(Because all of the reviews made me laugh so hysterically and feel so absolutely honored, I give you…the last chapter. It took a little longer because it had to be PERFECT!)
Chapter 12: Lords a Leaping
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!
Consciousness came to Raven after a night of dreamless sleep. Sitting up she glanced at her clock, 7:42.
It was Christmas Eve, the last day of her gifts.
Raven took a moment to look around her room. Evidence of the last few days was everywhere.
Ebony fluttered her small wings perched on a dead pear tree. Three French Hens cookbooks were tucked into her bookcase beside the music box of nine ladies dancing. Four stuffed calling birds were scattered about her floor, each time she had tried to get rid of them they ended up back in her room.
She twirled the amethyst ring about her finger. Both the swans and geese had been taken care of; Raven was still soul owner of nine pails of milk though.
Four used ticket stubs littered her floor as well, just below her dress that was hanging in her closet. Lastly on a shelf she had left the eleven pipers piping.
Today was twelve drummers drumming.
Ebony flew over and landed on her shoulder. Raven didn't mind. She grabbed a cloak and headed for the shower.
"Ooh Raven, what is that creature?" Starfire asked when Raven had made it downstairs. Ebony still rested on her shoulder pecking ever so often at her cape.
"It's a raven,"
"But aren't you a Raven?" The girl asked and adjusted the two bows in her hair. One was red, one was green.
"Raven is my name. This species of bird is a raven, her name is Ebony."
"Nice to make your acquaintance Ebony." Starfire smiled at the bird that bluntly ignored the shimmering alien. "Friend, why do you have an Ebony?"
"It was a gift." Raven moved past Starfire into the kitchen to get some tea.
Starfire followed her right on in. "A gift, from whom?"
"I'm going to find that out later." Raven grabbed a mug and proceeded mixing in her hot water.
Her spoon spun around in the now dark liquid. Starfire was standing nearby rummaging through the blue frosted refrigerator. In the next room music started.
"Turn that off Starfire, it's too early." Raven added absentmindedly taking a sip of her herbal tea.
"I did not turn on the music." Starfire's voice was still in the room.
Raven could hear the main part of the song start. It was a chorus of drumming. Pushing back a strand of hair she forcibly made herself find the source of the sound.
It was next to the Christmas tree playing as if on it's own. The drumming had hit midpoint, Raven didn't need to research to know there was probably twelve drummers.
She hit the stop on the player. Summoning her magic the device was unplugged and moved away from the outlet. Underneath had been a piece of paper.
Recognizing it she bent and picked it up. The last note. Ebony fidgeted still on her shoulder.
She unfolded the parchment feeling dread and relief at the same time.
I will meet you at midnight on the roof. Wear that dress of yours.
Raven stared at the letters a few seconds longer memorizing the print. She was going to find him at midnight. Just like her dream.
"What's that?" A familiar voice came behind her.
Quickly she crumbled the note in the palm of her hand and turned to face Robin. "Just a Christmas card."
"Oh yes, finally it's Christmas Eve." Robin stepped a bit closer but sat down on the couch.
"Finally?" Raven raised an eyebrow marking down the conversation.
"Well yea, do you know how hard it is to do the whole leader thing while worrying about Christmas gifts for everyone?"
"You didn't need to get me anything." Raven said more out of reflex.
"I did anyway." Robin looked in Raven's direction, she thought for a moment he was looking at her. Turning she realized the tree was behind her. A few red wrapped boxes sat neatly beside some messy green ones.
Raven suddenly felt guilty. He had probably gotten her something she'd love, and Raven had only gotten him a book. But what did you get for someone who had almost everything?
"Nice bird," He commented at last about the raven on her shoulder. Ebony bobbed her head slightly.
"It was a Christmas gift for myself," Raven lied smoothly. Somehow Robin didn't seem to notice.
"So what did you get the others?" Robin picked back up the conversation.
"A mall gift certificate for Starfire, a tofu cookbook for Beast Boy, some video game memory chips for Cyborg."
Robin nodded seeming very distracted.
"Morning!" Came the voice that could only match one other titan. Raven pressed a hand to her temple; Robin was confusing her enough she didn't need to deal with Beast Boy as well.
"Hey Raven, ready for tonight?" He grinned passing her. "Nice bird by the way."
