Author's Note: Well, guys, we're finally here.

The last chapter.

When I saw "Fear Itself," I was vaguely reminded of this installment of the fic. I promise you, however, that I did not take this idea from the episode, because it was written long before I knew anything about Season 2.

This is also the shortest…heh…not surprising, though, after those insanely long first three. I guess the last one didn't need much to get its point across. It's probably the most thoughtful chapter, too, if that's even possible. I mean, hardly anything happens here, it's basically just an entrance to Raven's thoughts.

I found this chapter particularly easy to write, in comparison to the others. I think anyone can identify with Raven in some way or another, and I have found that I do…in more ways than one. Usually I compare myself to Starfire, but I cannot toss aside the profound part of me that flows so much like Raven. I see myself in her character, in her actions and words, in what thoughts must be running through her mind. In my own way, I feel the same things she does. I know what it's like to be trapped beneath the burden of the things you cannot control.

I had fun entering Raven's inner psyche in this chapter, and it was not all that difficult. Her thoughts came out as easily as if they were my own (because, often, they are my own). I actually used the way I feel about some people in my life as a tool to help me put to words how Raven felt about Beast Boy. Believe it or not, rereading my diaries and some old poems I had written was useful as I entered Raven's character. Why do you think I am so into this pairing? I see myself in these characters, and I see the people all around me. The entire show is an incarnation of my relationships with people. Saying that I don't believe in this coupling would be like saying I don't believe in the truths I've discovered from my own life.

There's another song dedication at the beginning of this one, but not one that you'll expect. I think it goes well with the contents of the chapter, though. The point of this installment was basically to give Raven a say about everything. I wanted to give some insight into her coma, as well as provide an opportunity for her to reflect on herself and on her relationship with Beast Boy. Also note that the Raven you read about here will be somewhat different from the one you've known from previous chapters. Before, it was all about how the rest of the world sees her…how we see her. This is about how she sees herself. There may be a striking difference.

Anywho, there will not be any sequels to this ficcie, as much as the ending may leave you thinking, "That's it?" I had a point to make, and it has been made. It's up to you to make your own ending for this fic; it's up to you to continue keepin' the faith in the R/BB relationship.

Be on the lookout for "Tea With Terra," the new fan fiction co-authored by Mint Dragon, my sister Aliute, and I. The first chapters, all written by Mint Dragon, will be under her name. The conclusion, written by Aliute and I, will be considered part two and posted under mine. We hope you enjoy it. ^_^

Thank you for all the support you've provided…God bless.

Like Toast always says, I wonder if anyone actually reads these things, anyway? :)

-Alys

Dedication: With love, I hereby dedicate this chapter to every last one of the Raven/Beast Boy 'shippers…the ones who I have been privileged to get to know, the ones I haven't met who are avidly supporting elsewhere, and the ones who still cower in the shadows for fear that they will be crushed and insulted for their opinions. You are my guiding light, my hope, and sometimes the only thing that keeps me believing. For any of you who are reading now: take this. It's a lighter…the representation of your faith in R/BB. When it flickers out, your faith has been diminished. Don't ever let this little flame waver. Everything will turn out for the best…remember, good things come to those who wait. In all of you there is unity, and in unity lies strength. Thank you for your perseverance, devotion, understanding, crying shoulders, optimism, and unsurpassable faith. I love you all.

Replies:

Toast: Oh, you've started on the new ficcie? Yay! ^_^ Don't worry, however it turns out (happy, angsty, or mix), I know it's going to be marvelous. After all, you wrote it…

Marshmello Da Strawberry Cow: Vision of stamps?

Le Chat de Darigan: Yeah, I only realized that after I posted the last chapter. T_T

Darkness Gathering: O.O Five…years? That's…a long time…kind of reminds me of BB (in the fic, at least). I can't believe I made you cry after a stretch of time like that. I don't know whether to apologize or celebrate. I'm glad someone appreciates that I reply to all these reviews, cuz I know some people get annoyed with all the space it takes up at the beginning. Thanks for being so encouraging in your reviews; I can rest now knowing that anyone who flames me will go to hell. lol!

