Chapter fifty-four! Enjoy! I want to give huge thanks to James and Dwayne, who helped me tremendously with chapter 53. A round of a applause for those two, people! (:
Sleep slowly turned to awareness and the clouded fog of dreaming cleared away. He could feel the pale rays of sunlight slanting over his face, he could feel the bite of Raven's belt digging into his thigh and the warmth of her hand resting limply on his chest. As he sat up, she stirred, her large violet eyes blinking open and staring up at him for a moment before sitting up too.
"Good morning," Raven said, stretching, giving him a smile. He nodded and grinned at her in reply as she slipped out of bed and retrieved her white cloak from Beast Boy's dresser, pulling it over her shoulders and clasping it delicately. Beast Boy followed her out of bed and pulled on his shoes, staring resolutely at the carpet for a moment as he made up his mind.
"Raven…I think today is the day," he said finally. He knew that she knew full well what he was talking about with this. She had been the one who had been trying to convince him that it was something that would help with closure.
Raven looked at him for a moment, considering. "Are you sure?" came her voice, gentle, understanding just as it always was.
"Yes." Nearly a month had gone by, and barely a day went by when he didn't think of how happy he was, and who was responsible for he and Raven's happiness. He had been trying to gather the courage to do one thing for nearly a year now, ever since the events of that fateful day in the blood-spattered snow, and up until today he had been afraid. He had been far too weak. But he could feel something different about this day. Something inside of him had finally strengthened. Something finally screamed inside of his head that it was time. "Will you come with me?"
Raven looked into his eyes for a moment, and like so many times before, their deep, almost eerie connection became evident. They had always had this bond, Raven had noticed it from the very beginning, and now Beast Boy knew it too. "Of course I will," she said softly, giving his hand a squeeze. "If you're sure that you're ready."
Beast Boy gave Raven a smile. "OK. We can go later today….maybe in the evening. That was always her favorite time of day."
Beast Boy clutched the stems of the roses tightly, and he could feel the thorns digging into his hands, though not piercing the skin because of the protection of his gloves, a shield between him and the harsh pain of reality….exactly like the one he had been putting up by not coming here before by pretending none of it had happened. But it had, and now it was time for him to face it.
Raven was close by his side as they moved through the eerily perfect emerald carpet of immaculately kept grass. The sun shone brightly down on them like a white-hot jewel, making the somber place look almost inappropriately cheerful. They passed rows and rows of cold, shiny, unforgiving stone, all the same save for the occasionally super-ornate slab sticking high up from the grass like a lighthouse from the sea. The place was frighteningly smooth besides the glossy stones and the occasional small tree.
Rows upon rows passed, countless rows, until the rows began too blur together and he couldn't tell where one ended and the next began. He could feel Raven's hand clasp gently around his free one and he calmed down. He thought that maybe if they just kept walking, they would be journeying to the place forever, and they would never have to actually face the reality of seeing it.
It seemed like far too soon when Raven stopped walking. "We're here," she said softly. They were stopped about five feet in front of a stone slab that looked exactly like the others around it. He couldn't help but wonder how Raven could tell the difference when to him they had before been melting together to form one huge lump of stone that Terra could have ridden back to the Tower on, and they could all have eaten pizza and watched some nameless horror movie and then they would have all gone to bed and he would have had the comfort of knowing that everything was normal. But somehow he knew that wasn't going to happen.
Beast Boy gave Raven's hand a squeeze and then let go of it, stepping forward and walking over to the slab of stone. Raven let him go alone. Somehow she knew it was just what he needed. Beast Boy knelt before the rock and slowly stared deep into the impeccably chiseled words.
There was no deep, honoring message on the stone. There was nothing further than the name and date, just like on all the other headstones. Before the stone there was the same cheap plastic flower holder set into the ground just like before all the others he could see. To maybe only five people in the entire world, this tiny monument meant something more than 'someone died'. It was something besides a grave concealing a nameless, faceless corpse among all the others. It meant the loss of a friend, a hero, and an irreplaceable part of their lives. This time Terra's absence was forever. This time she wasn't merely turned to stone. This time, the marvel of Raven's powers couldn't return her to a living, breathing state. This time she was gone, and the time to accept it could be eluded no longer.
Beast Boy placed a hand on the polished surface, staring into his own grim reflection in the stone. He and Raven had worn their usual uniforms. He knew Terra would have hated it if they showed up in mourning attire. She always hated mourning. She had always liked to make the best of things, and that was what he hoped to do now.
"Hey, Terra. It's me. It's been a while since you died, and I've been hoping all along that maybe somehow, someday, I'll wake up and you'll be in the kitchen with flour all over your face laughing with Cyborg about how much your pancakes suck. And then you'll hug me and we'll all just be friends forever and be happy. But I know now that it's just a fantasy. I know you're gone, and that part of our lives with you is over. But a very wise girl I know once said 'maybe there really are no endings. Just new beginnings.' And I know now that it's true. When you died, I thought It was the end. I thought it was over. But it wasn't the end. It was the beginning. It was the beginning of a new life where we're going to have to move on and learn to be happy with what we have.
