"So," said Raven. "What's eating you?"
"Heh," Beast Boy replied. "You said what's eating…" Raven looked at him pointedly, "… Okay, okay," he said, changing the end of the sentence. He was quiet for a moment. "Just… you're not gonna go tell anybody, right?"
"I won't," said Raven.
"Well…" he trailed off again, and then sighed. "I… I just don't like it." Pause. "That's all."
"Don't like being human," said Raven.
He leaned forwards on his hands in a pose that wouldn't have looked out of place on a monkey. "Being human. Right."
Deciding that he needed prompting, Raven encouraged him forwards. "Why not?"
He shot her a funny look. "What? Oh, come on Rae, take a guess."
She felt oddly endeared by the shortened version of her name. It was like… a reminder, that this was home. That she belonged here. That Beast Boy thought of her as a proper friend who's given name he had the permission to take liberties with.
"I…" nothing was springing to mind as for her guess, "…don't know. I guess you'll have to tell me."
"Aw, don't make me say it," he groaned, ducking his head. "You cannot tell me that you can't make a pretty good guess. Especially after… that robbery thing."
Raven began to get several ideas… but none of them seemed… large, enough, for his recent behaviour.
"Maybe saying it would make it less…" She searched for a good word, but then decided to settle with a gesture. Beast Boy worked well with gestures and body language. He was an animal, around half the time, after all.
He drew in a breath. Raven waited.
"I'm… not… special, anymore." He said. His eyes narrowed at his knees. "Yeah. I'm stupid, huh. Now you can laugh at me." He blinked at his last comment, and then looked at Raven sideways. "Or… well… just think I'm stupid…" he said, frowning.
All at once, Raven was hit with a realisation of what the problem was, and a possible outcome as to solving it. She was inwardly relieved, maybe enough to smile a little in her head. Although there was probably a little more to it… this bit she might be able to help him deal with.
"You're not stupid," she said. "But just because you're not… green, doesn't mean…" she thought for a second, almost wishing she hadn't started before she'd organized her sentence. She thought around for a way to make it short, but to the point. "What made you special had nothing to do with having super powers," she continued. "What made you special is what still makes you special now – being you, exactly the way you do."
Beast Boy breathed out. "… I don't feel very special," he said.
"No one really does," agreed Raven.
"… Yeah, but you just went human," said Beast Boy, before she could say anything else, looking at his knees again. "You didn't go partially blind, pretty much deaf, a weird colour, and lose pretty much everything you were ever good at ever."
Raven thought about that. He thought he had bad eyesight because… maybe he'd not only had the ability to change into animals; maybe he'd retained some of their better senses in his Beast Boy form as well. Yeah, that could explain the hearing comment. The other two comments she could understand.
She thought she'd test her theory, and came up with a question that might help.
"Did all the colours change?" She asked, after a minute.
He frowned. "It's creepy how you know that, but yeah."
"Then there's probably nothing wrong with your eyesight or hearing," she said. "You're just perceiving from the point of a normal, healthy human."
He looked thoughtful, so she elaborated. "Someone without the extra abilities of an animal shape-shifter."
Understanding dawned across his face. "So… you mean I had, like, animal senses?"
Raven nodded. "That's what's making you feel… off balance. You don't have the extended and extra sensing abilities anymore, and it's hard to get used to. But that doesn't mean that you're useless without them… you just have to learn to adjust and find a way to make the most of what you do have. Which, looking at Robin as a good example of the species, is quite a lot."
His face relaxed quite a bit. "So… you lost some things that weren't your powers, too," he said, reading between the lines of how much she seemed to relate to the experience.
Raven blinked. He caught her out with her perceptiveness, but she was quite impressed with him catching something she hadn't meant to say. Even if it wasn't a bad thing for him to know.
"Yeah," she said.
"Heh," he said. "But…" His face paused again. Okay, thought Raven, here comes the more.
"…You're still good at other stuff," he said.
Hmmm. And that meant…?
"So are you," she countered.
He didn't say anything.
"Okay," she said. "What else is bugging you?"
Silence for another couple of seconds.
"… But… I'm not," he said, lamely.
"Not what?" Said Raven, when he didn't carry on.
"Not good. At other stuff."
Okay, problem number two. Beast boy thought he had no talent outside shape shifting, and so currently viewed himself as… pretty much as useless as Raven viewed herself. She re-ran the last few lines of conversation, and decided that yes, that was definitely the problems other half. She had no answer to that though. Maybe she should just relate. Other people sometimes felt better when someone would relate to what they were feeling.
