Hello everyone, it's your old friend BleachBurns. For those of you who were reading my other story "Holding It In", I apologize. I have momentarily lost my muse for that story. It went in an incredibly different direction than I had originally planned for it. My initial plan had been for it to be a slash story, but I was afraid of losing readers. The story below is a slash, and I am very enthusiastic about it. I do plan to return to "Holding It In" in the future, and I am truly sorry to those who have been waiting for updates. Please give this story a chance.
Dark shapes cast by an old lamp painted themselves dramatically across a far off wall as the electric hum of a small fan vibrated out and across the large, slightly messy room at the heart of Titan's Tower. The smell of dirty clothes and incense mixed with fabric softener and something strangely spicy to create a unique and interesting scent that was the signature of this particular room. All of this came together as the silent mantra of a troubled teen seeped into the old lamp, the humming fan, the walls, the chair, the bed, the desk, and the floor.
"I'm going to tell them, I'm going to tell them, I'm going to tell them." Beast Boy sat at the edge of his bed, eyes closed and fists balled so tight the knuckles were discoloring. His insides were shredding, his stomach was cold and empty. He felt sick, he felt helpless, he felt like jumping up and screaming, hitting and kicking anyone or anything that would dare cross his path. It took all his strength and willpower, everything he had in him, and the thought that soon everything would be okay, to stay seated and continue his chant. "I'm going to tell them, I'm going to tell them, I can do this, they won't care, they'll be happy for me, I'm going to tell them, I'm going to…"
"Yo, Raven, have you seen BB?" Cyborg angrily pushed the controller to the gamestation aside and folded his arms across his chest. Displayed on the television in front of him was the list of high scores for Mega Monkey Racing 7. At the top of the list someone had entered "CySucksAss." There was only one person who could possible have entered that for their high score, and Cyborg was looking to get even.
Raven finished the line in the book she was reading before looking over to where her teammate was sitting, sending waves of hate to the t.v. "Beast Boy?" She thought for a moment, looking up at the ceiling. "Actually, I don't think I've seen him all day." That was strange. Usually the green Titan was out flitting around somewhere. "In fact," she said, "I haven't seen him much at all this past week."
"Well when I see him," Cyborg said in a sort of slow, evil way, "you may never see him again." He snatched the controller up from where it had dropped on the floor and set to work at breaking the high score. Every so often he would mutter things under his breath that sounded to Raven like graphic and brutal threats. Creepy.
A while passed before the doors to the common room slid open smoothly and Beast Boy stepped in, his face one of complete concentration. He was out of uniform for the moment, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. His hair was a mess, falling down around his face, and he made it worse by pushing an anxious hand back through it. He looked around the room for a minute, eyes passing over Cyborg and landing on Raven.
"Hey, Raven," he said, moving slowly, almost timidly toward her. Raven looked up, an eyebrow perked.
"So you finally emerge," she said, softly, noting his slightly disheveled appearance, "I was beginning to think you were going to stay in your room forever."
"Uh, yeah," he said absentmindedly, ignoring what she had said. "Do you know where Starfire and Robin are? I have something to tell all of you, and I think it would be better if I told you all at once." Beast Boy looked like he wasn't sure if he should puke, cry, or scream. His whole body radiated discomfort, and his breathing had suddenly become heavy. Raven pushed her book aside and stood, walking towards her friend.
"Beast Boy, are you alright?" She asked, bringing her hand up and placing it on his forehead, feeling for a temperature. It was a very motherly thing to do, and Raven would make sure to kill him if he ever told anyone she had done it, but right now she was worried and this was something she felt she needed to do.
"I'm fine, Rae," he said, pushing her hand gently off his forehead. "I just have something I really need to do right now, and I feel sort of conflicted about it." Beast Boy's head was tilted to the side and he was looking at something over Raven's shoulder. She looked back but saw nothing. He seemed to be trying not to look her in the face.
"This sounds serious," Raven said, trying to get it out of him without pushing too much. He nodded slowly.
"It is." Beast Boy looked about ready to say something else, but then stopped. His eyes went wide and Raven felt something push by her. "Oh, G-" was all Beast Boy was able to get out before Cyborg tackled him to the floor. Raven closed her eyes tightly until long after she heard the crash.
