Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. Never have, almost certainly never will.
AN: Another Raven/BB-centric one shot. Beast Boy talks with someone about the aromas in the Tower. And it's fluff.
As the day slipped out and away from coast, the sun fell slowly to the ocean. It's light caught and illuminated the thin streaks of clouds that lingered over the city. The sky and sea were lit in a brilliant palette of deep oranges and syrupy reds, as though the sun was spending its dying moment painting its final masterpiece for the citizens of Jump City and the five young people who dedicated their lives to protecting the innocent. The brilliant white walls of the tower which those protectors called home gleamed in the last of the day's light.
The base of that tower was set firmly on a small island, a beach of sugary sand on one side, rocks and boulders laying haphazardly on the other. And sitting on one of those rocks was a relatively lithe figure of green and purple and black.
Beast Boy was perched on one of his favorite rocks on the whole of the island, his eyes closed as he faced the sun, the final rays of the day warming his skin and dancing across his eyelids. He swung his legs slightly under him as he sat on the still warm boulder. This was one of his favorite times of year, the lazy transition from spring to summer. The days were still growing longer and warmer, but no so hot that he felt like hiding in the cool of the tower. This was the time of year when he was constantly going out to swim or walk in the park, lay in the grass or climb a tree. As such, no one would think it was unusual for him to be out basking in the light.
Truth be told, none of his friends thought anything of Beast Boy's penchant for sitting on his boulder as the sun slipped out of sight. Nor did they ever comment on it to one another. It was a habit Beast Boy had adopted since shortly after the tower had been built, much like Raven's famed retreats to her room, but with less fanfare. Beast Boy would slip out of the tower for the last half hour of light almost every evening, violent weather seemingly the only thing that would prevent his sojourn outside.
This evening was so like all the ones before it, but with one very tiny, utterly gargantuan difference. One of the other Titans had finally become aware of their nagging curiosity about Beast Boy's trips outside. For too long had Beast Boy's evening retreats gone uninvestigated by his fellow Titans. And that curious Titan had elected to indulge their need for answers.
As the interloper quietly walked across the island, approaching Beast Boy's vantage point, the green skinned hero tipped his head slightly and turned towards the newcomer. "Hey. What's up?" Beast Boy asked his visitor.
The other Titan paused when it became obvious that they had been discovered. "How did you know I was here?"
"Simple," Beast Boy said. "I could smell you as soon as you left the Tower, Raven." Beast Boy turned back to the sea and sun as the dark cloaked Teen Titan approached him.
Raven crossed the final expanse of pea gravel, letting her feet make small noises now that she knew he had been discovered. After a brief but thoughtful look at the rocks near Beast Boy, the dark Titan levitated herself up onto a flattened piece of rough basalt across from her teammate. Settling down, she pulled her cloak around her, only her head exposed to the rich colors of sunset.
For a few minutes the two sat in silence, Beast Boy on his rock gazing out across the bay, Raven contemplating the almost empty expression on Beast Boy's face, searching for meaning in the small movement of muscles under the green teen's face.
As the last golden sliver of sun dipped below the horizon and the sky began to darken to a rich, velvety purple, Beast Boy spoke. "So why'd you come down, Raven?" Beast Boy turned and looked at his friend in the purple twilight, Raven's lavender hair blowing slightly in the gentle breeze from the sea.
Raven's curiosity had driven her to the beach to discover what it was her friend had been doing down on the shore nearly every night for the past several years. However, the youthful woman's plan had not counted on Beast Boy's heightened sense of smell forcing a direct conversation. She had merely planned to observe and slip away quietly. Rather than confessing to her curiosity about the changeling's nightly activity, Raven sought to distract Beast Boy. "How'd you smell me, Beast Boy? You don't usually seem to be that… sensitive."
Beast Boy fidgeted a little. "Dude!" he began, his mind trying to string words together in a way that made sense without becoming accidentally offensive. "How could I not smell you? I mean, I come down here to smell the evening… Clear my nose… I kinda notice when something different pops up."
Raven raised her brow as her hands instinctively reached for her cloak's hood, surprised by Beast Boy's answer. "Beast Boy…" she began, wondering how foul she must smell to him.
The green changeling's eyes widened as he realized how his words must have sounded, Raven's hands on her hood an indication that he had once again hurt her feelings. "No, wait, Raven! Let me rephrase that!" Beast Boy cried out, holding a hand up to stave off the expected raising of Raven's hood. "That came out all wrong!"
Raven's hands defensively stayed on her edges of her hood, but she didn't slip it up over her head. "Well?" she asked dryly.
"Look, Raven, um…" Beast Boy began, his mind running through a dozen different ways of saying what he wanted to, and discarding each of them in turn. After a moment, Beast Boy decided to plow on as best he could. "It's my animal senses, Raven. Everyone in the Tower has a distinct scent. You don't smell bad. It just… All of the smells in the Tower gets to be too much. So I come down here to clear my nose each night – you just came out while I was paying attention to what I was smelling…" As he finished, Beast Boy looked hopefully at Raven, wondering if he had managed to sound less like a jerk.
