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"Well, that was a pain in the ass," said Cyborg. It was fairly late, around eleven o'clock at night, and he and the other Titans had just returned from defeating the latest supervillain's attack on the city. It had only been Mumbo Jumbo, but he had still given the Titans the run-around for most of the day, and they were all exhausted, especially Raven. Mumbo had somehow managed to turn her powers off early on in the chase, so she had been forced to literally run after him. She wasn't used to being a pedestrian superhero for extended periods of time, and it had taken a lot out of her. Raven stumbled over to the sofa and collapsed onto it.
"Mmpht…bedroom…too far…" she mumbled, her voice somewhat muffled by a sofa cushion. "Establishing base camp…rest for a little while…before moving on to the summit…"
Raven kicked off her soft-soled boots (definitely not the best choice of footwear for chasing supervillains on foot, to be sure) and swung her legs up onto the sofa. She then unfastened her cloak and used it as an impromptu blanket. In a matter of seconds, she was sound asleep.
The other Titans stared at their sleeping friend for a moment, then as one they turned and silently made their separate ways back to their rooms to go to sleep themselves.
Beast Boy's stomach growled insistently as he padded softly through the halls of Titans Tower towards the living room and kitchen. It was only around two in the morning, but he had been woken by his stomach, which sounded like it contained a family of bears, and Beast Boy knew what bears sounded like.
"Ah, hunger, my old arch-nemesis, we meet again!" he muttered to himself. "This time I shall defeat you for good!"
His stomach let out a particularly loud gurgle, as though in response, and Beast Boy quickened his pace slightly. When he reached the living room, he went straight into the kitchen to fix himself a peanut butter, jelly, banana, and tofu sandwich (his own creation which, incidentally, nobody else was willing to eat). As he was cutting a block of tofu into slices to put on the sandwich, he heard a soft sigh coming from the direction of the living room. He looked up, and saw a pair of feet sticking off the end of the sofa—Raven's boots were also visible, in a jumbled pile where they had been left almost three hours ago.
Is Raven still sleeping there? Beast Boy thought. Geez, I thought she would have gone to her room by now. I guess she really was tired.
Beast Boy left his sandwich for the moment, and went to check on Raven. She was lying on her side huddled under her cloak, the hood flopping up over her face. Her feet stuck out from underneath the cloak and off the end of the sofa, so that some of the pale skin on her ankles was visible between the dark blue cloak and her ankle-high black socks.
Oh, that can't be comfortable, thought Beast Boy. But I don't want to wake her up—she's sleeping so soundly.
For a little while he just watched the rhythmic rise and fall of her body as she breathed, almost hypnotised. Suddenly, an idea struck him, and he quickly went out to the linen closet in the hallway to get an extra blanket. After returning to the living room, Beast Boy then gingerly peeled Raven's cloak off of her, being careful not to wake her, folded it neatly, and set it on the coffee table where she would be sure to see it once she woke up. He was about to cover her up with the blanket, but he paused for a moment to stare at her face.
She looks so peaceful, he thought. When she's not looking grumpy or sarcastic, she's really very pretty.
Without thinking, Beast Boy's eyes began to wander along the rest of her body.
Wow, she actually has a really nice figure, too—maybe even nicer than Starfire's! he thought. Why is she always trying to hide it?
Beast Boy shook himself to clear his head of these thoughts.
Whoa, there, buddy, this is Raven you're thinking about here, he chided himself. If she knew that you thought about her like that she'd probably…well, it wouldn't be nice, whatever she'd do.
Beast Boy quickly covered Raven up with the blanket, taking care to make sure that her feet were covered, and that the blanket was tucked comfortably under her chin. He stared at her face for another moment, smiling to himself, before he returned to the kitchen to finish making his snack. He cast another quick glance at the sofa as he left the room, seeing her feet still sticking off the end, but now with the blanket draped over them, and then went back to his room, taking his sandwich with him.
"Raven. Raven? Hey, Raven! Wake up!"
Raven slowly surfaced from the depths of unconsciousness and opened her eyes to see Cyborg's face. He was standing above her, an expression of slight concern on his face. Raven also noticed that he was wearing an apron that said "Recharge the Cook".
