Raven looked out her kitchen window before taking a new sip of her herbal tea. She hadn't been sleeping well the past few days. Few days? She hadn't slept well since the team dissolved would be a better answer. At least a truer one. She looked at the clock for the twelfth time, and knew it would give the same answer now as the last eleven. 2 in the morning. Soon she would have to get up anyway, get to the bookstore, and again work through a day with too little sleep. She sighed, got up and cleaned away her empty cup. She passed the window, and was suddenly stunned by her own reflection.
She really had changed. She was 24, and her body was that of a 24 year old. Her hair was cut shorter, and she had started to dye it black so not to stand out. Her blue coloured lenses would soon cover her violet eyes. Raven Roth. Raven sat down on her seat, her breath shallow and her emotions hard to control. How she hated Raven Roth. Hated her so much. She hated she had to cover up who she was. She hated the fake smile and idiots she had to deal with on her job. But most off, she hated that Raven Roth was always alone. Raven at least had friends. Four very good friends. Raven Roth was always alone.
The clock turned seven, and Raven Roth was ready to go out into the world. She took a big breath, opened the door and left her emotions by the door. She had turned quite good at it.
She could hear the bell indicating the door opening and closing, and braced herself for a new moron. Of course, not everyone that wandered into the tiny store was an idiot. Some were actually quite smart. The problem was they were few, and long apart. And in the mean time, she had to bear every idiot that couldn't tell Dickson from Shakespeare.
She plastered on a smile, got to her feet, turned to the costumer, and froze. He had changed a bit to in the last two years. He was even taller, making him a full head taller than her. The holographic ring made his skin seem almost normal, with short unruly blond hair, but still with his green eyes.
"Hi, I was looking for a present for a girl."
He didn't recognise her. Well, the last time he had seen her, she wasn't looking like this. She had been wearing her leotard and cloak, not jeans and a dark blue top.
"Okay, anything in particular."
He smiled his half smile and kept looking around the store. Raven was suddenly happy they were alone.
"To be honest, I don't know. I don't read a lot. Unless it is mandatory. But the girl, who the presents for, she reads a lot."
Raven smiled, but inside she got a bit jealous.
"Okay, what kind of books does she like?"
He looked around, and then suddenly ran over to one of her favourite books.
"I know she liked this one. I saw her read it at least three times."
Raven smiled, at least I beat her by two.
"Well, that is very good, so if she likes that kind she would probably like this one."
Raven bent down and picked another favourite of hers. She gave it to him, and dared to take a new look at him. He looked very nice. Wearing a dark green and purple sweater and green pants. He looked happy. Raven wanted him to remember her. But he didn't even look at her properly.
"Well, it looks okay. So if you say its good, I trust you."
He gave her the book and she went to the till.
"You own this shop."
He looked around.
She charged it, and started to wrap it blue and green rapping paper.
"It looks nice. Business good?"
Raven took her time. She didn't want him to leave so soon, because then she would be alone again.
But soon the gift was rapped, and he paid.
"Hope she likes it Gar."
"Oh she'll probably…"
He had turned to walk away, but now he turned around very slowly.
"How do you know my name?"
She crossed her arms and looked at him. He could be so dense some times.
"I know two years is a long time, but have I really changed that much?"
Finally he was looking at her. He checked to see if he recognised her, but didn't seem to connect her with anyone. She sighed, and rolled her eyes.
His eyes widened with shock.
"Nice to see you too."
She was hurt, but hid her emotions as she always did. She waited for him to say something, but he just stood there. Gaping like a fish on land. She almost laughed when she remembered he actually could turn into a fish on land.
"If that was all?"
She went back to restocking the shelves, aware of him looking at her. She tried to ignore him, but at last she had to turn around. It was funny how things fell so quickly back into old routines. She tried to concentrate, and him ruining it. How she had missed it.
"Is there something else I could help you with?"
"I didn't know you worked here."
"I have to. I own it."
She turned back to restock the selves. She needed to do something, and she could do both if he wanted to talk. Which she wanted, but would never ask him to do. She didn't want to impose.
"Wow Raven, black hair?"
"I colour it. It didn't look so professional with purple hair."
