A Ship Set With Eager Oars
Disclaimer I don't own the titans and this story is loosely based on a poem called The Owl and The Pussycat. You could say this is a loose prequel to another story I wrote called Fade Into You
He stared at her from across the tiny row boat and mimicked her infamous eyebrow raise. "There is much fear within you paduwan. And as we all know fear leads to anger, anger to hate, hate to suffer... Uh, never mind," he finished as realized the only one suffering would be him if he finished that quote.
She nervously clung to the boat, but still found enough steel in her voice to say, "No, please continue," before giving him her most intimidating stare. Unfortunately for her he had built up an immunity to such scare tactics over the last few years.
"Oh come on Raven, you know this is fun," he said as he began to shake the boat in the water. "The sun's out, the waters pretty calm, and you're with me," he said flashing his most charming smile, "What could be better?"
"A book, a nice, quiet, Beastboy-less room, and cup of warm tea," she said dryly and then slowly started to stand up, fully intending to fly back to the tower, but a green hand pulled her back down.
"Geez would you chill out? You can't go back to the tower right now and you know it. Besides, why would you want to leave this place, its the picture of peace you're always looking for. Its like you have a fear of the water or something," and then he saw it. The slightest flashes of fear in her eyes. "You are! You're afraid of water!"
Her eyes glowed black, stopping his laughter short. Stares were one thing, an actual display of power from Raven meant that he was two seconds from being blasted into another dimension. "Well, I mean we all have fears. Its ok to be scared. There are a lot of people who are scared of water. Do you wanna know my fear?"
"You're afraid of the dark," Raven said. Was it just her imagination or were the waves growing higher?
"Yeah... guess I already told you that one," he said as he tried to look everywhere, but at her.
"N-no, Cyborg did. Shouldn't we be heading back in now," she could feel her stomach becoming more and more upset with every moment they were out there. She saw that the boy in front of her didn't seem to be following her.
"Dude you know we can't go back now Raven. Weren't you listening? We had to leave the tower because Robin needed time alone so he could ask Starfire to marry him."
"What! That could take months, years even, if how long it took him to ask her out is any indication. If I don't get off this boat I'll be here forever" she panicked and tried to fly once again. Before she was even three feet into the air she felt Beastboy wrapping his arms around her waist. "You can't leave me here Raven! Just chill out!"
"No! Let go of me! I hate this," she could feel her temper rising alongside her anxiety at the situation. She began to summon a force field in hopes that it would force Beastboy off of her, but found it unnecessary when he suddenly just let go and fell back into the boat. All fight gone out of him he simply sat back down in the boat and stared at his feet.
"You don't understand Beastboy," she said, hoping he would accept her apology, "I can't- I hate being out here on the water. Its just-"
"Nobodies keeping you here Raven, you can leave," he said without looking back up at her, "I mean you said you would come out here with me and you did. You didn't say you were going to come back to the Tower with me so don't worry about it."
"Oh so now you're going to try and guilt trip me into staying. That's great Garfield I'm so-"
"I just said you can leave," he said now looking up at her, "I don't understand how that's guilt tripping you in anyway. If you feel guilty about it that's your own problem."
It was times like this that Raven hated him so much because he was right and she was going to have to admit it in some way. She had said she would come out here with him, fully knowing that they would be out on the water. He was right that she had never said that she'd go back him, but that just made it sound like she was trying to go back on her word. Like she was some little kid who had just welched on a bet. The guilt she sensed was her own and she hated it and she hated herself for caring enough for him to do what she was about to do. Slowly, ever so slowly, she descended and sat on the opposite end of the boat. He smiled and said, "Thanks." They didn't speak again for fifteen minutes. Raven tried to stay calm and not imagine what was beneath the waves and what could happen to the boat. Finally, he said something to take her mind off of it.
"I guess I can understand why you'd be scared of the water Raven," he said as he began to slowly row towards land.
"Is this supposed to comfort me Garfield?"
"No, its supposed to keep your mind off of the fact that you're scared of the water. Can I finish?" He rested the oars and looked at her. When he saw she wasn't opposed to him finishing he began again. "Its really deep in some places, dark, scary. You can never be totally sure what's beneath the waters and what's not sometimes. I mean my parents died in the water so I of all people should be scared of the water, but...I'm not you know? I see the way the sun reflects off the water and its beautiful to me ya know? Have you ever been under the water?"
She shook her head no, still afraid to move too much for fear of turning the boat over. "Its incredible down there. There's those dark, scary places, but then there's these other places that are filled with life and its incredible, sometimes when I'm under the sea I wonder why I even come out and-" he stopped and realized she wasn't listening. His shoulders slunk low, he sighed and then said, "This isn't helping you is it?"
"No, I just can't get over this. I-I'm sorry."
"I should be sorry for bringing you out here. I just thought you'd really like it, it seemed so perfect though... Thanks for trying to put a good face on it and staying out here."
She flashed a weak smile at him, but continued to grip the sides of the boat. "The things we do for the ones we love..."she murmured. He smiled at the comment and came to his final decision...
"Hey Raven I kinda have a confession to make..."
She looked up at him now, scared for what he might be about to say.
"See, um, well Robin isn't going to ask Star to marry him, not today anyways. I mean its like you said, it took him three years to realize he even wanted to date her, so it'll probably be a while before he asks her to marry him too-"
"So you dragged me out here for nothing!"
"Hey whoa! Its not for nothing o-ok," he started nervously. This was not going the way he had planned at all. "I asked you out here so we could be alone, so I could ask you to marry me," he finished as he kneeled in the boat, a ring in his hand. "Nothing's gone right today Rae, nothing's gone as planned for the last few years between us. I mean the thought of me and you together just made me laugh, but now... we work somehow. You put up with me on a regular basis and there's not many who can and I just wanted-"
"Yes," she said, a calm smile still on her face.
"Well, that's cool," he said nonchalantly as he placed the ring on her finger, but when he looked up a smile alighted his features as he hugged her to him.
The sun began to go down and they sat in the middle of the boat together, her back to him as she leaned in, the water around her no longer the first thing on her mind. "How far in advance did you plan this," she asked, not really caring to hear the answer. She just wanted to know much she meant to him.
"But we've been dating three," she said jokingly.
"Well, yeah, but that first year you wouldn't admit we were dating and kept telling the public I had some weirdo crush on you and that was it. I just kinda figured we weren't going to last that long."
She looked up at his face, "I'm sorry," she said.
He looked down and planted a kiss on her lips. "Don't worry about it. We're together now, right? That first year sucked though cuz every morning I'd wake up thinking you were going to break up with me and you didn't. Then the second year came and you still found me 'more than mildly attractive' as you put it."
"OK fine Gar. I get the hint. You're incredibly cute in that purple spandex suit of yours," she said drily and then leaned up to kiss him ever so softly.
They sat again in silence and then finally he said, "Do you want to go back in now?"
She thought about it for a moment. They'd tell Robin and Star and the two of them would be ecstatic, and then Cyborg who would tease Beastboy mercilessly about how long it had taken him to ask Raven out. Jinx would be there too of course and she'd smile politely and ask Raven how it felt to be engaged. Then in a few months or a year's time they'd be married and then... She smiled and couldn't wait for what was to come. "Let's go home Gar."