Buffet of Souls


Terra pounded on the entrance of the Titan's storage locker – had been pounding for the past hour, in fact. Using her powers to open that door could risk collapsing the whole room on top of her, possibly even the entire Tower if she hurt the foundations enough, but on the other hand, waiting sucked.

"You can forget about them hearing you." Terra gulped. She had been alone in here, she knew it – and the owner of that voice was dead… "Cyborg originally built this room to have a place to put Beast Boy on those really bad days. It's completely soundproof, and I think there's only cat food to eat."

Terra threw herself around, arms spread wide for balance and any necessary defense. Yup – she could only see him from behind, but it was Slade, all right, checking the cans on a nearby shelf. "Aw, crap."

"Yeah, only cat food," Slade confirmed, investigating a shelf along the wall. He picked up a can, reading it's label. "If you plan to stay here, you'll find out what 'Aw, crap' really means, unless you like 'Savory Chicken in Gravy.' Appetizing."

"Anything beats working for you again, Slade! What gives, you're supposed to be dead!" Terra demanded. "And whatever it is brought you here, you can forget about it. You and I are through!"

"Really? I guess I didn't take the hint when you killed me," Slade said, turning to her with a roll of his eye. Terra noticed a strange mark on his forehead, something like an S. "I admit, working with you again was not my first impulse, but then, it wasn't my choice to make. I have an employer now, and he would like to make you an offer."

Terra growled. "Get out of here, Slade – if I need to give my life to send you under again, then I won't even hesitate." She held out her arms, and the room began to shake ever so slightly. "Tell your master he can take his job and shove it up his -"

"Don't be so hasty, Terra; at least hear me out," Slade asked. "Let's not talk here, though. Are you hungry?"

Famished, she thought. She didn't say anything, but the room did stop shaking.

"I say we discuss this over lunch," Slade offered, taking one step closer to her.

"Your tricks won't work on me anymore, Slade – you can't buy me with power, and you can't buy me with lunch!" Her voice quivered – she knew Slade, and she knew that he could hear the doubt in her voice. He had torn apart her soul and made her fight her only friends in the world, but none of this could change the immutable law: Lunch is Awesome.

"Do you like Chinese?" He asked, taking another step. She nodded slightly, letting the question lower her guard because of the deliciousness implied, even though she knew it was just a ploy. Everyone likes Chinese.

"I know a little buffet right downtown." Her heart skipped a beat at "buffet", and she cursed her stomach as she saw Slade, obviously perceiving her change of heart, clap a hand on her shoulder.

Your friends, her head screamed. You can't abandon your friends again! You know where this is going, and you know that you can't do it again!

Her stomach answered with terrible eagerness. CHINESE BUFFET! YUM YUM YUM! FOOD FOR STOMACH GOOD!

Think of everyone…they've risked so much, lost so much for you. Don't you owe them this?


Think of Beast Boy…what else could you ask for, if not the only person who ever made you feel good about yourself?

As if on queue, Slade showed her exactly what else she could ask for: he took out his wallet, waving it lightly at her. "I'll pay."

And it was done.

"So…our problem."

"Our problem," Beast Boy echoed, sitting on the floor, placing the leftover box of pizza between himself and Robin. The pizza only had one day of freshness left, tops, and that had been excuse enough for this parlay in Robin's room. "Well, this was my idea, so I call you go first. You talked to Star yet?"

"Nah – I actually spent the night at Batman's. His advice was to give up on any idea of a relationship with anyone, not just Starfire."

"What! No way, you and Star are totally made for each other! You're even canon at some point in the comic books!"

The room fell silent. "Well what does that mean?" Robin asked.

"I…don't know." More silence.

"What about you and Raven, then? Any updates?"

Beast Boy took a slice of the pizza, answering before biting. "Are you kidding? She must have gone to her parents' house or something, I haven't seen her this bummed out since Thanksgiving. If I made a move now, I wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in…uh…you know, a place where snowballs don't do so well."

Robin stroked his chin. "You know, maybe this is your time, after all," he mused. "You could score some major points if you cheered her up."

Beast Boy paused before taking another bite, eyes wide with inspiration. "Great idea! All right – what we're gonna do is we're gonna get a whole lot of dynamite, and then we go up to her room while she's asleep tonight, and…"

"Before you go any further with that," and Robin wanted to make sure it didn't go much further. "Just remember that you need to use a light touch. Raven is in the dumps, after all, and a botched attempt to cheer her up would just annoy her."

Beast Boy thought this over. "I see…okay, so I'll make a cake tomorrow, only instead of candles, we use that dynamite from before. I bring her the cake later, light the dynamite, and BANG! Happy Raven again!"

Robin tried, honestly tried, to put that together in his mind. "I, uh… see at least one major error in that plan."

"Huh? Where? Everyone loves cake, and everyone loves awesome explosions! Add those two together, and everybody really loves exploding cake!"

"It would kill her, Beast Boy!"

Beast Boy considered this. "OK, I've got it: I buy her a bunch of flowers, stuff a bunch of dynamite in the bouquet, then I…"

"The dynamite was the part that would kill her!"

Beast Boy frowned. "I think she'd get a kick out of it."

"People stop getting kicks out of stuff when they're dead!"

"So I'm bad at planning things, okay? I don't see you coming up with any ideas." Beast Boy crossed his arms, still frowning.

"Well, the flowers idea could work, just don't do the dynamite, ok?"

Beast Boy let out a huff. "Okay, if you're not gonna treat this seriously, let's just move on. Starfire: I say you two should be together, and I don't care what Batman says!"

"That's what I've been thinking, too; I just don't know where to start," Robin admitted, scratching the back of his neck. "It's easier to tell you what to do; if I tell you to leave Raven flowers--" A smile lit Beast Boy's face "--without dynamite--." The smile vanished. "—then I think you would do it eventually; you're impulsive enough for that kind of thing. Me, I'm in a rut. I leap off the tops of buildings almost nightly and have stared down freaks and bad guys from all over the universe, but I can't think of a single way to tell the girl I like the way it is."

Beast Boy nodded. "Amazing the things that really scare us, right?"

"No joke." Robin nodded. "Raccoons, too."

Beast Boy nodded reflexively until those words sank in. "Wait, what?"

Robin shook his head, frowning. "I freakin' hate raccoons."

"Hmmm…you know, that might just give me an idea…"

"Turn into a raccoon and I'll go crazy on you, I swear to God."

"Maybe later, but for now hear me out: Do you remember that movie you had me watch a few weeks ago? You said it was called 'Cyber Raccoons in Zombie World' – remember that whole double-date sequence in the middle?"

Robin rubbed the back of his neck, diverting his eyes. "Uh, yeah, Beast Boy, I remember it…that was actually 'When Harry Met Sally.' It was supposed to be a prank, but you…you just got so into it…"

"Huh… now that you mention it, there really weren't any cyber raccoons or zombies, were there?" He shrugged. "Eh, whatever. The point is, I think we might have to do what they did in the movie, the old double-date switcheroo! I ask Starfire out, you ask Raven out, we all go out together, and ta-da! – the dates switch, and everyone goes home happy!"

"Are you only basing that on the movie? Because it took Harry and Sally years to get together after that date, which isn't even mentioning that the two –"

"Look, are you in or not?"

"Of course I'm in. I just like to criticize."