The girl in question turned her head to find Beast Boy standing hesitantly behind her, with his arms folded behind his back. She looked back out to the bay and mumbled, "What?"
Beast Boy had found Raven sitting in Starfire's usual place of solitude. The roof of Titan's Tower just seemed to be the place to go when one wanted to get away and think. Though it was still in sore need of repair after the destructive battle with Malchior, Raven had gone up to be alone after an invigorating yet draining game of stank ball. After she didn't appear for an hour, Beast Boy sought her out again.
"What'cha doing up here? You've been gone for ages."
"I've been gone for an hour, Beast Boy. That's nowhere near ages," she replied dryly.
Beast Boy shrugged as his cheeks turned pink. "I guess I exaggerated a little." He stared at her small frame for a second before asking, "Mind if I sit down?"
"Knock yourself out," she said. Beast Boy came up and unceremoniously flopped down next to her.
After a moment of silence, he breathed in a deep breath and said, "You're still thinking about it."
Raven's lips twitched, and she blinked a few times. "Maybe."
"I thought a lot about it too," Beast Boy said. "I spent a lot of time in my room, after it happened."
Raven instantly knew what incident he was referring to.
"I remember. I could hear you..."
Beast Boy looked away. He had stayed in his room for a full week, refusing to come out unless absolutely necessary, and spent most of his time laying on his bed in his dog form, cradling the heart jewelry box he had so lovingly made, whimpering pitifully. The other titans could barely stand it, not out of annoyance, but concern. Beast Boy was rarely that depressed. Even Starfire couldn't cheer him up and coax him out of his room.
"It seems kinda stupid now," he said softly. "I didn't realize how much it would hurt."
"I don't think anyone does until it's already happened."
"Yeah," he agreed.
They sat together, another awkward silence ensuing before Raven decided to offer another comment.
"It seems that recently everyone is betraying someone," she said, thinking of her own situation, Terra, and even Robin's little Red X stunt. Raven hugged her cloak tighter around herself as a small chilly breeze caressed her cheek.
What Beast Boy said next startled Raven to her very core.
"He was a jerk, Raven. He didn't deserve you."
Raven drew in a sharp breath and looked at Beast Boy with wide eyes.
His cheeks turned pink again, but now that he had started, he had to go on.
"It's true. You deserve someone a lot better. Someone who'll make you happy."
Raven drew in another audible breath and bit her lip, looking back out towards the bay in the dimming light. The sun was just below the horizon and the water was dark but calm.
"I know, Raven, that you fell for him 'cause he made you feel special. I fell for Terra 'cause she laughed at my jokes... she thought I was funny; she understood me. I guess Malchior understood you. But we both got hurt..."
Raven closed her eyes and tried to block out Malchior's kind words, and Malchior's unkind words. And she suddenly realized that she was seeing a side of Beast Boy that he rarely ever showed. He was opening himself up to her, and leaving his security blanket-- his comedy- behind.
"Beast Boy..." she started.
"Yeah?" he asked, cocking his head to the side to look at her.
"Your jokes... aren't that bad," Raven said, sounding forced, but the intention was there.
Beast Boy's eyes shined and a huge goofy grin spread across his face. "Really Raven?! You think I'm funny?!"
"I said they weren't that bad. I didn't say they were that good, either," she said, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips and shaking her head.
Beast Boy deflated, and then shrugged with a grin, "It's a start, I guess."
She nodded wordlessly, and tapped with her foot at a small chunk of roof that had been thrown up from Malchior's attacks. Normally she would've wished that Beast Boy could just go away and let her be, and she was astonished that she had just admitted to him that she didn't find him quite as annoying as she let on. She didn't want to admit it, but at the moment Beast Boy's presence, and the empathy that he offered, was more a comfort than a nuisance.
"I know you're embarrassed Raven."
Raven looked up with a start. "How do you-"
"I was too. I felt so embarrassed that I had been tricked. So stupid for liking someone who was using me."
Raven looked at his face, which was screwed up in a slight scowl that also held a hint of sadness.
"We were both completely vulnerable," she said, kicking the stone away.
"Mm hm," Beast Boy agreed. "She ripped my heart out. And I was embarrassed for that too. Embarrassed for getting hurt, for sticking up for her, when in my heart I knew that she wasn't on our side. But, I guess in the end she redeemed herself. You... weren't so lucky."
"I knew Malchior had taught me dark magic. I knew after I almost killed that little girl. But I ignored my heart... I listened to him, and in the end my heart paid the price," Raven said flatly, though in that one simple statement she had just confessed that she went against her good conscious, and had let the emotion of love for someone else cloud her judgment.
