A/N: Hardy har har...ze finale is here!

:cackles maniacally:

Warning: Once again...ze OOC might strike in this chappie and it might not be too pleasant (no flames abnout it...please?)

Also...partially inspired by "Hands on me" by Vanessa Carlton...beautiful song!

Read and enjoy please!

Chapter 22 (continued)

Raven sat herself back down on the cushioned seat, hoping that the heat from her skin would dissipate in seconds but to no avail the heat lingered on until Garfield had decided to walk away from the intimidating dance floor and move back to where they were originally situated.

Her glass was still there though now it was half empty with most of the ice melted, causing it to dilute the ice tea even more than it was before; she longed for a cup of steaming hot bitter tea that was always available back in the Tower but despite her hopes that the summer would cool down soon, the summer nights weren't at all comfortable save for the occasional fresh breeze that came around every so often.

She took a quick glance at the dance floor and smiled wistfully, she actually did have fun out there on that treacherous thing they called the dance floor…it was a whole new experience and she revelled in it; no one had taken her out dancing before…well, there was that underground rave that Blackfire had taken them to once but that was different, that was like being a small fish in a humongous pond but this was…this was—admittedly—nice. It was awkward at first—well, of course it was awkward…she had never felt the need to dance before in her life—and the steps took some time to learn—as evidenced by the fact that she stepped on Garfield's toes a couple of times—but after a while you just stopped thinking about how much of a moron you looked like and just moved to the music; the twirls, the swirls, the steps, the spins!

It was just exhilarating.

"Admit it Raven," he laughed and Raven noted that his fangs were missing, "You were having fun."

Raven had understood, of course, why he had decided to take her out on the dance floor and she understood that though it didn't seem to be too tactful, he had done it in the past as well. He probably didn't know that she knew it to the full extent but then again whenever he thought that she was too distracted—with her reading huge novels, writing huge essays for her courses, or even meditating—she watched him with an eye that knew wouldn't miss any details. From watching him in the past couple of years she found out about his odd habits and how he would handle his own emotions and there was just something funny about him that she couldn't place back then; he felt like he needed to help others and to be there for them, to make them happy. At first it didn't have anything to do with sincerity and she knew that he was doing it all selfishly—he had been trying to prove something to someone and though she had her suspicions that he was trying to prove himself to the shadow that was Mento, she never really understood what he was trying to prove to Mento. Was it that he was worthy to be on the Teen Titans and if the time came he would be capable to rejoin the Doom Patrol? Or was it that he was officially declaring that he was able to be independent away from his father figure? Did he just trying to make everyone happy to prove to Mento that he was capable of doing things without screwing things up?—but then it slowly changed into something less…self-centred. It was gradual but it came anyway and slowly she had discovered that his sincerity in trying to help others had even extended to her—the girl who constantly pushed everyone away in fear that she would form attachments to them—which was really weird considering the fact that she never really paid that much attention to him until the most recent years.

"You will never ever hear me again but…" She let her fingers trace circles on the table, "yes, I did have fun."

He laughed and pointed at her accusingly, "Aha! I knew it! I knew you weren't prone to the magic of dancing! I knew you'd have fun! And with me as well!" He grinned almost insanely as she crossed her arms in mock indignation.

"Don't push it, Garfield…its bad enough that you actually got me on the dance floor…didn't I warn you that I can't dance?" Her fingers continued to trace the pattern on the table and she looked up at him and smirked, "You're lucky that I stepped on your toes with my own toes or all hell would probably break loose."

Her smirk grew larger as he made a face at her, conveying his 'pleasure' at finding out that she only stepped on his toes with her own toes but seriously, he should've been truly grateful; Kori's shoes had the sharpest stilettos she had ever known in her life…but then again…that wasn't saying much since she only really owned three or four pairs of shoes.

She watched silently as he picked up from where he left off prior to their dancing and started eating his salad, taking special care to make sure that the croutons didn't fall onto the ground, "Want some?" He offered and held out his fork to her.

"No." She rolled her eyes as she pushed the plate away from her causing him to shrug and stuff himself once more, "Not too partial too salads, actually…I mean a Caesar salad would be nice but…" Her words trailed off as his eyes widened in what seemed to be horror.

"A Caesar salad!? But that thing has chicken in it…I mean…who would eat a chicken!?"

