Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans.
Summary: I'm not good at writing summaries. Anyway, my first fanfic, this story (a little long winded, I must admit) centers around Raven and Beastboy. There might be a few hints of other movie/show concepts.
She entered into the kitchen. It was 8.30am and most of the Titans had already awoken. Raven's violet eyes scanned the room. It was obvious Beastboy wasn't there, for she would have heard Cyborg and him quarrelling over tofu and meat long before she entered a 20 meter radius of the kitchen premises.
Cyborg was whistling away as he fried bacon and eggs. Robin was sitting at the table reading the newspaper and Starfire was attempted to feed Silkie a green glob of goo.
One after another, she returned the cheery "good mornings" of the 3 other titans with her own expressionless greeting.
She started her usual morning routine of making herbal tea.
They all seem okay today, she thought. She didn't have to turn around to see their actions or expressions. She had let down her mental guard slightly and gingerly tested the pools of auras. They were within an acceptable state. She silently sighed in relief.
Having empathic abilities and having to face the other Titans' aura 24/7 was no easy task. During the first few weeks of staying in the newly built T-tower, Raven had trouble dealing with the different auras they displayed. This had resulted in her constant unpredictable mood swings. Nevertheless, over the many months of living together, Raven had gotten used to the feeling of Starfire's suffocating aura of optimism and happiness, Cyborg's strange "half" aura (due to his half human-half robot physique) which sometimes displayed a strange burst in electron activity when he was excited, Robin's strength in maintaining his aura's stability as well as his overwhelming leadership he exuded over the rest, and most of all, Beastboy's hyperactive, bouncing, blinding and deafening aura which never failed to make her cringe and grit her teeth in tolerance.
Looks like I'm retreating into yet another one of my reflective sessions, she thought, as the incessant whistling of the kettle jolted her out of her thoughts. The whistling slowly came to a halt as she turned off the fire on the stove.
She knew all their auras like the back of her palm, so it wasn't surprising when she felt a change in the changeling. At first, it seemed only natural for him to be moody and depressed over Terra's "death". It wasn't exactly death, because Terra had turned to stone. But nevertheless, he still missed her. In fact, all the titans were rather upset over Terra's stone-ness. The dimness of their auras was hard to ignore. Raven even surprised herself when she found herself feeling a little gloomy over Terra's sacrifice. After all, she was the one who had the least trust in the blonde and taken the longest time to accept her. Feeling gloomy wasn't something she'd expected from herself.
Back then, after a couple of weeks, everyone was still rather shaken by the incident. The one who surprised everyone was Beastboy. He was the first to stand up, return to his cheery, normal self and actually slap everyone else back to reality. Time to move on, he said. He was back to good ol' annoying Beastboy – that is, to everyone else other than Raven.
She had to admit, he had been very strong and brave in pulling himself together, and he certainly was a very good actor. Without her ability to sense emotions and auras, Raven probably wouldn't have seen the pain he hid. Nowadays, his aura was extremely weak, so dim to the point that she thought it might die out like a tiny flame on a candle being pounded with breaths and blows of carbon dioxide. His eyes never showed the sincere, genuine Beastboy they all knew.
He obviously wasn't himself. On some late nights, when she went down to the kitchen for some tea, she could hear him weeping in his sleep when she passed by her room. Her room and his room were beside each other on the same level, and his was beside the elevator so she had to inevitable pass by his room in order to get to her desired destination (there were times when she simply did not feel like using her powers). The crying started off on daily basis right after Terra's stoning. Raven couldn't help but feel her heart wrench at the sound of his trembling, almost child-like inner voice. Her sound-proofed walls could not block out the cries of his heart, his soul.
She, of all people, should know how it felt like to be betrayed. She still carried scars of Malchior buried deep in her heart.
She quickly pushed the thoughts of the dragon out of her mind.
After pouring the hot water into her cup, Raven carried her mug using her telekinetic energy and placed it carefully on the breakfast table. She dipped her tea bag in and out of the hot water. In, out, in, out, in, out, swirl around. The clear hot water gradually changed into a warm caramel color. She breathed in its soothing aroma as she resumed her thoughts.
