She watched him from the center of the mass of grinding bodies, her smoldering eyes locked with his as her body swayed to the heart-pounding beat of another chopped dance anthem. Her hands, once fisted against the tight material of her low rise jeans, drifted above her head as he wiggled farther down into his seat, blushed painted across his cheekbones. A slow, sultry grin pulled at the woman's mouth.
"Can somebody please tell me why I agreed to come to the opening of this stupid club?"
Beast Boy finally managed to break eye contact with the flirty brunette at Raven's clipped question. Rolling his eyes, he lifted his fourth beer to his lips and nursed it silently.
Across from him, Cyborg shoved a handful of nuts into his mouth. "'Cause we're the honored guests. The owner did set his theme after us since we threw him in jail, ya know. It woulda been rude to leave one of our teammates at home when he did this because he said we set him straight."
Beast Boy grinned behind the long neck of his drink. Cyborg had skillfully left out the fact that Starfire and Robin had fled the scene once they greeted the ex-villain to 'go over some evidence' in privacy back at the Tower. Cyborg was slightly miffed about that, for they thought they were hiding the extent of their relationship from the team. Cyborg took it as an insult to his intelligence that Robin, of all people, would think he wouldn't catch on to the less-than-subtle cover-ups.
"Besides, Raven," Beast Boy chuckled as Cyborg drowned a beer than would never get him buzzed and sighed dejectedly as he put it back down, "half of the guys in here keep sliding you looks."
Raven turned dark eyes to him and scowled, idly letting her fingers dance over the moist rim of her untouched Bloody Mary. "Beast Boy, you know as well as I do that none of those… boys interest me. All they want is a chance to brag about gaining the attention of one of the Titans. If Starfire wasn't taken, they wouldn't even look my way."
He nudged her shoulder. "Come on, Rae, that's not true. Why don't you go out and dance a little? It won't kill you, I promise."
Raven's scowl darkened as she let her eyes roam over the mashing bodies and the pure sexuality expressed in every movement. "It just might. Half of those people don't even know who the hell they're grinding against. I think I'll pass."
He finished the rest of his drink, sliding it to the side when empty. She eyed the growing number of bottles as he popped a grease-drenched fry into his mouth. "How are you not drunk yet?" Raven turned slightly in her seat to study his eyes. "You're not even slightly tipsy."
He sighed, lazily scratching the back of his head while trying to catch sight of the waitress. "I can't get drunk," he said with a hint of moroseness. "Something in my blood prevents it. Believe me, I've tried. Don't you think I tried when I turned twenty-one? I nearly spent every dime I had trying to, but I didn't feel even the slightest buzz… I'm as likely to get drunk as Cyborg is… "
Said cyborg pulled himself out of his seat to throw himself into the middle of the writhing mass of dancers. He was quickly sandwiched between two scantly clad women who then began the process of turning him into a human dancing pole.
Beast Boy propped his chin in his hands and sighed. "Why does Cyborg get all the women? He doesn't even have to try."
Raven eyed him as the two women practically glued themselves to Cyborg in hopes of getting his attention riveted strictly on them. Cyborg, however, was too busy waving around wildly in a strange excuse for a dance. In his estimation, since he was half machine and incapable of being inebriated, the least he could do was pretend to be drunk. As it happened, he was doing a damn good job.
"I'm not throwing myself at him," she stated dryly, eyes dropping to her drink. Her nose wrinkled ever-so-slightly as she hesitantly lifted it to her mouth and sipped. Beast Boy watched her with a growing smile when she sat it down with a grimace.
"Not your style?"
Raven grabbed a black napkin and hastily wiped her mouth. "I hate alcohol. It's disgusting." She pushed the drink toward the growing wall of empty bottles.
"You could try a Long Island Ice Tea. They say you can't taste the liquor."
"They also say it gets you drunk fast. I have no desire to get plastered, then wake up tomorrow and have no idea what I did."
"Or who," Beast Boy added helpfully, chuckling as Raven slammed an elbow into his ribs. With a wince, he reached between them to rub the forming bruise. "Poor Cy. I wonder if he has any idea that those girls probably don't even know their own name, much less who they're dancing with."
Beast Boy glanced up when the waitress slid another beer in front of him. She grinned widely, tossing back a heavy fall of blonde hair and cocking a hip against the table's edge, mere inches away from his hand. "Uh… thanks," he said hesitantly, eyeing the beer in confusion, then sliding his gaze to the hip within grabbing distance. "Umm… do you have a Coke here? Or maybe tea? No alcohol. She's not a big drinker."
