And I live! Although knowing my update patterns, not for long. At any rate, welcome to the fan fiction Unholy Matrimony! Before we begin, I would like to give credit where credit is due: Totentanz, who came up with the original idea for this story and gave me permission to use the premise! Thanks a bunch!

That said, I'd like to warn you of something: This is nto going to be a fluffy fic. That does not mean there won't be fluffy moments (It also doesn't mean there will be fluffy moments), but this will not be, in general, a fluffy fic.

Another warning: This story isn't all about Beast Boy and Raven. Yes, they are the main characters, and they shall be the most focused upon, but that does not mean I am going to make out other characters to be nonexistantial, as you shall see in this chapter.

And speaking of "this chapter", a final warning: not all the chapters are going to be this big, more than likely. Still, this one is, and more than likely another one shall be eventually.

So, having said all that, read and enjoy!


"WOO-HOO!" Cyborg shouted. "IT'S PARTY TIME!"

The Titans had had a relatively criminal-free week, and were ready to relax. And where better to relax than at a noisy, brightly-lit, cotton-candy smelling, creepy-in-the-area-of-clowns CARNIVAL?

Well, that was Beast Boy's logic, anyway. And it had a certain logic to it, if you enjoy that kind of thing. Raven, of course, did not. But she agreed to come along anyway, for one reason and one reason only: Raven loves funnel cakes like Cyborg loves waffles. And that is saying something.

"Now, where should I start?" Cyborg asked himself, eyes wide in order to take it all in. "The games? The roller coaster? The food stands? The roller coaster? Woah, better get a hold of myself, I'm starting to repeat myself! Ah, well who cares? It's JUMP CITY CARNIVAL NIGHT!"

Unbeknowst to Cyborg, a nearby carnival worker slowly edged his right hand towards the mace in his pocket. Of course, before the guy got a chance to use it and traumatize several kids standing nearby for life by seeing their hero get beat up by a fat dude in a jumpsuit with a spray-bottle, Cyborg ran off, giggling like a madman.

"O...kay..." said Robin, summing up the feelings of everyone in the general vicinity. "But he does have a point!" And here he turned to the Titans. "We're at the Jump City Carnival, and the possibilities are nigh-on endless! What do you guys want to do first?"

"Robin," said Starfire, grabbing onto his arm, "I believe, from my observance of last year's carnival, that it would be appropriate, since we are after all now the 'boyfriend and girlfriend', for us to go onto..." and here she leaned in close to Robin, eyes half-lidded, her voice taking on a tone you normally don't imagine Starfire using, "... the Tunnel of Love?"

There was a long silence, made even creepier by the music from the nearby merry-go-round.

"See you guys later!" Robin suddenly said, grabbing a giggling Starfire's arm and running off in the general direction of that ride.

Another few moments of semi-silence.

"Okay, I could've gone my whole life without seeing that..." said Raven.

"Eh, I've seen worse," said Beast Boy. "So, you wanna stick around and watch my ride?"

"No thanks," said Raven. "I only came here for the funne...wait, your ride?"

"Yeah!" said Beast Boy. "I'm gonna morph into different animals at different times, and go swimming, and running, and flying, and give the kids some free rides!"

"How sweet," said Raven, sarcasm shining through. "Have you checked to make sure that's safe?"

"Yes!" said Beast Boy.

"How did you do that?"

"Ran the plan past Cyborg!"

"And Cyborg was doing...what at this time?" asked Raven.

"Playing video games."

Another spooky carnival music interlude.

"This isn't such a good idea, is it?" asked Beast Boy.

"I think I just saved a bunch of kids' lives," deadpanned Raven.

"Well...there's always Plan B!" said Beast Boy, brimming with new confidence.

"Dare I ask?" monotoned Raven.

"The much-less-thrilling horsey rides!" said Beast Boy, morphing into a horse. He gave a quick snort. Little kids instantaneously gathered around Beast Boy as a pen with a gate and some straw on the floor along with a sign that said "FREE Rides on Beast Boy!" appeared from nowhere. Beast Boy gave a horse-smile.

"Yeah..." said Raven, in even more of a flat tone than usual. "Have fun with that." And she turned and walked towards the food stands.

Beast Boy gave another snort, this one nowhere near as friendly. The little kids didn't seem to notice, probably because they were breaking the sound barrier with nothing but their vocal cords while they pushed and shoved each other to be the first ones on. Beast Boy put the smile back on his face, although he wasn't feeling the same way on the inside. He picked up one of the little kids by his shirt, setting him gently on his back. The little guy laughed and giggled as the others groaned and "aww"ed. Beast Boy began a slow trot around the pen, thinking of his teammate Raven...

-Stupid Raven!-

Not in the romantic way, as you might have guessed.

-I try and give these kids a fun, free ride at the carnival with their favorite Titan, and Raven doesn't even care! Alright, maybe the "BB's Ride O' Thrills' was a stupid idea, but this horsey ride is genius! I'm making these kids happy, and Raven doesn't even care about anything except her stupid funnel cake!-

"Faster! Faster!" said the kid on the green horse's back. Beast Boy, in spite of his anger, couldn't help but chuckle inwardly as he slowly sped up his trot...then he resumed with his anger.

-I mean seriously! What is her deal? Why can't she recognize when I do something good? It's not like I want a medal or anything, but after all those times I messed up and fell on my face, all those times SHE was there to point out every single one of my shortcomings...-

The horse gave a small sigh, frowning now for a split second before putting on his mask of merriment. The kids, once again, didn't notice, but even so it is a sad thing to see a horse frown or to hear one sigh.

-Always there to point out my shortcomings...- he thought, -But never there to compliment me when I do something right...- And something occurred to him. -She must be depressed or something, if she can't appreciate the fact I'm making these kids happy! Oh, man...-

And so Beast Boy, who had always been taught to look at the situation form the other person's point of view but hadn't put it into practice until now, felt his anger melt into a wave of concern for his friend.

Or, at least, that's what he thought...

0 0 0

"Woah, you're...Raven, aren't you?" said the teenage boy working the snack stand.

"Did the gray skin give it away?" said Raven with a perfectly straight face.

"Um...sorry..." said the kid, sweatdropping as he rubbed the back of his head. "It's just...we get a lot of fanboys and fangirls at the carnival, so sometimes we don't realize who exactly we're talking to until the last second..."

"That's nice," said Raven, uncaring. "One funnel cake, quickly."

"Um, right! Just a second!" said the kid, before a flurry of activity occurred inside the stand. Two seconds later, a perfectly formed funnel cake appeared before Raven, fat, sugar, and all. "Sorry about the wait! That'll be $1.50!"

Raven reached into her pocket, taking out her wallet and quickly pulling out the exact change needed, which she had prepared ahead of time. "No, I'm sorry. I'm a little irritated. Carnivals...aren't exactly my thing. Bright lights, loud music...pointless."

The carnival kid was inclined to disagree, but held his tongue for fear Raven would do something a bit more drastic than snap at him if he got her irritated again. Thusly, he instead said: "Yeah, I understand what you mean." He quickly opened the cash register, placing the money just handed to him, by Raven, inside. "Have a nice night!...And, thanks for saving the city so many times..."

"You're welcome," said Raven, simply, before walking away.

-Wait until Vanessa hears about this!- thought the teen, wiping his forehead free from perspiration before resuming his minimum-wage duties. -Although I should probably leave the part out about what she said about carnivals...Vanessa would get angry at Raven, and then...yipes.- He shook a little, causing the cherry flavoring he was pouring on a snow cone to splatter onto his new sweater. -Oh, c'mon...-

Meanwhile, as Raven walked towards a nearby bench, she began to think about a certain green shape-shifter...

-Beast Boy...could he be any more childish?-

Obviously, her thoughts were also not of the romantic sort.