"But don't think that means we're going to forget you, because we're not. I know that every time I skip a rock or see a butterfly or watch the sunrise on the bay, or even feel the wind on my face, I think of you. I know that you're there. You've always been there, and you always will be. You'll never be gone." he paused. "I know you hate those sad sappy moments, and so I'll just say what I came to say. I know that Raven and I both want to say thank you." he gave a backward glance at the Azarathian, who nodded. "So thank you. For everything. For showing me how to live when I couldn't, for showing me what you'd always known about Raven but I had never figured out, and for everything you gave us when you were alive. You're our friend, Terra, and we all miss you. I know that what you want is for us to be happy, and so that's what we'll do. We'll be happy. But we'll never forget you, Terra. There's always going to be a special place there in our hearts for you forever. I know we'll meet again someday, but until then, goodbye." he slowly placed the bouquet of roses in the plastic holder, and it felt very final for some reason. "Goodbye Terra, I'll always remember you."
And at that moment, he could have sworn he saw her face in what was really the blinding light of the sun as he looked up, a smiling face framed by blonde hair, smiling at him like she had never been gone at all, the crystal blue eyes sparkling like whenever he told a joke. For a moment she was there, she had never died, and life had righted itself. And then he realized that he was staring at only sunlight and she was gone, but somehow the world still seemed alright. Beast Boy slowly stood and walked over to Raven, whose white cloak and leotard seemed to give off light in the bright evening sun. When he reached her, he jumped on her with a tight, warm hug, and then stepped back, taking both of her hands in his.
"Terra isn't the only person I need to thank," he said.
"What do you mean?" Raven asked him.
"Thank you, Rae. For everything. I remember when I felt like life wasn't worth living anymore, and I had given up. But there you were. You saved my life. You were my angel. And then all the time after when I was so broken down and felt like nothing would be alright again, you were there. You never let me give up. And instead of telling me to suck it up and deal with it, you tried to understand. You don't need to say anything. I just wanted you to know. You saved me more times than you could ever imagine. You never gave up on me, you stayed right there beside me… and when I thought no one could, you saw the world through my eyes."
When we got home, Robin, Star, and Cy greeted us like we'd been gone for years, and I remembered what was the greatest part of being on the team. You always had people who cared about you, even if you were too depressed to realize it sometimes.
"Friends, where have you been?" Starfire asked, ushering us into the living room, where the smell of pizza was evident.
"Yeah. We were worried. You never told us you were even leaving," Robin said with a swift nod.
"Oh, we were just visiting an old friend," Raven said with a smile at me, and I could feel my heart melt and returned it.
"Well, I'm glad you came back when you did," Cyborg said, wrapping an arm around each of our shoulders. "Because you came just in time for….super movie madness!" he said happily, letting go of us and holding up a copy of 'Wicked Scary II' and waving a cybernetic hand toward the coffee table, which was piled high with pizza boxes.
"Alright Cy, awesome!" I said enthusiastically.
"Sounds nice," Raven said with a soft smile. That smile never failed to make my knees weak.
"Well alright, if it sounds good to everybody!" Cy said loudly. "Let's get started!"
The five of us settled down on the couch as the previews began to roll on the screen and the sun sank lower and lower outside the window, creating the perfect conditions for watching a horror movie. I snuggled in close to Raven and gave a sigh of contentment. I looked at her, snuggled up against him happily with her eyes on the screen. And then I looked to Robin and Starfire, always the adorable couple, nestled in each others arms and waiting for the movie to begin. And then I looked at Cyborg, who was alone romance-wise, but I really couldn't remember him ever being unhappy that way. Besides, life isn't always about finding love. Life is about living it to its fullest. It's about holding on for just one more moment when you felt like letting go. It's about the little moments that show that magic really does exist, and nothing is impossible if you believe enough. It isn't about wanting what you don't have, it's about loving what you do have, and cherishing every moment of it.
I knew that later tonight the movie would be over and we would all say goodnight and go to our separate rooms, and this magic feeling of togetherness would break and it would all feel normal. In the future there would be fights and problems and trials to face, moments that would nearly force us apart forever, but in the end we would keep hanging on, we would keep standing together, because we believed. All that mattered now was right then. This happiness that I felt and could feel encasing my very soul. These moments that could take my breath away almost as much as Raven's smile. Right now, it seemed like everything was right in the world, and this truly was the way that life was supposed to be.
I said myself that this was the beginning. And I can't wait to see where the rest of my story will take me before it reaches the end. But right then, all that mattered was this moment. This moment and all the other moments that could hold the five of us together when there seemed like there was no hope and no way to hold on. Because I know that we all have those moments, those silent, close moments. The ones that never really mean anything until later when we realize their significance. Those are the moments that can hold us together, those moments that can help us become whatever we are meant to be if we just keep believing for one more second that there truly can be something more. Those moments can take us anywhere, if we only allow ourselves to make the journey.
We just need to close our eyes, hold on tight to the ones that love us, and go forward, no matter what might be there. Because if we don't, we'll never know what could have been, and we'll never know if that moment we gave up could have been the one moment we truly started to live. That moment that could change us now, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. Forever.
I want to thank you all for reading my constantly rambling story, and sticking with me until the end! You guys rock so hard! All of you!
If you or someone you know is having problems involving suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK to find help near you.
Rambling from the author: I'm planning a huge load of BBRae stuff and a couple of RobRae one-shots (don't hate me!). Thanks so much for sticking with me all this time. 54 'episodes', 100,000 words, and 10 months, and now it's finally done. I can celebrate now. This is the first multi-chapter TT story that I've ever finished. Yay! Over the past 10 months, I've been through some situations with my friends having certain problems, and so this story was really personal for me. It was fun to write, but I'm glad it's done.
Love you all,