Slowly lowering her hands from her hood, Raven asked, "You come out here to clear your nose?" She furrowed her brows slightly as she tried to reconcile Beast Boy's statement about his sense of smell and the fact that it had not been possible to see more than three square feet of carpet in her teammate's room for over a year. "But your room…" Raven let her voice trail off, knowing that if any of her teammates would hear the question, Beast Boy would.
"Well yea… My room is a mess," Beast Boy confessed. "But have you ever, and think really hard about this, have you ever noticed any funky aromas coming out of it?"
Raven tipped her head slightly to the left as she considered Beast Boy's question. It was a habit that she was not aware of, and would be horribly embarrassed if one of her teammates noticed and mentioned it. Fortunately for her, only two of the other Titans had noticed. Robin didn't think it was worth mentioning. And Beast Boy didn't want her to stop doing it. "Well," Raven began, "I can't say I have noticed a smell from your room… Just when you and Cyborg decide to play 'Full Tower Stank-ball'."
Beast boy smiled a little. "That's because my room is a disaster area of papers and boxes I need to throw out and clothes I need to put away, Raven. I notice anything that's going funky in my room long before the rest of you would. And then it goes in the trash or to the wash. And the Stank-balls? We make those out of Robin's work-out clothes."
As she listened to Beast Boy, Raven realized that her efforts to distract Beast Boy had succeeded in revealing part of why he came down to the shore in the evenings. But his answer didn't fill her curiosity. It was true that Raven had often wondered about Beast Boy's powers. In fact, she had done that about all her teammates. However, she had never really considered what it would be like if he had heightened senses all the time, not just when he was in an animal form.
"So," Raven asked, "What in the tower gets to be so bad that you have to come out here?"
Sighing softly, Beast Boy turned to Raven. "Out here, like the scents are all... Diluted. Normal. Inside the Tower, or any building really, everything just builds up. And ya know? We don't exactly live with the least aromatic people." As Beast Boy spoke, he indulged his nervous habit and began scratching the back of his head. "I mean, we've got Starfire who's always trying the new perfume from the mall. And that wouldn't be so bad, but I don't think she's figured out how to use the mister yet… Or she bathes in it."
Smirking a little, Raven spoke, "I talked to Starfire about that. Told her it would be far too expensive."
"Dude, seriously?" Beast Boy asked. After Raven nodded, Beast Boy shook his head. "That just ain't right. Anyway. I also have to smell Cyborg, the walking auto-shop all day. Do you have any idea how bad all those lubricants he uses smell?"
"Well he is mostly…" Raven began, before being cut off by Beast Boy, who was now into one of his more typical rants.
"And Robin? He's as bad as Starfire. I'm telling you Raven, Robin works out too much, and needs to give up the cologne that he uses." As Beast Boy spoke, he slipped off his boulder, his voice rising in annoyance. "Eu de Cheap Bar is not a good smell on him!"
Finished with his rant, he looked at Raven and saw that she was simply staring at him. "Oh. Um. Sorry about that Rae. I didn't mean to yell at you."
Shocked by Beast Boy's outburst, Raven didn't even notice his use of her forbidden nickname. Instead, all she could do was ask, "And what about me?"
Beast Boy brushed his hair back, and looked through the darkness at his friend. "Raven," he said, "Of all of us, you are the only one that I never actually want to escape the smell of. I mean…" Beast Boy's voice dropped slowly to a whisper that Raven could barely hear. "The others just smell so strongly. Your smell is subtle. Faint. Just you and a little hint of vanilla…"
Raven blinked. This conversation with her green friend was not going the way she had envisioned it. Somewhere along the way, she had lost control of the situation. And she was amazed that Beast Boy had noticed the vanilla fragrance she wore. During the Titan's first month together, Starfire had drug Raven to the mall, and insisted on buying Raven a "fragrance of the perfume". Not being one for the overly flowery smells most perfumes had, Raven had found something that she thought would be tolerable, and wouldn't hurt Starfire's feelings. Labeled "Simply Vanilla", it had been a very mild scent, and didn't make Raven's eyes tear up. Over time, Raven discovered that she actually liked that vanilla perfume. Now, every morning after her shower, she misted the air in front of her with it and walked through the cloud of vanilla droplets.
"It's just plain vanilla," Raven said. "Like me," she whispered, so softly that anyone other than Beast Boy would have lost it to the sounds of the waves.
"Raven," Beast Boy said quietly, "there is nothing plain about vanilla. It's perhaps the single most exotic thing on the face of this world. It's the only orchid that produces something edible to people. It's a deep, complex flavor that fills a supporting role when asked, but is strong enough to stand on its own. Sometimes it's taken for granted, but life without it would be something I would not want to live. Vanilla suits you, Raven."
Hours later, two friends walked back from the shore under a canopy of stars. Part way up the rocky path one hand sought another, and found warmth.