This is the final chapter. Enjoy! Lost of happy to make up for the sad. This clocks in at the longest chapter BY FAR and of course it's the fluffy one. I really mean it when I say ENJOY haha. Enjoy the fuck out of this chapter.


part ix sunshine


Everything in the med bay was sharp. The arm of the chair was hard and clammy, the glowing monitor display crisp and bright, each clean wrinkle of the sheets draped over Raven's legs distinct. The cloudless morning sky outside painted a psychedelic blend of egg yolk in watercolor on the window, casting a few sunbeams on the far wall by the neon EXIT sign. It was ten to seven and each tick of the clock entered Beast Boy's ears with clarity. It was all so… there.

It felt like waking up from a year long coma. He couldn't believe he and Raven had only been out for one night.

But that's what they said. The plastic seat cover creaked as he looked over at Cyborg, Starfire, and Robin, who'd been huddled by the door for five minutes now, leaving Beast Boy alone at Raven's bedside. It was alright with him. Over the last two hours he must have assured them "yes, I'm fine" at least four dozen times. A moment of silence was bliss.

And he was fine. One hand subconsciously brushed his stomach again, feeling the ragged fabric there where his suit had been torn to shreds. But the skin underneath was intact. Rough and scarred but fully healed. He felt nothing. No stinging, no aching, no phantom pain. Raven had truly and fully saved his life.

"Thanks," he heard Robin say. "Trust me, it's for the best. I promise I'll wake you as soon as anything changes."

The door clicked open, drawing Beast Boy's attention. Starfire gave him a small subdued wave and disappeared out the door after Cyborg.

Robin answered the question in Beast Boy's eyes. "They're gonna get some sleep. None of us have slept since yesterday and this ordeal has been all over the news. Someone has to be rested in case a villain tries to take advantage of the situation."

"Right. Good call."

"Beast Boy, can we talk in the hall for a second?"

His tone reeked of barely concealed eagerness that made Beast Boy sigh. He gave Raven a quick once-over, even though he knew nothing had changed. Her lips moved soundlessly over the shape of her mantra, her body hovering an inch or so above the topsheet. Slowly but surely the injury had shrunk and closed, though he was sure she was going to have a scar as prominent as his. Twenty or so minutes ago Cyborg had dropped the clipboard on the counter with a triumphant clatter and proclaimed Raven was as good as new, and now all that was left was for her to wake from the healing trance. The waiting was terrible.

Reluctantly he scooted his chair out and followed Robin from the med bay.

"I know what you're gonna say," he spilled, the second Robin closed the door behind them, unable to wait for whatever lecture Robin had planned, "and I'm so sorry. I know I messed up bad and I lost my cool and it was almost fatal and Raven got dragged into it and hurt and I never wanted that and I know she's gonna be okay but it's still all my fault, I shouldn't have lost control like that, Red X was trying to rile me up, he knew exactly which buttons to press, so I understand if you want to put me on probation orㅡ"

"Wait, slow down." Concern crossed his face and he brought one hand up to Beast Boy's shoulder, effectively corking the remainder of his rant. "I wasn't gonna say any of that, Beast Boy. I was gonna ask if you were okay."

He resisted the urge to throw his head back and groan. "You already askedㅡ"

"And I'm asking again," Robin said carefully, "now that we're alone. Just between us. I'm not asking if you're healed, I'm asking if you're okay."

"What? Oh." Beast Boy's irritation evaporated. "I guess. Yeah. I dunno. Yeah."

Robin crossed his arms, unconvinced. "Do you understand exactly what happened? We're all so confused. What exactly did Raven do to save you?"

Beast Boy opened his mouth to answer but was thrown off by the intense onslaught of deja vu. They'd had this conversation before. Of course they hadn't, not really, but it felt like all of this had already happened. But it was all in his head. And Raven's. What a mess.

