Dead Boy's Poem
Poem (c) Nightwish
Afternoon light poured subtly through the large windows of Titans Tower, passing by unnoticed by the occupants of the common room. Four figures sat separated from one another on the soft surface of a couch, each head bent down in unspoken sorrow as the sun failed to warm their hearts.
No one had dared speak since they had returned home from a morning battle in downtown Jump City. It was as if they were each afraid of the pain words might bring if they were uttered aloud, and thus, the present team remained still, never gazing into each other's eyes as they continued to replay what had happened.
They had been a union of heroes for five years and yet, such experience had not kept them from making a fatal mistake. They had grown careless, their prides bloated with constant victory, and they had ultimately paid the price.
Beast Boy raised his head toward the ceiling, closing his emerald eyes in agony as he swore he could hear the sound of soft cries from the roof. His breathing became ragged as the silence began to suffocate him. He could no longer keep his feelings within his mind, but the fear of causing suffering with his words kept him from uttering a sound.
Noticing the shift in her teammate's position, Starfire decided that perhaps silence was not the best answer. She let her mouth fall open as she tried to think of comforting words. Sadly, she came up with nothing, only a simple question entered her mind.
"Where is friend Raven?" the alien's soft voice whispered in the stillness.
The girl took careful notice to those around her as she spoke. To her left, she saw Robin turn fully toward her at the sound of her voice and though his eyes where hidden behind his mask, she could sense a bit of relief from him that she had shattered the silence. Cyborg, on the other hand, merely turned his head in her direction, no essence of emotion emanating from him as Starfire looked to her right side to gaze at him.
The most interesting response came silently from Beast Boy, whose head snapped down at the mention of Raven's name. His green eyes bored holes in the matching orbs of the Tamaranian, sympathy and pity for the dark girl dug within them. It was as if the mentioning of their teammate had awakened him, for he was the only one to verbally respond to her.
"Sh-she's on the roof," he stammered.
"I believe it would be best if we tried to console her. Perhaps we could-"
"And do what, Star?" Cyborg interrupted, his gruff voice devoid of its usual caring warmth. "We'd prob'ly just make things worse."
Despite how quickly she was shot down, the girl would not give up. There had to be something she could do to help her distraught friend, something they could all do together. She refused to let the men sulk when it was Raven who had been damaged the most.
"Please, there must be something! Robin?" Starfire asked desperately, hoping to gain the support of a dear companion.
The leader's mask bent in sorrow as he gazed at the alien beside him. He knew as well as the others did that comfort was what their dark friend needed, but a part of him continued to shout that they were all unworthy of giving it. How could they even attempt to console her when they had been so careless? How could their presence make her smile when it had partly been because of them that the accident happened?
"Starfire," the raven-haired man breathed out slowly. "W-we can't do anything for her. We're nothing but a reminder of what happened…of what we let happen."
"But is it right to leave her be in such a time of sadness?" the Tamaranian protested.
"No. No it's not!"
All eyes turned to face Beast Boy as his voice echoed within the room with utter confidence. He had risen from his seat, but his eyes remained glued to the floor in a vibrant display of his battle between fear and sympathy. Starfire had spoken what he had been thinking and he refused to let the others say no. Clenching his gloved fists tightly, he lifted his head, drops of water falling from his eyes as he gazed at each of them.
"I told her…" he faltered. "No. I promised her! I said she would never be alone! Look at us! We're all down here feeling sorry for ourselves while she's up on the roof by herself probably wishing she had never been born. Starfire's right, dammit! We should be up there comforting her!"
"An' I suppose ya think you can do that, huh?" Cyborg retorted as he lifted himself from the couch, his voice rising in volume.
"Yeah, Cy, I do! I owe her that much!" the changeling fought back, his eyes piercing into the taller man as he silently pleaded for his old friend to understand, to let go of his hurt pride.
"Go, Beast Boy."
The green man's eyes softened as they turned to see Robin walking toward him with a sorrowful smile painted across his face. The young leader place a gloved hand on his shorter friend's shoulder, hoping it might calm the fighter down a bit for him to listen to reason.
"I don't think the three of us are really up to comforting anyone but ourselves at this point, despite how selfless Starfire is trying to sound. You were able to help Raven through that Malchior ordeal…maybe you can help her through this." A true smile replaced the false one as Robin continued with his miniature speech. "Plus, like you said, you owe it to her. She was there for you when that beast took over your mind, now you can be there for her."
Beast Boy nodded, thankful that his plea had been heard. He turned to Cyborg and placed a hand on the robot's arm in a wordless apology before he darted from the room. Before he was out of earshot the changeling was certain he heard Robin's voice once more.
"I think we need to have a little talk of our own…"
The green man smiled. It was a comfort to his heart knowing that Starfire and Robin were there to help their cybernetic friend. They had all been hurt, but it appeared that Cyborg was having the most trouble concealing his burnt pride. Beast Boy only wished that Raven was faring better than that.
