A/N Happy birthday to me...happy birthday to me...Oh hello everyone welcome to the final instalment of "Tug of War"!!!
As always, thanks are in order!!
Keystone: I don't know if the restaurant scene will be as dramatic as I hope it is, but I'm so glad you like what I did with Raven's look, she doesn't seem like the type who'd change her look entirely. Thank you so much for being a faithful reviewer!
Instant Coffee: Sorry to leave ya hanin'. I just have to say you cheered me up a lot on MSN today. I had a really bad day today. But being random on MSN was very...therapudic. Anyway, thanks!
Raven A. Star: And thank you for the reviews. I liked the obsessive compulsive teeth brushing thing too.
nimenju-shin: When I described Raven's outfit, I was sort of going for a cross between Raven's outfit in the comics and in the show minus the cloak. Long sleeves and all. Your review confused me a bit, why would they question the reservation being for seven? It was intentional. Anyway, thanks for the review! I don't know if my ending is perfect, but I hope you enjoy this chapter anyway.
Philosopher: Yeah, it irks me when I see this whole Raven goes shopping thing when it's so OOC for her. Like I said above, glad you like Raven's change in clothes. And Raven does know at this point, but at the end of the chapter she was still unsure of how she's going to say what she's going say. Thanks for being such a faithful reviewer!
One Winged Kuja: Eeps! Thanks for the compliment but... your idea there it's funny but....no. Thanks for the review, it made me laugh and I'm glad that you think it could be an episode.
soraoathkeeper: Congratulations. That was the longest review I ever received. I love getting long reviews so... thanks! I've looked around the Shipper's United site. It's an excellent site so thanks for the invite! Glad to see we're on the same page when it comes to reading and writing fanfics. Thanks a bunch for the compliments!
HybridKiller: Your review flattered me so much. Thanks! I am so glad you like it and forgive my ego but when I checked your profile, I almost have to wonder if you registered just to put this on your favourites... Everything you said is a huge compliment so thank you!
Silver Foxglove: Thanks for the flattering review! I'm so glad you liked it!
Tabia, Kato97, dancingirl3, Slayergirl1362, kelbe, romanrogue19, impman, Scorpio Serpant and anyone else I may have missed (sorry if I missed you): Thank you so much for the feedback!
Now on with the chapter. Enjoy!
Light romantic jazz music gently crooning through the stereo speakers and scented candles added to the ambiance of Robin and Starfire's dinner date. Starfire savoured every bite of Robin's shrimp fettuccine alfredo, and asparagus. He was an excellent cook, and everyone looked forward to the nights when it was his turn to make supper, but that night, Robin had outdone himself and then some. His meal especially prepared for Starefire was...phenomenal. She couldn't think of a better word to describe it. She secretly wondered if he had been holding back, waiting for the right time for his true talent as a culinary artist to shine. Starfire smiled, blushing slightly as he took her plate.
"So what do you wish to do now Robin?" she asked. "Shall we watch a movie?"
Robin grinned slyly, "Sure, in a bit, but first... dessert!"
"Oh!" she smiled, "What will we be having for dessert?"
"Starfire, have you ever heard of fondue?" Robin asked. He was met with a blank stare, telling him that she had no idea what fondue was. His smile grew wide, "Well, Starfire, get ready for a huge treat!" He motioned her to stay seated as he suavely disappeared for a moment only to reappear with a plate of fruit and a fondue pot full of chocolate.
"Oh this looks delightful! What do I do?"
"You do this!" Robin dipped a banana slice into the chocolate and ate it. He closed his eyes and groaned blissfully, "So good!"
Starfire dipped an apple slice in the chocolate and sighed, "Oh Robin you are correct, this is the most glorious dish!"
Robin beamed, "Glad you like it!" He dipped a strawberry in the chocolate and nudged Starfire. She closed her eyes and sighed opening her mouth as Robin placed the chocolate covered strawberry on her tongue. She sighed blisfully, savouring the flavour.