She bit her lower lip in effort to suppress a grin, "Normal people, apparently. I mean…face the facts Garfield…chicken is good for you…I mean, I don't understand the details of it all but I'm pretty sure it has a lot of protein and…such." He made another—extremely unattractive—face to display his disgust, "Don't get me wrong…I respect your beliefs in being a vegetarian but don't you get curious sometimes?"

He shrugged and looked down solemnly at his own salad, sighing heavily, "Sometimes…yea…especially right after missions where I turn into a carnivore…it's not that easy but if I don't fight it then why bother fighting crime? If I can't fight off my own…urges, I guess… then why the hell would I try to fight others?"

Her brows quirked and she felt a surge of passion emerge from him, causing her to inhale sharply at how intense it was and she realised that they weren't really talking about chicken.

Were they?

He confused her sometimes, a puzzle that would probably never be completed…well…not completely anyway. He was like—what was he like?—she wasn't actually sure what he was truly like, how his mentality was and here she was sitting across him—with her arms crossed in front of her, laid on the table causally, leaning forward ever so slightly as she listened to him go on about animal abuse, the benefits of being a vegetarian and how it generally felt like when he transformed into a chicken—considering the possibility of entering a relationship with him. She was seriously considering it too despite the fact that if reporters had asked her if she would like to go out with him four years ago then she would have firmly said no, probably including something like 'When hell freezes over' or 'Yes, when you grow a brain'.

It was funny how things had changed.

"…and so…yea, basically…I think that you should totally consider turning vegetarian…I mean…all the tofu you can eat, right?" There was something in his tone of that kept her listening despite the fact that she had no plans on turning vegetarian any time soon, there was just…she didn't know…a spark, perhaps, "So, yea…wow…that was a long rant." He grinned sheepishly.

A wry smile appeared on her lips, "That was actually very…thought provoking of you, Garfield…I never thought of those things that way." His grin grew larger by the second and she felt a flush appear on her cheeks, "You talk like it means a lot to you…you should be an activist supporting animal rights or something when we…retire…in a sense. Green Peace maybe?"

"Nah…well…maybe…" He shrugged as he placed the last lettuce leaf into his mouth, "First things first though…I wanna do a zoology major…if I pass high school of course…" She threw him a glare and the grin turned sheepish once more, "What!? It's not like I can see into the future and guarantee that I get my high school diploma and all."

"You know if you'd just stop playing the GameStation so much than you might actually have a chance of getting good scores."

His eyes widened, "But…I love the GameStation…baby doll how can you say such a thing?" He probably noticed the sardonic look on his face when he laughed, "I'm kidding…you're probably right but you know I'd probably never do that even if I tried."

She shrugged in reply, not denying it but he still maintained his sheepish demeanour though, as if he was unsure on whether to be the cocky little jerk he sometimes was or to be humble and just let her comment slide.

"So, like…yea…I dunno…I want to do a zoology major because...one…I do have a brain," He tapped his head as if to emphasise this point, "and two I actually like the subject, it's interesting how everything works out, y'know? How I work out…So yea, where was I? Oh, yea…" She watched as his fingers dreagged across the mass of golden blonde hair, "I don't want be a zoologist though…while I'm in uni and all I wanna try out my hand at acting…you never know, I might make it big." His eyes sparkled at the last sentence and she watched; mesmerised, as the inky blue eyes grew solid for half a second, "What about you, what're your plans for…y'know…after?" The last word was an almost whisper, as if he was frightened by the aspect of it.

She shuddered as he spoke the last word…'after'…how she dreaded it but she couldn't avoid it entirely either and she hadn't, not really anyway…she had confronted it as best as she could and had actually started planning on what to do once she…once they…once 'after' happened. It was hard on her—though she didn't doubt that it was equally hard for her team mates too—and she thought that Garfield must've sensed something from her as he laid his warm, calloused hand on top of her own.

"Once this dreadful course is out of the way," she began, referring to her literature course, "I'm going to try myself out as a journalist…start out small. I mean, I'm actually not too ambitious in what I want to do in the future but I do want to try my hand at writing a novel."

"That'd be so cool, baby doll! You could write a genius novel and I could star in the movie adaptation of it!"

She cocked a brow at him, "But movie adaptations…to put it blatantly…suck."

"They do not! Look at how good 'The Da Vinci Code' turned out."

"Says a lot about your tastes…it was…revolting…to say the least."

"Well potato tomato baby doll."

Raven paused and stared at him for a moment before breathing out a laugh. He looked confused for a moment and she could feel his bewilderment at the cause of her laugh pressing upon her like the touch of skin to skin and she had a feeling that she was a bit out of character at the moment but she really couldn't help it; he had actually—accidentally, of course—been funny.

