Spring break is doing wonders for my creativity.
I think I'm going stir crazy.
Thus…I wrote three oneshots in a night.
I'm working on my fourth.
Hopefully I'll have like…seven oneshots by the time break is over.
I have like 20 planned.
Dedication: To Shannon, for telling me that ALIAS IS RETURNING TO LIFE!
Disclaimer: Don't I wish.
"I can't believe I'm doing this..." Raven held her head in her hands, massaging her temples furiously to relieve the mass headache she felt overtaking her.
"Aww, c'mon Rae!" Across he table, Beast Boy was setting up a board with several read and white squares, placing tiny figurine game pieces in their correct positions. "It'll be fun!"
"Don't call me Rae. We've been over that." The empath groaned, letting her hands drop to the table and closing her eyes in hopes of achieving some kind of peace with herself. "How did I let you talk me into this? I've never even seen chess played before."
"It was either I teach you chess or you allow Starfire to give you a makeover, remember?"
"I should've chosen the makeover."
"So…you've seriously never seen a game of chess before?" Beast Boy ignored Raven's prior snappish remark with practiced ease.
"The priests of Azarath had better things to do with their time than move around pointless little medieval figurines on a cardboard mat."
"If you say so." The Changeling stared critically at the game he'd set up, then nodded his head as though deciding that he had everything just as he wanted. Reaching forward, be picked up the shortest of the wooden pieces. "Okay, now these little guys are your pawns."
"Mmhm." Raven obviously had little interest in such information.
"They're the first things you use in the game," Beast Boy continued, "and on the first turn you can move them forward two spaces, but after that only one." The empath shook her head, attempting to absorb the information as her friend demonstrated the movements he spoke of. Perhaps she was reluctant to play a pointless board game, but the allure of knowledge beckoned her to pay a bit more attention than she had before. One by one, the Changeling worked his way through each of the tiny game pieces, animatedly describing each with an uncanny amount of detail. Raven could hardly believe that Beast Boy's often immature mind could retain the massive amount of information required to successfully play a game of chess.
"So what's the point of the game?" The empath asked once Beast Boy had concluded his final, long winded introduction of the queen.
"To checkmate your opponent's king." He looked at her as though his answer was common knowledge. Raven rolled her eyes.
"Which means what?" This caused Beast Boy to grin.
"I like to say it's when the king's 'under assault with no place to vault.'" Raven stared at her friend with wide, disbelieving eyes as she took in the full absurdity of his phrase. "Pretty nifty description, eh?"
"…Of my sanity." The empath sunk lower in her chair and groaned audibly, her headache growing. Beast Boy scarcely heard her, as made clear by his rapidly expanding smile.
"Cy says he can't believe I came up with that."
"I'm not sure you should take that as a compliment." Raven sat up again. "Look, let's just get this over with. Who goes first?"
"Well…that depends on the color of your pieces. You want to have the plain, boring old white ones…" he gestured towards the figures he was talking about nonchalantly, then scooped up a knight of the opposite color and waved it around as he continued. "Or…would you instead choose to command the fiery red, scarlet brigade? Pieces of blazing prominence! Pieces that innately and unambiguously ooze power and confidence! Pieces that shout with every move 'I am a winner!'" Raven arched a skeptical eyebrow.
"Let me guess. White goes first."
"Heh…Beast Boy looked to the side. "Kind of, yeah." There was a short silence.
"How long have you been practicing that speech you just bombarded me with?"
"Er…about a month." Her friend appeared even more sheepish than before.
"And how many words did you have to look up to put it together?"
"Like…all of them?" Raven sighed and leaned forward.
"…I'll be red."
Although Raven had, admittedly, enjoyed learning about the game of chess, playing it was about to drive her insane. The repetitive movements leading to a pointless objection—winning—couldn't hold a candle to her completely absorbing books that lay scattered around her room. She couldn't, however, deny the fact that Beast Boy was rather good at what he was teaching…but that didn't change the fact that she found herself practically on her knees praying to Azar to send a Titans alert or something of the sort to interrupt the game. Unfortunately, none came, and with a bored push, the empath maneuvered her knight three spaces forward and one to the left.
"I wouldn't do that if I wee you." Beast Boy remarked, scrutinizing her latest move.
"Why not?" Raven's look almost dared him to challenge her.
"It leaves your bishop pinned."
"So?" The Changeling stared at her incredulously. "So I'll not only get your queen, I'll have you in checkmate in another three turns! You need to start thinking more about your moves more carefully, Rae."
"Who says I haven't?" A pale finger pushed violet locks behind the empath's ear as her eyes narrowed at the use of her nickname. Beast Boy tilted his head and leaned forward, taking in the breadth of the game board with careful eyes.
"I must've missed something."
"Don't stress about it," Raven tapped the table impatiently, "Just go."
"You know…for a minute there, I was beginning to think you wee trying to lose on purpose just to get out of the game. Heh." Although Beast Boy laughed it off, the empath pressed her lips together, almost ashamed at just how right he was. She didn't, however, feel quite guilty enough to actually put more effort into playing.
Not ten minutes later, Raven's mood changed entirely.
"Checkmate!" She shouted, her eyes wide and dancing as she jumped up fro her seat, poking down at the board with a pale finger. "Can't move here…can't move there…can't move here…it's over!" The empath was on the verge of grinning, then decided against it and settled for a small smile. "It's checkmate."
"Let's have a rematch," Beat Boy suggested, his disgruntled look obvious.
"Not a chance." Raven strode away from the table with a swish of her cape. "You beat me fair and square."
"C'mon, Rae, best of three? I know you could play better if you practiced a bit more…"
"I think I've had my fill of chess for the rest of the year, thanks." Despite her reserves, she turned to look back at her friend, who appeared crestfallen.
"You…don't like chess much, do you?" Raven bit her lip nervously. She couldn't very well lie to him, but she didn't want to hurt him.
"I…not…really." She stumbled through her next words uncertainly. "Look…it's just not my thing…at all…and you knew I was reluctant from the start."
"Don't worry about it. You don't need to explain. Thanks for playing, though. It was…fun." The green boy began collecting the pieces from the table and replacing them in the box. Raven watched him sadly, wishing with all her might at that very moment that chess was her thing. Here was Beast Boy, her friend despite his annoying and often infuriating tendencies, trying as he always did to draw her out of her confining cage and into the outside world. All he was doing was trying to help Raven have a little more fun in what had been a hellish life until recently.
Maybe it was time she returned the favor.
"…Beast Boy?" He looked up from the lid of the chess box he held in his hands.
"About the rematch…would tomorrow be okay?"
"Wait…but you just said that you didn't like chess…that it wasn't your thing." Raven gave her friend a critical look.
"So what's your point?" There was a short pause as Beast Boy absorbed the meaning of her words, then he smiled.
"Tomorrow sounds great."
Feeling the warm friendship fuzzies?