"Robin, have I told you lately that you are simply wonderful?!" Starfire asked.
Robin shrugged casually, taking a grape and popping it in his mouth.
After they finished off the tray of fruit Starfire wondered out loud, "I wonder how the others are?"
Robin shrugged and snickered, "Probably flat broke by now! C'mon, let's put on a movie!"
Meanwhile, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Raven arrived at the restaurant and sat down. The boys gulped when they looked at the menu. Everything was freakishly expensive.
Noticing the looks of horror on her friends' faces Raven skimmed the menu and mused, "So what do you think? Should I get the lobster?"
Beast Boy wanted to be sick, not only was he suddenly worried about the poor lobsters in the tank along the wall but that was one of the most expensive items on the already pricey menu. "So yeah, I wonder how much they'll charge for a glass of water and a bun because that's what I'm getting," he wondered weakly. Cyborg nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, I think I will get the lobster," Raven said, she looked at the tank and covered one of the lobsters with black energy and lifted it above the others within the tank, it was the biggest on in there, "This one looks nice. Don't you think?" She made sure they both got a good look at her choice before letting it sink to the bottom with the rest.
Fortunately for the lobster, and to the relief of the boys Raven ended up ordering the cheapest entrée on the menu, although it was still pricey. After they ordered Raven asked, "So do you guys want to know the truth about my decision?"
The boys looked at each other and nodded, taking a deep breath. This was it.
Raven closed her eyes, she twitched slightly but she remained expressionless, "How do I say this?" There was a long pause. After a suitable amount of suspense Raven said, "I don't know how to say this but... this is going to be awkward but...I guess I may as well just come out and say it. I like Robin."
Both boys blanched, an incredible feat considering neither boy was white to begin with. "Uh...what?" Cyborg asked blankly.
"Did I hear you correctly?" Beast Boy added.
"Yeah, I don't know how it happened, but he's just so cute and mysterious and I just don't know what to do, I mean Starfire..." she stopped, noticing that both Beast Boy and Cyborg looked like they were going to faint, in fact they were practically hyperventilating, clenching their fists. "You know I'm kidding, right?" she asked calmly, raising a brow.
There was a pause. The look of horror on the boys' face turned into anger and relief.
"What? Raven don't do that!" Cyborg exclaimed.
"But you don't do jokes!" Beast Boy gasped.
Raven remained deadpan as she said, "What? Just because I don't laugh doesn't mean I can't make a joke. I do have a sense of humour you know. You even met her, remember?" She smirked. Sure, it was a mean little joke, but this was her time for revenge. She decided to stop having fun with them and said seriously, "All right, I'm sorry. The truth is, what I said earlier about choosing no one still stands."
They relaxed, although they both looked disappointed.
"But at the same time," Raven said, "I choose you both."
Now the boys just looked confused.
"Care to explain?" Cyborg asked.
Raven closed her eyes and paused for a moment. Her lips moved ever so slightly, as though she was quietly meditating, "Look, I love you both deeply... just not in...that...way.," she said finally. "You are both so important to me, and I look to you both as more than friends, more like, family. You and Robin and Starfire... you are my family." It was clear that it was hard for Raven to say what she was saying, she paused again to quietly keep her powers in check. "I love you as friends, and only friends. Even if I did like one of you more than that, I could not safely pursue a serious relationship. It's dangerous. You both know that. "
"Aw, I'm sorry Raven," Beast Boy said, "I didn't think about that."
"Guys, please, don't feel bad," Raven gave them a small smile, "It's just the way I am, and I'm fine with it. Besides, even if it wasn't dangerous, I don't know if I would be able to choose one of you over the other. You both mean so much to me. I mean, we've been through a lot together."
The boys smiled knowingly.
"I'm sorry," Raven sighed, "the last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's the truth. I just hope that now that this is all in the open, you guys will be able to just get over me and move on."
"It won't be easy," Cyborg said. Beast Boy nodded in agreement.
