Here it is, my friends, the final stretch of this short journey. I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have. Thank you for your many kind words, and I hope I continue to please you with this astounding conclusion to 'The Cat'.
If you honestly still believe I own these characters, you are crazy. That's all there is to it.
Raven opened her eyes to find Starfire seated beside her bed with the cat still asleep, her curled up protectively around him. She was still sore in the distant fuzzy feeling she usually got when something cracked or burst through her power multiple times in a row. But she was breathing easily and all signs of the previous struggle had been erased from her body.
Her eyes still felt heavy as she sat up, Starfire gently coming to her side to help as she slid from the mattress and shakily stood.
"How are you feeling?" she asked as her friend sat down again, brushing the purple bangs back from her face.
"Like I could sleep for a week," she yawned as the cat woke up and immediately nudged her hand with a concerned mewl. "Stop it, you, I'm fine. Robin will probably want me to get scanned in the med bay to be sure, though…"
"Raven," called Cyborg through the door as if on cue. "Check up time. Just a quick scan, do you want me in there or will you come out here?"
"I'll be in the main room in a minute," she called back, gently pushing away from Starfire and slipping on the discarded cape over her shoulders. Her green charge at her side, she paused and gave the alien woman a slight smile. "Thanks."
"Anything for a friend," replied Starfire brightly. "We were most worried, Raven."
"I'm fine, just tired," she said for what seemed like the millionth time. "I need rest, that's all."
Setting out after their retreating teammate, once in the main room Starfire quickly shooed her towards the couch. Floating to the kitchen where she pulled out the kettle and teabags, she watched as Raven sat there obediently as Cyborg scanned her and the cat's vitals, coming out of it with a satisfied nod.
"All clear," he announced with obvious relief. "You gave us a scare there, Raven. Do you need anything?"
She was about to shake her head when her stomach growled loudly enough for everyone to hear it. "Ah…food would be good."
"One stack'o'waffles coming up!" Cyborg replied as he left her there. "You just sit back and relax, girl, we've got it covered."
"Is she here?" asked Robin as he entered the room, having been notified by both of his teammates of her awakening. Immediately spotting her on the couch, he crossed his arms. "Raven, we need to talk about-"
"You can lecture her later," Starfire stepped in firmly, physically interposing herself between them. "Friend Raven is in need of a hot beverage, sustenance in the form of toasted circles of formed bread covered with solidified milk and liquid sugar, and more rest. You may lecture her after these requirements have been fulfilled."
"You know, I can handle him myself," put in Raven, only to get a disapproving glower from both ends. "Or not…"
"You will remain here until we have seen that your needs are met," Starfire told her in a voice that brooked no argument. Handing her the tea, she picked up a blanket and tucked it around her teammate who was too tired to even really protest at this mothering.
"Two waffles, and I went easy on the butter and syrup though the sugar would probably help you right now," Cyborg said as he plopped the plate in her lap, hopping over the couch to sit beside her as he flicked on the television. "Who's up for a movie?"
Robin's protestations over being ignored disappeared when Starfire took his arm and asked if she could sit next to him, all agreeing on the martial arts comedy though it wasn't Raven's favorite. The stunts were amusing, and the witty language of one particularly sarcastic character appealed to her, but the potty humor got old quickly and the lead female was the kind she wished would keel over and die.
She finished the waffles and tea by the halfway point, curling up further with her blanket as she watched the film quietly. Towards the end, she felt her eyes begin to drift shut, resisting the urge to sleep as she rarely allowed herself to be that relaxed around her friends, but it was a short fight. Her body's need for rest soon overpowered her will to remain in control, so by the time the credits were rolling her head was slumped against the armrest with the blanket falling off her shoulders.
With a big-brother's care, Cyborg shooed Robin and Starfire off the couch, carefully adjusting Raven so she was stretched out rather than scrunched up and then moving the blanket she was thoroughly covered by it. About to leave, he paused when he noticed their green cat leap up on the back of the couch and stare at the dark titan intently. Robin noticed as well, carefully edging towards the beast with the intent to grab the cat without waking up Raven some how.
The creature, who had remained quietly on the floor after eating the bowl of tofu Starfire had laid down for him, seemed to give them a disdainful look before he disappeared over the edge. Both Titans immediately rushed to the couch to find him seating himself by Raven's stomach, still on top of the blanket.
"I think it's fine if he stays there," said Robin, more than unwilling to even contemplate touching the creature if he could help it. Getting swiped with sharp claws was not his favorite past time, and he still had the marks from their previous encounter. "He's on top of the blanket, and if we're lucky he'll leave before she wakes up."
"Good point," Cyborg admitted with nod. "Ok, let's go then so we don't wake her up."
The machine-man turned back to find Robin staring at the pair in horror, following his eyes to see the cat was now fully inserted under the blanket and firmly snuggled in Raven's arms right under her chin. "Oh shi-!"
"I believe you are both doing the reacting of the over," Starfire said simply as she took their hands and led them out the double doors, smiling serenely when they looked at her like she was crazy.
"She'll kill him when she wakes up!" Robin protested once they were in the hall, waving his arms wildly. "We have to get him out of there, now!"
"She will not take his life or remove his body parts in any such form," the alien replied calmly, giving him a knowing look. "Right, friend Cyborg?"
Cyborg paused, then it clicked. The roof! Right! But how does Starfire…? Letting that question go, he nodded. "She's right, I think…Beastboy probably will live to see another day afterwards. Though I doubt she'll appreciate us asking questions about it later, so we should probably forget we ever saw it."
