I'm Not Sleeping
Teen Titans copyright 2003 DC Comics
Song lyrics/song "I'm Not Sleeping" copyright 1995 Counting Crows
Original story idea/story copyright 2004 Sahra
Merry Christmas to all, but a special Christmas wish to Soraoathkepeer from your Secret Santa. Enjoy!
Notes: Part One takes place before Terra's arrival. Part two takes place directly afterwards. So please do not take "Spellbound" into account.
Part 01 – Beast Boy POV
I heard her footsteps long before the others were even aware that she had left her room. When you have ears as freakishly big as mine, you can often hear things that others can't.
Like this one time, we were all sitting together at the table, and Cyborg let out this really quiet fart that only I could hear. When it started to stink up the room, he tried to blame it on one of the others, but I knew who did it! When I pointed it out to him, he turned really red and hid in his room for the rest of the night! Man you should have seen it! But I'm getting off the subject, aren't I? Now, where was I…
So anyway, my ears perked up the moment I heard her door slide open. I glanced at the others, knowing that there was no way they had heard her; she could be in the same room and would go completely unnoticed until she spoke.
Unnoticed except for me; I always notice when Raven is around. There's something about her that just makes me want to stare at her. Now don't get me wrong! It's not that she isn't pretty; far from it in fact. I know there's more to it than that, because Starfire is pretty too and I don't like to stare at her nearly as much as I do Raven.
Here I go again, getting off track… so Raven was coming down the hallway, and it took all my strength not to move my attention from the videogame I was playing with Cyborg to ask her where she was going. I knew she was going out somewhere because it was a Saturday night, and her and that Goth kid ALWAYS go out on a Saturday night. It's always the same; she'll come out of her room with one of her nasty books, tell all of us that she's 'leaving for her usual café, and to not wait up for her return' or something like that. Then Robin will make sure she has her communicator, Starfire will tell her to have fun, Cyborg will nod, and I'll try not to tell her how much I hate her boyfriend (if you could call him that); and then she'll leave.
And until she comes home, until I hear her footsteps in the main room and I find an excuse to cover up coming downstairs to make sure she's okay, I won't sleep.
And some nights, even when she's at home and nowhere near HIM, I still won't sleep.
Tonight proves to be the same as every other Saturday night since she met Goth; her entrance, Robin's question, Starfire's cheery goodbye, and Cy's silent nod as he proceeds to kick my butt at "Super Ninja Monkeys 4".
Except for this time, I find the courage to speak up to her.
She stops and turns to look at me, that usual expression of annoyance on her face. My newfound courage suddenly disappears and I look the floor, then back at her as I speak again.
"Um… er… have fun…"
LAME! LAME LAME LAME! Why can't I just tell her what I feel? Why can't I go up to her and say, "Hey Raven, I hate your boyfriend and for some reason I can't stop staring at you so will you take a ride with me on my moped?"
Well, that's what I'd say if I had a moped, anyway…
She stares at me for a few moments, and as she speaks something in her eyes… changes. They soften as she replies, and her cheek twitches as if she holds something back at the last moment.
"I will, thank you. Please do not bother waiting up for me."
And with that, she's gone. I watch her receding back and sigh, then turn back to the TV.
"Another round?" I ask Cyborg, begging silently that he won't start teasing me about my 'obvious crush on Raven'. He seems to be feeling merciful tonight, because he simply nods and turns back to the game as well.
A few hours later I'm lying in bed, tossing and turning as I try to get to sleep. It's always like this, every Saturday night… she's been going out for months, and still I don't sleep.
For some reason, however, tonight is worse than ever before, and I finally give up and venture out to the kitchen for a warm glass of soymilk. The digital clock in the kitchen reads five minutes past two as I reach into the mini-fridge, pushing past containers of half-eaten takeout and a box with one slice of pizza left in it from tonight's dinner.
I peek into the box as I pull out the soymilk, wincing a bit. Some poor animal has been slaughtered and used to feed one of my roommates, minus this one piece that was overlooked. I shove the box aside, disgust welling up in my chest, and shut the fridge door before I start to feel any sicker.