Raven hated to see Beastboy so unhappy. She hated to see anyone unhappy. After all, normal people like him, or anyone else, could express their emotions without having to worry about blowing up the world. Why should they spend their time being all gloomy when they could, instead, run jump and scream without causing unwanted chaos? She made a silent vow she was going to look for some way to cure Terra, to release her from her stone prison and restore happiness among the titans – happiness that only Terra could bring. But right now, something else took precedence – someone. Someone else needed curing, someone who was hurt very badly, and his wound was something that her soul self couldn't reach, let alone her healing glowing blue hands.
She remembered that night…
"Oh well, it's worth a try," she told herself quietly as she stood outside the changeling's door.
His cries, though only whimpering and whining, were loud and clear from where she stood. She knocked on the door, "Beastboy?" she hissed, fairly loudly.
All she heard was more whimpering.
He must be having a hell-of-a nightmare.
"Beastboy!" she said a little louder, her voice sounded slightly annoyed.
That should have been loud enough to wake him…
The whimpering stopped. She heard a gasp, a thud and then a groan.
Yep, he's awake.
Speaking of awake… Raven thought.
Beastboy entered the kitchen.
11am, she thought as she glanced at the clock, right on time. Have I been thinking that long?
He shouted a lazy "good morning" to everyone else and yawned. He had earphones on, obviously pointing out the fact that he was listening to his iPod. As usual, the morning-hater was the last one down.
Beastboy didn't know why he was listening to his iPod. After all, the songs only caused him to feel all "emo" and sad. Each song reminded him of Terra in one way or another. Maybe it was because he wanted to distract himself from Raven. Ever since that night, he had been feeling uncomfortable around her. Yet whenever she wasn't around, he felt empty. Either way, whenever he thought of her, his thoughts would inevitably stumble upon that night.
Seeing him in such a reclusive state under the heavy influence of his music to drown out hidden pain reminded Raven of how difficult it really was to get him to open up.
As her thoughts wandered back, so did his.
"Beastboy, let me in," Raven was rather irritated, but tried not to show it in the way she said it.
"Beastboy, I know you're in there and that you're awake. Now let me in,"
Darn, why is she here, of all people, of all times… he glanced at the clock – 2.09am!
He quietly walked to his door, but he didn't open it. Standing a few feet away from the door that separated him from her, a million thoughts swam through his mind.
He couldn't let her come into his room, not in this condition. No, he didn't give a damn about the rotting vegetarian pizzas under his bed, or the piles of dirty laundry scattered around, or the fact that he was only in a pair of navy boxers with yellow rubber duck prints on them.
He couldn't let him see him – all sweaty, scarlet-eyed, ruby-nosed and emotionally and psychologically unstable. What would she think of him if she saw him like that? He'd never hear the end of it. Broken, rickety, sad, weak – he had to be strong. He was Beastboy, after all. Although inside him, at the back of his head, was a voice that told him he was the weak one who lagged behind, he still told himself that he was the strong one who moved along.
"Just go away Raven," he said in a hateful voice, "I want to be alone." He had said it with so much hate that Raven felt as if she had been stung by a deadly man-of-war.
"No," she said firmly. She could sense his heart crying out silent words of despair anyone could hear. She didn't need her empathic powers to tell that. It was all in the tone, the manner he had said it, the tremble in his voice.
He could see the shadow of her legs from under his door. Beastboy eyed it like an eagle watching its prey. No, he didn't want her to go, not one bit.
"Don't make me hurt you," Beastboy could have punched himself as the words spilled out of his mouth. He clenched his fist so hard that his claws dug into his palm, drawing blood. He hated lying. The truth was, he'd never hurt her, ever. It was in his blood not to harm her in any way possible. Why am I doing this? He asked himself, as he continued standing in the darkness.
"You won't," she said, surprised at how soft and gentle her voice was. Raven knew that he wouldn't hurt her. She had remembered the time when the Beast within him took over most of his thoughts and actions. Even then, Beastboy hadn't even scratched her. On the contrary, he had fought for her to protect her from the maddened, savage and crazed Adonis, also affected by the same dangerous gene modifying chemical.
