Disclaimer: Bah!

Chapter three. Eeep! I'm sorry it took so long. I'm really putting some effort into this story. I'm trying my hardest to keep Raven in-character, which is why it's taking so long to write.

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"Raven please! Come on! Open the door!" Beast Boy reasoned through the door. He and the other Titans had been trying for nearly an hour to convince her to come out of her room, and so far they had made no progress. The others had given up several minutes ago, deciding to respect her privacy. Beast Boy had stayed, though. He was getting increasingly worried by the second. What was she doing in there? She wasn't even answering his calls anymore. "Raven! Are you OK?" he asked loudly. "I'm going to break the door down! Answer me!" he hated to feel like he was invading her privacy, but he was concerned.

The door turned black, cloaked in Raven's psychic energy, and slid open so Beast Boy could enter. Walking into the room, he was relieved to see Raven safe, kneeling on the floor and watching him. There were dark circles under her eyes, and it was obvious that she had been crying. Beast Boy didn't say anything about it, though. He just walked over to her, wondering what she could have been crying about.

Beast Boy dropped to his knees before her.

"Uh…Raven?" he asked. Raven looked at him wordlessly, as though unable to grasp the concept of speech for a moment.

"What?" she asked, her voice wavering.

"Wussamatter?" Beast Boy asked. "You were…crying."

"I was not crying," Raven informed him, trying to be inconspicuous about wiping away the tears that were still clinging to her cheeks. "I don't cry."

Beast Boy chose not to contradict her. "Uh…OK. But what's the matter?"

Raven shook her head at him.

"Come on, what?" he asked again.

Raven ignored him. "What are you doing here, anyway? What do you want?" she asked tonelessly.

"Well…before, you said you feel like you're alone," Beast Boy answered her.

"That's because I am," Raven told him bluntly.

"No, you're not. I'm here to convince you that you're not alone."

"That is not going to happen," Raven stated plainly.

"Oh come on Raven, trust me. You're not alone and you know it," Beast Boy said.

"Stop it," Raven snapped. "This is pointless. Just go. Get out of my room. You're not accomplishing anything." She said she wanted him to leave her alone, but her eyes told him that she was lying. Despite her harsh words, a longing look resided in her eyes, in her voice, all over her face. What was it that she wanted so desperately? Beast Boy watched her for a moment. There was an aura of pure loneliness coming off of her. Beast Boy doubted if even she knew it, but Raven needed someone to care at the moment. It was obvious to him. She was trying with all her strength not to look him in the eye.

"What do you want?" he asked finally, his voice betraying him and showing his frustration. Raven looked slightly baffled.

"Excuse me?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"What do you want? There's something you want really badly. It's all over your face, in your eyes…something you need. What is it?" Beast Boy asked. He realized that this was something like the first semi-intelligent question he had ever asked her.

"What are you talking about?" Raven asked him.

"What do you want so bad, Raven?" Beast Boy asked.

"Desire is irrelevant," she muttered under her breath.

"Don't lie," Beast Boy said quietly with a half-grin. "What do you want?"

Raven slowly raised her eyes and looked at him. "I want someone to actually care," she said lifelessly, as though hoping such an answer would shut him up, and then she lowered her eyes once more.

Slightly in shock, Beast Boy just watched the pale teenager for a moment. "How could you…think that no one cares?" he asked finally. Raven didn't answer. She kept her eyes cast to the floor. "The whole world isn't out to get you, Raven. We've got your back and you know it," Beast Boy said.

Raven gave a slight, cold laugh. "In battle, yes. You're always there when I need you. But this isn't a match with some senseless villain. This is my life. What it comes down to is that you're all too afraid to get close to me outside of the crime-fighting world. Out there, we're all in the same fight. Here, I'm alone. You all seem to have convinced yourselves that I'm the one who doesn't want to get close…but it isn't me. It's all of you," she said, and then continued before Beast Boy could contradict her statement. "Yes, I realize that I have a few…problems with letting others in, letting them see the real me. But they're not as severe as you like to believe. If any of you really wanted to talk to me about something relevant and intelligent, I would listen. If any of you wanted to do something with me that all of us would enjoy, I would probably go along. But you don't really want to, because for you it's just pointless to try, isn't it? I'm a little bit of an introvert, yes, and you use that as a subconscious excuse. It's too much of a hassle to bother with the creepy one, isn't it? Much easier just to make it seem like I don't want anyone close to me? I'm not saying it's anyone's fault. Your intentions were always good. You all care about me, and I do know it, but you don't care enough to want to understand." she finished with a sigh.

Beast Boy wasn't exactly able to comprehend why she was choosing to tell him all of this. Normally she was so closed off toward him, and now he was starting to see why. At first, he had been offended by her logic, but he was slowly coming to realize that it was true. It was never something he would have realized on his own, but it was all true. He could feel a strong bubble of guilt rising in his chest.

