He took her hand. A chill raced up her spine. She hadn't expected that.
"Raven, you ok?"
He was pretty worried. She could tell because now her hand was in the throes of a death grip. It hurt - but, for some reason, she didn't care. It was actually helping her relax - all of the things she had just been thinking about were melting away into the background as her mind started to notice the pain...
"Raven, you hearin' me?"
She was hugging him before she even realized it.
"Loud and clear, BB. Loud and clear..."
Beast Boy didn't say anything. He didn't have to; didn't want to. Even when she put her head on his shoulder, he kept silent. It had been a long day, and everyone was tired. She just needed a pillow, was all.
"Beast Boy?" Her voice was now a quiet mumble, that half-yawn, half-drugged voice one speaks in when not far from a deep sleep. It was wierd - just a moment before, she'd seemed broken down; a train wreck, all wrought up and twisted in the memories of a painful past. He had clearly seen the tension in her body. But when he'd grabbed her hand, it was if he'd opened floodgates, and now all her pain had escaped the prison of her mind and was rowing out of the bay to the ocean.
"Yeah, Raven?" He realized he wasn't that far from sleep, either. Figures. His mind always decieved him, racing long after his body passed the checkered flag and puttered to a stop.
"Thank you." He watched her lips form a shy smile as she drifted off into slumberland. All the tension he had sensed in her had vanished.
He looked off out over the bay as his eyelids realized the weight of the salty oceanic air. The sun was dipping below the horizon, and the glow of the city lights from behind was growing; a beacon calling him home.
He was snoring before even the sunlight had gone away.
"Oh, it is almost The Noon Time! Can we not-"
"Leave em alone, Star," said Cyborg. "After what went down, I'm surprised my power cell recharged so fast."
He sat down and took an enormous bite of his breakfast steak. "Oh, dang, that tastes so good..."
"They got the worst of it. We got the leftovers." Robin poured himself a glass of milk. "Even I would still be asleep."
Cyborg looked at his masked leader. "Wow."
"Yeah," Robin replied, ignoring the sarcasm. Raven had more of a knack for it, anyways...
The light was getting brighter. The sound was nearing its peak.
Throw up the shield, THROW UP THE SHIELD!
A blur of green shot across her path-
"Beast Boy!" Raven woke with a start, but didn't jump up. Suddenly, a blinding light slammed into her eyes. Shielding them with her hand, she looked around as much as she could lying down. This wasn't her room. Where was she? Wherever it was, it smelled like an aquarium in the middle of July. And who was that holding her waist? She looked down.
Then she remembered.
As the sun rose over the roof of Titans Tower, Raven closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
WHAM! The table shook from the impact of Cyborg's fist.
"I can't believe I couldn't get a good shot off..." he growled.
"It all happened too fast. There was nothing we could've done." Robin finished his glass of milk in one gulp.
"I am just glad that he ran in front of her. I do not believe I could ever shake from my mind the memory of losing another dear friend." Seemingly sensing something, Silkie attacked Starfire's face, making her feel a little bit better. However, the image of not having Raven around was clearly eating at her mind.
"Yeah, he came out of nowhere, man. I don't think I've even seen Raven move that fast." Cyborg drowned his thoughts in another huge bite of steak.
"He wanted to protect her. It was instinct." Robin tossed the empty milk carton in the trash.
"Yeah, instinct. That boy's animal side comes in handy more times than I thought." The steak finished, Cyborg moved on to the breakfast ham.
Starfire sat down, sullen. Silkie tugged at her ear, but it didn't charm her this time. The silence as Cyborg chewed his meal and Robin now poured himself a glass of orange juice was deafening. Abruptly, Starfire got up and headed towards the Titans' rooms.
"Star, leave em alone. They'll probably be asleep for about a week or so, anyways. If I'd been hit by something like that, I would have been out of commission for a month, or maybe even longer," said Cyborg. He hadn't even moved his head, but he had caught her. Starfire sat back down, looking at the ground. Looking at the reflection of the light...
"Let's just be glad they're still with us, and leave it at that," Robin replied. "In fact-"
He got 3 new glasses, put the orange juice back, and got out the sparkling apple cider. He poured the drinks.
As the sunlight began to filter through the windows, the three raised their glasses and toasted their two friends; still alive and well.
She wanted to cry out, but she couldn't. The pain was just too much. And it wasn't just her pain she was feeling. There was someone else beside her; someone else was sharing the suffering with her. She tried to open her eyes to see who it was, but the light-
"Huh?" Raven stirred. The slow lull of waves below her pleaded with her tired eyelids to fall back asleep. But the eyelids did not heed the cries, and instead stayed open. She couldn't even remember falling asleep. She barely knew where she was. She rolled her head over to hr other side - and eyes met. His smile wiped away all the questions in her mind.