"I was afraid you'd say that," Raven replied gently, "but we all know that it must be done. For my sake and mostly for the sake of your friendship. Do you guys realize how stupid it is to fight over someone? I mean, you two are best friends but this ridiculous infatuation over me turned you into enemies and I was stuck in the middle."
"We realize that now," Cyborg nodded.
"We're so sorry," Beast Boy added.
"Don't worry about it. Forgiven forgotten all right? It's pointless to hold a grudge," Raven stated simply.
"Y'know, it's more than an infatuation Raven," Beast Boy said.
"Yeah, it's lo..."Cyborg started but Raven shushed them both.
"Come on guys admit it. It may be love, but it's not love in the romantic sense. We're only teenagers. Romance is, for the most part, temporary at our age. You both think you love me, but you don't, not in that way. I can tell, deep down you're both infatuated with me because you both long for what Robin and Starfire have and I just happen to be the closest girl available. Believe me, one day you'll find it, but not with me. You don't need a girlfriend to be happy anyway," Raven shrugged. "I never understood why people think they should be paired up with someone to be happy."
"Is it really so bad to just be friends?" Raven asked serenely. "What the three of us have going is... well it's special. Because you two have seen sides of me that no one really knows about, the three of us share such a unique bond. Why ruin it with romance? Think about it. What we have is something better, something deeper, something permanent. You two are my best friends and my brothers and that is why I can't choose, and I won't."
"I said my piece and it's the truth. Now please, now that it's in the open, accept it and move on. For my sake at the very least," Raven said quietly.
When their food finally arrived, the three of them ate in silence, but any lingering tension left over from their feud had lifted and they knew that everything was going to be all right. While the heartache and disappointment was there, deep down the boys knew it wouldn't last and now they were indeed, free to move on. Besides, as they thought about it they all realized, being friends was enough.
After their dinner they returned home. The boys felt like they had matured a lot over the last couple of hours and Raven felt as though a weight she didn't even know existed had been lifted from her shoulders. Certainly, the whole affair had been a great growing experience for all three of them, and as a result, they felt closer than ever before.
They arrived at the Tower and joined Robin and Starfire who were in the middle of watching a movie. They were both sitting on the couch looking very close and cozy as they cuddled and shared a bowl of popcorn. When they noticed the others come in, Robin paused the movie and said, "Hey guys, how was your date?"
"Good," Cyborg said.
"Expensive," Beast Boy added, "But yeah, it was worth it."
Raven glanced away shyly.
"So... what happened?" Robin asked. "Who did you...?"
"No one," Raven replied.
"We decided to all just be friends," Cyborg said. Beast Boy and Raven nodded.
Starfire ginned knowingly, "And you feel good about that yes?"
They all nodded.
Starfire beamed, giving Raven an I-told-you-so look. Raven rolled her eyes at her alien friend.
"I'm so tired," Raven yawned, "It's been such a long day."
"Yeah it has," Cyborg agreed. Everyone nodded.
"Well, good night," Raven said. She grabbed Beast Boy and Cyborg by the shoulder and whispered her mantra a couple of times quietly to herself. They wondered why she was doing so but their ponderings were quickly explained when she gently and tenderly kissed them on the cheek, something she never did before, and probably would never do again. "Thanks for the dinner."
As Beast Boy and Cyborg both rubbed the place she kissed them with shocked and goofy looks on their faces, Raven retreated to her room. She closed the door behind her and suddenly felt unnaturally giddy. She smiled a rare, wide genuine smile.
"So," Beast Boy asked, taking a handful of popcorn from the bowl on the coffee table, "What'cha watching?"
"13 Going on 30," Robin replied.
Beast Boy and Cyborg exchanged disgusted glances, "Chick flick!"
"Man it's only day one of your serious relationship and already you've stooped," Cyborg taunted, "I pity you Robin, I really do."
"Oh shut up," Robin threw a handful of popcorn at him.
"Y'know, maybe it's a good thing Raven didn't pick either of us, right BB?" Cyborg asked with a mischievous grin.
