Disclaimer- I don't own the TT. Sorry
Across The Water
Story By StormDancer
The whole moping deal was getting old, Raven had decided. Ever since the Terra Incident he had been sitting out on his rock, skipping stones. He only came in for alerts, as far as she knew. He probably even slept out there, if he slept at all.
Even now she could see him from her perch on the roof. He was just sitting on the shore, methodically throwing the rocks and watching them bounce out of sight before sending a new one following it, no trace of his usual goofy grin on his face. The force of his sorrow was so large that it distracted her from her meditation even at this distance, 10 stories away. The grief was everywhere in the Tower, and she needed it to cease. For both of their sakes, and the sake of the city.
Beast Boy stared blankly at the skipping stones. It was pure masochism sitting here, he knew. Staying in a place where every rock, every breath of wind was saturated with memories of Terra. Of the girl who had whirled into his life and reformed him, only to crack him apart once more.
Another stone followed the first; another regret came to mind. For every stone there was something he should have said to her, to have stopped her from fleeing to Slade. To have stopped her from shattering his heart twice by betraying him and then by being stuck in the horribly unnatural almost life. One more stone, this one going nearly out of sight before it plummeted to the bottom to join his other simmering regrets.
"I always wanted to learn how to skip rocks," a soft voice informed him as Raven walked up behind him. He had been so absorbed in the past that he hadn't even heard her, and that had never happened before. Another thing Terra had done to him.
"You could just use your powers," he replied, not breaking from his hypnotic pattern of throw, stare, throw, stare.
"What's the fun in that?" she sat down beside him, picking up a stone and tossing it up and down idly. He winced, for Terra had had that habit.
"What's the fun in skipping rocks?" he asked, the stones still making their weary way across the bay. Raven looked at him, violet eyes for once revealing the sorrow that was so eclipsed by his.
"She wouldn't have wanted you to say that."
Another stone sunk.
"We'll never know what she wants, will we," he retorted in a monotone that sounded uncannily like hers, "Because she's lost. Forever."
"She wouldn't have wanted you to get stuck." Raven's conviction, rarely given, was a compelling force, and Beast Boy could feel its assault on his walls of pain.
"Stuck where?" he asked calmly, one of his turbulent emotions showing in his face or voice.
"In the past, in her. She would want you to live." Raven wasn't looking at him, she sensed that he needed the anonymity. But the strength in her voice was enough o convince anyone she spoke what she saw as the truth.
"I am alive," he contradicted half-heartedly. He knew very well that wasn't what she meant.
"No you aren't," she replied thoughtfully, rubbing the rock between her fingers, "You're doing what I did. Do. Closing yourself off. It's not good for anyone but me, Beast Boy"
"I." One skip. "Don't" another skip. "Care." The rock sunk.
His voice hadn't changed throughout his exclamation. The waves of anger and regret that washed over her despite his expressionless actions contradicted his statement, but she didn't point that out. She simply sat beside him for a moment, staring out across the fiery bay.
"Why are you doing this?" She finally broke the silence with a quiet, gentle question that was very far from her usual brusque demands.
"Doing what?" His voice was as harsh and cold as Raven's had ever been. The irony of the comparison would have amused Raven if it hadn't worried her so.
"You haven't said an unnecessary word to anyone in a week. You haven't laughed or smiled in at least as long." She didn't know why that worried her so- yes she did. Because a Beast Boy who wasn't annoying wasn't Beast Boy.
"Why do you care? You never cared before, you were never my friend. You never gave a damn about me," he spat, a little of the bitterness leaking out. She shrugged. He had never really comprehended the idea of not being able to show all the affection she felt, but if taking it out on her was the way to get him to show emotion, so be it.
"Believe what you will," she sighed resignedly, "But remember, Terra was my friend too-"
"If you say she betrayed you too, I will hurt you," he interrupted in deadly serious tones she had never heard from him before. Robin, perhaps, but not Beast Boy. Beast Boy was as much a pacifist as any superhero could be. But this was not the happy-go-lucky boy she had known for years. This was a man pressed perilously close to breaking point, and it was her self-appointed task to recall him. Still, she favored him with a gentle glare.
"I wouldn't dream of it," she snapped, angry that he would even consider she would say something so insensitive, "Terra betrayed all of us, but her betrayal of you was far worse. Barely even comparable."