The changeling hesitated at the door leading to the roof. He spent a brief moment asking himself if he was truly ready to confront the girl, but the moment an image of her face entered his mind, he stuck out a hand and turned the knob. He squinted his eyes under the harsh brightness of the sun, but pushed onward anyway, knowing full well he could not turn back.
There she stood, her midnight cloak billowing in the shallow wind that blew. The sunlight made her seem ghastly pale, more so than the young man was used to and it frightened him. She seemed more like an apparition than a person.
He closed the door behind him, doing his best to keep his eyes on her, and then he spoke.
She failed to respond, and had it been a more pleasant occasion, Beast Boy was sure he would have laughed at her predictability. The green man moved forward, ignoring her silence as he repeated her name, hoping she would eventually notice him.
Beast Boy was now standing by her side, staring down at her white face. There was something about her that made the young man certain he would eventually break down if his eyes continued to linger, but it wasn't until she turned her tear-stained face toward him that he understood.
Her eyes were a hollow, unseeing sapphire, devoid of life and emotion, lacking the gleam they once held. It was the final piece that created the image of her fragility; it was what convinced the changeling that his friend could shatter at any moment. He had never seen her so broken…so human, and as he continued to watch her, he began to wonder what was worse: Cyborg's open self belittlement or Raven's silent submission.
Tearing his eyes from hers, he gazed down at the ground. A sudden fear blanketed his body when he realized the empath's feet were nearly off the edge. Beast Boy shot a glance of disbelief at her, hoping against reason that she would answer him, but alas, her expression had not changed; she hadn't even noticed that the man had broken his stare earlier.
Reaching out shaking hands, the changeling gently grasped the girl's shoulders, bringing himself closer to her as he whispered softly. "Come on, Rae. Let's get away from the edge, okay? There's nothing you wa-"
"Are you afraid I'll jump?" a dead voice called.
Beast Boy stared at her in shock. Her voice. He was used to a monotone, but there had always been a touch of emotion behind it, a sense of life, and now, there was no trace of it. His previous desire to hear her respond to him when he first came on the roof was now washed away. The sound of her voice frightened him.
"N-no! I-I didn't…I never meant y-"
"What else could you have meant?" Raven interrupted once more, her body willingly moving back from the ledge as Beast Boy gently pulled her. "Could I really be given the chance to do such a blessing?"
The green man's eyes widened as he listened to her mantra. "Don't talk like that!" he nearly screamed as he whirled her around to face him. "Don't ever say that! Your life is just as valuable as his was."
"How can you say that? I've lived a life for ten years more than he was able to! He had barely started to live!" the shattered girl shrieked as tears fell from her hollow eyes. "Oh God! Why am I given the chance to live only to watch a young child die in my name? Beast Boy, why am I the way I am?"
The man drew her into an embrace, uncertain of how to calm her as her sobs became more violent. His heart reached out to her as she continued to curse herself for the death she had witnessed in the battle earlier that morning. He knew she wasn't to blame, but he was still unsure of how to convince her of that.
What a morning it had been…
It was just like any ordinary day in Jump City. A crazed lunatic was on the loose and it was up to a team of five fighters to restore order. That had been a way of life for the entire town for more than five years.
The Teen Titans had become an unstoppable force of justice, but as their unity rose, so did the experience of their enemies. Soon, many of them began to use the civilians as their shields and wield firearms with the hopes of actually winning a battle against the city's defenses.
Today was no exception.
Johnny Rancid stood upon on over-turned building, a massive gun in his right hand and a belt of explosives across his waist. It seemed obvious the tyrant had done considerable damage before the Titans could arrive.
As the team moved toward their enemy, Rancid pointed his gun at the crowd, silently daring the fighters to take another step. Grinning as he watched each of them freeze in fear, he mocked them with his gruff voice.
"What's the matter, Titans? Afraid of gettin' someone killed?"
Robin grunted in frustration as he stood motionless in the street. He had to think of something. Turning his eyes to his right, he noticed Raven was by his side. That was all he needed. Slowly and softly, he called out to her.
"Raven, I need you to put a shield up around the townspeople. We can take down Rancid."
"A-are you sure?" the dark girl hesitated.
The Titan leader sighed inwardly with relief as he listened to the familiar chant that fell from Raven's lips. With the innocent safe, he would be able to attack without holding back. That was a guaranteed victory.
"Hey! Stop that, ya witch!" Johnny shouted as he fired his gun at the empath.
To his dismay, the attacker was forced to watch his bullets ricochet off the black energy that encased the Titan and the civilians around her. There was nothing for him to do now but hope he could defeat the other four fighters with the weapons he had.
Taking advantage of the dark man's distracted attention, Cyborg fired his sonic cannon, shouting his 'boo-yah' catch phrase when the enemy fell from the building and onto the street. The battle had begun.
