Summary: In the heat of an intense battle, Raven becomes gravely injured and falls into a coma. As each of the Titans suffer the loss of their near-death teammate, they are all inwardly asking the same question: Is there anyone, anywhere, who can bring her to life?
Rating: PG-13 for mild cursing, violence, and an overload of angst.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
Author's Note: What makes us fall in love?
That, believe it or not, was the question that yielded this fan fiction. Why is it that we tend to fall for some people rather than others? What force binds us to the most unlikely people; what unspeakable emotions cause a shaky friendship to evolve into a deeply passionate affection?
Is it not true that we are often drawn to those who are everything we are not? It is this fact, I've concluded, that causes love to pop up in the most unlikely places. This fan fiction is merely a testimony to that; an answer to those questions. Just a simple answer played out in the form of a plot—a chain reaction of events set to a truly haunting song. A plot set against a backdrop of loss, angst, and tragedy. Because sometimes, is it not only the painstaking power of loss that can bring our true feelings into the light?
Most people stopped believing in the Raven and Beast Boy relationship once they heard about the coming of Terra. However, I don't believe this new Titan is going to be the end of Raven/BB. In fact, her arrival could open a million windows of opportunity for a Beast Boy/Raven relationship to grow (see my profile for more information). Therefore, I encourage my fellow Raven/BB supporters not to lose heart or faith in that relationship.
There were so many times, as I was writing this, that I wanted to give up on it. Number one, I felt like there were many writers out there who were just so much better than me (*cough* Sunshine10 *cough*) that they had already portrayed the R/BB relationship better than I would ever be able to. Number two, people were constantly putting me down for believing in this relationship, telling me it would never happen and breaking my spirit. And then came Terra, who seemed to destroy all the hope anyone ever had in Raven and Beast Boy. Still, I pressed on, and this is the result of that perseverance.
This is a romance, but it's not a hunk of sugary fluff that involves a lot of making out and confessions of "I love you." We all know that the Raven/BB relationship is going to need time to play out, and I'm not going to carry you through the whole process, nor am I going to rush it one bit. This fic is more like describing the first step into romance. If Raven were to become gravely injured and fall into a coma right now, how would the Titans react? How would it affect Beast Boy in particular? How would the impact of loss bring him to realize his feelings? This fiction is an attempt to explore the possibilities of what the two characters could be feeling for one another—even, if now, it is only in their subconscious minds. It is an attempt to prove that such a relationship is possible. How could two people so completely opposite from one another be led into an unrealized love? Hopefully, by the end of this fan fiction, you will know why.
I have tried to make it as realistic as possible, and to depict the characters as accurately as I know how. Please don't be afraid to tell me if anyone is OOC, because I consider it to be one of the biggest crimes of fan fiction. And please, again, don't ever lose hope for Raven and Beast Boy. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to this coupling, and there are plenty of people out there who support it as much as you do. Soon, I will be opening a site for all of the Raven/Beast Boy supporters…an amateur one, but a site nevertheless. Whatever happens, don't ever lose your faith…we just have to hope for the best.
With that said, on with the story.
Dedication: For my sister Ariel, fellow Teen Titans fanatic and Raven/Beast Boy supporter. Love ya.
Beast Boy's ears were filled with the sounds of the ICU. The beeping of a heart monitor. A distant cough. And, ironically, the laughing and conversing of the nurses at the front desk.
Laughter, he thought to himself. That would be nice.
Everything here was white. The walls, the ceiling, the elevators. Just…white. A consuming color, blank and empty of feeling. It seemed to dissolve everything in its utter neutrality. At least here, in the waiting room, there was a green-blue carpet concealing the normally white tiles. Beast Boy was thankful for the scarce color.
But he hated waiting.
The restless boy drummed his fingers together impatiently and looked up from the enticing color of the carpet. Beside him Cyborg had draped himself over a cushioned chair that was much too small for him, and was currently reading an ancient issue of Time magazine that he'd picked up from the rack in the corner of the room. The robot's eyebrows were furrowed in conspicuous worry, and Beast Boy knew he wasn't taking in a word of the article on Y2K—he had been reading the same page for over an hour now.