"Ow." It sounded weak and far off, and for a moment Beast Boy didn't realize it was he who had spoken the word. He let his eyes open one at a time, scared to see what damage had been inflicted to his body.
Cyborg hovered over Beast Boy, smiling evilly. He felt that the little green pest had gotten what he had deserved. He had held back most of his wrath though, and had really only body checked him onto the ground, and then landed on his hands and knees, careful not to land anywhere on the tinier Titan's body.
"What the hell was that for!" Beast Boy looked up at the metal Titan angrily before rolling out from under him. He stood slowly and a little unsteadily. The blow had knocked the wind out of him and caused him to become slightly disoriented. "I think you broke my ass, Cyborg!" He rubbed at the previously mentioned body part, trying to make the pain go away.
"I got the high score! I got the high score!" Cyborg pushed himself up off the ground and ran in circles around Beast Boy and Raven, his arms flailing at his sides. Beast Boy smirked, remembering what he had entered as his own high score earlier in the week. Still, was that really any reason to tackle someone? Especially if you're half metal and the person you're tackling is much smaller than you?
"Fantastic," Beast Boy said, flatly, "what did you enter for your name?" He crossed his arms across his chest, waiting to hear what insult Cyborg would fire back at him via a video game.
"I haven't decided yet!" He proclaimed, wringing his hands together, "but I'm going to come up with something good." Cyborg turned to leave and finish plotting his revenge, but Beast Boy stopped him.
"Hey, Cy," he said, reaching out and placing his hand up on his teammate's shoulder, at about the same height as his own head, "could you hold on one second, there's something I want to tell you and Rae and Starfire and Robin." Cyborg turned back around, a questioning but friendly look on his face.
"I suppose," He said, "what is it?" Beast Boy shook his head quickly.
"I have to tell you all at once," he told him, walking toward the couch. Cyborg and Raven exchanged wary glances and then followed, each sitting on either side of him. Beast Boy brought his feet up and placed the soles on the edge of the coffee table so that his knees were slightly bent.
"Is it something bad?" Cyborg asked cautiously. Acting serious like this was not something he was used to the little green guy doing, and it was sort of freaking him out.
"No…" Beast Boy said slowly, looking like he wanted to say something else, but not doing so.
"Are you sure?" Cyborg folded his hands in his lap, trying to look as non-threatening and reassuring as possible. "Whatever it is, man, we'll help you out. Isn't that right Raven?" Raven looked caught off guard. She smiled though, nodding slowly.
"Of course," she said, placing a comforting hand on Beast Boy's knee. He looked at her sideways, smiling slightly.
"Thanks," he said, directing it at both of them by looking at one and then the other. "That makes it a whole lot easier to say what I'm going to say."
"Which is…?" Cyborg said, trying to get it out of him.
"…And that is why I no longer use the shampoo made by the people of L'Oreal." Starfire's voice broke across the expanse of the Titan's common room and cut off Beast Boy's reply. The group on the couch turned and watched as Starfire made her way toward them, followed by Robin who was nodding his head quickly at everything she said.
"Hi, guys," Beast Boy said softly, suddenly feeling apprehensive now that everyone was here. A moment ago he had felt great, why couldn't he go back to that again? It wasn't fair that his emotions were playing ping pong inside his head, going from happy to sad to scared to reluctant then back to happy, on and on and on.
"Hello, Beast Boy!" Starfire said, flying quickly over to him. She leaned down and embraced the green Titan, nearly crushing his ribs. "Friend Beast Boy," she said after pulling away, "you smell funny." Beast Boy perked an eyebrow and then lifted his arm, smelling himself.
"I took a shower," he said, "I smell fine." Starfire laughed and shook her head.
"Not that kind of smell." She leaned down slowly and looked him in the eyes. "You smell of sadness and fear." Beast Boy looked away quickly and blushed.
"You can smell that?" Robin leaned over the couch and attempted to smell Beast Boy, smiling at his own actions. Beast Boy batted him away, muttering something about perverts and smelling.