After pouring some of the milk into a saucepan on the stove, I lean against the counter and stare out the large windows of the tower at the sleeping city. I do this often, especially when she's out; I wonder what she's doing, if she's indeed so 'having fun' as Starfire wishes.
Waiting for the moon to come and light me up inside
And I am here waiting for the telephone to tell me I'm alive
To most people, Raven seems about as fun-loving as a wet sponge; but then again, most people don't know her. If they could of only seen her when she first joined the titans, when we all first started fighting together, they would see how far she's come.
I remember this one time, right after one of our very first fights, we were swarmed by a team of reporters at the pizza parlor. Raven was the only one willing to speak her mind, saying things like 'we do not appreciate being your little side-show freaks' and 'leave us in peace or I shall MAKE you leave'.
The tabloids and papers slammed her for weeks after that, and even though she would never admit it, we could all tell that their mean words didn't exactly help her already-low self esteem. Things had died down eventually, but I think that she's still hurt by some of the things they say about her, even now.
The sound of boiling milk next to me pulls me away from my trip down memory lane and I grab the pan, pouring my milk into a glass and plopping down onto the couch. I dig the remote out of its usual home between the cushions and turn the TV on. The discovery channel pops up and I groan, starting to flip through the available programs.
After passing over the same show three times, all on different stations, it becomes clear that nothing is going to be on that as worth watching. I set the channel back to Discovery for Star before turning it off completely, taking a moment to bask in the silence and drink my milk.
"I can understand where Raven likes the silence… it's so loud around here that I can barely hear myself think most of the time… when I'm not making most of the noise, that is…" I whisper to no one in particular, running a finger along the rim of my glass.
My roommates assume that because I'm always loud and annoying that I either don't have a brain or fail to use it; this is not true. We five are both gifted and cursed with the powers we have, and we all deal with them in different ways. I chose to make a joke out of life so things don't seem so bleak, just as Starfire always sees the bright side of things in life. Robin and Raven both allow their angst to drive their lives, while Cyborg is a comfortable mix of all of us.
Pretending to be stupid, just as Raven pretends to be emotionless, is just a front I put up to protect myself.
I look down at my milk, and realized that I've drank it all without realizing it. I stand up and put the glass on the table, morphing into a cat to stretch the stiffness out of my limbs before I return to human form and head to the kitchen for more milk.
A soft beep, undetectable by anyone else in the tower but me, catches my ears. Someone is keying in their code at the front door. I look at the clock again, my quiet musings having taken longer than I expects; it's already forty-two minutes into three am.
I return to getting my soymilk, attempting to make it look as innocent as I can as she enters the main room, that same book tucked beneath her arm and her hood down to reveal her face. She pauses as she spots me and I give her a wave of welcome, pouring more soymilk into the saucepan.
"You're up early," she tells me, moving towards the stairs.
"You're home late," I counter, biting back on a smile as she stops walking and turns to glare at me.
"I don't see how that's any of your business…" she replies, one hand on her hip. I chuckle a bit and put my milk away in the fridge, returning my gaze to her.
"It's not any of my business, but then again, it's not any of YOUR business why I'M up…" I remind her, crossing my arms across my chest. She stares at me for a moment, as if in shock, and then a faint smile crosses her face.
"Who are you, and what have you done with Beast Boy?"
I laugh at her response and rub the back of my head, sticking a finger into my milk to test the temperature before picking up the pan and starting to pour my beverage into a cup.
"Hey! Just because I don't use my brain much doesn't mean I don't have one!" I exclaim. She doesn't give me an answer, and after a moment I glance up at her, "How did your date with Goth go?"
It surprises me when she doesn't turn away, or narrow her eyes, or do any of the things she usually does when I mention his name. Instead she glances to the floor, clutching the book against her chest.
"We… broke up…" I hear her voice catch and take a step towards her, reaching a hand out to set it on her shoulder.
"Raven…" I whisper, at a loss for anything else to say. Just as suddenly at that emotion appears it disappears and she pulls away, moving around me to the kitchen. Her book is deposited on the table and she fills her kettle with water, placing a teabag in a cup as she sets the water on to boil.
"I don't know why I dated him as long as I did, to be perfectly honest; all he ever spoke about was show tunes and how the rest of the world is so clueless as to the sufferings of others…"
"But did he mean something to you?"