Raven looked on, hoping they would be alright without her as she continued to hold the energy shield in place. As the fight lingered on, the dark girl realized her concentration was failing. The more she watched her friends be thrown around, the less she was thinking of sustaining the barrier. She needed a distraction from the fight.
As if to answer her silent prayer, Raven felt a presence at her right side. She looked down only to find a small child, vibrant blonde hair falling across sky-blue eyes. He did not speak a greeting, he simply watched her.
'Blonde hair and blue eyes, huh? German?' Raven thought to herself as she continued to glace at the boy.
She had never seen anything like him before. His eyes were such a cold color and yet, they held an unmistakable sense of warmth and there was just something about him that made the sorceress feel he could see right through her, though the masks she wore.
Before she could utter any words to him, a familiar cry filled her mind.
The Titan whirled her head in the direction to find Rancid holding a grenade in his hand. The girl's cybernetic friend was on the ground, his body being racked with electrical sparks. It was clear that his circuits had been damaged; he was immobile. By the time the other Titans would reach him, it would be too late.
Raven clenched her teeth, determined to save her friend no matter what the cost. She summoned back the shield from the surrounding area and threw it toward Cyborg. As she focused her mind on the fallen man before her, she failed to watch her opponent.
Rancid grinned, pulling the key from the grenade he held. He had a new target in mind. The dark man tossed the weapon to his left, aiming for the cinema behind the now defenseless citizens.
The device struck its target and the one who had thrown it took his leave.
"Raven!" Beast Boy shouted out as he watch the smoke and ash blanket the distracted girl.
The empath panicked. She could barely see and with the lack of air suffocating her, she could not keep her concentration. Her powers were useless. As the smoke began to thicken, she stumbled forward, her vision blurring but sustaining long enough for her to see the blonde child run toward her.
'What's he do-'
Her thoughts were never finished.
Raven felt herself be thrown back by tiny arms and with her mind in such a spin, she could not manage to keep herself on her feet. The Titan fell to the ground, silently thanking whatever God sat in Heaven for letting the smoke clear. She could breathe again.
Before she fully regained her serene state of mind, she felt strong hands grasp the sides of her face. There was a blur of green above her, but as her vision began to return, she was certain she knew who it was.
"Beast…Boy," she coughed out softly.
"My God! Raven! Are you alright?" the young man nearly shouted. As he continued to look down at his friend, he noticed her expression had changed. She was now giving him her signature glare. "Heh…sorry…standard question."
The empath struggled to turn her head to the voices behind her, but Beast Boy stopped her. His beckoning eyes gave her the answers she sought. It was Robin and Starfire who had called for her and, from the relief she could sense within the green boy, they were carrying Cyborg. He was safe.
"What happened, Rae?" the changeling voiced once his friends knelt beside them. "I saw that piece of the theatre fall and I could've sworn it had-"
Raven shot upward at the sound of the unfamiliar name. For some reason, the image of the blonde boy filled her mind as a distraught woman continued to shout out. The boy. What had happened to the boy?
Looking down at her feet, the dark girl noticed the mound of rubble. The old woman had knelt beside the rocks, desperately trying to lift them as she continued to call the name. Raven felt a knot tie in her chest as she looked on. It couldn't possibly be true.
"No…" she breathed.
Almost immediately after the words fell from her mouth, Raven flew forward, chanting her familiar mantra. Slabs of granite and concrete were lifted and pushed back, leaving the rubble mountain a shadow of what it once was.
The sound of the old woman's terrified cry was enough to convince Raven of what she had earlier thought. There, in the center of the rubble, was the blonde child, blood staining his small face. It was all clear. When he pushed her, it had been to save her from such a fate and with such noises of agony, the woman was no doubt the boy's mother.
"My Timothy! My sweet baby boy!" the mother cried as she moved to cradle her son in her rag-covered arms.
Raven stood, ignoring the pain that shot through her back, and made her way over to the child, hoping she would be given the chance to heal him. When she knelt beside the boy, she tried her best to keep from looking at the poor woman next to her, but even without gazing at the mother, she could feel the freeze of her cold stare.
The dark girl gave a sigh of relief when the child opened his eyes. "Hold still," she whispered. "I can heal you."
"R-Raven," the boy coughed, crimson rivers flowing from the corners of his lips. "You…are s-safe."
The empath bit back tears as she watched the child struggle to smile. The look on his face, the sincerity of his voice, it was enough to cloud her mind with sorrow. Despite how much she wanted to, she could not calm herself long enough to summon her power.
It was as if the child knew the girl was struggling to save him, for he reached up a hand and placed it on her left cheek. The look in his blue eyes sent Raven a terrifying sensation. He was attempting to comfort her, to tell her his passing would not be such a terrible thing.
Timothy's bright pools closed and as his head fell limp, so did his hand. His tiny fingers collapsed and fell away from Raven's face before hitting the ground. The young boy was dead.
Raven jerked her head to the right, her eyes wide with shock as she listened to the boy's mother shout at her. She could sense the disbelief from her friends, but before they were given the chance to speak in her defense, the sorceress tried to calm the woman down.
