory, a pretty redhead who was obviously an older Starfire, appeared in his mind. Bob identified her as Kori.
Future Robin and Star? Dick and Kori? Are those their real names? Beast Boy wondered, and Bob's knowledge to the affirmative answered those questions.
Lastly, Bob's memories answered his question about 'contingency plans.' A trick he'd learned from Batman and his experience with the Justice League, Robin/Nightwing had developed plans to take each titan, including himself, down if they ever became a problem. The plan against Beast Boy, should he be overtaken by the Beast or something else, was to use a special sedative developed by Cyborg and then incarcerate him if they wanted to temporarily incapacitate him. Contingency Plan B involved a poison that resisted the healing factor that some of his animal forms gave him. He wouldn't survive.
The plans against Raven were nearly identical. For temporary incapacitation, there would be another version of Cyborg's special sedative that was resistant to her demonic healing followed by time in the room they'd made for her when Trigon was going to attack. If they needed to use more force, they had a strange looking knife /dagger thing that Bob knew was called Angel-glass. It would overwhelm Raven's healing ability, and it was apparently the only thing any of them knew of that could fatally wound her, short of Trigon himself.
Beast Boy was outraged, though if it was more for himself or for Raven, he wasn't sure. Robin would kill them?! Their friends would kill them?! No, Beast Boy decided. They wouldn't. They were all friends. They'd fight for each other. Whoever was running the show in his body didn't know what the fuck they were talking about. Bob, however, seemed unconcerned about these contingency plans. Beast Boy got the feeling that he had accepted them a long time ago.
Bob made him speak again. "Why would Kori kick our asses?"
The girl lifted her face to look at him, and Beast Boy's suspicions were proven correct. Her face was a bit more angular, like she'd lost the last of her baby fat, so she was obviously older, but it was definitely Raven. It was Raven's naked body pressed against him. Her breasts, her pussy—no, that wasn't a word that went with Raven. It was inappropriate. Everything about this was inappropriate. Beast Boy wanted to start screaming, but he didn't know if it was because he was afraid she'd rip out his eyes or of it was just a reaction to the pure craziness of the situation.
His body of course didn't obey the instruction to scream. Instead, he felt his lips quirk into a smile he didn't want to make, and from Bob, he felt a gooey, happy feeling he only remembered feeling when he still liked Terra and saw her doing something cute. Now though, it was stronger. Beast Boy, mentally of course, felt his jaw drop. Bob was in love! Whoever'd highjacked his body was in love! With Raven! And apparently using his body to get to know her on a biblical level, if their nakedness was any indication.
Raven spoke again, answering Bob's question.
"We left without telling anyone where we were going. We turned off our communicators, so they can't find out where we are. We've been gone since..." Raven's brow furrowed slightly, and Beast Boy felt Bob's gooey feelings intensify. "What day is it?"
His face scrunched up by itself. "Tuesday?" Bob had him guess. Raven shrugged one shoulder and continued to talk.
"We've been gone at least three days, and we cheated Kori out of planning a ridiculous spectacle of a wedding." Wedding?! Beast Boy shrieked in his head, but Bob's gooey happiness just intensified again, something he didn't believe possible. "So yes, an eleven on the punishment scale, featuring Kori." Raven finished.
Without consulting him, Beast Boy felt his body moving again. He turned over on his side, stretching out his arm, and Raven took advantage of the position by rolling off her stomach and laying her head on his bicep, treating him to a full-frontal view of her nakedness.
Oh no, she's hot! Beast Boy whined, and for some stupid reason, he thought of Spongebob Squarepants and Squidward's reaction when he pictured Squilliam Fancyson in his boxers.
However, the sight of naked Raven quickly shoved away thoughts of cartoons. She was definitely hot. Her body was slender with a toned stomach and slightly bigger breasts than he'd expected. He supposed he hadn't paid them much attention since she stayed cloaked most of the time. Her hips were also a bit wider than he'd thought, maybe because she was older, and from what he could see, her pubic hair was trimmed. He suddenly wondered what it looked like down there with her legs open, but he quickly directed himself away from that line of thinking. Beast Boy wanted to look away—Raven didn't deserve him perving over her like that, but of course he didn't move. Instead, he felt the Beast growl smugly, and suddenly, Beast Boy was assaulted with a really graphic daydream—or memory, Beast Boy practically groaned—of Bob's, detailing exactly how Raven looked between her legs (trimmed up top with completely bare folds), complete with her taste, scent, and sounds of surprisingly vocal appreciation.
When he shook the vision of eating Raven out, he saw she had a brow raised and a small smirk on her pretty mouth—Regular, Beast Boy corrected, half-panicked, it's nothing special!— like she knew exactly what he, or more accurately Bob, had been thinking about. Knowing Raven's weird ability to know exactly how someone was feeling, she probably did, and that freaked Beast Boy out even more. However, rather than hyperventilate like he wanted to do, his body once again acted on Bob's orders and moved his other arm, so that his hand was on the soft curve of Raven's hip. It moved up her waist, grazed the side of her breast, and then went back down. He watched Raven's eyes close in enjoyment. His hand completed the circuit again, and then he scooted even closer and laid his hand on her cheek. Once again, his body spoke independently of him.
