Notes: Just remember that I did warn you last chapter about this.  Now, excuse me while I run and hide…

Broody and the Beast (Boy)

Chapter 3: And They Would Call Him…

"So.  We like the bird?" Beast Boy asked in an attempt to sound casual.

Raven did not look up, and continued the process of converting a former cereal bowl into a mini birdbath.  "We do," she murmured distractedly.

Beast Boy tried not to shudder as the bird glared at him from its perch on a bookend that very much resembled a gargoyle.  "That's good.  Thought up a name yet?"

"Not yet.  I'm sure it'll come to me soon."  She placed the birdbath in a particularly dark corner of her desk (not that all of them weren't dark, but this one was darker than the others), stared for a few seconds, and finally shifted it exactly two inches to the right.

Instantly, the raven flew from its perch and touched down next to the bowl.  It let out a rather ill-sounding squawk before dipping its beak in the water. 

Beast Boy watched the procession in a kind of fascinated horror.  He was decidedly dismayed to see that Raven was actually smiling.

"Never had a pet before?" he guessed.

The smile faded at once.  "We need to talk," Raven said, turning to face him.

"About…the bird?" Beast Boy asked uncertainly.

"No.  About…us."

"…um…okay."  He plopped down onto the floor and stared up at her expectantly.

She frowned.  "Do you have to sit there?"

"No.  But in case it's something bad, I won't have to far to fall if I faint or have a heart attack."

For some reason, Raven couldn't argue with that logic.  She sat down on her bed and searched for the best place to start.

"I don't…"  She stopped, shook her head, and sighed.  "First, thanks for my bird."

"No problem," Beast Boy replied, trying to seem sincere about it.

"I know you don't like him…so you can take him back to the pet store at the end of the week."

"…what?"  Beast Boy stared up at her.  "But…how…you…what???"

Raven closed her eyes.  "Am I correct in assuming you got me this bird so I'd pay more attention to you?"

"…I guess," he admitted. 

"Then you have to take him back."

"But…Raven…don't you LIKE the bird?"  Then, in a smaller voice, he added, "Don't you like me…?"

"Yes, I like the bird.  Yes, I like you."  She opened her eyes.  "But as a friend."

"…oh.  Oh no."  Beast Boy began slapping himself on the head.  "Stupid stupid stupid stupid!"

"Stop that."  Raven caught his wrist before he could hit himself again.  "It's not your fault."

"Yes, it is!  It ALWAYS is!  I try too hard, or I come on too strong, or-"

She sighed.  "Beast Boy.  Shut up."

"Shutting up."

Raven let go of him and walked over to her desk.  "It's not your fault.  You didn't do anything wrong.  At the same time, there's nothing you can do to…fix this."

"…what is it I want to fix but can't?"

"Me."  She reached out and carefully stroked her raven's head.  "You have to understand that since I was a child, I was trained to do three things: focus, resist, and overcome.  They're so deeply ingrained into me that I'll never be able to let them go or ignore them completely.  Unfortunately, that also means that I'm not as receptive to…well, boys."

"…you mean you like Starfire?" Beast Boy asked in shock.

"NO."  She paused and shook her head.  "I didn't mean it like THAT.  The same generally goes for girls, too.  I'm not all that receptive to anyone.  I'm used to being alone.  At times, I actually prefer it."

"So I guess offering to let you 'overcome' me won't change your mind?"

There was no answer, but Raven did lower her head as an odd shudder passed through her body.

And then Beast Boy realized what was happening.  He leapt to his feet and rushed to Raven's side, spinning her around to face him.

Her lips were still trembling, but she managed to still them before long.

Beast Boy's face split into a grin.  "You were laughing!"

Raven cleared her throat.  "I was not."

"Yes, you were!  I saw you!"

"You saw nothing."

"…okay, fine."  Beast Boy let her go, but the grin remained.  "So.  You don't like me."

"I never said that," she replied at once.  "I do like you…as a friend."

"You know, I think I'm supposed to get the 'let's-just-be-friends' talk AFTER our first date."

"So I improvised."

"And you're not even a LITTLE bit attracted to me?" he asked.

