Sorry the update took so long y'all. I wish I could say that I had a good reason for taking so long, but I can't. Please forgive me, and I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
Raven stared listlessly up at the fluorescent lighting above her, dimly noting the irony of such pure white light being cast upon one such as her. Her internal clock kept the time even as she lost herself amongst the dust motes dancing in the air.
She had ceased to struggle against her captivity hours ago, and now lay there wearily watching the seconds slip by. Cyborg had stopped in to check on her a couple times in the past hour or so, but Raven did not acknowledge him. She understood the reasons for her binds, agreed to and accepted them even. But she still did not like it. Not one bit. Earlier on, a few hours after she had awoken, Raven felt claustrophobia clench a fist around her heart, sending her into minor panics. She'd struggled against her binds, rubbing her wrists raw, until she'd gained control again.
She'd nearly lost it the last time, though that was brought on by desperation to heal rather than escape. Beastboy had somehow slept on, but she had felt the pain building in him as the pain medication wore off. It drove her wild, like an itch she couldn't scratch. Cyborg had finally given him more meds, but not before she saw for herself the exact reason she was shackled. In her desperation, she'd momentarily lost control. Several lights had shattered. Her power consumed the room, even with the power neutralizers embedded within her shackles. Raven had even felt her eyes separate into four glowing red ones. It took several minutes to calm down, a feat only made possible by the administration of the drugs to the green teen only three feet away from her. After that, Raven had quit fighting her binds, hating herself even more. A hate that was tempered by fear. Fear of herself—of what she might do, of what she could do.
I don't even know why it bothered me that much, Raven thought to herself. They've all been hurt worse and I've not been able to do anything. What's so different this time? After several minutes of deep thought, she decided it was because she'd had such a fright from him during the battle, what with her thinking he was dead, and because she was subconsciously—as well as consciously—desperate to redeem herself. An aftershock, per say.
Raven gradually grew aware of a slight lightening of Beastboy's slumber. The soft velvet of his sleep was slowly drawing back, and she forced herself to become aware of him. It wouldn't do to seem so out of it.
The velvet of Beastboy's sleep faded until it disappeared completely with his gentle awakening sigh. Raven looked over at him and watched him open his eyes, preparing herself for the barrage of emotions that would soon come. She locked eyes with him as they opened and she couldn't help but admire the different shades in them. She waited for his emotions to flow over her. Several minutes passed before she realized that his emotions were already as overwhelming as they were going to get—a gentle, soothing surf against the bare edges of her psyche. Raven also realized that she'd been staring into Beastboy's eyes the entire time it had taken her to realize it.
Raven quickly looked away and returned to staring at the lights, embarrassment tinting her cheeks a faint pink for a bare moment before shame raised its ugly head again.
I lost control. I could have killed him, Raven thought miserably. She thought back to Cyborg's description of what happened, Beastboy at her feet. And I almost did. She closed her eyes, unable to bear seeing the whiteness glaring down at her.
"Raven?" Her companion's voice, quiet though it was, seemed to shatter the heavy silence in the room. Raven looked away from the ceiling and stared at the white wall beside her, not wanting to look at him. "Why are you handcuffed?"
Raven pressed her face further into her pillow, fighting back tears. He doesn't know. Dear Azar, he doesn't remember. She didn't know if it was a good or bad thing.
She cleared her throat. "They're…power neutralizers."
"But why?" Beastboy's voice was genuinely confused.
"Because I lost control." Azerath… metrion… zinthos… azerath… metrion… zinthos…
Silence. Raven squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to ease the ache caused by it, forcing herself to take slow, deep breathes while chanting in her head. After what seemed like hours, she had herself marginally under control and became aware of an itching at the back of her mind.
Beastboy shifted and she glanced over at him, immediately noticing his expression of pain and discomfort. "Come here, Beastboy."
The green young man complied to her order and gingerly stood up, limping the few feet to her bed. At a gesture from her, he carefully lowered the side bar and sat on the bed, placing his injured leg next to her outstretched hand. That done, Raven started to heal him, a clean blue glow emanating from her hand. Beastboy watched silently for a few moments before speaking.
