See part 01 for disclaimer and pre-story notes
Part 02 – Raven's POV
He's been sitting out there for three days now… not a single thing that anyone has said to him has eased the pain in his heart.
I know I shouldn't worry; after all, he's much stronger than we all give him credit for, and I know in the end he'll pull through this.
… so why does it hurt me to watch him suffer like this?
Emotion is a vast, open sea, and I am the sailor in a yellow raft struggling not to capsize. Everything I do has to be balanced, has to be so controlled so as not to throw me helplessly into the waves. Meditation is my paddle, allowing me what little power it can.
I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm feeling things for him I shouldn't, things I didn't know I could feel for another teammate. My ocean becomes violent and hazardous around him, like a storm has moved in with every intention of destroying me.
Perhaps it is even more surprising that I am willing to admit these feelings; after all, I'm not one to readily admit a new emotion, and I'm even less likely to explore it…
…but for some reason, I want to know more; I want to identify this strange feeling in my stomach when I see him, this jump of my heart when he smiles at me. I want to examine everything, understand it so I know where to go from here.
The soft female voice behind me pulls me away from my musings and I glance over at Starfire, turning my attention back to the window a moment later.
"Might I join you in meditation? Or do you wish to be alone?"
I contemplate my answer for a few moments, taking into consideration the level of my patience today. Finally I sigh and hover a few feet to the left, giving her room to float next to me. She does so gladly, curling her legs up under her and bobbing up and down slowly at my side.
"Friend Raven, are you alright? You have been sitting here since before the sun came up; is something troubling you?"
"Just watching Beast Boy is all…" I reply, motioning with a gaze out the window to the green changeling sitting at the shore.
"I do not understand… if you are concerned for Beast Boy's well-being, why do you not go to his side?"
Her voice is grating on my nerves more than usual today, but I bite my tongue to keep from snapping at her; after all, she is only trying to help, and my bad mood is not her fault.
"I'm giving him space, Starfire… it's obvious that when he wants someone to talk to, he'll come to us; until then, he just needs time to grieve alone."
"We have all attempted to speak to him; all of us but you. Robin and I, we were thinking… perhaps, if YOU tried --"
"No. He needs time and space to work things out, and I'm going to give it to him."
"But you have both been sitting up since --"
"Starfire!" I snap, my patience finally reaching its breaking point. She jumps back and drifts down to the floor, looking down at her hands.
"Look, Star… I'm sorry. I'm just tired and need some time alone to meditate. If I need a friend, I'll come to you… alright?" I truly feel bad for snapping at her, but exhaustion is starting to set in and I'm not in the mood for her constant (if endearing) nagging.
She nods slowly, some of the hurt and confusion fading from her face as she stands up and stares at me. For a moment it looks as though she wants to say something more, but then she simply turns away and heads for her room without another word to me.
I pay her retreating back only a moment's attention before I return my gaze to the window, staring out into the falling rain at the small green figure huddled in a ball against the rocks.
He hasn't slept in days; I know he hasn't, because I hear his crying through the wall that separates our rooms.
I hear him because I haven't been sleeping either, even after the sobbing subsides and the silence returns to the night.
And until I know that he's alright, until he sleeps through the night without waking up to cry over HER… I won't sleep.
Two more days of watching him suffer by sunlight and hearing him weep by moonlight finally breaks my resolve and I journey out into the rain on the fifth day, giving him an hour of privacy before I approach him. I stand several feet away from him and observe in silence, waiting for an acknowledgement that I've joined him.
"What do you want?" When he finally does question my existence, his voice is weak and broken, a slight shift in the howling wind.
It makes my heart ache.
"You've been out here for days; come in before you get sick."
"What do you care?" His tone is not accusing or hateful, just resigned, "what does it matter anyway? She's gone. She's gone and she's never coming back…"
"She was a traitor… she's stabbed us all in the back, and did so with no remorse…"
"You don't know what you're talking about Raven! Terra's not a bad person! She made a mistake, so what?! We ALL make mistakes!" His voice is hoarse, but whether it's from a lack of use or an on-coming cold, I can't tell.
"She ATTACKED us, Beast Boy. She gave Slade all our personal secrets, let his armed guards into our home with the intention of having us killed, and ruthlessly betrayed you; how can you still defend her?!"
"MAYBE I LOVED HER, RAVEN! DID YOU EVER STOP TO THINK ABOUT THAT?!"
His words cut into me so deeply that I wince outright, eternally thankful that he is not looking at me as he speaks.
"I… I know, Beast Boy; I know you loved her, and maybe you still do… but if she ever cared for you, then she wouldn't want you to suffer like this…" I whisper, moving tentatively to sit at his side.
"I wish that I was dead, Raven… I really, truly do…"
She said "everybody loves you"
She says "everybody cares"
But all the things I keep inside myself
They vanish in the air
His tone is so weak, so lost and confused; he's lost all the energy of his outburst and now sits in a curled up ball, his face down against his knees and muffled by his pants.
"Garfield… please don't say that. We all care about you, we do… you're an important part of this team, and you're our friend."
"I can't do it again, Raven… I gave Terra everything I could; my friendship, my heart… and she threw it all away over one misunderstanding. What if it happens again? What if one of you guys leaves next? I don't think I could deal with it."
His fear is not an invalid one; after Goth and I broke it off, that same terrifying thought had haunted my every moment, awake or asleep. What if it happened again? What if it was one of my friends this time, who suddenly decided that I wasn't good enough and wanted me gone? His contemplations are different; rather than being cast away as I felt I would be, one of us would be the one to take the initiative to just get up and walk out.