"If you're feeling useless right now, you're not the only one," she said.
His answer surprised her a little. "Thanks… but Rae, you're getting down on yourself… 'cus I don't think you'd lie to me." She wasn't sure what to say to that, but he continued. "There's no way you'd ever be useless, even without your azarath metrion zinthos thingies." It was very, very weird hearing someone else say that.
"Maybe you're the one who's getting down on yourself," she replied.
The sun set fully, and the last line of light over the sea faded away with it.
"How do you do that?" He said, watching it.
Raven wondered if he was asking how one would make the sun set. So she didn't reply. They sat in silence for a few more minutes as the twilight settled over the water, and Jump City, and the T shaped tower behind them. It got a little chilly, and her stomach was telling her that she was hungry. Again.
She sighed. "I'm going to have to go get something to eat," she said. She left the unspoken question as to whether he would come with or stay there.
"Hey Raven?" Said Beast Boy, as she made to get up. She paused, and looked back at him.
"Can I have a hug?" Well, he certainly felt a lot better, if he was in the mood to ask. There was an undertone to his voice, which signalled that Beast Boy was definitely no longer in a moody mood.
Raven blinked at him.
"What do you want a hug for?" She asked, cautiously.
"'Cus… I've never hugged you before," he said.
Okay. Like that was any kind of reason whatsoever. Still cautiously, she sat back down.
"Fine," she said, rolling her eyes at him showily.
He grinned at her, and leaned in to wrap his arms around her torso. She embraced him back, in the manner of one who didn't participate in such activities, ever, and felt his chin on her shoulder.
"Thanks," he said, in her ear, before letting her go.
The elevator doors slid open to the empty rec. room, and Raven headed over to the kitchen to inspect the contents of the fridge. She was growing steadily annoyed with her apparently ever-hungry stomach. Three times a day was, whatever Cyborg said, far too often to be eating a large meal, and just the thought of that much food rotting down in her stomach… yuck.
She opened the refrigerator door, and eyed the shelf's contents. She sighed as she remembered that the shopping was due to be done… tomorrow, some time, and that that meant that there would be no edible food in the fridge for a couple of days until someone actually did it. Not having food had never bothered her before.
The thought of tea was not appealing right now, she wanted…
She wanted protein. And carbohydrates.
Well, there was none of either in the fridge. Except for bread. And she didn't want bread. She shut the door and decided to give up, and just go to her room and read a book, and ignore her stomach until it got over it's incessant need for food. Maybe she'd find a book about human biology, and study the human digestive system to see if she couldn't find a way around this… annoying side effect.
Raven headed out of the kitchen and down to the library on one of the middle floors.
A familiar voice floated over her head. The first two things she registered about her surroundings were the cold, and the peculiar angle she was leaning at.
She blinked, and then realised she couldn't see very well, and reached over with one hand to rub at her eyes. It was bright. She ducked her head until her vision was clearer.
The familiar voice chuckled a bit. That annoyed her. It only annoyed her because she realised that she'd gone and fallen asleep somewhere that wasn't her bed again, and someone was chuckling at her for it.
She remembered now that she was in the library. She'd been looking up books on human biology, and… obviously, this body didn't give out warnings before she just fell asleep in the middle of reading.
"Sorry if I interrupted a nice nap," said Cyborg, as she looked up at him, "but I just came down to some of these back," he held up a book about human physiology.
Oh yeah… training schedule…
"… And it didn't so much look like you'd planned to go to sleep there."
Raven blinked a bit more. "… What time is it," she asked, hating the way her voice sounded. She scowled at her sleepy vocal cords.
"About half one," said the ex-robot. He moved to put the books back on the shelves, in the same time it took for Raven to stand up and get her circulatory system working properly again. She had pins and needles in the leg that had been bent under the chair, and she didn't like it. She looked down at the open book she'd fallen asleep on, and decided to carry on with it later. She grabbed a pencil from a nearby pot, and left it between the pages she'd been reading as a makeshift book mark, then stacked the book on top of the other two she thought might be helpful to look at, and decided to carry them back to her room.
Half one. How had she fallen asleep like that?
She glared at nothing in particular as she picked up the books and tried to get her brain to wake up a little more.
"Is everything okay?" Asked Cyborg.
Raven looked around and saw him watching her. "I'm going to bed," she answered, heading for the door.
Once in the elevator, she started grinding her teeth to try and help calm her emotions, which, in her sleepy state, were a lot less easy to organize. She knew humans didn't have as much control over their thoughts and actions near to sleep, and that pretty much the whole world went through this all the time, but that didn't make it any less frustrating to be one of them.
