I'm so dramatic haha. Someone kill me.
It was a long flight back and she almost had to take a boat across the bay. Try as she might she couldn't open a portal, and couldn't even conjure enough energy to move her own hair out of her eyes without resorting to using her hands like a regular person. Going in, she hadn't realized the extent to which drinking would affect her powers. The knowledge might have helped her turn down those last few drinks.
She wobbled up the stairs on legs that felt like they belonged to someone else. Back on the ground, it was easy (in two-dimensional logic) to see how anything that affected her motor skills and mental functions would affect her higher functions to the same degree. She was fairly certain it would go away just as quickly as the alcohol flushed out of her system, but still, she didn't particularly like it. The vulnerability, that is. She couldn't raise her empathic senses farther than her own inner turmoil, so she had no idea if anyone was even home. If he was even…
In the doorway to the common room, she froze.
He was there alright, sitting with his back to the glass wall, alone in complete darkness. He didn't react to her entry at all. It was almost a full minute before she could force herself to close the distance, desperately trying to remember all the apologies she had practiced as she flew across the ocean toward the island. But she couldn't recall anything beyond I'm sorry. He didn't look up as she approached, or even when she stumbled against an empty bottle and waited as it rolled away. The rattle of glass on the tile floor was deafening.
In the faint cyan light cast off the faraway skyscrapers she could make out the outline of his face, and as her eyes finally adjusted to the darkness she saw a telltale glisten in his eyes. He looked away, rubbing absently at the moisture there. Just like that, any anger that was still leftover in her system went whooshing out in the form of guilt, collapsing her to her knees next to him. He scarcely had time to meet her eyes before she fell on him, latching her arms around his shoulders and still expecting him to reject her. But he didn't. Instead of throwing her away he crushed her to his chest. Her skirt twisted up underneath her knees as he pulled her off balance, burying his face in her hair with a great big shuddering breath of relief.
"I'm sorry," she blurted, still breathless from the flight home and the stairs, "I'm sorry. I said some horrible stuff and I didn't mean any of it. I was just so mad, but it doesn't make it okay. I don't know what else to say except I'm sorry."
Relaxing his grip on her, Beast Boy pushed her upright by the shoulders, a bemused expression having replaced the forlorn one. "Are you drunk?"
"What?" Instinctively she brushed his arms off, trying to right herself. "I'm not…" She sat back on her folded legs, facing the window with a degree of embarrassment that would have fractured the glass had her powers not been muted. "I did drink, yeah. How did you know?"
Beast Boy leaned back against the glass, poking his head back into her field of view. "You hugged me," he pointed out, and didn't mention that it was the most emotional hug he'd ever received in his life, "and apologized first, before I even had a chance."
Still flushed and slightly ashamed now, Raven gestured to the empty beer bottle she'd stumbled into, growing defensive. "You're drunk too," she accused.
He didn't bite. "I can't believe I missed all the fun," he complained. "What was your favorite?"
"I dunno," Raven sighed. The fun had all been superficial, without him there. "They were all pretty gross. The worst was this tall blue thing Starfire ordered for me with a really obscene name."
Beast Boy's eyes bugged out. "You drank an Adios Motherfucker? You?" He ignored Raven's indignant glance at his shamelessness. "God, and here I am drinking shitty beer like a loser."
"You're not a loser," she answered automatically.
"No, I am."
She was taken aback by the weight in his voice, and suddenly the reason why they were here on the floor slammed into her, winding her again. The fight. That fight. The fight to end all fights. That one.
He saw her clamming up again and tried to look as penitent as he felt. "I am so sorry, Rae. I acted like a total ass. Everyone was telling me not to do it but I just… I wanted you there so bad. I wanted to give you your present." He tugged at a loose seam on his rolled-up sleeves, looking very lost. "I knew it was a bad idea, but I… I don't know. When it comes to you, my judgement gets all…" He trailed off, his eyes stormy and distant as he weighed his words. She had almost decided he wasn't going to finish the sentence at all when he finally decided on, "Cloudy."
Cloudy? Raven thought about every fight they'd ever had and nodded once, solemnly. "I know what you mean."
