A Note From the Author: Okay - once again this is written with the aid of Invader Shaun. Okay...This story has become much longer and complicated than we had originally planned, so it's undergoing some major structure changes!! The actual text is mostly the same, but the song-part has been omitted. That's all that changed in this first chapter. More explanations will come in further chapters.
The light of the rising sun seeped through the slats of the blinds shading Raven's bedroom windows. The nineteen-year-old moaned as the small beams struck her face and forced their way under her eyelids. She rolled over onto her other side, away from the windows, but now the slivers of light seemed to burn streaks in her back and she was forced to greet the day. She sat up, stretching widely and then wiping the sleep from her dark eyes. She slid out of bed and stretched again, yawning. She had never been a morning person, but lately it seemed more than ever that she could never get enough sleep. 'Probably from staying up too late…' she admonished herself silently.
Clad in a cotton tank-top and draw-string pajama pants, she glanced at herself in the mirror on her wall (not the entryway to her mind, but just a simple elongated circle of reflective glass). She was as pale as ever, but not nearly as emotionless as she used to look. 'That could have something to do with this new haircut…' she thought mildly, running a hand through her purple hair, which was now cropped short almost to the point of looking like a boy's style. It hadn't really been her choice; a few weeks ago she'd been caught in a burning building trying to help trapped civilians and most of her hair had been singed beyond repair. It was only thanks to Starfire's connections at the city's salon that she'd managed to scrape by with as much of it left as she had. 'It isn't really that bad,' she thought, 'At least I don't really have to worry about it getting in my eyes when I'm fighting anymore. And the guys even apologized for laughing at it to begin with.'
Not bothering to change, she left her room, gliding down the stairs to the kitchen, where Cyborg and Beast Boy were already seated at the counter, engrossed in their breakfast. "Morning guys," she murmured, crossing to the fridge barely glancing at them. Cyborg hadn't changed much in the five years the team had been together; he was still as large and powerful as ever, and still completely obsessed with his cars – his newest hobby was buying old cars for hardly nothing and then fixing them up till they were better than new.
Beast Boy had done more growing, physically speaking. He was now nearing six-foot-two and his voice had finally changed (the team had had quite a laugh while it was in its 'cracking' phase). At the moment he was only half-awake, his dark green hair disheveled and his nightshirt sliding off one shoulder. Personality-wise, he hadn't changed much. He was still a big kid at heart, with brief lapses in his immaturity every once in a while when he would act almost grown-up. But those were few and far between, though Raven found herself looking forward to them when they came.
She placed two slices of bread in the toaster and leaned back against the counter to wait for them to toast. It was about this time that it registered to the slowed-by-morning male brains to register that she had greeted them and Cyborg turned slightly and nodded in her direction, "Mornin' Rae."
At the mention of her name, Beast Boy's head shot up and twisted around so fast that the whole tower could hear it crack unnaturally. Blinking back tears of pain and blushing, he grinned embarrassedly at her, rubbing his sore neck. "Hi Rae…didn't hear ya come it."
"I kinda figured that," she said. Leaning closer to him, she raised a hand and black energy passed from her hand to his throat, healing what was surely a pretty descent sprain.
"Um…thanks…" he muttered.
She turned back to her toast, which had just popped up. "Whatever. You're such an idiot when left unattended for too long. Self injury is the least of your worries." He nodded sheepishly and before she could stop herself, a small smile passed over her lips. His pointed ears perked up at the sight, disbelieving his eyes.
"Did somebody break something in here?" Robin asked, meandering into the kitchen a few seconds later, followed closely by Starfire. Robin look basically the same, except taller and bit more muscular, but Star had undergone a few changes of her own. Her hair fell just past her shoulders in wavy, perfectly styled curls, and she'd done a bit of growing herself (most prominently in the chest area).
She cast her motherly worried glance around the kitchen, "I do hope no one is hurt. What was that noise we heard?"
Cy jerked a thumb in the green teen's direction, "B.B. just pulled an 'owl' without transforming first," he chuckled.
"Eee…" Robin winced.
"Don' worry," Cy shrugged, "It's all good – Rae fixed him…to an extent, anyway."
"My powers do have limits, I'm afraid," Raven said blandly, seating herself beside Beast Boy.
"Why do I get the feeling that everyone here is going out of their way to insult me?" Beast Boy asked, acting as though he were highly affronted, "Not cool guys, not cool."
