It was a bright morning in Jump City, and Titans Tower seemed to glow in the sunlight. The inhabitants were peacefully enjoying breakfast together. Robin and Starfire were nestled away at the table discussing various random topics like toes and platypuses as they ate. Beast Boy and Cyborg had already begun a race, occasionally taking bites from their tofu waffles and bacon respectively. The only one who was not present was Raven, but then the Titans didn't read too much into this, knowing her.
Their lovely quality time was so rudely interrupted by a frustrated scream and several explosions coming from Raven's room, the lights flickering ominously. Her friends quickly rushed to her room, Beast Boy pounding on the door while the others prepared to break it down.
Suddenly, Raven opened the door a crack and gave a slightly irritated "What?"
"Uh..." all the Titans just stared at her wondering how she could be ignorant of the commotion coming from the room she had been in the entire time. "There were explosions... and a scream... and yeah." Robin finished lamely.
"And what happened to your room?!" Beast Boy was almost yelling. He was right. Just barely visible was the carnage and debris that was overtaking the stark atmosphere of the empath's room.
"Thought I'd see why you like mess so much. Gotta say, not impressed." There she goes again, Beast Boy thought bitterly, sarcastic and avoiding me. Classic Raven.
"Seriously Rae!" Cyborg said to his little sister. "The hell happened here?"
Raven made a sound under her breath, in between a mournful sigh and exasperation. "I... got upset." She said shortly.
"What on this planet could make you so upset friend Raven?" the compassionate Star asked sadly, already feeling her friend's pain. Raven may be the empath, but Starfire had the most empathy she'd ever seen.
"Doesn't matter, I'm not going." she said, again being very short. This only increased their questions, and the girl knew she had to tell them the story.
Before the confused sputtering could begin, Raven quickly told them what the message had told her. "The Azar has just joined the gods so now Azarath is in need of a new ruler and they have to pick from every Azarathian who ever lived there which includes me so I am required to go or the new Azar cannot be named and I know I have to but it's pointless because I'm Trigon's daughter and most of the people there hate demons and half-demons so if I was named there would be a riot but thankfully no one on earth has told them that I became the portal so that's good but still stepping foot there is daunting and I don't want to so yeah..." she said in one breath as the others stared some more.
"Um... OK?" Robin broke the silence unsteadily. "So... you're going even though most people there want to kill you?" Raven nodded. "There's no way you're going alone!"
Raven turned red. "I can take care of myself!" she yelled indignantly. Lights began breaking and glass rained down on them.
"Oh but friend, if these people are nearly as powerful as you, surely some help would not be unwelcome!" Starfire said to her hopefully. "Besides, I would be most thrilled to see your birth land!" She squealed.
Seeing Robin liking this plan, Raven slyly said "Oh yes Star, and I'm sure there are tons of tough Azarathians boys who'd love to meet you." Star blinked and Robin scowled predictably.
"Maybe one of the guys could go, it might be safer." said Robin, trying not to be offensive to Star but failing. "I can't because... well I monitor the Titans Network, not to mention the paperwork..." he began grumbling and Cyborg had to punch his arm to make him resurface. "Oh, Cyborg, what about you?"
"I don't really think that would work," Raven interrupted, "Technology doesn't mix with very strong magic like on Azarath very well." She stopped for a moment, knowing what this meant.
All eyes turned to Beast Boy, who had been quiet this whole time as if waiting for them to notice this perfectly eligible travel companion.
"I can go by myself!" Raven shouted, irrationally angry. Why him!
Beast Boy was deeply hurt by her reaction. What was wrong with him!
"You have to, that's an order Raven!" Robin yelled back at her. "Beast Boy, pack your things!"
The changeling scurried down the hall as a mouse to his room. He grabbed some uniforms, a hoodie, tee, and old jeans. He ran back panting and unconsciously hoped he looked ok. He knocked on her door tentatively. Raven opened it swiftly and grabbed him by the shirt, pulling him roughly into her dark lair. There was a circle on the ground that she pulled him into. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos. Carazon Rakashos Endereth. Vasirix Endrian Azarath, Azarath, AZARATH!" Beast Boy didn't have time to look around her room before it began slipping away. "Look at me!" Raven yelled at him and he obeyed.