"Oh yes," she said. "Just as Raven can sense such emotions, I am able to smell them."
"That's kind of strange," Cyborg said matter-of-factly. He had picked up the gamestation controller again and was thinking hard about what to enter as the high score on Mega Monkey Racing 7 to get his revenge on the Titan seated next to him.
"What is it that troubles you?" Starfire asked gently, her eyes full of worry. Beast Boy felt bad that he had put that worry there, even if it hadn't been on purpose. He also felt bad that now that everyone was here, he was going to have to say what he had been gathering the courage to say. He could probably run away, but that would never solve his problems, and the other Titans wouldn't let him get away with that.
"Well," he said, scratching nervously at a spot on the inside of his arm, "I'm sort of scared about something I've decided to tell you guys. Hell, I'm more than scared, I'm terrified." His words were soft and he was looking down at his lap.
"What do you need to tell us?" Robin asked, looking down at him from behind the couch. He studied Beast Boy, noting his slumped posture and dropping ears. Even if Beast Boy himself hadn't said so, even if he wasn't able to sense it like Raven, or smell it like Starfire, it was easy to tell that Beast Boy was afraid.
Beast Boy took a deep breath and his eyes scanned the people around him. He looked over at Cyborg who was smiling evilly and mashing the buttons of the gamestation controller in front of him. His eyes passed by Raven, who sat placidly at his side. He glanced up at Starfire hovering over him, her forehead creased slightly. Above him his eyes found Robin, waiting patiently for what he had to say.
"For a long time I've known something about myself that I've kept hidden from everyone and denied vehemently myself," he began, his fingers twisting themselves into the hem of his shirt. Inside himself he could feel things snapping. He knew what he needed to say, and he couldn't decide if he should draw it out, waiting as long as he could before saying it, or to just throw the three words out that he was terrified of finally saying to anyone other than his own reflection. "I think I've come to accept it," he said, not sounding too sure of himself, "and as my friends I want you to know that…"
"Boo-Ya!" Cyborg exploded, cutting Beast Boy off. He jumped up and stood on the couch cushions, doing a little dance. "I finally figured out what to enter in the high score as my revenge against you, Beast Boy," he said, looking down at the Titan. They all looked up to the big screen t.v. and watched as the video game Cyborg had been playing scrolled through the high scores. When it got to the top, it stopped and flashed the number one spot.
"I need to go," Beast Boy squeaked, his voice so soft it was barely there at all. He stood slowly, arms wrapped around his stomach, head gazing down at his feet, and was quickly across the room and out the door.
"Hey, where're you going?" Cyborg asked, confused by Beast Boy's sudden exit. He turned to the others, bewildered. "What'd I do?"
"I think," Raven said, looking up at Cyborg, "you may have just figured out what Beast Boy wanted to tell us."
"What he was scared to tell us," Starfire added.
Up on the screen, in big bold letters, Cyborg's high score flashed angrily above them-
Cyborg felt so cold on the inside he nearly shivered. For some reason his body kept screaming for him to turn around and go back the way he came. So many times his feet had taken this path, never before did he have to think about it. But now, here, every footfall was carefully calculated, thoroughly planned out to keep him from running. He slowly rounded a corner and the door that was repelling him came into view. As his hesitant feet brought him closer and closer, his mind turned back to the events that had transpired upon Beast Boy's fleeing of the common room.
"Wait a minute," Cyborg said, waving his hands in front of him as if to halt time entirely, "are you telling me that Beast Boy is gay?" He shook his head, a laugh echoing up and out of his body. The other three Titan's exchanged a glance but said nothing. Cyborg's face went blank. "Beast Boy? No, it couldn't be," he said, defiantly, "he's one of the straightest guys I know. If you want to see gay, go talk to Aqualad."
"You know," Raven said, crossing her arm across her chest, "you can be gay without acting gay." Cyborg thought a moment. What Raven had said was true, there were tons of people that were gay but didn't act the stereotype. His mind latched onto the next excuse it could find.
"What about Tara?" He asked, smugly. "He had it bad for her, don't you remember?" Robin sighed, coming around from behind the couch and sitting down.
