Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans or any of the characters it involves. Yay! You can't sue me for the pitiful allowance money I have!
I've been wanting to write this one-shot for a while. It might be a bit long, and Raven is a bit OOC but I can only hope you'll enjoy it.
This is dedicated to all the readers of my fics, and all the writers of fics that I love, especially honoring The Gnostic, Stardog3434, They-Call-Me-Orange, MistOfDarkness, Booma-Chan, we gots good gramer, kmutt, MichelLover67, Draco's Secret Lover, Nyachu, RyokoJesseandFiend, and any of you that I might have missed. You all rock! I love your stories and/or your reveiews!
Please feel free to comment, positively or negatively.
Note: This is a year or so into the future, so Raven has an easier time with accepting emotions.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos."
Three words were the sole companions of the violet-haired girl. Three words and the peace which they formed within her. She sat on top of the world, blissfully centered, finally relaxed. She was in a sea of harmony at the complete silence and solitude that accompanied her in the small, dark room.
Or at least, she should have been.
Raven ceased her chanting and opened her eyes. A light sigh escaped her lips, the sound meeting no ears but her own. Raven was alone. This was the way she wanted it…wasn't it? This was what she always attempted to push the others away for, wasn't it? She had been sitting in this room for nearly three hours in her privacy that she so rarely received, but she found it was not all she had hoped it would be. She found herself almost wishing they were home.
Cyborg had gotten a call the previous evening. The security system of Titans East Tower was having some serious issues, and the Titans East needed him to help. The security system was recognizing them as intruders and, by the sound of things, some rather interesting things had happened to them before they managed to get out of the rogue building. Cyborg had said he would be arriving back this evening, and he was still on his way home at the moment.
Starfire had coaxed Robin into attending a convention of some kind. They would be returning late, eight or nine, Robin had said with a shrug on the way out the door. Raven wasn't exactly sure what this convention was for, but she was exceptionally glad that she had not been forced to go. She hadn't been willing to neglect her reading for long enough to find out any details, much less care. Knowing Starfire, it was probably not an event featuring anything even relatively normal by human standards. And yet Robin had agreed to join her, just because he was completely head over heels for the Tamaranian.
A pang of something strange hit Raven square in the chest. Was it…loneliness? Yes, it was loneliness. She knew its sharp ache well.
"Why am I lonely? This is my chance to finally get some peace and quiet," Raven asked herself aloud. "Isn't this what I want? Isn't this what I've been looking forward to for God knows how long?"
Raven felt ridiculous. She was finally getting some time without any of the other Titans bothering her, and she was lonely. Well, she was just going to have to suck it up and deal with it. The only person in the entire Tower besides herself was Beast Boy, and he certainly didn't want anything to do with her. He never wanted anything to do with her. And that was fine with her.
Raven wondered what he could be up to. Normally, when you were in the same building as Beast Boy, the loud noises would give it away. But he seemed to be extremely quiet today. Raven had not heard a single sound coming from the rest of the Tower the entire time she had been in her room.
Bored stiff and pathetically lonely, Raven decided there was nothing better for her to do than check what havoc he must be wreaking on the Tower. Robin wouldn't be too pleased if she allowed Beast Boy to cause destruction right under her nose while the others were away.
Sighing, Raven reluctantly slipped from the cushiony comfort of her bed and onto the floor. She was about halfway across the room to the door when there was a knock from the other side.
Raven stopped walking for a moment, startled by the sudden noise, and then walked the remaining distance to the door. It had to be Beast Boy. He was the only other person in the Tower. Raven wondered what he could possibly want from her as the door slid open. Sure enough, a pair of large emerald eyes stared back at her from the green face of the changeling before her door.
"What do you want, Beast Boy?" Raven asked. She noticed that something wasn't quite right with him. His normally carefree nature was dampened by a sensation of nervousness that her empathy sensed almost immediately. She started to get suspicious.
"I want you to come with me," he answered with a grin.
"Come where?" Raven asked him, eyebrow raising in a graceful arc on her forehead. Beast Boy swallowed.
"You'll see. Just come with me, OK?" he asked, his huge green eyes bejeweled with excited sparkles. His excitement was not easily covered up, and Raven felt it radiating off of him like a breeze.
