Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans. I just play with them once in a while and return them a little worse for wear.
The battle was won. The Titans returned to their tower in less than pristine condition. They were bloodied and hurt. This had been a close one. One by one, they hobbled, limped or drearily floated to their own rooms to inspect their own personal damage. Torn and muddy clothes were discarded. Showers were taken and bandages applied. They gathered in the main lounge at the top of the Tower. Raven spent her last energies working what healings she could. Fortunately, nothing was too serious. Just the usual abrasions, bruises and bumps typical of superheroes exploits. It wasn't until she had finished with Robin's sprained ankle, that she gave an exhausted look around the room.
"Where's Beast Boy?" She asked in a hoarse whisper. The others, their eyes dull with fatigue, each gave a weary look around.
"Probably just went straight to bed." Robin muttered. "Like I'm planning on doing."
"Yeah, man." Cyborg yawned to the point of cracking his jaw. "That's my plan."
"Fine." Raven said. She turned to the door. "I doubt that I'll leave my room for a week."
"Yeah, until the next jerk needs our help going to jail." Robin limped after her to the elevator.
"Come on, y'all. Wait up." Cyborg followed them. "My batteries are so low I need a tow."
"Wait, hold up." Robin turned. Starfire was slumped over on the sofa, already asleep. "You guys go ahead. I'll wake Star up."
"Just hurry." Raven said. "There's no sense you waiting for the next one."
"Star..." Robin reached a hand out and gave her shoulder a shake.
"AAARRRRHHHHHH" It was a war cry that Robin knew well, and it gave him just enough time to throw himself to one side as a starbolt blazed from Starfire's hand, nearly striking him full on. Starfire blinked dazedly, and stared at Robin. "Oh..."
"Uh, you were asleep." Robin said, a little dryly. "Just wanted to wake you up so you could go to your room." Starfire's features glowed a deep pink.
"I am so sorry, Robin. I hope I didn't...damage you." She said faintly.
"Nah, no damage." He gave her a crooked smile. "You're as tired as we are. Come on, then, the elevator is waiting." He held out a hand and took hers to help her up. Raven and Cyborg were eying Starfire with tired amusement. The door closed and the elevator went down to the floor that housed the bedrooms. They shuffled out of the elevator.
"Nite, y'all" Cyborg turned and headed towards his room.
"Yeah, good night." Robin followed him with a slight wave.
"Pleasant sleep to you all." Starfire said, turning in the other direction with Raven.
"Don't wake me unless the Tower is on fire." Raven murmured. "And then it had better be a big fire."
Starfire's room was first, and she went in the open door and straight to her round bed. Raven kept walking to the end room that was hers. Her door opened on her order and she stepped inside. She sighed, feeling every ache and pain, her own and each one she had cured of the others. She walked towards her bed, each step heavier than the last, and fell onto the bed with a groan of relief. Her eyes closed, her breathing quickly became low and even.
"Beast Boy!!" Raven sat bolt upright, eyes wide, heart slamming. She threw herself out of bed, grabbed her cloak and waved her door open, skidding into the hallway at a dead run, and flinging herself in the direction of Beast Boys room. His door was closed and since all the doors had automatic locks, was locked from the inside. Raven pounded on the door. "Beast Boy! Open the door. Can you hear me?" She pounded again." Beast Boy!" Her eyes narrowed and she swept her hands out. Black energy tore the door open, and Raven stepped in.
The room was a mess. But that was normal. What wasn't normal was the small form lying limply on the floor by the bed. Raven dropped to her knees beside him and grabbed his wrist in her hands. She felt for a pulse. With Beast Boy, things were not always as they appeared. His chemistry, his whole constitution was unstable because of his changeling nature. Whatever "normal" was for Beast Boy, this wasn't it, Raven realized grimly. She stared down at the shape changer's slack features. For someone whose normal healthy skin tone was green, his was a sickly pale gray. Raven let go of his wrist and stood up, features tense. In a heartbeat, she had passed through several walls and arrived at the foot of Robin's bed. Robin was sprawled under the sheets of his bed, deeply asleep, one arm dangling off of the side of the bed, the other beneath his head.
