Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, but it's a nice show anyway.
Please note that this takes place after the "Aftershock Pt II", which is preimiering Saturday at 8 PM in the United States. I've only seen it from downloading the episode. If you are afraid of spoilers, don't read it until after you see the episode.
An Empath's Burden
Raven sighed, closing her book. She could still feel his anguish, even though he was across the city, and underground. He was looking at that statue again, the statue that had once been Terra. The city had been quiet in the weeks following her death, crime hadn't returned with the populace that was slowly moving back into the homes and businesses of Jump City. Life was returning, inevitably, to normalcy.
Raven's life, however, couldn't even itself out until the emotions of the team did. Her empathic abilities, constantly active, gave her the unwanted burden of feeling everyone's emotions, particularly those of her friends. She didn't feel them as strongly as they did, and they didn't normally affect her meditation, but Beastboy was a different case.
She closed her eyes, trying to block his grief. It was useless. He still believed that he had loved her, and he was still grieving day and night over her stone form. Raven shook her head sadly. He was deluding himself. What he had felt for her was nothing but a childish crush, a temporary fling as two young teenagers experimented with their feelings. Raven felt pity for Beastboy, but also anger. Anger that Terra had abandoned them, anger that Slade had hurt them, and anger that Beastboy's grief wouldn't let her move on.
She stood up, walking from the couch to the large window, staring out over the waters surrounding Titan's Tower. The city was still in fair condition, regardless of the mass evacuation. The thought of what may have happened had Terra not been able to stop the volcano made Raven shudder. As much as she acted like they all irritated her, the Titans were important to her. Had Jump City been destroyed, the Titans would have dissapated, and she would never survive without them.
She pressed her hand to the glass, the coolness of the autumn night outside evident through the window. A sudden twinge of grief brought her back to the problem at hand. Beastboy was still distraught. She reached out with tendrils of psychic power, trying to locate his mind, and to see what he was doing.
Her search found fruit in a resturant, downtown. Beastboy was forlornly eating pizza, alone. Her mind crept into his, viewing through his eyes as he stared into space, thinking of the blonde girl he'd lost. Raven felt the full brunt of his feelings, her mind so entertwined with his. She pulled away, knowing the danger inherent in feeling so strongly. Moments later, she was once again inside Titan's Tower, staring out over the moonlit waters.
She pulled her cloak around her tightly, as she focused her mind, phasing through the window and levitating in the cold night air. It was refreshing, in a way, to feel the breeze blow across her as she floated slowly over the water. Flying always calmed her, made her feel free. She landed gently on the rooftop of the building across the street from the pizza parlor.
Beastboy was still sitting in the dining area, on the parlor's balcony. He was staring off into the stars, facing away from Raven. She stood silently, her cloak billowing in the gentle night wind. She felt pity for him. Despite the irritation that he constantly caused her, she couldn't make herself hate him. Beastboy felt everything so much more vividly than she did, and she enjoyed being near him, if not just to feel what he felt.
Recently, however, it had been less enjoyable. His constant, burning grief caused her meditation to fail, and even caused occasional energy releases. She watched as he stared into nothing, his sadness pervading the atmosphere. She sighed, consigning herself to a conversation. Raven floated gently down from the rooftop to his table, sitting silently oppisite from him, and looking with mild disgust at the tofu and mushroom pizza.
"You're still thinking of her." The simple sentence was an obvious statement, but she could think of little else to start with.
Beastboy jumped slightly at her voice, but didn't turn around. His voice was angry, as if he didn't want to speak. "It's only been three weeks, Raven. I can stay sad this long."
Raven stayed silent for the time being. She hadn't wanted to evoke anger in the boy, she had wanted to console him. She was bad at this, she shouldn't even try. She had almost convinced herself to leave, when he spoke again, his voice calmer.
"I'm sorry Raven, I know you didn't mean it like that." Beastboy turned in his seat, facing her. His eyes were moist, but his tears had dried. "It's just... it's still a sore subject."
