I am supposed to be finishing the next chapter to The Beast Within, but this one-shot poked at my brain and I had to write it. I've never done a one-shot that can stand by itself, so I had to give it a try. It probably sucks, but the beauty of being a writer is taking chances.
Don't worry, though, the next chapter to TBW is nearly finished. I just couldn't continue until I got this over with. Flame it if you want, I don't care, but I myself am quite proud of this…save for the fact that Raven's a bit OOC. Well, enough rambling.
He was beautiful.
Raven had never really realized it before, but Beast Boy was remarkable. He stood near the edge of the tower, watching the snow steadily fall from the sky. His large hands were slipped inside the black trousers of his tux, broad shoulders relaxed and legs slightly parted. Snow coated his jacket, melted in his spiked hair and spotted his shoes as she moved forward silently, white lace shawl pulled tightly over her gown.
Robin and Starfire had been married for less that three hours and below their feet a party raged happily. Since the Brotherhood had been defeated and Slade had melted away from their memories, things had settled down enough for the heroes to resume semi-normal lives. Robin and Star had finally settled down into a real relationship, and for the past five years had lived through humans moments: Romance, anger, kisses, heartache, sex, joy, and everything they had missed when life had been about protecting others and putting their own happiness last. It had been a difficult road, for Robin hadn't been sure how to be in a relationship and Starfire had struggled through the new human bond, but they had made it, and were now in the process of spending the rest of their life as husband and wife.
Now they were celebrating the happily awaited moment. Raven could hear the steady thrum of music and the tinkling of laughter as the guest became tipsy off the champagne Bruce Wayne had provided. Robin and Starfire were absent, however, for they were now on a flight to Hawaii, where they would spend three weeks on a romantic honeymoon as a married couple, absent of anything that could be counted as heroism. It had been Wayne that had set it up. Raven smiled slightly as she remembered Robin's face when his former mentor had popped up with Alfred and his new wife, Diana, arms loaded with all types of goodies for his former student and his new wife. Raven smoothed down the soft silk of her bridesmaid dress, chastising herself when her hands fisted in the supple fabric. Amazingly, she did not mind wearing the lilac dress, for it was a sign that one of the greatest loves had finally been written down on paper.
Raven stopped at the doorway, toes curling at the biting cold. She didn't know what had brought her out here, but here she way, freezing her tail off and staring at the broad back of one of her teammates. During the party, Beast Boy had pulled away and slipped out. Normally, she wouldn't have noticed, but tonight, there had been something different about her outlook of him. When she had spotted him beside Robin, clad in a dashing black suit and soft smile, Raven had felt something strange flutter inside her and was hell-bent of figuring it out. It boggled her mind that when she had laid her palm on his arm, as was customary for the maid of honor and best man, heat had spread over her skin and left her trembling with the extremity of it.
It had taken him years to fill out into his form, but now at twenty-one, Beast Boy stood at a towering six foot three. His frame had lost the lingering childhood thinness, so he was now lean and sculpted with muscle that he had earned over the years. His face was handsome as well, with a full mouth, high cheekbones and a sleek jaw. When his face had lost the childish innocence, his ears became him. He no longer look liked a little elf to anyone. Now, in fact, he was the most wanted male Titan out of them all—including the Titans East.
Now she was curious, however. Why would he walk out of such an awaited celebration? As she moved closer, Beast Boy glanced over his shoulder. Spotting her, his lips curved in a soft smile and his eyes flashed with heat.
Raven suppressed the shiver that raced down her spine at his deep voice. "Beast Boy."
She stood beside him, gazing out at the silk blanket of snow. "Why are you out here in twenty degree weather?"
The wind picked up, gently tossing snowflakes against her skin. Her teeth started to chatter, but she clamped them together and burrowed under her thin wrap.
Beast Boy slid his gaze to her. "Needed air."
"Well you got it," she replied, unconsciously moving toward his body heat. "Had enough?"
Raven shook her head. A stray curl fell from the professionally messy bun at her crown and caressed her bare neck, causing her to tremble. "Damn it's cold."
