A/N: I'm not sure how this will end up. Maybe a one-shot, maybe longer, but definitely it will be Raven and Beast Boy. Some partial Starfire and Robin, you ask? I don't see it fitting in, but you never know with me when I write without planning. I'm working off a quote idea in my mind, a few delicate scenes that needs some fleshing out and elaborating, maybe some of Robin's training sessions.
Again, Robin is Richard (Dick) Grayson, Starfire is Kori Anderson (Koryand'r), Beast Boy is Garfield (Gar) Logan, and Raven is Raven. Just in case.
Oh yes, and as per my tastes, the TT kids are all three years older than in the show. HA.
IMPORTANT NOTE: RAVEN ISNT A CUTTER IN THIS STORY. I'M NOT THAT CLICHÉ.
Disclaimer: Well, let's see…Starfire and Raven are meditating behind me, Happy's sitting on my head (she's got to be tiny to fit in Raven's mirror!), Robin's tied up in my closet, and BB…he's in my bed. ; It's too bad they all are wearing collars that say "Property of Marv Wolfman". Starfire's has rhinestones.
Also, I don't own Mae. They own themselves, I believe. The lyrics are from their song "Summertime". 'Tis beautiful.
-Feel the air. Feel the air.
Take the map and point to anywhere.
I don't care.
Fingers through your hair and sky of sea,
Blue and green,
Oh the summertime.-
"Summertime" by Mae
Open Roads and Cantaloupes by RyokoJesse
Snow slid on the wings of winter wind, tumbling around them and dotting their faces. He looked like an odd form of a Dalmatian, the cold crystals contrasting against his frigid green skin. Their eyes, both pairs, squinted at their chill surroundings. Gar's hair was beginning to freeze, as he'd just taken a shower, and her pale cheeks sported red as if painted, the wintry weather acting as an artist.
"This is kind of nice, don't you think?" She looked up at him, remembering the days when he'd had to do the same for her. It had been years since then.
He gazed leisurely at the area ahead of their close forms, ears rising slightly as a sign of thought. He turned to see her, the edge of his lips tilting into a gentle smile. It was direct, chasing her heart higher in her chest.
"I like how still the air is, as if it's waiting for something to happen. What do you think it could be?"
As if she was ignoring the prompting question, a hand reached to his face and cupped the cheek gently, wiping away snowflakes with her thumb. He reached up and grabbed her wrist, smiling as if the gesture was common. Still, as a naturally empathetic being, she saw that his eyes told her what was unspoken. He wanted to know her reasons.
"The snowflakes, they made you look like a Tamaranian food, all green and spotted."
He chuckled, mouth moving by her hand. She was becoming slowly aware of the warmth he was giving off, such an alluring feeling in the freezing atmosphere, and her eyes softened.
Then fear suddenly etched at her heart. It welled up in a rush, cutting off any previous thoughts. Her hand quickly ran to the other, wrenching from his grip and leaving two small cuts on the back of her hand. His claws were getting sharper as they got older. Her breath came labored as she stared at the red lines, guilty, saddened, and angry. How foolish, to run over nothing! She'd thought she was beyond that. She hadn't done something so silly in years. Then still relief echoed through her veins. They were at least safe. Any more of him could have put them both in harm's way.
She'd taken a long moment to regain herself and sensed his presence wasn't near. She turned, finding her companion had stopped just before the sidewalk corner and top of the incline. He looked very casual, hands in the pockets of a brown coat and eyes grooming the sky. His chin was a strange replacement for his head though, and out of curiosity she doubled back to join him. She, too, turned to face the sky, opening her mouth a bit to eat some of the endless edible flecks. Tired eyes searched the clouds for some sign of interest.
"So…what are we looking at Gar?"
He turned to her, an act of planned bewilderment sketched flawlessly over his features.
"Nothing, I just had a bloody nose."
It took a moment for her to understand what this meant, but things were all too clear when she felt the wave of giddiness in him. It had been a prank! A glare captured him after the punch line, her head shaking in disbelief at his antics. He grinned, fangs the color of the powder around them, and despite herself a small giggle jumped from the confines of her throat.
"I can't believe I tolerate you, you nut."
"Hey, at least I made you laugh."
"You did no such thing"
"And I could do it again if I wanted to"
She gave a quick, short exhale through her nose as her eyebrows slanted opposite of one another, a sign of skepticism. "I doubt it."
