A.N. Holy Batman, it's been a long time since I updated this series! Sorry about that. I do hope that you all enjoy this installment. The story is just a fun little idea that I've had swimming about in my brain for a while. I was initially going to build a chaptered fic around this plot, but I finally decided that it was best just left as a brief little snippet. It leaves more to the reader's imagination, I suppose. I would be interested to hear, though, if you think this idea merits a story of its own.
Oneshot number four, pairing Beast Boy/Raven, is entitled "Playing with Fire"
There wasn't much that could take Raven's attention from a good book, but Beast Boy's nimble hands upon her shoulders could be quite distracting indeed. The changeling had moseyed up behind her as she sat cross-legged on the common room's cozy red couch, her brow furrowed as she concentrated on her mystery novel. He had reached out for her as she was puzzling through the storyline (maybe the butler was behind the triple homicide? Perhaps he was the one who had framed the cook…), but against her will, Beast Boy's contact brought her train of thought to a screeching halt. However, Raven was practiced enough in the art of deception to keep her temporary lack of cognitive capacity from her face, and as the changeling's hands began rhythmically squeezing her shoulders, she kept her eyes on her book as if she hadn't noticed his presence at all.
"So tense," Beast Boy muttered under his breath, "And they say reading is supposed to be relaxing."
Raven lazily rolled her head to the right to glance fleetingly at the boy behind her.
"You're up early," she noted calmly.
"Yeah, three cans of root beer before bed'll do that to you." Beast Boy chuckled as Raven rolled her eyes. "Do I get a good morning kiss?"
"That depends, have you brushed your teeth this morning?" Raven inquired. She knew he was blushing without even turning around.
"Ah, maybe I'll take a rain check," the green Titan said sheepishly.
Raven's smart reply fizzled on her lips as Beast Boy's hand worked its way up her neck, compressing it gently in that puzzlingly delicious way he was so darned good at. Sometimes she wondered if she would find the patience to put up with him if his little impromptu massages didn't always have her mind melting into soup.
"It's a pretty day," Beast Boy commented casually, glancing up from the empath for a moment to peer out the common room's expansive windows. The sun was already shining radiantly through a sparse blanket of fluffy clouds, promising a day of great park excursion weather. "We should do something."
"We?" Raven replied, faintly aware that they were about to dive into the same exhausted semi-argument that usually followed Beast Boy's subtle pining for a date.
"The whole team, I mean," Beast Boy covered. He hesitated, but then continued, "Unless you wanted to do something, ya know, just the two of us."
"Beast Boy," Raven began, voice tinged with admonishment, "We've been over this fifty times. You know exactly why we can't formally date."
"I didn't say date," Beast Boy retorted. "Just something innocent. I know you have plans for today, right? I could tag along, and they'll just think I begged you to let me come. No biggie."
"Because a romantic trip to the library or the grocery store is definitely worth having the guilt of tricking our teammates forever on our consciences."
Beast Boy's hands slowed in their ministrations, soon coming to a complete stop and resting on Raven's shoulders.
"You can be such a killjoy," he sighed dramatically, leaning forward until his chest brushed the back of her head.
Raven shrugged. "I've been called worse," she assured him. "Now if you're not going to keep rubbing my shoulders, can you please be quiet and let me read?" She was silent for a few seconds, graciously allotting quite enough time for the green teen to shoot back something witty. When no quip came, Raven glanced behind herself for the second time that morning, and noted the slightly furtive expression upon Beast Boy's face. The changeling cocked his head.
"Rob 'n' Star, heading this way," he announced. "Quick, look platonic!" With that the changeling leapt over the back of the couch, ducking down next to Raven and making a grab for her book.
"Quit it," Raven demanded, halfheartedly gripping the binding of her book as Beast Boy tried to tug it from her hands.
Sure enough, the doors to the common room slid open, granting entrance to Starfire and the Boy Wonder.
"A glorious morning to you both, my friends," Starfire exclaimed radiantly.
"Give Raven back her book, Beast Boy," Robin sighed, leading Starfire with a hand on her lower back over to the kitchen area.
"Darn it, foiled again," Beast Boy said with a wink in Raven's direction, eliciting only a roll of her eyes in response. He craned his neck, peering over towards the kitchen. "What's on the itinerary for the day, cap'n?" he called out.
Robin glanced up from the coffee machine, arms folded over his chest. "Combat practice at noon. City council meeting at five, but as always, I'll probably end up being the only one of us not to beg out of attending." He made a sour face.
"It's also your week for groceries," Raven pointed out absently, trying to find the page of her book that she had left off at.
Robin sighed. "I really don't have time," he replied. "Piles of paperwork don't do themselves. I'd appreciate it if someone went for me."
"I would not mind traveling to the store of groceries in your place," Starfire piped up from her spot at the kitchen counter, were she stood carefully spreading mustard over several pieces of toast.
"Don't bother, Star," Beast Boy said, still lounging on the couch, "I was gunna see if the comic book store got that latest Galaxy Man issue I've been bugging them for. I'll just stop for some junk at the grocery store on the way home."
"Wow, Beast Boy, you've never offered to do someone else's chore before. I don't even know how to react," Robin said sarcastically, pouring out a mug of freshly brewed coffee as he spoke.
"A simple 'you're amazing and I don't know how we would survive without you, Beast Boy' would suffice," the changeling replied, hopping up. "Besides, one of the cashier chicks at the grocery store really digs me."
