A Valentine's Day Story

Disclaimer: Not mine. The only thing I have is the can of Grog. And that's mine! My Grog!

Okay, no it isn't. Just...enjoy the story, folks.

Valentine's Day.

The calendar didn't lie. It was February 14th already. She looked at the clock, it was 11 AM. She had slept in.

"Oh joy of joys," proclaimed Raven, her voice a careful deadpan. It wasn't that she had anything particularly against the idea of a festival dedicated to what has, at times, been referred to as the pompitous of love. She was sure that the songwriter had made up the word, but it fit.

And, to be frank, she secretly enjoyed the decorations. Pink hearts and violet flowers adorned the cards that her friends had scrambled to get out. The colors, the atmosphere, everything was almost relaxing. But, then the bars came down and she had only to watch at a distance.

And that was the part she loathed about Valentine's Day. She was curious about it, certainly, but there's no way she could allow herself even one day of indulgence. Like an alcoholic, she vowed that even one drop of emotion was one drop too much. She gave a heavy breath and rose from meditation and, taking one of the books at random from her shelf. "Immortal Beloved again?" she murmured as she read the title from the cover. She put it back and pulled another, saying with a smile "Much better," as she took a collection of short stories and poems by Edgar Allen Poe.

She wasn't entirely sure what she was expecting when she walked out of the door, but it certainly wasn't Cyborg running angrily after a small mouse that had a rather large envelope in its tiny jaw. "Give that back, you green skinned little--!" Raven fell to the ground from the force Cyborg rammed her with. "Raven! Look, I'm really sorry --"

"I think I can tell if you're sorry or not," Raven said. She left Cyborg hanging on his last word as she headed towards the living room. She threw her book against the seat, and took to rubbing her side. "That hurt," she said, her tone almost pathetic.

"Raven!" that voice she dread called. Its perky enthusiasm caused fear to run down her back, leaving a trail of goosebumps on her pallid skin. "What a glorious celebration is today! I wish you to be one of my platonic Valentines today," she said, obviously previously informed of what the day was.

"Thanks but, uh, no thanks." Starfire was crestfallen, prompting Raven to think of something to say. Nothing came to mind, so she said nothing at all. Starfire sniveled, slightly. It was a wretched show, and Raven just buried her nose further into her book.

"I understand." Starfire seemed to try and be optimistic about it, "You must have many friends and you wish that I use my most special platonic Valentine upon one who truly needs it." She gave a bright smile, "I am moved by your compassion, Raven! And now, if you will allow me, I shall aid in the preparations of a feast for the celebrations!"

"Whatever," Raven muttered. It was already shaping up to be one of those days. She had just settled into reading when she felt something crawl up her leg. It was small, furry, and had sharp claws. She felt her voice catch in her throat. She wanted to do something to remove the small pest. So she took the book and slammed it upon the small rodent when it approached her lap.

"Ouch!" Beast Boy's voice announced, "You could have not hit me so hard." He reverted to normal, the envelope he had carried from earlier still in his mouth. He took it and looked at it. "Aha! The key to finding out who Cyborg's dream girl is. Let's just open it up and --"

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Raven muttered.

"Well, you're not. And why wouldn't you? Aren't you curious?" he waved the envelope in front of Raven, attempting to tempt her.

"Maybe. But that's irrelevant."

"Huh?" Beast Boy finally noticed the shadow that had fallen over him. He turned around and looked straight into the enraged face of his friend Cyborg. It was tinted red with embarrassment and rage, and the cybernetic eye did a wonderful job intimidating with its silent, crimson glow. "Oh, uh." He gave a nervous giggle, "Hey, Cyborg. Fancy seeing you," he began to trail off as Cyborg's face deepened into a calm gaze, "here?"

"Beast Boy, I'm going to be fair and give you a chance to hand me that letter." Beast Boy gazed innocently back at Cyborg. Raven saw that it only further enraged the behemoth genius, and fought back amusement at the thought of how foolish Beast Boy was for taunting him.

"Letter?" Beast Boy said, "What letter?" He slyly brought up the letter to show to Cyborg. "Oh!" he declared, rehearsed, "You mean this letter?"

"Yes I mean that letter." Cyborg's cybernetic eye flared dangerously, "Now give it here."

"Well, I suppose," Beast Boy said, slowly extending the letter to Cyborg. He then drew it back as Cyborg tried to grab it. "I suppose that I'll just have to keep it." Beast Boy laughed hysterically, finding himself drawing pleasure from Cyborg's obvious embarrassment. Raven wryly regarded him as the little brother none of the Titans ever had.

And, at least in her case, never wanted.

"Come back here, you little twerp!" Cyborg yelled after the escaping shape-shifter. "You think you could help me out here, Dark Girl?"

Raven gave him a rare, menacing smile, "No. It's your problem, so deal with it by yourself."

"Wow, you're a real shining example of helpfulness, aren't you?" Cyborg muttered, chasing after Beast Boy into the kitchen.

"Raven?" another interloper asked. This time it was Robin, looking at her almost angrily, "Can I talk to you for a second?"

"Talk to? Yes." Raven frowned, "Talk with is another story all together."

Robin frowned in turn, matching her expression perfectly, "You really upset Starfire, you know?" He sat down next to her and looked a bit uncomfortable near her. She did her best to see that it was.

"What was I supposed to do?" Raven answered, "I don't like this holiday. I don't want to upset people, but," she trailed off.

"But what?"

"I don't know. What was I supposed to say?"

"You could just grin and bear it. Or explain it to her," Robin said. He smiled a bit apologetically. "I'll try and smooth things over for her."

"That'll be real easy," Raven said angrily.



"Fine then," Robin said, getting up. "I'll leave you to your reading, then."

"You do that," Raven said, turning the page. Just as she was solving the mystery of the Rue Morgue, there was a racket unlike any she had heard before.

"You roasted my letter! I can't believe you roasted my letter!" Cyborg screeched at the top of his lungs. Raven only melted further into her book, not wanting to look up. "How did you roast my letter? Did you stick it in there with the -- what is this? Tofu Turkey? Tofurkey?"

"Oh, you noticed that, did you?" Beast Boy chuckled nervously, "I mean, I thought, why not. Best of both worlds, right?"

"Look, you just be quiet. Star, how could you let him do this?"

"I am sorry?"

"He stuck a big lump of tofu in here, and then felt," Raven could just imagine the expression. Veins bursting on his neck, accelerated heart rate. His eye must be twitching sporadically. The pause was interjected by a meekly Beast Boy.


"Yeah, thanks." There was another brief pause, "I'm still not happy with you. He then felt compelled to, to pass it off as real meat. And then he roasted my letter!"

"That is most horrible! I assume that it was truly an honest mistake?"

"Mistake?" Cyborg asked. "Mistake?"

"Yeah, Cy. It was an accident!" Beast Boy managed to say. He then squeaked out, "I didn't mean to roast your letter."

"Guys, can't we just...?"

"No, Robin. This joke's gone way too far. When my letter to -- that's not important -- gets roasted, I'm not laughing."

"I'm sorry, Cy. I didn't mean to."

Raven shut her book and glided towards the kitchen. "Can't we all just shut up?" Everyone looked at her, "Let's just go order a pizza or something." Everyone looked a bit upset. Robin shrugged, looking at everyone else. "What?"

"We were kind of hoping to do something, you know, special?" Robin explained.

"Fine, we don't have to get pizza. There are plenty of restaurants out there. Just so long as we don't have to eat that monstrosity," she explained, eying the offending tofurkey.

"You know, Tofu has feelings too," Beast Boy whined. Cyborg and Raven both glared towards the Vegetarian Shape-shifter, and he shrunk back, "Or not."

Starfire whirled around, her evening dress sparkling like starlight. "This is a most magical attire!" She laughed gaily, "Raven, come, let us see your dress!"

"I'm not wearing any dresses," Raven muttered, her cloak shrouded about her. "This isn't what I had in mind," she warned, looking at Starfire, "You look good."

"Oh! Thank you so very much, Raven." She danced around. "You should wear some manner of special attire for the evening, Raven."

"No," she muttered. "I don't want to."

"Oh. Very well, then," Starfire said. She looked at herself in a mirror and spun around again. "Why not?"


"Why do you not want to?"

"To do wha-- oh. It's simple. Unlike you, I'm not trying to grab anyone's attention." Starfire blinked, looking on innocently. "Don't play coy. I know what you're planning."

Starfire looked on bashfully. "I am not confirming or denying any allegations," she said.

Raven smiled. "Well then. Good luck, possibly." There was a knocking on the door.

"You girls ready yet? I can't believe you take like an hour to get ready." Cyborg's voice called from through the door.

"Yeah," Raven muttered, "We're coming." Raven opened the door and walked through.

"But Raven, I need to still prepare my make-up." The door slammed shut before she could finish. Raven shrugged, and walked to the door.