"Kori knew you didn't want a big wedding if you ever got engaged."
"I think she assumed I'd change my mind once I was actually engaged."
Beast Boy felt himself snort.
"My thoughts exactly," Raven replied. "She hasn't figured out that I don't 'do happy.'" She put emphasis on the last two words, so he knew they were in figurative quotes, and then punctuated the statement with a roll of her eyes.
"You do happy." Beast Boy felt himself say.
She does? he wondered.
Raven raised a brow at him, obviously on to whatever bullshit Bob was spouting. Beast Boy wanted to cheer. Raven would fix this!
"I believe you were the first person to tell me that I didn't do happy." she said.
Bob made him shrug. "It took me a while to figure it out, but you do happy. It's just a low-key kind of happy, like reading a book or laying here with me." He stroked Raven's cheek with his thumb.
That crafty bastard, Beast Boy thought.
"Not starring in Wedding: The Musical." Bob finished, and Raven snorted.
"Don't even joke. Especially when we get back to the tower. Kori might think it's a good idea."
Beast Boy's body laughed for a minute, and Beast Boy himself couldn't keep back a chuckle when he noticed Raven smile slightly. She'd only smiled at him like once in the four years he'd known her. It was nice to see.
After a few seconds, Bob stopped laughing and moved forward so his, Beast Boy's, forehead touched Raven's. "Raven?" he asked.
Her gaze locked with his. "Yes, Gar?"
Gar?! Beast Boy practically squealed. She knew it was him?!
"I love you." Bob/Gar made him say.
He saw Raven purse her mouth into a line, like she was trying to keep from smiling, and she looked away, like he'd seen some of the shy girls he'd occasionally flirt with do. Damn it. That was the most adorable thing ever.
She looked back up at him, and he saw a softness in her eyes that he wasn't sure he'd ever seen before. The closest he could think of was when she'd comforted him after the Beast incident.
"I love you, too." she said softly.
With that, Beast Boy felt his head move forward, and he tried to stop what he knew was coming. This wasn't supposed to happen! This wasn't right! Raven didn't deserve this! They both deserved to do this when it felt right, with someone who felt right, or when neither one of them was under something else's control. He personally preferred to have his first kiss under all of the above conditions.
His protests were cut off however when he felt his mouth meet Raven's, and he wasn't sure if it was him or Bob/Gar who groaned at the silken feel of Raven's lips and tongue meeting and moving with his own. It felt like he was feeling the kiss everywhere. That, or he suddenly didn't feel any other parts of his body because Raven's mouth moving so sweetly against his was the only sensation that mattered. It crossed Beast Boy's mind that this was probably the only time he could describe something as 'sensual' without feeling like a pretentious ass. There really was no other word to describe that kiss.
When they broke apart, Beast Boy was dizzy, and he could feel Bob/Gar's gooey happiness even more intensely than before. Raven looked like she was feeling a toned down version of Bob/Gar's emotions. Her face was the most relaxed Beast Boy had ever seen it, her previous smile just a bit wider, and her eyes still closed. Her eyes opened again, and, in her contentedness, they shone like polished amethyst. She opened her mouth to speak again...
Beast Boy jerked awake with a gasp, quickly sitting up. Practically hyperventilating, he looked down at himself and then around him. He wasn't naked. He was wearing a pair of boxers. He was alone in his bed. More importantly, he could move on his own. He was the one at the wheel, so to speak. He closed his eyes and focused on what was happening in his head. He felt the HIM part of himself in the center. He could call up his own memories, and when he wanted to rub his face, he could and did do it. Around the HIM part of his brain, he felt his animal forms waiting for one of them to be called when he needed them. At the very back corners of his mind, he felt the Beast lurking as usual. He felt confusion coming from the most animalistic part of himself, but that emotion he could understand.
Still breathing kind of rapidly, but calmer now, Beast Boy turned so he was sitting on the bed with his feet on the floor. He put his head in his hands and gave his hair a tug, just to make sure he was really awake. It hurt, so he was pretty sure he was up. He worked purposefully on slowing his breathing, and when he was calmer, he put his elbows on his knees, and with his chin in his hands, he looked up at the ceiling.
This was the third dream he'd had like that in as many nights. Ever since Herald had shown them the future. The first one had been when the guys were still over. The content itself hadn't been anything special. He'd been playing videogames, and suddenly he realized his head was laying in Raven's lap. However, rather than push him off like he would have expected her to, she let him stay. She even began to stroke his hair after a while, setting off tingles that seemed to travel from his head all the way down back to the base of his spine. What made the dream worth remembering was that it had been like the one he'd just had. It felt like he was experiencing the event in real time, but he hadn't been in control of his own body. He'd also still felt the tingling sensation when he woke up. He absentmindedly touched his lips.
