Disclaimer: Not mine, but DC and I go way back ...
Author's Note: Although this was posted at a much earlier date it fits chronologically after my latest story, A Matter of Control. Neither story depends on the other, but since I intended both stories to occupy the same universe I felt compelled to point this out. Yeah.
The sun blazed high in the afternoon sky, warming the asphalt until it reflected heat in a wavering haze. Under the red-tinged shade of the umbrella, Raven was uncomfortably hot and cranky. She longed to return to the climate controlled coolness of Titans' Tower, but she had one minor irritant to take care of first. She put her palms down on the table and leaned forward, looking her tablemate in the eye sternly.
"Bunny," the blond corrected her, despite a mouthful of pizza.
Raven faltered for a moment but didn't allow herself to be sidetracked. "Fine, Bunny," she enunciated. The name was ridiculous; it belonged on a stripper. Or a Barbie-doll. 'On second thought, that's just about right,' she mused uncharitably.
"Our job is important. Being a Titan is not just a hobby; it's not like cheerleading or shoe shopping or whatever you do for fun. This city depends on us."
Bunny nodded wisely and grabbed Raven's arm, "I know. I know everything about you guys, I'm a huge fan!" Raven jerked away from the contact, but not before sensing the girl's enthusiasm, nervousness, adoration … the girl had no emotional control at all. Raven's eye started to twitch.
"Then you know that we don't have time for a social life; you'll probably spend most of your evenings home alone, waiting for the phone to ring." She paused for a reply, but Bunny sat at rapt attention, waiting for her to continue.
"You'll need attention. He won't be able to give it to you. You'll start feeling sorry for yourself," Raven paused to see whether or not her words were making an impact. They weren't. "He'll kill himself trying to make it up to you. There'll be an ugly breakup and he'll spend the next three weeks moping around the tower until he meets the next tiny blond. Just like every other time."
Raven took a much needed breath and studied Bunny's reaction. For a moment the girl seemed unsure, then her face brightened and she giggled dismissively. "Don't be crazy! I've had a huge crush on him, on all of you, really, since I was in junior high. I've dreamed about this my whole life, I'm not gonna let anything mess this up." She bit her lip, then added questioningly, "Besides, should you really be talking about him like this behind his back?"
"It doesn't matter. I've heard it all before."
Raven looked over her shoulder and watched Beast Boy approach. He ambled around the table and collapsed on the bench next to Bunny, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "You'll get used to Raven, you guys'll be best friends in no time."
Raven snorted and pulled her hood over her eyes while Bunny beamed up at Beast Boy adoringly. He smiled down and kissed the top of her nose. "You done? I'll meet you out front, okay?" Bunny nodded agreeably, waved her fingertips at Raven in farewell, and bounced away, every male eye in the pizza parlor avidly watching her retreat.
Once the door had closed on Bunny's perky form, Beast Boy turned back to Raven, a smile tugging at his lips. Raven struggled to block out the happiness she felt radiating from him, but didn't quite succeed.
After years of practice, she had all but perfected her ability to filter out the emotions of those around her. The moods of Robin, with his logical mind, or Cyborg, with his steady disposition, rarely even registered in her subconscious but Beast Boy, like Starfire, was far too emotional for her empathic gift to ignore completely. Usually she was able to muffle the sensations, at least enough so that they didn't bother her; now however, the joyful vibe coming from Beast Boy was overwhelming. It was also giving her a headache.
The green-skinned boy was looking at her eagerly; she wasn't sure why, but he clearly valued her opinion. Beast Boy had made a point of introducing every single one of his girlfriends to her for the last several years. They danced through her mind now, an endless string of perky blondes with names she couldn't remember. Bunny would fit right in. But he was looking at her hopefully now, and she couldn't bring herself to crush him completely.
"She's cute," Raven offered grudgingly.
"I'm right, though. About what happens next. I'm always right."
Beast Boy smiled fondly down at Raven and tugged her hood firmly over her eyes. "I know that, too."
She'd just read the same sentence six times and its essence still eluded her. Raven tossed her book aside and flopped onto her back. She gazed unseeingly at her bedroom ceiling while she tried to settle her whirling thoughts into some semblance of order.
She was worried again, it was starting to seem like all she did was fret about the Titans. Raven was tired of worrying.