"Alright," Raven answered tentatively. Beast Boy gave a large grin, exposing his four doglike fangs, and then clamped a gloved hand onto her wrist, pulling her out of the dark room and into the hallway. "Where are you taking me?" she asked him as he pulled her gently down the hallway in the direction of the living room. She walked a bit more quickly to avoid being dragged.
"I said you'll see. It's a surprise," Beast Boy told her, unable to conceal his enthusiasm.
"A…surprise?" Raven asked, wondering what he could possibly be planning.
"Yeah!" Beast Boy said excitedly as the large sliding doors to the living room slid open before them. He pulled her into the living room and then let go of her wrist. "Voila!"
The room was dim. The lights were not on, and it was already dark outside, so no natural light aided in the lighting. The only light in the room was a gentle glow produced by several taper candles sitting in holders on the floor around a large, checkered picnic blanket. On the blanket was a small black pot, some plates burdened with sandwiches, and scattered utensils and bananas.
"What is this?" Raven asked as Beast Boy walked over to the blanket. She followed him uneasily, slightly confused.
"Well, I figured you wouldn't like sitting in there alone all day, no matter what you said. So, I made you dinner," Beast Boy said, flopping down on a clear spot on the blanket.
Raven slowly sat down across from him, violet eyes fixed on his jade ones in uncertainty. "You did all this…for me?" she asked him.
Beast Boy answered with a nod, eyes closed and lips together in a smile as he bobbed his head vigorously. "Yep," he replied, opening his eyes and staring at her.
Raven was taken aback. She was touched deeply by this. He had gone through all this trouble to do this for her. But…why?
"Wow, Beast Boy," she said softly, a slight blush rising in her face and dusting her cheeks a soft pink. "I…thank you," she said.
"No problem," Beast Boy said with another smile at her, hand rubbing the back of his head. Raven felt her own lips curving upward in a slight smile, and he beamed at her. They sat still for a moment, and then Beast Boy blushed slightly, lowering his eyes from hers. "Uh…want some?" he asked, motioning to the food.
Raven nodded slightly. "Sure," she said. "Um…what's in that pot?"
"Fondue!" Beast Boy said happily. "Chocolate fondue! And I grabbed some bananas to dip in it." he grabbed a knife that was lying on the blanket and several bananas. There was a silence as he peeled the bananas and sliced them onto a plate between them. When he was finished, he held up two tiny, long-handled forks. "Fondue time, dude!" he said.
Raven chuckled softly and took one from him, holding it clumsily like a spear. Beast Boy put his fork down and slipped his gloves off, tossing them off to the side. "Don't want chocolate on these," he explained, picking up his fork again. Raven realized that she had never seen him without his gloves before. She looked at his hands. Smooth, pale emerald skin met her eyes. Where she would have expected claws, there were only normal human fingernails. He held his fork almost gracefully. "Dig in!" he exclaimed, spearing a banana slice and dunking it into the pot of brown sauce, and then biting the banana off the fork. "Come on, it's gooooood."
Raven impaled a slice of banana and followed his actions, putting it into her mouth and letting the delicate sweet taste flow over her tongue before chewing and swallowing the morsel. "I'm surprised to see this lack of tofu," she said, raising her eyebrow at him.
"There's tofu in my sandwich," he said sheepishly, stabbing his fork's prongs through another banana. "But not in yours, don't worry. Just ham"
"I wouldn't mind, anyway," Raven said, eating another banana slice as well.
"Really?" Beast Boy asked. Raven nodded, and he was surprised. Raven was certainly acting differently tonight. "Are you sure you don't mind that I interrupted your meditation or whatever you were doing in there?"
"It's fine. To tell the truth I was getting…lonely," Raven admitted, excusing herself from any further interrogation by cramming another banana slice into her mouth. But Beast Boy was not so easily deterred.
"Really? I didn't think you…ever got lonely," he admitted sheepishly.