"Well," he started. He gestured noncommittally with his hands, hoping Robin would catch the drift. He didn't, judging by the blatant bafflement on his face. Beast Boy groaned and began to explain the concept of Raven's shared healing trance. But he gave up halfway through, resorting to, "It's complicated. Rae… she's more powerful than I thought she was, heh. And I already had kind of a lofty opinion to begin with."

That amused Robin. "Yeah, I know."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Robin quipped back but Beast Boy didn't hear what he said. There was a sudden spark of awareness that drew his attention like geomagnetism. Through the wall. He didn't see or hear anything but he'd felt something. He didn't know what it was. It was a sense he didn't have. Like some color he'd never seen before.

Beast Boy? Robin was calling him from a world away but he was focused on the spark. It was as plain as gravity.

"She's awake."

"What?"

"Raven's awake." He didn't know how he knew, he just knew, and when he burst back through the door into the med bay there she was, sitting up, hands folded in her lap. There were circles under her eyes and her hair was a bit frazzled, her skin still stained red in spots, but she looked otherwise healthy and unharmed. She gave him a weary smile that crinkled her eyes at the corners and his heart tried to restart itself. "Hey," he offered.

"Hey," she returned, pushing her tangled hair away from her eyes.

Without taking his eyes off her he said, "Rob, you wanna spread the word thatㅡ" but the door clicked softly shut and he saw that Robin had already left. "So…" He reclaimed the chair he'd lived in for the last couple hours by her bed, nervous yet oddly calm. "I have to ask. This is… real, now. Right? We're really here? This is happening?"

The small smile came back. God he loved that smile. She knew so well how to hide it that whenever it snuck out it meant she wasn't merely happy, she was uncontrollably ecstatic. Two smiles in two minutes. Raven was on cloud nine. "Yes," she said, amusement coloring her tone. "This is real."

He sighed audibly. "Good. I mean, I thought so, but y'know, after what happened. How did you know about the lighthouse?" Raven fiddled with the sheets, not answering. He pressed her. "After you collapsed you said 'there's a lighthouse on the shore.' That's what my dad used to say, after kisiwa chiriku. I'd get upset because the birds were lost and he'd always say 'it's alright, there's a lighthouse on the shore.' How did you know?"

"I don't know. I just knew." She resigned herself to staring at his knees. "That's not weird, is it?"

He thought about the spark that had told him she was awake. How he'd just known. They were gonna have to talk about that eventually. "No," he countered, avoiding the topic for now, "not any weirder than anything else that's happened since yesterday."

"What else do you remember?" she prompted cautiously.

He eyed her, wondering how to break it gently and instead deciding to just go all in. "Rae, I remember everything."

"Oh." Blood rushed to her face and she broke the eye contact.

"Listen." Gently, tentatively, he brushed his fingers on her hand. When she didn't protest he laced their fingers, ever so slightly, steeling himself for what he was about to say. "I don't want you to feel like you have to… I mean, I understand why you never told me. I'm not that obtuse. I know why. And if you want, we can go back to exactly how it was before and pretend none of this ever happened. Not that I want that," he added numbly. He did not fucking want that. "But if it's what you need then it's what I'll do."

She breathed deeply and her fingers closed around his, just a bit. She whispered something to herself then said louder, "Beast Boy." She thought for a moment then amended it, saying with an air of formal practicality, "Garfield." His heart skipped again but she gave him no time to linger on the affectionate gesture. "When I was sent to train with Azar it was because the alternative to total control over my emotions did not bear imagining. You know how it is when I lose control, even by the tiniest slip. It's chaos. If you had died at the bank I don't know what would have happened. I could have destroyed the entire building and everyone inside. I could have destroyed the entire city without even knowing it was happening. That's the exact type of situation Azar taught me to subvert. I never should have gotten close enough to anyone that I felt their death like it was my own."

"You weren't supposed to make friends?"

"No. I wasn't. But…" She paused for a moment, looking at their hands. "I did. Can't change that. It's done."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying it's done. Nothing I do now or ever will change the way I feel about the people I know. If you died tomorrow or in fifty years I think the outcome would be the same and it wouldn't matter if I started now and never spoke to you again. It would hurt just the same."

