SO: Giftfic for a friend. Because she likes the couple, and I was bored. Quick and easy, something to do while you're supposed to be sleeping and waiting for the sun to come up. An exercise is writing something that won't be chapters long, but still has a plot and thought to it. And stuff...Yeah.

Disclaimer: The lawyers say no, but the voices say yes.

" Is this gift for anybody special? "

" ...No. "

" Oh. Shall I just bag it as is then? "

" No. Go ahead and wrap it. "

The lady smiled warmly at her reconsideration and proceeded to pull out some of the leftover Christmas wrapping paper. Raven could only turn her head at it before it assaulted her senses too much. Bright, happy red, green and white. Cheery snowmen tipping their hats to you while holding a present in the other hand. Which, if she looked hard enough, and she really didn't want to, she would be sure those presents were covered with the same type of wrapping paper. A sort of eye trick artists tended to enjoy every now and then.

Raven did not enjoy it.

" Stop it. You're going to kill it. "

The lady, who's name was Annie, and would be so happy to help you, looked up in curiosity. " What do you mean, miss? "

" I mean I can hear it screaming from within the box. The wrapping paper is burning it alive. Do you have anything in darker colors? "

" Darker colors, ma'am? But it's a present isn't it? Don't you want it to be cheerful and happy? " A wide smile accompanied this.

Raven didn't reciprocate. Her eye simply twitched and she brought a hand up to her temples. This was not supposed to be this difficult. Honestly, how long had it taken her to get this far anyway? She didn't normally do things like this at all. She hadn't even gotten a present for Cyborg when he returned from Titans East headquarters. She just didn't do presents.

But this was a special case. A present would do better here than words would. Neither one of them were the type for long, emotive conversations from what she had learned through numerous encounters.

It wasn't as if she had just bought him something from the 99 cent store! The half-demonic psychokinetic had given much thought to this. It couldn't be something with a bird theme. That would be just too cliche. She couldn't deal with that on her conscious every time she faced him. It needed to be something he would actually use and not sit up on a shelf somewhere in his room somewhere; never to be seen or heard from again.

Or worse, they face a fate worse than things in Beast Boy's room. Well, not really worse, so much as...less disgusting.

For one thing, it couldn't be a weapon. Not that he didn't already have enough of those, Raven thought with annoyance. She had decided that when she walked through the hunting section and saw the vast amount of sharp objects around.

Oh yeah, that'll be a good idea. Get him some kind of weapon and hope he doesn't kill us all.

No, that was the last thing he needed.

And it most definitely would not be clothes. Raven didn't even want to go down the road of guessing sizes. The store might not survive the backlash if someone asked her the zipper size. These were such things psychokinetic half-demons did not think about. Especially when it was someone you had a chance of seeing on a daily basis in

" It's getting hot in here...Are you sure you don't have anything dark? "

" I'm sorry ma'am. The darkest color I've got is this blue. "

" ...It's sparkling. "

" Yes ma'am. "

" Dark does not sparkle. "

" I suppose not..."

" Therefore, if it's sparkling...then it can't possibly be dark. "

" Hm...I guess you're right. "

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of America...

The same hand that had been rubbing her temples, moved up to rake through her hair. Her hood down for once. She had been overheating earlier, and was starting to cool down now.

Bad Raven! Bad! No spandex-clad ass for you!

A quick breath, and she had her center back stable.

The third thing it couldn't be, was something stupid. She refused to buy him something from the Guy Store. It was run by teenager males, frequented by teenage males, advertised with teenage males, and she wouldn't be a bit surprised if it were created by teenage males. Things like farting machines and crude T-shirts, dirty board games and card decks coupled with sporting equipment and sneakers. If there was one place in all of Jump City she wanted to have villainous damage done to, that would be it.

It had been a long day. She had to get out of the tower, alone, without Starfire to follow her to the, " Mall of Shopping" and Beast Boy and Cyborg sneaking along to see what she was, " up to. " Then there was the whole search for the perfect present, in which required dealing with people trying to get her to endorse their products, and attempting to sell her things that totally misfit her purpose with the object of being able to say they sold one to a Titan.

The fourth thing she knew it couldn't be, was something alive. With the way he treated them, she knew it wouldn't be a good idea. If he could forget about human beings around him so easily to focus solely on one thing, a pet wouldn't stand a chance. Especially if it made noise. She couldn't imagine it having an extremely long life-span.

Music was a no-go too. She knew what her musical tastes where, but his, she hadn't a clue. And she really wasn't looking forward to going through all the sections or getting other people's opinions about artists and such. That would either lead to her correcting someone, or throwing someone through a wall. Arguments about musicians were never anything good. She'd be safer going to make a CD for him with songs that reminded her of him.

Not that she liked the guy or anything. It was just a thank you, that's all!