The elevator doors slid open to let her out into the girls' corridor. She paced along until she came to the steel door that had 'RAVEN' written on the outside, and was about to phase through it to get to her much wanted bed, when she realised she couldn't do that. She was tired, and not in the mood. She hit the button that opened her door that she never needed to use.
But it didn't open anything, because, of course, her room was locked.
How annoying. Annoying was also making a side door for frustrating, which, when the two started tap dancing together in her skull, was creating a large open invitation to get angry at nothing in particular. Until something exploded, and she was brought back to non-fuzzy reality in which she was not human, and…
Raven dropped the books right then and leaned her forehead against the cold metal door. She was getting irrational, and agitating herself. It was not necessary, and would only get worse. This kind of lapse in control was not good for her. She needed to stop this, now.
She hated her sleepy brain for not being able to come up with anything fast enough.
But the, she remembered experimentally ripping up the pizza box in the kitchen. She remembered the adrenaline rush it brought, and then the tiny calm that had come afterwards that had taken her mind off it. Right. She breathed in and out at the door, with her eyes closed, and then brought back her left hand into a fist and punched, hard, into the steel.
The pain was not as excruciating as she'd expected it to be, but it still hurt, a lot. Her hand started throbbing immediately, but the adrenaline seared through her like the small echoes that were coming away from the point of contact.
And then she felt calm.
Raven reached down and picked up her books, ignoring her hand. It wasn't broken or anything serious, and… to be honest, ignoring the throb was giving her something else to think about, and a bit more of a sense of control.
She felt better.
72836, she keyed in by her door.
It slid open, and she walked into her room, and pushed the button that closed it. She put the books down on the table. She wondered why she had got so worked up over nothing, and decided to blame it on extra stress lately. She also probably hadn't noticed the full extent of the human mindset's alterations to her brain chemical levels, among other things, and it wasn't her fault at all that the emotions were getting more explosive and irrational if her biochemistry had just been severely messed with.
Raven sat on her bed and pulled off her shoes and cloak. Then she pulled back the covers, and went to sleep.
"Okay," said Cyborg, over breakfast the next morning. "Here are your personalised training sheets," he handed herself, Starfire and Beast Boy some laminated sheets of paper. "This is day one, two and three, and then we see what happens, and decide on a long term set of schedules."
Raven put her sheet down next to her plate of dry toast, and glanced it over. It didn't look like it was going to be exhausting, but then she wasn't used to training in this body. Yet.
Her activity list was supposed to be spread out through the day, but left time for doing other things, too. She mentally clocked how many hours total this would take up, and decided that six and a half was probably about the same amount of time as most regular teenagers spent learning at school each day. That was okay.
"This is to test your fitness," continued Robin, who was crunching his way through a bowl of multicoloured cereal, "which should be pretty high anyway. And it should give us an idea of how fast your bodies progress and learn, because we don't know how any of you react to new environmental demands in this state, and we can train more efficiently if we find that out."
"Soo… we start this today?" Asked Beast Boy. He was definitely feeling better, observed Raven. Having a talk with him seemed to have helped. She felt mildly good about herself for that, and took another bite of toast.
"Yep," said Cyborg, grinning.
Starfire seemed to be considering something. "Will yourself and Robin be training also?" She enquired, directing the question at Cyborg.
"Of course," he said, looking entirely pleased about it. He thought for a second. "Well… I am. Robin's gonna be patrolling the streets and then just training like he does normally."
Robin nodded with his mouth full.
Starfire also nodded, and then took another mouthful of raspberry milkshake through the novelty straw she'd somehow got a hold of.
"Also," said Robin, once he'd finished his mouthful, "It's Raven and Starfires turn to do the grocery shopping."
Raven swallowed her toast, and decided that that was probably a good thing, as this week she could definitely make sure that they had something that she would actually want to eat in the fridge.
"Oooh," said Beast Boy, "make sure you get some mushrooms."
"We may as well do that this morning," Raven said. She would prefer to get the shopping out of the way, and if they did it this morning, then they would have food for the rest of the day.
Starfire nodded enthusiastically next to her.
Raven glanced at her training schedule again, and absently stretched out her toes. She hoped that this would turn out to be as productive as she was hoping it would.
Well... I should probably say something about this here. I feel compelled. I feel inclined. I feel... the need.
But, as it turns out, i've either completely forgotten in all my uploading haste, or I actually had nothing to say in the first place.
Ummm... please review :-)