A/N: Honestly, I didn't remember writing this, but tonight I felt like writing something and dipped into my archives to see what, if anything, I could be inspired to work on and I found it. I don't remember what inspired it, either. I hope you enjoy it, just the same.
"Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives."
- Nadia Scriva, Fathoms of Forgiveness
It strikes Raven as strange that someone that had been part of her life, in one way or another, for such a large portion of her life could be for all intents and purposes a stranger. It is even stranger still that upon further reflection, she realizes that there is no doubt whatsoever in her that this relative stranger would risk his life for hers. Of course, they're crime fighters – it's what they do. He would and does risk his life for actual strangers on an almost daily basis, but it is more than that he'd risk his life for her and the only way she can actually put it is that she also knows that he (as Cyborg would say) had her back.
They'd never had a single one on one conversation (hell, they'd never even really directed statements to each other outside of those necessary for work or basic civility), but she knew she could count on him.
Staring unseeingly at the opaque glass door of the microwave within which a mug rotated, Raven frowns. She is unsettled by this realization, to say the least. Yes, she is notably not a sharer, but five years is a long time to work and sometimes live alongside of someone without knowing even something so basic as whether or not he liked children. Watching him that afternoon as he easily entertained a six year old boy with such casual comfort should not have surprised her as much as it had, and certainly not so much so that she was still thinking about it the next morning.
The microwave beeped and she shakes herself out of her internalizations, tugs open the stainless steel door of the contraption and carefully pulls out her mug of steaming water. She frowns as she does it, because something inside her always rebels at the thought of having to make tea by use of a microwave instead of a kettle. Still, the Titans East did not have a kettle because no one there drank tea, so she had to make due. And someone had made sure to have tea bags in the pantry for her, so using a microwave instead of a kettle wouldn't kill her. She dunks the bag of chamomile into the mug and pushes it down with the tip of her spoon, covering the mug with a small desert plate to let it steep, grimacing a little at the lengths she had to resort to for a decent cup of tea.
Perfect, it was not, but it was certainly better than nothing.
She has just turned from the mug on the counter to find the toast when the subject of her previous considerations ambles into the kitchen. He glances at her as he enters, running a hand through his disheveled ginger hair and yawning. Catching her eyes, he acknowledges her with a half sleepy smile as he passes her on the way to the cupboards above the sink and begins rummaging within - for the coffee no doubt - without saying a word.
"Morning," she offers.
He stills and turns around to stare at her. "Morning," he says, but it's more question than greeting, and although she catches the inflection, she ignores it.
She isn't quite sure what he is asking (although she could guess), but she has no intention of answering it anyway, so she turns away from him and continues on to the pantry for the toast. She hears it when he begins rummaging for the coffee things again.
The toaster is next to the coffee maker. A fact she realizes as she stands in front of the pantry door with two slices of white toast in her hands. His back is to her as he fixes filter and pours water, scooping coffee grounds automatically.
It's not the thought of standing next to him that gives her pause, of course, but the half remembered words someone (Robin, maybe?) had spoken about politeness and food and offering of same to people that makes her hesitate. "Toast?" she asks suddenly, the usual steady tone of her voice wavering a bit with the unfamiliarity of the situation.
He turns back to face her, confusion knitting his brow. "Huh?" he asks.
She holds up the slices of toast, and although she figures that should be enough of an answer, at his look of continued confusion now taking in her hands and the sliced bread in them obviously bringing no clarification, she sighs. "Are you going to be making toast?" If she was going to do this, she expected she should speak in complete sentences. When this explanation does not appear to clear up the confusion any, she suppressed a small sigh and explains even further. "I could get the toast for you and put them in at the same time as mine if you do plan on having toast."
"Oh," he says, the confusion not really leaving his expression. And, after a moment, an almost startled, "Um—yeah," escapes his throat, and he smiles, rather reflexively, at her. "Sure."
She nods and grabs another two slices of toast from the breadbox in the pantry, then walks back to the counter, ignoring his eyes following her as she sidled up to the toaster, slid four slices of bread into the slats and pushed down the lever.
Feeling his eyes still on her, she turns her head and looks up at him. "You might want to press the brew button," she offers.
He frowns again then snaps to as her meaning becomes clear. "Oh, crap," he mumbles, turning back to the coffee maker and pressing brew. He shakes his head and chuckles to himself, turning back to her, but she has already walked around him, picked the plate off her mug of tea, spooned out the bag and tossed it in the trash, and settled onto a seat at small kitchenette table near the window. She takes a careful sip as he watches without really realizing that he is watching her.
He is about to speak when the toast pops out of the toaster and Raven starts to stand. "I've got it," he states, turning back to the counter and pulling the four slices of lightly toasted bread from the toaster, dropping them on a plate and bringing it to the table, setting it down on the middle of the table. Taking a piece off the top, he slides into the seat across from her.