Krimzon Dawn: What? You've got to be kidding me. Dahlin, there are many writers here at FF.Net who surpass me, let alone the entire great world of contributions to the English language. Also, I like this ghetto dumpster of FF.Net. It's my kind of place. XD But thanks for the compliments anyway! And when is the next chappie of "Tabula Rasa" coming…? Oh, by the way, Terra may own, but she does not own me! Muahahahahahahahaha! Ahem.

Seth Turtle: I agree…screw the show, let's read fan fiction. XD God, by the way, I am loving your new fan fiction. But you already knew that. **dies**

eventidespirit: Don't you dare feel inadequate—I would give anything to make my fics half as original as yours. Sure, I may use flowery language, but it doesn't mean a thing. I could never have thought up some of the things that you have (like "The Misfits"…that is such a good idea, I hate you for it! Why couldn't I have thought up something like that?) It's not pointless fluff. "Love Bites" was marvelous as far as entering character relationships. "The Misfits" is far beyond fluff, it's an ingenious idea that you could go so many places with. I was just waiting for someone to write "Control," the fan fic world needed it desperately. You won't believe how grateful I was to see that someone accomplished a story that managed to portray Terra as she actually is: not evil, but a misled basket case. Heh. You're a really awesome writer—trust me, I can tell when I see one.

Nightling: Heehee, I was thinking that as well. But I just couldn't resist giving Link, my beloved Hero of Time, the spotlight for a moment. :)

Incrediblecuznz: Yes, someone who finally understands what I think! I wish to God that Teen Titans had one solid writer, because the various writers screw with the characters whenever they feel like it (Amy Wolfram…grrr). That's what makes the show (in Toast's words) so out-of-character. It's like they don't even sit down and talk about what will happen, they just throw in whatever they want. In my personal opinion (and this may be just me, the subject is open to argument), I think different writers are like us—they support different fan couplings. They like to drop hints in their favored coupling's direction. Pro-R/BB writers: Rob Hoegee ("Final Exam," "Every Dog Has His Day"), Greg Klein and Tom Pugsley ("Nevermore," "Masks"). I always look forward to eppies written by them. ^_^ Of course, my theory could be absolute bull…which it probably is…oh well.

troubled-ego: Is this the same troubled-ego who wrote the comedic genius fan fiction, "School Woes"? Oh! **kisses the feet of troubled-ego** You rock!

TrickyFrog: Whee, another hater of the episode "Terra." We can never have too many. Ah well, I suppose the fast pace of it was due to the fact that it is doomed, which is fine by me. ^_^ Still despise it, though.

Change-Of-Heart2: Oh my God. Oh…my God. I just read some of your poems and…do you have any idea how frickin good you are?! Holy crap…I think we have the same mind, because some of those verses, I swear to God, are exactly what I feel like sometimes, and even similar to some things I have written. I especially liked "Autumn," what awesome imagery (I once wrote a poem about autumn too) and "Falling," (I wrote a poem with that title too, what is this, the Twilight Zone?) because it reminded me of Raven…and while we're at it, consider yourself a Raven at heart, because most of those poems are things she could relate to. I am just overwhelmed. "Walk With Me" was like a poetic incarnation of a new one-shot I'm working on. I feel so unoriginal now, though I know it's not my fault, since I never read your poems before I wrote my work, but it doesn't matter. You rock, absolutely and totally, and I hope you write some TT poetry sometime, because you know I'd love to read it. *continues to stare at Change-Of-Heart2 in shock* You have humbled me…I am nothing compared to you.

Life sucks, get used to it: *nods up at Change-Of-Heart2* There's some poetry you may want to read. Hope you got my e-mail.

With all that said, enjoy. I hope you like it.

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I had no choice…but to hear you. You stated your case time and again. I thought about it. You treat me like I'm a princess…I'm not used to liking that. You ask how my day was…you've already won me over, in spite of me. And don't be alarmed if I fall, head over feet—and don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are. I couldn't help it; it's all your fault! Your love is thick, and it swallowed me whole. You're so much braver than I give you credit for. That's not lip service…you've already won me over, in spite of me. And don't be alarmed if I fall, head over feet—and don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are. I couldn't help it; it's all your fault! You are the bearer of unconditional things. You held your breath…and the door for me. Thanks for your patience…you're the best listener that I've ever met. You're my best friend—best friend with benefits. What took me so long? I've never felt this healthy before. I've never wanted something rational. I am aware now, oh…I am aware now…you've already won me over, in spite of me. And don't be alarmed if I fall, head over feet—and don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are. I couldn't help it; it's all your fault!