"Come on, Raven, it's already ten-thirty! Rise and shine!" Cyborg said.
"Ten-thirty? But wasn't it closer to eleven when we…?" Raven mumbled, and then sat bolt upright as realization dawned on her. "Wait, ten-thirty in the morning?"
"Yeah, Rae, what did you think I meant?" Cyborg said, looking a little confused. "Seriously, how do you sleep for almost twelve hours? You're like a narcoleptic or something."
"I spent the entire night on the sofa?" Raven said, obviously in shock.
"Hey, don't blame me," Cyborg said as he made his way back into the kitchen. "I didn't know you were still in here until this morning."
Raven was only half-listening—the other half stared in confusion at the blanket that was still partially covering her.
Wait, I didn't go get myself a blanket, did I? Raven thought. No, I distinctly remember just covering myself up with my cloak and then…well, I guess I fell asleep after that.
She looked around for her cloak, and found it folded neatly on the coffee table. She quickly grabbed it and wrapped it around herself, fastening it around her neck as she stood up, all in one smooth motion so as to expose as little of her merely leotard-clad body as possible.
Whoever it was who got me the blanket took off my cloak first, Raven thought. Ugh, I feel so exposed.
Then again, said a slightly more forgiving part of her inner monologue, they did go to the trouble of getting me a blanket so I would be more comfortable.
Well, yeah, but they could have just woken me so I could have gone to my room instead of just leaving me here, and then I would have been spared the embarrassment of spending the night on the sofa, responded the less forgiving part.
"Hey, Raven! Come on, hurry up, your breakfast is getting cold!" Cyborg called from the kitchen, interrupting Raven's duelling consciences. Her stomach growled slightly, and she sighed and made her way into the kitchen.
Okay, food now, interrogation of the others later, Raven thought as she sat down to eat.
Raven was still picking at the remains of her breakfast when Robin and Starfire came into the living room, followed closely by Beast Boy. They had apparently just finished a little light after-breakfast training.
"Oh, hey, look who's finally awake!" Robin said with a grin. Raven glared at him, but was swept up in one of Starfire's bone-crushing hugs before she could voice a retort.
"Oh, Friend Raven, I am glad that you are now rested!" Starfire cried, oblivious as usual to Raven's need of oxygen. "You must have been very exhausted indeed if you fell asleep in the room of living!"
"Um, yeah, I guess so," Raven said after Starfire let her go. "About that—who was it who covered me with the blanket?"
"That would be me," Beast Boy said. "I came in here to make myself a snack, and saw you, so I figured I'd make you a little more comfortable."
So it was Beast Boy? Raven thought. That was actually kind of nice of him. And he even folded my cloak—I didn't know he had it in him to actually be tidy.
No! No! yelled one of her consciences. I mustn't encourage him! He'll never leave me alone otherwise!
But he was just trying to help, said the nicer one. Why shouldn't I thank him?
No! I must show no weakness!
"So, um, you're welcome?" Beast Boy said, looking a little confused at Raven's momentary silence. Raven sighed.
"Beast Boy, you could have just woken me up, you know," she said. "I would have been much more comfortable in my own bed."
"But you were sleeping so peacefully!" Beast Boy cried. "I didn't want to disturb you!"
"That, and you wanted to see me with my cloak off, right?" Raven said. She had intended it as only a little teasing barb, but she was shocked by Beast Boy's response—she sensed first embarrassment, then frustration and anger in the green boy.
"Oh, great, so my little attempt to help has turned into some kind of perverted ogling, has it? I just can't win with you, can I, Raven?" Beast Boy said. His voice wasn't quite a yell, not quite a snarl, but it contained hints of both, and Raven was taken aback, as were the other Titans.
"No good deed goes unpunished, does it, Raven?" Beast Boy continued. "Well, fine. How about this—for my punishment, I'll sleep on the sofa tonight. Will we be even then?"
Raven's eyes narrowed at the obvious venom in Beast Boy's tone, and she instinctively responded with some malice of her own.