Beast Boy grinned. "Why don't you go back in, then?
"Why don't you?"
He sighed softly, his breath forming a white cloud that drifted before him. He said nothing, only stared at the bright world beneath him. The party lights surrounding the tower threw the roof into a blur of radiance and Raven briefly wondered how many strands it had taken to light every floor of the tower. A hundred, maybe? More? Cyborg had been too cranky after putting them up to say, so no one really knew.
Since Beast Boy made no move to say anything, Raven told her reason. "Too crowed. Too much laughter and talk and—"
"Overall happiness? Yeah, I can see why you left."
Since she was too short to bop him over the head, Raven settled with shoving her elbow into his ribs. "No." Raven bit her glossed lip slightly and let out a small sigh. "Too much love."
His gaze was steady on the sea as Raven shuffled closer to him in look for more heat. When she was nearly plastered to his side, Beast Boy chuckled and shouldered his way out of his coat. Seconds later, heat engulfed her as he slipped it over her shoulders. Raven's startled eyes collided with his as he smiled.
He looked away, out toward the sea again. Raven watched him as she snuggled beneath the huge jacket, deftly taking in the clean scent that belonged to him without noticing. She could still smell the splash of cologne—something musky and tantalizing that had her mouth watering—but his personal scent was all she paid attention to.
Raven slid her arms into it. She held up her hands before peering into the seemingly empty hole. She could barely see her fingers, the sleeves were so long, and she had to wiggle her fingers to even find where they were. Curious now, she glanced down. The tip of the coat nearly hit her knees.
Beast Boy had been watching her from the corner of his eyes, mouth curved in amusement. When she found this, she frowned and stilled her body completely. Five years had sharpened who she was to a point. Though still sarcastic and a bit on the Gothic side, Raven had cooled a great amount. She allowed herself to laugh and joke—though not at Beast Boy's expense anymore—and even found herself seeing the opposite sex in a new light. They were not all horrible, as most of the men she knew, and Beast Boy was a prime example of the fact. Hence the reason she was now neck deep in an out of control crush. At the moment, standing beside him with the wind tugging his scent toward her, she was in the process of falling in love with him.
Raven stepped away from him at the thought. It was not the notion of falling for him that had her weary, but the fact that he would never fell the same. Why would he? He had been with hordes of girls over the past few years. Terra was still a whole in his heart, but since the trip to Japan and the never-ending flocks of girls that threw themselves at him, Beast Boy had been a bit of a man-whore. It was no surprise that Tokyo had been the place where he finally gave up on pining for Terra, and allowed the women to do what they pleased to him.
They were probably dozens of little Beast Boys tottering around Japan. Raven was still waiting for the call from lawyers, demanding child support. A scowl slipped over her features. What did she have to offer him, really? She wasn't pretty, or sweet and charming, and her jokes were a bit demonic. Black was her color and horror movies her theme, so why would a happy, carefree hunk of a shape-shifter want her?
"You're bound to be freezing," she muttered offhandedly, damning herself by moving back toward him. Who could blame her, though? He was warm—and probably freezing his ass off—so what was the harm of moving toward body heat? Nothing, that's what.
"Naw. I'm good. The animal blood protects me from meager things. Cold doesn't bother me at all…at least when there's no icy wind."
Raven glanced up at him. Truthfully, he didn't look cold at all. In fact, he seemed completely comfortable in his long sleeved white dress shirt and a loose red tie draped around his neck. It was like he was standing in seventy-degree weather, and not the biting twenty it was.
Then again, most things about Beast Boy were different. It's not every day that a human boy can shift into any animal he pleases without losing the human inside of him. Raven gnawed on the inside of her lip as a long buried question wiggled itself back into her mind. It had bothered her since she had met him, but she never had the audacity to really ask. What business was it of hers, anyway? It was something he probably did not want to share with her.
But the place and time was perfect. She could ask him offhandedly and still managed to save herself when he pulled back from the question. No one was about, and the jacket upon her shoulders somehow seemed to bring forth a hidden courage she was unaware she had.
"Does it hurt?"