On the other side of him Robin had fallen asleep with his headphones still blasting in his ears, and Starfire was also near, though she was wide awake. The Tamaranean girl's head was dropped hopelessly into her open palms, her eyes tired and her heart heavy. Beast Boy frowned. A depressed Starfire was something he had only seen a few times in the past, and each time he knew that he never wanted to see her that way again.
He had never seen his friends so quiet. At the Tower things had been so vivacious, loud, crazy. And great. Now all that remained between the teens was a deadly, unsettling silence. Though he was usually the life of the group and the center of all conversation, Beast Boy didn't dare break it…really, he had never felt so serious in his life. It was disturbing.
There was nothing to say.
Beast Boy turned his gaze to Patient Room 124, and cringed as he allowed it to linger on the foreboding door. It was where she was…
Where she was dying.
No, Beast Boy thought firmly. Not happening. Uh-uh. Raven's tough. I, of all people, should know. She'll pull through fine.
He wisely averted his gaze from the door and tried to put his thoughts to use elsewhere—but it was futile. Behind that door, Raven was asleep, as she had been for the past two days. His friend was bandaged up and comatose, and he was completely powerless to help her.
They had all been in to see her—to talk softly to her unconscious form, to bring her lifeless body get-well cards and presents—except for him. Beast Boy had not moved an inch from that waiting room in two days. He didn't dare go to visit his injured, sleeping friend—he feared that the moment he stepped in the heart monitor would lose its rhythm and become a deadly, steadfast buzz that went on and on. And then, Raven would never wake up…and everyone would say, He killed his best friend. He walked in, and she died.
Beast Boy shook his head slightly and directed his gaze, once again, to the hypnotic color of the carpet. Well, it didn't matter. He had no intention of seeing her until she woke up. It had been bad enough to see her get beaten up like that; he wasn't sure if seeing her bruised and battered in a white hospital bed was within his range of tolerance.
The adrenaline seemed to pulse through Beast Boy's veins as he obeyed the command and lunged forward at the enemy—a massive, ghostly figure wielding nothing but two immense hands that crushed whatever crossed its path. A single burning red eye pierced the January darkness between the hands, swerving every which way across the deserted alley. A few people in the distance were screaming in fear, which only made Beast Boy's heart race faster as he ascended to the floating monster.
"Titans…" came a deadly, booming voice, "dare you contend with me?"
"Think you're so tough, huh? Yeah, c'mon, give it all you've got, big guy," Robin called to the thing, smirking out of the corner of his mouth as he pulled out his Bo staff. Beast Boy grinned and immediately morphed into a green rhinoceros, lunging at the monster full-speed ahead. Noway that guy was getting away now—Beast Boy was here.
The rush of power that overtook him gave Beast Boy a sort of high as he trundled toward the opponent. He was goin' down, he was so goin' down—
Beast Boy quickly returned to his regular form, opened his eyes, and rubbed his aching head confusedly. What happened? Had he just—?
Sure enough, he looked up to find a brick wall towering above him, and realized abruptly that he was sitting on the hard, cold ground at the foot of the massive monster. He had gone right through the ghastly thing and rammed head-first into the brick wall.Oh, that's just great, he ridiculed himself. Real smooth.
Realizing that the monster was not solid, the other Titans backed away considerably and gazed up at it in fear. During his brief moment on the ground, Beast Boy's dark eyes flickered over each of them: Robin, desperately flinging his grappling hook at an immense vapor hand; Starfire, eyes glowing green with fury as beams of boiling-hot energy gleamed in her fists; Cyborg, aiming his sonic cannon at the other hand determinedly. And Raven…wait…where was Raven?
A monotone voice, accompanied by a pale hand, pulled him to his feet. The metallic-blue eyes of his female teammate met his, and he grinned at her reassuringly as he stood. "Thanks," was his quick reply, and Raven directed her gaze upward to where Starfire was blasting furious starbolts in vain. The dark girl flew upwards to assist her friend, and Beast Boy quickly changed into a hawk and soared after her.
The enemy roared in annoyance as a hand came down and pounded the cement, causing the ground to shake. Robin and Cyborg fell over slightly before quickly regaining their balance. Cyborg's cannon shot blast after blast at the translucent hands, but to no avail.
"Why is it that he can touch US, but we can't touch HIM?!" the robot called loudly to no one in particular…which was probably a good thing, because no one answered him. The Titans were much too occupied at the moment to take much notice of anything but the problem at hand. The monster laughed uproariously in victory.
