OK, so I'm on Cuban time. But I swear to you I tried my hardest to finish this baby in one night and put it up…just didn't work out exactly as planned is all :P.
Alright, this chapter is more than twice as long as my one-shot ficcy, so I suggest if you still wanna read this, you get yourself comfortable, start popping that popcorn, and get to reading…
WARNING: Still contains a Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie spoiler.
Flashback Key:italicized words in quotation marks means that the a person in the present-day time (Raven or Beast Boy) is speaking.
Dating Games, Part II
After Starfire flew over to the park and greeted Beast Boy and Raven in a more over-joyous manner than normal for her, the trio decided to cross the green to the water's edge and skip rocks, breaking the water's surface and sending ripples about.
When the expansive blue of the sky seemed to disappear within the royal pinks and golds it now carried, the three Titans climbed up the nearest building to the rooftop and remained there about an hour after the sunset, just talking and people-watching.
"I have never participated in such an enjoyable activity as this," Starfire said with a laugh, as Beast Boy pointed out a random man in a brown business suit and started imitating what he must be saying and thinking at the time.
Raven looked down at the people ten stories away, as Starfire continued to laugh. The dark girl couldn't help but not pay attention, however, as she felt centered at the time. Being here, up on this rooftop, in the dimly lit Jump City streets was so tranquil to her.
She wanted nothing more right now than to just be consumed in the darkness and become her true self once more.
She had spent a whole entire day with Beast Boy, and yet, she got nothing out of him. Nothing out of it. If there was anything to be learned, Raven thought it would be for her to hold her grudge in another way. Take her problem with Beast Boy out on him the instant she found out. It would be way better than having to wear another façade over the emotionless being she already had to be.
"…Raven? Friend Raven? Why do you not respond?"
Raven shook her head and snapped back into reality. "Huh?"
Beast Boy furrowed his brow and walked over to her. "Hey," he said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You OK? You haven't talked much at all. Something wrong?"
"No," she said, matter-of-factly. "I'm just…hungry," she implied with a shrug.
Starfire had a bright look in her eyes. "Great idea, Raven! We shall fetch some food, as I am in want of the nourishment, as well!"
Beast Boy nodded. "You guys just chill out for a sec, OK? I'll scope out where the Burger joint is from here." With that, he morphed into a bird and whisked away into the purple sky.
Raven maintained her posture this entire time – her arms around her legs, spacing out into oblivion.
Starfire looked at her inquisitively and decided to walk over to her and stand next to her sitting body near the edge of the building.
"Raven," she said finally. "Are you mad at me? That I am possibly… intruding upon your outing with Beast Boy?"
Raven looked at Starfire and shook her head. "Of course not! I'm…fine! Couldn't be happier, honestly!" she smiled as sincere as possible. It's not that she didn't want Starfire around, it's that she wanted that darn confession…
"Very well," the Tameranian nodded, falling silent.
Within the time of silence, Raven decided to stand up, perhaps pace a bit until they heard word from Beast Boy.
"You know that you are free to act normally around me, Raven," Starfire said abruptly, after what seemed like an eternity, her eyes on the distant buildings.
Raven jumped. "…What did you just say?" she inquired of her friend, walking towards her.
"You are free to act normally around me. You had me fooled yesterday when we were about to engage in the sport of volleyball, but Robin, and Cyborg, and I have discovered your secret. You are merely pretending. To trick Beast Boy. Isn't that so?" she said, smirking at Raven.
"O…K…I don't know what you're talking about," the dark girl denied, laughing, anyway.
"You know very well what I am talking about," Starfire countered, looking Raven in the eyes intently. "You are falsely disguising yourself through a part of your personality we hardly see just to make it seem as though Beast Boy's potion had worked. You went through loopholes to flirt innocently with Cyborg and Robin at the same time. You engaged in the video games – "
" – and won," Raven huffed.
" – and won – " Starfire repeated, "because you thought such mannerisms would count for being under a spell of some sort – which they would."
The real Raven slightly combated with her happy alter ego to resume her body in order to talk seriously with her alien friend. She looked at Starfire, stunned, and gave in. "I was too obvious, then, wasn't I?"
"Not at all," Starfire said, ever optimistic and waving a careless hand. "In fact, you did a great job carrying out your plan of vengeance – you could have fooled any of us!"
"Really? And I thought I was too evident all this time…"
"But at the same time, we all thought the potion had worked, so it wasn't as manifest as you were thinking," Starfire stated. "In fact, all of your plans would have worked out perfectly fine, indeed, had we not known that magic cannot change a person's freedom to think and choose."