The second one happened the night after the girls came home. He'd spent the entire day trying to get Raven's attention, but she was obviously avoiding him, much to his frustration. He honestly didn't know what he'd expected Raven to do about what he'd seen in either the vision or the dream; he'd just wanted her to make him feel better. She was good at that when she wasn't insulting him, the Beast incident being a prime example. However, she'd never left her room, and he'd gone to bed disappointed. That night, he had another dream starring her. In this one, a Halloween party was going on. The titans from both teams, along with many of the honorary titans, were dressed as monsters and other characters and partying in the tower. He remembered walking by the doors to the ops center, only for them to open and reveal Raven dressed in a naughty nurse costume of all things. He'd teased her, helped her make her tea (when did he ever do that?), and then their conversation was interrupted by Starfire excitedly mauling Robin in midair over the crowd before announcing over Cyborg's microphone that she and Robin had finally started dating. It was then he learned that Raven wore the stupid costume because of a bet she made with Robin to ask out Star. It had been just like the first dream. He hadn't been in control of himself. Also, the weird thing about this dream (or at least the weirdest thing he wanted to think about right now) was that Robin and Star were already dating.
The vision and the first dream had made him wonder if they were something to be taken seriously. The second, inaccurate one had him ready to dismiss all of them as bullshit, and then he went and had the most recent dream. Like the first two, it had felt like he wasn't in control of his body; someone else had the reins. It had also been unbelievably vivid. He'd never had any dreams like this before. He'd never had ones where he felt completely helpless, and he'd never had ones that felt like he was living in another world. It honestly felt like he was going through the motions of someone else's memories. It was disturbing, and Beast Boy really didn't think this could go on. It was getting so he was worried about going to sleep. He needed to fix it, but he didn't know how. Letting out a sigh, he climbed out of bed and started to dress.
Once he was ready for the day, he made his way to the ops center, where he was surprised to find Cyborg in the kitchenette dressed in a complete hotdog vendor's outfit.
"WHO WANTS CORNDOGS?!" the metal man bellowed. "I'm even making some with your nasty tofu." he practically sang.
"Really dude? Corn dogs for breakfast?" Beast Boy asked, ignoring the slight against his tofu for now.
Cyborg raised a metal brow. "It's one thirty in the afternoon, B."
Beast Boy's forehead furrowed in confusion. That was the latest he'd slept since he was about fourteen. He shrugged slightly. New personal best, he supposed. He looked in the living room and was surprised again at the sight of Raven meditating near the window. As far as he knew, this was the first time she'd left her room since her sleepover at Titans East tower. He thought about going up to her and asking her to play therapist for what was going on in his head, or to at least give him a spell or something to keep the dreams away, but he decided against it. He'd probably send her back to her room again, so it was probably better if he waited for...something. He walked into the living room and flopped on the couch before picking up the remote and turning on the TV. He idly flipped through the channels, but he didn't find anything that caught his attention for long. He settled on that Supernatural show that was somewhere in the middle of its second season, but he didn't get too stuck on it. Instead, he looked around the room, first at Cyborg, who was humming slightly as he deep-fried pieces of whatever animal was in corn dogs, and then at Raven, who was hovering cross-legged in the corner where the bay windows met the wall.
Light surrounded her; light directly from the sun and light from the sun's sparkling reflection on the bay streamed through the window and seemed to wash over her. It made her skin look healthier, more white now than ashen gray, and it made her hair gleam like, well, amethysts. He idly thought about what other things were purple and shiny and then wondered why he cared. It wasn't like he was planning to start spouting poetry or anything. Nope. He continued to look at her and at how the light highlighted and softened the features of her face. For once, she didn't look like she was annoyed.
Probably because I'm not talking to her, Beast Boy joked with himself. Realizing that he'd spent quite a bit of time staring at her, he turned his attention back to Supernatural, but after a few minutes, he got bored and started looking around again. This time, he didn't even bother focusing on Cyborg. He just looked at Raven again. She was still in the corner, still bathed in light like a freaking angel.
She's beautiful, Beast Boy thought, and he mentally slapped himself. This was Raven! He wasn't supposed to be thinking this way about Raven! He was still loopy from the dream he had. Cuddly, out-of-character—and naked, he thought before scolding himself—Raven was stuck in his head. He knew this Raven however, would fling him into the bay for perving on her the way he was now, and that was how it should be. He turned his attention back to the television.
He watched the Winchester boys' daddy issues for a few seconds and then snuck another peek at Raven. At first glance, she looked peaceful, but the longer he looked, the more he noticed something was a bit off. Her brow was furrowed a little, like she was confused or looking for something and couldn't find it, and her mouth was set in either annoyance or determination. He wondered what was bothering her, and the first thing that popped into his head was Herald's vision.
He'd forgotten about it by the time the vision was over, but when he tried to talk to Raven about what he'd seen, she told him that the girls had patched into the Titans network to see what they were doing. She knew what he was talking about, and she coolly told him that there was no point in worrying about it before closing her door in his face. However, despite her claims that it was pointless to worry about the future Herald had shown them, Beast Boy thought it had to bother her.