"That was actually pretty funny, Gar. You've improved."

The confusion was there and she had to place her fingers strategically over her lips to prevent herself from laughing, "What!? What did I say?" He shook his head and scratched an ear, "No, seriously, what did I say?"

She smiled with so much sweetness that it was almost saccharine but it was worth it since it brought upon even more questions from him and frustration from the fact that she had laughed at what he had said for once in her life and he didn't even know what he had said.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a waiter and motioned for him to come to their table, "It's getting late…we should get going before Dick and Vic start worrying about what the hell you're doing to me." A grin formed on her thin lips as his jaw dropped, "Kori told me that they were planning on talking to you about it…I find it pretty…amusing."

"The fact that they thought that I'd jump you on our second date? More like annoying." He frowned and his forehead created folds that seemed unrecognisable to her, "I can't believe they would think that, it's like they think I'm a total man-hoe or something."

He absent-mindedly paid for their drinks while muttering dark statements about his best friends and she couldn't help but find it all a bit interesting. It wasn't that Garfield found it all a bit offensive—no, that was just typical of him—but it was the fact that she hadn't really understood the extent of Vic and Dick's brotherly affection towards her; they cared for her so much that they actually went as far as warn Garfield off, Garfield who was practically their best friend! She also noted that they probably wouldn't have even bothered warning him off if they hadn't known that she was actually considering with quite a high level of seriousness which also lead to another conclusion that they had been watching over her for quite a while, probably wondering what the strange events happening between her and Garfield would lead to…or even if it would actually lead to anything at all. Raven sighed heavily and was grateful for having people like Vic and Dick around her, even if their company could sometimes prove to be a bit overbearing.

They left the jazz club after that—though Garfield had paused to snigger at the doorman bowing to them, telling them that he hopes that the couple had a good night and will continue to do so—and right after they had gone out of the door, she paused for a while to gaze at the mysterious little lounge that they had just left from and concluded that so far, she was enjoying herself and maybe…maybe…maybe she was reconsidering her doubts about being in a relationship with Garfield…maybe it was exactly what she needed, some type of emotional reassurance that would be a constant in her life. Yet…just the whole idea of affection and love and relationships and whatnot conflicted with her values and beliefs; she was no-nonsense about everything and every single situation had to be analysed logically and with reason or else it didn't make much sense to her and so she was still left with an odd sort of tug-of-war that left her wanting to stay completely neutral and…content.

But was she content? Did she really want to stay in the middle? Didn't she want to be proactive for once in her life?

"You liked the place baby doll." It wasn't a question.

She smiled and looked up at him to find his gaze back at the place too, "Yea…there was just something…"

He nodded in agreement, "There was something." He didn't specify what that 'something' was.

She turned back to look forwards and slowly walked towards where she thought the moped was parked, a shudder rolling down her spine; it was cold…she had never really stayed up this late so she didn't really know that summer nights got this cold. It was dark except for a few dim street lights that looked like they could fuse out in a few seconds and she could barely see the pavement that she was stepping on with her uncomfortable stiletto shoes and the fact that she couldn't see so well just made her other senses go berserk; she could smell the bitterness of the city air, her hair stood on its ends as a gust of cool breeze flew past her and their footsteps sounded loud to her ears, the constant thump-thump pounding in her ears like a steady drum beat that wouldn't cease to pound. The thing that made her senses most berserk was just the presence of…him. There was warmth at how close he was walking next to her, the mist that came out of his lips as he breathed the cool night air and his emotions were just so jumbled up that it was extremely difficult to pick them out individually, and she wasn't even sure if she wanted to pick them out individually for fear of what she might find lurking there in the heart of someone who she thought she knew quite well but had found out that it was quite the opposite, really.

Slowly she felt the physical touch of his fingers gently prod at her hand but she was hit by a nausea of hesitation as he took his hand away from hers and stuffed them in his pockets roughly, his emotions equally turning quite gruff with uncertainty and longing.

Raven wasn't prepared for this, she knew, she probably had never and will never be prepared for something like this and her upbringing probably had something to do with it, just like everyone else's upbringings affected them. Yet…how was someone who had always been approached with caution ever understand what it was like to care for someone other than herself? Even her mother—she duly admitted—was reluctant in showing that she loved her own daughter; out of fear, out of caution of what will be or maybe even out of guilt…she didn't know for sure but…she shook her head and bit her lower lip simultaneously…in any case it didn't help, not that she expected it to help…

His fingers touched her own once more and this time they ventured more boldly, though he still didn't take her hand into his own even with his urge to do so was burning her senses. Raven suddenly realised something; he was asking for her permission as he probably knew that she was reluctant to physical touch, unsure on whether or not she wanted it. Raven bit her lip before subconsciously letting her fingers respond to his own, touching the tips of his rough fingers gently as if she were petting a volatile snake that hadn't had a meal in an extremely long time.