"How can you do that if you're wearing power neutralizers?"
Raven replied distractedly. "Because I'm not doing the actual healing. It's kind of like…I'm ordering your body to heal itself. I get the pain, because it needs to go somewhere, but you're body does the healing."
Beastboy's emotions still projected confusion at her. "Isn't that still your power?"
Raven sighed. "It's very hard to explain. Perhaps the most accurate way to describe it is that... well, you know that all minds have a wavelength, yes?" Beastboy nodded. "Then think of it as me having a powerful, more directed brainwave that I can consciously change to match that of another person—within limits. And if I match that of another person's, I can make the body react how I wish it to. In this case, speeding up the healing process."
Glancing at him, Raven saw understanding light up Beastboy's eyes. "So…kind of like a super-special mind-control!"
Despite her situation, Raven felt the urge to smile. "No, more like concentrating really hard."
"Ah…" It was a mark of how much Beastboy had grown up that he didn't continue asking questions he knew would be uncomfortable for her. Silence once again graced the air between them.
Several minutes passed before Raven motioned that she was done with the healing, temporarily grateful that she was already lying down. While it was possible to heal every single one of Beastboy's injuries while only touching his leg, it was much more difficult than when she was able to be in direct contact with each wound.
She hissed in pain when her companion accidentally jarred her in the process of hopping off the bed.
"Oh god, I'm sorry Rae." A wash of worry tickled at her mind. "Are you okay?"
Raven clenched her teeth. "Yeah…just really, really sore now."
"Do you need me to get you anything?"
"Tea, please. It works the best, I've found."
At her words, Beastboy rushed from the room, clunking along in the cast he hadn't taken the time to remove. Just before the door hissed shut, Raven heard him lose his balance and pitch forward, and the twitch in her shoulder told her that he'd fallen on it. Then he was back on his feet, hobbling along as fast as he was able.
With no one to distract her, Raven was fully struck by the pain and she gasped, fingers twisting in the sheeting and her body tensing up. She forced herself to breathe deeply, ruefully realizing that Beastboy had been injured more than she'd previously thought. Lots of bruising. Cracked ribs, skull, and elbow. Sprained ankle. Broken leg and arm. Five serious scratches. A toothache—probably from those caramel apple pops he's been eating for the last three months. She listed them in her head.
Her musings were interrupted by a now unencumbered Beastboy rushing into the room, somehow managing not to spill any tea.
"Here you go," he said, placing the large mug he'd gotten her last Christmas on the small table next to the bed. The first verse of "Silent Night" was scripted gracefully in silver on the dark blue mug and she felt a wash of comfort come over her for a moment as she saw it. "Just give me a moment and I'll get those…things off of you." He spared the shackles on Raven's wrists a purely disgusted look. "Cyborg gave me the code and told me to tell you that you're free to go now."
Raven watched him tap some squares on one of the cuffs and immediately felt it click open. As he leaned over her to do the same to the other one, she stopped him, ignoring their close proximity to each other. "No. Leave it."
Beastboy leveled a look at her. "Why?"
Raven gave him what she hoped was a condescending glare. "I only need one hand to drink tea, Beastboy."
"Cy said you could go."
"Forget what he said."
"Why do you want to stay locked up?"
"Who said I wanted to?"
Beastboy furrowed his brows. "Then let me take that thing off you!"
The silence in the med bay was thunderous as the two teammates faced off, neither willing to back down. Gradually, the awkwardness of their positions intruded into their silent battle, Raven becoming increasingly more aware of the warmth radiating off of what her mind kept reminding her was an adult male body, the bare inch and a half between their faces thoroughly distracting in its massive invasion of her personal space. Before the situation could be rectified, the med bay doors hissed open to allow a bundle of emotions that practically screamed Cyborg! at her.
The movement of the emotions stopped abruptly. "Whoops. Didn't mean to interrupt." The amused, knowing tone in his voice sent a prickle of annoyance through Raven that disappeared almost instantly in light of the situation. She didn't even spare him a half-hearted glare before turning her head away to stare blankly at the wall. She saw Beastboy blush out of the corner of her eye but he didn't move.