"Mornin', sleepyhead." His voice was a whisper amongst the whipping breeze, but she heard it loud and clear.
"Still tired?" she asked him comfortingly, her voice betraying the similar level of fatigue she felt.
"Yeah," he replied. "Still can't believe I was able to drag myself all the way up here."
She remembered again that he was holding her at the waist when he started to pull that arm away and she instantly grabbed it.
"No, BB - I don't mind."
He returned the arm. She felt relieved. All the emotions - the unease, the fear, the tension, the loneliness - everything that could have a negative effect on her had begun to rush in when she felt his embrace loosen. When returned the embrace, they all washed away. Still, something perturbed her. She looked at his embracing arm around her waist again.
"We didn't - ?" she inquired.
"What? No, Raven, no... I may have wanted to be an actor, but I never wanted to be Colin Farrell."
Raven smirked. She'd been waiting for him to tell a joke...
It hadn't even been a day, and yet Starfire was worried sick. Raven had promised she'd go shopping today, but she knew it would not happen now. Even Silkie, trying in vain, could not rouse a smile to Starfire's face anymore.
A knock on the door awoke her from her thoughts. She knew who it was.
"You may enter, Robin."
He came into the room. Something was not right; something didn't seem like Starfire.
He reached over and turned on the light.
"Don't hide in the darkness, Star. They're going to be fine. Don't regret the actions you didn't take."
Cyborg, passing by, overhead him, and popped his head in to add an addendum: "Yeah, Starfire - don't be like me." He quickly left the two alone, respecting that the two wished to conversate alone.
Starfire turned back to Robin and immediately threw herself upon him, weeping and crying out all of which could not have been said before in time. She knew Robin to have a normally cold personality - but the way he just stood there, silent as a mouse while she bawled her eyes out - this was the side of him that she favored. When he was this way, one sentence from his mouth was all that it took to make her feel happy.
"They'll be fine, Starfire," he said, twiddling a lock of her delicate hair between his fingers. Smiling down at her tear-streaked eyes, he then fully embraced her, bringing his heart to hers in order to help calm her down. "I promise."
Swept up in his embrace, Starfire laid her head upon his shoulders and smiled warmly to herself. He had done it again.
He could feel the burn tearing through his flesh. He opened his eyes and tried to ignore the pain while he reached out in a vain search. But he couldn't find her - the light-
"Raven?" Beast Boy looked down at her eyes. They shimmered in the sunlight, and the fact that they matched the color of her hair made her face even more striking. She looked up at him, and he was now looking directly into those eyes. And no longer were they eyes. They were paintings - paintings that crossed the edge of time.
"Raven, I'm sor-" She reached up and put her finger to his lips, shushing him.
"What should you be sorry for, Beast Boy? You didn't do anything wrong. There was no way you could have stopped that."
The sun had now risen to the point in the sky where the sunlight fully escaped the dam of his back and poured over onto Raven. Even in the blinding brightness of it, she still emitted a glow of her own. She reached up and traced his chin while she warmly smiled and spoke to him again. Her voice had its usual dryness, but now it sounded as soft as silk to his ears.
"But if you're sorry about not being able to get out of the way in time; don't be. That was the most heroic thing you've done. We may be out of commission for a while, but at least we're still here."
He nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
He grasped her upstretched hand as the waves below lapped against the rocks of their island.
The sparks were ricocheting everywhere. WHY COULDN'T HE MOVE?!? Something was holding him back. Then it started: the whining. The pain coursed through him, setting every part of him on the brink of flammable. He couldn't do anything. His circuits - something green - the light-
As soon as his door closed, Cyborg's calm and collected composure dropped like a stone. He had to grab his arm, the components in it were shaking so badly.
How could something so trivial have gotten all of them so worked up like this?
It made no sense. Then again, he didn't make sense, really... C'mon - a half-human, half-machine? That wasn't normal at all.
He sighed. "Guess these types of things have to happen sometimes," he said to himself.
Sometimes. These types of things happened to them on a daily basis. What in the world made this one so different?
He turned on the light. His left arm beeped.
He looked at his power cell status. 50 already?
He sighed again. "Stupid thing wsn't meant to take such an abuse," he muttered.
He silently walked over to his computer area and turned on the Recharger. It would take a moment to warm up.
"Might as well surf the net while I'm waiting," he said, turning on his computer.
After about fifteen minutes, Cyborg went into standby mode while he recharged.
Robin let Starfire relax in his arms. He didn't tell her, but he had been crying under his mask when she was bawling into his chest. Heck, his hands were still shaking after what happened.
How had he even been able to move after that?
He didn't understand it. He was just glad the people he loved and cared about were okay.
In an instant, it was over. The light, the whining; but the pain - the pain still remained. It cut through his mask and dove straight into his eyes. The light-
The light was gone.