-His thing about giving those kids free rides on his back was, admittedly, thoughtful, but like all of Beast Boy's plans, it contained a fatal flaw: everything at this carnival is already free for little kids! Besides, I don't see how anyone, even a toddler, could get any amusement out of getting saddle-less saddle sores by riding around a twenty-foot pen...not to mention all the trouble we'd get in if any of those kids fall off...and knowing Beast Boy, that's happened at least six times by now.-

Raven sat down, placing the complimentary plastic fork into the cake, slicing a small section off with its edge, and placing it into her mouth...

Raven actually gave out a soft, contented moan at the taste of funnel cake in her mouth...she had to admit one thing: as much as she hated the Jump City Carnival, she loved its funnel cake.

-Although I REALLY wish it wasn't so fattening...- she thought, looking down at herself and imagining how long it was going to take to lose the weight put on by the sugar coated, fried dough. Deciding it was worth it, she shrugged and took another bite, her criticisms of Beast Boy forgotten...

...But of course, not forever.

0 0 0

"Oooooh...my stomach..." said Cyborg.

Jump City had tried something new at this year's carnival: a hot dog eating contest. And Cyborg being, well, Cyborg, he had decided to enter.

He quickly regretted it after finding out the sweaty, fat dude from the Mega Meaty Meat incident was in the competition, too.

"What's the matter, tin can?" said the obese guy, shoving three hot dogs in his mouth and swallowing, "Afraid of a little pig intestine? Ha ha ha!"

-Being reminded of what this stuff is made of does not help my stomach, thank you very much!- Cyborg thought, resisting the urge to...

"HURMPH!"

Needless to say, he wasn't resisting too well.

-No way...- he thought. -I am the eating CHAMP! There is no way I'm gonna lose to some guy who obviously ain't had a shower since he was born, and...-

"CHOMPCHOMPCHOMPCHOMPCHOMPCHOMP!"

-...and who obviously doesn't require air to survive...aw, dang...- But even after this newest (disturbing) revelation, Cyborg stood his ground, picking up a plate of hot dogs and almost drinking it. He gave off a quick "Ha! Who's scared now?" to the fat man.

The fat dude looked over, putting another hot dog or six in his mouth. "Araganagonin!" he declared.

"...I don't have a clue what you just said," said Cyborg, "But you are going DOWN!"

And the fight began anew...

CRANGONGLE!

...okay, that's just wrong.

0 0 0

"I am most sorry, Robin..." apologized Starfire as she and Robin walked away from the Tunnel of Love. "If I had known that they were going to take pictures, I would have never suggested we ride upon-"

"It's not your fault, Starfire..." said Robin, trying to make sure this topic was never brought up in conversation again. "It was that stupid guy who tipped off the paparazzi's fault, not to mention the paparazzi himself's fault.."

"The...whose?" asked Starfire.

"The paparazzi...the guy with the camera," answered Robin.

"Oh..." said Starfire, understanding...kind of. After all, she didn't know why he'd had the camera...

Robin guessed what she was thinking. "Yeah...most likely he'll take those pictures and sell them to a magazine...and that magazine will take those pictures, put them up for everyone to see and make up some stupid story about us..."

Starfire gasped. "That is horrible!" Then, she gave a hesitant look back. "But...was it really necessary, evil as their intentions were, to hang them upside down in such an uncomfortable manner?"

"I wouldn't have if he'd just handed the film over..." replied Robin. "But nooooo, he had to wirelessly beam it straight to whatever sleazy corporation will be showcasing those pictures tomorrow morning..."

"So...you blame him for your actions?"

"Heh...you're right, I shouldn't," admitted Robin. "I was just...embarrassed that all of Jump City is going to see me in that kind of situation with my shirt turned inside out and my cape on backwards..."

"Um...yes..." said Starfire, blushing. "I am sorry for that as well..."

Robin smiled. "Actually, Starfire, I didn't mind that part too much..."

0 0 0

Beast Boy, still in horse form, gently sat down the little girl who had just been riding on his back. Instantly, a chorus of "Me Next!" and "My turn!" went up, followed by a chorus of "Aww"s when Beast Boy changed back.

"Sorry, little guys!" he said. "But even superheroes need a break every now and then. But I'll try my best to be back later...right now, there's something important I have to do..."

"Be back soon!" and other such phrases the kids cried as Beast Boy ran off, giving a little wave back with his hand before focusing entirely on his new goal.

0 0 0

CHOMPSNARLBITECHEW

MUNCHCRUNCHGULPSMACK

And the eating contest raged on. Both Cyborg and the fat dude had turned an unfortunate shade of green, but neither of them was about to give up. The crowd was chanting, a good three quarters of it in fact, the following phrase:

GO CYBORG GO CYBORG GO CYBORG EAT 'EM UP!

Both contestants had begun to slow down long ago, but both were still eating faster than thought physically possible. The contest was neck-and-neck, and it was obvious that no one was going to give in. This meant one of two things:

A) One of the contestants was about to lose consciousness.

B) The hot dogs were going to run out.

And after ten more seconds of chanting, it looked like option A would be the correct answer. Both contestants were hunched over, barely able to stay up. Cyborg moved first, reaching his hand slowly, ever so slowly, towards another hot dog...the audience held its breath...

Cyborg's hand fell.

Cyborg weakly looked up to see the fat guy reaching for another hot dog as well. Cyborg's opponent was more successful than he, bringing the hot dog up to his mouth and taking four small (compared to earlier) bites and leaving just a little bit of the hot dog. He swallowed.

Cyborg looked up in horror, unable to even murmur out the word "No..." the fat guy brought the hot dog's last bit all the way up and opened his mouth wide...

Several seconds passed as the fat man tried to place the last little bit of hot dog in his mouth. He trembled, and shuddered, and slowly his hand moved towards his lips. Finally, the hot dog reached his mouth, and he began to close it.

Another second passed.

And another.

And another.

A small groan escaped from the fat man's lips as his eyes rolled back in his head. His hand, still clutching the piece of hot dog, fell onto the table, closely followed by his head and body.

Another second passed as a doctor ran on stage.

Another couple seconds.

"He has a pulse," said the doctor. "He'll be fine, so long as we get him to a hospital."

The audience let out a sigh of relief.

"Alright, Cyborg!" shouted the farmer in charge of the event, walking onto the stage. "Warren's technically ahead of you right now, but you can change that! All you need to do to win is eat one hot dog!"

Cyborg slowly moved his head, still lying on the table, to look at the piece of meat in a bun. He gulped. He slowly moved his hand towards the dog again, sweating from the effort. He managed to get his hand around the dog, and slowly drag said hand towards his face, lifting up his head and arm slightly, and opened wide...

He closed his non-mechanical eye shut tight in mental anguish. -I...I can't...it's too much...-

And then, from the crowd, he heard an incredible noise...

People. Just a few in number, but that number was slowly growing. People were chanting again...but it was a different chant this time.

"One hot dog...one hot dog...one hot dog...one hot dog..."

The number steadily grew, until the entire crowd was chanting for him. Cyborg slowly lifted his head. -These people look up to me...- thought Cyborg, looking down at the hot dog in his hand.-This is about more than a hot dog eating contest...this is about their hero taking on a challenge before their eyes...and they want me to win...I can't let them down.-

Cyborg suddenly smiled. "Alright, hot dog!" he shouted, pounding the table. "You are going DOWN!"

The crowd cheered as Cyborg slowly, but with determination, brought the hot dog to his mouth, opened wide, and, amazingly...

...shoved the entire thing in.

The audience went wild with cheering and applause, and-

"HOLD IT!" shouted the farmer, raising his hand for silence. "He has to eat the dog. That means put it in his mouth AND swallow it!"

The audience turned to Cyborg again, watching him intently. Cyborg smirked, but several took note of the fact that he was chewingslowly. Finally, after several seconds, Cyborg gave a great 'GULP'.

