disclaimer: I don't own teen titans or the song Collide by Howie Day

Even the Stars Refuse to Shine

The night was excruciatingly hot. Actually, hot was too mild a word to describe it. Summer had taken a turn for the worse that year. During daytime, the sun seemed to want to punish everybody from all the sins they've committed and at night, the moon took what heat the sun gave to the brink. Everywhere in Jump City, people lay sweating in their beds finding reprieve from the intense heat only in their dreams.

Lying in his own bed, a green skinned eighteen year old boy lay awake, staring straight ahead, trying to count the little dots on the textured ceiling. This isn't working. The thought crossed his mind every thirty seconds or so, distracting him from his task at hand. Giving up, he sat up and ran his hand through his hair. Of all the times for the aircondtioner to break down…

Cyborg had informed the team that it wouldn't be fixed until next week. They hadn't taken the news very well, and in retaliation, Cyborg was taking his sweet time fixing it.

Maybe a glass of cold milk will help, he thought in desperation. Swinging his feet off the bed, he waded through the junk that littered his bedroom floor. He briefly wondered if he should put on proper clothes instead of the pair of boxers he wore and decided against it. After all, who would still be awake this time of night? They were all trying to get some rest while they still could. The humid air seemed to make even the villains not want to move, but the Titans knew from experience that soon, they would get restless and all hell would break loose if they weren't careful.

The kitchen tiles offered little relief to Beast Boy's bare feet as he padded to the refrigerator. Taking out the carton of soy milk, he poured some into a glass halfway full and touched the glass to his face. Ahh… he sighed closing his eyes as the temporary coolness hit his skin.

/The dawn is breaking/

Raven flipped a page in the giant tome she was reading and reached for the mug on her bedside table, touching the rim to her lips. Eyes still on the page, it took her a while to realize that it was empty save for tea leaves. She sighed and got up, grabbing the pair of shorts lying on her bed. Looking at the clock, she was surprised to find that it was 2:36. She had only meant to read for an hour after she had gone up to her room at nine. "Time sure flies." she muttered under her breath. Walking over to the kitchen, she saw the unmistakable light of the refrigerator. Somebody's up late…

/A light shining through/

Beast Boy's eyes snapped open, his oversensitive ears picking up footsteps. So someone's awake after all. Raven appeared at the doorway wearing a lavender tank top and a pair of black shorts. In the near darkness, she looked otherworldly, like a goddess, her pale skin glowing in the dim light of the refrigerator. Still, in any light he thought she looked beautiful. He watched her hand reach up to her mouth to stifle a yawn.

"Hey."

/You're barely waking/

/And I'm tangled up in you/

"Hi" she answered, wishing he would go away. He was only wearing boxers and it was fairly distracting. A blush graced her pale cheeks and she knew that in a proper light, he would notice.

She'd developed a crush for him over the last two years. Before her father tried to destroy the world, she hid her feelings, even from herself. After, she'd accepted them as a mere attraction, something she couldn't ignore, but something she'd never act upon and therefore would soon go away. As for the time in between, she didn't even know. Now a year after, she felt something stronger than before. She wasn't aware of what it was, but strangely, she found that it didn't bother her as much and so she left it alone. She was of course, still wary, for the feeling was new to her but she let her hold on it weaken just a bit. She could control her powers now, but she was afraid something new would trigger them to go haywire.

/I'm open, you're closed/

/Where I follow you'll go/

"What're you doing up so late?" he asked interrupting her thoughts. He had asked her quietly as if the slightest noise would wake the entire tower up and destroy the moment they had alone inside the kitchen. His tone irritated her for some reason and she fought to keep her voice normal. "I was reading and didn't notice the time. I ran out of tea too."

He quirked an eyebrow. "Isn't it a little warm for tea?" She shrugged, fumbling for the water dispenser in the darkness. "It calms me."

He flicked the light switch on for her. God, she's beautiful. He wondered if she knew that. She'd started smiling occasionally this year, showing a bit more feeling to her otherwise expressionless face, and he knew why. She could control her powers now that her father was gone. And yet, she refused to laugh, to cry, to scream, to show anything strong enough to resemble even a hint of life behind that smile.

Her smile. That was another problem. Whenever she graced the world with her beautiful smile, it was never directed to him. To their teammates of course, even to the occasional baby, a stranger perhaps, to the most random things.

But never to him.