Raven nodded, resigning herself once more to stay. A moment passed before she spoke again. "I am here if you need to talk, Beastboy."
Beastboy sighed heavily, looking down at his pizza, though not eating. "You don't know how it feels, Raven. You almost hated Terra."
The empath shook her head. "I won't lie, Beastboy. Terra was never my favorite Titan. However, you know that I understand exactly how you feel."
"She was just... she was my first love, y'know? I don't feel like I'll ever get over her." Beastboy's voice was sad and lonely, and Raven felt her heart reach out to him. She wished that she could do something to make him feel better, but could think of nothing.
"You'll always remember her. You are too good a person to forget someone special to you." Raven felt strange talking like this. She knew that Beastboy was wondering why she was doing it, but the truth was that she didn't know why herself.
Beastboy nodded, a sad grin crossing his face. "You're being nice to me, Raven. What's the occasion?"
Her eyebrows furrowed slightly, as she looked away. "Don't get used to it."
His grin remained a few seconds, then faded. "Thanks for talking to me, but it won't help. She's gone."
Raven nodded, feeling his sadness once more. "She's gone, but there are other girls, and you have a long life ahead of you. You'll never forget her, but you'll feel better in time."
Beastboy nodded, not really believing her, but thankful that at least she was speaking to him. "You know, you are the first one to talk to me about this. Robin just trains all day, trying to push it away. Cyborg is still building another car, and Starfire... I can't talk to Starfire about serious things."
Raven nodded, keeping her face deadpan, despite the sudden happiness she felt. She couldn't tell why she felt glad to be the first to talk to him, but she did. She pushed it out of her mind, emotions were pointless, she had to focus on the here and now. "You need to speak to someone, and I hate to see anyone suffer like you are."
Beastboy nodded, still saddened. "So, you think I'll get over her eventually?"
"It will take less time than you think, but more than you want it to. Still, you will feel better eventually. In the meantime, feel free to talk to me, whenever you need to." Raven surprised herself with the open invitation. They both knew how irritated she got with interruptions. Still, it was too late to take back her words.
Beastboy's laughter made her feel warm, glad to have helped him cheer up, if only for a moment. "C'mon Raven, you can't expect me to believe that. You never want to talk to me!"
Raven felt her cheeks burning. She felt strange, blushing like this. She convinced herself that it was only because she was unused to this kind of talk. She was thankful that her hood shadowed her face. "The offer stands, it's up to you whether you use it or not."
Beastboy sighed, looking back up at the stars. It was a few seconds before either of them spoke again. "I'll come to your room if I need to talk. Thanks, Raven."
Raven allowed a small smile, then stood, closing the pizza box. Beastboy looked up at her. "We need to get to sleep, Robin has group traning planned for tomorrow."
Beastboy nodded. "Yeah, if I show up half-asleep again, he's going to go ape."
Raven tried to ignore the shape change, and the large green ape in front of her. "If you make any more puns, I'm going to 'go ape'. Let's go, Beastboy." Raven began to levitate away, feeling silly flying over the city while holding a pizza box. She watched Beastboy flap his wings, as he flew next to her as a small songbird.
Flying always made her feel free, she wondered if it did the same for him. She didn't have much time to think, however, as the Tower was not far from the resturant. They landed on the rooftop, silently he walked in front of her, then opened the door, holding it open for her as she walked through. Chivalry wasn't dead.
Late that night, Raven sat alone in her room, attempting to meditate. She hovered over her bed, quietly repeating her mantra, the image of her mind forming slowly around her. Despite her closed eyes, she could see the reddened sky, the stone islands, and the long pathways stretching on for infinity. She felt her body calming, the barely contained energy focusing once more into her soul, where it wouldn't simply escape at a moment's notice.