"Maybe we…" Beast Boy sighed, rapping his head against the glass on accident but not really noticing. "Do you think we were never meant to be friends?" He could see her shifting uncomfortably in his peripheral vision but he couldn't look her in the eye.
It was a long minute before Raven found the words to reply, and even then they came slowly. "I don't… believe that um… anything is meant to be," she said softly, "anymore, that is. You know that."
His lip quirked. How could he have forgotten? "Right," he chuckled. "I forgot today was the literal anniversary of giving fate the middle finger."
"What I mean, is that I think it's completely up to us."
"We're not very good at being friends," he said listlessly.
"No." She shivered. "We're not." She'd come so close earlier to convincing herself never to see him again. How could she have fooled herself into thinking she wanted that?
"Hey, you okay?"
His hand was on her shoulder but she couldn't feel it. All of her emotion from the whole night came to a head and she burst like a dam. "We can't do this anymore," she spilled, "we can't fight like this, we have to stop. I don't even know how it escalates so quickly but if we keep letting it happen it's going to ruin our friendship. I don't want that." I don't want to lose you. "We only have a few months left before we disband and if we ruin this now then we're ruining it forever."
Beast Boy's eyes were like saucers as he pressed a hand to her cheek, amazed to find that it was wet. "Woah, woah, it's okay," he floundered. "You're crying and your powers aren't going haywire. Are you alright?"
Frustrated, she huffed. "I'm drunk, you idiot. It's dulling all my powers." And her carefully practiced emotional stability. She was definitely going to pay for this emotional rollercoaster when she sobered up. "It took me thirty minutes just to fly home."
"Oh." He smiled gently, pushing her hair away from her wet cheeks, his stomach flipping a little when she offered no resistance. "It's okay," he insisted, "really. Please don't cry. I did enough of that for both of us already."
"I don't even know why I'm crying," she grumbled, using her sleeve to wipe the blurred makeup from under her eyes. "I know we're making up right now but I still feel so upset… Alcohol is awful. Why do people even like it? I spent most of the night thinking I might never speak to you again but then that guy gave me your present," (Beast Boy's heart palpitated as she gestured to the thin chain wrapped around her wrist. So she got it after all!) "and I didn't know what to think and I feel so angry and guilty and sad and happy and so confused, Garfield."
The use of his real name escaped his notice. He had never seen her cry freely before and the experience was jarring him more than words could describe. He didn't know what to do so he hazarded it and pulled her into another hug. She went limp and let her head fall into the crook of his shoulder.
"Hey, you know I didn't really mean it when I said I was relenting forever," he assured her, chin bobbing against the top of her head. "You know me. I don't give up. And that includes giving up on you."
"We have to find some sort of middle ground," she reasoned, her voice muffled by the pressed fabric of his dress shirt. "I don't ever want to fight like that again. I mean it," she added after a moment. "Our fighting days are over."
"What?" He feigned being aghast at the implication. "You mean we have to talk things out like rational adults? Ugh, gross. No, but really," he tacked on softly. "Whatever you say, Rae. For you, I am willing to compromise. I'll meet you wherever you wanna meet me."
She sighed, and Beast Boy could tell she was no longer crying. Her fingers curled loosely into the sleeve folds at his elbow. "Here is good," she said.
His heart was abuzz in his ears. "Yeah," he agreed, acutely aware of every inch of his body that touched hers. "Here is good."
"Can I tell you something before I sober up?" she mumbled.
"Let me think about it…" He pressed his cheek into her hair. "Yes."
She pushed away from him, taking a moment to find his eyes and steel herself for the admission. "I…" She breathed. In. Out. "You're kinda.. sorta.. really super important to me too." The rest of it tumbled out and she could feel her already warm cheeks getting warmer.
"Oh?" His grin was infectious. "Is that so?"
"Yes," Raven said seriously. "Too important to forget." Something shifted in his eyes then, and she thought for a moment he was going to kiss her.
She remembered quite clearly the first time she thought he was going to do that.
It was on this very same day, years ago, when her friends went off to try and cheat destiny for her sake. At first he'd turned to follow them, but then came right back, eyes blazing, emotions churning in a torrent even she couldn't read without an encyclopedia, and for a heart-stopping moment as he moved toward her she had truly believed he was about to kiss her. But he'd pressed his lucky penny into her hand instead.