Cyborg was decked out in casual evening dress, and looked a bit uncomfortable. His robotic limbs made the fabric strain to contain it. Raven couldn't contain a bit of laughter at him. He looked at her angrily, and turned to knocking again, "Star? We gotta get going."

"I am coming!" she said, opening the door.

"Uh, w, wow." Cyborg stared at her, flabbergasted. "You look great, Star!"

"Thank you, Cyborg!" she said, giggling. She feigned embarrassment. "You are only saying that, are you not?"

"No!" Cyborg said, "Really mean that."

Beast Boy peeked his head around the corner, "Cy, c'mon. We gotta get going. You're driving, remember?" He then noticed what Cyborg was looking at. "Yowza."

Raven rolled her eyes, "Let's get going, gentlemen," she said, taking mental hold of their clothing to drag them along. "Come on, Starfire." Starfire nodded as she followed along. "You seem to be making a splash."

"Am I?" Star giggled. Raven rolled her eyes.

"What took you so long?" Robin said, as they approached. As soon as Starfire rounded the corner into the garage, his eyes widened and simply acknowledged, "Oh."

"Can we please just get going?"

"We could, Raven," Cyborg said calmly, "If you'd let go." Raven looked flustered, and let her telekinetic hold give way. "Thanks. Okay everyone, buckle up."

The restaurant was a small family restaurant called Eden's Crest that was located about an hour from the tower. It wasn't particularly expensive, much to Robin's delight, and it still had a nicer atmosphere than the usual pizza place. Raven groaned, sitting down at the table while the guys all fought over who would seat Starfire. She looked around, couples and family all enjoying the festival of love kept to their own business, laughter and fun invaded the atmosphere.

And then there was the romance. It sickened her. At least with this bunch she wouldn't have to worry about it.

"I want a tofu burger."

"They don't sell that junk here, BB."

"I want one."

"You shoulda called in advance."

"What are you going to have, then, Cy?"


"Yuck! Meat?" Beast Boy complained. "I'd rather eat seafood."

"You know, I never understood why that was always an exception," Robin commented.

"Friends! Friends!" Starfire pleaded. Raven looked at the scene in front of her with such disdain that she had no other course of action but to rise from the table.

"Hey!" Cyborg said, "What's the matter, Raye?"

"Nothing. Just going to powder my nose." There was a deafening silence from the boys. They all looked furiously from one another. Raven just shook her head as she walked out of the restaurant. She could hear the conversation wind on as she walked to the door.

"What you think got under her skin?"

"What's she going to do to us when she gets back."

"Just calm down, guys. She's not going to--"

"You heard what she said. She doesn't even carry a compact around." She didn't see Starfire rise up, but heard her excusing herself. Raven just walked out regardless, not turning around.

She closed her eyes, sighed, and turned to walk down the street when she felt herself run into something cool and clammy. "Going somewhere?" the thing said. She looked up at a familiar looking young man. His pasty white skin gleamed in the daylight. He cocked his head to the side and looked down at her with a flirtatious glance.


"Where's that, Raven?" Raven did a double-take. "I'm a fan, what can I say. Especially after you saved my concert last time I was in town, I had to pay you back somehow." She recalled where she had seen his face. He was a member of a band called Afterlife and was their guitarist. His name was Limbo.

"Limbo?" Raven exclaimed. She cleared her throat, and assumed a passive stance, "It's, er, been a while."

"Yeah," the Goth rocker said with an almost awkward pause. He cleared his throat, "How's it been hanging since then?"

"Since when?" Raven asked. Then it dawned on her, "Oh, the concert. Er, I've been okay."

"That's cool."

She hesitated for only a moment before she asked, "How about you?" Limbo shrugged. "Success been getting to you?" She was a bit surprised by his long drawn out sigh. He looked to her.

"Can you keep a secret?"

"Surprisingly for where I live," Raven said, "Yes. What's the secret?"

"You're real cool, Raven." Limbo's took a breath, and looked up at the sky. "I'm thinking I'll be leaving this celebrity game. Maybe strike it out on my own and do some low-key projects."

"You're leaving Afterlife?" she whispered. He looked at her.


"Yes. What's the matter with the band? You're one of my favorites."

"Thanks, Raven." Limbo took her hand, and a chill ran down Raven's spine. "I guess I've just been too moody for my own good. The fame game just isn't working for me. I want to take some time to be me."

Raven found herself blushing in spite of herself. "I wish I could help. I still owe you for signing my copy of Made in Hell." He raised his brow, and she responded a bit baffled, "It's almost the story of my life."

"Really?" Limbo asked. Then it seemed an idea crossed his mind. Whatever the idea was, it certainly amused him, and a grin spread across Limbo's face, a frightening and dangerous thing. "Hey, how about I buy you dinner?"

"I," Raven hesitated. She was about to say that she couldn't. However, certainly she could. It wasn't like she was going to be missed by the Titans. "I suppose I could --"

She was cut off by the doors to the restaurant being burst opening and a bubbly voice calling her name repeatedly. "Raven!" Starfire called, "You were not in the bathroom, and we were oh so very worried." She noticed Limbo and paused, "Who are you talking to? Oh! I remember you. Mr. Limbo! Friend Raven has told me about you in some detail."

"Er, not really," Raven said.

"I'm flattered, Starfire." He winked at her and said, "I hope you've been taking care of yourself."

"I have most certainly. I must thank you for the gift you gave all of us, we treasure it very much. I also wish to congratulate you on finding a new front person for your musical band."

"Thanks." Limbo's grin faded for a minute, "Er, if you don't mind. I was asking Raven here out on a date, and..." he trailed off.

Starfire clasped her hands together. "Oh! How wondrous. But," Star said, looking a tad disappointed. Her glance turned to Raven. "You were going to leave us?" Raven hesitated, looking at Star's big innocent eyes. She looked at Limbo's diseased smile and paused. Something about those teeth just bugged her. They were too sharp. They looked like they weren't designed to eat, but to intimidate.

It didn't take Robin's detective skills to realize that if one member of the band just happened to be a demon, it wasn't unlikely that there wasn't more than one in the band.

"No, I don't think so. Let's go back to the table." Limbo watched her leave, shocked that she had refused. Then his face twisted into a scowl. Flakes of skin fell to the ground and pale red skin shone through.

"I'm not taking no for an answer," he yelled in Raven's direction. His face contorted in ugly ways.

Raven just scoffed. "Then let me repeat it as a response. No." She shut the door on Limbo's face. Raven looked to Starfire. "Starfire, we've got to leave. I've got a bad feeling about that guy."

"I concur," Starfire responded.

When they returned to the table, there were drinks set at each of their places. A cup of black tea sat for Raven, and she kind of smiled. "Hey there, ladies." Beast Boy wagged his eyebrows, "We got drinks."

"Er, yes," Raven said, monotone. "You got me tea?" She took a sip of it. Earl Grey. Not her usual choice, but it was still satisfactory. "It's good."

"Good!" Beast Boy said, happily. "Robin ordered it."

"Er, let me get your seat," Robin said.

"No!" Cyborg said, "I'll get it."

"I can get it my--" the boys had already pulled out the chair and smiled widely. "Why are you being so nice?"

"We kinda want to get carried away," Beast Boy said, "And, well, you've been all angry with us today for some reason we kind of gave you some space. But, well, you've just been getting angrier. We're taking another approach."

"That's right. You're our friend, and friendship," Cyborg said, searching his brain, "That's platonic love, according to Robin's little pep talk yesterday."

"Besides," Robin said, "We kind of like playing gentlemen." Raven gave a weak smile.

"But, I've been --"

"A real jerk?" Beast Boy offered. "A complete idiot? Socially inept? Angry at the world?" Beast Boy recoiled from a light punch from Cyborg, "Ow! What did I do?"

"Lay off," Robin hissed. "Look, Raven. It hasn't exactly been the perfect day for any of us. I know for one thing nothing's been going my way. But that's not important. We don't get second chances, but we can make the most of the afternoon."

"While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments that have herein been made, I must urge that we leave this establishment at the soonest moment that we can avail." Starfire cleared her throat, "Raven has a most ardent admirer who is unwilling to respond to her rejection in a mature and civilized manner." There was the sound of a door being thrown off its hinge by someone up front. "I would surmise that is him."

"Thanks, Star, we kind of made that association already," Cyborg said. He rose from the table. "Let's make nice and say hello. What do you say, guys?"

"Definitely," Robin said. He gave Raven a smile. "Don't worry, your three knights are here."

The ruckus from the foyer burst into the room as a winged figure calmly moved into the room. Flakes of pale skin hung desperately to his face, but the red underneath burst forth, oozing and surrounding him. His teeth were even more defined than before, more intimidating and more evil. Limbo calmly strode towards Raven, forcing tables aside with a wave of his hand.

"Go away, Limbo." Raven yelled, "Or I'll, I'll, I'll do something drastic." She couldn't think of anything that would actually be somewhat threatening to the form in front of her.