"Azarath…metrion…zinthos!" a deep voice cried, and Beast Boy instantly turned his keen, birdlike eyes on the levitating girl. Her eyes glowed white with warning as a thick, shadowy substance burst from her hands and pummeled the creature right in its gleaming eye. It staggered back, roaring in pain, and groped wildly at the air around it. Starfire gasped and moved away as a menacing hand whipped the air where she had been floating just a moment ago.
"Good thinking, Raven!" called Robin from the ground, and the enlightened Titans set to work at the monster's newly found weakness. Beast Boy went in for a dive at their enemy and his talons struck the eye with a ruthless vengeance, causing it to gush an oozy white substance that made the creature stumble and groan louder.
Beast Boy soared back up again to let Starfire throw a bolt of green energy at their opponent. Raven was wearing a slight smirk of victory. Beast Boy stole a glance at her and inwardly grinned himself. She looked so nice when she smiled.
What happened next came so quickly and unexpectedly that Beast Boy wasn't able to register anything for a few moments. First Raven's dark eyes widened in conspicuous fear, her hands at the ready to defend herself—but it was too late. A single misty hand had snatched her up and was squeezing her defiantly around the waist, crushing her in its strong grasp. Raven emitted a sharp cry of pain and struggled within the evil clutches of the monster. "Aza…" she started in vain, then abruptly faltered, unable to draw breath into her lungs. The hand was choking her.
"Raven!" Cyborg called desperately, moving his cannon every which way, at a loss for what to do. Starfire screamed in terror for her friend as Robin cried, "The eye! Cyborg, aim for its eye!"
Composing themselves as quickly as possible, the Titans combined their powers and a medley of green and blue energy struck the ominous eye. Various trinkets from Robin's omnipotent utility belt were thrust forward at the glowing red orb. Beast Boy hovered above, screeching in hawk form, waiting for the blasts to subside so that he could do his part. Meanwhile, he kept a wary eye on Raven, whose expression was one BB had never seen her wear before—one of utter, utter desperation.
In reaction to the sudden blasts from the Titans the monster flailed wildly, screaming in a deafening, high-pitched tone of anguish that made the others briefly cover their ears. The vile creature flung both hands every which way, Raven still in his unbreakable grasp. "Let our friend GO!" Starfire cried in fury, rage burning in her eyes.
Then it happened.
A hand crashed against the wall…hard.
An ear-splitting cry of anguish as Raven's once-strong body was slammed once, twice, three times into hard brick. A short "Agh!" as her side scraped a sharp metal pole that jutted out from the wall. Then silence.
Star yelped and dove for the ground just in time, where Raven fell limply into her arms. The alien girl tried desperately to apply pressure to her friend's wound at the same time as preparing a starbolt in one clenched fist.
This was not happening. This could not be happening…
In a mad rush of anger, Beast Boy plunged at the monster. No way was he getting out of this one.
Beast Boy's talons clawed viciously at the creature's one eye. No stopping. No regrets. This thing had hurt Raven. It had to die. It had to be ripped apart…murdered…no mercy…
The ruthless scraping of talons continued until the monster uttered one last, long wail of pain and swayed momentarily before falling, a ghostly, unconscious figure on the ground. It was gone. Dead. The hawk swooped upward before heading back for the ground and landing breathlessly on his feet in human form.
Cyborg and Robin stared at him, Cyborg's sonic cannon still out, Robin with his grappling hook in hand. They weren't exactly sure what had just happened; they could not help wondering if maybe their friend's single-handed outburst on the foe had been a dream. Beast Boy ignored their gazes and ran toward the girls. Cyborg and Robin exchanged wary glances before rushing after him.
It was the middle of winter. The sky was cloudy and hushed, the calm after the battle empty and consuming. In Starfire's arms, the dark girl, their friend, lay bleeding and unconscious.
Starfire's cries pierced the frigid January air as she began to sob. "Raven—Raven, please—awaken—!"
Beast Boy shuddered at the memory.
The Titans had been relieved to find out that Raven was not dead. Not dead…just sleeping. Just sleeping for an unstoppable eternity.
Suddenly, Cyborg heaved a great sigh and tossed Time on a side table in surrender. "Man, I give up. I couldn't concentrate on anything if my life depended on it."