"I believe the answer will present itself at a later time," was all Starfire would say as she led him away towards her room. "Come! We shall take a walk outside."
Cyborg snickered quietly as Robin allowed himself to be dragged along, still looking rather dumbfounded. He was probably the only one who hadn't noticed something going on since Beastboy's accident, and the electronic whiz would bet his last dollar Starfire had picked it up sometime during the 'girl talk' she had glossed over earlier. If things worked out right, Beastboy would be himself by morning, which meant he had a whole new field of teasing ready to be opening up in less than 24 hours. Planning where to start in giving his friend a hard time for his obvious preference without inciting Raven's wrath, he went to check on the machines as he whistled merrily.
Raven had just woken up and was in the process of remembering where she was and what had happened when Robin came in, telling her to come down stairs and bring her charge with her. Thankfully, she had already removed the cat to one side so they didn't see him curled up to her chest licking her cheek (she really hoped they hadn't been around when that had occurred, she knew sleeping in the open was a bad idea for some reason). Obeying quickly, everyone was soon gathered downstairs in the medical bay where Cyborg prepared a tube and needle for the needed injection.
"It's time," he said at long last, giving Raven a nod.
She watched with a flat face as they injected the silver antidote into the cat, him only staying still because of the firm hand she placed on his head.
"He needs to sleep through the change, it'll probably make the transition back to normal easier," Cyborg said as he set the syringe aside a few moments later.
"He can sleep in here, then," Raven said firmly. "I doubt he'll remember the last few days, so it's for the best."
Giving him a cursory pat on the head, she turned to leave before her disappointment could show. Reaching the door, she paused when something warm and soft stropped against her ankle. The cat looked back at her pertly when she glanced down at him with a half-hearted glare.
"I don't think waking up in the corner of your room will be too scarring," Robin commented in hopes of heading off a repeat of the first night. "It's not like he's in your bed, right?"
"…right." Ignoring the bright, knowing smile Starfire was giving her; she left with a sigh and went directly to her room.
He jumped on the bed as soon as the door was closed behind them, burrowing under the blankets when she made a slight shooing motion with her hands.
"At least you're not a peeping tom," she murmured as she quickly slipped into her shorts and tank top, vaguely amused at her own wit before she slid in next to him. Immediately he snuggled up under her chin, purring as she slowly hugged him back.
'Don't start,' Wisdom advised as she let out a sad sigh. 'This can continue beyond him becoming himself again. All you have to do is let it.'
::No.:: Raven closed her eyes, finding her center as she refused to cry though her chest and throat tightened dangerously. ::You're wrong. This is it, and I will just have to accept that.::
He paused again, holding his head up expectantly and slowly she kissed it, relishing the way he nuzzled her affectionately before settling down to sleep. Flicking off the light, she allowed herself to drift into a light sleep. She would know it the moment he changed, and then the fairy tale would find its midnight ending. Only this Prince would never find the slipper, or the foot that it belonged to.
Cyborg sat on the couch with Robin, the pair engaged in a racing game to pass the time. Starfire sat between them, cheering them on as she unknowingly leaned with the movement of the pixilated vehicles.
"Eat dust, birdboy."
"Not a chance, tin can."
"Stealing BB's nicknames now? What's the matter? Can't find any on your own?"
"You wish, I'm about to turn you to scrap."
"Not if I don't pulverize you first."
"Go, my friends, find your victory on the track of many treacherous turns!"
"Prepare to be owned!" Robin crowed as he managed to slip by Cyborg, taking the lead though he had to smile at Starfire's remarks. Barely keeping ahead, he crossed the finish line first, throwing his fists in the air as he cheered his victory. "Ha! I won, oh yeah, who's the man? That's right, I am!"
"Congratulations on your victory, friend Robin, perhaps I should make you a pudding of Celebration!" Starfire clapped her hands happily, floating in the air as Cyborg grumbled something about not having enough 'viewing distractions' for once.
"Uh, how about we just finish the muffins you made last night," Robin offered quickly, moving towards the kitchen. "Those were really good, you know."
"Say, Starfire, I noticed Raven was being pretty tolerant of Beastboy," commented their leader as he pulled out the treats, kept fresh in a container, and the milk. "I mean, he was still in one piece when I went to get her to administer the antidote, just like you said, and she wasn't angry either. You wouldn't know anything about it, would you?"
"If I did, I would be unable to say so as I believe it falls under the category of 'talking of girls'," she replied with a smile, popping one of her mustard muffins in her mouth whole. "Mmm…"
"How about you, Cyborg?" The birdboy was smart enough to avoid 'girl talk' as well and so immediately turned to the next likely source.
"Well," he heard in return, the machine-man getting up and stretching slowly. "Raven would probably be the best one to ask…if you dared. I'm off to fix my car window, then charge up for the night. See you guys in the morning."
"Are you sure you can't tell me something?" Robin wheedled Starfire carefully, unwilling to let it go just yet.
"Perhaps I could," she replied slowly, before giving him a bright smile that left him with a nervous quiver in the pit of his stomach. "If you will tell me something in return."
"Anything," he promised immediately, imagining the question would be something about Earth culture again. He was right, in a way…
"What view was it that distracted you earlier?"