There was a certain air of surprise radiating from him but it was accompanied by a giddy sort of happiness, so childlike that it bordered on the line of cute and sickening, but she decided that she would accept the happiness as something that was adorable and so very innocent and she smiled at that thought…innocence wasn't something that was seen in the world they currently lived in right now and just a glimpse of it always put some sort of hope in her that caused her heart to tighten with fervour and protectiveness and strangely…peace.

It was like they were flirting, actually, though flirting physically…and only through their hands and fingers as they roamed at the planes of the other person's hand with a sort of curiosity that Raven didn't feel that often and it was strange because though their fingers initiated contact they were both still reluctant to grasp each other's hands; she traced his middle finger with her index finger slowly, he drew steady patterns on her palm causing tickling sensations, she pressed her fingers to the back of his hand and dragged her fingers down, he used his fingers to trace U's in between her fingers and she stroked his thumb lightly, and this was all commencing in silence, which made the occasion even more...even more…

…wow.

There wasn't even a real word for it; just the feel of his fingers caused shivers to run down her spine and that was ridiculous, of course, because there wasn't anything different with his touch than with any others but there really was. It was illogical! It was…it was nice.

Their fingers continued to dance with each other and every time they touched it progressed in bolder moves but they still did not hold hands, it was like one of them was waiting for the other to make a move and despite Garfield's boasts of being the Casanova of the 21st century, he still didn't make a move to hold her hand, he still reached out to her but he held back.

A sudden realisation came to her that caused her to laugh inwardly, amused at such a concept; the way their hands touched could almost be a metaphorical interpretation of the relationship that she had with the guy standing next to her. They touched each other's lives in different ways that couldn't be explained, causing sensations that were foreign to both of them but at the same time familiar to them and wanting more…wanting that strange effect that came out of being in each other's lives whether for the good, the bad or for the weird and wonderful things that come out of it. They knew each other well but at the same time they didn't know each other at all and they were still discovering the quirks and the habits, the thoughts and mentality, the planes and surfaces that seemed superficial but really weren't.

As they walked she felt his hand come closer to hers, radiating a heat in which she was unfamiliar with and it came closer and closer still—as if in slow motion—and her hand mirrored his hand's movements, almost coming closer in contact with his. She felt her breath get stuck in her throat even though she wasn't sure why she was feeling like that when suddenly, their hands lay flat against each other—skin on skin, rough on smooth, large on small, delicate on clumsy, green (she imagined in her mind) on ivory-grey—and his fingers moved to clasp her hand, filling in all the gaps between her fingers with his own, sliding them slowly as if he was careful not to startle her. As his fingers finally fully clutched at her hand through the gaps, she felt her own fingers—as if on their own accord—slowly clutched his own hand, also through the in-between spaces of his fingers.

At that moment she looked up at him and found that he was doing the exact same; inky blue eyes bored into her own oddly coloured ones and there was just a…spark…that caused her to flinch away from his gaze. Raven felt a flush of colour bloom on her pale cheeks and her left hand cover her mouth subconsciously, her teeth chewing at the innards of her mouth behind her hand. From what she could grasp, his emotions were darting from side to side, from one extreme to another and it affected her own emotions to mirror his; who knew that just holding hands could spur such reactions?

"Your hand is warm." Garfield grinned sheepishly, breaking the silence.

She exhaled heavily and continued to walk, the uneven concrete pavement occasionally causing her to hobble around, "So are yours." She felt his index finger move up and down to stroke her own index finger, "I had a—surprise, surprise—great time tonight."

"I hope you did, took me two million years just setting this all up, y'know?"

"Setting what all up?" She asked wryly, a brow rose, "I'm pretty sure that place didn't need reservations."

The sheepish expression came back again, "Well…yea…I guess…but…I did get all cleaned up for you." He grinned.

"Well, you had to get cleaned up sometime, Gar."

"Aw, I'm hurt, baby doll." He threw her a mock-insulted expression, "I bet your favourite song was 'Am I blue?'!"