"I reciprocate," Starfire piped up, lifting her head from her hands and turning to Cyborg. "I cannot bear this waiting any longer. If she does not wake up soon, I fear that I shall—well, I shall—explode!" She waved her hands above her head to emphasize her point, then dropped her face into her palms once again.
"Don't we all," Beast Boy muttered quietly, slinging his legs over the side of his chair in defeat. Cyborg smirked. "Yeah, well, looks like the Boy Wonder is taking it pretty easy." He nodded in the direction of Robin, whose head was completely leaned back in his chair and whose mouth was wide open in the refuge of sleep, the incomprehensible banging noises of one of his rock bands playing in his oblivious ears.
Starfire separated her fingers slightly to reveal the tired, but still immensely bright emerald orbs that were her eyes. She peeked at Robin's image through her fingers and emitted something like a cross between a sigh and a giggle before she leaned over and pressed the 'stop' button on his portable CD player. He immediately stirred.
"Wha…? Oh…what'd ya do that for…?"
The boy opened his eyes, yawned widely, and stretched, only to realize that Cyborg and Beast Boy were both shooting him incredibly stony stares. He laughed nervously.
"Sorry, guys. Guess I just…dozed off…" he trailed off and looked at Starfire guiltily. "Thanks, Star. I needed that."
Starfire smiled brightly. "No…prob," she said carefully, inwardly congratulating herself on the proper use of the Earth phrase. Beast Boy and Cyborg exchanged glances, but looked away quickly before one of them started laughing.
Suddenly, Starfire's optimistic face sunk as she remembered the plight of the team…of Raven. She looked at Robin concernedly. "Robin, perhaps it would be best if you returned to our dwelling for the night—to receive rest," she finished quickly, turning to face the others. "Perhaps it would be best if you all returned," she added.
Cyborg's mouth fell open. "What? What about Ra—"
"I will stay with Raven," Starfire interrupted softly. Of all the Titans, she had been by her sleeping friend's side the most—they all knew how deeply this had cut her. The teens exchanged wary glances, each of their faces softened in concern. Finally, Beast Boy jumped off of his chair and seated himself next to Starfire, extending his hand and gesturing towards her.
"But Star—what about you?" he asked quietly.
"I will be fine." She looked up at her friends with innocent eyes. "Raven is my friend. I do not mind staying with her."
Cyborg winced, Robin frowned, and Beast Boy stared down at his favored teal carpet once again.
"Besides, you all deserve rest. Tomorrow I shall return to our dwelling place, and one of you will stay with Raven. There is no need for us all to be here at once."
Robin gave a firm nod. "Good idea, Star. We'll go home for the night, and one of us will come for you in the morning; then you can get some sleep and that person will stay here." He glanced around at his three friends. "Any volunteers?"
Beast Boy stole a glance at the dreaded Room 124, and sunk deeper into his seat. All eyes seemed to be on him, anticipating his reply.
"Why me?!" he burst finally.
Cyborg rolled his eyes and scoffed. "I'll do it," he muttered sheepishly, with a venomous look in Beast Boy's direction. "C'mon, guys, let's go. My baby's ready any time y'all are." With that he stood, turned, and ambled towards the elevator.
Beast Boy rose from his seat quickly. "Bye, Star," he called over his shoulder, already in pursuit of the metal man. Robin stood to leave, took a few steps, then abruptly turned back. Starfire's eyes widened as he reached for her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "She'll be alright," he whispered. The alien girl lifted her eyes to him and nodded weakly. Robin released her hand, and silently she sat and watched him go.
Wake me up inside!
Wake me up inside!
Call my name and save me
From the dark…
Beast Boy wrapped his arms around himself as Robin pressed the button labeled 'Ground Floor' on the elevator door. He was unusually quiet. Well, they were all unusually quiet. The boys stood in grave silence, their backs pressed to the cold metal surface of the elevator, and lost themselves in thought.
Beast Boy felt his heart sink into his stomach as the elevator dropped downward with a dizzying effect. He gripped the hand bar, and beside him Robin and Cyborg did the same. He wondered what they were thinking about.
Well, there was one thing for sure: he knew what he was thinking about.
That song. That damn song had been stuck in his head for two full days. It would not leave him alone. His internal radio had trashed the countless other songs it usually played to make room for the haunting tune.
