Disclaimer: Teen Titans belongs to Glen Murakami. I disclaim them!
Author's Note: The final chapter. Heh, I'd felt so bad for updating this so sporadically, so I updated this last chapter on my fourteenth birthday as a sort of present to myself. I never, never would have finished this if it weren't for the encouragement and great suggestions from those who reviewed as I was writing this fic. These people made my first real foray into Teen Titans fandom an amazing and incredibly welcoming experience. Thanks to everybody for your help, and I hope that you've enjoyed the fic.
Fourteen: "And a Movie"
"I was in a café, nothing on the menu was anything like what they had in Azarath, and I just picked something off the list of drinks."
"So a strawberry milkshake, that was the first drink you ever tasted in this dimension?"
"Yes. Then I found herbal tea, which they do have in Azarath. They do have different herbs in it, but I found the tastes were at least similar. I drink it to calm my nerves." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, looking a little distant. "Strawberry milkshakes are still nice sometimes. Remind me of my first days on Earth. How completely different things are here."
"Yeah. Earth's pretty freaky, I guess." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Heh. I wonder who invented milkshakes."
"Wow." She looked at him suspiciously. "No more questions? You're satisfied with my explanation, finally?"
"Well..." His grin didn't bode well.
Raven briefly ran through her compilation of dire threats to find a suitable conclusion to the sentence, "If you mention milkshakes one more time..."
His excited, "Here we are!" interrupted her. She pursed her lips, threats dissolving on her tongue. It was just as well, in any case. Society frowned upon killing boys on the first date.
"What movie are we seeing?"
He shrugged, pretending at nonchalance.
She scanned the list of movies above the doors of Jump City Cinema. One caught her eye immediately: "Wicked Scary 2: The Evil Returneth." She swallowed. He wouldn't. There were plenty of other movies playing. Nodding to herself, she moved up to where Beast Boy already stood in line.
"I'll pay for my own ticket."
He looked at her as if she were raving. "Dude, no."
"Dude, yes," she mimicked sarcastically.
"Dude, no! You paid for the drinks. I pay for the movies, and then it'll be fair," he pointed out.
"The tickets cost more, Beast Boy."
"Well, yeah. But should I pay for the more expensive thing. It's like, the law."
"I saw it in a magazine! I'm the one who asked you out. I should pay for the date. I already broke a rule by letting you pay for the drinks, you should be grateful!"
"I should be grateful...that I got to pay," she repeated incredulously.
"Isn't that what you wanted?"
"I...guess." This sort of twisted logic got her into this date in the first place, she thought sullenly. Arguing with him only caused more headaches for her.
The moving line saved her from further dispute. Beast Boy promptly paid the ticket guy before she could hand him any money, saying, "Two tickets for Wicked Scary 2, please."
He did not just say that.
"You did not just say that."
He smirked. "Say what?" As if he didn't know, she thought, eyes narrowed. She began to reconsider this increasingly appealing killing the boy on the first date idea.
"Don't you remember what happened last time?"
Beast Boy turned away as he handed an acne-stricken teenage boy their tickets. "Geez. Could I not? Your little fun house of terror probably gave me like, psychological scars." He shuddered. "But," he continued as he faced her again and headed toward Cinema 12, second floor, "believe me, I wouldn't take the chance if I didn't have complete trust in you."
She grumbled, pushing back any stupidly pleased feelings in favor of her more pressing worry. "Touching as that is, Beast Boy, your confidence in me doesn't guarantee our safety."
"I'm not a complete idiot, okay?" She raised a finger to retort – he'd just made it so easy – but he cut her off. "Handsome funny guy goes first, remember?"
Again, she began to speak, but he simply clapped a hand over her mouth and continued on as if nothing had happened. "But I figure, since Evil Giant Demon Dude is gone, and you know that the scary things came because you were scared and didn't admit it, well, as long as you admit that you're scared, I think we have a pretty good chance of surviving this date, don't you?"
"Mmph!" She glowered and pushed his hand away. "Fine."
"It's okay," he added as they reached the entrance of Cinema 12. "If you get scared, you can hold my hand." He grinned mischievously at her.
She was really abusing the privilege of rolling her eyes.
Preventing herself from doing so, however, proved to be even more difficult than she'd ever anticipated. It was only once they were inside the theater that she remembered Beast Boy's fixation on finding exactly the right seat in the theater. The process, he insisted, was a delicate and crucial one.
