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By popular (or not,) request:
Accounting: Noun: Explanation; Valuation of worth; The act of calling for a valuation of one's worth, etc...
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"We have to talk."
"I know, Raven." Robin kept his cool, suppressing his urge to blurt out the many questions he had.
"Where are you?" Raven inquired. "You're not in Jump, obviously."
"We were on our way to Buffalo, to find you," Robin answered simply.
"Clever," Raven said, thinking that she was impressed with the Boy Wonder's tracking skills. "Honestly, I thought it would take a lot longer for you to find us."
"I, uh—actually, Starfire's the one who thought you might be in Buffalo--" A slight pause. "And Cyborg is the one who actually traced your trail there." He flushed, swallowing down a lump in his throat. "I really didn't have much to do with it."
While Raven stared wordlessly at the image on her 'comm', Beastboy grabbed the device and spoke accusingly. "Who are you; and what have you done with leaderboy?'
"Robin," cried Starfire, as she proceeded to nearly crush the life out of her beloved. "I was certain that you would behave in a manner that was honorable. I am so proud of you," she said, through the tears shining in her eyes. "And I am so proud to be your girl-friend."
Quietly approving, Cyborg observed the two, his arms folded across his chest. "You know—you guys are sickeningly cute together." He grinned sadistically. "So, when's the 'big date'?"
A blushing Tamaranian released her hold on Robin, who was turning blue. "Robin? You are taking me on a real date?"
"Um, yeah. Sure, Starfire," he managed to choke out, as he shot a look that could kill at his big friend. "Wait. Girlfriend?" His color quickly changed from oxygen—deprived blue to blushing rose. He looked toward his large mechanized friend again. "Don't say it."
The good natured black man chuckled. "Shouldn't we be driving to the meeting?" A malicious thought got the better of him. "Or should I explain to Star what she's missing?" He rubbed his titanium chin thoughtfully, trying to cover his mouth, to avoid breaking out into laughter. The delighted look in his eyes was unmistakable, however. "Choices, choices--"
"Okay, okay—enough!" The boy wonder had never appeared more stoplight-like. "I will explain to Starfire."
The T-Car pulled into the parking lot of a nondescript Village Inn. Cyborg jumped out of the car, whistling gaily. Robin and Starfire emerged somewhat more deliberately from the back seat, the caped one still flustered.
The girl spoke in a hushed voice to him. "Dear Robin, do not be upset. Cyborg is obviously mistaken. I know you are not ready yet to ask for me to marry, and I am quite content for you to be my boyfriend." She smiled sweetly.
He smiled back weakly. "Thanks for understanding, Star. And I'm happy to be your—ahh—er—uh—b-boyfriend." And I'll be happier when I get you back, Cyborg...
As he and Starfire entered the restaurant, he found Beastboy and Cyborg already debating the merits of the latest video games, while Raven sat holding her head in her hands, already bored to tears.
The conversation stopped suddenly, when Beastboy saw Robin approaching the table. He sat up straighter, and smoothed his hair, then raised his gloved hand over his head, making tiny waving motions, while smiling an over-toothy grin. "Hi—uh—Robin. So...how's things back at the T-tower, heh heh?"
"Beastboy! Raven!" Starfire squealed with delight upon seeing her friends. She rushed toward them, intending to perform her usual rib-crushing greeting upon the two, but stopped and looked back at Robin. "Is it permissible to greet my friends with expressions of warmth and love?"
"Yes, of course, Starfire..." Robin tried to smile, but found the set of his mouth was immobile. He nervously pulled at his collar.
In the interval, once again squealing with joy, Starfire had leapt upon the two friends she had come to find. Raven struggled to refrain from using her dark energy to knock the Tamaranian across the county, while the green teen merely fainted.
Cyborg tapped the redhead on the shoulder. "Uh, Star..."
"Oh yes—sorry." She shyly withdrew from the embrace, and smoothed her skirt.
Robin sat. "So, are you two okay? We were really—worried about you."
The dark one and Beastboy exchanged glances. "Yeah. We're good. We missed you guys too," said the furred one.
Raven raised a single digit. "Ditto," she mumbled.
"What is wrong with all of you," Starfire puzzled? "One could part the atmosphere with a Grozney-axe in here." She waved off Robin's offer to revise her metaphor. "We are all friends, are we not? We have shared our lives for years; depended on one another in battle with mortal enemies. Why cannot we speak freely with one another as we have always done?"
"Beastboy is understandably nervous, Starfire," Raven explained. "He's worried that..."
"I'm waiting for the "Inquisition" to begin, Star." He stared at the Titan's leader, his face drooping. "Errrr...sorry?"
"Nah, it's all good, man." Robin shrugged off the putdown, trying, and almost succeeding, to smile.