-"Head Over Feet," Alanis Morissette

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The Voice was everywhere.

Its sound pummeled Raven from every direction like a million unwanted fists punching out at her. Every chord in her body reacted to it in a different way, sending her reeling and stumbling in all directions at once, powerless. Though she knew she stood still, the rage whirled so fiercely inside her that she had the urge to vomit—but it was not possible; her sealed lips struggled to part and let her sickness pass, but her efforts were futile. Someone had glued her lips together, and was speaking for her, in her, through her.

Raven's mind tried to register the words she wanted her mouth to say. Azarath metrion zinthos. Say it! she commanded her frozen body, as it inwardly convulsed, knocking the wind out of her. She fell to the ground, groping at nothing but the blackness before her, reaching for the hand that would never come.

Abruptly, the tornado stopped.

Raven looked up, her palms still on the ground. She felt, in her own eyes, a cold gleam—a sort of glistened chill that possessed every frightening secret carried by the darkness.

And then, a smile spread over her thin lips. One that felt little, and cared even less. It was not her own, and yet it was hers in every way imaginable…the smile took control, driving away whatever light was left. It knew of its own conquest. Her grin widened rapidly, and she opened her mouth to speak:

I'm awake, Raven.

***

"Ah!"

Raven shot up from her pillows as a bullet piercing the night air, her gasp stabbing madly at the silence in the room. Mechanically her hand flew to her mouth to prevent the gasp from evolving into a scream, and she shuddered violently, drawing short, sharp measures of breath into her lungs.

Slowly, Raven let her head fall into her hands; she was itching to sob, but repressed the emotion wisely and began to rub her temples in a desperate attempt to calm herself. Already black orbs were forming around various objects in her darkened room, due to the unrestrained energy that fled from her body. Raven closed her eyes in heavy deliberation as the orbs bulged, threatening to shatter her possessions. Though fine strands of violet hair had fallen slightly in her face, she didn't dare lift her hand to brush them away—to break her own concentration would mean to risk losing all the artifacts she had so carefully organized around the room, including the bed that she slept in.

For a while she listened only to the sound of her own breathing and the pulse of the heartbeat in her ears—signs that she really was awake, not trapped in the nightmare that had haunted her throughout her coma. She touched her hand to each of her arms, then to her forehead, realizing that her entire body was doused in a cold sweat. The bed sheets were a massive, twisted jumble around her, and after she watched the orbs of unsuppressed emotion fade and evanesce into the air, she set about straightening them.

This task kept her mind distracted only a few moments before it returned to the unspoken horrors of her recurring dream. Raven did her best not to relive the sickening strain of the nightmare, but it was impossible—shivers rampaged up and down her spine as she remembered the feeling of vulnerability that had possessed her. Recalling the unfulfilled desire to speak her words, she inhaled deeply.

"Azarath metrion zinthos."

The words sounded clear and reassuring as she whispered them in her own familiar tone of voice. Raven breathed an audible sigh of relief at the comforting knowledge that she was in control.

Feeling soothed, she stopped for the first time to let her senses draw in the nature of her surroundings. It was deathly cold in the room. The blankets concealing her body felt rather like sheets of ice over her bare legs, and the winter chill found its way to her feet and nipped at them mercilessly. Perhaps Starfire had turned the air conditioning on again; she tended to be warm no matter what time of year it was, and didn't understand the way the late January winds chilled the human body.

Warmth, Raven thought dolefully. There's something I could go for right now. She wrapped her arms around her trembling body and envisioned a mug of hot tea just the way she liked it: with one small scoop of sugar, and tidbits of sage. She salivated at the recollection of its taste…but was only racked by more shivers at the remembrance of its warmth.

Sitting there in her bed, she considered heading to the main room and fixing herself a pot…but decided against it. She could tell that the Tower was asleep by the eerie silence that had settled over it like fog, quieting her chatty friends and delivering the oppressive mist of slumber to their eyes. She had no intention of waking them with the irritating whistle of a teapot—despite the countless times they annoyed her, she never thought once about doing the same to them. It wasn't in her nature. And besides, they didn't purposely mean to aggravate her—she understood that they were only trying to help.

