So this is a "little" drabble that got stuck in my head when I read Teen Titans Go! #36. Most of the credit goes to the writers of that excellent issue, but I put my own personal little spin on it.
It's kind of a transitory piece. How Raven and BB may have begun to notice one another. Very tame and most friendship based. It's kind of a lighter piece and just in time for Halloween! :)
Kudos to the writers of Issue #36, Star Wars, and anything I stole for the purposes of entertainment.
In other news, I published my first book. Kind of a huge deal for me, so I've been freaking out about it. If you're interested, it's on Smashwords and it's called Inked: A Book of Fairy Fails. There's a fairly huge nod to Beast Boy with one of the main characters, and it's got my usual level of snark and sarcasm. There's some additional info on my blog, caitastrophicconversations . wordpress . com
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this!
"Stop, Beast Boy! Stay in position!" Robin shouted over the sounds of laser cannon fire.
The green teen ignored him, morphing once-twice-three times to escape the blasts that exploded around him. He skidded too far, the impala's hooves not finding the traction they needed on the crushed gravel. Catching sight of a cannon being leveled at him, he searched for some escape route that wouldn't leave him -
A wall of black energy absorbed the bolt that would have rendered him unconscious. He didn't waste time, scurrying behind the wall of the former drugstore, seeing two teammates on the ground. The small shelter was almost completely surrounded by Gordanians. Probably why Robin didn't want him in here. The guys had been trying to bust a path through, but it wasn't working quickly enough. He'd had to make a move before they were completely surrounded.
Despite that, he wasn't expecting a thank you.
"Why didn't you listen? You almost got shot," Raven hissed at him. He didn't have to worry about her coming after him, though. Not at the moment.
Beast Boy ignored the anger, knowing it wasn't directed at him. "Almost being the operative word. How is she?"
Pillowing Starfire's head on her lap, Raven glanced down at her and chewed her lip. "Not good. My powers seem to have no effect. I can't wake her up and I don't know how long we can hold out here."
Another blast shook the room, dislodging part of the ceiling. Raven instinctively bent over Starfire's head, protecting the alien from the debris. Beast Boy morphed quickly, a gorilla catching the pieces that fell and tossing them harmlessly aside.
"Why aren't your powers working?" he asked, after shifting some of the larger pieces to block the door more effectively.
"I said they had no effect. My powers still work." Raven raised a hand, a steady black globe of energy forming in her palm. "But when I try to help Star…" As her palm drifted closer, the magic began to sputter and fade. By the time she touched Star, there wasn't even a spark of power left. "I can't move or heal her, through any other than traditional means."
Beast Boy ducked down as a blast tore through what was left of the window. "Yeah, and carrying her out of here isn't an option. Maybe we can fly out?"
"Shift and see if you can touch her," Raven said.
He did, a hawk hopping over to Starfire's wrist. As he got closer, a headache began pushing at his skull, his human nature trying to force itself out. When he touched her with his talons, a blinding pain burst behind his eyes and he fell back, completely human and utterly confused.
"What...what just happened?" he panted.
Raven watched him carefully, "Apparently the same thing."
"Well, better we found that out now rather than a hundred feet up," he commented, trying to push back the pain.
"Here," she grabbed his wrist and pressed her fingers to his pulse, sending a wave of cold energy to his head and making the headache disappear.
"ksssttttt- Boy- Beast Boy, can you hear me?"
Flipping the communicator open, Beast Boy tried to listen to Cyborg through the feedback. "Yeah, Cy, I'm here."
"Crazy move, green bean."
"Wait 'til you see my next one. We need an out, buddy. Flying and phasing aren't options. Powers aren't working on Star."
"Is she okay?" Robin asked.
"She's unconscious, but not injured in any way," Raven added. "It's safe to move her, if we can find a way."
Laser blasts poured through the communicator. "Just a minute. Hold tight."
The empath and changeling waited silently, barely flinching as more blasts were fired overheard. Beast Boy chanced a quick look out, dodging several missiles as he ducked back in. The Gordanians were closing in. They didn't have much time.
"Hurry up, Cy," Beast Boy shot through the communicator.
There was moment of silence and his heart jumped up to his throat. Had Cy and Robin been taken?
He breathed a sigh of relief, even as he stood to follow Cyborg's directions.
"Back room, there's a janitorial closet, it has a back door to the alley. The sewer grate should take you out of the area and into a safe zone."
"Aren't the Gordanians in the alley?" Raven asked.
"There's a turn, they haven't gotten all the way in. Rob and I can give you some cover fire to get you in."
"Best option," Beast Boy said to the empath.
She nodded, shifting Starfire to stand up. Beast Boy picked up the alien, her weight barely slowing him down. He led the way to the back of the drugstore before Raven stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"Let me check that the alley is clear," she said.
"You can just phase out of here, get safe with Rob and Cy," Beast Boy pointed out.
Raven shot him a look that spoke volumes and melted into the shadows.
"Just a suggestion," he muttered.
Raven came back quickly, putting her hand on the door and speaking through the communicator, "We're ready when you are."
The sounds of explosions and sonic cannons preceded their escape into the alley. Raven held the door for Beast Boy and Star, lifting the manhole with a thought. Beast Boy dropped down onto the walkway easily, then waited for the empath. He sniffed, the smell of the sewers not causing him any difficulties in tracking. As far as he could tell, the coast was clear.
"Rae!" he called up, still not seeing her appear.
A loud explosion from above sent him stumbling back from the manhole, stone and debris falling through and blocking the exit.
"Raven!" Beast Boy shouted, stepping towards the cave in.
There was no answer. Beast Boy propped Starfire up on the walkway, out of the murky water and got ready to shift into something that could power its way through that stone - strength or size - gorilla, T-Rex? He rolled his shoulders and felt the growl building up.
He heard a familiar, magical sound above and behind him, and caught sight of Raven just before she hit the water.
He rushed over, ignoring the disgusting water to help out his teammate.
"Hey," Beast Boy said, helping her up out of the water carefully. "What happened?"
She shivered, out of cold or disgust, he couldn't tell. "Gordanian explosion, threw off my concentration for a minute." Moving to unhook her cloak, the soaked material pulling at her throat, she flinched and looked at her arm. "Dammit."
Raven pulled out a tiny dark, the needle just a quarter inch and the head not much longer. "They hit me."
"Hit you with what?" Beast Boy asked.
"Whatever they hit her with," Raven said, glancing at Starfire.
Beast Boy immediately wrapped his arms around her, supporting her weight.
She pushed against his chest and in a very threatening monotone asked, "What do you think you're doing?"
Beast Boy backed off. "Aren't you going to pass out?"
Raven took a deep breath and he imagined it was more to hold onto her temper. "Not just yet. It took multiple darts to take her down and even then, she had time to land before she lost consciousness. However," she lifted her hand and summoned a handful of her magic. It was there, but not as strong. "I suspect as soon as this fades, so will I."
"Then you should get somewhere safe," Beast Boy told her.
"I doubt I could phase any significant distance successfully," she said. Beast Boy sighed, pushing a hand through his hair at their predicament. Having accepting her answer, he was a little startled when she continued. "And I wouldn't leave you here."
He grinned in spite of the situation, "I knew you liked me."
"Like the plague," she drawled.
Still grinning, Beast Boy focused on gathering up Starfire again. "Well, we should get as far away from here as we can before you pass out. I can't carry both of you, not without shifting." He considered both directions. One led them towards T-Tower, which was in poor shape. The other took them towards the center of Jump City. They had safe houses that might still be available, and it wasn't the direction the Gordanians would anticipate.
Raven nodded at his comment and fell into step behind him on the walkway. They were both already soaked, but it didn't hurt to stay out of the sludge. Raven let him know then grabbed her communicator. "Robin. We're safe for the moment."
"I was shot by the same thing Star was hit with. My powers are fading and it's only a matter of time before I lose consciousness. We're going to try to get to a safe place until one or both of us is capable again."
"Keep safe. Keep in touch."
After the call, Beast Boy kept glancing back, making sure the empath was still conscious. She didn't look pleased at the attention.
He ignored the threatening tone, "You're about to go comatose at any second. So excuse me for keeping an eye on you."
He checked on her twice more, getting a glare and an eye roll for his troubles. Still, he noticed the way her heart was pounding and her breathing was shorter. He had a few minutes, maybe. Unless he could come up with a way to keep her focused and conscious.
"Did you get what you needed, anyway?" Beast Boy asked.
"No. The commander was too well protected, even if I wasn't more concerned about Starfire. They took her down pretty early on, even though she did more than enough damage to make up for it."
"So no way onto the ship?" he asked.
He heard her sigh, "No."
"Come on, Kole is strong. And so is Argent. They've got Bee and Jinx with them," he said, trying to cheer her up. "Whatever they're going through, they'll pull through and we'll get them out as soon as we can."
"But why are they going through it in the first place?" Raven asked quietly.
Beast Boy didn't have an answer for that. The past nine days had been something out of a movie. On October 18th, Gordanians surrounded every major city's skyline, knocking out power and causing chaos. Robin had at first thought it was an invasion.
That was before they started taking people.
Not just any people. Titans. Any female Titan was a target. While the male Titans would be blown out of the sky with whatever weapons the Gordanians had, the girls were targeted with care. Nets, stunning weapons, these new darts...for some reason the aliens were taking the female Titans as prisoners and nobody knew why.
"Whatever the case," Beast Boy said, "we'll get them out. We always do. But, run me through the plan again, just so I can make sure I've got it right."
"You're just trying to keep me conscious," she muttered.
"Run it by me again, Rae," he ordered.