"And coloured eye contacts?"
She flashed him a quick smile over her shoulder.
"You got the picture."
"Wow Raven, that looks like a lot of hard work. Why couldn't you just ask for a holo ring from Victor before we parted?"
"I didn't want to be to any bother. And by the way, you needed it more than me. Nice hair colour by the way."
"Thanks, I guess."
He blushed, but she could feel he was unsure if it was a compliment or an insult.
"It was meant as a compliment."
He smiled, and felt more at ease.
"So, what have you been doing?"
"Trying to survive as a book store owner."
She got to her feet, finishing restocking that self, and went over to the next.
"Oh, well, I just got my diploma."
Raven turned around in shock. When they had broken up five years ago, she had joked about him not lasting one year in college. She couldn't believe he actually had finished.
"Congratulations. In what?"
He looked down, and blushed again.
"Zoology. It was actually very interesting."
"Yes, I could guess that."
She gave him a bigger smile, and he smiled even bigger back.
"So I guess I do owe you that 100."
"No you don't. If anything I owe you."
"You owe me nothing Beast Boy."
They both froze as she accidentally called him by his old titan name.
"Nobody has called me that in over four years."
"No, I like it. Reminds me that we actually made a change once. A long time ago."
They looked at each other, before turning and looking somewhere else.
Raven went back on her knees, not forgetting her originally job. He just stood there, in silence. After a few minutes he spoke.
"Do you miss it?"
"What, being a titan? Yes I do. A lot. Being normal wasn't as exciting as I though."
"I know what you mean. After facing death so many times, being scared of a test seems so juvenile."
Raven looked at him and flashed him another smile.
"You've extended you're vocabulary?"
"Yeah you know, collage. Some people get an education, some get a reputation, and I get an extended vocabulary."
She let out a chuckle. All of the books she had neatly arranged suddenly blew on to the floor, and she sighed. Now she had to do everything all over again. He was just standing there, his jaw to his knees. She turned around; a bit irritated she now had to do the whole thing over again.
"What? You know my powers are controlled by my emotions."
"No, it wasn't that. It's just… You laughed."
She rolled her eyes.
"You never laugh."
"I don't laugh unless they are funny."
His grin grew until it was from ear to ear.
"You think I'm funny?"
She got tired of putting the books back one by one, waved her hand, and they flew back into the selves. Boy, she loved having powers sometimes.
"Why didn't you tell me you were going to collage at the picnic?"
The picnic two years ago. The last time she had seen any of her old teammates. They had tried to keep in touch, but sooner or later they just grew apart. Or at least she grew apart from the rest of the team. She wasn't actually so surprised about that. She was just sad that it had happened.
"I didn't want to tell you before I had finished. That actually got me through a few long nights. Proving to you that I actually could stick to something."
"Well congratulations again. You really proved me wrong, and zoology also. That must have been hard."
"It was, but so worth it. I learned more about my powers. It was so cool. Did you know that a cow actually has four stomachs?"
She got to her feet and went back behind the desk. She got out some paperwork. Another perk about having your own store. He leaned over the desk, looking at her. It was funny. When he hadn't recognised her he had barley looked at her. But now that he knew who she was, he couldn't keep his eyes of her.
"So, what did you graduate with? You're probably working on your masters I bet."
She couldn't help the blush.
"I never went to collage, don't you remember. I take some classes at night, but making this go around takes all my attention."
She quickly looked up with a deadpan look on her face, he didn't.
"You gave me all that, for something you didn't even do yourself?"
"Why did you think I did it? I knew how much I hated not being able to get it, and didn't want that for you."
"But why didn't you take collage before you got a book store."
She didn't look at him. She couldn't. She just shrugged.
"You know Dick would have helped you out. We all would have Raven."
"I know. I didn't want to be a bother."
His voice lowered. Bearing seriousness she had never thought she'd hear from him.
"That's why you haven't called or visited or anything?"
"You all have new lives Beast Boy. I don't want to be a bother in this one too."
He swore. This took Raven by surprise and she looked at him. He was angry, she could tell, but it surprised her just how angry he was.