Robin froze. "Erm…"
"And why does your nose turn red when I smile at you? And your eyes linger on me at times when you believe I am not aware of your presence?" she added quickly, giving a triumphant smile when he turned bright red. "Will you answer those questions, friend Robin?"
Grumbling something about girls plotting against him, he turned around and left, not noticing the disappointed look she gave him as he disappeared from sight. She had hoped to drive him into a confession, not chase him off! Hrmphing quietly to herself, she left for her room as she began to plot what might be another alternative with which to reach the desired end: a date with Robin.
Raven woke the moment he began to change, immediately letting go of her teammate as he appeared beside her in his human form still fast asleep. His head was pillowed on his arms, curled up ever so slightly with a happy smile on his face. Sitting up slightly, she watched him for a moment and even reached forward as to brush his long bangs back from his face when she stopped. No, this was not to be, she had accepted it, now it was time to put it into practice. Lying back down, facing away and leaving a good foot of space between them, she mentally used her powers to give him a slight prick on the finger as she lay as still as death.
He shifted, and then sat up quickly; rubbing his head and glancing around before he went as stiff as a board. She could feel his eyes when they turned to her slowly, and the way the mattress creaked as he instantly turned into a fly and buzzed his way out the door as quickly as possible.
Raven lay still he slipped under the bottom crack, her heart hammering against her ribs as she forced herself to remain in her spot.
'You're a fool,' Wisdom informed her quietly as tears crept down her cheeks. 'Why?'
::I'd rather be a fool if it means my heart is still whole::
'Is it?' Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to ignore the voice as she felt something inside her break. 'Is it?'
Beastboy walked in circles outside Raven's door, alone and confused in the dark as he tried to figure out what to do next. He wasn't dreaming, he was certain of that, but why…? Usually, if he passed out during a battle he'd be in the infirmary when he woke up, or his room if it was just exhaustion. But Raven's room? She was in the bed with him, too, and not wearing her uniform either!
::She did look kinda cute in the white tank top, though…::
Clearing his mind of that thought as she would murder him instantly if she knew of it, he immediately turned to head to his room when he paused mid stride. Cyborg would know what was going on! Feeling slightly guilty that there was a good chance he was about to wake up his friend in the middle of the night, he quickly moved down the stairs to find the light on in the garage and the sound of someone tinkering around coming from it.
Finding his best friend replacing a window on the T-car, he paused as he wondered what he would say and so instead sat on the bottom step and watched silently. Would he believe him if he said where he'd been? Cyborg would probably know why, but what if he didn't? He'd be teased for life for something like that!
"BB! How're you feeling?" asked Cyborg when he noticed him sitting there, coming over to sit down beside him. "Looks like the change worked just fine."
"…a little lost, dude, and really confused," he admitted, brow furrowed as he processed what his best friend had just said. "You seem to know something I don't, though."
"So, Raven didn't explain?" the machine man replied as he stood up, heading over to finish the job as Beastboy followed slowly and took a seat on a nearby stool.
"Raven was asleep. So I'm not gonna die-?"
"For waking up in her room? Nah, you sleeping in the corner was something Robin asked her to do, long story. How's your memory?"
Beastboy's brow rose ever so slightly, as he doubted their leader had enough influence to get Raven to let him sleep in her bed, let alone her room on the floor in a corner, but left it alone.
"Nothing past the lab…it went dark, and then I woke up in Raven's…room." Rubbing his head carefully, he glanced at his best friend who just nodded his head as though that was what he had expected to hear. "What's going on, Cy? If this is a prank, it's not funny because I'm about to freak out on you here."
"No prank, although convincing Raven to let you sleep in her room and you not remember it when you woke up there would be a good prank," Cyborg agreed slowly. "It's a long story, are you sure you don't want to wait until tomorrow? You're probably tired."
Beastboy shook his head, feeling more awake than he had in awhile. "Dude, sleep can wait, gaps in the memory can't. Talk."
"Ok, ok…so, it started when that dart scratched your arm…" For the next hour Cyborg talked, describing the events of the last few days as Beastboy's jaw dropped lower and lower. He glossed over the details of the fight with Adonis and the way it had worn Raven out later on, and the part where he had looked at the security feeds were left out completely, but the tale was told beginning to end as much as the Titan could remember.
"Oh man, now she's really gonna hate me!" he groaned as he fell backwards off the stool to the ground, lying there spread out as he pouted at the ceiling. "Taking care of me, and then I had to do something stupid like try and nap next to her on the couch. I bet she would've killed me if I hadn't been a little 'out of control', so to speak. I doubt that was the only stupid thing I did either, knowing me."
"I don't know about that," admitted Cyborg as he leaned against his counter, the window replacement done and working along with a few other minor repairs and tweaks his baby had needed. "Raven…was pretty alright with taking care of you, I think."
"You think?! I wouldn't call pitching me at your head 'pretty alright'," the titan cried as he sat up indignantly. "Face it, Cy, I lost my shot with this."
"Listen, dude, I really think it's gonna be ok," his friend laughed as he helped him up. "I know you really like her, and don't give me that look, you might as well have said so yourself a few minutes ago."
"We are so far beyond 'like' it's not even funny. She's…she's everything to me, Cy, and I've been so patient with her, waiting for her to open up…" He clenched his hands into fists, slamming them against the ground helplessly. "And this had to happen! It wasn't even something I did; it was completely out of my control…!"
