By Adamant Eve
Part III – Fire's Light
Her eyes opened. She still held Beast Boy in her grasp, but his hands had come up to grasp her wrists.
Yes, indeed they had helped each other.
His own eyes slowly opened and took on a saddened, glazed look. "Terra… " He sighed, falling back on his heels as they released each other. "I still feel bad, you know. Especially with Starfire…"
"We all feel unstable with what happened to Starfire, and we all felt bad for Terra, too."
Beast Boy rubbed a hand at the back of his head. "You did?"
Raven gave him a wry stare. "She hurt us too, but she redeemed herself. We're… ridiculously forgiving. But I think it's easier for us. You had a different relationship with her. You loved her, so the betrayal hit you harder and your anger was more deep seated."
"Yeah. I guess so, but she did save us, right? Just that sometimes—sometimes I wish I didn't put myself out that much."
Raven nodded. "You can't keep wishing you didn't love her just because it would've been easier that way. You're not helping yourself like that. You loved her, she hurt you, that's done and over with. If you try to un-make that, then you'll just become one sad clown."
Beast Boy's brows furrowed.
Clown was the right word. She had detected the ever so slight madness in his laughter these past few months. It was laced, pushing a breakdown that caused such things as Clinical Depression. She didn't want to see Beast Boy like that. None of them would want to see him like that.
They fell into silence. Raven didn't mind so much. It wasn't uncomfortable. She could sit here all day and meditate because Beast Boy's presence was calm at the moment.
After several minutes, Raven saw Beast Boy's eyes wandering to her apparatus. An inkling of curiosity began to bubble in his expression.
"Is that what you saw in your crystal ball?" He pointed to the hematite sphere.
Raven arched an eyebrow. She recognized that he wanted to change topics, so she went with it.
True enough that a sphere such as a hematite ball could be used for scrying, but she didn't tell futures. She wasn't a gypsy. She figured she had to explain this little set up to Beast Boy sometime soon; might as well be now. "This is a Sacred Circle. It helps me channel levels that would be dangerous in any other environment; the circle protects me from those dangers and all I have to worry about is becoming a danger to myself."
He gave the circle another glance, distrust clear in his eyes. "It looks—" His gaze rose to her face, as if he was afraid to say what he had to say.
She knew what he was thinking. "Satanic?" It was a common enough misconception.
"It's not. The upright pentagram is a very powerful symbol used in the worship of the Goddess, or the Lady, as Goddess worshipers call her. The Goddess represents, among other things, beauty, love, birth and joy. Good things, and it's as far from the notion of Satanism as you could get. Goddesses are often portrayed as wives and mothers; nurturers and keepers: Diana, Isis, Mary Magdalene, Frigg and Freya… Mother Earth—I'm not sacrificing the blood of virgins here, if that's what you're thinking."
"But all the horror movies I've watched—"
"Horror movies? You're basing what you know about pentagrams from horror movies?"
Beast Boy grinned, embarrassed. "Well—"
"The most simplistic explanation of pentagrams being considered as a Satanic symbol is the fact that Satanists use the pentagram upside down; in the same way they turn the Catholic cross upside down. Look, I'm not a Satanist. I'm an occultist, but I'm not a Satanist. I incorporate Wiccan practices into my meditation because it's necessary. If I had to wear a nun's habit to aid me in my meditation, I would."
Beast Boy giggled. "Raven in a nun's habit…"
Raven noted his laughter. "I guess we're done here." She checked the circle. The gates were closed. Done in a most unorthodox manner, she had to admit, but one had to live a little, she supposed. Beast Boy wasn't to blame for walking in on her. In his shoes, she would've done the same thing.
She paused. Her thoughts merited her interest. If I were in his shoes? She slid off a glove and looked at her palm, searching for her bindings with Beast Boy. There was a line, stronger than she had with the others. She looked at him, eyeing him critically.
He returned her dubious stare. "What?"
"Are you sure you don't know any mumbo jumbo?"
Beast Boy looked totally perplexed.
She scoffed at herself. Of course he doesn't remember. "Beast Boy, where you ever in Africa?"
His eyes widened momentarily before he looked away. "For… a while, when I was a kid. Why?" He didn't seem as surprised as she would have expected for asking the question, but maybe he assumed she had found that out looking into his mind. That was exactly how it happened, anyway.
"Did you—well, learn anything there that had to do with the occult? You know… hoodoo maybe?"
She could see that something in him was resisting from spilling his guts, but she supposed Titan took her last words to heart, because his face smoothed out, the lines of tension fading.
"I was in Africa with my parents when they died there in a car accident. A tribal chief took me in and helped me survive. I was with him for a time before the—well, before the lawyer found me. My parents assigned a legal guardian for me; a lawyer who took care of my small inheritance, so I was able to get some schooling, but before he found me, because you know—when you're in Africa in the middle of nowhere, you're kind of hard to find—the tribal chief taught me some, on his own. Not hoodoo or anything like that; just basic reading and math. My parents had a bunch of books they left behind, so I read those. The tribal chief didn't teach me hoodoo, but I watched him when he practiced it. Maybe I picked up one or two things, but I still couldn't say that I know much." Beast Boy shrugged and looked around one more time. "It looked nothing like this, though."
Raven affirmed it with a nod. "Of course not. Hoodoo and Wiccan are two completely different practices. Anyway, you did know enough to offer me some kind of help on the matter, so… thanks." Again.
