Disclaimer: Teen Titans belongs to Cartoon Network, not me.
Raven scowled at her dismal reflection. She knew she wasn't pretty. Her face was too thin, her skin was too pale, her cheekbones were too pronounced, her hair too unconventional, her eyes too big. Sometimes she wished she was pretty. Sometimes she wished that someone would look at her like Robin looked at Starfire.
She scowled again and breathed on the mirror, fogging it up and destroying her reflection. Almost angrily she yanked on her clothes and ran the brush through her still-wet hair. This was as good as it was going to get. No makeup or fancy jewelry for her.
Raven stepped out of the bathroom, settling her cloak around her shoulders. The Tower was quiet. Too quiet. Which meant either everyone was gone, everyone was dead, or Beast Boy was up to something.
It was the latter.
Beast Boy hurtled around the corner, laughing hysterically and waving a video camera in his hand. Robin was chasing him, screaming at the top of his lungs. Raven stepped back against the wall and let them pass by.
"Friends?" Starfire called. "Friends do not chase friends. I wish you to stop now!"
"What happened?" Raven asked.
The pretty redhead shrugged. "I do not know," she said. "Robin and I were sitting on the roof, and he was speaking of how nice the day was, and how I looked very nice, which I do not understand because I look the same every day, and then he got very very close to me, and then Beast Boy fell from the support beams above onto him with the recording device." She took a deep breath. "What is wrong with Robin?"
"Two words," Raven said. "Puppy love." She walked down the hall, leaving the bemused alien to chase after the boys. Robin adored Starfire. It was just a little over Star's head, that was all. On her planet, all marriages were arranged by the parents, and the couple never met until their wedding day. Flirting and dating were as strange to Starfire as…as they were to Raven.
Raven walked silently down the hall, aimlessly wandering. As she passed Cyborg's room, she heard faint music. She paused. It wasn't the usual loud, head banging rap or hiphop he usually listened to. Raven tapped on the door, but he didn't answer.
She cracked the door. "Cyborg?" she said.
The half-robot was sitting on the floor next to his CD player, his human eye thoughtful. He glanced up. "Oh," he said. "Hi, Rae."
"Are you okay?" she asked.
Cyborg tried to grin. "Yeah. I'm fine," he said. But his tone didn't reassure her.
"What are you listening to?" Raven asked. "Doesn't sound like the usual audio garbage you like."
He smiled wryly at her insult. "Some old classics," he said. "C'mere." Raven sat down next to him as he showed her the CD.
"The Temptations?" Raven read.
"An old group from the 1960s," Cyborg explained. "They were pretty big way back when."
"And you listen to them because…?" Raven said, flipping the box over to read the list of tracks.
"They were my mother's favorite," he said softly. Raven's head shot up. Cyborg was no longer looking at her or even at the room, he was seeing something else. "My mother would have been thirty-seven today," he whispered.
Raven was silent for a moment. Then she tentatively reached over and laid her hand on his. "I'm sorry," she said, her voice gentle.
His fingers curled around hers, swallowing her thin hand in his big grip. He smiled at her. "Thank you, Ravie," he said.
Raven almost smiled at him. Then she realized her fingers were starting to curve around his, holding his hand tightly. She blinked. "Well, I have things to do," she stammered, getting up to leave. She left quickly.
Cyborg watched her go. Did she have any idea, he mused. Did she have any idea at all how she made him feel? Every time he saw her he felt it again. His knees got shaky and his hands got sweaty and his heart pounded and his head swam. He could never tell her that. She'd poke fun at him, ask him if he was coming down with the flu. But she was so achingly close, and so achingly beautiful to him. No matter where he went, he would always see her large, deep eyes staring up at him.
He remembered the first time he saw those eyes. They were frightened and vulnerable then, though her body was rigid and her backbone steely. She'd quickly found her place on the team, though he suspected she was just as insecure as Beast Boy on the inside. And all the little things she did- when she smiled at him, when she helped him with his car when she didn't know a carburetor from a gas tank, when she came and rescued him out of her mirror.
That moment he remembered.
There were times he would lie awake and stare at the ceiling, remembering what it was like to cradle her tiny warm body in his arms.
At the time, it was just scary to see her struggle like that. She was so fragile compared to that creature. When he grasped her in his fist, she looked like little more than a porcelain doll. Then she defeated him with a strength that no one had ever seen before, and she collapsed. It had seemed only natural to reach out and catch her. It was only for a second, but she sank into his arms. It was so natural for him, to hold Raven in his arms.
If only she would let him hold her again.
The Cyborg/Raven pairing. Ah, let the flames begin.
Seriously, nothing has brought me more pain than my Teen Titans pairings. I support CyRae, RobRae, RobStar, and Berra (how do you shorten Beast Boy and Terra?). My pairings are my personal preferences. I like them. If you don't like them, don't read the stories…isn't that a sensible way to handle the situation?