Her beautiful deep indigo hair swirled about in the chaos of the magic, yet still seemed to perfectly frame her face. Her lips were bare and there was a slight parting in them as she tried not to look around her at the vortex. Soft skin seemed brighter in this darkness. Those eyes, perfectly violet, just looking into his forest green ones. It was... amazing. But it stopped.
They felt ground beneath their feet and a new sky above their heads. The normal thing to do would be to look around in wonder at the orange sky and floating kingdom, but Beast Boy seemed to have locked eyes with Raven. Neither of them looked away for the longest time, and Raven didn't feel any heat rising in her face. She felt good... and... flattered!
Their moment was broken by a dove soaring past, making something in Raven stir at this remnant of the past. Beast Boy followed the bird with his eyes, a smile on his face. Raven pulled up her hood to hide the sudden flow of blood to her cheeks. She followed the dove to the open area in the center of Azarath. Beast Boy followed in a sort of stupor.
There was a platform in the center of the circle of onlookers. For an entire kingdom, it wasn't very populated, maybe over 100 citizens eligible and a few like him that were just along for the ride. A man was speaking, and Beast Boy gave him his sparse attention.
"As we are now all here, the meeting can begin. After Azar was inducted into the heavens, at a critical point in the reconstruction, it became evident that leadership was needed. The monks have called you and now the meeting has begun." the man repeated.
Several cloaked figures began sweeping through the crowd. Each one put their hand on an Azarathian head, completely oblivious to the outworlders. The entire crowd was slowly being touched by the monks, and they all started to disperse as if it wasn't anything to be concerned about. When one female touched Raven, Beast Boy could see, in that tiny moment, extreme pain and fear across the monk's face. She instantly let go, and gave a funny bow before scurrying off to the podium. Raven just stared somberly as she left.
It was later that day, the brilliant orange sky was beginning to fade. Beast Boy sat on the balcony of an abandoned tower, a large bird symbol on the wall behind him. He looked out at the sight: from here the scorch marks were very visible, as was the rubble and remains of many homes. Also evident however was the attempt to rebuild and bring back what the people of Azarath lost. Beast Boy let out a sigh.
"Interesting view, isn't it?" a soft voice behind him approached. Beast Boy didn't turn his head, but he smiled when she sat down on the edge next to him.
"How did all this happen?" he asked Raven downheartedly. Now it was her turn to sigh. She looked at him, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much the pain of the past was affecting him. This level of compassion was something the green jester rarely showed.
"Dear old dad." she said bitterly, and Beast Boy gulped. "He showed no mercy here. If it wasn't for Azar, or the citizens on other worlds, our race would be dead. The kingdom's moved on, they're rebuilding. But.... He killed my mother, Arella. This was her home, and the doves were her pets. She was a lovely person, and I still wish I'd seen her more..." Beast Boy couldn't see her eyes, but he had a sneaking suspicion they were watery. He fidgeted, trying to think how to comfort her without getting killed or making a fool of himself. In the end, he just spoke to her.
"I really like being on Azarath with you." he told her boldly. She looked up at him with confusion and disbelief etched on her perfect face. "Yeah, I mean, just the place is cool, but it's awesome to be in a place that has a lot of meaning to you. It makes me feel close to you..." he sort of paused, worried he was saying way too much. He cleared his throat and Raven glanced at him; he was nervous! "You know, telling me about your mom, I know it can hurt, so... thanks. But... I just need you to know... I'm here for you Rae. Best friends."
There was a moment of silence. Raven broke it: "Garfield..." He turned his head and before he knew what was happening the most amazing thing in the world had just taken place.
He could feel her soft white lips against his green and for a moment he was stunned. He didn't move and Raven began to pull back when suddenly Beast Boy woke up. He pressed his face against hers and tentatively put his hands around her waist. The feeling of Beast Boy returning her kiss was... slightly surprising... she should have thought things through beforehand, but at the moment, she wasn't thinking that clearly anyway. She shakily placed her arms around his neck. They stayed that way for another minute, neither opening their mouths, just feeling the closeness of their embrace and their lips.
But when they resurfaced, Beast Boy smiling at the girl of his limited dreams, he could tell she was disturbed. "Um... Raven... not that I don't love this... but I seriously need to ask... what does this mean for... us?" She quickly withdrew her arms from bb's shoulders and removed his hands from her middle.
"Nothing. It meant nothing."
The changeling felt deep pain and misery at the empath's words, which Raven felt with a heavy heart. "What? You mean, you didn't mean to... kiss me? How, is something wrong?"