Raven immediately grabbed his arm and spun him around. "What?" She hissed looking him straight in the eyes.
"I asked if you were ready for tonight, you know, Christmas Eve, we get to open one of our presents early!" Beast Boy smiled like a little kid. "And I asked about your bird?"
Raven sighed and quickly let go of him. "It's nothing," she answered quietly. Beast Boy gave her a last look and left into the kitchen, leaving Raven to drown herself in an ocean of headaches. That could have been a very obvious clue, or some twisted ironic-
"You ok?" Robin spoke just near the girl. Raven didn't bother to turn and look at him.
"Fine." Clenching her fist a little tighter she made for her room. If she was going to meet him tonight she needed a long meditation time. That, or she'd probably strangle him upon meeting.
She couldn't have that; he deserved a slow and gruesomely painful death.
Raven paced about her room. She had gotten through a few good hours of meditation before the downstairs music had been turned up. It was nearing dinnertime, the hours were counting down.
And Raven was incredibly anxious.
She had tidied her room, organized her books, and washed Ebony. All she had left to do was join the rest of them for dinner and open their one gift.
She paced again, this time stepping over her raven that was preening its shiny clean feathers. Downstairs a pop version of Jingle Bells had started.
Raven adjusted her cloak feeling a rush of bravery. She could get through this. Everything would be fine.
She made for her door before the emotion was tamed and harnessed.
Downstairs the full festivities of the season were in bloom. All of Starfire's lighting were plugged in, including the tree, giving the impression of daylight throughout the tower.
Raven had to sidestep quickly to avoid crashing into a jovial Starfire who was haphazardly dancing with her eyes snapped shut.
"Raven!" Cyborg stuck his head out of the kitchen yelling over the music at her. He motioned her over and she was quick to oblige, Starfire was coming back her way.
"I'm sticking you with kitchen duty, I've got to run out for some last minute food. Just make sure he doesn't burn anything." Cyborg pointed at a bustling Beast Boy.
Raven groaned to herself, but nodded in agreement. The meta-human spared her a smile before dashing out of the room. The half-demon turned to find Beast Boy attacking the stove clad in a 'real men wear aprons' get-up.
"What are you doing?" She asked almost afraid to know.
"Raven! Get it out, it's going to burn!" He wailed pointing at the stove.
Raven pulled the door open and sent her powers to work. It only took a simple move and the chicken was out and cooling. Raven truly doubted it was genuine meat though.
"Thanks!" Beast Boy grinned fanning the smoking food.
"Whatever." Raven moved to take a seat at the table. Before he had a chance to say anything she levitated the silverware and plates onto the table.
The clock across the kitchen read 6:38.
"Alright, everyone pick one." Cyborg finally allowed the group to dig into the presents. Only after dinner was finished and properly put away were presents allowed to be touched.
Beast Boy dove in first and grabbed one of the darkly wrapped ones she had gotten for him. Starfire laughed and grabbed the bright red one while Cyborg grabbed a sloppy green one.
Raven decided on a present from Starfire and Robin grabbed the conspicuous book shaped one Raven had given to him.
Raven unwrapped hers slowly and carefully while the boys and Starfire ripped theirs apart.
"Wonderful! A…" Starfire turned her box over, the pieces shifted inside it.
"It's a puzzle," Robin informed smiling over the peppy alien.
"A thousand thank you's friend Robin, for such a gift." Starfire beamed at Robin before turning back to her present. She still didn't know exactly how it worked…
"Yes! A tofu cookbook!" Beast Boy held up the chaptered literature like it was a holy icon for a moments grinning.
"Commando Monkeys 4? Don't we have this game?" Cyborg held the suspiciously familiar game giving Beast Boy a look.
"Would you believe the video game stores aren't open on Christmas Eve?" Beast Boy scratched at his head inching away from the metal man.
"Angels and Demons?" Robin read over the book title before turning it over to read the back cover. Raven felt the guilt seep back in. She didn't want to know what was sitting under the tree from him. "This was the one you were reading last week, I heard it was good, thank you." Robin gave her a genuine smile.
"You're welcome." Raven responded automatically. At least he'd heard of it.
"Thanks for the cook book Raven." Beast Boy called from across the room, Cyborg was still glaring at him.