"You can't sit too far back. It's so small you might as well go watch normal TV. You can't see the whole screen at once when you're too close. The seats have to be in the center, because angle seats just suck, and that aren't next to anybody that looks, you know, really creepy or something, or a bunch of loud people, because then you can't..."
Raven just wanted to sit down.
Or run out of the theater before the movie came on. That would be fine, too. She shivered as she thought of tentacled somethings creeping up the aisles in the dark, wrapping around her ankles...
"HA! Perfect," said Beast Boy in a loud whisper, making Raven start.
He ran down one row and leaped into the row in front, landing inelegantly into one of a pair of vacant seats. Raven followed with somewhat less enthusiasm, occasionally glancing at the screen apprehensively. "Is it starting soon?" she asked as she settled in.
"Nah, we're super early." Beast Boy shifted a bit, then abruptly said, "Hey, you want to get some snacks?"
She blinked at him. "We just had dinner an hour ago."
"I'm hungry. The ads aren't even on yet, we might as well, right?"
She shrugged. "All right, let's get something from the front."
She moved to get up, but Beast Boy hesitated. "We have to save our seats!"
"No one will take them, let's just go."
"No, these are the perfect seats. Like, ten people will be scrambling to get at them as soon as we get up!"
"Fine, then let's not get food."
Beast Boy was still for a moment. "Can we use your cape to save our seats?"
She snorted lightly. "Sure. Then all I'll have to wear is my leotard. Not likely."
He raised his eyebrows, looking as if he wouldn't necessarily object to such an outfit, but a voice nearby cut off whatever comment he was about to make.
"Hey, aren't you the Teen Titans?"
Raven turned and saw two teenagers about to take the two empty seats next to her. They grinned, nudging each other and pointing at her and Beast Boy.
"Two-fifths of them, anyway," Beast Boy said to them, standing.
"Beast Boy, you can do fractions?" Raven murmured to him in mock shock.
"Humph. That's mean. You're mean."
"Dude, it's like, an honor! I can't believe I'm meeting Beast Boy in person!" One of the boys, the one with a pierced eyebrow, clumsily tried to shift the massive tub of popcorn he was holding from one arm to the other before realizing he couldn't hold it without both hands. He finally shoved it into the arms of his friend with the goatee. He held out his hand to shake Beast Boy's.
"No kidding. We never thought we'd meet celebrities here!"
"Yeah, don't you have like, your own private theater or something? I'm Dan. This is Anthony, you can ignore him."
"Shove off! And take this stupid popcorn. I want to shake his hand too!" Goatee-guy – Anthony – proceeded to do so, taking Beast Boy's hand reverently. Raven watched, highly amused.
Then they turned to her. "So, you're actually Raven?"
"Can we see you do your powers? I think they're so cool."
She looked pointedly around the theater. "Right now might not be the best time for that."
As if to prove her point, someone hissed at the two boys, "Sit down! I can't see the previews!" Oddly, the screen was still black.
The boys turned to Raven and Beast Boy again once they had settled. "Hey, how come you guys don't have any food?"
"Well, we were gonna go get some—"
"Hey, do you want us to save your seats for you?" Dan asked eagerly.
"Totally. We want to sit next to you guys, we can't let some random jerks take your seats!"
Beast Boy looked pleased, and gave them a "Thanks!" before making his way to the aisle with Raven in tow.
As they reached the aisle, Raven could hear one of them whisper rather loudly, "Wow, Raven's even cuter in real life."
Beast Boy cast a startled look over his shoulder. He seemed to frown for a moment, but he turned away so quickly that she couldn't be sure if it had only been her own wishful thinking.
Whatever it was, he appeared to have forgotten it by the time they reached the concession stand. "Hey, you want to share a popcorn thing?"
She craned her neck to see around the others in line and nearly cringed as she spotted the giant tubs of popcorn on display. The 'small' was nearly the size of the movie screen. "All right. Don't think I could ever finish one of those, anyway. You do eat popcorn with butter, right?"
Beast Boy made a face. "No way!"
"How can you possibly eat plain popcorn?"
"Pretty easily, actually," he laughed.
"Why not butter? Because it's dairy?"
"Sorry. It's just, I've been those animals."
"So you're saying you've been milk, then?" she asked jokingly.