They had ceased calling themselves the Teen Titans last year when Cyborg finally turned twenty-one. Over the years they had seen friends come and go, but the core five had remained. Raven knew that the day was coming when they would each go their separate ways, but she couldn't bring herself to face that fact. Without her friends to support her, Raven feared she was only one emotional crisis away from the deranged creature Starfire had described from her adventure in the future.
Worse, she wasn't entirely certain that she was free of the evil she had inherited from her father. Trigon was dead, there could be no mistaking that, but Raven herself had always been part demon and while she would like to believe that the events surrounding her father's death had cleansed her, she couldn't bring herself to believe that that was the case. One of these days her demon side just might awaken to wreak havoc on her life and she wasn't sure she would be able to stop it. Cyborg had insisted that Raven was stronger than she gave herself credit for, but she knew she needed her friends more than they would ever need her. The thought of trying to make it on her own terrified her.
Ironically, the biggest threat to the team came from within. Robin and Starfire were practically joined at the hip now. She wanted to be sickened by their obvious affection for each other, but she couldn't quite manage it. Raven dreaded the day when the two of them finally realized that, between his brain and her brawn, they had everything they needed and that the rest of the Titans were superfluous. Cyborg would tell her that she was just borrowing trouble, but Raven knew better. Some things were simply inevitable.
She sighed, disgusted with herself, and allowed her determined mind to settle on Beast Boy. He was certainly the wild card in this situation. One of these days that nitwit was going to find the right blond bimbo and fall hard. Well, harder. She'd probably convince him to give everything up and move to Aruba and that would be that. It wasn't the same situation as with Robin and Starfire. True, she could predict that they would eventually break with the group, but at least they were dear friends. Neither of them was a virtual unknown flouncing into her life and threatening to ruin everything.
Raven caught herself scowling ferociously and forced herself to relax. She rolled off the bed and snuck a quick glance in the mirror. Satisfied with her appearance, she exited her room and padded softly down the hall in search of Cyborg. She didn't even hesitate, she knew just where he'd be.
She found him in the gym. Of course. Cyborg was one of the strongest men alive, but he'd never allow himself to be satisfied with that. He was forever pushing himself to be stronger, smarter, faster … it was one of the things she admired most about him.
A couple of years back, she had toyed with the idea of instigating a romance with Cyborg. He was solid and safe, dependable. She could care for him dearly without getting entangled in any of the more complicated emotions. It could have been ideal, for her at least. But before she could find the nerve to broach the subject, he had met Sarah. Sarah was a research scientist from the city, and Cyborg was crazy about her. Sarah was crazy about him too, and while Raven supposed she could have cause to be envious, she didn't bother. They were perfect for each other.
It was a relief, really. True, she still thought wistfully about her missed opportunity; allowing herself to be in love with Cyborg would have been … nice. Mostly, though, she was thankful that she had neither revealed herself nor risked their friendship on such a potentially damaging experiment.
The extra time she had spent with Cyborg had produced at least one positive result: he was now her most trusted confidante. He had the uncanny ability to deduce her thoughts, often before she herself was aware of them It was a potentially annoying trait, but useful when her mind was in disarray.
"Gar's got himself a new girlfriend, huh?" It wasn't even a question.
"Wow. News travels fast."
He chuckled, "Nah. It's all over your face; you get that same look every time." He leaned toward her and grinned knowingly, "You already gave her the talk, didn't you?"
Raven drew her cloak closer, "Someone has to. We're not nearly as effective when Garfield's girlfriends get in the way."
Cyborg appeared to contemplate this for a moment, "Hmm, we're not as effective, or he isn't?" An evil light glinted in his eye and he lowered his voice, "Or you aren't?"
He had crossed a line and they both knew it. Raven briefly considered strangling him with his own circuitry, but dismissed the idea as too extreme. She glared at him menacingly, but anger flashed in her eyes only briefly before being replaced with less dangerous irritation. It was true that her father now presented no threat to her, and that she had gained better control of her emotions, but strong feelings of rage or joy could still cause mishaps if she wasn't careful.
Cyborg grinned triumphantly, "Hit a nerve, didn't I?"
"You get to live this time, Victor. Don't push it."
