Started: 2012/04/07

Finished: 2012/04/08

Author's note: i know, another chapter, surprised me too. not doing much right now, and the chapter that came out wasn't quite the one i had intended to write yet, but eh, the other one just wasn't coming to me. so, you're stuck with this. poor you.

Summary: come on, someone had to have an answer for bb's super tea: here's mine.

That Secret Ingredient- No, not Love

She had a right to know. She drinks it, imbibes it on trust alone. If he'd just told her what it was, she'd not have been reduced to this, skulking in the shadows, furtive in her movements.

Perhaps this was the wrong place to start.

Raven likes to drink tea. Herbal mixes leave her with a really nice, soothed, balmy feel that, if she was feeling particularly whimsical, she'd figure a purr would've been drawn out of her if she'd been a cat. But Beast Boy prepares her tea with his secret ingredient, and, to continue the comparison in this vein, the effect it has on her was as devastating as catnip for a cat.

She'd tried the nonchalant direct route to divining the secret:

"Beast Boy," the cowled girl murmured, eyes lidded as her nose took in the perfume of steam pluming from her mug. She could feel that slightly intoxicated, high feeling that came with drinking a BB Specialâ„¢. It had all the effects of a high, and, if uninterrupted, could last for hours. It also had the blessed/cursed factor that, if she were jarred, would send her spiraling toward sobriety. Any criminal that encountered her interrupting her BB Specialâ„¢ swore up and down that they saw the pits of hell.

"Yeah, Rae?" asked the shape-shifter indulgently, absently browsing a comic at the foot of her bed. Apparently, Raven would suffer his presence within her sanctuary if he appeased her with the BB Specialâ„¢ (and if he was reading, but that's another story). From experience, he knew he could get away with nicknames and such at the beginnings of her 'trip'. Towards the end, though (when there's only a few sips of her brew left), it was liable to break the spell.

"What do you put in it?" Purple eyes peered over the rim of her mug at the back of the green head at the foot of her bed. She was sprawled comfortably against her headboard, slightly upright, but mostly slouched for maximum relaxation without hindering her ability to sip ambrosia.

The green head of hair turned from the portable gamestation only to reveal a grinning visage, cheekily replying with a very satisfied- "Wouldn't you like to know?"

She bit back the retort at the tip of her tongue; Obviously, I do; since I asked. But whenever the Tea was involved, she found herself slightly irrational, fearful of being denied her drink. To be fair, Beast Boy was Cy's best friend and obviously learned from the best how to maximize an advantage over another- read, blackmail. So she let the matter drop.

It's been a few years since then, and her harmless curiosity had not abated. As a matter of fact, it festered, growing and infecting much of her thoughts. She needed to know, had to!

But any inquiry into the matter was subtly deflected, with a joke and a teasing smile or grin. It was lucky for Beast Boy that he seemed incapable of donning a superior smirk against her person- if not, she might have given into her more demonic tendencies and strung him over a fiery pit to get her answers.

So, she made a plan. The first stage went something like this:

"Beast Boy?" she remarked idly, the veneer of nonchalance hiding her raised heartbeat. She was sprawled on her bed and he was reading another book she'd wheedled into his attention, subsequently replacing the portable gamestation as time passed. He's still trying to figure out how she did it.

"Yeah, Rae?" he answered idly, half distracted by the book. God help him, but the book was actually interesting.

"Can you make me some Tea?" She could picture the amused grin that was in all likelihood plastered across his mug. His ears were not for show- he could hear the capitalization in her sentence and she cursed the way the word came out, reverent and slightly awed.

A soft sigh escaped his lips, and she felt slightly guilty- her ulterior motives had taken time away from another's literary scholastics. She asked Azar to forgive her transgression.

"Alright, Rae. Be back in a sec," and with that he picked himself up with a quiet grunt and was out of her door.

Waiting a short interval, she got up and out of her room, trailing him in shadow with charms woven in the air to avoid detection and employing every ounce of Robin's covert tracking skill that he'd imparted to her. It figured that Beast Boy would be one of the most difficult Titans to track unaware- he had a sixth sense that was downright uncanny and this coming from the Titan that actually had a sixth sense- it was in her file.