"Raven. Fine," she snapped. "We were going to steal the Gordanian commander's chestplate, which contains a teleporter to the mothership hanging above Jump City. A small group, i.e. us, would get aboard and while a majority of us would tackle whatever troops, one would break off and free the Titans trapped, giving us the upper hand. Unfortunately, without that chestplate, we've got no way up there."
"Why not fly up in the T-Ship?" Beast Boy asked, shifting Starfire in his arms.
"You already know the answer."
"Humor me, please."
She sighed, "There's some sort of EMP generator around the mothership, making all flights up to the ship impossible. I can't phase up there without knowing what's inside and anything else that tried to get close has been shot down before they had a chance," Raven summarized the arguments they had over and over in one of the three Titan safehouses.
"So what's our option now?"
"Getting that chestplate," Raven repeated. "It's our only chance as far as I can see."
"How are we going to do that?" he asked.
"I...umm…" Raven trailed off.
Stopping and turning, Beast Boy caught sight of Raven's frown, her hand clinging to the slimy tiles of the sewer in an effort to stay upright. Her eyes were clenched shut, the muscles in her jaw leaping as she clearly tried to hold on to consciousness.
He wished he could morph into something that could carry both her and Star. The weight wasn't the problem, it was the lack of extra arms. He looked around, spying a fork in the sewer. If he wasn't mistaken, there was an old tunnel there that hadn't been completed. He'd stumbled across it a few months back after an incident with Trident had him searching through this section of the city. It was only partially walled off, which meant it provided some cover from people walking by.
"Just a bit farther, promise," he said, dropping back to walk next to her.
"I'm fine," Raven mumbled. "Just dizzy."
"I know a place we can hide out for a while. Just ahead."
She nodded and, through more will than energy, starting walking forward again, her eyes glassy and half closed.
"What will I do until you wake up?" Beast Boy asked, anxious to keep her focused and awake.
"I'm sure you'll think of something," she answered, shrugging.
He pressed her, not that he needed a suggestion, he was well aware of what he would do, but to get her thinking. "Come on, I need explicit instructions."
"You'll be fine," Raven said. "I trust you."
He wanted to preen at that, even though it was something he already knew. It was still fun to tease, though. "Not with your books. Or your mirror. Or your room. Or cloak. Or meal choices. Or-"
Raven let out a laugh that was little more than a larger expulsion of air. "True. But I trust you to watch my back while I'm indisposed."
Grinning, Beast Boy knocked her shoulder gently, "Will do."
Ahead, he spied a darker shadow along the wall. Seeing that Raven would hold out even if it killed her, he hurried ahead to check it out. It was a dark corner, only lit slightly from the manhole cover above, but it provided enough protection if someone were to walk by, or open the manhole and look in. Even if someone did approach, there were two other directions that they could take off in if they had to. Hopefully, they could just hold out until both Raven and Starfire were back up to speed, then take off.
Placing Starfire down gently, Beast Boy shifted, a quick tiger's growl making the rats in the area disperse. Then he jogged back down to where Raven was, seeing her fade quickly. Wanting to get her before anything happened, he scooped her up in his arms.
"I'm fine," she argued, trying to push against him. A faint spark of black energy appeared on her fingertips, but sputtered and died.
"Obviously not. And I'd rather you be pissed about this than the fact that I let you crack your head on the ground," he retorted.
Raven's mouth tightened, but she didn't argue again. Her eyes began to flutter. "Don't know what this'll do…" she mumbled.
"What do you mean?" Beast Boy asked, getting to the tunnel.
"The drug is alien...I don't…" she trailed off.
"Rae?" Beast Boy asked, placing her on the ground and shaking her shoulders slightly. "Hey, you there?"
He sighed, falling back against the wall and looking at his two unconscious teammates. Not the best odds.
He pulled out his communicator. "Rob."
"Here, Beast Boy."
"Both the girls are out. We're under the city, around Gray Street and Maloney."
"The Gordanians have that section pretty well controlled."
"Yeah, I know. Whatever they dosed the girls with makes them immune to all powers. But when they're both awake again, hopefully Rae can just zap us to wherever you are."
"Hopefully," Robin repeated. "We're on the move now. Let you know where we end up. Speedy and Aqualad got in touch, we'll try to meet up with them and form some sort of strat-"
Lasers broke through the communication, cutting the Boy Wonder off. Beast Boy's hands tightened around the communicator, but he tried to be patient.
"ksst-der fire.ksssstttttin touch later. Robin out."
With that, Beast Boy dropped his communicator into his pocket and tried to relax a little. It was unlikely the Gordanians would find them for a while. The manhole they had escaped through had been covered by the explosion. And he'd led them further into the city rather than away from it, which was an unexpected move. He'd probably bought them a few hours. Which was little help if the drug hit them for longer.
And that had him up again. Star's pulse was strong, but quick and erratic. He saw her eyes moving frantically behind her lids. A nightmare? Raven's pulse was slower when he first checked it, but a few minutes later it had increased. Her eyes were moving, too.
Was it some sort of hallucinogen along with power dampener? What did that achieve?
And why were they taking them?
Beast Boy shivered slightly, not liking the fact that some of his friends were already stuck up in that ship. Every step they took towards the Gordanians only resulted in more and more Titans being captured. In fact, Rae and Star were some of the last ones.
He tried to relax, but it was difficult. He hated being still. As lazy as he could be on a Sunday afternoon when even the criminals had better things to do, right now his adrenaline was pumping and he wanted to be moving, not playing watchdog for his teammates.
The time passed too slowly.
Beast Boy monitored Raven and Starfire, hearing both of their heartbeats rising. He paced just in front of their hideout, keeping an eye on the manholes in the vicinity. He couldn't hear anything in particular, but there was still the vague sound of explosions in the distance as the Gordanians continued destroying their home.
He retreated back to their little alcove, settling down between the girls. There was no point in contacting Robin just yet. He'd call back when he was able to.
Beast Boy perked up, seeing Star stir slightly, her lids flickering but not opening. He leaned over her, "Star? Wakey wakey."
Green eyes snapped open, already glowing.
The starbolt smashed into where he had been sitting as he jumped from one precarious perch to another, avoiding the bolts the clearly confused Tamaranian was shooting his way.
Squirrel shifted to human. "Star!"
Hummingbird to boy. "It's me!"
Spider monkey to changeling. "It's Beast Boy! Stop!"
Starfire turned in place and caught sight of the other occupant of their alcove, raising her glowing hands. Beast Boy, out of options and knowing Starfire would hate herself if he didn't stop her, jumped down in front of Raven, a huge snarling wolf between the alien and the empath.
Starfire didn't back down, but held her position just long enough to blink –
- and her eyes slowly returned to normal. "Beast Boy?" she questioned with a frown.
He shifted back, but didn't move just yet. "You okay?"
"I thought...were we not fighting the Gordanians?" she asked, taking a step back.
"Yeah, we were," he said, relaxing his stance. "You went down. Just like her." Beast Boy stepped aside and gestured to Raven.
Starfire's focus immediately went to her friend. "Raven! Is she okay?"
Beast Boy shrugged, hiding his own concern, "I think so. She got hit with the same thing you did and she just passed out." When she still seemed confused, he asked, "What happened?"
"I remember fighting the Gordanians, and then it went dark. Then I thought I was in the ship they use to transport slaves and I thought...when I woke up I was confused and I thought you were...I am sorry."
"Don't be sorry, Star," he reassured her. He didn't want to go into how she knew what slave transport ships looked like, not when her eyes looked that haunted. "You got hit with some alien mojo, nobody knew what was going to happen." He had a thought and glanced down at Raven. "Wonder what she's dreaming about."
"If my experience was anything to go off of," Starfire said quietly, "it isn't good."
Starfire bent over her friend and Beast Boy took the moment to go back into the main sewer line and listen. Nothing yet, but he didn't doubt that they were running out of time. Jerks, he thought. Not only were they destroying and kidnapping, but now they were adding nightmare-inducing, power-subduing drug to the mix. Unfair.
"How long have we been here?" Starfire asked.
"An hour. Maybe two," he answered, sniffing the air.
"Gordanians will be on the move soon. They see better at night, though they can work during the day as well," she warned him.
"Great. Just for once I'd like aliens to act like they look. They're big lizard people, they should be cold-blooded," he muttered.
"They are," she said, sitting back on her heels. "But space is far colder than Jump City in the fall."
"Good point," Beast Boy answered, trying to hear above to see if the coast was clear. They'd stayed too long already.
"Beast Boy," Starfire whispered from the alcove, "I think she's waking up."
Raven was shifting slightly, a frown covering her face in her sleep.
He turned to go back –
- and heard the sounds of Gordanians above him.
Scurrying back into the alcove, he gestured for Starfire to go deeper into their tiny portion of the tunnel, picking up Raven and carrying her back. She shifted again, a tiny cry escaping grey lips.
"Beast Boy," Starfire whispered, her eyes large. "I can fight but –"
"Can't risk it, I know," he muttered. "Just lemme think a second."
He heard the manhole opening, his mind racing.
Red sigils rose on Raven's skin.
"No," she whispered, staring at her hands and arms, "No, this isn't happening. This isn't real."
A strange tickle begins down her shoulders – her hair has grown? "No," Raven repeated, holding her suddenly bare arms as the marks march up and down her flesh.
Suddenly, she can't move, her arms are held in place, no matter how hard she struggles, she can't break free.
Over her shoulder, she can see a familiar black and orange mask with a red S burned into the forehead.
"Slade," she hissed. "You're gone."
He just laughs, looking past her as he holds her immobile.