" Look, just wrap it in anything black. I don't care. "

" Yes ma'am. "

Turning around to rest her back against the counter while the lady, who's name was Annie and would be so happy to help you, went to her happy little job, Raven tugged out the crumpled piece of paper with a long list.

1. Everything Burns

2. Silver and Cold

3. The Fight Song

4. Faint

5. The Way You Like It

6. Stitches

7. Heaven's A Lie

8. Stars

9. Immortal

10. Life of A Stranger

11. Bring Me To Life

12. Just Like You

13. Drown

14. The Asshole Song

The last one made her smirk, honestly, she would not know of such a song if someone hadn't left the TV on one afternoon, and she caught the tail-end of comic performance. But it fit so well somehow. And it said something she clearly would not lower herself to say. At least in front of her teammates. They didn't need to think that she would speak in such a manner for their benefit. Raven was also positive it would amuse him somewhat.

" Ma'am? "

With a moment to brace herself, Raven turned.

" ... That is not what I think it is. "

" That depends, what do you think it is. "

Somewhere...a window exploded, and purple eyes narrowed slightly.

" Nobody likes a smartass. "

Why didn't he just get here already? Honesty, it was like Fate knew how hard on her this was and just strived to make it that much more difficult. Just because she didn't normally do this, or ever, it decided that this could not possibly be in any way, shape or form easy.

Not that it had been beforehand. It was enough trouble getting in touch with him without everyone finding out and looking over her shoulder. It felt so odd being sneaky about such things in the tower. But that was what teleportation was for.

A simple few lines sent through an old address she was positive he didn't use anymore. One of the many aliases used for conducting business she assumed. But she didn't look, nor did she care, less she get sucked into the obsession that seemed to follow him.

Actually, she had on guarantee that he would show up at all. He could be completely paranoid, as per normal, and call the whole team first. That would be greatly embarrassing, and she vehemently shoved that thought away.

" Dammit, the one time I want him here and he's late! "

" I wasn't aware there was a time limit. "

" Uwaah! "

It was only the fact that she missed it, that saved the present. For instead, her powers hit the light hanging from the building next to them; making it sway and shadows dance around them. Not to mention her flopping over like a shocked blonde girl from a horror movie. Her hood had blown off the top of her head from her explosion of power. The building even shook a little. Everything moved but him.

" I hate it when you do that. "

He made no response, simply stood where he was, a good distance away, and stared at her. Arms were folded over his chest as he seemed to melt into the dancing shadows and slide back out again as they moved with the swinging light.

Dusting herself off, and attempting to forget the embarrassing spectacle she had made of herself. So busy in her thoughts she didn't even notice his presence. That was truly something to be ashamed of. But then again, this was him who she was talking about.

Well, if I'm going to do this...

Collecting herself from the ground, Raven squared her shoulders and moved towards the black-wrapped box in the distance between them. Again, he didn't move. For a second she wondered if he were still alive, but then remembered just who it was she was dealing with. Him? Die? The Angel of Death should be so unlucky to carry his restless, determined soul.

" I can't believe you showed up. "

A shrug, the only movement she could sense. " I was curious. "

" Curiosity killed the cat. "

" It's alright. I've got eight lives left. "

Touche. What more could she say to that? Oh. Right. What she came to say. A soft sound was made as she cleared her throat and moved towards the box. " To ease your curiosity then, it's not a trap. "

" I know. "

" I didn't tell anyone else. "

" I know. "

" What don't you know? "

He seemed to pause, then shift his position to lean back against the brick wall protecting the staircase down. " Why MTV hasn't collapsed in on itself and sucked in all the drained souls that follow it inside yet. "

Well...wasn't that one of the great questions of the world? Sweatdropping slightly, she shook her head and advanced slowly. " This is for you. "

His eye narrowed slightly. " What exactly is it? "

" A gift. "

" A gift? "

" A gift. You do know what a gift is, right? "

" An intentional and gratuitous transfer of real or personal property by a donor with legal capacity who actually or constructively delivers the property to the donee with the intent of giving up dominion over the property and investing it in the donee who accepts it? "

Raven's mind boggled. Pausing in her advancement, she blinked a few times and looked at him in confusion. " What? "

" Yes, I know what a gift is. "

" Oh. Well, here. " Her arms extended the box out to him. Slade made no move to take it. He didn't move at all, not even to turn his head away in rejection. He just stood there as if she wasn't holding it out to him. Raven sweatdropped.

Well this isn't at all awkward.

" It's not a bomb. "

" I know. "

" It's not Robin in a box either. "

" Though I'm very sure he could make himself fit, I know. "

" Then why won't you take it? "

" Because it's wrapped in a garbage bag. "

Not that she didn't feel bad enough about that already. Mentally, she cursed the lady, who's name was Annie and would be so happy to help you, unless it had something to do with dark wrapping paper. Her arms lowered slightly, and she touched her feet to the surface of the roof.