"Robin, wake up." Raven said, reaching for his shoulder, but stepping back quickly after she gave it a tug. Robin only muttered thickly and twisted to his side, facing away from her. Raven gritted her teeth. "Robin! Wake. Up. Now." This time, Robin grimaced, frowned, then opened his eyes and turned, squinting at Raven. Just the look on her face was enough to bring him fully awake. He sat up.
"What's wrong?" He asked sharply.
"Beast Boy seems to be in a coma. I need to take him to the medical emergency room and I can't carry him myself." Raven said.
"What?" Robin's brows shot up beneath the ever-present mask. "How? What's wrong with him?
"I don't know. But we need to hurry." Raven said, flinging her cloak up and out. Robin sprang up and into the dark energy Raven projected. In the blink of an eye they were back in Beast Boy's room. Robin looked at the limp form on the floor and clenched his jaw. He stooped and scooped Beast Boy up in his arms with care. Then he looked at Raven and gave her a nod. Once more she flung her cloak out and the darkness engulfed them. They emerged from it in the room that served as a mini-hospital in the Tower. With each of the Titans being unique in his or her own way, a traditional hospital wasn't always the best place to find a cure or treatment for injuries encountered in fighting crime. The Tower sick bay was totally state of the art, and both Raven and Cyborg could work the high tech equipment. Robin carried Beast Boy to the nearest bed and gently set him down. Raven moved up on the other side, and took Beast Boy's wrist in her hand.
"I need to monitor him, and I may need Cyborg's help. He's more familiar with some of this than I am." Robin nodded.
"I'll go get him."
Raven didn't reply, her attention was totally on the unresponsive form on the bed. She still held his wrist, and she could feel the pulse fluttering unevenly, and then pounding furiously. She tried to think back, to see if she could recall what had happened to him. They had all been extremely busy trying to stay out of harms way themselves, and also trying to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible. Beast Boy normally teamed with Cyborg in conflicts, and Raven had been too busy trying to keep herself from getting pulverized to notice the others and their efforts. She had sided with Starfire once to pummel their adversaries with combination dark energy beams and starbolts, but aside from that she had been mostly on her own.
"Oh man, "Cyborg's distressed voice broke into Raven's thoughts. She saw him come quickly to the bedside. "What happened? Robin didn't say."
"I don't know." Raven looked at him, her own eyes reflecting her concern. "I just felt...something wrong, and knew it was Beast Boy. I went to his room and he was like this. We need to run a complete check on him. We need to find out what's wrong."
"I'm on it." Cyborgs mouth set in a grim line as he turned to the equipment in the room.
"Can I help?" Robin asked, for once feeling helpless and on the outside. He wasn't at all comfortable with the medical side of things.
"Not really." Raven told him. "You might as well go get some sleep. We'll be busy here for some time."
"I don't think I could sleep." Robin said with a heavy sigh.
"Did you see him get hurt? Either of you?" Raven asked, her gaze sweeping from Robin to Cyborg.
"I didn't. I mean, we all got thrown around a lot." Robin said. "But I thought he was no worse than the rest of us. He didn't say anything."
"No he didn't. Cyborg said. "Maybe that should have told us something. You know BB. If it's a hangnail, he'll whine about it for hours."
"That's right. He didn't say a word the whole way back to the tower." Raven said, turning her head to look at the still form in the bed. "That wasn't like him at all. I should have noticed."
"I should have noticed." Cyborg gave his head a shake as he hooked Beast Boy up to the primary medical systems monitor. "I know him better than you all. We hang out together. I should have caught on to the fact something was wrong."
"How could you?" Robin said wearily. "We were all exhausted. Those guys were tough, and pushed us all to the limit. Beast Boy didn't look any worse off than the rest of us."
