Author's Note:This idea has been bouncing around in my head ever since the first time I saw "Frozen". It simply would NOT be denied.
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. . .
"No." Raven's monotone was in fine form.
"Please-please? You'll love it, really! It's not a sappy love story and it doesn't have any scary monsters in it."
"That's an interesting claim since the main character is a scary monster."
Garfield Logan's face screwed up into a pictorial representation of incredulity. "The hoozit? Noooo-no-no-no-no. Rae, you've got it all backwards. I've seen the trailers, I've been all over the website, and I can guarantee you there's no scary monster!"
"Beast Boy," she continued, the tiniest possible frown giving a slight waviness to the unblemished skin between her eyebrows, "if the movie is anything at all like the source material, it is not something to which I wish to subject myself."
"Look. 'Frozen' is based on 'The Snow Queen'."
"That is a Hans Christian Andersen story."
"If you say so. So what?"
"He's the most depressing European author of so-called children's stories I know of. I have read 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier' and 'The Little Mermaid' and 'The Snow Queen', and I have had my fill of Mr. Andersen." She pulled her cloak more tightly about her and picked her book back up. "So, thank you for the invitation. But no, thank you, I have no desire to go to the movie."
Beast Boy leaned back into the couch, thinking. Finally, he said, "I don't think it's depressing."
An elaborate sigh indicated that Raven was aware her 'book time' was going to be indefinitely postponed. "What?"
"The movie. It's not depressing." He turned to her, an earnest expression dominate. "So the movie's based on that book. So what? It so happens that I already read 'Beauty and the Beast' before Disney made the movie, and I wasn't all that keen on seeing it, either."
Raven's book dropped into her lap with a plop. "You? You read 'Beauty and the Beast'?"
"I can read, Raven. Don't act so shocked. Just because we don't like all the same stuff …"
"Fine. Fine. You read it. So what's your point?"
"The original story wasn't much to write home about. It was really kinda silly, and didn't make much sense in places, and treated the girls in the story like Barbie dolls."
"No argument there. It's a simple folk tale, emphasis on 'simple'."
"Have you seen the Disney version?"
"Well, there ya go."
Her exasperation was beginning to bubble to the surface, a fact obvious to Beast Boy.
"No, listen. See, the movie was tons better than the book!"
"… In what ways?"
"Belle was a real person, not some cardboard cutout doll. And the Beast was even better. He had this awesome, complicated back-story and all sorts of internal … um … dang it, what do you call …"
"Yeah!" He pointed an emphatic finger at her. "That! Anyway, it had a dynamite plot, and some great villains, and catchy songs, and a love story that was about actual love, not the cookie-cutter, fairy-tale stuff that always comes off as stupid. It was totally great!"
She just stared at him for a moment. "Garfield … I don't think I've seen you this ardently enthusiastic about anything since the The Great Bean put barbecued tofu on their menu."
"You'd understand if you'd seen it. That's another movie you gotta see. You'd really like it. I promise." He sat up straight and snapped his fingers. "Hey! We've got it!"
"The movie! 'Beauty and the Beast'!" He hopped over the back of the sofa and sprinted for his room.
Raven sighed again and shook her head. "I just know I'm going to regret this."
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Raven flopped back against the couch, breathing deeply. "By Azar!"
Beast Boy's grin threatened to bisect his head. "Good movie, right?"
"That transformation sequence …"
She sat there for most of a minute, processing what they had just watched. "I think … I think Belle might be the most … sympathetic animated character I've ever seen."
"Dang straight! You see why I like this movie?"
She nodded softly, still thinking about various aspects of the film. "Disney seems to be fond of getting rid of bad guys by having them fall great distances."
"Hey, it works. Gravity is not your friend." He smirked and pointed to each of them in turn. "Present company excepted. But Gaston couldn't fly."
"Wasn't he just deliciously awful?"
"And Belle's father … reminded me a little of Vic."
"I'll tell him you said that."
"Oh, please don't pretend you never thought of it."
"Wouldn't cross my mind. But I didn't say it out loud."
"That song …"
"Which one? They're all great."
She had to agree. "I was thinking of the one where he's 'especially good at expectorating'."
Beast Boy keeled back in a long guffaw. "I know, right? They sent an usher to talk to me after that song. I had to turn into something that could still watch and listen to the movie but couldn't laugh. I picked armadillo."
She almost cracked a smile at that.
"So. Better than the original?"
"So you'll come with us to see 'Frozen'?"
She pretended to think it over. "I suppose it would only be fair to give it the chance. And the reviews did say the Disney version of 'The Little Mermaid' was a vast improvement over the story. Not that that would be much of a task. That was a terrible story."
"Never read it."
"It would be an hour of your life you never get back. I don't recommend it."
"What all did they change?"