"Calm down, dawg, you're forgetting a couple of things," Cyborg cut in quickly, pulling his friend to his feet and seating him on the stairs again. "Number 1: you saved her life. All of our lives, actually. Adonis had us whooped, man, and he was this close to killing her…" The titan paused, Beastboy watching as he ran a hand over his face in an uncharacteristic display of solemnity.
"You know, I don't think I'd ever been so scared in my life when in a fight," he admitted slowly. "BB, I know she doesn't mean to me what she does to you, but she's still like my little sister. And almost seeing her, well, you know…it was hard, real hard. I'm supposed to be like this big brother to her, and there's nothing I could've done to save her. If you hadn't been there, if the Beast hadn't come out and whooped his butt, she wouldn't be here today."
His eyes were focused on a distant point, voice seemingly coming from far away as he watched something only he could see. "She called out to you, BB, when it was over, and you went to her. If she hadn't known before that you cared, I think she does now, because it was almost like she had tamed you somehow. You turned back into the cat, and when she picked you up and healed you it was with tenderness I hadn't seen her show anyone, ever. It was crazy, really, but…right. No one questioned it when she teleported the two of you back to the tower, and somehow from the way Starfire blocked the view of the room when she checked on the two of you at our return I doubt you were sleeping in the corner like you were supposed to be."
"I didn't wake up in the corner a little while ago," he admitted slowly, a blush heating his green cheeks. "I was, uh…in her bed."
Cyborg cracked a smile, refraining from his usual teasing for just this once. "See?"
"That doesn't prove anything, she was practically on the other side of her bed, which is a lot bigger than mine, facing away from me completely asleep. It might've just been that my stupid cat side was so persistent she let me sleep on the other side of the bed, nothing more," Beastboy replied quickly, shaking his head. "I know you're trying to cheer me up, dude, and your evidence is pretty convincing. But this is Raven we're talking about, I've been trying to get her to open up for the last couple years. Don't tell me I was able to do it just in a couple of days simply because I was stuck as a cat."
"Alright, but I honestly think that's what happened," his friend laughed quietly. "Tell you what, I wasn't going to bring this up, simply because I like my parts intact, but…go look at the security recordings from the last couple days. If those don't convince you, nothing will."
"Dude, if you're just saying this to try and make me feel better, I will dismantle you in your sleep and sell the scrap," he whispered as his friendly finally looked up, meeting his gaze head on and holding it without fear. "Seriously…if you're wrong…"
"I'm not messing around this time," Cyborg said firmly as he stood, turning away to finish cleaning up from taking care of his baby.
The green titan still couldn't quite believe him, though, rolling his eyes as he attacked the problem from a new angle. "What the heck are the security cameras gonna pick up, Raven hates public displays of affection, and even if she did like me, which I think past experiences have established that's a big ole'NO, it would be on her room camera." Beastboy shuddered at the thought of what would occur of he dared such a travesty of privacy. "I look at the room camera, she kills me, ok?"
"Look, grass stain, would I lie about something like this?" Cyborg said as he caught Beastboy's shoulder, forcing him to look him in the face. "And I'm being serious about this, man. Friend to friend, you need to go look at the tapes, and do it sometime before the others get up, too."
"…fine. But if I don't find anything you have to eat a tofu burger with me tonight," Beastboy threatened, holding out his hand. Praying fervently that his green friend would think that he knew to be on the tapes as sufficient proof, he clasped the outstretched hand firmly and shook.
"Deal. Now get to it, there's a lot of tape there, and you've only a few hours in the main room to yourself."
He nodded, heading for the stairs quietly. "Ok. See you in the morning, and thanks for clearing things up for me."
"No problem, dude, any time."
Making his way back upstairs, the green titan checked to be sure there was no one else around as he slipped into the main room and flicked on the community computer there. It hummed to life as he keyed in a few codes and brought up the security cameras, deciding to start with the main room right after the incident. Hitting play, he settled himself in and began to watch.
Cyborg got up at soon as the sun rose, making his way to the main room to find Beastboy sitting on the couch staring the ceiling, the computer off and a dazed look in his eyes.
"Do you believe me now?" asked Cyborg as he leaned over his friend from the back, Beastboy's eyes snapped into focus when the fellow Titan entered his view.
"That was one of the weirdest experiences of my life," came the quiet, mumbled reply. "It was like I could kinda, sorta, barley remember it…but it was just out of reach. I was there, my body knows I was there, but my mind, at least the thinking part of it, is like 'No way! I would've remembered that!' Totally weird."
"But you believe me now, right?" he pressed, confident smirk in place.
"How could I not?! She scratched my belly, man, and let me lick her hand! And I wasn't even trying that hard. Totally not cool that I can't remember it, either." His face went red as Cyborg chuckled softly. "Hey, don't give me that look, alright? You know you're jealous I got a girl and you don't."
"No, what you've got is a nice mess on your hands, which I wouldn't take from you for the world," his friend replied smartly. "Did you watch all of it?"
Beastboy frowned. "Yeah…and I saw it, the way she tried to distance herself there towards the end. You don't think…?"
"That she'll keep you at arms length like the stankiest stankball there ever was? Hell yeah, that's just the way Raven is, man. You've got your proof, and you've got your heart, but you sure as hell haven't got her yet. Getting our dark princess to admit to something she doesn't want to admit, well…you're more likely to get Robin to get over himself enough to ask Starfire out first."
"That's really encouraging, thanks," Beastboy groaned as he stood up slowly, stretching with a yawn. "I wonder if I should go catch a few hours of sleep before I try and decide what to do."