"I was such a fool. That's why I can't love anyone-"
"Don't say that!" Beast Boy interrupted emphatically. Raven's mouth dropped open and for the second time she stared at him with wide eyes.
"You can love people Raven. Don't you care about us? We're your friends."
"Well, yes, but... it's a different kind of caring, Beast Boy..."
Beast Boy sat back a little, and thought for a second, choosing his words carefully. "But Raven... what if you loved someone who you knew was your friend, and would never betray you like Malchior did?"
Raven's eyes narrowed slightly at the green-skinned changeling, and wondered if she was interpreting what he was saying correctly. "Well..." she cleared her throat. "I... don't know. I might end up hurting him too. My emotions are dangerous-"
"But you didn't blow up anything when you loved Malchior," Beast Boy pointed out quickly.
Raven stopped and considered that. Beast Boy was right. She didn't blow up anything when she was with Malchior. Perhaps love had different consequences than anger and hate when she expressed it.
"I can't explain that one, but-"
"But it is possible for you to love someone," he stated, crossing his arms.
"Maybe..." Raven said softly, giving in. "But look where it got me."
Beast Boy stared at her pale yet beautiful face that now held traces of sadness. He wasn't exactly a natural with the ladies as he'd like everyone to think he was, and truly he didn't really understand girls much at all. But even he knew when a friend was hurting and, deciding to risk Raven's wrath of invading her personal space, made a bold move by laying a hand on her shoulder. He scrunched up his eyes and expected her to quickly brush it off and then start scolding him, but instead opened his eyes and hung his mouth a little slack when he felt her fingers rest lightly on top of his. She was still staring down into the bay, which shimmered with white reflections of the moon now high in the sky.
He watched her pallid face, eyes half closed and eyebrows slightly knitted, mouth twisted into a frown.
"I know exactly how you feel," he said, looking out into the bay himself, but keeping his hand where it was. He felt Raven's fingers slightly tighten over his own.
"You know what?" Beast Boy said after another moment of silence when she offered no response. He mustered up his courage for what he was about to say next.
Raven nodded, listening.
"You may be all creepy and dark, but really Raven, you're normal on the inside, really you are. I've seen what's inside of you, remember."
"Really!" he said earnestly. "There's nothing wrong with you at all... on the inside or the outside," he finished. He wasn't quite sure how Raven would take his subtle admission that he obviously found her attractive.
"On the inside or... outside?" she said slowly, incredulously, wondering if he really meant it the way it sounded.
"Yeah," he nodded vigorously, when he saw she wasn't going to get up and leave or threaten his existence. "I mean it."
"Beast Boy... thank you," Raven said, fearing that the sheen layer of tears that had suddenly sprung to her eyes would break lose. She turned away from his face and blinked them away hastily. She had already cried enough today, especially for a girl who doesn't do crying.
"No problem," he said, watching her reaction. He figured this meant she wanted to be alone and he had outstayed his welcome. He shifted himself and got up with a grunt.
Raven heard his movements and quickly turned back to look up at him. "You're leaving?" she asked, almost an edge of apprehension in her voice.
He gazed at her for a few seconds, then sat back down.
"I'll stay as long as you want me to," he said jovially, elated that for once Raven actually wanted his company.
Later on that night, Raven sat in her dark room and contemplated her talk with Beast Boy on the roof. The only person she had ever opened up to before that little conversation was Malchior. He had understood her, had known exactly how she felt, and had so much in common with her. He also knew how to flatter someone that was not used to compliments, or used to accepting ones that were directed her way.
But that night, she admitted there was a side of Beast Boy that she had seen and wished he'd bring out more often. He had asked her if she didn't care about her friends. Of course she did, her friends were all she had. She had an interesting relationship with all of them. Though she and Starfire were completely opposite in the things they enjoyed and the way they acted, she did feel a certain bond with the Tamaranian princess as they were the minority in a house of males. While Raven didn't exactly get excited about shopping, braiding hair, and watching sappy chick-flicks, Starfire was a good friend, and offered to sacrifice the things she enjoyed doing to meditate with her every once in awhile. And Raven had to admit that while the alien princess was a little exuberant, trips to the mall with her weren't all that unbearable.
