A/N: It occurred to me when I first thought of the dialogue in this scene that this could have worked really well as a Moment. At present, however, it wouldn't fit into the flow of the Moment-Verse, such as it is.
Anyway…may I present, my Valentine's Gift to all of you. May your day be filled with the warmth of love from friends, family, and significant others.
Disclaimer: Alas, I have yet to receive ONE Valentine's Day gift, so no, this was not my gift and no, I still don't own them.
Thanks: Of course, to Kysra, as always, for reading my stuff and telling me what she thinks. In this particular case, she was also Title Guro and helped name it, so double thanks to her for that. And, obviously, thanks to all of YOU for showing me love countless times before.
She wasn't startled that he knew she was there, even though she had made no noise and he had yet to look at her.
Never one for empty pleasantries, she remained silent until she stood alongside him. "Why are you still awake?" she asked.
He motioned toward the full moon riding low and heavy in the never-quite-black sky with his chin. "Caught a glimpse of that from my window."
"So you thought you'd get a closer look?"
He smirked. "Something like that," he paused, glancing at her, "Let's just say I'm making my oblations, shall we?" When her eyes opened a little wider and her left brow rose, his expression turned defensive. "What?" he asked. "You think you're the only one who communes with nature?"
She lowered her brow and her lips pursed in the way they did when she was trying not to show her smile. "No," she answered. "I am simply surprised you know the word oblation at all."
He fought the smirk and turned away. "Har-har."
Raven's expression didn't break. "Do you even know what it means?" she pressed.
He looked at her sideways, the amusement shining clearly in the bright night. "Oblation," he began in a lofty tone, "Noun. From the latin oblatus, the past participle of offerre, to offer." He crossed his arms over his chest and raised his chin a little higher as his eyes remained on the moon. "The act of offering something, such as worship or thanks, to a diety." He glanced at her. "See invocation, prayer, or entreaty." Finally, when a few moments went by and she had said nothing, he smiled.
She allowed him a smirk as payment for his cheekiness. She turned to stare at the moon herself and half-muttered, "Boy Blunder saved yet again by his eidetic memory."
He chuckled, but said nothing more and for a good while, they watched in silence.
"How was your date?"
Raven shrugged, her eyes searching the blue-black sky for stars. "I didn't have a date tonight, Robin, but if you ask about the festival, the artists were varied and mostly talented. The stage performances on the whole left something to be desired, although there was an excellent bunraku performance I was glad to catch. Unfortunately, the musicians were not very good at all, except for the jazz ensemble which was quite enjoyable."
Robin had been looking at her in surprise since the first part of her recitation, although she had studiously ignored it. "Why would you think it wasn't a date?" he asked, ignoring the rest of her statement.
"Why would you think it was?" she countered.
"Did he buy you food?" he asked.
She looked at him. "There was hummus consumed at one point," she admitted, "but what does that have to—?"
"Drinks?" he interrupted.
Raven was confused. "What?"
"Did he buy you drinks?" Robin explained.
"We ate the hummus with wine, yes," she allowed, "and tea at a stall, but I still—"
"No one else went with you?" he interrupted, yet again.
Robin turned away from her, looking at the moon again and crossing his arms in that way she knew meant he thought the subject was closed. "It was a date."
"Impossible," she insisted.
"Rae…" he started.
"Robin," she countered. "A date implies romantic interest for each other," she explained with careful patience. "Which was not present in this situation." Robin's raised brow, an adequate copy of her own, prompted her to further explain. "He wanted to visit the festival, as did I. It was only logical we attend together. There was no romantic interest involved."
Robin smiled at her, and it was a mix of amusement and something like pity. "I bet Aqualad doesn't think so."
The certainty and kindness in his voice gave her pause when she would have otherwise assured him that of course Aqualad did not think their time together that evening had been anything other than a friendly outing.