"Everyone gets lonely. It's an inbred response," Raven said with a shrug. Beast Boy nodded, watching her swirl another banana slice in chocolate and transfer it delicately into her mouth. His eyes lingered for a moment too long on her pale face, and she noticed. Her eyes questioned him. A blush rose up on his emerald cheeks and he reached frantically for another banana slice, leaning quickly forward to dip it and slipping. His hand hit Raven's, which was also going in for another dip, and to his horror her hand sunk to the wrist in the pot of warm chocolate sauce.
There was a pause. Beast Boy wished nothing more than for a hole to open up in the floor and suck him in. 'Please don't let her kill me please don't let her hate me oh God please…' It was then that Beast Boy noticed Raven's expression was not an angry one. He cleared his throat nervously.
"I'm sorry!" he said, grabbing a napkin and reaching for her hand, pulling it out of the chocolate and quickly wiping the chocolate from her fingers and palm and every part of the hand that he could see, trying desperately to clean it off. "Man, I didn't mean to do that!" he was blushing furiously and mentally beating himself over the head. He was absolutely sure that she was going to beat him senseless. He rubbed fruitlessly at the black material of the leotard, only smearing the chocolate deeper into the weave.
Raven placed her other hand on the back of his and guided it carefully away from hers, dropping her hands back into her lap. "Don't worry about it," she assured him. Beast Boy looked up at her, and when he saw the lack of threatening malice on her face, his worry ebbed. He was surprised. This wasn't like Raven at all. Normally, she would have gotten angry or at least irritated. But here she was with no trace of anger at all on her face or in her tone. In fact, she was acting completely different in every way tonight. He wondered if something was going on.
"Raven, you seem…different," he said before he could stop himself.
"What?" Raven asked him, looking more than a little confused.
"Well….usually you're…um…well, you're acting different than normal. How come you're being so nice to me?" Beast Boy asked, eyes finding their way slowly up to hers.
She blushed slightly, prompting him to blush also. The two of them certainly were setting a new record for blushing today. "I don't know. Why are you being so nice to me?" Raven countered, putting him on the spot.
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe I just feel like it," he said flirtatiously with a light shrug.
"And maybe I just feel like it, too," Raven said, shrugging back at him.
The moment was gone, just like that. Beast Boy cursed himself for wasting such a perfect moment for telling her how he really felt. He turned his attention to something less frustrating. Raven had dropped her fork in the pot of fondue during the 'incident', and it had sunk somewhere into the fathomless depths of the creamy sauce. He offered her his own.
"Looks like your fork's taking a swim. Wanna use mine?" he asked, holding it out to her. Raven shook her head.
"Thanks anyway," she answered. Beast Boy nodded and dropped his fork onto the plate of banana slices with a slight 'clink', the sound the only break in the silence as the two stared at each other. The silence was absolute for a moment, and then Beast Boy coughed several times. Why did it have to be so awkward? And then he remembered her power to sometimes know what others were feeling. His blood ran cold. If she had sensed his emotions a moment ago, he was a dead man.
"So…how are you?" he asked, sweating a bit. He stared intently at the Azarathian's face, willing himself not to drop his gaze. Beast Boy had never been one to favor pale skin, but on Raven he found it hopelessly attractive. And those eyes. Oh God, those eyes were the reason he spent so many sleepless nights thinking about her. 'Snap out of it Beast Boy! These are not things you should be thinking in her actual presence,' he reminded himself.
"I'm OK. How are you?" Raven asked back, making mundane conversation. She gazed raptly into his large, soft, emerald eyes. Those eyes that she felt were looking straight into her heart instead of through her like most eyes did. His skin was the color of fresh limes, and probably just as delicious…Raven shook her head at her own foolishness. 'If you keep thinking of these emotions of yours, something is going to blow up,' she told herself mentally. 'Something is going to explode and you're going to ruin everything yet again.'
"Pretty good," Beast Boy answered, looking down at his hands. Raven watched him, trying to be inconspicuous. She saw the smooth, even curve of his shoulders, the pleasant lines of his face, the varying hues of green that made up his skin and hair.
"You're staring at him," Happy said gleefully inside her mind. Raven ignored her. She knew Happy was right, but she didn't care to acknowledge her at the moment. "He makes your insides all goofy, doesn't he?"
"What if he gets mad at you for staring?" Timid asked worriedly.
"Stare all you want. What's he gonna do?" Brave whooped.