"If you go to sleep now, you won't wake up until tomorrow and we both know the longer you wait the harder it's gonna be to get goth girl to come around."
"I know, I know…"
"Tell you what, I'll make some coffee and some of your gross tofu-egg stuff so you can eat and we can talk until the others get in here. Maybe between the two of us and butt load of caffeine we can come up with a way help you work through this."
Doubtful, but willing to give it a try and grateful that his friend was going to hold off on the usual meat feud for at least a day, Beastboy sat himself at the counter and tried to come up with ideas as a mug of black coffee was set before him and a plate of tofu eggs and toast soon followed. Unfortunately, their dear leader Robin joined them shortly afterwards and while he asked what they had been talking about he didn't press the subject when the two grew rather quiet. Congratulating Beastboy on his return and his successful use of the Beast in battle (he was grateful for the way he had saved all of their lives, Raven's in particular) he then challenged the two to a three-way race that was quickly accepted with all three taking seats on the couch and preparing for the competition.
Needless to say, Beastboy still didn't have a plan, and somehow forgot that part until later.
The dark titan woke at first light, eyes heavy with the sleep that had eluded her most of the night. Even if her dreams, Wisdom and Affection had haunted her thoughts, Happy always at their side and even Rage making an appearance to inform her of her stupidity. But now her mind was blessedly silent, her emotions too exhausted to continue and her too exhausted to move. She briefly considered remaining in bed the whole day, safely ensconced in her blankets. That thought was thrown out when she realized just how quickly that would draw attention to herself.
Sitting up, she slid out of the covers and into her cape, drawing up her hood as she grabbed a fresh leotard, belt and wrist ornaments. Heading for the bathroom, she stayed in the shower longer than usual, letting the hot water soak her hair and skin soothingly. It was only to prolong the inevitable, though, and as she dried herself off and dressed she heard Starfire's inquiring voice on the other side of the door.
"Almost done," she called back, securing her belt before tossing the cape over her shoulders once more. She slid the wrist ornaments on as she unlocked the door, giving a noncommittal grunt when Starfire greeted her quickly before locking herself in the bathroom. Silently, she floated down the hall, pausing outside the double doors when the three familiar voices of her male teammates floated through.
Sighing in feigned irritation at the thought of the three male titans already battling it out with their games again, she entered and went straight to the kitchen. Making her teat as quickly as possible without giving the impression she was hurrying the job, she boiled the water, steeped the tea, and had nearly gotten through with putting up the kettle when it happened. Beastboy looked up and spotted her, a smile briefly spreading across his face.
"Hey, Raven, can I talk to you?"
"…I suppose." She hovered by the counter, looking very much like a cornered animal about to bolt as he split his attention between her and the game. He glanced at her again, flushing slightly. "What do you want to talk about?"
"Uh, well, I kinda hoped-"
All eyes flew to the doors as Starfire strode in confidently, as beautiful as ever and perhaps a touch vengeful as she stalked to the couch and placed herself in front of their leader. Cyborg wisely paused the game when she shot him a look, everyone watching in shock as she learned in and effectively blocked all of Robin's possibly exits.
"You refuse to follow the natural course of things, according to your planet," she informed him sternly, her face only inches from his. "So I will take matters into my own hands."
Robin's sputtering protest was cut short as she kissed him soundly, BB and Cyborg jumping up from their seats and backing away as though afraid of catching something. When she broke it off, he tried to follow her for another and found himself face to face with her blazing eyes again.
"Now, ask me on a date or by the Great Naxleno's left hand I will never kiss you again!"
"Pizza? Friday? Seven o'clock?" he panted, unable to come up with anything more coherent as he tried to gather his scattered wits.
"That would be glorious, thank you! Now, I shall go to my room, and try to decide what would be appropriate attire for the occasion."
Robin sat there breathing heavily after Starfire left, looking at the other titans after awhile. "Did that just…?"
"Dude, she just owned you," Cyborg cracked with a smile. "Whip to your back and a collar on your neck, dawg, she flat out pwned your skinny litte-"
"I get the point," Robin cut in hotly, his face still a deep red. "But at least I have a date on Friday night. Can you say that?"
Cyborg took a breath as though to continue with his smart mouthed tirade when he paused. "Well…no. But if I had a girl I wouldn't let it wait so long that she had to move on me just to get things going."
"What about you, Beastboy?" asked Robin as he got up, stretching slowly. "Would you rather have the date with the girl asking you out or no date at all?"
"Depends on the girl," he replied simply as his shoulders slumped at surveying the empty room. "Dang it…do you think she went to the roof or her room?"
"Roof," Cyborg replied confidently. "I'd bet my circuits on it. Going in without a plan?"
"Might as well, no time like the present, right?"
"Did I miss something?" asked Robin as Beastboy disappeared, leaving the unfinished game behind without a backwards glance. That never happened!
"Nothing more that usual," Cyborg replied as he picked up his controller once more and immediately restarted the game in a move that effectively distracted their leader. "Prepare to eat my dust, birdbrain!"
"We'll see about that, tin can!"
Raven hovered at the edge of the roof, legs crossed around in their usual lotus position and unable to focus on her meditation. Her mind was deafeningly quiet for once, her emotions remaining far and distant as she tired to convince herself that this is the way things were supposed to be. Demons, even half-ones, didn't have perfect endings. She should be content to find he was back and still her friend period.