Jump City lays in ruins before her, lava filling the ocean as Trigon sits on what is left of Titans Tower.
"This will come to pass," Slade said, an exact repeat of what happened years ago.
"It didn't," she argued. "We stopped him. We stopped you!"
"I'll make sure of it," he recited, oblivious to what she said. "You are going to destroy the world, Raven," the voice that haunted her nightmares droned on, sounding so pleased.
"No. I didn't. I won't."
"It's written all over your face."
She sagged, so weak she can't hold herself up, still unable to break from his grasp.
"We'll be in touch," Slade said, moving her towards the edge of the skyscraper they stood on. "Oh, and happy birthday," he added, letting her fall towards the ground.
Raven reached for any iota of power, the shadows sparking and flaring out on her fingers, unable to catch herself or hold herself up. The ground was swiftly approaching and she couldn't even scream and –
Who was that? She knew that voice.
"Ssh, it's just me. I need you to be quiet."
Twisting in the air, Raven tried to figure out who that voice belonged to. Where was it coming from?
"It's just me. Shh, please."
Her arms weren't so cold anymore. She could feel warmth around her like a blanket or…a hug?
"You're okay, Rae," the voice whispered.
"Beast Boy?" she murmured, not feeling like she was falling anymore and the ground before her becoming hazy and unclear.
"Yeah, shh. Just me."
Raven forced her eyes open, seeing a dark tunnel ahead of her and a pair of arms around her shoulders. The sleeves were torn and she saw a set of scratches down the left arm that looked to come from nails. She took a deep breath and took stock of her surroundings.
She was sitting up against Beast Boy's chest – it was his arms that held her. Even as she came to that conclusion, he shifted, sitting her up against the wall and crouching in front of her.
"Hey," he whispered.
She frowned at him, still unsure of what happened. Starfire was standing a few yards away from them, looking up and down the sewer.
"You were waking up," Beast Boy explained without her asking, "but the Gordanians just came through here with a patrol. When Star woke up, she thought she was somewhere else and started firing at everything. So I had to keep you from doing that. Sorry. I know you're not big on the whole touching thing."
"It's okay," she murmured, rubbing her head. "I was confused, so I probably would have called their attention to us." She glanced at his arm with an apologetic wince and Beast Boy just shrugged.
"Better this than Gordanians," he said, brushing it away.
"I'm sorry." She reached out, her fingers already glowing to heal him.
"It's fine," he said, straightening up and out of her reach. He smiled quickly, proving there were no hard feelings and held out his hand. Raven took it and allowed him to help her up. On her feet, she rubbed her arms again, reassuring herself that there weren't any marks on her skin and that Slade wasn't standing behind her, ready to push her over an edge again.
"You okay?" Beast Boy asked her, frowning.
He smiled sympathetically, then shrugged. "Well, why dream it when you can live it?" he joked.
"The Gordanians have moved their patrol further away," Starfire said, coming back to them. She spared a smile for Raven before continuing with her report. "If we move now, we might make it out before they return."
Beast Boy grabbed his communicator, "Robin? Girls are back in action."
"Good," Robin responded.
"Got a game plan?"
"Well, that's the bad news."
Raven felt a pit in her stomach as she listened.
"Blue House is gone," he told them, referring to one of their safehouses. "Cy and I are trying to leave Green House, but it's crazy out here. I haven't heard anything from Yellow, but that might be our best bet."
"You want us to head to Yellow?" Beast Boy asked, frowning slightly.
"I don't know what's waiting there," Robin admitted. "But it's all we've got. We need to regroup. We need to figure out who's left so we can free the others."
"Got it," Beast Boy said. "See you there."
Tucking his communicator back into his pocket, Beast Boy looked at Starfire and Raven.
"How do you want to play this?" he asked them.
Raven took a moment to be thankful none of her team members were chauvinists and actually appreciated her opinions and thoughts.
Starfire spoke up, "We should do as Robin commands."
Beast Boy rubbed the back of his neck, "Sewers won't get us out there."
"But if we go out into the open," Starfire argued, "we'll be shot down within minutes. They have almost complete control of the city."
"I can teleport us," Raven suggested. "But we'll be jumping in without knowing what's waiting."
"It's a safehouse," Starfire pointed out. "It should be difficult to find."
"Except they've already found Blue and Green," Beast Boy reminded them.
"I could go ahead and scout it out," Raven suggested.
The changeling shook his head, "Not alone."
So much for not being a chauvinist.
"They're targeting you," Beast Boy continued. "Last thing we need is for you to jump in onto a silver platter." He paced a little, his head casting about like a dog looking for a scent. "Wait, doesn't Yellow have a basement?"
"Rae, can you pop us in there?" he asked.
She nodded slowly, knowing that they knew the risks as well as she did.
"All right," he said, stepping a bit nearer. He touched Raven's shoulder as Starfire did the same on her left. "Let's do it," he grinned tightly.
Raven gathered her power, focused on the basement of the Yellow House and brought her friends with her.
The second they landed, Raven knew something was wrong - she threw up a shield just before the first blast hit.
Fifteen Gordanians had been lying in wait, and they had fallen right into the trap.
Her shield was holding, but not forever.
"Get us out, Rae!" Beast Boy shouted, morphing into a tiger anyway.
She was about to do as he said before her eye fell on a large Gordanian.
Whose chestplate contained the teleporter.
No time to think. Just act.
Raven yelled a warning, her shield flying outwards and knocking several Gordanians down. Starfire and Beast Boy, not anticipating her move but on edge, still reacted as she knew they would and jumped into the fray. Raven went straight for the commander, black flashes shoving others out of her way.
She sent her power out, wrapping it around the chestplate and pulling it towards her. The commander was dragged along with it, drawing a nasty looking blade and holding it in her direction.
Raven hesitated, violet eyes assessing the situation.
Yellow, Green, and Blue Houses were down. Titans were captured. As far as she knew, her team was the only group left standing. Someone had to get this teleporter, no matter the cost, but who would pay it? She and Starfire were the only good options – they would be taken alive, while Beast Boy may be killed. Starfire had an understanding of the Gordanians that Raven lacked. An insight into their techniques and strategies.
A sharp pain in her arm drew her attention and Raven saw another one of the sleep-darts in her arm.
Now she was a liability.
She made her decision and her power surged out, yanking the commander off of his feet and in her direction. A fire burned just below her ribs and she knew the blade had hit its mark. An almost miniscule pain in her leg revealed the position of another dart.
"Rae!" a voice shouted.
She ignored that, ripping the teleporter off of his chestplate and using her power to shove him away.
Another sharp pain on her shoulder.
"Raven!" Beast Boy shouted, at her side and holding her up. They had a moment, maybe less, before they needed to be out of there and she wasn't doing well. Most of the Gordanians were down for the moment, but it wouldn't be much longer. From the sounds above, it sounded like someone had called for backup and it wasn't the Titans.
"Yellow isn't safe," she murmured.
"Got that," Beast Boy said, pressing his hands against her side, making a sympathetic face as she winced.
"Robin needs to know. Get us off the ship."
"Injured, darts, liability," she listed, her mouth feeling clumsy and unresponsive. She held up the teleporter, "This can get you on the ship."
He nodded, but ignored her as she tried to hand it over, his hands pressing against the wound in her side, "Yeah, I know. Let's get out of here, then."
"Tired, only enough for two."
"Then you and Star get out of here and come to my rescue, okay?" he said, trying to hand the teleporter back. "Star! Get over here."
She couldn't help a tiny smile. "Chivalry is dead, Beast Boy."
"Not for me. You get out of here and get help. Star!" he snapped at the alien.
"Liability, remember? So," she winced, pressing her hand to her side and pushing his away, shoving the teleporter into it, "as much as I hate it, you're going to have to save me, all right?"
She lifted her hand and Beast, Starfire and the teleporter vanished. She turned to face the Gordanians, chin held high. No one moved for a moment.
"Well?" she snapped.
They fell upon her.
"-ven!" Beast Boy shouted, his voice echoing from on top of a roof miles away.
"What happened?" Starfire asked, looking around. "Where are we?"
Beast Boy's fist clenched on the teleporter as he looked around, trying to push away his concern for his teammate. "We're by City Hall. Gotta get to cover," he added, glancing up.
Smaller speeders floated through the air, taking out anyone who was foolish enough to venture outside. In the first few days, most of Jump City had been evacuated, but the few who remained made sure to stay indoors.
"What about Raven?" Star asked, following him to the roof's door. "She was taken!"
He pulled on the handle, but it was locked. "I know."
"We can't leave her with them. The Gordanians are easily bought. And those who buy their services are rarely good beings."
He pulled harder on it, trying not to think about it. "I know."
"You don't know!" Star hissed at him. "They work for the worst and operate slave ships, hunters, raiding parties – Raven is with them and it will not be good. She could be-"
"I know!" Beast Boy's anger surfaced with a shift, a gorilla ripped the door open and silencing his friend. He changed back without meeting her eyes, "But we have to stay focused. The only way we can help is if we get this to Robin."
Starfire nodded, replacing the door with a quick glance of apology. Tucking the teleporter into his belt, Beast Boy grabbed his communicator as they headed down the stairs. "Rob, come in."
"We're here, Beast Boy. Are you safe?"
"No," he scoffed. "Yellow's overrun. They were waiting for us."
Robin was quiet and Beast Boy could feel his hesitance. "And?"
Beast Boy shut his eyes tightly for a moment. "They got Raven."
There was silence on the other end of the communicator. Starfire stifled a tiny sob, and Beast Boy glanced up at her with a sympathetic look. She shook her head and pushed her shoulders back, clearly trying to get herself under control.