"Alright, I'll say it. You are sending really mixed signals right now. Can you just come out with it?"

Raven rolled her eyes. "I'm trying to say no. No, I don't want to pretend that none of this happened. What's the point? It won't save us in the future by pretending now. So let's just be."

Beast Boy felt like he could breakdance. How could she sound so solemn about something so amazing? "Your words are sad but all I'm hearing is a big hell yeah. You're talking about it like it's the end of the world! Rae, today I got to tell Red X to fuck off like six times (once while he was sitting in the back of a squad car with two Robin-shaped black eyes), you and I gave death the middle finger, and I found out you love me back. There is literally nothing you can say to make this sad for me."

The creaking door cut off Raven's reply and a couple tentative knocks announced the return of their tired friends. All three were obviously bursting to come in but were waiting for some kind of invitation, so Beast Boy waved them forward, surreptitiously disentangling his hand from Raven's.

Star descended on her with borderline psychotic hugs, lots of tears, and exactly the same decibel of shrieking with which she'd gifted Beast Boy a couple hours ago.

"So you are both better now?" Starfire cried as Raven awkwardly patted her back, slightly crushed under the taller girl's weight.

"Yeah," Raven assured her, "we're great." Cyborg pried Starfire away so Raven could stand and stretch. "I'm really eager to get out of the med bay, though, and no, Cyborg, I'm not signing any med papers."

Cyborg reeled. "You think I'd make you fill out a bunch of forms right now? I'm offended!" He stole the next hug, ignoring her discomfort for just a moment and then letting her escape. "You can fill them out later after you'veㅡ"

"Bye."

Star wilted. "Where are you going?"

"Shower. And…" She wrinkled her nose at Beast Boy. "You need to shower too."

Beast Boy pulled a face, acting appalled at the accusation. "Blood drenched clothing is all the rage right now I'll have you know aaaand she's gone. So." He changed gears, rounding on the others with the intensity of a hyperactive puppy. "I was thinking we should celebrate! What do you guys think? We could order Chinese. I know they said they wouldn't deliver again after last time but I really want a fortune cookie right now. Any chance the driver would pick up balloons on the way if I bribed them?"

"You're in a strangely good mood," Cyborg noted.

"Duh." He waved his arms around, puzzled about the lingering moroseness of his teammates. "Hello, I just did a triple cartwheel around the grim reaper. What is everyone not understanding about this?"

"No, you're right." To everyone's surprise, it was Robin who said it. "We should celebrate. I'm still not sure exactly what happened back there, and while I think it's important, I also think we can get to it later. A celebration is in order. But we should go out instead of staying here. We got a lot of really crazy press coverage last night, especially with the candlelight vigil as you guys were…" he trailed off, unsure how to phrase it. "Well, at any rate, I think it's wise to show the public that you and Raven weren't down for long and you've both bounced back."

Beast Boy pointed at him accusatively. "This is just PR for you."

But Cy and Star had already latched onto the idea. "I vote we do the hanging in the park," Starfire asserted merrily. "After the stressful evening I would love nothing more than to just do the relaxation with my friends in the sun."

The thought of lying in the sun with his friends was rather enticing. "Yeah, I could go for that," Beast Boy agreed. "Let's do it. But you guys owe me a fortune cookie."

After his shower, Beast Boy lingered in his room for longer than he meant to. The scattered comic books and dirty clothes mocked him from the carpet. He couldn't believe he had dreamt that he'd cleaned this place. Digging through his dresser for a clean t-shirt, he shook his head in resentful disbelief. He was going to have to clean it all over again if he ever wanted Raven in here.

That unbidden thought brought yet another flutter to his chest.

He sat at the edge of his bed to tie his shoes, trying not to think about Raven, in here, laying in this very spot. He shook his head. He shook it again. A teardrop of pink lava detached from the top of his bedside lava lamp and fell into the light, turning his entire bedroom orange for a second. He reached over and clicked it off. He was glad it wasn't really broken.