She'd spent years with a prophecy hanging over her head, talking about her death and what it would bring. Then she found her way around it and beat her dad in the most awesome display of power Beast Boy had ever seen. She'd looked like an angel then as well, he remembered, but more like an avenging angel than the light washed one floating in the living room. Shaking his head to clear those kinds of thoughts, he continued his original train of thought. She deserved some peace, in his opinion, after what she'd done for everyone, or as much as she could get in their line of work. Instead, she was getting another prophecy, or something kind of like it, predicting her death. And a baby's. As much as Raven liked to act like nothing affected her, he knew the thought of a dead child had to be tearing her up inside.
It bothered him too when he really thought about it. He was only seventeen. The thought of having a baby should, and kind of did, terrify him. He was way too young for that kind of thing. However, in between worrying about his friend dying and possibly developing a crush on said friend, because of these stupid dreams, he thought about the baby. "My Little Angel," his older self had called her. Angela Marie Logan. Marie had been his mother's name. Had older Raven known that? Had Angela been her mother's name?
That question got him to wondering a bit about Raven's family, realizing that all he'd ever really thought about it was that her father was the multidimensional demon Trigon, and her mother had been... just some human woman. He'd almost felt ashamed that he'd never thought more about this 's mother was a person who'd had a life and probably a family before her life was turned upside down by Trigon. Was she even alive? He doubted it, considering who baby-daddy was, but he also knew anything was possible. Had she been named Angela? he wondered again. Had she been the source of Little Angel's curls?
Even though he'd only seen the baby for a minute, her image was burned into his brain. In spite of the green coloring she'd gotten from him, she still managed to look almost exactly like Raven, complete with her pointy chin and small nose, her unbalanced mouth with its thin lower lip and thick upper lip, and her large, surprisingly intense eyes. She'd been beautiful, probably the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Little Angel had been gorgeous and happy and his. His daughter, something he'd never imagined he'd have, was proof that he could have a family of his own, and yet he was going to lose her. The thought of something so small and bright and innocent being snuffed out made his stomach roll. The thought of losing her and Raven both terrified and infuriated him. He didn't want either of them hurt, even one of them didn't exist yet. And might not ever, a voice in his head that sounded weirdly like Raven pointed out. It was just a vision. It might not come true.
Just like that, his fear and anger cooled. This kind of thing was why he was having problems. He would think about the future he'd seen and get worked up only to realize it wasn't happening, and there was nothing he could do about it at this point. Then another part of him would rear up and ask 'but what if I could?' Usually, this happened after he had one of his vivid dreams, and then the vicious cycle would start all over again. Why was this all so complicated? He let out his breath in a long exhale. Maybe he should just tell Raven he knew what she looked like naked, and she'd put him out of his misery.
"Beast Boy." Raven's voice had taken that growling quality that Beast Boy knew meant she was pissed.
NO, I WAS JUST KIDDING I'M TOO YOUNG TO DIE!, Beast Boy panicked. Had she somehow known what he was thinking?!
"Stop staring at me." Raven ordered. Beast Boy sighed in relief before answering her.
"What? I'm not staring." He let out a half-hearted laugh. She was meditating with her eyes shut. How had she known he was looking at her?
"Yes. You were."
"How do you even know that if you've had your eyes shut the whole time?" Beast Boy challenged.
"I know everything." Raven deadpanned. Still, she didn't open her eyes. "Stop staring."
"I wasn't staring!"
"Then is there suddenly a poster advertising the latest stupid videogame on the wall behind me? That's the only thing I'm aware of that would draw your attention back here."
Beast Boy scrambled to come up with something else he could have been looking at, but Raven had picked a particularly boring spot to meditate. The wall behind her was completely bare, as gray and dull as he'd once thought Raven herself to be. The floor and ceiling were also boring. There was the same red carpet that had been there for the last four years and the same gray metal ceiling. There was the window...
"I was just looking out the window!" he said quickly, proud of himself for coming up with something. He added to his excuse. "It looks really nice outside. The sun is making the bay look really shiny. The view is great."
"You haven't been interested in the view since we moved in. There is also an entire wall of windows focused on the city and bay. You have no reason to look out the window at the exact spot where I happen to be meditating. Try again."
"Uh..." Beast Boy tried to think of something, but Raven opened her eyes and held up a hand to stop him.
"Never mind. Just quit staring at me."
"'Kay." he muttered, sinking into the couch again. He stubbornly refused to let himself look at Raven. He focused his attention on the TV again and actually found himself interested in the goings on of the Winchester brothers. It was better than looking at Raven. Or thinking about her. Or about the stupid vision.
He mentally slapped himself and looked back at the TV, determined to be interested in what was happening on that.
"Corn dogs are done!" Cyborg exclaimed cheerfully. Wearing an exaggerated hotdog vendor's uniform, complete with an insulated metal box to keep the corn dogs hot, he bounded into the living room where Beast Boy was vegging out in front of the TV and Raven continued to meditate. He went to BB first, giving him a nudge.