"We've got the teleporter. Rae ripped it off the commander before she phased us out of there," Beast Boy continued when Robin didn't respond.
"She got you two out?"
"She'd been hit with the darts. And she'd been wounded. She said she only could phase two of us," he reported, his gloves still stained red as he stared at the communicator.
"And if you had stayed, they might not have taken you as a prisoner," Robin filled in the missing pieces.
"She wouldn't have let someone else stay in her place," Starfire added when Beast Boy fell silent.
"With the teleporter, we can get aboard. We're about five miles south of the Tower, in that old cove we went to last summer. It's quiet here," Robin said. "But I don't know how long it'll last. Get that teleporter here so we can get aboard and get them out."
Beast Boy agreed to the order and turned the communicator off.
"There isn't a sewer line that runs between here and there," Starfire said as they reached the ground floor.
"Nope. But we can get to Grover Street, at least," he said, peering through the window as he tried to see if the coast was clear. A small group of Gordanians was walking down the street across from them. He made to step back from the window, then paused.
…there were only four of them. He could take them. His claws itched to do some damage.
This whole thing sucked before. It truly did. But the Titans had at least been together. He felt bad because although all the Titans who had been taken were his friends, he could handle that. But his team - the original Titans – they were his family. His rock. His assurance that everything would turn out all right, because it always did when his team was around. Cyborg was his big brother, Robin was his idol, Starfire was his sister, and Raven was…important.
And the Gordanians had taken her. And hurt her in the process.
Swallowing back a growl, Beast Boy reached for the handle.
A warm orange hand grabbed his wrist. "Don't."
He was hard pressed not to snap at her, but he didn't draw back. "I can take them."
"I know, but there are dozens more hiding behind corners."
"Good. I'll take them, too," he promised.
Starfire searched his eyes, "Raven will not thank you for doing something so reckless after saving you."
"Well, she's not around, is she? Thanks to them." He jerked his head out the window.
"She allowed herself to be taken so as to give us a fighting chance," she reminded him gently. "Not so you could throw away your freedom for revenge."
"It would make me feel better," Beast Boy muttered mutinously.
"Think about Raven."
"I am," he snapped. He was thinking about her – trapped, captured, for who knows what purpose! That's all he could think about! And if she were here right now, she'd-
…tell him to stop being an idiot and get the job done. That she trusted him to watch her back, so he'd better not screw it up.
Beast Boy pulled his hand away from the knob and Starfire relaxed.
"Let's go," he muttered.
Raven woke up slowly, an aching in her stomach and in her head. A sharp pain ripped into the back of her hand. She tried to sit up, only to find she was strapped down to a metallic table. The metal manacles were tight and cold on her skin, holding her flat against the table by her wrists and ankles.
"Look who finally woke up," a voice said. Pulling the needle out of the back of Raven's hand, Blackfire smirked as she walked back to the counter, putting the needle down.
Raven twisted her head and rolled her eyes, "How many times do we have to beat you before it sinks in?"
Blackfire glared at her. "You didn't beat me."
"So losing your throne was always your plan?" Raven retorted, trying to reach within to see if her powers were functioning, but found no evidence of her power. It was like the darts all over again, though she was conscious now.
Standing over her, Blackfire didn't rise to the bait. She caught Raven's fingers flexing. "No use. Your powers have been neutralized, for the time being."
"What's this all about?" Raven asked. "What do you want?"
"What do all people want?" Blackfire asked her, stepping closer. "Power."
"You're the product."
"One warlord or another. They like the female fighters. In their culture, females are deadlier than the males."
Raven's eyes sparked red as she glared at the Tamaranian. "Not just their culture, Blackfire."
"Well, for now, you're defanged," she retorted, unconcerned. "You'll get your powers back once you've been delivered. Along with the others."
Raven's eyes followed the alien striding around the room. "You'll be kept here until we make sure you're immunized to the dangers of the planet. Well," Blackfire laughed coldly, "at least the natural dangers. The guns and bombs, those you'll have to deal with on your own."
"And then?" Raven asked her.
"Then you'll be moved into containment and put into stasis with the others."
Raven didn't like the sound of that. If she was in stasis, she couldn't fight. If she was in stasis, it was too late.
Her hand on the door jamb, Blackfire grinned at her. "In fact, I've only got one target left." Raven glared at her as Blackfire's smirk grew. "And now is my dear baby sister?"
Pulling against her restraints, Raven attempted to get free, her anger rising up. Her eyes flared, but without her powers, anger was just an emotion.
"Save your strength, little bird," Blackfire advised. "You'll need it when we land. You're about to become a soldier."
Raven pulled again and again, but she couldn't get out. "You're going to regret this, Blackfire."
"Right," she laughed deeply. "And you're going to make it happen?"
"You can't keep me locked up forever," Raven reminded her. "And when I get free, I'll-"
"Be trapped in a war zone. And the General isn't exactly the greatest strategist. That's why he needs to import his soldiers. I think you'll have larger things on your mind." Blackfire left the room. "Sleep well."
As soon as the door closed, Raven pulled at the metallic restraints again, arching her back up from the table as she tried to break free. Her ankles were locked down so tightly she couldn't even kick. A wordless scream of frustration bubbled at her lips, but she kept it locked away. She wouldn't give Blackfire the satisfaction. Her eyes rolled and caught sight of a dark glass ball in the corner – it looked like the security cameras in malls. She debated giving up, just so no one would see her struggle, but the desire to be free was too strong.
Her muscles started to scream, but Raven still fought. She would not be a victim.
A few minutes later and desperate now, she thrashed against the table, panic beginning to worm its way into her chest.
Raven fought it back, taking deep breaths to try and calm down. She couldn't get free, but panicking would do nothing.
She'd given Beast Boy the teleporter. She'd gotten him and Starfire away from the fight. They would reconvene with Robin and Cyborg. They would get her out. They were smart and courageous and driven.
She had to trust the Titans. Starfire, Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy. Her friends. Her family.
Raven closed her eyes and squeezed them until she saw lights. They would save her. Because that's what they did. That's what they would always do.
She was just on the other side this time, which she could accept.
She dropped her head against the table and relaxed, the pain in her wrists making her forget some of the pain in her head.
But she didn't have to like it.
Beast Boy buzzed back through the sewer grate, phasing back and dropping down onto his human feet, water splashing up. He walked a few paces down to Starfire, who clutched the teleporter.
"How does it look?" she asked him quietly.
"Bad. They've got the whole area surrounded," Beast Boy answered. "I can't see a way out."
"And the last three miles of the sewers were covered with Gordanians," she said.
Beast Boy sighed, running his hands through his hair. This was the last exit they had if they wanted to meet up with Robin and Cy. Everything else was overrun. He'd had to spend the last few miles as an owl, scouting ahead and circling back to lead Star through Gordanian patrols. They were running out of options.
"You could sneak out in a different shape," Starfire suggested.
"I couldn't carry the teleporter without being large enough to see. And that doesn't get you out of here," he told her, never really considering the idea.
Starfire chewed her thumb, a rare display of nervousness. "If I leave, they will follow me."
"No," Beast Boy told her. "I'm not losing you and Raven in the same day."
"We will lose her forever if Robin does not get that teleporter," Starfire reminded him quietly. "We cannot afford to be sentimental."
"Star, I'm not-"
She grasped his shoulder, "You have to. And you have to let me go in order to happen."
"But, Starfire," Beast Boy argued. "We're the Titans-"
"No," Starfire told him quietly, her voice firm and unyielding. "Now we are soldiers. And we are fighting a war. We all win or we all lose. Everyone or no one." Her green eyes, so much brighter than his, lost their gentleness.
"I'm not a soldier. I've never been in a war," Beast Boy murmured.
She sighed and let her hand drop. "I have." Starfire, the happiest, kindest person he had ever known, had never looked so grim before.
"What do I do?" he asked her.
Starfire pressed the communicator into his hands. "Everything you can."
He grabbed her wrist, "What if that's not enough? What if I can't?"
She smiled, "You can. I believe in you. Raven believes in you. You and the Titans." Her feet lifted from the ground as began to levitate. "You will save us."
"I will say hello to Raven for you." Her smile wavered slightly.
"You should be ready. This will get loud," she warned him.
"I will see you soon," Starfire assured him, a green glow starting in her palms.
"Don't!" he shouted.
She grinned, her eyes burning. Then she exploded out of the sewer, rocks and rubble crashing into the water around Beast Boy. He shifted into a Horned Owl, grabbed the teleporter, and flew off through the cloud of debris that Star created. The Tamaranian was screaming, blowing chunks into the asphalt, knocking Gordanians through the air.
For a moment, Beast Boy hesitated nearby, hoping that maybe-
More patrols of Gordanians approached from every side. One of them was coming dangerously close to where Beast Boy was, firing blasters at him and singeing his wing. He keened, getting a tighter grip on the teleporter and moving higher.
Starfire never shouted, never gave any indication that she was worried about him. But Beast Boy's keen eyes caught her gaze.
Silently, she ordered him to go. Her powers exploded drawing the attention of the few who'd seen him.
As much as he hated it, as much as he didn't want to, he obeyed.
Beast Boy turned tail and left her behind.
Raven's head spun and her stomach twisted as her body rebelled against whatever Blackfire had given her. Bile built up in the back of her throat, but Raven swallowed it back. Her wrists and ankles burned from the manacles.
Her skin was burning and her throat ached, despite not having spoken or cried out since Blackfire left. She was sick.
