"Where is that boy?" asked Mento as he paced back and forth. "He knows we can't stop to play, the Brother Hood of Evil is only a day's walk away."
"Steve, he's only eight years old," said Elasti-Girl. "He needs to play."
"No, he needs to follow orders," said Mento, growing impatient. "Which way did he go?"
"I saw the kid go off into the woods," said Robotman, motioning to the nearby forest.
"Great," said Mento sarcastically. "Larry, could you go find him?"
"Sure," said Negative man and was about to explode from his bandaged body, but Elasti-Girl stopped him.
"No!" she said. "Leave him alone for a little while."
"Rita, if Beast Boy wants to be a part of this team then he has to start acting like he's part of the team," said Mento. "He needs to grow up."
"No, he doesn't," said Elasti-Girl firmly. "Look, I understand that you're not used to children, but for Beast Boy to grow up correctly he needs to have time to play and time to use his imagination."
"We don't have time for this," Mento frowned.
"Then please make time," said Elasti-Girl. "The Brotherhood of Evil won't be any nearer or farther if we stop for a few minutes."
"Rita, you've grown soft on me," said Mento. "We've been after the Brotherhood of Evil for years and now when we're so close you want us to stop just so the boy can play?"
"Fine, you three keep going," said Elasti-Girl. "I'll wait for him and then we'll catch up to you. That way we won't be behind and Garfield can enjoy himself for once."
Mento frowned, but said, "Alright, but don't take too long. Doom Patrol, let's move out." And with that he, Robotman, and Negative Man were off.
Elasti-Girl was relieved. She knew that Beast Boy just needed a few minutes. Just enough time to activate the child in him that Mento was trying so hard to beat out of him. He wanted Beast Boy to grow up, but she knew better. He would be a far better member of the Doom Patrol if he was allowed to act his age then if he was forced to grow up too soon.
Beast Boy breathed in the air and felt energized. He loved the smell of nature. He had been walking for a while now and saw that the woods were about to end. He had told his team that he was going to play, but the truth was he just wanted to be alone for a little while. It seemed like he was constantly being monitored and judged. They were always telling him to be better, faster, stronger, more mature. But he just wanted to be a kid, like he had been a few years ago. Back when he couldn't turn into animals. Back when he wasn't green. Back when his parents were alive.
He emerged from the forest and the light of the sun blinded him. He shielded his eyes and once they got used to the light he looked around. He couldn't believe what he saw before him. He had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and a valley. He walked a little further and found himself on the edge of a cliff. He had never known the world was so big.
He took his mask off and scratched his sweaty, itchy head. "As cool as this mask is, I feel like my head can't breath," he said, really scratching it. As he scratched he failed to notice his right leg that was jittering. He looked down and saw it moving. He couldn't believe how much like an animal he really was.
He looked over the edge of the cliff and saw how vast it was. "Hello!" he shouted at the top of his lungs. He aimed one of his large, pointed ears out and listened. He quickly heard his voice echoed back. "Do I really sound like that?" He shrugged and yelled out again.
He continued to yell and listen to his voice echoing off of the mountains for a few minutes. He was having a great time. He knew if Mento knew what he was doing he'd probably be punished. He was far too strict. He was sick of everyone being so serious all of the time. This was their only life, so why live it like fun was illegal?
Suddenly he felt the ground beneath him crumble and with an echoing scream he fell. He grabbed onto the dirt, and caught a root. He stopped falling, but he could tell the root was going to give way soon.
"Whoa, okay, uh, think," he said, his mind racing. "Uh, what do I turn into? Um… something light… no something small… no something with wings… no something with claws… no, ah!"
The root gave way and Beast Boy felt himself falling again. Suddenly he felt his body jerk to a stop and he was no longer falling. Something was holding onto his hands. He looked up and saw the face of a girl, a dark hood covering her head. She gritted her teeth and began to pull him up. Beast Boy helped by walking up the side of the cliff the best he could.
Finally he reached the top and was pulled to safe ground. His heart was racing and he felt as if his hair should have been white he had been so frightened. He was panting and shaking, not believing what had just happened. Then he looked to the girl.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"Uh, yeah," he said, taking a moment to make sure he was. "Thanks."
