Notes: Okay, here's the alternate ending. You'll notice that the beginning is the same, but the ending is definitely going to be different. I'm sorry it took so long for me to post this, but it took a while for the inspiration to come to me. I may still possibly write an epilogue. I'm still thinking about it. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind...tell me which ending you preferred.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans. I only own the poem of "Not Alone". It is the full version. The other poem, Sweet Raven , belongs to reallyravenroth.
The next Titans Christmas tradition was about to take place. Raven didn't make a sound, only listened as the quiet swish of a door opening echoed softly in the hallway. Someone had started the competition.
Well, it wasn't a competition in the usual sense. Robin had made it a rule that nobody could have even a clue as to who gave what gift. Therefore, one at a time, they would leave their rooms and deposit their presents under the tree. There was no certain order. The only rule was that they couldn't leave if they heard another door opening. If they lasted until four doors were opened, they were the last and would be the one to check to make sure all the gifts were in the correct place. At least one of them was known for trying to open their presents early. It was anyone's guess who that was.
Swish…Swish…Somebody else left the second that the other returned. Probably Starfire, Raven reasoned. The alien was too excited about the holiday to wait, but she never went first, trying to control her excited giggling.
Two more doors opened and closed. Then Raven knew that it was her turn. She gathered the gifts in her hands and walked out into the living area where the tree was. Her eyes scanned over the presents, counting them quickly. Sixteen…perfect. She arranged her four boxes around the base, then retreated to her room. Though she tried to ignore it, she had to admit that maybe, she was looking forward to the coming day…just a little bit.
The morning came all too soon for Raven. Part of her had been nervous all night, wondering what a certain Titan would think of her gift. She considered disappearing the second he opened the cover, but decided against it immediately. It would be too suspicious. Plus, part of her was curious to see if he would appreciate the gesture.
Most everyone was in the main room when she arrived. However, Robin wasn't in the present group. He emerged from the hallway shortly, wordlessly announcing the beginning of opening presents. Everyone gathered their boxes from beneath the tree, bringing them to their sides.
Four red boxes went to Robin, blue for Cyborg, green for Beast Boy and purple for Starfire. As for Raven, hers were covered in patterns. It was an idea that Beast Boy had come up with, considering that Cyborg's or even Starfire's signature color was much like her own. So everyone had fun finding the gift-wrap which would most sicken Raven. Puppies with Santa hats looked at her from one box, smiling snowmen on another, and dancing polar bears on yet another. The fourth was different. The wrapping was silver in color, white swirls decorating the surface. It was actually quite beautiful in her opinion, but it made her wonder whom it was from.
"All right, who's going to start," Robin asked everyone. Three hands shot into the air, "Starfire, you can only raise one." He gave her a stern look, but there was warmth underneath it. The alien put one hand down, "Alright Star, you can go first."
"No way," Beast Boy protested, "She cheated! You saw her." Beast Boy imitated Starfire, thrusting both hands into the air, "I should have gone first."
"Yeah, but Robin doesn't have a soft spot for you," Cyborg told him, not watching the volume of his words.
Every eye shot to Robin, who blushed involuntarily, "Yeah…well…you've got…nothing…"
"That was weak Robin," Raven deadpanned, "At least try to be a little creative."
"Yeah, like how Raven tells everyone how she'll blast them into another dimension," Cyborg agreed.
"I'm not exactly lying when I say that you know," Raven replied. The others stared at her, "But that's beyond the point. Robin chose Starfire to go first and she will."
"Thank you Raven," Starfire grinned widely, "Now, which of the gifts shall I open first?"
"The…purple one," Raven stated slowly.
"Wonderful idea," Starfire replied, "but which one?" Raven pointed to the one closest to her and Star picked it up hurriedly.
It was wrapped poorly, though it was obvious that it was material of some kind. Starfire opened it and squealed in delight. She pulled out a red Santa hat made of a velvety material with cotton around the edges. She excitedly placed it on her head and turned to the others, "Do I have the look?"
"I think she means 'how do I look'," Raven translated. Everybody gave approving nods, except for Robin, who was staring with an open mouth.
"Tell her already," Cyborg prompted, snapping Robin out of his trance.
"Uh…you look nice Star," Robin stuttered out.
Starfire grinned happily before sitting down, "I believe this gift is from friend Beast Boy. I remember you wearing similar headgear yesterday. Am I correct?" The green Titan in question confirmed this, bracing himself for the bone-crushing hug sure to follow.
Robin was next, since he was sitting to Starfire's left. He picked up Raven's gift and though the newspaper articles had him confused as to who it could be, he eventually caught on. He flipped through it carefully before guessing correctly. Raven only nodded at his response. And so it went, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Raven, in that order.
Cyborg received a boom-box from Beast Boy, something that he had been wanting for a while, if only he didn't use most of his money for repairs to the T-Car. Upon getting the controller though, he only glanced nervously over at Raven, who gestured slightly so nobody else would notice. Nonetheless, he looked grateful. Starfire's present consisted of a gift card to a nearby electronics store that Cyborg loved. And last of all, a collection of CDs from Robin, who knew how much Cyborg complained that there was no cool music to play in the T-Car.