"I even made some with your tofu." He opened his vendor's box and pulled out a corn dog he thought might have had tofu in it. Or plastic. It really was hard to tell the difference. Either way, he offered it to Beast Boy.
His green friend didn't even look at him. Instead, his eyes remained glued to the TV, though Cyborg was sure he wasn't even focusing on what was happening on the screen. He knew Beast Boy didn't even like Supernatural. The bionic man swallowed his concerned sigh and turned his attention to Raven.
"Raven..." he crooned. "You love corn dogs, doncha?"
"No." she replied flatly. She didn't open her eyes. Cyborg opened his mouth to do some more coaxing, but just then he caught a glimpse of the ops center doors opening. At the sight of red hair in his peripheral vision, he quickly made his way to the doors, standing between Starfire and the other titans.
"Hey, Star!" He shoved the box of corn dogs at her. "Want a corn dog? I got every kind you can think of, with hotdogs, brats, liverwurst, link sausage, cornmeal, pancake batter, beer batter... basically everything, and they are all delicious. Plus," He waggled his metal eyebrows at her. "I got all the mustard you could possibly want to eat with them right in the kitchen!"
The pretty alien's face lit up at the mention of her favorite beverage. "Oh friend, that sounds most delightful! But please, would it be possible for the 'corn dog' to be made with pickles?"
Cyborg frowned thoughtfully. Honestly, the thought of making a corn dog with a pickle wasn't pleasing to his own palate, but he'd already made corn dogs with tofu, of all things, so if Star wanted pickles...
"Alright," he shrugged. "It's about time I found a reason to deep-fry a pickle anyway."
"Glorious!" Starfire exclaimed, and Cyborg grinned. There was nothing better than a happy Starfire, in his opinion.
"Come on, girl!" He picked Starfire up and tossed her over his shoulder, causing her to erupt into a fit of shrieking giggles. He made it a few steps toward the kitchen, and then his cybernetic ear picked up the hitch in Star's breath.
Oh no, he thought. He turned his head to look at her and saw that her lower lip was already poking out. He followed her gaze into the living room and saw she was looking back and forth between Beast Boy and Raven. Her breath hitched again.
Damn it all to hell, he swore and put Starfire down in front of him. He moved subtly so her view of their friends was obstructed by his body. Why hadn't he moved into the kitchen faster so she hadn't seen them at all?
"Come on, Star!" His tone was still cheery. "Pickle corn dogs.."
Starfire let out another sob, and tears began to pool her in large green eyes.
"No! No, please don't do that!" Cyborg begged, finally letting a little bit of his panic show. Damn, damn, damn!
It was then Beast Boy decided to come out of whatever stupor he'd been in. Great timing, Grass Stain.
"What's going on?" Beast Boy asked.
"Nothing! Just..." Cyborg was grasping at straws. "She's overjoyed at the prospect of corn dogs! Like you should be since I put all that time and effort into making tofu ones for you, which, by the way, is just wrong in a corn dog"
"She doesn't look happy," Beast Boy stood up, looking concerned. "Star, you okay?"
Starfire just sniffled, and tears began to fall.
Just then, the ops center doors opened, and Robin came in, obviously fresh from his afternoon workout. With a whine, Starfire flew to him and hugged him tight, burying her face in his shoulder. With a concerned look, Robin wrapped his arms around his girlfriend and gave her a squeeze before looking at the other titans. Cyborg gave a minute shrug, which instantly told Robin what had happened. Beast Boy appeared both concerned and confused, and when he made eye contact with Raven, she immediately disappeared in a flash of dark energy.
"I'll go talk to her." Beast Boy said immediately.
"Hold it." Robin ordered as the changeling tried to squeeze past him and Star.
"Why?" Beast Boy asked. "She's obviously having a problem."
Brows furrowed in annoyance, Robin looked pointedly at the sobbing alien wrapped around him.
"Well, you got that covered." Beast Boy replied without missing a beat.
"Tell Raven there's going to be a team meeting. Now."
Even though Cyborg could tell Beast Boy was clearly annoyed, the changeling nodded and left the room, leaving Robin to care for the distressed Starfire. He gave her another squeeze and whispered comforting, nonsensical words to her. Robin looked at Cyborg again. He was at a loss for what to do. After a few seconds of awkward silence, punctuated only by Starfire's quiet sniffles, Cyborg finally spoke again.
"You know what? Corn dogs were a bad idea. I'm feeling night breakfast. Who wants a waffle bar?"
With that, he made his way back to the kitchen, ignoring Robin's eye roll.
In her room, Raven tried to meditate, and once again, she was failing. She hadn't been able to center herself since before that stupid sleepover three days ago. Her emotions were just too jumbled, and it didn't help that she could feel everyone else in the tower having a similar problem. Robin actually wasn't that bad. Brooding was how he reacted to everything, but between Cyborg's overcompensating and Starfire's crying fits, it was a wonder she hadn't sent them all to another dimension, accidentally or otherwise. And then there was Beast Boy. She didn't even want to know what he was feeling about all this, so she'd done her best to avoid him the past few days, and whenever she did have to be around him, she put up as many shields against his emotions as she could. However, some impressions still managed to get through. He was worried, and it annoyed her that he kept trying to talk to her about it. What could she do?