"Well … okay, realize that I've never seen the movie, but I did read a synopsis of the plot. So the names and the settings were the same. Not so much everything else." She began ticking the points off on her fingers. "Ariel didn't give the witch her voice; the witch cut out her tongue. And although she did get legs, every step was like walking on broken glass. And in the end she didn't get to marry the prince, he forgot about her and she died and turned into seafoam."
Beast Boy looked a little greener than normal. "… And that's a kids' story?"
"Times change, I suppose."
"Wow. Yeah, I like the Disney version better."
"So, to answer your question, yes, I will go to the movies with the rest of you later."
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. . .
Shortly after the movie began, Raven decided she would have to get the soundtrack.
But as soon as Elsa had struck Anna with her magic, Raven got very quiet, and as the movie progressed she seemed to draw in upon herself. When the King advised Elsa to "Conceal, don't feel" Raven visibly flinched. When the Duke of Weselton called Elsa a monster, Raven flinched harder.
Beast Boy, who was sitting to her right, noticed all this. He began to get concerned. What was the problem?
During the song Let It Go, Raven pulled her legs up on the seat and wrapped her arms around them and began rocking in her chair, using very short, sharp motions.
Beast Boy by then was paying more attention to her than to the movie. What was she seeing that he wasn't?
She stayed bundled in tight on herself for the rest of the movie. As soon as the credits began, she vanished in a whirl of blackness.
Beast Boy excused himself, ran outside, transformed into a peregrine falcon, and winged his way back to the Tower as fast as he could.
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Normally, if something was bothering Raven, she would either hole up in her room or hang out on the roof. She wasn't in either of those places. Morphing into a grizzly bear, Gar sniffed and sniffed until he followed her scent downstairs, into the basement, past the garage … up to the door of her Safe Room.
Okay, this was bad.
He assumed his human form and stabbed the intercom button. "Raven?"
"I don't … feel like talking."
"Tough turkey turds. You need to tell me what it was about that movie that got you so upset."
Silence was his only answer.
"I'm gonna open the door, Rae."
"… Please don't."
"Raven," he drew a long breath. "I'm your friend. Friends care. And friends help. And they don't hide when what they need is to talk."
He could hear what sounded suspiciously like a strangled sob, which only steeled his determination. He cycled through the locking mechanism, entered the codes that would disassemble the powerful runes on the inside of the door, and hit the touchpad.
She was curled up in the corner, her cloak hiding her completely. "I don't think I can talk right now."
"Fine. I'll talk." He walked over and slid down the wall to sit next to her. "It's one of the things I do best."
"It's one of the things you do most often. I'm not sure I'd toss around adjectives such as 'best'."
"There you go! There's my Raven!"
She slid one eye up far enough to glare at him. "What do you mean 'your' Raven?"
He scooted around until he faced her and they were almost knee-to-knee. "You are my Raven in the sense that I care about you. You are my Raven because you are my friend. You are my Raven right this minute because I'm the one that's here, so I'm the one that gets to help." He placed a gentle hand over her forearm. "You're my Raven because it's what you need right now."
No tears came, but it wasn't because she didn't feel the need. She dropped her eyes and mumbled into the folds of her cloak, "Why'd you make me watch that stupid movie?"
"Something in the movie really spoke to you, didn't it?"
She didn't say anything. The silence stretched out until it got uncomfortable. Finally, she sat up a little straighter and swallowed a few times. "Elsa."
"Yes? What about her?"
"In a better world, she's me."
"Come on. 'Conceal, don't feel'? How often do you think I heard a variation on that theme when I was growing up?"
"Oh. Yeah, okay. I can see that."
"And she's afraid to use her powers because she might hurt someone dear to her?"
"Um … huh. Yeah."
"But then …" Raven leaned her head back against the wall, exposing a short length of creamy throat. "… then she just runs away. She runs up into the mountains where she can't hurt anyone. She leaves that which she had known all … all her life and … she doesn't know that … that she sowed the seeds … of her homeland's destruction. She doesn't know. She has no idea. She thinks she's … thinks she's free." She swallowed again, and Gar was startled to see a thin, silvery track make its steady way down her cheek and under her ear. "She thinks she's free. She thinks it's all over and everyone is better off without her. But she doesn't know." Raven's head slowly sank to her forearms again. "She doesn't know. But I knew … when she was running up those stairs as she made them, the joy of creation filling her to overflowing, that it was an illusion. She was no more free than I am. What she had done came back to haunt her, and nearly destroyed everything."
"She almost killed her sister. The one person in existence that loved her without reservation, the one who had always loved her, who jumped between Elsa and death, glad to take her sister's place, even if it meant losing her own life …" She looked up, her unbearably intense gaze locking Gar to the floor. All traces of her usual monotone were gone. "Elsa had to know that her life was about to be taken. Anna heard the sword clear its scabbard. Elsa was closer, so I know she heard it. She heard it, and she did nothing. She merely lay there and cried. She had lost everything. Once Hans told her that her ice had killed Anna … she didn't even want to live." Her head dropped again. "I am … probably one of the few beings on this planet who can truly sympathize with how she was feeling. I've been there. When Trigon turned everyone to stone …"
Suddenly she was on his lap. Startled, she jerked her head up, and then was startled again to see tears streaming from Gar's eyes. He was … hugging her.