The farmer walked over to Cyborg, as the audience watched with absolute silence. Cyborg opened his mouth, and the farmer peered inside from several angles. Finally, the farmer turned towards the audience, lifted Cyborg's left hand in the air, and shouted:

"The winner of the First Annual Jump City Hot Dog Eating Contest is CYBORG, of the TEEN TITANS!"

And as Cyborg stood up, beaming in the face of thunderous applause and congratulations, he gave a mighty shout:

"BOO-YAH!" And the cheers grew even louder.

But, of course, on the inside, he was thinking...

-I don't care how much Beast Boy makes fun of me, I'm having tofu bacon with my waffles tomorrow morning...-

0 0 0

"Alrighty, then!" said Beast Boy to the kid working the stand Raven had been at not twenty minutes ago, "I'll have two funnel cakes, please!"

"Sure thing!" said the teenage boy, happy to serve a Titan a little less...irritable than Raven. As quick as a flash, he grabbed the necessary materials, fried the dough, sprinkled on the sugar and put two plates and two forks and two funnel cakes down in front of Beast Boy. "That'll be $3.00!"

"Thanks!" said Beast Boy, getting out the cash. "Wait...only three bucks?"

"Um, yeah..." said the kid, blushing. "I'm, uh, not supposed to do this, but I'm giving you a discount 'cause, y'know, you're a Titan and all..."

"Oh! Thanks a bunch, dude!" said Beast Boy, handing the money over.

"No way, man, thank you," said the cashier as he put the money away. Beast Boy turned and started looking for any trace of...something. "Um, what are you doing, if you don't mind my asking?"

"I'm looking for Raven," said Beast Boy, without turning around.. "She seems a bit down, and she loves funnel cakes, so I figured I'd get her one, and myself another, and I could sit down with her and hopefully cheer her up!"

"Heh, that's cool of you," said the cashier. "Well, good luck finding her."

"Thanks!" said Beast Boy, before rushing off, satisfied Raven was not in the general area.

-Two Titans in one day!- thought the kid. -Wait 'till Vanessa hears about THIS!-

0 0 0

"Hee hee hee!" giggled Starfire, watching the antics of the (surprisingly uncreepy) clown in front of her. Robin, standing just behind her, smiled at her charmingly childish manner.

-I never know what to say or do around her...- he thought to himself. -And yet, when I see her so happy, I feel like I want her to be happy forever...and so, occasionally, I say the right thing to her.- He frowned, deep in thought. -Even so, I don't know what she sees in me...alright, I admittedly have some great muscles, and I know martial arts...but that's about it. And Starfire doesn't seem like the type to get in a relationship just for a man's body...whatdoes she see in me?-

"Robin...you are feeling alright, yes?"

Robin shook his head, snapping back into reality to see a concerned look on his girlfriend's face. "Um...sorry, Star..." he said, blushing slightly. "I was just...thinking."

"It is alright!" she said, before suddenly gasping and pointing behind Robin. Instantly, Robin turned, ready for anything, innocent or deadly, good or evil, angelic or demonic, otherworldly or plain, chocolate or vanilla...

...or a cotton candy cart. It was low on his "list of things to expect" list, but not at the absolute bottom...the absolute bottom would probably be either a circus troupe comprised entirely of half-man, half-alligator performers or Slade making out with Brother Blood...

...and now Robin had a great mental image to take with him to his grave.

"Oh, Robin!" shouted Starfire, almost gloriously, "Perhaps we should get some cotton candy to share and ride upon the Ferris wheel, as we did upon my first carnival of coming here to Earth!"

Robin looked at her. He wanted to say something sweet, or flirty, or meaningful, or original, or any combination of the above. Yet, after several seconds of Starfire's pouting, pouting as if to say "Please?" to Robin's very soul, all he could come up with was...

"Yeah, sure, why not?"

"Oh, thank you friend among boyfriends and boyfriend among friends!" said Starfire, hugging Robin, more gently than she had in previous years, but still powerfully emotionally. "I shall fetch the delicious sugary confection!" she then said, before floating off giggling towards the cart.

Robin sighed. -I can't ever do anything right...-

0 0 0

Cyborg grinned, basking in the love of his fans as he walked out of the massive tent. Behind him, an ambulance roared off, the fat dude named Warren in tow. As the crowd chanted a few last "Cyborg!"s and gave one last cheer before dispersing, Cyborg raised his left hand, trophy in it, proud of his victory.

He stood there, smiling at the first trophy he'd received since high school, until a finger tapped him on his shoulder. He turned to see Raven standing there.

"Mind if I talk to the 'Hot Dog Eating Champ' for a little bit?" she asked.

"Naw, go right ahead!" he responded, giving his full attention to her. She turned and began to walk, body language silently saying "Walk with me, talk with me." In an instant, Cyborg complied. "So, what's up, little sis?"

"I told you not to call me that," said Raven, slightly irritated.

"Sorry," said Cyborg, rubbing the back of his head.

Raven grunted. Then, going off topic, she said "I'm either going to get a cavity or throw up."

"Ooh, funnel cake comin' back on you?" Cyborg asked.

"No," Raven responded. "I just saw Robin and Starfire standing in line for the ferris wheel...sharing cotton candy. And not just sharing, either. One of them would take a piece of cotton candy and gently place it in the other's mouth, and then the other one would, and then they'd start to giggle..."

"Woah...I'm getting a cavity just thinking about it!" Cyborg said, unconsciously wiggling a couple of his teeth. "But...throwing up? Don't you think that's going a bit too far?"

"Maybe," said Raven, "But that's what I feel like doing."

"Oh," said Cyborg, understanding, "I get it...you're jealous..."

"If you EVER tell ANYONE," Raven said, stopping in her tracks and turning on Cyborg, "I swear I will..."

"I know, I know," said Cyborg, more or less used to Raven's frequent, half-serious threats, "You'll take me apart, piece by piece, and sell me to a recycling plant. But you don't need to worry." His face softened. "Your secrets are always safe with me."

"Hmph..." grunted Raven, turning away from Cyborg.

"So...what exactly are you jealous about?" asked Cyborg.

"I'm not into Robin, if that's what you're thinking," stated Raven. "Though he is, I admit without hesitation, one of my best friends, our friendship is purely platonic."

"I see," said Cyborg.

"And before you insinuate anything, I'm not into Starfire either."

"I wasn't going to insinuate anything!" said Cyborg quickly, blushing madly.

"Good," said Raven, before turning away.

There was a short silence.

"So..." prompted Cyborg.

"I want to feel loved," said Raven, a little unexpectedly.

"Raven..." said Cyborg, a little astonished, but wanting to comfort her. "You know we'll always love you...we're your best friends."

"That's not what I meant, and you know it," said Raven.

Cyborg was silent.

"I want to be in a relationship..." Raven said. "But...who could ever fall in love with me? I'm dark, I still can barely feel emotions, even without my father influencing me...I'm the daughter of a demon, Cyborg! I'm...I'm creepy. That's what I am. Too different for this world..." at this point, she was pouring out how she felt directly into the vessel who liked to call itself her big brother, and as all good brothers do, he was listening intently.

"I'm not pretty...I don't have any talents, besides sorcery and magic...and who wants to fall in love with a witch? Who could ever love me?" And even as Raven's monotone never wavered, her pain seemed to be magnified and summarized into a single, painful sentence.

"I don't even love myself."

There was a couple more seconds silence before Cyborg spoke. "I don't think that's true at all." He walked up next to Raven, who looked up to his face as he looked straight ahead. "You're different, but you're not creepy. You may be the daughter of a demon, but that doesn't make you one. And if it helps, I think you're beautiful...don't take that the wrong way or nothin', but I do think so."

"Hmm. I doubt it," said Raven.

Another few moments passed before Cyborg said, "And then, of course, there's the most important point of my argument..."