The cybernetic shrugged and gazed at her with the superior expression Raven hated so much. Somehow their conversations always came around to Cyborg's theories about Raven's secret affections; most of the time she knew he was just teasing her, but other times he was convincingly serious. She always cut him off before he could warm to the subject, but she couldn't seem to stop him from hinting. It wasn't so bad when he went on about the mailman or the guy at the bookstore, but she felt distinctly uncomfortable when he teased her about secretly pining for Robin or having a 'thing' for Beast Boy. The closest she'd come in years to having a 'thing' for anyone was Cyborg himself, but she could hardly tell him that.
"Garfield needs someone to keep an eye on him," she explained for what felt like the two hundredth time. "He keeps making the same ridiculous mistakes. Just because he's the youngest doesn't mean we should let him –"
Cyborg snorted, "Youngest by about a month and a half. Plus, he's got almost a foot on you, lady. Better be careful who you patronize."
Raven grimaced. She was seventeen when she realized she had become the shortest Titan, and by a fair margin. Three years later, it was still a sore point for her. "Fine, but I'm certainly ahead of him in common sense."
"What's the harm in letting him have a little fun?" Raven stared at him pointedly and he conceded, "Okay, fine. So he'll be a little off for a few weeks, so what? Once he gets over the inevitable breakup things'll settle down. It's not like we can expect him to sit around here every day and learn how to knit. He's a guy, this is normal."
"You don't act like that."
"I don't date."
Raven's eyes widened. "What happened to Sarah?"
"I don't date much," Cyborg amended. "And she's been busy with work."
"Hmm. The point is I'm just trying to look out for the team. It's my job."
"And being jealous of B.B.'s girlfriends is …?"
"Your own little delusion," Raven finished for him, rolling her eyes, "Don't be absurd."
Cyborg just smiled infuriatingly.
"C'mon, Star," Beast Boy tugged excitedly at the tall girl's hand, "come over here and meet Bunny, you're gonna love her."
Beast Boy had arranged a picnic in the park to facilitate the Titans' official introduction to his new girlfriend. Most of the Titans hadn't even bothered to meet the last few girls, so the fact that Bunny warranted an event meant that Beast Boy was serious about her. Raven, who had met the previous candidates, had confided to Cyborg that she didn't see anything particularly special about Bunny but he just smiled and patted her on the head before striding over to envelope Bunny's tiny hand in both of his.
"Nice to meet you, little lady. I've heard a lot about you. I understand you–what the–?!"
Cyborg was caught off guard when Bunny, already bouncing on her toes eagerly, abandoned all pretense and launched herself at him, throwing her arms around his neck. "I've wanted to do that for years! You just seem so nice, like a big brother. I mean, Robin's all quiet and intense, and Gar's charming and funny, but you … you just seem so nice! I have to hug you, I'll bet a lot of girls come up and hug you."
Raven watched in amusement as Cyborg, a smile fixed determinedly on his face, extricated himself from the enthusiastic girl and slowly backed away. "Uh, no. No, I can't say that they do. But you … you … uh, you go ahead and make yourself a burger. I'll just … I'll just finish grilling them. Nice meeting … you." His hands in front of him as if warding off an attack, Cyborg hastily retreated to his station behind the barbeque.
Bunny looked slightly disconcerted, but her face broke into a smile once again as Starfire flew toward her and grasped her hands fervently. "I am elated to meet you! I am Starfire."
"I know," Bunny giggled, "Oh, and I've always wanted to know, who dyes your hair?"
Robin had joined Raven and Cyborg behind the grill and the three friends observed the giggling girls with pained expressions on their faces. "The giggling, the hugging …" Cyborg mused, "Is it just me, or is this one crazy?"
Robin, his brow furrowed and looking slightly offended, opened his mouth to reply, but closed it again resolutely. Finally he shrugged, "It takes all kinds."
"Yeah, but–" Cyborg broke off abruptly when the boy in question loped over to join them, a gigantic grin splitting his face.
"Whaddaya think?" he questioned happily, "I mean, besides Raven, I already know her opinion." He glanced over at Raven and good-naturedly rolled his eyes, she just shrugged.
"She seems nice," Robin said carefully, "pretty."
"Yeah," Cyborg agreed, "and happy. It's kinda like dating a blond Starfire."
Beast Boy looked momentarily startled, and Robin turned to eye him suspiciously. "Uh, I don't know about that … but she really likes the Titans, she's kind of a fan; she says that she gets that I have other responsibilities. And she's smart. I mean, she's not a PhD or anything, but she does okay. Plus," he looked pointedly at Raven, "she thinks I'm really funny."