"To you?" she asked doubtfully.

"Hey, what's THAT supposed to mean?!"

"Nothing," Raven replied, looking away.

"…it's Robin, isn't it?"

She stared at him.  "Now you're just guessing.  Badly."

"It is him, isn't it?!  The leader always gets the girls!"

"I am not interested in Robin," Raven stated firmly.  "Didn't I just tell you I'm not recap-"

"HEY!  You said you weren't interested in Robin!  But I asked if you were attracted to him!"


"I KNEW IT!" Beast Boy shouted triumphantly.

"Attraction doesn't necessarily mean anything.  You're attracted to myself and Starfire…not to mention anything else even remotely female."

"But that doesn't change the fact that you think he's cute!"

"Don't be bitter."  Raven looked thoughtful for a moment.  "I admire your sense of humor."

"…you do?!" Beast Boy asked excitedly.

"Yes.  You're so…determined to make people laugh."

"…and that's good, right?"

"At times."

"Is that a compliment?"

"I…don't know," Raven admitted after a moment.

"I'll take what I can get."  Beast Boy began to smile, but stopped when the raven suddenly landed on her shoulder.  "Um…you know what?  Keep the bird."

She peered at him carefully.  "You're sure?"

"Yeah.  It'd be more of a hassle just to go back in that place, anyway."

"But…I feel like I'm taking advantage of your kindness."

He shrugged.  "You asked for a bird, and you got one.  Not like it was expensive or anything."

"And…you're not upset about me wanting to remain friends with you?" she asked suspiciously.

"Oh, I'm sure I'll cry my eyes out over you later.  And you did let me down easy.  I mean, you could've just said I was ugly."

"…but you're not…ugly, exactly," Raven said after a moment, clearly uncomfortable.  "You're…kind of… astonishing."

Beast Boy blinked.  "Well, can't say I've been called that before."  He frowned thoughtfully.  "The Astonishing Beast Boy…it could work, if I ever went into show business."

"You're sure I can keep him?" she asked, indicating the bird.

"Yeah.  I was gonna get you a present, anyway, since you won't tell anyone when your birthday is…"  He trailed off, giving her a hopeful look.

"Thank you for my present," Raven replied simply.

He sighed.  "Well, I tried.  Guess I'll go now."

"…wait," she said as he reached the door.  "There is…one more thing."

Beast Boy turned around.  "Yeah?"

Raven drifted over to him, stopped, and then moved closer, giving him a quick peck on the cheek.

His eyes widened in shock, especially when she held a fist crackling with dark energy under his nose. 

"If you tell ANYONE I did that…" she began.

He nodded wordlessly.

"Then good night, Beast Boy."  She gave him a slight push just before the door slid shut in his face.

Beast Boy stood in the hallway for a few seconds.  Then he turned around, rubbed his cheek, and grinned.  "Aw YEAH, baby!  The ladies can't keep their hands off of Dr. Love!  Cuz I'm the doctor with the cure, and ya know I got the-"

~ "I can still hear you, Beast Boy."~

"…right to remain silent."  But he'd only gone a few feet before he was singing again.  "And when ya got that fever, I'll never ever tease ya…unless ya WANT me tooooo…"

* * * * *

Breakfast was a most confusing matter.

Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire were all curious to know how Beast Boy's "meeting" with Raven had gone.

Beast Boy, however, was in no mood to share, apparently.  If asked about the events of the previous night, or anything at all, he would only grin merrily at the asker and go back to his cereal.

All the questions ceased when Raven finally appeared, her bird perched menacingly (very little about it was NOT menacing) on her shoulder.  Without a word, as was her custom, she selected an orange from a bowl on the counter (Beast Boy always kept it full) and sat down between Robin and Cyborg.  The bird glared at the others in suspicion as the orange floated from Raven's hands and seemingly began to peel itself.

"So does our new little mascot have a name?" Cyborg asked, trying to end the silence.

"Yes."  Raven reached up to stroke the bird's head.  "His name is Shax."

"…Shax?" Beast Boy said uncertainly.