There was a silence, tentative, cautious. Was he taking the dare? Why was he looking at her like that?
"Can I kiss you?"
She blinked. In surprise. In wonder. Then she laughed. He smiled.
"I told you I could make you laugh." He gave her a sidelong glance, like he was testing her, and then sighed shortly and softly. His expression became curious and almost serious. He spoke
"What?" Her neck arched forward, feelings thrown to the wind, thrown about as if a pinball. There wasn't enough mind in her to concentrate right then.
"I…" and he stepped towards her, removed a glove, and lifted her chin to face him, leaning in enough so that her face no longer felt the season's wind. "I really do want to kiss you." At this, his fingers traced her lips, a gentle, amorous sensation, making her eyes close and mouth to open.
"Why are you…?" His hand moved to tuck her hair behind her ear, sending her stomach aflutter. His other hand went to her waist, putting slight pressure to her hip, urging her closer.
This is so beautiful…
When the vulnerable flesh of his lips met hers, her mind stuttered. She didn't know how to do this! How does one kiss another properly? Were there classes for this sort of thing?
But nothing could have steeled her for a flood of emotions and fire, her head lightheaded and heart racing. What was happening felt right, and every movement was so gentle, so patient, so…
Why is nothing exploding?
Had she not just finished losing reasonable thought? Why was she suddenly thinking about her powers? She had just fought away the fear of losing control; it wasn't time to begin thinking of it again. She could forget the world and all of her irrepressible responsibilities if just for this one moment…if only for a second…
He pulled away. "I'll be near."
Raven awoke slowly. Her whole body was in such a state of warmth and luxurious comfort that she could have stayed there for days, basking in the contentment and pleasant fantasies muddling her mind. Her eyes were closed, so logic was shortcoming. It wasn't until Starfire's exuberant voice lit up her senses that Raven notice the shattered room around her. Her window, once a large, clear pane of glass, had shattered, sprinkling all manner of books, drawers, clothing, hangers, and broken statues with shimmering shards. Had the image not been so uninviting in its meaning, it would have seemed artistically beautiful.
"Friend Raven, it is now ten o'clock and last night you told me not to let you sleep late. I apologize for speaking so loudly at your first moment of waking, but I have been advised not to enter your room. I hope you wake up and come to the common room. We are all eating lunch and Cyborg has kindly prepared herbal tea for you."
"Thanks Star, I'm coming." The response was a hoarse groan.
Raven rubbed her forehead with stress after the small speech, reaching for her alarm clock but finding it in pieces, the normally bright green numbers nonexistent.
"Great, just great" she mumbled. She'd had another one of those stupid dreams about him. One day she'd hit herself instead of her walls with the flying objects. At least she didn't sleepwalk. Then there'd be trouble.
Sitting up, she experienced a moment as if she was blacking out, her vision became grey, and then everything came back into focus. She'd sat up too fast. I hate it when I do that. It always put her on edge to start off a day with such disorientation. Levitating swiftly to her closet, she removed her nightgown and under things, replacing it with the usual unmentionables, leotard, and cloak. Before leaving the room she donned socks-- fresh, clean, purple socks and boots-- and walked over the cluttered carpet to her door. She reached out to unlock it, when…
Zap! A spark rushed from Raven's fingertips down her spine, round her shoulders and through her arms, causing her to shudder and growl in annoyance. She'd been shocked. Why couldn't the doors have been plastic? Was that so much to ask?
Being more careful, she fully triumphed over the steel obstacle with a small amount of telekinesis, then bore a left to the common room. Robin was briskly scanning the morning paper and sipping coffee, a very mature picture, perfect for the boy who'd become a leader too soon. Garfield was quite the opposite, his eyes half-open, vanilla soymilk in one hand and speared waffle in the other. It was as if he'd slept for no more than three hours the evening before, while Raven was positive every Titan in the tower had been dreaming by eleven last night. In fact, he'd probably slept too much and that's why he couldn't wake up.
Raven shook her head, tricking herself into looking down on the carefree boy with discontent. He was so…apathetic-- he stuffed a too-large piece of waffle into a loose jaw-- and very piggish this morning. Turning away with a raised eyebrow and mild disgust, her eyes landed on Starfire, seemingly standing on the ceiling, a plate held above…or rather below…her head. With a clumsy effort, she tilted the fork awkwardly to scoop a bit of egg, gently letting her wrist guide it to her mouth without giving into instinct and flipping everything onto the floor. Cyborg looked on in fascination beneath her.
