A roar split the crevice, and to the surprise of the Kraken... he hadn't been the one to make it. All four of it's red glowing eyes opened wide in shock, and it spun around. The roar had echoed throughout the cavern, it was impossible to tell where it had come from.
"Where are you!" it roared itself. "Where are you hiding!"
And then another sound filled the watery crevice. Not a roar, but a great and powerful noise. A music, almost. Though the Kraken was unable to identify it, any marine biologist on Earth could have told him instantly what it was.
A whale's song.
And then another sensation gripped the Kraken. A sense of foreboding. To it's surprise, it felt that it was being... drawn back... like it was caught in a current. And that sense of foreboding just got a hell of a lot worse. The Kraken turned... to find itself gazing down into the abyss of darkness.
An abyss of darkness lined with seven-inch long, razor sharp teeth.
The great whale that was Beastboy roared and launched itself forward, it's mouth open, sucking in water even as he charged the Kraken, drawing it back with the sheer power involved in opening it's mouth. The Kraken, totally unprepared, flailed it's great tentacles as the green sperm whale that was his opponent lunged forward and sunk it's teeth hard into the Kraken's black skin, digging in. The Kraken let out an ear-piercing screech, paining Beastboy's ears even as the oily, purplish blood of the behemoth burned his mouth. It tasted almost acidic, but he held on, and even bit down more deeply.
The Kraken roared, slapping at Beastboy's head awkwardly with it's barbed tentacles, slashing away at his green skin, but in his greater size the damage was negligible, though it hurt abysmally. He ignored it, biting down the pain and biting down harder on the Kraken, until he nearly split the great beast in half.
Beastboy, however, wasn't prepared for the Kraken's counterattack, and was blasted clean off as the unholy squid shot forth a blast of crimson energy from it's eyes, nearly directly inside of his mouth. Even he couldn't hold on after an attack like that.
"You insufferable fool!" roared the Kraken, taking look at his injuries. The water was fairly thick with his oily blood, and Beastboy idly wondered how much left he could possibly have in his body. Then it swung out it's tentacles and charged Beastboy. He cursed, dodging aside, and lashed out with his sharp teeth again, missing the body and gripping one of the Kraken's tentacles. He yanked hard but failed to tear it from the beast's body, and was rewarded by another energy blast to his side, which hurt like hell.
Beastboy growled darkly and sank lower into the trench, dodging the Kraken's attacks and slipping out of his form for something smaller, that of a dolphin. Maintaining a large form took a lot of energy out of him, he needed to conserve all of it if he was going to win. And he didn't have a choice now. He wasn't letting this unholy son of a sea cow take Raven. Never.
So his first plan, to assume the form of a squid's natural enemy and eat it, was out.
Fortunately, Beastboy had a plan C.
He tended to start with B. It sounded cooler.
Beastboy dove down low, heading towards a small natural cave he'd noticed earlier with his sonic hearing. The Kraken was in hot pursuit, screaming for vengeance, and close on his heels. Perfect. He ducked inside, but this time the Kraken lashed out with it's tentacle and caught him before he could hit, grabbing him around his midsection and hauling him close.
"Insufferable fool! I see now that a quick death is too good for you!" it roared, tightening it's grip, crushing Beastboy in it's tentacled grasp. "If you care so much about the spawn, you can join her!"
Beastboy didn't reply, he just shifted form again. He turned into an eel. The tentacle tightened around him, half expecting a change, but Beastboy had been expecting the Kraken to be expecting his change. And his eel face gave a grin to the Kraken as a tiny spark shot across it's eyes.
The sort of eel Beastboy had transformed into?
Electric eel, of course.
And even the Kraken was not immune to the power of raw electricity being shot throughout it's nervous system. It roared in pain, releasing Beastboy, who shot forward, morphing into a dolphin to slam his hard nose right into the Kraken's head, right between the eyes. It roared angrily, pain and rage blinding it as it lashed out, striking at the green dolphin, as Beastboy dodged aside. The blow meant for him struck rock instead, knocking down part of the wall. The great beast, cheated of it's prize, lashed out again at Beastboy, who nimbly dodged aside again. And again, the Kraken struck rock.
Were it less rage-filled at that particular moment, focused on it's prey and little else, the Kraken might have noticed how Beastboy had been cleverly leading it into this ambush. Had been doing his utmost to enrage the monster to the point where it struck anything green, and where Beastboy had cleverly stood directly in front of the cavern walls. Specifically, at key weak points he'd noticed. And now that a number of them had been shattered like so much sandstone...