The door slid open and the Tamaranian herself entered, a large grin on her face. Raven faced her head towards the ceiling, staring up. She ignored Blackfire as the alien touched her wrist and checked her eyes.
"The shot didn't take," Blackfire stated in confusion.
"You don't say," Raven drawled, her voice raspy. Her stomach lurched and Raven swallowed hard, refusing to let the Tamaranian see exactly how much pain she was in.
Blackfire grabbed another syringe and jammed it into Raven's arm. The empath couldn't help but yelp when the needle scraped against bone. "We'll just have to try again," Blackfire said viciously. "It worked on the others well enough."
Raven winced, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "I'm a half demon, you fool."
"Then you'd better hope your demon side can help you. Because if this doesn't take, we'll just have to risk it," Blackfire said. "It's so much simpler with a Tamaranian. They're already immune."
She turned to the door. "Isn't that right, sister dear?"
Starfire was pushed into the room, her hands in the metallic cuffs that neutralized her power. Her eye was swelling, but she smiled fiercely at Raven. "Greetings. Beast Boy sends his regards."
"How kind," Raven replied, keeping her tone calm. The sight of Starfire in here was confusing – Raven was both agonized and comforted by her presence. Terror for Starfire having to share her fate, but relieved to no longer be alone. "Nice of you to drop by."
"I was feeling left out," Starfire responded with a shrug. "All my friends were here."
"It's a little confining," the empath retorted, wriggling her wrists.
Starfire sighed, "And I find the company less than pleasing."
"Shut up," Blackfire snapped. "Take her down to stasis. She doesn't need the shot."
"See you soon, Raven," Starfire called over her shoulder.
"Later, Starfire," she tried to sound casual. It must have succeeded slightly, because Blackfire's eyes flared as she glared at Raven on the table.
"My little sister was apprehended at a sewer grate. The green one, Beast Boy, was seen fleeing the area," Blackfire told her, her voice tight.
Beast Boy got away. And Starfire was caught. Raven was clever; Starfire had been the decoy to allow Beast Boy to get away with the teleporter. And Blackfire had no clue.
"So the two Titans were caught to allow Beast Boy to go free. What a waste," Blackfire laughed, leaving the med bay.
She remembered the dark glass ball in the corner of the room, so she kept her smile hidden. But Raven smiled on the inside and closed her eyes.
"What?!" Robin shouted.
Speedy and Aqualad hushed him, but the Boy Wonder wasn't listening. He advanced on Beast Boy, fists clenched, "Both of them?! You let both of them get taken?!"
Beast Boy's hackles rose, both in anger and humiliation. "I didn't let them do anything!"
"Well you sure didn't save them!"
"I did what I could!" Beast Boy shouted, his fists clenched and his arms aching with the effort not to punch Robin in his masked face.
"Which was what, exactly?!" Robin snapped.
Beast Boy snarled and took an aggressive step forward and Cyborg threw out his arm to stop him. "Dude, chill. Rob, take a walk."
Robin argued, "He-"
"Now, man." Cyborg's sold tone allowed no room for discussion.
Robin stalked off and Cyborg jerked his head at Speedy. The archer nodded, following the Boy Wonder a short way down the shore. Cyborg turned toward Beast Boy, who was still fuming.
"He thinks I didn't try?" Beast Boy growled. "I told Rae to leave me behind, to get her and Star out, I told her-"
"I know," Cyborg said simply. "I know. You did everything you could."
That wasn't quite right, either. "No, but I should've- I should've…" He dragged his claws through his hair, the guilt brought forward by Robin's accusations twisting in his gut like a snake. "I should've done something…more."
"You did what you could," Aqualad added. "And the girls would've never allowed you to take their place. Not when they know the girls are being taken alive."
"They saved you, and it's nothing to be ashamed of," Cyborg assured him.
"But now, they're – they-"
"Now," Cyborg forced Beast Boy to meet his eyes, "we save them. Because that's what we do. All right?"
Beast Boy nodded, still feeling inadequate, but Robin and Speedy were returning, putting an end to his reprieve.
Robin nodded briefly at Beast Boy – the only apology he was going to get – and held out his hand for the teleporter. Beast Boy handed it over, ignoring the pain in his arm as he did so.
"So what's the plan?" Aqualad asked, trying to diffuse the tension.
"We need a distraction," Robin said, staring at the teleporter for a moment. "The others will teleport up to the ship and get them out."
"That's risky," Speedy noted.
"You don't have to go," Robin retorted shortly.
"Hey," Speedy held up his hands, his eyes unreadable from behind the mask, "not arguing. Just thought it needed to be said."
Robin ignored him, "Speedy and I will remain down here, serving as the distraction." Beast Boy could tell that he really wanted to be up in the ship, but his strategies and explosions would be far better served on the ground. "We'll draw them away from the speeders and hopefully give you enough time to find the Titans and get them out." He eyed each of them, resting for a moment on Beast Boy. His eyes cast over the changeling and he stiffened. "What's wrong with your arm?"
Beast Boy frowned in confusion, "What?" Then he looked at his sleeve. Just beneath his shoulder, his costume gaped open, a large, seared piece of skin was revealed. Now that his attention had been drawn to it, he felt a pang of pain in his arm. "Oh."
"Geez, B," Cy muttered, grabbing his arm and looking it over. "What happened?"
"The Gordanians were firing up into the air and must've winged me," he answered, wincing as Cyborg quickly wrapped it up. "I didn't notice."
Robin watched him for a moment, then sighed. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."
Startled at the uncharacteristic display of humility, Beast Boy shook his head, "It's cool, man. You were right."
"No, I wasn't." Robin tried a tight smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, but Beast Boy greatly appreciated it. He nodded and the Boy Wonder moved on.
"So, we're doing this tonight?" Cyborg suggested.
"That's soon," Aqualad murmured.
Beast Boy scoffed, "It's not like we've got a ton of time left. Don't know if you've been counting, but we're just about out of Titans at this point." The last was said bitterly.
"Tonight," Robin agreed, glancing up at the mothership.
"We all know this is insane, right?" Aqualad muttered.
Beast Boy nodded, his eyes on the city center. "Yeah, well, if anyone asks, it was Rob's idea."
Cyborg's finger was on the teleporter even as he chuckled. "Got that right. Need to run over the plan again?"
"Get in. Get the girls. Get out," Beast Boy summed up, his fang glinting in the moonlight.
"I do love a simple plan," Aqualad grinned, making the other two chuckle, though it faded quickly. "Do you think Speedy and Robin will be able to keep them distracted?"
"You've met Speedy," Beast Boy drawled, clenching his fists even as he kept his voice light. "You really think there's someone he can't piss off?"
"How will we know when they're in position?" Aqualad asked.
Cyborg fielded that one, "I think it'll be-"
A huge explosion rocked the main square of Jump City. Beast Boy knew it had been evacuated - no way Rob would've endangered civilians - but the fire that began was still intense. Shifting quickly, a green hawk rose slightly above the shoulders of his friends and his keen eyes saw the images of speeders shadowed against the flames. He dropped back to earth in human form, landing next to Cyborg and grabbing his arm.
Aqualad grabbed his other arm and Cyborg pressed the teleporter.
Beast Boy's stomach lurched, and though he felt metal beneath his feet, it felt like his body was somewhere between. But he blinked away the spots and shifted, a wolf testing the air. Gordanians smelled like swamp and metal. It was all over the ship, but nothing was fresh. He nodded once and Cyborg took the lead, his computers tracking lifeforms.
"Large group of people on the west side of this ship," Cyborg muttered. "A couple northwest. And a small group off to the east."
"Lead on, Beast Boy," Aqualad muttered.
The wolf padded gently into the halls, the grey walls and metallic ground making him uncomfortable. He hated the sterile smell of metal - half the reason his room was covered in carpet.
He inhaled, pushing back the taste of metal.
"Smell anyone we know?" Aqualad asked quietly.
Beast Boy shook his head, tasting nothing but metal and aliens on his tongue -
- and a hint of blood. Familiar blood.
He tensed, drawing their attention.
"What is it?" Cyborg whispered, watching him.
Beast Boy turned right, moving a bit faster. He knew that smell. It wasn't a good one. He could hear Cyborg and Aqualad behind him, both jogging to keep up, but he refused to slow down.
At least, until -
"B!" Cyborg hissed, stopping at a glass door Beast Boy had padded right past. His eye was wide as he stared into the room. Beast Boy returned and shifted back, his mouth hanging open as he stared inside.
Behind the solid glass door was a room of human-sized pods, each holding an unconscious Titan. He recognized Starfire, Kole, Argent, Bee, Pantha…
He felt sick, staring at them all silently slumbering, unconscious of what was happening around them.
"Can you get them out?" Aqualad asked.
Cyborg was already punching numbers into his arm, connecting to the access panel next to the door. "You think a little door is gonna stop me?"
Beast Boy was scanning the faces, the smell still sour in his mouth. "Rae's not in there."
He turned down the hall, "Get them out. I've got her scent."
"Beast Boy-" Aqualad argued.
"No," Cyborg muttered, "we aren't leaving anyone behind. Hurry up," he ordered the shapeshifter.
Beast Boy nodded and took off down the hall, shifting into a wolf again and following his nose. When he hit another glass door, he paused and shifted back, unable to find purchase on the door to lever it open. He couldn't see inside - there was a shelf or something in the way - but he knew this is where she was. He shifted into an ant, hoping to find a gap, but it was airtight.
Grunts and growls echoed around his tiny head and he scurried just next to the door, remaining very still.