"My name is Goth," the demon said. "And you, Raven, you are mine. None of your friends can have you." The Titans rose from their seats, defensively. "So what do you say, Raven. Be my Valentine?" that sick grin asked.

"Don't do it, Raven," Robin urged.

"He just can't handle rejection," Beast Boy said. "Unlike yours truly."

"We'll blast him if he tries anything." Cyborg's gun came to life, destroying the sleeve of his dress shirt, "Aw man!" Starfire looked on with pleading eyes and her hands glowing furiously. They all looked to Raven for their answer, and Raven looked back.

"Guys, I--" then something struck her.

This was familiar.

And she knew something bad was going to happen.

"I won't," she said, almost dreading the reaction, "Be yours."

"Too bad," Goth said. "Then you won't be anyone's." He raised his hand and leveled it towards Raven. There was a dryness in the air that seemed to ignite. She could see Robin running towards Goth with his pole out ready to strike. It struck, but it didn't seem to matter. Goth staggered backwards and covered his face as Robin's skin was torn apart by an explosion of hellfire from within.

Starfire charged, rage filling her every fiber. Raven could see the trail of fire bursting from Star's skin, but it was already to late. Beast Boy staggered backwards, frightened and confused just as her. His form exploded pathetically. Cyborg fired his sonic blast, but the metallic parts malfunctioned under the heat, sending his body into an explosion that rumbled like thunder. She turned to look at Goth, but all she saw was her calendar.

Valentine's Day.

The calendar didn't lie. It was February 14th already. Wait, that didn't seem right. It was Valentine's Day again. It was again 11 AM. She rose from her bed and wiped the sweat from his brow. It was, she thought for a second, either the second or the third time she had gone through that series of events. It was as though the explosion that had torn apart the flesh of her friends had also torn apart the fabric of time and now she was being forced to relive the day in every little detail over and over again.

Or maybe it was a dream, that she couldn't wake up from. The story always ended the same, their fates always miserable. The heat of the battle seemed so real, but could it be a memory from long ago. She didn't really care to think about it, and just picked up a book from the shelf. "Immortal Beloved again?" she put it back. She then took another book. "Edgar Allen Poe? I read this one last time." She put both books back. She had actively decided in this strange repeating dream. She had control.

Perhaps she wasn't as damned as she had thought. She opened the doorway and looked both ways. She knew Cyborg would be approaching any minute now, chasing after Beast Boy with the letter. It wasn't her business regardless. She waited until the mouse passed by and counted the seconds before Cyborg would run passing through. "Three, two, one."

"Give that back, you green skinned little rodent!" Raven deftly dodged and began to walk to the living room. Then she stopped. She knew that if she went in there she would run into Starfire. It wasn't something she particularly wanted to deal with right now.

She turned back around and found herself colliding with someone. "Seems like I can't go a day without running into someone."

"Sorry Raven!" Robin said, "Maybe I should make more noise." Robin offered her a hand. Usually she would disregard such dated concepts, but she accepted it.

"Always like playing the gentleman, don't you?" Raven said. She found herself on her feet and a breath away from Robin's face. She saw him drawing closer, and found herself lulled into a sense of security. She only managed to whisper, "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Robin answered. They pushed themselves away from each other. "Er, sorry."

"For what?" Raven asked.

"Knocking you down like that," he said.

"You already apologized," Raven pointed out. Robin rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

"Er," he murmured, "Yeah. I know. I just wanted to apologize again." There was an uncomfortable moment as the atmosphere was shattered. There was a remnant of the strange feeling that threatened her soul, but the mysticism was gone, lost as Robin cleared his throat. "Yeah. See ya," he said.

She felt a familiar tickle on her legs as she watched Robin walk off. She grabbed the object before it could climb higher and brought it to her shoulder. "Beast Boy," She removed the letter from his mouth, "I'm going to warn you. Don't pull any tofu tricks."

The mouse shifted to a cat, its large eyes pleading, "Would I do something like that?"

"Yes," she said simply. She gave the letter back, "And don't roast this thing." Beast Boy looked on innocently and trudged off. She didn't bother following. Instead she walked up to the roof of the tower and waited until the eventual explosion of tempers.

"You roasted my letter! I can't believe you roasted my letter!" Cyborg screeched at the top of his lungs. Raven was amazed how it managed to travel all the way up to the roof. "How did you roast my letter? Did you stick it in there with the -- what is this? Tofu Turkey? Tofurkey?" She almost laughed. He wouldn't give up, would he?

She was starting to miss his childish pranks.

"Oh, you noticed that, did you?" Beast Boy chuckled nervously, "I mean, I thought, why not. Best of both worlds, right?"

"Look, you just be quiet." He then launched into a tirade, almost immediately contradicting what he had just said, "Tell me why you did it, man. Maybe you can explain why you stuck a big lump of tofu in here, and then felt," Raven could just imagine the expression. Veins bursting on his neck, accelerated heart rate. His eye must be twitching sporadically. The pause was interjected by a meekly Beast Boy.


"Yeah, thanks." There was another brief pause, "Quiet! Tell me why you felt compelled to, to pass it off as real meat. And why did you roast the letter with it?"

"It is very loud," Starfire said, levitating towards Raven, "Did you come here to avoid it?"

"No," Raven said, "Came here to think."

"Mistake?" Cyborg voice shrilly asked.

"Though that's not making it easy," Raven admitted. She looked to Star, "I have a feeling I know what you're going to ask. It's about those silly Valentine's Day traditions, isn't it?"

"It reminds me of such a festival at home, Raven," Star answered. "I wanted you, as my closest friend, to be my platonic Valentine."

"Yeah, Cy. It was an accident!" Beast Boy managed to say. He then squeaked out, "I didn't mean to roast your letter."

"Guys, can't we just...?"

"Poor Robin," Raven muttered. She looked at Star, who stared towards her with those big green eyes that begged for an answer. "Star, I don't --"

"Oh, I see," Starfire said. "It is all right."

"Listen. I don't celebrate Valentine's Day." Starfire looked at her. She continued, "That isn't to say I'm not flattered."

"I understand," Starfire said. "Thank you for being so honest. Do you truly mean that you are flattered."

"Hey, if I celebrated the holiday, you'd be getting a card from me, too."

"Oh thank you! The thought means so much."

"No, Robin. This joke's gone way too far. When my letter to -- that's not important -- gets roasted, I'm not laughing."

"I'm sorry, Cy. I didn't mean to."

"I should try and quell the arguments of our friends. Will you aid me?" Star asked. Raven looked at the horizon and shook her head.

"Still trying to sort something out."

"Can I be of any assistance to you?" Star asked, only receiving a brief shaking of her head. "Oh. I do not know when our feast will be prepared, Raven."

"Let's just eat out at the pizza place. I don't really feel like doing anything too special today," she said. Starfire looked a bit downtrodden, "Please?"

"I will approach the subject when speaking downstairs."

"Thank you."

Teenage couples sat at the tables at the Pizza Place. Their silly banter infuriated Raven more than the romantic nonsense at the Eden's Crest. She looked at the others, who looked a bit depressed to be here. She knew they'd be sour at her, but she didn't want them to be blown to shreds, even if there were times that Beast Boy reminded her too much of a pesky younger brother, or Cyborg's temper got the best of him. She'd miss Starfire's effervescent attitude if she was gone, and Robin. She wasn't sure what she'd miss about Robin. Just that it was important.

It was 12:23 when they finally got to eating their pizza. "You know, if Beast Boy didn't feel the need to be a wise guy and replace out turkey with a tofurkey, we wouldn't be here," Cyborg related to Starfire. She only nodded vacantly, looking towards Robin as he counted out the money for the bill.

"Well, at least I'm not breaking my guardian's pocket book," he muttered.

"Look, don't hate on the Tofu, man." Beast Boy said, "Lions can be taught to eat Tofu."

"They don't enjoy it," Cyborg said. "You idiot." Raven looked up from her plate. She talked aside to Beast Boy, tapping his shoulder to get his attention.

"Why is he still mad at you?"

"Cy takes an hour or two to cool down, usually." He frowned, looking a bit repentant. He told her, "I did something real stupid this time, though. Letter was burnt to a crisp. You couldn't read a letter on it."

"I see," Raven said. She looked at Cyborg's angry face and shook her head. A feeling of guilt surged through her heart when she realized she could have easily prevented the situation. She rose from her seat, "Excuse me."

"Raven?" Robin asked as he stood up. "What's up?"

"Nothing. I'm just going to powder my nose." She hurried away from the table only to find Robin had been following her. She took the turn into the woman's bathroom. She prayed Robin wouldn't follow her in there, and it seemed her prayers had been answered. She looked in the mirror. "What a time for an epiphany," she muttered. Something moved, and she caught it out of the corner of her eye. She turned around, a great figure of red blotting out the mirror. "And I'm imagining things." She turned around back to face the mirror only to find another face peeking out.

"Hello." Goth's face twisted into the sinister, sickly smile. "Have you changed your mind yet?"