Bid my blood to run
Before I come undone
Save me from the nothing
Raven had liked that song—at least, from what Beast Boy could gather. One could never really tell if Raven liked something or not. The way she turned away from the things she should have liked—should have loved—was often unsettling.
Beast Boy closed his eyes wearily and trembled, letting the sound of a very different song fill his ears and return him to that gray Tuesday morning.
"Road man, slow it down,
You will get there safe and sound
I said no, no, no,
The show must go on."
Beast Boy did a little dance around the kitchen, expertly twirling the spatula in his hand as he sang.
He and Raven were the only ones up this early. It was this time that he valued the most out of any other half hour in the day. 7:00-7:30 AM. Before Robin's alarm clock went off, before Cyborg trudged into the main room, before Star was awakened by the sun and bouncing around the kitchen as enthusiastically as ever. All of the Titans were early starters, but Beast Boy and Raven were by far the earliest.
He didn't know why he woke up so early. It was just some natural instinct in his brain that told him to get his lazy butt up—at 6:45 in the morning. And God only knew what made Raven get up and leave her room at 7:00…but she did it every morning, without hesitation.
Beast Boy's dark eyes shifted stealthily amidst the commotion of his own rambunctious movement to look at her. She was poised, as always, on the sofa, her face concealed by a single leather-bound volume. Raven's two slender legs were crossed in a position of comfortable serenity as her eyes traveled quietly over whatever intriguing words her book had to offer. Beast Boy continued to watch her out of the corner of his eye. It seemed to him that every inch of her had been carved out of perfectly smooth ivory stone, graceful in movement and flawless in nature.
The boy swung back over to the soy-based pancakes and flipped them one by one, still whistling and swaying with the tune of his favorite song. It was like this nearly every morning at Titans Tower—BB would come in first, yawning widely, to prepare the tofu-laden ritual that was breakfast (despite Cyborg's laments, of course) while switching on the radio. Raven would enter fifteen minutes later with her eyes still half-closed and a few ancient-looking tomes tucked under her arm. Beast Boy would offer her what he referred to as the "Ultimate Famous Infectious Contagious Beast Boy Grin 2000"—his latest mass-produced invention—accompanied by a wholehearted "Morning, Raven" and occasionally an attempt at small conversation.
Raven reacted differently to his morning greeting each time, depending on what mood she was in. Occasionally she would roll her eyes in annoyance or reply with a stony stare that eventually made him turn away. Or, if she was in a good mood, she would offer him a tiny smile—and then Beast Boy's insides would seem to churn with the thrill of victory as tiny people somewhere in his head applauded him on. But no matter what her reaction, he—well, he loved her. She was his friend.
The yawning Raven would proceed to her favored sofa, sink into it, and become dissolved in her book without another word to Beast Boy. And he would—at least for a while—let her be, and move restlessly around the kitchen to the beat of his music (which, for some reason, Raven did not mind). That was where they were that morning as rain spattered against the large, clouded windows. Beast Boy's savored half-hour was almost up—the guys would be awake any minute now.
Beast Boy sneaked another interested glance at the dark girl on the couch. Usually at this time of day the sun was just starting to come up, and the sky would be layered with a tapestry of pinks and purples and yellows. When the bulging orb of the sun first appeared over the horizon, Raven would sometimes look up from her tome and gaze at the sunrise. This particular day, however, the sky remained dark and cloud-swept, and the sun was coming up quietly beneath them, slowly turning the world a light gray-blue shade. Raven did not stop reading.
"Road man, slow it down,
You will get there safe and sound
I said no, no, no,
The show must go on."
BB sang the last verse rather loudly, hoping to win her attention before the others woke up. However, the song abruptly changed on him as the lyrical, bombastic rantings of Smash Mouth gave way to the slow, creepy fingering of a piano's high chords. Beast Boy shut up.
"How can you see into my eyes
Like open doors?
Leading you down into my core
Where I've become so numb…"
Beast Boy flipped a pancake absentmindedly. He'd heard this song before. It was okay.
Again he watched Raven from the corner of his eye. Slowly she looked up and directed her gaze to the wall. Closed her book softly in her lap. And stared blankly ahead.
Beast Boy knew she was listening.