"N-no, I'm not-"
"He was only eight years old!" the shattered woman interrupted. "You killed my son!"
Beast Boy could only let her cry as he ran a soothing hand up and down her spine. They had been on the roof together for nearly an hour, but the time had not stalled her tears. As she continued to cry, the changeling began to wonder how it was possible she had not destroyed the tower with such an onslaught of emotion. His only assumption was that her extensive meditation for five years had been enough to give her stable control and for that, he was grateful. Raven deserved the chance to cry, especially now.
"I-If I hadn't been so stupid," the young woman sobbed into Beast Boy's uniform. "It was a trap. H-He wanted me to lower that barrier so he could…"
The green man softly hushed her. "Don't say that. You tried to save Cyborg. You made a choice, all right? Would things have been better if Cy had died?"
Raven clutched the boy closer to him as he spoke, trying to drain every ounce of comfort from his body. The thought of losing one of her friends frightened her more than she would ever admit.
"It should have been me," she whispered. "That slab was going to crush me! I should've been the one to die."
"Stop it!" Beast Boy shouted, ripping Raven from his arms so he could look into her eyes. "That boy gave his life for you! He sacrificed everything for his hero and you're up here just wasting away that life he let you have!"
The girl's only response was a shudder and a few silent tears tracing rivers down her cheeks. At the lack of verbal response from the girl, Beast Boy knew he had struck a string within her heart. It was painful to see her so shaken, but seeing reality was what she really needed.
"I'm sorry I'm being so harsh, Rae," the man whispered as he drew her back into his arms. "I just can't stand listening to you say you're not worth anything. You mean a lot to people, okay? You were that boy's hero!"
"What kind of hero am I, Beast Boy?" Raven retorted. "I couldn't save him! I've been given the power to heal and yet, I wasn't able to help him. What good are these powers if I can never manage to use them when I need to?"
The young man sighed, bringing his left hand up to caress the girl's hair as he spoke. "You've saved the team dozens of times with your powers, okay? You've protected the city with them countless times. I know that probably isn't comforting you, but it's all I've got. It's tough, I know-"
Raven jerked back as if she had been burned, her sapphire eyes bent down in an icy glare. "Don't! Don't you dare pretend to know how I feel!"
"You think you're the only one who's gone through something like this?" he shouted back at her. "You don't think Cyborg's kicking himself for this? It's because you were trying to save him that the theatre was blown up! And what about me? I know what it's like to live every day of your life thinking you could've saved someone. I've been there, Rae, and that's why it kills me to see you like this, to know you're suffering the same stuff I've been through," the changeling sobbed, letting a single tear fall from his eye.
All the empath could manage to do was stare at him, silently asking to understand what he meant, to hear from his lips how he could relate to her. She was afraid to ask him, afraid to bring him pain if she begged to hear his story, but for some reason, she felt a need to hear him say it, to know she truly was not alone in her sorrow.
Beast Boy picked up the helplessness in her shattered eyes and knew what he had to do. Swallowing his heart's pain, he looked down at her and began to speak of his past for the first time in so many years.
"I was only five when it happened, but by then, I had already gotten my powers," he began softly. "My parents and I were living in Africa at the time and they decided to take a boat ride down a river path. I'm not really sure what happened, maybe my dad took a wrong turn or something, but we ended up in a tight current. I was too little to understand what was going on, but my mom just kept telling me to turn into that 'pretty little bird' I knew how to become. She said I had to fly away; I had to fly home. God, I was scared out of my mind. I didn't want to go and I told her that, but then she picked me up and threw me out of the boat. I turned into a parrot to keep myself from falling into the water." Beast Boy paused for a while before he decided to continue. "I turned around only to see the boat fall down a waterfall, my parents still inside of it."
Silence took hold for what seemed to be days and it became too much to bear. Raven broke the stillness by reaching up a hand and placing it on the man's face, trying her best to comfort him. She had no idea he had suffered so much as a young child. Her shock quickly turned to sympathy, as she knew that is what he needed most.
"Beast Boy, I-I'm sorry…" she started.
"If only I had known how to become all the animals I know now…I could've saved them." Though his last statement had been so sorrowful, a struggling smile lifted on his lips. "So you see? We're not so different after all."
Raven bit back a saddened laugh as she threw her arms around his neck, drawing him closer to her as she began to cry once more, but this time, more for his loss than hers. Her tears became a mix of depression and joy as she pitied and thanked him simultaneously. He was with her to share her pain.
Beast Boy waited a few moments, letting the girl get her emotions out of her system; she deserved that much. When he felt her tears subside, he shifted her and brushed his lips against her cheek, kissing away the tears that had haunted her for too long.
"Come on," he whispered to her. "Let's go downstairs. I'm sure the others are gonna be happy to see you."