The walls started to rumble, and the whole underwater cave shook threateningly. At first the Kraken didn't notice, busy trying to slay the insufferable Beastboy. But a great chunk of rock suddenly flew past his gaze and he realized the precariousness of the situation.
"What? Whaa.. no! No this cannot be!"
And Beastboy shot past the Kraken towards the cave's mouth, shifting into a swordfish for maximum speed. It can, and is, he thought. Take this, you bastard.
The Kraken let loose one last ear-piercing roar as the entire cavern collapsed like a series of dominos, allowing tons of rock to come crashing down and finish off the great beast. And Beastboy alone managed to slip out of the cave, though even he was rewarded with a few bruises from falling boulders he hadn't been able to fully dodge in time, and one particularily bad one had clipped his tail.
Still, as he glanced back at the cave. He had made it out, and the Kraken hadn't.
Many miles from the island of Mofire, still further away from the city of Jump there was a small rocky island by the name of Blackrock. So aptly named because it was just that, a stretch of black semi-volcanic rocks that jutted out of the sea into a large formation. It was considerably smaller than Mofire, and had no real landmarks atop of it. The closest thing it had to a sign of human touch was a crudely drawn sentence in English that said for visitors not to harm a certain giant moth larva that no longer inhabited the island. Nobody bothered with it. It wasn't exactly a tourist trap.
But it was land, and it was somewhere to sit down and rest, and that was exactly what Aqualad and Raven were now doing.
Raven's face was a bright crimson, so much so that she was on the verge of confusing passing craft with a signal light. And the source of her discomfort was sitting a respectful distance away, trying to raise Titan's East on his communicator. So far below the surface, Aqualad had been forced to breath for her, in a sense. His body's gills allowed him to draw oxygen from seawater, after all. He simply passed it to her, via the mouth. Hence the kissing. And of course Aqualad, ever the gentleman, had offered her the opportunity to repay him with a slap. She'd turned it down. She'd known the situation had called for it, he'd only done what he could to get her back to the surface, and she was grateful.
But the kiss...
Raven turned her head so Aqualad couldn't see her expression and blanched. Honestly, that was horrible. His lips were cold and clammy and wet, which wasn't surprising given his heritage. But, honestly...!
Aqualad kissed like a fish!
"Good news!" said the dark-haired Atlantean, pocketing his communicator. "Titan's East are on their way. They've already contacted the main Titans, they should be here about the same time."
"Good," she managed to breath out.
"Listen you gonna be alright here?" asked Aqualad. "BB's been gone a long time, I should go after him. Now that you're safe we can organize a better attack for this Kraken fellow."
"I'll be fine," she said tonelessly. She'd rather have gone with Aqualad to save Beastboy but had to concede her powers and her condition made her helpless fighting an underwater opponent. There was nothing she could do now.
"Alright," he said, crouching and preparing to leap down off the rocks and back into the water. "I'll be back in... hey... what's that?"
Raven glanced down, following his line of view, and spotted it instantly. After all, purple and green were both very bright colors, especially against a dark ocean backdrop. The sun was starting to set, and they stood on the shadowy side of Blackrock isle. But the figure was visible in seconds. And identified in far less.
The mystic Raven inhaled sharply, a hand over her mouth. "Oh no, Beastboy..."
Aqualad wasted no time, diving into the water and picking up his friendly rival, helping to carry him up onto the rocks and gently place him on the ground so they could both check his condition. His uniform was torn and ripped in a multitude of places, and underneath that all of his green skin was covered in darker green bruises. He looked like a great bloody mess, and Raven had only seen him like this once before. After his confrontation with the were-beast Adonis.
"Beastboy... you damn fool," she muttered, placing her hands over his chest and closing her eyes to concentrate. A soft bluish-white glow engulfed her fingertips, then spread out into Beastboy. At once, his wounds closed, his body repaired itself, and in moments, he was in perfect health. Or at least, she hoped so. She'd never tried to heal the sheer amount of damage before that Beastboy had suffered from. She hoped it was enough.
Beastboy's eyes fluttered, and he peered up at the now-relieved faces of Raven and Aqualad.
"I won..." he managed to croak out, before darkness overtook his gaze again and he blacked out, exhausted but thankfully no longer hurt.
Beastboy sat now, on a nearby rock, having recovered enough of his strength to sit upright and breath easily. Raven had done a remarkable job of healing his wounds in the battle with the Kraken. He was grateful. It'd been a stupid thing for him to do, try to take on the Kraken alone. Luck had been a prevailing factor that allowed him to survive. And even Aqualad's congratulations hadn't helped.