"That was three years ago," he said, looking down at his hands. "And you heard what he said; he has been denying this for years."
looked around him. He tried to search for something to help him, some
hidden answer he hadn't seen before. "He can't be."
"Why do you deny this so fiercely," Starfire asked, gently. She moved over to Cyborg and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Do you not like for Beast Boy to be, um…" she thought for a moment, searching for the correct phrase, "out of the closet?" Cyborg shook his head.
"It's not that," he said, looking up at Star, "I'm just scared for him. If that is what he was going to tell us, and we don't know for sure that it was, a lot is going to change." Raven looked as though she were going to protest, but Cyborg cut her off. "A lot," he said, "but also very little. Things will change, but at the same time they won't. Do you know what I mean?"
"I think so." Robin leaned back farther into the couch, looking up at the metal Titan. "Things around here will be pretty much the same, but outside of the tower, it's a different story."
Cyborg took a step toward the door and then stopped. Took another and stopped. "I… I think I'm going to go talk to him," he said.
"Are you sure?" Raven asked, moving to stand beside him. "I can do it if…"
"No." Cyborg put a hand up, silencing her, "I want to." He looked back up at the video game still flashing his high score, "And someone turn that off."
"Beast Boy?" Cyborg's hand reached for the green Titan's door and knocked softly. "I want to talk to you for a second… if it's cool, I mean." For a moment nothing happened. There were no noises coming from behind the door, and Cyborg thought for a moment that maybe his knocking had gone unheard. His hand rose to try again, but before it could make contact with the smooth metal of the door, a voice called out from behind him.
"I'm not in there." Beast Boy stood behind Cyborg. He had changed his clothes and brushed his hair. His hands were wet and he was using the sides of his jeans as a towel. Cyborg opened his mouth, but the millions of things he had wanted to tell Beast Boy had abandoned him. There was a long pause, and Cyborg figured he should say something.
"Hi," he said, lamely. He made a mental note to slap himself later if this went badly. Upon seeing the gentle smile of the man standing in front of him, however, Cyborg felt a little better.
"Hi," Beast Boy said back. He felt awkward and a little embarrassed standing here in front of his best friend under the current circumstances. He could handle that, awkwardness with just a hint of embarrassment in this situation was expected. What he wasn't too proud of, and he hoped Cyborg couldn't sense, was the fact that he felt afraid. He knew he shouldn't, Cyborg would never hurt or ridicule him, but he couldn't help it.
"So…" Cyborg didn't know what to say. They'd been standing here for nearly an entire minute and only a handful of syllables had been spoken between them. He felt so relieved when Beast Boy next spoke.
"You wanna come in?" Beast Boy pointed behind Cyborg at his door. He walked forward and stood close to the metal man, waiting for him to step aside. He felt proud that he was proving to himself there was nothing to be afraid of by getting this close to Cyborg.
"Sure," Cyborg said, stepping aside. Beast Boy had made an effort to keep this from being a monosyllabic conversation, so Cyborg felt he should as well. He added, "That would be good." Pretty lame, but it was a step toward really getting this conversation started.
Beast Boy quickly tapped in the code to his door with a practiced hand. His fingers went to one then seven then eight then three and the door slid smoothly open. His bedroom was a slightly different temperature than the hallway they were standing in, and a wall of warm air pushed out from inside and smacked them in the face.
Beast Boy stepped in and crossed the room. He fell back onto his bed, his green arms falling above him. He lifted his head and gazed over at Cyborg who had yet to move much farther than a foot into his room. "You can come in farther than that, you know."
"Oh, yeah," Cyborg said. He took another step forward. Beast Boy frowned and Cyborg could tell that the single step had made him mad. His human and mechanical eye moved around the room. Everything was exactly the same as the last time that he had been here, but it felt entirely different. His mind fell to the Playboy magazines he knew Beast Boy had under his bed and suddenly Cyborg felt completely betrayed. Those magazines were a lie, and he couldn't help but wonder what other things he had been lied to about. He took a deep breath, calming himself; it would do no good to start things off with an argument.