Beast Boy blinked, turning his body sideways to study her. "What?"
Raven dipped her hands into his pockets, vaguely aware that she pulled a Jolly Rancher® out. She busied herself with twisting the loose ends of the wrapper as she repeated, "Does it hurt?" She glanced up in time to see him move back in confusion. "Shifting, I mean," she clarified, chastising herself for being such an idiot. Can't even pull off one simple question, huh?
"Oh." This time, Beast Boy turned away from her completely, gently kicking at a pile of snow that cumulated around his shoes. "What brought that on?"
Raven shrugged. "I've always been curious, and now seemed like the right time to ask."
"You're avoiding the question."
"As are you."
Raven sighed. She always hated beating around the bush. "We never really get the chance to talk by ourselves. You're always with one of the other Titans, or with a woman, and I'm either locked in my room, or talking to Starfire about relationships and whatnot." Ooh, nice. Add in the illusion that you've actually had a relationship that doesn't deal with backstabbing wizards trapped in books or Gothic men who squeal when otherworldly machines attack your best friend, Brave chirped sarcastically in the back of her mind.
Raven didn't know whether to be offended or flattered. She couldn't tell what he meant by that. Choice A, he is curious and/or jealous. Choice B, he is aware that I have never been in a real relationship and is mocking me.
A, not likely. B…oh yeah, she was insulted.
Raven glared. "You're not the only one who's gotten around these past years."
Her newly plucked eyebrows rose into her hairline when he stiffened, eyes darkening to a dark forest green. "Oh."
Raven pursed her lips in confusion. Was he mad? Did the thought of her being with other guys ruffle him? "Oh? Surprised?" Raven was not fond of lying, but she was mildly pleased with his reaction, so it wouldn't kill to stretch a bit more, would it? It wasn't like he would really believe her, what with her never going out and/or talking to breathing humans that weren't marked as a Titan.
Beast Boy refused to look at her as he said, "Yeah. I always thought…"
"That'd I die a never-been-kissed-virgin? Yeah, a lot of people thought that." Still do, Love added, tone dour. Still could come true, too…
Raven realized that was his most popular answer of the night and sighed. Good conversation… "Disappointed?"
Raven didn't expect for him to frown and glare out at the heavy snow. "Yeah. I am."
Heart skipping a beat, Raven pulled out two of the candies and handed him one nonchalantly. He studied it for a moment before plucking it from her and slipping off the paper.
"Why?" She was proud of herself when she realized her voice was firm.
"I thought you were different, that's all."
"I am different. Always have been."
Beast Boy slid the candy into his mouth with ease. Realizing she was staring, Raven popped the piece into her mouth with a frown.
"I meant that I thought you were different from the girls who give themselves to anyone that asks."
Raven glowered, hands fisting and eyes flashing. "Are you calling me a whore?"
Beast Boy gave a sound of aggravation and moved away. "No. Just forget it. You just seemed like the type to wait for the right one."
Raven was disappointed in herself when she realized she was gawking. "And what if I never find Mr. Right or my preverbal knight in shining armor upon a white steed? Then I will die a…" Raven trailed off when she realized she had just admitted her own lie. With a scowl, she turned back to the sea with a muttered, "Whatever. It doesn't matter." There were times when she hated the fact that she talked more. Oh, the good old days where my only words were insults. Her personality change was going to be her downfall.
"Still a never-been-kissed-virgin?"
Raven felt heat rising to her cheeks. "Well…I asked you about shifting, and we get to this."
Beast Boy was beside her now, big hands back inside his pockets as he rolled the treat around in his mouth. "You want to know?"
"Wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know."
Beast Boy smiled. "Sarcasm. So you haven't lost that."
Raven lifted an eyebrow. "I didn't lose anything. I merely let myself feel. I'm still the sarcastic bitch whose one joy in life is to make others writhe. I just talk a lot more. Now, why are you avoiding my question? It's innocent enough."
Beast Boy shrugged his broad shoulders. "I never thought anyone would ask, is all."
"Well, I am."
