"SPLIT UP!" Robin screamed into the driving rain, sending his teammates soaring in all directions. Warp was robbing the largest bank in Jump City, and the Titans were having a hard time keeping up. The girls alternated between dodging the time-manipulator's rays and firing back while Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy did their best to distract him from the ground.
"Try this one on for size!" Cyborg shouted, uprooting a light post and swinging it like a baseball bat at the villain. Warp dodged this and used his ray to age the metal until it crumbled like a pie crust in Cyborg's hands. Cyborg's right hand changed into a cannon seconds later and he fired back, finally hitting Warp, but only slamming him into the nearest skyscraper. When he was down, Raven dipped down parallel to the sidewalk, picking up cars as she went along and throwing them at their adversary. When the dust settled, Warp emerged from this rubble relatively unharmed. He aimed his ray at the minivan Raven had suspended over her head and fired. The car reverted to molten form and covered the Azarian as she screamed in surprise. She had had a fraction of a second to shield herself before the metal hardened again, encasing her in an oblong steel prison.
"Raven!" Robin shouted, running toward the ball as it slammed onto the ground.
Seconds later, There was a rumble and the metal ball exploded, revealing Raven, lying on the sidewalk, holding her head.
"I'm okay!" Raven shouted. "Go!" Robin nodded, pulling his staff from its place at his side and twirling it before charging at Warp. With this distraction in place, Beast Boy came running up from behind in the form of a snarling dark green wolf. As he ran, he changed his mind, taking on the form of a much faster and honestly more vicious velociraptor. Warp heard the massive lizard coming and whirled around, gasping as the creature bore down on him, alternately, turning his back on Robin was just as bad an idea, as the agile leader of the Titans continued to combat him from behind. Warp looked back at Beast Boy, only to find a much larger creature just inches from his unprotected body. The snout on the creature was the size of a Buick, but what terrified Warp even more was that this thing breathed, it blew him over.
"Get back or you'll wish you'd taken the time to think this through!" Warp shouted, whipping around to send Robin sprawling onto the ground again and then turning back. He aimed the ray at the green Tyrannosaurus Rex but it didn't seem to phase him. Beast Boy opened his mouth to reveal row after row of six foot long teeth and then stood. This was his teammates' cue to hold their ears. The monstrous green tyrant lizard roared, pushing Warp back farther. Barely audible, Beast Boy could hear his teammates screaming and cheering.
"Go, BB!" Cyborg shouted.
"Way to go, Beast Boy!" Robin added.
"Get him, friend Beast Boy!" Starfire added, clapping in delight. Empowered by their faith in him, Beast Boy lifted his head and roared at the top of his lungs, charging ahead several steps as Warp attempted to put some distance between himself and the green-skinned shape-shifter. Warp ducked into a parking garage full of cars, hoping that the lizard's poor vision would deter Beast Boy from following him. Unfortunately for Warp, not much stops Beast Boy once he's on a roll. Beast Boy followed, but was stopped moments later. The low-hanging power lines were nearly invisible in the dark and rain, and the 20 foot tall dinosaur had walked right into them. Roaring in panic, Beast Boy thrashed his long head from side to side, but only made the situation worse.
"Beast Boy, stop!" Raven screamed against the thunder. She soared into the air and used her powers to grab the power lines. She wasn't sure if she would be able to disentangle him from the lines before Warp got away, but she was willing to try. As she worked, Warp aimed his weapon at Raven. Beast Boy noticed this just in time and roared, using his head to sweep Raven out of the line of fire. She screamed out again as Starfire caught her in the air two blocks away, but Beast Boy had already read her mind. The T-Rex vanished and Beast Boy himself reappeared on the broken street below.
Beast Boy could barely breathe. His lungs were screaming for air, his heart was pounding, but the exhilaration of the fight had gone to his head. He looked up at the remains of the parking garage and then looked across in the direction he had thrown Raven. Good, he thought, she had made it. He looked back preparing to transform into a condor in order to further pursue the attacker when Warp fired again, this time, making contact with his target. Beast Boy screamed, but it was too late. Robin, Starfire and Cyborg charged ahead again, rage renewed in their beings. Raven scanned the area in search for Beast Boy, not sure what she was going to find. She located the place where the beam had hit, but all that she found were the soaking wet remains of Beast Boy's uniform amongst the asphalt and rock. Searching further, she gasped. The rain still pounding and the wind rushing hard, Raven discovered a wriggling creature screaming to get free from the tangled swaddles of cloth. Raven swept the little thing into her arms and sheltered it beneath her cloak. She rejoined the team, but didn't stay long. She found Robin and the others watching as police escorted Warp into the back of a patrol van.
"Did you find him?" Robin asked.