The door behind her opened slowly, the dark titan turning slightly to see no one there. Putting her feet down carefully, she glanced around with an air of suspicion when something warm and furry stropped against her ankle.
A glance down revealed the green cat, looking up at her expectantly. Her eyes softened for a moment, and she almost reached out to him when it hit her. Turning away sharply, she set her face back in its neutral expression and buried her emotions deep inside.
"What do you want, Beastboy?" Her voice was flat, but it lacked its usual cold nature.
"Uh…" Morphing into his normal form, he sat on the floor with a sheepish look. "I…wanted to thank you?"
She turned slightly, a glimmer of curiosity coming from the depths of her eyes. "For what?"
"Cyborg said you did a pretty good job taking care of me," he explained carefully, dusting himself off as he rose to his feet. It still surprised him, looking down at her rather than up after all those years of being the shortest on the team. "So…thanks."
She nodded curtly, briefly wondering if he had told the others about where he'd woken up before forcing herself to dismiss it as irrelevant. "Just…doing my job. It's good that you're back." ::Otherwise I might have lost my resolve.:: "Though I should probably be the one thanking you, for saving me."
"I don't even remember it, so I'm not sure it counts," he admitted with a chuckle.
"Even unrealized acts of kindness have their worth," she said softly, glancing out over the sea.
"You missed me, didn't you?" His poking comment was given with a confident smile in place as he sidled up closer before she could escape. Starfire had managed to corner Robin into a date with space and proximity. Maybe he could do the same.
"What I miss is the pleasant peace I had with your tongue silenced," she snapped back, suddenly growing rather desperate for a way out where he wouldn't try and follow her. If she flew, he would just trail her to make sure she was alright, and if she teleported away he could probably guess within a few tries where she had teleported to. Damn him for knowing her so well! "You could stand to learn a few things from a cat."
"Really? Like…how to give licks instead of kisses or nuzzle the undersides of people's chins with my head?" His smile grew as his eyes held hers innocently. "So…you liked me better as a cat?"
"I didn't say that," she instantly grumped, turning her head so her hair would hide her faint blush. How could he…?
"Well, if that's true, then what did you miss while I was a cat?"
She glared at him out of the corner of her eye. "You're being ridiculous."
He just smiled and inched closer. "You're dodging my question."
She reached for her hood only to have him stop her gently, immediately removing his hands from her person but the effect being the same.
"Don't put it up, I can't see your eyes when it's like that," he ordered so firmly that she obeyed nearly.
"What, ordering me around now?" She sneered at him, hands still hovering at the edge of her hood. "Who died and made you king?"
He shook his head, ignoring her words though they hurt. It was reflex for her, one that wasn't about to throw him off now. "You only put your hood up like that when you have something to hide."
"I'm not hiding anything," she huffed firmly.
"Then don't put it up."
He met her gaze evenly, nothing her lack of true anger and the hint of panic behind her blustering frustration. She left the hood down almost defiantly, but refused to meet his eyes head on afterwards. About to push her farther, she suddenly spun on her heel and stalked towards the door.
"I'm going to my room."
He caught her wrist, surprised when she yanked away forcefully and looked back with a cold glare. "Don't touch me." The venom practically dripped from her words, but he hear the false ring behind them.
So he smiled, and replied "You let me when I was a cat."
Her eyes widened a hairs breadth, before she narrowed them dangerously. "You were an animal Beastboy that was different. You didn't know any better, or understand."
"No, an animal knows when it's not wanted, they avoid danger," he argued logically, nothing the way flashed of emotion were coming across her face and nothing was exploding. That was strange. "So either my sense were completely out of whack or,-"
"How do you know it wasn't you?" she asked abruptly, her voice unusually high. "You weren't completely gone; otherwise we couldn't have gotten you back."
"What if it was?" he challenged back. "Would that be so bad, Rae?"
"Raven. And I don't know what you're talking about."
"I think you do."
She glared at him again, but it was quickly losing its power. "Well, you thought wrong."
Beastboy shook his head. "You're hiding something and you're mad at yourself."
She sniffed. "Reading my mind now, are we?
He gave a calm shrug, refusing to let her get a rise out of him. "No, just your actions. When you're actually mad at me you go cold, numb…all locked up inside."
"Then who am I mad at?" she growled, eyes starting to glow slightly. "Who is it who's irritating the hell out of me?"
He crossed his arms, jutting his chin out stubbornly. "Like I said before, you."
She shot up into the sky, snatching him from the ground in a giant black claw and holding his face even with hers as her powers made her hair and cape billow as though in a stiff wind. The air practically rippled as she held him there with the amount of energy her powers released.
Her voice was a hot hiss, forced through clenched teeth and rigid lips. "You should fear me…"
He met her eyes, unafraid though the violet pupils and white edges were hidden from view with the darkness that surrounded her. She could sense no fear in him as he shook his head slowly. "Never. You won't hurt me. You can bluster and bluff all you want, Raven, with glowing eyes and raging winds…but I'll never fear you. You couldn't hurt me, because you care too much."
She tightened her grip on him ever so slightly. "Are you willing to bet your life on that?"
He nodded once, gaze never wavering as he radiated a confidence that made her want to kill and kiss him at the same time. "Absolutely."
Her teeth ground together as she glared at him, nails digging into her palms they were clenched so hard as everything inside of her began to build. She willed herself to squeeze him harder as the lights on the roof below shattered and the metal railing bent back on itself, to prove him wrong, to shatter that damned confidence of his…and found he was right, she couldn't.