Raven was about to say something, but the sound of her and Starfire's communicators got in the way. Starfire opened hers up to Beast Boy's voice.
"Hey, Star. Listen, the Diner's five blocks North from where you two are. You want me to come back and get you?" he said.
Starfire looked at Raven's tension-filled face. "Thank you for the kind offer, Beast Boy, but we will decline. I'm sure Raven and I can find the place. We will meet you there." She shut the communicator, and put it back where it belonged.
"You're going to tell Beast Boy, aren't you?" Raven sighed.
"Absolutely not," Starfire announced. "This is between you and him, not you, him, and the rest of us. You may still proceed through the rest of the night in your happy demeanor, if you please. I just wanted you to know that we were…um… 'on to you' if that is the correct phrasing?"
Raven shook her head at this. "I just don't understand how – "
"Friend Raven…I know," Starfire said flatly, like it wasn't going to change. "Robin, Cyborg, and I. We know. I only hope that you will not follow in Beast Boy's footsteps, but choose a better way to resolve this problem. That is all. Shall we fly?"
Raven nodded in response to Starfire's speech and question. "OK." With a jump from the building's edge, the girls were off to the Diner by way of sky.
"I must admit, though, Raven," Starfire remarked, "that it is very refreshing to see you so happy. I only wish you were free to be so more often."
She looked at Raven, and the two beamed at each other. At least Starfire understands…
"Well, Star," Beast Boy said, as the trio approached the door to Titans' Tower. "I hope you're feeling better, and not so…deterior – ational? Is that even a word?" he thought aloud, scratching his head.
The girls giggled. Happy Raven was still very much dominant in Raven's body, and Starfire didn't mind. After all, she even said that it was nothing she should have been involved with to begin with.
"I am very much obliged," Starfire said happily. "I just hope my presence did not hinder the rest of your night."
"Nah, it's all good. 'Sides," Beast Boy said, shrugging, "I really didn't have much planned after the park, so it was really just a matter of good timing and what we all felt like doing when you called."
Starfire smiled widely, stepping inside the door.
They reached the living room to the typical fight in Titans' Tower – Robin and Cyborg wrestling over the controller. As Raven, Beast Boy, and Starfire approached though, they stopped, looking at each other for lack of knowing what to do.
"Hello, friends!" Starfire greeting in her sanguine fashion. "I trust you both had fun while we were gone, yes?" she clasped her hands together and smiled brightly.
"Yeah…lots of fun," Cyborg said, looking at Raven and Beast Boy pointedly.
"So…uh…how was your little outing?" Robin said, trying not to smile.
Raven decided to speak on the subject. "Oh, it was great! We ate pizza, and saw Harry Potter, and went to the park, and when Star here came," she pointed a thumb at Starfire, "we went skipping stones and people-watching. I'd say it was one of the best days I've ever had!"
"Really?" Robin said, both eyebrows up, clearly impressed.
"Yup. I didn't have to pay for a single thing," she smiled, nodding.
"Well…that's…cool," Cyborg said lamely. "Yeah…so…I'm beat from all those video games…I'm gonna call it a night."
"But…" Beast Boy started.
"Y'know, sleep sounds good right now," Robin agreed hastily. "I'm off to bed, too."
"But…" he repeated.
"Well, then, I am certain I must participate in the eight-hour ritual of slumber," Starfire said determinedly. "I shall go fetch my sleeping garments and be off to bed. Pleasant dreams, and thank you for a wonderful non-video game filled day!" she said sincerely to Beast Boy and Raven.
"Are you guys serious?" Beast Boy asked, as though it were a joke. "Dudes, it's not even 9 o'clock yet!"
Cyborg and Robin froze, but Starfire merely continued skipping down the hall, humming some sort of Tameranian tune on her way.
"Uh…" was all Cyborg could come up with.
"Really?" Robin said, as though he were surprised. "It seems so…late. Must be the video games."
"Yeah! It's the…definitely the video games!" Cyborg confirmed. "Gets hard on the eyes, y'know? All that…that starin' up at the screen and all…"
Beast Boy and Raven just looked at them with crossed arms and an eyebrow up. Clearly, they weren't buying Cyborg's excuse.
"OK-nice-talking-to-you-guys-I'll-see-you-later!" Cyborg said quickly, running out of the living room, Robin not too far behind.
Beast Boy and Raven were the only ones that remained in the living room.
"So…you gonna go to sleep, too?" Beast Boy asked, as though sleep at this time was the most absurd thing he'd ever heard of.
"Nope, I'm not all that tired," Raven said, walking towards the couch and sitting down.
Beast Boy just stood there, unaware of whether or not to join her, when Raven's voice called out for him.
"You going to bed?" she asked.