"It wasn't like him to just go to his room." Cyborg said, flicking the switch that sent the power to the monitor. "Even if he was dog tired, literally, he'd have come with us just for company. You know BB, he thinks a laugh is as good a cure as a band-aid." Cyborg's eyes went to the unresponsive Beast Boy.
"Sometimes he's right." Robin said quietly. "I think we get misled by his jokes to think he's nothing more than a comic. The thing is, he's trying to make someone feel better by laughing."
"What do you see?" Raven broke in as the monitor began to show readings on the several screens nearby.
"BB is so hard to read." Cyborg said, frowning as he studied each screen. "His life signs, his chemistry, his DNA are all confusing."
"Try." Raven said.
" I am trying, Raven." Cyborg said patiently, eyes going from one screen to another, his features tightening as he did. He turned his head to meet Raven's dark eyes, and then shifted his gaze to Robin. "I think he's bleeding inside."
"No." Raven whispered.
"Well, you can fix it, can't you?" Robin asked.
"Robin, I'm not a surgeon. Neither is Raven. There are things we can fix, and things we can't." Cyborg said, averting his eyes from Robin's. "This one...we can't"
"Then who can?" Robin snapped. "There's got to be someone. Where's the nearest hospital? They have surgeons."
"Robin." Raven said in a low voice." No one would operate on Beast Boy, because his blood is unique. It is doubtful he could survive traditional surgery."
"Are you telling me that we can't do anything?" Robin's voice rose. "That we have to stand here and just watch him die?"
"Noooo...." And anguished wail came from the doorway. They all turned sharply to see Starfire, her eyes wide and tear filled, standing there. "Oh what has happened? Why do you talk of letting Beast Boy die?"
"Starfire, why aren't you asleep?" Robin asked, his mind struggling with the same questions that she was asking.
"I could not. I heard voices and followed them here." Starfire hurried from the door to the side of the bed. She looked down at Beast Boy, and when she blinked her tears spilled down her cheeks. "Please friends, tell me why we cannot help our Beast Boy."
"He's too different, Star." Cyborg said dully. "We just don't have any way to help him. We're all mostly human here, with some extras added. Beast Boy, well, he's unique."
"I am not human" Starfire said, more tears slipping down her face.
"No, and most likely our doctors couldn't help you either. But we could call for a Tamaranian doctor." Cyborg put a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Is there nothing we can try?" Starfire pleaded.
"He's bleeding inside, Star." Robin said in a numb voice. "That would take surgery to repair. We just don't have any way to do it."
"Uhhhhhhhhhhh" The weak groan from the bed caused all eyes to snap in its direction. Beast Boy's head turned on the pillow and his eyes flickered and cracked open.
"Beast Boy!" Robin bent over the bed and clasped one of Beast Boy's gloved hands in his own. "It's Robin."
"Hurts..." Beast Boy whispered weakly. "Hurts...bad."
"Yeah, I know it does. Um. We're...working on it." Robin said haltingly. He looked at the others with frantic helplessness. "Just hold on, BB.
"Trying." Came the whispered response. Raven's expression was growing more and more stormy as she watched with frustration. She turned and her cape swept out as she paced away from the bed.
"Raven...?" Starfire's tremulous voice came from behind her. Raven turned. "This terrible thing will not happen, will it?"
"There is nothing we can do." Raven said harshly. "Believe me, if there was something, we would do it." She swallowed hard and turned quickly.
"If only Beast Boy could heal himself like you can do." Starfire said, her voice breaking.
What did you say?" Raven spun and caught Starfire by the arms.
"I said...if only Beast Boy could heal himself like you do." Starfire stammered, tears still streaking her face.
"Thank you, Starfire." To Starfire's shock, Raven hugged her furiously, and then crossed to the bed. "I need to talk to you Beast Boy. Do you hear me?" She said, reaching out and taking his free hand in both of hers, noticing that Robin still clasped his other hand. She met Robin's gaze for a moment, and he saw a blaze of determination in her eyes.