He heard the girl sniff slightly before he felt her arms loosen around him. A few moments later, she had let go completely and was simply staring up at him. To Beast Boy, it was a relief that she was looking at him, now that the familiar glint in them had almost completely returned.
The girl nodded at him before slowly making her way to the other side of the roof where the door to the stairs was located. She turned to face him one last time, checking to see if he was still behind her, and then reached for the knob.
"Hey," Beast Boy called out. "Don't I get a little thank you kiss?"
Raven merely rolled her eyes as he puckered up his lips and pushed him away when he tried to lean forward. Opening the door, she began to walk down the steps. Noticing he had not followed, she stuck her head back outside.
"Well?" the man persisted.
"Not on your life." And with that, the dark girl began to walk down the stairs once more.
"Well, it seems not even the saddest things can make you bite back your sarcastic humor," Beast Boy laughed, shaking his head as he followed her to the common room.
Their talk had ended long ago, and thus, the three Titans still present in the room had refrained from speaking once more. They simply sat, waiting for Beast Boy to return, waiting for someone to break the silence.
Each of them jumped when the sudden ring of a phone filled their ears. Robin was the quickest to recover, so he stood from his place on the couch and moved to answer the call.
"Titans Tower," he said firmly. "No, this is Robin speaking."
There was a long pause before the fighter spoke once more, but when he did, his tone appeared soft and pained. That was enough to grab the attention of the alien and robot who were still seated.
"I-I see…" he continued quietly. "Oh!….we'll see if we can…I'll be sure to tell her….thank you."
Robin placed the phone back on the receiver and paused for a short time, simply staring at his hand. He did not turn to face the others until an unexpected voice caught his ears.
"So, who was it, dude?"
The leader turned behind him to face the intruding noise. It was Beast Boy and surprisingly, Raven was by his side. Though he was pleased to see the man had managed to persuade the girl into joining them, her presence would make answering Beast Boy's question rather difficult.
"It…" Robin tried to begin. "It was the boy's mother."
The empath visibly stiffened at his statement. The raven-haired boy knew it would be hard for her to listen, but perhaps his message would bring more happiness than sorrow once he had gone through it.
"She…she wanted to apologize for the way she acted, Raven," the leader continued. "And she extended an invitation to all of us to go to the funeral later today. I didn't say if we would come or not, so if any of you aren't up to it, that's fine."
All eyes turned to face the dark sorceress as he frail voiced called out just above a whisper. That was not the response they had been expecting, but it was a subtle guarantee that the girl was on her way to mental recovery.
They all watched as Raven's gaze moved to Cyborg and froze. There was no emotion within them, but that did stop the robotic man from believing she was asking him a silent question. He knew he had to answer.
"Ah hell! If yer goin', then I guess I'm goin', too."
Robin smiled in approval, happy to hear a bit of life back in the giant's voice. Things would turn out well, or at least he hoped they would. Deciding not to keep them any longer, he spoke up with instructions.
"Well, we should leave the tower in about two hours. It's a bit of a drive to get there."
They all nodded in his direction and began to clear out silently. Starfire stayed behind for a moment, confusion racking her emerald eyes as she tried to solve a mystery within her mind. Robin noticed and before he left the common room, he decided to see if he knew what she was thinking.
"Oh, Star, you might want to ask Raven if you can borrow some clothes or something," the young man laughed gently. "You're gonna have to wear black."
Understanding filled the girl's eyes as Robin answered her unspoken question. "I believe I may have an appropriate gown," she said simply before casting him a smile and walking toward her room.
Raven stood before her black framed mirror, a forlorn look plaguing her face. Her uniform had been discarded and in place was a more formal version. Replacing the sleeves of her usual outfit were elbow length gloves with openings uncovering her thumb and index finger on both hands and instead of her usual shoes, she wore knee high boots that came up in a point to her lower thigh. Falling from her waist was train in the front and one to match behind her, made in the same material of her leotard to match with the rest of what she wore.
Looking up, she gazed into the red eyes of the ebony raven that adorned the top of her mirror, shivering slightly under its cold stare before looking back at herself. She paused for a moment, wondering whether she should adorn her cloak or not, her eyes still unaccustomed to seeing her shoulders bare, but before she could reach for it, a knock came at her door.
"Raven? It's me, Robin," a muffled voice called.
"Come in," the dark girl replied flatly.
Almost immediately, the door swished open, revealing the Titan leader in a black suit. Raven's blue eyes widened at the unexpected sight, but the initial shock quickly wore off. She blushed slightly when she noticed his head lifting and lowering up and down the contours of her body.
"New outfit?" the man asked in a flustered voice.
The empath merely rolled her eyes, knowing full well that, despite the fact that he was nearly twenty years of age, he had yet to lose the anticipated perversion of the teenager.
Taking her lack of response as silent annoyance, the dark haired boy moved quickly to his point. "Do you have a black cloak by any chance?"
Raven's expression changed immediately to suspicion as the odd question left the young man's lips. "Black? What for?"