Anyone else would have looked at Raven and seen only the neutral lines of her face, unemotional and impassive, as usual. Robin, however, only had to look at her for a few moments before he could see the worry in the pressing of her lips and the distance in her eyes. Still, he waited. More than simply curios as to how she might behave at the knowledge he had just made her privy to, he knew he had to give her time to digest and internalize. He watched her profile and could practically see the cogs in her mind already working to put the pieces of the puzzle together, all the glances and the attentions, the little pleasantries and mistaken for casual touches Aqualad had shown her the last few weeks fitting together to paint a picture.
She frowned, and he wished suddenly, quite illogically, that he hadn't put her through it. He had told himself he wouldn't interfere, after all, even when it was pretty obvious to him that she wasn't aware of what Aqualad's attention meant. And yet, there he was.
"I hope you are mistaken," Raven spoke finally, after what seemed like a long time.
Robin looked up at the moon and found it had hardly moved. "Do you really?" he questioned. After the words had escaped his lips, he frowned and fisted his hands tightly before forcing himself to open them.
"I do," she answered, her tone soft and pensive.
"Why?" he pressed, despite his better judgment. 'Maybe,' he wondered absently, 'the legends were true about being out in the full moon making people act crazy?' If she answered that it was because she couldn't feel, he'd kick himself later, he knew.
"I do not…" she paused, choosing her words carefully, "…reciprocate."
He was surprised by her answer and his eyes on her, had she been looking, would have plainly revealed it. "But you did feel that way about him at some point," he frowned, "Didn't you?"
She looked at him, her eyes assessing something in the planes of his face that he couldn't anticipate and he was certain she had had enough of this line of very personal discussion and would put an end to it, as she normally would.
But apparently, whatever effect the moon had on him affected her too.
"I was infatuated with him when we first met," she admitted. "He is very handsome," she allowed thoughtfully. "And a race I had never met before, from a people I had read of."
Robin turned to face her completely. "But you're not anymore?" he asked. "Infatuated, I mean?"
Raven shook her head slowly. "No," she answered. "He is pleasant company, but that initial sense is…gone." She exhaled. "I know not enough about my emotions to explain why or how."
Robin knew he shouldn't, but he smiled. "You will."
Raven turned to him, but before she could speak, the distant ringing of the bells in the tower of the Our Lady of Charity began to chime and both their attentions were drawn, invariably, in the direction in which they both knew the cathedral lay.
"Midnight," Robin spoke when the ringing of the 12th and final bell died away.
"Mm," she agreed. They listened a while longer, before with a sigh, Raven turned. "Goodnight Robin," she said, starting her graceful, unhurried return into the Tower and out of the chill night air.
Raven stopped and turned around to watch Robin breach the distance she had made between them in half as many steps. There was a look on his face that distracted her so that she didn't realize he was holding his hand out to her until he stopped directly before her.
She looked from the smallish powder blue box sitting in the palm of his hand and back to his eyes with no more clarity as to his actions. She could have asked, or simply taken it without asking, but neither way was her way, and so she simply raised a brow in question instead.
"I meant to give it to you tomorrow, but…" he trailed off and shrugged, extending the gift again. When it was safely transferred to her possession, he scratched the back of his head absently and smiled sheepishly. "I guess it is tomorrow, anyway." His smile brightened, and the awkwardness was gone, replaced by the pure happiness he rarely allowed himself to feel. "Happy Valentine's Day, Raven."
No one, not even Raven herself, could confront that smile without some semblance of a responding upward inclination of her lips. Consequently, there was a brief flicker of a smile which she hid by looking down at the box, her fingers absently toying with the white satin ribbon so carefully tied in a neat bow. She wasn't really seeing it, though. She knew she would like whatever was inside the box, but in that moment, she didn't particularly care what that might be.
She looked up at him and thanked him the only way she knew how.
A/N: Yes, I am working on It Only Takes A Moment: Wishes, II and I am also working on Stupid Cupid and although to a lesser extent, Burn and Instinct as well. Stupid Cupid will probably be up first though. First draft of that is already done.