The waitress glanced over at Raven with a knowing smile. "Sure, kid. We got Coke and water, but no tea."
Raven wrinkled her nose at her choices, but chose water in the end. The slim waitress nodded, yet made no move to leave. "By the way, kid, the woman over there with her gang of sorority chicks wanted me to give you this." Beast Boy blinked as the waitress handed him a slip of paper. "Said she hoped you enjoyed the drink."
The blonde slunk off to take the order of a group of young college students, leaving the two Titans staring at the tiny slip of paper in Beast Boy's hands. Raven leaned over slightly, shoving an irritated hand through her hair when it fell in front of her eyes.
"What is that?" she asked, eyes lifting from the paper to the crowd, scanning all those women looking in his direction at that particular moment. The woman who had been silently luring Beast Boy the entire night was still dancing, eyes raking down the exposed portion of Beast Boy's body visible from above the table. Around her danced a plethora of unhealthily skinny women, all sneaking glances at the green man besides her. They chattered and giggled every few seconds, leaning in closer to whisper to one another. Their expressions, however, revealed a slight jeer as they followed their dark haired companion's gaze. Immediately, a dusting of unease coated her stomach. Raven's eyes narrowed slightly when she slid a cocky smile directly at Raven.
"It's her name. She wrote down her name." Raven leaned back in her seat, watching the blush bloom along his skin as he stared stupidly at the blue ink. She plucked the paper out of his hands to hopefully liberate him from his love struck daydream. She knew, almost immediately, that whatever these girls had in mind wasn't in Beast Boy's best interest.
"Julie, huh? She doesn't even have her number written down," Raven muttered as she rolled her eyes. "What does she think she is? Mystifying or something? It's just a name. Probably made up, too." She slid the paper back toward him. "I don't think she's all that interesting, if you want the truth. She's been grinding with half the guys on the dace floor." And she's obviously a pro at whatever game she was dangling in front of you. Don't be stupid, Beast Boy. She isn't doing this because she likes you.
"I know," he said, almost dreamily.
Raven eyed him disdainfully, legs crossing smartly as she tried to control the urge to knock some serious sense into his thick head. "You would be the one attracted to the girl who practically has 'easy' tattooed across her forehead."
Beast Boy broke from his dream again to blink at her. "Raven, I'm attracted to the girl who actually shows interest in me. In case you haven't noticed, there isn't a mob of obsessed fan-girls beating down my door like in Japan. I'm lucky if I get one piece of mail that isn't from a ten year old girl professing her love to me. I'm twenty-one, Raven, and the only real relationship I've been in was with Terra. If you can call it that," he added with a scowl, angrily taking a long pull from his beer. "There's something seriously wrong with that, you know."
"I haven't been in one."
He sighed softly, plucking moodily at the ragged edges of the paper. "But you've never wanted to be in one. I do. I just want to be in one relationship where someone actually loves me."
Raven shifted slightly in her chair, uncomfortable with the new direction the topic was headed. "She, um… loved you, though."
Beast Boy gave a soft, barking laugh. "She tolerated me. It was Slade she loved. I was just a way into getting into the Tower. Nothing more. I'm surprised she actually let me touch her."
Raven's eyebrows drew together as he sighed and slumped down in his chair, watching the woman with a longing that plucked at something deep within Raven. "Even physical love would be better than nothing. It's been so long I almost forgot what it feels like."
Beast Boy's head lolled to the side to watch her growing unease. The corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. "Squirming yet?"
She glared hotly at him as she forced her body to freeze. "I don't squirm, Garfield."
He turned away from her, but the smile was still playing at his lips. "I figured all talk of love—physical or emotional—made you uncomfortable."
"Were you trying to make me uncomfortable, Beast Boy?"
He chuckled slightly. "Always, Raven. Always." He took another drink, but the movement seemed to almost be a task for his hands to do and nothing more.
"Do you even like the taste of that?" She asked, mildly pleased at her subtle topic change.
He glanced at her, blinking, before he shrugged and took another sip. "It's wet. Cheap. So I guess. I mean, it's not bad or anything."
She eyed the ugly brown bottle. "Why do you drink if you don't get anything out of it?"
Beast Boy shrugged. "Dunno. 'Cause I can? That, and ladies love a man who can hold their alcohol." He laughed at the look of irritation crossing her features. "But really, it's not that bad." He held the bottle out to her. "Wanna try?"
She shrank back slightly, eyeing the beer almost as if it were going to morph into Trigon. "I don't think—"
"Come on, Rae. It won't kill you." She started at it for a long moment, debating on if she were stupid enough to try.