There had been other times, too. Once at a movie theatre when they ended up alone due to a ticket mix-up. Once on a long trip to Germany. Once in the snow. Once on the roof. Once in the courtyard of some municipal building after a particularly rough battle that involved a civilian casualty. She had taken a seat next to him on the bench even though he said he was fine and squeezed his hand. They'd lived together, grown together, fought together, lost together. She knew him. His pain was visible to her through his stoic facade without any need to employ her empathic powers. But when he squeezed her hand back she had looked up in surprise to find the pain of loss replaced by another kind entirely.
That time was the closest it came to actually happening. He leaned in, stopping only when their noses brushed, his breath on her lips. And to her eternal confusion, he withdrew.
He always did.
But it was that first time that swam into her head now when he leaned toward her in that way, that way he had, with so much purpose packed in the simple motion. It was the penny that she thought of when he hesitated, and instead of kissing her reached for the necklace coiled around her wrist.
He unraveled it, setting the note aside and offering up the necklace with a 'May I?' sort of expression. Understanding belatedly, Raven pulled her hair aside to let him fasten it around her neck.
His fingers lingered on the clasp far longer than it actually took to find the hook. Eventually he abandoned all pretense and pushed his fingers into the base of her hair, fighting an internal battle that had become familiar. He remembered the first time he had almost kissed her. The memory was crystallized, along with all the other times, each more difficult than the last. He wanted to. He really did, more than anything, god, he wanted to. But that wasn't enough.
Why? She wanted to ask. Why do you always hesitate?
She'd often assumed it was because she wasn't good enough. Because she was too this. Too that. Too Raven. Or that maybe because the timing was wrong. Maybe he was just waiting for the right time. But now, with his hand lingering on her neck, she realized faintly that the only thing he'd ever really been waiting for was her.
As soon as that clicked, it was like all the lights had turned on. Something inside her ignited and she kissed him.
Beast Boy was blinded by surprise. Her kissing him? It was so unexpected. So unexpected and so, oh so very welcome. He still hadn't even fully registered that it was happening until her arms locked around his neck and then it was like a fire had erupted inside him and he was kissing her back, twisting his arms around her, falling back against the window under the full weight of her body. She gasped softly when he took her lip between his teeth and he had to struggle not to pin her to the ground right then and there.
"This is so much better than fighting," he managed to say between breaths.
A soft little clik caused them both to separate and look downward. Raven grabbed her necklace, tugging on it a bit. It had attached itself to an identical one that she hadn't noticed him wearing, and the two teardrops hung connected between them, impervious to Raven's gentle pulling. Something stirred in her memory. Other half.
"Don't say it," he groaned, "I know, it's the sappiest thing ever." He blushed furiously, knowing how Raven felt about all things sappy. "They're magnetic, see?" Averting his eyes from her all-knowing ones, he pried the two pendants apart and let them clik back together again.
"Oh." Genuine comprehension dawned on her with such explosive immediacy that she felt like a total imbecile. Damn mind-muddling alcohol. The necklace wasn't a teardrop at all.
She lifted the little silver heart to eye level, amazed at how seamlessly the two teardrop shapes fit together when before she hadn't even realized that half of it was missing. It was a marvel of engineering. Squinting at him, she wondered how much he had paid for it, but didn't ask. She broke the magnetic connection and tucked hers safely inside her shirt so that they wouldn't stick.
"The sappiest," she confirmed. "But…" Hesitantly, she adjusted her position, sliding one leg onto the other side of his lap so that she was looking down at him instead of sitting next to him. His hands found their way to her hips immediately so she knew she must have done something right. "I think it will grow on me," she finished.
"I knew it." He kissed her neck, sliding his hands up her waist to feel the marble skin there. "Does this count as middle ground?" he wondered aloud. He ran a longing hand across her warm stomach and savored the way she shivered.
On his chest her hands roved up to fiddle with his collar. "I don't know," she admitted. "I think we're in uncharted waters here."
"Uncharted is okay." He groaned as she pressed against him, her body soft and hot and wakening urges that would shame the wildest of animals. "Right?" he checked, knowing that she was feeling exactly what was happening to him.