When Raven came into the common room her hair was still damp. Beast Boy watched her from his place on the couch, letting everyone else do the job of convincing her to go to the park with them. To his surprise she agreed readily. Cyborg high fived Starfire, and the two resumed loading what looked like every single condiment from the fridge door into an ice-packed cooler. Raven slipped away, crossing the room to hover behind the couch near Beast Boy.

"It still feels like a dream," she murmured, just loudly enough for him to hear. "Doesn't it?"

"Yeah." He leaned his head back over the couch cushion so that he was looking at her upside down. "But it is real, right?"

"Yes." She looked toward the window at the twitter of a passing bird. "At least, I'm pretty sure." They shared a nervous glance.

"Alright," Cyborg announced in a booming voice. "If everyone's ready then let's go! I've got the T-car idling down by the tunnel! Let's gooo!"

Raven gave him a hesitant look and a sudden wave of reluctance washed over him. It came so quickly that he sat up, reevaluating her from right-side up. That couldn't be right. He wanted to go. He wanted nothing more than to go. Did… did that feeling come from her? "You guys go on ahead," he said slowly. "Me and Rae are gonna fly there."

"You want to fly?" Robin tucked a catcher's mitt under his arm and frowned with skepticism. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Yeah, we're fine!" Beast Boy said for the thousandth time that morning. "A little stiff, though, what with all the stabbing."

"Beast Boy!" Raven whacked him on the back of the head. Turning back to Robin with a sort of exasperated stoicism, she said, "It's fine, honestly. He's right. We need to stretch, it would do us good."

Robin reluctantly agreed, and the three of them left, Cy hitting Beast Boy with an unreadable look as the elevator closed. As soon as they were gone Beast Boy rolled over the backside of the couch and looked at Raven expectantly.

Her lips pressed into a grim line. "While I was in the shower I remembered something."

"Uh oh."

"No, it's nothing bad. I just… it's embarrassing. But if we're going to, um. If we're going to be…"

Beast Boy almost laughed when he placed his finger on the source of her panic. She was struggling to find a label for their relationship. God, if that was the hardest part about this for her then it was gonna be an absolute breeze. He bit his lip to hide the snicker. "Skip that part for now," he suggested.

She breathed a sigh of relief. "If we're going to become involved," she went on, "then I want to set the precedent for honesty."

"Um yeah, okay. That sounds good." He hoped he sounded like he was following because he was super lost.

"I remembered where I got the idea to merge our mindscapes. You know how I was trying to remember that the whole time we were in the trance together? Well, I've remembered."

"Yeah?" He inched closer subconsciously as curiosity consumed him.

"It didn't come from a book at all," she mumbled, "or from anywhere. It was my idea. It was a dumb question, really. I was only eight years old at the time. It came up when Azar was teaching me about the self-induced meditative state. I asked him if it was possible to share the state with someone in order to heal them."

"So he taught you toㅡ"

"No." Raven let her hair fall into her face, indicating that this was the embarrassing part. He fell quiet. "He said it was impossible because it would require an emotional symbiosis of the deepest kind, which was completely at odds with what he was teaching me."

"But you did it. How did you know it would work?"

"I suppose I didn't."

Frustration drove him to scowl at her. "That was stupid. You had no idea what would happen! You could have died too for all you know!"

"Possible." She turned away.

All the fight blew out of him. He considered every retort, every road in this argument, and ultimately decided to shut his mouth. Raven was right. What was done was done, and he shouldn't be rewarding her show of rare open honesty with hostility. So he backtracked with a deep sigh and pulled her into a hug. At first she tensed with surprise, but slowly she relaxed and when he buried his face in her hair her arms finally found their way around him too. "Thanks," he said. "I would have done the same for you."

Raven tried to pull away. "Okay, now you're just being cheesy. We should go meet the others or they'll think we ran into trouble."