"If you're worried about drinking after me, you can always wipe it off, or I can get the waitress to bring a shot glass—"
"It's not that," she hastily added, surprised at the fact that he'd even thought of such a concern. "It's just I know I'm not going to like it. Alcohol and I do not see eye to eye."
He grinned. "Come on, Rae. You're finally able to try it legally and you pass it up? I promise it's not that bad. Not my favorite, but still, it won't ruin your gothic persona."
Raven frowned slightly, but found her hand reaching for it. The glass was cool and moist in her hand, but she still found herself hesitating to try it.
Beast Boy's grin was getting wider and wider. "Come on, Rae, it's a beer. If I can handle it, don'tcha think you can?"
She sighed almost inaudibly before lifting the bottle to her lips. For a brief moment, her mind decided to bring up the fact that her mouth was touching the glass that Beast Boy's lips had recently wrapped around, but it dissipated the moment she got a good taste of beer. She hastily handed it back to him, coughing at the almost bitter tang. "That's horrible, Beast Boy," she gasped. "How can you drink that?"
She shuddered slightly as the taste lingered on her tongue. "I need to wash this taste out," she mumbled, pulling herself off the tall chair and hastily adjusting her simple black jeans. "That's… just gross."
He laughed, a grin pulling at his mouth until Raven got a good view of sharp white fangs. "Okay, okay, so it isn't that good, but still. Aren't you glad you at least gave it a try?"
She threw him a smoldering look, arms folded over her chest. "That is the last time I let you talk me into trying anything."
He couldn't smother his amused grin. "Here, let me make it up to you. I'll go get that water you were supposed to get, okay? I guess she got too busy to bring it… so just sit back down and try not to gag at the taste." He left her at the booth, her eyes drilling into his back to keep a close eye on him.
He was still chuckling as he pushed his way to the bar, where the owner was quickly doling out liquor. "Yo, Beast Boy," he greeted with a wide smile, hands constantly reaching for colorful bottles of alcohol but eyes locked on him. "What can I get for you?"
Beast Boy had to raise his voice above the chatter and music pounding around the small building. "Raven doesn't handle liquor well, so she needs water or something tame like that." His grin widened and the group of girls he has broke into eyed him with interest. "Tried to get her to try beer. Didn't work well."
The reed-thin ex-villain behind the counter chuckled, stopping only long enough to reach below the counter to pluck a bottle of water out of the fridge. He slid it towards Beast Boy without glancing up at reaching for another bottle. "Need anything else?"
"Yeah, how 'bout just a straight shot of vodka?"
"Make it two, Danny." Beast Boy blinked when the girl from the dance floor weaseled in beside him, arms folded across the bar. Her elbow knocked into a pale redheaded girl's drink, spilling it across the counter. She ignored it — and the girl who leapt up to keep her drink from hitting her lap – instead turning to him with a smirk. Her dark brown eyes raked down his form.
"Haven't I seen you somewhere before? You look familiar, but I can't put my finger on why… "
Beast Boy was slightly surprised. Was she so drunk she her mind couldn't digest the fact that he was green? He was almost positive that there wasn't anyone else the same color as he was. "Umm… maybe, if you watch the news… " And read magazines… or browse through the Internet... or walk down the street…
The man behind the bar handed them their drinks, his eyes narrowed slightly behind thick black glasses. Beast Boy twisted the shot glass in his hand before quickly downing the burning liquid. He reveled in the hot burn of it down his throat and stomach, before his blood quickly washed out the toxins and left him as sober as ever.
"Oh, I know you! You're Beast Boy, from the Titans! No wonder you look so familiar! Didn't you defeat all these bad guys a few years back?"
"Umm… yes?" Beast Boy slid the empty glass back across the bar, confused by the girl. Now that she was up in front of him, he realized she wasn't as beautiful as he thought. Sweat ran down her temple and curved down her jaw to skim across a shirt that threatened to fall off her chest at any given moment. Mascara was smudged beneath eyes so dark it was hard to differentiate between the iris and the pupil. He had always been more of a pale-eyed kind of guy…
"Well," he said after a long, uncomfortable pause, her looking him up and down like a horse at auction and him squirming uncomfortably. "I better go give this to my friend, so… umm… thanks for the beer. I appreciate it, uh, Julie."
Julie blinked slowly, almost as shocked by the fact that he wasn't drooling at her feet before she smiled. "Say, why don't I introduce you to my sorority friends? We came down here from Gotham to support our football team and we really don't know anyone here. It'd be nice to know a familiar face if we come clubbing in Jump City again."