Raven narrowed her eyes, "Maybe you should get her hearing checked."
Beast Boy grinned widely and shook his head. "You'll come around, Raven," he predicted before turning on his heel and jogging over to rejoin his girlfriend. Raven scowled at his retreating back. She wasn't sure if he was referring to Bunny or to his own abominable sense of humor, but chances were slim either way.
"So …" Robin broke the silence uncertainly.
"Yeah," Cyborg agreed glumly.
The afternoon picnic had been mercifully cut short when a distress call had sounded on the communicators. An electronics store in the U district had been robbed by a group of mystery assailants, but the criminals had vanished before the Titans arrived, and Robin had immediately suggested they return to the Tower in case they were needed again. It was just an excuse, of course. Raven knew Robin just wanted to avoid several more excruciating hours with Bunny, and from the vaguely hurt look on his face, Raven suspected Beast Boy knew it too. They had spent the rest of the afternoon lounging about the Tower until Beast Boy had made his excuses and had departed to take Bunny to a movie.
"Is it just my imagination, or are they getting worse?"
"Who are getting worse?" Starfire questioned and Robin flushed guiltily. Starfire, at least, had taken to Bunny enthusiastically; the girls had already made plans to hit the mall later that week.
"Uh … the criminal element, Star."
Starfire seemed to accept this and nodded uncertainly, "I suppose so. Certainly no one was hurt this time, but that does not make the crime any less heinous."
An awkward silence followed, only Starfire seemed unaffected. Raven suddenly realized that exhaustion had caught up with her and she stood up abruptly. "I'm going to bed."
Cyborg raised an eyebrow, "It's only nine o'clock."
Raven ignored him and swept from the room. The day had been intolerable, somehow. The sooner she slept, the sooner it would be over.
She hadn't been able to sleep after all; instead she watched the hands on her bedside clock slowly revolve. At three-thirty she gave up the pretense and slid out of bed.
She padded down the corridor to the common room; a cup of tea could cure all ills. The door glided open and she was startled to come face to face with Beast Boy. "You're up late," he commented amusedly, "waiting up for me?"
"Couldn't sleep, needed tea," she replied curtly, "Are you just getting home?"
"Yeah, the movie was great! So we saw it twice. Then I took her back to the park and we watched the stars for awhile," he smiled softly at her and added, "she's really great, Raven. I know you guys don't like her much, but-"
"That … that's not true," Raven interrupted uncomfortably. She didn't understand her sudden urge to avoid hurting his feelings, but she soldiered on doggedly, "we just … it just takes me a while to get used to new people. You know that." He was looking at her uncertainly so she forced her lips into a reassuring smile.
"… Okay. I just … I'm glad you guys all met her. You never know, maybe this one will be the one, y'know?" It never ceased to amaze Raven that, even after all that he had been through, Beast Boy was still an incurable romantic.
"Maybe. I hope so, Garfield." Her voice sounded curiously flat in her own ears, but it seemed to satisfy Beast Boy.
"Thanks, Rave. Hey, I'm going to bed. Don't stay up too late."
But she did.
'Up next, stay tuned for the further adventures of-'
'-other news, self proclaimed reformed master criminal, Mad Mod, has issued a statement-'
'-Wally's Photo Hut, you'll be in and out in a flash!'
Raven distractedly blew a lock of hair out of her eyes, leveled a warning glare at Cyborg to remind him to keep the volume down, and tried once again to finish her paragraph. Cyborg and Beast Boy were at the other end of the couch, mindlessly flipping through channels, Robin was in the gym, Starfire was still at the mall, and Raven … Raven had been on the same page for an hour and a half. Disgustedly, she threw her book aside and uncoiled her legs.
"Goin' somewhere?" Cyborg asked almost hopefully.
"Up to the roof. I can't concentrate in here."
"Hmph. We could go do something fun," he suggested.
She seriously considered it for a moment; it had been ages since she'd been to the movies. The idea was forgotten a moment later when Starfire zoomed into the room, her arms full of recent purchases. She stopped right in front of Raven and dumped the entire pile on her lap.
"Friend, I wish you had come as well! Would you care to see what I have acquired?"