He sighed softly, lazily scratching his jaw. He seemed to mull it over for a moment and Raven wondered why. Was it so difficult to tell her if it hurt or not? Now that she thought about it, it probably did not hurt him. He seemed to be used to it. During battle, he could shift in seconds flat before switching into another animal. She was sure she knew the answer—
Raven stilled beside him, hands unconsciously fisting lightly. "It hurts?"
"Yeah. A lot."
Raven frowned. "But during battle you always shift in record time. Sometimes you shift to more than one animal in less than two minutes. It's so smooth, too. Like it's just natural."
"It is natural. But you've got to take into consideration that organs are stretching and shifting, bones melding, muscles tightening and pulling. Cows kill me. All those stomachs?" He shuddered. "That hurts."
Raven knew her eyes were wide. "But you don't even flinch."
Beast Boy shifted on his feet. "The pain lasts for less than two seconds, but those few moments are like being ripped apart, piece by piece. When I jump into battle in another form, I'm so numb that I can't really feel anything. It takes half a minute to feel normal in that form, and by then I'm usually planted in a wall or slammed into something hard. So, really, I'm in more pain fighting than anything else."
Beast Boy ran his tongue over the adorable fang that protruded from his mouth. "It's no big deal, though."
"It is a big deal. Why didn't you tell anyone?" When he opened his mouth, Raven knew what was coming and added hastily, "Don't say no one asked, either."
He fought back a smile. "Damn. That's all I had planned, too." He rocked back on his heels, glancing over at her. "Got another Jolly Rancher® in there?"
Raven glowered at the change of subject, but she dug through the pockets nonetheless. She found two more in the depths, taking one for herself as she handed him the other one.
As she unwrapped it, she asked again, "Why do you hide it?"
His hands stilled on the watermelon-flavored candy before his smiled softly. "I don't want anyone to see me in pain."
Raven stared as he popped it into his mouth before adjusting his loosened tie around his neck. "I never liked other to see me in pain. I hid it from my parents, even, when they asked me about it. Being scientists and all, it was a valid question. If I told them, though, they would have forbidden me to shift. Then where would I have been? Without shifting, I'm nothing but a gangly green kid who can't tell a decent joke if his life depended on it. Besides," he added quietly with a smile, eyes unfocused. "The pain is worth it when I save someone."
Raven stared at him, eyes peering into his. His gaze stayed locked with hers as she studied him. She was the first to turn away. "That's…chivalrous of you."
Beast Boy shrugged. "Not really. A lot of people would take pain to help others."
Raven turned away from him, eyes watching the sea lap softly at the base of their island. "Not everyone," Raven said softly.
Beast Boy moved closer to her, idly arranging his jacket over her shoulders. Raven withheld a tremble as his claws brushed against her pale skin and lifted a stray curl from under the cloth. "No, not everyone. But I know, where you in my shoes, you'd do the same thing."
His belief in her warmed her heart and planted her firmly in love. "I'd be able to fit my entire body into one of those shoes," she muttered lightly, causing him to chuckle.
"You know what I'm saying, Rae."
Raven forced down the blush that threatened to cover her entire body when he moved behind her, large hands settling carefully on her shoulders. When she didn't shove them off, he smiled and let his thumb massage her shoulder blades.
"You have a lot of faith in me."
"You have very little," he murmured softly, letting one hand slip down her exposed back to trace comforting circles against her spine. "You don't have much trust, either."
Raven swept a finger over her mouth when a snowflake brushed against it, melting instantly. "It's hard to trust yourself when you were born to be the end of the world."
His large warm hands stilled, but stayed on her. She could feel the calluses against her skin and realized that his fingers were resting against her hip. Blood rushed to her neck and rose into her hairline as her breath hitched uncomfortably. "That was solved, Raven. It's over."
"But it doesn't change the fact I'm not meant to be good." It was hard to talk with his hand resting so comfortably against her, almost as if they were lovers.
"Not meant…?" Beast Boy sighed and moved his hands back to her shoulders much to her unexpected displeasure. "If you were meant for evil, you wouldn't be here now. You'd be…" But he trailed off, hands tightening as memories drowned him. Her heart clinched at his pain, hidden back for so long that she figured it had disappeared with his many lovers and disposable pleasure.