Raven sighed faintly, realizing that there was nothing left for her to do but go back to sleep. Slowly she laid her head back against the pillows, the blankets up to her chin, and tried to relax, to surrender. But the sheets were stone cold around her, the very room a chilling dark domain, and the contents of her dream were flitting through her brain like caged birds that had broken free.

She remembered that something momentous had occurred just before she woke up; something untold, horrible, worse even than the previous feelings of rage that had seized her body and took control of it. Worse than the desperate attempts to part her frozen lips and speak, worse than the sudden jolts of pain that had thrashed her so relentlessly. There was something, she knew, that came involuntarily, dangerously, and very, very slowly—calm, gleaming, it had crept inch by inch from the shadows…

I'm awake, Raven.

Her eyes widened as the image rushed back to her like a forgotten memory. The glint in her eyes. The ice in her soul. And worst of all, the slow, prevailing smile and The Voice that emerged from her own lips.

Raven felt a maddening surge of panic as her large almond eyes darted around the empty room, dark save for the tiny sliver of light from the hallway that had found its way under her door. The darkness seemed to grow darker, the silence become steadily louder, and the consuming fear in her heart spread with the rapidity of fire—but the deadening cold of ice.

Raven felt her pulse quicken involuntarily and her heart drop into her stomach with a deafening thud. Perhaps it was the haunting image of her father that still prevailed in her head time and time again; perhaps it was the frightening aftershock of a painful battle and an imprisoning week-long coma. Whatever the cause, she could feel her demons catching up with her. The demons that only she could fight. Raven suddenly felt utterly, utterly alone.

With the expression of a child who is afraid of the dark, the young woman squeezed her eyes shut. She clutched the blankets around her as she lay helpless, fearing—fearing sleep, fearing reality, fearing the darkness from which things crawled to feed upon her soul. Her body numbing, she heard the six desperate words plea and echo in her mind:

I don't want to be alone.

It was only then that she heard the breathing.

Long, soft inhalations rose up from somewhere beneath Raven that were not her own. The respiration was so quiet that it was barely audible, but now that she had acknowledged it, she could hear it perfectly: slow, peaceful intakes of air that were conspicuously the result of heavy sleep. She held her own breath and listened intently, concentrating on the sound of the breath being drawn in and pushed out.

Someone else was in her room.

Now distracted from her fears, Raven sat up and gazed around in confusion, searching for the origin of the sound. For some reason, it did not frighten her, though the sudden realization that she was not alone in her room probably should have—rather, the soft sound of another person's respiration seemed to soothe her and dissolve her fears. The slow breaths were consistent and familiar, though she still could not pinpoint who they belonged to, or where they were coming from.

Cautiously, Raven peered over the edge of her bed, squinting in the scarce light pouring from under the door. There on the hard tile, curled into a humble ball to shield himself from the cold, slept Beast Boy.

Raven cocked her head slightly in curiosity, not entirely sure what she was seeing. Beast Boy? On her floor? In the middle of the night? Surely her eyes were deceiving her. She blinked, mouth slightly agape, at the apparition that was offering her some sort of comfort.

What is he doing here? she asked herself once her foggy brain had registered that he was the real thing, flesh and blood. Of course, she already knew the answer, because she knew Beast Boy. Ridiculous, brainless, idiotic, conceited. But undeniably caring. He had not wanted her to be alone. He knew how much she valued her privacy, and how risky it would be just to venture into her room and lie on the floor beside her bed and breathe with her. But somehow, he also knew that secretly the last thing she wanted to be that night was alone. He was willing to chance a battle with her temper so that he might…brighten things up.

Wow.

Quietly, Raven reclined back onto her bed, propping her head on her hand for a better view of the sleeping boy. She allowed her thoughts to flow, each one connected to the last, as rivers branching out over the realm of her mind.

He had been the one with her when she woke up, hadn't he? Raven inwardly nodded at her own question. Everything about her coma and the time after it were still fuzzy, but she could at least remember that. Beast Boy had been talking to her and…holding her hand. Suddenly she wished more than anything that she could remember what he'd said. Normally she wasn't interested in angsty, tearful, dramatic speeches rattled off to people in comas—she'd seen a million of them on TV, and they were all the same—but the fact that she was the comatose one, and he was the one speaking to her, made all the difference.