"That song was good but I preferred another song…" Her words trailed off as she realised that his grip had become tighter.

"Which one was that? I thought that 'Fly me to the Moon' was the best…I mean, seriously…classic."

"Hmmm…I liked…you know that song?" She searched her brain for the right title, "You know…" she bit her lip impatiently as he chuckled, "that song. '300 Flowers'…that song was…beautiful." She breathed the last word out, "Beautiful song."

A shot of surprise surged through Garfield, causing her mind to sting sharply and she threw him a worried look, "Are you OK?"

He shrugged it off as if he was feeling content with his situation, "Don't worry bout it…I'm fine…just didn't think that you'd be the type to like that song."

"You obviously don't know me well enough."

He grinned, his mischievous nature shining through his eyes, "Or maybe I need to spend more time with you." He nudged her softly.

She looked up and spotted a few stars in the sky, decorating the dark, inky mantle like expensive sequins and the sky was clear with no cloud in sight. She wondered if it was just her imagination but she was sure that the night had suddenly become a tad warmer than it was before.

"I like your company." She stated shortly, "Despite your obvious shortcomings."

"Raven…" The fact that she was referred to by her first name was quite significant in itself and it made her look at him, "We…you…don't have to do this now…"

"Do what?" She teased uncharacteristically and batted her eyelashes innocently.

"Do…" He shook his head and she waited for him to continue, but instead his shoulders just sagged, "never mind…what were you sayin', baby doll?"

"Your company…I enjoy it." She smiled reflectively and looked down at her feet, "You piss me off, you're annoying, immature, your taste in music is questionable, your lack of reading makes me question whether or not you're really literate, your bad jokes can sometimes make me feel a little sick in the stomach and your lack of seriousness when we face an opponent sometimes makes me wonder whether or not you realise that we might actually die on one of these mission…and yet I enjoy your company." She kicked a pebble on the pavement, "You're an interesting character, Gar."

He stayed silent; his face also looked down on the ground as they walked in their slow pace.

"But sometimes you're different…the way you express things, the passion you have for life and the things you've told me…sometimes it makes me wonder if I'm really talking about the same person. An interesting character, to say the least."

"You make me sound like some really weird animal species that has only been recently discovered, Rae."

She shrugged, "That's a great analogy and…maybe you're right…I mean there are so many sides to you that it isn't even funny." She let her shoulders slump, "It's even stranger that despite the fact that I don't know every single aspect of you, I like you…I actually like you…but I don't know…maybe I always knew there was something behind that superficial cover of yours in the back of my head but I never acknowledged it. I'm glad I do now."

His grip on her hand tightened but they relaxed after a short while.

"I do think about it…about whether or not I should consider a relationship with you…I know that you know I think about it…and there are so many negative aspects to a relationship with you that I sometimes wonder whether I should've even agreed to go on this date with you." Her left hand kept a lock of hair away from her face, "But there are positives too…but the positives are so few that I risking it might be too much for…for me, I guess…but it'll affect the team too if the cons overcome the pros."

They paused at a zebra cross and she glanced quickly at the pedestrian traffic light; the red light flashed in the form of a man standing stock still. It would take a while for the red light to turn green and so she took this opportunity to look him in the eyes and converse in a civilised manner.

He rubbed his brow and shook his head, "Give me one good reason why we shouldn't start up a relationship."

"Well, for one thing…we're too different…we don't even like the same things and how would we form a relationship on a basis that had no similarities?"

"We both like jazz." He pointed out shortly.

"Well, OK, we both like jazz but that's being a bit superficial…" She looked him in the eyes and found that if she looked hard enough, she could see remnants of his emerald eyes behind the mask of inky midnight blue, "Also…I might become too emotionally uncontrollable and I can't have that…it'll endanger everyone…all of you…it'll endanger you."

"I think we're big kids now, Raven, I'm pretty sure we can take care of ourselves."

"My powers still derive from darkness…from the demon part of me and I can't get rid of that…it's a part of me and without it I wouldn't be the Raven we all know today. Thirdly, I'm too attached to everyone—though I hate admitting it—and if our relationship breaks down, all my other relationships with the others will be strained with tension because they're all attached to you too and I don't know if I'll be able to handle losing a family in…that way." She whispered the last two words and closed her eyes for a brief second.

Garfield took her other hand too now and raised them up to about chest level, "Raven, this is all…" he seemed to struggle with his words, "this is all…not about you…all the reasons you're telling me? They all have something to do with other people…what do you want? You can't tell me that there isn't some really selfish part of you that wants to be with me as badly as I want to be with you."