But he didn't let her go. "Just one more thing. I was trying to do this when you collapsed on me, not that that was your fault or anything," he added hastily, cheeks growing ever redder, "but I have to do it before I lose my nerve or I'll probably neverㅡ" Raven pressed a finger to his lips with sarcastic impatience. Floating up just an inch, her eyes fluttered shut and their lips met, just for a second.

She pulled away, eyes still shut, like she was too scared to even open them. She mumbled almost imperceptibly. "Please tell me that was what you were talking about."

He grinned like the idiot in love that he was and pulled her to his chest so sharply that she squeaked. Instead of answering he kissed her again. This time he was ready and he meant it. He poured everything he'd never said into it and he swore he could feel her heart beating, pulsing in a drumbeat that ignited his veins. When he paused to breathe he still couldn't pull away, and nudged her cheek with his nose as he posed an interesting observation. "Nothing broke."

Raven glanced around the room with quiet surprise, as if she'd been sure they were standing in ruins and was about to say so. He soaked in her curiosity and wondered, not for the first time, if there were any lasting effects from the connection Raven had wrought between them.

"Okay," he said brightly, yanking her from her reverie, "let's go!"

She followed him to the nearest window in a daze and he threw it open wide. "By the way," he said sneakily. "I'm a vegan so I don't do 'cheesy.' If you must insult me then please respectfully stick to 'corny.'"

That brought her back to earth. She gave him a withering look and said, "You'll be chopped liver if you don't shut it."

He only snickered and transformed into a blue bird.

They arrived at the park and awkwardly smiled for a photographer that quickly excused herself from the sidelines of the baseball game that was currently under way. The other Titans had taken up a game with a couple of local college kids, judging by their hats and shirts all sporting the blue and gold JCU logo. One of them was playing umpire and called a timeout as soon as he saw the photographer snapping photos of Raven and and Beast Boy.

Cyborg jogged over from third base with a brilliant, slap-happy grin plastered on his face. "You guys sure took your time." Beast Boy glared, unsure of the accusation, but was distracted by Starfire's sudden gasp.

"Raven, you did not bring a book! Do you plan on engaging in the summer fun?"

Raven looked down at her hands like she expected to see a book there. "I forgot it. But I don't feel up to baseball right now. Maybe next time."

Everyone's jaw dropped, including Beast Boy's. Never in the history of park adventures had Raven ever given any inkling she would join in a recreational athletic activity of her own free will. Star squealed her delight. "I will do the holding of you to your word! Beast Boy?"

"Pass," he said automatically, still reeling over Raven's odd demeanor. "I'll be commentator."

As everyone retook their spots in the grass Beast Boy followed Raven as she made her way to the blankets that had been spread out in the shade of a towering oak. Back the way they'd come, the photographer peaked out from behind a tree, the sun glinting off her camera lens. Beast Boy pointed her out to Raven, who simply shrugged her indifference.

He was about to ask Raven if she was serious about playing baseball next time when he noticed Robin making his way over to them.

"What, you're not gonna play?" Beast Boy asked him.

"I'm not up to bat yet." He took a seat next to Raven, wiping his forehead and taking a swig of his water. "I thought it was a good time to talk to you guys about what happened. Specifically," he emphasized, looking at Raven, "about what you did."

Raven averted his gaze, fidgeting uncomfortably between the two boys. "You didn't explain?" she asked Beast Boy.

"I tried." He grimaced, thinking he probably could have done a better job of it. "Honestly, I wasn't sure what to say."

Robin cut in. "Look, you don't have to be specific. The whole ordeal was traumatic and I don't want to relive it in detail any more than you do. I only ask because it's important for the team that I know what each of us is capable of. Raven, we had no idea your healing powers were so advanced." Awe leaked into his voice and Beast Boy felt Raven cringe away from it.

She shook her head. "I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I'm not a miracle worker."

"I didn't say that. But you did kind of pull off a miracle. We thought…" He looked at Beast Boy with an intense sadness that he quickly shook off. "We thought the worst. What you did was absolutely incredible."