Raven could remember only the very last thing that he had told her. Don't leave me. And that was when she had gathered the physical strength to part her lips and whisper her reply: I won't. When he realized that she was awake, he'd completely flipped out, but—

Don't leave me.

There were times when she really despised Beast Boy; when his corny jokes and his unrepressed egotism drove her to her last straw. Occasionally she'd have to retreat to her room and meditate just to force down her frustration with his perpetual lightheaded antics. Surely there were times when, if she had not learned years ago to keep her emotions in check, she would have strangled him or blown his head off just to get him to shut the hell up. Still, she was finding it impossible to forget the warm pressure of his hand on hers…

Don't think like that, she scolded herself.

But I was so cold—he woke me up—

Raven closed her eyes forcefully to shut out her thoughts. She replaced them where they belonged—her subconscious—and reverted herself back to thoughts as innocent as if she were talking about her little brother.

Beast Boy was, perhaps, the most annoying person she had ever known (second only to Starfire on holidays). But he meant well. He had always meant well. She understood that.

Raven reopened her eyes to gaze down on her complete opposite…if she lived in a book, all the English teachers would say that he was her foil character. She didn't give him enough credit. He always had such good intentions, but she was constantly pushing him away, shutting him out, turning her back on his every attempt to please her. Beast Boy probably wasn't used to people just not liking him, and that was precisely the message she knew her dark, critical aura conveyed.

Wait. Me? Feeling sorry for Beast Boy? Raven shook her head slightly. I must really be losing it.

With unblinking metallic-blue eyes, she watched him sleep. In the dim light he was just a dark form, huddled in the shadow cast by her looming bed. His green skin was discolored in the faint light, his outline barely traceable against the darkness. Vaguely, Raven could make out his face. For once, it was sober—the laughing olive-green eyes closed, the usually-smiling lips expressionless and calm. His resting body seemed to radiate peace, and Raven found herself forgetting what she had been afraid of…

Trigon. She could remember distinctly what had happened the last time things had gotten out of control. She had almost killed.

Raven shuddered once more, and fingered the ice-cold blankets absently. Beast Boy had been there then, too. He and Cyborg had somehow managed to get themselves sucked into her mind. She glowered at the recollection of this; she had never really forgiven them for wandering into her forbidden room, let alone toying with her mirror. Though, of course, she knew that their presence was for the best. Raven still felt as if she owed them something, because she never could have defeated the rage in her own mind without their reassuring backup.

Well, for one thing, she would surely be gone by now if Beast Boy had not dived after her when she fell. She'd been only half-conscious, and positive that she was going to die. And then he had appeared out of nowhere in hawk form, carrying her back up to solid ground (if you could call anything solid in that place)—and she knew that she was going to be okay.

That's a perfect metaphor for how it is with him, Raven thought bluntly. Whenever he comes, I just get this feeling that everything is going to be okay—our battles, my personal issues, the world. It's almost like he—

What are you saying?

Startled by her own revelations, Raven tensed up in defense and gave her sentimental side a good bash in the head, once again directing her thoughts away from what she didn't want to admit. Beast Boy was her friend, one of her closest; but she would leave it at that.

Raven exhaled, and relaxed again. It seemed strange to her…the one person she used to think didn't care for her at all was now the one sleeping on the floor beside her bed in the middle of the dry, chilly January night. Odd how the friendship had gotten off to such a rocky start before it morphed into something thriving and full. She could recall the way she used to think about him…he was loud constantly, and bursting with a vitality that secretly she coveted. She believed that he didn't care about her in the least—not that she really minded; he was such an idiotic moron that it would be an insult to her intelligence just to be friends with him. Still…part of Raven was deeply saddened by this gap between her teammate and herself.

That was Timid's doing. If there was one of Raven's counterparts that annoyed her the most, it was Timid. Always weeping, apologizing, complaining that no one liked her. Though the gray-cloaked alter ego had never made up a big portion of Raven's mind, she still existed as a vital part of her personality.