Raven frowned, "So you did have a hand in this. Disappointed that I changed my mind on meeting you?"

"Not at all. It doesn't really matter. You've only got a half hour left."


"To change your mind. And then they die."

"No!" Raven exclaimed.

"Half an hour, Raven, half an hour." Raven's eyes widened in shock and fear. She ran out of the bathroom, bursting past the doors. She wildly looked around. She didn't like being threatened. She hated being used. And most of all, she hated anyone who thought they could get away with hurting her friends.

But there was no way he would get close enough to hurt them.

"Raye, hold up." She whirled around to come face to face with Robin, "Looking for something?"


"Someone we know?" he asked. She looked at his awkward yet handsome face.

"No," Raven answered. "Not yet at least."

"A secret boyfriend?" Robin asked, smiling widely. Raven turned her nose up in disgust. "Hey, I was just joking." Raven turned away indignantly, shivering straight to her spine.


"I'm sorry?" Robin said. "Was it something I said?"

"No, no." Raven frowned, "Nothing that makes sense anymore. I always have this feeling of Deja Vu. Like I've been through all of this before."

"We've faced weirder. Remember Starfire getting flung into the future?"

"And showing up again five seconds later." Raven frowned, "But how could I be repeating the same day over and over again?"

"Maybe you watched too many Bill Murray movies?" Raven let herself chuckle at that. "Well, I seem to have cheered you up at least a little bit."

"A little. I'm still not sure you understand," Raven said, "But I have to find some way of breaking the loop before one in the afternoon." Robin tilted his head. He was about to ask why when Raven shot him a dangerous glance, "Don't ask me to tell you what I know, Robin. You wouldn't like it."

"Maybe what you need to do, Raven, is make sure the day turns out perfect?"

"I don't know. It seems too tidy." She frowned, "And for all I know, it was just a horrible dream."

"You never know," Robin said. "We live in a world where Martians are green and the world's greatest superhero is from Kansas." Raven looked at Robin sidelong. "Or maybe we should just get home."

"Thanks," Raven said. "Always a gentleman."

Raven became more and more nervous as time went along. The closer it came to one in the afternoon, the more jittery she became. The car parked in the garage at 12:53. Seven minutes until the threat came through. And yet, there still wasn't any sign of the demonic Goth.

"Maybe it was just," she thought, "Me going crazy." She walked up to the living room with the rest of the Titans, hanging near the back. She looked around one final time before setting herself down on the couch. "Quoth the Raven, nevermore." She closed her eyes, glad to leave the nightmare behind.

The clock clicked down. She looked at the others, busying themselves with their games and hobbies. They looked happy. It was now 12:59. It must have just been a dream or illusion.

It wasn't uncommon to have a dream where you were thought something bad was going to happen.


Except for one detail.


You can't read in dreams.


And unfortunately for Raven.


She just remembered that. Right that second.


Valentine's Day

Raven woke up screaming. It was 11 AM, but she didn't even need to look to know that. She only knew that she had two hours until the cycle would begin again. She saw her friends die in front of her again. Their bodies were torn up from within without the freak being anywhere nearby. And she kept screaming until her voice was hoarse. It was like waking from a horrible nightmare, only to find that the dream was real.

The door was torn open and Cyborg and Beast Boy stood there looking in frightened. "Raven!"

She took deep breaths trying to calm herself. She looked at her room, which had been torn up in the flurry of emotion that she had felt. Walls had been torn inwards and her belongings were flung far and wide. Her two friends were focused directly on her. She could feel the sweat beads on her face, and her skin felt very cold.

"Raven, are you--?" Beast Boy was about to ask when Robin and Starfire came rushing to the source of the scream.

"Yes," Raven said, her voice still hoarse, "Just a nightmare."

"Some nightmare," Robin said. "We heard you all over the tower." Raven trembled, unsure of what to say. They all looked at her with concern. "You wanna talk about it?" She shook her head. "Okay then. Er, why don't you just relax today, Raven."

"Thanks," her voice hoarsely muttered. She fell back into her bed and pulled the covers over herself. She could hear them all file away except one. Only three pairs of feet had moved. She took a couple of awkward breaths, unsure of what to do. After a couple of minutes, she heard someone clearing their throat. "Who's there?"

"Just me," Robin said. "I know you don't like crowds."

"No. Two's a crowd."

"You're not going to get up, are you?" Robin asked. "It's because it's Valentine's Day, isn't it?" She wanted to scream out that it was. She wanted to yell that she hated Valentine's Day. Every Valentine's Day was exactly the same. It was the same Valentine's Day!

But she didn't. It wouldn't have made a difference if she did. He wouldn't remember come tomorrow. Still, she thought, it was awfully sweet, that is to say kind and considerate she later had mentally berated herself, of him to ask, and it deserved an answer, even if it wasn't the truth. "Yes."

"Why?" Robin asked. "I really don't know you, Raven. We never really talk."

"We're teammates, we don't have to know each other intimately." Raven curled up in her bed, too afraid to look at Robin. "I just don't want to get up today, Robin."

"You'll waste the day away," he warned good-naturedly. If only he knew. "Now, tell me. Is it Starfire's enthusiasm?"


"Cyborg and Beast Boy's running around like chickens with their heads' cut off?"

"More like tofurkeys," Raven muttered wryly.


"Nothing." Raven sighed, "It isn't that either."

"Okay then. What did I do?" Robin asked. She laughed sardonically. "What?"

"You've done nothing." Raven sighed.

"Sounds like something. Come on," Robin said. "Tell me."

"You're more concerned about Starfire."

"That's no--"

"Yes it is," Raven interrupted, "And you know that. Don't try and hide it." Robin was blushing, she could imagine. "I know you don't put any of your friends in front of another, but this is different. This isn't about friendship."

"Well, I..." Robin said, trailing off. He looked at her, "How do you know I care about her as more than friends? Have you ever asked me?"

"No," Raven said. And then it dawned on her. She could and he wouldn't even have to know. "But I'm asking now. Do you?" Robin took a little while to respond. She could hear him taking a deep breath. "Well?"

"I'm not sure how you want me to respond," Robin said. "I'm almost afraid Star put you up to this."

"She didn't. You have my word." Raven looked up from her covers and saw that this had comforted him somewhat. That confused her.

"Good. I, I really don't. I've thought about it, sure. She's beautiful and full of life, so, sure I've thought about it. It's just," Robin said, "I want someone more dependable. I look at Batman and think how lonely he must be. I want someone I can share my secrets with. Someone who's smart and witty, someone who'd be there even if everything else went to Hell."

"And you don't think Starfire is that person?"

"I don't think she's looking for anything more than a brief, stormy affair." Robin smiled, "And I want a woman who can give me the same love as my mother did, not just passion."

"I understand," Raven said. She looked at his eyes through his mask and saw him looking back. "Could you get out of my room?"


"It's not proper for a guy to watch a lady change," Raven said playfully. Robin perked up considerably, his expression lightening. "Go." She hurriedly exited after she was dressed and looked around for Cyborg. She had found him approaching the kitchen. Her expression flared up in fright. She knew where this was heading. "Cyborg!"

Cyborg turned around and looked at Raven, "Yeah? Hey Raven. Feeling better?"

"I'm going to give you a warning," Raven said. Cyborg looked at her expectantly. He looked ready for news of a giant broken heart-shaped cruiser that was approaching from outer space. "The turkey's made of tofu."

"Whoa, had me worried there for a moment. BB's pulling a stupid little prank again, isn't he?"

"Yes," Raven said. "He didn't mean any harm. Don't get too mad at him."

Cyborg looked at her as though she had grown a second head. "You feeling okay, Raven? You're acting awfully considerate." It hurt Raven that she was seen like that by her friends. However, if anything today had taught her anything in its countless repetitions, it was that she was almost a complete jerk to everyone.

"I'm feeling better than I have in my whole life," she said. "Er, who was that letter for?"

"No one you'd know," he said defensively.

"Then tell me." She saw him mutter to himself, "What did you say?"

"I said it was for Miss Sarah."

"Sarah Simms?" Raven asked, "Isn't she the girl who volunteers with the kids who have --" it dawned on her why he would. She helped kids deal with their new prostheses, and if anyone had a prosthetic attached it was Cyborg. "Of course," she said, smiling slyly, "That makes perfect sense."

"Don't go telling nobody, got it?" Cyborg said, angrily. "It's secret. She isn't even supposed to know it's from me."

"Fine then," Raven said. "I won't tell anyone." She turned to leave. "Remember, don't get too mad at Beast Boy." Cyborg shrugged, giving her his word that he wouldn't. She didn't believe it for a second, but at least she now knew what she could do for Cyborg. The rest of the Titans wouldn't be as simple, she thought.

