Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. I do have a tasty bottle of Talking Rain™ sitting next to me. Well, it was tasty. Time for another one.
AN: This is a one-shot. What you see is what you get. That said, I wanted to explore how two of the Titans might deal with people they have lost. Let me know what you think.
One Act of
"Guys, I'm, uh, going out for a drive," the cybernetic Teen Titan known as Cyborg announced into the common room.
As Cyborg walked out of the common room, Raven lowered her book. She looked past the Christmas tree which stood in the center of the room at Starfire and Robin. The two close friends were sitting together on the couch, a documentary about fungus being ignored as they looked down the hall after Cyborg.
Robin pressed mute on the television remote and started to rise to his feet, saying, "I should go talk to him…"
"No, wait," Beast Boy interrupted from the kitchen. "He'll listen to me easier than he will you. Raven? Can you do something with my dinner?" Beast Boy asked, motioning to a cast iron skillet that was resting on the stove, two pieces of eggplant sizzling away in it. "I think this, uh, might take a while."
Raven nodded at Beast Boy, "I guess I can look after it."
"Thanks, Raven," Beast Boy said as he started towards the doorway. Even as the green-skinned changeling walked off his body flowed, limbs changing shape and length. Dropping to all fours, he finished transforming into a green and black ocelot and galloped down the hall.
"Friends, will Cyborg be alright?" Starfire asked in the silence of the room.
"I don't know, Star. I don't know," were the only words Robin could say.
In the garage of Titans Tower, Cyborg slowly walked around the silver and blue car that he referred to as his "baby". This was the third incarnation of the car, the last having suffered at the hands of the pit crew of Ding Dong Daddy. Cyborg let his fingers run across the steel hood as he examined the tires. Satisfied that the T-Car was in the same, eminently drivable condition it nearly always was in, he stopped be the driver's side door. He began to enter the code that would open the T-Car's door when he was distracted by a green blur that flowed and twisted to form his friend, Beast Boy.
"Hey, Cy," the changeling said. "Can I come with you?"
Cyborg looked at the short Titan, his gaze running from Beast Boy's face to his feet and back. "No," Cyborg stated gruffly. "I'm going out to try and clear my head, and I don't need your company."
Cyborg returned his attention to the keypad on the car's door. When it clicked open he swung the door wide. As he settled his bulk down into the driver's seat he sighed softly. After he closed the driver's door Cyborg opened the garage door with the remote. As the door rolled up the teen started the car.
'Oil pressure, good. Fuel level, good. Charging system, good,' Cyborg thought to himself as he ran through his pre-drive checklist. 'Rear-view mirror, good. Driver's side mirror set just right. Little green elf isn't blocking the passenger side mirror…' Cyborg paused for a moment, his concentration broken as he realized he had just looked past Beast Boy who was in the passenger seat next to him. "What the heck are you doing there, ya grass stain? How'd you…"
Beast Boy grinned as his friend trailed off. "Dude, I'm 'Beast Boy'" he raised his hands and made small quote marks with his fingers as he spoke his name. "I just flew in as a mosquito while you were sitting down."
Looking at his friend, Beast Boy shook his head. "Sorry, Cyborg. I can't let you go out by yourself. Not tonight."
Cyborg stared at Beast Boy for a very long moment as though willing his friend to get out of the car. When he realized that it was not going to work, Cyborg simply muttered under his breath, "Fine."
Placing the T-Car into gear, Cyborg drove out into the ice and snow that had covered the island and Jump City. Before long, Cyborg was driving slowly through more residential streets in Jump City. Houses and holiday decorations were ignored as he drove on the icy roads, trying to escape from the feelings that were threatening to turn him inside out.
Beast Boy sat in silence, his attention on Cyborg's face rather than the snow-covered streets that they drove through. After a time he spoke. "It's never easy, Cyborg. And I can only imagine how much harder it is at this time of year." The only reaction that Beast Boy could see was a tightening of his friend's mouth. After a moment of silence that grew heavy in the car he continued, "It wasn't your fault."
Cyborg slammed on the brakes, the T-Car skidding and sliding to a stop on the ice encrusted road. Angrily he turned to the green skinned teen in the passenger seat. "How would you know? Huh?"
Looking down at his hands, folded over each other in his lap, Beast Boy said only, "Terra."
That word hung in the air between the two friends. One feeling a hurt that was as fresh as wet blood, the other remembering a hurt still as tender as newly healed scars. "Look, BB, I'm sorry. I just…" Cyborg trailed off and turned away from his friend. Looking out across the snowy landscape, Cyborg realized where he had driven in his anger and sorrow. A sign stood at the edge of a field proclaiming the property belonged to the Hive Academy for Extraordinary Young People.