"Oh, well, it just…Timothy's mom made it a point for me to ask you to wear your cloak and since this is a funeral, I thought maybe you-"
"I'll see what I can do," Raven interrupted, casting Robin a forced smile.
The leader noticed her strained happiness and responded with a look of sympathy before bidding her goodbye and letting the door slide shut behind him as he headed down the hall to check on Starfire.
Two hours had flown like minutes and it was finally time for the team to regroup in the common room. Needless to say, the only one present was Robin. The boy shook his head, but decided to wait before calling them all since he was a few minutes early.
Just as the clock struck five, Raven walked through the door, making her way silently to the kitchen where the fighter waited. She was perfectly on time, as usual, but gave no indication of annoyance when she discovered the others had yet to arrive.
Robin studied her as she leaned against the counter beside him. There were no snide remarks about how inefficient the others were when it came to timing or about how she could have spent a longer time meditating if she knew the others would be so lazy. The morning tragedy must still have a hold on her sarcasm.
Noticing the color of her cloak, the man decided to comment. "Oh! So you had one after all!"
Raven looked up at him, confusion racking her eyes, but after a few moments of embarrassing silence, she was able to assume he meant what she was wearing. "No," she started plainly, holding in a light laugh at the site of Robin's shocked expression. "I used a spell to change the color of one of my cloaks to black."
The Titan leader's expression did not falter. "You can do that?"
Giving the man an exhausted look, Raven tried to think of a way to show him how obvious the answer to his question was. "Robin, I can chant incantations to transcend dimensions, you would think by now I would know a simple color-changing spell. I could turn Beast Boy purple if I wanted to." And with that, she began to walk away.
A few laughs fell from the man's lips before they sealed into genuine smile. Moving toward her retreating form, he placed a hand on her shoulder, stopping her in her tracks. A content huff escaped him as he replayed what Raven had just said in his mind.
"You're healing," he whispered. "It's nice to see some of the old Raven back again. I was starting to miss your sense of humor."
The empath would have commented, but the sound of doors opening caught her ears. Cyborg and Beast Boy entered together, both in suits and the robot adorning his human body illusion. The changeling surprised her the most when he looked at her; Raven was simply impressed the green man was capable of cleaning up so well. Seeing a smile stretch across his lips, she nodded her head at him and continued to keep her eyes on his as he came closer to her.
Beast Boy waited for Robin to walk over to Cyborg before he leaned over to whisper in the dark girl's ear. "Purple, huh? Don't even think about it." He nearly laughed at her swift intake of breath, but quickly calmed her down. "Pointy ears, Rae. That means I can hear things through those walls."
"I hope you're not expecting an apology," retorted a familiar monotone.
The young man let out a short laugh and decided to act rather than answer. He quickly closed the gap between them and planted a small kiss to her right cheek, savoring the feel of her skin against his lips before withdrawing. When he pulled back, he was certain to see a hint of anger in her darkened eyes, but instead he found an unfamiliar light. The new feature was faint, but it was still there. His green orbs wandered downward when a strange flash of blue caught his attention. She was holding her blue cloak.
"What's with the old cape thing?" he said, pointing down at it to emphasize his point.
Tearing her eyes from his, she responded just above a whisper. "You'll see."
The two conversing Titans suddenly realized there was dead silence that had fallen and thus, they both turned toward their teammates to see what had happened. It appeared in their time of whispered nothings, Starfire had entered the room, clad in a black dress that ended just below her knees.
"S-Star? Where did you get that?" Robin struggled to say. "I didn't know owned anything black!"
The alien blushed slightly, bending her head down to look at her ebony sandals while she spoke. "Truthfully, this was meant to be a gift to friend Raven, but I assume now would be a more appropriate time to use it." Looking up, she gazed directly at the empath, her saddened eyes begging for a silent apology. "I hope you do not mind."
"Don't worry about it," the dark girl assured in a voice that had a touch of deadness creeping back over it.
Beast Boy caught on to the change in her voice, but decided against calling her on it in front of the others. Sending her a questioning glance, he simply assumed it was due to the fact that the funeral was less than an hour away.
Before he could contemplate any further, he heard Robin's voice call them to pile in the T-Car. Reluctantly, he walked forward, glancing back to Raven every now and then to be sure she was still behind him.
The clouds had rolled in, covering the lush green grass of the cemetery in an eerie blanket of grey; it was the perfect setting for the emotions that filled those present in the fog-covered area. The sun would simply have seemed out of place on such an evening.
A familiar blue and white car rolled to the side of the curb where it stopped for a few moments in stillness before any of the warriors of peace stepped foot onto the concrete path. They simply sat, watching as the waves crashes against the cliff side where the burial was to be held.
When they did leave the confines of their vehicle, it did not take them long to spot where they were to walk to; there was a great line of black-clad civilians moving toward an open grave caught in the silhouette of the ocean's spray. They slowly made their way to the others, Raven lagging in the back, her mind seemingly elsewhere.