"Er…it's a long story. Meet me back at the Tower," Raven said, taking off through the driving rain.
"What has happened? Did Raven locate Beast Boy?" Starfire asked.
"I don't know. She was holding something beneath her cloak. I guess we'll find out when we get home," Robin replied. Cyborg was still standing there, staring at the place where he had watched his best friend be struck down. Robin rested a hand on Cyborg's arm.
"I can't get it out of my head," Cyborg said, casting his eyes down to the ground. "The little guy was there and then he wasn't."
"It won't do us any good to stand out here. Let's go home and see what Raven found out," Robin said gently.
"Yes," said Starfire. "Let us return home. Friend Beast Boy would not wish us to dwell on this event."
"Maybe you're right," Cyborg replied, following his friends back to the T-Car.
Back at Titans Tower, Raven patiently struggled with the little creature she had rescued from the scene. When she had arrived home, the little one shook with cold, but by the time she was through drying him off and wrapping him in a blanket, his screaming stopped and gradually his sobs were reduced to whimpers and the occasional sneeze.
Raven looked at her work and sighed. "What are we going to do with you, Beast Boy?" she muttered. The green-skinned infant before her gave her a look of fear and rubbed his emerald green eyes with perfectly articulated little baby hands. He started to cry again, fat tears rolling down his rounded cheeks.
"Shhhhh…." Raven whispered soothingly, lifting the bundle into her arms again and holding him against her shoulder. One hand gently rubbed the baby's back while the other held him in place. Almost immediately, baby Beast Boy calmed himself and started to relax, laying his head against Raven's shoulder and once again rubbing his eyes. Raven heard the door and knew that the others were coming. When they emerged back into the room, it was evident that they thought their friend had perished in the battle.
"Raven…what is that?" Robin asked.
"It can't be…" Cyborg murmured.
"I know!" Starfire cooed. "Warp used his weapon to de-age our friend! This is Beast Boy as an infant!"
The stunned Titans took their time looking over the tiny baby boy. Starfire was right; it was Beast Boy in perfect infant proportions, from his spiky green hair, to his delicately pointed ears to his little green toes.
For the next several hours, the Titans went about a crash course in infant care. They were stunned to find out just how much was needed to properly care for a baby. Since Starfire looked bewildered and the guys looked just plain revolted, Raven took it upon herself to diaper and dress baby Beast Boy. When this was finished, there really wasn't much the Titans could do that night. The issue with Warp turning Beast Boy back would have to wait until morning. Raven carried her little green charge over to the couch, where Robin was waiting with a warm, fuzzy blanket for him. He helped Raven wrap the youngster and then smiled as baby Beast Boy snuggled down into Raven's arms. He rubbed his eyes with his little fists, fussing softly as he did.
"Go to sleep, Beast Boy, you're safe," Robin said, but the pint-sized superhero didn't seem to hear him.
"Is friend Beast Boy so distracted by sleepiness that he does not respond to his name?" Starfire asked.
"I don't know, Star," Cyborg replied. "There's nothing on the tube. I'm gonna turn in. Night everyone." After Cyborg left the common room, Robin and Starfire sat in the quiet room for a while, still mesmerized by the sight of their friend.
"It is weird that he doesn't seem to respond to his name," Robin said.
"That's because Beast Boy wasn't his name when he was a baby," Raven said, cradling the baby.
"You know I have to admit, as long as we've known each other, I don't remember BB's real name!" Robin said, a bit embarrassed. Raven looked down at the baby and a gentle expression crossed her elegant features.
"His name is Garfield," Raven said softly. At this, Beast Boy's eyes snapped to attention and he looked at Raven intently, as if she had asked him a question. Robin and Starfire softly gasped. Robin smiled and lightly ruffled Beast Boy's hair.
"Well then, good night, Garfield," Robin murmured, getting up from the couch.
"Yes, sleep well my little friend!" Starfire cooed, tickling Beast Boy's chin. The baby's eyelids were already getting too heavy for him to hold open. After Robin and Starfire left, Raven started to wonder what was keeping the little one awake.
"Too much excitement today, Gar?" Raven asked, standing up. Baby Beast Boy fussed and started to whimper in response. Raven made her way to the kitchen and used her powers to prepare a bottle for him.
"You're so lucky I don't need to use my hands to do this," Raven murmured, summoning the bottle to her and positioning it so that he could drink from it. With this done, Raven levitated and hovered down the stairs and down the hall to her room. When she walked in, something new had been added to the furnishings. Near Raven's bedroom window was Starfire's rocking chair.
"Star thought you'd get some use out of it tonight," Robin said from the doorway. Raven turned suddenly, nearly tipping the bottle away from Beast Boy's mouth. He fussed a bit, but returned to suckling.