"Why should you care?" he asked, "You're the one who doesn't care about my jokes, you're the one always making me look like a fool, you're the one who makes me feel bad, you're the one who pushes people away. You're the one who doesn't care about how people feel! You don't care, ever!"
The words cut her heart, but she stood her ground, silently contemplating her next move. She could sense the urgency and hurt in his voice, and she couldn't help but feel chills of guilt running up and down her body.
He's right, I have been kind of a jerk… But it's partially his fault! He made me feel this way… she decided to go back to her room.
No stop it Raven, stop blaming him, he's right. You're the one who's at fault and you're the one who should be helping. You deserve it, you deserve to feel horrible. You're just some demon-spawn...
Then again, he said to leave him alone. You of all people should know the need for solitude. What to do...
She felt chills run along her whole body despite the fact that her nightwear was a long sleeved black gown that swept the floor designed specifically to keep her warm at night. Using her dark powers, she sunk into the floor.
Raven felt somebody tap her shoulder. She jerked out of her thoughts as Robin pointed towards the carton of milk on the table which had turned black. Several utensils hovered around dangerously, also engulfed in black energy. She mumbled an apology and quickly regained control of her powers to prevent the milk from bursting. Then she picked up the newspaper and started browsing through the latest headlines.
Beastboy sat down opposite Raven and pretended to be engrossed in eating and listening to music. Out of the corner of his eye, Beastboy could see Raven's expression. He knew that look. She was deep in thought – and everyone knew better than to disturb her from her trance unless absolutely necessary. As Robin turned to face him, he gave his usual cheesy smile.
He did feel a little mad and jealous when Raven didn't flare up when Robin had distracted her. Then again, it was necessary in case someone got hurt. Why? He asked himself. Why am I getting so worked up about small things like that? Robin is being practical. Gah, calm down Beastboy, calm down…
Beastboy took deep breaths as he maintained his cool. He was mad, he was upset, but he couldn't let her see him cry. He continued eyeing the shadow cast by her feet, which eventually moved away, slowly and hesitantly.
He sighed in relief as tears sprung to his eyes. His mind was in spinning as he crumpled to the floor and choked back tears. Had he been too harsh? Why was he acting that way? Why was he pushing her away when he wanted so badly to be comforted? Just like the way Terra used to comfort him… Terra, Terra, Terra, Terra…
Suddenly, he felt a pair of slender arms wrap around him. He twitched in surprise and shock. As part animal, his body temperature had always been higher than humans and the pair of cold arms was shockingly cold to his skin. Through blurred eyes, he saw the arms were draped in black, loose, long sleeves. The only person it could be was…
"R-Rae…?" he looked up, eyes glistening and bloodshot. His small petite form still curled up on the floor under her arms.
When Raven entered his room, she had seen his pitiful state. Without thinking, she had silently sat down beside his small green body and given him a hug.
"Shh…" She hugged him slightly tighter, "just let it go, Beastboy, cry it out…"
She stroked his tousled green hair and continued to reassure him. Normally, it wasn't like her to do such a thing, but this wasn't a "normal" circumstance. She gently wiped his tear stained face with a cool damp towel which she transported from her room, with him still in her embrace. Somehow, she was thankful that this changeling hadn't reached his growth spurt yet. He was still smaller than her and at least she could still hold him comfortably. Against his hot skin, her cold half-demonic skin burned. She was tempted to recoil from the sudden heat, but she chose to hang on.
"Raven, is everything alright?" Robin asked. He had been observing her most of the morning. Behind his mask, no one could tell whether he was looking at them, or simply deep in thought. It did annoy her at times. "You haven't turned the page for the past half an hour."
"Huh?" She jerked out of her trance, "Yeah, I'm just thinking," she replied, as she continued sipping her tea. Apparently, the newspaper wasn't distracting enough.
"Hey B, you alright?" asked Cyborg. Cyborg was an older brother, and he was second to Raven in determining the well fare of his friends, especially Beastboy. He had noticed Beastboy's rather strange behavior the whole morning, despite his smiles and cheeriness. His expression was that of one that even his high-tech modern cybernetic system could not fully determine.