The coffin was left open, elevated on a mount above the grave, as the guests gathered around, none daring to speak a word. All eyes were seemingly glued to the young boy's face, which had grown pale with Death's touch. It was as if the pastor's words were going unheard and unnoticed.
Raven only managed to break contact with the young boy's form when she felt a familiar sensation of ice within her body. Leaning down to see past Beast Boy on her left, she met with the agony-stricken eyes of Timothy's mother, pricking and tearing into her the longer her gaze lingered.
A knot began to form in the empath's chest, the tight weight of it causing her to tear her gaze away from the woman and to the ground. She gave no second thought to the pain, but was thankful it had given her reason to look away despite how vulnerable she now appeared with her right hand trying to grasp at the ache.
A soft light caught the corner of her eye and as she turned to face it, she felt a soothing sensation flood her body, erasing the agony it had just been racked with. Shifting her gaze to either side of her, it became apparent that she was the only one who could see the glow above them.
Before she could contemplate any further, strange music began to fill her senses. It was like nothing she had ever heard before and, despite her confusion, it calmed her. There was a mystic beauty behind the notes that played and it intrigued her to say the least. She couldn't help but be drawn to the melody floating around her.
Suddenly a voice called out to her, singing in a poetry that captivated her completely. Yet, it was not only the words that drew her to the sound, but the voice itself; it was strangely familiar, but she could not place it with a face.
"If you read this line, remember not the hand that wrote it
Remember only the verse, songmaker's cry, the one without tears
For I've given this its strength and it has become my only strength.
Comforting home, mother's lap, chance for immortality
Where being wanted became a thrill I never knew
The sweet piano writing down my life."
The words were such a unique blend of thought and feeling that they continued to toss Raven into an empathic whirl. She could sense the sorrow, the joy, and the sense of satisfaction that grazed the surface of the poem as it continued.
"Teach me passion for I fear it's gone
Show me love, hold the lore
So much more I wanted to give to the ones who love me
Time will tell, this bitter farewell
I live no more to shame nor me nor you
And you... I wish I didn't feel for you anymore..."
The second verse grabbed at her heart with realization; the words seemed insecure…almost like a child.
The empath was thrust out of her world of thought as she felt a gentle hand rest on her shoulder. Looking up to see who had called out to her, her sapphire orbs became locked with a sea of emerald. Beast Boy was looking down at her with a concerned look plaguing his features. His questioning glance caused her to wonder if all she had seen been a vision of some sort.
"They're going to close the casket now," he said slowly.
Feeling the warmth of the tattered cloak still in her hands, Raven nodded at the man and moved forward. She stood by the coffin for a few moments, gazing down at the pale hero who had granted her a longer life to endure. What she had with her was hardly a way to repay him, but it was all she could think of.
Without saying a word, she unfurled the blue cloak she had been holding and carefully placed it over the boy to act as a makeshift blanket. She lifted her gaze to the boy's mother only to see her smile in gratitude. Casting one last glance at the still form below her, Raven backed away into the crowd once more.
She felt Beast Boy's warm hand return to her shoulder, its touch a welcomed comfort. Unconsciously, she leaned into him, her heart quickening its pace when his grasp pulled her closer. His gentle breath blew across her ear as the pair stood there, watching as the boy's family began to help lower the coffin.
"So that's what the cloak was for," Beast Boy laughed softly.
A nod was her only response for she felt she could not find the strength to utter words as she bid a final farewell to the boy who had saved her life. Though he was only eight years of age, he had given her the gift she had longed for: the knowledge that she was useful. He had called her his hero despite the fact that her carelessness would be his untimely end. He sacrificed his own life for one who was supposed to protect him, one whom he did not truly know and thus, to commemorate his courage, the empath had cloaked him in the hooded cape she had worn during the battle that took his life.
As the funeral ended and the people began to depart, Raven broke free of Beast Boy's grasp and made her way to cliff side to watch the ocean below. It was obvious to her that was no cemetery since it was quite doubtful that one would be placed in such a location, but it didn't matter. Judging by how the woman had been dressed in the morning when her son had died, they most likely didn't have the money to afford a formal funeral. The property they stood on now probably belonged to the pastor who owned the house at the bottom of the hill; he seemed to be a dear friend of the mother. Raven was simply glad the boy had been given a proper burial; he deserved that much.
"Miss Raven?" a shaken voice echoed.
The empath turned around, her eyes locking with the shattered orbs of Timothy's mother. It was a surprise to see the woman greeting her, but despite her shock, Raven couldn't help but fear another onslaught of crude words from the lady that stood before her.
"Look," Raven began in a hushed tone. "I'm sorry about what happened Mrs…um…"
"Adler, Mrs. Adler," the woman finished.
'Adler? So, the boy was German! That means eagle, doesn't it?' the dark girl thought to herself.