"Yes," she said, hesitant, her toes clenching a little involuntarily at the sudden awareness of the intimate way their bodies were pressed together. "It's okay."
He trailed his hand further up her stomach, gauging the reaction on her face. She looked faint, in a really good way, so he moved higher, dragging her loose hanging shirt as he went. When the fabric cleared her breasts he was shocked to realize she hadn't worn a bra today and had let him continue anyway. As he filtered all this fascinating new information through his foggy drunk brain she tilted her hips into his, and he knew she knew what that was doing to him. It was killing him is what it was doing, and that mischievous look on her face was telling him she knew.
This was what he was talking about when he said 'cloudy.' How was he supposed to remember how to behave when she looked at him like that?
A husky sort of growl escaped his chest when she shifted again almost impatiently, and he brushed an exploratory thumb under her breast. It was so warm between them but her nipples stood out in the dark like it was glacial in here. His other thumb hooked into the waistband of her skirt as he leaned forward to kiss that rigid velvet crest. She pressed her lips tightly together and let out the softest, most tantalizing sound as his breath met her exposed skin, and then,
They both looked down to see that their necklaces had clacked together again. If it hadn't happened they would have most certainly been caught.
Instead, after a beat of silence they both fell to nervous laughter, but then froze dead at the sound of the main door sliding open. In half a heartbeat they scrambled away from each other. Raven teleported across the room in weird, clumsy bursts, bumping into two dining chairs and the coffee table on her way before ending up at the couch. When the lights turned on she was hiding her breathlessness and trying to look bored, and Beast Boy was across the room in the kitchen, hiding behind the counter and pouring a glass of water.
Cyborg spoke first, slamming into third gear damage-control mode when he realized they'd just waltzed into a room that housed both Beast Boy and Raven. At once. Midfight. "Oh no."
"It's fine," Raven announced immediately, "don't bother. We made up."
"What? Seriously?" Robin followed in after Cyborg and Starfire, skepticism dominating his face. "Already? I don't believe it. Beast Boy, tell me my ears aren't deceiving me."
"Oh yeah, we're totally golden. Super-friends. Best of the best, Rob, double plus good." He refused to look anyone in the eye as he rattled off his manic answer and held his glass of water partially in front of his face.
Robin obviously did not find that very convincing so Raven added, "Yes, we really are fine. Right as rain."
"As rain," Beast Boy chittered behind his glass of water.
"What glorious news!" Starfire rejoiced, bounding into the center of the room, unsure whether to fly towards Raven or Beast Boy in her excitement and settling for spinning in circles instead. "This calls for a celebration!"
Cyborg draped his enormous coat over the back of the couch, eyeing Star like she'd finally gone mad. "We just got home from a celebration," he said. "Or did I hallucinate the last four hours?"
"I mean a personal celebration," she insisted. "Just us friends." Nostalgia overwhelmed her face and burned so hot that Raven actually felt it a little, even though her powers were impaired. "We only have a few short months left to live together and it has been quite some time since weㅡ"
"Oh no," Raven groaned, "not theㅡ"
"Oh yes!" Cyborg interrupted.
He and Starfire exclaimed as one. "Blanket fort!"
Raven refused to move from the couch so they ended up building it around her. They used all manner of things that should not have been allowed, from broomsticks to electrical wire to superglue, and an indeterminable amount of time later they were all crowded inside. Everything glowed pink from the lava lamp Beast Boy had insisted as the light source instead of flashlights.
Raven gazed down at her friends on the floor from her prized spot on the couch. Cyborg had dragged a flatscreen inside and the four of them were now competing in some sort of bizarre puzzle game that had everyone losing to the artificial opponent. She allowed herself a moment of reflection on the years they'd spent together, and was surprised how choked up she immediately became. She squashed down the emotions when the blanket ceiling rustled, suspecting that the alcohol was starting to wear off and not wanting to bring the whole fort down by succumbing to sentimentality.
At some point after failing out of the game for good, Beast Boy magically procured more beer from some unknown fold of the blanket and passed them around. But the next time Raven looked Cyborg had sneakily replaced them with water bottles. It was probably after two in the morning when Starfire put on a movie, and by then Cyborg had already shut down for the night. Raven didn't last past the opening scene.