She watches him bite into it. "You don't like toppings on it?" she asks.
He swallows and looks at the toast, as if the question had never occurred to him before. "No," he admits. "Not usually, although sometimes I'll take mango jam, but we're all out."
She nods and takes another sip of her tea. She is reaching for a piece of toast when before he speaks again.
"You want anything?" he asks, just remembering his manners. She looks up to meet his eyes and he motions the bread before them in broad almost vague motions. "For the toast?" He looks back at the fridge as if he could see through the door. "I think we have butter and probably some strawberry jam…" but before he can finish the thought, the strangeness of this entire morning has finally reached his limit and he simply stares at her. "Alright," he says, crossing his arms over his chest. "What is going on here?" he asks, eyes searching her face.
"Breakfast?" Raven tries carefully.
"I know, breakfast," he says leaning back in the chair. "I mean this—" he motions from her to him and back again. "You're actually being nice to me," he narrows his eyes at her. "Am I dying or something?" he asks. "Did you see me dying in the future and are trying to make me have a good morning before you tell me?" he persists. He leans forward, placing his elbows on the table, eyes boring into her. "Can you even see the future?" he searches her face again.
For some reason, this makes her feel like smiling. She doesn't, of course. "You're not dying," she assures him, deadpan. "As far as I know, anyway," she amends. "And no, I can't see the future," she answers, taking another sip of her tea.
"Well, that's good to know," he says, picking up his half eaten slice of toast. "But then why are you being nice to me?"
"Am I?" she asks, biting into a piece of toast.
He huffs out a laugh. "Well, yeah," he answers. "In that you are actually speaking to me in the first place and offering me toast in the second and putting it in the toaster for me," he shakes his head. "You barely acknowledge my presence for all the time we've known each other and now you're initiating conversation." He narrows his eyes at her again. "Is the world ending again?"
She looks down at the toast in her hand and sets it gently down on a napkin in front of her, wrapping both her hands around her mug of tea. "I didn't mean to," she says steadily, but perhaps just a bit quieter than her normal timbre.
"What did you do?" he asks, suddenly alert.
"Ignore you," she says, looking up to meet his eyes. "I wasn't actually ignoring you," she tries to explain. "But I'm sorry that it felt like that to you."
His face relaxes into an easy smile. "This is the first conversation we've ever actually had, Raven," he says, his tone surprisingly gentle.
"I know," she admits. "I didn't do it on purpose, I mean," she tries to explain. He raises his eyebrows and she exhales. "It's my natural setting, I think," she explains. "I don't have casual conversation unless someone engages me in it first."
His smile widens the minimalist bit. "I know," he admits. When she looks up at him, he shrugs. "Robin told me once, years ago," he says. When Raven raises a signature brow, he smirks. "I told Robin I thought you hated me," he explains. "I told him I thought you didn't talk to me because you had a thing against me, but Robin told me that you weren't the casual conversation type and that if I wanted to talk to you, I'd have to initiate it."
She frowns. "So, why didn't you?"
He shrugs again. "I did," he says and again his tone was more matter of fact than accusatory. "Once or twice," he adds. "But you just sort of blew me off, so I thought Robin was wrong and you didn't like me," he bites into the toast. "So, I stopped trying."
Her frown deepens. "I don't remember that," she admits. "It's no excuse, but I—"
"It's alright," he interrupts airily, standing to go to the coffee pot.
"No," she says so succinctly that he turns to look at her in surprise. "It's not."
He smiles broadly at her. "It was near your 16th birthday, I think," he says softly. "I didn't know until later how…" he pauses, picking his words carefully. "…stressed you were around that time." He holds her gaze steadily, the smile never really leaving his eyes and she realizes that he'd never really thought badly of her for her attitude all this time. She is surprised by this understanding from him, even though she is starting to realize that she shouldn't be. Before she can even think of what to say, he turns and continues walking to the coffee pot, pouring himself a cup.
When he turns away from the counter, he is a little surprised to find her standing not two feet away from him. He jumps a little and would've sloshed coffee on himself if it hadn't been for Raven's quick thinking and the black magical shield she raised to contain the liquid and funnel it back into the mug. "Jeeze, Raven," he says, laughing a little. "You're so frickin' quiet on your feet," he exclaims, unoccupied hand to his heart.
Raven ignores the comment, and extends her hand to him. He looks at it and then back at her and when their eyes meet, Raven's lips relaxed into what on her was akin to a smile. He switches the coffee mug from his right to his left hand and puts his right hand in hers as if for a shake, raising his brows in question, but going with it anyway.
Once his hand was in hers, she wraps her fingers around it and squeezes lightly. "Hello," she says. "I'm Raven."
He grins and squeezes her hand back. "Hi," he cocks his head a little to the side, surprised at her actions but obviously pleased by them. "I'm Roy."