"Dude…" he said quietly, unable to think of any words for a moment. He let the silence stretch farther and farther. When Raven spoke again, it was in a softer, shakier voice.

"I'm sorry I'm bothering you with all this, Beast Boy. I don't even know why I'm telling you this. I'm sure I sound like a complete crybaby," she said.

"Naw. You're not bothering me. You're not a crybaby. Go ahead, let it all out," he said, not exactly sure why he was saying this or what he was getting himself into. He was slightly afraid of what the dark girl might say next.

"No. I'm finished," Raven said in a closed way. "I won't burden you with my moaning anymore. You can go."

"But-"

"No, just get out of my room," Raven told him quietly. Beast Boy stood up and turned around. But something was wrong. He sensed something. He sensed Raven tensing behind him. And then he stopped and turned to face her once more.

"You don't really want me to go, do you?" he asked perceptively, though it was more of a statement, watching her face carefully. She only stared back. "You don't want to be alone right now really, do you?"

Raven only stared back stonily for a moment, trying desperately to hold her true response inside, and then finally her resolve broke and she took several shaky breaths, shaking her head slowly.

"No," she said softly, and then lowered her head, as though the single word had drained her of all her energy. When she spoke again, her words surprised him. "P-…please don't go." she was speaking toward the carpet, but the words were still audible. Beast Boy walked back over and knelt before her once more.

"Uh…" he muttered, unsure of what to say. He patted her shoulder awkwardly, and very, very slowly, she raised her head and looked him irresolutely in the face. The look in her eyes shocked him beyond words. For so long, she had been damming everything inside, and now he had broken through her barrier, seen past her wall, looked through her mask. Even a little bit made such a difference. Now that he was seeing the things she had concealed so carefully, she looked so vulnerable to him. It hurt him to know that someone he cared so deeply for had been carrying such a burden for so long. He saw that burden, that pain, that loneliness in her eyes, though he knew how hard she was trying to hide it. "Are you…OK?" he asked, though he knew the answer.

Raven just looked silently at him.

Feeling extremely self-conscious, Beast Boy hesitated for a moment, and then slowly leaned forward and slipped his arms loosely around her shoulders in a timid hug. He could feel Raven stiffen in surprise for a moment, and then he was taken aback when she returned the gesture. She was hugging him nervously, as though she had not experienced this very much. She had hugged him before, but for some reason she seemed more awkward this time, more unsure of herself. Beast Boy felt a bit awkward himself, but in hopes of relieving some of Raven's doubt, he pulled her a bit closer to him, squeezing her tighter. Once again, Raven did the same. She rested her chin on his shoulder, starting to tremble once more.

Beast Boy felt strange hugging Raven. For so long, she had seemed to want nothing more than her solitude, and now that he was seeing her in a new light, he was starting to realize that she wanted something completely different. She wanted just what he and the other Titans had believed for so long she wanted to avoid. She wanted someone to confide in. She wanted someone to really be there for her. She wanted someone to…love her?

Beast Boy almost made a move to end the embrace, but Raven seemed to be clinging to him desperately. This was not entirely normal for Raven. He wasn't sure whether he should be confused or concerned. She hugged him tightly for a few minutes.

"Um…Raven?"

"What?"

"You're kinda…you know…crushing my lungs," Beast Boy explained carefully.

Raven let go of him quickly and jumped back as though she had been burned. She then quickly avoided his eyes. Beast Boy looked at the floor, too, for some reason unbeknownst to him. There was a very long pause, and then Beast Boy looked up at her, waiting for her to look back. When she finally did, Beast Boy held her gaze for a moment. Despite the pain that lurked behind them, the vivid violet color of Raven's eyes worked its way into his mind. 'Her eyes are beautiful,' he heard himself think. They really were beautiful. They were deep, fathomless abysses of purple shadows that drew him in and refused to let him escape.

Thinking this, Beast Boy moved forward slightly, gazing deeply into the pools of amethyst that captivated him so much. He wasn't exactly sure what he was doing until it was far too late to come up with some kind of reasonable excuse for what he might have been doing scooting himself back into her personal space, and before he had time to stop himself or even comprehend what was happening, his lips had brushed lightly against hers. It all happened in a fraction of a second. The soft, sensitive skin of the two teenagers' lips collided briefly, and the Azarathian went shooting backward away from him in shock as two shelves in her bookcase sprayed their contents across the room.

Raven sat on the carpet in a heap, staring at him with wide eyes for a moment. She was completely and totally shocked out of her mind. "B-Beast Boy, what-?" Beast Boy was lucky she was too shocked to be angry. Her lips were tingling, her heart was pounding, and her brain was buzzing and churning everywhere at once.

Beast Boy opened and closed his mouth several times but said nothing.

"Maybe you should…go," Raven said. Beast Boy didn't contradict her this time. Instead, he sat stood up and sprinted out of the room, leaving Raven alone with her tumultuous thoughts.

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Phew. Chapter three down. I'll get the next chapter up as soon as I can.