"You startled me," Raven stammered.
"I'm sorry," Robin said, a shy smile crossing his face. "Is there anything I can do to help you? I'm really sorry about all of us kind of foisting him off on you. I can look after him tonight if you like."
"No, that's okay," Raven replied. "I…I don't mind."
"Are you sure?" Robin asked sincerely.
"Yeah. I got it. Thanks Robin, and tell Star I said thanks for the rocking chair," Raven replied.
"Will do. Good night, Raven."
With that, Robin was gone and Raven was once again alone with her teammate. Crossing the room, Raven sank into the chair and sat back, sighing with contentment as she relaxed against the back and started to lightly rock. Beast Boy had finished his bottle, but he was still awake. Raven knew a lullaby was in order, but she was afraid that she wouldn't be able to carry a tune. She only knew one lullaby—it had been the one her mother sang to her—but she knew every word and the melody by heart.
don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine.
Little one when you
Don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine.
If they knew sweet
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The chance to hold you.
From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Sweet as can be, baby of mine." Raven sang, finding herself actually cuddling the bundle in her arms and lightly stroking his face with her fingers as he drifted off to sleep. She sang the song twice through before he was finally asleep. Without a crib to deposit him in, Raven used her powers to remove her cloak and hang it before she crept into bed, placing Beast Boy beside her. She rolled onto her side and stared at the sleeping infant beside her.
"I'm never going to live any of this down, am I?" she whispered. "I've never felt like this about another living thing before. I knew you were a charmer, but in this form, you didn't even have to try, did you?" Raven allowed herself to smile. Baby Beast Boy sneezed hard and woke himself up. Before he had cried for more than a few seconds, Raven pulled him close and lifted him up, placing him on his tummy with his head level with her heart as she rolled onto her back. Raven used her right to steady him in place and her left to gently guide the baby's head down to her chest.
"Lay your head down, little one…listen for my heart…listen, Garfield…listen…" Raven murmured, closing her eyes in relief when he obeyed and thus relaxed, falling asleep again as Raven pulled the blankets up over them and drifted off herself.
When Raven woke up in the morning, she silenced her alarm before it could wake the soundly sleeping infant still snuggled on her chest. When she joined the other Titans in the kitchen for breakfast, baby Beast Boy was still rubbing his sleepy eyes.
"How did it go last night?" Robin asked.
"Fine," Raven replied. "Better than fine actually…it was really good."
"Wondrous!" Starfire replied, offering Raven a plate with one hand and a warm bottle with another. "Here, partake of breaking the fast with us."
"Thanks, Star," Raven said, a smile slipping across her lips. Both of the guys froze. Raven was never this perky in the morning. The mood she displayed right now hardly qualified for perky for a normal person, but for Raven, this was downright giddy.
Cyborg left the table promptly after devouring his breakfast, setting the plates deliberately in the sink. He left the room without a word. The other's watched him go, but couldn't find the words to say. Cyborg had taken Beast Boy's disappearing act the other night more seriously than the others had expected.
Raven got up and followed him, coming to a stop behind him as he stood at the tall living room windows.
"Cyborg, what's wrong?" Raven asked, still holding the bottle for baby Beast Boy to drink from.
"I don't know…I just can't shake the image of what happened last night. I really thought Beast Boy was finished—I thought Warp had killed him—and I sure as hell wasn't prepared for this," Cyborg replied, gesturing toward the infant.
"We should be grateful that he wasn't killed in the subsequent fall, or suffocated by the weight of his uniform—fabric gets heavy when it's wet. Robin said that Warp will be able to set this right. We just have to be patient," Raven replied.
"Easier said than done," Cyborg muttered. Raven took several steps closer.
"Here," she offered. "Why don't you hold him? It might help."
"I don't know Raven…" Cyborg replied, but Raven had already backed him into a chair and placed the baby in his arms. Cyborg's mood melted the second he looked at the baby's eyes. Little Beast Boy stopped sucking and smiled at Cyborg.
"It really is BB," Cyborg said softly as Beast Boy demanded his bottle again by reaching for it and whimpering. "But…how did you get him to drink milk?" Raven smiled and winked as she replied, "What he doesn't know can't hurt him, can it?" As they laughed, Robin rushed into the room.
"There's been a jailbreak—Mumbo helped Warp to escape!" Robin cried. We've got to go now!"
"But, we can't leave Beast Boy here alone!" Cyborg said. "Who's gonna stay and take care of him?"
"Raven—he seems to have latched onto you. I think we can take care of the jailbreak without you," Robin said. "Titans, go!" The doors of Titans Tower slammed minutes later, once again leaving Raven alone with her charge.
Raven awoke later to the sound of her communicator beeping. It was Robin. The team had been successful in rounding up all of the escaped criminals.
