It was a calming rhythm, to be sure, but not exactly afterlife material. Then again, maybe it was supposed to be like that "light at the end of the tunnel" thing that's supposed to calm a person down while they're dying. But wait, if he was dying now, wouldn't that mean that he was still sort-of alive? He pondered the question for a few moments until the incessant beeping began to grate on his nerves. It looked like there was only one way to find out.
He opened his eyes. Wait, they had been closed?!
Beast Boy didn't bother looking at his surroundings. He was on autopilot, and his autopilot had other priorities. A million thoughts were running through his head at speeds that would have made Mas y Menos and Kid Flash jealous. However, a few kept resurfacing. Had it all been a dream? Why did it feel so real? Why was the pain so fresh in his mind?
He sat up in his bed. Or at least, that's what his autopilot told him to do. What actually happened was that he got about halfway, then fell back with a yelp when the all-too-familiar pain reared it's ugly head. Yep, it had been real all right. He made a mental note to get a new autopilot; preferably a smarter one.
Now that he knew movement to be a bad idea, he let his eyes wander, and he discovered that he was in the tower infirmary. They must have brought him back after…
His eyes widened and he craned his neck to look at the arrow that had caused all of this. It was gone. Instead, the injured area of his chest was covered in bandages. He slowly moved one of his hands towards them when a sharp voice broke the silence.
"Don't you dare."
Beast Boy's hand froze and he looked over to the source of the sound. His eyes rested on a purple-haired empath inhabiting the bed next to him.
"Or else I'll tie you down," she continued. "I think you've done enough damage to yourself for one week."
He flashed her one of his trademark smiles. "Hey, it was worth it last time."
Her expression was unchanged. "Don't you ever scare me like that again. I almost blew up the tower seventeen times."
He chuckled. "You counted?"
She nodded. "I counted."
As he looked at her, he noticed that the arrow that had been in her arm had also been removed. It brought up another question in his mind.
"How'd you get that arrow thing out of me? Y'know, without tearing me open?"
The corners of her lips curled upwards with just a hint of a knowing smile. He knew what was coming next.
"How did I know you were going to ask that?"
"Because you're psychic?"
"I'm empathic, Beast Boy. Not psychic."
The not-psychic-but-empathic Raven reached over the side of the bed with her uninjured arm and held up an arrow like the ones that had hit the two of them.
"All of these were identical," she explained. "So I could figure out where the barb began and split it from the rest of the arrow using my powers without having to be able to see it. Then we could remove them safely." To demonstrate, she split off the barb right where it met the arrow, exactly as she had described.
"Oh." As he took in what she had said, he began to wonder how he had survived the damage to his heart. Then he realized that Raven must have healed it. How fitting. That made it twice now she had healed his heart. Of course, it was also ironic, and that caused a grin to infect his features.
"What?" she asked, annoyed.
"Nothing. It's just ironic. I mean, that time Robin broke his arm, you couldn't heal it completely. But here, you've obviously healed my heart. I mean, I'm no doctor, but it seems like that would be a little-"
She cut him off. "Beast Boy, I didn't heal your heart."
"Huh? Then how am I still alive? That arrow…"
"…Was nowhere near your heart."
She looked like she was trying to hold back laughter. "Beast Boy, your heart is on your left side."
"It is?" He laid his hand on his left breast and sure enough, he could feel his heart beating strongly underneath, a far cry from where his panicked mind had thought it to be during the fight. He scratched the back of his head and tried to cover his embarrassment with a grin.
"Heh heh. I…I knew that. I was just…uh…testing you. Yeah, that's it. And you pass! Eh heh heh…Congrats?"
He watched her blank face, a sweat drop rolling down the back of his head. He could practically feel his cheeks getting redder by the second.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Raven's stony expression was cracked open by a genuine laugh. It was the best thing he had ever heard in his life. It was a pity that the chair toppling over had to cut it short.
All the light-heartedness had left the room now, and Raven's voice took on an air of concern, guilt, and curiosity when she spoke.
"So…You thought that you were…Dying?"
He nodded slowly, never taking his eyes off hers.
"So then…Why did you keep going? If you thought it was going to kill you…Why did you keep fighting?"
"It's like I said before, Rae; it was worth it."
"Nothing is worth your life, Beast Boy."
Her eyes said she was in shock, but her lips said nothing. He refused to break her gaze. Not this time. Not after all this. For all he knew, he might never get another chance. But he had no idea what to do next.
Her voice was barely above a whisper now. "Did you mean that?"
"More than you'll ever know."
Her eyes dropped to the floor; in stark contrast to how their staring contests usually ended. Her cheeks were aflame, and he imagined his were too. She seemed to suddenly notice that she was still holding the arrow from before. She placed it on the nightstand between them, but her hand lingered afterward, as if she was carefully contemplating whether or not she should move it. Her eyes supported the theory.
Beast Boy still had no clue what he should do, but he couldn't just do nothing and let the moment slip away as he had done so many times before. He had to act. So, he decided to wing it and simply placed his hand on hers. His eyes fixated themselves on the two hands, for he was far too scared to look her in the eyes right now. He prayed to whatever deity watched over superheroes for Raven to not freak out. To his great delight, she didn't. Instead, she turned her hand so that she could grip his. Filled with newfound courage, his eyes rose to meet hers, and her violet orbs soon returned his gaze. He gave her a warm smile, and she responded to it with one of her own.
And for each of them, the arrow slipped in further.