He was deliberately quieter after this realization, and tiptoed around the kitchen silently, eyeing her with intrigue. It was unusual of her to put her book aside so abruptly, and Beast Boy was itching to see what she would do next…
"Hey B, we got any real milk in here?"
Beast Boy jumped in surprise, nearly sending a pancake flying through the air. Luckily he composed himself and flipped it back onto the griddle before he spun around to see Cyborg—with his head in the refrigerator.
Beast Boy exhaled. "Geez man, you scared me!"
Cyborg ignored his friend's comment and continued to rummage through the fridge unceremoniously. "Okay, there is NO food in here. Everything's been taken over by YOU, Mr. Tofu, sir."
"Nah, actually it was the Protozoids from Planet Ufot." BB grinned widely.
Cyborg withdrew his head from the frozen abyss and eyed Beast Boy, obviously unamused. His human eye flecked back and forth between his green friend and the transistor radio on the counter, which was now making its presence known with impacting guitars, powerful percussion, and still that fabulously sweet voice.
"Now that I know what I'm without
You can't just leave me.
Breathe into me and make me real.
Bring me to life…"
Finally the cybernetic man approached the source of the dark music. "Man, turn this crap off."
"Dude! I like this song!" Beast Boy left his position in front of the frying pancakes to jump in front of the radio in defense, spatula still in hand. Cyborg raised a quizzical brow.
The smaller boy heaved a sigh of contempt and nodded in Raven's direction. Cyborg followed his eyes to gaze on the dark girl, who was still staring at the wall as if it were a TV. Her face was empty of all emotion, all expression; and her once-interesting book lie abandoned on the cushion beside her.
"OH," the metal man mouthed, then whispered, "Is she okay?"
"I…guess," said Beast Boy, head cocked in utter confusion. The two boys stood there, staring at Raven, but she took no notice. The girl seemed to be caught up in some kind of trance, and could not feel the burning of their eyes. All she could feel was…the music. Her eyes had drifted out of focus, and Beast Boy made a note of this, his subconscious acknowledging the beauty of her icy blue orbs. He had always thought that if the ocean ever froze over, it would look something like Raven's eyes.
It was only when Cyborg gave him a sharp jab in the side that Beast Boy came out of his own hypnosis and turned to look at the half-robot. Cyborg smirked at his friend's obvious fascination and started towards Raven.
"Yo Rae-Vae," he boomed loudly, "whatcha looking at?"
"Rae-Vae" jumped in surprise, so visibly that it was almost comical, and returned to the reality of Titans Tower, only to shoot a death-glare at Cy at the receiving of her new nickname. The music pounded rhythmically in the background.
"Yeah," said BB, playing his role. He leaned on the back of the sofa and stared at her in mock surprise. "You looked a little…zoned out. You're telling me that you're actually LISTENING to MY music?" He pointed to himself, grinning.
Raven turned her cold gaze to the green boy, a vein popping out of her head in annoyance, and shook her head with distaste. "You know nothing," she returned simply, quickly reclaiming her book. The guys didn't get another word in before she was hidden behind it, reading once more. Cyborg and Beast Boy exchanged confused glances.
In the backdrop, the gorgeously toned voice stretched a long, high, beautiful note of anguish as a last word to her listeners…and the music faded away.
Beast Boy's eyes flew open with the elevator doors. He let Cyborg and Robin exit first, then quietly trailed behind them, his eyes downcast. The boys entered the main lobby of Jump City General Hospital, smiling weakly at the receptionists who waved them off. They proceeded in silence to the large automatic doors that led to the parking lot.
Some time after the morning incident, Beast Boy had caught Raven listening to that song on the CD tester at FYE. And once, he even thought he heard her humming it. A strange thought, yes; but he had been walking through the hallway innocently when he heard it. Curiosity had driven him to press his ear to Raven's nearby door—and sure enough, the tune filtered in through the barrier and carried to his ears. It had to have been her. And Beast Boy had to admit: the hummed song had been, in its own way…beautiful.
The boys were immediately greeted by a sharp, cold gust of January wind as the automatic doors flew open. Despite the ambulance sirens and moving vehicles in the backdrop, there was a stillness about the air that implied the coming of snow.
So many things about Raven were beautiful, he thought. If only she wouldn't try so hard to cover them up.
It had been a long ride home.