Provide him with closure? Knowledge suggested.
There is literally nothing that can be done, Raven answered stubbornly.
You want to help him though.
We love him! We love him! We love him! Happy suddenly chanted, her voice high and reminiscent of a yipping puppy. Raven could just picture the annoying emotion flying loops over her mindscape, and she growled softly at the thought.
Of course we love him, Raven snarled at the emotion. He's a very good friend.
We just gonna ignore your little crush? Brave asked mockingly, and Raven opened her eyes only to narrow them in a glare.
No, she thought, closing her eyes again. We're not.
She'd admitted it during that sleepover, during a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill. She did in fact have a bit of a crush on Beast Boy.
Brave snorted. A bit.
A bit. Raven insisted. She did have a bit of a crush on Beast Boy. He was handsome, especially now that he'd gotten older. He'd gained muscle tone, and he'd finally managed to grow taller than her. Not much taller than her, but taller nonetheless. She also knew he was brave, confident, and strong. He'd earned a lot of respect from her when he'd managed to lead a team of his own in the final confrontation against the Brotherhood of Evil, especially since none of them had been able to make contact with him; for all he knew, all his teammates were dead, and still he kept on fighting. That took courage. Though she often made dry suggestions to the contrary, she also knew he was intelligent, just in a creative or innovative kind of way, rather than academic. She also admired how he never gave up on people who mattered to him, not even when the person he wasn't giving up on thought he should. Though it annoyed her—often—she appreciated the way he always tried to get her to be involved with the team. She doubted she'd be as close to her friends as she was, had it not been for Beast Boy. Even when she'd wanted to give up on herself, he refused to let her go and even tried to be optimistic. That was what attracted Raven to him the most.
However, her "crush" did not leave her blind to his flaws or hers, and she knew a relationship between them would never work. His jokes made her want to throw him out a window, his leadership instincts only kicked in during the direst of straits, his idea of a good time was a brain-rotting marathon of stupid television reruns or spending the day in a packed arcade, and he was constantly trying to "convert" people to vegetarianism. On her part, while she enjoyed her frequent meditation, exhaustive reading habits, and shut-in nature, she knew Beast Boy would get bored very quickly. She could also admit to being short-tempered, impatient, stubborn, blunt, and uncompromising when it came to her own affairs. She was also too emotionally reserved for someone like Beast Boy. He was as emotionally loud and vivid as eighties pop art, and he needed someone with a similar temperament. She knew she was a passionless person.
Are you? a voice in her head teased. Are you really?
Suddenly, the image of the kiss her older self had shared with "Changeling" flashed through her mind, causing her eyes to pop open again. The...voraciousness she'd exhibited had shocked her. However...
"I was dead," she said out loud. "Keeping my emotions in check was no longer an issue."
It's alright to be curious, you know, Knowledge said reassuringly. You're a human female with hormones and sexual desire just like anyone else.
I'm not curious.
I am the source of curiosity. Yes you are.
He is ours. Rage finally spoke on behalf of her more base instincts. The future shows it.
The future also showed Trigon destroying us, Raven shot back. Prophecies like that mean nothing.
Desire does though, the usually tacit Love piped up. Why not enjoy it, Raven?
You know why.
I also know you have far more control when you let me out.
That was because of spells. Dark spells that I won't be using again.
Control and ability affect spells, not the other way around, Knowledge broke in. You believed yourself in love with Malchior, and you had more control of yourself as a result.
Where is the logic in that? Raven wondered. Love creates other, messier, emotions. It's dangerous.
Love overpowers Rage. Something to that effect is a theme in many of the books in your memory.
'Don't believe everything you read' is also a commonly quoted platitude.
Then believe results. Love spoke again, an unusual, steely quality present in her usually dreamy tone. When you loved Malchior—
I did not love him.
When you thought you loved him, you were as controlled as you've ever been.
Enough! Raven finally demanded. My acting on my feelings for Beast Boy isn't the issue right now. The issue is that stupid vision and how it's making everyone in the tower act like idiots.
Timid whimpered. It was so sad though. That poor baby.
Raven squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. That was probably the worst part of the vision. Her own death hadn't bothered her too much, other than it clearly distressing her friends...
And your hubby, Happy added, trying to lighten up the situation.
Raven growled again, and she shut up.
Her own death hadn't bothered her, but she was disgusted with herself for taking a child with her. Rationally, she knew her feelings were ridiculous. It was unlikely her future self would have done something dangerous knowing she was pregnant, but she couldn't help but blame herself. She'd had a child. As terrifying as the prospect was, she'd had a child of her own, and she'd lost her. Obviously, it would have been her fault. If she could dream, she was certain she'd be having nightmares about losing that baby.