"Um…no. N-Not…not now."
"Then what are you doing by the door, silly?" she giggled. "Come and sit." She lightly tapped the cushion next to her and smiled at him.
Beast Boy hesitantly made his way down the steps to Raven's side.
When he sat on the couch, all he could do was look down. He couldn't manage to look at Raven's face. He couldn't bear to know that all the fun he had in the past two days would be over with and forgotten in a few moments' instance.
If he had to tell her, though, the time was now.
"Raven," he managed. "I…I need to talk to you."
Raven looked at him confusedly, and took his chin in her hand, turning it so he'd look at her; however, Beast Boy was determined not to, taking any means possible to keep his eyes looking to the floor.
The Goth seemed perplexed. She removed her hand from his face, and put it over the couch. "Is…something the matter?" she guessed.
Beast Boy resumed looking at the floor. "You're so gonna hate me after tonight," he groaned, putting his face in his hands.
Raven lifted an eyebrow. "…I am? Why?"
"Just…please don't get mad when I tell you this."
"…Could you possibly look at me while you're saying this?" she asked sweetly.
Beast Boy sighed inwardly and got up the nerve to look at her face-to-face. If it weren't for his want to confess something to her right now, he would have shuddered a great deal. It pained him to look Raven in the eyes, knowing full well that he made her that way…that she wouldn't truly be acting or saying anything to him right now, like this, if it weren't for him making that potion.
"I'm so stupid…" Beast Boy muttered, shaking his head. "Why did I even think this up? I'm a mindless…idiotic…Raven, I'm so sorry."
Raven smiled at him, and put a hand on his shoulder. "For what?" Come on, say it…
A frustrated Beast Boy started to let it all out. "For you…for making you be this way. Sheesh…I was so stupid! I dunno why I didn't listen to anyone! I mean, Robin's over there before the thing was even made and telling me to take your powers into account. And then Starfire's telling me practically the same thing about how dangerous you could be if something so simple like my stupid potion could take control of you…" He continued rambling for a good minute.
Raven felt for him, she really did. But, nonetheless, she couldn't give up. Not now. Not when he was just starting to learn his lesson.
She did however, interrupt his rambling to say, "OK. What are you going on about?"
"Raven," he said, still furious with himself. "In a few minutes, you're gonna be back to normal. I put you under some kind of spell to make you spend time with me, and…fall in love with me," he added sheepishly, gulping. "But that's not how you really feel. You really…I dunno…I just get on your nerves a lot, and I thought, ever since I…just…just forget it."
I should just stop him right now…he's had enough.
No he hasn't. He hasn't even begun to learn his lesson.Raven kept fighting inwardly with her emotions, as Beast Boy began talking again.
"Listen. I know it's that love potion that's making you all happy and junk around me, and I know how much I annoy you in real life…"
"That's not completely…" Raven attempted.
"…but, the truth is, I couldn't find another way to break it to you, so instead I was being a stupid, selfish idiot by creating that dumb potion to make you feel the same way. And I'm really sorry." Then Beast Boy realized something else. "…But, at the same time, I'm not that sorry."
Raven blinked. "You're not?"
"No. Because, before you took a sip of that tea, I never once saw you any happier than you were today. So, I guess you could say that I'm glad I put that stuff in your tea, too, because I know the happiness you're capable of if you were only really allowed to let yourself loose for a day."
"You mean…you made that potion just to show me a good time?" Raven asked. She felt her self come to her senses, pushing aside the happy façade and returning normal slowly.
"Well, it's kind of the only way you'd let me," he shrugged. "Anyway, I should get to bed before I don't see the morning. You're really gonna hate me in a few minutes…" He came across another realization. "That's OK, though. Because I still like you whether or not you return the feelings…and, man! It feels good to get that off my chest," he breathed. "And I'm OK with you not returning the feelings…I guess." He shrugged. "So…while the fake you is still here, I just wanna say goodnight…." He looked at her more nervous than before now. "Usually, dates get a…y'know…kiss," he gulped, pointing to his cheek, "but I'm not even gonna bother asking. Because then you'll probably be traumatized later on, heh heh," he sighed, trying to make light of the situation. "OK, so…'night."
You are so evil. Honestly, give the kid a break, will ya? I mean, his heart's practically bleeding at this second! One of her emotions said sternly.
"Hold on," Raven said, calmly, even though, deep down, she was feeling pretty hectic. "Beast Boy, come sit. We really need to talk."
Beast Boy winced as his name was called, and reluctantly sat back down. He straightened up when he recognized… "You just called me 'Beast Boy', didn't you?"