Cy had stopped the T-Car over at the local Burger King for some chow (seeing as none of them had eaten anything in two days), and there had been a brief argument over the fact that there was no vegetarian salad on the menu. Of course, Robin had ended it abruptly, and Beast Boy had rebelliously gone hungry, leaving his stomach to rumble, unsatisfied.
They had returned from the restaurant to find that once again, Beast Boy had locked all the keys inside of the T-Car, giving the guys yet another opportunity to yell at him. Reluctantly they'd had to ask to use the phone book in Burger King and call a locksmith. By the time the professional had broken through all of Cyborg's high-tech security, it was past midnight.
As if that weren't enough, on the ride back to the Tower they had run across a few gang members surrounding a frightened-looking young woman. Though it wasn't easy without the girls, the male Titans had managed to haul the criminals off to the authorities, which cost them another hour of their time.
But now they were home, each in their rooms, lost in their own individual realms of thought. Pondering beneath the warmth of his blankets, Beast Boy supposed that the others were asleep—but he knew he couldn't sleep a wink if he tried. Something about the absence of Starfire and Raven hung so heavily in the air, it was almost tangible. He didn't like it.
If Star were here, she might be humming herself to sleep as she often did. BB could always hear her; her room was adjacent to his, and the wall that separated them was paper-thin. He had no idea what she was singing about, because it was in some foreign language…most likely Tamaranean. Still, her songs often helped him to drift off too.
And then there was Raven. She was as silent as a shadow, and her walls were soundproof. But Beast Boy could always tell she was there. The presence of Raven wasn't something one could always see or hear, but something you could feel. He could tell she had entered a room without even seeing her come in; he could feel the rhythm of her footsteps before watching her step through the door; he could sense the aura of her presence before even discerning the ghostly flutter of her cape. There was something about her…that just told him she was near. Something settled over the air when Raven walked in. He couldn't place it, but—well, it was powerful.
Beast Boy tried desperately to put into words what it felt like to sense her. He inhaled deeply and concentrated his thoughts. It was like…almost like…walking into a winter landscape. Yeah, that was it. But not like Currier & Ives. It was like stepping out of your warm house and feeling the snow crunch beneath your feet. Like feeling a chill trickle through your body and numb you all over…like looking all around you and seeing nothing but white. Not a bad white, like at the hospital—a clean, sparkling, soft white. Being with Raven was like watching your breath evanesce in the cold air, and hearing nothing around you but utter, utter silence. Everything just stopped whirring and things made more sense. And the best part was the cold—the way it bit you, thrilled you, made you hurt—and led you to think that somehow, someday, you would be the spring that would melt all the snow.
Satisfied with the mental picture, Beast Boy opened his eyes—and realized that it had been a year since he had gone so long without feeling that.
The boy sighed and looked at the ceiling dolefully. He missed her. Honestly. And so did everyone else. They had all cried for her. Starfire had wept openly, Robin had put his face in his hands and suffered silent shudders, and even big, macho Cy had let slide a tear, though he wiped it away quickly.
But Beast Boy had not cried. He just wasn't a crier. If there was a problem, he would either fix it or whine until someone else did. Heck, he could count the times he had cried.
He thought about Raven. She probably never cried either—she just couldn't afford to. It was only after the incident with the Puppet King, when Starfire explained to him what it had been like to be Raven, that he understood why she was so…moody all the time. She had some major issues. Beast Boy giggled aloud at his own thoughts before mentally whacking himself in the head.
You're horrible, thinking bad things about Raven. Especially when she's all comatose and crap. Dude,you're the one who has issues.
Beast Boy concurred, and shut up.
In truth, he thought she was incredibly strong. Who else could restrain their emotions like that, and all for the good of others? No one but Raven. She was so brave. So calm, so constant. Man, if he was in her situation, he'd have lost his mind by now. But she hadn't. That was what made her so amazing.
BB emitted a soft sigh and turned over. He closed his eyes and pictured just what Raven's face looked like: solemn, framed by a smooth fall of orchid hair. Penciled features, gray lips that carried her deeply calm voice, and eyes that were often narrowed in concentration. Those eyes. Beast Boy sucked in his breath, searching his mind for an adjective that could possibly describe them—oh, heck with it. He sucked with words.
