Alright! This, truly is, the final chapter and the epilogue all rolled into one. I thank you all again for reading this, and I hope you enjoyed it. I think I'm going to put a continuation up, once I'm able to start working on it, so we'll see. Thank you all again, and please enjoy!
Chapter 12: One
Raven was sitting on top of the tower, watching the sunset quietly. Usually she would be meditating up here, but not today. Today she was remembering, all of those events that had driven their team to such a breaking point, that had brought Beast Boy and her close together, and the one that tore them apart. All of them seemed so long ago to her.
Raven remembered all of those days. They had changed her forever, although at the time she never would have believed it. She thought back to the moment when she heard the lifeline on Beast Boy end. It was the day that the lifeline on her heart ended, too.
She had no idea what to do when she heard him flatline. It was as if one instant she held his life in her hand, and the next it was torn away from her. One moment, he was there, and the next, he was gone. There wasn't anything she could do but stand there, as the sound continued to ring in her ears, with her silent tears falling down her face.
Robin and Cyborg had rushed in when they heard the censors go off. Raven doesn't remember what they said. Only that they started rushing towards all of the computer screens in a desperate panic, hoping, praying, to find some way to stop the beep. Some way to bring their friend back.
They tried to get her out of the room, to get her to let go of Beast Boy's hand. But she couldn't. As long as she held onto his hand, she held onto him, and that was all of him that she had left. It was only after a long period of time, where Starfire told her something and held her, and led her out of the room, that Raven let go of him.
But her eyes never left his lifeless form.
Starfire led her outside the room to sit down, away from the noise. Starfire sat next to her, holding her hand. She remembered Starfire trying to comfort her, all while desperately trying to keep herself from crying. It was to no avail, as after a while Starfire began to cry. But Raven didn't cry. She couldn't.
All she thought was: He's gone.
All she could feel was shock. She was convinced that, despite his desperate condition, despite all of the convincing that she tried to fool herself into, that somehow, someway, Beast Boy would make it out of this alright. He'd wake up, give her that smile that caused her heart to stop beating, and everything would get on like it should. That they'd have their happy ending, like they deserved, and everything would be ok.
But now that would never happen. All of the hopes for the future, all of the possibilities, were gone. There was nothing left now.
All she could see was his face. Lying on his bed, without any signs of life. All she could remember was his face.
Robin and Cyborg were in Beast Boy's room for a long time. Too long. They're wasting their time, she thought. Raven knew that he was gone; she had seen it when she saw his face. There was no coming back for Beast Boy from that, she had sadly admitted to herself.
The sooner you admit it, the sooner you'll get over it, she said to herself, trying desperately to convince herself of the lessons she had learned as a child for dealing with her emotions. He's gone. She fought hard to maintain her composure, to not think back to all of the good memories, to stay hard within her emotions. He's gone. There's nothing we can do. He's gone.
Raven shuddered at this thought, while she was sitting on the top of the tower. She looked back, and hated the fact that she couldn't cry.
"He had died," she said sadly. "And I couldn't shed a tear. I saw him go, I saw it happen, and I didn't do anything." She continued to remember what happened next. She didn't want to, the memories had been too much, but she knew that she needed to keep on going.
When she saw Robin and Cyborg come out from Beast Boy's room, their faces were downcast. Raven wasn't surprised. She was sad that they had put so much time into this. She remembered that as soon as Starfire saw Robin coming, she ran up to him and broke down in his arms. She doesn't remember much of what was said, but what she does remember would be ingrained into her memory forever.
"He's not gone. Yet," said Cyborg.
Raven's heart nearly leapt out of her chest, only to fall back down to the pits of her despair. Beast Boy wasn't gone. But only by luck and the work of Robin and Cyborg to bring him back. He was even weaker than before, and they weren't sure if they lost him again if he would be able to come back. There wasn't anything else they could do for him now. It was a miracle the first time, she thought. Next time, there won't be one. Now we have to sit and wait for him to die...
They went back into his room together, to gather as a team. To prepare to mourn their friend.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Raven looked at his face. There was little change from before, and it almost looked like he wasn't really back at all. They all moved around his bed, but Raven held his hand. And all they could do was watch him. It was as if they were dying with him. Always a team, no matter what happened. Raven remembered that it was as Robin had said.
Either we all live together or we all die together.
She doesn't remember how long they all stood around him like that, but she remembers that there wasn't a dry eye amongst the team. Starfire had already been crying, so for her it hadn't taken much to start anew. Cyborg, tired, and scared of losing his best friend, didn't last much longer after Starfire. Robin tried, really, really tried to be strong and not cry, but even ultimately their leader began to feel tears streaming down his face.
