It was a quiet evening in Titans' Tower. Since tomorrow was Christmas, people were doing last-minute preparations in their rooms. Everyone was wrapping gifts and tagging them, but Raven, who had wrapped a week ago, now sat and read. She had moved to the living room, as the sounds of Starfire attempting to wrap packages had been getting on her nerves quite a bit from her own room. She sat on the couch with a book and read in peace while sipping apple cider.
The Christmas tree glistened across the room, a few parcels sitting beneath the branches. Glancing up from her book, Raven took in the sight of the room. The tower was actually quite clean for once, as Robin had decided to tidy up for the holidays. Garlands draped each window and a tiny sprig of mistletoe hung from the doorway into the room. Then, of course, there was the gigantic Christmas tree that Beast Boy had self-selected. It had been decorated with ornaments, lights, tinsel, and baubles of all shapes and sizes. On top sat a great glass star that glinted in the light.
Suddenly with a jolt, Raven realized how quiet it was. She was often annoyed by excess noise, yes, but used to the sounds of talking and the shuffle of feet. Instead, she was met only by silence. How odd, she thought, that she actually missed the sound of others. She thought she liked the tranquil air. Deciding to fix her discomfort, she sauntered to the window, where the radio was. As she turned it on, Raven gazed out the window at the daintily falling snow. Jump City looked almost magical at this time, the outlines of buildings with white around them.
Sound echoed around the room from the device. It was a classic sounding voice that ended a song. Another official-sounding voice came on. "This is the Frank Sinatra Christmas Marathon here at Jump City's number one station! It's Christmas Eve, folks, that's right! So, kids, if you're still up, you'd better get to bed, because Santa Claus is coming. In fact, I think I see him, now. Yes – there he is with his sleigh and reindeer. You'd better hop to bed, kids, and don't forget the milk and cookies! Now, for another classic, 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'."
The rich voice came back on and Raven couldn't help but glancing out the window at the skies. She had never believed in Santa Claus – the tale hadn't existed on Azarath. Still, she had to wonder, how breath taking and wonderful it would be to be a child and believe that a jolly old fat man wearing a red suit squeezed down your chimney and brought you toys. The thought made her laugh, and as she sat back down on the couch, a voice sounded from behind.
"I thought you didn't do 'laughing', huh, Raven?" Beast Boy was standing by the counter, smiling across the room. He walked down towards her and sat down on the couch beside her. "So, are you done with wrapping?" he asked innocently.
"Yes. I've been done for a week." Raven returned the comment calmly, sipping her drink once more. They sat in silence for a moment as the sounds of the radio filled the room.
"Hey, Rae, is this Frank Sinatra?" Beast Boy asked, eyeing the radio.
"Yeah, I think so. Why?"
"Nothing," Beast Boy mumbled, holding a staring contest with his toes. Raven thought he looked rather distracted, as though something was bothering him. She shrugged it off at first, trying to get back to her book, but couldn't help be concerned. This was Beast Boy – happy Beast Boy. It was Christmas – shouldn't he be happy? "My parents used to listen to Frank Sinatra, you know," he spoke suddenly, causing Raven to jump. She had never heard Beast Boy speak of his parents before, and was surprised at how sad he sounded.
"Did they?" Raven asked, truly interested.
"Yeah. They used to listen to this song and some others of his around Christmas. My Dad would take my Mom out into the middle of the floor and dance with her. I used to watch them, either sitting nearby or from the staircase, even though I should have been in bed. They were so happy and they loved each other. They would dance every year – every year up until…that is." Beast Boy paused at the moment where he should have mentioned the accident. "I haven't heard this song since I was a little boy."
The song changed to 'The Christmas Song', and Raven shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She looked back at Beast Boy, who looked so sad. She felt her heart lighten and smiled at him. "Hey, Raven," he asked, his face flushing red, "Will you dance with me?" She nodded her head as he extended his hand. Raven placed her own in his and stood. They walked to the space between the coffee table and the tree and looked at each other for a brief moment. Beast Boy slipped his hand comfortably on her waist and Raven placed her hand gently on his shoulder. They grasped the other hand tightly, but without tension, and their feet began to move.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
As they danced, Raven felt water on her shoulder and found that it was not water, but tears. Beast Boy was crying softly in the moonlight, his normally joyful eyes now swimming with tears. His face was screwed up from crying, and he looked absolutely miserable.
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
"Beast Boy – are you all right? What's wrong?" Raven held him out at arm's length and observed him sob even more. But through the teardrops, she saw the hint of a smile playing his lips.
They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys
And goodies on his sleigh
And every mother's child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.
"I'm all right. It's just…this song. I remember the Christmas I was four – I stayed up to watch my parents dance. They danced to this song and a little over halfway, found me sitting on the steps. I remember that my Mom came over and picked me up and danced with me, too. I asked her if I would ever get to dance with another pretty lady like her at Christmastime. She laughed and told me of course." Beast Boy looked up at Raven and gave a genuine broad smile. "She was right – I would dance with another pretty lady like her at Christmastime."
Raven didn't quite know what to say. Instead, she pulled him back in and they began to sway once again.