"Oh, sure, we'll be 'even' then," she said. "But I'll be coming to check on you, so don't think you can just run back to your room as soon as I go to bed."
"Fine! It's a deal!" said Beast Boy. He turned on his heel and stormed out of the room.
Raven felt the other Titans staring at her, and she pulled up her hood to hide her blush of embarrassment.
I lost control, she thought. I got caught up in his anger and responded in kind, when he had only been trying to help in the first place. Ugh, I'm such an idiot.
Raven ignored the questioning stares of the other Titans, and silently left the table to go to her room to meditate.
It was one in the morning, and Raven was making her way towards the living room to check on Beast Boy. He would be expecting it now, and with the attitude he had had when he was getting ready to go to sleep on the sofa, Raven guessed that he might even stay awake all night just so that he could bug her about not keeping her word if she didn't check on him.
She had guessed wrong, however, and she found Beast Boy fast asleep, spread-eagled across the sofa so that one arm was hanging down to the floor, wearing only a T-shirt and boxers. He was even drooling a little.
Raven allowed herself a small smile at the sight of Beast Boy passed-out on the sofa, and was about to turn to go back to her room when she heard him mumble a bit in his sleep. She stared at him, furrowing her brow, as he continued to mumble unintelligibly, and even move around a bit.
He must be dreaming, Raven thought.
This piqued Raven's curiosity. She herself almost never dreamed—she didn't allow herself to, since her dreams were unavoidably full of images of her father, painful memories of her mother, and plenty of other things she would rather not see on a nightly basis. Thus, dreams were something of an unknown to her, and therefore they seemed all the more intriguing. She was, after all, half human.
I wonder what he dreams about, Raven thought. A little peek couldn't hurt, could it?
With that thought, Raven placed her hand gently on Beast Boy's forehead, closed her eyes, and concentrated, projecting her astral self into his mind. As she opened her mind's eye, she found herself sitting in what looked like some kind of Ferris wheel car across from Beast Boy and…
She and Beast Boy were laughing and joking, and otherwise shamelessly flirting. Raven suppressed an irrational burst of jealousy, since of course there was no way she could be jealous of Terra's relationship with Beast Boy. She frowned.
I guess they can't see me, Raven thought, and waved her hand between the laughing couple in order to confirm it. Neither of them even so much as acknowledged her presence.
Hmmm…so I can be an unseen observer in dreams when I'm in my astral form, Raven thought. I should do this more often. It would certainly allow me to get to know the others a bit better, even if only…
Raven's thoughts were interrupted as Terra suddenly stopped laughing and doubled over in pain.
"Terra? Terra, are you okay?" asked Beast Boy, a worried look on his face.
"I don't feel so good…" Terra said, and then gave a small cry.
"Terra? Terra!" Beast Boy said.
Raven stared in shock as a thin band of glowing yellow energy passed slowly over Terra's body, starting from her feet and moving upwards. As it passed over her, it seemed to be changing her.
It was changing her flesh into stone.
Beast Boy cried out in anguish as he tried desperately to make the transformation stop, but soon Terra had been entirely converted into stone. Beast Boy sobbed.
"Oh, you poor little thing," said a deep, almost melodic voice, causing both Beast Boy and Raven to turn. The voice had an air of smooth, cultured sadism about it, and it was hauntingly familiar.
"You," Beast Boy said simply, his voice a low growl.
"Yes, me," Slade said with a chuckle. "I can't have you distracting my new apprentice any more, now can I? She belongs to me."
Beast Boy roared in anger and launched himself at the larger man, knocking him backwards out of the box-like Ferris wheel car. Slade managed to grab onto his arm, though, and he pulled Beast Boy down with him. Raven gasped and flew out of the car, expecting to find the two of them smashed into pulp on the ground below, but instead the car, and even the whole Ferris wheel, disappeared behind her. Raven now found herself in some kind of 'hall of mirrors' style funhouse.
Of course, she thought. This is a dream, so it doesn't have to follow any kind of orderly sequence.
Beast Boy and Slade were struggling nearby, and the mirrors were filled with the reflected image of the conflict. Raven noticed in passing that her reflection did not appear at all, further evidence that Beast Boy was unaware of her presence.