"What were you thinking standing on the edge of an unstable cliff?" she asked in a serious tone, which sounded odd since she was his age.
"I didn't know it was unstable," said Beast Boy. "One moment I was standing there and the next the ground was gone."
"Well you should be more careful," she said, stood up, and turned to leave.
"Hey, wait," he said, jumping to his feet and following her.
"What?" she asked, not turning around.
"Uh… where did you come from?" he asked. "I mean, what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?"
"What are you doing out in the middle of nowhere?" she asked.
"Oh, uh, I'm kinda taking a break," he said, smiling awkwardly. "See, I'm kinda on a superhero team and we're following…"
"Yes, well, as interesting as that is," she said, stopping him before he could continue. "I have to be going."
"Wait!" he said running over to her. "What's your name?"
"What's your name?" she countered.
Beast Boy opened his mouth, but he had to think first. Should he say he was Beast Boy? No, not even he was used to that name yet. Garfield? No, she'd probably just laugh at him. "Uh… Gar, my name's Gar," he said with a smile. "So, what's your name?"
The girl was quiet for a moment then finally said, "Gem."
"Gem?" he asked.
"Yes, Gem," she said. "At least, that's what everyone calls me. The Gem."
"Oh, uh, cool," he said with a grin. He wished she would turn around. "And you never did tell me what you're doing out here."
"I'm on a sort of… vacation, you could call it," she said. "I'm just visiting."
"Visiting from where?" he asked.
"Trust me, you've never heard of it," she said. "Now, are you done questioning me?"
"I'm just trying to get to know you," he said. "After all, you saved my life."
"Trust me, you don't want to know me," she said, looking at the ground in front of her.
"Sure I do," he said with a smile. "It's not every day I make a new friend."
"A… friend?" she asked, slowly turning around.
"Yeah, a friend," he said, glad to finally see her face. Well, he couldn't really see her thanks to that hood. He looked at her attire and found it strange, not that what he was wearing wasn't at all normal. She wore a black cloak, covering her body entirely. He could just see her face in the dark of the hood. It was round and he could see her pouting lips really well. She was pretty, even if he couldn't see her all that well. "So, how'd you find me? I mean, you sort of came out of nowhere."
"Well, I was sitting over there," she said, pointing off into the distance, "and I heard someone shouting at the top of their lungs. It was really annoying so I came over here to tell you to be quiet. And as soon as I found you I saw you fall off of the cliff."
"Wow, talk about perfect timing," he said with a smile, his fang proudly showing. "Oh, and sorry about all the yelling. I was just enjoying the echo. Have you tried it?"
"Tried what?" she asked.
"Yelling and hearing your voice echo," he said.
"No," she said. "I'm not exactly one to… yell."
"Well, you should try it," he said.
"That's okay," she said. "I'll take your word for it."
He wasn't sure what it was, but this girl was different. She spoke as if she was older and the way she stood was not like a child at all. And why did she keep her hood up? He would think it would grow annoying. He couldn't even keep his mask on for more than an hour. His mask! He wasn't wearing it. His secret identity had been exposed, and he paled.
"Are you alright?" she asked, looking a little flustered.
"Oh, uh, I just realized that I let you see me," he said.
"So?" she said.
"Well, you're not supposed to know who I am," he said.
"Oh," she said, taking a small step backwards.
"Hey," he said, realizing something. "Why aren't you freaked out that I'm green?"
"Should I be?" she asked.
"Well, yeah!" he said. "I'm the only green person in existence. Don't you find me… strange?"
"I do not judge upon appearances," she said plainly. "And I have seen far stranger things than you."
"Really?" he asked.
"Yes, really," she said. "Besides, green's a good color on you."
Beast Boy smiled. No one had ever accepted him so quickly before. Now he knew he liked this girl. She might have been different, and a girl, but she was kind and nice to him. It had felt like forever since he had conversed with another kid.
"Garfield!" a voice shouted.