"Raven, we are you're friends. Or at least I thought we were. And being friends means not only giving, but also allowing others to give to you. If you just had asked, we would have loved to help you out."
Raven bit her lower lip, and a new shelf of books exploded to the floor. Irate, she teleported them back to place. She needed to get a control of her emotions. If anyone would come in here and see books all over the floor, they would just turn and walk away. She couldn't afford loosing business.
"Hey Raven, I hope you're not mad at me."
"No Gar. Why would you think that?"
"Well, books keep on flying. That is a sure sign that you are mad."
Raven rolled her eyes.
"My powers are controlled by my emotions Garfield. All of them, not just anger. Or irritation."
She looked at him, and he looked back.
It was like time had stopped. Like the team had never broken up. Like they were still teenagers, hiding their crush behind taunting and friendly jokes. But they weren't teenagers anymore.
The bell rang, and both where a bit taken back and turned around surprised. A girl, seventeen, with short red hair and big brown eyes looked at them.
Beast Boy stepped back as the girl went up and gave Raven a hug. He was surprised to find Raven hug the girl back.
"So ready to spend your birthday money?"
"You know it."
Sophia grinned, and Raven gave the girl a small smile. Sophia's smile got bigger, and she looked quickly over her shoulder to look at Beast Boy. She looked from him to Raven and back again before her smile changed.
"So what do you recommend?"
"What are you in the mood for?"
"Oh I don't know. Romance perhaps."
Raven's eyes widened a bit, but they soon shrank again.
"Okay. I know what your looking fore."
She turned, and walked into her back room. As quickly as she was gone, Sophia turned to Beast Boy and reached out a hand.
Her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped a bit.
"Garfield. The Garfield? Like Gar, Kori, Dick and Vic, Garfield?"
He looked surprised at her.
"I'm so happy to meet you. Well at least one of you."
He had a puzzled look on his face, and she laughed.
"I'm sorry. Raven probably never told you how much she talks about you guys. I really want to thank you. Raven has saved my life, and it is nice to meet one of them who have saved hers."
He still didn't seem to understand, and Sophia's eyes got wider, and she slapped one of her hands over her mouth.
"I'm sorry. Don't tell Raven I told you that."
Before he could say another word, Raven popped up from the back room. Carrying what seemed to be the biggest book in the whole store.
"Here you go."
"Thank you Raven."
Sophia paid, and almost ran out of there. As quickly as the girl was gone, Raven turned to Beast Boy and now an entire wall of books flew around.
"What did you do to her?"
"Nothing. Why do you assume I did something?"
"Because I have never seen her run out if this store the way she ran out now. I promised her this would be a safe haven for her. I hope you didn't break that promise Gar."
She looked at him for a moment or two, before being able to calm her down and flew the books back in its place. Beast Boy thought about what Sophia had said. Did Raven really talk so much about her former teammates?
"Raven, Vic's having a little get together this Saturday. I know the others would love it if you wanted to come too."
She sifted from one foot to the next. She wanted to scream yes. She wanted to run around the store, hugging him and everything else. But she was scared.
All she had left was her memories. Her memories that once there had been four very special people who had loved her. If they didn't want her there now, after all that time, she didn't know what she would do. She would probably fall apart.
"I don't know Gar."
"Please Raven. It's no fun without you."
She looked at his pleading face. He had turned into a dog, and was now looking at her with puppy eyes. She had never been able to resist his puppy eyes.
"Okay. If you are sure I wouldn't intrude."
"You are never an intrusion Raven, and by the way you would be doing us a favour. Kori keeps talking about fashion and girly stuff, and I don't know how long we can stand it. You always were patient with her."
Raven let out a small laugh, and the lights in her entire store flickered. Beast Boy just looked stunned at her. He had never heard anything so beautiful.
"Patience, now that is something you have never claimed I have."
"I never claimed otherwise either."
She smiled, and even thou it died down, her mouth were still aiming upwards. Beast Boy wanted to crow. He was so happy.
"Okay, see you Saturday, at seven. You still have his address?"
He turned and started to walk out of the store. Raven looked down and saw he had forgotten his present.
"Gar, your book."
"Happy Birthday, Rae."
She looked down astounded as the bell told her he had left.