Lowering them both to the roof, her shoulders sagged tiredly as they touched the surface. "Fine, whatever. You win, alright? I am hiding something, and I am angry with myself. Now leave me alone."
Without a backwards glance, she made it all the way to the door when she was grabbed from behind, the force of the grasp nearly sending the pair pitching onto their faces. Beastboy buried his head in the crook of her neck and shoulder, holding on for dear life as his legs caught them from falling.
"No! I don't want to win, not if it means letting you walk away again."
"Let me go," she whispered, stiff and still in his arms as he refused to obey, somehow sensing that she had lost the will to continue their confrontation from before. "Please…Garfield…"
"No. You're not getting away from me again." He loosened his grasp slightly when she straightened herself, letting his arms shift as she turned around to face him with blood shot eyes. Still, he didn't let go.
::I'm not going to cry::
Her eyes began to prick slightly, her nose giving an irritated tingle.
::I'm not going to cry!::
They began to burn, forcing her to blink rapidly as she searched his eyes for some unknown clue.
::Damnit, no! I'm not going to-::
A single wet bead coursed down a pale cheek, but that was all the green Titan needed to see before he cradled her close, bringing the rest of her tears in a silent rush. At first she just leaned into him, but slowly as one hand stroked her hair and the other rubbed her back in slow circles her own limbs crept up his sides to eventually clasp tightly around his chest with her head buried in his shoulder. The tears seemed to go on forever, but he patiently waited until she pulled back slightly, mumbling an apology about getting his uniform wet as he loosed his grip but still refused to completely let go.
"Is it so bad? Wanting to be with you?" he asked gently when she refused to look up but her forehead still resting on his shoulder.
"Demons aren't supposed to get happy endings," she whispered back, giving her head a slightly shake. "I don't deserve this…"
"You're right, evil demons that destroy things and try to take over our world don't deserve happy endings," he replied in a matter-of-fact way that gave her a cold feeling in the pit of her stomach. Did he mean…? "But people, heroes who risk their lives each day for the good of others, they deserve every scrap of light and happiness they can find in a dark and unfair world where bad things happen to good people and criminals are rewarded for their actions if no one stands against them. You are one of those heroes, Raven, so you deserve everything I could possibly give you and so much more. If anything, I'm surprised you'd be willing to settle for someone like me."
"I'm not settling for anything," she snorted softly, closing her eyes with a small smile when he began to run his fingers through her hair. "You're brave and sweet and kind…" Her words trailed off when she realized something, again backing away slightly. "I still haven't agreed to this."
"I'll beg if that's what it takes," he told her simply as he let go with one hand and tilted her chin up so she was finally looking him in the eyes. "We have something here, Raven, and though I'll be honest I don't quite know what it is yet. It's more than a crush, deeper than friendship, truer than just plain attraction…there's no one else who's ever made me feel this way."
"You make me feel the same way," she admitted shyly. "I just…what if…?"
"You can 'what if' it to death, and never make a choice, or you can trust me and try." He lowered his head 'til their lips were nearly touching, eyes pleading for something from her, a sign. She felt that broken place inside her mend as she finally gave in, and she never knew surrender could be so sweet as she closed the distance between their lips.
The kiss was simple, almost chaste, before they pulled back with similarly flushed faces. Hearts drummed inside chests, and butterflies were doing flutters and flips in unison as they stay there for a moment. She vaguely noticed that her emotions were quiet, but in a content and satisfied way rather than being withdrawn and buried.
::You have accepted, so we are happy to leave you alone:: Wisdom stated quietly, and she had the feeling it would be the last time she would hear from them for awhile.
"Is that a yes?" Beastboy asked in a voice that cracked slightly, leaning his forehead against hers after a few seconds wait. "I notice nothing blew up. You've been holding back on us…"
She smiled a small smile. "Yes, and yes…and, well…I had my reasons…"
"Well, that changes starting today." Placing a small peck on her nose, he whispered, "I won't promise you that life will be perfect, that's silly. But I do promise to be everything I can be for you, always."
Raven's smile was brilliant as she pulled him into a close hug, whispering back, "You already are."
"Say," he asked after a few minutes, a rather conniving look in his eyes as he pulled back a bit. "You wouldn't have any ideas on how to tell the others, would you? About us, I mean."
She thought about it, nearly dismissing it as unimportant when her lips curved upwards ever so slightly. "Actually, I do have one…"
Any Titan entering the common room would have seen a familiar sight, Raven curled up on the end couch with a heavy book balanced on the armrest. Tea beside her elbow and cape tactfully placed to shield most of her body from view, it was a most ordinary sight indeed. Cyborg, however, was the first to notice the difference. He did a double take when he spotted the green, furry creature curled up in her lap. She dared him to comment when their gazes met, but he just gave them a thumb's up and left with a pleased smile on his face.
Starfire, of course, immediately noticed the odd exchange between the two as she and Robin were at the kitchen table having lunch together. Popping up from her seat, she gave Raven and blinding smile and a quick hug with a care not to disturb the cat in her lap. Her friend gave her a slight smile in return, but the alien could practically see the soft glow that radiated from the peaceful pair. By this time, Robin's interest was peeked, but his reaction was rather different from the other two, which was exactly what the pair had hoped for.
There was a double take, then he rubbed his eyes through the black mask to be sure they were working correctly before he did a double take again.
