AN: Hi guys, sorry about the lack in updating, especially on Blue Bird, which will get updated soon, I don't know exactly when since I'm getting into that last minute summer work crunch, but I swear I will update it. I have some new story ideas that I probably will start after I've finished Blue Bird and this, so be sure to check them out when they get posted.

Disclaimer: maybe in my dreams…

Growing

'Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock…" The clock above Raven's door counted away the seconds of time the two sat in silence. Raven simply read, turning a page every minute or so, Garfield was surprised at her speed, when he read it took a lot longer, mostly because he was usually distracted. Garfield sighed for about the fourth time and turned his gaze to Raven once more. He was here for a reason and that was to make Raven happy. Offering to read or play a game hadn't worked, and Raven seemed content to simply stay quiet and read. Maybe a joke would lighten her up?

"Hey Raven, you want to hear a joke?"

No reply.

"It's a good one."

Nothing.

"Okay, I'll tell you…"

"Why can't you just leave me alone?" It was no more than a whisper, but Garfield heard it.

"I told you already, I have-"

"Community Service." Raven growled and she looked up for the first time. "Go help someone who wants the 'help'. I don't need it." Her voice tapered off into a whisper, sad, almost lonely.

"But I-"

"I don't want you here."

Garfield groaned and resisted the urge to bang his head against the wall. What was he doing wrong? Why couldn't she just smile, or act like a normal person, recognize he was trying to help her? The clock read fifteen minutes to twelve, fifteen more minutes until he could disappear down to lunch, before he could escape the empty silence that held him captive. Slowly the seconds ticked by, every hour a minute passed by. This was one of the longest days Garfield had ever experienced and it wasn't even noon. His eyes followed the second hand, nearly there, nearly there… yes!

Garfield stood up and stretched. "Time for lunch." He started toward the door before pausing and glancing back at Raven. "Hey, aren't you hungry?" The girl didn't reply. Gar shrugged and assumed that Raven would come down later. He hadn't expected her to actually walk with him to lunch, but he had tried.

"Right, I'll see you soon then." Garfield opened the door and walked down the hall toward the elevator.

X

Garfield absentmindedly picked at his food. He wasn't really hungry having eaten a large breakfast and doing nothing that day to have worked up an appetite. Glancing around the room he watched as people filled the room, sitting down at different tables, some talking; to themselves or their tablemates Garfield wasn't exactly sure of. He saw all of the people he had met so far, all but Raven.

Turning to his right he looked at Kori who was attacking the salad with great intensity. "Kori?" he ventured softly.

Stopping from her feast Kori turned her attention the student. "Yes Garfield?"

"Umm, I told Raven that I was going to lunch and I offered for her to come, but when she wouldn't I thought she would just come down later, but lunch is almost over and Raven isn't here yet. Isn't that bad?"

Kori shook her head rather sadly. "No, Raven doesn't come down to eat, we usually bring food to her. In fact, Raven almost never comes out of her room. We just let her be, as long as she's comfortable it's okay. When she first came here, we tried to bring her out a bit more, but she would have none of it." Kori spoke quietly. Garfield was surprised. Sure, he hadn't seen Raven leave her room before, but he had just assumed that she hadn't wanted to go out, or was tired. But to never leave her room? That was certainly.

"Before you go back to Raven's room, head over to the kitchen and ask for Raven's lunch. Bring it up to her so she can eat." Kori said as she rose; her plate empty and clean, a surprising fact seeing that Kori had gotten a lot to eat. Garfield nodded and pushed his chair back and stretched before he stood.

"Hey, Logan!" Garfield turned and saw Jinx beckoning him from the reception desk. "I have a job for you, after you bring Raven lunch come back down." Garfield nodded and swept by the kitchen grabbing the tray the cooks gave him. Finally he would have something to do besides sit in that small room; lit only by florescent lights and harbored the quiet, dark girl.