"Hey Raven, are you seeing this? She's almost got it! I just told her I'd give her a bite of peanut brittle, and look what I got her to do!"
Raven, her face a bare lath, glared and headed underneath her Tamaranian friend. Her mind was already disquieted this morning, and the clamor wasn't helping. As she walked a sound erupted by her side, something akin to "Oh no, watch out!" and another from above her, this time a high-pitched squeak.
"Eep!" In a disgruntled heap, Starfire and her teetering plate of eggs had fallen unceremoniously on top of Raven, smashing yellow clumps into her--as I have mentioned--very clean clothing. It squished unpleasantly into her hood, the neck of her leotard, the back of her cloak…
In a whirlwind of unstable emotions, she took in Cyborg, Robin, and Beast Boy staring at her with faces of anticipation. She felt like a creature in a zoo, a lion let out of its cage, people running in fear, wondering "What would she do?" The looks only caused her to feel more psychologically tremulous, her anger quickly rising. Then she turned to Starfire, who had bruised her hip on the fall but not fully comprehended that she'd landed quite on top of Raven. Her head was tilted back, hair touching the floor and bright eyes closed, echoes of mirth bouncing off the common room walls. Stop laughing, please stop laughing…
Raven look at her, and immediately turmoil within her broke out. Rage and Happy were fighting, evenly matched in a very upsetting and confusing battle. Raven grabbed her head and the laughter died down, her friends noticing her condition.
A dark, violent rumble escaped her throat. "Get back at them! They deserve it! They shouldn't be so foolish as to-"
It became high-pitched, effervescent. "Oh Rage, be quiet you silly! You're such a party pooper, you know that? We made Starfire laugh, everything's okay!"
Clutching cold hands to her own mouth, Raven let out a little yelp and backed away slowly as time slowed and every titan's heart beat just a bit faster.
Her right foot hit Garfield's chair. She tripped, still keeping one hand to her mouth.
She never did have that tea.
It was two thirty-six in the afternoon, to be exact, and Raven's mind was heavily concentrated on the count-down in front of her. Quickly nearing the last five seconds of the routine, she searched wildly for a nearby item; something solid to be used as a weapon…There was nothing in the bare landscape of the training room. Her difficulty level was too high, and called for control. Focusing avidly in her mind, three common words subconsciously echoed through the sky in a roaring crescendo. Epic ferocity lined the last declaration as black energy billowed from her fingertips, creating a rather large, rather formidable looking...what was that?
The neck of a giraffe, head of a dinosaur, limbs like a bird, but hind legs like a lion, it squawked, roared, and half-flew to its enemy. Raven's eyes closed, skin sweating profusely. Why was she having such difficulties? She had tried to make a griffin. Eyes swerved to the left and caught all the Titans watching in confusion, wondering what her tactics were. The enemy drones drew near and the time dropped, hurdling faster and faster to zero. She'd succeeded many times on this level! What was wrong? The mismatched creature she'd created tripped over its own feet, struggling to stand as her foe dodged the clumsy, misshapen form easily.
In a sigh of anger and defeat, Raven listened to the simulation power down and Robin's own sigh of worry and disappointment through the P.A. system.
"Raven, are you sure you're okay?"
A grim tone followed the inquiry. "I'll be fine, I just need some rest."
She'd slammed the door on her way out. It was abrupt, and Beast Boy's mouth nearly opened to retort towards her absent form, then closed. He had felt a small jump in his chest when she left, as if surprise had been an electric current through his system. Raven was moody again, meaning something was wrong; something important. Or maybe she was just having a bad day? Wrong time of the month?
He shook it off as Robin revved up the machine again as Starfire took the controls. The Boy Wonder slipped into a trap door and lithely descended a ladder to the grid floor below.
As the others oversaw Robin's training, Beast Boy felt the exit tugging on his mind, and soon green legs were taking him quietly down the corridors of Titans Tower. Adroit ears flicked, a gentle pitter-patter of boots on the steps to the main floor alarming his senses. From this sound, Beast Boy could predict where Raven was, and nimbly followed her. Once closer he found her scent, fresh and simple. He knew she never bothered with cheap perfumes or make-up, except for that one time with Malchior. It had scared him, for she suddenly had smelled of lilacs and roses, an odd and disconcerting combination.