"That's great," Raven said, shifting a bit as she sat up.
"Were you asleep, Raven?" Robin asked.
"I must have dozed off…" Raven admitted, blushing a bit at the thought.
"Well, wake Beast Boy and bring him down here. We're going to finish this," Robin said.
Raven did as she was told and minutes later, she was carrying Beast Boy over to where their friends were waiting for them.
"The police confiscated Warp's ray and Cyborg's figured out how it works, so we're ready to make this right," Robin said confidently. Raven held Beast Boy a bit closer and brushed her cheek against his. She was afraid of what the others might think if she actually kissed his little green head. The other Titans tried hard not to say anything at this display. Raven placed the baby on the examining table in the lab where the ray was set up and Starfire wound her hands around Raven's shoulders. Raven pulled her hood up and looked away. She wasn't sure she wanted to watch. She didn't want to see some machine taking her baby away from her.
Raven shut her eyes tight. Had she really just thought that? Beast Boy was not her child, but for some reason, her heart pounded. She cried silent tears instead of shouting for the team to stop. She wanted to take him back in her arms and take him back to the tower with her.
'I have to stop playing house,' Raven chided herself. 'This isn't my child—this is my teammate—my roommate—this is Beast Boy."
The baby began to cry in fear when Raven did not immediately retrieve him, and this time Robin held her to keep her from running to comfort him. The aging ray fired, and the baby's cry became a scream of strain on the lithe body of the hero before them. Seconds later, Beast Boy was returned to his original state, but had once again fallen unconscious.
"Beast Boy!" Raven cried, breaking free from Robin's grasp and running to his side with the others. When Beast Boy's eyes blinked open, he squinted against the bright fluorescent lights.
"What happened? How did I get here?"
The Titans erupted into elated cries of joy and relief. Beast Boy was back.
Later that night, Raven was having a hard time concentrating on her meditation. She couldn't get a certain green hero out of her mind. The way his tiny hand had clutched her finger, the sounds he made when he sucked on a bottle, the sensation of his breath on her face, the feeling she got when he snuggled against her…
Raven's tears fell again and there was a knock at the door.
"I'd like to be alone," Raven answered, not bothering to ask who was there. The door slid open anyway, and Beast Boy entered the room.
"Hi Raven," Beast Boy said gently. "You can go ahead and kick my butt for coming in your room, but hear me out first, okay?" Raven nodded a bit.
"I wanted to thank you for taking care of me. It means a lot to me," Beast Boy said, taking a few more steps into the room.
"The others told you?" she asked. She was certain that such a tiny baby could never remember.
"They did. But they didn't have to," Beast Boy replied.
"Why do you say that?" Raven asked. Beast Boy was right in front of her now. He leaned over and brushed his cheek against hers before whispering in her ear, "I remember everything, Raven. I didn't want the others to know about it…I remember…"
Raven staggered back a step. She didn't think it could possibly be true. Beast Boy took another step closer to compensate and lightly kissed Raven's cheek before leaving the room, deciding that it was better to leave without saying anything else.
Raven crept into bed that night exhausted, but unable to sleep. There was something missing—something she didn't say—something she desperately needed.
Raven suddenly sat up in bed and peered into the darkness. "Who's there?" she demanded.
"It's me," said a familiar voice. "I…I couldn't sleep."
"Why does that concern me?" Raven replied, trying hard to make her voice void of emotion. Beast Boy said nothing but toed off his shoes and gingerly crept into the bed with her. She jerked away at first, but Beast Boy persisted and Raven relented, pulling him close to her and rolling onto her back. Beast Boy cuddled against her and smiled as he located her heartbeat in her chest. Raven choked back her tears and whispered, "Don't do this to me…please…"
"Don't do what? Relax, Raven. You're gonna be a great mom someday…" Beast Boy said in return.
"When I held you…I wasn't thinking about being your mother…" Raven wept. Beast Boy softly gasped as he realized what she was saying.
"I was thinking…I was thinking about your children…what it would be like if you had children…" Raven continued.
"You….want to…you'd have….Raven….I never thought you'd say something like that…" Beast Boy murmured.
"I didn't want anyone to know…" Raven said, sniffling.
"Didn't want them to know what?" Beast Boy asked. Raven bit her lip for a moment and said it—said what she had been meaning to say for months.
"I think I'm falling in love with you."
Beast Boy felt his heart skyrocket, but miraculously managed to remain perfectly calm as he levered himself up and met Raven's watery violet eyes. Softly, he kissed her lips.
"I've loved you since the day we met," he replied, not waiting for a reply before replacing his head on her chest. "We can talk about it more in the morning."
"Yes," Raven said. "In the morning…"