Starfire found Raven lurking the streets about twenty minutes later. She had been looking everywhere in the tower for her. "Raven! Why are you out here on such a day. We need your aid in deciding what we shall be doing for the rest of the day. I was suggesting that we would take our time and prepare a grand feast at home and then we could join in the festivities of others celebrating the Day of Valentine and return home to sleep eager to begin a new day tomorrow!"

"That sounds nice, Star. Do that," Raven said. "I'm busy."


"What time is it?"

"It is Twenty-three past the Hour of Eleven in the Time before Noon." Starfire smiled, "And thirty-seven seconds. Thirty-eight, thirty-nine..."

"Thanks, Star. I've got an hour and a half at least, that's good," Raven muttered. Star cocked her head to the side, unsure of what that meant. "Er, Star. What do you feel about Robin?"

"Robin?" Starfire said. She drew her breath, "I, I do not believe that is important, Raven." Raven smiled wryly. "Oh, very well then. I do care about him so. He is so dashing, so daring. He is exciting!" Raven's smile then faded. She was right, this was going to take a bit more work than finding out who Cyborg's dream girl was. "What is the matter, Raven?"

"Nothing, Star. Just thinking."

"Why are your thoughts so dire?" Star asked, sincerely. Raven shrugged. "Is something horrible abound?"

"No," Raven muttered. "Just thinking that maybe you should tell Robin that."

"I could not," Starfire said. "It would be magical to be whisked away if he shared my feelings, but what if he does not?" Starfire looked nervous. She had every reason to, when Raven thought about it. They didn't match. Or at least, they didn't match yet. She racked her brains trying to think of some way of teaching her how to be a dependable sort.

"Hey," she murmured softly, "Help me pick something out for the guys."

"You will be celebrating Valentine's Day then? Oh glorious day! I wish to ask you to be one of my platonic Valentines this year!" Starfire announced beaming. Raven accepted with a brief nod and a quiet thanks. "You seem lost in thought, Raven. Is something of concern weighing upon your brain?"

"Perhaps, Starfire." She frowned, "What do you want to happen today, most of all?" Starfire thought on this, and smiled happily.

"Well, I would love for someone to sweep me off my feet."

"Someone, or someone in particular?" Raven asked. Starfire blushed madly, and Raven knew the answer from that alone. "Maybe we should work on your approach. You need to let him know that you're waiting for him to make his move," Raven explained.

"You are not exactly the one I would expect to know such things," Starfire said. She looked at the expression on Raven's face and quickly rounded, "No offense."

"I know," Raven said calmly, "I don't seem to know how people work, but I know how better than most people. Robin's insecure," she explained, "Unsure about what he wants in a woman." She knew she was blatantly lying, but it was better than explaining to Starfire that he had told her what he was looking for.

How could she bring herself to explain to her that he wasn't looking for someone who's only interested in a brief fling. "What do I do?"

"You've got to leave hints," Raven said. "Let me teach you something called finesse."

Raven returned to the tower with Starfire in tow. Star looked ready to take on the world with her newly learned techniques, and Raven was hoping that it would be enough. She made some notes mentally about the lesson for tomorrow. Nonetheless, Starfire seemed to have honestly learned the material.

Now, all that was left was Beast Boy, and time was counting down until the deadline. "Cyborg," Raven called as she spotted him, "Have you seen Beast Bo--"

"No, I haven't." Cyborg's voice was terse and angry, "Ask Robin."

Raven groaned, "He roasted your letter didn't he?"


"A lucky guess," Raven cut him off. "Do you know where Robin is?"

"I think he was trying to fix up dinner," Cyborg said. "After Beast Boy ruined it. But I'm calm. I'm not actively mad at him. I am the very epitome of, of," Cyborg sought a word.

"Of passive aggressiveness?"

"No, but I'm considering it," Cyborg said. Raven shook her head, heading towards the kitchen. It was 12:20 now. As she was about to enter she heard a conversation. She kept her distance and listened.

"Well, uh," Robin said, unsure of himself, "It's really --"

"So will you?" Starfire asked.

"I," Robin said, "I'll think about it."

"Wonderful! Then I shall expect your response tonight?" Star sounded hopeful.

"Yeah, sure." Raven ducked to the side to avoid being seen as Starfire ran out of the kitchen in a jubilation. Raven approached the kitchen with an attempt at nonchalance. "You heard, didn't you."

"Yeah," Raven said. There wasn't a point in lying, "She seemed optimistic."

"I don't know what to tell her." Robin sighed, "Today just got complicated." Raven grimaced. "I just wish I, I don't know. It's just. Yeah, you know what I mean."

"You're a mess," Raven said. "Or at least, that's everything I got from your emotions."


"Well, that and you're usually a lot more eloquent."

"Gee, thanks," Robin said. He leaned against the counter, "What's up, Raven?"

"I was looking for Beast Boy," Raven said. "But," she said with but a minute's hesitation, "I can spare a few minutes, I suppose."

"Really?" Robin said, "I guess I should be flattered."

"Yes, you should be."

"You've been rushing every which way since you got up. What's gotten into you?"

"You gave me an idea," Raven admitted. "And I'm trying to make it a reality."

"Really?" Robin said. "What idea was that?"

"It was a while ago. You wouldn't remember."

"Really," Robin said, stressing the word. He thought back long and hard. "Maybe I can remember it."

"I wouldn't try," she said. She took a seat on the counter next to Robin. "Just trust me, this is one idea I'll just keep secret." She looked up at the ceiling thinking. "What would make you happy this Valentine's Day?"

"That's strange," Robin said. He slowly treaded on the subject. "Why would you, no offense, go out of your way for me?" Raven admitted he had a point to herself internally, but didn't let it show on her face. She just moved her hands and leaned back, seemingly thinking.

"It's, uh," Raven fumbled for an answer. She could feel his masked eyes bearing down on her expectantly. "It's Valentine's Day isn't it? You were explaining to Starfire that it was more than a day to celebrate passionate love, but also platonic friendship." Raven shrugged, "You got me thinking, what can I say."

"Wow. You actually listen to me. That's amazing," Robin said. She couldn't tell if his tone was being sarcastic. He in turn leaned back, and she wondered if he was looking for where her eyes were looking. She felt his fingers brush against hers. They turned to look at one another. "Er, sorry," he muttered, moving his fingers away.

She quickly consulted a clock. It was 12:25. She allowed herself a quick impulse and put her hand over his, "That's alright." It wasn't like he was going to remember this, she told herself. "And of course I listen to you. You're the only sane one in this entire building."

"The only one? What about you."


"Like a fox, I bet," Robin said. He laughed a bit, and he could hear that she was also nervously laughing, and she looked around to make sure nothing was exploding. It was almost comical to see her expression, so he laughed harder. She, in turn, laughed a bit more assuredly. Within a minute they were laughing for no reason but to laugh. "Maybe I'm crazy too."

"Impossible," Raven said. "You're still coherent. Now if you were acting like Cyborg and his whole machismo thing, or Beast Boy and --" Beast Boy! She had to find out a way to help him. It was still only 12:30. She could wait a bit longer.

"Beast Boy and what?"

"Nothing," Raven said. "You never told me what would make you happy today."

"I didn't need to, Raven," Robin said. "You just did." She could feel herself flush red.

"What's that supposed to mean. If I didn't know any better, I would say you were making a move on me," Raven said. "You're too nice to do that, but still."

"Sorry," Robin said. "But for some reason, you actually really made me feel better." He looked at her, smiling, "It's not every girl that a guy spends five minutes laughing with."

"I was worried I'd destroy something," she said. She probably did and didn't notice it. Unimportant in the bigger picture, but still of note to try and avoid a similar situation again. She should just leave Robin to his business and get on with hers. She looked at the clock. 12:31. Oh, she could spare another minute or two. It wouldn't hurt, it couldn't possibly hurt. "Are you preparing a new meal for us?"

"After the Tofurkey a la Love Letter incident, yes." Robin looked at her, "That reminds me. You said something this morning about 'tofurkeys'. How did you know Beast Boy was plotting that particular little insidious scheme?"

"I had a feeling," Raven said. "A sense of Deja Vu, I suppose."

"Cyborg's been trying to keep his temper in check, but Beast Boy knew he was furious."

"He has every right."

"He actually told me you warned him about the Tofurkey. But not about the letter." Robin smirked, "I'm impressed. You should be flattered how literally he took your request. When he saw the toasted letter, he was steaming mad, but he told us that you made him promise not to get too mad with Beast Boy."

"He did?" Raven said. She hadn't any idea she had that much leverage here.

"People really respect you, Raven. It's just you're sometimes so stand-offish we just think it's better to respect your privacy. We were all expecting you to be all fire and brimstone today."

The smell of brimstone reminded her. She remembered seeing their faces contort in pain as the hellfire broke through their skin, their blood burning as it came into contact with it. She could see their eyes welling up with tears as it burned their insides.

"Stop," Raven said, her voice a harsh whisper. She stared at Robin, almost disgusted he mention that smell. "Don't." She looked at the clock. It was 12:40. Robin noticed the expression and quickly interrogated her.