"I didn't mean take another step forward," Beast Boy said, an edge of anger in his voice. It cut right to Cyborg's heart. "I meant," he continued, "to sit down, hang out, chill, relax, all the things we used to do." Beast Boy sat up and placed his elbows on his legs and his face in his hands. "This is exactly why I was so afraid to say… it." His voice sounded muffled and far away as he tried to speak through his hands. "Everything is different now."
"So it's true then?" Cyborg asked. All of a sudden he felt a pressure go out of him, something that was holding him back. Seeing his friend so sad and scared moved him across the room and enabled him to ask the question he had been trying to ask.
Beast Boy shifted his hands so that his eyes were visible between his fingers. He held Cyborg's gaze for a moment before nodding slowly. "Yes," he said. "It's true." Beast Boy felt something snap in the back of his head and he realized he'd finally said it aloud to someone other than himself. Well, sort of. He hadn't used the word, so he reiterated his outing. "I'm gay." He felt the bed sag beside him and he realized that Cyborg had sat down next to him.
"Beast Boy," Cyborg said, putting his arm around the littler guy's shoulder, "you will always be my best friend no matter what, and I want you to know that nothing is going to change because of this." The metal man smiled broadly down at his best friend. He mad meant everything he had said.
"Do you promise?" Beast Boy said, smiling coyly up at Cyborg. There was nothing more he wanted in the world for what Cyborg had said to be true. They would always be best friends, Beast boy believed that, but he didn't believe that things weren't going to change. There was a long pause between them that went on for some time. Beast Boy was ecstatic that Cyborg did not drop his arm from around his shoulder. One of the things he had feared upon coming out was that Cyborg and Robin would no longer share any friendly physical contact.
"I'm really sorry," Cyborg said suddenly. Beast Boy was caught off guard; he had no idea what the person sitting next to him was apologizing about.
"About?" He asked. Cyborg looked down at him like he was dumb.
"For entering 'BbIsGay' as my high score." He removed his arm from around Beast Boy's shoulder and brought his hands up to his head. "It was so stupid," he said, angrily.
"No," Beast Boy said, shaking his head. "You were just trying to get me back for entering 'CySucksAss' as mine." Beast Boy smiled. "I guess yours wasn't so much insulting as it was factual." Cyborg looked over at Beast Boy, confusion evident on his face.
"You seemed so mad," he said, still not quite getting it. "Or at least sad."
"I guess I kind of was," the green guy said, standing up and crossing the room, walking around in a haphazard path, trying to find the right words. "At first," he said, "but not anymore. I was just mad because, well, seeing those words flashing up on a big screen like some sort of crazy billboard sort of took away from me what I've been trying to get the courage to do for a very long time. I've been staring in that mirror," Beast Boy said, pointing to a looking glass across the room, "saying: I'm gay, I'm gay, I'm gay, every day for a month and you outed me to all our friends in as long as it took them to read your high score."
"I still don't get it," Cyborg said. He had taken away from Beast Boy something that he'd been ready to do, and he expected the changeling to yell at him, or be pissed off, or do something instead of sitting here conversing with him calmly.
"The thing is," Beast Boy said, matter-of-factly, "I don't think I could have actually said it." He pulled a chair out from under his desk and sat in it, slouching over so that his forearms were resting just above his knees. "Right before you jumped up on the couch and said you'd figured out what to input for you high score, the words 'I'm gay' would not come out of my mouth. I tried to say them, but they stuck to my tongue."
Beast Boy sat up straight and fiddled with something on the desk beside him, moving some papers back and forth and placing a pair of scissors in a drawer. "I… I really have to thank you, Cy," he said, still pushing things around, "if you hadn't done that, I might still be in the closet, and I don't think I could have gone on another day holding that in."
Cyborg still didn't feel too good about what he had done. Beast Boy had thanked him, but he still felt his stomach drop every time his mind turned back to those bold, flashing letters. He looked over at his friend, and he was surprised to see that his eyes were shining with moisture in the dim lights.
"You don't know what it's like," Beast Boy said, his voice full or sorrow, "keeping something like that inside you. Going on dates your friends set you up on and having to come home to tell them that 'it just didn't' click'. Having to feign interest in the pictures of girls in magazines or naked women in a movie. Knowing that as long as you keep this inside you're going to have to be alone." Beast Boy stopped and took a deep breath, holding it in and rubbing his hands over his eyes.