Her friendship with the Titan's leader was a hard one to explain. She felt quite warmly towards Robin, almost like he was a very close brother. He seemed to understand that she needed personal space, and she realized that he also liked his privacy as well. Robin was quite a mystery to the other Titans, but Raven had experienced glimpses into his head, and knew what unspeakable horrors he had seen. They both had their burdens to bear, and that gave them a mutual bond as well. He was the only other Titan who would understand the darker sides to Raven, as underneath the mask and confident exterior there was a darkness to him as well. He went a lot deeper than any of the other Titans realized. Plus, she also found it quite humorous that he was fearless and capable when it came to crime fighting, but not quite so fearless and capable when it came to admitting his feelings to a certain alien teammate.
Cyborg was a genuine friend, and she knew that she could talk to him whenever she needed to. They hadn't run dry on conversation when she had helped him build a new T-Car, and she had offered the advice she knew he needed when the first one had been destroyed. Cyborg had found a good confident in her, and had opened up about his accident and his life before he had become half man and half machine. She had listened quietly, and knew the right things to say. While he could sometimes be as infuriating and immature as Beast Boy, Cyborg also had a very level head, and could probably lead the Teen Titans very capably himself. Trust was a big issue with her, and she knew without a doubt she could put her life in Cyborg's hands.
Her last teammate confused her greatly. Beast Boy was generally always a clown and acting quite immature; somewhat to be expected since he was the youngest of the group. But even so, he had an extremely free spirit that Raven had to admit she somewhat envied. Envied and found rather annoying at the same time. But one thing she realized, out of all the Titans, he was the only one who was constantly looking out for the way she was feeling. He was always trying to make her laugh, or at least smile. He was the one who constantly came around her door when she was holed up with Malchior, and had even been spying on her wall as a fly-- she had known he was in there the whole time. And in the end, it was he who was standing outside her door to comfort her, to offer the words she had needed to hear. Why should he care about her so much? She had always rolled her eyes at his corny jokes and at his immature and carefree manner, was annoyed when he screwed things up. And still he came back and tried to make her smile.
While they didn't actually converse very often, the times she actually had a civil conversation with him were really quite pleasant. His head wasn't filled with just video games. Beast Boy was actually quite knowledgeable on animals and some biology, and some of the stories he had to tell about his time in Africa when he was a little kid were quite fascinating. Raven also had to admire his strength, considering his past and the way he acquired his rather freakish appearance and powers, which he had revealed to her one night after they had an argument.
She realized slowly, that while she'd like to say that she could care less about the kid and his jokes, that out of all the Titans, Beast Boy was probably her best friend. How he had managed to weasel his way into her affections she didn't know, but perhaps it was because he had always been so persistent. She knew that the rest of the Titans cared for her very deeply, but none of them exerted so much effort to try and make her... happy.
Thinking back to some of his comments from the conversation on the roof, she realized that there might be a lot more to Beast Boy than she thought. And...
Raven shook her head. He had said those things because he knew she was feeling bad about Malchior. Crushes were silly.
Still... she considered Beast Boy's actions during the time she had been with Malchior. She gasped slightly. Could he have been... jealous?
Raven shakily pulled on a dark purple T-shirt and a black pair of pajama pants and got into bed. Could Beast Boy care about her a little bit more than she realized? The thought seemed sort of preposterous, but his actions could mean otherwise. What also confused her greatly was her own reaction to the thought. Instead of shoving it away and denying it, she let the possibility linger. While her wounds from Malchior were still fresh, Beast Boy had willingly been right there to help ease the pain, and she hadn't turned him away. Perhaps her own feelings towards the boy were changing...
Raven shook her head and rolled onto her stomach, burying her face into her pillow. The rollercoaster of emotions that she usually never let herself experience was finally taking its toll and she was imagining things.
"I need to get some sleep," she said, words muffled by her pillow.
She turned over and closed her eyes. While waiting to feel the onset of drowsiness and then slip into slumber, a comment of Beast Boy's kept repeating in her head...
"But Raven... what if you loved someone who you knew was your friend, and would never betray you like Malchior did?"
Finally she dispelled the idea before drifting off to sleep.
"I'm just imagining things... he's a friend, and nothing more..."
Author's Notes: Well, I read back over this and decided to completely revamp it. A few people had advised getting rid of the song, and I had to agree. I decided to go nuts and analyze Raven and Beast Boy's relationship as it stands now, which was quite fun. I kept in some of the dialogue I liked from before, and added in some better transitions. Hope you guys like it and if you didn't read the previous posting, that's okay because this one is a lot better, in my opinion anyway. I wrote the first one right after Spellbound came out and still had not been completely sold on the Raven/Beast Boy pairing. Fear not my friends, I'm a firm supporter now. It's pretty darn cute, and I'd like to see some more hints in the new episodes. Anyway, whether you read the first one or not, tell me what you think. I always like reading reviews.