"Yes," she admitted, "I suppose it was. But it's not an ability we can rely on as a team. I don't want any of you putting yourselves in extra danger because you think I can pull you back from the brink of death."

"Of course not," he agreed. "Especially if healing the damage is harmful to you, as it obviously was. I only meant in the most extreme, most unforeseen circumstances. Situations like last night at the bank. But you're saying you don't think you'll be able to do it again? Was it a one time thing?"

Raven dithered. "Not exactly. It would probably work again."

"But you just saidㅡ"

"If it was still Beast Boy I was healing. Let me finish, would you? This is hard enough as it is." She spat out the rest of it in one breath, burying her head in her hands at the end. "I'm just trying to say that the shared trance isn't likely to work with anyone other than Beast Boy. Okay?" The 'okay' was smothered by her hands.

Robin looked lost as he tried to identify the cause of her sudden outburst. "I don't get it. Did you forge some new kind of azarathian mental connection you've never mentioned?"

"Jeez, Rob, you're torturing her." He had his suspicions that Robin might have hit the nail right on the head with that assessment, but he also knew that's not what Raven meant. "She's not talking about some obscure magical connection, okay? Just a regular old fashioned human one."

Confusion still dominated their leader's face. "I don't…"

"Come on," Beast Boy joked, "you know this one. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme…" he trailed off, pointing first to Raven, then to himself. Raven saw this and took her hands away from her face to shove Beast Boy over into the grass.

Comprehension slapped Robin in the face. "Wha- oh. Oh. Really?"

"Believe it or not," Raven groaned, sounding like she'd rather not believe it herself.

"We decided to tell you on the way over here," Beast Boy went on, all jokes aside, "since you're team leader and all, but we want to keep it on the DL for as long as we can. You know how it is. Especially for her." He pointed a thumb at Raven, who had just retreated underneath her hood. "Hey uhh… are you gonna say anything?" he prodded. "You look shocked."

He looked almost more giddy than shocked. "No," he said, "actually more like relieved. I thought we were gonna have another apocalypse on our hands when you guys finally looked at a newspaper."

"What?" Raven perked up. "Why?"

Robin pointed out the photographer, who'd taken up residence under the ramada with a family that was having a cookout, pretending like she wasn't watching them. "I'll give you one guess how the media has been spinning this disaster," Robin told them smugly.

One of the college girls shouted at Robin from second base. "Hey Robin, you're up to bat!"

"Coming!" He jumped up agilely, but hesitated, looking back at them with a fleeting look of uncharacteristic sentimentality. "You know," he said quietly, "I always thought you two would be good for each other." His face grew hard. "Prove me right." And he was off to bat amidst cheers and taunts.

"So what are we gonna do about that?" Raven pondered miserably as the photographer snuck closer to duck behind a flowering hedge.

"I dunno. Seems kinda like a lost cause. I mean… I wasn't gonna mention it but there were a lot of people there when we first woke up. I was pretty distraught. I could have said anything."

Raven frowned. "We could always just deny it."

Beast Boy bit his lip. "Aaand I might have literally carried you out of the bank. They were trying to put you on a stretcher but I wouldn't let anyone near you. I carried you down the steps in my arms, all the way back to the car."

Raven sighed. "Good job."

"I wasn't thinking about how it looked," he snapped back.

"So much for 'on the downlow.'"

Beast Boy shrugged. "Well, the bubble was good while it lasted."

"The whole half a day," Raven sassed.

"Let's just cut our losses. You wanna pop it with a bang?"

Raven narrowed her eyes. "What exactly are you suggesting?"

He matched her suspicion with unrelenting mischief. "I'm suggesting we make the front page two days in a row."

Raven blinked in the slowest, most disparaging way possible. "Oh, I don't know. Why not."

"Really?"

"I'm gonna regret it, but sure. I'm in a good mood. Do what you want, whatever it is."