Raven's attention was drawn back to the fight as Beast Boy broke the choke hold Slade had trapped him in by changing into a gorilla. He threw the villain across the room, smashing one of the mirrors, before changing into a rhinoceros and charging. He crashed into Slade just as the masked man rose to his feet, impaling him on his horn. Blood splattered across the mirrors, and Raven's eyes widened in shock.
Slade collapsed to the floor, blood dripping from the wound in his gut, and Beast Boy returned to his human form to stand triumphantly over his defeated foe. But then something unexpected happened—Slade's mask dropped off, and long blonde hair fell down, hiding his face. Except that, somehow, he wasn't a he anymore, but a she. A small, skinny 'she', with long blonde hair and, when she raised her face to look at Beast Boy, bright blue eyes…
"Terra?" Beast Boy said, involuntarily taking a small step back in shock. "No, but…you…I…"
"Why, Beast Boy? I thought you were my friend," Terra gasped, and coughed blood. A familiar band of yellow energy began creeping across her body.
"Terra, I'm sorry, I didn't know it was you, I thought…" Beast Boy began, but Terra had already been turned into stone, once again.
"No, Terra! No!" Beast Boy tried to grab her stone arm, but it disintegrated under his touch. "No!"
The stone girl began to rapidly break apart, crumbling into dust before Beast Boy's eyes and then merely blowing away in a wind that appeared out of nowhere.
"Noooooo!" Beast Boy screamed.
The mirrors all shattered as one, their shards seeming to fall in slow motion, forever, but then they disappeared entirely, replaced by a totally new scene. Water stretched out in front of Beast Boy and Raven—they seemed to be standing on a riverbank, but when Raven looked around she could see no background. There were no surroundings, no sky to speak of, just an endless blackness. Beast Boy seemed to be staring intently at something on the water, and Raven followed his gaze to see what looked like a small boat floating a hundred yards or so away. There were two figures sitting in it.
"Mom? Dad?" Beast Boy whispered.
Suddenly, the small boat capsized.
"No!" Beast Boy shouted, and dove into the water, changing into a fish as he hit the surface. Raven followed along behind him as he swam furiously towards the boat. Finding no trace of his parents near the surface, he dove, and Raven followed him—apparently, her astral form did not require astral air. Beast Boy dove deeper and deeper, until he finally saw the shapes of his parents. Somehow, they too had been turned to stone, and were rapidly sinking into the apparently bottomless depths. Beast Boy changed into an octopus, and desperately tried to grab onto his parents' statues, but they proved too heavy for him, and he lost his grip. He was about to try again, but suddenly more statues began appearing, first one of Cyborg, then Robin, then Starfire, and finally Raven. Beast Boy frantically tried to keep them from sinking into the depths along with his parents, but ultimately he failed.
Beast Boy reached out towards the receding statues one last time before they faded from view, and then suddenly he was out of the water, on his knees surrounded by darkness. Raven looked around, seeing dozens, no, hundreds of pairs of glowing red eyes in the shadows. As they stepped into the light, Raven saw that the eyes belonged to green apes and monkeys of all shapes and sizes.
"No…" Beat Boy whispered. "Leave me alone. You've done enough."
"Oh, but we haven't done anything," a sibilant voice said, and while Raven saw none of the monkeys' mouths move, she knew that the voice came from them.
"No," the voice continued, "we had nothing to do with this. This was your doing."
"You're lying," Beast Boy said, but his voice was shaky, as though he wasn't convinced of it himself.
"Are we? Is it our fault that you are a failure?" the voice asked. "No, boy, you are the one who failed. You failed your parents, the girl you might have come to love, and you will fail your friends, too."
"Yes. You are a failure, and everyone who is close to you will always die," the voice said. "Accept it…brother."
Beast Boy stared at his hands—they had become smaller, and hairy. He had turned into a monkey, the same as the ones that surrounded him. He screamed, and the monkeys closed in around him, their red eyes glowing in the darkness. The dream dissolved into nothing but images of snarling faces and raw, primal terror, and Raven had to pull herself back to keep from being overwhelmed. The last thing she heard as she left Beast Boy's dream was him screaming in pain, terror, and anguish.