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Beast Boy and Cyborg smirk at her; she resisted the urge to scowl back at them. They knew, as Starfire apparently did not, that Raven regarded shopping with slightly less enthusiasm than she did vacuuming or cleaning the refrigerator.
"Uh, thanks Kory. Why don't I look at them later?" If she was lucky, Starfire would forget about it entirely; if she was truly unlucky, Starfire would make her try on something pink … and possibly fuzzy. Starfire smiled winningly, gathered up her bags and packages, and zipped out of the room.
She returned a moment later with Robin in tow. Robin was looking vaguely disturbed, but Starfire beamed happily. "It is all arranged. Come, Beast Boy, or we will be late!"
"Huh?" Beast Boy exchanged confused glances with Cyborg and Raven, "Late for what? Where're we going?"
Starfire clapped her hands together excitedly, "It is a surprise, but Bunny and I have arranged everything! I believe she referred to it as a 'double date.'"
Robin was now looking slightly green, and Raven thought Beast Boy might have as well if his natural skin tone hadn't beaten him to it. The two boys eyed Starfire dubiously, glanced at each other uncomfortably, and then came to a resigned decision in the face of her enthusiasm.
"Okay, sure. Just give me a sec to get ready."
Beast Boy, followed by Robin and Starfire, trudged out of the room. As soon as the door clicked shut, Cyborg burst into laughter. "Aw, man. The look on that boy's face!"
Raven permitted herself a tiny smile, "Which one?"
"Doesn't matter," he guffawed, then sobered slightly, "Man, I don't think B.B. was counting on Starfire becoming best friends with his girlfriend this soon. Poor guy, things just got complicated."
"So Raven, you want to hit a movie or something? As long as I'm back by-" he checked the digital readout on his forearm and swore loudly, "Is that the time?"
He looked up at Raven apologetically, "I made plans with Sarah tonight. You wanna come along? I'm sure she wouldn't mind."
Raven shook her head, the last thing she needed was a sympathy invite.
"Yes, Victor. Very sure. Besides, I like having the Tower to myself. Maybe I'll finally get some reading done."
She smiled at him reassuringly, but she could tell he wasn't convinced. He hesitated uncertainly, so she took it upon herself to physically shove him out the door. It was good practice, she reflected, maybe it would get easier with time.
The doors to the common room slid open to admit a decidedly grumpy group of Titans. As one, the boys staggered into the kitchen and began pawing through the contents of the refrigerator while Raven glided silently into the living room to join Starfire on the sofa.
"That is the second time in the past week that these strange criminals have vanished and left no clues," Starfire mused sleepily.
"Third," Raven yawned and tilted her head back to rest against the couch, "remember Sunday afternoon?"
Robin walked past them to place a heaping bowl of microwave popcorn on the coffee table before flopping down on the sofa beside Starfire. A steaming cup of tea appeared at Raven's shoulder and she gratefully accepted it from a haggard looking Beast Boy. Cyborg and Beast Boy joined the others on the couch and for a few moments the five friends sat in silence, distractedly munching on handfuls of popped corn.
"I must have missed something."
Robin's growl startled Raven out of her lethargy. Beside her, Cyborg elbowed Beast Boy in the ribs and muttered, "Six and a half minutes, fork it over."
Grudgingly, Beast Boy dug a hand into his pocket and fished out a wad of bills. He stuffed a couple of them in Cyborg's outstretched hand and turned to address Robin. "We didn't miss anything, dude. We all looked, there wasn't anything there."
"Yep, these guys are smart," Cyborg agreed. "If I had to guess, I'd say they're knocking all the security offline remotely."
"And they're good," Beast Boy added. They were, too. During the two minute call the owner had placed to the security company from his phone in the back room, the thieves had removed every last piece of jewelry.
Robin just grunted and Starfire laid a hand on his arm. "Enough talking," she insisted, "it is time to go back to bed. We will try to solve this mystery in the morning." Raven eyed the duo warily and felt the boys beside her tense as they awaited Robin's reaction to Starfire's directive, but the dark-haired boy just smiled.
"You're right, Star. Everyone go to sleep, I need you all well-rested tomorrow." Raven drew her hood up over her eyes and allowed herself a tiny smirk; Starfire certainly walked where the rest of the Titans feared to tread. The years may have mellowed Robin slightly, but he still hated to have his authority questioned; only the Tamaranian could get away with it.