He shrugged. After a moment, he blew a breath from the corner of his lip and a few locks of his hair caught it. "I was afraid—I was afraid you'd done something desperate because Star was—because she isn't well."
This was an interesting twist. Raven had to wonder about that. "Now why would you think I would 'do something desperate' because there was something wrong with Star?"
Beast Boy looked away, pushing some of the scattered herbs on the floor idly. He shrugged one shoulder. "I always thought you were—you know, sweet on Starfire—the way Robin's sweet on Starfire."
Raven arched an eyebrow.
Beast Boy's eyes widened in response. "Oh, I don't think there's anything wrong with that! I mean, hey, I totally respect the fact that some guys love guys and some girls… love girls."
It became all too clear what Beast Boy was trying to say and it wasn't that he was completely wrong. In some aspects, perhaps, he was plenty right, but in others. "Beast Boy, what exactly have I done in the past to make you think I'm suicidal?"
He seemed embarrassed. "Nothing, actually."
"Then why did you think it?"
"I don't know. It just seemed more logical than thinking you were a Wicker in the middle of a séance."
Raven massaged her temple with her fingers. She felt compelled to explain. She needed for Beast Boy to understand so that he wouldn't cheapen it. "That's Wiccan, and it wasn't a séance, it was a spiritual journey… Beast Boy, I'm not sweet on Starfire the way Robin is." Especially now… when it's all gone. "There was a bond stronger than friendship, yes, but it's not the same as what Robin feels for her, or what you felt for Terra. It was very spiritual. Maybe if I were a normal person who could express feelings, I would've—" she shrugged "—wanted a relationship with her, the way Robin wants a relationship with her, but I'm not normal. I'm half demon and, well—that just gets in the way of a lot of things."
"Does Starfire know?"
"In a way, she does. She valued what I had for her."
Beast Boy nudged his elbow at her, grinning. "So does Robin have to worry about you?"
"Robin doesn't have to worry about anything. I'm not going to take his precious Starfire away from him."
"So that thing you had for Aqualad—that was a ruse?"
"Ruse? Because he's a guy and I'm suppose to like girls only?I think Aqualad's a babe. Is that so hard to believe?"
Beast Boy dealt her a scowl. "Shyeah!"
"Oh, I forgot. You and Aqualad just enjoy each other's company so much."
Raven cocked a smile. "Be that as it may, I value what I had—have with Starfire, but I just want her to be okay. I hope she wakes up soon."
"Yeah, me too."
She reached a hand out and put it on Beast Boy's shoulder. "You know, you could work on this guilt you have for Starfire too. It wasn't your fault."
He shrugged. "Maybe I could've done something."
"No, you couldn't have. It happened so fast, andcan you imagine how Robin feels? You weren't exactly helping when you told him that Starfire took the hit for him."
Beast Boy blushed. "I didn't mean to make him feel guilty. It wasn't his fault."
"And neither is it yours. I swear it's like living with a bunch of Catholics, the guilt that goes on around here…"
Beast Boy laughed.
"Anyway, you don't have to feel so helpless," said Raven. "You helped me, first of all. More than you know. There are—things I lost and you… surprisingly, helped me get some of it back. I appreciate that."
He scratched at his chin uncertainly. "You're welcome."
"So you see, you know how to help. Maybe when Starfire wakes up, you can sit around and help her recover. Robin might resist a bit, but you know the guy; he'll let you do what you have to do."
Beast Boy nodded and grinned. "Yeah. I guess you're right."
"Now, get out."
He blinked in surprise. "What?"
"Get out. I have to fix this mess and you're in the way."
He stared at her a moment before chuckling and rising from the floor. "Sorry."
She was glad he hadn't taken offense, but she had to say it like that. She didn't want him to think that she was going that soft on him.
Before he walked out of the door, he looked over his shoulder at her. "Cy and I are going for pizza before we head on over to Starfire in the hospital. Wanna come with?"
She only took a moment to consider as she gathered her things. "Sure."
"Cool. There's an all you could eat at the Pizza Hut. Cy's so going to rule that buffet table."
"I can hardly wait."
He smiled and bounced out of her room. She watched him leave and heard him running down the hallway.
"Cy! Raven's coming with for moral support. You better be ready to take on that buffet table!"
"Bring it!" said Cyborg's voice from what sounded like a T-Comm speaker.
Raven chuckled softly as she put her tools away.
Beast Boy could sound like such a clown. But you're not fooling me anymore.
What fascinating journeys she took today and she would remember it for a long time.
She looked at her palm, the binding replenished by Beast Boy darkening in her mind's eye.
Definitely, she wasn't about to forget anytime soon.
Closing notes: I was born and raised Catholic, so yeah, I do know a thing or two about guilt: I hate it. If you're going to ask me whether I've made Raven lesbian or bi, I couldn't say for sure. Raven doesn't think on exactly the same plane as we do. Like she said, in her stage of life, gender is no object. I'm leaving it at that.
I'd very much like to thank the readers of this fic. Truly, I love you all for taking the time. Short and weird as this fic is, I do so have a great affection for it. It was brought mainly from how I like Raven's personality a lot, and how I like the idea of the girls sticking together on a level the boys couldn't possibly understand, but I also wanted to examine the relationship she had with Beast Boy. She's not very nice to him at all, and I think she doesn't give him the credit he deserves, so I wanted to give her insight into him, and how else could she do that, except to go into his mind and see it for herself?
Ciao, readers! Until the next fic!