"No Beast Boy, that's not what I meant. I kissed you because... I wanted to." The boy was incredibly confused now. "But that's the only reason. Nothing could ever happen with me, so just chase after someone else like you always do!" Beast Boy was taken aback be her abrupt change in mood, and by the hurtfulness her words carried. Raven seemed to be gearing up to storm at him. "I mean you do all these things and you're so nice to me and..." she paused, melancholy filling her heart. "I can't get involved with anyone, there's too much risk! Love is... such a powerful emotion; There's no way my powers wouldn't react."
"But Rae..." he said meekly as she turned away from him. "You don't know that for sure. I mean," he sounded excited now, "with Malchior," Raven cringed. Beast Boy swallowed before going on, it actually being a painful memory for both of them. "You didn't blow stuff up or attack him — you know, by accident. Maybe... it's a good emotion?"
Raven looked contemplative. It's true... "Beast Boy, I just can't take that chance. I'm dangerous!"
"But I thought, after Trigon—"
"NO!!!" Raven yelled and Beast Boy was on the ground, black energy covering his very big mouth. Raven was standing over him menacingly, and he would have enjoyed the view had he not feared for his life. "You do not mention my father here! And no one says HIS name to me ever again! No one mentions Terra do they!" she was raging again. But poor Beast Boy could only stare at the tears falling from her face.
There was a long and painful pause. She slowly removed the bond from his face. The young man didn't move. "Raven, you're my best friend. You know that right? Nothing you could ever say would make me hate you." He said to the grief-stricken witch. She nodded, barely hearing his words. Beast Boy transformed into a green raven and soared off to find a cozy spot to sleep alone. The real Raven noted his gesture: he had never turned into a raven before, but that was clearly what it was. Soaring away from her. The girl fell to her knees sobbing. I've messed up again.
Beast Boy landed on a rooftop and curled up as a dog. He didn't feel much, just a little cold; His mind was simply numb. Drained, and not knowing what the future held for the pair, the changeling fell asleep.
Raven had retreated into her mother's home. It was in disrepair, but more intact than most. Her sobs quieted down as thoughts filled her mind. He had kissed back! Why did he have to kiss back! She hadn't really expected that, only to steal a kiss in a moment of closeness and then go awkwardly back to how they were.
Ha, how you were? an unbidden voice stated in her mind, you mean stealing glances instead of make out sessions? That's fulfilling! Rude was scathingly blunt.
Yes, isn't this what you wanted Ravie? Happiness was too simplistic for Ravens tastes, desperately trying to silence all her emotions.
He must've wanted it too, and so sweet about it! Why'd you let him go like that? a new voice she hadn't really heard before, with a Starfire like quality about her.
'Who are you?' she asked herself.
A giggle in her mind. Figure it out! Raven felt herself drifting off to sleep. Her last thought was I miss him...
Beast Boy woke up startled. It was still dark (relatively), so he couldn't have been asleep long. He was at a loss as to why he was awake when he realized that a cloaked figure was standing near by. "Raven?" he asked tentatively. No, it was too tall. The figure stepped closer and Beast Boy scampered backwards.
"Relax human," her voice was much deeper than Raven's, "the monks merely wish to speak with you about your friend. You will come?"
Not quite sure if that was a question or order, Beast Boy replied "I should probably find Rae, she—" His head was incased in black energy. Yelling and flailing at first, he realized he was running out of air. Panic pressed on his chest, or was that oxygen deprivation? He finally collapsed and the energy was lifted. Unconscious but alive, Beast Boys thoughts were of Raven as he felt himself being moved and his eyelids fall.
Raven felt worried as she scanned streets and buildings for any sign of green. Where could he be? He shouldn't have gone that far. It was morning and the monks were still in session. Raven had been hoping to talk to Beast Boy as soon as he woke up, but now it was afternoon and there had been no sign of him. Too many people to find him empathicly, so she had to take the visual approach. Had she angered him that much by her words? Raven didn't want to think that was the case. She racked her brains for the last thing he had said to her.
Nothing you could ever say would make me hate you, the mysterious emotion piped up. Right, that didn't sound like the words you say before disappearing for hours. Willingly...
She soared to the temple she knew so well.
Beast Boy woke up with an awful headache in a completely white room; the brightness of it seared his eyes. His heightened senses became aware of several people that he could not see.
"What's going on?!" He raged at no one. Murmurs came from all directions.