They were saying good-bye now to Aqualad, who planned to meet up with Titan's East and explain the situation was contained, then head back with them to Steel City.
And, as Beastboy glanced over towards his teammate and his rival, he spotted them sharing a hug, and hung his head in pity. He should've known. Letting Aqualad rescue Raven had been a mistake on his part. He should've done it himself. But then they might've failed...
Beastboy growled darkly, his feelings for Raven conflicting with his honest desire to see her safe and happy. Ultimately, the second pair won out, just as they had below the surface of the water. If she was happier with someone else, if someone else could make her smile...
... he'd just have to learn to accept that.
Unfortunately, had Beastboy been closer, he might've heard what Aqualad and Raven were saying. As it was, he was jumping to conclusions again. Part of his impulsive nature.
Raven had been thanking Aqualad for aiding them, offering him a hug as a sign of gratitude, not because she had any feelings for the Atlantean. Nor did he have any, it seemed for her, beyond good friendship. They were simply too… unalike. And beyond that, he knew now how Beastboy felt. And he prided himself on never coming between two people with an obvious bond like they shared.
So Aqualad gave Raven a friendly hug, bid her farewell, and dove back into the cool waters, kicking his legs to launch himself forward and using a little telepathy to locate some friendly fish, asking for signs of the T-Sub.
And Raven gently wrapped her arms around her shivering cold shoulders. Still in her torn bathing suit, her cloak still left back on Mofire island, and soaking wet, she was freezing. So it was she, with great reluctance, made her way back to Beastboy to wait until the other Titans arrived and she could return to Titan's tower and change.
Until then… she had to grit her teeth and swallow her pride.
Without so much as a word Raven sat down beside Beastboy and gently took one of his hands, guiding his arm so it looped about her shoulders, then rested her head beside his.
"Don't get any ideas," she said in a dangerous tone. "I'm cold, that's all."
Beastboy reluctantly nodded, but tightened his grip a little anyway. If this was as close as he could ever get to Raven, he might as well make the most of it. An awkward silence followed, until Beastboy broke it.
"Raven, listen I… I'm sorry."
Now -that- was unexpected. She lifted her head. "For what?"
"Everything," he replied with a sigh. "Everything that happened today was all my fault. That stupid bet, convincing you to come out here, letting that Kraken take you and nearly get you killed."
Was he serious? "C'mon Beastboy that wasn't your fault… any of it. And when it came down to it you and Aqualad…"
He stiffened at the name.
"… saved me. I'm grateful."
"I still shouldn't have made that bet with you," he said morosely. "It's what started this whole mess."
"Why did you make that bet, anyway?" she asked.
"I wanted to see you smile."
"Because I saw how sad you were after Malchior had left," said Beastboy. "I saw how you wanted to be able to smile, to laugh, to have a chance to do things like a normal girl. So I promised myself, then and there… I'd help you if I could. Even if I had to drag you kicking and screaming," he added, with just a hint of mischief.
Silence reigned for a short while then, as Beastboy and Raven both pondered the statement. It was true, realized Raven. Beastboy had always been trying to help her feel normal. And, in a sense, she welcomed it. Because of her heritage she'd always felt distance from normal people, always felt she had to hide away because she was 'dark' and 'creepy.' But Beastboy was her almost polar opposite. He kept her stable, he kept her sane in some ways. He reminded her that, regardless of who she'd been born, it was her choices that shaped who she was. That no matter how creepy she was, she didn't need to lock herself away inside of her room forever.
"But I guess… I guess you don't need me anymore," said Beastboy, turning his head away. His eyes were moist but he stubbornly refused to cry. "Aqualad seems to make you smile a lot more easily than I do. You must like being around him so I'll… I'll… I just stop bothering you, I guess," he said.
And in that, instant, understood exactly what was going on. Why Beastboy was acting so strange, why Aqualad had even become his rival in the first place. It wasn't simply a matter of pride to him. He saw him as a threat… to her. To them.
And she very nearly laughed aloud at his folly. Honestly, how thick-headed can he be.
Raven chose her next actions carefully.
Gently, she wrapped her arms around Beastboy's waist, giving him a warm, heartfelt hug the likes of which he hadn't received since the night Malchior had been banished back into the book. No mistaking this gesture for seeking simple warmth. This was coming from the heart, and Beastboy was doubly shocked. After the way he'd been treated after that night, he'd assumed that, no matter who'd been outside the door of Raven's room she would've hugged them. And it only happened to be him out of pure luck. But now…
… maybe he'd jumped to conclusions again.