In its place-
Two bodies. They weren't moving.
One was draped in a blue cloak. The other had green hair.
The pain slicing through his eyes sped straight into mind, burning like an ember soaked in gasoline.
This was not happening. No. This wasn't happening. Not more. Please, not more.
"Huh?" Robin looked down. Starfire had gripped his shoulders and drawn herself closer to him. He smiled, and cradled her head, petting her hair.
When it happened, all she could do was cover her face. She barely registered the blur of green of that slammed into her. By that time, the pain had overtaken her. And the light-
She opened her eyes. He was still holding her. It was evening, and the light was fading in the sky. It was starting to feel colder.
Heh. He was still sporting that smirk. She felt like she could wake up to that smirk every day. That little gap-toothed smirk...
"I guess we're gonna keep dozing off like this until we recover," said Beast Boy.
"Yes, it appears that we will be doing that," she replied.
"You didn't happen to bring a blanket up here, did you?"
"Always the joker."
"No, seriously, Raven, do we-"
She clearly surprised him when she rolled over so she was now facing him, embraced him, then threw her cape over them.
He ran his hand through the free lock of hair draped over the front of her face as the cape settled down atop the two of them.
"Will this fit both of us?"
He nodded, and she nuzzled her head against his shoulder while he cradled it in his arms.
The shockwave threw them all backwards. It was impossible for even him to determine how fast and how far he was being sent.
Just let them be safe. Please. Just let them be safe.
He didn't know how long he'd been lying there before he rebooted. But he knew what he saw when he did.
"NO! RAVEN! BEAST BOY!" He tried to get up - but his circuits wouldn't respond. The force of that shockwave must have sent them all wonky; they worked - but didn't.
MOVE. MOVE! C'MON! MOVE!
The thoughts were not only directed at himself, but at the lifeless bodies that lay about fifteen feet in front of him.
He struggled to remember what happened along with the shockwave. The light-
BEEP BEEP! BEEP BEEP!
Cyborg awoke in a quite startled manner.
BEEP BEEP! BEEP BEEP!
The recharge was complete. He'd apparently fallen asleep while standing up surfing the net. He knew that was gonna happen on and off for a while because of it.
He still didn't know how they all survived that.
He looked at the clock. Almost dinnertime. He remembered Robin saying about him and Star getting their own meal later.
"Dang, and I wanted cook a huge meal tonight..."
Oh well. At least he could do that still...
He opened his door, shut off the light, and headed for the kitchen.
He heard the whine and saw her standing there as the light grew brighter.
But she wasn't moving. It was almost as if she'd been paralyzed. She was clearly trying to move, but couldn't. Same with the others.
The whine suddenly sped up. No! He was NOT going to lose her, too!
Changing into a cheetah, he dashed in front of her, knocking her partially out of the way.
She'd called him "BB."
Her voice was quiet, close. She was now lying on top of him; his right arm was still around her waist.
"Why'd you do it?"
He put his head back and sighed. There were so many reasons...
"I-I didn't want to lose you, Raven - I didn't want to lose you. Because-"
The way she looked at him at that silence, however, convinced him that she wanted to hear it. She was waiting.
"I-I love you, R-"
Her lips were upon his in a flash. Not expecting it, he quickly relaxed. He took her shoulders up in his arms and drew her closer to him as it went on.
Their passionate kiss lasted for an eternity, watched only by the twinkling stars above in the night sky.
He struggled to move. It was coming back to him now; his strength. He didn't have the amount needed to stand up yet. But he could twitch his fingers enough; maybe he could slowly drag himself over...
He dug his nails into the ground and clawed.
He moved about an inch.
It was all over. He could move again.
"Starfire, I want to thank you."
She looked up at him. Ever since the day he first met her, he'd noticed a twinkle in her eyes.
They were sparkling now. Sparkling with the light of the stars. Heh, no wonder she was called "Starfire."
"For what do wish to thank me for?"
"I...I do not understand."
"For me, Starfire...being there for me. Even when you haven't been in the same room with me. You already know this, but I-"
He stopped, gathered his head, and then continued.
"I love you, Starfire."
She reached up and caressed his face.
"As do I, Robin," she said, leaning in close to him. "As do I..."
She locked lips with him.
Holding her close while they kissed, Robin felt all his unsettled composure vanish into the warmth of her body. The rocks that bounced around in his mind crumbled.
He drew her even closer to him.
He had always been a little colder than anyone else here...
She opened her eyes. She had not a clue as to how long she'd been out. Her body seemed to be frozen with pain.
But, she tried. If she could think and see, she'd be able to move.
Soon, she could move her head. Perhaps her limbs would move if they knew there were being watched. She looked down -
Just what she wanted. A nice big ol' laceration down her shoulder and across her chest. The huge scar along the laceration's path looked to have been flash-burned shut almost as instantly as the cut had been opened, so she hadn't lost any blood. However, it did explain the pain she felt.
