Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, or Hasbro's Nerf brand. I'm just borrowing them to play with for a bit. Then I'll put them back, and no harm will be done. Well, not much, anyway.
Chapter 1 – I Wish I Hadn't Done That
'The hell! I just don't get it.' I was thinking to myself, frustrated by yet another failed attempt to draw the dark, isolating Raven out of her shell. Well, "failed" may have been an understatement. "Spectacular disaster" came closer to doing it justice. 'Why is it that everything I try to get her to laugh – or even smile – causes her to try killing me?'
I listened as Raven stormed down the hall, past the closet I was presently hiding within. 'Good thing I usually don't use the same hiding place twice in a row,' I mused. 'Maybe I should go talk this over with Cyborg. Lord knows that my thinking hasn't gotten me the results I wanted. 'Sides, it'll give Raven a chance to calm down some.'
With that thought fresh in my head, I transformed into a small, green mouse, and slipped into the air vents, intent on finding my half metal friend.
Down in the garage of Titans Tower, Cyborg was under the hood of the T-Car, talking to himself. "What the hell was BB thinking when he did that?" Cyborg paused before continuing, "Well, he probably wasn't thinking, anyway."
He reached out, setting down one wrench and picking up another. As he did so, I slipped out of the air vent, and onto a stack of auto parts boxes. In my mousey form, I climbed down to the floor and started scampering over to the mechanized man.
"He couldn't just leave her alone, reading her book and drinking her tea, could he?" Cyborg was muttering to himself. "No. He has to throw the Nerf football at her, and then ask if she wants to come out and play. Stupid little grass stain might have lived if he had asked her, and then threw the ball. Even being dumb like that, he might have lived if he hadn't spilled her tea with the ball." Cyborg appeared to smile slightly. Typical that he'd be down here grumping about how I tend to act first, and think later.
'Hm. Should I? Why not,' I thought. I snuck up as close as I could to his left side, and transformed into my normal self just inches from Cyborg.
"Byaw!" screamed the mechanized man, as he jumped away from me and the T-Car. "What are you doing, BB? Trying to send me to an early grave?"
"Actually, no," I replied. "I came down here looking for some help. But not hiding from Raven or anything," I quickly added, seeing the suspicious look he was giving me. I laughed nervously. I hate it when I do that.
Cyborg looked me over. I was pretty sure that he was unhappy with me.
This was the first nice weekend of the spring, and I had wanted everyone to go out and play Nerf football with me. And when I went into the living room, I had just thrown the ball at Raven without thinking, and yelling, "Raven, catch!" at the same time. Of course I was too late, and when she looked up, she got a face full of Nerf football. She dropped her book on the floor. And then the ball knocked her tea off the table and onto her book, as it bounced away from her.
As soon as I saw this, I turned and ran as fast as I could until I came to the closet. I ducked inside to hide behind some coats that we seldom wore and a stack of old games. I could hear Star, Robin and Cy in the living room telling Raven that while I was a dumb-ass, I didn't deserve to get killed. Just that I had acted without thinking. Again.
Raven's response had been. "You're probably right. I won't kill him… Much."
Cyborg looked at me for another few minutes. I could tell that I was starting to squirm. My butt was itching and I began to think that Cy was going to tie me down, wrap me up and present me to Raven as a peace offering. "All right…." he started. "What did you want help with?"
While I was thinking about how to start, my mouth began talking. "Well, it's about Raven…"
"Oh no you don't, BB. I am not getting involved in keeping you away from Raven until she calms down!" He was walking towards me, shaking his fist. "You know better than to throw footballs at her when she's not looking!"
"Wait a second, Cyborg!" I protested. "Look, I probably deserve whatever she does to me when she finds me. And I don't want you lying to her or helping me hide this time. Right now I'll be happy if you don't go rat me out right now. Just listen for a minute." I looked down at my feet as I continued, "I like Raven a lot… As a friend… And I just want Raven to be a part of the group. I really want her to join us when we go do things, and I want her to participate. Not just fighting the bad guys, but when we play football, or go to the movies and stuff. But everything I try doing to get her involved makes her mad at me."
Silence. The kind of silence you hear at parties when you yell at the top of your lungs, "But I like sucking on bananas," and only the crickets reply.
"BB, do you know what you're asking?" Cy asked me quietly.