"Yep, everything's fine!" Beastboy said rather loudly, for he couldn't exactly hear himself. Though he was listening to his iPod Beastboy was actually paying close attention to Raven.
He noticed the way her amethyst eyes were so fixed onto the gray paper, yet so far away. He also liked the way her long purple hair framed her face.
I wonder what she's thinking of… he wondered.
Occasionally, a stubborn strand or two of hair would fall across her face for the umpteenth time. She'd then stare annoyingly at it before blowing it, causing the lock to fly a little before settling back over her eyes. Her eyebrows would knit into a slight frown, as if contemplating which one in a million different ways she should use to get rid of it. Eventually, she would simply push it back behind her ear.
Just like Terra.
Beastboy couldn't hold back any longer. The tears just flowed as memories came flooding back. His journey along memory lane was torturous. The time when Terra stepped into his life, her character, her smile, her laughs, the blissful times they had, they were all moments of unbridled joy. Then came her betrayal, her attempt at murder, her realization, her sacrifice…
All this while, Raven had been walking down the lane with him..
After about an hour, Beastboy calmed down. Raven slowly started to detach her weary body from the changeling.
Beastboy soon regained a clearer train of thought. Once he did, he realized what had been really going on, "Oh my... Raven, I'm so sorry," he pulled away immediately, afraid that he might have gotten too close and invaded her personal space.
Raven merely kept quiet and slowly stood up. Her legs were already numb and cramped due to the weird sitting positions she and Beastboy got into while on the floor, "It doesn't matter," her voice was back its usual impassive tone.
Whew, she's still Raven. He thought. Right now he didn't care about whether she'd dig out his intestines through his belly button and wrapped it around his body. All that mattered now to him was that Raven cared. Even though he couldn't understand why she was so mean sometimes, at least now he knew that… she cared.
Raven walked towards the door, her hood was up.
"Raven?" he asked in a trembling voice.
All the little actions she did which showed she cared flashed before his mind.
From the very first moment, when they fought the aliens who captured Starfire, that battle – he remembered that incident very clearly. Being separated from the Doom Patrol for quite some time had left him out of shape and soft. He felt himself hurl through the air as one of the aliens hit him. He had been too stunned to attack and his back hit the wall with a sickening thud. He thought his life would end there and then when he saw the alien head towards him, ready to pound him into tofu mush. But that moment never came, for she had been there. She protected him. She helped him up.
Then there was the first time they encountered the Hive. The Titans had really taken a beating, and his leg got injured in the fight. It hurt like hell to the point, but after a while he couldn't even tell if it were a hairline fracture or broken bone because the nerves there had been severed and he felt numb. She had helped him all the way back to Titans Tower, and she had cured him. She had expressed genuine concern for him – the green irritating talkative corny grass stain who could never make her laugh.
Raven stopped in her tracks as her mind tensed up. What is it now? I showed him I cared, what more does he want?
She didn't bother to turn around.
"Thank you," she heard him mutter, "for caring"
Her mind relaxed.
"Anytime," she replied.
Raven headed back to her room, bewildered at what she had just done. It was a truthful answer, "anytime", because from that day onwards, Beastboy could indeed thank her even more "for caring". That was merely the first time she had shown her care, and she wasn't going to make it her last.
Like mentioned before, Beastboy's nightmares had been going on for several months already. But gradually, they were getting less and less frequent as Raven's secret night visits increased. Beastboy couldn't think of a possible way to thank Raven.
In a way, this rough period of time for him was a blessing in disguise. He had to endure the nightmares – they couldn't just disappear overnight, but at the same time, his friendship with Raven had bloomed. They had developed a mutual understanding for each other. It was a very strong concoction of friendship with a pinch of love.
Raven had realized this too, and made extra effort to be more tolerant of his behavior and actions. Under her care, his aura strengthened. Deep down inside him, she knew that a part of him still missed Terra. She cared for her teammate, so much that she wanted him to be happy. I will bring Terra back, somehow. She vowed.
"Ow!" Raven winced a little as hot tea splashed onto her lap. The tea should have been cooler, but her mind had sub-consciously heat it up to a scalding hot degree as well as causing her mug to explode under the stress she was creating via her mind.