Raven looked up to him again. He broke from his looking straight ahead to look her in the eye. "We love you Raven. We're your best friends. We really care for you...and I'm positive that someone out there is willing and wanting to care for you like you want to care for someone."

Raven said nothing to doubt, but nothing to affirm, either. So, Cyborg continued.

"In fact, I can think of one person immediately off the top of my head..."

"Who?" asked Raven, interested in spite of herself.

"Little grass stain, kinda short, makes really bad jokes, but likes giving you attention. Oh, and he lives in the same house you do."

"You're mistaken," she said simply. "Beast Boy has no romantic interest in me, nor I in him. You have jumped to a conclusion, assumed much." And she turned away, neither happiness nor sadness showing in her face or in her walk or in her words. She spoke as she walked away, in much the same tone as before. "Thanks for the talk, Cyborg."

Cyborg responded not immediately, but quickly. "He really does like you, Raven! Trust me on this one!"

0 0 0

It just goes to show how much you should trust Cyborg.

Despite what Cyborg and several others thought (and uncommon to stories of this kind), the green changeling truly held no romantic feelings towards his teammate Raven. His friendship with her was not entirely platonic, admittedly, for despite what Raven thought of herself, Beast Boy and several other men of Jump City thought her very pretty. Still, beyond a physical attraction, there was no feeling of that sort. Did that mean that there never could be? No. But presently, there was nothing.

But Beast Boy did love her as a best friend, and as one of her best friends (at least he hoped he was), he felt inclined, even glad, to search her out, sit down on a bench to enjoy some funnel cake with her, and try and cheer her up.

He was, of course, still working on step one.

"Raven!" he called out. "Where are you?"

He looked around for a few seconds, before deciding to try a different approach.

"Olly-olly-oxen-free!"

No one came.

-Oh, man...- he thought, suddenly realizing something. -What if she's already left? I need to find her, and quick, before these funnel cakes get stale...-and so he ran forward, miraculously managing to avoid bumping into anyone in the vast crowd of people and also to keep the two plates, one in each hand, from upsetting.

Soon enough, as he dodged around several people, he dodged past one who should have been of no consequence. She was a girl, appearing to be about seventeen years of age. She had a small figure, blond hair worn back in a ponytail and dazzling green eyes. She wore a red shirt with a star on it, sneakers, and a white skirt, longer than a mini-skirt, but shorter than a regular skirt. Still, she seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary, and truly, Beast Boy barely noticed her, besides to shout out a "Pardon me!" as he passed by.

It is clear to you, the reader, that this girl had little to do with anything up to this point, and in any other story I might tell of many of the other people walking in the carnival that night, she would most likely go completely unnoticed. However, in this particular story, this young lady was to have a critical impact upon the plot, and therefore, as the omniscient narrator, it is my job to point her out to you, the audience.

As Beast Boy passed on her right, she continued along with the barest of glances towards him, before suddenly stopping, as if realizing she had forgotten something. Instantly, her hand went into her pocket, and as it came out, it had grasped within it something unusual.

It was a small vial, slightly larger than the toothpick it contained. Besides the toothpick, it was filled with water, completely ordinary besides the fact it was tinted slightly blue. It was an odd thing to carry around admittedly, but at first glance it seemed to be no less out of the ordinary than anything else in the carnival. At second glance, however, you could see that the toothpick was vibrating back and forth at a great speed, rising and falling an inch or so within the water holding it.

"Oh, crud..." said the girl, her face filled with fear. Inserting the vial back into her pocket, she suddenly began to run as well, in the direction Beast Boy was coming from. -Please be wrong, please be wrong, please be wrong...- she chanted in her mind, speeding up her running even more. After all, if the toothpick was right in its prediction, (which it usually was), then that meant she needed to get where she was going as fast as possible. If not...

...well, she was late opening her jewelry stand anyway.

0 0 0

"Oh, Robin, sometimes you are most childlike!" said Starfire, playfully admonishing him for his last comment.

"You more than I!" retorted Robin.

-That was a stupid thing to say...- he thought.

"Yes, perhaps this is true," said Starfire, "but at least I am not a gorean stalfazor..."

"Hey!" said Robin, who had picked up a few Tameranean words in the years he had lived with Starfire.

Starfire giggled, ending their "argument". Robin couldn't help but chuckle himself at her gaiety. There were a few moments of comfortable silence between the two, before the fireworks began. As the colored lights shone upon them, and the fireworks' boom echoed throughout the night sky, Starfire "Ooh"d and "Ahh"d, in awe of the magnificent display. Robin smiled. -Why is everything she does, even little things like admiring fireworks, so...incredible?-

"They are most beautiful..." Starfire said, gazing at the colored lights.

The phrase "You're way more beautiful than even the most magnificent fireworks," immediately popped into Robin's head, but he could not bring himself to say it. He mentally cursed himself.-Why can't I say it to her? She'd smile, I'd have given her a compliment, she'd remember my saying it the rest of her life...why can't I say it?!-

And, after several minutes of his trying in vain to say what he wanted, the fireworks stopped, to be replaced by the cheering of the crowd below them. The Ferris Wheel worker, having left them on an extra amount of time, in the perfect place to see the fireworks (mainly because of the ten-dollar bill Robin had passed him upon boarding the ride), pulled the lever to bring the ferris wheel downwards, one car at a time.

"Oh, Robin..." said Starfire, peacefully. "Has not this night been perfect?"

-No...it hasn't...- thought Robin. "Yeah, it sure has been," he said out loud.

And as the car lowered itself to the ground and Starfire lost herself in memories of earlier that night, Robin looked out, away from Starfire, that she might not see the scowl on his face, and he thought to himself:

-Why can't I do anything right?-

0 0 0

"RAVEN!" shouted Beast Boy, slightly out of breath, but still working towards his goal. He had seen neither hide nor hair of Raven all night, and was really starting to worry he wasn't going to be able to cheer her up. He panted a little. -She must not be here...- he thought. -Maybe I should...hey!-

Beast Boy had finally spotted her near the entrance/exit to the carnival. He started to run again, glad he had managed to find her before she left.

"Raven!" he yelled once he was closer to her. She turned, seeming slightly annoyed.

"What?" she asked.

"Gotcha a funnel cake!" he said, holding up the one in his left hand. "I thought maybe we could sit down and...y'know, share them...maybe, talk a bit?" And he smiled, a great, gleaming, fanged, pleading smile.

"No."

"Wha?" said Beast Boy, losing his smile.

"I already had a funnel cake, and it's going to take me until next year's carnival to work off the excess weight...why would I want another one?"

Beast Boy's jaw fell, his eyes went wide and his arms hung limp at his sides, dropping the ironically well-kept funnel cakes uselessly onto the ground. Raven, meanwhile, turned, and exited the car-

"WAIT!" shouted Beast boy, grabbing her shoulder.

Raven turned again, this time only her head. "What now?" she asked curtly.

"Uh, well I-I um..." Beat Boy stuttered, scratching his head. He didn't want Raven to know he just wanted to talk. He thought she'd refuse him flat out...and he thought accurately, at that. "Well, um there's..." Beast Boy's face brightened, as if he'd thought of an idea...which, incidentally, he had. "There's something here I want to show you!"

"Beast Boy, you may be too dense to realize this, but I don't like carnivals. At all. I came here for only one reason, and I have accomplished my goal in coming here. It would be pointless for me to stick around any longer than I want to." Raven began to leave, but that irritatingly familiar hand fell on her shoulder again.

"Please?" asked Beast Boy, desperately. Raven sighed.

"Fine," she relented. "But if I don't like what you're wanting to see, you have to promise to leave me alone."

"Alright!" said Beast Boy. "C'mon, let's go!" And he ran off, Raven walking behind him.