But Raven still couldn't cry. She had cried plenty before, but now, with the death of her friend, of Beast Boy, staring right back at her, she couldn't cry. She had taken down her walls numerous times in the previous days, but now she just couldn't do it. She had to place those walls back up, to block out the pain. I can't feel this right now...I just can't...
They all stood around his bed for a long time. It was long past nightfall, when they began to disperse. They didn't want to, but they were all tired. Starfire was falling asleep on Robin's shoulder, and so he took her to her room and went to his. Cyborg, soon left as well, though he would be ready should something happen again. But Raven did not leave. She sat there silently by his side throughout most of the night.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The sun was starting to disappear below the horizon now, and the stars were starting to come out, as Raven sat and continued to remember. She thought back to what she did next, as she gripped her white cloak.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
It was early in the morning. There were hints that the sun might come out, but she couldn't tell from looking out Beast Boy's window. It's so beautiful, she thought, and he'll never see it. Never again. Raven didn't quite know what had come over her, but there was something in that moment that cracked through the last wall she had up. And despite her worries about her emotions, and her powers, and her hurt, and everything else she hid behind, Raven firmly grasped Beast Boy's hand in hers and started to weep.
I can't lose you! I can't! I can't do this anymore, Beast Boy! How can I let you go when we were just finally going to get this right? How can it all just end like this? How can you die without me being able to say that I love you!
After a while, she managed to regain some kind of composure. She was actually surprised to find that nothing had been destroyed in her outburst of emotion. She couldn't figure out why, when it finally dawned on her.
She loved Beast Boy, an emotion she never truly had before, and because of that love, she had far greater control over her powers.
"Ha!" she sniffled, while still trying to dry her eyes. "It figures, I'm only my best when you're around, and now you're going to die. I can even control my powers because of you. You see, Beast Boy. I love you. You hear me? I said I love you! No more trying to hide it or be shy about it now…I love you! So you have to come back! Because…without you I don't know how…how I'm going to live. I need you in my life Beast Boy…I need you. Without you…I don't know how to continue on…" She pulled down the bar on his bed, and laid beside him, with her head on his heart, trying to listen for its beat, to give her some kind of sign that he's still alive.
She started to cry again as she held him. "I don't care…I don't care about anything else. Please…Beast Boy…please come back…I need you…I don't want to be in a world where you aren't there…we've known each other for so long…but it feels like only now…that I know you…so please," she said, as she moved her head over his, still holding his hand in hers. "Please…come back to me Beast Boy…it's not too late…please…come back home…"
And she leaned in, and hoping against hope, she kissed him.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Sitting on the tower, Raven started to silently cry.
I always hate thinking about this next part. I always cry...
No matter what she had tried to do, this next memory had burned itself deep into her psyche, and its effect was always the same. There wouldn't be any way she could stop her tears now, which was especially unfortunate, because she heard someone coming up the stairs. She could easily guess who it was.
"Hey Raven," she heard a voice from the door leading up to the roof. "Are you ok?"
She didn't turn towards the voice, but nodded. It figures.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
As she sat there kissing his nearly lifeless body, she silently prayed to herself. Please...just let him wake up...please, just end this. But when she got up, she looked at his face.
And there was no change.
He's not going to come back. He's gone...he's gone... Raven sadly started to get off of Beast Boy. There's no good in sitting here anymore, she thought. She started to leave, but something stopped her.
She couldn't get her hand away from Beast Boy's. She turned towards her hand, and she then saw way.
Beast Boy's hand was holding onto hers.
"Rae…" she heard a voice weakly call out, as her heart threatened to burst out of her chest. She looked up towards the bed where she was just laying at. And she saw him.
His eyes were half open, but he was looking at her. "No…" she began. "It can't be…" She started to walk towards the bed, tears threatening to form if this wasn't some complex hallucination her mind had concocted from her wide range of emotions tonight.
"Beast Boy…" she hesitantly asked.
He smiled, as much as his strength would allow. "Rae…" he quietly said, as he still held fast to her hand.
She picked up his hand with both of hers, sat down, and began to cry yet again. "You came back…you came back…" was all that she could say. They sat there for the longest time looking into each others' eyes, as Beast Boy slowly regained his strength, still holding Raven's hand. There was so much to say, but they didn't need to say it. They both knew. But Beast Boy decided that he had to tell Raven one thing. So, finally, he got up the strength to speak again.
Raven looked surprised. "What for? You…you were the one who saved me, remember?" she asked.
Beast Boy shook his head. "I only did what you would have done for me. We're heroes, remember? We're friends. We look out for each other. But see, Raven, I had a choice. I was looking down here, and I could see everyone. And then, my p…they told me that I had a choice. I had a choice whether to come back here or not. And…I wasn't going to," he said, looking down.