"What do you mean, 'Don't'?" he asked, visibly confused.

"Nothing," Raven said, regaining some of her composure.

"Are you sure?

"Nothing important," Raven said. Robin attempted to delve further, but Raven wouldn't allow that. She blocked all his lines of inquiry, and insisted, "It's just too close. I need to find Beast Boy."

"I, I think he went to his room," Robin answered. This just added to his confusion. "Are you sure you don't want to tell me what's bothering you, Raven? I'm worried."

"It would take too long." She turned to leave, but said, "Thanks," as she left Robin with the kitchen all to himself. However, out of the corner of her eye she saw him go over to the clock. If she had stayed a minute longer, she would have seen him moving the clock back an hour, and then forward again.

She ran into Starfire on her way to Beast Boy's room. She looked to be still quite chipper about her talk with Robin a little while ago, and Raven couldn't find it in her heart to tell Star what Robin had said. "Friend Raven, things are extraordinarily wonderful today!" she exclaimed, "I am so glad you offered to help me."

"It was nothing," Raven said. She felt empty enough for it to be true. "I hope things go well, Starfire, but I've got to talk to someone."

"Ah, is it a mysterious Valentine?" Starfire asked. "A secret admirer?"

"No, it's not." Raven looked angrily at Starfire, "I'm just trying to see what's wrong with Beast Boy."

"Beast Boy?" Starfire asked, "Was it what had happened between Cyborg and he that concerns you so? For if it so, I have been alerted to the details by Robin."

"I know what happened," Raven said, "I just need to know what could be done to -- never mind."

"Very well," Starfire said, "But perhaps I could help."

"Unless you can tell me what could really make his day, I don't think so." Raven walked off when Starfire rose her voice.

"I have spoken with him a few times this week about this very day, Raven." She ventured further, "I think I can tell you what he wishes most for the day. I do not know if it is possible, but --"

"What is it?" Raven asked.

"He told me he always wanted a secret admirer, but..." It was so simple. The request was just like a young kid like Beast Boy would want. She could easily do that one.

"But what?" Raven said, her eyes lighting up at the prospect. "It's so simple, Starfire." Starfire looked at her cockeyed, so Raven explained, "We could be the admirers. We should have different enough handwriting. This is so simple."

"You seem quite excited, Raven!" Starfire announced. She clapped her hands together. "Let us go write the letters now!"

"Er, what time is it?" Raven asked.

"It is five minutes to one. Why do you ask, Raven?" Raven was beginning to get acquainted with the confused expressions that her friends wore. She grinned somewhat, "Raven?"

"I need to get something from my room first," she said quickly. "Excuse me." She ducked out of her conversation and headed towards her room in a hurry, hoping she wouldn't run into any more of her friends before she got there. Raven hid herself in her room at 12:58, her heart beating fast. She could just remember seeing the anguish on their faces. She walked over to her bed and looked at the calendar she kept on the bedside table. Next to it was a CD she had been listening to the previous day. 'Made in Hell'. She had Limbo himself sign it.

And now she knew he was a demon, just like his friend. To think, she liked it because the music seemed so far off from reality. Now, it was real and it wanted her. The clock ticked away another minute and she just turned to stare at the ceiling. "How is he doing this? How could he be with us wherever we are. What connects us to him?"

Valentine's Day repeated itself. Days past as Raven perfected her plan. Every day she sought to learn more about friends. However, the days wore on her patience, and the repetition of the chores slowly took its toll on her. She awoke at 11 AM every morning, and she got out of bed. The boys ran through the hall on their chase. Raven took the letter from Beast Boy without a single hesitation. The movement was fluidly brought towards Cyborg, who took the letter with a surprised face. She walked down the hall and into Starfire, who chirped happily as Raven accepted her invitation.

Raven would then go to the Mall, bringing Starfire along to teach her the simple methods to attract Robin's attention, with the intention of them leaving them be and searching the Titan Tower's superfluous rooms for some way that Goth was reaching them.

Today, it didn't work out quite like that.

"But, Friend Raven, certainly Robin is a mature enough individual to realize exactly what it is he desires from a relationship." Raven couldn't count how many times she had heard the exact same response.

She was supposed to say, 'You should suggest that it's you.' She knew she should have said that, however, she had said it so much that she angrily, venomously hissed out, "You know what? Maybe he does. What if he doesn't want you, then? What if he wants someone who can give him more than just a passionate fling? What would you do if he doesn't want you?" Starfire looked almost hurt at this outburst. Raven stopped herself, holding her mouth shut until she could form a sentence. "I, I didn't mean that."

"You did. You do not say things you do not mean." Starfire frowned, "Did he tell you that?"

"Sort of." Raven frowned, "It's hard to explain. And it doesn't make sense." She looked to the ground with a sudden intensity that it was almost as though she had noticed that the floor was gilded with stardust. "He told me he wanted someone smart, and trusting. Someone who would be with him if everything went to Hell. But he didn't think that was you." She shook her head, "It doesn't make sense."

"Why does it not make sense? Robin I trust to make careful decisions." There was almost tangible hurt in her voice.

"That makes no sense. You and him, that makes sense." Raven felt Starfire place a hand on her shoulder.

"Maybe." Starfire looked to Raven, "But it sounds to me he wants someone more like you."

"Today you have been going the proverbial extra distance for all of your friends." Starfire said, "Perhaps you are what he needs." Raven looked up from the floor. "And if that makes him happy, then I am in turn happy as well, for my most precious friends would be happy."

"Star," Raven said, after a lengthy pause. "We need to get back to the Tower. I need to find something."

"What is the object of your search?" Starfire asked.

"Do you remember a band called Afterlife?"

"Ah!" Starfire said. "They are the ones who gave us the signed poster for aiding them when their man at the front became a demon?"

"That's them." Raven looked at Star, "Where did we put that poster?"

The grim visage of Limbo bore down over the Gaming Room. Raven leaned against a pool table and looked at the poster. It was hung above the skee-ball tables. It was about 12:55. Raven just kept staring at it as the minutes passed away.

It was 12:59 that the image of Limbo contorted into the red-skinned demon that she now knew to be one in the same with the Goth Rocker. Her face wore a dark scowl. The demonic image on the poster seemingly registered this and winked at her. This didn't affect her expression in the lightest. The seconds counted down before it would be 1:00 PM. It seemed like the poster was emitting avatars of Goth. Raven took something from the recesses of her cape - a matchbook. She struck a single match and threw it at the poster, holding it up through her power. The image didn't seem bothered by this, and even as the poster burned to ashes, the avatars still were sent to do their duty.

"Why isn't this working?" she asked angrily. The avatars didn't respond as one passed right through her. A chill ran down her spine. But as 1:00 PM came around, the chill subsided as she awoke in her bed. "Something's protecting me."

Valentine's Day, 11 AM.

Raven woke up and stepped out the door. "Give that back, you green skinned little rodent!" Cyborg yelled as he chased after Beast Boy. Raven grabbed the letter deftly and handed it to Cyborg. "What? Uh, Raven?"

Raven didn't answer. She immediately went to the Living Room where Starfire awaited. "Raven!" she called, her perky enthusiasm caused Raven to smile in spite of herself. "What a glorious celebration is today! I wish you to be one of my platonic Valentines today,"

"Sure, Star," Raven responded as cool as she could manage.

"Wondrous news!" Starfire hugged Raven. "I am most enthused! You are my most important friend."

"That means a lot to me, Starfire." Raven knew hearing that would steel her nerves. "Do you know where I can find some wrapping paper?" Starfire gave directions enthusiastically, but quickly asked why she needed such. Raven didn't answer, but assured her the answer would become clear soon enough. "Star, could you help me out?"

"What do you need assistance with, Raven?"

"Write a little Valentine's Day card for Beast Boy, but don't sign it." Starfire's eyes lit up.

"A secret admirer! He will be most overjoyed." Her expression darkened, "But will he be able to guess it is me?" Raven shook her head and brought her finger in front of her lips in a conspiratorial gesture. Starfire nodded eagerly and went off to begin work on her grand project. Raven, meanwhile, lurked into a room and began to wrap something up. It became a small square covered in hearts and it said on it 'For Robin - Don't Open Until Midnight".

She calmly walked over to the phone and dialed a number. "Hello? Mrs. Simms? Can I speak to your daughter? Who... oh, I'm an acquaintance of hers. Yes, from her volunteer work. Of course I'll wait." Raven made an impatient gesture. "Sarah? Yes, I'm Raven from the Teen Titans. I think there's something you should know."

"And this is the second note I've found today that's been addressed to me," Beast Boy muttered. Cyborg didn't take any notice. He was too busy investigating the oven.

"BB, What is this?" he asked, indicating the Tofu Turkey that lay in the oven. "Why are you putting in this Tofu Turkey-- Tofurkey? You know I hate that Tofu junk."

"Sorry, I just thought we could try something new." Beast Boy mentioned under his breath, "I was kind of hoping you wouldn't notice until after you took a bite out of it."