-Alright...- thought Beast Boy. -What would Raven wanna do...um...oh man...oh! I've got it! At least, I hope I do...-

-Must he be so annoyingly childish?- thought Raven, keeping half pace with Beast Boy, and really not caring. -Why did I ever agree to this?-

0 0 0

POP!

The balloon popped by way of expertly aimed dart. The expert aimer was Robin, who had resigned himself to winning Starfire a stuffed animal of some sort. A bell rang, suddenly.

"NEW RECORD!" said the carnival worker, genuinely happily, even though she had just noticed a new record 12 balloons after the record had been broken. "Most balloons popped in a row! 28 for this strapping young lad!"

Robin, being thrown off by the lady's perkiness, missed his next throw, albeit barely. Still, he had managed to beat the former high score of 16 balloons popped. The reason for such a high number was that this was a carnival game where, so long as you hit a balloon every time, you got an infinite number of darts.

"Excellently done, Robin!" said Starfire. "Please, which fluff-filled creature do you have your eyes upon?"

"Hmm..." said Robin, pretending to think it over. "I don't know...which one do you like, Starfire?"

Starfire glanced around the booth. "Mmm...it is most difficult to choose...they all seem so wondrously adorable..." After a few more seconds of searching, she suddenly gasped. "That one!"

Robin looked where she was pointing. It wasn't the largest of the stuffed animals, or the cutest, but it had a certain charm about it. It was a teddy bear, a light brown in color, with a red scarf around its neck.

"Alright, then!" said Robin. He turned to the lady working the stand. "The red-scarfed bear, please!"

"Sure thing, honey!" she said, southern accent ringing fresh and clear through the night. She tuned and grabbed the bear almost reverently, then turned again and handed it to Robin.

"Excellent choice, Robin!" said Starfire, though he could detect a certain amount of sadness in her voice, as that was the last bear of its kind upon the shelves. "I hope you are able to enjoy snuggling with such an adorable creature..."

"Oh, this isn't for me, Star!" said Robin, chuckling a little bit inwardly at the thought of himself "snuggling" anything. "It's for you!"

Starfire gave off the greatest gasp of the night. "Really?"

"Of course." Robin said, holding the bear out to her. "Boyfriends always try and win their girls a stuffed animal at the carnival. It's kind of like...a tradition."

Starfire took the bear from his hands, tears of joy filling her eyes. "Oh, Robin..." she said, softly.

"And that's not all!" said the lady working the stand. "Since your boyfriend here broke the record, he gets a free game!"

"Cool!" said Robin. "I can get you two stuffed animals, Star!"

Starfire smiled, giving an unconscious glance to the stand. She then did a double take, stood in wonder for a couple seconds, and said "There!"

Robin turned once more to the space where Starfire was pointing. He smiled, for sitting there was a teddy bear similar to the one Starfire already held, but of a lighter color, and with a pink bow tied around its neck.

"I wish to have that one!" said Starfire. "She shall make a delightful girlfriend for Rob-bear!"

"Rob-bear?" asked Robin.

"Oh, yes!" said Starfire, blushing. "I have named the bear already in my possession after you...is this agreeable to you, my boyfriend?"

Robin smiled. "Perfectly fine," he said, picking up a dart. Confident in himself, he briefly took aim, and let it fly.

It missed.

Robin could not believe his eyes. He was an expert marksman, able to knock a weapon out of a villain's hand without triggering it, able to fire off a grappling hook perfectly set to reel him to safety a million times, able to knock out people from twenty paces with pebbles without even bruising them, and this one time, when it counted the most...

He shook himself off. "Well, that's alright," he said, reaching into his pocket. "I'll just buy another game, and then..." he suddenly seemed startled, and turned his upper half in the opposite direction, reaching into that pocket.

Nothing.

"I'm...sorry, Star, but...I'm out of cash," he said, remorsefully.

"Oh, that is alright..." said Star, smiling, but Robin could hear the underlying sadness in her voice. "It is...no big deal, truly. I shall make do with one of these bears...oh!" and she pointed yet again, this time, towards a clock. "It is almost time for us to meet our friends!"

"Yeah, we should get going," said Robin, trying to mask his underlying feelings. As he and Starfire walked away from the stands, he mentally berated himself yet again.

-You really are pathetic, you know that, Robin?-

0 0 0

Meanwhile, at the other end of the carnival, Beast Boy was playing a similar game to Robin, this game being all about "spotting the ball". It consisted of a man placing a ball under one of three cups, and...well, I'm sure you know the rest. If Beast Boy could spot the ball five times, each time with a bit more and a bit faster shuffling, then he would win a prize.

Beast Boy was actually quite good at this game, and had managed to win four times already, better than almost every single other person at the carnival...the worker was quick with his hands. As the cups stopped moving, finally, Beast Boy thought a couple seconds, before choosing the right-hand-most cup.

Wordlessly the worker lifted up the cup and, sure enough, there was the ball.

"Alright!" said Beast Boy.

"Why are you doing this?" asked Raven of him. Beast Boy simply pointed up to the prize stand. Raven looked to see...

The Titans, in stuffed animal form. They were actually pretty accurately done, but even so, they were stuffed animals. Raven grimaced. "If this is what you were trying to show me..."

"No, no, of course not!" Beast Boy said, eager to correct his mistake. "I just thought you might like a little Titan, that's all..."

"Beast Boy, quit wasting my time, and take me to what you want to show me."

"Right..." said Beast Boy. Raven began to walk away, ready but not willing to take direction from Beast Boy. Beast Boy was about to follow, when...

"Ahem."

Beast Boy turned. The carnival worker was smiling gently, indicating the line of stuffed Titans. "Oh," said Beast Boy, having forgotten all about them. "Um...just give me any one of them."

The carnival worker, either being very wise or very stupid, tossed him a Raven.

-Oh, boy...- thought Beast Boy. Quickly but carefully, he pocketed the doll and ran after Raven.

0 0 0

The girl with the blond hair, mentioned earlier in this story, leaned forward, hand resting on a table she had set up. Above her, there was a sign reading Voodoo Queen, Master of Spells, Enchantments...and Jewelry!

The supposed Voodoo Queen gave a last pant before sitting down, switching the CLOSED sign over to read OPEN, and took several small pieces of some type of metal, painted brown, and began to place them together. After a few minutes, the whatever-it-was had been fully assembled.

It looked vaguely like a large clock face, hour and minute hand slightly raised of the face. Instead of numbers, however, there was a large assortment of symbols, many more than twelve, around the perimeter of the circle, just underneath the point of the arrows indicating...something. Satisfied with her work, and slightly apprehensive of what might happen if she went ahead with this, she took the vial back out of her pocket and poured the blue water into a small hole where the "hour hand" and "minute hand" intersected. Suddenly slapping herself on the forehead, she took a pair of tweezers from wherever she had gotten the pieces of the "clock" and used them to pull out the toothpick.

She threw the toothpick over her shoulder, into the sea. Bending over slightly, she gave the "hands" of the "clock" a great spin.

Her eyes watched with apprehension as the arrows spun around and around the face. She knew how precise this mechanism was – if it agreed with the toothpick in the vial, there was no questioning the truth.

As the hands spun, a strange thing happened, even considering the general strangeness of all that had been going on. The small quantity of water that had been poured into the device, slowly seemed to drain, though anyone observing could see that it had nowhere to drain to. Finally, as the water completely disappeared, the hands began to slow down. The "voodoo queen" watched intently.

-Please be wrong, please be wrong, please be wrong...-

Finally the hands stopped.

There was a moment's silence before the girl spoke.

"Oh...crud."

0 0 0

"This is what you wanted to show me?" said Raven, irritated.

"Yeah!" said Beast Boy.

"Beat Boy?"

"Yeah?"

"That's a ferris wheel." Raven said, deceivingly monotonic.

"Well, I guess show you isn't the right word for it, now that I think about it..." admitted Beast boy. "I want to ride it with you!"