Starfire leaned over to whisper to Robin.  "Is this Shax someone famous on Earth?"

"Um…well…I've never heard of him," Robin admitted.

Raven rolled her eyes slightly.  "You wouldn't know him.  He's a demon."

"…demon?" Cyborg murmured, wishing he hadn't called the raven a mascot now.

"He is a duke and high marquis of Hell that governs thirty legions," she replied knowingly. 

"…oh.  Is that all?" Beast Boy chuckled weakly.

"He can also cause blindness, loss of hearing, or confusion…upon command."  Raven said this last part as if she perhaps knew some people she'd like to sic Shax on.

"It's…a unique name," Robin declared after a few minutes.  "I think I like it."

Beast Boy stared at him for a few seconds.  "Uh…yeah!  Me, too!"

The raven suddenly screeched at him and flapped its wing madly.

"Perhaps he can even detect lies," Raven said calmly, transferring Shax to her hand and tenderly stroking his back.  He quickly fell silent, but did not stop glaring at Beast Boy.

"What do ravens eat?" Starfire asked.

"He'll eat anything I give him," Raven replied, offering a small piece of her orange to Shax, who quickly snapped it up.  "But I would prefer that any food for him went through me.  I think your fingers might prefer it, as well."

Starfire automatically removed her hands from the table.

"Um…he's just glaring at us like that because he doesn't know us…right?" Cyborg asked.  "I mean…once he's used to us, he won't keep…doing things like that, will he?"

Raven stared at him for a few seconds.  Finally, she said, "I'll mention it to him."

Robin, at least, seemed satisfied with that answer.  "Well…on behalf of the Teen Titans, welcome to the team, Shax!"

Perhaps in a sign of acceptance, Shax flew from Raven's hand, touched down next to Robin's plate, snatched half a slice of toast, and retreated to his mistress's hand.

"…that's gotta be a yes," Beast Boy noted.  "I mean, we'd know if he said no…"

The others nodded in agreement.

If Raven was pleased, she did not show it.  Instead, she merely held the toast slice with two fingers and watched as Shax gradually devoured it all.

Beast Boy watched the duo with something like pride, glad that he had brought them together, and satisfied that nothing that changed between he and Raven.  Initially, that would've bothered him.  Now, though, he was just pleased to know that she was content with being his friend.  He could deal with that.

And, he thought to himself as his gaze moved to Starfire next to him, there were indeed other fish in the sea.

As if sensing his attention, Starfire looked at Beast Boy, smiled brightly, and offered him her last cinnamon roll.

Beast Boy accepted it with a smile (he loved the way she called them "swirls of delight"), and was about to offer her something…else in return when he felt Robin's eyes on him.  He finally made do with thanking Starfire and going back to his own meal.  There were, after all, far more enchanting girls waiting to be charmed, many of them without angry, overprotective shadows…

The End. (yes, this is where I've chosen to end it)

There won't be a sequel…but I am considering another story with another "pet" that drops in on the Titans.  Shax may make an appearance there, we'll see.  If he ever does pop up again, well, you'll know where he came from and what his name signifies.  I will never again refer to him as "Entrails," as that's just nasty.

I actually did do some research to find a demon with bird-like features.  Here's what I got:

Shax is the Forty-fourth Spirit listed in the Goetia, who governs 30 Legions. He appears as stock-dove with a hoarse voice. He can cause blindness, deafness, or lack of understanding upon command & also can steal money, horses, or other things. He also knows of hidden things not kept by wicked spirits. Shax must be summoned into a triangle or he will tell lies.

As duke and high marquis of hell, Scox/Chax commands 30 legions. He appears as a stork with a raucous voice, and is known to be deceitful. He steals horses, and takes the silver in the houses he possesses only to return it 1200 years later if everything is still in order. If he is confined to a triangle, he will speak truth on supernatural matters, point out hidden treasures not guarded by evil spirits, and obey the exorcist. If he is not confined, he will lie and not always obey the exorcist.

For more info on Shax's demon brethren, check out:

Deliriums Realm dot com, slash delirium slash mythology slash demons dot asp (ignore the spaces)

You'll find him under Goetic Demons.