"Another Terra?" She asked softly, hesitantly lifting her hand to cover his. The sleeve enclosed her entire hand, however, and Beast Boy laughed heartily, nightmares disappearing. Raven stiffened when he slid his fingers through the end of the sleeve to covers hers. His hands were warm and rough, and big enough to completely engulf her entire hand. The fingers against her wrist bone were long and tapered, his nails slightly pointed at the tips and almost twice as long as hers.
"You gotta stop beating yourself up for what's in you. Demon blood is nothing to be upset about. You could be like me and have pig blood." Raven shook her head in amusement as Beast Boy wiggled his eyebrows.
"You're never serious," she said with a sigh, but humor coated her voice.
Surprised at his soft tone, Raven glanced behind her. And nearly yelped when she found he had leaned down, their mouths barely an inch apart. She tried to jerk away, put space between them, but Beast Boy slid his free hand below her breast and pressed her back flat against him.
Her heart pounded roughly against her ribs, hand tightening beneath his. "Let go, Beast Boy," she said softly, but there was no strength in her tone.
He leaned closer, mouth nearly touching hers. His breath was seasoned with the candy, sending wild butterfly wings against her stomach. It was warm, unlike the cold air that nipped at her skin.
Her body stiffened against his when he brushed his lips against the corner of her mouth. She tried to pull away again when black energy crackled around them, engulfing dozens of lights. They burst with a barely concealed pop, causing her to jump and unconsciously moving her lips closer to his.
"Tell me, Raven. Are you afraid of kissing me?" His lips curved, as if the answer was obvious to everyone. "Or are you afraid of what you might feel if you do?"
And just as he lowed his mouth to hers, the roof door slammed open with a wave of dragging moans. Raven jumped away from him, but the hand on her torso kept her from moving too far away.
"Thank God! We've reached fresh air…oh. And we have company." Kid Flash stopped at the entrance, a fluster Jinx at his heels. She ran into him and reached out to steady herself, hands twisting in the fabric of his jacket. "Whoa. I think the tower's tilting."
"No, sweetheart. You're just a bit dizzy." Kid Flash tilted his head to the side, regarding the two with an eyebrow raised. Jinx groaned beside him, turning her body so her forehead was pressed against his shoulder.
"Mind if I throw up over your shoes? They're tacky anyway." Jinx tilted her pale face toward him, mouth curved slightly, causing Raven to raise an eyebrow. Kid Flash smiled, patting her pink hair while whispering loudly, "She gets all lovey-dovey when she's sick. Figured some cold air might snap her out of it."
Beast Boy choked back a laugh when Jinx tilted her head up and said, "Screw you."
"Ah, well, you have. A good number of times, too, if this afternoon rings any bells in that pretty head of yours. But lets be good Samaritans and let these two lovebirds get back to the kissing." Raven flushed and leaped away quickly. Beast Boy let her, hands dropping to his side as he turned to face the two.
"Rob any banks lately?" Beast Boy asked with a wicked grin, hands slipping back into his pockets.
"Nope. Jinx had officially given up evildoing. She's about as clean as the rest of us. Maybe even more so, considering the two hour bath she took earlier."
Jinx sighed loudly, arms snaking around Kid Flash's narrow waist. "Sleepy…and nauseous…damn, this gets annoying. I better not be coming down with a stomach virus. If I do, I'm taking you down with me, bastard." She burrowed closer to him, eyelids fluttering shut.
"Can't you feel the love? Two years of marriage and she still insults me." Kid Flash blew a wayward strand of red hair from his eyes. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get my wife to a toilet pronto…" Kid scooped up a groaning Jinx with ease. "Sayonara, Beast Boy. Raven." He tipped his head in a goodbye before turning on his heal and disappearing with a flash.
Beast Boy stared at the empty spot before turning back to Raven, who was gazing out at the sea again, cheeks flushed a pretty pink.