"Beast Boy..." asked Raven, "If we ride on that thing together, what are people going to think we are?"

Beast boy thought for a second. "Boyfriend and girlfriend?"

"Goodbye, Beast Boy," said Raven, affirming that was the correct answer. She turned to walk away-

Beast Boy got in front of her. "C'mon, Raven! Who cares what other people think?"

"I do," she said, simply. "At least, I do in this area." And she moved around him.

-Ouch...- thought Beast Boy, before turning to follow her. "Okay, Raven, how about we-"

"You promised you'd leave me alone if I didn't like what you were going to show me," said Raven.

-Drat!- thought Beast Boy.-Guess there's nothing left to do but...- and he gulped, -Tell the truth...-

"Raven, to be honest, you've just seemed a little...grumpy tonight. I wanted to cheer you up, so I thought we could, you know, talk to each other, and..."

"I don't want to talk to you," Raven said.

-Ouch...- Beast Boy repeated mentally. Still, being Beast Boy, he persisted.

"Well, maybe we could do something else," Beast Boy suggested. "Like, maybe when we get back, I could try meditating with you, or we could watch a movie you like, or maybe we could-"

"Stop," said Raven, becoming angrier by the second but trying to control herself. "There is no 'we' in this picture. Right now, I want to be left alone."

"Raven, please?" Beast Boy said, oblivious as usual towards her anger. "Well, maybe...if we can't do something right now, we could do something tomorrow? Oh, I know! Maybe we can visit one of those depressing cafes you like, or-"

And that's when Raven blew up.

0 0 0

"When there's trouble you know what to do..." sang Cyborg softly as he leaned against the pole holding up the "JUMP CITY CARNIVAL" sign. "Call Cyborg! He can shoot a rocket from his shoe..."

"Still working out the kinks in that song, huh Cyborg?" asked Robin, walking up to Cyborg alongside Starfire.

"Hardy har har, 'boy wonder'..." said Cyborg, sulkily. Then he noticed something. "Hey, girlfriend beg you to win her a gift, huh?"

"Oh, that is incorrect, friend Cyborg," said Starfire, clutching the teddy bear even tighter to her chest. "Robin won me Rob-bear in order to surprise me!"

To his credit, Cyborg tried to restrain himself. Unfortunately, he failed, bursting out into laughter. "Rob-bear?" he said between bouts of mirth and before falling to the ground to roll with laughter.

"Yeah..." said Robin, embarrassed greatly for the second time that night. "That's its name..."

"Um...has anyone seen friends Beast Boy and Raven?" asked Starfire.

Cyborg stopped laughing, slowly, concern slowly showing on his face. "Now that I think about it, where have those two gone to?"

Robin began to speak as well. "I haven't seen those two all night. I wonder if-"

"DON'T YOU GET IT, YOU DISTURBINGLY ANNOYING IMBECILE?!" shouted a voice that sounded suspiciously like Raven.

Immediately, the surrounding crowd went to check out what was going on. The Titans looked at each other, awkward and concerned, before heading off to find the source of the shouting.

0 0 0

At the opposite end of the carnival from the rest of the Titans, Raven stood, towering over Beast Boy. "I don't want to be with you! I don't want to talk with you! YOU are the source of my misery!"

"HEY!" shouted Beast Boy, concern for his teammate now forgotten, "I'm trying to HELP you, Raven! If you can't appreciate that, then-"

"APPRECIATE that?!" Raven shouted. A sizable crowd began to form. "Beast Boy, your efforts to try and cheer me up are IDIOTIC! Everything you DO is idiotic!"

Just a few feet away from Beast Boy and Raven was the "Voodoo Queen"'s stand. She raised her head up, curious as to the source of the shouting. Upon seeing Beast Boy and Raven, she blinked a few times, then shook her head, as if in a state of mild shock.

"What's that supposed to mean?!" Beast Boy shouted back to Raven as the crowd grew ever larger. Nearby, a news crew who had come to report on the carnival looked to each other, then raised their cameras and began rolling.

"What do you think it means?" Raven spat, venom in her voice despite her now-regained monotonic speech. "Take that stupid ride-idea of yours. What was the point? The kids were having plenty of fun without you, and everything at this carnival's already free!"

"Hey! I don't-"

"And that winning me a stuffed animal thing?" Raven continued, ignoring Beast Boy, "That was so incredibly...what made you think I would like that, anyway?!"

"HEY!" said Beast Boy once more as the other Titans manged to move their way to the front of the crowd. "I'm trying to be NICE to you, okay?! Why are you always criticizing everything I do?!"

"Because you do things like...like earlier tonight, where you almost killed those kids!"

"You make it sound like they were actually ever in danger!" Beast Boy interjected, as the girl sitting nearby slowly fiddled with her clock-like object.

"They WERE in danger, Beast Boy!" Raven shouted. "If I hadn't been there, your ride of thrills would have probably-"

"I would have noticed!" Beast Boy shouted, as the Titans tried to move forward to break up the argument but were stopped unpurposefully by the unaware throng of people.

"And that's another point: you're oblivious!" Raven countered.

"I am not!" shouted Beast Boy as the audience began to squirm, slightly uncomfortable.

"Then how come you didn't notice I wanted you to leave me alone? How come you never think about the consequences of anything? How come you're always barging in where you don't belong and MESSING EVERYTHING UP?!"

"I noticed you were depressed!" shouted Beast Boy as Robin finally managed to break free of the crowd and begin to run over. "Maybe you're the oblivious one here, Raven! Even though I've said it like, three times, you just can't notice that I'm TRYING to HELP you!"

"Okay, Titans!" said Robin, stepping in between the two quarreling friends. "That's enough!"

"Please, no more fighting among friends!" said Starfire as she ran up as well, bear clutched tighter to her chest than ever.

"Yeah, guys!" said Cyborg as he ran up. "Now, just calm down, and-"

"NO!" said Raven, causing all the other Titans, besides Beast Boy, to step back involuntarily. "I'm through staying calm around him! He needs to learn that I don't want to try tofu, I don't want to play video games, I don't like his jokes, and that he should just LEAVE ME ALONE!"

"And you need to learn to get along with people!" shouted Beast Boy as the girl nearby managed to get the second of the two arrows off the "clock"'s face.

"I get along with people just fine! It's YOU I have trouble with!"

There was a shocked silence. Even the carnival music would have been welcome this time, but alas, that had stopped too.

Beast Boy finally broke the silence. "Why do you do these things, Raven? What did I ever do to YOU?"

"Haven't you been listening?!" Raven spat.

"Well, if THAT'S how you want it, fine!" Beast Boy said. The "Voodoo Queen" suddenly looked very, very frightened. She moved double time at dismantling the area around the center of the "watch". "I'll leave you alone from now on! I'll never speak to you again! Would you like THAT, Raven?!"

"I'd LOVE that!" she responded, as the girl beside her finally managed to bring out the very center of the watch. It looked vaguely like two silver rings stuck on top of each other to make one large ring, a shiny sapphire in the center, as would a diamond be on a diamond ring. Strange runes were drawn around the ring.

"Fine then!" said Beast Boy, as the girl took the large ring apart, revealing that it was, in fact, two rings. The runes, though now cut in half, still looked like whole runes. The sapphire(s) looked normal, but upon closer inspection, there was the smallest of grooves where one might slide into the other. "I'll leave you alone!"

"Good!" said Raven. The girl sat back in her chair, looked upon the rings, and sighed, then seemed to be waiting for something...a moment, perhaps.

"Look," said Robin, trying to catch his teammates' attention. "I understand, Raven, that you've had a hard day. I don't know why, or to what extent, but I can tell that you have. So maybe we should go home and calm down and relax, and then maybe you can talk about what's really bothering you."

Raven looked at Robin. Hard. "He. Is bothering me." she said, simply.