She flustered and released her hands from his hold, keeping them at her side sternly, like the man in the traffic light. She bit her lower lip and dragged them slowly off as she thought about what she was going to say. If all went the way she wanted, they would both feel changed and yet she didn't know in what way they would both be changed. The only thing she really feared is if he decided to be indifferent…that would be the most painful thing that she'd have to experience; she could just imagine it in her mind now, replaying over and over again.

No, they would change…they would both change…

…they had to.

"Gar…" Raven started but then stopped, "I…"

He raked a solid hand through his mass of golden hair, "Raven…you think too much…this isn't a situation where you have to think, you just need to…I dunno…I guess you just need to feel. This isn't about your thoughts and your analytical deliberation. It's about your feelings, and Rae…I know how hard it is for you to deal with those feelings but…" his hands moved to his ears, "but if you didn't have all these doubts and these thoughts, what would you say? Would you say that you would take the risk and date me?"

She closed her eyes, "Yes." She answered without hesitation.

Raven fingered her red dress harmlessly, feeling the soft and silky fabric between her fingers and it was cold…the fabric was cold. Just like the air around her, just like her own hands.

"Listen, Rae…" he grabbed her right hand and let it settle on his chest, "Can you feel it?"

She could too, through the mass of white fabric; she could feel his heart thumping unnaturally, as if it had suddenly decided to accelerate. The thumps were hard and fast with no specific rhythm to it…it was syncopated. Each stress of the heart was like a wordless emotion and it spoke to her, the way all emotions did; did she really cause it?

She nodded.

"That is caused by you…that really weird way my heart is beating now? That's you." He grimaced and put his hand over her hand, "Look, I know that you like me and I really like you and together…I don't know…I think it'll be somethin' special, y'know?" His breathing was heavy now and his chest rose with each and every breath, "If you don't believe me…or, I guess…every time you lose your belief in the fact that I like you…all you need to do is put your hand on me…right here…" He tapped his fingers against the back of her hand that was on his chest, "I'm not exactly 'prince charming'," his fingers moved to make speech marks, "but I'll try my best, y'know? I know I can be all those things you said about me and more and the fact that I haven't had the best track record when it comes to girls…"

Raven silently thought about this and concluded that he had one girlfriend turned out traitor then turned into stone, a girl who knew about his powers—Jill, was it?—from his old school but her father objected with their relationship, and a string of other girls that he only ever had two or three dates with—tops!—and some—she thought, though she wasn't too sure since she never went out at night with him before their first date—he just made out with when he was completely wasted. So, in conclusion, most of his relationships hadn't lasted too long.

"…but I just have this really funny feeling that with you it's gonna be different with you…you're just…I dunno…there isn't really a word for it." He grinned earnestly, "And OK, we have our differences? Who doesn't? And we don't really get along too well…but that can be changed…well…maybe not but…you know what I mean." The words were spiked with frustration and eagerness, "Plus opposites attract and we're as opposite as can be." He winked at her and grinned, the serious façade disappearing slowly.

A gust of wind breezed through her hair, causing it to momentarily cover her eyes, the eyes that she knew were scrutinising the creature that stood in front of her. He was smiling softly—a smile she had never seen before on his lips—his hair was messed up—but in a good way—his broad shoulders sagged and his impish blue eyes were a little sad around the corners. That made her wonder once more about her decision, that and the fact that her fingers were still on his chest, feeling the strange pounding of his heart.

Slowly, Raven slipped her fingers off his chest, dragging his white shirt gently so it made creases on his shirt, like ripples of the ocean. The empty street suddenly sounded extremely loud, like there were more people waiting at the zebra cross for the light to turn green, and yet there was no one there apart from them. Her heart clenched tightly and the words she was about to say got caught in her throat as if refusing to be let out, just in case the consequences didn't turn out so well.

"Gar…" Her mouth suddenly felt dry but she had to say it! She had to!

Without thinking, her hands slowly moved to touch his left cheek and by the look on his face, he seemed surprised by her actions, and to be completely honest, she was too…she was never forward when it came to expressing herself, but she felt that what she did was right at the time. His cheek was cold and with her small fingers she could feel the slight stubble that she didn't expect to be there; he had grown up—he was admittedly still a year younger than her—but he had grown up and he was becoming somebody as complex as she was but she thought that she'd have fun trying to figure him out if she gave him the chance and maybe he'd take her out of the protective shell that she liked to keep herself in.