"Can't believe Jinx is married to him," he mused, moving toward her once again. Raven stiffened, so he put a good foot between them, casually holding out his large hand and watching the snow melt against his green palm. "People are a mystery, don't'cha think?"
Raven took a deep breath and let it out quietly. "Yeah. Ex-criminals married to heroes, heroes marrying, enemies disappearing…shape shifters who hold the whole world on the their shoulders…a mystery, all right."
Beast Boy watched her silently. "Where you really just curious about my shifting, or was there something more?"
Raven let a smile slip across her features as she tilted her head back to watch the snow drizzle from the sky. "There's always something more, Beast Boy. We just never dig deep enough to find it."
It was comforting, being out here with him, the snow falling steadily and the wind whispering an aria with the crashing waves. She felt calm, in tune with the world around her. Her mind and heart felt lighter, and her blood felt clean and pure, as if there was no demon tainting her entire being. And it was his presence that did it.
"Rae…can I ask you something?"
Raven turned her head slightly, watching him from the corner of her eye. "You just did."
He gave an aggravated sigh, causing her lips to curve. "Seriously."
"I was being serious."
Beast Boy grunted in annoyance. "Fine. If you want to be a hardhead, then so be it."
Raven set her mouth in a neutral line as she turned to face him, lazily brushing the wet tears of snow from her skin. "What do you wish to ask me?"
He moved toward her with a cocky slide, eyes hungry. When he stood before her, towering of her tiny height, she tilted her head back to watch him. Her heart pounded an uneven beat beneath her breast, but she held her ground. He gently wiped away a drop of melted snow from her bottom lip, which quivered beneath his finger.
"If Kid had never of interrupted us, would you of have let me kiss you?"
Her stomach lurched as a thousand wings flapped madly inside her and her heart threatened to beat its way from her chest. "I…I don't…I mean…" She forced herself to remain calm and tilted her head to watch him with large violet eyes. "Why would you want to?"
Unprepared for the sudden turn in conversation, Beast Boy blinked. "Come again?"
She stood her ground as he searched her eyes, hands plunging inside his jacket and fisting in nervousness. "You were going to kiss me."
A dark eyebrow shot up in confusion. "Yes," he said slowly, eyebrow dropping and drawing together with its mate. "I figured I had clarified that when I asked if you would have let me."
Raven frowned at him, eyes narrowing slightly. "Why?"
"Why what?" He was on the verge of exasperation, she saw, and waited while he threw up his hands in frustration before plowing them through his thick hair. "Stop confusing me, Rae. You know I don't have the greatest mind span."
She sighed. "Why were you going to kiss me?" Raven realized that this was the weirdest and most embarrassing conversation she had ever had with him. She did not like it, either, that her heart refused to stop pounding against her ribs.
"Why?" He asked, incredulous. "Most girls don't care why or what I…never mind. Does there have to be a reason? Can't I just…kiss you without knowing why?"
"Not when I'm the one you are about to kiss. I'm not like most girls, Beast Boy. I want to know the reason you want to. There are bound to be plenty of girls out there who you can kiss, yet you come to me. It would be…complicating with me."
His shoulders drew back in confusion. "Why?" He sounded so aspirated that Raven had to fight back a smile.
"I'm your teammate, Beast Boy."
"This might come as a surprise to you, Raven, but Robin and Starfire were teammates before they were lovers, so what's the difference? Hell, were still a team, and they married each other. That's not a valid reason, Rae. Besides, it's not as if I'm asking for…well, you know." He blushed and rubbed the back of his neck, eyes trained everywhere but on her face.
"Asking for what?"
Startled, his eyes jerked to hers. His blush deepened. "You know what I mean, Raven. Please don't make me say it."
Head cocked at an angle, Raven asked, "Are you talking about s—?"
He quickly said, "Yes…so you see what I mean? It's a kiss, nothing more. There's no reason to make things complicated."
Raven folded her arms beneath her breasts and moved away from him to face the dark ocean. The wind had died down, leaving the air calm. Snow gently fluttered down around them, melting against their skin and caressing their clothes. She no longer felt the cold, for her body had numbed to unusual comfortableness.