"Unnngh...yeah....Raven." Beast Boy whispered.
"All right. Listen to me closely. You are hurt badly, but I believe that I might be able to help you. I will need you to do something for me though." Raven said, her voice now soft and soothing.
"Raven...?" Robin gave her a confused look. "What are you doing?"
"Trying to save our team member." Raven stated back to him. Her voice softened again, as she turned back to Beast Boy. His features were creased with pain, and Raven could feel his fingers tightening around hers. "I will need you to open your mind to me in a moment. I am going to try to help you heal yourself. You must release all control to me, and not fight me. Can you do that?"
"You're...going into...my mind?" Beast Boy's eyes squinted open, riddled with pain. He stared up at Raven. "No...Please don't." Raven's lips tightened and she bent over him, fixing her dark eyes on his eerie blue/green ones.
"Beast Boy. You have to trust me. If I don't do this, you might die. No. If I don't do this, you will die. I want to help you. But I can only help you if you allow it." Her own two hands tightened around his one. Her eyes bored into his.
"But...but..." Raven could see fear combining with the pain now. He looked so young and helpless that Raven felt a surge of anger at the concept of his dying.
"Trust me." She asked. The fear in his eyes was stark for a moment, then, under her unwavering gaze; she saw it begin to fade until only the hurt remained.
"Okay." He bit his lip, and his eyes squinted shut tightly.
Slowly, with one last squeeze, Raven released his hand. It fell limply to his side, but the gloved fingers curled into a fist. Raven stepped back from the bed. She closed her eyes and levitated to a meditation position, crossing her legs and hovering just beside the bed.
"Robin..." Beast Boy's voice was faint and labored. Robin bent down over him.
"I'm here. We're all here." Robin said, his voice a little thicker than normal.
"Sorry I mess up so much." Beast Boy said haltingly. "I...don't mean to..."
"You don't." Robin said. "You don't mess up at all. We'd be lost without you."
"You would?" The plaintive tone of his weak voice, elicited a choked sob from Starfire. She fought for control and stepped up next to Robin.
"Of course we would, little friend. You must do as Raven asks, please." Starfire pleaded.
"Yeah, BB. You do what Raven says." Cyborg said quickly.
"Quiet, please." Raven floated in her meditation position, eyes closed. Slowly, and in a very soft voice she began her chant. "Azarath. Metrion. Xinthos..." Her voice faded away. Cyborg, Robin and Starfire exchanged anxious looks.
"Do you think she can pull it off?" Cyborg asked.
"I don't know." Robin gave his head a shake. "I don't know if Raven even knows for sure."
"She must." Starfire said with quiet determination.
Raven floated out of herself. She felt him near, felt the pain, felt the fear he was trying to control. She grasped a hold of it and pulled herself to it. She could feel the deeper sense of who he was, a dim, struggling little light. She dove down to meet it, steeling herself for the battle to come. She opened her thoughts.
"Raven, is that you?" His thoughts were chaotic and frightened, as well as a little awed.
"Yes. Now, put down your barriers, let me in. We don't have a lot of time."
"So am I."
"But...you'll see my thoughts."
"Does it matter?"
"What if you...don't like me."
"Don't worry, I'll help you anyway."
"That was a joke, right?"
"No, I will help you anyway. But since I like you already, you shouldn't worry about me changing my mind.
"Open your mind. Let me in. We have work to do."
For an instant, Raven nearly lost herself in the vast confusion of creatures that inhabited Beast Boy's mind. But she centered herself and stayed with the one spark of individuality that was him, not one of his animal alter egos. Now it was time to take the chance. She had to fully merge with him, to lend him her healing power and to direct it to stop the bleeding and heal the damage. For a moment she faltered. She had never done this before. She didn't even know if she could. She certainly didn't know if it would work, or even if she could successfully return to herself. She could be trapped here forever, in Beast Boy's mind.