"I'm not like other girls, Gar—"

"I'm not telling you to be like other girls, Rae…"

She shook her head, indicating that she didn't want to be interrupted, "I've probably pointed this out to you already but I don't respond to emotions the way others do, I prefer to be left alone than to be in the company of someone else and physical contact isn't something I find pleasure in." Raven glanced at the hand that was still on his cheek, "You on the other hand are writhe with emotions, making my empathic powers explode every time I'm near you and you love your company…you live for people…I can see that now…and you need to be touched…you need to know that someone is there for you…both physically and mentally."

She breathed a heavy sigh before continuing.

"So, we're the complete opposite to each other and for Azar knows what reason, we're attracted to each other. And the strangest thing is that we don't get along—at all, might I add—and we know it and yet we're still considering the prospect of a relationship. Strange how things turn out, yes?" He nodded slowly and her hand moved with his face, "And yet…"

He looked at her expectantly, impatient to know her answer, whatever it turned out to be and she could sense it…by Azar she could sense it…and it was strange because as soon as she scoped out how he was feeling, she realised that she was feeling the same; she wanted to tell him her answer as soon as possible.

"And yet…?"

She shook her head, smiling slightly, "Clearly I have gone completely insane but…" She paused, trying to figure out how to word it, "…but I…I…maybe it is possible to make it work without screwing everything all up. Maybe…no…positively…I want to take the chance."

"You…what!?" His eyes widened in shock…clearly he had been expecting a completely different answer.

Raven rolled her eyes in reply, "I want to try it…maybe it won't end as well as I want it to and that's always a risk but…I like you too and I thought about the words that you told me on the day that you told me you liked me…carpe diem, you said…and before it was always a nonsensical motto that was completely ridiculous to me but…but I think for once I might want to…you know…carpe diem…and I guess the moment's now." She inhaled sharply, "To put it in terms that you'd understand…I like you and I'd like to…I'd like to try to see how things work out."

He looked at her in wonder and she watched as his lips curled—and continued to curl—until his small smile had turned into a full-fledged grin. His emotions suddenly burst into a waterfall of happiness and it took some effort for her not to stagger by the sheer force of it and…and there was a tiny trickle of affection in it, sewn delicately between the large layers of joy. His eyes shone with euphoria and the fact that his jaw dropped just added to the whole effect; he was happy, and he was happy because of her.

"Baby doll…are you serious…you're not joking, right? Because…well…shit! Oh my God…Rae…baby doll. Are you sure I'm not dreaming? Pinch me…no seriously…pinch me…" he slapped his own hand over the hand that was touching his cheek and she could feel warmth bloom suddenly over her fingertips, "No…I'm being totally serious…shit! You just told me that you're going to officially date me…you just…I must be dreaming…this must be too good…I probably ate some of that blue stuff Kori left in the—!"

She smiled and on a whim raised herself up by her tip toes and before she realised what exactly she was doing, she brushed her lips lightly against his; so light that if he wasn't so concentrated on her then her kiss would probably have gone unnoticed by him. His lips were warm and soft and they just felt…right against her own and if his emotions were completely wild before when she agreed, his emotions right now were just…extreme. Before he could respond to her kiss, she lowered herself and found herself looking down on the floor timidly, just realising the extent to her actions; it was a mere brush on the lips, barely a kiss, but it was enough to ignite some intense emotions from both of them.

Garfield shook his head and his eyes widened so much that she expected his eyeballs to fall out.

"Holy mother of—!"

Suddenly a strange beeping noise was heard, causing them to both look up to see where it had come from; the pedestrian traffic light had turned into a running green man accompanying the infuriating sound. They glanced at each other like two people who had never seen a traffic light before and they both weren't really sure what to do—though it was pretty obvious since the moped was across the street—and it was like their feet were stuck on the uneven pavement below them.

"So…" Raven started though the fact that the beeping kept interjected her thoughts didn't really help much; the overflow of Garfield's words before had caused a major headache and the traffic light had just made it worse, "What do we do now?" She wasn't really sure whether she was referring to the traffic light or to their relationship, really.

"Cross the road silly!" He grinned and winked at her, causing confusion; was he seriously talking about crossing the road?

She watched silently—a smirk gracing her face—while he ran across the zebra crossing, roaring with laughter and euphoria, literally lighting up the dark street with his happiness. As he realised that she hadn't yet followed, he paused and motioned her to come join him.