"Your mind has been probed for information on your companion." It was a harsh male's voice, and Beast Boy couldn't decide where it originated.
"PROBED?" he asked angrily. "If you wanted to know about Raven you could have asked! Am I gonna think I'm a eggplant now or something!" He said uncertainly, and with typical Beast Boy intelligence.
"And if we had asked you, would you have told us that she became the portal as the prophecy predicted? Would you have told us of the fear and the anger and the love she feels so strongly? No, you would have protected your mate like all humans!" the uncaring voice boomed out.
Choosing to overlook certain parts of that sentence, Beast Boy retorted, "If you saw all my memories, you would've seen that Raven saves people on a regular basis! She pretty much single handedly took down Trigon! And her emotions don't hurt anyone, so just leave us alone!" He changed into a raven for the second time and attempted to fly up and out, but found himself pulled down from all directions.
"Human, you will be released, but if your friend should—"
"You want me to lie to Raven? Not gonna happen dude." Beast Boy said defiantly, with a smirk.
"You won't have a choice." It said simply and Beast Boy's heightened senses felt something growing, like when Raven would build up her magic, and he knew that was exactly what this was. Closing his eyes and gritting his teeth, he could only hope it wouldn't hurt.
There was a loud blast, but Beast Boy could still remember everything. He opened his eyes to see a furious Azarathian beauty with his back to him. She had a shield protecting him from the monk's spell and there was a gaping hole on one of the evidently circular walls. Raven had broken in to rescue him.
"How dare you kidnap my friend," she screamed inhumanly, "What reason could you possibly have!? You already saw into my mind, in case you've forgotten, or did that monk die of shock?" With a pang Beast Boy realized both what the ritual in the courtyard was and the amount of self-loathing Raven actually had.
"We could not trust that you would be completely honest with your thoughts child," another voice, female, interrupted the accusations, "This was the only way to be sure of the whole picture. But please, you may collect your friend, the interrogation is essentially complete."
Hesitantly, Raven gripped Beast Boy's arm and pulled him along to the hole in the wall, not dropping the shield as she went. The murmuring increased and just as they were about to exit, yet another monk called their attention.
"Child Raven, daughter of Trigon and Arella, against the advisement of some of the council, I feel it is my duty to inform you that at the moment you are the prime candidate for Azar."
Without turning around or pausing, and in her patented monotone, she replied "Super." The pair flew away without looking back.
The girl landed on a random roof top and sat in her lotus position, waiting for Beast Boy. He quickly landed across from her and sat, just staring. "We need to talk." Raven said to the very out of it shapeshifter. He nodded feverishly. She's gonna stay here and be royalty forever! Was all that was going through the boy's mind. What to say first? Was the question plaguing the girl. There was silence.
"You're gonna be Azar!" Beast Boy blurted out as Rae blurted "I'm sorry!" They blinked at each other.
"I shouldn't have kissed you, I screwed up, you reacted as any boy would, things got complicated and I'm sorry." Raven told him, very agitated.
Beast Boy shook his head. "Dude, that doesn't matter now! Didn't you hear them? You're gonna be the next Azar..."
Raven scoffed and rolled her eyes. "There'll be marching in the streets, there's no way these pacifists would ever appoint a half-demon with anger issues." Beast Boy gave a slight chuckle.
"But Rae, they know you do amazing stuff too! They know you stopped Trigon yourself and how you fight evil on a constant basis. You'd be great for this place." He said encouragingly, but...
Raven could feel with her powers that something was wrong with the changeling. "I don't think so B, it just wouldn't feel right. It's weird just visiting here for a few days."
"Have you ever dreamed of being Azar?"
She paused before retorting, a bit snappishly, "Well what kid hasn't wanted to be president!" She floated away with her back to him, stopping at the edge of the roof and looking down at the kingdom. The kingdom that could be hers.
There was a hand on her waist and she moved her head to see Beast Boy right beside her, holding on gently. The new emotion was going haywire in her head, but Raven was blissfully lost in the moment. Cautiously she leaned into him.
"If they offer, you should do it." He was saying with a heavy heart. Self-sacrifice, a certain voice in her head was noting, maybe that 'just acting like any boy' excuse wasn't so spot on after all, eh Rae?
"No." She decided.
"But Rae, think of your people."