Knocking on the door, Garfield slipped in and found Raven in the place he had left her. The book she had been reading was on the floor, the black feather placed at the end of it. "Finished your book?" He asked quietly before handing her the tray. She took it without a 'Thank you'. "I'm going to be downstairs for a while, I'll be back later though." He paused before he left the room, watching Raven take a sip of the drink he had carried her. Shaking his head, Garfield stepped out into the hall and closed the door behind him. It shut with a click and Garfield started back down to the elevator, wondering what job Jinx had for him.

X

"Damn her." Garfield growled as soon as the pink haired receptionist had left him. He was in a large back room, full of cabinets, boxes and some scattered paper. 'Just check through the files and make sure they're all in alphabetic order, oh and those boxes, go through them and put the papers in the files of the people the belong to.' Jinx had explained as she unlocked the door for him. The job hadn't sounded to hard before he saw the room. But now he was here and the job seemed impossible.

Taking a deep breath he set to work with the boxes, opening on he grabbed a piece of paper and checked the name on it, and pulled open the cabinet labeled 'S'. Disorder. To the extremes. In the cabinet there weren't 'S' files, there were 'B', 'F' and even some 'Z's. Garfield came to the conclusion that the only thing messier than this back room would probably his own bedroom room. With a sigh, Garfield dropped the papers in his hand and turned his attention to the cabinets. He started at the 'A' cabinet, working his way down the line, dropping everything into its rightfully place. At long last, about two hours he had started, Garfield had finished. Sighing happily, he wiped the sweat off his brow and turned to leave, planning to snap at Jinx as he went by on his way back to Raven's room, when he heard paper flutter. Turning with a growl Garfield searched the room with a sweep of his eyes, looking for the person stupid enough to mess up what he had just finished organizing. Instead, all he found was a couple of sheets of paper, stapled together and looking rather worn out. Grumbling about disorder, Garfield bent to grab the papers and turned the over to find the name when he stopped. 'Roth, Raven' Garfield stared at the name. Raven? None of the papers he had been working through before had anything to do with her, and now, these four sheets right in front of him were about her.

'I probably shouldn't read them… Probably things I'm not supposed to know, but… it could help me deal with her if I knew a little more about her… right?' Garfield battled with himself for a minute before his curiosity won over.

X

Victor Stone smiled as he bent down to the young girl and produced a sticker and a lollypop. "These for being such a good girl while you got your shot." The little girl gave him a slightly tearful grin, as she opened her single free hand, the other one clutching a large teddy bear, and accepted the two small prizes.

"Thank you Dr. Stone." She mumbled as she tottered away. Shaking head with a smirk, he stood and waved goodbye to the small family.

He headed back into his private office and yawned as he took a seat. It had been long day and he was ready for his break. A soft knock came at the door before it opened to reveal a young woman, a white lab coat folded over her dark arm, and a broad smile on her beautiful face.

"Hey Sparky, you ready to hit the road?" She asked as she sauntered in.

"Almost, I still have a little paperwork to finish, and then we can leave. How was your day?"

Bee shrugged and she took a seat on Victor's desk. "Not bad, a lot of patients though." She picked up a marble and tossed it casually into the air, eye's following its path. "My lunch break got interrupted three different times, but hey, that's what we're here for right?" She winked at him before gently placing the marble back down in its place.

"Yeah, I suppose that's right." Victor responded, another smile appearing on his face. The ringing of the phone interrupted the two's comfortable silence and Bee grumbled softly as she answered it.

"Hello, Dr. Stones office." She murmured, feet swinging back and forth casually. She listened for a moment before handing Victor the receiver with a shrug. "It's for you."

"Surprise, surprise." He laughed as he accepted it from his girlfriend. "Hello, Dr. Stone speaking."

"Dr. Stone?" The voice of his secretary Terra floated to him, annoyed and huffy. Victor could just picture the crabby blonde doing her nails and being interrupted by some poor patient disrupting her at the time. "Yeah, there's some guy on the phone blabbering about needing to talk you, his names Garfield Logan, shall I connect you?" she drawled.

"Yeah sure." Victor sighed.

There was a click as Terra switched him to line one and then a beep. "This is Dr. Stone, how can a help you?"

There was a pause before a voice answered him; slightly unsure and so quiet it was hard to make out. "Dr Stone. Hi, my name's Garfield Logan. I'm doing community service at the Jump City Mental Health Home, and I'm working with Raven, Raven Roth." There was a long pause before Victor spoke.