Raven strolled to her room lost in thought. She pondered the three anonymous crimes, hoping to find a previously unseen connection. All three were simple robberies, no injuries involved, the witnesses were vague, and each time the criminals had vanished before the Titans even arrived on the scene. Beyond that the similarities stopped. So far an electronics outlet, a jewelry store, and a vintage clothing boutique had been pilfered, and beyond the petty theft angle, the Titans were hard-pressed to find a connection.
A hand descended on her shoulder and Raven, startled, whirled around defensively. "Whoa! Time to relax, it's just me."
"You shouldn't go around sneaking up on people," she snapped, extinguishing the dark flame at her fingertips and willing her heart to resume normal function.
Cyborg chuckled nervously, "I wasn't sneaking, you were preoccupied." She grunted in response and he stepped toward her, "You sure you're okay?"
"Fine. I'm just thinking about our mystery thieves."
"Ah, is that all? I thought maybe …" he trailed off. She looked at him curiously, but all he said was, "You want some company? I don't need to recharge just yet, and I hear you haven't been sleeping anyway. Maybe we can figure something out."
She considered asking him how he knew about her insomnia, but decided she didn't need to know the answer. "Sure," she said, motioning him toward her room. "Let's talk. Sleep is overrated anyway."
Robin looked up from the computer monitor he was studying and frowned. "You're going out again?"
Raven didn't even bother looking up from her book. She didn't need to; she could see Robin's stern expression and Beast Boy's foolish grin in her mind's eye.
Beast Boy paused on his way to the door to check his reflection in the side of the toaster. "I'm taking Bunny to dinner."
"That's four dates this week."
"Five," Beast Boy grinned over his shoulder, "Tomorrow we're going to the zoo."
Robin frowned slightly, "Don't you think you're spending a little too much time with this girl? The team needs you right now."
Beast Boy quietly set the toaster back on the counter before turning to face Robin, his expression carefully neutral. "You know that all you have to do is call me," his voice was quiet and he tapped his communicator meaningfully. "Besides, I don't remember giving you a hard time about all the time you spend with your girlfriend."
"Starfire lives here," Robin pointed out and Raven groaned inwardly. Robin seemed to sense he'd made some sort of blunder and visibly tensed for Beast Boy's response.
Beast Boy narrowed his eyes, but the angry retort didn't come. Instead his face relaxed into a grin. "I guess I could invite Bunny to stay with us, she could have the guest room. I bet she'd love living here with the Titans."
Raven finally raised her eyes from her book and met Robin's panicked gaze, the look on his face matched her feelings exactly. "Uh, that's okay," Robin managed to choke out, "You guys need your space. You'd better hurry or you'll be late."
Beast Boy shrugged, then with a casual wave that included Raven, turned and walked out the door. "That was close," Raven sighed, "You're lucky Kory didn't hear that." Robin shuddered. They both knew that the only reason Starfire wasn't lobbying for Bunny's permanent residence in the Tower was because it hadn't occurred to her yet.
Robin groaned. "We hardly ever see him anymore. I just don't want to lose a member of my team."
"You can't keep him here if he doesn't want to stay," she said quietly.
"I know," Robin replied curtly. Then, "There's something I need to tell you."
Raven could tell by the hesitant look in his eyes that she didn't want to hear it, but she nodded at him to continue.
"I've been invited to take a job over on the east coast," he confessed quickly. She must have looked almost as stunned as she felt because when he continued he was almost apologetic, "I'm just looking into it right now. I think they might need me."
"We need you here," Raven reminded him, "I need you."
"Nah, you'd be fine. You're the one I'm counting on to keep things going over here."
"Richard, you know I can't. What if I–?"
"You won't," his voice was stern and she reluctantly bit back her concerns. "You didn't even give in when your father came back, Raven. You're strong. Everybody's got a dark side, the key is to keep it in check."
"I'm not strong. What if my demon side wakes up? What if I can't control it?"
"Never gonna happen. You're stronger than you think. We all know that already. Someday you'll figure it out, too."
"I wish I could believe that."
"You will," he touched her shoulder gently, "Someday. Hey, don't tell the others about that job. I'm still just thinking it over, y'know?"
"I won't," Raven sighed. "I'm hoping you'll change your mind."