/I worry I won't see your face/

/Light up again/

She put her mug in the microwave, turned around, and bumped into a solid green wall. More shocked over his nearness than the realization that he was well built and a lot taller than her, she backed away. When her foot lightly touched the bottom of the counter not two feet away, she knew she was trapped. "Excuse me." she said in the most monotone voice she could muster up.

He didn't move. Instead, he stared straight at her, his bright green eyes so intense that her knees almost quivered. Thankfully, they didn't, but still, she couldn't deny the fact that her knees almost quivered and her heart was galloping like mad. Damn. Get a hold of yourself Raven! It's just Beast Boy. You've sat on the couch a whole lot closer to him than this!

His lips curved into a small smile. "Nice to see you in lighter colors for once." She looked down at what she was wearing than back at him. His eyes were twinkling just the slightest bit and she knew he was teasing her. "It's Starfire's. I would have worn my own, but black absorbs heat."

"Oh." He smiled cheerily despite his lame answer, staring into her amethyst eyes. He could get lost in those eyes, and he always did, from the minute he first saw her. It was his one weakness, and he loved her for it. I love her. The realization pierced through him like an icy blade. Then, as suddenly as the thought had struck him, he had the strongest urge to kiss her. He leaned closer, ever so slightly and—

"What?" she asked sharply, cocking an eyebrow. He jerked back, his face reddening, cursing himself for his stupidity. As if she doesn't hate you already! You'd've messed it up even worse if you'd kissed her! Still, he couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if he had. What would have happened if he had closed what little space they had between them with a kiss?

/Even the best fall down sometimes/

/Even the wrong words seem to rhyme/

He'd wanted to kiss her, she knew. And the strange part was, she'd wanted him to kiss her. Wanted his lips to touch hers, wanted to be close to him, close enough for him to whisper in her ear that he loved her. Close enough for her to whisper back, I love you too. But that isn't right. The thing that she felt wasn't love. It was only a crush. Only a crush. Wasn't it?

/Out of the doubt that fills my mind/

/I somehow find/

/You and I collide/

"Nothing." He answered abruptly and backed up to lean on the refrigerator, his green eyes darkening, brooding, as he drank his milk. The thought echoed in his mind. What if?

He looked up at her, her back to him, seemingly concentrated on the mug slowly turning inside the microwave.

What if? He moved closer, quietly setting his mug on the counter, mildly wondering if he had gone insane.

….What if? He put his arms around her slender waist and she turned around to face him. Then slowly, cautiously, he lowered his lips to touch hers.

What if..?

/I'm quiet you know/

/You make the first impression/

Raven stiffened from the shock, not knowing what to do. Then, little by little, she relaxed under his lips, her hands drifting up his chest to his shoulders, more for support than anything. And as slowly and cautiously as he kissed her, she kissed him back, long, hard and sweet. One of his hands left her hips to run through her hair as he ended the kiss. Both of them out of breath and gazing into each others eyes, both of them afraid to move, afraid to break the magic of the moment.

Finally, Raven spoke up. "Well. That was… unexpected." She was still clutching to Beast Boy for support, trying recovering from the dizzying effect of the kiss. Her jumbled thoughts didn't help much either. She had about a hundred questions to ask him, but when she opened her mouth, not a sound came out. It was as if the flood of words in her head had met a dam somewhere along the way to her mouth. What the hell just happened? Why did you kiss me? Do you have feelings for me? If you do, why did you wait this long to reveal them? do you know how long I've waited for you? If you don't, was that just some weirdo experiment you decided to conduct? Is this some sick joke of yours…?

She doesn't feel the same way, he realized, letting go of her. He cast his eyes downward, unable to meet her gaze. "I'm sorry," he mumbled.

His words shocked her into speaking, but the words that came out of her mouth weren't the questions she had meant to ask. "Why should you be?"

He took a deep breath and let it out. Should he tell her? Should he tell her the things he'd been wanting to say for the longest time?

Now or never… "Rae, I know this sounds really pathetic, but I've had a crush on you for the longest time." he started hesitantly. "At first I thought it was just because you were pretty. I wanted so bad for you to notice me. I thought that it wouldn't be so hard, but you were the only person who didn't laugh at my jokes, the only person who ignored me. I wasn't used to it I guess, so I tried even harder to get your attention. You don't know how much it meant to me when you'd actually talk to me, whether it was in your usual sarcastic tone or to argue with me, revealing your impatience.