"Raven huh? How is she doing? I haven't seen her for a while."

"She's… well…umm… closed off, quiet, and I suppose the way you've known her." Victor sighed.

"She wasn't always that way. Anyway, how can I help you Garfield?"

"Well, I read that report you wrote up for her, and… is that all… true?"

Victor leaned back in his chair and rubbed one of his temples with his free hand. "True? Yes, it's all true. Raven's mother was an addict and her father a convict. Neither one ever really wanted her, she was often alone as a child and her only comfort were the books her mother had owned as a child and had been saved in the small attic. I suppose Raven taught herself to read, because she her parents never had the time. When she was five, her mother had an overdose and died from it. Raven was left in the care of her father, a man who was dangerous and was soon caught and arrested. She was moved to an orphanage. When Raven started school, she was so withdrawn already that none of the other children accepted her. As years went on Raven simply withdrew from everybody, the very few people she let get close to her and those who she began to open up to ended up hurting her and emotionally scarring her even more." He past a single hand over his eyes as he paused in his story. Bee shot him a sad glance as she rose and gave him a light hug around the neck. "When Raven was a year from finishing high school, one of the teachers recommended that she be placed in therapy, and when she was, no one could get anything out of her. So they assumed she was crazy and placed her where she is now as soon as she finished her senior year."

Victor shook his head sadly. Garfield was silent for a minute before he spoke up again. "That's… horrible."

X

Garfield lay on his bed, staring at his ceiling and tracing the cracks in the paint with his eyes. It was already 1 a.m., but Garfield wasn't tired. It had been twelve hours since he had read the report on Raven, twelve hours since he had called Victor Stone, Raven's doctor, and had learned about her horrible past. He couldn't get the feeling of sadness and remorse out of his gut. His mind kept straying back to Raven, staying in her tiny room all day. Never opening her shade, afraid to see what she might be missing on the outside. The image of the small shelf of books that she kept, he had already realized that she was a fast reader, how must it feel to read the same books over and over again, never getting anything new, always the same things as before? And then, people supposing she was crazy, insane, when all she really was, was a misunderstood, mistreated girl. Alone.

Before his own parents had died, they had supported him, been with him and cheered him on when he was having trouble with friends or school. They had been there whenever he needed them and it had been horrible to lose them. But he could not imagine living at least at one time without loving parents. Raven hadn't had anything of the sort. Her parent's hadn't given a damn about her. She was afraid to get close to people because of the abuse she had suffered. And he had… he had gotten mad at her; he had been no better than anybody else. Not giving her the chance she needed.

Garfield rolled over on his side and sighed. He was going to change that. In the eight weeks he was there he was going to help Raven, how he wasn't quite sure, but he was going to. Raven didn't deserve to be stuck there, she deserved a fair chance at life and that was what he, Garfield Logan, was going to give her. He was going to bring her out of her shell.

He pressed his nose against the window pane and searched the store. It was small and modest, but there were so many books! Checking his watch quickly, he decided he had enough time left and ducked into the store. He glanced around and slowly and traced his hand over the many different books, some used; torn. Others were brand new and portraying their titles proudly with gold lettering. Garfield stopped on a rather old book, the lettering fading, but the book itself was still in pretty good condition. He opened it and flipped through it quickly. From what he could gather, it was of the adventure and romance genre, and even the first book in an eight part series, as he read off the back.

Would Raven be interested in a book like this? It was worth a try, and today he could even check out the other books she had to see what she liked, then he would have a better idea.

Paying for the book, Garfield left the shop, wrapping the book up in a brown paper bag and tucking it into his backpack along with the other things he had brought. A chocolate bar, a small table light and shade decorated with floral designs his mother had made. He had even brought a small, stuffed dog he had treasured as a child and still did. Smiling, Gar stepped onto the bus and sat in one of the back seats. He still had a half hour before he was due, but for once he couldn't wait to arrive.

"Good morning Kori!" He chirped as he waved to the red headed nurse. The said girl glanced up from a book she was reading on her way up to the main entrance of the white building. She grinned as she saw him and quickly slipped the book into her shoulder bag.