"It's this." He leapt to his feet. "Oi!" He waved frantically at the photographer, who was currently trying to snap a photo from behind the hedge. "You!" The lanky girl stood up, glancing this way and that before resigning herself to the fact that Beast Boy was talking to her. "Yes, you!" he affirmed. "Come'ere!"

The photographer slunk over to their oak tree, looking thoroughly contrite.

"It's okay," Beast Boy said cheerily. "I don't bite. Haha. Get it? No?"

"I'm Natalie!" the photographer blurted, smoothing her pencil skirt. "I'm really, really sorry for spying. Just trying to make a living. Honestly I'm glad you guys are okay, I was at the candlelight vigil all night long. Really I should have been candid but it's just that I'm working freelance and I'm under pressure for high interest pictures and well, you guys are the talk of the town right now. Anyway, I'm gonna sprint away before I put my foot any further into my mouth.

"Hang on," Beast Boy laughed, "not yet. Get your camera out, Natalie, because you're about to be in high demand."

"My camera is always out," Natalie scoffed. "Why?"

For years Beast Boy would keep the front page of the newspaper from that day tacked up on the corkboard in his room.

It would stay there through hundreds of cleaning sessions, through dozens of different homes, fading and yellowing and wrinkling until Starfire eventually framed it as a surprise for the Tamaranean friendship day one year. It would follow them everywhere, all from the moment Raven tacked it up there on that first night and looked over her shoulder at him with a certain shyness that she would never entirely overcome.

Warmth welled up inside him and he crossed his bedroom to hug her from behind, scanning the headline on the newspaper for the umpteenth time. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, it read, in big bold letters, and underneath was a full page spread of him kissing Raven in the shade of the oak tree. Over time he would eventually forget the headlines that announced his presumed death, or Raven's, from the day before. He made the papers hundreds of times over the course of his life, but the only headline he ever remembered word for word was the one above the picture in the park. Beauty and the Beast. It was a good headline.

Hesitantly, he wrapped his arms around her waist, savoring this moment as they both looked at the paper on his corkboard. He was sure that on the last day of his life he would be able to recall these few seconds with absolute clarity. For the first time since waking up at the bank, it didn't feel at all like a dream.

"I admit it," Raven said softly, her hand resting on his wrist. "This is nice. This is going to be nice."

"Hell yeah!" he whooped, distracted by something new. He pointed avidly at the tiny weather strip just below the headline. It read sunny, sunny, sunny, every day this week. A smallprint quote from the local weather station noted "Nothing but sunshine, every day."

"That'll be nice too," Raven agreed. "I'm tired of rain."

"It never actually rained, though." He pulled her hair behind her ear so he could see her face. "Remember?"

"Just because it wasn't real doesn't mean it didn't happen."

"Cryptic."

But as she turned to face him he realized he knew exactly what she meant. He thought of the endless sunlit savannah he had turned away from to come back to life with her, of the sunrays that had rent apart the imagined ballroom floor like an earthquake as she opened her heart to him and he smiled. It happened. It was still happening. It would happen forever and ever, again and again, as long as he lived.


Nothing but sunshine, every day.


The end!

This has been an adventure and a half. This was super fun to write. It was a real puzzle at times to work out how to write certain parts so I feel it's really helped me develop, almost more than any other story. Really rewarding to complete. When this idea started I never intended to actually write it, but as with most ideas it grew a mind of its own. Hope everyone who read this far enjoyed it. Lots of fluff in this chapter to make up for all the heart wrenching angst. I KNOW y'all enjoyed that, haha.

I hope everyone got their answers about the previous chapter from this last you still have questions, hit me up! It's important, as a writer, that I hear about it when the point didn't quite come across. This story was pretty abstract. I know I said I might talk a bit about the symbolism throughout the story at the end of this chapter but there was honest to god a real fuckton of it and I suspect no one really cares all that much haha. If anyone expresses interest I'll post an author's note about it, but otherwise I'm just gonna go ahead and sign off on this story.

Love you guys! Thanks for reading.

xoxo