The calm lasted for only a few minutes houwever. The image faded away as someone knocked on her door. She winced at the sudden loss of concentration. She floated to the floor, then walked over to the doorway, the irritation on her face being replaced by her normal empty expression. She pressed the button to open the door, revealing a nervous looking Beastboy.
Beastboy scratched the back of his head, obviously nervous. Raven stood in the doorway, waiting for him to speak. A few seconds passed. Raven's limited patience was quickly waning.
"What do you want, Beastboy?" Raven's voice was deadpan, but there was no anger in it.
"I... I uh... Can't sleep. I keep dreaming about that battle." Beastboy looked at the floor, obviously nervous at interrupting Raven.
Raven sighed. She had given him an open invitation, after all. She stepped to the side. "Come in, just don't touch anything."
Beastboy walked into her room, careful to avoid getting anywhere near anything. He remembered the last time he had played with Raven's stuff, it had led to a dangerous and strange journey through the empath's mind. He heard the door hiss shut behind him.
"I suppose you want to talk, since you came in here." Raven walked past Beastboy, and sat on her bed.
Beastboy nodded slowly. "I need to find some way of getting over her. You know how you meditated for two days straight? Is there some way that I can just... stop feling bad, like you did?"
Raven sighed, shaking her head. "No. My meditation techniques take years to perfect. You can't simply chant some magic words and drive it away. You need to face it like anyone else."
He sighed, obviously disappointed. "It's hard to get over it though. I just... I don't understand why she did it."
Raven stayed silent. She really had no idea how to console a normal person through this sort of thing. "What did you like about Terra?"
Beastboy looked at her strangely. He thought for a moment, then spoke, ticking off the things he liked about her on his fingers. "She was really cute, uh... she laughed at my jokes, she... um... let's see..."
His voice trailed off. He sat for a moment, pensive. A few silent moments passed as the two teens thought about the girl they'd lost. Beastboy shrugged. "I guess she was just special to me. She was the first girl that ever paid attention to me."
Raven raised an eyebrow. "She won't be the only one."
He shrugged. "You don't know that. She might have been the only girl I had a chance with."
The empath sighed heavily, not believing she was about to say it. "Beastboy, you are over reacting. You will have plenty of girls, trust me. You have a good personality, you're a nice guy, and you're... not ugly." Raven looked away.
Beastboy laughed. "Not ugly? Gee, thanks Raven." He paused for a second, thinking. "Raven, I'm sorry. This is hard for you, to talk like this, isn't it?"
Raven didn't respond right away. She looked back at him, her face still deadpan. "I'm not used to it."
Beastboy grinned, a true, actual grin. Raven rejoiced inwardly, happy to see the old smile back in place. "Thanks. C'mon Raven, wanna go out and get pizza or something, to celebrate your new open attitude?"
Raven closed her eyes for a moment, then allowed just a small smile. "It's a little late for pizza. Maybe some other time."
Her green friend nodded. "Ok Raven, I'll remember that. I'm still tired though, so I'm going back to bed. Thanks for talking to me."
Raven nodded, and watched him leave. She used her powers to press the button to lock the door, then fell back on her bed, exhausted. She hated talks like that, awkward and untrained counciling wasn't for her. She heard a few taps on her window, and she turned, seeing the rain beginning to fall.
She sat up on her bed, then levitated in a lotus position, still watching the rain fall. It was calming, the sound of the drops hitting the window, the change in the atmosphere as the rain took the dust and soot out of the air. She closed her eyes once more, allowing the sound to lull her once more into a meditative trance, calming her nerves and resting her mind. Beastboy felt better for tonight, but the invitation was still open, and she had a feeling he would be using it. For now, however, she was once again calm.
A/N: Just the agnstish beginnings to a BB/Raven fic. Being an empath such as Raven, when you can't turn off the ability to feel what others feel, would be difficult. Anyway, thanks for reading, and please review. I'll write more soon. Many people have requested a BB/Raven fic from me, and I'm happy to oblige. It's a cute coupling. See you soon in the next chapter.