The changeling looked horrified. "Uh…heh heh…Raven! Back to normal so soon? I'll, uh…just be in bed now, bye!" He sprinted as fast as he could to the door, and would have made it, had Raven not caught on fast enough to surround his body with her black energy.
"Nuh-uh-uh," she said, bringing him to the couch once more. "Beast Boy, I'm serious."
"I feared as much."
"We really need to talk," she connoted, ignoring his comment. He sat back down, and breathed in deeply.
"OK," he said, ready for the full-blown lecture he was expecting.
"You had your turn, and now it's mine."
Beast Boy analyzed her profile before giving her a questioning look.
"You have to promise me, though, that you won't get mad at me."
"Are you mad at me?" he asked.
"I won't have a reason to be soon if you give me your word," she stated matter-of-factly.
"OK. I solemnly swear," he said, putting up his right hand.
"Ah, so I see you were paying attention to the film," she discovered, not as though she wanted a change in subject, though.
"Well, the part with the Marauder's Map was pretty awesome," he suggested. "The twins were cool…and that was probably my favorite…hey. Wait a minute. You remember the…how could you remember? You're not supposed to remember!"
Raven got into explanation mode. "Beast Boy? Get comfortable," she said.
He did as directed and looked at her, a mixture of awe and confusion readable on his face.
"O…K…so I see I've got a lot to explain," Raven decided. "OK. Beast Boy, I'm going to do this as quick as I can, so just try and follow me along, OK?"
Beast Boy nodded.
"As much as you'd probably like to think you're a genius, that love potion idea was one of the worst – imaginative – but worst ideas you've ever come up with."
"I heard that," chuckled Beast Boy neurotically.
"I don't think you understand," Raven said. "What I'm saying is that the potion didn't even work."
Beast Boy gave her a look that said he wasn't buying her explanation. "Oh, yeah, right. Please. You were all happy and junk once I gave you that thing."
"There was string in my herbal tea, for goodness' sake, Beast Boy. Did you really think I'd let your weird behavior get by me for once second?"
Beast Boy's chest swelled importantly. "Maybe," he suggested.
"Well, it didn't," she sighed, hoping that he'd understand all of this before midnight. "First rule of magic, Beast Boy: you can never, ever impose on someone's freewill, no matter how powerful the potion and how good the magician."
"…You mean, Starfire was right?" he said dazedly.
"So…why were you acting so weird for the past two days?"
Raven told him everything. About how she found out to how she conjured her happy alter ego to dominate all of the other emotions in her body.
"So I was paying a trick on you and you were playing a trick on me at the same time?" he asked, awestruck.
"…Wow." He spaced out for a second, and then snapped his attention back to Raven, smirking crazily.
Not liking the look on Beast Boy's face, Raven suspiciously asked, "What?"
"So, that was you, for real? You playing video games? You laughing? You sitting next to me at breakfast?"
"Well…yeah. But for good reason!" she retorted. "I had to. It was part of my cover as a 'love-struck' individual." She said the last part rolling her eyes.
"I see…man, you really thought all of this through, didn't you?" Beast Boy said, his index finger and thumb rubbing his chin.
Raven shrugged nonchalantly, slightly blushing from Beast Boy's compliment.
"There's just one thing I don't get, though," Beast Boy said, shaking a finger. "Why would you have a love potion book if it didn't work in the first place? I mean, is it there for decoration or something?"
"You could sort of say that now," Raven said, not looking Beast Boy in the eyes.
"Oh, c'mon, you've gotta tell me now," Beast Boy prodded a slightly embarrassed Raven. "Please?"
"Oh boy," she sighed. "This sets us way back. Before the Titans were even formed."
"Remember the time you went into my magic mirror with Cyborg?"
"Kind of hard to forget," Beast Boy nodded.
"Then you remember my father?"
"Like I said: kind of hard to forget."
"OK," Raven said, beginning her explanation. "Some time ago, before you, Cyborg, and Starfire were recruited, before I even grasped or understood my powers, my…father," she said crisply, "was basically on the verge of dominating my mind and spirit and finding a way to earth. My main focus was to keep his being in control in my mind, but he was too strong for me. I went on a search all over New York for heroes who would be willing to fight alongside me to bring my father down; luckily, I didn't have to look any further. One day, on my search in Gotham City, I came upon our present-day team leader, Robin..."
"So, what are you proposing exactly?" Robin said, on his guard, eyeing Raven skeptically.
Raven took another sip of her tea, and looked at the Gotham Knight's sidekick, wondering why he hadn't touched his drink yet. "I'm proposing that we forge an alliance – create a team of some sort – with people who are able and willing to help at all costs."
"And, you chose me for some reason or another?" Robin said, smirking slightly.