"You OK?" Beast Boy asked. It took a moment for the words to register in Raven's mind, and when they did, she nodded.
"Yes, I'm…fine," she said, rubbing her temple lightly with one hand. "Just got a little…distracted."
Beast Boy nodded. There was a pause.
"Beast Boy?" Raven asked. He looked up at her.
"Yeah?" he replied.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Beast Boy answered, moving over to sit beside her before he was really sure what he was doing. By the time he realized he had moved, it was too late to pretend he had been casually shifting to prevent numb-butt and go back to his original spot. He was trapped. "Go ahead."
"Well…I wanted to know…do you think I'm creepy?" Raven asked. Beast Boy was set off balance by this question. It was so random. He remembered when he had called her creepy that time nearly a year ago, around the same time she had been betrayed by a 1000-year-old warlock named Malchior. Had Beast Boy really hurt her so deeply that she would bring it up now without any reason to?
"No, of course not," he answered sincerely, looking into her eyes.
"But before, you said-"
"Never mind what I said before. I was stupid. I'm so sorry I said that," Beast Boy muttered apologetically. He placed a hand gently on her shoulder. "I never should have called you that."
Raven nodded slightly. "It's in the past. It doesn't matter anymore," she said.
Beast Boy nodded and started to move back into his spot across from her. He felt his forearm bump into something, and thought little of it until he saw a bright orange glow out of the corner of his eye. The thing he had knocked over was one of the candles. Raven's deep blue cloak was spread out around her on the blanket, and the spilled candle had caught the hem on fire. Raven's cloak was burning. It took a moment for this shocking discovery to reach his brain, and when it did, he panicked.
"Dude, you're on fire!" he shrieked, pointing frantically to Raven's cloak. She jumped at his sudden yell, toppling over backward for a moment and then sitting up again. Beast Boy looked around frenziedly, grapping a banana peel and leaping forward, smashing it against the flames on the cloak, beating them repeatedly with the damp rind. "Die! Die!" he screeched at the flames. When they were finally out, he calmed down. He realized that he was more or less sitting on Raven's lap, and leaped backward. His hand hit the edge of the plate with a sandwich on it.
In slow motion, the plate catapulted the sandwich through the air. The two slices of bread came apart in the air, ham flapping in the breeze, mayonnaise gleaming in the candlelight. And then, agonizingly slowly, they bombarded Raven's face. And then time righted itself again in Beast Boy's view and Raven just sat there, mayonnaise streaking her nose and forehead, ham falling with a limp plop onto her shoulder, looking a bit shocked from the fact that her clothing had been on fire and now her face was covered with sandwich fixings.
Beast Boy didn't even need to consider the situation to know that he had completely and totally blown it. The situation had been salvaged the last time he had screwed up, but now it was over. His big chance, ruined. He cursed his own stupidity fiercely inside his head.
"Raven, I…I…I'm so sorry!" he said, eyes wide, hands flying up to cover his mouth for a moment. "I didn't mean for that to happen I…I just…agh! I'm so sorry!" he grabbed a napkin and wiped a blob of mayonnaise from her nose gently, then handing the napkin to her, thinking she would probably rather wipe her own face. He picked the slice of ham carefully from her shoulder and threw it off to the side.
Raven wiped the white slop quickly from her face and dropped the napkin, hand venturing to his shoulder.
"It's fine, really," she said softly.
Beast Boy shook his head. "No, it isn't! I screwed everything up! I always do this! I just wanted you to have a nice time!"
"I am having a nice time," Raven protested.
"You…you are?" Beast Boy asked, looking up at her.
Raven nodded. "Yes. I never thought I'd say this, but Beast Boy, I really enjoy your company."
"Wow…" Beast Boy said, eyes sparkling. "You're not getting mad at me. Usually you would get mad at me and…are you sure you're OK?"
Raven too realized the significance of that fact that she wasn't angry at him. Normally, he would probably be bruised by now. So why wasn't she angry? Why was she allowing her feelings for him to govern her behavior today?
"Yes, I'm sure. It's just that today…well…it's different, somehow. No one's ever…you know…done anything like this for me before." Raven paused. "I've been wondering…why did you do all this for me, anyway?"
