Pairing: Primarily Raven/Beast Boy
Summary: Beast Boy and Raven have never gotten along, but when Beast Boy accidentally finds himself able to travel through parallel dimensions, he learns what life would be like if Raven meant something to him. BB/Raven. Ch9: Beast Boy's found his way home... kind of.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans.
Author's Notes: Okay, I'm not going to lie: the dimensional travel plot line is so totally a husk on which the romance is hung. In other words, try not to analyze any scene with Vortex in it too closely. Anyway, this chapter! Things are going to get really weird from here on out, so it's probably best to pay attention to which universe you are in! 'Honest Goodbyes' is a song by Bic Runga.
As always, reviews welcome!
A World Without You
Chapter 9: Honest Goodbyes
Location: Alternate Universe #1
Perspective: Original Beast Boy
And in the other universe, the real Beast Boy and another Terra were the last to arrive in the garage following the alarm. They stepped off the elevator from the roof together, running up to the T-Car in tandem.
Cyborg, Starfire, and Robin were climbing into the front seat, so Terra and Beast Boy slid into the back. Raven was already sitting there, regarding him and Terra coolly. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking, but Beast Boy thought he saw some suspicion in her eyes.
He instantly flashed to his kiss with Terra, and a wave of guilt rushed over him.
Terra didn't seem bothered at all. "So what's the situation?" she asked as they sped away from the Tower into the heart of the city.
"We found Vortex."
Beast Boy felt his gut clench with fear. It hadn't really occurred to him until now that everything hinged on him finding Vortex. This criminal was his key home. If he was ever going to make it back to the Tower he knew and loved... Beast Boy couldn't afford to lose this guy. He wished they would move faster.
Luckily, Cyborg's counterpart was every bit as skilled at driving as his actual friend, and they were booking it across the city, the lights of the streetlamps zipping past until at last, they reached a large building in the distance. Cyborg slammed the car to a halt, and the Titans spilled out quickly.
It seemed that Vortex was in the middle of an art gallery, no doubt trying to steal an original to pawn off in another world. In order not to scare him into jumping dimensions, the Titans decided to move in furtively, separating into different groups. Robin and Starfire took the north entrance, Cyborg and Terra took the south, and Beast Boy found himself with Raven, entering through the doors in the east wing of the gallery.
They moved from shadow to shadow with the aid of Raven's magic, pushing through the murky, unlit gallery past ghastly forms of modern sculptures. Beast Boy drew closer to Raven, trying to focus and not get creeped out by the silent dark.
"So..." Raven asked, her voice low and tight. "How was your talk with Terra?"
Something about her tone made him nervous. "How did you know I was talking to her?"
She spared him a withering look before transporting them to another level in the gallery.
"Right. Empath with the ability to recognize energy signatures," Beast Boy concluded when she didn't answer right away. He thought of his kiss with Terra again, then panicked, wondering if she could read his mind. You could never be sure with Raven. "Uh, the talk was fine. I had to settle something with her."
Raven seemed to struggle with her next sentence. "Settle something? Like what?"
Beast Boy's gut reaction was to be defensive. "Something between me and Terra," he said sharply. He saw hurt flash in her eyes and regretted it. He wondered for the nth time how he wound up in these situations.
"It's like this," he tried again. "For me, Terra didn't make it out of our last battle with Slade. I never got to thank her. I never got to say I was sorry for turning on her when she needed me most. I never got to say good-bye."
"You were in love with her," Raven said quietly.
A couple years ago and Beast Boy would've said 'yes' without hesitation. It was harder to remember now. "No... well, maybe, yes... I don't know," he said. He blew out a breath of air. "I could've been. I really liked her, and I was falling. Hard. But there wasn't enough time, you know? If Terra hadn't turned or if Slade hadn't enacted his plan so soon... Then definitely. Probably."
Raven made a non-committal noise, but it was hard to tell what she was thinking.
"So on the rooftop just now... you kissed her back," Raven concluded.
"Uh, yes. No!" he said. He really needed to start sticking with one answer. "Yes," he said again since he should probably come up clean on this one.
"I suppose I should be glad your first instinct is to tell the truth," she remarked dryly.
"She kissed me first."
"Well, that is really complicated," Raven said.
"It didn't mean anything," Beast Boy said. But that wasn't entirely true. "Actually, it made me feel a lot... better."
"Oh, great. I'm so glad kissing Terra made you 'feel better'."
Beast Boy sighed, annoyed. The other Raven would've understood. But he wasn't dating the other Raven. Man, putting the 'girl' in front of 'friend' was really mucking things up.
"She was the first girl I wanted to fall in love with," Beast Boy said.
Raven didn't say anything to that, and the silence unnerved him more than the sarcastic insults. He pushed on.
"But then she died. It made me really sad. For a long time, I didn't know how to move on, and I didn't even know if I could. Kissing her today made me realize that I've... actually put it behind me," Beast Boy said. "I still care for her. She's part of who I am, but what we had is exactly that. Past tense. I have a... new future to make now."
"Does that make sense?" He scratched his head.
They scanned the rest of this section of the gallery before she turned to him and met his eyes. Her gaze stopped him in his tracks. "There's a castle in the middle of Jump City," she said. "Did you know that?"
Beast Boy was caught off-guard by the random fact. "What? Uh, no, I guess?"
"On our first date, Beast Boy took me to these old castle ruins in the middle of the city. Of course I didn't know it was our first date at the time. You see, I thought he was going to tell me to leave him and Terra alone," she explained. "Because I'd just confessed to him that I loved him."
It still didn't make sense to Beast Boy why she'd brought it up, but he was smart enough not to interrupt her.