Robin looked stunned, but only slightly. He was about to speak up again, before Beast Boy spoke.

"I'll leave you alone," Beast Boy said, tears in his eyes and hardness in his voice. "I won't talk to you. I won't bother you. I won't do anything to or for or with you."

"Good," said Raven.

"But before I do," Beast Boy continued, "There's one thing I want to ask you! I've been wanting to ask you for the longest time but never had the guts, but now I figure if you hate me this much, it doesn't matter what I ask you!"

"What is it, Beast Boy?!"

"Ahem."

Both arguing Titans turned towards whoever had cleared their throat, and the rest of the people there did the same. There was a girl sitting at some kind of jewelry stand, one who was about to become very involved with the plot.

"Hi!" she said, eyes closed in joy, mouth open in happiness, and overall acting like she was speaking to two ordinary passer-byers instead of acting like she was talking to two people who had been arguing in front of her stands for several minutes. She held up the aforementioned rings. "Would you like to try on a pair of bee-utiful rings?"

The tension deflated like a slip-knotted balloon.

"Did...she just say..." asked Raven, not quite believing.

There were a few moments of awkward silence.

Very awkward silence.

The carnival music even came back on.

"Huh?" Beast Boy finally said.

"Come on, please?" said the girl, acting as though nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Well, I...I guess I could..." said Beast Boy.

"Thank you!" said the girl as she slipped the ring onto the shapeshifter's outstretched pinky. He raised it up to his eye level and smiled.

"Huh. Pinky ring!" he said. The crowd began to disperse, trying to put what they had seen out their minds...except, of course, the newsmen, who wanted to put it onto channel 7.

"Childish..." Raven said.

Beast Boy turned, but before he could say anything, the girl spoke up. "C'mon, aren't you going to try on the other one?"

"No," said Raven. Before she could continue, the girl interrupted.

"Please? I'd really appreciate it!"

"C'mon Rae!" said Beast Boy. "Just try them on!"

"Did you forget all about the stuff you vowed to do just a few minutes ago?" Raven asked.

"Yeah," said Beast Boy, repentant. "I just..I said some stuff I'm not proud of. I'm kind of hoping we can forgive and forget."

"I'm not so sure I'm ready to do either," said Raven.

Beast Boy looked downcast, and the girl continued: "Try it on! Please!"

"Fine, just...leave me alone," said Raven, grabbing the ring and slipping it on her pointer finger.

The girl smiled. "Great! So, that means you owe me...zero dollars and zero cents for the rings! Have a nice day!"

"Wait, you're going to give them to us for free?" asked Beast Boy. Raven raised an eyebrow.

"Of course, silly!" said the girl. "You're the Teen Titans! I wish I could give you all some jewelry, but...I'm sold out!"

"Um...that's too bad," said Robin.

"Yeah, a real shame." said Cyborg.

"Truly it is!" said Starfire, truthfully. "Indeed, perhaps I could come back later, when you have some more jewelry to purchase?"

"Sounds like a great idea!" said the girl. "See ya 'round!"

So the Titans walked off, feeling awkward. Except Starfire, who was thinking of jewelry.

Once they got to the entrance, Beast Boy spoke up. "So, uh...pretty nice rings she gave us...not exactly my type of ring, though..."

No one else said anything.

Beast Boy sighed as he got into the T-Car's back seat. -Nice job, Beast Boy...way to cheer her up...-

Raven got into the T-Car's front seat. -Maybe...I went too far...did I really say some of those things?-

Cyborg got into the driver's seat. -Things are not going well in the land of the Titans...ho boy...-

Robin got upon his legendary R-Cycle. -You can't keep your team together, you can't compliment your girlfriend...you can't do anything right!-

Starfire sat behind Robin, sadness crossing her face at seeing the looks on her teammates'. -Oh...I do hope that Raven and Beast Boy will make up soon, so that we do not continue in this state of unhappiness. Sigh...-

And so they drove home in outward silence.

0 0 0

It was 11 o'clock. It was dark outside the tower, dark inside the tower, and at this moment it was dark inside the Titan's hearts. They entered the tower, Beast Boy without jokes, Starfire without her mirthful smile, and Raven without guilt...

...well, that's what she was telling herself.

"So, um, Raven..." said Beast Boy, unsure where to begin. "Maybe now you'd...like to have that talk."

"No, Beast Boy. I wouldn't."

"Oh."

"I'm going to bed," announced Raven, floating off. Beast Boy stood there, looking more downcast.

"I think maybe we should all get some rest..." said Robin.

"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea..." said Cyborg, walking off.

"I shall retire as well," said Starfire. Robin moved after her slightly, wanting to talk. Still, his courage failed him, and he drew back. He sighed, then walked to his room.

Beast Boy stood in the common room for a few seconds. He thought, deeply, about nothing and everything. Finally, he raised his head and, to no one in particular, said:

"This all...feels so wrong..."

And so he walked to his room as well.

0 0 0

Raven slipped out of her boots and her cloak, now comfortable in her own room.

Perhaps "comfortable" wasn't the best word to describe it.

She lied down in her bed, staring at the ceiling. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, she couldn't really contact her emotions very well, but lying here in the silence...it wasn't like she could hear them, but she was still fairly accurate at judging what they were saying.

"Nicely done!" said Rude."I liked how you threw in the comment about how he was more of an animal than a person!"

"Though Beast Boy, admittedly, probably did not pick up on the subtleties of what you said," said Knowledge, "I am fairly certain that the surface meaning of your comment was more than enough to wound him...severely."

"Yes," said Wisdom, "For what is the point of arguing? And what is the point of making one of your best friends hurt so very much?...your team hurt so very much?"

"Tch." scoffed Anger, "He had it coming to him..."

"True as that may be, no one deserves to be treated in such a way-"

"True as that may be, blah blah, blah blah blah..."interrupted Rude of Knowledge."Geez, Bookworm, you really are a stuck-up -"

"Watch it..." said Brave, before addressing Raven. "Least you had the guts to say what needed to be said! I just wish you hadn't thrown in what didn't need to be said..."

Raven cringed a little at this remark.

"He probably hates us now..." murmured Timid.

"Prolly." said Rude. "Oh well."

Raven vaguely heard Timid start to cry.

"Where is Happy?" asked Wisdom. "I believe Raven needs some cheering up...I believe we all do."

"Acid Trip's asleep." said Rude. "Did you really expect her to be awake when Raven isn't feeling happy at all?"

"While I do not approve of your hurtful nicknames for us, but you make a point." said Knowledge.

Affection spoke up. "We have to do something to show him we care about him..."

"Oh, joy..." grumbled Anger.

"I'm serious," Affection said. "I fear we are on the verge of destroying the bond Beast Boy has as one of our best friends."

Timid gasped, and then started to cry louder.

"Would someone shut up Second Acid Trip already?" said you-know-who. Timid only cried louder as a result.

Raven vaguely heard the sound of a belch, the crumpling of a can, and the opening of another. Then she felt someone place a hand on Timid's shoulder.

"I told you never to talk to her like that," said Brave.

Raven felt Rude back down, cowardly in the face of bravery.

"Affection is right," said Wisdom. "I fear if that...odd girl had not interrupted our arguments, our relationship with him might have been damaged beyond repair..."

Raven opened her eyes, sitting up. She looked at her pointer finger.-The ring...- she thought, -I'd forgotten all about it, I was feeling so...-

None of the emotions could come up with an adequate continuation.

Suddenly, within Nevermore, an aura of purest energy surrounded Anger. She screamed in rage, and for a second or two all her other emotions felt her very rage...

...and I don't mean in the form of her aura.

Back in the real world, Raven was giving herself to anger, as she had at the Carnival. All of her frustration with Beast Boy, with her life, with herself, with the world, seemed to focus on that ring...that stupid ring! Raven threw it against the wall as hard as she could. Neither it nor the wall were affected by this, as if mocking her, as if life was saying "Your feelings, your happiness, your sadness, even your anger...they're all meaningless!"