"Nothing!" Beast Boy cried. "Er, sorry about that." Robin leaned against the kitchen counter.

He cocked his head to the side, "What did you do?"

"He put in a Tofurkey without asking us," Cyborg said with a roll of his eyes. "Dude, do we got anything meat for dinner?" Robin was about to suggest that he could prepare something when Raven spoke up. The guys jumped as she spoke, not sure where she had come from and how long she had been watching.

"Could we go to Eden's Crest?" Raven asked. "I've been wanting to go there for some time now." The guys looked at each other, and shrugged. "Is that an okay?"

"It is, I guess," Robin said. "I mean, it is Valentine's Day. We could do something special. We'll have to get ready though."

"That's fine." She gave a sly smile. "Robin, here." She gave the wrapped package to him. "This is yours. Happy Valentine's Day." Beast Boy and Cyborg made a show of the exchange, but Raven shot them both a calm glance and a smile and it was more than enough to shut them up.

"Er, thanks Raven." He looked at it. "Don't open until midnight? Why not?"

"Just trust me, Robin." Robin looked at her incredulously, but she was already on her way.

"What is up with her?" Cyborg asked, after she had left. "She's been going about like a man on a mission since she got up."

"Maybe the spirit of St. Valentine possessed her," Beast Boy said, making a funny face and gestures to match. "And now she's being forced to do good deeds to people on Valentine's Day."

"That's just too bizarre," Cyborg muttered. "You going to open that?"

"Not until she says I can," Robin said. "That wouldn't be right."

Starfire whirled around, her evening dress sparkling like starlight. "This is a most magical attire!" She laughed gaily, "Raven, come, let us see your dress!" Raven looked at her with a nervous smile. "What is wrong?"

"I really don't have anything," Raven said. "I never thought I'd need it." Starfire looked Raven over quickly. "What?"

"I have something!" Starfire said, vanishing for just a second. She emerged with a red dress, that when she tried it on settled on her shoulders awkwardly, but fit her form quite well. She looked herself over in a mirror. "What do you think? I was a bit concerned about the measurements around the hips, however, it fits well."

She didn't quite have Starfire's legs, but aside from that, she felt it looked good. "Thanks, Star." She hesitated, "I just wanted to sa--"

"You gave Robin a Valentine's Present. Are you expressing interest in him?" Starfire said, almost reading her mind. Raven hesitated. "You were going to ask me for my permission?"

"How did you know?"

"Let me say that I know you a lot better than you let yourself believe," Starfire said. "We are friends, are we not?"

"Yeah," Raven said, quietly. "Someone a lot smarter than me once told me that even if she wasn't the one the person she loved chose, she would at least be happy for her most precious of friends."

"That person, how did the saying go? Read my mind?"

"You wouldn't believe it," Raven said.

"You girls ready yet? I can't believe you take like an hour to get ready." Cyborg's voice called from through the door.

"Yeah," Raven muttered, "We're coming." Raven opened the door and walked through.

"But Raven, I need to still prepare my make-up."

"Don't worry, Starfire," Raven said. "You look great."

"You really believe so?" Starfire asked. "Very well. We shall go."

Cyborg was decked out in casual evening dress, and looked a bit uncomfortable. His robotic limbs made the fabric strain to contain it. "Looking good, Cy."

"Er, thanks." Cyborg blinked, "You look great, Raven! Where'd you get that dress?"

"Star's lending it to me," she admitted.

"And you, Star! Wow!"

"Thank you, Cyborg!" she said, giggling. She feigned embarrassment. "You are only saying that, are you not?"

"No!" Cyborg said, "Really mean that."

Beast Boy peeked his head around the corner, "Cy, c'mon. We gotta get going. You're driving, remember?" He then noticed what Cyborg was looking at. "Yowza."

Raven rolled her eyes, "Let's get going, gentlemen," she said, "Come on, Starfire." Starfire nodded as she followed along. "We seem to be making a splash."

"I know." Star giggled.

"Well," Robin mumbled to himself, "This was unexpected." He bowed to Raven and Starfire dramatically and opened the car's door. "After you."

"Thank you!" Starfire said, floating in. Raven nodded in quiet appreciation, and followed.

"Okay everyone," Cyborg said. "Buckle up."

Eden's Crest looked the same as the first time they went there. The people all looked exactly the same, and they did the same thing as they did the last time. She wondered if Goth was going to make his appearance the same for appearances sake. Raven groaned, sitting down at the table while the guys all fought over who would seat Starfire. She looked around, couples and family all enjoying the festival of love kept to their own business, laughter and fun invaded the atmosphere.

And then there was the romance. It sickened her. At least with this bunch she wouldn't have to worry about it.

"I want a tofu burger."

"They don't sell that junk here, BB."

"I want one."

"You shoulda called in advance."

"What are you going to have, then, Cy?"


"Yuck! Meat?" Beast Boy complained. "I'd rather eat seafood."

"You know, I never understood why that was always an exception," Robin commented.

"Friends! Friends!" Starfire pleaded. Raven looked at the scene in front of her with a painful recollection of what had happened last time they went here. If only she could have prevented it in the first place.

"Hey!" Cyborg said, "What's the matter, Raye?" That was her cue.

"Nothing. Just going to powder my nose." There was a deafening silence from the boys. They all looked furiously from one another. "Calm down, I'm not mad at you."

"Are you sure?" Robin asked.

"Yes, definite." Raven walked to the exit, hearing the other Titans wondering what had brought this on.

"Maybe I should talk to her?" Robin suggested. Raven paid no mind and just walked down the street.

She closed her eyes, sighed, and she felt herself run into something cool and clammy. Jackpot. "Going somewhere?" the thing said. She looked up at a familiar looking young man. His pasty white skin gleamed in the daylight. He cocked his head to the side and looked down at her with a flirtatious glance.

"Hello, Goth."

"Changed your mind?" he asked calmly, his face contorting to that vicious expression. She just smiled confidently. "What's that look for?"

"Well, I just wanted you to know I've figured it all out. I know how you're doing this, and I hate to tell you this, but maybe you should reconsider your methods." Raven hurried towards the restaurant again. "So follow me if you want to see what."

As Raven walked to the entrance, she bumped into Robin. "Sorry," she muttered before noticing who it was. "Robin?"

"Raven? Sorry, didn't mean to bump into you there." Raven smiled oddly. "What?"

"Come on. This you have to see." She dragged him back to the seat with Goth as Limbo following close by. As they sat themselves down, Goth stood over the table with an air of authority.

"What did you mean, reconsider my methods, Raven."

"Hey, you're that Limbo guy from that band Raven likes," Beast Boy noticed. The others agreed and he was soon assaulted with small-talk that he was ill-prepared for. He tried to get Raven's answer, but 1:00 PM was fast approaching.

"Er, please, could you, sorry, give me a moment to talk to her," he requested. "What did you mean?"

"It's, what, 12:59 by now?" Raven said. "Well, goodbye then. If my guess is right."

The curse's time had come, and Robin watched Raven as she screeched in pain. Hellfire burst through her, and in turn each of his teammates, spellbound by this, soon found their skin torn from the inside by the explosion of brimstone. Limbo himself looked on in disbelief as the clocks turned back to the morning.

Robin awoke.

It was Valentine's Day.

He awoke with a start, sweat running down his face. He looked around. It couldn't be, but it was. Everything was the way it was Valentine's Day morning. He got up, checking just to be sure. It was, definitely, Valentine's Day morning. His alarm radio went off on the same spiel it went off yesterday morning.

It was like he woke up in a Bill Murray movie. Only this time everyone exploded. He remembered seeing Limbo, the kind of shifty rock star that Raven had been a big fan of, looking very surprised at the scene. Suspiciously so. He looked to his bedside clock. It was 10:30. It was a good hour to get up on a holiday for. He got up and walked out of his room.

"Robin!" Starfire announced. "Salutations! How are you this bright and beautiful morning?"

"Hi, Star," Robin said. Did she really just say the exact same thing as yesterday?

"You seem perplexed," she said. "Is something bothering you?"

"Yeah," Robin said. "Have you seen Raven yet?"

"No," Starfire said, rather put off. "Shall I look for her?"

Robin shook his head. "She'll find me soon enough, I guess." Starfire beamed. "What?"

"I think that is most sweet of you." Starfire sounded a bit hurt, however. "You are wishing to make her happy about Valentine's Day after her adamant showing of disinterest in the holiday yesterday evening time."

"I," Robin said, hesitating, "Yeah, I guess so." Starfire nodded and floated off. He guess she sounded a bit hurt that he was aiming for Raven's attention as opposed to hers. Made sense, really. He walked towards the living room and sat down. He turned the television on and watched the news. Snapper Carr was wishing everyone a happy Valentine's Day, and then they cut to Mark Millar with weather.

"He's wrong," Robin told himself. It was quite sunny all day, despite the warning of clouds. He laughed.