"A good morning to you to!" she laughed as he caught up to her. "You seem to be in a very good mood today, any occasion?"

"Nope, but who couldn't be happy on a day like this?" It was true that day was quite beautiful, the air was warm and there was a single fluffy cloud floating through the sky, looking somewhat like a sheep. The day had affected his mood a lot, making him happy and hopeful about his plan. He would have liked to tell Kori about his plan to help Raven, but another part of him wanted to keep quiet about it. She might tell him that it was impossible, other people had tried and failed to do what he wanted to do, and that was not what Garfield wanted to hear. He decided it would be better to, for once, keep his mouth closed.

Jinx nodded as the two walked in, busy with someone on the phone, her tone irritated as she spoke to whomever was on the other end. "Look, I'm sorry, but for the last time we do not accept telemarketing. This is a Mental Health Home, we would love to give money toward your cause but we need it hear. Yes, I know it's a good cause but we just can't." Jinx snapped and rolled her eyes as Garfield laughed.

Raven was still in her chair another book lay open in her lap, though her attention was obviously not focused on it. Garfield watched her from the doorway, and was sure he caught an emotion that resembled sadness flicker within the depths of her amethyst eyes. Taking a deep breath strode forward and, reaching her, gently closed the book in her lap.

Raven's eyes flickered angrily up at him, they were cold and hard, Garfield almost backed down, but instead stayed firm and pulled the book from her grasp. "I was reading that." Raven growled as she stood, reaching out to claim the book from him but hesitating as her hand got close to him. "Give it back." Garfield watched her sadly, he hadn't noticed it before, but Raven was afraid to touch him, when she had paused to push him away from her window and now, as she reached for her book, she couldn't actually bring herself to touch him. It was her fear of people coming out. "Give it back." Raven snapped again, her hand outstretched waiting for him to give it back without having to get to close to him.

Smiling softly, he returned to book to her, and then reached into his backpack and pulled out the brown-paper wrapped book and gently pressed it into her hands. "You can have your book, but wouldn't you also like this?" Raven glanced from the parcel in her hands back to Garfield. An unreadable emotion flickered in her eyes for a moment before her hands tightened on the package and Garfield let go.
Carefully, almost fearfully, she unfolded the bag and opened, letting the book slide into her hands. She started at it book looking up at Gar. "Why did you bring this?" Her tone was uncertain, and again it made him sad. When was the last time someone had given her something, a simple present or token?

"I noticed you didn't have many books, I thought you might like it." He grinned as he stepped past her. "I hope you like, I wasn't really sure what you were into." He bent down and examined her books, being careful not to touch them and only look.

For a moment there was silence between the two before a soft 'Thank you.' Was breathed into the air from Raven as she sat back down in her chair and flipped open the book to the first page.
Glancing over his at Raven, Garfield couldn't help but grin. Though Raven's face hadn't changed all the much, a dim light had lit it ever so slightly and her eyes hungrily ate up the print on the page. He eased himself onto her bed and leaned against the wall, he had been right about the kind of books she liked, most of the few books she owned had been adventure or romance so he was doing all right so far. Sighing, he examined the room around him. It was white, nothing hung from the walls, no posters or pictures, just the simple clock that hung over her door, and the window that was never open. He looked at her bed, plain with white sheets, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing extra. He heard a small click and looked up to find Raven had closed the book.

"Finished already?" He raised an eyebrow as she looked up at him, surprise written on her features.

"No, but I want to save it, make it last." She glanced at him nervously and he smiled gently. "I haven't gotten a new book for a long time." Her voice was soft and she caressed the book gently with one hand. "I… well… thank you again…" she murmured, looking down at her feet as she shuffled the nervously. She seemed so unsure, and Garfield watched her carefully. There was something more to Raven, and the simple act of giving her a book had brought out a tiny part of that. Garfield felt a grin spread across his face.

"Hey, no problem…"

To Be Continued…

An: Well hope you all enjoyed the chapter, make sure you leave a review and tell me what you guys think! Thanksies!

-cookiesandmilk