Raven nervously continued. "We were worried about your reaction to our leaving, and about your reaction to our reason for leaving, and your reaction upon finding us." She glanced at her green friend, who was perspiring profusely. "Robin, we're really sorry we didn't tell you why we were leaving—we were both afraid that you wouldn't understand--"
"About Beastboy being a were-wolf?" This time the boy wonder did manage a recognizable smile. "Yeah, you're right. I did have a hard time getting to a place where I could accept that."
"BB is a were-wolf?" Cyborg exclaimed, mouth agape.
Starfire raised her hand. "What is a were-wolf?"
Beastboy exploded. "Accept it! You said you accept it!"
"Yeah. We—ah—had a talk about my—er—attitude before we got here." Robin fidgeted. "Cyborg and Starfire were in agreement that I needed to—um—lighten up."
"And he listened." Raven stated doubtfully, not quite believing. Quickly switching back to sarcastic mode, she feigned wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. "Sniff—our little leader is growing up."
"Ha ha. Cute, coming from a demoness. Maybe I'm willing to be a little more flexible, but I still don't do endless patience."
"Excuse me!" Starfire's forceful voice rang out. "But what is a were-wolf? Will someone please explain to me Beastboy's affliction?"
"Sorry, Starfire," the Titan's leader offered. "Let me explain..."
"So why don't you come back with us? Maybe Batman could lend us a hand with your Lycanthropy." Robin frowned, deep in thought. "There must be something."
"Don't forget Raven's library of magic," Cyborg added. "She might have something that could cure him."
"That is, unless you guys want to stay here," Robin added, not without a small smirk. "You seem to be doing okay for yourselves here."
"The weather sucks," rejoined Beastboy. "I won't miss it. And the mosquitoes are the size of sparrows."
"Actually, I've grown rather fond of my job at the library." Raven pronounced this revelation with a perfectly straight face. "Books are generally more satisfying than relationships with people."
"Tell her you're kidding, Raven." Cyborg said, alarmed at Starfire's reaction to the dark girl's last comment. She looked ready to cry. "You are kidding, right?"
The sorceress opened her mouth, as if to speak, and closed it again. She folded her arms across her chest and looked from one Titan to another, to another. "Hmmm..."
"Heh heh. You know Raven." Beastboy nervously interjected. "She doesn't mean it Star. She loves you guys. Why don't you all stay the night here at our place? We need to call in tomorrow—let 'em know we're gonna go back to our old jobs. Then we can all leave together."
"Sure," Cyborg said. "That's a great idea. Who wants pizza?"
"So, ah, Rae—what you said earlier today? About you and me, if Robin didn't act like a jerk?" Beastboy exhibited his best sad-kitty face.
"Surely you didn't think I was serious?" Raven replied dryly. Seeing the hurt look on her boyfriend's face, she softened somewhat. "To tell the truth, I might have been serious at the time." She frowned, softly rubbing her Chakra. "I'm not sure why I said what I said at the time—it was a stupid thing to say. Besides that, I was certain Robin would be a dick...Forgive me, babe?" She smiled sweetly at him.
"Yeah—okay," he announced, grudgingly. "Hey," he said, brightening. "We can still snogg, right?" The last was pronounced while accompanied by an exaggerated eyebrow waggle.
"Beastboy!" Raven spun on her heel, cape billowing behind her. As she stormed off toward the bedroom, she added, softly. "Well? Are you going to pursue me, or not?"
"You're uncharacteristically chipper this morning, Raven." Robin delivered the line with a straight face, but that didn't stop the snickering coming from the direction of a certain metal-clad man.
"Dude, that is so wrong," Beastboy said, while delivering indignant looks at Cyborg and Robin.
"It's all right, B. I am feeling just a tiny bit cheerful today." Looking up from her cooking, she gave a sly wink at the changeling. "Here you go, boys. Breakfast is served," the dark girl called, bringing Starfire rushing into the room.
"You have prepared breakfast?" Starfire sang. "How wonderful! I am certain it will be most delicious." The princess devoured her plate with characteristic enthusiasm.
Beastboy understood now, and played his part to perfection. "Come on Robin, Cyborg—dig in!"
Cyborg eyed his food doubtfully. Robin hesitated, seemingly at a loss for words.
Raven frowned. "What's wrong? Don't you guys like my cooking?"
"Delicious," Starfire mumbled, between mouthfuls.
Cyborg stared at his plate solemnly, and spoke in a hushed voice. "It's just that the last time-"
"Cy." Robin cut off the big man, while lifting a forkful of something, that might have been Eggs Benedict, to his mouth. "What Cyborg means is...hey!" He mumbled through a mouthful of food. "This ith really good, Rafen."
"Hey! This is good, man-- really good." Cyborg practically gushed. "Wow Raven! This is great."
Robin concurred, smiling under his mask. "When did you learn to cook like this?"