"But then, I heard you. I saw everyone but I didn't hear anyone else. Except you, Rae. You brought me back here. You gave me a reason to want to come back. You brought me back home." Raven couldn't stop the tears of joy that fell from her eyes at this, and they continued to talk to each other until the morning came. The rest of the team was in for quite a surprise when the found Beast Boy awake.
Cyborg was so excited that he short-circuited, and they had to plug him back into the recharger to get him up and running again. Starfire nearly killed Beast Boy with a hug so massive it would have brought a building down. And even the Boy Wonder himself hugged Beast Boy, an act which raised the collective eyebrows of the rest of the team. But after all they had been through, it wasn't surprising. Many tears were shed, but this time, they were not of sorrow, but of joy. For Beast Boy had come back home.
After a long time, Beast Boy got up the courage to explain what had really happened to him while he was out, and the choice that he made. He told Raven all of it. She cried. And for once, nothing got destroyed in the process. At least, until Beast Boy made a smart crack, which got him a whack over the head, destroying a few brain cells.
It wasn't too long after that when things turned back to being normal. Or, at least, as normal as possible for a group of teenage superheroes. Robin was still somewhat OCB towards his villains, though he improved. Cyborg continued to work on his T-car and making improvements to the tower. Starfire grew an even stronger love for mustard. Beast Boy and Raven still fought, and still had arguments, although now the making up after the fight was much more enjoyable for the both of them.
But they had never truly forgotten what happened in those days. They grew stronger as a team because of what had happened. They learned to appreciate each other more. And even though they had since fought countless enemies, they had gotten much better at being friends as well as being teammates.
And there would always be one person who would never forget a second of what happened during that time.
Raven thought about what Robin had said while she sat on the tower. Either we all live together or we all die together. And it was the truth. In the end, Raven thought, we couldn't live without him. I couldn't live without him. So he came back. She smiled as a few tears silently streaked down her face. She wiped them away and looked out into the sky, as the moon was coming out. I love being here, she thought to herself.
It was then that she finally turned to acknowledge the voice on the roof with her. She smiled when she saw his face, though she already knew who it was. "Hey, Beast Boy."
"Hey Raven." But Beast Boy frowned when he saw her face. "Rae…you've been crying. What's wrong?"
Raven merely shook her head and smiled. "It's nothing, Beast Boy. I was…just remembering." Beast Boy came up and held her hands in his. "It's so hard to believe that was two years ago," she said.
Beast Boy nodded. "I know. It's funny how things have worked out, isn't it? All of this time passed. It's really like they say, 'the more things change the more they stay the same.'"
Raven rolled her eyes. "I really don't know anyone who says that Gar." Beast Boy cringed, though Raven couldn't tell if it was at her attempt to call him uncool, or at the use of the pet name that she had developed for him. He hated his name, but Raven loved it in the way that only she could. Besides, she figured, if he gets to call me Rae I should get to call him Gar.
"Well," began Beast Boy, "maybe you should find people who use it more often. I mean, look at us. Robin and Starfire are still together, something which boggles the imagination. Cyborg is finally not afraid to admit that he and Bumblebee are in a relationship; again, something which is just unbelievable. And we've somehow managed to stick it out, without you killing me yet, different as we are," he said as he flashed his toothy grin.
Raven pulled him into a hug and shook her head. "But it's been good." Beast Boy nodded. "We aren't the same, but we continue to carry on. We carry each other. We hold onto each other. And not just you and me, but all of us. That's what makes us strong. That's what makes us a team."
"That's what makes us a family," said Beast Boy, with Raven nodding on his shoulder.
"And that's why I had to come up here tonight. I had to remember those days. I had to remember when…you came back home. When everything changed. When I changed. When everything else really began. I can't forget that," she said as she held on tighter to him. "I love you, Gar."
He held onto her tighter, too. "I love you, Rae."
They stood out there under the stars for a while like that, when Beast Boy finally asked, "Do you want to go back inside? I'm sure the others are worrying by now."
Raven smirked. "I doubt it. They're probably spying on us." Beast Boy laughed. Besides, they can wait. There's something I want to do first…" And with that her eyes started to glow with power as she looked at Beast Boy, which made him stumble back in fear.
"Now, w-w-wait a minute, Raven! You know I don't like it when you do th-AAH!!!" he screamed as energy surrounded him and catapulted him into the air. Raven then gathered up her energy and flew off after her screaming green boyfriend, where they kissed in midair under the moon. Then they both fell into the cold water below. Beast Boy came up sputtering.
"You know I don't like it when you do that!" But Raven only gave him a playful glare, as they started to float back towards the Tower under her powers.
"Oh, it isn't that bad," she said. Beast Boy then wrapped his arms around her shoulders before smiling himself.
"No, it isn't, really."