"No one's going to go away, Beast Boy… do you remember when Goth broke up with me? Do you remember when you found me… found me crying?" This subject was hard for me to go into, as he had caught me off-guard by actually discovering my hiding place and realizing that I had been weeping.
After a moment of silence he nods and glances up at me, his eyes red and bloodshot from a mix of crying and lack of sleep. I'm sure my own eyes, drooping with several days and nights deprived of sleep, do not look any better.
"Yeah, I do…" he whispers to me, uncurling slightly from his protective position. "You were in the front seat of Cyborg's car, listening to that CD…"
"Evanescence…" I correct softly, drawing my own legs against my chest and wrapping my arms around them to keep warm against the bitter cold. How had he managed to sit out here for the last several days without freezing to death? "I was so scared… so scared that I wasn't going to be good enough anymore, like somehow Goth was just the beginning… do you remember what you told me, when you finally pried answers out of me?"
"Of course I do; I told you that we weren't going to make you leave like that, and I meant it. Raven, we're all a family… we all love you. No one's going to make you go away."
"That's what I'm trying to tell you, Beast Boy; just because Terra walked out and joined Slade doesn't mean we're all going to do the same. You can't allow one bad experience to mess everything up for you. Sometimes, you just have to keep faith and put one foot in front of the other, no matter how clouded the road is. If you lose your footing, we are all here to help you up and keep you moving; but we can't help you if you can't help yourself."
Wow… I can't remember having said that much to him (well, to ANYONE) in one setting. He stares at me after I'm done talking, a small spark of his old spirit starting to form in his eyes.
If you tell me that you'll wait for me
I'll say I won't be here
I want to say goodbye to you
Goodbye to all my friends
Goodbye to everyone I know
Then, just as quickly as the sparks appears, it dies. He sighs and looks back out towards the ocean, resting his chin on his knees.
"Terra and I didn't share something like you and Goth did… but we were close. I felt like she was the only one who understood me sometimes. Maybe I need to go away for awhile… get some of these thoughts out of my head; besides, my moping around isn't helping the team, and I don't want to be a burden…"
For some reason, the thought of him leaving sends a cold shudder of terror through my body. I resist the urge to grab him and hold him as I turn my attention on him fully.
"No! Beast Boy, it's alright! We'll wait as long as we have to; forever, if that's what it takes. You said it best, we're a family; we have to stick together, no matter what."
"It hurts to be here Raven… it hurts to be around this place, to sit at the shore knowing I did all this with her… everything reminds me of Terra…"
"I know it'll be hard at first… but you'll heal in time, and things won't always look so bleak…"
Can he hear the desperation in my tone? It can be heard loud and clear by my own ears, but is he so broken that he can't pick up on it?
"I don't want to be here anymore, Raven… I just don't want to hurt anymore…"
I open my mouth to speak, to say something… ANYTHING… to ease this pain in his heart. But nothing comes, as playing the role of a comforter is not something I'm used to. Instead I reach out, placing a hand on his shoulder.
He springs away from me as if I've slapped him, getting to his feet much faster than he should be able to considering that he's been practically immobile for days now.
"Don't touch me!" he screams, his voice high and sharp, "don't you touch me! You're just like her! You'll get close to me and touch me and tell me you love me, and then you'll leave too!"
His voice has cracked by the time he compares me to Terra, and at the end of his sentence his words trail off into choked sobs. I stare at him in horrified silence, for a moment my senses too numbed by his words to react. Then, something inside me snaps and I get to my feet as well, fire burning in my eyes.
"How dare you?! How can you assume that you are the only one that suffers?! She was my friend too, Beast Boy! I cared for her just as much as you did, even if it wasn't in the same way! We are ALL hurting because of her!"
He looks up at me, his sobs quieting for the moment. Wait a minute… if his weeping has calmed… then who can I hear crying?
I come to the startling realization that it is my own ragged breathing I can hear, that my chest is heaving up and down heavily as a result of the tears streaming down my own face. I'm… I'm crying…
"Garfield…" I choke, gulping back on a sob and wincing at the pain it brings to my throat, "please… we've lost so much… I've lost Goth, you've lost Terra… let's not lose each other too… no more loss…"
He pauses for a moment, and then steps forward to embrace me in a hug, his sobs starting anew.
"… no more loss…" he agrees softly, gripping me as if I have become a lifeline amongst a raging ocean; the last hope for survival. I close my eyes and clutch him back, burying my face against his hair and fighting the tears.
Night has long since fallen before we finally make the journey inside, thankful that our roommates – our family – have already retired to bed for the night. We make the journey down the hallway to the sleeping quarters in silence, and it is only when we reach his room that words are exchanged once more.
"Will you be alright?" I whisper, looking over his exhausted face. He smiles weakly and nods, the door to his room sliding open.
"I think I'll manage."
There is another moment of silence, more reflective than awkward, and then he disappears into his room and the door slides shut behind him. I make my way to my own room, abandoning my cloak and shoes on the floor and sliding smoothly between the sheets, straining my ears in the silence for the usual sounds of his sobs. Only the chirping of crickets reaches my senses and I relax into the pillow, fighting off the exhaustion until his snoring seeps through the walls. It is only then, knowing that he is sleeping, that I give in and slip into the deep, dreamless chasm of slumber.
Come and waste another year
All the anger and the eloquence are bleeding into fear
Moonlight creeping around the corners of our lawn
When we see the early signs that daylight's fading
We leave just before it's gone
And when I awake the next morning, my body and mind refreshed after the long days of worrying, waiting and grieving, the storm has broke and the sun is shinning down upon Jump City.
Merry Christmas 2004 everyone!