Her first reaction was panic, and she made an abortive attempt to struggle out of his arms, but he was having none of that. She quickly settled back down, but her heart was racing in triple-time.
He's hugging me. Why is he hugging me? He knows better than to hug me. What would make him want to hug me? How did he get under me so fast? Does he even know he's hugging me? The questions revolved in her mind like a cyclone.
"Rae, I am so sorry!"
She pulled one arm loose and gave him an awkward, tentative pat. "Uh … me, too."
"You don't have to be sorry! I made you watch it! I talked you into it! And look what it did! That wasn't what I wanted to happen! You were s'posed to have a good time! And I'm so, so sorry!"
"Well … okay." These were uncharted waters. She didn't DO comforting. "You don't … have to feel bad about it. I … I, um, I'm okay now."
His grip tightened marginally. "No, you're not. I can tell. You might be the empath, but I can smell your emotions on you. And that's my fault."
She sighed. "Okay. Feel that way if you want. But … I'll be all right now."
He looked up at her, red-rimmed eyes standing out in stark contrast to his green skin. "I need to make sure."
"… Um …"
"There's something else you aren't telling me. And besides, you need to relax."
"Beast Boy, you know I don't really … do hugs. You know that, right?"
"I know you haven't before. I think it's time you started."
"And I think you should put me down."
"Not gonna happen."
"I really must insist."
"Get used to disappointment."
She gave him an exaggerated eye-roll. "Quit with the movie quotes."
"Tell me what else is bothering you."
"Will you put me down if I tell you?"
She had sort of subconsciously decided by that time that being held on a lap was … not necessarily uncomfortable. She shifted around to take a little weight off one of his thighs. But then she mused that discomfort came in many forms, and admitting what was truly bothering her topped the list just then. "Okay. Anna stopped Hans."
"She froze solid."
"Yeah. That had me worried for a second."
"As it did me. I almost teleported away at that point. But I'm glad I didn't. The movie … well, it made me think."
"What finally solved their problems."
Beast Boy thought that one over and then offered, "Love?"
She nodded. "Love."
"And that got you upset?"
"Elsa …" She squirmed a bit, trying to use the right words. "Elsa found love. Not in the traditional sense of boy-meets-girl, but … love inside. She felt Anna's love, knew how real it was. It … spoke to her. Called to something inside of her. She came to know love herself, not that she felt it from someone else, but that she finally realized she was capable of it herself, and that … that it didn't have to involve fear. She was free to love."
He waited, patiently, silently.
"She got it. In the end, she truly understood. I could tell." Her head, suddenly impossibly heavy, flopped over against his shoulder. "And I guess that's it. Maybe I understand love? Maybe I don't. I don't really have any kind of internal gauge I can use to measure my responses. But I think that if I were in her position …"
"You don't have to be, you know."
"… Don't have to be what?"
"You don't have to be in her position to feel love. To express love. To be loved. You are loved where you are, and I'm just that sorry that you've been in the dark about it."
"… Garfield, what are you talking about?"
"Please … can you just make it 'Gar'? I'm not a cartoon cat or a dead president."
"Uh, okay. Gar. But what do you mean?"
He held her eyes steadily for a quarter minute, until she thought she might begin to sweat. "Open your mind, Raven."
"Take your shields down. Listen to what I'm feeling, not just to what I'm saying."
"Okay, now you're scaring me."
"Just do it!"
So she did.
The sensation nearly blinded her. It was soft, soft as new grass, soft as a baby rabbit; strong as a towering oak, strong as an avalanche; deep as night, deep as space.
Most of all, it was true. This, THIS was that 'True Truth' that she had seen bandied about in her books on philosophy; those old guys had no clue. A truth so real it hurt. And she gasped.
"And last," he said firmly, "you're my Raven because I love you. I've loved you since the day we met. But I've only come to understand what it all means in the last year or so." His embrace intensified, as did the maelstrom of emotion she was riding. Like a wild bull, was the stray thought that surfaced momentarily in her mind before being overwhelmed again by the very real Love that was washing her clean.
"And if this is what it takes to get me to say so, well … then maybe I'm not sorry I made you watch it after all."
She swallowed, slowly getting used to the new flow of emotion, tasting it, feeling its bright presence pervade her being. "Wow."
"Does that mean I'm forgiven?"
"Actually … now that I think about it … yeah. It really was a pretty good movie."
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A/N: Did anyone else see all the parallels between Raven and Elsa? I'm curious.
All comments welcome!