This Chapter was a pain. Especially the first scene. I couldn't decide who I wanted to speak first. And the awkward silences *twitch*. Anyway, Happy Belated Valentines' Day!
The moon was full. Even Beast Boy, thick as he often was, couldn't ignore the irony. He tried anyway, skipping rocks along the surface of Jump City Bay, trying to reach the reflection of the bright orb in the water. After a few pitiful attempts, a large stone, aided by an aura of black, whizzed along the surface, landing squarely in the center of the moon's reflection.
"Hey," Beast Boy complained half-heartedly, "you cheated."
Raven was rarely ever in the mood for humor; this was no exception. In fact...
"We need to talk, Beast Boy."
"Yeah. We do."
Silence. Beast Boy scratched an imaginary itch on the back of his head.
"You want to go first?" Beast Boy ventured.
Raven took a deep breath, then quickly blurted out, "How long have you had feelings for me?"
Beast Boy's eyes bugged out for an instant, but he quickly regained his composure... and began babbling.
"Well, uh, when you say 'feelings'- I mean, what happened today... we're a team, and a family, and I just- I mean..."
He wavered under Raven's glare.
"Since about three hours after I met you."
Noting Raven's shock, he continued. "Uh, I mean, I know this is going to sound cheesy or whatever, but since I met you, I always knew that there was something special about you. And then, when that big iguana guy was gonna waste me, you just jumped in front of me, and I just- I don't even know. At first, I was so caught up with figuring out what you were, and then I got to know you better, and I was more interested in who you were, and then... And then the whole Trigon thing came up, and for those few hours, you were... gone, and I just didn't know what to do. It's like, even though the world was frozen over, and everyone was stone, and there's a hundred-foot-tall demon sitting on the tower over a lake of lava... I would have had some hope if you were still there. I realized then how much you meant to me, and ever since, I've been- I don't even know, but I-"
He sighed and sat down hard on a boulder.
"I must sound like an idiot."
"You always do."
He just groaned. Raven continued.
"But I think I feel the same way."
"Well, I know it makes you uncomfortable, and I'm sorry, but I can't help- Wait, what?"
"I think I have feelings for you."
After a long, ponderous pause, Beast Boy spoke up.
"Pardon me for looking a gift horse in the mouth, but... what do you mean you think?"
"I don't know. I'm not used to feeling things, or acting on emotion or anything like that, but... I just... I need you. No matter how incredibly annoying you are, how much you bug me, how much you try to drag me into doing stuff. I need you to be there for me."
Raven couldn't look at him anymore. The silence stood there thick enough to cut. Beast Boy finally made a move. Slowly, he put his gloved hand under Raven's chin and lifted her face.
"I need you too."
Raven didn't hesitate. She threw her arms around him, as she had done before, had wanted to do for a long time, had she been willing to admit to herself. His arms, deceptively strong, enveloped her and they stood there, for seconds, minutes, maybe even hours, each enjoying the presence of the other. Raven finally broke away, pulled her hood over he head, and walked off.
"We still need to talk," she said curtly. "Later, though. Maybe Friday, eight o'clock? We could have dinner. Just the two of us."
"Yeah, sure." It took a minute for Raven's words to make sense. "Wait... Did you just ask me out?"
The main doors slid open, and she paused in the threshold and turned toward him.
"What do you think, Beast Man?"
She winked and stepped in. The doors slid closed behind her. Beast Boy fell to the ground, giving a contented sigh. Things were good. Suddenly, Raven's head came out of a portal a few inches above his face and glared at him.
"For the record, I'll never call you that again as long as I live."
She disappeared again, leaving Beast Boy stunned on the rocks.
The next morning, Beast Boy awoke early, before anyone else. He didn't head for the TV or the Gamestation. Neither did he start setting up an immature prank of some kind. He didn't even leave his room. He dug through a few piles of clothes before he found what he was looking for: the green mirror, currently lacking horns, feathers, or any other adornments. He took a deep breath and looked into it, focusing on the entity with whom he had business.
When he opened his eyes, he was in a dry wasteland. Besides the scattered bones and a single gnarled, dried out tree, the only sign that any life had been to this place at all was the cage. And it stood out like a sore thumb. It rattled and rolled along the ground like a tumbleweed, spewing angry growls and snarls at every occasion. Beast Boy stopped it with an outstretched arm as it rolled past. An impressive feat, since the c age was big enough for him to fit inside. Though, to be fair, he was inside.
The resident of the cage was in a sorry state. Aside from the obligatory ball-and-chain around each leg, there were chains connecting his right paw his left hind leg, and vice-versa. Still more chains connected to his torso to all four corners of the cage. A collar and leash were around his neck. Instinct glared at Beast Boy, baring his teeth.
"I knew this was coming. Come, enjoy the spectacle of the monster in the cage."
"You don't have to be in there."
The door to the cage opened, and the shackles disappeared. Instinct was wary to leave.
"What are you doing? What trickery is this?"
"No tricks. Get out here."
Instinct came out on all fours, ears drooping, not daring to look Beast Boy in the eye. No longer the head, he could only show submission and hope for mercy. Mercy was more than he received.
He was picked up roughly by the shoulders, forced to stare into his master's eyes... and then embraced.
"I'm- I'm sorry," Beast Boy stammered.
"You acted like a monster because I treated you like one. I was afraid of you. Afraid of what I could become. But I realized that you're a part of me, and it was wrong of me to lock you away."
"So you're saying you trust me?"
"Not really," Beast Boy smirked as he pulled away. "I'm saying I trust my own ability to pound you into nothingness if you step out of line."
With a rippling and bubbling of features, Instinct changed. His fangs shrunk back to manageable size. His paws became hands, the claws now only a few inches. He slimmed until he was only slightly taller and stockier than Beast Boy himself. He smiled, the one fang- slightly longer than Beast Boy's- poking from his mouth.
"Wouldn't have it any other way."
End. Thanks for sticking by me, and for all the reviews. They make me happy. Sorry this took so damn long XD.
If you're so inclined, check out the sequel: Unyielding. I'll have it updated soon-ish, I swear.
Also, if you're a fan of the Redwall series (RIP Brian Jacques) or Avatar: The Last Airbender, Check out my profile. I have some stories in both of these categories that need some love.