Beast Boy gulped slightly. It was now or never. He looked her solemnly in the eyes and took a deep breath. "Because…well…the thing is…I really, really like you. And I just thought that this would show you that. It might have if I hadn't screwed everything up."
"You don't need to try to impress me, Beast Boy. I like you too," Raven stated matter-of-factly as though she were giving tomorrow's weather forecast.
"Y-you do?" large, shiny green eyes were on her face.
"Yes, I do," Raven answered, smiling nervously at the changeling. "I have for a long time, though until recently I've been too much of an emotion-hater to even admit it to myself."
"Same here," Beast Boy said. He paused for a moment. "You know, you don't seem so surprised that I like you."
Raven looked guilty. Beast Boy gasped in mock offense.
"You were reading my mind earlier, weren't you?" he asked her.
"Maybe," Raven said with an almost sadistic smile.
Beast Boy eyes widened and be pretended to be disgusted. "You crazy psychics! I'm going to get you for this!" he declared loudly, leaping forward and tackling her. Raven shrieked as the two tumbled backward onto the blanket, Beast Boy's body pressing her into the floor. He shoved his hands into her armpits and started tickling her.
'Don't laugh, don't laugh. Don't blow anything up,' Raven told herself. She fought it for as long as she could, and then exploded into giggles. A lamp nearby exploded into nothing and a chair tipped over in a seemingly random blast of invisible energy.
"Say uncle!" Beast Boy said, making it sound as though he were trying to break her arm. "Say it!"
"Uncle!" Raven replied, and the torture stopped.
Beast Boy leaned forward so their noses were only centimeters apart, looking down into her eyes. "So tell me, Little Miss Rogue Psychic, what am I thinking now?"
"You're thinking…" Raven paused. "Of how much you want to kiss me," she finished, sounding a bit surprised.
"And I'm going to try a little psychic work of my own…you're thinking…of how you want me to kiss you, too," Beast Boy said.
"I'm not seeing a long career in the field ahead of you, but I'd say that's close enough," Raven responded with a light smile.
Beast Boy lowered his head slowly and covered her lips with his own. Raven lay still for a moment, taking in the sensation of him kissing her, and then kissed him back. His hands crept over her cheeks, stroking them gently, tender caresses like the wings of a dove on her skin. His fingertips were warm and smooth, stroking her skin soothingly as he drew passion which had been locked away inside for so long out of her. She kissed him back, slow at first, then more passionately when she realized that nothing was exploding.
Beast Boy broke the kiss and placed several kisses on the silky violet hair on Raven's head, and then kissed her once more, stroking her cheeks, her hair, her hands. Raven reached for his hands and held them, rubbing her palms against his, surprised at the smoothness of his skin.
A few minutes passed before the bond between their lips was broken once more. They freed themselves from the rather embarrassing tangle and sat up, Raven smoothing out her disheveled hair.
"Well, that was interesting," she said.
"interesting good, or interesting bad?" Beast Boy asked nervously, moving the plates out of the way so he could sit down.
"Interesting good. I mean…nothing exploded…nothing terrible happened…and I just kissed you."
"And you always thought that when it happened the world was going to explode?" Beast Boy asked.
"What do you mean 'when it happened?'" Raven asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, wasn't it kind of obvious to you that it was going to happen? I mean, right from the start you were charmed by my good looks and dazzling personality," Beast Boy joked. Raven rolled her eyes.
"Sure," she said.
"So, the others aren't back yet. What do ya wanna do?" Beast Boy asked. Raven shrugged, moving closer to him and wrapping her arms around him in a hug.
"Thank you," she said softly.
"For what?" Beast Boy asked, confused.
"For everything," Raven replied. Beast Boy's arms found their way around her, they sat there in silence. It didn't matter how much time passed, it didn't matter what was going on with the rest of the world. The two of them sat there, bathed in contentment. An animal and a demon wrapped in each other's embrace, in a tiny circle of candlelight in the middle of a dark room. A tiny patch of hope, no matter what despair might happen around them. Because in this world there will always be light in the darkest of places. There will always be a circle of candlelight when we need it most. As long as there is hope, we will never be in the dark, as long as we bother to look for the light.