When the credits rolled, Beast Boy glanced over his shoulder at her. She looked so comfortable, but he knew how she hated to wake up on the couch. With a covert glance at the others to make sure they were all snoring, he clambered over Raven and off the back of the couch, pulling apart a bit of the blanket wall to make way. She barely stirred when he reached back over to lift her.
The hallway was dark but with both hands full he had to find his way by memory. Wasn't too hard. He could walk these halls in his dreams and remember each crook and cranny with painstaking clarity. He nudged the elevator button with her elbow and leaned against the wall as the doors closed, suddenly tired and overcome with sadness. The sorrow came back with a vengeance. He couldn't believe that all of this would soon be over.
She began to wake up when the elevator dinged, and her eyes pried open when he got to her bedroom door and whispered, "Crud."
"Beas...? Why are you..." She looked up at him and then down at the ground, trying to figure out where she was and what was happening.
"Just taking you to bed," he whispered back, regretting the phrasing instantly but moving on. "What's your passcode?" He'd forgotten he would need to wake her up to get in.
"Uh." She blinked blearily. "It's…3, 5, 8, 13."
"Gotcha." He shifted her weight and punched it in but was met with a glaring red light and a harsh beep. He tried again but met the same result. "I don't think that was right, Rae."
"No, you're right. Wait. 34, 55...89. Try that."
Red light, beep beep. "That's a negative."
She screwed up her eyebrows and looked at her hands, counting on her fingers in a seemingly random order and finally giving up. She leaned over and punched in 213455 but was met with a red light and three piercing beeps. A message flashed up on the display.
Too many failed attempts. Try again in 1 hour.
Raven groaned and struggled to stand. Beast Boy set her down, torn between reactions. "How can you not remember your password? You use it every day!"
"I change it weekly," she grumbled, trying to hard-reboot the mechanism but only succeeding in upping the time to three hours. "Numbers from the Fibonacci sequence. I just can't remember which ones I was on."
Beast Boy snorted. "That is so needlessly complicated."
"You're needlessly complicated. Ugh, now I'll have to sleep in the guest room. That place still smells like fish." She groaned again, remembering how the smell had never quite come out of the furniture after Aqualad's last stay.
Beast Boy leaned on her door, a dangerous idea blossoming. "You don't have to sleep in the guest room." She raised an eyebrow. "I mean…" He rubbed his neck, suddenly shy. "My room smells a little like ocean but it's not as bad."
Raven finally stopped pressing buttons and registered what he had suggested. After a long moment she felt herself nodding. "Yeah. That'd be okay."
"Want me to carry you?" he joked as she followed him back up the hall.
"Pay close attention," he announced, "to the complicated algorithm I used to determine my password." He slowly typed in his four-digit passcode, then winked when it flashed green and opened the door. "Not. The password is my birthday."
Raven glared. He thought he was so funny.
Beast Boy beamed. He knew he was funny.
"You wanna borrow some pajamas?" he whispered, not bothering to turn on a light. He dug through some drawers and came up with something soft. "I hope you don't mind but I always sleep in the nude. Kidding!" he added hastily, seeing her glare in the soft light from the window. What a terrible joke, what was he thinking? "Kidding, kidding." He jumped on the lower bunk after deftly switching into sweatpants. Raven was still standing in the middle of the room, clutching the clothes he'd handed her to her chest. "You coming or what? I'm sleepy, Rae."
"Me too," she agreed. She felt his eyes on her. She knew if she asked him he would turn away while she changed. It was dark, but not so dark that he couldn't see her. She could see her own skin outlined in faint yellow and blue, coming through the glass, reflected off the sea. But she didn't want to ask him. Something inside her burned as he watched the flowy skirt slide down her legs with rapt attention. She'd never felt this wanted before. It felt good.
So then… why was she still sad?
She straightened the shirt he'd loaned her, trying to make out the words on it in the dark. Dark Side of the Moon she finally deciphered, with a picture of a prism beneath it. For some reason Beast Boy laughed when she informed him that there was no dark side of the moon, not really. She paused at the window on her way over, soaking in the dark of the sea and the city lights plunged deep in clouds. Honestly, she was just buying time as she worked up the courage to say what she needed to say. She wasn't stupid. She knew what was left still hurting, and she knew how to fix it.