"Raven…?" he asked hesitantly.
"Thank you," she whispered softly. "For everything. For saving my life and, more importantly, saving my soul."
They were like that for a very long time then, taking comfort in one another's arms, just enjoying the closeness of one another. And though neither yet fully understood the bond that had brought them together, they could both feel it. And feel how strong it was.
Raven was the first to end their embrace, feeling much warmer now that she'd dried off a little. She stepped away from Beastboy, peering out at the horizon, waiting for the T-Sub and the Titans.
"Just don't bug me too much, or I'll re-introduce you to Anger personally… got it?" she said over her shoulder, her words devoid of malice. Both of them knew it was an empty threat. And so Beastboy didn't reply. He simply nodded. And smiled. And though her back was to Beastboy, Raven allowed a tiny smile to touch her lips as well. Despite all the pain and trouble today had brought, with their trip to the beach and Aqualad, with the Kraken and Beastboy's heroic battle, despite all of the suffering some good had come out of it.
I'm glad I took that bet, she thought to herself.
It was dark by the time the Titans finally returned home to their T-shaped tower. After Raven had bid them all a good-night and Beastboy had escorted her back to her room, helping carry her cloak and other things. And she'd smiled and closed the door, and they'd both gone their separate ways, thinking of one another.
And down the hallway, three pairs of eyes had watched in disbelief. Well, at least two of them. The third pair was glinting brightly in a mischievous-like glee.
"I believe now is the time to "pay up"?" asked Starfire innocently, holding out her hand.
Reluctantly, Cyborg and Robin dug into their pockets and pulled out a crisp five dollar bill each, placing them in Starfire's hand. After all, neither had thought Beastboy would be intact by the end of the day, they'd both placed their bets accordingly. And Starfire had bet against them, and won. The Tamaranian Princess giggled as she floated down the hall towards her own room to place her newly acquired wealth away.
And night descended on Titan's Tower, ending an eventful but not fruitless day.
Blackrock island, though named by me, was the same island where Starfire left behind Silkie in 'Can I Keep Him?' I intend to reference it more in future stories.
Todd Fan: Glad you enjoyed that, I tried to be as accurate as I could.
Ray1: A little profane but it works for me. Hope you enjoyed the ending.
Seth Turtle: An interesting suggestion, and it does seem to work in certain instances. Much obliged. I agree, BB's powers in the show tend to be… er… changeable. But so are most of the Titans, based on situation to situation. Still, it -is- a kid's show and a cartoon.
DarkKnight92: Glad you've enjoyed the story and my previous works.
Yomiori-Wolfdemon: Silly BB. I do hope you enjoyed the ending, I did my best to make it meaningful while still sticking to oh-so-feared continuity.
Ultimate R-Man: No doubt you already figured out what it was for, I didn't exactly try to misdirect there. Glad you're enjoying the story. I agree, depends on the show situation, but it's a kid's show and a cartoon, so we can accept it, right? It's just enjoyable to watch.
Scathac's Warrior: Well it ain't over yet, and it is now. Still don't think it's horrible? I sure do. Oh, and to comment on your profile, Raven -is- apparently somewhat telepathic (see Haunted) and draws her last name of Roth from Arella Roth, her mother. But she has no real first name apart from Raven.
Benny2000: Rumble! I agree, I sometimes root for the underdog too. And I try to portray Beastboy as accurately as possible. But if he's gonna goof off I'm gonna knock him around a bit. It's how it works.
Elrohir: I enjoyed that line myself. Generally, when I write Aqualad, I ask myself "what would I say in that situation?" Blue skin? Scales, you mean perhaps? Heh. As you can see, no reunion here. Fearful continuity. Maybe another story.
Dust-In: Little point now, since as you can see this is the end. No sign of the Titans East, but they wouldn't be much help anyway. I suppose I can maybe see a similarity between Vash and Beastboy. Maybe. But I rarely enjoy crossovers that have very little in common, and Trigun and Teen Titans have close to nothing in common.
Staticsponge123: Nice review… bye!
MetalDragon1: Well there's the final chapter, hope you enjoyed the whole thing.
ViciousAssassin: Well seems you were mistaken, but I was tempted to write it that way too. At least about the Kraken. Seems you were right, however, on who won out in the end. Lucky BB.