Despite this, the natural aroma she gave off now was distinct and familiar. He was right behind her as she neared her own room. There she impatiently waited for the automatic door to open and swiftly levitated inside. Beast Boy pursued as an ant, watching as she plopped onto her bed. Her hands removed her hood and caught her head as it dropped in emotional defeat. Cloaked shoulders rose, and although she wouldn't cry, her entire body shook. Beast Boy could imagine the strength she was using, fighting the emotions flooding every bit of her. Sometimes he found it inconceivable, the way she fought so tirelessly, and felt guilty for the sentiments he himself experienced, but this feeling quickly evaporated when she stood.
Her face was flushed pink and hands trembled, delving into a dark closet. From the depths of it came a large suitcase, simple and brown. She pulled it to the bed and with quick, jerky movements placed many an article of clothing into the case. With a sense of dawning comprehension, Garfield blinked. She was packing? Where would she go? How would she get there? When would she be back?
Would she come back?
Without thinking of the consequences in his panicked state, a green boy appeared in Raven's room from seemingly nothing. Jaw slack he walked to her side, placing a gloved hand on her shoulder. The fair girl jerked to face him and stepped suddenly backward. Her eyes were wild. The lamp on her dresser exploded and any light in the room dimmed. Their breathing was suddenly a distinct sound.
"Where are you going?"
Her face stiffened, cocooned in darkness and restraint. "Away"
"Why? Did I make you mad?" A sense of guilt washed over him, than disappeared with her next comment.
"You wouldn't be able to make me angry enough to leave." She was so succinct in her answers, making them only as long as they needed to be to get her point across. His mouth twisted in frustration. He felt relieved by the comment, but almost hurt for some reason he couldn't explain. It was…almost as if he was upset that his actions didn't affect her as much as he'd assumed.
"Then what is it?"
She was moving swiftly now, and he stood behind her. She turned to leave and he stopped her path with his presence. Inches from his face, her dark eyes narrowed and raspy voice stung his ears.
"It's none of your business."
Her glare was ricocheted stronger, more defiant. "I'm your friend, Raven. It's more my business than yours."
Her features loosened, mouth still a straight line, and eyes half-lidded with counterfeit apathy. She knew he was always there—never alone, he'd said.
One blink and she met his eyes again, tilting her head back to match his now-prominent stance. The years had done well on every Titan's stature except hers.
"I know I can tell you, Garfield, but I'm not sure what's going on myself. I just wish for you to trust me." She gripped the suitcase tighter, watching his eyes and pretending to try to find what he was thinking in their depths. She didn't have the strength to really face how he felt; his anger, doubt, and then patience.
He'd realized that with Raven there were many things better left unsaid. All would come in time. His patience was necessary, and he shouldn't have tried to force out the answer.
"I…sorry…I shouldn't have pried." He stepped to the side, insides twisting with nerves as he watched her leave. Her cloak brushed his side as she passed, soft and warm, and despite what she'd asked, his mind reeled with possibilities. He wondered where she could possibly go, why she was going, how long until she returned…everything he wanted to ask but couldn't. She'd always been this way, an enigma he'd been trying to figure out for the past four years.
"It's alright, but I've got to go."
Everything was still. They tested each others' gaze until he moved, and it was so fast that she couldn't stop him. Strong arms encased her body like a blanket, a warm chest against her cheek and chin sharp on her head. She tried to pull away but he held tighter. The rest of the lights blew out and she breathed slowly, nervously. He smelled like the wind and something sweet.
Again but more gently she eased back, out of the mind-boggling embrace. His lips became a thin line then the bottom disappeared under his teeth. His words were sewn together with apprehension when they reached her small ears.
"Good luck, and come back."
She turned, moving quickly to evade the rising emotions. She could ignore them, but he was making it hard. That was how he handled things, by feeling them. So it was no surprise that, in the middle of her turn, his hand snagged her wrist.
She gave him that gift, one last look that said she was sorry, that she couldn't say farewell in response because she was already on the edge. He understood and let her go, hand loosening. It wasn't her imagination when his fingers gripped her hand just slightly tighter as she pulled it through.
It wasn't his imagination when he saw the bloodstain on his gloves, brighter than a dream.