So by the time he pulled her down by the arm into bed she had already decided to ask him. He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, but before he could kiss her she gently pushed him away, donning a serious expression. "Listen… What do you think about partnering up with me when the team disbands?"
Beast Boy blinked. It took him a minute to respond. "Do you mean it? Like… for hero stuff? Or..."
"We need more time to work on our friendship," she said. "And…" Her eyes grazed over the glowstars that were pasted all over the bottom of the upper bunk as she picked her next few words. "I think we could be good together."
At that point he rolled over, blocking out the stars as he placed his arms on either side of her. "Yes."
"Yes? To which part?"
Raven frowned. "You mean you want toㅡ"
Again, she pushed him off. "God, it's like talking to a parrot."
He only laid back down with a chuckle, lounging on his arms. "Animal insults, honey. They just don't work!"
Raven pressed one hand over her eyes, wondering what fresh hell she had gotten herself into. "Please don't call me honey."
Beast Boy huffed. "I'm running out of pet names, love, you're gonna have to pick one."
Raven's mouth fell open but her retort got caught in her throat. Unfortunately her speechlessness did not go unnoticed. "Oh shit, we have a winner!" he chuckled, eyes closed and looking quite pleased with himself. By the time Raven thought of something scathing enough to reply with, he was already sound asleep.
Life at the breakfast table was almost back to normal. Almost.
"I'm so glad you two have reconciled," Starfire observed over her bowl of cereal. "I was worried this was the Big One."
"Who says it wasn't?" Beast Boy answered, aiming a wink at Raven, who met his gaze impassively.
"You don't need to worry Starfire, we're not going to be fighting anymore." Raven drank her tea deliberately, unable yet to truly process all that had happened last night and what it meant for the future. "At least, we'll try our best."
"Really," Beast Boy agreed, all joking aside. "Things are different now." He offered Raven a shy smile from across the table, fondly remembering what it had been like to wake up in the same bed, her arm draped across his chest. He had to wonder which part she was remembering when a sudden blush caused her to look away.
Robin leaned back against his chair and smiled, surveying the two of them from the end of the table. "That's really mature of you guys. I'll admit you had me worried last night. But I always knew, even back in the early days when you guys seemed to hate each other, that you'd meet somewhere in the middle someday. I think that day is today. And you know, I'm kinda proud."
"Thanks, Rob." Beast Boy took a sip of his orange juice and almost gagged, turning a little greener than normal for a moment. "I can't believe none of you guys are hungover," he observed as he relinquished the idea of enjoying his breakfast. "I'm pissed."
"We really won the genetic lottery," Cyborg joked from his left side. "I'm half robot, Star's got a hyperaccelerated digestive system, Rae's got those nifty healing powers."
Beast Boy scowled. "So what's Robin, then? A sorceror?"
"Try designated driver," the accused answered genially. "And I, for one, can't believe that you are hungover," he jabbed halfheartedly, "considering you're still twenty."
Beast Boy duly ignored him. "Ugh, my head hurts and there's some sort of bird squawking in my ear."
"Whatever," Cyborg laughed. "He's only a month off, Rob. Cut him some slack."
"Yeah, Rob, cut him some slack." Beast Boy poked at his pancakes for a few minutes before he realized the reason they tasted so bad was because he'd forgotten to put syrup on them. "Hey, love? Could you pass the syrup, por favor y gracias?"
At that odd question everyone save Raven perked up, but Beast Boy was gazing at his pancakes like his future was spelled out in butter and it was unclear who he'd been talking to. Cyborg looked across the table at Starfire and mouthed the word 'love?' incredulously, and they both turned to Robin, who gave a frazzled sort of shrug. As if in answer to the three friends' unvoiced question, the syrup promptly floated across the table, darkened a bit by the energy required to move it.
Raven hadn't even looked up from her tea. "De nada," she answered in monotone.
She didn't have it in her to chastise him for being so blasé. What could she say? They'd been calling each other names for years, but it seemed that he'd finally found one she liked.
Thanks for reading, as always. Love you guys.