The rest of Starfire's gifts included a book for writing her recipes in. Though she could not decide whether it was from Robin or Raven, she ended up settling on the leader. Unknown to her, only he would be able to handle her cooking enough to give her a book to log all her favorite recipes into. She was delighted with a spice rack (spices included) from Cyborg, though Beast Boy protested that they were mainly for meat products, glaring at his friend in disgust.
Raven's present of the book confused her the most though, as it did not seem to fit Raven's personality. She hugged her friend thankfully however upon reading the inscription inside saying, 'You have a greater joy than anyone I know does. May this book remind you of that and help you hold onto it. RAVEN'. Raven tried to resist, but relented, knowing that she wasn't going to get out of it.
Robin received sunglasses from Beast Boy, claiming that he'd not only look cooler, but get more fan-girls as well. Though when he was asked to put them on, he unashamedly placed them over his mask. Only Starfire looked truly upset by this.
The punching bag is what threw him off at first. It seemed like something that Cyborg would buy, but it wasn't like his usual gifts. The books that came with it was what made his decision, though it wasn't until he opened the next present that he was sure. A single envelope held this one. Inside was a solitary slip of paper, good for a year's worth of hair gel. The only thing was…it wasn't a prank. It would actually get him what it said. He glared in pretend anger, but he secretly gave Cyborg a thumbs-up.
Beast Boy was excited about all his presents. Though it was hard to tell who got him what. Well, the video game was definitely from Cyborg, as the two were on the GameStation the most. Eventually he came up with who got him the other gifts, as Robin was more serious and would go for the dramatic, albeit cheesy, television show. Starfire had a fun personality, therefore the musical soundtrack fit her style.
He was puzzled by Raven's gift. The book was called 'The Finer Art of Sarcasm: Joke Book for the Sarcastically Challenged'. Once he knew who it was from though (obviously because of the title), he opened it, noticing the back of the cover. He grinned upon reading it.
I know you've worked hard to try and make me laugh. I also know that you haven't had the best of luck. Therefore, I thought you might appreciate a little help. At least I happen to think it's funny.
Maybe she does like me, Beast Boy thought, reading over it a second time. Though it was not told in a funny matter, there was a hint of warmth in the words. He only hoped that he wasn't just imagining things.
Raven was actually in for quite a surprise this Christmas. Not a single Edgar Allan Poe book was to be seen. Starfire was the obvious choice for the herbal tea packets, as none of the boys would willingly go to a tea shop. There were several different varieties that she could try, including her usual. The Chinese meditation balls were actually an item that she had been searching for, so the fact that Cyborg was able to find them was a miracle in itself. They were black, each one with a symbol in white, one a sun, and the other a moon. The book of Yoga was no doubt from Robin, due to the fact that he understood needing to calm her anger and the techniques to do it with.
She picked up the nicely wrapped gift last, almost afraid to unwrap what was inside, especially when she considered whom it was from. Her eyes fell on Beast Boy and he nervously met them with a weak grin.
Her violet eyes widened upon seeing the journal, surprised at the beautiful gift. She slowly placed the key in the lock and opened it. The words jumped out at her from the page.
I see you stare out the window
I see you meditate in its light
I see you close your eyes in tranquility
I see you whisper words of strength
You think you're alone, but you're not
I've been through it too
I know how it is to feel pain
To feel like the world's falling apart
Like how your heart slowly breaks
When love doesn't conquer all
I've seen you give it your all
I've seen you face your fears
I've seen you fight against dragons
I've seen you rise above the ashes
You think you're alone, but you're not
Hearts can break overnight
But they need more than love to heal
They need a helping hand
To once again learn how to feel
And mend its broken pieces
I'll be your strength
I'll be your love
I'll be your hope
I'll be your shoulder to cry on
When it seems like nobody's listening
You think you're alone, Raven, but you're not
You're never alone
Because I'm standing beside you
Raven almost didn't believe that Beast Boy had written what she had just read. But it was done in his usual sloppy penmanship, though it was obvious that he had tried to clean it up a bit so she could decipher the text.
"Beast Boy," she asked hesitantly. She looked up from the words, startled to note that they were the only two people in the room.
"Read the next one," he told her quietly. The tone of his voice told her that he was serious. She gazed at him for a moment longer, than directed her eyes back down, turning the page.Raven, sweet Raven
Drowning in the night
Even though you are dying
What a beautiful sight
And before you take
Your last saving breath, hey,
I'll bring you into the daytime
And give you a kiss to take your breath away
You're not alone, my sweet Raven
I'll always be by your side
Even if you may not want it
I'll do what my heart thinks right.
Love is a funny word
Love like 'I do'
But now that I think of it
Dear sweet Raven, I love you
"Beast Boy," she repeated herself, "They're beautiful."
"I meant every word that I wrote," Beast Boy stated.
"I never knew that somebody could love me," Raven voiced quietly, "I need to be alone." With that, she vanished from sight, taking the diary with her.
Even with the commotion, Christmas went on. Beast Boy tried to hide his disappointment by playing his new video game with Cyborg. The half-machine noticed the lack of enthusiasm as Beast Boy lost time after time. He'd usually do anything to win.