"Than what were you going to say?" he retorted, already regretting his interruption. Despite his anger, he knew Raven was just trying to help and she was far too kind, as much as she tried to conceal it, to say such a heartless thing.
"I was going to say," she said, taking a deep breath to calm herself. Losing control now would help no one. "That as Terra's friend, I am not going to let you destroy yourself. For her sake if not yours." She rose, squeezing the rock tightly in her white hand, "But no one can help someone who refuses to listen."
She took a few steps away before Beast Boy's voice called her back, his monotone slipping.
"You were probably her closest friend, really," he said, still watching the skipping stones rather than her, "You understood her better than anyone else."
"Parts of her," Raven agreed, sitting back down beside him, the rock once more falling up and down in her slim palm, "Not being able to control her powers and the like. But you were the one who found his way into her heart. You called her back from Slade."
"I was the one who got in her turned to stone," he interjected bitterly.
"No." Raven said the word with such force that he finally stopped staring over the water to turn and look at her. "That was Terra, not you. She was a hero, Beast Boy. She did what had to be done, what any of us would have done if we had been able. It was not your fault. Never think that. If you're going to be pointing fingers, blame Slade. It always works for Robin."
Beast Boy looked away form her compassionate, penetrating violet eyes and went back to his rocks.
"I know, I guess," he admitted, "But I wish I had told her that. I wish I had told her a lot of things. Everything."
Raven's eyes were bright with something that looked like tears, but Beast Boy was too caught up in his own grief to notice hers.
"She knows," Raven assured him with a faint hint of a watery smile, "She knew you love her, and that was all that mattered, in the end."
"How do you know?" the new defensive, icy Beast Boy was back at the hint of pity.
"I'm an empath remember?" Raven retorted, not showing any of the feelings that this conversation was evoking, "I know. She knew."
"But-" he realized he didn't know what he was protesting, and watched another stone sink before sending yet another flying after it and beginning again, "She was always jealous of you, you know."
"Why?" Raven was almost certain she knew, but Beast Boy needed to talk, and listening had always been her specialty, whether it was to Robin's angsting or Starfire's raving about a new shirt.
"She thought you were always so in control. I remember how surprised she was when I mentioned you losing it." Raven clenched her teeth at her memory of Terra's words to her in that warehouse full of mud, but Beast Boy didn't notice, "That's why she came down here. She saw you meditating and thought it would help, but this was how she meditated."
"It always looked relaxing. That's why I wanted to learn," Raven agreed calmly, getting a hold of the mix of anger and sorrow within her.
"It is. It was." Before Terra had forced him to remember the grief for every skip, and when every hop of the rock brought tears to his eyes.
"You know that she would never want to be remembered like this," Raven told him gently, hearing the words he couldn't say. He sighed, and sent another stone spinning out of sight.
"It hurts, Rae; it hurts too damn much." Raven decided to let the nickname slip, just this once. He didn't need physical pain added to the overwhelming emotional agony he was wallowing in.
"She died for us.," Raven said with her usual cutting bluntness. No one had said that to him before. They had all danced around the fact that Terra was, for all intents and purposes, dead. Somehow, far from being angry at Raven for that, he appreciated it. He had been getting too much pity lately, too many careful words dancing around the subject.
"She died for you," Raven repeated blandly, emotionlessly, "The least you could do is endure some pain to remember her in a way that will do her honour."
The last stone sunk, but no more followed. The only stone now moving was the one Raven was fiddling with. Beast Boy stared out at the twilight sun. Raven was… right. Terra was very much a creature of the earth, of laughter and joy and living in the moment. What he was doing now was the antithesis of what she was, what she would have-did want. She would be screaming at him to get out and have some fun, if she could see him right now. So maybe… He could swallow his grief and regrets. For Terra. And for the friend next to him whose gentle voiced lured him out of his hell.
"Raven?" she turned to look at him, eyes shining in what could have been the reflected light but wasn't. "I'm going to go in and get some food."
Raven gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze and offered him a quick, bright smile. His hand lingered on hers, than he scrambled up the rocks.
"Are you happy now?" Raven murmured after him, too quiet for anyone to hear. As he reached the tower, he yelled something back to her.
"What?" she inquired in a quieter but more carrying voice.
"Thanks,Rae!" he repeated, dodging the boulder that was whipped at him with a credible attempt at his old grin. Raven turned back to the bay and sighed, still seated.
"It helped," she muttered to the earth, "It did."
She sent her stone skimming across the water and watched it skip out of sight.