"And what about the people on Earth? What about the team? Who would Robin murder when he finds out I've left?" Raven added uncharacteristically attempting to add some levity. An as uncharacteristic Beast Boy did not note her humor. "Listen to me, before we discuss what the monks said, I need to know we're ok."
"Of course, didn't you hear me, I could never hate you. You're my... best friend after all." He felt uncertain she could tell. "But, I kinda want to know, why did you kiss me? I mean, you said you wanted to..."
"I just felt something different." Raven said simply. "I needed to try it and... I don't know why."
"Do..." a long pause where Raven did not look at Beast Boy, "do you like me Rae? You know..."
"I'm not sure." she said truthfully. "I might have, had you not kissed me back." His face was completely blank and confused, just as it had been when she first hugged him. She sighed. "You made me uncertain, you made it a serious thing, you made me think. It made me very angry and confused, so I pushed you away. Um... why did you kiss back exactly? I assumed it was just the shock of a kiss from a girl," A slight insult there, "but... was that all it was?"
"Well... You may not realize it Rae, but you're an amazing chick! If it had been any other girl I might have pulled back cause it'd be way too fast. But you? I mean, seriously, who wouldn't want to make out with you!" he was blushing and flustered. He didn't know how he felt either apparently.
"Only the majority of the male population." she said sarcastically.
"But, you're beautiful!" he said rather bashfully. She rolled her eyes.
"Have you ever looked at me at all? I'm so pale I'm GREY, my nose juts out, my hair is limp and stringy and it's a ridiculous shape, my hands are tough and calloused from all the energy that flows through them, and I don't have an unrealistic body like Star! How could anyone find me attractive." Had this been another girl, you might have thought she was fishing for complements, but this was Raven. She truly believed she was ugly.
"Rae don't ever talk that way about yourself," Beast Boy ordered her sternly, "It breaks my heart. You're gorgeous, sometimes it takes all I have to focus on video games when you're in the room! I'd never tell you otherwise. You can be cold, distant, scary, and... creepy. But all the compliments I've ever given you were true! And they always will be!" he finished breathlessly.
"So... you anticipate complimenting me in the future," Raven was euphoric and had forgotten her tirade on how unappealing she was. "I'll look forward to it." She seemed to grasp what she had just implied and shook her head. "But, I can't risk being in a relationship with you. My powers might hurt you, or worse. I would die if that happened. Liking you... is too powerful an emotion to not have consequences. You're amazing and deserve someone whole."
"I still don't think you could ever hurt me. Even if your powers went crazy and broke stuff, I think it wouldn't hurt the one those feeling are for. I mean, why kill the outlet right?" he said, obviously reciting something he had rehearsed.
"That... I..." she couldn't think with him so close to her, him being so sincere. What is this? she wondered.
"But listen, this talk has been nice, but what about the whole Azar thing?" he asked the girl he had only recently realized he cared for. He became abruptly aware that he was still holding her to him by her waist with her head leaning on his (too short for her to lean on his shoulder). He did nothing to change the situation.
A thought came over Raven, a sly little smile. "BB, I trust you with my life. What do you honestly want me to do? You, Beast Boy, not Azarath."
He didn't answer for the longest time, and finally Raven sighed and pulled away from him. She plopped down to the ground. I never want to come back here as long as I live.
"Life wouldn't be right with you not in Jump City." he said, his words very awkwardly put together. "And no one has the right to make your decision. Not that anyone could ever change your mind!" He said laughing as he sat down opposite her yet again. Something was wrong— no— right with Raven? There was this swelling feeling in her stomach and she felt tingly.
"Lets go home." she told her green companion. He grinned. Rae traced a circle in the thin layer of dirt on the rooftop with her foot.
"What about the monks?"
"They'll figure it out."
She clasped his hand and intertwined their fingers. Repeating the incantation she had used before, the vortex carried the two to a dark gothic bedroom on Earth. It was the middle of the night. Raven, still holding the shape shifter's hand, lead him to the exit.
"Good night Rae." He said softly.
"Good night Beast Boy." She replied. She dropped his hand finally. And clutched the door, as if she wanted to pull it shut, but didn't.
"Love you." the shy young man whispered as he turned to go down the hall.
A stoic reply. "I know." The olive skinned boy smiled to himself as he turned the corner.
And as the pale beauty slipped under her covers that night, a voice still chattering in her head, she told it 'Settle down, Love.' A sigh as the unexplored emotion settled in for the long haul.