Two Gordanians approached, communicating in what was clearly their native language. Beast Boy watched them head towards the door, a large metallic pod carried between them. Very similar to what the other Titans were in. His stomach dropped but he hid by the door as they opened it. Neither one of the Gordanians saw a spider scurry in and hide beneath a cabinet.
There was a faint sound of metallic thunking, but he couldn't see what it was from his vantage point. The Gordanian snarls became louder as they left the room, leaving Beast Boy inside.
He took a minute, making sure the room was empty of Gordanians. He scurried out from beneath the cabinet and shifted back into a cautious crouch as he eyed the room.
The walls were lined with jars and glass vials, a large cryostasis tube off in the corner, strange images and cutaways on the screens around him, the scent of sterile implements not as noxious to him as the taint of blood. He took a second glance at the images on the computers, stepping around the shelf but then his gaze was drawn toward a metal table.
His teammate lay on the metallic cot, her hands and ankles clamped down on the table. A keypad was on the side of the cot, but he didn't see any way to unlock it. Raven's eyes were closed, but she was breathing slowly. Beast Boy snuck up to her, looking warily around. "Rae?" he whispered.
They fluttered open to stare at him and he was startled when the immediate expression in them was fear.
"No," she mumbled.
"No?" He glanced at her wrists, seeing the red marks and bloody stains, "Aw, Rae, what have they done to you?"
"They got you, too," she whispered, her brows furrowed in concern. "You were supposed to be safe."
"No," he corrected her, unable to help reaching out and touching her arm gently, reassuring her. "No, they didn't get me. I'm here with Cy and Aqualad."
The frown was still there, but her eyes were clearing up by the second. "You're here? How?"
He looked over the keypad - it was numbered with symbols he didn't recognize, not that he would've known the code anyway - "Your teleporter, remember?" he reminded her.
She closed her eyes for a second and swallowed with an effort. Beast Boy looked over her, his chest hurting as he noticed the sallow skin, red rimmed eyes, and cracked lips.
"What'd they do?" he asked, unused to his teammate looking so ill. She'd always been the healthiest out of them.
"Medicine," she answered quietly, her voice hoarse. "Immunizations before they send us off to war. I've reacted poorly. Starfire?" she asked him, her concern rising.
"She's in one of the tube things," Beast Boy told her, glancing into the corner.
"Stasis chambers," she murmured weakly.
If he didn't know any better, he would have thought that'd been a flash of fear in her eyes. He pulled out his communicator. He needed Cy, he couldn't open this alone. "It's okay. We're gonna get you out of here."
He opened it up, distracted by a whispered comment, "Thank you."
Beast Boy forced a smile at the pure relief in her voice, "'Course, Rae." He flipped open the communicator. Before he could call, a loud alarm went off and though he couldn't understand the language, he knew what it meant.
Raven's eyes widened and her worried glance met Beast Boy's. He immediately started pressing buttons, the angry buzz and glowing red numerals making it clear he was wrong. After the third incorrect answer, the pad went dark and he couldn't press anything. He grabbed at the metal cuffs and pulled, but it was to no avail.
"You have to go," Raven said finally, resignation just barely hiding the faint fear.
He glared at her, "I'm not leaving you here."
"Have to," she told him, glancing in the opposite corner of the room. Beast Boy followed her gaze to see a dark, glass circle.
"Camera?" he muttered.
Raven nodded, looking back at him.
"If I go, I don't know how to get back in," he admitted to her, the shame and fear of failing making him quieter.
"Titans are seen coming from miles away. No one way to fight in. No way to sneak in," she continued quietly, her eyes flickering up to the door.
Beast Boy bit back a growl of frustration. Then how…?
"Do you remember Halloween last year?" she asked.
He stared at her, confused.
"You wanted me to dress up."
He vaguely recalled the conversation, but why was she bringing it up?
"Prisoner transfer, cell block 1138," Raven recited quietly.
Wait, what did that –
Oh, she was brilliant!
He grabbed her hand. "I'll get you out."
"Get yourself out first," Raven ordered.
He was leaving her behind for the second time, squeezing her hand. "Rae-"
"Go," she ordered, a faint press of her hand in return.
Before he could do as she said, he heard a murmur outside the door. Raven's eyes widened in fear, but he gave her a quick wink and an only slightly harried smirk before vanishing into a fly. His faint buzz was swallowed up by the hush of the door sliding open. He landed on the shelves, unable to make it to the door before it closed behind the Gordanians and -
Flies were small, so the surge of hatred was almost overwhelming, but Beast Boy managed it. He hid between the items on the shelves, better to see and yet not be seen. He hid, a tiny mouse behind the jars and vials. The Gordanians approached the cot and punched the code into the password. Blackfire crossed her arms and watched as they lifted Raven up, not noticing or not caring as the rough treatment made her wince. They shuffled her into the cryostasis tube, latching her hands in as Blackfire tapped her fingers against her arm.
"Find the water one. The cyborg will be reprogrammed," Blackfire was saying. Beast Boy's chest tightened as he realized Cyborg had been captured.
"Why not keep the water one?" one of the Gordanians asked.
"Have you not realized where we're hovering?" Blackfire snarled. Raven had yet to speak, her glazed eyes following the conversation, but the slump of her shoulders revealed her exhaustion. "Over an ocean, you fool. We can't risk him using that."
"And the green one?" the Gordanian asked.
Blackfire shrugged, "He's nothing. A freak. A pet. He's-"
Raven's dulled eyes fixed on the Tamaranian. "He is a Titan," she whispered fiercely. "And Beast Boy is going to kick your scrawny, spoiled ass all the way back to your Tamaranian prison cell."
Beast Boy stilled, amazed at the conviction in her voice. Part of it could be show, sure. But she'd had to have some belief in him to say those things, right?
Blackfire laughed, "Your faith is misplaced."
"Not faith. Fact. He's going to beat you." Though her voice was quiet, it hardened Beast Boy's resolve.
"Too bad you won't be around to witness it," Blackfire sneered. She nodded at the Gordanians, who shut the pod's door, locking Raven inside. A fine white gas began to emanate from the base of the tube and though Beast Boy could see Raven's fingers clench in fear, she kept her glare fixed on Blackfire.
He shifted into a small cat, making himself large enough to be seen. Raven's eyes darted over Blackfire's shoulder, catching sight of him. The amethyst widened slightly, but she didn't let on any other sign that he was still in the room. Her fists relaxed slightly as the gas began to swirl around her face, but she didn't look away from him. He wouldn't leave her alone. Not now.
Raven's eyes fluttered as the gas filled the chamber and Beast Boy was unable to do anything but wait silently. When she went limp against her restraints he shifted into a small hummingbird, anger surging up like wave inside of him, but held back against logic and reason. He didn't like it.
The Gordanians lifted the tube onto their shoulders and Beast Boy winced internally when he heard the dull thud of Raven's head against the metallic wall. No one else seemed to care.
Beast Boy followed the Gordanians and Blackfire out of the medical bay, doing his best to stay behind them and keep an eye out for Aqualad.
Blackfire paused, her head cocked to the side. Beast Boy stared at her and tensed, she looked like she might have heard -
He zipped out of the way as a dark starbolt came flying towards him.
"It's a Titan!" she screamed at her alien cohorts.
One of them shoved Raven's tube into the arms of the other, trying to pull his gun in the same movement. Beast Boy shifted again, a sparrow flitting through the air and down the corridors, the sounds of blasters and starbolts chasing him.
Flying around the corner, he nearly ran beak-first into Aqualad, the panicked eyes of the underwater hero.
"They got Cyborg," Aqualad panted. "He turned off the sensors on the ship, but we've got to get out!"
Beast Boy nodded his sparrow's head and led the way down the hallways. The two of them traversed the spaceship's hallways, the sounds of blaster fire growing even louder.
"In here!" Aqualad shouted.
Beast Boy made the turn with him, into the small glass room. He shifted back at the doors closed behind them. "What is this?"
Aqualad pressed a button and the pressure in the room suddenly changed, making Beast Boy's keen ears twitch. "Escape hatch."
The floor opened up beneath them, revealing the blue ocean below. Aqualad dove before the floor had opened and Beast Boy muttered, "Aw, damn."
A slam at the glass made him flinch. Beast Boy turned to see Blackfire glaring at him through the door. She was shouting something, but he couldn't hear her. Two bad choices. He chose the lesser of two evils.
He winked, just to piss her off, then he stepped through the opening in the floor and fell toward the ocean.
Swimming though an ocean wasn't Beast Boy's idea of a fun time.
He'd ended up hauling Aqualad part of the way in dolphin form, wanting to get back to the others and form some sort of plan. He'd gotten an inkling of it from Raven, but he needed Rob's smarts to finish it up.
They had to separate before the beach, the waves too rough for Beast Boy to bring Aqualad in safely. For a dangerous second, Beast Boy tumbled ass over teakettle, unable to find his bearings. Luckily he landed face up on the edge of the surf, and a familiar face was helping him to sit up.
"Hey, KF," Beast Boy groaned.
Kid Flash smiled, but it was tight around his eyes, "How's it going?"
"Same old, same old," Beast Boy muttered, getting to his feet. "Aqualad?"
"Over here!" a female voice called.
Beast Boy turned with a frown, "Wonder Girl?" He recognized the dark haired girl vaguely, but the red and yellow starred jumpsuit and tall black boots weren't something he could forgot easily. He hurried over with Kid Flash, as Wonder Girl, Rob and Speedy helped Aqualad to his feet.
"B," Robin greeted as they came over. "Where's Cyborg?"
Another twist in his gut, Beast Boy shook his head.
"They got him," Aqualad answered, his voice hoarse. "He got their sensors on the ship down, but I noticed a lot of them heading in."
