Summary: Beast Boy asks Raven why she insists on keeping her hair neatly cropped. She explains, "You should never let things grow beyond your ability to control it."
Setting: Soon after the defeat of Trigon, right before the last scene in The End Part 3.
Beast Boy knocked on Raven's door. Upon hearing the go-ahead, he entered to see Raven in front of her mirror, snipping off the last lock of long hair, her usual neatly cropped cut looking back at her in the mirror. She turned and smiled at him.
"I am kind of worried you won't be the same," he admitted somberly, then grinned as he added, "although I could get a kick out of it."
Raven closed her eyes and prayed for patience. "Do you have a purpose or do you just want to piss me off?"
Beast Boy shrugged. He nodded at her hair. "Why do you cut it off all the time?"
Raven looked at the abandoned locks on the floor emotionlessly. "Why not?"
Beast Boy squirmed. "Well, you look… good. With long hair. It… suits you."
Raven scoffed. "No it doesn't."
"So why do you cut it?" Beast Boy repeated.
Raven smiled and walked over to her bed to sit down. She looked at the floor, then up at Beast Boy, trying to figure out the right words to say. "Because you should never let things grow beyond your ability to control it."
"Starfire has long hair and she does just fine—" Beast Boy cut himself off at the 'I can't believe you compared me to Starfire' look Raven was shooting at him. He coughed. "Right. You don't seem like the hair-product-buying, spend-hours-in-the-bathroom type of girl, do you?"
Raven smiled again. "Exactly."
Beast Boy sat next to her on the bed. "You should do that more often, you know. Smile."
Raven closed her eyes and laughed a little, shaking her head. "I'm just… so relieved."
"Hey, you and me both," said Beast Boy seriously. "I really know how to kick my own butt."
"Everyone knows how to kick your butt," Raven said.
"Why do you cut your hair?"
Raven hit him with a pillow. "I thought we covered this."
Beast Boy hit her back. "No, we didn't."
Raven sighed and looked up at the ceiling. It was several moments before she said anything at all. "It's from when I was a little girl," Raven said, at last. "I was always told to be in control. Despite what you may think, I was a passionate little thing." And she wrinkled her nose at the memory. "Running around everywhere, blurting out whatever came to mind, acting irrationally… A lot like you."
"Wow," said Beast Boy.
"Yeah, it kinda creeps me out too," said Raven. "Anyways, I reacted violently to my emotions. The monks told me to be prudent, hold my tongue, contain my spirit, but I was just everywhere. Everyday my hair grew longer and longer. I was obsessed with it. Brushing it every day…"
"And vain too, you must have been such a weird kid," said Beast Boy.
"One day," Raven continued, "when I was six years old, the monks were meditating in the gardens, and I ran through screaming with a dog chasing after me. My mother was furious that I had interrupted them. She told me I was too passionate. I was too disrespectful. I was too proud."
"What did she do?" Beast Boy asked.
"Well," said Raven, "she took a pair of scissors and cut off all my hair. I cried for days. But when I had stopped, it was like I was someone else entirely. I was quieter all of a sudden. I learned what was appropriate to say and when. I woke up one day and cracked the door to my cloister and saw the monks meditating in the garden. I walked outside silently, sat next to one of them, folded my legs and closed my eyes. It was the first time I looked at myself introspectively. All of my emotions were still there. But my mother's punishment had scared me into modesty. I learned to let them out in different ways. Soon, I became quite the pupil of the monks. The lesson my mother taught me was a critical one. If I had never learned it, I would never have been able to control my powers. I might even…" But Raven stopped. She pulled her knees up and hugged them to her chest. "It's a Samson complex, you see."
Beast Boy tilted his head to look at her sideways. It made no difference. He still didn't know what she was going to say before she stopped. "You might even…" But as he spoke the words himself, it came to him as if she had shouted them in his ear. His heart felt cold. "You might even have been evil. You might even have joined Trigon… willingly."
"I cut my hair to keep me humble," said Raven. "To remind me of what she taught me so long ago. It's a symbol of my power. Of my strength. I have to keep it in check. Just like everything else."
"It grows when you're using all of your strength…" Beast Boy realized, the whole idea finally dawning on him. "When Trigon is trying to force the evil out of you."
"I can't let that happen," said Raven sharply, angrily. "You understand that, don't you?"
"Um… duh!" said Beast Boy.
Raven relaxed. "I'm sorry."
"You just saved the world, Raven," said Beast Boy. "You can be as bitchy as you want."
"That story…" Raven muttered. "About Samson and Delilah."
"Wasn't that an old fifties flick?" Beast Boy asked.
"You watch too much late night television," Raven said. "It's a Biblical story."
"Oh," Beast Boy said, then fell silent. "Well, I saw the movie."
"I always wondered, even as a girl," Raven began, pensively, "what did his hair have to do with anything? Why did he tell her his biggest weakness? Why did she betray him like that?"
"Maybe," said Beast Boy, moving closer to her on the bed, "he just wanted someone to trust. He loved her so completely…"
Raven looked Beast Boy straight in the eye. "But she betrayed him."
Beast Boy moved away from her again and stared at the corner of her room, suddenly cold. "Sometimes we take that risk. We don't always know why it happens. Maybe she just loved money more than him. Or maybe she loved him too much. We all have our Delilahs." He sounded bitter. Raven didn't like it. She put her hand on the cheek facing away from her and made him look at her. She placed her other hand over his on his lap.
"Love is a tricky thing," she said.
Beast Boy gave her a weak smile. "Yeah, no kidding."
They looked at each other a moment. The air was full of electricity. But it was still a shock to them when they felt their lips connect. The spark began on contact at their lips, then spread to their tongue, their throat, their lungs until they breathed it in and it flooded every blood cell in their bodies. Their fingers interlaced. And then they realized what was happening.
They broke away from the kiss and stared at each other in astonishment. Beast Boy rubbed the back of his neck. Raven laughed nervously. They began to speak simultaneously.
"I should go talk to Robin, I said I'd—"
"Cyborg mentioned French toast and I—"
They both stopped. They looked at each other again. Beast Boy burst out laughing. Raven closed her eyes and smiled. She put a hand on his shoulder.
"Thank you," she said.
"For being such a great kisser?" Beast Boy said with a wink.
Raven rolled her eyes. "No. I was thanking you for not being a moron." She got to her feet and put up her hood. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "I take it back." She walked towards her door.
Beast Boy jumped to his feet and grinned as he looked after her. "You know you think I'm awesome."
Raven's back was to him, but the corner of her mouth began to twitch.