The two jumped and turned to see a giant woman looking around. Elasti-Girl. Beast Boy looked back to the girl, who looked a little startled, but in no way afraid. 'Wow,' he thought. 'She must have seen some strange things to not even be weirded out after seeing Elasti-Girl.'
"Over here!" he called to her as loud as he could, his voice echoing.
Elasti-Girl looked around then spotted him. She walked over then shrunk down to her normal size. "Garfield I've been looking all over for you," she said, sounding upset yet relieved.
"Sorry, I was just talking to…" he turned, but saw no one. He was quite shocked by this and he looked high and low for her.
"Talking to who?" asked Elasti-Girl.
"Uh… there was a girl here a few seconds ago," he said, scratching his naked head.
"Well, grab your mask and let's go," said Elasti-Girl. "We've got to catch up to the rest of the team."
Beast Boy picked his mask up and put it back on. He looked around once more, but saw that the girl truly was gone. He sighed, concentrated, and turned into a bird as Elasti-Girl grew tall again. And with that the two quickly headed off to find the rest of their team.
"… and that's the one person I would like to meet," said Beast Boy, sipping his soda.
"Are you kidding?" laughed Cyborg. "You want to meet some girl who saved your butt when you were eight? Come on, man, you can think of someone better than that."
"Dude, you asked me who I would want to meet and it's her!" said Beast Boy.
"I think it is most sweet that Beast Boy wishes to meet the girl that saved his life," said Starfire.
"Yeah, but I was thinking more like some famous person or something," said Cyborg.
"Hey, for all we know she could be famous," said Robin, shrugging.
"Alright, my turn," said Beast Boy, smiling. "Raven, truth or dare?" Raven seemed a bit pale and she was looking down at the table. "Hello? Raven?" Beast Boy waved his hand in front of her and snapped her out of it.
"What?" she asked slightly startled.
"Are you okay?" he asked. "You were kinda spaced out there."
"Oh, uh, I was just thinking," said Raven.
"Okay, well, truth or dare?" he asked with a smile.
"I'm sorry, but I don't want to play," she said, standing up from the table and leaving.
"But you said you would!" said Beast Boy, turning completely around in his chair.
"I just don't feel like it now," she said as the common room doors closed behind her.
Beast Boy frowned and turned around to get back to their game. It had taken him nearly an hour to convince her play Truth or Dare with them. He promised her that they would play clean, so she didn't have to worry about being dared to do anything she would refuse to do. And she had left before she even had her turn. He just couldn't understand her.
Later that evening Beast Boy was listening to music in his room when he heard a knock at the door. He turned it down then went to the door, opening it to reveal Raven standing on the other side.
"Oh, hi Raven," he said.
"Hello," she said, looking a little uneasy.
"What's up?" he asked with a smile.
"Well, I just wanted to apologize for running out on your little Truth or Dare game today," said Raven.
"Oh, that, you don't have to apologize," he said. "I shouldn't have pushed you into it, anyway."
"Well, I'm glad you did," she said.
"You are?" he asked, noticeably shocked.
"Yes," she said. "I found your story today really… interesting."
"Yeah, well, sorry I couldn't think of anyone famous or anything," said Beast Boy. "But it was the truth. I really do wish I could meet that girl again. I mean, I only knew her for like five minutes but I've never forgotten her."
"She… she never forgot you either," said Raven hesitantly.
"What?" asked Beast Boy, confused.
Raven put her hand out to him and said, "I'm Gem, nice to meet you."
Beast Boy's went wide and his jaw dropped. "Wh-what?"
"I was the one who you met when you were eight," said Raven. "I was the one who saved you."
"But… but that's impossible!" said Beast Boy. "I mean, how could that have been you?"
"I had heard about Earth when I was little and after a while I finally convinced Azar, my guardian and basically my mother, if I could go to Earth to look around," said Raven. "And, as much as she didn't like the idea, she granted me a day's pass to Earth. I had a list of things I wanted to see that I had heard about: an ocean, a desert, a rainforest, and a mountain. I met you when I was seeing the mountains. But when I saw Elasti-Girl I used my powers to get me out of there. I did, after all, have a schedule to keep.