Just the thought of the child gave her feelings of regret, sadness, and disgust in herself. She also felt wonder at the thought of having a child when it was supposed to be impossible, and of course, it made her think of Beast Boy. She hadn't gotten a long look at the baby, but she was sure her image had been seared into her mind forever. She was so much like her teammate, in more than just coloring. She had Beast Boy's spirit. It gleamed in her large eyes and made itself obvious in her wide smile and frequent laugh. The little girl had literallybounced with happiness. She'd never thought about children of her own, having always believed she'd be dead by sixteen and incompatible DNA, besides. She was honestly glad that this one was a happy child. As disconcerting as it was to have a child so different from herself, she was happy she apparently didn't have to bear the same burden she'd had to as a child.
You do realize the child doesn't exist yet right? That she might not ever exist?
Raven opened her eyes and sighed. And there was the crux of the problem. For everyone. They were all getting worked up over something that might not ever happen, and yet it had seemed so real, it was impossible to react any other way. Whenever she tried to ignore it, she'd see a green baby in the mirror out of the corner of her eye or the kiss "Changeling" had given her older self when she closed her eyes.
Once again, it's okay to be curious. You get aroused just like everyone else. Knowledge tentatively spoke up. Before Raven could reply, her thoughts were interrupted by a very familiar voice.
"Come on, Rae. I know you're in there." Beast Boy was saying as he pounded on her door. It seemed like he'd been at it a while, and she'd been too preoccupied to hear him or even pick up his emotions. Once again, she could feel his familiar combination of trepidation and determination. He wanted to talk to her.
Annoyed, Raven climbed out of bed and stalked the length of the room to her door. Wishing she had a hinged door she could fling open dramatically, she pressed the button to slide open the door.
"What?" she demanded when the door was completely open.
Beast Boy stood before her, fist still in the air and a semi-terrified expression on his face. His reply was eloquent.
Raven narrowed her eyes at him and opened her mouth to say something scathing, but she stopped when Beast Boy's nostrils suddenly flared, and his eyes flashed. Just like that, his posture changed, and he stood straighter, muscles tense. His breathing also sped up slightly. He took an especially deep breath through his nose and let it out in a low groan.
Raven stepped back a little, concerned about this unusual reaction. "Are you alright, Beast Boy?"
He shook his head and cleared his throat with a loud cough. "Yeah. I'm fine. Uh, Robin says there's team meeting."
"Perfect." Raven grumbled. She stepped out of her room and shut the door before beginning to make her way to the ops center. To her annoyance, even though she admitted it was unwarranted, Beast Boy followed.
"Raven?" he asked.
She pretended not to hear him.
"Raven?" he repeated.
"What?" she huffed.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
Raven stopped, puzzled. That wasn't been what she'd expected at all. Beast Boy stopped at her side and looked at her, his expression concerned.
"I'm fine," she said more quickly than she meant to. "Don't call me Rae."
At this, Beast Boy grinned, resulting in sighs and giggles from Love and Happy's respective domains. "That sounds like the Raven I know. You seemed kinda... I don't know, off the last few days."
"I'm fine." Raven repeated in a gentler tone. She started walking again. She was mildly touched at his concern. She thought he'd only wanted to assuage his worries.
Beast Boy kept pace with her. "Can we talk? Please?"
There it was. She looked at him, feeling momentary surprise at how tall he was up close. "I told you before there's nothing to talk about, Beast Boy. There's no way of knowing if the vision Herald showed us is coming true."
"I'm still kind of worried, and I don't think I can talk about this with the others."
Raven raised an eyebrow at him. "What about Cyborg? Isn't he your BFF or whatever the male equivalent is?"
Beast Boy let out an amused huff at her unusual use of slang. "Yeah, we're buds, but every time I bring it up, he tries to distract me with videogames or force feed me corn dogs."
"You tortured soul."
Beast Boy chuckled again, and Raven almost smiled. Instead, she rolled her eyes.
"What about Robin or Starfire?"
"Robin'll interrogate me, and Starfire? Really?"
"Fair enough," Raven admitted, thinking of Starfire's recent crying jags. "Why me though? I'm not good at this sort of thing."
"Wrong!" Beast Boy exclaimed, almost making her jump. He nudged her with his shoulder and ignored her scowl. "You're great at playing therapist as long as you're not trying to tear my self-esteem to shreds."
Raven frowned slightly. Was that really what he thought of her?
"I do not try to tear your self-esteem to shreds. You just act like an idiot sometimes."
That'll show 'im, Rae-Rae. Rude mocked her. Teach him to say you're bad for his self-esteem.
Beast Boy took it in stride though. "Only sometimes?" he teased. "Careful, Raven. People might start to think you like me."
Ignoring the suspicion that he just might be flirting with her, Raven narrowed her eyes at him. "Don't push it."
"Were we having a moment?" He was trying to look solemn, but the mischievous glint in his eye gave him away.
Raven rolled her eyes again. "Not anymore."