He sighed. "It comes from cows, that's all. It's weird."
"Cows are female, so unless there's something you're not telling me, I'm sure you've never been one. It's not like it hurts them, right, being milked? It's good for them. They get bloated otherwise. Or...something."
He barely suppressed a laugh. "Raven, the cow expert?"
"I don't know, I wasn't paying much attention to the documentary, but I know it's not bad for them. That's all."
"You were watching a documentary on cows?"
"My secret passion for all things bovine is exposed." At his incredulous look, she told him, "Starfire found it on the nature channel. I was on the couch with her, reading." She pointed. "Now, buy." They had reached the front of the line.
Beast Boy ordered a bucket of popcorn, with butter.
The previews were on when they entered the theater again. Raven could see little else but the screen in the darkness, and she wondered how they would ever find their seats. Beast Boy led them directly to their row, apparently having no problems in the dark.
"Um. I'll go first, 'kay?" He stepped in front of her. "You shouldn't have to sit next to those guys."
"I didn't mind them or anything," she whispered as they made their way through the row. Her mouth twitched in a wry smile. "What, afraid they'll hit on me?"
"No," he said hastily. He averted his eyes as they sat down.
"Hey, this stuff isn't half bad," admitted Beast Boy, munching on a handful of popcorn.
Raven was a little too busy staring at the screen in horror to respond. A man had just— well; perhaps it would be better not to say. However, it involved quite a lot of teeth, eyeballs, and pain, and much to her dismay, was much, much scarier than the first Wicked Scary.
They were only ten minutes into the movie.
Somehow, through the haze of pure, unadulterated fear the likes of which she'd never experienced, she did notice when he stretched his arms up as if yawning. No one yawned during this movie, even if it was a lull in the action – the only reason she had enough wits about her to realize what he was doing.
She'd seen far too many movies during Starfire's romantic comedy kick – which was still going on (Robin, the boyfriend, somehow managed to escape whenever she wanted to watch one, and Raven, the only other girl, always ended up fellow-watcher by default) – to not know what Beast Boy was doing.
As he lowered his arm to oh-so-subtly rest behind her shoulders, she shot him a death glare. It quickly changed to a petrified stare, fixed on the screen, as the monster returned for second helpings. The glare did get the message across, as he grinned sheepishly and his arm landed on the armrest instead.
It didn't matter in the end. She ended up gripping his hand tightly in terror, anyway. She didn't see his smile. It vanished at a particularly gruesome scene, and everyone in the theater shrieked in fright.
"Dude. That was...so...awesome."
She couldn't move. She wouldn't move, or the monster might get her. Which was a stupid idea, really, but after what happened last time, one could never know.
"Uh...Raven? You okay?"
There was a gloved hand waving in front of her face. Who did it belong to? Not the monster. Oh, Beast Boy. So the monster hadn't gotten him. That was good.
"Raven. It's time to go. The theater's like, empty."
She vaguely felt him hoisting her up by her free arm – free arm? What was she holding onto? – and leading her out of the theater.
"Hey, Raven. Raven. You can look now...there're no freaky monsters around yet, I think we're safe."
She blinked. "I...Beast Boy?"
"Yeah. Are you all right?"
"Fine. Just a little...terrified, that's all."
"Do you want to go home now? It's kind of getting late. I bet the others are waiting up for us so they can interrogate us about everything we did."
"Joy." She realized as they began to walk again that they were already halfway home. They had gotten that far already without her noticing? She also realized something else. "You're holding my hand," she said accusingly.
He glanced at their hands, undisturbed. "You started it."
"Maybe we should..." She tried tugging her hand out of his, with no result. "...let go?"
He seemed to think it over for a few seconds before answering. "Nah."
She reluctantly let the issue go for the moment, instead glancing at the clock tower some distance away. "Isn't it quicker to fly home?"
"If I didn't know better, Raven, I'd think you were trying to get rid of me!"
Was that what he thought? No, his eyes were laughing at her. She huffed quietly and said in retaliation, "That's exactly what I'm trying to do."
Beast Boy feigned hurt. "I'm hurt. Well, sorry, Rae, but it looks like you're stuck with me."
She sighed a sigh that was meant to express her resentment of this great burden he was forcing her to bear in noble silence, but it came out sounding rather more contented than she intended.