"She won't let me unlock the other neutralizer!" Beastboy exclaimed to Cyborg, almost accusingly. Does he blame Cyborg for this? "Make her see reason, Cy!"
Cyborg didn't reply, instead walking around the other side of the bed to stand in Raven's line of sight, his metallic steps echoing faintly off the walls. Raven looked up at him, trying to tell him with her eyes him how much she was didn't want to be released, how much she would fight it. He looked down at her and for the first time, both his face and the emotions swathed about him were unreadable. There was a long silence in which Raven refused to allow herself to weaken to her revulsion of her shackle and tell him to take it off. Beastboy's confusion and frustration swirled about her, getting stronger every second of silence that passed until Raven could taste his fear and worry.
"Let me keep them, Cyborg," she said, carefully keeping her voice flat and emotionless. "Until we're sure it won't happen again."
Cyborg examined her for a moment longer before answering, defeat showing through his eye. "You sure, Rae?"
Raven nodded, ignoring Beastboy's sputtering protests and pushing at his chest to make him move away from her. He sat on the edge of the bed, crossed his arms, and scowled. "I'm sure."
Cyborg sighed and dropped his gaze, running a hand over his head. "Then let's make a deal. None of us wants to see you cuffed. So you have to promise that if the team agrees that you it's okay for you not to wear the neutralizers after a couple of weeks that you will take them off without a fight." Raven nodded again. "But you're going to have to take the other one off for a little bit so I can modify both of them into bracelets so you don't have to stay here any longer than you have to."
Raven looked away from him and at the ceiling, nodding her assent. Cyborg reached out a hand to enter the code, but she held up her other hand to stop him. "No," she said. "Let Beastboy do it." He removed his hand and Beastboy once again leaned over her to release her wrist. It only took a few seconds, but the entire time she could feel Cyborg scrutinizing her as if looking for something while she steadfastedly kept her gaze locked on the ceiling and her face blank.
Her hand twitched involuntarily as she felt the shackle click open and cool air touch the bruising on her wrist from trying to free herself. She felt a warm finger brush against it before Beastboy drew back and handed Raven her tea. His face was carefully smoothed of all emotion when she glanced over at him and his emotions was once again a gentle surf, which completely confused her considering the kinds of emotions that she could feel.
"Thank you," she breathed to him. He nodded, not looking at her. Cyborg quietly left the room, shackles in hand. And suddenly Raven wanted Beastboy to look at her—needed him to look at her. She needed to see his eyes to be sure he was really alive. She put her tea down on the bedside table without taking a sip, bare seconds after it had been handed to her. The soft clunk sound drew Beastboy's eyes to it, but still he didn't look at her.
"Beastboy…" Raven started to speak, but wasn't sure how to continue. Her green friend didn't reply, his shoulders and neck stiff with tension. "Please look at me." She hated the pleading note in her voice, but she couldn't help it.
Beastboy didn't glance over, and still his emotions were faint, too faint to read clearly.
Raven couldn't stand it anymore. She forced herself to sit upright despite the last dregs of pain and dizziness from working as much healing as she had without sustenance. Before the green teen could move, she'd grabbed his chin in one hand and turned his head towards her, her grip gentle but firm. His eyes looked away from her, instead staring at her bruised wrist. "Please?" She felt desperate, as if clinging to the last wisps of a dream she wasn't supposed to forget. She was afraid that if she couldn't see his eyes in the silence that she was dreaming everything and that he was really dead, his body broken.
Something of her fear must have been communicated to him, because he suddenly looked up. She held his gaze for a moment, letting his clear green eyes reassure her, then gently released his chin and lay back down with a sigh. "Thank you, Beastboy."
And now, at last, a clear emotion wafted towards her: confusion. "What for?" Beastboy's voice was soft as she wearily closed her eyes, already falling asleep. "Why did you want me to look at you?"
Raven felt herself smile slightly, a slight upturning at the corners of her lips that only Beastboy had ever caught. When she spoke, her voice was muzzy with sleep, her mind already falling into its soft embrace. "For letting me know you were really alive."