Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. Never have, almost certainly never will.
AN: This is my first attempt at a oneshot fluff. This is rated Teen. The only lemons in this story are the citrus fruit kind. Begone, ye who are looking for something naughty!
Night had fallen over Jump City, wrapping a blanket of clouds over the city. The nighttime city lights offered a warm yellow-orange glow to the underside of the cloud blanket. Out across the bay on an island stood a tower, curiously shaped like a "T". Only a few windows of this tower glowed with an inner light, as most of the inhabitants had gone to bed. On closer inspection, one would realize that only one light was on, bathing the kitchen in a cool fluorescent sheen.
Within that kitchen stood a young man who was relatively handsome, save for his dark green complexion. Beast Boy was standing over the stove, patiently waiting for a small saucepan of water to come to a boil. He was dressed uncharacteristically in grey sweatpants and a white t-shirt, his feet, arms and hands bare. Just as the water began to simmer, he moved to a clear spot on the counter and added some egg yolks to a bowl. While whisking he added some sugar from a small bowl that he had measured out earlier.
Concentrating on his work, Beast Boy failed to hear Raven slip into the common room of Titans Tower and begin her way to the kitchenette for a midnight cup of tea. Dressed in her usual attire, she paused for a moment, watching Beast Boy work. Silently she slipped up behind him and looked at the counter, raising an eyebrow slightly at the cup of faintly yellow juice, bowl of brilliantly yellow shavings and a plate that held a number of small butter cubes still on the counter next to her green teammate.
Raven slipped closer to Beast Boy, surprised that he had not noticed her presence. "Beast Boy?" she inquired.
"Gyaaah!" Beast Boy yelped, turning to confront the intruder, whisk in hand. "Don't DO that, Raven!" He looked sheepishly at the whisk in his hand, then back up to Raven. "Why are you up? I thought everyone was asleep."
"I should ask you the same thing. It's three in the morning and you're out here cooking…" Raven's voice trailed off as she furrowed her brows trying to figure out what precisely it was that Beast Boy was cooking.
Beast Boy turned back to his bowl off egg yolks and sugar and said, "Lemon curd." Resuming his whisking, he carefully poured the lemon juice into his bowl. As it combined with the other ingredients, Beast Boy added the yellow shavings.
"Lemon curd?" Raven asked, unused to Beast Boy making something that didn't appear to have large volumes of tofu in it.
"Yup," Beast Boy confirmed. Seeing that the water was at a fast simmer, Beast Boy turned the heat under his saucepan down. "It can be used as a spread or a topping for pretty much anything." Beast Boy moved his bowl on top of the saucepan and began whisking again.
Raven watched as Beast Boy began whisking. After a moment she glided to the sink and took down a tea kettle from the cupboard. She slowly filled it with cool water from the tap. "May I use a burner, Beast Boy?"
"Sure," Beast Boy said, "but can I trouble you to use the one in the back?"
"Okay…" Raven said, not quite certain why it mattered. She brought the steel kettle over, gently placing her left hand on Beast Boy's right shoulder so he wouldn't startle again. Raven placed the kettle on the burner and turned it up to medium heat. "Why the back burner?" Raven asked as she took her hand from Beast Boy's shoulder and retreated to a more comfortable distance.
Holding back a small chuckle, Beast Boy said, "You don't cook much, do you?" Without waiting on a response from Raven, he proceeded to explain, "I don't want anymore heat then the, um, simmering water will provide. Too much heat and my eggs will curdle and the curd will get all nasty and gritty."
Thinking, Raven bit her bottom lip. "Eggs, Beast Boy? Are you feeling alright? What about your whole, 'tofu is the perfect food,' thing?" Raven slipped around to the other side of the counter so that she could look at something other than Beast Boy's back as they spoke.
Beast Boy smiled at Raven as he whisked. "Look, Rae, I'm vegetarian, not vegan. You've seen me eat dairy before. Cheese, the same pizza crusts the rest of you guys eat, bread… I won't eat meat, but that doesn't stop me from eating eggs or milk products. I've never been an egg or a glass of milk." Beast Boy broke into a toothy grin. "I just prefer to drink soymilk."
Indulging herself for a moment, Raven glowered at Beast Boy. "Don't call me 'Rae'. And the way you and Cyborg go at it in the mornings, can you blame me for thinking you wouldn't eat eggs or dairy?"
Looking down into his mixture, Beast Boys said, "No, I guess not."