"No, not really," I responded. "I just want to do more things with her. You know, I'm her friend, but I don't think that we know each other as well as we can, and I actually want to know more about her. And spend more time with her…" I started to drift off, thinking about how pretty her eyes were when she shared one of her rare smiles with us.
"Earth to BB!" Cyborg said as he gently shook my shoulder. "You were zoning out there again," he stated. I gave him a weak smile, embarrassed that I had drifted off into space. Like always. Cyborg continued, "What have you tried getting her to do with us?"
"Well," I paused, trying as hard as I could to think of all the things I'd tried to get Raven involved in. "There's playing on the GameStation, football, breakfast…. Going out for pizza at the mall, um…." My mind fumbled, looking for a word. And not catching it. So I tried the next best thing, "And that thing where we go to the park and eat and talk and play football or throw the frisbee."
"You mean a picnic?" Cy asked.
I nodded vigorously. Cy seldom lost his patience when I was having problems putting words together. It was one of the reasons I looked to my friend as something closer to the older brother I never really had.
I watched as Cyborg scratched his chin. "Those all seem like things that you like to do, BB. Tell me, can you name six things that Raven likes to do?" he asked.
I bit my lower lip to try and get my brain into 'drive.' I started with, "Um…."
'Come on! It can't be that hard to come up with six things Raven likes to do! I only spend most of my day trying to get her to pay attention to me and join us!' I thought desperately to myself.
"Well," I continued. "She likes to read her books."
"Good. That's one. Five more."
"That's two, BB. Four more."
"Drink tea. Herbal tea. And yell at us when we disturb her."
"Okay, BB. Only two more to go." Cyborg said.
"Um. I know that she's helped you a lot on the T-Car. Does she like that? Does it count?"
"Yes, she likes to help me, and yes, I think we can count it. One more to go."
"And she likes being creepy." I finished.
Cyborg looked at me as though I was off my nut. Well, I probably am. He shook his head, and spoke again. "Fine, we'll call that six things that Raven likes to do. Are any of the things you've asked her to do things that Raven likes doing?"
I frowned. When Cyborg put it that way, I really only had one answer for him. "Well, no. Not really."
Cyborg looked back under the hood of the T-Car for a moment. He looked satisfied to me, and he closed the hood. Then he turned to me. And I knew the look he was giving me. It was the 'you really ought to try what I'm about to suggest' look. I hate that look. And then he sighed! 'Crap, he's really going to give it to me this time,' I thought.
"BB, maybe you should ask her to do one of the things you already know she likes to do. You know, meet her half-way," Cyborg said. I must have frowned. "Reading really isn't something that brings people together. Sure, you can do it at the same time as someone, but it's not really an activity you do together." He scratched his chin. "I'm not going to let both of you help me on the T-Car…."
'What he's really saying is that he doesn't trust me to not break it,' I thought.
"You don't do creepy. Not the way she does, anyhow. And yelling at yourself when you do something stupid is likely to get you a vacation at Arkham. Tea…." Cyborg said that last thoughtfully.
"No way, Cy! I am not asking her to share a cup of tea with me! That stuff is nasty!" I yelled. Then I caught on to the creepy comment. "What do you mean by me not doing creepy like she does! I'm not creepy!" I protested.
"Okay, BB. You're not really creepy. But when you start out on one of those theories about who Red X is…." Cyborg paused before continuing, "Well, that just leaves meditation, doesn't it?"
I could feel him look at me, as I pretended to be interested in my shoelaces. 'Wait, when'd that shoelace break?' I thought.
More long moments pass. I was pretty sure I couldn't get out of this one. But that never stopped me from trying, "Come on, Cyborg! Let's be reasonable here! One, I don't know how to meditate. Two, I can't set still for more than like five minutes at a stretch, and Raven meditates for hours. And three… Um… How would I ask her?"
Cyborg scratched his chin, trying to look like he was thinking. I got the distinct impression that he already know what he was going to say, but wanted it to look spontaneous. "You know," he started, "down at the YMCA there's a guy who runs a daily meditation clinic at noon. Perhaps you could start there. And in a few days – or weeks - maybe you could ask Raven if she'd like to join you. And you'd have something to talk about, too. Like why you tried it…"
Cyborg was interrupted by the door to the garage banging open. I turned around to see Raven, and not less than a dozen Nerf footballs surrounded by the black glow of her powers.
"You spilled my tea."