My stories have been kinda depressing as of late. So I figured it was time to cheer up and try to make my readers smile.
Raven's cloaks had been disappearing.
She knew that they went into the washing machine, and then finally the dryer. But when it came time to fold those fresh, warm clothes, the cloaks were nowhere to be found. She was down to two when she began bringing a book with her down to the laundry room to keep an eye on those tumbling clothes.
Naturally, the last two cloaks failed to disappear under her watchful gaze but three of them had gone somewhere and she was pretty sure that someone's hands had been digging through her laundry.
Then, one day while she was sitting by the dryer reading her book they got an alarm for a burglary. Obviously the thief wouldn't be able to take another while he or she was off fighting crime but, much to her frustration, when Raven got back to fold the laundry she came up one cloak short. Interestingly enough, a piece of underwear had gone missing as well. This was quite unacceptable.
She fumed and raged and broke a few light bulbs as she muttered "dirty pervert" under her breath over and over again.
Her next course of action was to materialize in the common room, much to everyone's surprise, and demand an explanation for her missing laundry. Cyborg, snickering quietly, asked her if she had been to her room recently, to which Raven replied she had not but, she growled, if he had something to tell her he should best spit it out now. He held his hands up in a manner which suggested he had nothing to do with the theft, though everyone was having a good time staring at him. After all, Cyborg was quite possibly a dead man.
Flushed with anger, Raven returned to her room then, seeing nothing, stepped outside her door. She returned to the common room, still flushed, but this time from a combination of anger and embarrassment, which really, just translated into more anger. The eyeballs of each Titan immediately glued themselves back on Cyborg as one of the wall panels cracked in two. This man was deader than a corpse.
They ogled and Raven seethed and Cyborg stood there in a confused and terrified kind of way. Of course each of them had seen the underwear that someone had taped to the outside of her door but each of them preferred to be the jury, not the suspect.
The thrashing that followed satisfied Raven's humiliation and anger and thrilled her audience.
Raven was quite pleased when she awoke the next morning to find that three of her four missing cloaks had returned, folded neatly outside her door. There was no note, no explanation, so she gathered them in her arms and tucked them safely away in her closet.
The incident remained small and isolated, and Cyborg's hardware and pride took only a few days to mend. She still didn't understand what he wanted with her cloaks or why the fourth one had failed to return. But the theft had stopped and she no longer had to babysit her laundry.
The incident probably would have remained an anonymous burp in their lives, but unfortunately boys will be boys.
It happened that Raven's entrance into the common room one afternoon a week later coincided perfectly with a certain talk Cyborg and Beast Boy were having. Upon hearing the words "floral panties" coming out of Beast Boy's mouth Raven froze, her foot barely inside the door. Whatever he had been going to say after that was cut off as both Cyborg and Beast Boy, glancing up to greet their new arrival, immediately closed their mouths and paled upon finding Raven's stiff expression.
She was busy coming to a conclusion you see.
The panties, she recalled, had been taped backside down, to the door. The only visible part had been the V shaped front, which coincidently had no such floral design. The only part with the design had been the back, the butt part, which had been hidden. For Beast Boy to have knowledge of this "floral" embellishment meant that either he had been so crude as to take the panties down and examine them, or he was the one who had taped them to the door in the first place…
The cogs turned, the gears clicked, and Raven face began to show a dawning realization.
Beastboy's ears went back as Raven told him quietly that she would love to speak with him in the hallway. Alone.
He obeyed, walking towards her with the expression of a ruined man, his throat dry, his heart fluttering like the wings of hummingbird.
She was angry, as he knew she would be.
She was disgusted with him, as he hoped she wouldn't be.
After all, he explained, the underwear had gotten tangled in the cloak. It wasn't as if he was a panty pervert. He hesitated when she asked about her cloaks, acting like a trapped animal caught between two large trucks. Then sighing, admitted that it was his idea of a prank. He got a slap on the face for that which he found hurt a lot more than getting slammed into a ceiling or a wall. It stood for her disgust and his shame and her poor opinion of him. He could hardly bear it. Her words stung like his cheek, her angry expression burned its way into his heart.
They parted that day with bad feelings on both sides.
Had it not been for Starfire's childlike sense of guilt, Raven would have never known.
She came to Raven late at night, knocking on her door and softly asking if she could come inside for a moment. When the door opened Raven found her standing outside with an expression fit for a kicked puppy.
There were tears, as there usually was whenever Starfire felt guilty about something. And she carried on, weeping and rambling about something until Raven had to give her a few pats on the back just to get her to slow down and make some sense.
Starfire gave a few shuddering sighs before managing to admit that the cloak stealing had been a dare that all of them had agreed on. They each had to steal a cloak from her without being caught and whoever failed or chickened out had to walk around in his or her underwear for 3 days, including during crime fighting procedures. Raven knew that dares and bets were a popular pastime between them and even she had taken part in a few.
Still, upon hearing this crucial piece of information which solved the puzzle, she suddenly felt sick to her stomach. Starfire continued to wail about poor Cyborg and Beast Boy who had gotten the brunt of the blame, and soon Raven was feeling just as depressed.
Beast Boy as always, had bungled up his dare and accidently ended up with her panties as well as her cloak. And being conscious of the untold rule, he had refused to rat out his fellow teammates. She groaned and felt a terrible lump of guilt settle in the pit of her stomach.
After managing to somewhat console Starfire with her promises to apologize to each of them (yes, she would take them out for ice cream), she sent the poor girl on her way. However, there was still the matter of confronting Beast Boy about the misunderstanding and apologizing to him for her rash words and quick anger.
Fate, being kind to Raven, had it so that a few days later she ran into him alone in the kitchen. The silence was thick for a few moments as her nervousness seemed to get the best of her. He was washing his cereal bowl and she was lingering by the counter hoping that he would speak first so that she wouldn't say something stupid or insensitive right off the bat.
But his eyes were downcast and his expression was sullen and the "hello" she wanted never left his lips. So taking initiative she quietly told him that Starfire had paid her a visit. He nodded and continued to rinse out the cornflakes from the bowl.
Then something in Raven faltered a bit and the words tumbled out of her in little spurts, words about what she had found out, words about how she had made a mistake. There was an apology in there somewhere and she noticed that he kept rinsing out that bowl even though it had been clean for a while. It was as if he wouldn't stop until she told him something real.
Something that meant more than an explanation. Something that said that he mattered to her.
She coughed awkwardly. They both watched the water fill the bowl and flow over.
He told her he had the last missing cloak.
She blinked, slightly stunned, having forgotten about the last missing piece of the puzzle. There was a moment where she struggled with this information, and then with a dry throat she managed to croak out a "why?"
It was simple, he explained calmly. It smelled like her.
The water was cascading down the sides of the bowl, and they were both staring it. The heat was pooling in her cheeks and in her stomach, like warm honey. It melted something inside Raven and on the outside her eyes softened.