"And this is the second note I've found today that's been addressed to me," Beast Boy muttered. Cyborg didn't take any notice. He was too busy investigating the oven.

"BB, What is this?" he asked, indicating the Tofu Turkey that lay in the oven. "Why are you putting in this Tofu Turkey-- Tofurkey? You know I hate that Tofu junk."

"Sorry, I just thought we could try something new." Beast Boy mentioned under his breath, "I was kind of hoping you wouldn't notice until after you took a bite out of it."


"Nothing!" Beast Boy cried. "Er, sorry about that." Robin leaned against the kitchen counter. He was familiar with this scene. "I mean, tofu's not than bad."

"You know what Curd rhymes with, BB?"

"Ew, never looked at it that way."

"Think about it next time."

Robin cleared his throat, "Could you two be quiet."

"Sorry," Cyborg said. "But honestly, do we have anything I can stomach that we could make?" He looked to Robin.

"I have an idea," Raven piped up, shocking Cyborg and Beast Boy. "Could we go to Eden's Crest for lunch?" The guys looked to each other and then to Robin. He thought rapidly, wondering why she would want to face down that creepy Limbo.

"Meeting someone there?" Robin asked. Raven returned his glance with her own cool glance. "Am I right?"

"Almost," she said. "Here." She handed him the package from yesterday. "I think you can open it by now."

"Er, thanks." The guys made a ruckus out of the exchange, but Raven's cool glance and confident smile silenced them pretty quickly. "I'll just go get ready for our lunch, then."

Robin looked over the package curiously. It looked like a perfectly ordinary Valentine's Day gift, albeit a bit strange coming from Raven. He began to peel off the paper. He wondered if this was the reason he was reliving the same day all over again. As he tore the paper apart, something fell out of the wrapping. He looked at the object that had been wrapped up.

It was Raven's signed Made in Hell album.

A note had also been in the wrapping, and he picked it up off of the floor and opened it up. Raven's neat handwriting seemed to relate to him the exact nature of what had happened.

"If you're reading this, then you must have already realized what has happened," it began. "I realized that Goth, a friend to the demon that last terrorized the band Afterlife, was somehow attacking us through a remote source and began to search for ways he could have reached us. The poster he gave us after we saved their band last time, that was what was relaying the attack. He has been planning this for some time. The signature he gave me has somehow shielded me from the affects of the time loop, but the entirety of Jump City probably has been living Valentine's Day over and over again for probably 10 to 14 days now." Robin frowned.

"So why give it to me, Raven?" he asked himself aloud. When he turned back to the letter an almost sarcastic response awaited him.

"You're probably wondering why I gave this to you by now. It's what I'd expect of you. Over these past Valentine's Days I've come to realize I, well, I've come to realize the meaning of Valentine's Day thanks to you. I leave it up to your judgment now. Do I turn myself over to Goth? Or do I fight? I won't remember his reaction, but you will. Please, I'm trusting you."

"Raven," Robin muttered. "I'll figure something out." He got himself dressed for the event. "You've got my word."

They arrived at Eden's Crest a bit after half past twelve. Robin noticed the nervous glances of Raven as they walked into the restaurant. "We should talk," he whispered to her. She agreed quietly and as the others sat themselves down they both, separately, excused themselves. They met in the foyer, as happy couples and families all filed in to their seating. Robin never noticed how lucky they were to be able to get in on such short notice. "Raven," he began. She looked at him a with a sarcastic expression.

"Just give me an answer. What should I do?"

"You knew this would happen."

"I guessed it would," Raven said. "It was a big risk. But now that you know what's been going on the past few days, we need to make a decision. What should I do."

"What should we do," Robin reminded her. "We're a team."

"This doesn't concern the team."

"Do you honestly believe that?" Robin asked her. Raven hesitated and slowly bowed her head. "You're as important to us as anyone. I think having to deal with us caught in a loop would have showed you that." Robin grinned, "Remember Groundhog's Day?"

"No." Raven added, "I know the premise, I just didn't see the movie."

"Remind me to show you it sometime." Robin grinned, "I have a plan."

"It's a date," Raven said. "What is it?"

"It's simple." He grinned, "Where does he expect you?" Robin was given directions. "Okay, get the others ready. I've got a plan," he said and he then walked out of the restaurant and down the street. The gaunt form of Limbo was standing there, looking irritated. Robin smiled and gave a cordial hello, which only roused the anger of the demon.

"You," he said. "What did you do?"

"Me?" Robin asked. "I didn't do anything." Limbo snarled, showing off a fantastic row of sharp teeth. "Nice teeth, by the way."

"She must have been tricked into giving you the ward," he said.

Robin shook his head, "It was her idea. She's never going to be yours."


"Believe what you will," Robin said, looking at him. "Ask her yourself." The demon snarled again. "She chose me."

"If I kill you," he said, but was cut off.

Robin brought out his Bo staff and brought it around to strike Limbo. It connected and the flakey white skin peeled off to reveal his hideous red form. "If being the key word there," Robin taunted. "I'm willing to do a bit of experimenting to get this right. It must take a lot of effort putting an entire city in a time loop." He attacked Goth a bit more, the demon sluggishly blocking the attacks.

"Insolent twerp!" Goth yelled. "Very well, then." Goth steadied himself and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Robin waited calmly. "Now you die." Goth moved in quickly, but Robin dodged. "Titans! Attack!"

Goth turned around to see the entire Teen Titans team looming behind him.

"Oh no."

"My shirt's ruined," Cyborg complained. Goth's form lay prone on the ground. "That was not a fun fight, Robin. What's this joker done, anyway?" Robin shrugged.

"He's killed the entire city 15 times," Raven answered. "Specifically targeting me. He's the worst admirer I've ever had to deal with."

"And the only one," Beast Boy muttered. Raven only gave him a chilling smile. "Sorry, I was just making a joke. Please don't kill me!" Starfire poked the demon a bit, looking a bit concerned. Robin put a hand on Raven's shoulder.

"Are you okay?" he asked, softly.

"Yeah. It's the first time I've seen one minute after one in fifteen days," she sardonically intoned, "But I'm okay."


Cyborg smirked, "Hey, it's good that you two are getting into the Valentine's Day spirit and all, but we all got stuff to do. Are we going to go eat or what?"

"How will we dispose of the demon?" Starfire asked innocently. Raven leaned down by Goth and chanted her mantra several times. As the intensity of her words increased, so too did the glow that surrounded Goth. His form began to dissipate, and piece by piece he was blown into the wind.

"Wow, Kansas was right," Beast Boy said, "We really are just dust in the wind."

"Actually, I prefer to say," Robin said, "That another one bites the dust." They were silenced by the concerned glare of Starfire.

"We should not make light of this!"

"It's okay, Star," Raven said. "This one was a particular bad egg." She got to her feet. "Cyborg, you've got a date in five minutes."


"Just trust me."

Cyborg looked as if she had just grown a second head. "What do you mean by that?" he asked. There was a clearing of someone's throat from behind Cyborg, and he turned to look at a girl he would instantly recognize as Sarah Simms.

"Vic?" she asked. "What happened to you?"

"Sa, sarah?" Cyborg asked. "Why are you here?" He looked to Raven, "How did you --?"

"Let it go, Cyborg." Robin laughed. "Go and have some fun." Cyborg just stared incredulously onwards.

"Hey, Victor," Sarah said, trying to get his attention, "I was promised a date, you know."

Cyborg turned around, "Really?"

"Yes," Sarah said. "Come on, you big fool." Cyborg mouthed to Raven a big thanks as Sarah dragged him off.

"I'm going to take a guess," Beast Boy said, "That you sent me one of the anonymous letters, huh?" Raven nodded. "I knew Star sent me one, now you. So, er, who sent me that third one?"

"Third? But there was no third!" Starfire exclaimed.

"I guess I really do have a secret admirer," Beast Boy said. "All right! Go Beast Boy! Go Beast Boy!" He danced off happily.

"I shall leave you two alone," Starfire said. "It makes me so happy to see everyone's day has turned out perfect!"

Raven hesitated, "What about yours?"

"It was as perfect as the most beautiful sunrise," Starfire said. She flew upwards. "I wish you both a wonderful time! And when you return, we will all partake in a grand feast!"

"Sounds wonderful," Robin said. He gave Raven a covert glance. There was just the two of them left. "So," Robin began. "Did you mean what you said in your letter?"

"Yes," Raven said. "You can make me laugh in spite of myself, Robin."

"I can?"

"Yes," Raven said. "And you make me feel comfortable with being, well, me."



"So," he said again. "How's your schedule for the afternoon?"

"I don't know," Raven said. "Let's just see what happens." She took his hand, and together they strolled into the rest of the day.


Take a chance with me, let me romance with you.

-Freddie Mercury

Author's Notes:

The Pompitous of Love is, of course, Steve Miller's little nonsense word in the song "The Joker".

Apparently, people call him Maurice because of it.