She held out her hand to him, index curling up in a slow come-hither fashion. Beast Boy swallowed nervously, shooting the bartender a glance almost in question. The ex-villain gave a slow, unsure shrug, leaving Beast Boy to make his own choice. After a brief debate, Beast Boy followed her to the dance floor.
She turned and grabbed his hand; pulling him along behind her while she led the way to her friends. Her hips were swinging to the beat before they even hit the floor. Beast Boy was so entranced by the movement that he didn't even realize she had pulled him into a huge circle of giggling sorority girls, most of whom were spilling out of shirts two sizes too small, just like their leader. Beast Boy blushed and slid his eyes to the ceiling.
"Girls, I'd like for you to meet Beast Boy."
Beast Boy, unused to having so many pairs of female eyes locked on him, lifted a hesitant hand in greeting while still keeping his eyes locked on the cracked plaster ceiling.
"So you're a shape-shifter, huh?" A busty bleached blonde scooted to his side, a manicured finger dancing along his arm as she glanced up at him with a sultry flutter of eyelashes. His eyes refused to stay put, instead slowly lowering to her heaving chest. He blushed harder. "What can you change into?"
He watched her fingers as she slid them up his bicep and squeezed gently before making a trail back down to his clawed fingers. She reached around him to pluck Raven's water from his hand and pass it to another Barbie replica. "Umm… animals," he managed to stammer, eyes widening slightly when another woman, brunette this time, latched on to his other arm.
"Animals, huh?" She purred, sliding a glance toward the blonde, who decided his ears were more interesting than his claws. "What kind of animals?"
"Er… um, mammals. Amphibians. Prehistoric animals, and sometimes alien animals. It… depends on what's needed at the time." Beast Boy was quite proud of himself for saying a decent sentence, despite the fact that the brunette was trailing a hand down his spine. She stopped at the curve of his butt and pouted prettily. "Aw, no tail?"
Beast Boy felt himself turn an interesting shade of red. "Umm… "
"So what else can you change?" Beast Boy could only watch mutely as a tiny redhead slithered up to him, pasting herself against his front and playing with the buttons of his collared shirt. "After all, if you can shift into any animal you want, can't you shift… certain… parts as well?"
Beast Boy slid his eyes to the ceiling again and concentrated on keeping his voice from cracking. "Ah, no. My DNA is the only thing that lets me shift, which means… ah… umm… the animal form I take… is, ah… " Beast Boy decided it was probably best to just shut up as a third girl – another blonde – eased beside the redhead and trailed abnormally long nails against his abdomen.
"So does your personality have any animalistic traits to it?" When the girls around her raised an eyebrow in confusion, she rolled her eyes as if she were used to her words sailing over their head. "What I mean to say is, does the animal in you take over any time. Maybe during training, or fighting, or… sex, maybe?"
While the group of girl around him giggled, Beast Boy decided his poor mind couldn't handle anymore questions of that nature. So Beast Boy turned the tables on them and let a slow, predatory smile slip over his features. While the girls around him gasped and murmured in surprise, Beast Boy plucked his hand from the first blonde and wrapped his fingers around the third girl's chin. "How about I let you find out for yourself?" Beast Boy couldn't stop the grin from spreading when the girl's breath caught in her throat and her eyes widened in shocked amazement.
Her eyes never left his as he slowly lowered his face toward hers. Despite the music pounding around him and the whispers of the sorority circle, Beast Boy could hear her heart hammer in her chest and her scent cloud with lust. Before he could kiss the girl, however, Julie jerked the girl back so sharply she stumbled.
Beast Boy blinked as Julie laughed softly, waving away both of the women clinging to him. She attached her pelvis to his. "You'll have to forgive Diane. She tends to throw herself at men all the time. But enough chatting." Beast Boy lifted his gaze to the still shocked blonde, who was still watching him with wonder. The girls around her tittered and poked at her playfully, but she was unresponsive. Something flickered in her light brown eyes as she came down from her high.
"Julie," she said, hands wringing as she took a hesitant step forward, "I don't think this is such a good idea anymore. It seems—"
"Diane!" Julie whipped her head around to pin the smaller girl with a glare so hot Diane flinched. "What are you talking about? You said you wanted to get to know someone here, and we are, so why don't you go and get us all a round of drinks? Your treat," she added cheerfully, watching the girl walk away until she was no longer in view.
When she locked her eyes back on Beast Boy, all trace of fury was gone, replaced by a barely suppressed longing. Beast Boy frowned, concerned about how quickly she could change emotions. What was wrong with this girl?