"He meant enough to me that I shared something with him… something I can never get back…" My eyes widen at her confession and I turn to stare at her, my milk left abandoned for a moment on the table.
Well I heard you let somebody get their fingers into you
It's getting cold in California
I guess I'll be leaving soon
"Wow… Raven… I'm sorry…" I whisper, truly at a loss for what to say to console her. She shrugs and moves to stand at my side, picking up her tea kettle as it starts to whistle and pouring the steaming liquid into her cup.
"It's not a problem; remember, no matter how much the past hurts, we cannot change it. It is a part of my life, for better or for worse."
How does she do it? How does she just move on when something so vital to her has been taken away? If I were to ever find myself in that position, I don't think I could stand it…
"I thought I loved him, you know…"
Her voice is so quiet that for a moment I could swear I've imagined it. I turn to glance at her as she brings the cup of tea to her lips, taking a soft sip of it.
Why is her name the only thing I can say? I'm not exactly the best at comforting, but even humor won't kick in at this point. It's like she's stolen my words, taken away my ability to say anything at all.
She moves to the window without a word and I join her, watching as the stars start to fade and the daylight first shows itself, turning the horizon from pitch black to midnight blue. A light coating of frost forms on the window where we are standing, results of our gentle breathing.
Come and waste another year
For several minutes we stand in silence and I resist the urge to look over at her, to pry into her privacy in search of the answers to the questions burning in the back of my throat. Cyborg is always telling me to leave her alone, and for once I want to do just that; leave her be to disclose information at her own free will. But damn my curiosity…
The ability to use words comes back as the silence grows longer and I clear my throat, keeping my stare directed out the window as I speak.
"So… how long ago did you... you know…"
"… tonight. He broke up with me right after it happened. He said I 'wasn't good enough in bed to bother with dating anymore'. That's why I was out so late."
My fist clenches at my side and I glance over at her, seeing for the first time the red, glossy look of her eyes. She's been crying, most likely before she came home.
If I ever see Goth again, be it on the street or at a club, nothing will stop me from beating some karma into his scrawny little body. Raven and I have been teammates for over a year now, and I don't think I've ever seen even a hint of emotion from her. To know that this jerk made her cry, took something from her and then tossed her aside, infuriates me.
"Raven… I'm sorry. I don't know what else I can say for you other than that. We're all here for you, if you ever need to talk…"
"I don't even know why I'm telling you all this. It's none of your business anyway, and I don't want to pull you into it."
"I'm your friend Raven; I want you to come to me if you ever need to talk. I might not be the best at conversations, but I'm here to listen when you need me. We're all here to listen, for that matter…"
All the anger and the eloquence are bleeding into fear
Moonlight creeping around the corners of our lawn
She glances over at me then, the cup of tea still cradled in her hands. As I watch, a single tear slides down her cheek, the last of the moonlight catching her face and causing it to glow with a heavenly radiance. I reach up and brushed the tear away, shocking the both of us, and smile at her.
"We're all here Raven, for better or for worse; after all, we're a family now. We have to help each other."
She stares at me again, a look that can only be described as confusion plastered across her face. Then a soft, barely audible smile slips over her lips, and she turns back to stare at the city once more. I direct my own gaze out the window as well, sipping slowly at my lukewarm beverage.
We head to our separate rooms at ten minutes to six am, just as the stars finally start to fade and the rising sun splashes the sky with a rainbow of color. We don't say a single word to each other between her smile and the point when sleep calls to us, but as I am entering my room, I hear her say my name, my REAL name, just as softly as if it had been just a puff of breath.
I turn to look at her, eyes drooping with exhaustion.
"… thank you…"
She doesn't wait for my response, disappearing around the corner to her own room before I can say anything. I stand staring at the spot where she had been, a tired smile touching my face.
"You're welcome," I reply, knowing she doesn't hear me. Then I slip into my own room, the door sliding shut behind me. I curl up on my bed and close my eyes, wrapping my arms around my pillow.
When we see the early signs that daylight's fading
We leave just before it's gone
And for the first time in what feels like forever, I sleep.