Beast Boy looked up from his hands and looked out at the sign his friend was staring at. Tentatively, he reached up and placed one of his small, gloved hands on Cyborg's massive shoulder. "It's okay, Cy. I said a few things I shouldn't have after she… Died."
"I just… It hurts. I should have been able to do something," Cyborg said, his gaze lingering on the building in the distance. Christmas lights twinkled back at him, showing the outline of the school where he had first learned what she had been like off the battlefield.
Nodding slowly, Beast Boy squeezed the metallic shoulder of the man that he thought of as the older brother he never truly had. "I know, Cyborg. I felt the same way with Terra. When she left us the first time. When she betrayed us. When she died. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should have… Could have done different." Beast Boy looked at his friend, understanding the pain that had to lurk within. "But, ya know? Feelings aren't facts. I spent a lot of time feeling like I could have changed it. But I did what I knew to do. And I can't change what I did. Or what she chose to do."
Cyborg turned away from the school and put the T-Car in neutral. He set the parking brake and turned the car off. "You mind if we walk for a bit?" For safety, Cyborg put the transmission back into first as he opened the door.
"Um, sure," Beast Boy said, glad that the Teen Titans had switched to thermal uniforms for the winter. The two Titans stepped out of the T-Car and Beast Boy walked around to follow his large friend's lead.
The two walked together in silence, crossing the street and stepping onto the grounds of the Hive Academy. As they walked, the snow crunched under their feet, leaving a trail behind them. "I don't get it, BB. I don't understand why she did it."
Beast Boy looked down at the ground for a moment before responding. "She did it because it was the right thing to do. I mean… She's always been one of the bad guys, right? But I can't think of a time when she's ever tried to really hurt a bystander. I mean, yea, she'd put them in harm's way to distract us, but I don't think she ever wanted to hurt anyone."
"There had to be another way," Cyborg said, kicking at the snow and sending up a scattering of small clumps. By this time they had covered half the distance to the actual school building.
"Maybe," Beast Boy said. "And maybe not. I spent a lot of time wishing that Terra had found a different way to beat Slade. To stop the volcano." Beast Boy shook his head. "But all I ever managed to do was talk myself in circles. Terra did what she thought was right. And it cost her."
Cyborg nodded, thinking back to the night only a week past. "If she hadn't… That kid would be fatherless and I wouldn't feel like this now."
"And you wish it was that way," Beast Boy said quietly.
"Yea, I do. And I hate myself for that."
"Don't." Beast Boy looked through the windows of the building they were now walking along. The classrooms sitting empty and dark this winter night. "I felt the same way for a long time after Terra got turned into that statue thingie."
Shaking his head, Cyborg asked, "Does one right act make up for all her wrongs?"
"I think so. I mean, Terra did a lot of really bad things. But she sacrificed herself to save lives. Just like Jinx." Beast Boy stopped himself, realizing that he had just said a name that none of the Titans had felt comfortable saying in front of Cyborg for days. He took a deep breath and continued, "Neither one of them was beyond redemption."
Cyborg stopped and pressed his face to a window, cupping his hands over his eyes so he could see in easier. "This is the gym where we... We went to a dance together." Cyborg's broad shoulders slumped as though he had been carrying the weight of the world by himself for far too long. A single tear formed in his human eye and traced a path slowly down his cheek. "She was special. I cared about her. A lot. And I wanted her to be different. Give up crime…"
"Dude, she did," Beast Boy said. "She became a good guy the moment she stepped in front of that energy ray and saved a life."
Cyborg closed his eyes, tears falling from the one of flesh. "Man, I want the pain to go away." He lowered himself to his knees and rested his arm on the windowsill.
"I know. It will," Beast Boy said. "But it takes time."
"What about you, BB? How long?"
Beast Boy closed his eyes. "I'm not going to lie to you, Cyborg. It still hurts. But it hurts less everyday." The green Titan opened his eyes and looked at his older friend, a wry smile on his face. "After a while, moving on with my life helped. The important thing is to remember that shutting the world out won't help."
Looking his short friend in the eyes, Cyborg asked, "Raven… Is what you feel for her anything like what you felt for Terra?"
"Well, that's kinda hard to explain, dude." Beast Boy fidgeted slightly. "It's the same but it's different. With Raven, it feels a lot less forced. Easier," Beast Boy giggled. "Easier to love the girl that didn't want to be loved than the one that did."
"You think?" Cyborg asked, his question clear to Beast Boy.
"Dude, I know. You're gonna heal for a while, but you will be able to love another like you did Jinx. And you're never going to forget her."
Cyborg pushed himself back to his feet. "C'mon, you little grass stain," he said, sorrow blending with a hint of hope. "Let's see if Raven's made you some hot chocolate."
The two friends turned away from the building and started walking back to the T-Car. One taking solace in the fact that healing would come, even if slowly. The other looking forward to being warmed by the care of his new love.