"You can imagine my surprise when, instead of rejecting me, he told me exactly what you just said. That being with Terra after Slade's death had made him realize he'd moved on. What he had with Terra was in the past. That he had a new future to make. With me."
"Ah. So I'm kind of quoting myself?" Beast Boy asked. He saw her smile, that tiny quirk of the lips that he'd thought was cute earlier.
"Yeah," she said. Then, she scratched her head, and she probably didn't even know that her baffled look was actually kind of adorable. "Look, I'm no better at talking about... feelings than you are. But I'm sorry. I keep forgetting that you aren't... him. He's had more time to deal with... us."
"It's okay. This is a really weird time. For everyone," he said. "Just remember that you shouldn't blame your actual boyfriend for what happened today. It's not his-"
Raven shushed him, pressing him against a wall. Beast Boy thought for one crazy moment that she was going to kiss him again and braced himself by closing his eyes.
He opened his eyes. Raven was looking deep in the darkness, head tilted like a predator listening for prey. Then before Beast Boy could blink, her soul self surrounded them both, transporting them another level of the gallery.
Beast Boy didn't even adjust to the sudden burst of lights in this upstairs room before Raven was urging him forward to help Cyborg who was wrestling with Vortex!
"Titans, go!" Robin yelled from the corner.
Beast Boy didn't need to be told twice. In an instant, he'd transformed into a bull, pawed the ground with his hooves, and took a running charge at the two. Cyborg rolled to the side, pivoted, and detached himself from Vortex just as the bull struck, sending Vortex backwards and through the wall.
"The belt he's wearing is the source of his power," Cyborg reported while the Titans waited for the debris and dust to clear. "It's what he uses to travel through dimensions. Grass Stain, you're going to need to grab it off him. It's your only way home."
"Got it," Beast Boy said.
"I can attempt to use one of my bolts to get the belt off," Starfire said. She powered up a ball of green energy in her right fist.
"Wait, Star... We don't want to risk harming it," Cyborg said.
"Then we won't," Raven said. She darted forward into the fray and helped Starfire pepper Vortex with spheres of glowing energy to trip him up. Nimbly, Vortex dodged them all.
Beast Boy looked for the best place to tackle Vortex, but got distracted by the belt at the villain's waist. That's what he needed to grab? It was made of some futuristic plastic-y material, and the entire thing blinked a dull red like a sad Christmas light. It didn't seem like much. Beast Boy didn't even know how it'd have the juice to light up, much less jump people to different dimensions...
"Watch it, Beast Boy!
Vortex had drawn some sort of laser gun, and its stream had carved out chunks of an Egpytian obelisk right behind Beast Boy. The obelisk groaned and fell, nearly striking half the Titans. Raven telekinetically pulled him out of the way, and they met up at the opposite wall away from Vortex.
"You okay?" Raven asked.
"Yeah, you?" Beast Boy said.
"I'm fine. But you need to get that belt right now. I get the feeling he's going to use it."
"Why now? Why not before?"
"Cy was saying the belt seems to be charging up. It'll be full soon, and when it is, he'll jump, and you'll lose him. Forever."
Beast Boy nodded. "Got it."
"Beast Boy, wait," she said before he'd run back into the battle. "I'm glad that we met."
He was about to respond when she grabbed the front of his uniform, crushing her lips against his. His mind was vaguely aware that there might have been tongue, but then she shoved him away and towards their enemy.
"I love you. No matter what. Get home safe," she told him, and then pushed him away, her hand glowing an intense black. "Now go!" she said, as if it were an order and a goodbye. Which it was.
Beast Boy was too shocked to react. In later years, when he looked back at this moment, he wished he'd have had the presence of mind to say goodbye and thank you. But he hadn't. Instead, he simply yelped as she shoved her powered palm against his chest. He was instantly transported to the opposite end of the room behind Vortex who'd just fought off Cyborg.
Beast Boy saw his chance. He leapt at Vortex's back, toppling him. He jabbed at the belt, which caused it to release. The entire thing skittered across the floor, and both beast and villain grappled each other while they clawed their way to it. Starfire, Robin, and Cyborg leapt forward, but Vortex threw Beast Boy off and grabbed the belt first just as the entire thing started to blink bright green like a beacon.
Vortex smirked at Beast Boy as the space around him began to hum.
"See you never," Vortex said with a triumphant laugh as the belt seemed to explode in a firework of green light, ripping open a dimensional hole.
"No!" Beast Boy said, lunging for Vortex.
It seemed somehow as if everything were too late. Beast Boy would never be able to touch Vortex before he walked through. Beast Boy would be stuck here. For the rest of his life.
Then a black whip of energy latched onto Vortex's foot, tripping him up enough for Beast Boy to grab at the belt, and for a second, both of them were pulling on it, straining for control. Vortex, desperate to keep the belt, yanked it back so hard that Beast Boy heard the distinct rending of metal and felt electricity dance across his hands. The dimensional hole rippled, expanding and contracting ominously.
"What have you done?!" Vortex yelled as he started flickering in and out of Beast Boy's vision.
"Me?!" Beast Boy yelped. He looked down and saw the belt had cracked, splitting into several pieces. He clutched the piece he'd been holding tighter...
And dimensional space exploded around him. Time seemed to slow... When he turned his head to the side, he saw Terra, her blue eyes going from wide to wider... Then next was Raven, her mouth wrapping around the syllables of his name...
Just as suddenly, time sped up. In his mind's eye, he could see many things, many worlds, like he was skipping through a movie and didn't know where to stop. He all at once saw an explosion of images and was reminded briefly, distantly of watching the pages when he flipped through a comic book...
And then Beast Boy was flung forward into darkness.
A/N: Hopefully that answered the question of why Beast Boy disappeared in the first universe. Onwards and upwards!