"Things are always complicating with me, Beast Boy. You know that."
She heard him sigh as he moved closer to her, standing so close that her elbow hit his waist. "You make them complicating, Rae."
She didn't disagree with him. Without over thinking anything that could involve her heart, she left herself vulnerable to hurt. As it was, she had already betrayed herself by allowing her simple crush to turn into love. Allowing him to kiss her would be like asking for him to take the knife and twist it deeper. He was so close to being able to rip apart what heart she had, and if he did that…well, there would be nothing left. He would tarnish everything and leave nothing behind but a shattered girl. She refused to give him the cards to her heart, even if it meant giving up the one thing that could make her happy for years to come.
"Why did you never tell?" She asked softly, rerouting the conversation to safer topics.
He shrugged roughly, hands fisting inside his pockets. "Because it's weakness." He smiled gently down at her, but his eyes were dark with sorrow. "My weakness is my strength, and if I told…I wouldn't be needed anymore."
Raven started, eyes jerking up to him. "How can you say that? We wouldn't drop you because of that. It's like…booting Cyborg out because he rusts, or sending Starfire back to Tameran because she didn't know Earthly ways. It would be like…getting rid of me I'm half demon."
She turned back away from him, pushing a stray stand of hair from her face. "Besides," she added softly, "you're a part of this team whether or not you want to be. You wouldn't be human if there wasn't some weak point to you. You're not Robin, of course."
Beast Boy couldn't help but grin. "Yeah. No one is a perfect as Robin." He shuffled closer to her as the wind picked up, hands burrowing deeper inside his packets.
"Umm, yes. Frightfully so." He eyed his jacket covering her slim shoulders before sidestepping and moving behind her. Raven stiffened involuntarily as she remembered their near kiss. He wouldn't try it again…would he?
"Why are you so scared, Rae? It's just a—"
"It's not just a kiss, and you know that."
She felt him hesitate slightly before resting his large hands on her shoulders and turning her so she faced him. She fought back the urge to jerk away from him.
Beast Boy sighed. "Tell me the real reason you wanted to know about my shifting."
Raven blinked and tilted her head up. "You want to know why?"
He nodded, thumbing unconsciously rubbing against the side of her neck. "It's the same reason you want to know why I want to kiss you so badly."
She ignored the heat spreading down her skin like an uncontrollable wildfire as she asked, "Tell me your reason and I'll tell you mine."
He smiled softly, drawing her eyes to the fullness of his mouth and derailing her thought process. "A bargain, huh? Thing is, my reason will change a whole lot, and I'm not too sure I'll be satisfied with your answer."
She frowned. "Why wouldn't you be satisfied? How would you even know what I'm thinking?"
"My answer will complicate things. It'll make it hard to resume what we have."
"And what is that, precisely?"
"A platonic friendship." He murmured quietly, causing her heart to skip a beat. Raven was positive that the stupid organ in her chest was tripping out on her with all the rapid beating and sporadic pauses. His thumb moved to the hollow of her neck, lingering gently before slipping up to her jaw.
"How would your answer affect—"
"I want to kiss you because I'm in love with you."
Every organ in her body seemed to sputter and fail as the shock spread through her system. He smiled and dropped his hands, stepping away from her and building a wall between them. "See? Your answer won't please me at all." He turned away from her as he lifted his hand in a reserved wave. It was almost as if he were writing her off completely.
"I'm going back inside and drink myself to a stupor," he said lazily, as if he were talking to a stranger instead of her.
Raven watched him, words lodging in her throat and choking her. She couldn't think, couldn't breathe, and the only reason she called him back was because her emotions forced past the shock and took over her speech system.
He stopped at her trembling voice, hands shoved in his pockets. His head fell back slightly before he turned, eyes wary and voice defensive. "Look, Raven, you asked for it. I told you I wasn't up to telling you my reason, so now, you can suffer through knowing. I don't need your excuses on why it'll never work out or your constant ploys to make sure there's no way I'll keep on. I love you, and I'm going to reprimand myself because of it. Don't worry, Rae. Falling for you was enough punishment. You're words won't change anything. Goodnight, Raven."