"You mean Gladys?" Raven smirked, "The one who loves to thrill you with stories about her canker sores?"
Robin snorted. "Just don't screw up the grocery list this time, Beast Boy," he warned.
"Me?" Beast Boy replied innocently. "Never. Hey, Raven, if you come with me I'll even buy your tea for you. I'll only be a minute in the comic book store first."
Raven glanced up from her book at the grinning boy. She sighed and gave him a long, expressionless look.
"I'll go for the tea," she finally intoned.
"Cool. Be ready in five, I just have to grab my cash," Beast Boy said.
"And I just have to set this book in my bedroom. You remember what happened last time I left a book in the common room, don't you?" Raven cast a significant look at the changeling.
"Hey, for the record, I did pay the library fine for water damage," Beast Boy responded, watching Raven as she stood. "And, ah, the acid damage fine too."
"Don't forget milk," Robin called out absently from behind the refrigerator door as the two Titans began retreating from the room.
"Whatever you say, boss," Beast Boy replied, offering a gallant salute to Robin's back that made Starfire giggle.
As soon as the common room doors slid shut behind Raven and Beast Boy, the changeling easily slung an arm around the empath's waist, hand splayed comfortably on her hip. He sighed and leaned his head on her shoulder as they walked.
"So this is as close to dating as we're gunna get, huh?" he mused.
"I'm afraid so, for the time being, unless you feel like braving the consequences."
The changeling shuddered and lifted his head. "I'll never understand what you see in him, Rae. I'm better for you anyway."
"You're better for what you are."
"And 'xactly what does that mean?"
"You know what I mean. You're better for being the flighty, noncommittal… and passionate guy that you are."
Beast Boy stopped walking, and because his arm was still snaked around Raven's middle, she stopped too. He used his arm to pull her towards him and planted a light kiss on her mouth.
"I still say I'm better for you," he offered gently.
Raven's gaze locked with his and they stood together for a few brief moments, but then she easily turned away and began to walk forward again.
"Come on," she said. "We're leaving in five."
Beast Boy chuckled. "So we're both clear on the fact that the grocery store doesn't open for another hour and a half, right?"
"And what, pray tell, are we going to do for an hour and a half?"
"Well, we're leaving the Tower, that's for sure. After all, that's what they're expecting us to do." She smirked darkly. "After that, who knows?"
Beast Boy chuckled. "You're so devious. Just one of the many things I love about you."
Raven opened her mouth to reply, but Beast Boy's hand clamped over it before she could speak. Her unspoken question was answered a second later, when after Beast Boy had quickly hopped away from her, a hulking figure rounded the corner.
"Well, g'mornin'," the recently arrived Titan boomed in greeting, recognizing them with a tone of pleasant surprise. He casually stopped a few paces ahead of Beast Boy and Raven. "How's my girl?" he asked warmly.
A hint of a smile flickered across Raven's otherwise blank face. "Good morning, Cyborg," she responded, and allowed him to pull her into a quick, affectionate embrace. "Did you sleep well?"
"Like a baby," he replied. "That reminds me, I wanted to discuss something with you. Mind if we talk over breakfast?" the bionic teen inquired.
"Actually, Beast Boy and I were just leaving for town," Raven replied. "Robin deemed his time too precious to be spent grocery shopping and sent us peons to do his chores."
Cyborg looked between his two teammates strangely.
"That sounds like Rob, I guess," he finally said with a shrug. "Well, I won't keep you if you're acting on orders." He began walking again, but stopped to briefly glance at Beast Boy. "Oh, grass stain, don't forget that we're still on for playin' Speedy in Extreme Tetris over the Internet sometime this afternoon."
"Sure thing, dude," Beast Boy grinned.
The three then parted company, Cyborg walking towards the kitchen while Raven and Beast Boy traveled in the opposite direction.
"You think he suspects?" Beast Boy asked in a subdued tone once they had rounded a few corners and were out of Cyborg's range of hearing.
Raven shrugged slightly. "He's perceptive, but that's why we're careful," she murmured.
Beast Boy made a noise of assent and appeared contemplative.
"You really think he's a nice guy?" the changeling queried offhandedly a moment later.
"Yes, I do."
"Nice enough to let me keep that moped he built me if he found out about us?" he asked hopefully. He deflated slightly at Raven's sardonic laughter.
"I'd be far more concerned that he lets you keep your reproductive organs if he were to find out," she replied coolly, and Beast Boy looked faint. He cleared his head with an uneasy chuckle.
"Like you said, that's why we're careful," he said.
Raven sighed, and as they reached the next fork in the hallway, they went in separate directions.
"Two minutes," Raven called over her shoulder, without missing a step. "Oh, and Beast Boy?"
"For the love of Azar, don't forget to brush your teeth."
A grin slid over the changeling's face as he continued on away from the empath, his mood slowly recovering from the sobering experience of contemplating the wrath of a jealous boyfriend. Yeah, any other girl definitely wouldn't be worth the risk he took upon himself for this, and maybe he was just an idiot playing with fire, but he sure as hell wasn't going to stop. After all, half the fun was just figuring out how to avoid getting burned, and the other half was having Raven as his partner in crime. And that was why he risked his green behind every single day, and why he couldn't see himself ever wanting it any other way.
Well, what did you think? I'd be tickled pink and honored senseless if you dropped me a review to tell me. Again, sorry for how long this took to post. Hopefully the next installments won't take nearly as long.
Thanks for reading.