"Raven?" he asked carefully when all tests confirmed that his eyes were seeing what he thought he was seeing. "Is that…?"
"Beastboy?" she finished for him in a familiar monotone as she flipped another page in her book. "Yes, it is."
"Oh, ok." Pausing for a moment, he nearly let it go when he remembered Beastboy was back to normal. "Why?"
She didn't bother to look up. "Why what?"
He motioned impatiently. "Why is he there?"
This garnered an inquiring glance. "There?"
His face turned an interesting shade of red. "Raven!"
She looked up completely now, pushing the book slightly aside. "What?"
He pointed, at the green lump of fur. "Your lap, Raven, why is he in your lap?"
"Oh." She glanced down, as though she had forgotten about her companion's placement, before going back to her book. "He asked nicely."
"Oh…" He turned, as if to leave, before whirling back with a look of confusion. "Wait, he what?" Starfire came to his rescue before Raven could mess with him anymore, asking if he wanted to take another walk with her as beautiful as it was outside. He agreed immediately, letting her take his arm and though he thought he heard a snort of laughter from the couch he dismissed it as unimportant as he led the lovely Starfire out for their walk.
"You are wonderfully evil," Beastboy informed her with a smile as he transformed into his usual self, her hand sill running through his hair gently. It did feel like his fur, soft and wonderful around her fingertips. With as much as he was enjoying the attention, she doubted he would mind it becoming one of her new favorite pastimes.
"Yes, but you wouldn't like me if I wasn't," she replied simply.
"Darn right, it's sexy!" She gave him a semi-withering look. "Just kidding! Although you are a pretty attractive lady, let me tell you. Especially in that white tank top."
She flushed, but refrained from glaring at him. "And you're a shameless flatterer."
He chuckled as he ran a hand over her red cheek. "Yeah, but you know you like it."
"Ha! See? You do, you do, lack of denial!"
"Oh, shut it."
He grinned up at her, getting a small smile in return that made his insides melt. Giving into a chuckle at the idea that for once a meeting with Adonis had done more good that harm (the whole original Beast thing was not something he cared to recall) he watched as she took a small sip of tea.
She glanced over when she felt his gaze. "What?"
"You need to have your eyes checked."
"Nu-uh! I got 10/20 vision, that that's when I'm not in animal form, so my eyes are just fine, thank you kindly."
"Really? Because I could have sworn you just said I was beautiful."
"Not from where I'm sitting."
"That's your opinion."
"Then I have a new goal." She looked at him as he cleared his throat dramatically, standing up suddenly. "I shall now start on a journey to convince Raven she is the most beautiful, ever!"
"You'll need all of eternity to get that one to happen," she snorted, still flattered and pleased at the same time.
"Then I'd better get started." He flopped back down. "You're beautiful, so beautiful, the most beautiful ever. In fact, you're so beautiful, the flowers and the birds all bask in your splendor and the sun is forced to shield itself from your shinning beauty. At times the…"
Raven just smiled as he droned on, her fingers still running through his hair. It was a little strange, and definitely not what she had expected, but she liked it. A lot. Maybe he was right, maybe a half-demon and a green mutant could have a happy ending. Together.
Fini. No epilogue to this one, guys, it doesn't really need it. I hope you enjoyed this entertaining little venture as I have. Here are the Authors Notes and review replies. Again, thanks for your many wonderful comments; they were all very much appreciated.
Darkness is Bright : Congratulations on the first review for the last chapter. I hope this means your heart will not break, as that would be very sad. And this is a happy story. :) Thanks for the review!
Beautifulpurpleflame : Thanks for the review, and for the fact that you've followed it every single chapter of the way!
AureliusXsoul : Thanks for the review, the chapters ranged from 15-22 pages long, and I especially liked her kissing the cat too. It was so sweet!
Zaknafain : Thanks for the review!
LOGEN : I have given you more. Thanks for the review!
addicted2danny : Throw me in a dongon? What the heck is that? Oh well, no need to throw me there now because the story is finished. Thanks for the review!
Steve-Racer : Well, people don't compliment Beastboy for his brains, its usually for his courage. Thanks for the review, and cats are cool. I like them a lot. Thanks for the review!
Mothman X : Thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope you enjoyed the end, and your questions were sufficiently answered. Thanks for the review!
Baronfly : Sorry it wasn't within two days, but it is less than a week (I think!). I hope you enjoyed the end, thanks for the review. Oh, and thanks for the recommendation, it means a lot to think its worth being read by others.
Scribe of Aurora : This was a pretty quick update, and I hope you were satisfied. Thanks for the review!
Nonengel : Thank you for the very high praise, it was greatly appreciated, and the review.
Blackest Unicorn : I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I always appreciate it when people recommend my stories. Thanks for the review!
Fallen Dragonfly : Great quote! Love the review, thanks!
Pimpofthetitans : Yes, we have indeed reached the end. Thanks for the review!
Sassy08 : Thanks for the review, much appreciated!
El Queso de Malicioso : I still love your name, and thank you times a million! Your many kind words have been very uplifting, and the long reviews are always a joy to read. I hope you still find this story worthy of your admiration with its conclusion.
WillTheWatcher : Glad you liked it, and the people watchers are the best kind so congratulations there. Thanks for the kind review!
Agent of the Divine One : And now you know, my friend, and now you know. Thanks for the review!
Coeus : Thanks for the review, it was very kind and informative. A+ on the reviewer scales!