His hand was warm, even through the thick material of his glove, and even though she'd watch a dozen romantic comedies and cow documentaries with a smile on her face than actually admit it, it felt...nice.
She tried very hard not to feel the tiniest bit thrilled on the inside. She almost succeeded.
Beast Boy continued talking to her, making blatantly obvious attempts to get her to laugh, and she did, a little, against her will. This just encouraged him, and he made a few more cheesy jokes, which he clearly knew were bad by the way he laughed when she groaned at how appalling they were.
"I'm at death's door, Beast Boy. The corniness is slowly killing me."
"But you're laughing, aren't you?"
"It's either laugh or cry."
They reached the edge of the water. He shouted, "Race ya!" and she let go of his hand as he morphed into a pterodactyl and launched into the air. He soared in a circle around her, making her cloak billow and mussing her hair up a bit.
She muttered, "Showoff," just loud enough for him to hear, and lifted into the air as well.
"I let you win, you know!" he declared as he landed just a second after her.
At the large entrance of the Tower, both paused. "They're probably waiting in the living room for us," said Beast Boy hesitantly.
"Yeah." Raven bit her lip, and after a moment of indecision gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Thank you."
"Er." He touched his cheek, and Raven, feeling herself begin to turn red, turned away.
She looked back when he didn't follow, and frowned. "Wipe that stupid smile off your face and come on."
"I will curse you in your sleep."
They'd entered the living room, and Beast Boy turned from cat to human to comment unnecessarily, "They're asleep!" He looked slightly put out. Even she'd expected an overenthusiastic Starfire to greet them, at the very least.
Cyborg, Starfire, and Robin lay on the couch, dead to the world. Cyborg snored loudly.
Beast Boy walked right up to Starfire and Robin. "Cute couple, huh?"
"Almost sickeningly so." All the same, she smiled a little at them. Starfire's head rested on Robin's stomach, and one of his arms wrapped protectively around her torso. "It is sweet, I guess," she admitted.
"C'mon, let's not wake them up." Just before he turned away, he stopped. "Hey, if I turn into a bird right now, will you pull off a feather really quick?"
"I just want to try something." His grin did arouse her suspicions, but he turned into a crow and held out one wing expectantly. Raven sighed and approached him, bending down to gently tug one feather off. She handed him the feather when he changed again.
He placed it on Cyborg's nose.
"What are you doing?"
"Seeing if it works like on the cartoons..." He trailed off as the feather rose into the air on Cyborg's exhale, and landed again as he inhaled. "Awesome!" He laughed aloud, and she dragged him out of the room before he woke them up.
"I don't know why I allow you to come near me."
"My charm and dashing good looks?" He stopped, bowed. "May I walk the lady to her door?"
"That's not charm, that's smarm. My door is two steps away from here, and it's on the way to your own room."
"I can't help that, can I?"
They were at her door, and she opened it before pausing, feeling like she ought to say something. She didn't know what, though, and apparently neither did he.
She put a hand on the door.
Beast Boy swallowed and made a noise. "Grdsk."
She turned, squinted. "What?"
"Wdks." He clapped his hand over his eyes in embarrassment. "Dang. Um. Don't leave, I'll get the words out someway." He peeked through his fingers. Sighed. Drew his hand away and reached out to her, briefly, before pulling back and rubbing the back of his neck. "Do you want to...?"
She froze. This was it, the moment; this needed long consideration – "Yes."
He leaned forward and kissed her.
She dimly heard something smash in her room, and it would suck if that was her glass sphere from Azarath, and Beast Boy was kissing her, oh.
Hesitantly, she raised her hands to his shoulders and kissed him back. It wasn't earth-shattering, this kiss, heaven and hell didn't shift because of it, the universe wasn't changed forever, but it was very warm, and a little tingly, and her stomach had more than a few butterflies, and it was a little like holding his hand.
But a lot cooler.
"So that's what it's like," she said.
"Really? I don't know, I don't think I got a clear idea, maybe we should—"
She rolled her eyes, pushed him. "Maybe on the next date."
He smiled like he'd won something. "Fine with me."
A pair of mismatched eyes peered around the corner, one eye steel blue, the other a glowing red. Above those was a pair of bright green eyes, and above those, a pair hidden behind a mask.
These eyes spied a smiling boy make his way to his own room, whistling a tune. As the door shut behind him, there was a collective sigh from the owners of all three pairs of eyes.