Robin helped himself to cereal and sat down across from the trio. "This isn't going out of our way, B.B.," he said as he filled his bowl, "It all just comes naturally."
"Very true," Cyborg agreed, nodding his head. The changeling next to him just scowled, then picked up his half-empty cereal bowl and promptly unleashed its remaining contents on Robin's head.
"AUGH! Eww! What the hell??" Robin cried between coughs as beside him Starfire suppressed a laugh.
Beast Boy said nothing, but grinned triumphantly as he left the room. Robin scowled as Starfire removed the bowl from his head, "I didn't even start it that time…"
* * *
Beast Boy hopped over the back of the couch and settled into the well-worn-in cushions, still feeling rather pleased with himself. Grabbing one of the Playstation III controllers and the TV remote, he settled in for a few victory laps on Death Track 20X6. Just as he was getting started, he felt someone approaching and glanced up, expecting Robin with a counterattack of some kind. But it was only Raven, a mug of coffee in one hand and her final bit of toast in the other. "Cereal over his head…" she said, "Not very original, but effective nonetheless."
He grinned, "Admit it – you thought it was funny."
She finished her toast and climbed over the back of the couch, seating herself next to him. "Your antics are never funny – mildly and annoyingly amusing, perhaps – but never all-out funny."
"One of these days, one of these days…"
"What are you talking about?"
"One of these days I'm going to make you laugh, then you'll have to admit that you think my jokes are funny!"
"Don't hold your breath," she said, putting her mug to her lips, "If you haven't noticed in the five years we've lived together…I do not partake in amusement as often as I can help it."
"So… in other words, you like being boring?"
She nearly choked on her coffee. "I am not boring!" she said, spatters of the Colombian brew all over her face.
With a loud detonation, Beast Boy's three dimensional racing vehicle exploded on the television screen and several dangerous-looking, black cars rushed through the ruins of his crushed automobile. The teen's face dropped with this sudden loss, but the expression on Raven's face mixed with the dripping coffee quickly improved his mood, "Raven, talking to you can be like talking to a wall. Even when you fight, there's never any emotion in what you do. I actually think it's a little sad, really." Beast Boy set down his controller and rested his chin in his hands, watching for signs of any sort of reaction.
Raven blinked a few times, then her lower lip trembled and the mug in her hands shattered, spraying coffee all over both of them. "I suppose you'd rather have that all the time?" she asked him angrily, rising to her feet, fire in her dark eyes.
"Do things randomly explode when you smile? Or laugh? Would you even know?" he inquired, feigning ignorance to her anger.
Furious at him, and not wanting to admit that she didn't have a definite answer to his questions, she let out an angry growl and stormed out of the room, cheeks burning.
* * *
She didn't go to her room, but stomped her way straight up to the roof, where she flung herself against the door of the stairwell as soon as it closed behind her. 'Idiot…why does he have to go and say shit like that…?' She pounded one fist against the door in frustration and then turned away from it, crossing to the very edge of the roof, standing on the ledge staring down at the ground so very far below her. 'Not like you'd ever really jump,' said a haunting voice in her head.
It was true, but the high altitude always helped to clear her head when she got too angry. She'd lost count of how many times Beast Boy had sent her up here in a fiery rage. He always knew exactly the right times to hit her with a cold, harsh truth about herself that she didn't want to hear. Her shoulders slumped and she sat down, dangling her bare feet over the ledge. 'Why does he always get to me like that?'
"Little early to be up here, isn't it?" came the voice of Robin from behind her, mature yet calm.
"That's tells you how quickly he gets under my skin," she said, glancing up at him slightly, "What're you doing up here anyway?"
"Just wondering why there was yet another fresh coffee stain on the couch. Cleaning that thing is a real pain, ya know," Robin sat down next to her, smiling slightly, "That, and to see if you were okay."
"Sorry about the coffee," she said, giving him a small smile, "And…thanks I guess…" There was a long moment of silence before she spoke up again, "Why can't he be as tolerable as you?"
"Because he's an animal, if you think about it. Every thought that pops in his head (a difficult concept to believe) goes right through to his mouth, like an instinct," he explained, leaning back on his palms, "Saying what's on his mind comes naturally, and it gives the rest of us good reason to want to punch him in the face."
"That's for sure…" she muttered, pulling one knee up closer to her chest, "Every time I think I've finally got myself figured out, he says something and…I'm back at the beginning again…Does he do that to you?"
"Every once in a while, usually when he's not too busy pouring cereal down my back."
Raven couldn't help it. She smiled.