And so, I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although its been said
Many times, many ways
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to.. You!
Beast Boy leaned his forehead on hers and closed his eyes in bliss. Was this how his father felt when he danced with his mother? Questions filled his brain, but before he could answer any of them, he felt Raven's lips gently brush against his own, sending fireworks throughout his body. The song ended and another came on – "Let it Snow". Feeling pure rapture, Beast Boy let go of Raven's waist and spun her around, causing her to giggle. They swung about for the entire song and another slow one came on.
By then, both held smiles on their face that couldn't fade, and as they swayed back and forth, gazing into each other's eyes, a noise sounded from behind. But because they were so occupied with each other and the music, neither heard the other titans entering to drop off their presents before bed. Robin and Cyborg held in laughs and Starfire gave a quiet cry of "Glorious!" The three of them backed away, however, as Beast Boy kissed Raven one last time before bidding her goodnight and heading up to his room. Raven turned out the lights, feeling happier than in ages.
And as she walked past the window to turn off the radio, she swore she saw a sleigh and eight reindeer soar past the tower high in the air. Smiling at the magic of Christmas, Raven retreated to bed, thoughts of Beast Boy dancing in her head. The next morning arrived and Raven woke at the sound of Starfire's door opening. She glanced at the clock and found it to be five in the morning. Stretching, she placed a bathrobe around herself and headed for the door. As she stood in the hallway, she found that Starfire had taken it upon herself to wake everyone in the tower up.
"Oh! Friend Raven – you are awake! It is most splendid to see you. Let us wake the boys and open the presents of Christmas." She dragged Raven down the corridor to each titan's room and watched them open the door looking disheveled and sleepy-eyed.
Once everyone had mustered enough strength to make their way down to the living room, they collapsed on the couch and began to divvy out gifts to the proper recipient. Raven carefully removed the wrapping from each package, admiring each of her friends' handiwork. Robin had given her a book, and Starfire gave her a picture frame with a photograph of all five titans within. Cyborg gave her a basket full of his 'famous' Christmas sugar cookies. Raven eyed her last tiny package with a smile, and her insides writhed. Removing the paper gingerly, it revealed a jewelry box.
Raven felt Beast Boy's eyes on her and opened it slowly, bracing herself. She gasped lightly and smiled. Inside was a beautiful heart-shaped locket with a tiny diamond set on the front. She opened it gently and found a picture of she and Beast Boy dancing the night previously. Not even wondering how he got the picture, she noticed that the locket began to play "The Christmas Song" and on the opposite side, a message was engraved. It read:
Merry Christmas. I love you.
Not even caring that everyone else was in the room and watching them, Raven walked right over to Beast Boy and kissed him. Cyborg whistled and Starfire giggled along with a snickering Robin. "Thank you…Gar." Raven thanked him and placed it delicately back into its box. Once all the gifts were opened, Cyborg announced that he would make the best Christmas brunch ever.
"Please, I do not understand. What is this brunch you speak of? I thought it was the breakfast or the lunch." Robin explained to Starfire and they remained sitting on the couch. Raven stood and headed over to the window and gazed out at the city once again. Beast Boy came over with her and draped his arm around her waist.
The snow had stopped and Raven could feel joy radiating from the various buildings. "You know, Gar, I've tried to enjoy Christmas before, but it never worked. Now, I think it's my favorite time of year. But the funny thing is, I've no idea why." She and Beast Boy chuckled and continued watching the frosty day pass.
Time passed; twelve years, in fact. Christmas Eve was at hand once again, and Raven and Gar finished laying the presents out beneath the giant tree in the living room. Their children, Emily and Mark, had been put to bed some time ago, along with the rest of the children in the tower and city. The lights were very dim, so the only light was the shining Christmas tree. The two of them eyed the tree with pleasure as they sat on the couch.
"Did you see Mark's eyes when I told him about Santa Claus?" Gar commented, referring to his tiny two-year-old. "Do remember when we used to believe in him, Raven?"
"Of course I do. In fact, I think a trace of the belief is still in me." She paused. "Gar, I think it's time we fulfill our Christmas tradition." Beaming at his wife of eight years, he pulled her to her feet and led her over to an empty spot of floor. Gar turned on the radio and found the annual Frank Sinatra Christmas marathon. "The Christmas Song" began to fill their ears. The two of them held each other and placed their foreheads together, smiling. They began to sway back and forth, and as they turned on the spot, Raven spotted two tiny figures from behind the counter. Nudging her husband, she nodded her head in the direction of their children.
Sure enough, there sat Emily and Mark, watching their parents in wonderment. Gar broke off and walked over and picked them up. Five-year-old Emily's eyes were illuminated as she discovered the presents lying on the ground beneath the tree. It was obvious that she believed that Santa Claus had already visited. Raven held Mark and Gar kept a hold on Emily, and together, they danced softly. The song ended, and Emily looked up at Gar. "Daddy?"
"Will I dance like this when I grow up?"
Gar beamed at her daughter and kissed her temple. "Yes, Emily. I think you will." The radio began to play "Let it Snow", and nowhere in the world, that night, could you have met a happier family.