It was odd, the way Raven compared herself with the other Titans. Much of her mind claimed superiority over their more immature ones, and yet a part of her put herself below them. They were always having fun in some shape or form: competing at video games, dancing at raves, going out for pizza and getting themselves into noisy brawls over what the toppings would be. Even when they just sat around talking, they were perpetually happy, outgoing, loud…just a few things that Raven could never be, even if she wanted to. She wasn't like the rest of them. She was different; she stood out like an ebony-black raven tends to do against a sea of brighter, happier, color-strewn birds. Part of her enjoyed this individuality that came so naturally to her, and yet part of her despised it. She loathed the fact that as they were talking and arguing and laughing, she had retreated into a corner with one of her leather-bound volumes, alone. She hindered their vitality; her very presence made them strain their personalities out of concern for her. They were incessantly trying to get her to open up to them, to warm her with their smiles, to melt her with their kindness…but the thing was, no matter how hard they tried, they would never soften her. She would eternally remain stone-still Raven, ice-cold Raven; she would forever be chained to this obligation to hold herself back…and as they went on in their happy little worlds, she would remain unchanged, and they would leave her behind. They would forget her as easily as the January dawn forgets the night, in all its glorious colors and bands of light.

Occasionally she was so happy around them that she wanted to burst out of her shell and crack up laughing…sometimes she was so upset that the pent-up emotion from containing her sobs was almost more than she could bear. And then there were the times when she felt so intensely angry, she wanted to unleash her fury on whatever—or whoever—crossed her path. But Raven's emotions were dangerous, and the weight of the world was on her shoulders. To her friends, the only thing she could ever be was stony, tranquil, silent, emotionless Raven. And more than anything, she pined to show them just how many colors she had, just how much happiness there was to contradict the neutrality. She ached to jump up from where she sat and run screaming, letting fly whatever was trapped in her soul, and not minding one bit about the chaos she created. Sometimes she was terrified that she would actually do it. It was only the powerful command of self-discipline that prevented her from losing her mind, and her life along with it.

This unconscious, unpurged desire to break free from her bonds took a high toll on her self-esteem…she wanted to be more. She did not want to be forever condemned to this life she had so unwillingly been born into. Couldn't they see that she didn't choose to be this way? All of them were blind; none of them had any ability to look beneath the surface and question what underlying emotion ravaged there. So none of them could ever know the truth of who she really was…no one would ever attempt to see the quiet reflection, brooding rage, or contented devotion that existed within the heart of the dark girl. And could she blame them? It wasn't their responsibility to figure out who she was, or even to like her and take her in as their friend. Raven knew that she wasn't exactly a lovable person, and she had accepted this, but at a high price. Despite how much she owed them, there was nothing she could give to her friends in return. She wanted to be more for them, but like so many other things in her life, it was impossible.

That was how it had been with Beast Boy too. But now—Raven sucked in her breath, bracing herself for the impacting thought—now, she did not feel that way around him. Occasionally, after he had cracked some joke and was eyeing her in hopeful anticipation, 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. But no matter what her reaction, she always felt a new, deep appreciation for herself stir within her. It was at these times that—she didn't know why, but—she felt beautiful. Like she was seeing herself through another person's eyes, a person who admired her and looked up to her. And she would allow her response to Beast Boy's statement just come naturally, knowing that whatever it was would be something beautiful. Raven didn't have to prove anything more to him, or be anything for him beyond what she had to be, because no matter what her reaction, he would always return that rapid, vivacious grin…

Raven's eyes came back into focus as she stared at the sleeping boy below her bed.

Only you are the life among the dead.

She nearly jumped in surprise at the way the song lyric popped into her head. What was that? she interrogated herself in shock. It was only the one verse that came, and then disappeared just as suddenly, becoming a fading vapor in her brain.

That song. She remembered that song.

Ah, yes. Evanescence. Once she had woken up (and eaten a bit of that dire hospital food), she had found an arrangement of flowers and get-well cards from all of the Titans, and a few fans, crowding a small table next to the bed. She had read each one carefully—inwardly giggling at the obsessive concern of her fans, allowing a few gaping, awed expressions creep up on her face at the sorrowful cards and notes from her friends. There had been one particularly lengthy letter on Starfire's part that had given her the feeling someone was wringing her heart out.

Amidst the suffocating array there had been a single CD—unwrapped, and radiating the colors black and blue. Intrigued, Raven had turned it over and over in her white palms until she finally recognized the title of that song she liked: Bring Me to Life.