Speedy nodded, "We saw the same. They're regrouping."
"Or leaving," Wonder Girl suggested quietly. Her blue eyes were worried as she glanced up at the mothership.
Beast Boy's stomach tightened again, but he nodded. "She said they were almost done."
"Who?" Robin asked.
"Blackfire," Aqualad jumped in.
"Oh, goddammit," Speedy muttered. "Again?"
"I seriously hate that girl," Kid Flash added.
Aqualad bent down and sketched a rough map of the spaceship, leaving Beast Boy alone for a moment with Wonder Girl.
"So how come you're here?" he asked her, unconcerned if he came across as blunt. True, the girl could put him through the wall if she'd felt so inclined, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He was too tired, too worried, and too fed up with everything that had been going on.
"The others didn't want me to come," she admitted. "But you needed help and I couldn't let my sisters-in-arms suffer alone." She smiled faintly at him and Beast Boy made an effort to return it. Then the two of them turned their attention to the others and the map.
"…girls are being held in here, in these tubes," Aqualad said, pointing to the area with his finger.
"Cyrostasis tubes," Beast Boy added. "I watched them put Rae into one."
"How's she holding up?" Robin asked him.
Beast Boy shrugged, "As well as anyone could be. She had a plan, though."
For a brief moment, Robin smiled. Beast Boy shared in it for a moment - of course she had a plan. It was Raven.
Beast Boy quickly outlined her idea, "She suggested Star Wars."
"What?" Robin scoffed out.
He nodded, "Yeah, we pretend to be bringing up prisoners."
Robin immediately cottoned on to the idea, his mind jumping to the conclusions much faster. "Can you shift into a Gordanian?" he asked quickly.
Beast Boy nodded slowly. "I can, but I'm not sure how long I can hold it. We'll have to move fast."
"And get some of their armor," Aqualad added.
"On it!" Kid Flash shouted, vanishing from the area.
"Love this plan," Speedy grinned. "All stealthy and Han-Solo."
"What?" Wonder Girl frowned.
"It's a Trojan Horse," Robin explained. Her eyes lit up in recognition and he asked, "How do you feel about a little acting?"
"You want me to pretend to be a prisoner?" Wonder Girl questioned him.
Beast Boy held his breath, hoping she would see how important-
She grinned widely, "As long as I get a chance to hit Blackfire, I am in."
Beast Boy smiled and they set their plan into motion.
Being in this shape hurt.
Gritting his teeth, Beast Boy shuffled slightly as the Titans paused, rearranging chains and manacles. He tried to get comfortable, but the pulling of his muscles and sinews made the whole thing painful. Something had gone wrong – he looked Gordanian on the outside, but there was something wrong within. Unfortunately, he had to put up with it.
The heavy tail wasn't as nimble as it should be and the wings were just this side of useless. Beast Boy had tried to supplement what he knew of Gordanian biology – a few of the screens he'd seen when he'd visited Raven displayed things he hadn't known – with animal biology he was familiar with, but it wasn't right. His head ached as he kept up the bastardized form, the mental and physical pain making him frown.
"Are you alright?" Wonder Girl asked him quietly.
"Fine," he ground out, barely managing to keep his insides inside.
"B," Robin said anxiously, "if you can't do this, we'll-"
"I can do this," Beast Boy cut in. "I have to." He met Robin's eyes and knew that the Boy Wonder had realized the same. If they didn't succeed now, there was a chance that they'd never get the girls back again. Not if the Gordanians were leaving soon.
Robin nodded once and they began moving again. Beast Boy led them, the stolen armor siting uncomfortably on his head and shoulders, the chains connecting all the Titans together mostly for show but still making Beast Boy feel ill.
Still, he clutched them tightly in his claws and left the safety of the alleyway. Gordanian patrols were fewer and farther between, which made finding one a little frustrating.
Robin's sharp eyes spotted something, "Up ahead." Beast Boy followed his gaze and saw a small patrol just boarding a speeder. "You're on, Beast Boy."
"Right," Beast Boy muttered. He had to get this right. Everyone was counting on him. For once, he couldn't mess this up.
Ignoring the burning pains in his joints and the painful pull of his muscles, he marched forward confidently.
One of the Gordanians saw him and jerked his scaly head, drawing the attention of the others.
"What've you got?" one of them growled.
Beast Boy arranged his face in a sneer. "Last minute present." He jerked the chain connected to Wonder Girl's hands, sending her stumbling forward. He might have felt badly about that, if the situation wasn't so dire.
The three other Gordanians smiled as much as they could. "Nice catch. The males, too?"
Beast Boy nodded. "Could be useful."
"And if they aren't," one of them laughed, "Blackfire'll just toss them into the ocean."
Forcing a chuckle, Beast Boy jumped aboard the speeder with his prisoners, holding onto one of the railings with a painful grip.
The flight up to the mothership only took a few moments. Before he had a chance to prepare, he was already stepping off the speeder and into the ship.
The other three Gordanians motioned for him to go first. "Take them to Mistress Blackfire."
Beast Boy didn't move, seeing a familiar face coming into the landing bay. He didn't have to take them anywhere.
"Wonder Girl," Blackfire drawled from the doors, her armor in place and her pose nonchalant. "I've heard many impressive things about you."
Best Boy edged to the side as Blackfire approached Wonder Girl. His stomach twisted and he did his best not to throw up all over the place. He couldn't hold this for much longer.
"Wish I could say the same, but everything I've heard about you makes me sick to my stomach," Wonder Girl replied haughtily, unafraid as Blackfire advanced even closer. Beast Boy closed his eyes briefly, reaching for the wall behind him. It felt like his eyes were trying to escape from his skull.
Blackfire laughed, "A weak stomach? Must be because you're not a real Amazon but were only adopted by them. I have much respect for the Amazon warriors," Blackfire murmured, rubbing her chin as if it were actually true. "That's why I spared Paradise Island and looked to Jump City for my slave girls…but I don't mind selling a poser like you to the highest bidder."
Beast Boy's stomach twisted, and this time it wasn't due to his messed up shifting. Star and Rae as slaves?
Wonder Girl scoffed at her, the natural arrogance of the Amazons shining through, "You mean you avoided Paradise Island because you knew that you were no match for me and my sisters."
Something happened in Beast Boy's chest - something went pop that definitely shouldn't have popped. He winced, which is a far sight from the screaming he felt like doing, but still drew the attention of a Gordanian nearby. "I've never seen you before…what's your name?"
Beast Boy tried to answer, but his lungs began to collapse. If he didn't shift back, he was going to die. Still, he held out for another couple of seconds, his chest burning with every moment.
"Beast Boy!" Aqualad shouted, catching sight of the changeling's color.
Blackfire twisted to stare at him, "B-Beast Boy?! No…No…"
Well, the jig was up now anyway. He shifted back, taking in a deep breath and putting an almost convincing look of apology on his face. "Heh heh. Whoops."
"No!" Blackfire screamed, dark starbolts hovering around her fingers.
A good a time as any, Beast Boy shifted, grabbing a small computer chip from Robin's outstretched and suddenly freed hands with hawk's talons. He took off down the hallway as a full on battle began to rage behind him, the fake chains and manacles breaking off of the Titans' wrists as they engaged Blackfire and the Gordanians. Beast Boy would have given almost anything to stay with them, fighting alongside his friends.
But he had to get the rest of them, first.
Raven was falling.
She'd been falling for what seemed like forever.
She should have hit the ground by now, but instead she just kept falling through freezing, white-grey clouds that choked her and clung to her skin.
At this point, Raven would have preferred a harsh landing to this endless fall. Falling was something she had never quite enjoyed. Flying was her forte and to be stuck in this constant frozen free-fall was wearing on her nerves.
The clouds grew heavier and Raven lost track of the time. It might have been minutes that she was falling. Hours. Days. She couldn't tell.
Suddenly the smoke began to clear. The very thing that had been choking her was beginning to vanish and Raven found it hard to breathe. Her lungs burned without the icy air and her head ached and her stomach twisted, something dark and solid appearing in front of her.
There was no stopping her descent, even if she could breathe normally. She landed hard on a frim surface, though it wasn't as painful as she anticipated her landing being. The light was too bright and she couldn't tell where she was. The residual freeze of the smoke was being driven away by warm arms around her and her heart was beginning to steady out, the sounds in her ears unintelligible, but familiar in their own weird way.
She gasped wildly, trying to get air into its proper place, anxiety taking hold as she realized she might be in the middle of a war zone with no protection. Her limbs were slow to respond as she tried to push free of what was holding onto her, but it refused to relent.
Raven shook her head, ignoring the churning of her stomach, trying to make sense of the muffled sounds around her.
"…down, take…" It faded in and out like a poor recording, but she knew that voice. "…got you…-lax, Rae…"
She held on tightly, no longer trying to get free, but rather to ground herself. Soothing movements along her shoulders and back helped her lungs return to their natural rhythm and she closed her eyes tightly, willing her body to obey her commands.
When she opened them again, Raven stared up into familiar green.
"Welcome back," Beast Boy grinned, the lines around his mouth ruining the smile just slightly.
"Beast Boy," she muttered hoarsely. "What're you…where are we?"
"Still on the ship," he said, making no move to let her go. She was still trembling, so she didn't argue the point just yet. "We'll all here. Me, Rob, Speedy, KF, Wonder Girl," he listed off. His grin returned slightly. "We're here to rescue you."
She understood that reference. "You did it," she realized, shivering.
"Not yet," he amended. "Gotta wake everyone else still."