He turned away again, long arms reaching for the door and was fully prepared to walk away from her.
She stepped forward hesitantly, small hands fisting against his jacket as she scrambled together what little courage she had. "I never gave you my reason."
He sighed and opened the door, tone aggravated as he snapped, "I told you that your answer has no importance to me."
She lifted her chin, eyes heated and tone remarkably unruffled. "I don't ask senseless questions for no apparent reason, Garfield Logan."
He flinched at the sounds of his real name coming from her lips and turned to her. "Then tell me so I can leave and pretend I never told you."
Steeling her shoulders, Raven walked toward him with a purposely-slow gait. "I didn't follow you out here to merely ask random questions. You somehow screwed with something inside me and made me weak earlier at the wedding, and I don't handle weakness in myself. I brushed it off, told myself that my heart wasn't pounding because your eyes were soft on mine, that my blood wasn't roaring in my ears when I laid my hand on your arm. I told myself that coming out here wasn't because I was worried as to why you separated yourself from the crowd."
He frowned, hands slinking inside his pockets. "What does this have to do with your question?"
"I was a lame attempt to find out more about who you were, Beast Boy. There's something inside of you that you allow no one to see, and it has to deal with your shifting. I didn't realize it until I asked. You hide yourself from others and I can't understand why. I can't…I don't understand you. I can't figure you out like the others, and that bothers me."
His face contorted with confusion, sending thin lines between his eyebrows. "Why? Why do you want to figure me out? They're plenty of people to figure out, Raven."
She stood before him, head tilted to watch him with soft eyes. She mulled over her words briefly before she smiled slightly. "Because, Beast Boy, I don't fell the same way about them as I do you."
She watched his eyes darken with confusion and barely suppressed hope as he studied her thoroughly, searching for a sign of her feelings. "You…you're bothered because you can't figure me out…"
Courage mounting at his obvious unease, Raven pressed her palms against his chest. The muscles beneath her hand clenched and quivered. "It bothers me because it's common knowledge that…you're supposed to know all the working about…someone you care about…"
She felt him stiffen and sighed slowly. "Beast Boy…your not the only one who has fallen in love." His eyes clouded as she trailed off, pulling back slightly. She didn't even notice his hands wrap around her wrist or tug her closer to him as reality hit. She was in love with Beast Boy. That heat she felt earlier was a prime example of the fact. All the little signs she had shoved away came rushing back. The jealousy of all his women, the gnawing emptiness when he would bring home he next girl and lock himself inside his room, the tugging at her heart when he would touch her. It was probably the reason she had poked fun at him all those years ago. Maybe it was her way of getting closer to him, no matter how deranged it sounded.
"I'm in love with you," she said, astounded at the knowledge. "Well I'll be damned. And all it took was one question about your shifting—" She never finished her sentence, for Beast Boy's mouth was on hers. The kiss was desperate and hot, leaving her trembling when he pulled away. He was grinning widely when she looked up at him, eyes light again.
"If I'd have known that one question could lead to this many answers, I'd have told you sooner," he said with a laugh. He kissed her again, just because he was so thrilled that she loved him and admitted it aloud, and opened the door.
The heated air rushed out, briefly warming her skin. The light from the hall caressed his form and softened the lines of his face, giving him the innocent appearance he had all those years ago. Her heart warmed at the sight.
Beast Boy held out a hand with a loving beam. "Come on, Rae. Let's go back inside."
Raven smiled and laid her palm against his. Immediately, his fingers wrapped around hers and pulled her from the frosty air. Beast Boy lead her into the crowed main hall, his hand pulling from hers only to press against her lower back, and his smile so bright that Raven feared her would blind the guest. He stood by her side as the party reached its climax and the laughter became louder. He was there when fatigue tugged at the guest, and he was there when Cyborg poked and prodded as to why Beast Boy was so damn happy.
And when he kissed her before her door and told her how much he loved her, Raven agreed wholeheartedly with Beast Boy's statement.
It really was amazing how one simple question could lead to all the answers she would ever need.