He let a smile play on the lips of his mental image. Raven's smile was a rarity, but when it surfaced, it was her crowning glory. The last time she had smiled, Beast Boy had made a point of it to stamp the image in his head. Now he took it out time and time again, whenever he felt especially down about something. So far, it had worked like a charm.
A charm? What are you saying? You act like you like her or something…
Beast Boy shivered as the image slowly faded away.
…What if she never wakes up?
Wake me up inside!
Wake me up inside!
Beast Boy angrily flung the blankets away from him, climbed from the bunk, and started for his door. Sleep was futile, and he would sooner eat eighty-four thousand real hamburgers before he'd let that song consume his brain.
The main room was dark and quiet when Beast Boy tiptoed into it, gazing cautiously around at various objects and hoping he wouldn't wake anyone up. He wasn't exactly sure what he was planning to do; maybe he'd grab a soda and watch some late-night TV. Not that there was actually anything on right now…but he definitely couldn't bear another second of trying to sleep.
Moonlight poured in through the large glass windows and illuminated him against the shadows. Everything had taken on a strange new look; things that had seemed average and normal in the light had become looming, ominous shapes in the dark. Beast Boy moved quietly but swiftly; he had an eerie feeling that he was not alone in the room…and it was, to put it bluntly, freaking him out.
Upon reaching the small kitchen, Beast Boy swung open the fridge immediately, grateful for the light inside that flooded over the darkened room. He plundered a cold Sierra Mist from the frozen place and snapped it open with a pop, closing the fridge absentmindedly as he padded toward the big screen TV. Something was definitely not right; he could tell when he was sharing air with someone, and now was one of those times.
Finally Beast Boy identified the source of the odd sensation: across the room, sitting on the couch, was Cyborg, his head resting in his hands. Five empty Sierra Mist cans were strewn over the shadowy table in front of him.
Well, that explains it,Beast Boy thought, relieved that it was only his friend and not some kind of ghost or creepy voodoo villain. Slowly he approached the silent Cyborg, choosing his words carefully. "Yo Cy…you awake?"
Of course, he already knew the answer. Cyborg's head flew up from his hands in shock, and for a moment he just stared at Beast Boy, his mouth hanging open. Finally, he spoke.
"What are you doin' up?"
"Well…what are you doing up?"
"I asked you first."
Beast Boy sprawled himself absently over the couch adjacent to Cyborg's, and took a swig of his soda before answering. "Couldn't sleep."
There was a brief silence as the boys continued to stare off into space, Beast Boy taking sips of his drink at intervals. Both their faces were adorned with patterns of light and shadow that danced when a car passed by on the bridge far below. Beast Boy, for some reason, didn't feel the need to talk, and he allowed himself to be lost in thought.
"Sooo…why couldn't ya sleep?" Cyborg's voice was unusually quiet.
Snapping out of his trance, Beast Boy blinked suddenly and sighed. "Ah, I dunno…I'm just…just worried, I guess. About Raven…you know."
"Yeah." Cyborg looked down at the floor and closed his eyes. "Me too."
"Feel really bad for her. Wonder what she's dreaming about." Beast Boy gestured absently as if talking to a psychiatrist, his dark eyes still out of focus.
Cyborg raised an eyebrow. "Good question. Even I didn't think of that one." He chuckled slightly.
"Mmm," Beast Boy murmured thoughtfully. There was another extended silence. Cyborg twiddled his thumbs as his friend continued to be in his own world, not uttering a single word.
"Ya know," Beast Boy said suddenly, setting his Sierra Mist down on the table, "it's like we're all a whole lot closer to it now."
Cyborg cocked his head slightly. "Closer to what?"
Cyborg stared at BB concernedly and considered his words. "Whaddya mean?"
"Well…I dunno…it's just like…ever since she got hurt, I've been…sort of…hanging by a thread over the canyon of doom. Yeah, that's it! I mean…well, you know what I'm saying…right?"
Cyborg knew what he was saying, alright.
"Little man, I don't know if you've realized this, but we're all hanging by a thread over the canyon of doom."
Beast Boy blinked. "Well…good to know I'm not the only one."
Silence claimed them once again. In darkness, the two men sat, staring out at the lights in the city and waiting for the imminent break of day.
The next chapter will be up A.S.A.P. Until then, PLEASE review…you have no idea how much it will help my story and my self-esteem. Thank you! ^_^