Raven gasped and her eyes snapped open as she came back to herself. Beast Boy was tossing and turning in his sleep, moaning, his face contorted in a grimace. Raven shook him.
"Beast Boy! Wake up!" she said. "Beast Boy!"
Beast Boy awoke with a scream, and sat bolt upright, breathing heavily.
"Beast Boy?" Raven said hesitantly. "Beast Boy, it's okay, it was just a dream."
He turned to stare at her. His eyes filled with tears, and he began to sob.
He's still half asleep, Raven thought. He must still be scared out of his mind.
She sat on the sofa next to him, and let her training take over—she had been trained for fifteen years in Azarath to use her powers to ease suffering, and it had become almost instinctive. Raven put her arms around Beast Boy, cradling him, letting him cry onto her shoulder.
"Shhhh…it's alright, it was just a dream…" she whispered to him, stroking the back of his head. "It's okay, it's over now…shhhhh…"
So much pain…I never realized, Raven thought. He never shows it, though. He always seems so cheerful. She frowned thoughtfully, still holding Beast Boy as he sobbed into the folds of her cloak.
He's hiding himself, she thought. Just like…just like me…
The living room door opened with a hiss, and Cyborg, Robin, and Starfire rushed into the room. They had heard Beast Boy's scream, and had come to see what was wrong, expecting some supervillain to have infiltrated the tower or something of the sort. Instead, they found Raven sitting on the sofa with her arms around Beast Boy, rocking him gently. Robin stepped forward and opened his mouth to speak, but Cyborg placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him and shook his head. Robin looked confused for a moment, then nodded. The three of them turned and left the room, Starfire casting a quick glance over her shoulder as she went.
The door closed, and Raven and Beast Boy were alone together once again.
Author's Note: This probably seems a lot like Beast Boy/Raven fluff, but I don't think of it like that. I've tried to get at a part of their relationship that I find particularly interesting, that is, the fact that both of them are very pained characters, they just deal with that pain differently. Actually, I suppose that out of all the Titans, the only one that doesn't have a particularly painful past is Starfire, at least in terms of the cartoon (so far). In the original comic book, from what I have seen, she most certainly does have a painful past, but that hasn't surfaced in the cartoon yet. Anyway, they all (or at least the other four) seem to deal with their pain differently: Cyborg closes up, but is a little more philosophical about it (in my opinion) than Raven is; Robin has become almost as obsessive as Batman in his quest to make sure that nobody else has to suffer the way he did; Raven closes up completely, withdrawing even from the other Titans; and Beast Boy covers it up by acting like a goofball, creating a kind of extroverted other self while he withdraws his true self almost as much as Raven does. Starfire, if we assume that she actually does have a painful past in the cartoon, apparently deals with it similarly to Beast Boy, but she does not seem to create as much of a front, and also seems to not withdraw her true self nearly as much. If her past hasn't come up so far, it's because she just hasn't mentioned it, and nobody has asked, not because she's hiding it. (Note: these are all my personal interpretations, if you don't agree with them that's fine—I don't pretend to be an authority.) This sets up some very obvious parallels and oppositions between the characters, such as Raven and Beast Boy's outward differences, but internal similarities, and Starfire's naiveté acting as a perfect foil for Robin's cynicism and obsessive pursuit of 'the bad guy'. This is why I tend to use these pairings (as much as I hate to talk about 'pairings'—it sounds like I'm breeding plants or something). Terra I tend to ignore, because I don't think she really added anything to the mix of characters other than her betrayal, and Cyborg tends to get left out. I've always seen him as being much more compelling as the supporting big brother type anyway, rather than taking the spotlight himself.
Anyway, I think it's fair to say that I don't agree with characterizations of Beast Boy as just a brainless doofus. He's a doofus, sure, but he does have a brain—as he said at the end of 'Mad Mod', he just doesn't use it much. My take on this is that if he really stopped to use his brain and think about his life it would be too painful, so he just sets all that aside, creating his goofball façade.
Right, that's enough from me.