"You don't have to apologize, my dear," Mrs. Adler continued. "I am the one who should be asking for forgiveness. I treated you horribly and blamed you for something you could not prevent. I had no right to call you a murderer, especially knowing that what you had done had merely granted my son his wish."
Raven's shocked expression was enough to prompt the woman to continue her tale. Hearing that death could be a child's wish had not been something the empath had expected.
"You see," the old woman started. "His whole life, despite how short it was, had been centered around how amazing the Teen Titans are. He admired you all greatly for your bravery and strength and so, he wished every year on his birthday that he could be as helpful to others as you all have been. He kept telling me before he would fall asleep that he would grow up quickly and one day do something to help his hero. And that hero was you."
The sorceress had no idea what to say. She could feel tears begin to well in her eyes as she continued to replay what the woman had told her and as the thoughts continued to race through her head, she heard the mother continue, but it wasn't until the lady brought forth a small notebook that Raven ceased her reflections.
"He would always write in this, saying he wanted to try and be a writer, one that you would appreciate," Mrs. Adler smiled softly. "You were his inspiration."
Taking the book in her grasp, the empath opened it to where a cloth bookmark had been placed. There, written clearly in the boy's handwriting was something she could not believe; it was the song she had heard during the funeral. The voice had been his. What struck her even more was the title that adorned the page: "Dead Boy's Poem".
When Raven finally looked up, she realized Timothy's mother was gone, her form a small image in her vision that was now apparently talking with Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire in the distance. How long had she been drawn in the awe of the notebook?
Her thoughts were, once again, interrupted, but she did not mind that much. She could feel a familiar presence beside her and so she turned to face it, predicting it was Beast Boy behind her. She was right and thus, she walked to where he stood looking down at the sea's thrashing waves.
Noticing her in the corner of his eye, the changeling shot her a goofy smile before placing an arm around her. He then returned his attention to the ocean as he watched her do the same. They simply stood there, relishing in the cool touch of the water that reached up toward them.
"They always have a good ending."
Raven looked up at the man, his odd statement catching her attention, and when he looked down at her, she knew he was reading the question in her eyes. To her pleasure, he attempted to explain himself.
"Sad stories…they always have a good ending. That's what makes them so amazing. Sometimes you can lose faith in them, cuz how can there possibly be any hope when so much bad has happened? But then, when you least expect it, the sun comes out and everything is right with the world."
The dark girl sighed. "You've really grown up. The old Beast Boy wouldn't have been so insightful. Perhaps being seventeen has been a blessing to you."
"Hey, just cuz you're a year older than me doesn't give you the right to pick on me," he teased playfully. "Besides, you're getting me off topic."
Raven looked back at the ocean before speaking again. "So, how does this have a light-filled conclusion?"
"You gave that kid his dream, Rae," the changeling answered, pulling her closer to him. "Most people live their whole lives without doing what they really wanted to, but that kid, he realized his goal in the short time he was here. I think that makes a good ending to this sad story of yours, don't you?"
The empath nodded and without relinquishing her gaze from the water, she called out to him once more. "And what was your happy ending?"
Taking a moment, the young man thought of what she could possibly mean. It did not take him long to remember how he had told her of his past, how all she knew was that he had been left alone in the world, the pains of regret still staining his mind. He had yet to tell her the ending.
"Well," he started with a smile. "I met these two people several years later. One was a martial artist and other was a dark girl who rarely spoke. Somehow, I managed to fall for this girl's idea of a team of teenage heroes and I've ended up living with her for five years." His gaze returned to her as he paused slightly. "Best decision of my life."
Raven could no longer hold back her emotions and a smile found its way onto her face, contradicting the tear the slowly slipped down her cheek. The image was soon corrected as Beast Boy reached out and wiped it away.
"Let's go home," the man whispered to her, smiling as she nodded in agreement.
The two Titans made their way down the hill, devoid of words as they made their descent. Soon, they would be back at Titans Tower and life would continue as it once had. They would wake in the morning to the sound of the city in peril and together they would protect the ones they loved without fear or sorrow racking their hearts.
Raven turned her head one last time to see a wave crash over the cliff. As a gentle wind flowed around her, she knew everything would be all right. She was no longer alone, despite what she had once thought, and in the memory of Timothy Adler, she would continue to live the life he had given her.
Author's Note: This was inspired by the song Dead Boy's Poem by Nightwish, and that's where the little poem clip came from.
I've had the idea for this ficlit for more than a month and I finally cracked down and wrote it into a story. That makes me happy. Just to clear a few things up, BB was 17, Rae and Star were 18, Robin was 19, and Cy was 20. So yeah, they're not the same ages as they are in the show.
I know it wasn't too romantic, but I wanted to focus more on Raven and how she learned to fight through something horrible by confiding in someone else. That someone else happened to be Beast Boy since he could relate to her and yes, I see the story, if it continued, leading up to a relationship between the empath and changeling.
Once again, the poem wasNOT written by me; it is copyright of the band Nightwish.