Raven smiled gently. "Well, since the last time I made breakfast for everyone at the tower, I did a bit of reading on the culinary arts. I practiced a bit when I was alone." She smiled slightly. "When I delved into the subject, I was pleasantly surprised at some of the similarities to Alchemy; a favorite hobby."
"O-k-a-y...maybe too much information." Robin worked the breakfast table over, filling his plate once more."
"Watch yourself," Cyborg warned, "that last biscuit is mine, Wonder boy!"
"So," Beastboy sniffled, "there's nothing you can do for me?"
Cyborg continued. "From what I can see, the were-wolf 'gene' has integrated itself into your DNA." He shrugged, palms up. " It's a part of you, now." He turned to the others in the Titan Tower lab. "Unless Rae's come up with something in her magic library..."
Ravengently signaled a negative, with a slightnod of her head. "There is no record of anyone ever having been cured of Lycanthropy. Even Machior," she said this last through clenched teeth-- "has never heard of such a thing."
"How do you know that the Machior does not lie to you," Starfire asked, in wide-eyed innocence.
Raven snorted, disdainfully. "He wouldn't lie to me." The curious looks of her team mates prompted her to continue. "You may think he has a painful existence now," a frightening expression briefly flickering across her features-- "but I can make it worse; muchworse--believe me."
Beastboy and Robin fought to hold back involuntary shivers.
"I do have a theory, however," Cyborg interjected. "Just like you subdued the 'Beast,' that at first was uncontrollable, and made it a part of you," the mechanized man scratched the back of his head, "I think that , over time, the were-wolf will become integrated into you, another manifestation of your animal nature, responsive to your concious control."
"We can't know that for sure," said Robin. "And since Beastboy represents a danger to the public, not to mention himself, when the moon is full--" He paused for effect, leaving the others holding their collective breath. "Someone will have to keep a close eye on him at all times." The Titan's leader allowed one corner of his mouth to curl up, hinting ata mischievous smile. "Any volunteers?"
Beastboy looked at Raven, adoration shining in his eyes.
The other Titans looked at Raven, expectantly.
Raven, her complexion taking on a hue that was most definitely more reddish than her normal pale-ashen coloration, smiled shyly, nodding.
"You know, Raven," Robin added, "Batman shared an interesting observation with me, when we were discussing Beastboy's problem."
The dark girl's expression remained calmly neutral. Whatever the boy wonder was talking about could not concern her. She no longer had any secrets from the Titans.
Starfire could not contain her curiosity. "Oh, please, Robin—do share with us the Bat-man's observance."
Well," the caped one spoke in a measured pace, "Batman was fascinated with the relationship that has, ashe noted,become obvious between Beastboy and Raven." He raised his hand, signallingto both the sorceress and metamorph that he would suffer nointeruption. "Batman, being aware of Raven's struggles to suppress her emotions, in order to control her powers, wondered if there hadn't been any incidents of Raven losing control, when she was—er—'passing thetime in a pleasant manner' with Beastboy, to put it in his ownwords..."
"Yeah, you're right," Cyborg interjected, "how can Rae keep her powers from going crazy when she and BB are--"
A steely look from the thaumaturgist warned Cyborg not to explore furtherthat particular train of thought.
"Think of the times that Raven's powers have caused physical damage," Robin entreated. "Those incidents have been times of stress,--"
"When Raven was upset, or angry, or embarrassed," Starfire continued, smoothly.
"Or, frustrated," joined Raven.
Robin agreed. "Yes—and all of those emotional states--"
"Are negative emotions!" Cyborg blurted out, pleased with himself.
The conjuror's eyesgaped noticeably wider. "Do you mean to tell me that you believe—that I—that good feelings—that I don't need to suppress happy emotions?"
"That seems to go without saying," Robin countered. "What I am saying is that—it seems—that you don't seem to be in any danger when expressing even more intense positive emotions, like joy--"
"Or love," finished Beastboy, his eyes riveted on the object of his affection. Displaying rare insight, the changeling finished brilliantly. "You've been so worried about controlling Trigon that you tried to hide all your emotions." He beamed. "But Trigon is only strengthened by the negative ones, like hate, and fear. By expressing love, you may even be weakening Trigon, maybe enough to put him away forever!"
Raven looked as if she had just now been informed by a leading authority, that two plus two did, indeed, equal five.
Beastboy waggled his eyebrows in a playful manner. "Hey, Rae—maybe we should..." He cast his eyes briefly skyward.
"Maybe, we should all go out for pizza," Raven said, in a warning tone.
Her violet eyes betrayed, however; revealing a twinkling hint of mischief.
Booyahs are in order for all my reviewers, having remained through slow times (pun intended.)
(Brain: Just order them to review--your sinuses are killing me!)
Please review, criticise, send hate mail or threatening e-mail--I love it all!
A special shoutout to Kali D, for her vivaciousness, and gracious compliments, which have greatly aided me in a time when I most certainly did not feel like writing.