There had been no note on the gift to specify who it was from, so Raven assumed it was the offering of one of her many fans. She smiled slightly. Fans. They were very amusing.

It had surprised her that a fan should know her so well, though.

As her eyes drifted into focus once again, Raven exuded another violent shudder at the temperature in the room. God, it was freezing in here.

She gazed once more into Beast Boy's face, feeling a sudden, sharp pang of guilt. She should have realized earlier that there was nothing covering him; if she was this abysmally cold, then surely he was dreaming about the next ice age.

Raven sat up again, quietly flung the covers from her legs, and, with all the strength she could muster, climbed out of the soft refuge. Her feet hit the ice-cold tile hard as she stumbled and swayed, trying to carry her own weight. Though it had been an entire week since she woke up, her injuries were still serious. She faltered, slouching visibly, and placed one hand on her bed to regain her balance. Abruptly the young woman steadied her trembling knees, her eyes traveling across the room—weren't there any extra blankets in here?

Of course not.

With an audible sigh of resignation, Raven gave a forceful tug on the blanket just below her palm, and it pulled free easily from the bed. It wouldn't kill her to go without it—after all, he needed it more than she did.

The dark girl gathered the heavy comforter in her arms, staggering beneath the burden of its weight, and carefully made her way toward Beast Boy's shadowy figure. She stood near his face, one hand still clutching her mattress for support. Gingerly, so as not to wake him, she let the blanket float over his sleeping body. It drifted downwards as expected, gently encasing her friend with the comfort of its plush folds, enveloping him in sweet warmth.

Without a moment's hesitation, Raven knelt beside him to smooth the places where the fabric had bunched up, disheveled. She did this stealthily, but softly—as if the world would crumble at the opening of his eyes. A confusing aspect was etched into her gray features…to look at her, one would not have been able to guess what silver thoughts spurred through her mind. There was a serenity in her face, but also a fear, and an uncharacteristic tenderness. Secrets swam in pools behind those dark eyes, and they were far beyond anything the average human being could understand.

But, as Starfire had once said, there were many things about Raven that were not meant to be understood. Her expression could be deciphered no easier than her poetry.

Slowly Raven pulled herself up again, her task completed, and cringed at the pain that shot through her side. She ignored it bravely. In silence she ambled away from her sleeping friend, her usual grace marred by her pain and lack of strength. Yet she carried her cross with an aura of dignity—and the will of a fighter.

"Raven?"

Aside from nearly falling over in shock, her heart gave an unexpected lurch at the sound of his voice.

"Raven," came the voice again, obviously Beast Boy's, but in half-awake drawl mode. "You're awake?"

The girl turned to face him, her mouth slightly agape in surprise. She composed herself quickly, straightened, and cleared her throat.

"Not for long," she replied darkly.

Beast Boy stirred a bit beneath his newly found comforter and emitted a slight moan. "Man, I was snorin', wasn' I?" he muttered. "Sorry."

Raven bit her lip as a smile threatened at the corners of her mouth. "It's okay. I woke up on my own," she replied, her voice softening.

She waited there for a few moments, leaning against her bed and staring alertly at the boy just below her, awaiting a response. When none came, she supposed he had gone back to sleep, and began to climb quietly into her own bed—despite the fact that it had been relieved of its only heat source, of course.

Abruptly a slurred voice rose from the floor, and a startled Raven turned to her friend again.

"Tofu, Raven," came the drawl.

At this she raised an amused eyebrow and shook her head slightly. Okay, he was definitely out of it.

Below her, the words repeated themselves in Beast Boy's mind once more before he drifted back into the surrender of sleep:

Love you, Raven.

The girl crawled beneath the thin, scarce sheets stretched over her bed, and allowed her mind to relax. She did not understand him in the least. And he could never claim to understand her. But whenever she began to fall through the frigid January air, he was the one to catch her. And whenever she drifted into the unknown abyss of darkness, he was the one to offer her light. When she felt as if she was going to die, he was the one to bring her to life. That was all that mattered.

Raven felt her eyes grow heavy with sleep, and heard the thoughts in her head bubble and refuse to make sense. Colors skidded in and out of focus, waltzing before her eyelids in swift mobile swirls. There was one last thing that her body registered to her mind before she drifted in dream; a revelation that somehow did not surprise her in the least:

…She was warm.

~The End~