She should be enjoying herself. It is a party, after all. Watching her standing in the corner, cloak wrapped tightly around herself, I can see how desperately she wants to leave. All I see in her eyes is the need to escape.
I hate to see her like this. I want her to be able to enjoy things that most of us take for granted. Things that we all do without a second thought, but that have always been impossible for her to try. Can anybody imagine what she must go through, being unable to show emotion?
I wish I had the power to help her, to show her that she can feel. She always seems frightened to do anything that's out of her very small comfort zone. I don't think she knows how to try new things. Trying new things makes her uncomfortable, and I think she's afraid that if she got too uncomfortable she would loose control and put people in danger.
If only she knew that it doesn't have to be that hard. All around the room are the other Titans, moving, dancing, laughing and talking. We revel in the connections we have with each other. And there in the corner is Raven, the girl holding herself so still - the only stationary and immovable object in a room full of people enjoying themselves.
Can I ever teach her how to enjoy herself? Can I ever make her understand that feelings aren't meant to be locked away? Can I ever tell her that in my eyes, everything she does is amazing?
I realize that in watching her, I have stopped moving. I remain still, just like her. As if she senses the connection, her eyes suddenly rise up to meet mine. I stare across the room into her eyes and I can't control the smile that comes to my face. She gives a sour smirk back, but I can tell by the humor in her eyes that she doesn't entirely mind my attention.
I bite my lip subconsciously as the outline of a plan comes together in my head. Giving her another smile, I jerk my heads towards the door. She frowns slightly, as if confused as to why I would want to leave. I nod encouragingly and casually make my way out the common room door.
Hoping she's following, I don't find out until I reach the bottom of the steps to the roof and she materializes next to me.
"What are we doing, Beast Boy?" she asks flatly. I don't answer as I start climbing the stairs quickly. I hear her sigh behind me, but thankfully she climbs up behind me.
"I refuse to help you in playing any of your ridiculous pranks," she says with a touch of annoyance as we step out onto the roof. I swallow a laugh at her comment. Surely she knows that I haven't been playing pranks for a long time.
We can still hear the music from the party, but it seems much more pure in the night air. Turning around to face her, I hold out my hands. She raises an eyebrow and stares at them curiously.
"What?" she asks, exasperated.
"We are going to dance, Raven," I say confidently. She opens her mouth and I can see the protests about to begin. "No excuses! No one is going to see you, so it won't ruin your scary reputation." She glares. "And this way you can practice without being nervous, because I know you don't like this kind of stuff."
"So, you think I'm willing to embarrass myself in front of you?" she asks, unconvinced.
"Well, I hoped so," I say quietly, a burst of shyness making its way into my voice. I mentally kick myself for sounding so sappy.
She thinks about it for a long time, and I almost give up. Did I really think this would work? Maybe I am an idiot like she always says. I've asked her to dance before, only to be coldly pushed away, watching her retreat further into her shell. What made me think this time would be any different?
"Fine, let's dance," she finally says with a small smirk, and to my surprise, a slight redness on her cheeks. I smile widely and reach out for her hands once again. Aside from a slight hesitation, she doesn't flinch at the contact.
"Beast Boy, do you even know how to dance?" she asks sarcastically when I don't move after taking her hands.
"Well, no. I just do whatever I feel like," I answer sheepishly. Raven rolls her eyes and I can't help but laugh at her face.
"You're so cute, Rae," I blurt out unthinkingly. I quickly pull her into a dance, hoping to cover up my words with a distraction. If only I could keep my big mouth shut. I'm trying to help her try something new, not scare her away with declarations of love.
We move haphazardly around the roof of the tower, mostly with me pulling her around. I try not to meet her eyes, but I can see that her cheeks are slightly flushed. From my comment or the dancing, I don't know which.
The next song comes, much faster with a strong beat that vibrates us even all the way up here. I let go of her hands and begin dancing on my own. I know I must look ridiculous, but I just let the music move me wherever it likes.
Raven stands uncertainly where I left her. I know she can't decide what to do. She wants to go back inside, back to her room, where no one will try to pry her from her shell. But the fact that she's stayed this long means that some part of her does want to stay and learn how to let go.
"Come on, Rae! Just move!" I yell encouragingly. She remains with her arms crossed and her eyes darting around uncomfortably. I stop my dancing and walk over to her. I can see her trying to retreat into herself and rebuild her barriers.
"Close your eyes, Rae. It helps. Don't think about what you're doing, okay?" I say, trying to make her realize that I'm not going to hurt her. I know she's embarrassed, but if only I could tell her that she never has to worry about being embarrassed in front of me.
I move slightly away and start dancing again, making sure to close my own eyes. I don't want her to feel like I'm watching her, judging her.
I smile as I feel the movement of another body in the air. I don't have to open my eyes to know that she's dancing too. We don't touch, don't speak to each other, but for some reason I feel so close to her.
Could I help her try other things, too? I can't help but be encouraged by our success. I imagine all the things I would help her do, things that she thinks are beyond her reach.
I want to tell her how I feel, make her understand that she can trust me with everything.
"Hey Rae?" I ask, wanting to share my optimism with her. I want to give her some hope.
I open my eyes after she doesn't answer, and my body freezes.
She's dancing. Gorgeous Raven is dancing as if she can feel everything. I see no inhibition, feel no fear coming from her, and I laugh, a sudden rush of euphoria coming over me.
She stops and snaps her eyes open. There is about to be embarrassment and hurt in her eyes, and I want to keep it from coming.
"Raven, that was awesome!" I yell, happily bounding over to her and pulling her into a hug. I laugh again. I'm proud of her – so proud. To my surprise, I feel her hands on my back, returning the hug gently.
"Thank you, Beast Boy," she whispers softly into my shoulder. I pull back slightly so I can see her face. Surely I'm imagining things, but I think there are unshed tears in her eyes.
"Rae, when it's just us, um… you ca-can call me…Gar," I hear myself stuttering like an idiot. She smiles shyly, amusement now in her eyes.
"Gar?" she questions.
"Well," I wrinkle my nose, "I prefer that to Garfield." A small sound escapes her, and it takes a moment before I realize what it was. Such a beautiful and rare sound, Raven's laugh.
"Thank you, Gar," she says quietly with a small smile. I smile back and pull her in for another hug.
"You're welcome, Raven."
"…With you, I don't mind…Rae," she mumbles as her hands curl on my back. I close my eyes. I can't believe I'm not dreaming this.
"You're welcome, Rae."
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XTHIS WILL BE THE ONLY LONG AUTHOR'S NOTE.
These stories are meant to be unrelated one-shots. I have so many ideas for these two, I thought putting them into a collection would be the best way to go. (As opposed to having a billion separate short stories)
What does this mean for you? You don't have to read the chapters in order or worry about forgetting what happened in a previous chapter.
Also, I hope the abundance of paragraphs doesn't bother anyone. I prefer to read stories in this type of format. A huge clump of words with no space in between the sentences/paragraphs is enough to make me not read a story.
Please let me know of any spelling or grammatical errors.
With this little story, I really wanted to emphasize how much Beast Boy wants Raven to not be trapped within herself. To have someone like Beast Boy who will never let you feel embarrassed for doing and feeling new things is a true gift. I'm jealous, Raven! ^_^
Of course, I do not own Teen Titans.