Just then, they made it to the ops center doors. Without another word to Beast Boy, Raven opened them and went inside. She took her usual place on the couch between Starfire and the armrest.
At the sight of her, the alien wilted slightly, like she was about to cry again.
Raven help up a hand. "Don't start."
At this, Starfire gave her a watery smile and nodded.
Even though they hadn't exactly talked about what was bothering him, Beast Boy felt better after his conversation with Raven. It seemed like things were almost normal between them again. He'd even been able to tease her a little without her disappearing on him. By the time they'd gotten to the ops center, he'd felt better than he had in days.
He was slightly disappointed with the spot Raven had picked on the couch, but he didn't dwell on it too long; he was in far too good a mood to think of weird dream feelings. Instead, he took his usual place on the other side of the couch and waited for Robin to say what he wanted to say. Their leader was standing in front of the television, seemingly waiting for something and not looking happy about it. Just when Beast Boy was about to ask what the hold up was, his question was answered when Cyborg came out of the kitchen pushing what looked like a wheeled, tricked-out version of his corn dog vending box. However, instead of corn dogs, he appeared to be hauling... waffles? One plate, piled high with waffles covered in blueberry preserves and whipped cream sat on top of the cart.
The metal man stopped his cart at the edge of the couch on Raven's side. "I got waffles, ya'll!" he called cheerfully before his face suddenly took on an expression that was almost feral. "And you're gonna eat 'em."
Beast Boy swallowed hard. Okay, he thought. Waffle time.
Raven and Starfire didn't seem as intimidated as he felt though. In fact, when Cyborg put the first plate of waffles in Raven's hands, she actually opened her mouth to protest.
"I haven't seen you eat since before that damn slumber party," Cyborg spoke before she could. "Eat the waffles or I'm declaring you unfit for missions."
Damn, Beast Boy thought. Cy means business.
"You can't do that!" Raven snapped.
"Team medic's prerogative," Cyborg replied smugly. "Here's a fork."
She sullenly took the fork and dug into the waffles.
Cyborg moved his cart in front of Starfire. "Peppermint and salami waffles topped in mustard for my favorite alien."
Starfire opened her mouth as well, and Cyborg simply shoved a forkful of her customized waffles into it. She narrowed her eyes at him but took the plate and continued to eat. Cyborg stopped his cart in front of Beast Boy and removed a third plate of waffles from it. Beast Boy took the plate and a fork without protest.
"Vegan bullshit topped with hippie tears for you." Cyborg announced. Beast Boy couldn't resist.
"Hippie tears are a product of an animal's suffering." he replied with a straight face.
Cyborg slapped him in the back of the head.
"Everyone fed now?" Robin asked, clearly exasperated.
"Not quite." Cyborg took a fourth plate of waffles from the cart and put it on the coffee table in front of Robin. "Sugar-free, fat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, protein-boosted chocolate chip waffles with enriched syrup. May God have mercy on your soul for making me make these."
"I didn't make you do any—"
"Eat 'em," Cy ordered stubbornly. He parked the cart on the other side of the couch and took a fifth plate out of it, piled higher than all the others combined. "Or I'll declare you unfit for duty."
"I'm the leader, Cyborg." Robin said warningly.
Mouths stuffed with waffles, the other three titans looked back and forth between the two alpha males, wondering what was going to happen next.
"As team medic and second-in-command, I can take you off duty for health reasons if a majority of the team agrees with me. All in favor of taking Robin off missions if he doesn't eat his Franken-Waffles?"
Raven's hand shot up first, her eyes narrowed in glare at Robin. Beast Boy thought that look was clearly saying: if I have to do this, I'm taking you down with me.
Encouraged by Raven's quick reaction, he raised his hand as well.
Looking a little less depressed now, Starfire also raised her hand.
"There you have it." Cy said. He carefully sat down on the couch and then started eating his own waffles.
Giving his teammates a glare Beast Boy called 'The Dark Knight Special,' Robin picked up his plate of waffles with one hand and pulled the coffee table away from the couch with the other. Once that was done, he walked around the table and sat down on it across from the rest of the Titans. After taking a bite of his waffles, he looked to be in a slightly better mood. He spoke after his second bite.
"Alright, Titans. Let's get started."
And that was chapter two! Some things:
Beast Boy's second dream is actually my one-shot Hellooo Nurse, if anyone wants to read it. Have no fear though. This isn't just shameless self-promoting (for the most part). The inaccurate/AU portion of it describing how Robin asked out Starfire is actually relevant to the plot I have in mind for this.
Speaking of plots, I'd very much like to finish this work, for myself as much as anyone else who's interested in reading, so I am in the market for a beta. I want someone I can bounce ideas off of and to crack down on me when I need it. PM me if you're interested! Knowledge of writing and the DC universe is preferred.
PLEASE REVIEW! I know it probably seems like fanfiction authors in general are just attention-whoring when they say this, but it really does help get the creative juices flowing when you have that kind of concrete evidence of people reading, appreciating, and hoping for your work. Plus, constructive criticism is good too.
Thanks for reading!