Raven looked around, seeing the other Titans around her, all still in suspended cryostasis tubes. In fact, it looked like she was the very first one out. She nodded and made an effort to let go of him, despite the fact that she was still trembling from the effects of the stasis. "Go."
"You sure you're okay?" he asked her.
Raven forced herself to nod. "Go."
He squeezed her shoulder and got up from his kneeling position on the floor, a flash of pain crossing his face. Raven acted without thinking, grabbing his hand and pouring a jolt of energy through him. He winced as something in his chest - dislocated ribs - popped back into place and then the lines around his eyes and mouth vanished.
"Thanks," he grinned, heading towards the next tube.
Raven watched him free Starfire and Argent, the two of them having similar reactions as Raven. By the time he was freeing Jinx, Raven had managed to get to her feet and stayed with Beast Boy, helping the Titans adjust faster with her magic. The girls began to group up together, adjusting armor and weapons as the sounds of battle grew louder and louder. They were on the last tube - Cyborg - when they heard the girls get very quiet.
"Hurry up," Kole called, peering through the doors. "I think I see-"
An explosion rattled the doors, sending the tubes falling and rolling around. Raven grabbed Cyborg's tube with her powers, keeping her teammate from getting bounced around. A blast ricocheted off the tube to her left and she winced, hunkering down as a patrol of Gordanians ran into the room.
Starfire immediately took command, "Flank them, do not allow them to-"
A bestial roar cut her off and a giant green grizzly bear appeared where Beast Boy had been. One swipe of his massive paws took out three Gordanians, and the second swipe took out another two. The last two took one look at Beast Boy's snarling fangs and retreated, their shouts echoing down the halls.
"Nice one, BB," Bee murmured as the teen shifted back.
"Yeah, well," he replied sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "About time they got some payback, right?"
Raven lowered Cyborg's tube, "Last one."
Beast Boy nodded and returned to her side, using a small chip he must have gotten from Robin to release the last Titan.
Once Cyborg was recovered enough to move, Beast Boy led them through the halls, straight back towards the landing bay. There weren't any patrols to slow them down, and the sounds of fighting were still raging ahead, proving that despite only having a few Titans, Raven's friends were putting up a fight.
A small patrol of Gordanians was edging out of the landing bay, obviously making a run for it. When they saw the Titans, their hands tightened around their weapons, clearly unwilling to go quietly. Raven glanced at the weapons and sighed, drawing Beast Boy's attention.
"This is some rescue," she drawled.
He barked out a surprised laugh and the two of them jumped into the fray, startling the Gordanians.
With a large group spurred by the anger of being held captive, the Gordanians didn't stand a chance. They surrendered within moments, leaving the way clear to the landing bay.
As they entered the landing bay, she stayed close behind Beast Boy, Starfire on the other side and Cyborg just behind them, with the other Titans falling into place. They were all Titans, but Cyborg, Robin, Raven, Beast Boy and Starfire, they were the Titans.
And when the Gordanians saw them and Raven tasted their panic, she couldn't help but be proud of it.
Blackfire hadn't noticed them yet, furiously fending off the skilled attacks of an irate Wonder Girl. A blow made it through her defenses and she fell back, muttering under her breath.
"With a sister like you," Starfire commented, making Blackfire flinch and twist around, "who needs the enemies?"
With all the Titans united and together, the Gordanians surrendered quickly, to Blackfire's disgust. Raven watched as the Tamaranian outlaw was trussed up and led into a holding cell until Starfire's people could come to collect her. The Gordanians left as quickly as Robin allowed them to and all too suddenly and unexpectedly, it was over.
Just over a week later, normalcy had just about returned to partially reconstructed Titans Tower.
It was wrapped in the guise of a large Halloween party, but still a far cry more familiar than motherships and Gordanians.
The Titans had recovered and rebuilt, with no small thanks to the other Titans from around the globe and in return, Robin had insisted on holding a large party for all of them at Titans Tower.
From the sound of the pounding music below her bedroom floor, it was already in full swing and yet Raven still dithered in her room, still in her uniform and going through her arguments again and again in her head.
Robin hadn't exactly demanded that she go, but he'd strongly encouraged it. She had a costume and it's not like she couldn't escape if she felt the need to.
However, she still wavered, her hand on the closet door. If she didn't go down, would anyone really miss her? Parties really weren't her thing and everyone knew that, so would it really matter if she-
Raven reached out mentally, not entirely surprised as to who she felt on the other side. She opened her door, to see Beast Boy grinning at her. It faded slightly when he saw she wasn't in costume.
"You not coming up?" he asked her, his ears drooping. She vaguely recognized the costume from a television show - a maroon shirt and a brown coat of a space cowboy. Who came up with these ideas?
"I'm not a fan of parties," Raven reminded him gently.
"But you have to come," Beast Boy frowned. "You're the reason we won."
Raven scoffed quietly, "That was all you, Beast Boy. You're the hero."
"Without you, I never would have been able to do anything," he insisted. "You saved me from being taken. You thought of the whole Han Solo thing. If you hadn't, I don't know if we would've been able to get you guys out."
Raven shook her head, "But-"
"You know, you're really brave."
He got a faint glare for interrupting her before what he said sunk in, "I'm not that brave."
"You were taken prisoner and given all these alien drugs and put in a pod, and you never panicked," Beast Boy reminded her. "I don't think I could have done that."
She debated letting him believe that. Then she sighed and rubbed her eyes, "I did panic. Quite a bit, actually."
Beast Boy was quiet, eyeing her.
"When they first took me," she continued, rubbing her wrists, "I panicked. No powers, no way of contacting you. But I knew you had the teleporter, so I handled it. Then Star arrived and she made it clear that you were still free and had the teleporter, so that was all right." She took a breath, "Then you were on board."
He was still quiet – some kind of record.
"Seeing you made it better," she said quietly, "once I realized they hadn't caught you. But when they put me in that pod, I really started to panic. But…" she trailed off.
He didn't ask her to continue, but she did anyway.
"But you were there. So I knew it would all turn out okay," she finished lamely.
"How'd you know?" he asked her.
Raven caught the surge of disbelief and knew that he wasn't asking her how she knew he was there. She eyed him, wondering where the arrogant, irritating Beast Boy she had grown to know had gone. This person was self-conscious and hesitant, honestly curious and modest. A stark difference from the bear that had been rampaging up and down a Gordanian mothership, sending aliens fleeing in fear. That Beast Boy was still there, but he was more tempered.
"Because you're a Titan," Raven answered. "You save people, it's what you do."
He looked up, his eyes haunted by the past few weeks. More so than Raven had realized. "But I'm not-"
"Beast Boy," she interrupted gently, putting her hand on his arm. "You're a hero. It's what you do. Every day. You're good at it."
"Did you ever think I couldn't?" he asked her. "That you'd be stuck there?"
She still hadn't let go of his arm, catching the faint flare of shame that went through. He had thought it.
"No," she answered honestly. "Like I said, I knew you would."
He smiled faintly and nodded. "I'm just glad you're home okay." He reached over and squeezed her hand before letting it drop.
"Me, too." She stepped back.
"If you don't want to come up to the party," he continued, "I get it. I can bring you back some food later."
"It's good to have you home, Rae."
"Raven," she retorted immediately.
Beast Boy grinned and waved as he walked off. Raven watched him go, a faint, curious feeling blooming in her chest. Then she sighed and turned back into her room.
She had a party to get ready for.
Beast Boy laughed as Starfire grabbed Robin and lifted him off the ground. The Boy Wonder's red cape billowed out around him, though he had forgone the long, blonde wig of the Norse god in favor of comfort. Star was rocking a Wonder Woman costume and Cyborg was below taking pictures, the camera out of place with his Drax getup.
Most of the other Titans were in attendance, sporting all sorts of irreverent costumes. In fact, there was only one piece missing from making this a truly excellent party.
He knew Raven wasn't social. Hell, if he had to choose three words to describe her, antisocial would be the first.
Still, it didn't feel right to be celebrating without her. He'd meant it when he said that she was the real hero. She was. He didn't know anyone who was half as tough as her, except maybe Starfire.
Maybe if he brought her some food or something, she'd be more inclined to -
"You're oddly subdued for a party," a voice murmured from behind him.
Beast Boy turned, a grin already on his face as he recognized Raven's drawling tone. He had a joke in place, but it died on his lips as his jaw hit the floor.
Raven was dressed in a white, long sleeved dress that gathered at her waist and her hair was braided and twisted up on either side of her head.
He stared as she approached him, stopping directly in front of him, her arms crossing. "Happy Halloween," she said simply. "Sorry this is a year late."
He chuckled, still a little thunderstruck. "Yeah, Happy Halloween."
"Also, I didn't thank you for, you know," she faltered, "rescuing me."
"You did the same for me," he told her. "And we're teammates, that's what we do."
"I appreciate it, nonetheless." She hesitated, then reached forward to hug him. "Thanks, Beast Boy."
He didn't panic, like he had the last time she hugged him, and took advantage of the embrace. He inhaled slightly, the scent of Raven doing more than words to reassure him that everything was back to normal.
When he let her go, Raven stepped back and smiled faintly. Beast Boy smiled back at her and things in his chest seemed to shift. She didn't smile often enough – and she lit up when she smiled. He wondered what it'd be like to see that expression every day. He wondered why he wanted that so much.
"Gotta say," he said with a grin, "you make a pretty hot Princess Leia."
"Don't ruin this," she retorted, walking away from him. He caught the smirk on her face as she added, "Nerf herder."
With a laugh, Beast Boy followed Raven, willing to risk life and limb for another smile.