"Yeah cuz see, that's the problem with dating," Beast Boy mocked, "You have to put up with girlie movies like this."
"But Robin is the one who picked the..."
"Shh!" Robin shushed Starfire looking slightly embarrassed.
"You mean this was your choice Rob?" Cyborg asked with an amused grin. He and Beast Boy fell to the floor in laughter.
Robin turned red, "Guys! No one says you have to watch! Don't you have something else to do?"
"Aw we were just buggin' ya,' Beast Boy chuckled, "Wanna play computer games Cy?"
"Sure!" Beast Boy and Cyborg ran off.
"Looks like everything is finally back to normal," Robin said once they were alone again.
"For the most part," Starfire added, kissing him gently.
Robin put his arm around Starfire and they settled into the sofa, getting cozy again. Starfire leaned into him and he kissed her ear, "Yeah, for the most part."
"You know Robin? I am so glad that everything did turn out well in the end," Starfire exclaimed thoughtfully, "It is so good to see that Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven are friends again! I knew it would work out!" She looked at him slyly, "I told you so!"
"Hey, no way. When things got bad, you were just as doubtful as I was," Robin retorted.
"No I was not!"
"Wanna bet?" Robin raised a brow.
Starfire rolled her eyes, stealing a quick kiss, "Just start the movie."
A/N OK, this A/N will be somewhat long, but I hope you'll read anyway, it's my final thoughts.
Well, it's been a fun journey, but now in the words of Homestar Runner's "Teen Girl Squad", "It's Over!"
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans or 13 Going on 30, though it is one of the few stereotypical 'chick flicks' that I like. And I also apologize if anyone was OOC.
Well, I hope you liked the conclusion of "Tug of War". Not as humourous as the rest but yeah... I had a super hard time with this chapter, and there is still something about it I don't like. But it ended how I always intended for it to end, with Raven choosing neither. Perhaps one of the reasons why it was so hard is because as I was uploading this story, and though the past few months as a Teen Titan fan I realize how serious some people are about certain pairings. Some people think Raven (or Starfire) should be with so and so and any other pairing is almost blasphemous. I was tempted to have alternate endings to please the BB/Rave and Cy/Rave fans but I decided that you can't please everyone so I reverted back to my original ending. I hope that those of you who hoped that Raven would end up with someone, that you weren't too disappointed. I think it's a happy ending personally. It seems as though almost every story lately is a romance (I confess, some of them are mine...), and for many writers and readers, only one pairing could possibly work while the others are wrong. I personally think any pairing well written could work. I apologize, but in a way, (though it wasn't the original intention) "Tug of War" was written to prove a point: there's nothing wrong with being single (I should know, I'm perpetually single) and you don't have to be paired up with someone to be happy. This is my way of trying a different approach to the whole pairing wars. (I hope it worked...) Besides, regardless of what hints are shown in the series, I doubt the show would ever pair anyone up except maybe Robin/Starfire.
Dedications: I hereby dedicate this fic to Raven A. Star for being the first reviewer, Keystone, for sticking with this fic to the end and providing me with more encouragement than you realize, and for recommending it to Instant Coffee, who I dedicate this to because what can I say, you, your reviews, and your stories rock (MSN chats equals yayness!)!!! Honorable mention goes to all my faithful reviewers, you know who you are! You all ROCK!!!! And I dedicate Raven's little...joke about Robin to nimenju-shin for the "please don't let Raven choose Robin!" review. What can I say, the review inspired me. It wasn't in the original draft.
Anyway, I hope you will check out my other stories. And oh yeah, following the Zoe Rose "Tug of War" begging for reviews tradition....
(To the tune of the first lines of "New York, New York")
Start sending reviews (doodoo dododoo)
I'm writing today (doo doo doodoodoo)
I like to see constructive crit
(OK, I don't know the rest of the song so... Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease(x37.6) REVIEW!!! It would make me so very happy!)
Have a fantabulous day! :)