It was strange. Raven felt panicked both emotionally and physically as she flew towards the heart of Jump City. Things had been slow lately, every villain having realized it was safer to be evil away from the superheroes. In maybe another year they would quietly move on to another place and, if they were lucky, the Justice League would assign them to New York. The team would be ecstatic, but where would she be? How could she handle such a large, reckless city when she feared failing? Predictions that someday her abilities would become limitations were all she could concentrate on lately, and that morning things had been proving themselves true.
She wouldn't stay away for long. The "sick for home" as Starfire—no, Kori—had said would call her back. Raven was still getting used to using proper names. It had only been a week since they'd learned them. Robin had decided to wait until there was enough experience in the group to trust one another with their backgrounds. The night everything had been let out, each one had told their story. Raven's was written, a letter to them all. Cyborg, now Victor, had read it and Kori shed some tears. It was strange. Raven didn't like someone crying for her, but the Tamaranian had always been amazingly emotional. It was almost fitting.
The most valuable moment of the experience was the lack of hatred she received. Raven had expected not to be shunned and kicked out but at least to experience faces of fear, uncomfortable silences, and awkward glances.
None of that was to be.
There was gentle, empathetic quiet and patient features of concern, but never did the response become negative. For that, she was grateful.
She must have flown twenty miles when there was a sharp call to her left and shock sent Raven toppling out of the sky. Something grabbed the dropped suitcase and came to her level, its small, dark eye winking.
Raven's heart stopped. An open mouth brought forth empty air, words failing their usually witty accomplice. A green hawk was holding her things in its talons, and she could have sworn it would be smiling mischievously had it lips.
She knew he couldn't talk. It was obvious and probably killing him. If he became human he'd drop like a rock and she didn't have the energy to fly at this rate, carry her suitcase, and propel him all the way to…wherever she was headed.
In fact, it was good that he couldn't talk. There was nothing he could say to convince her to go back or begin a frustrating inquiry. She didn't want to turn around. Running away was too liberating.
The question was whether she would send him home. Half her mind said she would be best off alone, in case things just got worse while the other half said it would be best to have him for the same reasons. He had helped Terra control herself, so why not her? It wouldn't…mean anything, but an outside presence might protect a vulnerable core.
She eyed him again, and he eyed her. They went through a cloud, came out; never lost eye contact.
"You're thinking hard about something, so do it already. I can't read everything you think while moving this fast."
For a moment, the handsome but eclectic green man was suspended in air behind her. With annoyance and admiration she slowed to turn.
Arms crossed, she let him fall. Just for a bit though. She was impressed at the trust he'd put in her and annoyed both because he'd topped her and lost the suitcase along with himself.
When she caught him, he smiled. They reached even levels, Garfield's feet dangling half a foot below her own but noses matching planes. He opened his mouth and stretched his tongue, obnoxious but understandable for his chatterbox personality.
"Ah, thank you. I hate that little logistic. Who says animals can't talk, right? I mean, doesn't the name Doctor Doolittle mean anything to--"
Energy would not be wasted on pointless jabber. He called out an apology quickly, the sound waves stretching on the wind. Raven caught him and the two were immediately face-to-face once more.
"What do you want? Tell me or leave." She was being demanding, but he probably wouldn't get to the point anyways. The encounter here was riding on her nerves. In comparison to careless flight, stillness was a task.
"Look, I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I wasn't going to follow but I paced the living room drinking soymilk for ten minutes before deciding the wild isn't safe; especially if your powers mess up"—she tried to interrupt, but he raised a gloved hand to silence her and continued--"And I'm sure that's what's happening. Don't deny it. We all know what you're carrying, Rae, and if doing this will help I'm all for it. But I want to come with or we're going home."
There was a tense lapse in conversation. Raven chewed the inside of her lip, muscles tense. Garfield prayed she'd let him come and prayed she couldn't read his mind while suspending both of them. In truth, he would let her go either way. She was old and wise enough to make her own decisions, but it made him nervous. The blood had been too bright and too much. It had even seeped through her costume, which entailed a lot.
Pale eyes closed. A deep sigh rushed through her lungs.
"Fine, you can come. But you have to carry my stuff. You've wasted my extra strength having to hold you up."
He smiled. His heart leaped. His mind reeled with the idea of what he could possibly do to help such a capricious and emotional person. Not to mention all the boundaries they'd have to set. She'd probably requests opposite sides of the fire, but he knew the first and most important thing on his list.
Chapter one concluded.