Raven felt the anger leave her as quickly as it came, to be replaced by a dull sadness. She slowly lied back down and went to sleep.

Just in time to miss the sapphire on the ring start to glow with an awesome light.

0 0 0

Beast Boy walked into his room as well. Like Raven, he was searching himself for answers. Unlike Raven, he did not have physical representations of his emotions wandering around inside his brain. Therefore, he had no conversation with any inner self, no conversation at all, really. His thoughts were meaningful, but silent.

As he stripped down to his undershirt and boxers, something fell out of his pocket. He bent down, curious to see what it was...

It was the Raven doll that he had won earlier that day.

Gently picking it up in his hand, he lifted it up to eye level and stared at it for a while. Like Raven, he focused all of his emotion on that one single object...but unlike Raven, he felt no anger.

As tears rolled down his cheeks, he gently set down the doll on his dresser drawer. Feeling no energy, he did not bother to climb, as was his usual custom, into the top bunk of his bed, instead simply lying down on the bottom bunk. He gave a last, hard look at the Raven doll, before closing his eyes so tightly it was as if he was trying to shut out the pain. He fumbled for the nearby lamp and then turned it off, sinking slowly into sleep.

Shortly after his going to sleep, his ring (which he had forgotten to take off) began to glow in a similar manner to Raven's.

0 0 0

Meanwhile, all over the city, people slept. Some peacefully, some fitfully, some with pleasant dreams, some with nightmares. But every single soul was sleeping. None were awake.

Inside the tower, Robin was one of the fitful sleepers, berating himself within his own dreams for his imperfection. Starfire did not sleep fitfully, but she slept sadly, somewhat comforted by the bear held within her arms. Cyborg had fallen asleep as normal, besides the fact that he had turned off his dream functions for the night – things did not look well in Titans Tower, and his Central Processing Unit tended to replay the events of the day during his dreams.

And yet, despite it all, to look upon the entirety of the city, you would say, first and foremost, that it was a peaceful place. A very peaceful place indeed.

And then the very fabric of the universe was torn apart.


Hooray for cliffhangers. That said, I wanted to note a few things in this story, and thusly, shall do so.

"But she agreed to come along anyway, for one reason and one reason alone: Raven loves funnel cakes like Cyborg loves waffles."

Raven's love for funnel cakes stems very much from my own. I remember the very first funnel cake I ever had was chewy, alright in its own way but not to delicious. I ate about half, then fell upon the second half after dinner. By that time, the grease had soaked out of it, leaving a fluffy, delicious pastry that I wish I could have more of.

"Jump City had tried something new at this year's carnival: a hot dog eating contest. And Cyborg being, well, Cyborg, he had decided to enter."

This idea, which I modestly claim as fantastic, stemmed from the fact that I needed a break between plot points. Instantaneously, I came up with the idea of an eating contest. The rest is history.

"I was just...embarrassed that all of Jump City is going to see me in that kind of situation with my shirt turned inside out and my cape on backwards..."

When I wrote this passage, I wanted to acknowledge that, though Starfire is naive to the ways of Earth, that does not mean she is completely and totally naive, as several fictions claim her to be. Or, more specifically, I wanted to recognize that even the sweetest and most innocent girls have hormones. I hate hormones...

"...what does she see in me?"

Robin's nigh-on hatred of himself in this chapter stemmed from Robin thinking about Starfire...one of the first thoughts I had was that even thoughthey were boyfriend and girlfriend (and apparently very adept at making out), Robin wouldn't know what to do 100 percent of the time. Then I realized he would hate not knowing what to do when it came to Starfire...and it went from there. An excellent way of broadening this beyond your Average BBRae Fiction.

"...the absolute bottom would probably be either a circus troupe comprised entirely of half-man, half-alligator performers or Slade making out with Brother Blood..."

The first part of this sentence...vaguely stems from my remembrance of an episode of Batman where the villain Croc escaped to join a group of circus freaks. The second part...I think I had a seizure writing the second part.

"So, what's up, little sis?"

I figured that over the course of time, Cyborg would probably, unconsciously or otherwise, take on the role of big brother to the team. As for the talk they have that follows...it seems out of character for Raven upon first reading it, but upon thinking it over, it makes sense Raven would let emotions bottle up until she had to let them out...especially emotions of this kind. I really hate hormones...

"Despite what Cyborg and several others thought (and uncommon to stories of this kind), the green changeling truly held no romantic feelings towards his friend Raven."

When I was writing this story, part of my desire was to be a little bit contradictory to the average RaeBB fiction. This, I suppose I felt, was probably the best way to do so. Besides that, it makes great plot material, and lets you know, straight up, that nobody in this story is in denial about their feelings...except Raven, who is to some degree with all her emotions due to years of conditioning.

"She was a girl, appearing to be about seventeen years of age."

As said a paragraph above, I wanted to be contradictory when I was writing this story. In the original "Til Death Do Us Part", the Voodoo Queen was, as I remember, the stereotypical old witch, mysterious in her ways. Thusly, as a twist, I made my Voodoo Queen (OR IS SHE) young, pretty, frantic, and slightly odd. She's still mysterious in her ways, I admit, but that's only temporary.

"It was a teddy bear, a light brown in color, with a red scarf around its neck."

I got the idea for Rob-bear's and his "girlfriend"'s designs from an excellent rhythm game for the Nintendo DS known as Elite Beat Agents. It's weird in concept: mysterious men in black travel through time and space, helping those who need it. They never interact with those they help except to cheer them on in their daily tasks...by dancing. Like I said, weird; still, as weird as it is, that's exactly how good it is, too. In fact, I'd say it's the best game I ever played. Go out and buy it now.

"The Titans, in stuffed animal form."

The idea of Beast Boy trying to win Raven something was a given. What wasn't a given was the prize. I don't know why I decided to make the prizes Titan dolls, but from the look of things, it shall be an excellent plot point.

"DON'T YOU GET IT, YOU DISTURBINGLY ANNOYING IMBECILE?!"

I fear I made Raven sound a bit...evil in this chapter. In her defense, she was having a very bad day, and had been pushed to her breaking point...and we know how bad that place can be. Imagine how bad it is for Raven, who has had years of emotional training!

"This all...feels so wrong..."

Remember this statement: it shall take on greater meaning much later in this story! It's not necessary to understand or enjoy the story, though, so don't try too hard to remember.

"In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, she couldn't really contact her emotions very well, but lying here in the silence...it wasn't like she could hear them, but she was still fairly accurate at judging what they were saying."

At first, I was going to leave the story at the Titans going to bed, and then a white light coming from nowhere... but then I thought that that would make Raven seem like an inhuman monster, so I put in this sequence...and I must say, I'm glad I did.

"Acid Trip's asleep," said Rude."

I don't know where the idea of having Rude give offensive nicknames to her sisters came up from in my head, but I liked the idea, and found it rather easy to write down. To be honest, I felt guilty typing some of the stuff Rude said, even though I technically didn't say it and truly do not think these nicknames just.

"Meanwhile, all over the city, people slept."

As I wrote the "people go to sleep" sequences, I felt a combination of sadness and happiness. Sadness, because what I had written was touching my heart. Happiness, because I knew that when what an author writes affects him, it is likely it will effect his audience too. I hope that is the case here...but I also hope you weren't struck too sad by it all.

And so, I leave this chapter with two final notes. The first one, in my general contradictoriness, is the disclaimer, put here near the end of the chapter instead of at the beginning.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Teen Titans, which belong to DC Comics and Glen Murakami. I also do not own Elite Beat Agents, which belong to Nintendo and iNiS.

The second note is one of goodwill and cheer, whatever your religion, I hope you take my wishes to heart:

God bless you all!