Beastboy sprang into action with reflexes even faster than Robin's. He grabbed the nearest kitchen cloth and ran to her side. Desperate to rid her of her discomfort somehow, he quickly wiped away the hot liquid with as tenderly as possible, sometimes only barely brushing or dabbing the cloth over her skin, causing Raven to shiver from the tingling, ticklish sensation.
"Beastboy," Raven said. Her voice wasn't fierce or threatening, just… shocked. He realized what he was doing and squeaked a little in fright. Bracing himself for a trip through 5 walls, he started apologizing profusely.
Raven put up her hood to hide a blush that was creeping up her cheeks. Somewhere in the tower a few light bulbs burst. "Thanks," she said, "I'll go clean myself up." With a swish of her cloak, she was gone.
Back in her room, Raven placed her cloak and tea-smelling leotard in the laundry basket, showered, and changed into a fresh leotard. She threw on a new cloak and headed to the roof to meditate.
Beastboy, in the meantime, was still in the kitchen cleaning up after Raven.
"You know, she's the one who made the mess," commented Robin, as he stood up preparing to leave the common room.
"Yeah, I know," Beastboy flashed a cheerful smile, "but hey, all of you know she's been helping me a lot. It's the least I can do."
"Very well," said Robin, as he walked out of the common room.
The titans had recently found out about Beastboy's secret breakdowns. One night, Robin had decided to travel up to the roof for some fresh air, and to get to the roof, he passed by the two titan's bedrooms. As he did, he heard Beastboy's whimpers. Out of curiosity and concern, he entered the room to find Raven sitting on the floor beside Beastboy's lower bunk holding his hand and comforting him while he lay down in his bed. As a team leader, Robin assured him that the rest of the Titans wouldn't make fun of him and still treat him the same. He also convinced him that telling the others about his condition would be a benefit rather than a loss.
To Beastboy's surprise, what Robin said was true. Everyone else had become more understanding, yet they didn't treat him any different from the way they did before. Cyborg still mercilessly kicked his butt at games, Starfire still forced him to eat all her Tamaranean dishes, Silkie still tried to eat his CDs, Robin still treated him the same way he'd treat all the other Titans, and Raven still made sarcastic remarks, though she had made it clear to him that she was only teasing him and didn't mean to hurt him.
Raven's eyes shot open in shock. Somewhere behind her, a volleyball that had been left lying around exploded.
"Whoa, sorry for scaring you," Robin apologized as he sat down beside her. Like her, he faced the horizon, soaking himself in the blue hues of the sky and sea.
"If you're going to ask about Beastboy, he's better. Nightmares are getting less frequent and his depression is wearing off," she said in a very matter-of-fact tone.
"Er, yeah, about Beastboy. I really appreciate what you've done for him," Robin said, "but will he ever get over it?"
"Her," she corrected.
"Right, her. I mean, I'm not the only one who doesn't want to see him like that," he continued, "and I'm not the only one who doesn't want to see you like this."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't want or like to see you like this Raven. You've obviously been trying very hard to help him, I know that, he knows that, everyone knows that, but I don't want to see your health going down the drain in the process."
It already has been. You noticed? She thought.
"You're obviously much more tired that usual, don't try to deny that. Your eye bags say it all…"
She didn't deny the fact that she had been drained lately due to the lack of sleep, but Beastboy wasn't entirely at fault.
"…and your performance has been affected. I'm worried for you,"
"Your point is?"
"Beastboy needs to snap out of it soon. What are you going to do? Continue sleeping at his side for the rest of his life? You have a life too, Raven,"
"Of course not,"
"Then what are you going to do?"
"Like you said, make him snap out of it,"
With that, she sunk into the floor and back into her room.
Preview to next chapter:
"A splash of boiling water
A splash of molten lava
A splash of pure acid
A splash of snake venom
A tear of sorrow
3 mouthfuls of blood
All from one.
'From pain and sorrow
A life may arise
From happiness and joy,
Another may demise'
Read by the one.
Looks like I'm going to die, again. Raven thought sarcastically casually...
What is Raven planning to do?
Note: This story might undergo some changes and edits along the way.