"Why don't you come over here and dance with me? You can only talk so much to these girls before topics start to get redundant." To help get his mind off Diane, she slid one hand up his shirt, resting it against his hip and skimming a manicured finger down the pronounced groove of muscle between the hipbone.
Beast Boy studied her eyes for a moment before shrugging hesitantly. After all, what could one dance hurt?
Raven refused to take her eyes off him.
Something hot and rancid had coated her stomach when that Julie girl had cornered him at the bar with a demented curve of her lips. Just by glancing at her from afar had lighted Raven to sinister plots beneath that makeup-slathered face. How could Beast Boy wiling go with her? Was he really that stupid? That naïve? Or was he just hoping he could get lucky? Raven proceeded to seethe at the thought.
Cyborg watched his teammate with barely suppressed amusement. He had come back from the dance floor moments after Beast Boy had been dragged away by the attractive brunette. Raven had pretty much gone downhill from there. Her eyes had remained as narrowed slits as Beast Boy proceeded to flirt with the circle of sorority girls and nearly kiss one of them. Cyborg couldn't figure out if she was jealous of the fact that Beast Boy's attention was being taken over or the fact that he seemed to be truly enjoying himself. Either way, Raven was not a happy camper… not that she had been from the start.
Cyborg popped some of Beast Boy's fries into his mouth to hide his grin. "You know, Raven, the worst that can happen is him actually getting laid." At Raven's low growl, Cyborg grinned. "Come on, Raven. He needs a little love. For all we know, he never touched Terra, so this will do him some good. He'll probably leave you alone from now on if things go right."
Raven eyed her untouched Bloody Mary, briefly debating on tossing it –glass and all—at the amused Cyborg… but he was right on one count. What if things did go right for him and he never bothered her again? Okay, yes, so he annoyed the hell out of her with his stupid jokes and childish laughter and less than endearing pranks, but how would life be without all that? Would she finally be able to read through one full book without any Beast Boy disturbances? Would she be able to mediate without having Beast Boy try to scare the hell out of her by shifting into a lion and roaring behind her? Would she finally have some solace in life without him trying to make her laugh or crack a smile?
She pondered over this for a good while, fingers taping a rhythmic beat against the tabletop. It would be nice to be able to live her life in silence. There would be no more interruptions; no more glancing over shoulder to make sure he wasn't creeping behind her in hopes of eliciting some form of emotion from her. She could finally get through one session of meditation without his interruptions, sit down and read more than a paragraph in a novel without his insistent chatter outside her door. There would be no more stupid jokes, no more urges to wrap her hands around his throat to cut off his tirade of meaningless chatter. There would be peace in Raven's chaotic life. It was bad enough having the damn tower alarm buzzing in her ear every hour, but having Beast Boy hop around her with those less than adorable jokes (which had, to Raven's unfortunate ears, become much more… sexually oriented than she would have liked) was quickly driving her to the brink of insanity.
Raven slid her eyes toward Beast Boy, ignoring the tick throbbing on her forehead when Beast Boy proceeded to grind hesitantly against that Julie girl. Raven shoved down the urge to forcefully separate them and instead concentrated on the potential promise of silence.
Raven knew without a doubt that she wanted the silence so bad it was almost a physical ache. She wanted peace and tranquility and everything she could never have when Beast Boy's attention was leveled on her… but despite her longing for silence, Raven still couldn't relinquish the unease that gnawed at her stomach. She chewed on the inside of her lip as the brunette's fingers dipped slightly into the band of Beast Boy's jeans.
She sighed heavily. Yes, she wanted silence, and yes, she wanted Beast Boy to finally grow up and stop being such a damn annoyance, but not at the expense of him getting his heart broken once more. This girl would end up chewing him into little pieces and spitting his remains out without a thought or smidgen of guilt. Despite his past, Beast Boy was still innocent at heart and Raven feared that this Julie would end up breaking what was left of him.
Then again, maybe she was jumping to conclusions. She did have a tendency to over think others' actions. After all, she had thought that Robin was pushing Starfire away because he was worried about losing her, not because he was terrified of how she made him feel. Maybe this girl, despite her less than innocent actions, was good for him.
Raven suppressed a shudder. If Beast Boy was happy, then she should be happy for him.
Raven picked up the frayed slip of paper Julie had slipped him. Beast Boy needed… action, as Cyborg had said, despite the fact that Raven was not pleased with his choice. He needed someone to love him, some one who he thought about when he woke up in the morning and whose image flittered behind his eyelids at night. He needed this, the attention and desire another woman could provide for him. He would finally be able to gather the shattered pieces of his ego that Terra had had left behind and be happy.
And in return, Raven would finally be able to gain the silence she longed for.