"Don't take the chance." Raven was startled to hear Beast Boy's somber voice. "It's not worth it."
"Are you telling me that you aren't worth it?" She asked.
"Yes I am. Not worth your life. Go back now, while you know you still can. I didn't know it was such a risk." There was no fear in his thoughts now. None. Raven was surprised at how sure he sounded.
"I live for risk." Raven responded, letting her thought carry a whisper of challenge. "Now, let's get to work and get you healed and back to your annoying self."
"Raven." It was a protest. She ignored it and began to sink into the merging. He was there, all around her. His thoughts floated and buffeted her. She felt him accept her and invite her in, lowering his barriers and allowing her full access and control. She felt surrounded by his warmth and confidence in her. It was time to heal.
"Look" Starfire hadn't taken her eyes off of Beast Boy for the past two hours. Robin and Cyborg and paced, and sat, and paced and sat. No one had left the room. Raven still floated in meditation pose, silent, unmoving. And Beast Boy had remained still, save for the occasional groan of pain. But at Starfire's words, both Robin and Cyborg bolted for the bedside. Beast Boy's color was slowly returning to, what for him, was a healthy green. His features were relaxing from the strained grimace of suffering. His slight frame was uncoiling from its still position. Even his fingers were uncurling from the fists they had been clamped in.
"Raven is doing it." Robin said in hushed tones, his own hands curling into fists at his sides.
"She's doing something, man." Cyborg was staring at each of the screens in turn. "Everything's changing."
"Please. Please. I wish my friends to be well." Starfire whispered urgently. She watched Beast Boy without so much as blinking. Then, he moved. His head turned on the pillow. His eyelids twitched, flickered, and then slowly began to rise. Half-lidded, he met Starfire's wide, anxious eyes.
"Raven needs to rest. Help her." He said faintly, and then let his eyes slide shut again. Starfire spun to Raven, just as Raven let out a faint groan, and began to sink to the floor. Starfire caught her before she touched the floor, and was quickly helped by Robin and Cyborg. Gently, they carried Raven to a neighboring bed and set her down. They exchanged looks again. Then Cyborg went back to the monitors.
"Whatever she did, the bleeding's stopped. The damage is repaired." He stated.
"We will not lose our Beast Boy!" Star clapped her hands together, even though she had a trace of tears in her eyes.
"That was...remarkable." Robin said slowly. "I didn't know she could do that."
"Dude, " Beast Boy's eyes were open again, and fixed on the bed with Raven in it. "Neither did she. She's the one that's remarkable."
"How are you? How do you feel?" Robin asked him.
"I'm fine. Just tired." Beast Boy said slowly. He pushed himself to a sitting position. Cyborg reached down and hand and grasped his arm to help him. Beast Boy looked at each of the anxious faces bordering the bed. "Is Raven all right?"
"She's just sleeping." Cyborg said.
"I owe her, big time." Beast Boy said somberly.
"We almost lost you." Robin said, his features stern. "The next time you feel like you got hurt, tell someone as soon as you can. If Raven hadn't gotten some flash that you were in trouble..."
"She found me too?" Beast Boy stared at Robin. "Wow."
"As I was saying, you tell someone. That goes for everyone here, too. I don't want this happening to anyone else" Robin met each set of eyes.
"Nor do I. That was much harder than I thought it would be." Raven's dry voice came from the next bed. "And I'd rather not do it again." All heads swiveled to her. She was sitting up. "No offense, Beast Boy."
"None taken, Raven." Beast Boy grinned tiredly.
"Don't get too cheerful." Raven said warningly, yet with a subtle twinkle in her dark eyes. "Remember, I know your innermost thoughts."
"Oh, erm, yeah. That's right." Beast Boy flushed an interesting combination of pink and green. His eyes flickered with uncertainty and a trace of discomfort.
"Unfortunately," Raven's lips curved slightly. "They're all about tofu."
Beast Boy's grin widened as he met her gaze.