"The dude had a big ego back then, too," Beast Boy laughed.
"More than he does now, believe it or not," Raven commented.
"I did," Raven admitted, stirring her cup of tea with her tea bag. "Word around the city is you're good. Real good."
"Can't complain," Robin smiled, resting his hands on the back of his head confidently.
"Are you ever going to drink your soda, or was that just a waste of my money?" Raven inquired, looking at his untouched cup.
"Right," Robin said, making a show of taking a sip, and then smiling again. "So…besides me, is there any other person you have in mind to help stop…what's his name?"
"Trigon," Raven implemented. "And yes…I do know someone who would be good for us in particular."
"So, before he joined the Justice League, people just knew him as 'Kid Flash'," Raven told Beast Boy. "And at that time, we thought he skills were just what we needed to help bring my father down…"
"I can't. Sorry."
"Please, Wally – "
" – it's Kid Flash – "
" – Kid Flash," Raven said, standing corrected. "We really need your help. Your speed would be a great asset to the team."
"Look, I wish I could help…"
"Well, who says you can't?" Robin inquired.
"I do," the speed demon said tersely. "I can't help. I'm sorry. I just can't."
"Why not? Please," Raven attempted.
"Because. Look, I never asked for these powers, OK? I never asked to be super fast, and to have to help the world because of it when I've got my own life to live. But, I do that stuff anyway."
"Because it makes you feel good?" Robin negotiated.
Kid Flash thought about it. "Well…I guess. And for the girls."
Raven pushed for her topic of discussion again. "This is helping the world, so why can't you give the team a chance?"
"Because, I don't even know you!" he said. "Look. I would if I could, but I can't."
"Or you just don't want to," Raven said bluntly.
"If that's what you wanna think," were his last words, before walking off and leaving Raven and Robin hopeless.
"…But we both agreed that his powers were very useful and would give us a great advantage if he was on our side, so I attempted to concoct a love potion derived from that book you made yours from."
"Oh…" Beast Boy said, nodding in understanding at the whole tale.
"Later on, I found out about the whole 'freewill' situation, and found another approach through my powers. But messing with his feelings that way just made him confused and wanting even more to stay away from us. Even so, we still found you, Cyborg, and Starfire."
"…So, you mean we were formed in the first place to overthrow your father who we never knew existed until we got into your head?"
"That is so screwed up!" Beast Boy said, but not at all sounding offended by any means.
"It did get pretty tricky and disorganized upon our way of putting together a team, but the fact is, we're here now, and still have our freewill and such," Raven shrugged.
"…Wow," was all Beast Boy could say.
"I'm surprised it didn't take so long to explain, Raven said, stretching. "So…I guess we're even?"
"I guess so," the changeling nodded, looking a little put out. "I'm sorry I even tried putting you under a spell, though. I just wanted to show you a good time," he said, hanging his head.
"Actually, Beast Boy," Raven countered. "I know this isn't my style or anything, but if it wasn't for you and your stupid idea, I probably would have never had true fun."
Beast Boy seemed bewildered.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is, thanks for being stupid enough to come up with that idea. I meant it when I said I had fun today."
"Really?" he said, wide-eyed at the prospect of showing Raven a good time.
"Mmm-hmmm," she nodded, a trace of a smile playing on her lips. "So, are we done talking?"
"Yeah…it's pretty late."
"It's 9:30," Raven said, starting towards the corridor.
"Yep. Time for bed," Beast Boy said, yawning. "Hold on a sec."
Raven whirled around to face Beast Boy. "What?"
"You just said you meant that."
"I…did," she shrugged.
"So, remember that time yesterday at breakfast when you said that all of us guys were hunks?" Beast Boy said.
Raven knew where this was going. "Uh…"
"Did you mean that?" he waggled his eyebrows.
"So, tell me, Raven, who's the hunkiest? Huh?" he said, following her through the corridor.
"Goodnight, Beast Boy."
"Oh, c'mon, Raven, you can admit it! It's totally me, right?"
"Beast Boy," she sighed, the beginnings of irritation apparent in her tone.
"C'mon, just say it! 'It's you, Beast Boy. You're the cutest.' It's really easy. Oh, c'mon! Y'know you've got a little somethin' for me… everyone's got a little somethin' for the green one."
"Well, I'm glad to see you're back to normal," he huffed, crossing his arms.
I'm DONE!!! YAY!!! I hope you all enjoyed!
I'm gonna be coming up with new one-shots and stuff, too, if you all wanna watch out for 'em. Again, I thank you all so much for sticking with me and reviewing these past few weeks! Happy reading, writing, and reviewing to you all!!! :D