"Then, your seventeenth birthday came along and you were more distant than usual. When I heard your story, I was so worried about you. You sounded so hurt, so broken, and you tried to be so brave that I could see that you were terrified. I wanted to take you in my arms and tell you that everything was going to be okay. But I knew that you'd reject me, so I watched you fight it out. You weren't alone though. You had us. You had Robin. I knew that he would help you and he did, but it hurt so much Raven, to see you run into his arms after you'd defeated Trigon. I know that I acted as though nothing had happened, but inside, I was hurting. I was jealous. That was when I knew Rae. I knew that whatever I felt for you wasn't just a crush.

"Look, I know I'm being stupid, and I haven't got a chance. But… I just wanted you to know how I feel about you." He chuckled sadly. "Every night I try so hard to fall asleep, just so I can hold you in my arms. But only in my dreams." He smiled ruefully.

/I find I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind/

He didn't know where the words had come from, but once he'd started, he couldn't stop. Maybe it was the heat that had gone to his brain, maybe it was something else. All he knew was that every single thing he said was true. It was almost a relief to say those words, to spill his heart out at Raven's feet. It was dangerous, he knew, but at least he had tried.

It isn't a joke... it isn't a dream! It's real! This is real. He has feelings for me. Feelings even deeper than I'd have imagined… Then, out of relief, out of joy, Raven started laughing. I am so happy. So happy. Tears of joy started streaming down her cheeks.

/Even the best fall down sometimes/

She was laughing. At him. He was stunned. He'd waited so long for her laughter. And now that she was laughing, she wasn't laughing with him. She wasn't laughing with someone else. She was laughing at him. He hung his head in sorrow and started walking away. "I'm sorry."

/Even the stars refuse to shine/

She sobered immediately seeing him go. "No, wait," she cried, one hand reaching out to him. "Don't leave."

He stopped, his back rigid. "I… I didn't mean it like that. I just…" She stopped, not knowing what to tell him. She was ecstatic. Not a feeling she'd felt a lot. And it was all because of him. All because of him… she sighed. Ah, what the hell... "I'm happy. Beast Boy, I'm happy. Because… Well, I have feelings for you too. For the last two years, actually." She smiled tentatively, nervously. She'd never revealed her feelings before, to anyone, about anything. It wasn't just to be able to control her powers, but to protect herself from all the people who had tried to hurt her, to take advantage of her.

/Out of the back you fall in time/

"Raven…" He turned slowly to look at her. She looked so vulnerable, so small, and afraid of what he might say. Her eyes were so big and round, revealing how innocent she really was; as if her revelation had stripped her of the shield she usually wore.

She'd said she had feelings for him. He knew that that was all he was going to get from her, but he wanted more. He wanted to know how much she felt. He wanted to know if she felt the same way.

"I love you."

/I somehow find/

/You and I collide/

Raven stood there, stunned, her mouth agape. She loved him as a friend, albeit she wanted them to be more than friends with him. But… Do I love him?

/Don't stop here/

Is that what this feeling is? Love? She looked at him and hesitated. He stood there, his heart exposed to her, unprotected, and he was looking at her as if his life depended on her answer, and she asked herself again. Do I love him?

/I lost my place/

And in her heart, she found the answer. Yes. She loved him. She loved him so much she couldn't bear it. All this time she had so much love to give, but she was afraid of the consequences of giving someone a piece of herself. I love him.

She smiled at him her most beautiful smile yet, so full of affection, of trust, of joy and wonder. And she whispered along with her heart.

"I love you, too."

/I'm close behind/

Their mouths met in a breathtaking kiss, soft and sweet, so full of promise, under the fluorescent lights of the kitchen. Not the most romantic place in the world, but as Raven's lips parted and Beast Boy's tongue met hers, each silently decided that they wouldn't have it any other way.

/Even the best fall down sometimes/

/Even the wrong words seem to rhyme/

/Out of the doubt that fills your mind/

/You finally find/

/You and I collide/

/You finally find/

/You and I collide/

Somewhere in the kitchen, the microwave beeped and exploded, jolting their lips apart. Raven smiled. "Haven't done that in a while."

/You finally find/

/You and I collide/


author's notes:

so... whadja think? huh? huh? huh? tell meee...!!!!! REVIEW!!!!!!! please:D