Raven nodded and turned her eyes down to her lap. Pulling off the rest of the wrapping paper she found something that had been giftedly crafted from wrought iron.
"The man said it was a holder of candles," Starfire piped from across the room. Raven followed the curves; it was a candleholder, and a beautiful one at that.
"Thank you very much Starfire," Raven gave the girl a small smile before discarding the wrapping paper.
"I'm going to go put this in my room," Raven stood up. Beast Boy ran past her with the cookbook heading for the kitchen.
Raven rolled her eyes and grabbed the candleholder. She only looked back when she was standing at the stairs.
Cyborg was cleaning up the wrapping paper mess while Starfire dumped the puzzle pieces onto the carpet. Robin had opened the book and was reading.
Raven ascended the stairs. The nearby clock read 8:48.
Raven pulled on her dress. In her dark room the illuminated clock read 11:03. Raven was jittery despite all the meditation she had done.
Across the room some of her candles were burning on her new candleholder. Ebony was nearby relishing in the warmth and light the candles provided.
She turned back to look at herself in the mirror. Raven could not believe she was wearing a dress, again. What had possessed her to do so?
The ring glimmered on her finger while Silent Night played on downstairs. All of the titans were downstairs she knew. Yet she didn't know how long until her admirer would leave to get ready.
But Raven wasn't going downstairs to make things more difficult for him. No, he'd get his misery soon enough.
She paced the floor again. Her room was silent beside the crackle of the flames and Ebony's rustling. Every few moments she would check her clock.
Christmas was drawing near.
When the clock hit 11:30 Raven decided it was time to get up there. After all she was the first up there in her dreams.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos." She chanted opening a black void that would lead her to the roof. She didn't want to run the chance of anyone catching her in the hall. She didn't want anyone disturbing them at midnight.
Raven stepped out of the portal to a breezy night. The wind rustled at her dress but not chilling her skin.
She moved across the roof, her footsteps echoing. The starlight above was the only real light, there was no moon.
When Raven reached the opposite end from the door she sat down on the ledge. She figured it had to be a little after 11:30. She brushed back her hair that had been taken captive by the wind.
She had about twenty minutes.
Raven closed her eyes and chanted a few minutes. She needed a cool and calm indifference. She needed to be ready for whichever one of them it was.
When she found her center she kept her eyes closed. Her ears picked up on every sound the wind made. She waited, almost as if in a trance.
Somewhere in the distance there was cheering. Raven opened her eyes. It must be Christmas.
Her hands gripped the fringe of her dress to keep it from fluttering, not that she was nervous.
Raven heard the door creak. There was a click followed by the swish of a door opening. Raven swallowed a large breath of air.
She heard light footsteps coming her way. The darkness still hid him.
Raven leaned forward a bit, she knew this time she wasn't going to fall. The figure stepped forward; she could just about see the outline.
"Merry Christmas Raven," he finally had stepped close enough she could see him.
Raven gasped and stood up. Any previous planning had just left her.
She was standing, face to face with none other than Robin.
"Robin?" Raven asked still trying to sort it out.
"Yes?" He smirked at her confusion.
"Care to explain?" Raven folded her arms regaining a small amount of distance.
"Alright, you might want to take a seat, this might take a while…" He trailed off. Raven sat down while Robin took to pacing in front of her. Raven noticed he was wearing his dress-clothes again. She was still trying to muster some anger to take out on him.
"Um I guess I should just go in order. I went out and got you a raven and a pear tree and left them at your door."
"Her name is Ebony," Raven supplied.
"Right, then I left you those two doves, which you set free."
"They clashed with my room," Raven defended.
"I also brushed some green garland in Beast Boy's hair when he wasn't looking and conveniently left a large packet of bows for Cyborg to find in one of the boxes of Christmas stuff."
Raven mumbled to herself.
"Then I figured, enough birds, and I found a cookbook with ironically the same name. I stuck garland strands in the book, my red one was on page twelve, but I guess you didn't notice."
"It fell out of the book." Raven interjected.
"On the fourth day all I could find was those toys, they always seemingly made it back to your room, eh? I made sure I was absent most of the day with Starfire to throw you off, I was actually teaching her how to play cards. We played in Cyborg's room, so he kept leaving the room to check on us. Turns out Beast Boy added a detective clue in there which worked to my advantage."
"Only playing cards?" Raven smirked at the boy.