"C'mon, baby doll! Hurry before the red man comes back!" He exclaimed, pointing at the flashing green man, "Hurry, Rae!" Both his hands were doing really weird bizarre repertoires now, "Run!"

"I can't run in these damn heels!" She shouted back at him, her feet firmly attached to the spot.

He groaned, "Take them off and run!" He was so silly at the moment that she couldn't help but laugh, "We can still beat the green man if you do it quick enough!"

"OK, OK!" Raven chuckled.

She slipped off the heels and placed them in her left hand, carrying them by the straps. She paused while feeling the bumpy and really gravelly ground beneath her bare feet; how the hell did she get convinced to do this?

He was still making those ridiculous hand signals and the silly grin was still on his face; so childlike and innocent and a tad immature, she had to admit. With her heart pumping with adrenaline for no apparent reason and a small smile on her lips, she ran as quickly as she could and felt her red dress caress her legs roughly, the wind blow through her hair erratically and the numbness of the soles of her feet when she realised that running barefoot wasn't all too comfortable.

He grabbed her free hand and smiled at her, that very same smile that was she found odd; a small smile, a private smile.

He laughed giddily once more, "C'mon baby doll!" His grip grew tighter and she looked up at him incredulously.

"Come on…where exactly?"

"God knows!" His eyes danced mischievously, "If we can make it across the road on time then we can make it anywhere!"

"You're really strange, you know?" He smiled as she said that, as if to say that he knew it already, "Well…what exactly are you waiting for then, Gar? We don't have that much time." Once again, she wasn't sure what she was referring to.

"Now you're talking!"

He tugged at her hand and with that they both ran across the street, as fast as they could, as if there was nothing else around them. Once they reached the other side, Raven looked backed with a sense of achievement though she wasn't sure what exactly she had achieved or if she had achieved anything at all. The other side looked so far across now and that was ridiculous because she knew it couldn't be any more than a couple of metres apart but it really did look quite far. She hugged herself and found that she was breathing heavily, as if she had just done a major sprint or something similar, and found that her heart was beating fiercely with the odd syncopated beat that she felt from Garfield before. Her fingers traced her hairline and she found that her faux fringe had messed up and that her chakra was now revealed, but for some odd reason, she didn't particularly care.

"It seems that we've beaten the green man." She stated shortly as her gaze fell on the traffic light, only to see the red man come back, standing stoically in its place.

Garfield was panting, she noted, but it didn't interfere with the elated look on her face, "Yea, baby doll, we did." He beamed, "Doesn't it feel great?"

"Yea, strangely it does…" She looked at him, "This means we can go anywhere, right?"

He smiled softly and placed a hand gently on her shoulder to support himself, "Yea…yea it does."

Her smile mirrored his and she noted that there was a funny feeling in her heart; she was happy.

Ridiculously happy.

"That's nice…I like being able to go anywhere."

"It's even better coz it means that you can go anywhere with me."

"Yes…I guess it does…" She took a quick look at the other side once more, "anywhere sounds incredible…anywhere with you, however, will be quite the adventure. Do you think we'll be able to do it without attempting to kill each other five minutes into it?"

"Don't bet on it baby doll."

With that something else happened; somewhere in Raven's subconscious Affection was laughing maniacally. It wasn't every day that she won out with someone like Raven.

Victory was sweet.

The End


A/N: OH MY GOD! I actually finished it! Yes, me, MonkeeNoodles, finito-ed a ficcie!

I'm so proud of myself!

Wowzers...its been amazing writing this ficcie and the feed back has been double the amazing...I seriously can't have written this ficcie without the beautiful comments that you guys give me.

No, seriously, if it weren't for your reviews I would've probably stopped writing in the middle of the story and that would've majorly sucked...no?

Ah...still a bit surreal...all the blood, sweat, tears and alack of sleep have finally paid off!

It is DONE!

:maniacal laughter:

So, once again my readers, I give many many MANY thanks to you all because without you this would've totally flopped.

:hugs and kisses:

BTW I've put a summary of the sequeal on my profile page so if anyone wants to know about it, it's on there, capiche?

Capiche.

I also have some a BBRae fanart up that KINDA goes with this ficcie (OK, that's a lie...but it's still a BBRae one...) and you can see it on my account at monkeenoodlesdotdeviantartdotcom.

Good lord I've got butterflies in my stomach now from all the euphoria.

It's a little sad...this ficcie was my baby.

Anyways, you know the drill, giv me muchos reviews so that I love you even more?

Not that I don't love you.

No, really.

-MonkeeNoodles