" Yeah...About that...I couldn't find any black wrapping paper. Or anything grey. And the only orange they had was...bright. You'd probably hit me if I brought this to you in that. "

" Probably. "

" ... "

Why the hell am I doing this again? Oh. Right. That.

" ANYWAY. Just think of it as a rejection to the commercialism that is the buying and selling of gifts to get credit for, and possibly get something even better than what you got someone else. Or the idea of buying something awesome with the thought that you'll get some equally as awesome but most likely better because of the amount of money you spent. This way, you get the present, the thought and that's all. No ulterior motives."

" It's still a garbage bag. And I like ulterior motives. "

" Just take the box! "

She couldn't help it. She was nervous being this close to him. And he wasn't moving except to talk, and she couldn't even see that. It was freaking her out. He was the only one she couldn't feel when his presence was near her own. Either he was intentionally putting up shields or he was just one of those people with thick mindscapes.

Either way, the half-demon psychokinetic, plus a whole quest of other powers, she was so cool, lost her composure and shoved the gift at him. This time he did move; instinctively to grab it before it shoved itself at him.

" Garbage bag wrapped and stapled. "

" She was in a hurry. "

" So it would seem. "

Again, he didn't move. One hand held the box, the other was hanging loose at his side. Raven began to fidget in the silence that followed. And for once, she could not stand it.

" Well, aren't you going to open it? "

" I don't want to destroy the pretty wrapping job. "

A lavender brow twitched. " It's nothing special inside. Just...a thank-you gift. "

" For? "

" Saving the world. "

Training alone allowed her to catch the box with her hands when it was tossed back to her so carelessly. Or did he know she would catch it? With him, one could never be so sure.

" You're giving it to the wrong person. Robin came to get you. He led your team. I had nothing to do with it; aside from my own score to settle with your father. "

" Robin wouldn't have known about me if you didn't say anything. I wouldn't have gotten my powers back if you didn't destroy that golem. Despite what he told me, I know what I saw. You were fighting beside them. After you got your didn't have to come back. But you did. "

" My reasons were my own. "

" You still helped out. That door you somehow opened, it returned my powers to me. That white light I had...I've never had before. You broke a seal."

" I blew up a door. "

" Without you, I never would have beaten him. Without your aim, they wouldn't be here today."

" I was aiming for his neck and missed."

" Without those two swipes at him, my father's power wouldn't have diminished to the level it did so I could defeat him. "

" So I missed twice. "

" Slade, you never miss," Her voice carried as she floated around in front of him and held the box out once again, " You saved the world. "

This time, he seemed to twitch. " Stop saying that. "

Oh no. My turn this time. I owe you for that garbage bag comment. " Stop saying what? That you might actually be a hero under there after all? "

His eye narrowed and he pointed accusingly at her. " You take that back! "

By now a small smile had worked its way over Raven's mouth. Shaking her head a little, she shoved the box at him once more. " Just open it. I promise no little red bird will spring out with handcuffs. "

Slade grumbled something and proceeded to rip the covering, and the top off the box. Inside, was a plain, clear CD case. And right next to it, 3 bandannas. One black. One grey. And one orange.

Slade simply blinked.

Raven fidgeted again. " I know it's nothing special. But I didn't want to attempt clothes shopping for you, and I figured you could do all kinds of things with bandannas. Black and grey were easy, but the orange one was hard to find. "

" Burnt sienna. "

" Beg pardon? "

" You said orange, " He spoke boredly, though that was clearly not the case, as his eye was still on the contents of the box. His free hand lifted to point to the color side of his mask, " This is burnt sienna. "

Another bead of sweat appeared at the back of the dark bird's head. " Just say thank you, Slade. "

" Thank you Slade. "

A smack was heard as Raven brought her hand up to her forehead. " That's it. I'm done. I can only handle you in small doses, I'm about to have an allergic reaction. "

Slade grunted, he had moved on to the CD now; holding it up to the light to read all the tracks there. " The Asshole Song? "

The empath had the decency to blush and duck her head a little. " Yeah...Don't ask. Just listen to it. "

Again he grunted. Raven almost preferred that to his replies. A second later, he seemed satisfied and placed the CD back into the box. Lavender locks were puffed aside when she sighed in relief. This whole ordeal was almost over. All she had to do now, was wait for him to leave and take the box with him.

" Well? Do you like it? "

" It's not the, " I Saved The World and All I Got Was This T-shirt " shirt I was looking for to, but it will do. "

This time, her eyes narrowed. Time for her to make something clear. She had done what she planned to do. Now it was right back to business." This doesn't mean that I like you. "

" Of course not, " Slade shrugged once more and turned his back to her; walking towards the edge of the roof. He leaned over to see how high up they were, then straightened, " The blood rushing to your face does. "

With a rush of heat and a explosion of light he was gone. And the box gone with him. Just in time for Raven to twitch and shove her head back over her head. Grumbling as she tried to make the blood's trail about-face, she prepared to do her own teleportation trick.

" You're welcome. Asshole. "