Robin stopped his pacing for half a second. "Yes, just cards. On the fifth day I set up the music early morning because I noticed you were still quite clueless."
"I'd never heard the song before." She pointed out glaring at the rooftop.
"So when you journeyed down I snuck the box into your room. It was only later that day I found your bird wandering the halls of the tower. I also hid some metal from Cyborg and asked for it for a project I was working on knowing he'd mention it to you."
"And make him seem more guilty?"
"Exactly." Robin pushed a hand through his hair recalling his tales. "The next day I left the bird in Beast Boys room knowing it would awaken him, I left a feather or two on my shirt to incriminate myself as well."
"Day seven I dumped all Beast Boy's tofu out so he had to go to the store and left Cyborg's body cooler in your hallway. On the eighth day I ordered for eight maids at the door, that was a stroke of brilliance, you were quite angry."
"Well it's not every day you get people leaving milk!" Raven hissed. "Not to mention you kept demanding to know what was going on."
Robin laughed. "Day nine I gave Starfire the idea of star pancakes and she passed it on to Beast Boy. Later I made sure to turn up the heat so they would combust while you were in the vicinity. I also had to rig the video game to get a certain score, it worked, but Cyborg noticed when he had not won by more…"
"Mmmhmm," Raven was deep in thought still thinking.
"The tenth day I left the envelope of tickets when I knew Beast Boy would be going by and asked Cyborg stay to watch over the tower while we went to the performance. I think by then he kind of knew what was going on."
Raven moved her eyes back to watch him. All that trouble.
"Finally yesterday I left you a rose and two candles one mine, one Beast Boy's color. And today, well you know."
Robin took a deep breath finally finished. So there it was.
"Robin, I came up here to brutally maul my 'admirer' you must know that." Raven stood up and smoothed out her dress.
"I know," He smiled and stepped toward the girl.
"Then why?" Raven asked out of pure curiosity.
"Why the whole admirer thing?" Raven nodded. "When I looked at you, you were the one mystery my skills couldn't solve. So I decided my Christmas gift to you would be the one mystery you could not solve alone." Robin smiled again.
"What? Raven I know you've thought of this, you've had twelve days to think about how you felt about each one of the male titans. That's what I wanted, you had a fair shot to, whether you wanted or not, think about them romantically."
"I just never expected you."
"You expected Beast Boy." Robin bit at his lip with a slight uncertainty.
"Yes, I did. It would have made it so much easier because I simply would have kicked his ass, he's nothing more than a friend."
Her response met silence for a moment. Finally Robin spoke.
"So, Raven what do you think of me?" Robin placed both hands on her shoulders and Raven was forced to look at him.
"I think…" Raven's mind was working in overdrive. Memories, thoughts, ideas, dreams sprang into her head. It was trying to form sentences, words, anything.
Raven's dream was pulled up like a mental movie. She had gone for the red rope. She had gone for it too late.
Raven pushed his arms off her shoulders. For a second Robin looked confused, almost betrayed.
Then she kissed him.
It was short lived, her lips pressed to his, but the message was clear. Raven pulled back to see Robin grinning.
"So the twelve days of torture was worth it?" Robin asked putting an arm around her shoulder.
Raven eyed it dangerously and he quickly removed it. "Maybe."
"Maybe? So you think this could work?"
"I think you're a little eccentric for putting this all together." Raven stepped ahead of him heading for the door.
"Ooh not going to give me straight answers anymore?" Robin followed her to the door.
Raven turned back to give him a hidden look. "You think solving a mystery is that easy?" With that she spared him a strange smile and descended the stairs.
Robin smirked and hummed a familiar tune before following the dark beauty down the stairs.
The end! -Ducks large amounts of food and bovine- Sorry everyone voting for Beast Boy, it was Robin!
Over 400 reviews, my mail overflowed when I hinted I might hold out on you all. All my readers/reviews for this story are awesome!! (even though I'm sure many are angry). -Candy canes for all-
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, I don't want any flames for the coupling, you hear? Only flame if I messed up something somewhere.
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!
P.S. Nova-Janna is doing a Harry Potter story using the idea ("12 Days of Hermoine Racking Her Brain"). If you like HP go check it out!
Also Sirius-Lover-1 will be doing a Inuyasha story using the idea, go check it out when she gets it up!