However, Cyborg knew what was going on. Everybody did. They were listening from the other room. The team had meant to give the two teammates privacy, but something about the conversation drew them in. They all wanted to know what Raven would say. They had waited a few minutes before coming out. Raven hadn't come out of her room since.
(In the hallway)
"Friend Raven," Starfire stood in front of her door, "Please let me in. I must speak with you." Raven gave no answer and Starfire could only stare at the door in anger, "Raven, I will break down this door if I must!" Slowly, the door opened, displaying half of Raven's face and then slowly all of it.
"If you must," Raven stated, "Make it quick. I'm trying to meditate."
"Perhaps I can join you," Starfire commented rather than asked.
"Starfire, if you want to talk to me, you better do it now," Raven told her, "This is the only chance I'm giving you." The use of her full name let Starfire know that she was serious.
"Why did you reject friend Beast Boy," Starfire questioned hurriedly, "Do you not like him any longer?"
"Star," Raven sighed, "I don't know how it is on your planet, but here the words 'I love you' mean a lot. It's a lot deeper than just liking."
"I am aware of that," Starfire answered, "I have not been on Earth for long, but I have learned much. However, you have not answered my question."
"I didn't reject him. I just had no idea how to respond," Raven replied, "I tried to meditate, but my emotions are arguing as usual and I decided to ignore them. I didn't know who to listen to."
"Then do not listen to the emotions in your head Raven," Starfire told her, "Listen to the ones in your heart." She started to turn away, but stopped suddenly, "If you wish to speak with Beast Boy, he is currently losing at the video games in the main room. He has been doing so for the past three hours." Then she left.
Raven stared at the door for a moment before telling her emotions to shut their traps. She blocked out all noise around her and started to listen to the still silence, hoping to sort everything out.
Back in the main room, Cyborg was about to suggest some other activity, partly because he could tell that Beast Boy just wasn't into the game and partly because (and he couldn't believe he was saying this) he was getting tired of winning.
Before Cyborg could speak his thoughts to his green friend, the swish of the door leading into the area sounded and there stood the very person who no doubt was constantly on Beast Boy's mind.
Raven was only slightly hesitant in approaching them. She stood beside the couch and looked down at him, "Beast Boy. We need to talk." Beast Boy stood up and followed her, much like a prisoner on his way to jail.
Raven led him to her room and looked back when she noticed that he wasn't following, "You can come in Beast Boy. I promise I put my meditation mirror away." She gave a small smile at her idea of a joke and he couldn't help but give a chuckle at it himself, "Wow, you haven't even started the book yet and you're getting sarcasm. You're improving."
"Okay, what's with the jokes," Beast Boy asked suddenly, "Sorry Rae, but it's a bit creepy."
"Well, since you're moping around and being moody like me, I figured somebody had to be funny," Raven answered as she sat down on her bed. She motioned for him to do the same, which he did reluctantly.
"What did you want to talk about," he questioned, remembering why they were there in the first place.
"I've been thinking," Raven told him, "Well, not really…in a sense." She sighed, "Long story. However, I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to give us a chance. I do like you Beast Boy, but love is a bit too hard for me to grasp…at least right now."
"So you're saying you'll go on a date with me?"
"Yes Beast Boy," Raven replied.
"Awesome! There's this new movie out that I thought you would love," Beast Boy told her, "It's a thriller, but it's nothing like Wicked Scary so I thought it would fit your tastes better. Plus the theatre just started up this whole vegetarian stuff and I wanted to try it out."
"You've really thought this out haven't you," Raven asked.
"Every detail," Beast Boy replied, moving his hand to place it on top of her own. A split second of pain lit up his face before he quickly pulled his hand away, "What was that?"
"Oh," Raven bowed her head and blushed, "I guess my emotions are still a bit out of control. Sorry about the shock." She lifted her hand, seeing her fingertips sizzling with energy.
"Remind me not to let you grab me if you get scared in the theatre," he commented, to which Raven let out a short laugh.
"Okay, but only if you don't make me try a veggie burger," Raven told him, then paused, "You know, maybe this whole thing will work out after all."
"Why do you say that," Beast Boy asked.
"When this whole thing started, I was just confused. I didn't know how to respond to someone admitting to loving me. Now, I'm making jokes…something I'm not exactly known for."
"Shall we go then," Beast Boy questioned, "We can at least pick a time for tomorrow." Raven nodded. He quickly reached out and took her hand, this time without a shock to accompany the action, "I'll even let you pick the restaurant we go to before the movie."
Raven allowed herself to be dragged out her door by the green Titan. She missed his reaction as her hand tightened in his and his eyes widened in both surprise and delight at the gesture.
Raven was almost surprised at herself for this, but she only smiled as his hand clasped her own a bit firmer for that split second. She didn't really know what she was getting herself into by agreeing to a date, but she decided in that moment that she truly didn't care.
Her emotions were quiet and she quickly found that she wasn't so confused about her feelings anymore. She had taken matters into her own hands and her decision wasn't backfiring on her. Perhaps she should have listened to her heart more often.