The two of them stood across the counter from each other for a few minutes, the silence only broken by the soft "schwesh, schwesh" of Beast Boy's whisk against the metal bowl. Their silent reprieve was broken by the sudden whistling of the tea kettle. Raven walked back into the kitchen and took it off the heat, turning the burner off as she did so. Opening the cupboard to get out her teapot and tealeaves, Raven asked, "So why have I never seen you make lemon curd before?"
Watching Raven measure out a small amount of tea leaves and place them in her pot, Beast Boy spoke quietly, "When I make it… I make it at the same time my mom used to make it for me. In Africa." Beast Boy scratched the back of his head nervously. "Which happens to be like three in the morning here."
Raven poured her steaming hot water from the kettle to pot so that her leaves could steep. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Don't be," came Beast Boy's reply. "It's been a long time." Beast Boy lifted the whisk from his work and looked at the yellow stream falling back into the bowl. Satisfied, he moved the bowl back to the counter and turned off the stove under his saucepan. Then he started adding the butter to the curd, one cube at a time. As each cube melted and was whisked into the forming curd, he would add another. "While you're up, you want to try some?"
Raven turned from her tea pot to look at Beast Boy. He was still looking down into the bowl, his face calm, his lips slightly upturned in the grin he never seemed to be able to leave behind. She caught her breath when her gaze came across the deep green of Beast Boy's eyes, still shining with the humor he seemed to find in everything, but there was also a hint of sorrow at the edges, making itself known as unshed tears. "I think," Raven began hesitantly, "I'd like that."
Beast Boy's face broke back into a full grin as he laid the whisk down, all the butter now in his lemon curd. "Let me toast some bread…" Beast Boy opened the loaf of wheat bread that habitually sat next to the Titans' toaster. Quickly he slid two slices in and lowered the arm of the toaster.
As Beast Boy started the toast, Raven poured herself a cup of tea. She frowned to herself briefly and asked Beast Boy something she never had before, "Would you like a cup of tea?"
Tipping his head ever so slightly to the left, Beast Boy thought for a brief moment. "Um, sure."
As Raven poured out a second cup of tea, Beast Boy took down a pair of small plates and retrieved a butter knife from the drawer. When the toast popped up, Beast Boy pulled it out of the toaster, and placed a slice on each of the plates. Smiling, he spread a fairly thick coat of the lemon curd across each piece of toast. "Shall we?" he asked, motioning to the table with his head.
The two Titans picked up their respective contributions to the midnight snack and walked to the table. Beast Boy put down the toast and pulled a chair out for Raven, before moving so he could sit across from her. Raven handed him a cup of tea which he accepted with a quiet, "Thanks."
Raven placed her cup down on the table next to her lemon curd toast, then smoothed her cloak as she sat down. Once she was settled in, Raven looked across at Beast Boy who was experimentally sniffing at the tea. "Go ahead, Beast Boy. It's not going to kill you."
Beast Boy looked suspiciously at her, "Not trying to kill me off with poisoned tea?"
"No," Raven responded. "If I were to kill you it would be more satisfying to throw you from the roof of the tower myself."
"Okay then…" Beast Boy said as he raised the cup to his mouth. As he sipped his expression brightened considerably. "Hey, this is really pretty good! I mean, it's not a replacement for soda, but…"
Raven smiled at him, "I wouldn't drink it if it was bad." Bravely, Raven picked up her toast and took a bite. The flavor that greeted her mouth was almost overwhelmingly good. Tart tempered by sweet, creamy and very lemony. "Wow," was the only word she was capable of saying.
"So you like it?" Beast Boy asked.
Raven nodded, unsure as to what she could say.
The two friends drank their tea and ate their lemon-curd covered toast in silence. After a time Raven asked, "So you make it because it reminds you of your mother?"
Blinking for a moment, Beast Boy slowly realized that Raven was asking him about the lemon curd. "Well, that's just one reason. I also make it because I like it… And it reminds me of someone I care a lot about."
"Oh," Raven looked down into her now empty teacup, wishing there was enough left that she could take a sip and escape from Beast Boy's gaze.
"Lemon curd is all about contrasts," Beast Boy said. "At first it's very tart, but then you notice underlying sweetness in it. It bites at you with the sour and then apologizes with sweetness."
Raven looked up as Beast Boy spoke and was surprised that her friend was blushing. She found herself biting her bottom lip again, wondering who Beast Boy could be talking about.
"Really, Raven, lemon curd is a lot like you," Beast Boy finished.
Just then the fluorescent light in the kitchen burned out, leaving the two in darkness.