Beast boy was just staring at her blankly. He looked like he was going to possibly faint. How could that girl he had met have been Raven? Sure, the attire was the same, and Ravens story seemed to check out. But still, how?
"Beast Boy, maybe you should sit down," said Raven, seeing Beast Boy waver back and forth dizzily.
"Yeah," he said, his voice cracking slightly and he took a seat on the ground.
"Are you okay?" she asked, kneeling down next to him.
"I… I'm not sure," he said. "I'm just a little… confused. How come you didn't say anything until now?"
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, it must have been pretty obvious when we met again a few years ago that we had met once before," said Beast Boy. "How could you not recognize me as the green boy you had saved at the mountain?"
"Well, at first I didn't recognize you because you were wearing your mask," said Raven. "True, I could see that you had green skin, but I thought that the chances of you being the same boy I had met were slim to none. And, like I've said before, I've seen far stranger things than you and your green skin. I've seen beings of all shapes, sizes, and colors. After a while, you don't even realize that there's such thing as a 'normal' color of skin."
"But what about when I took my mask off?" he asked.
"Well, you were older when I met you again," said Raven. "So you didn't look exactly as you did when you were eight. All in all, it just seemed too coincidental that I would cross your path ever again. So I brushed it off and never thought about the chance of you being Gar… until today."
"But what about when you met Elasti-Girl again and she called me Garfield again?" he asked. "Didn't that convince you?"
"Beast Boy, you haven't any idea how many things I've seen in my life and how many memories and volumes of knowledge I have," she said. "Sometimes, I can't see what's right in front of me. And, to be fair, I only heard your full name 'Garfield' once, so I sort of forgot it. But, today, everything finally clicked when you told your story about a girl that saved you from falling off of a cliff."
"This… is so weird," said Beast Boy, putting a hand to his head in disbelief.
"Well, I'm sorry I'm your mystery girl," she sighed, looking at the floor.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You've been dreaming of meeting that girl again since the day you met her," said Raven. "It must be such a let down to find out it was me."
"Well, it's shocking," said Beast Boy. "But it's not a let down. I mean, I got my wish, right? I'm meeting Gem. Wait a second, why did you call yourself Gem? I thought your name was Raven?"
"It is Raven," she said. "But I wasn't going to give you my actual name. So I told you to call me Gem, because of the prophecy. I'm referred to as 'The Gem', so I figured it was as good a name as any to give you, Gar."
Beast Boy smiled slightly at hearing her call him the name he had given her when they first met. He still couldn't believe that Raven was the girl who had saved his life all those years ago. Even then she was scolding him for not being careful. As he thought about it everything made sense. Only Raven would have to be an adult when she was a child, due to her powers.
"You know what?" he said. "I probably should have figured this out sooner, too. I mean, you're basically wearing the same thing you were wearing when we met. I think what threw me off was the fact that I never got a chance to see your face."
"You mean my… pretty face?" she asked.
Beast Boy looked at her strangely, then remembered him mentioning to his friends that the girl had been pretty. He quickly blushed and felt his heart race. "Oh, uh, yeah," he stuttered.
She gave a dry chuckle and said, "It's alright, Beast Boy. You couldn't see my face when we met, so you couldn't see what I really looked like. I understand."
"Wait, what's that supposed to mean?" he asked. "You think I couldn't tell you were pretty then? I might have been eight, but I could tell a pretty girl from a not so pretty girl. And you were pretty, I mean, you are pretty, I mean, uh, oh man…" He had never felt so flustered.
Raven just rolled her eyes and stood up. "Well, anyway, it was nice meeting you again, Gar," she said. "It's funny to think that the one person I thought I'd only known for a few minutes has been my friend and teammate for years."
"Friend?" he asked, standing up as well.
"Of course," said Raven. "I've told you we're friends."
Beast Boy smiled and said, "Dude, you wanna tell the others? They're probably gonna flip out!"
"Only if you promise to never ever call me 'dude' again," she said in a very Raven tone.
"Deal!" he said, grabbed her hand, and led her down the hall to find their friends.
(And No Flames!)