No doubt about it - Beast Boy would definitely make a Miss America joke when saw her ripped outfit.
She looked to her left.
Instantly, she had the strength to get up and run to his side. She collapsed in fatigue and pain when she reached him.
"BB! BEAST BOY!" Right now, she didn't care how frantic she was. She didn't care about losing control of her powers. She didn't care if she bawled her eyes out and everyone heard her tears.
All she cared about - was him.
"BB!" She rolled him over.
He had the same exact laceration and scar as she did.
Except that his eyes were closed and he wasn't breathing.
She could easily be calm right now, but there was no point. Besides, a loud, frantic voice might wake him up faster.
If he were just unconscious.
But for the moment, she had to be calm. She ignored the voice, shuttering it into the back of her mind.
She held her hands over his body and summoned her healing powers.
Or, at least, she tried to. The pain in her body was too great. She was too weak, too exhausted. She didn't have strength enough to use her powers yet.
"BB! Beast Boy!" She cradled his lifeless body against hers - and sobbed. "Wake up. Please. C'mon, BB - wake up..."
She would give anything to hear that Miss America joke right now.
She wept for him, alone. She didn't know if the others were there. There was so much dust, so much smoke...the light-
Her cape flew up over their heads as she let him take her shoulders and draw her closer to him as they kissed. She wrapped her arms around his back and did the same, drawing him closer to her. The kiss lasted forever. She lost all track of time. Even her hidden rage and hate gave up its vie for her mind's attention.
When they finished, the cape fluttered down silently. She smiled at him. He smiled at her.
"I love you, Raven."
"I love you, too, Beast B-Man."
She suddenly felt tired again. But the good kind of tired. She laid her head on his chest.
"Hey, Raven?" His voice betrayed his fatigue, too.
"Did I tell you you could've won Miss America, even over Star, with that ripped and burned number?"
They fell asleep in each other's arms under the light of a full moon.
"Who's up for some mornin' chow?"
Cyborg's cheery voice over the communicator rang out throughout the Tower, breaking the sleep of Starfire. She looked up. She'd fallen asleep in Robin's arms, and had never slept more soundly before.
"Robin, wake up. Cyborg has prepared The Breakfast for us." When he didn't wake up, she lightly slapped his face - which only made him mumble.
"ROOOOBBBBIIIIINNNN!!!!!" He almost literally jumped through the roof.
"Don't do that, Star!"
"I am sorry, Robin - but Cyborg has prepared another of The Breakfast for us."
The sun had risen on Titans Tower. Beast Boy had just been woken up by Cyborg's unexpected greeting. But he kind of couldn't move at the moment.
Raven - her robes pure white now - was asleep in his arms, the most contented smile ever on her face. Escaping from her was one thing, yes - but waking her up? Well, that was another story altogether.
He turned into a snake, slithered out from under her - then turned into an elephant. He reared his trunk back, inahaled-
Dark energy engulfed him, lifting him off the ground.
"Don't even try it, buddy..."
Raven hadn't even moved at all.
Beast Boy grinned.
"Cy's made another breakfast bonaza."
"Fresh out of the oven! Dig in!"
Cyborg plopped the breakfast ham onto the counter. He'd already sliced it.
"Oh, that looks absolutely wonderful!" declared Starfire.
Robin swallowed the slice he's already taken. "This is delicious, Cyborg."
"Yeah, but he did make the tofu dishes this time?"
Cyborg, Robin, and Starfire turned. Beast Boy and Raven grinned in the doorway.
"Did I miss the real buffet?" Raven asked.
"FRIENDS!" Starfire was instantly hugging both of them at the same time, absolutely ecstatic with joy.
"Uh, Star? Choking me!" Beast Boy exclaimed.
"Good to know our team's up and running again," said Robin.
"Yeah, bout time you two stopped sleepin' all day," remarked Cyborg.
"Out of curiosity, what time is it?" Raven asked, peeking out of Starfire's vise grip hug.
"Noon," said Cyborg. "I let y'all sleep in today."
"Good," said Raven, finally breaking away from Starfire and getting her breakfast. "Still time to go to the mall after we eat."
TITANS FINE AFTER INCIDENT
By D. S. - Jump City Times Staff
YESTERDAY - The Teen Titans are "just fine" following a freak incident that appeared to have injured two of their members quite severely. Asked if the unexpectedness of the incident has helped to bring the team closer together, Titans member Cyborg told the Times, "Yes, definitely." As for what actually happened in the incident, Cyborg responded, "Honestly, we're still trying to figure that out ourselves. All we know is there were two definite things: The whining noise, and the light. The light- " PLEASE SEE "TITANS OK," PAGE A6