"You don't have to be alone anymore, man," Cyborg told him. What his friend just told him made complete sense. He thought back to all the times he and Robin had talked about girls in front of Beast Boy and how it must have made him feel to have to pretend he was interested, scared of the feelings he had inside of him.
"I don't know if that's true, Cy," Beast Boy said, his eyes had dried but his voice still held an edge of sadness. "I am beyond happy that it's no longer a secret," he said, "but I don't think there's going to be much going on for me romantically any time soon." His head fell and he stared down at his fingers, twisting them together in an almost angry manner.
His words sounded so final, so… ending. Did Beast Boy believe he would be alone forever? No, his words had not been "I don't think there's going to be much going on for me romantically ever," he had said, "any time soon." But why had he said it at all? Cyborg watched Beast Boy raise his head and meet his eyes. Maybe he was scared about the whole dating thing. For Beast Boy, getting a guy would be a piece of cake. He was good looking, funny, had a great personality, and was perhaps one of the most unique guys around. Cyborg wondered if it was the emotional side of it. If he were to get a boyfriend, it would be his first ever, an entirely new experience for him.
"Why is that?" Cyborg asked, referring to what he had said. "Is it the butt sex?" He was trying to be funny, but maybe it was true.
"Shut up, man" Beast Boy said, a hint of humor in his voice. His face quickly blushed red.
Cyborg had to wonder, maybe it was the sex. Again, it would be Beast Boy's first boyfriend ever. It may not have just been the intimacy of it though; his green skin had always been a sore subject for the changeling. All of it kept piling on, one thing after another. Any of it could have been the reason Beast Boy had said what he had. Cyborg had to know something.
"Beast Boy?" he said, standing up and moving across the room to stand beside him. "Can I ask you something?" Beast Boy looked up at Cyborg. He opened his mouth for a moment and then closed it. He could tell by the way Cyborg had said it that what he was going to ask was probably something personal.
"Sure," he said finally, but he sounded somewhat hesitant.
"Are you a virgin?"
Beast Boy nodded slowly. "Yeah."
"So is that it? Is it the sex?" Cyborg's voice held no humor this time, he was serious.
"I guess that's part of it," Beast Boy said, refusing to look Cyborg in the eye. "I've never been good with being intimate with anyone, and that's about as intimate as you can get." Cyborg looked ready to say something else, but Beast Boy cut him off. "That's only part of it though," he said, this time looking right in his fellow Titan's face. "There's a lot more to it, some of it I'm not even too sure about."
So there was more to it. Cyborg wanted to know more, he wanted to help his friend, but he knew as much about this as Beast Boy seemed to. "You want to talk more about it?" Cyborg asked. Beast Boy shook his head.
"I don't think so, Cy," he said. "I don't know if I could even if I tried, it's just too painful." He stood slowly and, very hesitantly, wrapped his arms around his friend. The metal of Cyborg's chest never ceased to amaze him. It was never cold like metal should be. It felt warm like skin and seemed to emit an electric hum, which Beast Boy always attributed to his best friend's life force, or something mystical like that. "Thanks for coming to talk to me," he said, releasing Cyborg and walking smoothly toward his bed. He fell forward onto it and pushed his arms under his pillow.
"Anytime, buddy," he said. He figured that laying down on his bed with his face looking at the wall was Beast Boy's subtle way of telling Cyborg that he was done talking for the day. He headed for the door, but stopped short of leaving.
"Beast Boy," he said, "please don't ever stop talking to me. Will promise me that you'll always keep talking?" Beast Boy made no indication that he had heard his friend at all. "Do you promise?" he said, an edge of anger to his voice. It took his cybernetic eye, but Cyborg saw it, the slightest nod from Beast Boy's head. A small smile tugged at his dark lips, and he left Beast Boy's room feeling much better than when he had entered, but with a whole new bunch of questions he needed answered.
Beast Boy rolled over on his back, his eyes following the small cracks and markings on the ceiling. "I'll try, Cyborg," he said, softly. "I really will."