It didn't help that Nevermore was up in arms about it. Red was all for vindicating her curiosity, roping in Yellow with her natural proclivity towards assembling knowledge of any sort. Green, well known for her animosity towards Red, was goading Raven to find out for the thrill of it- imagine the green bean's surprise when he discovered that she'd covertly spied on him? The Green doppelganger couldn't resist the inherent challenge of tailing the shape-shifter and leaving him unaware. Pink was anticipating the payoff that just knowing would engender in Raven. Grey was all cautionary tales and stuttered, frantic objections. Orange was cranky, anything that was more work than necessary wasn't worth it, but on the other hand she wanted unlimited Tea. Brown was wondering idly at what she could pick up for a keepsake of this event.

Raven felt Purple's unwavering attention upon her. Whenever she'd been roped into watching some of Beast Boy's anime she'd always wondered at why some of the characters would just crack under a blank faced stare- she could better appreciate the effect now.

But back to the matter at hand; Beast Boy had just crossed into the common area/living room/ops room. Not wanting to use the door since his sharp ears would pick up on the hydraulics working she knew she had to shadow-port into the room. Problem, the boy had an uncanny sense for her magic.

Luckily, she came prepared. That she did galled her beyond everything. Look at what that boy did to her!

But, grumbling all the same, she initiated the second phase to her plan, casting spells to dull the perception of her intended target momentarily and shadow stepping into the room. Taking a moment to reorient herself she hid herself away to watch him.

Belatedly, she realized that she could've just shadow-ported here before he'd reached the commons and hid herself in an advantageous spot and thus skipped the whole trailing business, not to mention squandering time to find unnecessary spells to avoid detection. At this point she realized she had a problem and made note to figure it out in a Nevermore session. Later.

As she watched, she saw how involved his process of making her Tea was and was slightly impressed. Nothing she hadn't done before herself, but nonetheless surprising. She supposed she was being unfair, when it came down to it Beast Boy went above and beyond for that which he deemed important. She was just surprised that tea steeping fell into the category.

Snapping back to attention, she watched him as he poured out the hot water that pre-heated her mug. Putting a strainer over the lip of the cup, he added a dab of honey on the strainer, and started to pour the prepared tea from the ceramic teapot into the mug.

Was that it? Honey? No, it can't be- she'd done that herself countless times. Wait, he stopped pouring.

The cup wasn't full yet. She knew how much liquid her pot held, and she knew the max capacity of her cup.

She watched as he removed the strainer, set down the pot and went over to the fridge. Idly, he pulled out his soy milk. With a casual air that she felt oddly inappropriate to the, the depth of her discovery, he finished preparing her Tea.

Her floored reaction almost had her caught in her espionage- she nearly forgot to duck her head behind the sofa. She hid herself away as he left the commons and made his way back to her room. A few moments after he left, she shadow ported to her room.

She got comfortable on her bed, trying to calm the clamor in Nevermore. A large part of her was humbled, she had begun her journey on the Path of Soy (his words, not hers) but this just spoke of the canyon of experience that separated them. She had thought herself closing the gap between them; after all she came close to being proficient at preparing all the tofu meals that he himself had shown her. But this, this was not a matter of following steps and churning out a well-made meal, this was a way of life to him and the profundity of it was quieting.

Besides all that, Red was upset that she never thought to add soy milk to her tea. Purple kept staring at her, the reproof clear in her cool, silent gaze. It hardly mattered, Grey was rather hysterically vocal as if to make up the difference.

So when Beast Boy stepped into her room, mug of piping hot tea at the ready, she took it with a quiet, reverent 'thank you'. Beast Boy eyed her oddly, shrugged and returned to reading quietly. Raven tried to go back to reading on her bed, mug clasped to her bosom (oh my god I used bosom!) but found herself staring at the back of a green head of hair.

After he left, she was so going to Nevermore.

End chappy

Author's end note: i suppose it's a sort of sequel to chapter 2. by the way, am i the only one that adds soymilk to tea? i can't be, right? read and review, you'll make me a happy author!